Well that's good. Fantastic. That gives us 20 minutes to save the world and I've got a post office. And it's shut!

Saturday, January 31


Stupid Apache

If you're going to die with a fatal error, at least print out the damn error message!!

Nearly six hours of downtime over a problem I could have fixed in thirty seconds if it had just told me what was wrong. frown

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 05:39 AM | Comments (11) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Sunday, January 25


Western Digital, You Dickheads!

Okay, it's not as bad as Seagate's brick-in-a-box trick, but it's plenty annoying.

Western Digital have three lines of desktop drives: Black, the performance model; Blue, the everday model; and Green, the low-power model.

The Green range run at 5400RPM.

Western Digital not only do not advertise this fact, they go to great lengths to hide it.  The speed of the Green range of drives is not stated anywhere on their website.

That leads to retailers assuming that the drives are, in fact, 7200RPM.

That leads to people buying them as replacements for actual 7200RPM drives, installing them, building them into RAID arrays, and then having to manually unpick their whole filesystem/logical volume/volume group/physical volume/RAID volume structure so that the 5400RPM drive isn't mirrored with the 7200RPM drive for the database partition.

I sent them a nastygram, you bet.

And another thing:  It's 2008.  Sun had a graphical tool to manage all that crap in 1998.  Why doesn't Linux?  (Update: Maybe YAST can do it.  If I can just get YAST to work...)

That said, all the RAID/LVM stuff is at least robust.  I pulled it apart and put it back together using the command line tools, and it all worked.  Didn't need to change mdadm.conf or fstab at all.  Mind you, that's because I got it right, but if you get it right it works.  Unlike certain things I could mention...

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 08:28 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Tuesday, January 20


The Mysterious Ticking Noise

No, it's not a pipe bomb, it's my two brand new 1.5TB Seagate drives waiting to go off.

Thanks a bunch, Seagate.  That's two critical firmware bugs in your leading product in the space of two months.

I've just ordered two 1TB Western Digital drives and a dual-bay external case.  There's a firmware upgrade coming from Seagate, but I don't trust that not to make things worse, so I'm going to back everything up first.

Update: I was planning to order one more of the 1.5TB drives.  That would have been a lot  cheaper (two 1TB drives plus the external case is about the same price as two 1.5TB drives) and would have given me enough room to back everything up, and it's pretty unlikely that more than one of the Seagates would have bricked themselves at once.  Probably.  Eh.  Oh well.  All the extra hours I'm spending at my day job that have been keeping me from mee.nu have at least been paying me reasonably well, so I can afford it.

Update: My drives might not be affected.  The great majority of reported failures so far have been on the SD15 firmware, and my two drives are SD17 and SD19.  Found an online database tracking 80-odd failures, and none of them were on those revisions.  So I might have just spent a few hundred dollars for...  Well, for a nice 2TB USB/eSATA external drive.

Update: The Windows Search service really slows things down when you're trying to do backups.  And it's a stubborn little bugger.  I stopped it, and performance improved for a while, and then things got slower and slower and maybe my drive was on the way out but no!  Windows Search had started itself up again.

So I broke its legs.

Update: My shiny new 1TB drives are Caviar Green models - which the online store didn't say - which are 5400RPM - which Western Digital doesn't say.  Shades of 1992.  On the other hand, they use just 2.8W when idle, which is perfect for an external drive case.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 03:54 PM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Thursday, January 15


You Could Take A Shower In It

Don't have a working cold water tap today.  Have a hot tap, and a slightly hotter tap.

The hot water at my place is locked to a child-friendly 50°, while outside it hit a not-so-friendly 43° today.

I bought a little water cooler just before Christmas.  Best $99 I ever spent.

Ah.  The promised 'cool change' (a.k.a. violent thunderstorm) looks like it's arriving right about now.  Not a minute too soon, either.

Update: Temperature dropped nearly 15° in two hours.  That's better!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 04:05 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Wednesday, January 14


How To Sell Something To A Pixy

  1. Take five things the pixy wants that would cost $150 individually, and sell them as a bundle for $100.
  2. Offer the pixy a 30% discount and a $5 voucher every month if they join your club.
  3. Take another 50% off for two days only.
Works every time.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 05:44 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Wednesday, January 07


The Most Useful And Elegant Site On The Web

No, not this, though it does run a close second if I say so myself.


Posted by: Pixy Misa at 04:56 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Tuesday, January 06


Doncha Hate That?

Installed Acid Pro 7.

Can't output to AAC.  (Or RealAudio, but I don't care about RealAudio a whole lot.)

No idea why; it's just not in the drop-down list to be selected.

It can read AAC files just fine, but it can't write them.  Says on the box that it can, but on my computer it says nuh-uh.


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Sunday, January 04


What's In The Other Box, Pixy?

What, you mean this orange one?

Yes, I did rather splurge in the Christmas/New Year sales.  Offline, I only bought Godannar, The Dresden Files, and the Spore expansion pack.

My Adobe CS4 disks arrived, of course, which was a nice present.

And then online I bought Poser 7, Manga Studio Debut, Anime Studio, Acid Pro, and eight loop libraries, all discounted between 33 and 55%.

And then I hit Steam, and bought the Orange Box ($26.99), the Super ID Software Pack (everything ID has ever published, right back to Commander Keen, $34.99) and Bioshock ($4.99).  Tried to pick up a couple of other things, but Steam aren't selling them in Australia. sad

Which means that in addition to the 5GB or so of Acid Pro stuff, I have waiting to be downloaded: Half Life 2 (3.5GB), Half Life 2: Episode One (4.7GB), Half Life 2: Episode Two (9.7GB), Half Life 2: Lost Coast (2.9GB), Portal (6.2GB), Team Fortress 2 (7.2GB), Bioshock (6.9GB), Quake 1, 2, and 3 and expansion packs (3GB) and Doom 1, 2, and 3 and expansion packs (4GB), and a bunch of other smaller things.

The quota canna take it, Cap'n!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 05:22 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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What's In The Box, Pixy?

Acid Music Studio doesn't support multiple processors (not that I really need it for anything I've done so far; my most complex production uses 61 tracks and could still be mixed in real time even on a 1.2GHz Athlon) and can't export to AAC, AC3, FLAC, or MPEG-2.  Acid Pro does support all of these, but it's a $300 program, and I don't really, really, need it.*

But back in the day, when I had more money, I actually bought a copy of Acid Pro.  That was version 3, and they're now up to 7, but apparently I can still upgrade for $135 - if I could only find my old serial number.

Bit of a fool's errand, since I haven't seen the manual since 2004, but I went upstairs and took a look anyway.

Found it in less than ten minutes.  Also, four of my missing Beatles CDs and two of my missing Mike Oldfield CDs.  (But not Tubular Bells II.)

So I hopped onto Sony Creative's online store, got my Acid Pro 7.0a, my free copies of Garritan Aria, Acid Pro Effects Rack, Native Instruments Guitar Combos, and Submersible Music KitCore Drums - none of which I know anything about - my 3GB of bundled loops, and my free "Standard" loop library (unfortunately, you only have eight to choose from, and three of them I already had).  That last one is from an offer that has apparently expired, but nobody's bothered to turn it off, so I still got it.

I need to do a little tweaking; the VU meters in Acid 7 include a peak meter that I'm pretty sure wasn't in version 2 (which I used for my original composition), because while I was reloading my old projects I noticed immediately that several of them suffer from clipping.  I already knew that the volume settings weren't even between albums, and wanted to adjust that anyway.  There's also one track that needs one or two bars of drum solo snipped - it just bothers me; the delay before the melody comes back is too long - and another that needs the strings brought up relative to the woodwinds in one passage.

Once I've remastered things, which shouldn't take too long, I'll reupload everything for the enjoyment** of readers who weren't around back in the old, old days.

Update: Erp.  I need to cut back on my downloads just now - I'm approaching my limit, and my quota doesn't reset until the 14th - so maybe buying 5GB+ of software and loops wasn't the best idea right now.  Garritan Aria is 1GB by itself.

* Acid Pro also supports 24-bit/192kHz audio (vs. 16-bit/48kHz), which is great for professional mastering but nothing I need unless I'm planning to make a breakthrough hit in the dolphin market); "improved" pitch- and tempo- shifting, which will be interesting to see, as pitch shifting is something that's a bit hit-and-miss in Acid Music; support for 5.1 sound mixes; the three XFX audio processing libraries, which would cost $105 by themselves; a separate mixer panel; and support for external "control surfaces" - USB mixing desks and the like.  It's pretty good value if you happen to have an existing serial number from a past life.
** I use the word advisedly...

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 04:27 PM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Question for all my listeners: What was the second album in the Dance Dance Kitten series?

The first was the eponymous Dance Dance Kitten.
The third was of course What Dance Dance Kitten Did on Her Holiday.
And the fourth was Kitten Nation.

I think the second might have been something simple like Dance Dance Kitten Returns, but I can't remember, and Google offers me no hits.

Actually, I think it was more like Dance Dance Kitten Takes Off, though that's not quite right.

Somewhere I must have a backup of the original Electric Ant Orchestra site ca. 2001, but I have no idea where.

Update: You know, there's a reason why I need 10TB of disk space.

The answer is, What Dance Dance Kitten Did on Her Holiday is the second, not third, in the series.

The third is in fact Dance Dance Kitten In Love.

Having ascertained that, I present, all the way from 2001, the EAO:


Posted by: Pixy Misa at 12:15 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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