New toys

My home computer was a 5 year old x86 single-proc 600 mhz. Stop laughing! It ran Windows XP, Visual Studio 2003, MS terminal-server client, Age of Empires II, and Civilization 3. It could not run Rise of Nations or most any 1st person shooter.

Two weeks ago, we all got the week off for shipping VS 2005. And conveniently, Civ 4 was released that week too. Could I have asked for better timing?

So I finally got a new home computer. It's an Amd x64 dual-core 4200+, which is significantly better than my machines at work.  And I have thoroughly verified that it runs Civ 4 and AOE 3 just fine.  (And by the way, Civ 4 is truly excellent. If you like Civ 2 / Alpha-Centauri and were disappointed with Civ 3, your patient has been amply rewarded).

And it keeps getting better. It turns out my new computer also runs Windows Media Center! We hooked up the cable to the back and it started working immediately. I love it when things "just work". I've never used Media Center before (even though my brother is a dev on that team). I'm cautiously optimistic. After playing around with this, I'm starting to get excited. 

Before this, the last new toy I got was this wireless mouse for my laptop. It was a spontaneous purchase while going through the MS company store. I love it. It's 1000x easy to use than the little erase-nub mouse built into my laptop. The only drawback is that it's missing the "back" and "forward" buttons that you can use in a browser.

Comments (8)

  1. Kevin Kitching says:

    The machine I use for noodling around with the new stuff (VB.Net EE Beta 2) is a Dell Cpt – 550 Mhz and 256 Mb Ram. It’s slow, but it does what I need it to do. XP runs on it – but I’ve had to tweak the settings towards the performance side as opposed to the pretty side.

    Truth be told, I think XP is running faster on it than the Linux build I have on the other HDD for the thing.

    Still, upgrading is cool. I’m thinking that when I finally give up on this old workhorse – which will be a sad day for me, we’ve been through alot – this machine and I, I’m going to get a Tablet.

    The people who are laughing at us for our sturdy old computers are usually the types that just go buy a new machine instead of cleaning up the OS now and again anyhow. Like I said, this one is slow – but I can count on it.

    Old computers never die, they just obsolece.

    Find a good use for that other machine?

  2. I do most of my development on a Sony Vaio SRX-99 with 256MB of memory — it runs VS.NET and SQL Server 2000 without a problem, although it pretty much dies if I try to run much more.

    But … if stuff I write on this machine works pretty fast, I know for sure it will scream on most of my customer machines.

    I think there is a lot to be said for developers using older machines!


  3. barrkel says:

    Odd coincidence: on Saturday I bought myself Civ 4 and a wireless mouse. Strange.

  4. Kevin – we have a bunch of data and programs on the old machine. We still need to copy it over. In the meantime, we TS into the old one now.

    Damian – I agree about using older machines to develop.

  5. rockingsoc says:

    im having difficulties with civ 4. my screen when i play is really black and i can see my units and cities but no land plz help

  6. rockingsoc – Sorry, I have no idea. The official Civ4 website is Try looking around there, or on the forums at

  7. I’ve upgraded my home computer from Windows XP sp2 to Vista , which you must have heard that Microsoft

  8. I had previously installed Vista on my home machine , which had 1 GB. Vista was neat, and Civ 4 continued

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