new computer

I am going to hopefully upgrade my computer soon. The timing is nearly perfect as I have been having troubles with my video card and RAM with my current computer. The v/c and RAM are some of the main components and if I was to upgrade them, the components would be limited by my crappy out-of-date CPU and motherboard and yet account for about a third of the cost of a new computer. Also I have to keep deleting files ecause of limited hard disk space.

I have been trying to figure out the best bang for buck system. For example, CPU choice based on basically fastest CPU without spending too much, and not considering DDR3 RAM or mobo because it is too expensive.

Also I am taking into account the eventual obsolescence of technology so framing it in terms of an investment of at least 2 years of computer (rather than the computer being an object per se).

I have posted to the whirlpool forums asking advice but I have carried out a few hours research which is quite substantial if you already have some idea about what components to get.

Below is a spec list with links to shop I will be buying it from:

CPU Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 (2.66GHz) LGA775 (Condition Apply, need to be bought with case below) 215.00
Desktop DDR2 Ram Corsair-Performance 2GB (2×1024) 800MHz XMS2 TWINX2 MATCHED (TWIN2X2048-6400) 5-5-5-12 176.00
Video Card PCI-e (nV) 8800GTS 320MB Leadtek (500/800MHz/1600Mhz) 407.00
MotherBoard Intel S775 Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R 176.00
3.5″ HDD SATA-300 320GB 16MB Seagate 98.00
ATX Case ANTEC Sonata 3 (III) Black with Antec EarthWatts 500w PSU 185.00

I am also contemplating upgrading to Vista 64 and the new Office, but I’ll see how I go. Vista 64 needs more RAM than the 32 bit version, but I’ll probably get the 2 sticks of 1GB ram as above and see if I actually need more RAM for the 64 bit version if I get it.

I have also been looking at other funky things like RAM disks and the like, as that is definitely where things are headed, i.e. RAM disks for programs and conventional drives for media files.

EDIT 29/08/08:

Ars Technica’s August “Hot Rod” recommended system has pretty much the same components. In fact, in terms of comparing the bare bones system, they are exactly the same, except they recommend the more expensive 640mb video card. I’ve read that the video card memory will not make a difference except for situations requiring the large processing of video files, such as editing and the like. For gaming there will be no perceptible difference.

diss abstract

First draft of an abstract for the new dissertation structure. I think I may have too much. Hmmm…

Modified: Cars, Culture and Event Mechanics

This thesis investigates the enthusiasm, scenes and cultural industry of contemporary modified-car culture in Australia. The introduction elaborates this study’s main keywords (“event”, “enthusiasm”, “modified cars”, “scene”), contexts and historical eras (globalising Australia, spectacle, online sociality, “street rodding”, “street machining”, “import culture”) and methods (participatory fieldwork, archival research, poststructuralist theory). Chapter 1 engages with the affective relations and event of enthusiasm by drawing on the fieldwork example of an organised ‘cruise’. Chapter 2 extends this engagement by outlining the serial nature of the problematic event of enthusiasm in the context of fieldwork examples and the practical knowledge of ‘know how’. Chapter 3 examines the ‘scene’ as another dimension of the event of enthusiasm and begins the historical analysis of contemporary modified-car culture with the militant culture and institutions of the 1970s era of ‘street rodding’. Chapter 4 builds on the notion of the scene and examines the 1980s era of ‘street machining’ through the spectacular transformations of the scene by following the professionalising trajectory of cultural entrepreneur Chic Henry in the creation of the Summernats car show as an emergent synergy in the cultural industry. Chapter 5 shifts the analysis again by exploring the role of automotive technologies in the context of the reactionary culture of globalisation belonging to the 1980s ‘street machining’ scene. Chapter 6 returns to the notion of enthusiasm through example of the spectacular ‘pro-street’ style of modification of ‘street machining’ to engage with the way enthusiasm is reduced to a charismatic relation and used as a resource by synergies in the cultural industry. Chapter 7 returns to the history of the culture and follows the ‘fast fours’ movement away from ‘street machining’ as a way to track the emergence of ‘import culture’. Chapter 8 examines cultural politics of modified-car culture through a social ‘know how’ in the context of a globalised modified-car culture and the rise of the ‘imports’. Chapter 9 examines the most recent shift to modified-car culture with the increasing efficacy of online-based sociality through fieldwork examples and the relation of this sociality to the existing spectacular synergies between the cultural industry and the scene. The conclusion surveys the broader cultural context of enthusiasm and the ways the cultural industry invests in scenes to cultivate enthusiasm as a material and cultural resource.

got baudrillard?

From NY Times:

I hadn’t imagined that the omniscient, omnipotent creator of the heavens and earth could be an advanced version of a guy who spends his weekends building model railroads or overseeing video-game worlds like the Sims.
But now it seems quite possible. In fact, if you accept a pretty reasonable assumption of Dr. Bostrom’s, it is almost a mathematical certainty that we are living in someone else’s computer simulation.

The assumption of some guy on a couch being the gamer of gamers is so typical…

I like the quasi-Deleuzian response to surviving in a simulation:

[A]s suggested by Robin Hanson, an economist at George Mason University, you should try to be as interesting as possible, on the theory that the designer is more likely to keep you around for the next simulation. (For more on survival strategies in a computer simulation, go to

This is a like Pascal’s Wager 2.0 (from the linked Tierney blog):

If only a small percentage of the population — either on earth or elsewhere in the universe — started running simulations, the number of simulated beings in the universe could quickly dwarf the number of non-simulated beings (and therefore, as explained in Dr. Bostrom’s paper, it would be logical for any individual anywhere to assume that he or she is simulated).

Paper computer chips

This morning we were talking about students’ work and the necessary annoyance of lugging around large bundles of paper. I had an idea to have digital memory inserted into the paper so the file of the document could be uploaded onto a computer. It would save me a whole bunch of time if books came with digital versions. It would also provide instant digital backups with the hard copy.

Anyway, today slashdot has a story about a paper battery/supercapacitor. Maybe this is the first step towards paper embedded with digital files. Why would this be awesome?

The next stage would be for the paper to record your marks not only on the page but onto the digital file. Then you could upload the marked digital version of the document from the paper version of the document and simply email it. I have a massive stack of dissertation chapters with corrections and feedback on them…