Going a little overboard?

So, over the last few weeks I have had it in my head that I had to add a bunch of peripherals to my system.  I have been happy with the laptop in general and it has performed well up to this point.  It is a little bit of a pain to get up and go as I often times have my usb hub / cooling fan on underneath it as well as ipod cord / phone cord / and usb mouse along with any other items I might be working with at the time plugged in.  In other words, a lot of cords. 
I was working with my old desktop that I built in 2002 and my wife and I have talked a few times about wiping it out and giving it to one of her friends who does not have a computer.  Neither of us use it any more as we have two laptops that are newer, faster and much more flexible as we can pick them up and take them to the living room / bedroom / on the road / whatever.  I had been meaning to get an external hard drive for about a year and a half, although this was alleviated a bit with the new laptop as I have not yet run into space issues with its 250 GB drive.   However, this application kind of drove home the fact that I really ought to get one for backup purposes between all of our machines.  In essence, I talked myself into buying a hard drive so that we could transfer files more easily between the computers and in general just keep a lot of data around.  I suppose subconciously it was because my wife and I had recently gotten a new sectional and I felt that I was entitled to some new toys myself. (NOTE: Not our house, just the promo picture for the couches)
What I ended up getting was the Western Digital 1 TB My Book Essential Edition (http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=8475777&st=MyBook+Essential+TB&type=product&id=1185271084278).  So far this drive has given me no problems and was strictly plug and play when I hooked it up to the old laptop (a machine running xp sp2).  After I transferred the files to the new laptop I reformatted it to NTSF and then encrypted most of the drive via TrueCrypt (www.truecrypt.org).  I had not previously used this software, although I have certainly heard a lot about it in the past.  All in all it was very easy to use and seems like it will work well for its intended purpose.  I don’t know how much I will like the decision in the future as I will continually have to mount and dismount the external drive, but I know that it is something I should be doing…
At the same time I picked up the hard drive my wife and I spent an afternoon looking around town for a nice computer desk.  As it happens, I did not see anything that I HAD to have, so, instead I picked up a cheap desk from office depot that we could set up that went with the new furniture.
Well, after I got the new desk and the drive set up and everything was chugging along fine, I began to think some more about watching some different shows on my computer.  Which made me think about how nice it would be to actually set this up as a dvr.  I had previously purchased the ATI 9800 Pro All-In-Wonder for the desktop, but it seemed a bit flakey after awhile and would often freeze my computer up.  This was after I was already using my first laptop so I wasn’t all that concerened and never really looked into it to much.  When I had set the program up to record shows at different times it never did so correctly, although it would happily record anything that I was there to press the button on in a simple and elegant fashion.  All in all, I would say that it was still a somewhat failed experiment.  Now, however, I was on the trail once again.  I had days of hard drive space available and a new interest in getting it right.  So, off I went to amazon and looking around found a device that appeared to be fairly highly rated for a decent price that would work with either of the laptops reasonably well.  Behold, the happauge win tv hvr 950 (http://www.amazon.com/Hauppauge-WinTV-HVR-950-Hybrid-Stick/dp/B000RHVOJM/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1213375430&sr=8-1). I have yet to receive it so I cannot attest to this as of yet, but I would assume that it will do its job.
Also, although the laptop lcd screen is very nice, I really like running dual monitors (I just got to used to this over the years when programming) and have not been doing so since there is usually little to no room for the old CRT monitor to hang out on whatever surface I am using the laptop.  More than that, I wanted a really nice screen that I would be more inclined to watch video on (as I have been trying to keep track of and catch up with some of the miscellaneous tv shows online, such as battlestar galactica).  So, early this week, after some online research and when the wife was working late, I snuck off to the local best buy and picked up the Westinghouse 22" L2210NW (http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=8725819&type=product&id=1201306785562
).  Got home, plugged it in and it worked great.  It looks really nice and has very vivid colors with little to no streaking on fast action video.  The only negative so far is the speakers.  They might as well have not included them.  They are AWFULL!  My laptop speakers were much better quality and volume.  But, enough of that…
During this whole shopping bananza I had also been thinking of picking up the expansion base (xb3000 – http://www.shopping.hp.com/product/notebook/notebook_hp/dock_solutions/4/accessories/GY034AA%2523ABA)  for the laptop to help with the clutter and to alleviate the work associated with breaking the laptop down and packing it up to travel.  This is the item I am still the least sure about.  One of the negative factors for me not having picked it up until this point was the fact that previously you had to buy an AC adapter, unless if you wanted to use the one from your laptop, which would kind of defeat the purpose of just pulling it off the platform and going.  Besides, the base did not receive all that great of reviews, but, to be honest it was one of the selling points of the laptop when I bought it as I had planned to save up a little money and buy it right away.  Well, right away turned into just a little bit longer.  Just a little bit longer turned into, eh, maybe I’ll get it, maybe I won’t.  And now, after a bit of research, and the large spending spree before hand I went ahead and picked it up to complete the office.  I was very surprised to see that the HP site was actually the cheapest place to buy this (aside from e-bay or other resellers of somewhat dubious quality).  Not only that, but they had apparently heard all of the detractors and were now packaging it with the power adapter.  (NOTE: if you are planning on buying an ac adapter, look at the original vendor.  HP had the adapters for about half the price as amazon, best buy or circuit city.  Same product, just a lot better deal.)
So, now we have a living room / office that looks much nicer than they did a few weeks ago.  This should help as we are thinking about putting the house on the market soon.  I am pretty happy with everything that I have picked up and think that I am done with the new system, other than possibly buying a nice ergonomic keyboard / mouse combo to hook into the expansion base and maybe a backpack type bag to carry the laptop in.  I will see if all of this comes together as I hope it will, but I see no reason why it won’t.  If nothing else, the new Hard Drive and Monitor are already working as desired and I am very pleased with both.
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