Wow - as of today, I'm a quarter-century old! =o
Things got shifted around a bit this weekend...
Since Dad had to leave early for work yesterday and because there was a dinner at church today, we had to go to Red Lobster on Saturday (instead of today)...and it was an early supper instead of a late one. I got the lobster tail and shrimp dinner, which was pretty good - the meat from the lobster tail was a lot like the crab legs I tried two years ago...except with a slightly different texture (the taste was pretty much the same to me) and - more importantly, since the tail was already split open with the meat sitting on top of it when I got it - nowhere near as difficult to take apart. Just like last year, I also got a slice of cake (and a song ;P), but this time around it came with two scoops of vanilla ice cream, with fudge striped across them. Two years ago, I said I would be getting lobster on my 25th birthday, and I did! =D
After we came home from church today, Mom went out on her bike and Dad stayed at home to sleep. I had to help out both of them a few hours later - Dad seemed to be coming down with something and Mom had wrecked while on her bike (hurting her arm, but fortunately didn't appear to have broken anything). We still managed to have dinner and a birthday cake, though...but the writing on this cake read "Happy 25th Birthday Einstein" - it's the first time I've seen his name in place of mine, and I think I know why ;P
Over the weekend, I got a few calls and cards (with money) from friends and relatives who wanted to wish me a Happy Birthday - these are always nice things to get =)
As for presents: I got a new computer! Well, sort of...I purchased a few parts from other places - the monitor and RAM - and got them about a week early. Since I hesitated for awhile before actually ordering the computer (that's my own fault), it won't be here till after my birthday =(
As for what I got:
- Dell Inspiron 530: I couldn't get a custom-built system this time, due to the early presents I got (my new bed and bedroom furniture) and the fact that quite a few things around the house have reached the point where they either need fixed or replaced. However, when I was still employed, a friend at work who - among other things - fixed up employee's computers (and had also helped put together my current computer), suggested I buy one from Dell. The one I had used at work, a Dell Dimension 8300, worked great after adding an extra gigabyte of RAM (up from 512 MB, for programs like Virtual PC), so why not get one for myself? Here's what I got that differed from the defaults for that system:
(NOTE: For this part, "new computer" refers to the one I got for my birthday, "current computer" refers to the one I'm using right now, and "old computer" refers to the one I haven't used for a long time and will be getting rid of soon.)
- Processor: I didn't want to get a processor that was slower than the one in my current computer, so I got their best one: an Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q6600 (8MB L2 cache, 2.4GHz, 1066FSB).
- Operating System: I'm far more used to XP than Vista on the systems I've worked with...so I got Windows XP (Professional) with this system.
- Monitor: I opted to not get a monitor, since there was one I wanted to get that I knew would work great - the same kind I bought for my birthday a year earlier, a Samsung SyncMaster 206BW.
- RAM: I went with the default of 1 GB (at 667 MHz), since it was actually cheaper for me to get more RAM separately. After all, why get their highest amount, 4 GB of RAM (at 800 MHz) from Dell for $180, when I could get the same thing from Crucial for just slightly more than half that price?
- Video Card: I went with their default selection (Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100) as - once again - I got a better deal separately...but interestingly enough, that deal was offered by Dell, just not directly with the computer I ordered. I got a GeForce 8600 GT (512 MB) - for comparison, the one in my current computer is a Radeon 8500 (64 MB).
- Card Reader: Rather than constantly hook up / remove the external card reader I have, I got their built-in 19-in-1 reader...which means I can continue to use the external card reader on the current computer when I need it.
- Speakers: Since the speakers I have now will remain with the current computer, I got the Klipsch Promedia 2.1 Speaker System for the new computer.
- Software: None - I've already got what I need, and can install it on this computer myself.
- Mouse and Keyboard: I got the Dell USB Multimedia Keyboard and Optical USB Mouse...but it was more for the keyboard, as its appearance (and wrist rest) is like my current keyboard. I couldn't determine if the mouse it comes with has side buttons like my current one, but if not, that won't be a problem - I have a spare mouse that does, and will just hook that one up to this computer in that case.
- Extra Products: My current USB flash drive (GigaBank, 4 GB, by I/O Magic) is showing its age...so I got the two-pack of Cruzer Micro, 4 GB flash drives (by SanDisk) to replace it. Even though I only need one, I wasn't going to pass this up, considering that - to me - the price was a steal - two of these for $50 ($25 apiece) at the time I got them, compared to when I got one 4 GB GigaBank for $200! I'll be removing the U3 software from both of them (replacing it with PortableApps) and will give the other one to my parents, in case they need it for transferring things to/from other people's systems.
- Recycling: I'll be recycling my old computer with Dell. The only thing that one has been doing is taking up space - it won't boot up properly anymore (no Linux distributions work and, though I could format and reinstall Windows, it's not really worth it, given the age of the computer and the parts it has) and the monitor's starting to go. For security, I'll run a formatting and overwriting tool on it (twice - I'm a little paranoid about things like this) before sending it away.
- Money: Some relatives wanted to get me things for my birthday...but since I can't think of that much to get anymore, they just got me money instead =)
- Clothes: It just wouldn't be a birthday without getting these =P
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