Checkpoint: Table Tennis Edition

We’ve haven’t had winter make its presence known quite like this in quite some time. Snow, a tiny bit of freezing rain and bitter cold temperatures are usually seen in January. I don’t mind it but it does make it a little bit more difficult to “get my steps in”. I could just walk around my house like a mad man but instead I’ve leveraged the treadmill and table tennis table over at my folks’ place. 

Table tennis is the pleasant surprise. I never played it before this past November but it’s quickly become one of my favorite activities. It’s actually become a family activity with 1 v 1 and 2 v 2 matches. We started with basic paddles and balls before upgrading to higher quality ones and to my surprise, we were able to discern the difference. It really helped that my brother and I established a baseline first. 

We picked up the basics through the internet (for rules on how to serve etc) and our parents who played it when they were young. Slowly we learned how to slice and top spin through trial and error. We’re still lowly newbies but we’re improving. 

Early winter weather also enabled more games to be completed. I just finished The Last Guardian and I think I’ve made significant progress towards the end of Dragon Quest VII. 

Checkpoint: Fitbit Charge 2 Edition

I switched to the Fibit Charge 2 today leaving the Garmin Vivosmart HR behind. I liked the Vivosmart HR for what it was but there are aspects of the Fitbit Charge 2 which I appreciate more. 

The Hardware

The band itself is smaller, thinner and lighter than the Vivosmart HR. It is wider but additional width is fine. It’s not my ideal thickness yet — it can afford to lose half a centimetre — but it’s close. 

While the smaller physical dimensions are quantitative positives, the touch of silver metal finishes gives the band a qualitative edge over the Garmin. The ability to swap bands gives the Fitbit an additional fashion bonus as well which is a very nice touch. 

I will miss the Vivosmart’s touchscreen which recognized swipes and gentle taps. The Fibit’s touchscreen requires more force to activate and doesn’t recognize swipes whatsoever which means I have to repeatedly tap to cycle around the various types of info available. 

The Software

The inner beauty of Fibit’s bands is ultimately why I decided to switch. The Charge 2 cannot review e-mail notifications or the weather like the Vivosmart HR but it does present the basic info very well. But the clear and decisive superiority is the manner in which they display info in their app, it also updates information to the app in near realtime. I rarely update the Vivosmart HR with the app because it’s a cumbersome process. But the Fibit? It’s as seamless as one would hope.

Will This Be It?

Will this be the band that I stick with for the long haul? Maybe. My gripes with the Vivosmart HR were addressed with the Charge 2 so technically, I should be happy with this. But as you may recall, I was pretty happy with the Vivosmart HR as well before seeing the Fitbit in action. Who knows if something else will emerge in 6 months time to woo me away.

Making good progress through Dragon Quest VII and started to mop up Trophies for TitanFall 2. That campaign is still very enjoyable even at Master difficulty. 

My brother started Final Fantasy XV which is a very impressive looking piece of software. I still cannot believe it isn’t a piping hot mess of a game. 

Checkpoint: Silent Profile Edition

Silence is golden. It’s one of the primary reasons why I purchased an electric vehicle. So it’s no surprise that I want my PCs to be silent as well. 

The Gigabyte GTX 1070 G1 Gaming video card is more than enough for my 1080p gaming needs but as soon as I do anything graphically intensive, those fans can be heard. There was a moment of dread but it subsided quickly after I realized there are fan profile settings in the “Xtreme Engine” utility.  After launching the gaudy utility again, I switched on the Silent fan profile and it was aural bliss. Admittedly there was an uncomfortable amount of heat emanating from the case but I wasn’t worried. The temperatures were kept in check — below the max temperature of 94 degrees Celsius — and I didn’t hear the fans from where I was sitting. 

We’ve come a long way since the days of the GeForce FX5800 and its infamous “Dustbuster”.

I’ve made a couple of gaming related mistakes over the past few days. I started both TitanFall 2 and Picross 3D. I’m not disparaging those two titles — quite the opposite, actually. I’m just saying that I have two other games on the go that need to be wrapped up first. I’ve barely started Gears of War 4 and I’m right in the thick of it with Dragon Quest VII but Picross 3D is really good. And that TitanFall 2? It’s pretty incredible in its own right as well.

 

 

Checkpoint: Witness GTX 1070 Edition

And just a few days after witnessing the sheer compute power of my buddy’s GTX 1080, my Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming G1 arrived. Installation in the Silverstone Raven Z RVZ02 was painless with plenty of room to spare.

Shamefully, I’ve yet to put the video card through its paces. (I blame Overwatch and its Halloween event). I installed it, ran the Gears of War 4 benchmark and that was it. Unsurprisingly, it completed the test with 1080p at ultra settings without breaking a sweat. I’m hoping to play actual games with it some time today or tomorrow. I promise it’s not just going to be a Gears of War 4 benchmarking machine.

Oh, I did change the LED color to orange and made it pulsate like it was “breathing”. A truly useless feature when the case which the video card is installed is windowless.

I understand why people poo poo on the GeForce Experience for requiring a username a login but when it offers easy install and update of video card drivers, it’s tolerable. I don’t know how well it optimizes game settings to my hardware but at least there’s a baseline to work with.

Dragon Quest VII is surprising me with changes to the party members. It may end up being a temporary change but to see a major character just up and depart was eye brow raising.

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