Saturday, March 6, 2010

Portal 2 announced

The sequel to the hit game Portal should be out before the end of 2010
in reference to: Slashdot Games Story | Valve Announces Portal 2 (view on Google Sidewiki)

Cheaper legit EA games

This blog entry is brought to your by your friends at coupons coupon 

Dell online coupons 

Ok. It was suggested that I check out this website. is a website that seems to collect various coupons and sales from all over the internet (mostly US sites, and all online. There seem to be no brick and mortar sale items here). It then categorizes and displays them in one location. 

Now for a U.S. customer who wants to buy online, this would be useful. However, if you are familiar with this blog, I am a Filipino and I live in the Philippines. Although I can easily buy stuff online using paypal + my smart money debit card, usually the shipping charges would eat up all the savings. Its usually better to buy from a local dealer. I get the item immediately (usually items from hong kong take > 30 days to get to me via mail) and I usually have a warranty and I can examine the item before buying. Even if the base price is higher, there is no shipping involved so the total price may be cheaper, although there are a few exceptions.

So on first glance, I was not optomistic about this website. I browsed in the electronics and computer sections and nothing caught my eye. However the tipidpc digitally distributed games sale thread reminded me too look at the video games section since video games can be sold online and digitally distributed (e.g. downloaded), essentially free speed of light shipping limited by your bandwidth.

Well, I found coupons for a game website. The website was smart enough to detect that I'm in Asia so it sent me to the Singapore website. Lets look at 2 games. Mass effect 2 and Dragon Age origins, digital deluxe edition. The prices I saw were s$56.90 and s$79.90. Initially I thought, big deal, it was more expensive than the regular price of $49.99 and $64.99 on the usual place where people go to buy digitally distributed games. But, hang on, I failed to notice that the prices were in singapore dollars. So I googled for a currency converter and guess what, the real price converted to US dollars was $40.59 and $56.99. A small difference but every cent counts.

I tried to order Mass effect 2 and Dragon Age DDE, look at what comes with the purchase < click pic below to see it ful size > . ME2 comes with what looks like a 10% discount coupon for the next purchase.

I though that would be useless but this info was really useful. But I have to point out I never did really order anything so you'll just have to try and order from it. There is a "philippines" in the list of supported countries.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Does bio-diesel cause sequestration of carbon?

AFAIK semi-pure carbon like charcoal or biochar is not biodegradable or extremely difficult to biodegrade. See here and here and here. Burying such carbon rich solids in soil would result in carbon sequestration.

My hometown is located on a plain with lots of > 2 meter long grass. Now its an El Nino and almost summer time so the grass is dry and fires often occur. At this time of the year, I can often see black biochar on the ground from dry grass fires. The updrafts from the fire lift it up and the wind carries it for kilometers.  You can still see the fine structure of the leaf on it. But it crumbles into black dust if you touch it. Step on it and it mixes with the soil. You probably have carbon sequestration right there. This reminded me of the grey soot from all the diesel jeepneys when I used to live in Manila. It collects quickly on exposed surfaces and clogs up my PC's air filters. Its a little better now that air quality laws were passed.

Like diesel, biodiesel also causes some carbon particulates which end up as dust and soot in the air. Some of it lands on the soil or on the sea and might be incorporated into the soil or as sea sediments. If that happens, then its a form of carbon sequestrations. Biodiesel should be carbon neutral but this might force biodiesel into carbon-negative  territory.

UPDATE:  of course since modern diesle engines produce little soot, the sequestration effect is very small compared to say using diesel to actually MAKE biochar in a dedicated machine then burying the biochar in the ground.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

silverstone hybrid SSD benchmarks

Actual benchmarks of the silverstone hybrid SSD. Impressive unless you have a velociraptor hard drive

in reference to: SilverStone HDDBoost Review (view on Google Sidewiki)

Hybrid ssd-hard drive boosts lenovo laptop performance

The lenovo IdeaPad Y460 and Y560 coming in March has an option to add a SSD to its already present hard drive. The SSD and the HD seem like one drive to the OS. The SSD acts like a large secondary cache. A 67% increase in win 7 boot speed and overall responsiveness is very nice.

in reference to:

- Lenovo RapidDrive brings SSD and HDD together, demoes 66 percent speed boost on video -- Engadget (view on Google Sidewiki)

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