News: February 1st, 2003 to February 11, 2003
this movie, [sic] S1m0ne, that was in two parts (about 700 MB each).
Each one was an AVI, but I couldn't get video. So, I decided I needed
to figure out what codec the files used. I downloaded a fantastic
program a couple months ago that does just that, but I couldn't
find it. I thought I had put a link to it on my web site, but apparently
not. Well, here it is now: AVIcodec
a great program for finding out what codecs (both video and
audio) an AVI file uses. Turns out S1m0ne uses Xvid MPEG-4 for video
and regular old AC3 DVM for audio. If you need an Xvid decoder for
Windows, try this
site (Doom9.net; get FFDshow under "Filters"). Don't
go to xvid.org; they only cater to Linux users.
11:08 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
Feb. 2003 (Tue); Post #257
I watched Ghost World last night. It's an odd movie. For
some reason, I liked it. I can't really say why... it doesn't have
any action, the ending is pretty unsatisfying, and the meaning is
muddy at best. I need to think about it more.
I was talking to someone in a chat room the other night about books
we'd read, and I started making a list of books I wanted to read.
A couple are his suggestions, a few are just ones I've read reviews
of or heard about in other ways. Here they are (this is more for
my notes than for anyone else's information... I'm afraid I might
lose the TXT with this info):
Rucker, Rudy: The Master of Space and Time
I'd alphabetize those by author's last name, but it seems like a
lot of work for nothing. Meh. I finished Maximum Light last
night. Overall, it was a decent book. Not Kress's best work,
but still a good read. I got a little tired of the Cameron Atuli
character; all he ever thinks about is dancing. At least Shana Walders
was a little more three-dimensional. Of course, Nick Clementi (who's
really the main character, I suppose) was the most interesting,
and the closest to Kress's usual portrayl of important people (like
Leisha Camden, Billy Washington, et al from the Sleepless trilogy).
Gould, Steve: Jumper
Grimwood, Ken: Replay
Turtledove, Harry: The Best Alternate History Stories of the
Hawking, Stephen: A Brief History of Time
Heinlein, Robert A.: Time Enough for Love: The Lives of Lazarus
Now I'm reading Heinlein's The Cat Who Walks Through Walls.
I'm only a dozen pages in or so, but it's already interesting. Apparently
we disturbed the CAT5 running between my parents' house and mine
when we cleaned up a wire mess and took out some fencing on Sunday.
So, I had to go out there tonight and fix it. There was something
wrong with the female-female adapter I made. So, after a failed
attempt at cutting the electrical tape and garbage bags surrounding
the section, I went to Home Depot and got some modular jacks, a
punchdown tool (they really are much better than doing it with screwdrivers),
and a flashlight (it has a neat magnetic attachment on the underside
so you can stick it to a metal surface). I used the CAT6 Drew gave
me last summer to make the new 3' female-female adapter. And once
again, my parents have internet access. Oooh.
Um. Can't think of anymore stuff to write. Today's MP3: Asereje
- Las Ketchup (english).mp3 (3:33).
post #two-to-the-eighth-power. #100 in hexidecimal. #100,000,000
in binary. Ooooh.
3:16 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
Feb. 2003 (Tue); Post #256
Saw Phill put up a donate button on his website. Well, through the
magic of copy & paste (Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, just like the pros),
so have I! Heh. I actually donated money to Phill. A whopping $0.02.
Why, at current interest rates, if he invested that in a 1-year
CD with automatic roll-over, in 20 years he could have... A = 0.02
* (1 + [0.019 / 1]) ^ (20 * 1)... a dollar forty-five! To make $100,000,
he'd only have to wait (log (100,000 / 1.45) / (1 * log [1 + (0.019
/ 1)]))... another 592 years! See, in that light, it's a pretty
substantial gift I've donated to him, isn't it? Boy, when Phill's
632, he'll be thanking me alright.
I can't imagine why you'd want to give me money, but now you can!
Over the internet, no less. Aha. Oh, but some ppl do owe
me money... let's see... this donate button could come in handy
for Beefy ($18.25), Phillip ($10), Shea ($14), Ryan ($3.25), and/or
Today's MP3: Bloodhound Gang - Why's Everybody Always Pickin' On
The following post is pretty much just a lot of ranting and complaining.
Feel free to skip it if that kinda stuff doesn't appeal to you.]
10:14 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
Feb. 2003 (Mon); Post #255
Most computer hardware review or "modding" sites seem
to be run by 15-year-old idiots with horrible grammar that are capable
of little more than retyping the information they find in the user's
manual. And there're dozens of them. If you want a fairly detailed
roster, just take a look at the "affiliates" list that
every one of them proudly displays on the left hand side of their
home page. This waste of space actually exemplifies one of the main
problems with these kinds of sites: a definite lack of content.
These places are desperate for material. Do you know how
many Mouse Bungee reviews I've seen? Fan grill reviews? Mouse
There are very few respectable review/modding sites. Tom's
Hardware Guide is one. So are 3dGameMan.com,
AnandTech, and Overclockers.com.
The rest are pretty much unreadable crap crafted with minimal effort.
Some tips on how to spot a crap-review site:
Anyway. I get pretty fed up with these places. The only semi-useful
thing they do is take pictures of things, and sometimes not even
that. But, whatever. Later.
- The word "pimp" appears somewhere in the title.
- They review any of the following accessories: rheobuses, mouse
pads, fan grills, acrylic PSU covers, keyboard-lights with USB
connectors. How can your write more than three sentences about
any of these products?
- The owners use GIF smileys in their "news" posts.
- More than half their posts are about other people's
- They con readers into designing their logos or page templates
- The "staff" section of their case gallery is filled
with shoddy systems they didn't build themselves. Maybe running
to that new Mongolian Grill restaurant on Court St. in Pasco today.
The food was amazing! I will definitely eat there again. It's pretty
inexpensive, too. Of course, they make it right there in front of
everyone and you get to pick what meats, veggies, sauces, etc. go
into your meal. The portions are surprisingly large.
12:30 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
Feb. 2003 (Mon); Post #254
Ripped some more posts out of the ground with the tractor out front.
Also, cleaned up this big mess of tangled wire (some of it barbed)
that had been in the corner of the pasture. Had a GURPS game for
Hanwool, Drew, Beefy, and Ryan around three. Ryan is playing a new
character who apotheosized into the god of machines (Michanimatos).
This is a new god, one not mentioned in RL Greek mythology. Apparently,
new gods occasionally come into existence through some unknown effect.
The only example cited so far has been Ilektrismos, the god of electricity,
who was first sighted sometime in the 19th century.
I downloaded a bunch of high-quality DVD rips (of course, I own
the original DVD, wink wink). I've got 20.2 gigabytes of them now.
I just finished watching the worst one a few minutes ago. Actually,
it's the worst movie I've ever seen. Ever. Freddy Got Fingered
is absolute drek. Look up the cast list on the
movie's IMDb entry. I have newfound disgust for every actor
who starred in this film. The notion that they could have
read the script and still decided to take the role shows
that they are all depraved, desperate, money-grubbing fleskepannes.
I am astounded that this movie is only number 73 on IMDb's
bottom 100 list. Prior to Freddy, the worst movie I'd
ever seen was probably The Pest, starring John Leguizamo.
I don't count Kazaam and Spice World 'cause I never
watched them the whole way through.
I'd describe a scene from the movie to illustrate its sheer stupidity,
but most of it was too ...sick. OTOH, having watched it, Van
Wilder looks like a true masterpiece. Today's MP3: Weezer -
Buddy Holly.mp3 (2:39).
a triple cheeseburger from Dairy Queen earlier that was nothing
short of excellent. My only complaint is that they don't put lettuce
in it. Anyway. I'm sick. Something's going around... had some dry
heaves this morning, coughing, congestion. Well, you don't want
to hear the symptoms. But my geology prof. has it, Phill's got it,
1:06 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
Feb. 2003 (Sun); Post #253
My dad and I tore down the fence around one of the pastures out
front. It actually looks quite a bit nicer now (the old fence was
pretty shoddy). I'd post pictures, but it's dark. And cold. (29°
Fahrenheit locally ATM.)
that one group's session. Some headway was made, but Ryan's character,
Ephialtes, died. It's too bad; with the exception of Hanwool's character
(Pheme), he was probably the most developed. Anyway, I'm going to
try to figure out some kind of rule or adjustment to help bring
his new character up to speed. (e.g. starting him off as a 2nd-stage
god, awarding him a bonus percentage of his old character's point
value each session, etc.)
3:45 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
Feb. 2003 (Sat); Post #252
Watched a good DVD-rip of Changing Lanes. It was pretty good,
but I'm still a little puzzled by the film's message... it seems
a little conflicted. Well, I have Psych 306 tomorrow, so g'night.
Today's MP3: Barry Manilow - They Dance!.mp3 (2:59).
realized I finished post #250 on Tuesday... that's quite a few.
I've been working on the new rackmount system, which I named Olivia
(Chesty's the 1700+, Tabatha's the 1.7 GHz P4, DeadLois's the 1400,
and Olivia's a 2000+). I ran PCMark2002 on most of the systems...
here's the stats breakdown:
5:20 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
Feb. 2003 (Fri); Post #251
surprising results. Tabatha beating Chesty on memory is odd since
Chesty has a gig of PC2100 DDR RAM while Tabatha just has 512 MB
of SD. Of course, Olivia's only got 256 MB of PC2100 (JD's got my
other 256 MB stick). The CPU scores are even more perplexing. Olivia
should be the highest. Need to test DeadLois.
I started Nancy Kress's Maximum Light a couple days ago.
I'm halfway through it, but it's pretty short (only like 250 pages).
The setting is kind of dull, but the story is interesting. The characters
are pretty interesting, but I think that's one of Kress's specialties.
I really like the way she goes into detail about various technologies
and effects (e.g. Endocrine blockers/disrupters and vivifacture
in Maximum Light).
Earlier, I went to Phillip's house and watched Swordfish
on his media system (very spiff 4.1 surround-sound, plus a flat-screen
SONY TV). Good movie. I was surprised, given the bad reviews I had
heard and the fact that Travolta's in it. Of course, they really
fudged the computer jargon, but that's to be expected. Turns out
the "DS3" lines they talk about actually exist... it's
term for T-3 lines. 45 Mbps... mmm.
Then we watched an episode of Deep Space 9 (season 5, ep. 27, IIRC).
It was good. That's when the Cardassians took back DS9/Terok
Nor. You know DS9 Season 1 comes out on DVD on Feb. 25? I'd
like to get it, but it's a hundred bucks... and I'm already buying
up the Stargate SG-1 DVD sets (Season 3 comes out in June, according
to Stargate SG-1 Information
Archive). Plus, I kinda want to get Black
Adder: The Complete Collector's Set first.
Anyway, Phill and I then went to Shari's. I had the French Dip &
Fries with a dinner salad (they actually had good Rogueford dressing).
Later today, I get to GM Aaron, Phillip, Kevina (Beefy's little
brother), Ryan, and Drew. They're trying to get Ryan's brain fixed,
which I explained in more detail a while
ago. Maybe a LAN party Saturday. Beefy and Ryan might go to
Seattle for a comic convention on Sunday (I'm gonna get them to
take my Penny Arcade
book if they do). Today's MP3: Madonna - Die Another Day.mp3 (3:45).
yeah, the space shuttle blew up. Or disintegrated. Oh well, I'm
sure you all knew already anyway. Really, the point of making such
a statement is so I can remember what was happening at the time
of a given post. Isn't that really the point of having a blog? So
you can read it ten years later, swaddled in nostalgia? Well, I
dunno. Anyway, the spaceship burnt up coming through the atmosphere.
Debris's been found in east Texas... a patch, the nose cone, a seat,
two tanks, a syringe, an arm, etc.
9:54 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
Feb. 2003 (Tue); Post #250
Yesterday, I took a shower and my face dried out really badly. I
went to the bank, realized I locked my keys in my car by accident,
went to Rite Aid to buy some Gold Bond Medicated Lotion, and called
Mount's Lock & Key (actually, I called my parent's home and
my mom's cell first, to see if they'd bring me my spare set, but
no one picked up). Anyway, $35 later, my car's unlocked. So I went
to Fred Meyer to buy some clothing. Got a couple pairs of pants,
a shirt, socks and unmentionables. Turns out they took out the apparel-only
registers, so I had to use the general ones... took forever. I ended
up missing Geology because of it.
Last night, I built my rackmount system... turns out the motherboard
I bought off eBay, a Gigabyte GA-7DX, is a Revision 2.2. An OEM
board built for some computer company that no longer exists. Built
for special, custom hardware. With the J14 jumper block removed.
The jumper block that the power switch, reset button, HD LED, et
al connect to. In the Rev 2.2 board, those functions (well, some
of them) are rerouted to the J29 block. Good luck finding the key
for those pins... if anyone has a Revision 2.2 GA-7DX, here's a
slide explaining the front panel configuration. I gave the seller
a neutral rating for poor packing and failure to mention the revision
number (Rev 2.2 is an engineer sample; it does not have an FSB switch
or an AMR slot, and it looks like the onboard audio may not be functional
all things that would normally make a board unsuitable for
Anyway, I got the system made. Current specs are: Athlon XP 2000+
(currently detected as a 1250 MHz Duron for some reason), 256 MB
PC2100 DDR RAM, 64 MB ATI Radeon 7500 AIW, Linksys LNE100TX NIC,
60 GB Maxtor HD, 16x DVD-ROM. There's a picture below.
Went to The Bookworm today. It's a used book store in Richland.
Got The Exotic Enchanter by L. Sprague deCamp, Stinger
and Maximum Light, both by Nancy Kress, and The Cat
Who Walks Through Walls by Robert A. Heinlein. All for $13.81.
Um... did you know that, as of today, Yugoslavia
is no longer a nation? Today's MP3: Cowboy Mouth - Jenny Says.mp3
space shuttle Columbia may have just exploded over Dallas, TX. NASA
lost contact with them, declared an official emergency. They were
wrapping up a 16-day research mission. See CNN's
page for more information. In other news, why am I up so freaking
6:34 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
Feb. 2003 (Sat); Post #249
saw the movie About
Schmidt. Dear Lord, if you have not seen this film yet,
don't. Let me save you two hours and four minutes that you will
never get back: there's an old guy, his wife dies, he doesn't like
his son-in-law, lots of awkward moments, no real resolution. Drew,
Hanwool, Beefy, Ryan, and I went and saw it. Ebert & Roeper
said it was great. Agh. Actually, it was pretty much agreed that
if the movie was condensed into about 20 minutes, it would have
1:00 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
Feb. 2003 (Sat); Post #248
Anyway. I finished Lullaby yesterday. It was really fantastic,
but a bit graphic at times. I'd like to see a sequel (and the ending
nearly sets one up), but I'm sure Palahniuk won't write one. I like
stories that involve magic in a modern-day setting, but of course
this book isn't really about the magic. Palahniuk's style is kinda
hard to get into (e.g. he uses a lot of fragmented or run-on sentences,
dialogue isn't presented in the usual manner, etc.), but once you
get through a few chapters, it becomes easy to read. Good book.
But now I'm stuck without anything to read except my Network+ guide.
I should get started on that. I read some yesterday (mostly about
frames and network functions/NIC-NOS interaction). Now I'm about
to start the whole OSI-layer thing. I need to get going on that...
I'll prolly try to arrange to take the test when Phill does (I think
he's going to take it when he finishes the networking class he's
taking at CBC).
I downloaded Maya and have been trying to learn it. The first image
below is my first render; the second is some kind of attempt at
a spaceship or something... it's a great program. Much better than
LightWave, IMHO. I'd still like to try out 3D Studio Max 4 though.
Today's MP3: Bach - Brandenberg Concerto No. 3, Mvt. 1.mp3 (6:36).
one born every minute." P.T. Barnum