Blog'n the night away...

Retired

Saturday February 11th 2017
This blog is officially retired. I'm leaving it online for historical/nostalgia reasons. If you are a friend of mine, you'd be following me on Twitter or Facebook, and not reading this anyway. πŸ˜€

Have a good one!

The Price is Right!

Tuesday January 19th 2016
I chained myself down to my desk this weekend and updated the game database to pull prices from the Price Charting website. So now it is possible to sort the database by the most valuable games. Neat!

While I was at it I also setup an SSL cert so the website is now fully encrypted. Not that there is any sensitive data here or anything.

Some small tweaks were made to the rending engine as well. Nothing major, just some cleanup and new ideas that I had.

New Website v4.0

Friday June 19th 2015
First blog entry in quite some time, and it is to announce a new version of my website. I've redone quite a bit of it. Best feature of all is that it is now fully responsive. This means you can view it on a phone and it will still look grrrrrreat!

I mainly did this redesign as an exercise in learning mobile and responsive design. Bootstrap makes it quite simple actually. Count me as a fan. I've also become fond of Font Awesome. This has replaced all my little .gif UI icons with a single font containing scalable icons. The end result being that they will look outstanding on HiDPI (read as high resolution or as Apple calls it Retina) screens.

Moonshine 2013

Monday February 11th 2013
Another round of Moonshine upgrades. This time it is a new mobo and RAM and GPU. I even opted to go with a 120GB Intel SSD drive to speed up Windows 7 boot times. Check my Puters page for the complete specs. I'm very happy with this build. While not top of the line, it is no slouch. I'm sure I'll get at least 4 years of life out of this new mobo.

I did go ahead and perform some benchmarks. Check the table below for comparisons to the last few iterations of Moony.

GeForce 6800 GeForce 7800 GTX GeForce 250 GTS GeForce 560 GTX GeForce 680 GTX
3DMark 01 17846 25121 29558 59037 61187
3DMark 03 10169 17986 32356 78232 105659
3DMark 05 3884 8788 12646 34955 35823
3DMark 06 n/a 4936 8385 26120 28030
3DMark 11 n/a n/a n/a 5089 9148
3DMark 13 n/a n/a n/a 3151 5960

As you can clearly see, the performance is near double in the 2011 benchmark. It completely blows away the 250 card. Not bad at all. I should mention that the 560 GTX benchmarks were taken on the new Core i5 mobo. Had I taken them on the older Core 2 Duo mobo, they would have been a bit lower. The 2013 version of 3DMark now has 3 benchmarks, but I only cared about the score from the high end Fire one.

Benchmarks are one thing, but what about current games? I'm happy to report that I can finally play Crysis at Ultra settings and get a playable framerate. Skyrim also plays fantastic with the high resolution texture packs loaded.

Windows 8, I've decided to skip this one. I played with the Beta a few months ago. I'm just not a fan of this new interface. While I'm sure it works great as a tablet interface, as a desktop paradigm it is a complete pain in the rumpus. There just is not enough new under the hood of Win8 to justify upgrading at this time. It does have a minor revision to DX11, and some other tweaks under the hood. The consensus across the webs is that this is shaping up to be another Vista.

Retro Den Re-Do

Saturday August 11th 2012

One of my longest to do projects was to re-do the back part of the basement that that I have dedicated for retro-gaming. For years it was simply a large black brown cabinet with doors that hid it from view. Problem with that cabinet is that it never had enough space to contain the multitude of gaming systems I own. That just would not do.

Inspired by a similar project that I pinned on my Pinterest board. I planned out a new design. It would be based around an Ikea red bookshelf that I would add legs, and a back to. I then added LED lighting to it for that extra bit of pizzazz.

The complicated part would be the wiring. This many systems connected to a single TV is quite a challenge. That challenge was answered by my trusty Pelican System Selector Pro. I modified the labels on it so they matched the actual systems in use.

I made a quick video tour you can check out here:

enter laxDRAGON.com

Wednesday April 11th 2012
Today I moved my website over to my new domain laxDRAGON.com. The reason this is happening is because it goes with my long time internet handle. While I still like the old DracoWulf domain, it makes more sense, to match my domain with the name I use in most online places.

The story of laxDRAGON is fairly uninteresting, but I'll tell you about it any way. Come sit on my lap, a little to the left, that's better. I came up with with it during my early online days, predating internet access even. I created it as my login for America Online dial-up. Being a D&D fan, and the fact I lived in La Crosse, WI at the time. See, LaX was simply shorthand for said city. Easy enough. Over the years, and moving away to Minnesota, I needed to come up with a new story for this. I went with lax being lazy, or relaxed. I often imagine a sleeping fat dragon as my namesake. So there you go, now get the hell off my lap.

And NO, it does not mean, Laxative Dragon. You are so clever. Can you imagine that image... *shudder*.

Make Larry Come Again!

Tuesday April 3rd 2012
Leisure Suit Larry is one of my favorite games of all time. Ranking up there with classic adventure gaming greats such as Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle. Best of all, Replay Games, formed by former Sierra devs, has convinced Al Lowe, the progenitor of Larry, to come aboard and help with the remake. I am practically orgasmic over this.

Larry, what have you gotten yourself into now?
This screenshot is from Larry 7, in my mind, the best Larry to date.

Newman Arcade ver 2.0

Tuesday January 10th 2012

It has been many years coming, but I have finally done it. I have upgraded my arcade emulation from the couch / tv based setup, to an actual upright arcade cabinet. Thanks to the fine folks at Rec Room Masters and their outstanding X-Tension arcade. Now I can play my classic arcade games the way they were meant to be played: standing as a bipedal humanoid should. Nerdgasm!

My cabinet is powered by a Zotac Z-box. This small low power (i.e. green) PC has plenty of enough juice for my 2d emulation needs. For controls, this is connected to my pre-existing X-Arcade Tankstick. The only thing missing was some additional buttons for exiting games and pausing them. For that, I picked up an I-PAC usb and some arcade quality buttons. It required some minor modding and drilling of the cabinet. But I find it turned out very well.

The side and marquee art was designed by Rec Room Masters. I went with their NES style design. I love the 80's feel of it.

Butt-Numb-Athon!

Thursday November 24th 2011

We have a new tradition here in the Newman Man Cave folks. The Butt-Numb-Athon. This team based non-olympic event is a true test for your gluteous maximus. To compete you must survive a 12 hour run of all three EXTENDED editions of The Lord of the Rings on Blu-Ray. Only breaking for food and bio breaks.

It was rough, but Kitten, Driod, Jeffster and I were able to complete this astonishing task.

Comcastic

Wednesday November 16th 2011

Back when I had the house remodeled. I made the decision to drop Comcast. I installed a good antenna up in my attic, and even installed a signal booster for that antenna. I bought a Tivo Premiere to handle recording my HD shows from over the air. It worked well enough. Unfortunately, I live near an airport. It seems every time a jet would fly over, my signal would get all wonkey. I tried everything I could think of to remedy this. But, alas, it was not meant to be. It was nice saving more than $90 per month not having to fill Comcast's coffers. Today, the cable guy was back out here to get me all hooked up. After many issues getting a cable card to work in my Tivo, I am now officially a slave to Xfinity. Meh.

On the bright side, I am getting all the channels I really missed, Being a fan of Discovery, Food Network, and the Travel Channel, I had suffered without them. That, and being a Gopher Hockey fan, I needed my one sports fix, FSN (Fox Sports North).

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