Dear Santa, thank you for the dolls and pencils and the fish. It's Easter now, so I hope I didn't wake you but... honest, it is an emergency. There's a crack in my wall. Aunt Sharon says it's just an ordinary crack, but I know its not cause at night there's voices so... please please can you send someone to fix it? Or a policeman, or...
Back in a moment.
Thank you Santa.

Saturday, August 30


One Of Those Other Days

Not one of those days; one of those other days.

Okay, so my teraflop video card has to go back for replacement.

But I have three monitors that work perfectly.  I've unboxed the second of the new monitors and hooked it up, and it's as good as the first.  (But about 3mm shorter, for some reason. But it's height adjustable, so I adjusted it.)

It used to be that when you bought a new monitor, you'd spend an hour or so with the controls, setting it so that the edges were straight - and parallel - and perpendicular.   These days, particularly with DVI or HDMI, you don't have any such worries.  What you do have is bad pixels.

Or in my case, what I don't have is bad pixels.  Except for my TV, which has one pixel that is stuck red, all my LCD panels are flawless.

And while I've had more bluescreens today than I've had in the past year, now that I've stopped mucking about with the video card and my integrated graphics (I tried overclocking it; bad idea) everything is stable again.

And now my backup internet connection has started working again.

It went on the blink about three months ago.  At first it would work for a few hours, then drop out repeatedly.  More recently, it would only stay up for a minute or two between dropouts, which made it basically useless.  Between my two jobs and not moving house, I've been too busy to worry about getting it fixed.

Just plugged the modem back in to try it out.  Changed one setting - at some point, I factory reset the modem to try to fix it - and it came up.  19052kbits down, 1023kbits up.  (My primary connection is 18440kbits down, 2081kbits up.  Yay for Annex M!)

And my billing cycle ends tomorrow, so I have 150GB of bandwidth to use up in 24 hours.  Torrentstorm!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:53 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Die, Firefox, Die!

My notebook just updated to Firefox 3.

The "awesome bar" is as craptacular as ever.  Maybe more so.  I hate it with the fury of a thousand suns.

It learns, yes.  After a week, two a the most, it is useful.  And installing the Oldbar plugin at least makes it not ugly as well as stupid.

But the default settings are retarded.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:19 PM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Bipple Bipple Bop...

I've had this song stuck in my head for the last few days, but couldn't work out what it was.  Some sort of j-pop, and most likely an anime theme song, but which one (of thousands)?

This one:

Let me tell you, that's an annoying thing to have stuck in your head.


You're welcome!

Update: From the days when ADV knew how to make ads:

When my local anime store got my orders in each month, the thing I would be waiting for most eagerly was the new ADV tapes, because they'd have new trailers on them.  And the trailers were as you see here, simply the theme song played against a selection of clips from the show.

I bought dozens of ADV titles on this basis.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:11 PM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Mostly Good News

No DVI-eating nanovirus.

Faulty video card.  Two freezes and three blue-screens later - the last while I was updating the drivers - and I've had enough.  That one's going straight back.  I would have worked out the problem a lot sooner if it hadn't been for -

Two faulty DVI cables.  At least that's my current guess; the replacement DVI cable I bought when I started having trouble with DVI input on my old monitor doesn't work.  So, I'm guessing (or at least hoping) that means that my old monitor is in fact fine.  I'm going to test this hypothesis right now.


Yep.  Didn't want to turn on at first for some reason, but it's on DVI right now and working fine.

Well, I guess that's good news.  I'm better of than when I started anyway.  I've now confirmed that my new monitor works on DVI input, my old monitor works on DVI input, and my motherboard works on DVI output.

All I need now is a video card that actually works, and I'm all set!

And maybe another DVI cable...

Update: Currently have my old monitor and one of the new monitors running in dual-screen mode off my motherboard.  Yay for AMD chipsets!  Shame it's only got one digital output, though.

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I forgot Pixy's First Rule of PC Hardware Upgrades:


Three hours into a 10-minute upgrade, you'd be happy if you could even get back to where you started.  Which I have, more or less.  Don't think any permanent damage was done...

I may have a DVI-eating nanovirus, though.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 05:41 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Thursday, August 28


Dropping The Third Shoe

I've ordered a Radeon 4850 to go with my two new monitors.

With a gigabyte of onboard memory,* over 60GB/second of bandwidth, and a teraflop of shader power, it should be just enough to allow Vista to run a slideshow.

* I ordered the Asus EAH4850-HTDI-1G, which has twice the usual memory and a custom cooler.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 12:00 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Wednesday, August 27


Dear Vista Slideshow Team

Die in a fire.

Because maybe, once you're dead, you'll leave my fucking display resolution alone, huh?*

And not take two minutes to start a simple slideshow.  On a 2.6GHz dual-core computer.

Oh, and Vista audio team?  You can join them.  You manage to do a worse job than Windows Me, despite having approximately 15 times the memory and processing power to hand.

* In the usual spectacularly retarded Microsoft fashion, there's a fix to stop Windows doing something it should never bloody well do in the first place.  The fix is: Edit a secret value in the registry.  Yes, the thing that Microsoft tells you never ever ever to touch.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 10:16 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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And Boy Are My Arms Tired!

I used to have three Sony G500 monitors, great big 21" CRTs.  In fact, I think I still have them, lurking at the bottom of my garage.  They work just fine except for the fact that they are horribly over-bright, a fate to which the G500 seems prone.

When they all went nova in rapid succession a few years back, I replaced them with a single 19" LCD, a Samsung 930MP, which I have been using happily ever since.  Slightly less happily since last Christmas, when the DVI input was incinerated under suspicious circumstances, but even with just the VGA input it's still a damn nice monitor.

Today I replaced it with a pair of Samsung 214T monitors.  In many ways these are the successors to the 930MP.  They're 21" 1600x1200 screens instead of 19" 1280x1024, which is nice, and they have a similar range of video inputs.  Not quite as extensive - there's no actual TV tuner in there - and they don't have built-in speakers.  (But the speakers on the 930MP aren't crash hot, and I use a small Logitech 2.1 speaker system now.) 

Like the 930MP they're high-quality S-PVA panels, rather than the typical basic TN that cheap monitors have, which means that the colour doesn't shift every time you move your head.  (Also means that the response time is somewhat slower, and they're not as good for games.  But even the 930MP works fine for the games I play.  Which doesn't include Counterstrike.)

The thing is, I had to carry these monitors about half a mile from the store back to the station.  No problem, I thought.  They're LCDs.  Light.  Compact.  I carried my 27" LCD television home from the store without too much drama.  It's not like the old days of the G500s, which weighed in at 70 pounds apiece.

Not quite.

In their boxes, these beasties still weigh 25 pounds each.  That's twice what a typical 22" widescreen LCD weighs.  As I said, I lugged two of them half a mile, and the boxes are too bulky to just stack them up and carry them that way, so I had to use the awkward little inset carry handles - you know, the sort where there's just a flap of cardboard that folds inwards.

The tendons in my left hand seem to have gone on strike in protest.

These had better be really good monitors!

Hmm.  Maybe now I should buy a video card.

Update:  Good grief.  I have one of the monitors home now and set up in portrait mode.  The screen pivots, so you can run it in 1600x1200 or 1200x1600, as you choose.

That...  Will take a little getting used to.

Update: I think one of these would have done, actually.  I'm sure I'll manage to find a use for the second one though.

Update: Takes a little getting used to indeed.  I just switched to using my notebook, which like pretty much all notebooks these days has a basic TN panel with a glossy finish.

When it comes to colour reproduction, there's simply no contest.  The Samsung 214T kicks my HP notebook into the middle of next week.  Photos that look kind of nice on the notebook screen look downright amazing on the monitor.

Of course, I can get an entire notebook, complete with Windows, for the price of one of those monitors.  But right now, I have no regrets at all over today's purchase.

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I Say Ostinahto, You Say Ostinayto, Let's Call The Whole Thing Off

So, some few days ago, it happened that I posted this:

Those who saw it the first time are probably still suffering flashbacks.

What I was actually looking for when I stumbled across that... item... though, was this:

Although the sound is better in this:

Why, you may ask, was I looking for that?  Well, because of the little song sings at the end of this:

Which is one of the most popular videos on Youtube and fast closing in on fifty million views - the significance of which will become apparent in just a moment.

If one were to visit the Wikipedia page for the Potter Puppet Pals - and yes, of course it has a Wikipedia page - one would learn that the particular musical conceit used in this episode - The Mysterious Ticking Noise - is known as an ostinato.  And if one were to visit the Wikipedia page for ostinato, one would learn that other examples of this device include Pachelbel's Canon...  And ABBA's Take a Chance on Me.

The significance of which will become apparent...  in just a moment.

Now, if we were (for whatever reason) to leap from Wikipedia back to Youtube in search of Pachelbel's Canon, we would soon stumble upon this:

Which just happens also to be one of the most popular videos on Youtube and fast closing in on fifty million views.

And which just goes to show that ostinatos in general and Pachelbel's Canon in particular are pernicious:

Which, sadly, has only racked up five million views, or it would be an even better chain, but still takes us back to refugee's comments on this:

How does ABBA come into it?

Well, the very next day, I was listening (as is my wont) to Dave and Joel's Fast Karate for the Gentlemen (a wonderful show wherein two intelligent and college-educated men talk about cartoons and video games) and the closing music was - you guessed it - Take a Chance on Me.

Dave has mentioned previously the psychic influence he expresses through his music selections - one day he puts something in a podcast, and the next it's released as downloadable content for Rock Band.  Most recently Duran Duran... 

But this time it seems to have worked in reverse somehow.

And the reason Dave chose that particular piece of music to close with was that the actual theme song for the anime being reviewed (Amon Saga, not that it matters) is called Kaze no Take a Chance.  Which tells you everything you need to know about Fast Karate for the Gentlemen.

So, that was how my day went.  You?

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Monday, August 25


A Perfect Place

Just millimetres from where I am at the moment.

I don't have to move after all.

It would be even better if I hadn't just spent two weeks running around looking for somewhere to live, but I'll take what I can get.

Also, all that money I had set aside for moving expenses?  I'm thinking a 24" monitor and a new PC.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:43 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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