Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Oct 20

The Inevitable Gaming Computer Comparison

After the giddiness of having ~~a new thing~~ has passed, I’m giving some serious consideration to what I like about my Y50 and what I don’t like. As a whole, there’s nothing that’s a deal breaker that would make me return it, but I do sigh wistfully at a few features that I preferred with my Alienware M15x.

Let’s start with the positives, of which there are quite a few.

  • The Y50 is much lighter. It’s missing an internal DVD drive, but my bundle included an external. Since I won’t need it very often, this is fine.
  • The brushed aluminum looks fantastic, and it still has a profile reminiscent of a car. The velvet-cote plastic surface surrounding the keyboard feels fantastic.
  • The speakers are situated in a position so you get the most sound, and it’s rich and deep. It’s hard to believe these are laptop speakers I’m talking about. I’m not sure I’ve ever enjoyed listening to music like this before.
  • Using the arrow keys to control volume and brightness just makes sense!
  • Battery life seems longer.
  • Greater pixel density in the screen.
  • Google Play Music free trial? I’ll take it!
  • There’s also a free Intel game bundle including Total War: Rome 2, which I have yet to install.
  • Finally, it’s fast. Of course, the 4th gen Core processors didn’t even exist four years ago when I bought my first laptop, and that was a 1st or 2nd gen i3! It comes with only 8GB RAM, but this hasn’t been an issue at all.

Plus. 1 terabyte hard drive? Who needs that? XD

But there are just some areas in which my Alienware still reigns supreme.

  • I love choosing colors for the keyboard backlighting and various LEDs. I like red well enough, but the new laptop lacks LEDs in as many places.
  • The lack of number pad on the M15X provided more space for keys, which were generally bigger and well space. The number pad on the y%0 should be a boon, but it’s really not. Key placement is less ideal for my small hands, and I am constantly having to turn number lock on and off. Plus, the Backspace and right Shift keys are cut down to make room for the number pad, so I often find myself hitting the wrong key by mistake.
  • My Alienware has an IR port, which I have a Windows remote control for.
  • It also has a row of capacities touch buttons, including those specifically to control music. There are no music control buttons on the Y50, even though there is space for additional function keys on the top row! While music sounds wonderful, controlling it is more frustrating to control music, and this could really cause me not to do so.
  • Those buttons and all settings came with a simple yet gorgeous on screen display. The Y50’s OSD is puke green and ugly, literally.
  • The trackpad is textured in such a way that you get extremely precise feedback, and the haptic feedback on the buttons blows the trackpad of the Y50 out of the water. In comparison, the Y50 is too sensitive while also being finicky. Weird, right?
  • The screen is really impressive for watching movies or playing games.
  • My M15X came with mousepad, leather-bound instruction manual, complete reformat discs, a slipcase for travel and a few more things. It just felt overall more polished.

As a lineup, I feel pretty confident than Alienware laptops are stronger. They’re more intuitive to use for me, which is a huge bonus. The Y50 is, no doubt, better hardware, but that’s also not quite comparable given there were 4 years in between. The portability and design of the Y50 are certainly a nice break from my hefty laptop, but lack of customization options has me bummed.

I’m sure I’ll learn to love my Y50, but it’s just not love at first sight.


Oct 05

In Which Cole Writes about Minimum Wage, Fast Food and Military Benefits

Every time I see this ridiculous meme floating around on Facebook in the response that we might possibly consider raising the minimum to $15 per hour for fast food workers or, you know, anyone who works hard, I just seethe. Here is it in all its glory:

Okay, rant – For those fast food employees striking for $15 an hour, let’s do some math. At $15 an hour Johnny Fry-Boy would make $31,200 annually. An E1 in the military makes $18,378. An E5 with 8 years of service only makes $35,067 annually. Hmmmmmm….. So you’re telling me, Sally McBurgerflipper, that you deserve as much as those kids getting shot at, deploying for months in hostile environments, and putting their collective asses on the line every day protecting your unskilled butt!

I spent a few years as a military wife, and while the base pay might not compare at first glance with the annual salary that, but there are a lot of perks that are awarded to service members and, by extension, their families. Here’s just a short list of perks I experienced as a military wife. Military.com has a whole list of benefits, too.

military benefits

This list doesn’t included bonuses for signing up, hazard pay during deployments and tons of other perks that I personally didn’t experience or am not familiar with.

What does this mean? That the $18,000 per year made by an E3 in any branch of the military is basically for non-essentials. There will never be a case in which a military member/family living on base will be without a home or utilities. Every public building on base has a phone for public use, which means you may not even need your own phone!

The salary will certainly go to some bills, including a vehicle, gas and insurance (which service members will likely get a discount on as a thanks for service). You’ll pay out of pocket for clothing and household items, which you can purchase on base without sales tax, but this comes nowhere near $18,000 per year. You could send your child to private school, waste hundreds on video games – Gamestop should consider building stores directly outside base gates! – or always purchase a brand-new vehicle.

Am I saying that military members shouldn’t make more than someone who works at McDonalds? Not really. The problem with the type of thinking that has motivated this post is the idea that fast food workers shouldn’t make $15 an hour because that’s the type of pay someone who works harder earns. The “harder” job might be military or factory work or something such as being a doctor, which required years of expensive schooling. These things might all require more diligence or risk or education or experience. I’m not arguing that.

But if you’re only making $15 hourly at a risky or difficult job, you should also be paid more!

You are being fucked over just as much as the person flipping your burgers or delivering your pizzas. You are also suffering at the hands of a system that hasn’t ensured the minimum wage, and by extension, all other wages keep up with the cost of living. You’re just being fucked over a little less, which makes it manageable.

It might suddenly become more obvious if you’re making the same — or even less — as someone whom you deem has an easier job. But you should be fighting along with people who want to raise the minimum wage. It’s the right thing to do as a compassionate human being, and it will only help you in the long run, too.

There’s only one reason to oppose fair wages: because it hurts those who are wealthy and powerful. Those people are wealthy and powerful enough. Chances are, you’re not one of those people if you’re reading this. So stop acting like one of them. You have nothing in common. They will do nothing for you while continuing to take from you. You are better than that.


Aug 09

Little Victories

Today was a day full of things that made me laugh, smile and sing. And, perhaps more importantly, it was a day when I was able to look back and see those things, to recognize and appreciate and be happy.

I will breathe deeply and happily as I go to sleep tonight. And while that won’t be for a little bit despite being 4 in the morning, that’s okay!

A very nice cashier at CVS commented on how pretty I looked/nicely I was dressed. I stocked up on all the delicious food, replaced my shorted-out headphones and scored some neat-looking nail polish.

A quick trip to the mall filled my belly and my bag with free VS panties.

Several hours of Cards Against Humanity and laughter later, I felt less alone, more connected and lighter-hearted than I have in days. Weeks. A month?

I signed on to facebook to see Reviews by Cole had finally hit 4800. Then enjoyed a delicious dinner, perhaps a bit too late. Oops!

I finally am making some money on Izea.

And have you checked out my Sverve score?!

I made plans to see Guardians of the Galaxy again! Because it is awesome!

I feel more clear about the things I need to do for me, but now I am sure that these are things I can do. What’s more, I’ve realized that I do have more goals than I realize and more time in which to complete them.

I’ve turned helpless frustration and anger into a plan on which I can act. I’ve let go of anger and replaced it with love.

I will now enjoy some Parks and Recreation while playing on my phone.

Score!


Jul 20

Living the Life

The other day I had a terrible dream. It was one of those emotional dreams where you wake up and you still have the feelings you had in your dreams.. even those it was just a dream. Even though you’re awake now, and none of that actually happens. But your mind has gone ahead and processed everything and all the hormones and chemicals have brought you to that place anyway.

In the middle of that terrible dream, I looked at someone and said “I wish I was at home in my PJs with my cat.”

And I woke up, in my PJs next to Phantom.

In my time of duress in my dream, the only thing I wanted was to get back to my regular life. I didn’t want anything more than that. I woke up to that place, comforting and full of love. Emotionally stable. Free to do as I please.

Since that night, I have been ridiculously grateful of my life. Of the people and things in it.

All things considered, I am in a good place. A place where I am happy to remain; although, I am open to better things, they would have to be significantly better to motivate me to stray

As emotionally tumultuous that dream may have been, it was certainly something I needed.


Jul 14

On Forced Relaxation

I am in a particularly good mood today. Perhaps it’s this crazy weather, but it also has to do with the fact that I just came home from the dentist.  I was in a good mood the last time I came home from a checkup.

for the most part, my appointments have gone quicker and easier than expected, but there’s something else that I like about the dentist. As I sit there in the chair with nothing to do, I just focus on my breathing and relaxation. This sort of forced relaxed is why I like some roller coasters/carnival rides. There’s nothing I can do in the situation. You sit still until it’s over, so you might as well relax.

In some ways, I’ve spent the last week doing the same. I guess I’m the kind of person who comes down with a terrible cold in the middle of July. My head wasn’t in the game, so I definitely took it easy when it came to work. I did what I could,  but I wasn’t writing as much as usual.

To be honest? I needed that. I spent a lot of time sleeping to feel better (I’m still not back at 100%). I stayed home and watched a ton of Stargate: SG-1. And I didn’t feel amazing, but I certainly felt less anxious.

That’s why I’m writing this. Because I have nothing else to do ( Okay, I should be writing a few reviews). I don’t have to be writing this. So I feel more inspiration to write a blog post, even if I’m only telling you that I’m a freak who likes the dentist and being sick. LOL