Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Magic: The Gathering 30th Anniversary Edition

 Wizards of the Coast (WotC) has announced it will be releasing the Magic: The Gathering 30th Anniversary Edition. I am not going into specific detail about what it is, you can go read the announcement for yourself.

This announcement has become the latest Internet shit storm. Usually with Internet shit storms, I sit back and eat popcorn, these things never fail to entertain. Unfortunately for me, with this one, there seems to be very few people attempting to defend this product. 99.99% of what I seeing is against this product, even WotC has not spent anytime commenting on it or defending the decision to publish this product.

There seem to be two camps opposed to this product. First there are the common players who make up 90% of the people who play and collect Magic cards. These people range from the casual player who buys a couple hundred dollars of cards a year to to serious tournament players who spend a significant portion of their yearly income on cards. These folks want cards they can play the game with and the $999.99 price tag is too high, it effectively prices them out of the product. The second group is the top tier collectors, the people with a lot of money and invest some portion of that money into cards hoping that $15,000 Black Lotus will someday sell for $25,000. This group does not want this product because it will drive the prices of the cards they have down. The second group does not want the reserved list cards reprinted at all. The first group would love to see those cards reprinted, but they want them reprinted at an affordable price.

There is no doubt in my mind this will be a successful product and it will sell out. Anyone with any knowledge of Magic: The Gathering as a game will understand that this product will be selling on the secondary market for $3,000 this time next year and in five years it will be selling for $10,000, this is as close to easy money as you will ever get. If I have enough money come November to buy one or even two, I will do it, I would be crazy not to. I put it in a box and on a shelf and forget about it for a couple of years, it is a no brainer. Worst case scenario is ten years from now you sell it for $1200. This product is never going to be worth less than what you paid for it, assuming you paid the original $1,000 for it.

While I am probably not going to buy this product, just based on the price alone, I really don't think this is a bad idea, I just really wish it was cheaper. I don't care about the reserved list, I don't care about the secondary market, I don't care about collectors. All I really care about is playing the game, so I am in the first category of players. I really don't see why WotC doesn't reignite the Legacy and Vintage formats the same way they lit up Modern by providing support for it. If they reprinted the Unlimited set with the modern frame, for a reasonable price and said they could only be played in Commander, Legacy and Vintage, they would sell hundreds of millions of dollars of these packs. On top of that, I don't think it would affect the long term value of the old cards. Anyway, that is my opinion on this.

Monday, October 3, 2022

$100 Computer

Best Buy is selling Lenovo Ideapad 1 for $99.99. This is not a beefy system as you would expect, it has a Celeron processor, 4GB of Ram and a 64 GB solid state hard drive. In spite of the tepid specifications of this machine, I thought, just how bad can this be. The worst case scenario is it becomes a $100 paper weight or I give it away to someone child. For the sake of transparency, I also purchased a 512 GB M.2 card as well for around $80. This is not strictly necessary, but keep in mind Windows 11 is 30 GB by itself, so that 64 GB drive it comes with will not allow for many extra programs to be install or much in the way of music and videos, especially since a chunk of that 64 GB is taken up by a recovery partition.

Oddly enough, I was actually surprised by how well this system actually performed. I was expecting to have to install Linux on it to make it actually usable, but that was not the case. Windows 11 performed well enough that I left it on the system. I am not going to pretend this system will replace anyone's desktop or even a laptop used for anything serious. Programs like GIMP ran extremely slow and choked quickly on the anemic 4 GB of RAM. However the Edge browser worked fine and played YouTube videos fairly well. I also did not have any trouble running VLC, Libre Office or Visual Studio Code. Compiling small programs with GCC went okay, I am sure though I would not be happy if I tried to compile a 10,000 line project.

Some things to note, uninstall Microsoft 365 unless you actually plan to use it. It is also worth while to disable all of the Lenovo software that runs in the background, this frees up some hard drive space and some memory that can be used for more productive things. You will also do well to switch Windows out of S mode so you can install software outside of the Microsoft Store. You should also try to avoid big software packages that are known to be hogs, GIMP and Photoshop being the common ones, as well as almost all virus scanners, just be careful about what you are doing and you should be fine.

So what is this thing good for? Well I think if you have a kid who needs something slightly more useful than a Chromebook, but don't want to drop $500 on a machine for a child, this is a good choice. This is also good as a throw away computer to take traveling. Even if you buy the M.2 like I did, with tax, you are still under $200, so if you loose it, it is stolen or it gets damaged, you are really not out that much, as long as you make sure to back up your data in the cloud like a good and responsible computer user. For light use, this system boots reasonably fast and works just fine. I bought it thinking I might live to regret it, but instead came out thinking that it did not entirely suck.