Racer of Virtual Cars: Assetto Corsa 1988 FIA F1 World Championship Round 2 San Marino GP

Continuing my custom made 1988 F1 Championship using Senna’s McLaren MP4/4.

AI Difficulty 100%
Mechanical Damage 50%
Tyre Wear x2
Slip Stream Effect x2
Fuel Consumption On
Traction Control and Anti-Lock Braking System On
33% Race Distance

Round 2 San Marino GP 1988:

I qualified in pole position after what I considered is a god like lap. A bit slow off the start (I really need to work on that), but I was able to get the lead back easily and was managing the pace in front with no problems (a few cutting corners by accident here and there).

Sadly, this is where I noticed Assetto Corsa lacking in terms of the AI: AI backmarkers do not move out of your way or slow down as to not impeded the leaders. In fact, I got punted in lap 17 and lost my lead.

Thus, a 3 lap race for the lead and win began. It was thrilling, but I was really mad at the AI.

Also of note, this will be the last race for now that I run in 33% total race distance… I will be lowering it down for now at 25% total race distance.

Driver’s Championship After Round 2:

1. N. Mansell – 15
2. A. Prost – 9
3. ME! – 9
4. M. Alboreto -3
5. N. Piquet – 2
6. E. Cheever – 2
7. J. Bailey -1
8. R. Patrese -1

Constructor’s Championship After Round 2:

1. McLaren – 19
2. Williams – 16
3. Ferrari – 3
4. Lotus – 2
5. Arrows – 2
6. Tyrell – 1

Game info:

•Game: Assetto Corsa
•Car: McLaren MP4/4 (Mod by VRC)
•Event: Round 1 Brazilain GP 1988 (My custom made championship)
•Track: Jacarepagua (1988 config)
•AI Difficulty 100%
•Mechanical Damage 50%
•Tyre Wear x2
•Slip Stream Effect x2
•Fuel Consumption On
•Traction Control and ABS On
•33% Race Distance

PC info:

•CPU: Intel i7 3770 3.4GHz
•Chassis: Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX
•Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme 4
•RAM: G Skill 4 x 4GB 1600Mhz DDR3
•HDD/SSD: Seagate Barracuda 500Gb; Plextor M5 Pro 128Gb; Samsung 850 EVO
•PSU: Corsair GS700
•GPU: VTX3D R9 390 8Gb GDDR5 1000Mhz Core Clock 1500Mhz Memory Clock
•Cooling: DeepCool IceBlade Pro CPU Heatsink with 2 120mm Corsair SP 120 fans on push/pull config; 3 x DeepCool 120mm IceBlade Pro fans for top exhausts; 2 x Phanteks 140mm front intakes; 1 x Phanteks 140mm rear exhaust
•Peripherals: 3 x Dell S2340L 23″ IPS 1080p Monitors; Ducky DK9008 Shine II Cherry MX Blue Mechanical Keybord; Logitech G13 Advanced Gamepad; Logitech G600 MMO Gaming Mouse; Logitech F310 Gamepad; Logitech F710; iPega Bluetooth Controller; Logitech G920 Wheel; Logitech Driving Force Shifter; Logitech G430 Headphones; Logitech G933 Headphones; Logitech Z333 2.1 Speakers; Brother DCP-J100 Printer with Continuous Ink System; A4Tech HD1080p Webcam
•Misc: Tecware Haste XXL Desktmat; NZXT Blue LED Kit; Buffalo Bluetooth 4.0 Dongle; 2M RGB USB Powered LED strip
•NAS: D-Link DNS-320L

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Racer of Virtual Cars: Assetto Corsa 1988 FIA F1 World Championship Round 1 Brazilian GP

This is not going to be the bulk of my posts here in this site, but I’m starting a new series where I will play some racing sims and record them.

For this inaugural post in this brand new series of blogs, I will share the 1st round of my custom made 1988 F1 season… I might make a seperate post on how I made the custom mod and such, but for now, this post will have a video of the 1st round of the championship.

I am driving the McLaren MP4/4 opposite of Alain Prost for the 16 races in this season.

Round 1 Round 1 Brazilian GP 1988:

After a hard fought qualifying, I ended up in 4th place in the grid. Had a decent start and worked my up to 2nd and was fighting for the lead. It was a good race for me as I was able to manage my tyres and fuel (no refuelling and tyres are expected to have at least 50% life at the end of the race thus pitting is very rare in 1988), but I got too greedy fighitng for the lead and in the penultimate corner of the 9th lap… well… you can just watch it.

Driver’s Championship After Round 1:

1. N. Mansell – 9
2. A. Prost – 6
3. M. Alboreto -3
4. N. Piquet – 2
5. R. Patrese -1

Constructor’s Championship After Round 1:

1. Williams – 10
2. McLaren – 6
3. Ferrari – 3
4. Lotus – 2

Game info:

•Game: Assetto Corsa
•Car: McLaren MP4/4 (Mod by VRC)
•Event: Round 1 Brazilain GP 1988 (My custom made championship)
•Track: Jacarepagua (1988 config)
•AI Difficulty 100%
•Mechanical Damage 50%
•Tyre Wear x2
•Slip Stream Effect x2
•Fuel Consumption On
•Traction Control and ABS On
•33% Race Distance

PC info:

•CPU: Intel i7 3770 3.4GHz
•Chassis: Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX
•Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme 4
•RAM: G Skill 4 x 4GB 1600Mhz DDR3
•HDD/SSD: Seagate Barracuda 500Gb; Plextor M5 Pro 128Gb; Samsung 850 EVO
•PSU: Corsair GS700
•GPU: VTX3D R9 390 8Gb GDDR5 1000Mhz Core Clock 1500Mhz Memory Clock
•Cooling: DeepCool IceBlade Pro CPU Heatsink with 2 120mm Corsair SP 120 fans on push/pull config; 3 x DeepCool 120mm IceBlade Pro fans for top exhausts; 2 x Phanteks 140mm front intakes; 1 x Phanteks 140mm rear exhaust
•Peripherals: 3 x Dell S2340L 23″ IPS 1080p Monitors; Ducky DK9008 Shine II Cherry MX Blue Mechanical Keybord; Logitech G13 Advanced Gamepad; Logitech G600 MMO Gaming Mouse; Logitech F310 Gamepad; Logitech F710; iPega Bluetooth Controller; Logitech G920 Wheel; Logitech Driving Force Shifter; Logitech G430 Headphones; Logitech G933 Headphones; Logitech Z333 2.1 Speakers; Brother DCP-J100 Printer with Continuous Ink System; A4Tech HD1080p Webcam
•Misc: Tecware Haste XXL Desktmat; NZXT Blue LED Kit; Buffalo Bluetooth 4.0 Dongle; 2M RGB USB Powered LED strip
•NAS: D-Link DNS-320L

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My Sim Rig 2017 (Finally)

If you know me personally, apart from tech, gaming, blogging, guitars, NFL fan, and photography, my other passion are cars and motorsports, particularly, Formula 1.

I have a Formula 1 fan since 1996 and I never failed to watch every season since I became a fan; sure there are a few races I missed per season due to studies and what not, but overall, I never missed a season.

Being a fan is totally different from hopping in the bandwagon. I know the history of the sport, I know the strategies, I know the innards of these cars, etc. I say this, because a lot of people still think I just hopped on to the bandwagon since my boss liked Formula 1. NO.

I have vivid memories of watching the Spanish GP way back in 1996 and saw this red car flying thru the wet track and won the race. That was the Ferrari F310 driven by Michael Schumacher. Since then, I became a fan of Schumacher, Ferrari, and the sport.

Up to this day, I am still a big fan of the sport and Ferrari; win or lose, even during 2009, there worst year in recent memory, I was still rooting for Ferrari. I didn’t jump into the bandwagon for the new dominant teams or drivers… I stuck with my team like a true fan.

So being a fan of Formula 1, of course, I am a bit of a speed freak; I also enjoy me some World Rally Championship, World Endurance Championship, and mostly other open wheel racing like Formula 3 and recently Formula E (No I don’t like IndyCar; I mostly like FIA sanctioned events). Naturally, I love driving games, they are my second favorite genre after Role Playing Games.

However, the last racing sim that I owned and really played was Gran Turismo 4 in the PS2 (First racing sim that I played was Gran Turismo 1 in the PS1) and F1 99-02 in the PC. Becoming a PC gamer, however, there were not that many good simulators; sure there was, like I said, F1 99-02, great for F1 fans, can be modded to one’s heart’s content, there is rFactor, Live for Speed, etc., but none caught my heart and passion for racing like Gran Turismo and F1 99-02. Not even the later F1 games from Codemasters caught my eye at first. Games like Assetto Corsa and Projext cars, as well as iRacing, got me intrigued, but I never thought of playing racing games again in my PC.

Suddenly, I stumbled into a Logitech G920 for 66% off… So I decided to load up my favorite sim racing YouTube channels I use to frequent a lot back then, found some new channels and personalities, and found out that a lot of the sim racing games have gotten so much better, the peripherals from the racing wheels, button boxes, displays, transducers, etc., have gotten way better since the last time I was really into sim racing, not to mention that F1 from Codemasters seemed to have imrpoved over the years as well. This whet my appetite and I knew I can no longer pass up a 66% off racing wheel.

I also got a racing wheel stand since I just want a dedicated rig for the wheel and pedals to be had mounted and I can easily tuck away at the side of my PC without having to mount and dismount on the desk each time I wanted to play (that is one of my biggest turn offs back when I was younger when I had to mount and dismount from the desk each time). I also decided to get a wheel stand, not a complete cockpit, because I don’t have that much space in my room anymore, nor do I have a real dedicated PC rig for sim racing, thus I got this, a small right that I can easily drag using furniture slides to sit flush with my desk and tuck away when I’m done.

Here are the photos of the items:

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FINALLY! These packages took 5 days to arrive!
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Ultra soft Styrofoam packaging… not my type.
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The simple wheel and pedal stand. It also has the optional stand for the shifter, which I will use when I order the shifter.
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The accessories
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This is what 66% off looks like; the box is not in good shape, but the wheel and pedal are in great condition and work like a champ
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What 66% packaging looks like…
DSC_0394
Good lookin’
05-16-2017 SimRig-5
She is built! Fairly easy build, the rig didn’t have proper English instructions and the Chinese instructions with pictures were basically useless. One can eyeball the build of this thing.
DSC_0424
Easily tucked away on the side
DSC_0426
Used these furniture sliders for carpets to easily drag it around; I didn’t mount it using the adhesive since I don’t want the rig to slide about when I brake.

I decided to modify the brake pedal, as if you read reviews on the Logitech G29 and G920, the brake pedal gets stiffer and harder to push down on the farther it gets. It tries to emulate the progressive tension of real life brakes, but honestly, it is a terrible system they used to try and emulate the braking characteristics, especially those with a hydraulic brake system. I decided to mod it to make it easier to push down on and I used this video below to help me do so. Very helpful as he mentions the sizes of the hex and screws, so if you don’t have it, you can easier look for the exact size in the hardware store. The pics below were taken using my phone, hence quality isn’t as good as the otehr photos:

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This doctor is gonna do surgery… Oh yeah, I’m a licensed physician that loves to game.
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The simple innards

 

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Almost there…
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Here is the culprit! That black rubber stopper/block causes the difficulty in braking. Awful design Logitech!

 

 

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The bane of my braking
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I also adjust the clutch (not needed in F1 sims that I usually play now), the brake, and the throttle face plates.

 

The video I used to help me remove the rubber block in the brake pedal:

In the future, especially when I move back to the States, I will definitely improve my SimRig, maybe with a better wheel system, better cockpit, but the ones I am looking forward to purchasing next time would be button boxes and displays. The latter is very important to me as I like to turn off all on screen display in game and have an external display showing me time, fuel, my gear, RPM, RPM limiter, speed, lap times, tire pressure and temperature, brake temperature, oil and water temperature, and the list goes on.

I can’t really find any good ones here in the Philippines since sim racing isn’t really as big as one might think here, so I downloaded app for both the Android and iOS and used my phone and iPad mini to work as user datagram protocol (UDP) devices and display the telemetry I need.

This is the most difficult part, as both apps use the same loopback IP and port, I had to use 8 hours to read the program language of the game and the 2 apps, edit the program, edit the ports, the IP addresses, the loopback addresses, etc, and troubleshoot each new code I wrote. Needless to say, I got both apps to work without conflicting with one another and having them display the proper telemetry separately.

DSC_0434
Using my devices as UDP for telemetry; the most difficult part is setting these up without them conflicting with one another.

Here is a video of my trying the new wheel, re-learning how to paddle shift, using an un-modded brake pedal, and testing my 2 devices if they are working properly. Please, no hate on my lap times. I didn’t edit the setup of the car or anything… I was merely testing these all.

This is like my photography hobby, my guitar hobby, my PC and gaming hobby, where I really started out humbly, not getting the highend or at least mid-high end products for my hobbies since I was just getting into them, so in time, I know my SimRig will be as awesome as the SimRigs most YouTube sim racers show off.

Someday…

Okay, that may have been overkill… still worth a share!

Some glamour shots when set up:

SimRig 2017

SimRig 2017
SimRig 2017

Til next time! PEACE!

P.S.

I “might” be reviewing the Logitech G920 and the BRZ Racing Wheel Stand, but I haven’t even released my Logitech G933 and F710 reviews, yet. So, yeah, I don’t know.

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Logitech G13 Review! I HAVE ALL THE KEYS!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional reviewer; I review the things I buy as a consumer. I am not at all sponsored. I am an average consumer, giving my consumer thoughts.

INTRO:

Not too long ago I bought me a Tecware Haste Deskmat (LINK), and as you can see, and like every desk sized mousepads, it is spread out enough to hold my mouse as well as my keyboard… but suddenly, the downside is that if you are obsessive compulsive like me, you tend to keep things right in the center, thus, having my keyboard in the dead center of my deskmat, there is a lonely left side of the deskmat.

Now… what can I do to fix this problem!? Ah yes, why not get a Logitech G13… that was on sale!

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There we go… left side is no longer lonely!

Yeah… I think it looks better now. Sigh… the problems of an obsessive compulsive geek.

Screw you, first world problems!

Why did I just now get a Logitech G13, and by the pics, a Logitech G13 in the older package. Well, this was on super sale, like 50% off, and at first I always thought this was just a gimmick – but with a %50 percent off from a shop, whatever gimmick it is, so long as the price is right, I am literally sold.

 Let us move on to the actual review!

SPECS:

Color Black
LCD Resolution 160×43
Connection Interface USB
Weight 1.5 lbs

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: <- LOL, I know… who even checks these anymore!?

Windows 8, Windows 7 or Windows
Vista 70 MB of available hard disk space
USB port
Internet connection for optional software download

REVIEW: 

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Orignal Front Packaging!

 

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Original Back Packaging!

 

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Instructions and installation disc… who needs these!?

 

The first thing you will notice about the packaging is that it is not of the newer runs; this was sold at 50% off from a local shop, most likely a clearance sale of some sort. And even if the box indicates this was one of the earlier runs of the Logitech G13, it is no different, from my understanding, with the later runs with the new packaging. Coupling it with the latest Logitech Gaming Software version, it runs just fine.REVIEW:

As you can see in the above photo of the software, I have the Logitech G600 (Which I never posted a review on… ah well) and the Logitech G13 shown and you can easily add macros or button mapping without affecting the other device. It is nice to note that I got the Logitech G600 mouse last year second hand, effectively saving 50 bucks from the original price (From PHP3,500, I got it for PHP1,200) and I got this Logitech G13 for PHP1,800, which was originally at PHP3,600. Again, I will emphasize,  I don’t go for these gaming peripheral gimmicks; I have always wanted a MMO styled mouse so the Logitech G600 was an easy buy, but I never fall for gimmicks like this Logitech G13 Advanced Gamepad, but with that kind of price, even gimmicks I am will to buy.

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The device!

The actual device, as you can see, the wrist rest and the keys are at an angle, to supposedly contour more with our hands natural tendency to curve down. At first, I didn’t think this would be any real comfort as I am already used to my Ducky DK9008 Shine II keyboard being in the normal form factor, without those angles, and still be comfortable. But to my surprise, the angle, the ergonomics of the device is really comfortable. My on gripe with the overall comfort and key placement would be the G20 and G22 keys; they are there to simulate the control and space keys respectively, that is, if you have the default button mapping on the device, and having to reach for G20 to crouch in some games that crouching is not a toggle can be very uncomfortable. So is the space key to jump, I sometimes also remap the space key on the joystick as that feels more comfortable and the exact distance from the WASD keys to the space key in a keyboard. You can always train yourself to get comfortable with it, but it will take time; I was hoping for something a lot easier to get in grips with. And you also have the option to remap the control and space keys in the other G keys, but for me, it is a waste of key real estate for other functions.

Now that we mentioned the joystick, let us now go a little more in depth in that part of the device. The joytick is smooth, but I have yet to find a sensitivity control in the software (if someone knows, comment below), it can simulate, well, a joystick in game, mouse, or any keystroke once you mapped them in the software. I like this as in some games, provided you mapped the WASD keys to the G4, G10, G11, G12 keys (these keys have an indentation so you can easily tell by feel that these are your WASD keys… that is if you mapped them as WASD), and if the game has camera controls apart from the mouse, you can map those camera controls to the joystick and move the camera without having to have you hands reaching awkwardly to the key in the keyboard. This is one of the only things I likes about controllers in console games, you can move the camera with the right analog stick and control your character with the left analog stick.

You can simulate mouse controls with the joystick as well and map the 2 keys along side it as the left and right clicks. You can even push the joystcik down as another button, and in the cases of simulated mouse, it becomes the middle click. Again, you can always remap to a macro or any keystroke you wish. I just find the 2 buttons alongside it being a bit flimsy, and pushing the joystick down for the other button is quite tough; when I try to push it down with my thumb, due to the tiny knob of the stick, the stick tends to move at a direction and not pushing the button when pressure is applied. I tend to use both my thumb and index finger to push the joystick down in the end.

Also of note, the keys are not mechanical; they are membrane keys and I was worried at first if my gamble on getting this even knowing it has membranes keys would make the experience less enjoyable, but honestly, as a person that has used mechanical keys for many, many, years now, I was able to jump right in and had no problems gaming with the membrane keys on this device. I believe the overall shape/ergonomics of the device helped make it easy to game on even with membrane keys. Now, I am not a professional gamer or  twitch gamer; I am mostly a RPG fan, and sure, I do play a good number of FPS, but not so competitively to say that this may replace your keyboard of choice in Counter Strike Global Offensive tournaments. But if you are into RPG/MMORPG heck even platformers or action games, I feel this will be perfect for you.

The keys, as well as the display, can be backlit or not, depending on your preference. But if you’re just gonna blackout your display, then you are missing out on some of the main features of the device. It is RGB in the sense you can choose any color in the software, but you can’t individually choose the colors of of the keys or have a different color of the keys and the display at the same time; it’s one color for all at a time. Except for the profile/macro key, which is red and I will talk about it more later. And I don’t know if it’s because it’s an older run of the Logitech G13, but the keys are a bit darkly lit; I can’t appreciate the backlight of the keys unlike the display. It also doesn’t help the backlight that the keys are at an angle.

If Logitech will make a replacement gamepad in the future, make the joystick know a little bigger like console controllers, and make the G20-22 keys a little easier to reach.

Now, let us talk about the display!

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There are some default applets that show time, email, RSS, system monitor, etc. They are not really the best applets, but as usual, what do you expect from stock? The good news is that you can also add applets for the display, but it is getting harder to find good ones. I suggest LCDSirReal. You can also edit the .txt file’s configuration to your liking. It takes trial and error, but if you understand simple programming languages, you’ll understand how to edit this. Plus it has some instructions for you to follow anyway in the .txt file.

Some games like Borderlands 2 and Witcher Enhanced Edition (these are the only games I have seen to have custom applets; I haven’t tested all other games in my Steam Library, yet) have these custom applets in game, as well.

There are 2 circular buttons on each end; the one on the left chooses which applet is to be displayed, and the one on the right controls the LED lights – it just turns it on or off, it doesn’t change the color. That is to be done at the Logitech Gaming Software. And be noted, again, that the LED lights, if chosen to be off, it will turn the LCD display LED and the keys LED all off.

The function of the 4 buttons in between those circular buttons depend on the active applet chosen.

Whereas the 4 larger buttons below the above mentioned buttons (labeled M1-M3 and MR), that happen to be red in illumination, and for now, I can’t seem to find any way to change their color, function as your profile or sub profile selector and macro recorder. Let us expound what I just said there.

M1-M3 can be used to save profiles unto the actual device – this is done by going to the Logitech Gaming Software, and saving a chosen profile to the device. This is useful especially if you plan to go to LAN parties with it and use someone else’s PC without your profiles saved in the Logitech Gaming Software.

However, if you are using you own PC, you can have subprofiles within a profile. Profile-ception, if you will. What I mean is this, as you can see in the following photos, this is my Grim Dawn profile (saved on the PC) showing the button maps of M1, which is used for the main gameplay; M2 on the other hand is used for online parties, such as party chat, party windows, etc.

So, again, as to not confuse you, the M1-M3 can be used to save profiles from your PC to the device, which is handy when you decide to play in LAN parties without your PC and the saved profiles within the Logitech Gaming Software. Also, the M1-M3 can be used as subprofiles within a profile when you are using your own PC or if you have access to your profiles saved in the Logitech Gaming Software as shown above.

Now for the MR, it is used for macro recording; simply press it once, then start recording your macros, and press the MR button once again to either save it or cancel it. Honestly, I haven’t used that functionality, because I rather use the actual macro recorder in the Logitech Gaming Software.

The cable is not braided, but this is a device originally released as early as 2009; but thankfully the cable is thick enough to be sturdy enough and long enough to justify ti being on the left side of your desk.

FUNCTIONALITY:

One of the main uses for this device is of course, gaming! And I must say, at first it took awhile to get used to all the buttons like what I was saying above, that the button 3 buttons, specifically the G20-22 keys, can be a bit fiddly to get used to at first, but now, I am starting to get grips with it. In fact, the funny thing is that I am more used to holding the device than using my keyboard even in non-gaming situations; I also find that my hands are more in tune with the keyboard for typing only again. Before, my left hand is not on the proper home keys, they were on the gamer home keys… you know, the WASD, shift and space bar, as my home keys. And it did slow me down in typing, but then again, that still depends on the person anyway.

In games, especially the RPG’s or action RPG, heck, especially MMORPG, when there are a a lot of hotkeys, spells, weapons, and what not, this device can be very, very, helpful, and coupled with me Logitech G600 MMO Gaming Mouse, I can map so many keys to either device, depending on my preference and honestly, you will be having as much fun, planning how to map both devices in order to get the most out of the gaming experience. I spend at least an hour or 2, just planning out the mapping that I am most comfortable with – and it was all great fun.

I mentioned that this is great for RPG’s, well how about other genres? Well, this can also be very helpful in FPS, again coupled with my G600 mouse, I can map so many things in FPS games – reload, melee, grenade, you name it, I can map it to wherever I feel comfortable with and may be quick to use them in tight situations.

So in a nutshell, I can say this device, with or without a MMO mouse like the G600, can be very useful in many games, not just RPG’s.

Another thing why I picked this up while on super sale was for productivity; much like my G600 mouse, I can map certain keys to the device even when not gaming. For example, I placed the mouse up and down scrolling to the joystick up and down directions, respectively – while browsing some sites, reading some PDF’s, I can just use the joystick.

I also mapped my Adobe products’ hotkeys to the device, coupled again, with my G600, I can do so much work quickly. For those Adobe vets, you can agree with me, even if we use Adobe a lot for some things, we may tend to forget the hotkeys, because each product, no matter how similar they may be like After Effects and Premiere Pro, their hotkeys are quite different, and having to search through the keyboard just to find the right hotkey may slow down post production; and all the more if you just forego the keyboard hotkeys and decide on using the mouse to hover and click on the different functions. Using the G13 to make at least similar keymaps, hotkeys that are close to eachother, can aid in the productivity. And I can assure you, using Lightroom with VSCO Keys (to override the awful hotkeys from stock Lightroom; you may change the hotkeys with VSCO keys) mapped on the G13, I have seen an increase in post production time, and it made editing, at least for me, fun again and not a chore.

CONCLUSION:

Okay, I have yapped on why I didn’t buy this device when it was grand spanking new back in the day, and what changed my mind ultimately; I also talked about the device itself and what I use it for. So, overall, what do I think of it?

Well, it is almost obvious that I love this device by the way I talked about it above. But do I recommend it? I do! BUT NOT AT FULL PRICE. If you can find one used at good condition, or luck out like me, getting a brand new one for half the price, do get it. I will also note, based from my readings, the Logitech G13 on the original packaging compared to the new packaging really has no difference functionally. You are just more assured that the G13 with the newer package is of a more recent run, but again, from my readings, no difference. In fact, my Logitech G600 was second hand, so it was part of the earlier runs, but I had no problems whatsoever with it.

So again, I love this device, but I will only recommend it to my friends, if they can find one for a decent price. It will still be a gimmick to me at full price, but with half the price, I was sold, and I am impressed.

Wow, this was a longer review than I anticipated… hope you guys find this enojyable to read and helpful.

Til next time! PEACE!

-o-

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When OC Strikes…

I have raging obsessive compulsive behavior especially when it comes to my gadgets and PC; I have the NZXT black sleeved extension cables for years now, but always tried valiantly to keep them neat, but never get to do so.

I was going to order cable combs from the States, but hey, what do you know, the guys at FTW actually carry these cables combs locally and for a good price.

Got 2 packs; each pack consists of 1x 24 pin comb, 2x 6 pin combs, and 3x 8 pin combs.

It is a simple yet very effective accessory for the PC enthusiasts that believe in both aesthetics as well as performance.

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I am planning to get a new chassis since this Bitfenix Shinobi midtower is starting to show its limitations, plus I might do custom watercooling loops in the near future, so I am paving the way with the Corsair 400c. After my exams, I will do an “open part surgery” to transfer my current specs to the new case. The combs will be very helpful in “re-training” the sleeved cables to the new case.

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I know this is a boring post, but I needed a medium to release my tension for today since I seem to be more short tempered today than I usually am. I guess it is the fear of the exam and stuff. Ah well.

Anyways, ’til then!

PEACE!

-0-

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Move over DX Racer, GT Omega, Maxnomic Gaming Chair; I found an alternative

UPDATE AS  OF FEBRUARY 27, 2017: I have since upgraded my chair and you can read all about it along with alternatives HERE.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a paid/professional reviewer. I am much like you, a consumer, giving my honest consumer thoughts. So if the review doesn’t feel all too professional, well now you know. Also, some of the photos I use here are not mine, and I will give proper credit and link to the original website source.

-o-

I wanted to have a gaming chair akin to a race car seat; simply those that are offered from brands like DX Racer, GT Omega, Maxnomic, etc. However, their offering are way over my budget, some if not most, are even more expensive than my ASUS Zenfone 2, heck, they are even more expensive than my GPU, Radeon R9 390, or even my processor, Intel i7 3770 (built this system way back 2012, what can I say…)! As much as I believe that being very comfortable while working, studying, or gaming in front of a PC is, I don’t think it is justified for me, a non-YouTube personality, a non-professional gamer, or anything of the like that I can either be sponsored or have a good enough paycheck to try and buy one for myself, I resorted, for many months, in finding an alternative. Surely there should be an alternative to these chairs… right?

 

Well, it wasn’t easy finding a gaming chair that is a good alternative to the above brands; it took awhile and I was close in buying an alternative… to the alternative.

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Taken from EASY PC website; The RAKKER Chair

Since I live here in the Philippines, I was really considering this chair since I don’t think there will be any alternatives; hey, it was better than spending php15,000-php20,000 on a DX Racer in the shops I found here.

No hating on EASY PC but I am scared of the design of these kind of chairs; I mean, yeah sure, they won’t sell these kinds of chairs without legs in the back if it will really just make you fall backwards, but psychologically, I would not be too comfortable, and let us face it, as much as I wanted a new chair, I didn’t like the overall design – as much as I want a cheap chair, I also don’t want to skimp out too much either… so onward to finding a new chair. Again.

I stumbled across this one and it was an absolute winner; it was technically half the price of the cheaper DX Racers (take note, I will always refer to DX Racers for price comparison as I know their prices locally better as more stores carry them here in the Philippines).

It doesn’t recline nor does it have an aluminum star base like the higher end gaming chairs, but for half the price, like I said, is a winner… until I stumbled in to these!

Now these, just so we can all be oriented, the DX Racers are around php15,000-20,000, the Milano/Torino alternatives are php8,000, while the above, unnamed, unbranded ones, range between php5,800-6,500.

The unnamed chairs that I eventually got one of, also does not recline and has a plastic star base that is said to withstand up to 200lbs (I am a good 120lbs), but of course, I still wanted it to be sturdy and future proof enough, so I was able to find an aluminum star base from a different shop (If you are here in the Philippines and want to do the same thing, you can find the star bases here).

I was and actually still am wary about these unnamed/unbranded knockoffs, but for that price, I was willing to make a big gamble. I said that I am still wary as of course, it is too early to tell if this will truly last, but somehow, my initial reaction/opinion to this chair is a positive one. Plus I am very good at keeping things well beyond their supposed lifespan. Though I suck at doing the same things for relationships… however that will be for another post.

SO! I ordered a black chair since there were no blue ones to match my computer system and it also struck me that my future builds will not always be blue in theme, so a black chair will be a good idea for whatever colored theme will be for my future builds.

I was able to receive it the same day I ordered it. However, it isn’t through regular courier. Something as big as this chair will cost a lot to ship through courier, thankfully here in the Philippines I recently learned that you can have a package shipped through a bus line and they will drop it in their respective terminal and you can pick it up personally for a cheaper price. Also, I found out unlike couriers where they usually ship at a certain cutoff time and you will receive the package the next business day, bus lines, if you give the package at a time before they leave, and we know there will never be a shortage of buses leaving, they will immediately take it with them, and they are not limited to business days. Of course, the downside is that you have to pick it up yourself… and something this big, along with my weak knee… bad combination. Thankfully my dad was nice enough to drive me to pick this up.

And like all gaming/excutive chairs the box is huge…

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I had to drag this in…

The packaging per se, is not all that great, they just packed everything in, with little dividers, so even if they have bubble wraps on some of the items, it can still have a few dents here and there through shipping (I found 2 dents on the armrest). But what do you expect for an unbranded chair?

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Let’s do this!

After laying it out, I didn’t see any instructions inside the box, I was assuming this is also part of it being an unbranded chair; was going to reach out to the shop where I ordered this, but I decided to just try my luck. Sure it is an easy process to make a chair like this if you think about it, but the tough parts are the different sized screws and washers; you can’t just presume that this goes here and there if the threads are not supposed to accommodate the screws. Also the tilt/swivel seat plate mechanism is supposed to be placed in a certain orientation so I won’t fall flat on my back if I leaned back.

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It comes with different sized screws and washers as an Allen key, in case you need one

All these can be done trial and error, but I am prepping for my board exams so I don’t have time for trial and error (I do have time to review on my reading breaks lol).

So I carried on thinking there was no instructions…

Then lo and behold, after assembling the star base with the caster wheels and the gas life with its respective cover, as I grabbed the lower cushion, I found the instructions packed with it. So, yeah, good thing…

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You sneaky bastard…

Now that I found the instructions, I am confident to build the rest of the chair… now I am sure what screws to use and stuff.

As you can see, it is a small touch, but seeing the Tilt/Swivel Seat Plate maechanism with a “front” sign and the lower cushion have a sticker also with a “front” sign is surprising on a unbranded gaming chair knock off. Simple things like that found on these knock offs makes you think twice about these. In a good way.

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Almost there…

Having to screw in the back cushion was simple enough now that I knew which screws to use, and at this point I was contemplating whether to leave it without the armrests as it seems cool that way. But I tried it anyway…

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Completed!

Looking at it, and sitting on it with the armrests, seemed just fine, maybe even better. As you can see the armrest acts like another screws on the lower cushion and the back cushion, acting as another support. So it was a better idea to add the armrests.

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Looks great with my setup!

The above pictures of the build and the end product were all taken with my ASUS Zenfone 2 and I really didn’t try and get good photos with it since I was lazy. That being said, I whipped out my DSLR to get better glamour shots and all get better photos up close of each part of the chair.

Here goes!

So what do I think about? Initially, I was wary but am very surprised by the quality. I wish that it would recline, have an aluminum star base, and have larger caster wheels, because due to the weight of the chair itself, plus my weight, the caster wheels do dig in to the carpet real good. But what can you expect from a php5,800 chair that is unbranded so to speak?

For that price, in spite of what I said above, overall this chair is bang for the buck; the padding is thick, but not too stiff that it is uncomfortable to sit on; it is Goldilocks… just the right amount of firmness.

With the pictures above using my DSLR, you can see the quality work on the stitching. You can also see how the pleather looks of quality. The median aspect of the cushions, you can see a mesh like fabric. This helps with a bit of ventilation. Not a lot because it isn’t completely open mesh, but it is better than feeling suffocated in way.

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Mesh midportions of the cushions, enveloped with pleather
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Thick metal junction
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Pleather armrests

You can see the junction of the back cushion and the lower cushion is a large and sturdy metal, so leaning back, along with the tilt function, is not that scary. However, like I said about the star base being plastic, in time, I might fall on back by breaking the star base.

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Think plastic star base rated to withstand 200lbs

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Small caster wheels; it can dig in the rug real good.

Speaking of the star base, it may be plastic, but it is a thick and strong piece of plastic. I am still wary and am thinking about changing it to aluminum in the future (link above). Though if it’s true that this plastic base can withstand up to 200lbs, then a 120lbs should be no problem.

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Typical swivel/tilt mechanism lever functions; nice to see it labeled, gives a sense of quality. Simple things, people.

The tilt function is like any other chair, but being this chair in particular, it feels right; a chair like a racing chair, that is comfortable, and you get to lean back and have the chair tilt just enough (adjustable by the way), is great. Still like I mentioned about the plastic star base, I can only adjust the tilt so much so I won’t be afraid to tilt too far back. And for those who don’t like to tilt, you can lock it anyways.

In the end, I love this chair. It may not have the bragging rights as DX Racer, GT Omega, or Maxnomic, but I can still brag that I saved so much money on this. No reclining, no aluminum star base (but I can always buy an aluminum one to replace this anyways and still be cheaper than those other chairs), the caster wheels do get caught up in the rug (again, I can always buy bigger caster wheels and still save a lot of money if I were to buy the other chairs), but the overall comfort, the surprising build quality from the individual parts to the well stitched pleather and stuff, makes this bang for the buck. The tilt function is nothing new, but for me, with all the other chairs I used, it felt better here; this might be because of the shape of the chair and the overall comfort.

I should also mentioned, unlike the other chairs, this doesn’t come with the head pillow/cushion and the lumbar pillow/cushion. So maybe that is another con to consider apart from the lack of reclining, etc., that I seem to mention over and over again.

So in short, I say, go buy it, if you don’t want to spend on a chair that is probably more expensive than your GPU or CPU, heck maybe even your GPU and CPU combined! You can always buy an aluminum star base and larger caster wheels and still don’t break the bank.

BUY IT. (Well, if you’re in the Philippines that is)

PEACE!

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My complete workstation…

-o-

Links to all the sites where the above chairs can be found(if found locally, I will link to sites in the Philippines):

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Bloatware… Everywhere.

So much bloatware, I can’t even…

Let us first define what a bloatware is, even though I am sure most of you already know what they are and how annoying they can be:

Bloatware is simply a software that is overpacked with features and therefore slow or unwieldy; software that is inefficiently designed and occupies an excessive amount of memory or disk space. – Wiktionary

These are preloaded software from manufacturer’s of, more famously, Android smartphones. Take in for instance, ASUS Zenfone 2: It’s version of Android firmware is loaded with unnecessary software/applications that simply takes up space and, honestly, the software’s/application’s “usefulness” is anything but. I had to remove them to retrieve lost space and free up the phone’s processes for software/applications that do serve its useful purposes.

This, of course, is not limited to smartphones. Heck, it all started for me with laptops or prebuilt PC’s (nope, not my PC… it was my friends’. I have always custom built my PCs) that come from, let us say, Dell, Acer, ASUS (again), Lenovo, etc.

Back then, they weren’t so much of a hassle, a couple here and there, some even quite useful indeed. But if that wasn’t your cup of tea, you can easily uninstall them.

I remember when I used to buy laptops or netbooks, out of necessity thanks to school/hospital reports, and I had the option of having a Windows OS, Linux OS, or none at all – the latter, obviously, I had to provide the OS myself, usually I would go for a Linux distro online. But nowadays, most of the laptops that are being sold, or at least what I have noticed since Windows 8.1, or preloaded with a Windows OS (recently, of course, Windows 10) and you no longer have options of either Linux or no OS at all.

Sure, this is a business deal, a package, a contract, or whatever you have it, much like in the old days when IBM PCs would usually just come in Windows, but at least back then Windows was great and had little to absolutely NO bloatware, since it really didn’t exist back then.

When I used to buy laptops or netbooks without an OS, there was no bloatware of course. Having to provide the OS yourself frees oneself from the atrocities of those bloatware… or worse, the reservoir of viruses, a preloaded Norton or McAfee antivirus, that is simply a bitch to uninstall at times.

I know the layman may benefit from all this, but trust me, the other, more tech-savvy individual, that knows his/her way around regedit, C++, and the like, will find the bloatware’s “useful” features is nothing but a marketing bait that eats your needed device’s RAM or Processing power for something that you can do on your own if you are willing to just do a few commands here and there.

This has become my concern lately partly due to the fact that I had to setup my sister’s new laptop that she will be using for her hospital work; I wanted her to buy a laptop without an OS to avoid bloatware and I would more control on how things are being installed. But alas, as we were shopping for her new laptop earlier, they were all preinstalled with Windows.

My sister’s new Acer E 14 laptop. For more info and complete specs on this machine, go here: http://www.elnstore.com/acer-E5-473-30N5-core-i3-4005u

Everyone knows that I tried Windows 10 on my netbook, because there was no way I will subject my main system to Windows 10 when I had setup Windows 8.1 the way I want it to function based on my work ethic. As I was testing Windows 10 on my netbook, much to my dismay, there was so much data tracking Microsoft hardcoded on the OS. From the way I type and if I use touch screen devices where I can wright with a stylus or the like, it will also want to track that and report it to Microsoft. Excuse my language, but that is simply bullshit. I am tired of NSA trying to get everything about me, let alone having Microsoft do the same exact thing.

I love Linux, but there are still some programs I use, like Adobe, that are still Windows and Mac exclusives. I can use WINE or the like in Linux but sometimes the performance takes a big hit. So I am still using Windows for such programs.

Having enough experience on Windows 10 with my netbook and finding many ways to block data tracking by the evil faceless overlords of Microsoft, I was able to apply the same fixes to my sister’s laptop so they won’t take anything from her… for the most part. Who knows, Microsoft may have done more shit on the code of Windows 10 that I simply deactivated some of the data tracking parts of the OS. I may have simply barely scratched the surface. But for now, that is still good enough for me and my sister.

Of course. I wasn’t able to do all those without first removing the darn bloatware. I use CCleaner for cleaning the OS’ registry, temp files, etc., as well as use it for uninstalling programs. It took me an hour to remove all the bloatware! And trust me, reading the names and running a few of the bloatware, they really were not useful.

I know I can’t break a business/marketing deal that Microsoft has with most laptop/netbook/PC distributors/manufacturers and most of those devices will ship with Windows (again, in the IBM PC days, Windows is really a great thing to have along your device), but with how much Windows has changed akin to being a super secret spy that is just a few digits away from knowing your social security number, and let us not forget those manfacturer’s bloatware, I can’t help but wish the option of either having Linux or no OS at all is still available for those who know the cons of having Windows preinstalled in their machines.

But that is wishful thinking.

And if I just spend an hour or 2 with a new laptop/netbook/PC with preinstalled Windows 10 or bloatware, I can get it to run the way I want it to run. It is just a shame that I have to go to great lengths to do so.

Sigh…

Anyways, til next time!

PEACE!

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