Favorite Albums of 2009

10. Patrick Watson – Wooden Arms

9. Bruce Peninsula – A Mountain Is A Mouth

8. Timber Timbre – Timber Timbre

7. Sunset Rubdown – Dragonslayer

6. The Wooden Sky – If I Don’t Come Home, You’ll Know I’m Gone

5. Great Bloomers – Speak of Trouble

4. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest

3. Lightning Dust – Infinite Light

2. Young Galaxy – Invisible Republic

1. St Vincent – Actor

Favorite Ablums of 2010


Best Graphics Card May 2010

Some say computer gaming is more expensive than console gaming, but really its not so bad. I built a new computer recently and I noticed something when I looked at the parts I chose. If I wasn’t building a gaming rig, I would have only made one change to the system; the graphics card.

If your looking for the right graphics card for your new system or you want to start playing games with the one you have, this it what I recommend getting. Also if you don’t have a massive display, you don’t need a high end graphics card.

Budget Gaming

$100 – ATI Radeon 5570 w\ 1024MB GDDR3

$120 – ATI Radeon 5670 w\ 1024MB GDDR5

Mainstream Gaming

$145 – ATI Radeon HD 5750 w\ 1024MB GDDR5

$175 – ATI Radeon HD 5770 w\ 1024MB GDDR5

Performance Gaming

$275 – ATI Radeon HD 5830 w\ 1024MB GDDR5

$320 – ATI Radeon HD 5850 w\ 1024MB GDDR5

Enthusiasts Gaming

$430 – ATI Radeon HD 5870 w\ 1024MB GDDR5

$560 – Nvidia Geforce GTX 480 w\ 1536MB GDDR5

If your upgrading your system with one of these graphics card you may need a new power supply and with the multi-gpu setup, expect to have to get a new motherboard as well.

Just an interesting note, all the graphics cards on this list are more powerful than the graphics chips used in the PS3 and the Xbox 360. So is PC gaming more expensive? I don’t think so.

So you can definitely get into gaming for pretty cheap and you can also spend insane amounts of money. Thats up to you I guess.

Dave Loft

Questioning DRM Does Not Make Me a Pirate

I’m against limited installs and it has nothing to do with piracy. If I wanted to pirate the game, I would never have to worry about limited installs. The pirated version just works and it works on as many computers as I want. Nobody who pirates a game complains about DRM, they never see it as the cracker has it removed. The only people complaining are the ones who want to buy the game but don’t appreciate the limitations that go along with it. No one wants to pay more and get less.

My issue isn’t just the limited number of machines, it’s how the software interprets a new machine. If I have to restore my OS or format my boot drive, that game’s DRM will see my cleaned system as an entirely new computer. Now some games have a revoking tool so you can get back a credit if it’s planned, but for me restoring a computer is rarely planned. I also have three computers I game on, my desktop, my media center and my laptop. I also dual boot whenever Microsoft introduces a new OS as to gauge how well the software runs before switching completely. If I want that game available in both, I need to waste another install.

For the average user, limited installs is not an issue. But to power users, the ones who build and maintain their own computer, the very heart of PC gaming, it is an issue. It really bothers me when someone intelligent, articulate and revered speaks out on an issue they obviously don’t understand.

Now I understand that developers and publishers want to protect their investment and maximize their profit. But almost none of them seem to know how to do this. I think they need to stop focusing on who doesn’t buy their game and provide gamers a compelling reason to buy their game. Don’t require an internet connection simply for the basis of protection. Use an internet connection to provide the type of game-play that can only be experienced through a social online game. For a retail release they should go back to DVD in drive to play the game. For digital distribution they should all just support Steam already, it’s an example of DRM done right.

Steam provides a good balance between providing an integral online service and protecting its assets. It can be cracked, but so can any form of DRM. Unfortunately for the publishers most of the time their use of DRM as a weapon against piracy is a waste of resources which only decreases the value of their products. A game like Spore would have sold more copies and would have been pirated less if it hadn’t used the limited install DRM that it did. Many people wonder why they even bother making games for PC. They just need to realize that not all PC gamers are pirates and that they can make money, probably more money without wasting resources on DRM that drive the hardcore PC gamer mad. They need to just focus on making games for their customers and in return most will buy. If the record labels can figure this out, so can the game publishers.

Dave Loft

The Whitsundays self titled Album Review

Originally written in 2008

Two bands that are commonly referenced to The Whitsundays are The Kinks and The Zombies.  They attempt to bring new life to this classic sound with a modern indie approach similar to Apples in Stereo, Belle & Sebastian and The Delfields.  The Whitsundays self titled debut album doesn’t break any new ground.  The song’s themselves are straightforward and well constructed melodies, obviously influenced by ‘60s pop.  It’s very generic, non offensive music that would do well on the radio.  Unfortunately, the vocals can be somewhat dull.  While it works well within the given genre, I can’t help but wish for more emphasis.  Speaking of emphasis, it’s not just the vocals but the entire band.  They really lack energy, and sound like they would feel at home playing in a lounge.  The lyrics are adequate, but nothing to write h…

Upon listening to the album it’s apparent that much of the sound comes from lead singer Paul Arnusch.  If your familiar with Paul’s two other bands, it will sound different than you might expect.  By comparison, The Whitsundays sound is quite refreshing.  The album has a clean, dreamy, poppy sound drenched in reverb.  Gone are the new wave punk sounds of The Floor and the post-rock sounds of Faunts.  While it may be a departure from his others works, his intricately layered sound and experimentation isn’t.

The chorus to the third track I Want it All made me want to stop listening to the album altogether.  The album gets better half way through and I definitely enjoyed the direction their sound took on the final few tracks of the album.  My favorite song is Already Gone which sounds like something out of a Tarantino film.  Bring It On Home is also an interesting track.  I found the opening to be fairly reminiscent of early Radiohead and I especially loved the use of the Saxophone.  The final track Whitsunday Morning Theme is a beautiful instrumental melody that gracefully ends the album and really made me want to give the album another listen.

I wasn’t captured at first, and at times I even disliked what I heard.  But on subsequent listens, their infectious sound finally wormed its way into my heart.  I even found myself humming one of their songs and actually wanting to listen to the album outside of writing this review.  As someone who is not a fan of the genre, I think that says a lot.

Score: 6.0

Buy from eMusic

Buy from Zunior

Dave Loft

Revolutionary Marketing Meets Evolutionary Idea

We all knew a device like this was coming. We’ve all seen Star Trek and their immanently useful data pads. Why is it that Apple can take the obvious ideas, call it revolutionary and affect the entire industry? Everyone in the tech world is scrambling to keep up. If it’s not a web site dropping flash for compatibility, it’s a hardware manufacturer trying desperately to mimic what Apple has done.

It just may be the future but not in its current state. Now I’m not talking about the obvious lack in flash. It’s a given that for a device like this to take the market it needs to give the people what they want. No, the main thing holding this back is the weight. Yes I know it’s far lighter than laptop, but that device is meant sit on a lap or a desk. The pad is meant to be held. Just try to hold it up while reading a book and you will soon see what I mean.

I enjoy a great multi touch display like the rest of you, it’s intuitive and fun to use. But a device like this also needs a stylus to input text on like a notepad. You don’t see people using finger paint when taking notes do you?

Hardware wise it’s nothing but a big screen iPod and the only thing that truly separates it from that fact is what the developers will do with the extra screen space. But I can’t help imagine what the developers could do with a truly a revolutionary device. Apple criticized others for using desktop fundamentals when creating a mobile operating system. They showed that a smooth UI focused on touch was the way to build it. But now I have to criticize Apple for not doing the same with the iPad. It needs to be more than just a big screened app launcher. It needs to find some medium between the multi window madness of the desktop and the single window focus of a handheld device.

Until it does this, at least to me, it’s just a big iPod.

Dave Loft

Hello world!

Welcome to Letters from Dave. I will be posting about everything that interest me from computers to gaming to music and more.

Stay Tuned.

Dave Loft

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