Thursday, July 11, 2013

Shopping Notes

We're preparing for Detroit (DQ is live on tape next week), so here are some notes that you might find useful as I run around like a crazy person.

One, the Steam Summer Sale has started, and in particular, Don't Starve is on sale for $8.99. It's one of the best designed games I've ever played, and the world is brilliantly cohesive. Do not miss your chance to buy what is one of the best games of the year (for me, the decade) at a substantial discount.

Oh, and Skyrim with all three expansion is on sale for $35.99. That's also pretty sensational for a game that has hundreds of hours of content.

I don't say this enough, but Bethesda has kicked major ass for a long time. Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim, consecutively? With full mod support? Who else could do that?

When Gridiron Solitaire ships and after the post-release period calms down, I'm going to build a new PC, and my performance benchmark will be to run Skyrim at maximum detail at 100 fps in 2500x1600 resolution. If that's even possible.

Next shopping note. Lide Winburn let me know that the Humble eBook Bundle 2 includes an absolutely gigantic number of excellent books, including Spin, which I mentioned yesterday. So that's worth a look if you want to load up your backlog (mine has tripled now that I bought this).

Believe it or not, a third shopping note (I can't believe it myself). The new issue of Consumer Reports has an article about inkjet printers using absolutely insane amounts of ink, even when the user wasn't printing many pages. As it turns out, some printers use an incredible amount of ink for maintenance chores.

It's not chump change, either. Here's how they tested: they printed 30 pages (20 of text and 10 of graphics) intermittently over 3 weeks, and compared the ink consumed with how much was used when they printed the 30 pages continuously. The printers were turned off when they weren't being used.

The difference? It's not chump change. They defined "excess ink" as the extra amount used if you only printed intermittently compared to continuous printing, and calculated the cost over a year.

If your printer cost you less than $20 extra, consider yourself fortunate. The Brother DCP-J140W was the only printer that cost $0 extra. The next-best was the Epson XP-800, at $14. Brother, in general, did extremely well.

The shitty high end? The Canon Pixma MX 922, at $150, and that's not a typo. Then there's the HP OfficeJet Pro 8600, at $126. Canon and HP were generally the worst, depending on model (The HP OfficeJets are reasonable, while the Photosmart models are heinous). That's excess annual cost. Every year.

I'm really thrilled that I have a Pixma. Believe me. And "intermittent printer" perfectly describes my usage pattern. So there may be an Epson XP-800 in my immediate future.

You have to be a subscriber to get the list of individual printers and how they rate, but if you're shopping for one, it's well worth the money.

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