We went down to Calgary for the Easter long weekend to visit some grad school friends- it was a nice trip for the fam, as it had been awhile since the last vacay. Couple of good pieces from the trip- our Honda didn’t die on the road, which was a plus- I am fairly certain we have some allignment issues from jumping the curb in Christmas last year when that idiot driver went hardcore and swerved into the railing. Anyways, I noticed a problem with wobble at low speeds that goes away at high speeds- obviously I need to get this checked, but it was good we made the trip fine. We hit up a few interesting places. The Science Center was pretty fun, for both us and H. Lots of interesting things to look at- there was a traveling whale exhibit that was depicting whales from New Zealand that was fascinating- lots of the history of whaling and whaling in culture, evolution of whales, and how whales hunt. I really did not know that sperm whales do not use their teeth for hunting- they use suction. Huh. I also really enjoyed the dome theater where we watched a video on bus in the jungle and had a surprise ending where the two main characters ended up on the food chain- the mantis ate the butterfly and the end of the movie was butterfly wings floating down the river- it was quite dramatic. We had some really great food down in Calgary, although we really only hit up one cha cha tang restaurant. My personal highlight was shopping- although I didn’t get to hit up any used ads down in Calgary (nothing came up and the one I really wanted, a Sony HG1 speaker was old in Red Deer before we could get there)- was the outlet mall in Cross Iron Mills- normally I don’t think too much of it. Usually I hit up Fossil- however since I have a good range of Fossil bags, I didn’t get too psyched over it- what I did get psyched over was seeing a Coach mens store- after losing out on the yellow Coach backpack on the Bay’s website, I was on a mission to land a Coach bag. I ended up finding two great bags- one navy briefcase made of hardened leather, and one supple blue grey backpack. I had been wary of Coach’s cheaper line up, as they were one of the companies to come out and admit they have a cheaper brand just for outlets (along with Gap, Banana Republic, J.Crew and a few others), I havent been able to see any of the signs of the cheaper brand line on these two bags. At any rate, I like them quite a bit. What really surprised me was the staff- normally I find premium brand staff to be a bunch of snotty people but this was an amazing experience- they really went out their way to make sure I found what I wanted and were not pushy at all. It was quite something. I dunno if the Coach main stores are like this (I haven’t shopped in one in ages), but this was amazing. I saw a few other bags, but the staff seemed to know my tastes and helped me make my decision (they looked REALLY cheap and wouldn’t surprise me if they were part of the cheaper line- basically a backpack with Coach stamped on it with no style at all). I was hoping to find the Coach bag charms (Rexy and Steggy dinosaurs) but no dice.
So good news- while I was in Calgary I debated getting a VAIO F2 series – it was in pristine condition and was equipped with a i7 quad core processor- I have mostly been pushing for larger laptops now, as ultraportable size is no longer a huge priority for me. The F2 was a beast of a laptop and the previous generation when I bought my SVS15. I loved how big and bulky the laptop was- its very very distinct. However, the price was just ok, and I had been eyeing a white model for awhile. The guy never got back to me and I wondered if I had missed out. However, just the other day, I saw a listing for what I thought was a Z2 series. My absolute favorite design of all time, the Z11 series was followed up by this model, which I thought was ok, but surpassed by the Pro13 model (mostly because the Pro13 model has a better trackpad, a touch screen, better keys, and Intel Haswell). After talking a bit with the guy, I realized this might be the Z3 series (really the SVZ13 series but the 3rd generation Z). There were a few models available in Canada for that series including a entry and middle model that had a dual core and quad core i7. My hope was that it would be the middle model, but I could not confirm it totally from pics, and the guy didn’t know how to pull the specs. Upon meeting the guy, I had my mind blown- it was actually the top model, the best specced version that had the premium glossy carbon fiber finish, and the engraved VAIO 15th Anniversary Collectors Edition Made in Azumino Japan stamped in the back. And it was in mint condition. And the guy also had the VAIO leather premium carrying case (that I had wanted previously) and the special VAIO premium AC adapter (there was a series of better quality adapters to take that premium feel of VAIO up a notch- no standard power plugs for their premium Z line HA!). So naturally I am pretty stoked. The VAIO line is my favorite Sony line and having the anniversary edition is just so so so cool. This edition forgoed the external GPU card and made it an option- I am still not sure if I am going to get that- there are a few for sale on eBay for quite cheap. I just don’t really see myself using the external GPU that much, but I will likely get it for completion. When I asked the guy why he was selling, it was to get a bigger hard drive for his media. SO FREAKING LUCKY. I feel quite lucky. The Z3 has RAID 0 drives that work much much faster than a typical single drive SSD. Its going to have less space for sure, but you also get this wicked performance machine with a full wattage (not ultra low voltage Ultrabook stuff) quad core i7 in a tiny machine where you would usually see much lower specs- these are usually specs in a bigger 15-17 inch machine. Very very rad. The guy was super pleasant too. So in the end I am hyped and don’t feel bad about not getting that F2 in Calgary. I will still get an F2, just not yet. I do believe the keyboard is much better on the Pro 13 still- this keyboard on the Z3 is quite shallow and mushy and the backlight it much dimmer in the keys. Closer inspection suggests I tame my excitement because Intel is giving me warnings about potentially failing SSD- an issue that occurs with some of these drives and with them being in RAID 0, a little bit of a pain. It looks like the drives are proprietary again so that’s lovely. There are a few reasonable priced used ones on eBay I could swap out with and disassembly looks moderately ok, so it might not be so bad. I don’t intend to use this laptop as much, as I’d like to keep it in sacred shape, so maybe its a moot point. Final hype bit about the Z3 VAIO- that quadcore i7 is just making itself into ultraportable/ultrabooks this year 2018 like the HP Spectre- there are lots of laptops that had quadcore i7s in 2012, but they were mostly bigger 15 inch or 17 inch laptops. This is pretty dope for 2012. Even now in 2018, I notice this quad core i7 still running circles around modern computers. Its a total beast. I also just bought the power media dock with the AMD GPU inside. It doesn’t look like its much of a beast unfortunately but it was quite cheap- 30 CDN compared to 400 CDN when it was new. UPDATE- I managed to get a new SSD for the VAIO Z3- its smaller but I really don’t need that much storage. Its a 64GB Samsung RAID0 LIF SSD that has two 64GB drives that can be put in RAID 0 configuration. I got this with another eBay random 15% off sale. I will likely install it when I get the drive to make sure it works even though the current drive has not failed yet. I also got the Power Media Dock and its kind of interesting. I don’t really see a big difference in my day to day work, but I don’t really do GPU intensive stuff anyways, and the power in the Z3 was never lagging anyways, even with the integrated Intel graphics. I have it set up right now as a replacement for my AW right now with the BMS77 bluetooth mouse. Ignore the massive amounts of dust in the picture.
I also am hyped about the leather case- it works perfectly for the Duo 13, and will let me bring it more often, as I am afraid of that giant exposed screen- even the Duo 13 case was not as rigid as this leather sleeve from Sony. Rad. I had wanted this laptop sleeve for my VAIO SVS15 (they made one for the 15 inch screen but it was Asia only- the 13 inch was available in Canada) when I got it 6 years ago. So its pretty cool to get it now. The leather is not super high end (it feels like a rougher leather- like the Genuine Leather label), but its nice enough to feel like a premium case. And the extra premium laptop charger is cool too- I grabbed mine years ago to make my laptop experience feel more complete like an Apple purchase, where even the AC adapter feels well thought out- the standard Sony AC adapter is pretty generic.
I also got my first bunk eBay purchase-I had nabbed a Sony DR-BT160 headset, a special sports wireless headphone I had loved to own for some time and managed to score a reportedly new in box but bad conditioned box model. Very very rare for new in box, considering they had been discontinued for years. When the box arrived from Korea, it was in bad shape- but so was the headphone- the headphone obviously was quite used – there was sweat grime and ear wax caked all over it- call it my stupid collection obsession, but I took the time to carefully clean the earphone and informed the seller this was not at all new in box. I then took the time to try the headset after I felt it had been thoroughly disinfected- it was broken. Really really unfortunate. I am now trying to do my first return on eBay and it is a royal pain in the ass- I had to post a video to prove the headphone was broken, as if the downright dirty nature of the headphone was not enough for a return. So that’s pretty annoying, and I am off to finding another pair as I figure out this stupid return process. They are as cool to look at as I thought they would be though. UPDATE- refund went smooth and they also refunded my import taxes so that’s good.
I bought a series of Sony pins from the 70s-90s and have converted some of them into necklace pendents to really cement in my Sony fanboyism. I particularly love the Sony Walkman red and green pin. Its dope. The Discman is less interesting to me visually, but a nod to one of my first rigs, a Discman back in 1997.
I have recently found that I use my portable rig a lot less than I thought I would, or used in the past- when I am at my desktop I use my rig quite a bit, but my portable rig I like to have a wireless connection as I am moving quite a bit between places in my room vs. my desktop at home- subsequently I am looking for a pair of WI1000X which are pretty rad being a dual armature driver wireless set with great noise canceling circuitry. I have now missed two eBay sales right now, but looking at my eBay track record for headphones, I might just buy new and save some headaches. UPDATE- I got them haha. eBay had another random 15% off day and I got a pair of the WI1000X headphones. I am looking forward to them a lot.
I got to play with the 2017 Macbook Pro 15 and it was quite the stunner. The touch bar is still moderately unimpressive to me, but it still provides an additional cool factor to the laptop. Its nowhere near of a game changer though. I quite enjoyed the overall design and felt the laptop was really impressive with its thin and sturdy design, and impressive screen quality. I did not care for the keyboard though- the next gen butterfly keys were nothing to writer home about, and I don’t know if I could get used to them- I mean I can compromise on the Macbook because of its size, but this 15 inch Pro is supposed to be a desktop replacement, not a compromise. I also didn’t realize how expensive the laptop was- I had gotten so used to the idea of ultrabooks and laptops in general being in a freefall, that I have not really looked at the premium segment in quite awhile. Its about 3300 which is massive- the cheaper 2400 model which I already would be a wary of the price is the touch bar free version and the previous gen. Crazy. Good thing I have my anniversary VAIO with a quad core cpu to keep me happy for the time being.
We recently did a training on the stairs and it was total killer- W and M did laps around me and finished well ahead- but I pushed through and did the 10 sets of stairs. It was solid at the end and I felt great. I have also been feeling really great for eating all my vegetables I can find and fruit as well. I am murdering bags of carrots every meal, on top of bananas and oranges. I haven’t lost any weight, but I do feel quite good, and feel like I am getting back to my prime health….which was like 2008 maybe haha. Today I got to try out my cleats I bought in the winter- they are football cleats, but they were SUPERB for sprinting. I did 30 sets of sprints and it felt awesome. Definitely a nice change from trail running, stairs, hills, and treadmill I usually do in my cardio days. I am looking forward to more sprint training this spring/summer. I am also kind of annoyed that its now sunny in the afternoon as I type this blog, while it was FREAKING freezing this morning. Also that’s my ivory Swell water bottle I thought I lost but found later in my lunch bag. Pretty rad.