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Metric system is dumb, and here is why (Rant) (2014)

I always get into these international conversations between people from Canada and Europe saying how backwards Americans are for using the imperial system, and nothing boils my blood up more than not only unearned but also completely wrong intellectual superiority.

But everything is base 10 it makes it all easier to convert!

This the most cited reason for using the metric system is using the base 10 formula. Kilometer is 1000 meters, a kilogram is 1000 grams ect. But everyone seems to fail to realize that you can do the same thing with the imperial system.

Take the kilopound, it's 1000 pounds, a cenipound could be 1/100 of a pound. You've just taken the base 10 advantage of the metric system and applied it to the imperial system with little to no reducation of training.

Also the reason why the conversions of imperial are always 3 feet = yard, 12 inches = 1 feet is because base 3, 4 numbers have more factors than base 10.

Numbers that can divide by base 10

  • 1, 2 ,5, 10

Numbers that can divide by base 12 (12 inches = foot)

  • 1,2,3, 4, 6, 12

Numbers that can divide by base 16 (16 Ounces = 1 Pound)

  • 1, 2, 4, 8, 12

As a result you can divide 12 by 3 or 4 without ending up with decimals or reconverting the whole unit system. This is why it has been used for centuries because it was easier to deal with in everyday life without ending up in tedious decimal places.

Imperial is arbitrary and unscientific, It's based on a kings foot for example!

News flash, metric is just as arbitrary and unscientific as the imperial system.

Take a Metre for example. A meter was based between the distance between the north pole to the equator and was designed to be 1/10 000 000 of that distance. And then it turned out to be wrong, to fix that and to base it on a more scientific number it became the distance a speed of light traveled in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 seconds.

Wow like that couldn't have been done with by a yard! A yard could have just been redefined as the distance the speed of light travels in 1/274131050 seconds and would have been just as scientific.

Literally every measurement in metric not only is completely arbitrary but is based on an object that doesn't even exist. A kilogram is based on several prototypes that are sealed and not allowed access to, or this theoretical silicon sphere that weighs 1kg, but nature prevents you from making a 100% perfect sphere, so it's not even possible to have in the first place.

Why doesn't America just follow the rest of the world?

I don't know, maybe every reason on earth? Economical? Engineering? Cost of human life?

Yes, people will die directly as a result of officially changing to the metric system. Take the Gimli Glider where a passenger jet ran out of fuel half way through the flight because someone refueled it in pounds rather than kilograms.

Also it will take forever if not impossible to convert to the metric system, and no country in the world can claim to be fully converted.

Go look at European websites for goods and services and see how many times imperial measurements come up.

Samsung's German website sells TV sizes in Inches

Hunting Rifle maker Sako in Finland sells their gun lengths in inches

Home Depot in Canada still sells their lumber in inches

Why? Because when you decide to use metric, the rest of the worlds machines built in imperial don't magically change to metric. Screws, nuts, bolts, robotic cutting devices, ect on assets expected to last 20 years were built using imperial standard. Now when you make everything metric the dimensions are not the same so you end up with awkward measurements like soda bottles with 591ml.

As a result people who were going to be the "metric generation" ended up learning the imperial system anyways, and we have come to the worst case scenario of only knowing metric system in a world advertising itself as imperial.

How do I know? Because I'm a Canadian born in the late 80s when they instituted the metric system, and I still get angry everytime I get into an argument about the metric system inside of a steakhouse that is serving steak by the Oz."Metric is the only way to go! Can I have the 16 oz. Prime Rib please?"

Whats more annoying still is that the conversion process is insanely expensive.

Did you know a road sign costs over $400 to install? Now imagine replacing every roadsigns in the United States for $400 a piece for that system. Then pay for education, and also pay for the inevitable mistakes that will result of switching.

Is there a solution to the madness?

Yes, just let the free market decide which measurements make sense and which don't. You already have metric elements in the US out of no legislation to have them. 2L bottles of soda is an accepted measurement that for whatever reason have found to be logical. This way the system naturally progresses to the best standard.


Adblock from an Advertiser, and Adblock from Me

So it's not surprising that after this weeks episode of Scoops and The Wolf (great video series, keep it up) that both Alex and Patrick's opinions would set the internet world on fire about the discussion on Adblock.

What's bothersome is that writers and journalists are ultimately going to be baised on this topic for the sole reason that most if not all writers and journalist all over the internet rely on advertising to keep the lights on and feed their families.

So ultimately opinions like

this guy

don't see the light of day in charge of having a fair conversation over the topic.

I'm not going to repost the whole thing here, but you should definitely check it out as it's adblock from the perspective of someone who actually works in advertising. Needless to say he represents a strong view from the other side of the debate on this topic.

A quote that sums up the point nicely is this one.

Here’s the problem with all the attempts to shame someone for using Adblock - you as an owner of a computer have an innate right to protect your shit by any means necessary. You have zero obligation to risk viruses and other malicious content on computer, regardless of some pretentious “content creator’s” “revenue stream,” and fuck them if they try to make you feel guilty for it. A large part of web ads are malicious, misogynist, full of malware/ransomware, and are a risk to your computer - the sooner the people behind websites stop playing the victim, clutching pearls and calling everyone on the Internet thieves, and abandon this revenue model, the better off we’ll all be.

Now I come from someone of a different perspective who is interested in computer security systems and the like. Ultimately going to any website in the world all you see coming back are packets of data. You own your computer, you own the hardware, and you have the right to do whatever you want to decide what data you want to filter to your computer. You are the receiver of the packets and it doesn't make any sense how you have some obligation to receive all the packets, instead of choosing to see the packets you want on a computer YOU OWN.

It's just like you have no obligation to open junk snail mail, pick up telemarketer calls, look, see, or hear anyone's advertising.

Alex makes the point that you can justify it 1000 ways but at the end of the day you are just stealing peoples money from their pockets. Guess what though? It's not your problem. It's not your responsibility to get someone else's salery paid, and it's not your problem if the business model they choose is not working. Someone out there relies on telemarketing calls, high pressure used car sales, and even junk mail to feed their families. Does that mean you should pick up every phone call and actually talk to them? Are you a human piece of shit for switching the channel on your TV when ads come on so their ratings clearly go down whenever ads come on? It's not your problem.

If you are relying on a system that requires 1's and 0's to be sent and and actively viewed by another persons computer that they own, and probably don't want to see those 1's and 0's, to pay rent and feed yourself, maybe you should think about a different more reliable system of revenue that isn't so easily circumvented.

After Patrick calmed down it seemed that he realized this.

The other tweet was that people who use adblock should die in a fire before he deleted it.

What's bothersome but predictable is that this conversation shows the double standard when it comes to consumer rights and content providers and that this really isn't about some big moral stance about advertising, it's just that people are looking after themselves.

Even during Scoops and the Wolf I just got the vibe that "Adblock is fine, so long as you don't do it to us."

Which then who cares about the guy down the next IP address right? That's whatever though, looking out for yourself is the normal thing to do, just don't be surprised when your audience does it as well.

And for all of those predicting the doom of the internet if adblock was to be used everywhere, grow up and realize the business doesn't run on sensationalist bullshit that the whole internet shuts down and every website is paid content.

What's more likely to happen is something akin to Free-to-Play games where some free content is placed on a website which subscribers will have to pay more to see more content on the website. Huh, sounds like a business model that is already in place today.

Two: realize that advertisers and websites are not really trying that hard to prevent adblock systems. I mean the way websites run ads are empty spaces that run advertisers URL's on another persons website thus being able to be black listed so easily. Twitch TV video players and how their advertising works on videos have two video players running at once and the other video player is controlled by the advertisers thus making blacklisting so easy. Just making the websites put up the advertisements on the native website would totally wreck havoc on the adblock system because it would be hard to detect if the image is from an advertiser or if it is actually a genuine piece of content on the website. Just that one simple thing alone would cause adblock problems. If Twich instead of running two players, just ran one player that ran ads and the content producer, it would also break the adblock system.

It's the classic armor vs firepower fight, someone's going to make a bullet penetrate your bullet proof vest, and someone is going to make a bullet proof vest to stop your armor piercing bullets. It's just that right now one side is barely trying. I can't really see screaming about the end of the internet when the other side isn't really trying hard to prevent this from happening.


Mo Greenlight mo problems: Mutant Mudds rejected by Greenlight

So Jools Watsham who is developer of a game called Mutant Mudds just released his thoughts on Greenlight trying to get his game Mutant Mudds on Steam.

And then, it quickly seemed as though the games that were being received well on Greenlight were either first-person games, contained zombies, and/or were supported by a built-in PC community or a unique publicity angle...

...Mutant Mudds sits at #82 on the Greenlight list right now. It has hovered around there for some time now. It was at around #40 or so at one point. About 30,000 folks have voted either yes or no for Mutant Mudds to be included on Steam, with a 54% / 46% split in favor of yes. Yep, those numbers pretty much sum up what the Greenlight community thinks of Mutant Mudds: polarized. At this rate I can’t see how Mudds will ever be deemed suitable for a Steam release.


Pretty much the takeaway I can come from this is that my initial suspicions were true when Steam Greenlight first came out. What I didn't expect but should have is that mass gamers generally don't have a very good taste in games, and as people yell out of how predictable our tastes can be like a restaurant chef owner complaining about his customers tastes; the standard stuff like guns, red dots, iron sights and zombies is what sells and what gets on market.

It's important to note that Mutant Mudds isn't just some dumb indie game written on the free version of Unity using the stock textures, although that would honestly be the original Slender game and would probably be on the market. Mutant Mudds was already on the 3DS, IOS, and other PC platforms and has an 80 rating on Metacritic from 25 accredited reviewers including good reviews from IGN, 1UP and our very own Gamespot. There really shouldn't be any reason why a good quality game that is on top functional and already proven to not be on the store. But I guess that's life with Steam.


The best mods you don't know about.

I'd just like to take some time to post about some mods to PC games that you might not be familiar with but are totally worth experiencing.

All out War 2: The Second Coming (Doom: Zandronum/Skulltag)

Remember Command and Conquer Renegade? All out War 2 takes the C&C concepts and marries it with Doom to create All out War 2.

All out War 2 is a red versus blue game mode but has resources, geometry construction, class based combat, and vehicular combat. Each team starts with structures like a Barracks, War Factory, Research Center, and is guarded by an Obelisk of Light from C&C. There are dozens of classes within the game and all come with different uses which leaves a role for any skill level. You can play as super shotgunner and go at it Doom style in close quarters or play as stealth trooper attempting to C4 bases and destroy their infrastructure, or play as the engineer responsible for giving the stealth trooper a hard time by building sandbags, razor wire, turrets, and mines. Hell you could play as a Tiberum harvester gathering resources, which may sound boring but your bonus cash can land you in a full sized mech faster than anyone else.

Yes there are mechs. C&C Wolverines, Titains, and Battletech Timber Wolf/Mad Cats, and Ravens are in the game.

If it seems like a stalemate the game will go into "sudden death" which will make it a Battlefield ticket system which means every death counts.

Keep in mind that this is still Doom. This isn't battlefield or some modern shooter. if you decide to go at it with a shotgun, the speed, the pace, and the skill required is all the high paced frantic action you expect out of Doom.

How to play this?

  • Download Doom 2
  • Install Zandronum
  • Launch Doomseeker (usually installed with Zandronum)
  • Join an All out War 2 server. (There is only one, sometimes there are only a few people, a lot of the times on weekends as many as 32 people)
  • The wad should start downloading automatically.
  • Start having fun.

As you can see this is way beyond what Doom ever thought it could be.

Advance Combat Environment: ACE (ARMA 2: Operation Arrowhead)

I think you guys know Arma series by now. Some of you only know of it as the thing that plays Day: Z and that's fine; or you guys know of it in hush whispers as the ultra-realistic military shooter which is insanely hard to understand.

Well the honest truth as a long time Arma 2 player is that Arma isn't actually all that realistic. Concepts are still simplified and shooting isn't really all that realistic.

So that's why some guys decided to make ACE mod. To make Arma 2 more realistic.

This mod is horribly complicated. it's complicated to install, it's complicated to play, and it's really complicated to understand and there is no tutorial.

You know this comparison?

No Caption Provided

Yeah, the Mac is Modern Warfare, ARMA 2 is the PC, and ACE mod is Linux.

Well how complicated could it be?

Well... This is sniping...

Make your head hurt? Yup, and that's not even going into the larger more proficient methods of shooting.

Got hit by a bullet? Good luck.

And flying? It's not as bad as something like A-10 Warthog simulations or those dedicated Sims, but it's pretty close.

How to play ACE mod:

  • Good luck, go to Armaholics and find out.


The biggest problem with the Wii U (Short)

$150 Gets you this...

No Caption Provided

+ Not multi-touch

+ 480p Display

+ Not a self contained unit (No processing hardware of its own)

+ Can't take it outside (not portable)

$200 Gets you this..

(Nexus 7)

No Caption Provided

+ Multi-touch display

+ 800p IPS display

+ Self Contained unit

+ Wireless internet access

+ Portable

+ Much more flexible OS utility function

Problem Nintendo?


Why Steam Greenlight is objectively a bad deal for $100

Now before you go onto "Defend Valve, everything they do turns into gold and can't be wrong!" mode. Let's do an objective compare and contrast between Steam Greenlight and other avenues of selling your game on competing stores.


Fee: $100 a Year for a license fee

Conditions for sale: Have an app in fully functioning order that passes Apple certification.

+ So long as your game functions technically, does not crash, and does not contain objectionable content such as porn, fart apps ect. You are allowed on the store regardless of subjective quality and usefulness of application. (The vast majority of applications get certified)

+ Allowed to launch free apps on the store for promotion and demo.

Apple Mac Store:

Fee: $100 a Year for a license fee

Conditions for sale: Have an app in fully functioning order that passes Apple certification.

+ So long as your game functions technically, does not crash, and does not contain objectionable content such as porn, fart apps ect. You are allowed on the store regardless of subjective quality and usefulness of application. (The vast majority of applications get certified)

+ Allowed to launch free apps on the store for promotion and demo.

Google Play Store:

Fee: One Time $25

Conditions for sale: Have an app in fully functioning order that passes Google certification.

+ So long as your game functions technically, does not crash, and does not contain objectionable content such as porn. You are allowed on the store regardless of subjective quality and usefulness of application. (The vast majority of applications get certified)

+ Allowed to launch free apps on the store for promotion and demo.

Xbox Indie Game Store (Yes Really)

Fee: $100 a Year

Conditions of Sale: Game must be peer reviewed by other indie developers, only tested for instability and objectionable content. Game is not evaluated on subjective enjoyment and quality of product.

+So long as your game functions technically, does not crash, and does not contain objectionable content such as porn. You are allowed on the store regardless of subjective quality and usefulness of application. (The vast majority of applications get certified).

+Developers must have an 8 minute demo

+Developers games must cost something at least $1

Steam Greenlight

Fee: $100 one time

Conditions of Sale: Game must have a seemingly unknown number of votes that they would purchase this game from other players. Games are not allowed to have demos launched on steam and must present themselves using text and video only.

+ No official number has been released but browsing around and supporting a personal friend's game on Greenlight. We have more than a 100 comments almost all positive, and assuming that everyone and more has voted to buy this game, we have yet to reach a single percent of the 100 to get on the store. So assuming that, we must have more than 10 000 people to approve of this game using only text and video presentation to sell this game. Seeing other games with comments of more than 5000 of mostly overwhelmingly positive and only getting 31% of required this seems consistent that the number is very high.

+ It maybe that a "no thanks not interested" will cancel out a "I would purchase this game" Not entirely sure, and Valve has not publicly set out what this button actually does. If it doesn't, why does it exist? And if it does, why should someone say "I wouldn't buy this" matter? enough to cancel out a "would buy the game?"

+ Not allowed a playable demo on steam until release

+ Did I mention you have to get an estimate of more than 15 000 people to vote on your game before you are even considered on the store?

So yeah, $100 isn't a lot, but Steam Greenlight is simply not competitive in the store market. It simply doesn't make any sense to spend $100 for the CHANCE to get on a store, and the requirement that you must convince more than 15 000 people to buy your game. Game's that would actually pass that metric are games that would be allowed on Steam through the regular channels like Braid, Minecraft, and Bastion. A game with already enough user interest that it wouldn't need something like this.

P.S: If any of you are arguing that this $100 would prevent hoodlums from turning it into the Xbox Indie Game store with full of garbage. The Xbox Indie Game Store has a higher cost of entry into the market and stuff like "Don't be nervous talking to Girls" Still gets on the store. So what makes you think a 1 time $100 fee is going to have less hoodlums than the Xbox Indie Game Store that has $100 a year, and requires that your game be actually functioning and compile to be on the store.


The future of portable gaming... There's light at the end..

A few years ago, a lof of us who are heavily invested into the game industry thought that there is no way that mobile cellphone games could ever replace something like the Nintendo DS or the PSP. Unfortunately whether that's true or not, it's increasingly becoming evident that people like us who care about tactile responsive controls more than convenience of a single device are falling by the way side.

Now don't get me wrong, there are some awesome Android/IOS games that are definitely worth playing like World of Goo, Myst, and Puzzle Quest 2 have all the depth that a lot of us are looking for in games, yet feature controls that make sense and are not dependent on exact responsive movements. Although the reason why many of these games work is because they were primarily designed as games you can play with a mouse with one button; take Myst for Example.

Click click click
Click click click

With the falling out of the PSV and the 3DS, it might seem like a very dark road for anyone who would enjoy a great platformer like Braid, VVVVVV, or Mario and have to face it on a completely unresponsive and unrealiable for gaming touch screen. Some people have had a go and fixing this by launching stuff like the Playstation Phone, or an Ipad with physical buttons that attach to the device, but all these solutions have a single fatal flaw which is software support for these devices. The Playstation Phone only supports a couple of games, and I have yet to see anyone support these dumb IOS physical control peripherals. That and the third party devices are usually too bulky and impractical to use.

No Caption Provided

But there is a solution, and it may lie in Windows 8...

No Caption Provided

Now before you hit the back button to look at some kittens on the forums or hit reply and say "OH MY GOD WINDOWS 8 IS GARBAGE!" take a look at the picture and video below.

No Caption Provided

That is the Razer switchblade, it's a concept device much like a concept car that never really came to full production, but they have full working prototypes that play games like WoW or Dota 2 with these fancy display keys that change depending on what kind of gaming your playing. It features a 7 inch screen with full multi-touch screen support. This is all great in concept, but much like those peripherals and the Playstation Phone above, the key problem is who is going to support this stuff for a small hardware company like Razor? Not only that but the Windows 7 OS wasn't designed with touch. Now look at the picture below.

No Caption Provided

Now imagine if those display keys on the bottom are replaced with an Xbox 360 Controller like below. I think you know where this is going...

No Caption Provided

If you caught on now, you would realize that there are many many PC games that support the 360 Controller, Bastion, Skyrim, Braid, Dirt 3, Crysis, Saints Row, GTA 4, and on and on and on. Now Windows 8 on X86 makes it easier to navigate with a touch screen, but most importantly it is able to play all these games. The best part is that all of these games needs little to no patching because they already have support for 360 game pad controls! So if you released a concept like the Razor Switchblade on Windows 8, it would not only have hundreds of games supported on day one, but It's also a full OS tablet! That you can use for all sorts of things like word processing, web browsing, watching movies, or sending emails.

I realize there are several factors to look at such as battery life, where you get CPU's and GPU's that do the power without having too much heat or killing the battery, and how small the device can be. But At least Razer has proved that it can work with the Razer Switchblade and that was launched in 2011. Chips have advanced during that time and this concept becomes more and more possible. So if you are like me and find most of the mobile games wanting, there is very much light at the end of the tunnel. It will just take some company to figure out the internals like Razor, Alienware, MSI, or Asus to have the portable gaming machine to end all gaming machines, because at the end of the day it would have all the functionalists of a regular PC.

Mobile gaming is dead. Long live the Mobile PC.

(huge pictures because the blog formatting was being stupid)


So the Wii... Looking back on it. Was it a fad?

Back in the day, I used to be a prominent contributor of the System Wars forums of Gamespot. Yeah.... that was a long time ago. Anyways I distinctly remember wii fanboys getting all excited about games like Tenchu: Shadow Assasins, The Conduit, and Excitebots.

So what we got was this...

Now I know there were good wii games (generally exclusively Nintendo) but this was the stuff that people actually got excited over that was in between the long lulls of Nintendo first party content. The Conduit was hyped up as "The Serious Shooter" on the wii. So... what? We got a hacked together shooter that looks like it came from the default art assets that came with the engine and thrown in some bloom shaders in a half-assed attempt to make the game look any good? Do people even remember that these games exist anymore?

Most importantly I remember people saying back in 07-08 that "the wii is not a fad." Well it's 2012, and the new WiiU is going to replace this one, what console is everyone developing for and spending their money on these days? At some point during 09-10 it seemed like third parties just threw their hands up and gave up giving us half-port jobs that only appeal to people who own a Wii and only have access to a computer with specs that cant even play this video properly.

So the Wii.. Still the best selling system this generation with 94 million sold, was it a fad?


So dell customer service is.... actually pretty awesome.

Dell was usually on the butt end of customer service jokes for a long time, but I got one tech support heaven story to share.

A shift key on my M11x R3 that I posted a review on several months ago broke. The fittings that held it in place completely gave way and I was left with one of the most used key on a keyboard half-functioning. I called up dell to see if they could just ship me a new key, and they couldn't; So they just decided to send me a whole new keyboard for the m11x for free. After a 30 minute tech support conversation which is actually typical (actually I had to hang up and they contacted me again to continue the conversation) they said they would send a technician + Keyboard within 3 days. I said to myself "okay, it makes sense, a day to get the part and 2 days to send someone over. that's actually pretty fast."

One hour later

I get a call from Dell asking if I would be available tomorrow. YES. In the same day just one hour later and the they promised to have someone over to fix my laptop with the desired part tomorrow morning. That is insanely fast.

The next day they called me up at 9:00 AM and said that he would be there in one hour. Came by my door, was very nice, replaced the keyboard and hinge in less than half an hour. I found out the panel gap between my hinge and the laptop. Before he left, he was able to fix it for me right outside my house.

I didn't even have the extra warranty care plan or anything, all I had was just the basic 1 year warranty and they treated me better than almost any product service I know of even outside laptops.

What company can send you same day support and drive a person all the way to your house to fix a single key on a god damn keyboard and do all the fitting for you for free? Even Apple loses because you have to go to an Apple store your self, they don't send a guy to your house.

So Dell I salute you for excellent (even best-ever) customer support and hope that the new direction of customer care nets you many profits in the future.


M11X R3 Personal Review

When my desktop died for about a whole month in November, I was stuck with the M11x R3 Laptop that I got for myself during the summer. While it served in the role of portable laptop quite well for me in the past 6 months carrying it from and to University every single day, its capabilities would be stretched to the limits as the MIA desktop prevented me from playing Skyrim and a 1500 word essay worth 25% of my grade would be due that month; a heavy task that would be a top challenge for laptops that were 15 inches big and almost 50% heavier. I'm happy to say that the little 11.5 inch notebook rose to the challenge and its capabilities surprised the whole hell out of me and even made me question the value of my desktop computer. This is more of a personal review and long term experience with this laptop, if you want all the gory details and stats I recommend you go to a website like Notebookcheck and notebookreivew for more technical information on the m11x R3.

Before this academic and gaming crisis moment in November, I initially got the m11x as the perfect supplement to my desktop computer; a laptop computer with great portability and gaming performance on the go. While it's not the lightest laptop these days at 4.5 pounds, it's certainly not what you would call hefty; compared to the most common notebook on campus the Macbook pro 13 inch, the m11x weighs exactly the same, and the 11 inch form factor made it short and narrow making it a breeze to take in and out of my backpack. With a possible 7 hours of life and even if you abuse the brightness settings to needlessly maximum levels, you should still get 5 hours out of it with wi-fi on and constant browsing. This extreme battery life made it unnecessary to bring the power brick along (which is also very small) in most cases making it even more portable. As a laptop you would bring to lecture halls browsing on Giantbomb instead of listening to the incoherent professor, it ranks up high. Would an ultrabook or Macbook Air do that role better? Arguably so, but those slender machines tend to have difficulty doing what happens next.

So it's a week after Skyrim, I haven’t finished it, and disaster strikes as my motherboard is going on the fritz. I couldn't simply sit by and let my friends go past me in Skyrim and talk all about particular spoilers about the game that I haven't reached yet. So as a level of curiosity, I installed Skyrim on the m11x and thought “Oh well, Medium settings shouldn't all be that bad, at least I get to play Skyrim.” And then Skyrim's autodetect decided that the laptop's recommended setting would be on “high.” Completely surprised I launched the game to discover it played perfectly at a good frame-rate throughout my play-through. The differences between the “high” setting on my laptop, and “Ultra” on my desktop are so minute, that if you asked me what the distinct differences are, it would be hard for me to exactly tell you what they were. I guess the textures look slightly better on my desktop, and the aliasing and filtering is better, but the key thing was it didn't feel like my graphical experience with Skyrim was compromised. In the end, the little laptop that if you didn't know better you would think was a netbook had the gaming chops to allow me to fulfill my destiny as Dovahkiin and have a great time.

This is an actual screenshot from my M11x R3 with the i5 Processor, with totally smooth frame rates.
This is an actual screenshot from my M11x R3 with the i5 Processor, with totally smooth frame rates.

It's early December, Asus hasn't sent back my motherboard, and several English assignments and a final essay totaling up to more than 2000 words of typing are in my future. With netbooks of the size of the m11x having notorious reputations for cramped, uncomfortable keyboards, it would seem like the flaws of the 11.5 inch size and the traditional keyboard layout would rear its ugly head. In truth the m11x was one of the most comfortable keyboards in general I have ever used. The keys were all in correct proportions to each other, and the traditional close-keyed layout made the transition from a desktop keyboard and into the m11x a lot easier. The best thing I could say about the keyboard is that I never think about how much better a full-sized desktop keyboard would be, and just typed away at my final essay that allowed me to pass with a 71% and never do English again; that alone is worth the price I paid for the m11x.

Finally I'm also typing from about several thousand feet in the air in a small commercial jet. This is where the 11 inch form factor really shines as most 15, 14 and even 13 inch laptops have a hard time opening to a comfortable angle with enough space between you and the seat in front. The narrow 16:9 inch screen makes the m11x short so that you don't need a lot of space in front of you to achieve a good angle. The 1366*768 display I feel is inadequate for 15, 14, and even 13 inch laptops, but it's absolutely is perfect for the m11x as it makes for a very high pixel density making the icons, pictures, and text very sharp and gives a lot of realistate in the small 11 inch form factor.

There is also plenty of other extra happy surprises with the m11x. The back-lit keyboard gives you an experience that's like changing the color of your car everyday, the sound is much better than you would expect laptop speakers to be, the touchpad allowed me to keep up in my Microsoft Excel and Access classes even though everyone was using mouses, and the internal microphone and webcam are some of the best in the laptop world.

It's not all honey and roses though, as even the best relationships have their little problems throughout. The m11x lacks a DVD-drive which made some instances a pain since you needed to buy an external drive to install all your old games that still came in a disk. I have gotten used to the lack of the DVD drive as most modern games these days have a diskless option and even for old games like Starcraft and Diablo have this option. The lack of a DVI or VGA port is annoying as well, though the use of a display port or HDMI fixes that, but a Displayport to VGA can run you into the $40, which is overpriced for the capability to hook it into a projector. Finally Nividia's “Automatic” graphics switching called Optimus simply doesn't work. This isn't just a problem with the m11x, but it seems like all laptops that use Optimus. Anytime the laptop is unplugged and running off battery, it refuses to use the full power of the GPU unless you manually tell the power plan to go into “high performance” mode. The MSI 460 and the Macbook Pro also seem to have the same problems with the graphics card. Worse is that in standard mode, the GPU technology will tell it to use the GPU for stuff like Firefox, even though the internal Intel HD graphics would do the job just as well and save battery life. You'll have to do some manual tweaking with the Nividia graphics to tell it to not use the GPU for mundane things like IE or Firefox to get the most out of your battery without wasting it away.

In the end though, I feel like the M11x is the closest thing to absolute laptop perfection. It's a portable, long lasting, powerful, and comfortable laptop that could serve almost any role adequately. It's not the best in each area, but you'd be hard press to find a laptop that does all these things and for the price I paid which was $1000. The only other laptop competitor would be the Sony VAIO Z series, but those laptops start at about $2000 and walk up to $3000 for an optimally equipped model. So the M11x lives in a class of it's own, doing almost everything well, and enough to consider that any computer device dedicated in one of these aspects like an ultrabook, gaming laptop, buisness laptop, to question the value in them as this little thing does their job almost as well and does everything else better.

Bottom line: If you are looking for a fast, ergonomic, relatively easy to carry, light weight, compact, and well designed machine for around $1000, then there really isn't an alternative to the M11x.

Update: The Fall (well it had to happen eventually)

This is all that resulted from the 4 foot drop
This is all that resulted from the 4 foot drop

While at the university I stored my laptop in my backpack and picked it up without zipping it up fully. The result was that the laptop suffered a 4 foot drop and landed straight onto a tile floor. Disaster... When I picked it up to assess the damage, it was fine. All it suffered is one of the LED ports cracked or may have shifted, and the front panel holding in the light popped off. I popped it back in and went on my way. When I bought this laptop, I was fairly confident it was a very well designed machine and predicted it would be thinkpad tough. So far it seems to be holding up true when it survived that fall. Most importantly all the internal components including the hard drive have survived and suffered no damage. I believe this to be most in part because of the magnesium chassis that this laptop sits on. Rather than sitting on an all metal body that seems to be in vogue these days, components sit on a chassis which is encompassed by the polymer body. Much like a car, in theory the body transmits the energy into the chassis which disperses it into the components evenly. If it was an all metal body, the components inside would have suffered maximum shock at the point of impact. Would I want to have it happen again? No. Clearly the body has suffered some minor damages, and increased the gaps slightly, but I'm fairly confident that it ever did happen, chances are the laptop would still be ok.

Rubber feet always seem to go missing, but it's easily fix by a trip to the hardware store
Rubber feet always seem to go missing, but it's easily fix by a trip to the hardware store

In my long term testing, this still isn't a perfect system, but clocking close to a year now, and the rubberized coating has held up very well but still subject to some scratching. All the tight tolerances have survived the 8 or so months of heavy used this has gone through (barring the drop I just had), and I have no doubt that in it's older years it will be a very nice server or a donated laptop to anyone who can't afford a modern day one. I predict it will still be a very serviceable system, even up to 2014. Some complaints is that the rubber feet and stops making up the laptop disintegrated after about 4 months. They should have been super glued or something, but it's a problem easily fixed by visiting the hardware store for something similar.

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