Saturday, September 22, 2007

Some bits of awesome...

A couple things worth mentioning that I found to be, well, awesome:

#1: Pianographique - A Flash applet that allows you to create your own audio/visual pieces of art in a variety of styles, from cyberpunk to blaxploitation to Japanese. Hours of fun to be had!

#2: Shinybinary: the art of Nik Ainley - While browsing around online for some inspiration, I found this website. The artist specializes in design-based 3D and digital art, and has some of the most amazing stuff I've ever seen. Here are some examples (click for full-size):

Technorati: art, pianographique, digital art, 3D animation, animation

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Laboratory Computers, or, Abandon Hope All Who Enter

So I was recently fooled into doing Laboratory Computers' $39 flat rate computer maintenence/repair deal. They make it sound like if you pay $39 (well, $42 including tax), that your computer will run like new. Such is not the case. My computer had been running slow and was getting hot, so I took it in towards the end of August (the 29th, I believe). I told them that it had been running slow and hot, so they said they would take a look at it and let me know when they solved the problem. I get a call later that afternoon saying that it was all fixed and cleaned (rather, it was full of dust, so they cleaned that out). I pay the $42, and take it home. When I start it up I notice that THE FAN DOES NOT TURN ON. Because of this, there is no air circulating inside to cool it off, so within a matter of minutes, my computer overheats and shuts off. I try a couple times, then call them back. They say to bring it in so they can take a look at it, so I take it back the next day. However, as I walk in, the guy working there is chewing out some customer about his old laptop, basically telling the guy his computer was crap. This does not bode well. I give it to them and explain the problem, and they say they'll have it back to me in a couple days since they have a few in line ahead of me. A week passes, and I call them and see what the deal is. They say they're still working on it, and that it would be another couple days. Two weeks and several phone calls later, and they say that they can't find anything wrong with it, that they were running it at full capacity and it ran fine. So okay. I'm starting to think that I may have to go in in defensive mode in order to not get charged $42 again (which would suck). So I go back yesterday and pick it up. The guy brings it up, sans the AC adapter, which I mention. He goes back into the back of the place and asks the guy who worked on it where the power pack was, and the guy goes "I don't think he brought one in," to which I reply "yeah I did." The first guy ends up bringing my laptop out, and gives it to me without trying to charge me again. Okay, good. So I take it home, plug it in, and turn it on. What happens next is the computer beeping loudly a couple times, then a screen saying "Fatal error: the power supply is not compatible. The computer will run on battery power and the battery will not be charged." Okay, that's bizarre. I'm certain he gave me the right power supply since I recognized the scratches and sticky marks on the case and cord, but I noticed that the plug that actually plugs into the laptop look slightly different (I'm pretty sure it was black and gray, but the one I got back was all black. Hm.....). The amber light indicating low battery is on, but when it gets into Windows, the display says it's plugged in on AC power. Also, the fan is in fact working. So that's something. Still, it again shuts off automatically within a couple minutes. I'm going to try to find somebody I can trust to fix my computer this time. As for Laboratory Computers I have this to say: Are you guys incompetent, greedy, or just plain stupid? My computer is still in WORSE condition than it was two and a half weeks ago, but I have no desire to go back there. This is a warning to all Austin-area computer owners. AVOID LABORATORY COMPUTERS! They will rip you off like nobody else.