In other news, the parts for my new computer shipped today! This is my birthday present to myself, intended solely for playing games. It's not for research, or for work, just for fun. It'll be a Vista machine, sadly - but then, playing games is the one thing that OS is good for.
All told it should be a decent machine. The Intel Quad Core chips are good for what they do, though I'm skeptical that many modern games are effectively multi-threaded. The only disappointment is that the RAM I wanted was out of stock in the speed I wanted, especially because I suspect that RAM speed is going to be the major bottleneck in this system. I guess I'll resign myself to running Dwarf Fortress with fewer than 300 dwarves until the first upgrade...
The other weird thing is how natural it seems to buy a terabyte disk drive. I know intellectually that this makes sense: I pointed out in a lecture last fall that within a year or so, the industry will be manufacturing one bit of magnetic storage for every star in the sky every year, and a byte every year shortly after that. But I still remember when a 100 MB drive seemed freaking huge, and this just boggles my mind.
(Actually, the really sad thing is that of the handful of games I'm really looking forward to playing, a number of them are Interactive Fiction. I'm told that Blue Lacuna is particularly good, though.)