Say Weeeeeee!

Friday, May 26



I wound Broadcast Machine back to version 20. I also whined pathetically over on their forums.

Anyway, I'll put some more goodies up tonight.

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Thursday, May 25


Time To Die

What's the lifespan of a notebook battery these days?

I got my notebook last September, and at the time I could watch 3 hours of anime on a battery charge. I was editing the subtitles for Dirty Pair episode 4 on my way home yesterday, and the battery was dead by the time I got to Waitara; that's about 40 minutes. And that's less intensive than just watching anime, because I keep pausing the video while I edit the script.

Also, the power meter went from 10% to 3% in two seconds, which seems to be just a tiny bit abrupt.

I'm doing a test right now: 100% CPU, screen on, no disk activity; so far it's gone from 98% (which is where it is once you've booted from standby on battery) to 57% in 14 minutes. The 3% per minute seems to be pretty steady. Also crappy. Particularly since the last 10% is basically gone anyway.

16 minutes: 51%
20 minutes: 40%
22 minutes: 33%
24 minutes: 27%
26 minutes: 22%
28 minutes: 16%
30 minutes: 9%
32 minutes: 3%
34 minutes: 0%
36 minutes: 0%
38 minutes: 0%
40 minutes: 0%
41 minutes: URK

Second pass:

10 minutes: 72%
22 minutes: 38%
30 minutes: 14%
32 minutes: 9%
34 minutes: 1%
36 minutes: 0%
38 minutes: 0%
40 minutes: 0%
41 minutes: URK

Well, the full discharge and recharge didn't help a whole lot.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:42 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Went to upload some new files to Broadcast Machine. It informed me that a new version was out and that I should upgrade immediately. I did so, and it utterly ceased to function.

Installed the new version to a clean directory... twice... and it's working again, or at least not giving any errors. Of course, there are no files there either, but that's a relatively minor detail.

It also comes with some new themes, which while being prettier, use a different size for the images, so all the old images get rescaled in the browser and end up looking like crap. It still has the old theme, only it has changed too, so it ends up looking like crap anyway.

I'll post the new videos, or some of them, since I've spent the hour I'd planned on using to upload the new files beating my head against a wall instead. Then I'll upload the old files. Then I'll upload some more new files. Or something.

Update: Or not. This new release looks like a major downgrade. Bah. And bah again.

Update: One of the things that is particularly broken about the new version of Broadcast Machine is that instead of showing my lovingly handcrafted images on the individual torrent pages, it embeds the file. Yes, it takes your avi file - or your mp3 or zip or whatever it might be, but it assumes it's an avi - and sticks it right there on the web page. Of course, that only works in Internet Explorer 6; other browsers have quite an entertaining variety of ways of not working when they encounter this particular... trick.

Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, their web site seems to have crashed, so I can't visit their forums to ask what drugs they were on when they decided that this was a good idea.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:04 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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I was disappointed with one of the episodes of Dirty Pair I subtitled last month because there were some lines of dialogue that weren't translated. There were just gaps; no subtitles at all. Only a few, but still not the sort of quality I want for a MuNu Fansub. I thought the problem lay with the original translations, which were produced back in the early nineties when the fansubbing community was much smaller.

Because I never considered the possibility that a popular subtitle editing program would have a major bug relating to one of the most common subtitle file formats that could lead to the deletion of words or entire lines of dialogue without any warning.


I am now editing the subtitles for episode 4 in Wordpad.

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While Europe Slept

Bruce Bawer talks about his book:
I was also shocked to hear people refer to immigrants' European-born children as "second-generation immigrants". And their children were "third-generation immigrants". This summed up an incredibly dramatic difference in the ways Americans and Europeans thought about immigrants. My father's parents were Polish, but never in my life had it occurred to me to think of myself as a third-generation immigrant or of my father as a second-generation immigrant. The idea was ludicrous. We were Americans, period.
My father's parents were Polish. My father was born in England, but lived most of his life in Australia. I'm Australian, period.

Read the whole thing, depressing though it may be.

(Via Roger L. Simon)

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Tuesday, May 23


Where ATM Has A Place

To expand on the theme still further:

Our office network is currently 100mbit, switched. There are two main 24-port switches, and a couple of 8-port switches for specific subnets, such as my desk. The exact topology doesn't matter, although a GbE uplink between the two main switches would be nice.

Anyway, the advantage of ATM over fast ethernet (as has been explained to us) is that it can guarantee the delivery of our critical voice traffic at the same time as it maintains a best-effort attempt at delivering data. Which is nice... But I have 100mbits available, unshared, to every desktop. If you are on two phone calls at once, at ISDN quality, that's a little more than one tenth of one percent of your bandwidth. You have to chew through most of the remaining 99.9% before you will start to affect the sound quality of those calls. And your PC (thanks to Microsoft's IP stack) isn't nearly powerful enough to do that. A full-size fast ethernet frame takes, what, 0.12ms to transmit, so the jitter will barely be measurable, much less noticeable.

Essentially, if you have the bandwidth, ATM isn't necessary, and if you don't have the bandwidth, you're going to lose something anyway. So where do we need it at all?

In modems.

If you're a typical home user, you want to do stuff like downloading the latest episode of 24 over BitTorrent while making a VoIP call on your videophone. You've got what, a megabit upstream? Problem.

Enter ATM.

It guarantees the bandwidth for your videophone. Good.

To do so, it has to throw out some BitTorrent packets. Who cares? BitTorrent is completely self-healing at three different protocol levels. Anyway, it's your data it's throwing out, not anyone else's.

And the kicker: High-speed ATM is expensive, because you need high-speed processors to do all the fancy quality-of-service stuff. But we're talking about a megabit or so in an ADSL modem. We don't even need end-to-end QoS, since downstream bandwidth isn't in short supply, only upstream. So, finally, a win for ATM.

Unless you live in Japan, Korea, or Canberra, where ADSL has already been supplanted by something better.

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Downhill Both Ways

As late as 1998, you could find papers extolling the virtues of ATM to the desktop. (Warning: Illegible in browsers other than IE6.) ATM could handle voice and video at the same time! Sure, fast ethernet looked sexy, but you only really achieved 40% of that 100mbits, and a single CSMA domain could only extend 200 metres at its furthest extremes. ATM could plug straight into the corporate backbone, and the 53-byte ATM cells meant a worst-case response time 7 times better than fast ethernet.

ATM to the desktop was the way of the future.


No-one rolled out ATM to the desktop. Everyone rolled out fast ethernet.


One: They already had ethernet. If you have ethernet, and it's slow, then the obvious solution is fast ethernet, right? Which is a large part of why 100BaseVG-AnyLAN died in the market. You can buy fast ethernet or... What was it again? 100BasicVB something? Let's just get some of that fast ethernet that everyone else is buying.

Two: Speed wins. Fast ethernet is 100mbits. ATM was being pushed for the desktop at 25mbits. 100 is more than 25. End of story.

Three: Price wins. Fast ethernet was cheaper.

Four: The price for ethernet switches fell through the floor. Suddenly, no-one in their right mind was using hubs. That 40% ceiling? Erased, utterly. Now you could not only safely hit 100%, you could safely exceed 100%, because different parts of your network were effectively on different circuits - all handled automatically.

That wiped out ATM's former big advantage - quality of service.

Let's say you had a network that was carrying both phone calls and data, such as terminal sessions to your accounting system. If your network gets full, you can't slow down the traffic on the phone calls, because then people won't be able to understand each other. But you can slow down the terminal sessions. It's annoying, but it still works. ATM looks after this for you.

On old-style ethernet, with a single network segment, once you started pushing too much traffic (and "too much" wasn't actually very much at all), everything would stop working. Both the phone calls and the terminal sessions would fail. (There was actually something called isochronous ethernet that ran 96 ISDN B-channels alongside standard 10mbit ethernet, so as to carry voice and data at the same time. It died.)

On new, switched, fast ethernet, it simply wasn't a problem. The phone calls and the terminal sessions weren't competing for scarce bandwidth anymore, because (a) they were put on different circuits, and (b) bandwidth wasn't scarce.

And ATM dropped dead, as far as computer networks go. The phone companies still haven't worked this out.

Right now, I can buy a 48-port gigabit stackable layer 3 managed network switch and 48 gigabit ethernet cards for the same price as one 155mbit ATM module from Cisco. Which way would you go?

And when you come to upgrade your gigabit ethernet, would you choose 10-gigabit ethernet, or... That other thing?

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:51 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Last Friday, I wrote:
The next telco sales rep who tells me that we have to connect to them using ATM because they are selling a business grade product is going to get a punch in the snoot.
Today we have a winner.

But he did it via email.

Sneaky weasels, these sales reps.

But for crying out loud, it's 2006! ATM is a 1970's solution to a 1960's problem. The increases in speed of computer networking mean that the QoS features built into ATM are now effectively redundant, and at the same time, enormously expensive.

Just. Go. Away.


This Wikipedia article provides a good overview of the issues. What it comes down to is that I can get at least three times as much bandwidth over ethernet for the same price, even though I am buying the ethernet from one of the most expensive players and the ATM from one of the cheapest.

Update: Here's a Wired article from ten years ago explaining the problems, only with more personal details. Of course, it's Wired, so half of it is crap, but it's still useful for perspective.

Basically, it's another example of Worse is Better.

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Monday, May 22


Not Enough Words

Steven has a too many words post up about corny (anime) romantic comedies, including a point system for scoring them. But he doesn't calculate the scores for any Rumiko Takahashi shows, because he hasn't seen them. Let's see if we can fill in the gap.


2 or more people seriously contending for the affections of one (1 point for each serious contender)

Well, the two main characters have not just suitors but actual fiancees falling out of the woodwork. Let's start by counting themselves (ignoring their protests), and then adding, at a minimum, Ryoga and Kuno for Akane, and Shampoo, Ukyo, Kodachi, and Kuno (again) for Ranma. 8
...who trickle in 1
...who aren't human (1 for each) 0
...who have special powers (1 for each) 3 (being very conservative there)
Dorky hero (1) 0 He's an idiot, but he's not a dork.
...who has a unique power (1) 1
Klutzy heroine (1) 0 Akane may be klutzy in comparison to the grandmaster martial artists who litter the show, but in everyday terms, no.
...who has a unique power (1) 0 Access to malletspace is hardly unique.
Love expressed as violence (1) 1 I can only award one point?
Obvious choice (1) 1
Women with exaggerated figures (1) 0 for the TV series, but definitely 1 for the movies. Shampoo is pretty well-built even in the TV series, but not exaggeratedly so.
Jiggle (1) 1
Panty flashes (1) 1
Ecchi (1) 1 Not frequent, but it is there.
Joshikousei (1) 1 They're everywhere!!
Meido-san (1) 0
Accidental exposure (1) 1 And intentional, of course.
Accidental groping (1) 1
Swimsuits at the beach (1) 1
Bathing and yukatas in a bathhouse (1) 0 I could be wrong, but I don't recall any yukatas.
Kimonos at a summer festival or cultural festival (1) 0 I'm sure I'm wrong this time, but I can't recall a specific instance.
Girl's locker room (1) 1 Panty thief! Get him, girls!
Cosplay (1) 0 Unless you count Romeo and Juliette.
Romances among secondary characters (1) 0 Well, there's Mousse and Shampoo, but that doesn't really get anywhere.
Meganekko (1) 1 Ran-ko.
Annoying relatives (1) 1 You betcha.
Meddlers (friends or family) (1) 1 Big time.
No romantic resolution at the end (1) 0 I haven't seen the end, so just guessing here.

So 27 points for Ranma.

Tomorrow: Urusei Yatsura. Which gets complicated. You'd think no-one would be interested in Ataru, but he nearly gets married more than once. Hard to say who's serious (Elle, Kurama... sort of) and who's just trying to annoy Lum (Ran-chan, Oyuki). And then there's all the boys chasing Lum. And then there's poor Shinobu. And at least half the characters aren't human, so bonus points everywhere...

And I can still only award one point for love expressed as violence? "Darling no BAKA!" FZZZT!

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Sunday, May 21


If You Insist

Michael Novak, foaming at the mouth over at National Review Online:
The professor Hanks plays makes plain that he believes that Jesus is only a man—a man and that's all. A great moral teacher, perhaps, but only a man.

That, of course, is the one thing that the Jesus himself does not allow us to believe. If Jesus is only a man, he is no great moral teacher. He is on the contrary a fraud, a pretender, a horrible spendthrift with his own life and the lives of his apostles—all twelve of whom met a martyrdom like his, some of them crucified, all of them most brutally killed without the utterance of a single recantation. If He was not the Son of God, one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, he was either a mountebank or a lunatic, and deserves our contempt, not our praise. His every moral teaching would be vitiated by its radical emptiness and fraudulence.

One of the very meanings of being secular today, of course, is to believe that Jesus was exactly all these things—a lunatic or a fraud and, more important than anything else, no more than a man.

Sorry Michael, but this is complete tripe.

Secularism necessarily implies that Jesus is not the son of God, because it involves a lack of belief in gods.

All the rest is your own construction.

So The Da Vinci Code will not exactly be stating any new thesis that secular people don't already accept. What it may succeed in doing, however, is to make dramatically manifest the silliness, madness, and love of illusion in what being secular means, at least to these film makers. It is for this reason, perhaps, that so many secular critics have found this movie repellent. Although it seeks to mock Christians and Jews, it actually makes a purely secular view seem absolutely batty.
(My emphasis.)

That there are secularist moonbats around is an uncontestable fact. But attributing their faults to secularism itself is as false as attributing Pat Robertson's faults to Christianity at large. More so, if anything.

Having said all that, it does sound like the film* is a steaming mound of hyena offal.

* The Da Vinci Code.

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