Judge my rig

I’m building my next PC. I’ve had to tinker with and upgrade computers a lot in my life, but I’ve never built one from the ground up. Also, I’ve always been a little antsy and phobic when I’ve had to upgrade machinery, so I think this will be a good exercise in developing some more mastery and confidence.

I’m modeling a high-performance PC: this machine will be doing some heavy-ish lifting with Adobe CS3, and I will be gaming on it as well. It’ll be running a dual boot, Vista and Ubuntu, hopefully 64-bit for both. I’ll start purchasing parts next week, but before that I’m exposing my parts list to the world for criticism and commentary.

First, have I done anything that’s just dumb (incompatible components, badly weak links in the system)?

Beyond that, am I being a chump in my choices? Am I spending too much for marginal improvements? Where can I get similar performance with a cheaper component? I want this to be a performance machine, but I’m trying to stay away from extreme indulgences.

Be merciless. I’d rather feel stupid now than stupid with the parts in my house.

Work Update

For years I worked on stuff that was secreted away onto shadowy corporate intranets, so it still doesn’t immediately occur to me that work products can be public and shared. But we’ve been working on lots of cool stuff at Terra Incognita that you can totally go look at.

  • Late last year we finished The Monticello Classroom, which gives teachers, students and other visitors to Monticello a rich set of resources to compose lesson plans; an online archive of Monticello collections; and, a set of interactive tools to engage with and share. We built this app in PHP with a port of the Mach-II MVC framework, and I built a cool little house builder in ActionScript 3 – it lets you mess up some architecture and then share it with friends.
  • We also released updates to The Genographic Project — this was a mix of ActionScript 2 and 3 and a whole lot of contextual learning about this complex and ambitious project.
  • For AARP, we created an interactive timeline for 1968 which turned out very nicely. I can’t claim much on this — Gregg did an amazing job developing this one — but I did get to have some fun at the tail end tweaking and deploying it, and besides it’s just cool.
  • Finally, the big project for early 2008 — we’ve delivered an exciting museum redesign that should be going live in the next couple of weeks. I’ll add some details when it goes public — until then, I’ll let you know that I’ll be speaking on it at the Texas Library Association conference later this week, with a focus on bringing archival collections online with tools like Flash and Fedora Commons.