I don’t remember if I touched on this before, but there are some really good Bluetooth speakers on the cheap these days. I found a $20 Polaroid Bluetooth speaker at Big Lots, and it sounds great. It’s not stereo, but then again for $20, I wouldn’t expect it to be. I picked up the blue one, because it was a nice shade of blue. The pink one was quite garish, to be honest. (They didn’t have any black ones or white ones in stock at the time, but they are apparently color choices for the speaker.) I wasn’t keen on the battery life, though it does take AA batteries (or a rechargeable one). It’s a bit bulky for portability, but it has a nice slot where you can set your tablet upright while listening. That’s a nice feature. The sound isn’t hollow (I expected it to be a bit muffled or a bit tinny) but the size and shape (a brick-like rectangle) make the music sound quite good. I am no audiophile, so more discerning tastes might hate the sound, but I found it very high quality for the price.
So I was roaming around the local Big Lots again (they have quite the assortment of knock-off batteries), and I ran across the Polaroid Bluetooth “corner” of the shelves over in electronics. I saw some new, smaller speakers (much like the larger one) for $10. I figured, it might be worse sounding, but for $10 I’ll take the chance. I was again, pleasantly surprised. It is a great speaker. It sounds better and more solid than the larger one. (I imagine there’s more empty space for resonance in the larger speaker.) My only complaint is that it won’t run on AC only power, and it doesn’t charge while it’s on. That’s not a big deal, but it’s still a bit annoying to not run on AC only. (The larger speaker ran without a battery in it if I plugged it in.)
It’s amazing what you can get for $10 these days.
I do admit I talk too much about mechanical keyboards. I like them quite a bit, but my WASD keyboard (as awesome as it is) is too big for my tray. If I use it I have to put my mouse on the very edge of my tray. It’s not terrible when you’re just surfing the web, but playing a game requires more space for the mouse. I often toyed with the idea of going back to the trackball, but the only one that works well for me only has two buttons. I have to emulate the middle click (that I have come to rely on in Linux), which is less than ideal and very hard to accomplish with a finger trackball. I am still on the fence about it. Because I have used a thumb-trackball and it really messes up my tendons in my hand. (And good luck finding a left-handed one for less than $300).
I used to think as a Nethack player, I needed to have a keypad. But I have found the best way to play is with the VIM keys (H-J-K-L) to move around the dungeon. I am still learning how not to die early in the game (I’ve made it to the 2nd floor once with my new MATE edition of Ubuntu. I forget how many times I died on the 1st floor with my other distro.)
I’d really like to have my character last a bit longer, but I’m not too worried. I love the game. It’s not going to give you any slack, so if you mess up, it might cost you your character. It’s a permadeath game too. Come to think of it, it’s the only permadeath game I like. 🙂