My Compaq Portable arrived successfully in one piece just after I published my introduction to this project last month, and I found it to be in even better shape than I expected. However, I’m afraid my example did not escape The Keyboard Problem — 100% keyboard failure thanks to decomposing foam used in pre-1984 machines. After the near-spiritual experience of its first boot-up, I was only able to activate a single key when prompted by DOS (2.12, I’m assuming) to enter the current date — the number 5. This is by far the most common ailment among Portable buys, and it was far from unexpected. Unfortunately, my complete lack of personal workspace at the moment will likely prove to be the most stubborn obstacle to restoring function to the keyboard for longer than I’d like, but I’ve been able to maintain sound patience. (Also, nobody seems to know what a “punch” is? Maybe I’m misattributing the term.)
Both the sheer volume of obscure documentation on the replacement of the foam and metal contacts and the differences between each restorer’s approach is quite astonishing — one claimed to find success using only materials from a dollar store, which isn’t often said of computer repair projects in 2018. Hackaday’s coverage of the repair is carefully considered and comprehensive, and there’s more than enough diligent references available to render any detailed records of my own attempts a waste of time. My first chance to peek inside came while I was surrounded by new Portland friends in their community house, who were all amusingly bewildered by my decision to buy such an object. I broadcast a boot-up on Periscope, as well as a longer attempt to electrocute myself and replicate a forum poster’s claimed typing using only his fingers to conduct the necessary current across the contacts. I suppose the bullshit is obvious, but I was more than willing to sacrifice my life, as you’ll no doubt observe.
The keyboard itself was ridiculously well-fastened and overdesigned, and the first sight of the Portable’s internal architecture revealed by our removal of the main cover panel was a genuinely gasp-inducing experience. I’m certainly not a well-experienced and/or professional hardware person, but I’m compelled to note that I have never seen electronic hardware built this well — even in agricultural implement applications, much less consumer-targeted products. I completely understand why retro electronic nerds love these so much and I can only hope to soon channel a sufficient imitation of their discipline to get the keyboard functioning fully.
The 2018 24 Hours of LeMans is an hour away from its halfway mark and it looks like I will fail once again in my yearly attempt to articulate why it’s such an intense, one-of-a-kind experience, but I’ve included my progress in this go so far just below.
For 5 consecutive Junes, I’ve made a point to stay up one whole weekend in order to follow “The Superbowl of Motorsport” — a few quaint men hurling themselves around a double-digit, flapper-era French ribbon in machines built specifically to torture themselves with record-breaking efficiency — to “witness the pinnacle of engineering, driving, and athletic excellence.” In 2016, I even bothered a young Extratone with this entirely off-beat event, which Tim, Kaleb and I unsuccessfully attempted to stream on YouTube. Every year, I spend some of the day trying to articulate why exactly this one race is so magical. At 6 this morning, this year’s 86th annual Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans began with a green flag waving more than 5100 miles away. Immediately afterwards, Andre Lotterer was too late to brake, crashing into Ben Hanley and comically releasing the entire nose of his LMP car. The release of a year’s worth of anticipation and preparation often makes the first few hours of the race feel like a mad dash.
“You cannot spend one second looking back,” commented a RadioLeMans host after just half a minute had passed. (I still can’t keep up with their names even after all these years, but they are step one of LeMans watching.) By 6:11, the historic and infamously-dangerous Circuit de la Sarthe was declared wet. Since 2015, I’ve cheered on a particular Brazilian vegan called Fernando Rees through two tours with Aston Martin Racing – my favorite team – and one with Corvette, last year, but neither he nor his team are present this time.
Committedly keeping up with a motorsport event designed more for manufacturers and stark tradition than its fans – the luckiest of whom nap in trackside tents amid the rain and combustive sonic hell on the other side of the planet – which has served as the pinnacle emotional, physical, and technical trial (yes, in that order) throughout the entire history of auto racing does not sound like a positive experience, but emotionally, I’ve become deeply intertwined with LeMans and formed a relationship with it like no other has approached or even approximated with any other sporting event. I wish I knew enough about the history and technicalities of endurance motorsport to write about it professionally because the stories it generates are always engaging, no matter what. Jackie Chan and Patrick Dempsey are LeMans’ most recognizable patrons to the general public.
My beloved Le Mans 24 Hour Endurance Race has started. I can not close my eyes until Toyota’s victory moment. Sharing impression of LM to all over the world#LeMans24pic.twitter.com/m8mattD1By
It’s long since been reasonable for me to pretend I’m able to completely separate automotive topics from Extratone, so I finally gave in and created a Honk channel in our Discord. Please feel free to stop by and/or invite your friends with the link extratone.com/honkdiscord.
The breaking, trending news about my dearest little Libel is probably quite bad. It turns out, my charger cable tripping incident a few weeks ago was a truly-destructive one. I not only destroyed the X360’s DC port but the port’s bracket as well. Would you believe me if I told you I actually found coffee stains on the bottom of its cooling fan? I expedited a new port and struggled to install it today — though I originally got its charging indication LED to light up positively, the fiddling that was required, following appears to have damaged either the new part or the machine, itself — I can no longer elicit any response from it whatsoever. I have a feeling some soldering would do the trick, but every day without a computer of my own to use presents a problem if I’m to accomplish any Extratone-related work at all.
Please give me a break: the last time I had to disassemble a computer to this extent, Dual-Core CPUs were just becoming affordable. The proper avenue for the cable is also less than an afterthought, yadda yadda, etc. etc. (“The Open Web” refers only to my right to complain to absolutely no one but The Good Gourd.)
Google Analytics is acting a fool (it turns out, all I needed to do to get us back up in search results for “Extratone” was completely break my account,) but I’ll be damned if authenticating The Extranet with Bing wasn’t the quickest web-administrative task I’ve ever done. Less than 60 seconds to verify and approve comprehensive sitemaps — no fucking lie. Despite our huge downtime at the beginning of the year, both it and DuckDuckGo were quick to recognize us as the top relevant result for “Extratone,” leaving only Google to Square The Fuck Up. Granted, you’re apparently more likely to be sent our way if you’re looking for “opg,” “om6,” “u3u,” or “ruu.” If that’s how you’ve ended up here, welcome and congratulations! This is, indeed, the place you’ve sought.
Editor’s Note: Please disregard the JavaOS data — that’s all me.
This is by far the most expensive mouse I have ever bought at $24.99. It is also perhaps the loudest piece of computer equipment — peripheral or otherwise — that I have ever encountered in my entire life with the literal volume of its clicking noise, lighting effects, and the quantity of accompanying bloatware. Then again, it is also my first piece of gaming gear — a moniker to which I am technically new. A world in which a $50 peripheral is considered “thoroughly affordable” is not mine anymore (it never was, but only because of my limited adolescent income,) but that’s okay. Perhaps this purchase will prove to be the gateway to my very own Sick Build. Regardless, my adult life is still full of plentiful clicking, and a high-quality, “variable resolution” mouse should have some sort of place when doing my taxes, repeatedly applying for health insurance, reading daily news for hours, and accurately liking Joke Tweets. And — for the sake of a more thorough gamer perspective — I downloaded all 10GB of Eve Online and clicked around in space for an evening, just in case.
After fifteen minutes spent looking for the end of the G203’s 6.6-foot USB cable, I plugged it in to my Spectre and made the mistake of manually seeking out its Windows drivers. I thought the 115mb installation file was comically excessive for a mouse, but after inadvertently joining The G Team, enhancing my new Gaming Gear, and appeasing the prompt’s request for a reboot, the complexity of the software more than justified its footprint, if not its existence.
Naturally, I was thrilled to opt-in to let my new mouse speak to its mothership, hoping that it would eventually mention my hands, which are by far my most flattering feature (also, it would be nice if it told them how awkward it is to use its software as long as it remains exempt from UI scaling.) Then, the one hundred and seventh edition of my mouse’s update tool suggested that I download higher performance! (Apparently “DPI” means “Dots Per Inch,” and I’m sure 8000 of them is an upgrade from my old rollerball!)
By default, the hugely bright LEDs on the G203 cycle smoothly through the colorband, which is desirable to someone on Earth, I’m sure, but I do not know of them. Come to think of it — out of all of the many Gamers I’ve known and conversed with about every topic imaginable, I’m almost positive that their own mice — or computer mice as a whole, really — have never come up. Even for these, life is too short to search Consumer Reports for computer mouse reviews, but perhaps all of us are in error. I only purchased the G203 because all of the majesty of Columbia’s Best Buy (apparently the holder of the “Worst Best Buy Store in the World” title not so long ago) was sold out of all mice within what I then considered to be a reasonable price range, and it was the one of the remaining “expensive” but still doable options with the highest reviews upon a briskly skimmed Google search. Now, I think I can see why. There is a certain quality in the way it feels that I’ve clearly been missing out on amidst my as-yet-lifelong habit of using the cheapest, knockoff-brand peripherals.
First: that serrated scroll wheel! Wow! Incremented scrolling was the shit, wasn’t it? Can you actually read while you two-finger gesture scroll? I’m pretty sure I can’t, regardless of how seamless the experience may or may not be. I can neither imagine nor hope this sort of engagement — with the web, anyway — will be viable for much longer, but it is a nice option. To be forceful, notice that options being sort of a theme, here: out of a lack of cheaper options, I spent a bit more on this, very option-saturated mouse, and now I can’t move my laptop’s pointer from over six feet away — should I wish — albeit with the obligatory anxiety over the destructive potential such a tether includes, left exposed to the whims of whirling pets or limbs. Of course, you are no doubt wondering why a wired mouse? Isn’t that your whole original limitation?
Like the smart-minded PC gaming enthusiast, I find the potential advantages of bluetooth peripherals to be overshadowed by their disadvantages in a big way. Not so much the inevitable delay of wirelessness as was commonly lamented upon by the competitive elite first-person-shooters, but the little slice of burden stacked on top of the pile of battery-operated devices I already own. Even sans-Tesla, quartz or smart watch, portable gaming console (or, console of any kind with wireless controllers,) tablet, wireless headphones, portable speakers, ereader, smart glasses, and smart jacket, the power cells in my laptop, iPhone, and flashlight generate plenty of charge anxiety enough, and I’d like to hold out for as long as is reasonably feasible before multiplying my existing duress. However, as per my own observations (though not measurable numbers,) the G203 seems to be increasing the drain on my Spectre’s batteries, whether by its huge, always-running software presence, its physical USB draw, or both. Quantifying the subsequent hassle of charging my laptop more often so that it could be measured against that of charging an equivalent bluetooth mouse is neither straightforward nor interesting, but it’s not as if I’ll be using this machine off the charger for very much longer after over a year of extremely heavy use.
As long as tools have existed — certainly as long as they’ve been sold — they have been divided primarily into two categories: products for amateurs, and products for professionals. I come from a time when “professional gamer” was an oxymoron (unless you count stuff like snooker, I guess,) yet now I’m using such a customizable mouse that its hotkeys can be mapped to hotkey mapping and its sensitivity (the dots per inch spec) can be switched “on the fly.” How I’m going to make full use of these functionalities within my word processor has yet to be determined, but when/if it is, it will be completely implementable in absolutely no time at all. The Logitech G203 is neither amateur nor pro — it is a “prodigy,” which from my perspective has to be an inherently nostalgic angle. Topically, more than anything at this moment, I would like to bring the core characters of Halt and Catch Fire to life just to show them this mouse, its software, and all that they are constantly begging to do together — like “controlling [my] Discord client,” whatever the hell that could possibly mean.
The Logitech G203 is officially “gamer gear,” but it’s important to clarify the term’s meaning in both hardware and software for an adult in 2018. And yet, at least it remains overwhelmingly clear that we will all eventually die.The Logitech G203 is officially “gamer gear,” but it’s important to clarify the term’s meaning in both hardware and software for an adult in 2018. And yet, at least it remains overwhelmingly clear that we will all eventually die.The thing that got us to the thing did so a long time ago — it’s full of nazis and captcha-trained, Presidency-making Russian robots, now, and my new computer mouse is taking the initiative and handling all of my correspondence for me. Everything is possible, but the end is nigh. The same practices we once used in our youth to bide our time and hide from the truths of our finite existence have grown to encompass them as well and left no sufficient distraction with which to replace or reverse them — even obnoxiously loud clicking and bright spectrum-crossing light shows. Now, we must proceed wholeheartedly under the weight of the knowledge that we will soon reach the ultimate finality of the infinite rest, our USB mice in hand.