Alienware Redux

So the day after my post, Alienware added an nVidia 9800GT2 SLI option. So I decided to go for it, even though the SSDs were not available. I did go read a lot of reviews on SSDs and they are still a little mixed. I mostly cared about speed and silence. I got the Alienware Acoustic Dampening ($99) and am hopeful that it will deliver on the silence side. As far as speed, most of the reviews I’ve read indicate the SSDs are great for boot-up but don’t offer a super-meaningful speed increase in general performance. Since this is a desktop and will be on most of the time, boot-up speed isn’t of primary importance.

— I welcome any posts on SSD performance from anyone that may read this.

Also, I’m happy to note that after a bit of escalation I found out that upgrading your video card does not invalidate your warranty. Obviously the new card (unless you bought it from Alienware) isn’t covered by the warranty, but the basic warranty is still valid. That’s good news.

My new Alienware is now in Phase 6 – “Integration” and I hope it will ship soon. I’ll be posting a review as soon as I get it.

I’m excited to see what Quad-SLI is like. Not to mention the cool Alienware case.

Alienware is making me sad / mad.

I can’t tell you how much I want to buy an Alienware. Their cases look amazing, they have acoustic dampening (which may or may not be a scam like undercoating, but I want quiet), and they are usually on the cutting edge.

I’ve been planning to buy a really high-end desktop for quite some time now. I cannot figure out why Alienware doesn’t have a reasoanble configuration. So I asked them about adding another video card (for SLI) to an Alienware ALX (which supports SLI, but they don’t offer the new nVidia 9800gt2 or 9800gtx cards in an SLI configuration). I figured I’d just buy a second card (but it needs to match) and pop it in. This would also require an SLI bridge which normally comes with the motherboard, but I don’t know if they ship it. So this is the answer I got:

John L.: Hi, my name is John L.. How may I help you?
andrew busey: i want to buy a new alienware, but i want 9800gtx or 9800gt2 in SLI – can I add my own to the new A-51?
andrew busey: and if so will the SLI bridge ship with the computer and which 9800gt2 card do you guys use so I can get another one
andrew busey: or will you be offering it soon
John L.: As to whether we will offer it soon, I am unable to say as that information is not given ahead of time. Also adding it yourself would void the warranty.
andrew busey: adding a video card voids my warranty?
andrew busey: does that mean upgrading my video card voids my warranty?
John L.: Yes adding it on by yourself would. If you wish to upgrade it you would need to contact our tech support department for them to do it.

These guys are selling to the high-end, enthusiast market. This audience upgrades stuff in their PCs frequently. I’m pretty sure most of them don’t know it voids their warranty. If they did they probably wouldn’t buy Alienwares. Personally I’m guessing the CSR was just clueless, but I’m going to call and find out.

In the meantime, Alienware:

  • Please add an 9800gtx or 9800gt2 SLI option!
  • Please add an SSD option on the ALX. You have it on the ALX Crossfire – but frankly I’m not fond of ATI.

They also couldn’t answer questions about overclocking either. Very disappointing. Oh well.

Anyone that wants to recommend high-end PC makers that make quiet, very fast computers please post in the comments. Some of the guys I’ve looked at use these really obnoxious or cheesy cases, which sucks… but I’m running out of choices and I don’t really want to build it myself.

One last plea to Alienware: I want to give you guys my money. A lot of it. Please offer cutting edge configurations.


UPDATE: Please also read Alienware Redux.

Capital Gains

This is a really good article on capital gains from the WSJ:

Obama’s Capital Loss

The fact that it is in response to an Obama position – that raising capital gains to 20-25% is ok – is not what makes this article interesting. It actually has some pretty interesting stats that show increases in capital gains materially decrease tax income because the higher tax changes peoples behaviors.

*Sigh* Internet Gambling

Another brilliant example of our government at work: Banks: Planned Net-gambling curb could disrupt e-commerce

My favorites:

The 2006 law forces banks and other financial intermediaries to police money flows that could be related to Internet gambling. It never received a formal up or down vote in the entire Congress; instead, Republican congressional leaders simply glued it on to an unrelated port security bill that was approved nearly unanimously.

Got to love the largely libertarian Ron Paul. I wish more of our politicians thought about things this way:

Rep. Ron Paul, the libertarian-minded Republican candidate for president, said that could lead to more Internet regulation: “Though I do not endorse gambling per se, people should make their own decisions. It’s a personal choice. I’ve always been concerned about this type of regulation and legislation–it’s likely to open the door (to control and regulation) of the Internet itself.”

And, the one issue I agree with Barney Frank on:

Rep. Barney Frank, the Democratic chairman of the full House Financial Services Committee, used the chance to talk up his bill that would effectively legalize–but closely regulate, including with criminal background checks and financial disclosure–the online gambling industry.

Why can’t we have a govenment that acknowledges personal responsibility?

WordPress Upgrade

I just upgraded to a new version of WordPress (2.3.3) from a really old one (2.0.x). Mostly because the old one was giving me issues embedding a flash app for Duels Defense. It’s mostly been good. I only have two issues:

  • It randomly inserted all over my old posts. What’s up with that? Can anyone tell me how to get rid of this because it makes all my old posts look like crap and it would take forever to go back and edit them.
  • The new interface isn’t quite as good as the old one for writing posts. They should check out confluence – it’s awesome. (It’s an enterprise wiki – we use for all our internal stuff at Challenge Games.)

So my apologizes for the weird stuff in the old posts. Although if people are reading them they are probably deep linked or Google search results anyway, so they won’t see this. Ah well.

Disappointments and Elections

I am rapidly beginnging to feel like there is no possible good outcome in the upcoming election. I’m also beginning to feel like government bureaucracy and inertia is going to kill our country.

This article about the $53 trillion asteroid is a pretty depressing look at our grand retirment (cough cough entitlement) system and how it’s screwed. I’ve been reading a lot about this recently. I should have linked more of it. One article said we should have turned the social security fund into a sovereign wealth fund – which is a brilliant idea. However, I can’t seem to find the article.

Anyway, on to the other topic. I had been leaning strongly toward voting for Obama. I voted for him in the Texas primaries – the first time I’ve ever voted for a democrat. However, I’ll admit that I was swayed by the whole preacher incident. I’m not a huge fan of religious influence in government to begin with, but Obama calls this guy his “spirtual advisor.” Which, even if the guy wasn’t over the top, is disturbing. Although this is even worse, since from what I have read Jerimiah Wright is just plan nuts. It’s note like you can just ignore this either, Obama has been going to his church for 20 years – he had to know this person’s opinions, especially given the spritual advisor stuff. It’s just a sign of bad judgement and bad people selection. (Which are probably also the root causes of the failure of current administration.)

Anyway, this article (The Audacity of Rhetoric) was pretty interesting. It was written by Thomas Sowell at the Hoover Institute / Stanford. I don’t necessarily agree with everything in this column, but it’s definitely a point of view worth considering.

I haven’t written Obama off yet, but this thing has certainly killed off my enthusiasm. I went to a rally and even met him while he was in Texas – so I definitely put in some effort. The whole situation really disappoints me.

It’s a shame to put this in a negative post, but hey:

Obama Busey

I will say Obama certainly has charisma and gravitas.

Democrats vs. Republicans: The Worst of Both Worlds

Democrats Republicans Me
Socialist Leaning Free Market Capitalism R
Big Government Small Govermnent R
Big Spending Fiscal Conservatism R
Socially Liberal Socially Conservative D
Secular Religious messages D

The high-level positions are broad and represent the traditional positions. They are changing – for example the Republicans aren’t doing a particularly good job on the small goverment and fiscal conservatism fronts right now. And the democrats are starting to pander to the religious crowd.

Where-oh-where is a good party:

  • Understands and supports capitalism and free markets.
  • Keeps a leash on government spending.
  • Keeps the government small – bureaucracies are never effective.
  • Let’s people basically do what they want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.
  • Doesn’t push a religious agenda down people’s throats. (Yeah, like an abstinence policy is ever going to accomplish anything.)
  • Never mentions religion.

The biggest thing for me is:


If someone messes it up – it’s their fault. Don’t bail them out, let them take their lumps and grow and move on. And for the love of god get rid of the tons of lawyers out there suing our soceity into oblivion. If someone spills hot coffee on themselves – it’s not McDonald’s fault, it’s the persons fault. This type of crap is just getting out of hand.

That’s probably the biggest reason why I lean toward Obama. He at least acknowledges the personal responsibility issue. And he did it at the one rally I attended. Anyway, I think this is possibly the single biggest issue facing the future of our country. If people don’t take responsibility for their actions then we’re screwed. We will become a soceity afraid to take risks, afraid to go outside, and afraid to interact – all while looking over our shoulders waiting to see if we are about to get sued.


Vice President Clinton

I think I’ve said this before, but I’m not a big fan of Hillary. This article:

Political Perceptions: Vice President Clinton?

Is interesting. And scary… to me at least.

I’m not a Democrat. I used to be a Republican, but they’ve so sold out to the religious right / evangelicals that they horrify me now. So I’m kind of screwed. See my next post for more info.

Anyway, as one of the undecided this would be a huge mistake for Obama. Right now I’m leaning towards voting for him. (I did vote for him in the Texas primary.) However, I WOULD NOT vote for Obama / Hillary.

Hillary just seems fake and plastic to me. Like she’ll say anything to get elected. I know she’s smart, but she just seems to lack common sense and vision. I read something comparing here to that overachiever in the front row who always raises their hand for every question – that resonated with me. (I’d cite it but I can’t remember where I saw it.) Anyway, she has booksmarts but no passion or vision.

I also think it would be a shame if we elected someone because of their spouse and that seems to be the main reason most people are voting for her. And maybe because Rush Limbaugh told them to.

And if McCain picks Huckabee as his running mate.. I guess then I’ll be screwed because I refuse to vote for them either. The last thing we need is a former preacher as Vice President – that will do wonders for the perception of the country around the world.