Thursday, September 28, 2006

New PC

I've been long overdue for a new PC.  I think the last one I built was in Jan of 2003 and if you're a gamer, you're usually getting a new rig every 2 1/2 years, not counting graphics card upgrades, etc. along the way.  So last Friday I spec'd it out and ordered up all the parts from newegg.  And when I got home from work yesterday it was like Christmas.  3 boxes of goodies on my doorstep.

I didn't think the price was too bad.  The machine is pretty close to one of the best you can build atm.  Short of RAID or a small step in a better processor.  But the RAM, Video, HDD are the best.  For now anyway... wait 6 months.

We had dinner at a tappas restaurant so I didn't get started building until about 7:30pm but I had it all together and loading the OS by 10pm.  I'm already amazed at how fast the hard drive is.  WinXP SP2 was thrown down in about 15 minutes.

Looking forward to installing some games and seeing how they look.

Here's the specs on the PC (for future reference):

Product Description Total Price
DISCOUNT FOR COMBO #8823 ($25.00)
Item #: COM
COOLER MASTER Ammo 533 RC-533-SWN1 Black/Silver Aluminum+Plastic front bezel; SECC chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail $74.99
Item #: N82E16811119098
ViewSonic VA1912wb Black 19" 8ms Widescreen LCD Monitor - Retail $214.99
Item #: N82E16824116373
ASUS P5B Deluxe/WiFi-AP Socket T (LGA 775) Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $209.99
Item #: N82E16813131028
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80557E6600 - Retail $319.99
Item #: N82E16819115003
COOLER MASTER SAF-S12-E1 120 x 120 x 25mm SuperFlo Cooling Fan - Retail $7.99
Item #: N82E16811999072
ASUS EAX1900XT/2DHTV/512 Radeon X1900XT 512MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail $346.99
Item #: N82E16814121554
CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X2048-6400 - Retail $299.00
Item #: N82E16820145590
NEC 16X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE/ATAPI Model ND-3550A - OEM $29.99
Item #: N82E16827152058
COOLER MASTER RS-550-ACLY-SLI ATX12V/ EPS12V 550W Power Supply - Retail $119.99
Item #: N82E16817171009
Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10,000 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive - OEM $229.99
Item #: N82E16822136012
Subtotal $1,828.91
Shipping $46.17
Total $1,875.08

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Weather - Portland vs Milwaukee

I can't help but gloat right now over the weather difference back home to here.  Now I may be crying in a couple months but hey... it's nice out right now!

It was dark on the start of the ride this morning, and I had to wear the headlamp for the first time this year, but the sun was beautiful as it rose up next to Mt. Hood.  I forgot the camera at home.  I'll try and remember to catch a shot going over the I-5 bridge on Friday morning.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Riding and buying Liquor

Rode home tonight.  First time in a few weeks.  Maybe like 6-7 I think.  Anyway.  Beautiful day.  84 - sunny.  Must've been alot of bugs out because I ate quite a few.  Noticed I was pretty slow climbing the hills too.  Pushing the low gears at low reps.

Normally I'm a beer or wine drinker.  Last week we had a stretch of cooler weather and a couple days of rain.  Well there's nothing like a Tuaca and Hot Apple Cider.  Mmmm.  Do you know in Oregon and Washington you cannot buy hard alcohol at the grocery store?  What a pain in the ass.  You can buy beer and wine but you have to go to a liqour store to buy the hard stuff.  And the liqour store is only open until 7pm.  Not only that but you can't buy beer or wine at the liqour store.  So you are forced to make two trips... saving gas and good for the environment my ass.

Which is faster? Loading XML from disk or from SQL Server?

I'm going to geek out on you for a minute. I may start doing this abit more from time to time. Anyway...

We had an interesting discussion at work. Which is faster? Loading an xml document from hard disk or loading it from SQL Server. I had assumed it would be faster to load from HDD but never one to assume - I decided to let science do the work.

So I built up a little console app. It simply displays the time after loading an xml file from either hard disk or sql server.

Bottom line? Based on my tests, loading from disk is 4x faster. Even if sql server has your query cached, so it doesn't have to pull the data from disk, it's still 4x faster to load from HDD. Why? Because of all the API's you have to pass that data through just to get the data across the wire. In fact, I gave sql server the benefit of the doubt, loading the xml file into a table with only 1 column and 1 row, running the query over and over so it was cached, and finally the data is sitting local to the same machine the app is on. If the data was buried in a large table on a remote sql server, I'm sure the local copy would be even faster.

Load from HDD console output:
Starting ... [9/25/2006 9:33:56 AM]
Finished ... [9/25/2006 9:33:56 AM]
Elapsed time: 00:00:00.0156253
5 attempts:
Load from SQL Server console output:
Starting ... [9/25/2006 9:34:40 AM]
Finished ... [9/25/2006 9:34:40 AM]
Elapsed time: 00:00:00.0937518
5 attempts:

C# code:

   1:  using System;
   2:  using System.Collections.Generic;
   3:  using System.Text;
   4:  using System.Xml;
   5:  using System.Data.SqlClient;
   7:  namespace LoadXml
   8:  {
   9:      class Program
  10:      {
  11:          static void Main(string[] args)
  12:          {
  13:              DateTime startTime = DateTime.Now;
  14:              Console.WriteLine("Starting ... [{0}]", startTime);
  16:              //LoadFromDisk();
  18:              LoadFromSqlServer();
  20:              DateTime endTime = DateTime.Now;
  21:              Console.WriteLine("Finished ... [{0}]", endTime);
  22:              TimeSpan timeSpan = endTime - startTime;
  23:              Console.WriteLine("Elapsed time: {0}", timeSpan);
  24:          }
  26:          private static void LoadFromSqlServer()
  27:          {
  28:              XmlDocument xmlDocument = new XmlDocument();
  30:              using (SqlConnection sqlConnection = new SqlConnection(@"Data Source=.\SQLEXPRESS;Initial Catalog=tempdb;Integrated Security=SSPI;"))
  31:              {
  32:                  SqlCommand sqlCommand = new SqlCommand("select [xmldocument] from [dbo].[sqlxml]", sqlConnection);
  34:                  sqlConnection.Open();
  36:                  // use a reader since it's the fastest way to read data from sql server
  37:                  SqlDataReader sqlDataReader = sqlCommand.ExecuteReader();
  39:                  sqlDataReader.Read();
  41:                  // use column ordinal instead of column name for faster access
  42:                  string xmlString = sqlDataReader[0].ToString();
  44:                  xmlDocument.LoadXml(xmlString);
  45:              }
  46:          }
  48:          private static void LoadFromDisk()
  49:          {
  50:              XmlDocument xmlDocument = new XmlDocument();
  51:              xmlDocument.Load("Sample.xml");
  52:          }
  53:      }
  54:  }

XML file:

1 <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?> 2 <books> 3 <book> 4 <author>Carson</author> 5 <price format="dollar">31.95</price> 6 <pubdate>05/01/2001</pubdate> 7 </book> 8 <pubinfo> 9 <publisher>MSPress</publisher> 10 <state>WA</state> 11 </pubinfo> 12 </books>

SQL Server Script to create the table and data:

1 /* Create the table in tempdb and load the xml into it */ 2 use [tempdb] 3 go 4 5 if exists (select * from sys.objects where object_id = object_id(N'[dbo].[sqlxml]') and type in (N'u')) 6 drop table [dbo].[sqlxml] 7 go 8 9 create table [sqlxml] 10 ( 11 [xmldocument] nvarchar(2000) not null 12 ) 13 14 insert into 15 [sqlxml] 16 ( 17 [xmldocument] 18 ) 19 values 20 ( 21 '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?> 22 <books> 23 <book> 24 <author>Carson</author> 25 <price format="dollar">31.95</price> 26 <pubdate>05/01/2001</pubdate> 27 </book> 28 <pubinfo> 29 <publisher>MSPress</publisher> 30 <state>WA</state> 31 </pubinfo> 32 </books>' 33 )

Monday, September 18, 2006

Friday Night Fish Fry at a Packers Bar

IMG_1117Based on some advice from the Green Bay girl last weekend, we tried out the local packer transplant hangout, the Corbett Fish House.  Around here they call fish fry's "Fish and Chips" (like we're in Great Britain or something).  Actually maybe that's what they call it in the New England.  Maybe Kevin can confirm that?

IMG_1121So we walk in and I start taking pictures because I can't stop laughing.  The owner is a Wisconsin transplant (I forget which city).  There's a large Green Bay Packer flag hanging from the ceiling and all sorts of Green Bay paraphernalia hanging all over the place.  Towards the back near the bar there's an office that looks like a shrine.  The only thing missing was packer shirts and jackets on all the patrons.  The staff had green and gold shirts on.  But that might also be related to the University of Oregon Ducks.  Which are followed with strange type of madness around here... (get a real team people).

IMG_1119So how about the food?  Good beer.  Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen (the beer that started Ray and my beer snobbery 10 years ago).  Real Midwest fish fry although with a Northwest spin - Gluten free and environmentally friendly (no overfished species).  Deep fried cheese curds (of course).  Heidi had the perch.  I took on the Walleye.  Pretty good although I will say I prefer the fish without the skin which these still had on 'em.  In fact it's pretty hard to run across fish fry's with the skin on back home. 

Siebert's Pub - Salem, WisconsinIt was no Seibert's but still pretty good for being 2200 miles away (btw, if you're reading this and still live in Wisco and have never done Seibert's you should... best I've ever had - if you don't like fish the stuffed shrimp are awesome.  Just ask Ryan er "Frank the Tank" - just watched that last night buddy!).

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Chicago style pizza?

IMG_1115So Thursday after work I decided to hit up a joint on the way home called BJ's Pizza and Grill.  Heidi was going out with one of her girlfriends so I thought I'd see how this place was.  They billed themselves as Chicago style pizza.  They brew their own beer and they're also a chain.  All locations on the west coast though.  Got there before happy hour ended so $2 beer and 1/2 price personal pizza.  Chicago style... NOT.  A deep dish Chicago style pizza usually involves 1 large sausage patty that covers the entire top of the pizza.  One of the most famous is Gino's East.  Usually you can only eat one slice.  Hence the name and having 1 piece of "pie".  Now if you are going to bill yourself as Chicago Pizza don't you think you should do it right or don't do it?  Maybe it's the name.  Chicago 'style' or 'essense' of Chicago.  The beer was good but I won't be back for the pizza.  I'm also still looking for a place that has Italian Beefs...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Movie Review: The Island

The Island (2005) B-

I was going to give this one a C+ but I liked the story was kind of interesting.  Matrix-like.  Although one of the few times I figured it out before the plot gave it too me.  I thought the people were food.  But close enough.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Recharge the batteries

Took it easy and hung around the house this weekend. 

Did some gaming.  Finished F.E.A.R. (FPS)  Completed the first campaign (1/5) in HOMM (turned-based strategy).  Tried the demo of Company of Heroes (WW2 RTS) which comes out tomorrow (Tuesday 9/12). 

Opening weekend football on Sunday.  This was one of those times where you notice you live on the west coast now.  Football is on at 10 am.  With the pre-game there's no more waiting for game-time.  It's on from rise to rest.  Went out to a local pub, Macadam Grill, for bloody mary bar and brunch and watch all the games.  Another thing that's funny out here is that you'd expect to have a bunch of Seattle fans.  Not so.  Many people that live here are transplants.  Plus there's no real 'Pro' team.  So at the pub there were all sorts of different jersey's.  Browns.  Vikings.  Chiefs.  And of course a 4 girls with Packers shirts.  I talked to one of them at the bloody marry bar.  They were from Green Bay and moved here a few years back.  I told her I just moved from Milwaukee and she gave me some names of some local bars that are Packer hangouts that also have authentic fish fry's, including fresh water fish.  Of course I had to mention that I was a Bears fan.  And my heart was so saddened to have the Bears shutout the Packers in the season opener (/kidding of course).  I can just imagine the gloom around the Harley offices on Monday...

It was also really wierd to have football on before you even get off work! I know it was a Monday night double-header but to have a game on at 4PM? Hey, guess that's a reason to hit up happy hour!

One thing that is cool around this area is that even though you "aren't from around here" you never here that.  Everyone welcomes you.  Even though I spent the last 10 years living in Wisco I would still never be considered "from around here" back there.  I think it's alot like that in the central/eastern states.  It just seems less... entrenched here.  It's hard to describe.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Dave Matthews

Gorge Amphitheater

Check out that venue... the Gorge Amphitheater.  It's like what Alpine Valley would be if it was set at the edge of a cliff.  It took about 4-5 hours to get here.  The high desert in the middle of Washington State.  I cannot believe the terrain that mother nature has created on this side of the continent.  Just awesome...

Movie Review: Dark Water

Dark Water (2005) C-

Sigh... not sure why I put these movies in my Netflix queue.  Don't waste your time.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Oregon Bicycling

Training tips

A recent study by a kinesiology professor at Indiana University found that cyclists who drank 2% chocolate milk after a hard ride were able to do better in a subsequent exercise session than riders who drank Endurox R4, and as well as those who drank Gatorade.

There's this building I ride past when I ride my bike to/from work that has a unique logo on it. I thought it might have something to do with bike messengers or something.

Anyway it turns out that it's a non-profit organization for riding bikes in Oregon. I guess Oregon wants to be to bicycling what Maine is to lobster.

They have 2 rides this year. A 3-day weekend ride that covers 141 miles and a week long ride that covers 490+ miles.  Looks like they are single events and I missed the 3-day ride.  The week-long one starts this weekend.  Kind of short notice but I'm going to pencil the weekend one in for next year for sure.

Movie Review: The Yards

The Yards (2000) B-

I liked the performances from the actors but I thought the ending of the story had no closure... perhaps that's a little cliche but I wanted to know what happened with the lead character.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Spa night, Trailer parks, and the High Desert

Monday night I treated Heidi to a couples massage.  Included was 30 mimutes of massage and then 30 minutes in the sauna and/or jazuzzi.  Never really done it before but I figured if she can ride 45 miles then I can go to a spa. 

The place was pretty cool.  One private room with a massage table and a door to a huge bathroom with a shower, sink, toilet, jacuzzi and sauna.  While one of us got a massage the other got to enjoy the bathroom toys.

Not much else going on this week.  Took Friday off for a 4 day Labor-day weekend.  We are going out to camp and see Dave Matthews on the eastern side of the Washington (Heidi is a huge fan).  I'm betting that's going to be like one huge dead-head concert.

I built a poor man's bike cabinet outside.  The house is only 800 square feet with no garage.  So where do you put the bikes?  I had em inside but it was getting cramped.  So I mounted em against the side of the house and covered em with a tarp.  Yep and before ya' know it we'll be moving into a trailer park...  Next year we'll hopefully invest in a nice shed.

So the weekend before last, that'd be two weeks ago, we went camping out at the Prineville Resevouir.  What's really cool about Oregon is the different climates.  You got rain-forest, ocean, mountains, and on the eastern side of the mountains you got the high desert.  So I camped in the high desert.  It was very Arizona-ish.  Not Phoenix but alot like the Prescott area that my Mom lives near.

These first two shots are using the camera's built in stitching.

Prineville Resevoir At Sunrise
Prineville Resevoir At Sunset

These next three are an experiment using normal shots and then using a 3rd party stitching program, called autostitch, to put them together. This allows any camera to do landscapes or large shot pictures. I think I like them better. The program is a little rough around the edges because you have to run it from the command line but it does a good job. I also think I like having the black areas around the picture where you can see that multiple photo's where stitched together.

Prineville Resevoir At Sunset 1
Prineville Resevoir At Sunset 2
Prineville Resevoir At Sunset 3

Anyway, time to run. We're off to Dave Matthews. Took Friday off to enjoy the weekend. It's beautiful out right now...