This wouldn't have happened with Gainsborough or one of those proper painters.

Monday, June 30


Well, Don't Do That Then!

My Vista box bluescreens repeatably when I try to play a DVD Shrink-shrunk, Daemon Tools-mounted ISO using Windows Media Player.

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If You Build It, Give Me One

Here are the builds for the workstations I mentioned below.  Prices are US, from Newegg.  I did the Australian pricing at Techbuy - a lot more expensive for the memory, but quite good otherwise.

The Opteron config is more expensive - and slower - but includes 16GB of memory instead of the 12GB on the Xeon.

Xeon Build $2304

Asus 7ZS motherboard $499
2 x Xeon E5410 (quad-core 2.33GHz) $550
3 x A-Data 4GB FB-DIMM kit $420
Lian-Li V1010A case $270
Corsair 750W power supply $130
2 x Seagate 750GB SATA drive $240
Sapphire 4850 512MB video card $195

Xeon Build w/24GB $3264

Substitute 6 x Kingston 4GB FB-DIMM $1380

Xeon Build w/32GB $3085

Substitute Tyan S5397AG2NRF motherboard $440
Substitute 8 x A-Data 4GB FB-DIMM kit $1120
Substitute Corsair 1000W power supply $270

Opteron Build $2322

Asus KFN5-D SLI motherboard $299
2 x Opteron 2352 (quad-core 2.1GHz) $628
4 x Kingston 4GB ECC Registered DDR2 kits $560
Lian-Li V1010A case $270
Corsair 750W power supply $130
2 x Seagate 750GB SATA drive $240
Sapphire 4850 512MB video card $195

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On a whim, I just priced a dual-quad-Opteron workstation with 16GB of memory.

Scary thing is, I can afford it.

Whether it's a remotely sane thing to buy is another matter entirely.

Hmm.  Same store has the Asus Z7S and 4GB FB-DIMMs at a (relatively) reasonable price, which would give me 24GB of memory.  But I don't know if that board would fit in my case.

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Sunday, June 29


And Everything Old Shall Be New Again

Okay, so they screwed up the new Sim City.

But -

Fallout 3
StarCraft II
And now Diablo III

All we need is another outing for Railroad Tycoon and a new X-Com, and you won't hear from me until 2010...

Oh, almost forgot!  While I'm reliving the 90's, there's a new Slayers series coming next week.  With the original writer, director, designer, and cast all on board too.  That should help me deal with the gap between the end of season 4 of Doctor Who and the start of season 5 of House...

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Saturday, June 28


These Are Some Of My Least Favourite Things

PHP.  Script kiddies.  Any combination thereof.

Perl.  Perl DBI.  Perl DBI apps that merrily eat 2.8GB of memory per frigging instance.

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Friday, June 27


Good News For A Change

I got some good news today - I finally found a source of stock photos that I can use to create a standard theme library for  The existing 20 themes (and the 20 new ones coming in 1.2) used the excellent and very generous PD Photo, but that's just one photographer (albeit a good one) and a couple of thousand photos; this is a couple of thousand photographers and a couple of million photos.

That doesn't mean a couple of million themes, though, since the photos cost a couple of bucks apiece.  But a couple of hundred, yes, I can do that.

Oh yes, since they were so nice to us, I'll give them a free plug: BigStockPhoto.

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Monday, June 23


Dear Diary

Today I implemented 1120 API calls.

Well, okay, I have a bit of mucking about to do with the template generator, but still, not bad for a day's work, eh?

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Sunday, June 22


Not So Delicious Flakiness

I got an error notification from Minx (Minx emails me whenever there's an error) saying that the maximum number of open files had been exceeded.  I logged in and poked around a bit and bumped up the allowed number of open files.

Then I did a bit of testing, and Minx wasn't its usual sprightly self, even though the system was mostly idle, so I decided to restart it.

It had been running continuously since February 24.

And yes, there have been code updates since February 24.  Minx allows for code updates while it's running live.

What that means is not only can the system run, non-stop, for four months, even through code updates, but that none of my updates broke anything.

Also, because there are multiple background processes (each multi-threaded) and a front-end load balancer, I can do a staged restart such that the system is up even when it's being restarted.

Now back to hacking on 1.2...

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This is the Samsung T240, a 24" 1920x1200 LCD monitor.
Or it could be the T260, a 25.5" model, or the T220, a 22" 1680x1050 model, or the T190, a 19" 1440x900 model, or the T200HD or T220HD, 20" and 22" 1680x1050 models with dual HDMI, built-in speakers, and digital and analog tuners.  Samsung uses the same identical picture for all of them.

And this is the LN32A650, a 32" 1920x1080 television with four HDMI inputs* (plus VGA, 2 component inputs, S-Video and composite).
Or, likewise, the 22" or 40" models.  They use a different photo for the 46" and 52", and yet another photo for the 19".


I'll take one of each, thanks.**

The TV's are already in stores in Australia, and the 32" model is about the same price as my 27" 720p from two years ago, and much much nicer.

The monitors haven't shown up here yet, unfortunately, and it's more the monitor than the TV that I'm after.  Newegg are showing the T220 at $319, the T220HD at $399, and the T260 at $549.  That's a bit pricey for the 22" models, but much inline with previous models for the 26".

There's currently a $100 rebate offer on the larger Samsung monitors here, and it looks like they're clearing stock to make way for these new models.  As soon as they arrive, I'm going to pounce.

Oh, and here's a shiny brochure for the monitors, and one for the TV's.

(One little thing I noticed is that the specs say that if you want to connect a computer to one of these TV's via HDMI, you have to use HDMI input #2.  This seemed unusually restrictive, so I poked around to see if I could find out why.  There's a real reason: Only HDMI input #2 provides separate analog audio inputs.  If your computer supports proper HDMI with sound, or you don't care about sound, you can use any of the inputs.  The TV also has digital audio out, so it can be used to switch the four different digital sources to your speaker system.  It also has ethernet and USB...)

Update: And this is the HT-X715 Home Theatre system:
I have to laugh, because it's so designer-run-amok, but it does look good, and it does go together perfectly with the new TV's and monitors.  So I'll have one of those too, please. wink

Update: The one disappointing thing was that there while there is a T200HD and a T220HD, there's no T240HD.  So I can either have 1680x1050, speakers, and dual HDMI, or 1920x1200 with no extras.

I wondered why there was no T240HD; it seemed a natural product, since it can do native 1080P with no scaling.  Then I decided to Google it.

Yes Virginia, there is a T240HD.  On Samsung's Austrian website - but also in dozens of American online stores.  Samsung, you goofs.  There's also a T260HD, which would probably suffice as a TV as well as a monitor.  (UK site this time, not nearly as widely available online.)

* My current TV isn't bad, but has a grand total of zero HDMI inputs.  And it's "only" 720p, or more precisely, that weird resolution of 1366x768 which is popular with manufacturers for no apparent reason.

My current monitor isn't bad either, but it does have a 25ms refresh time (compared with as little as 2ms for these models) and I blew up the DVI input last Christmas.  Mainly it's only 19", and I'd really like something a little larger.  Like two 24" monitors side by side. wink

** Well, while I'd like one of each and every model, my wallet will settle for the 24" monitor and the 32" TV.

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Turn Left

Last week's Doctor Who episode, Midnight, was an okay science fiction yarn.  But if you've read A Fall of Moondust you've already seen it.  And it had a hard act to follow in the previous story, Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead.  Not bad, on the whole, but not insipired.

This week's episode, though, Turn Left, was awesome.

And if they did crib from Arthur C Clarke again, well, there are worse places to borrow ideas.

It's the first part in what promises to be a kick-ass season finale.

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