The blog that's gotten one comment ever! Thanks mom!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Good times...

So yesterday, Steph and Celeste and Janie all attended one of those parties where you eat and drink a lot while someone tries to sell you kitchen paraphenalia. Taking advantage of this, the significant others of those ladies got together at AB's with his 40+ HDTV and my Xbox 360 for some Bioshock, and then some GRAW2. Much fun was had by all, it's been a long time since I've been able to sit around on the couch and play console games for hours.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

*kicks self*

So I logged into my bank account, and noticed that a deposit had been made into my savings account. For $20,000. After a few hurried phone calls to Janie, we determined that neither of us had any businesses on the side pulling in that kind of scratch, and that somebody somewhere had made a mistake. So I jogged down to the bank, explained the situation, and the teller started sorting through the day's deposit slips. Turns out, someone had come in to make a $20,000 deposit today, only their account was one digit off from ours. Once again, life proves to differ from Monopoly. There are indeed bank errors in one's favor, but you don't get to keep the $20,000.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Found keyboard...

So I found this crazy ergo keyboard out in the hall at work today. I'm going to give it a spin, see if it is worth replacing the one I brought from home.

We're back...

J and I took the weekend to go to Sterling and visit with our friends Batty and Sonoko, who are in town from Japan, helping Batty's folks with computer work for their business. Aaron and Celeste joined us too (we crashed at AB's mom and step-dad's place, they spoiled us muchly), and J and I stopped by my folks to borrow my Jeep from my dad. We got to take it up into some hilly country with some cliffs and do a bit of exploring. It was a very fun weekend, though I'm left rather sore from bouncing around in the Jeep, and sunburned from being an idiot. The second day, I at least put on sunscreen before going out, and wore a hat, but the damage had already been done. With any luck, Batty and Sonoko will be up our way in the not too distant future, and we'll get to spend some more time with them before they return home.

Friday, August 24, 2007

This bed has a two person limit...

So last night, after Janie and I got done with our Thursday night WoW session (had an excellent Underbog run), our friends AB and C came over to check out Bioshock on the 360. Now, I consider it absolutely silly to run a 360 on anything but an HDTV. And I'm not silly. Unfortunately, we only have one HD set, and it's in Janie and I's bedroom. So when folks came over, we all clambered onto the bed to play games. And unfortunately for Janie and I, apparently we bought furniture designed to make sure we weren't into inviting friends into bed with us. The corner where I was gave way, the bed dropped about a foot, and everyone scrambled off before any further collapsing could occur. Using a cinder block wrapped in a towel, we rigged something for the time being, but both Janie and I ended up sleeping on the far side of the bed from the broken corner. I don't think we'll be getting any warranty repairs either, as the place we purchased this furniture from (a shop at some outlet malls) has already gone out of business. We'll be out of town most of this weekend, but when I get back, I'll get to try and find a more permanent fix. No cats were crushed in the destruction of this bed.

I love Penny Arcade

Check this out. It's a four page Wired article, but worth it. The guys Tycho and Gabe are some of my heroes, that's for sure, first for being so damn good at what they do, and second, for things like Child's Play, a charity they started which collects and donates video game systems and games to children's hospitals around the country. It makes me very happy that they're so successful, because they deserve every good thing coming to em. And someday, I'm going to make it to PAX.

Land of the free?

This article from the Washington Post details a manual used by the white house. In it, the policy seems to be, people can protest all they want, as long as the president doesn't notice.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I cannot believe I'm sitting in my basement typing this. First, because I've been glued to my tv since I put the game into the xbox. And second, I'm now so scared of dark places that I should be sitting in my bedroom, with every light turned on, dual wielding flashlights.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Using the xbox as a media streamer

So, using Tversity, I was able to get my torrented TV playing on my HDTV last night. I'm super happy about this. Unfortunately there are a few quibbles I've got with it. Streaming media cannot be fast forwarded or reversed, so it helps if it comes in smaller chunks. I used Handbrake to convert one of my Gundam DVD's, and it looks great, but if I want to watch one of the last episodes on the disc, I've got to watch the whole thing. I'm going to change the way I grab media to favor single episodes over whole discs.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

It's working!

So after spending most of the weekend fighting with my wifi, I gave up, went to Home Depot, bought a 500 foot spool of cat 5, and ran my network to the 360. So far, I'd like to report that I'm going to likely suck at GRAW2, but the demo for Bioshock is so ridiculously stunning, it alone makes the 360 worth the price of admission. Of course, I could have just bought it for the PC, for less than the 360 version will cost me, but best not to think those thoughts. It does look beautiful on the HDTV.

Friday, August 17, 2007

So the 360 is here...

...but it's not online. Despite having no problems being able to connect to my wifi network from the room the 360's in, now I can't connect, either with it, or with other devices. I seem to have bumped something and halved the range of my wireless. I know the network itself is still working, as my MAME cabinet in the basement is still online. Don't you hate it when a new toy gets you considering completely rethinking your home network setup?

Just a quick update...

The 360 should arrive today. I'm really looking forward to it (especially in light of the incredible reviews Bioshock has been getting), but even once it arrives, I likely won't unbox it until Sunday or later. J's got plans for us in Colorado Springs tonight, and my nephew Tade is having his first birthday party tomorrow, so it's shaping up to be busy as always.

As for the RAM, I ran with the new stuff in a dual channel set up, but kept getting crashes when the system tried to read an address and couldn't talk to it. So it's out, and will be going back to Newegg soon. The old stuff is back in, and working fine. I had to run some group quests in the Barrow Downs in LOTRO last night, to 'test' it out. I think this should do nicely.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I'm a jerk.

So yesterday my new RAM came in. I quickly got to work getting it installed. And, wouldn't you know it, the system refused to boot. After an evening of troubleshooting, it looks like my old, expensive ram doesn't like dual channel configurations, despite supposedly supporting it, whereas the new stuff does dual channel just fine. So, my options, I could keep the old stuff and return the new stuff, I could ditch the old stuff and run the new stuff in dual channel, thus doubling my memory bandwidth. Or I could keep fighting with it in the hopes that I could get both sets of memory to work dual channel. But I'm pretty much out of ideas there.

As to why I'm a jerk, I kept calling Jer, the friend who bought me the RAM as a birthday present, giving him the latest details and seeking advice on other things to try. He was convinced that the differently specced memory (the new stuff is DDR400, the old is a fictional spec of DDR600 designed for overclocking) was what was causing the problems. I thought otherwise. I feel like I was being a bit of a jerk, to the guy who had bought me the RAM to begin with. So, Jer, I'm sorry I was being a jerk. I'm mostly better now. I think I'm just going to stick with the new stuff in dual channel and call it good. If anyone would like to do some BIOS spelunking to see if there's a way to get both sets going, be my guest, but I'm out of ideas.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Xbox 360 annoyances so far...

1. Lack of built in wifi. I mean, come on. My fix, a bridge, which will allow me to connect to my WPA wifi network. And it costs about the same as the official wifi adapter, which doesn't support WPA.

2. Lack of media streaming unless you have a windows media center edition OS. My fix, an open source app which may do the trick. Of course, I won't know until I get the hardware in hand, which is still two weeks out. More annoyances as they come up.

UPDATE: Looks like I may have spoken too soon when it came to the media problems. I've read that this guide will help set up a pretty reliable configuration, and that it works under XP Pro. Now I'm just champing at the bit to try it out. No more watching downloaded TV on a laptop!

It is done...

So, after much hemming and hawing, I ordered an xbox 360 last night. I tend to be first and foremost a PC guy, but I believe there's room for consoles. I already own a Wii, which I enjoy quite a bit, but after seeing HD graphics, I was awfully tempted to add a 360 to the line up. The PS3 was ruled out on price alone, although it's slowly developing into an actually interesting console.

What finally sold me on the 360, besides my friend Batty's nagging, was the $50 price drop on the premium model, and the addition of HDMI output. Amazon was even nice enough to list the 360 premium's in two entry's showing which came with HDMI and which did not. Right before I placed the order, I noticed an accessory I hadn't seen before. A USB wifi adapter. For $90. Now I had assumed (yes, bad idea) that the 360 included wifi. I just couldn't comprehend why that wasn't included. And why on earth it would cost $90 for an adapter that didn't even support WPA. So I ordered a Linksys bridge instead. I just hope it works, the HDTV in my house is a long way from my wifi router.

I'm going to hold off buying any games for it until it shows up. And I'm going to try to buy used when I can. New 360 games tend to sell for $60, and I'm having a hard time justifying that. Looking forward to Bioshock though!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Thoughts on internet advertising

Today, I downloaded and installed an ad blocking plugin for Firefox, then wrote a regex to block a specific ad. Why did I go to this trouble? Because if a flash animated dancing alien tried to sell me a new mortgage one more time, I was going to start breaking things. Advertisers, if I'm willing to go to that amount of work to avoid your ad, you're doing something very, very wrong. Ads are a fact of life. The good ones may inspire laughter, or even a purchase. The worst incite violence. Please, unless you want to be personally responsible for setting off a tidal wave of people punching their monitors, enough with the crappy flash ads.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Need sleep badly...

After installing LOTRO the other day, my system performance has been less than great. My PC is no slouch, but it felt like the hard drive was paging constantly, and game performance went downhill every time this happened. My Windows install dated from right after I first built this PC in early 2006, so a clean install wasn't out of the question, it was just a pain I had hoped to avoid. Borrowed a 200 gig USB drive and got to work sometime around 8 pm last night. Even with USB 2, transferring all the data I wanted to save took forever, and I ended up ditching a lot of my torrented TV shows that I had already seen but wanted to keep. Got the OS install finished, and left with two different MMO's updating, while copying my backed up information back to the fresh, clean OS. Climbed into bed around three.

This morning, ran a sanity check with LOTRO. It does seem better, but I still saw some stuttering issues that had been the impetus for this little update. So, better, but not quite perfect. My friend Jer was going over my system specs, hoping to find some smoking gun as to why I'm having these issues, where he hasn't had any problems. His solution was to order me another gig of RAM. Thanks Jer! All right. I left my phone at home, and I need coffee. I'll be back in 15, assuming I don't fall asleep on the couch...

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Stories like this make my skin crawl


I remember a time when I was proud to be American. I wish that were still the case.

Missing Janie

Janie's on one of her training trips this week, leaving me to my own devices. This usually means I'm up at all hours playing games, taking breaks to go to work. At one point, I played so much because I enjoyed it. Now, I play because I can't sleep when J's gone, and I need the distraction from missing her. With Celeste's permission, I now present an IM discussion we had this morning on this subject.

Cecelia: You doing okay with Janie being gone?
Solar: Eh. I get all sad and mopey.
Solar: There was a time in Janie and I's relationship where I reveled in her trips. I could be a huge slob and play all the games that I want! But lately, I just miss her when she's gone.
Solar: Games, fun as they are, are a woefully poor substitute.
Solar: I prefer playing Janie.
Cecelia: umm
Cecelia: TMI!
Solar: :)
Solar: She has all these great buttons.
Cecelia: dude
Cecelia: Unfortunately she doesn't support multiplayer
Solar: lol

Sunday, August 5, 2007


You know when you have an itch that you just can't seem to satisfy? Thus Scott, this evening. Although I play World of Warcraft, I saw a friend playing Lord of the Rings online, and the Tolkein fanatic in me suddenly had to play. I borrowed a copy of the game from someone who no longer played, complete with account details, planning on just reactivating the account and giving it a whirl. After hours of installing at patching, I attempt to log in. No good. The user name or password must be incorrect. Luckily, the original account owner was online in WoW. A few phone calls, and I had new account info, which, matched almost exactly what I already had, and still didn't work. So I reset the password. I waited for an email giving me a link to follow to set a new one. The link claimed it had already been used, or had expired...

...gah! If I could buy a frelling copy of the game at this point just to play, I would. Instead, I'm going to go watch tv and eat ice cream. Gaming is such a harsh mistress.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Storm update

Well, despite having a few puddles of water in the basement last night, plus more heavy rain after J and I went to bed, things were fairly dry in the morning. As for the gutter spouts going into the ground by the foundations, I've been told that unless the builder was insane, these are connected to another pipe to divert the rainwater away from the house and into the soil. The leaks we had were simply due to the soil taking on more water than it could handle and getting saturated. All in all, I'm feeling a bit better about the situation.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Ah, the joys of owning a home...

So this storm passed through tonight. As my gaming system is in the lowest part of my basement, and that's where I spent most of the storm, I thought things were fine. Come to find out however, a lot of water has seeped through the southern wall. The gutters and drain pipes, instead of pushing the water out away from the foundations, are actually sunk right into the ground along the southern side of the house. This does not seem like a good design to me. As long as it keeps raining, more water is getting poured right by my foundations. Anyone have any advice?

My Jeep is pretty...

My parents took the CJ-3B with them to a big get together for Jeep fans in southern Colorado this week. It's sponsored by a large four wheel drive club, and there's folks from all over the country there going on guided trail runs and such. They've been having a good time, and taking the 3B on trails tougher than anything they've ever done before. Wednesday was vendor day, with everyone taking a break from the trails to attend vendor sponsored bbq's and look at all the new Jeep toys. They also had a 'show and shine' competition, where you could put your Jeep on display. Dad's 3B won first prize in the 1975 or older stock competition. I can't even say how proud I am!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Yokohama at night

I found this on Digg, and as I've ridden the ferris wheel pictured here, thought I might present this to you for your approval. It's a 360 degree panoramic shot of Yokohama at night.

Congrats Brose!

My friend Ambrose has his very own IMDB entry! Check it out here! Here's hoping more film credits come his way! Can't wait for Eyeborgs to come out next year. Who's up for a release party?

Have you read my blog?