Friday, December 23, 2011

The Huh? Files: Megaman 3.

When I first got Megaman 3 I was very disappointed in the game. It wasn't as good as Megaman 2. The graphics were darker. They weren't as bright and cartoony as the second game. The sound effects were bland. The same sound was used over and over for several weapons. Music was just blah. Why couldn't at least the battle music from 2 have been used in the Doc Robot stages? Was that his name? Fighting Doc Robot was harder than the castle bosses. Castle bosses didn't have an invulnerable period after being hit. So if your controller had a turbo button on it... Or you can just use Top Spin. Works really well on the first, third, and final bosses.

No prologue. In Megaman 2 that really helped set up the game. Megaman 3 needed one. To explain that Dr. Wily had turned good. Or what's going on with the excruciatingly long stages with some junk heap robot using the powers from Megaman 2. Just what was the deal behind Breakman/Protoman anyway?

Long term views: It's not a bad game. I still enjoy it to this day. The music has grown on me. Looking back with experience in other games I now see many innovations started in this game. The 8-4-4 game layout got its start here. 8 regular stages, 4 Doc Robot/sub castle, and 4 Wily stages. (I know that there are technically 6 Wily stages, but can you really count those last two?) Introducing Rush and the slide really opened up possibilities in stage design not possible before.

Overall I rate this game as the third best of all the NES Megaman games.

So what have I possibly found out in this game that hasn't already sniffed out in over 20 years? What could all the big Megaman fan sites and some video game oddities sites missed? Plus a couple dedicated to totally ripping apart the code of not only Megaman 3, but Rockman 3, and even the prototypes. (Yes I did my fact checking on this. I have no doubt that somewhere locked up in a forum or blog post is an article detailing this, but has long since been pushed way back to beyond obscurity in a Google search. 
Just a couple clicks above me.)

This is what all of us in North America saw at the end of the first Wily Stage. There's nothing suspicious about this what so ever.

Years later I would finally get my hands on a copy of Megaman: The Wily Wars. This was back in the days before widespread use of the internet. In those days you had to call up every game reseller in a video game magazine to beg and plead for them to order in a game from Japan or Europe. You paid out the nose for it too. Made worse because after cutting the slot edges in my Sega Nomad to get the game to slide in, It wouldn't work! It was a PAL game. I had to wait another week for for a PAL adapter to come in.

The Wily Wars is defiantly worth going out and getting. The overall experience is great and leaves you wondering why Megaman 4, 5, and 6 have yet to get even this treatment. Though I had a feeling throughout that this wasn't the best that could have been done with the Genesis's graphics and sound. It felt like the new graphics and sound were just overlaid onto the original game program. There are many instances of a badguy's weapon passing through the very top of Megaman's head. Right about where the top of the original Megaman graphic would have been. Megaman's weapon shots would do the same.

Playing all the way through Megaman. (No pause function that allows you cheat.) Playing all the way through Megaman 2. (The original NES sound effects were cooler.) Then playing all the way through Megaman 3 I found this:

I thought: "Odd. Why did Capcom change that? They didn't change any this else in any of the other stages." I finished up the game and got distracted playing the bonus Wily Tower stages. (Boy is that Metal Blade useful.) Then I got out of my room and went to a strip club. Got a really invigorating lapdance from a raven haired beauty.

(If you are detecting that I'm about to rabbit trail off into some unrelated topic, you're right.)

Buddy of mine, Heath, was always bragging about how "in" he was at De Ja Vu. That he was always talking the ladies up to his room. John called bullshit, along with the rest of us, and bet a $100 that Heath couldn't get even one of the strippers before he ETSed. A couple of weeks later Heath grabbed up a bunch of us perverts and and showed us this video of a De Ja Vu girl in his room. I said "Hey I know her! She gave me a lapdance." You should have seen the sour look on his face.

Later he admitted that he never did never anything with her (to her he wouldn't say, thank God.) He never collected on the wager. He was a nice guy. Too nice as I would find out a couple of years later in Kentucky.

When you get a group of soldier bullshitting, two topics will always come up: What units were you in and did you know so-and-so. I was talking about all the fun times up in Seattle when Billy asked if I knew a guy named Heath. "Let's see, Specialist type, one each? Loves bragging about going to strip clubs and bagging the ladies?" Yep we knew the same person. Billy had spent a couple of years in Hawaii and it turned out Heath went to Hawaii after I went to Korea. I then told Billy about the whole De Ja Vu thing and Billy told me that Heath had paid through the nose to get that stripper over to Hawaii with him. Just to get dumped. That's Heath.

I was always amazed how it was that on posts of tens of thousands that a couple of guys from differnt sides of the county could meet up and know a third guy.

Heath should have gone to Korea with me. Would have been much more fun. Those Korean and Philippina chicks were sooooo hot. On top of that you could go downtown and buy your very own bootlegged copy of the Rockman 6 in 1 Famicom game cart.

(Wondering how I was going to get back on topic? Hello? Hello? Anybody there?)

About 99.9999% of the game I saw were all bootlegged. Almost all the Famicom, all the PSX, Saturn, Genesis, etc, etc all forgeries. (That .0001% and "almost all?" Super Mario Bros. Ironically all those cartridges were originals.)

Playing all six Rockman games at once you notice a few things. Like, there really is no difference from game to game. Aside from the Japanese script there really is no graphical difference between Rockman and Megaman.

Except here:

So as it turns out the Wily Wars wasn't changed at all, it was the American version. Why?

The Huh? Files: Megaman 6.
Ever play Megaman 6 and Rockman 6 and not warp through the prologue?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ravy 2011 Pg. 50.


I've lamented about this in the past, I will do so in the future, and I will do so right now. Comics based on current events get to be irrelevant rather than irreverent.

I got to read an issue of Mad Magazine from the early Seventies. (A long time ago I lamented about having to say the 1920's instead of the Twenties. I'm sure that I can still say the Seventies and most people will get that I mean the 1970's. Just so happens I caught that episode of House in which he went to an 80's Party. He dressed up like the 1780's.) In this particular issue was a bit with photos of a Nixon press conference with thought balloons added. It was about if Little Big Horn happen during the Nixon Administration.

I didn't get one bit of it at all. It was all because I'm too far removed from the events of the 70's. All I know about Nixon is what I read in history books and what comedians impersonating his voice say. Though I have to say a joke like this can be recycled for any president.

That's why I've tried to avoid making much hey over current events. They make a comic even more irrelevant than it already is. Years ago I did a number of comics involving gays in the military and people may stumble across them and go “Doesn't he know that Don't Ask, Don't Tell has been repealed? Becky can just go and hug and kiss her girlfriend coming back from Afghanistan.”

The problem is made worse (by me) because I paste together my comics months and years in advance. With the comic on this Monday is one of those that will have people wondering what it is I'm thinking, more than usual. This comic was done six months ago. I did a similar joke a year earlier, which got posted six months later. (You still with me? God I hope so 'cause I'm not.)

This story got all kinds of play in the Massachusetts New York press, and I found blurbs in the Politico and Huffington Post. Why did I jump on this? Because I am so sick of that stereotype of southerners being nothing more than a bunch of inbred hicks. Finally one of those overpriced universities filled with faculty that look down their nose at all of us got hit upside the head with this stupidity. (By the way, I know the old saying, “you don't get to be a stereotype for no reason.”)

By the time I got around to making the first comic about this news story it had long since run its course and I had to type in some pretty descriptive terminology into Google to even find any articles about it. That told me it was time to kill that joke. Dan Quayle's “potatoe,” Al Gore's excessive sighing, and now Massachusetts New York in a “family way” are all jokes that I have officially declared dead.

Behind Wily's back? Full throttle on that one.


Emergency update: Comes to my attention that I screwed up. I'll explain later. Which Will ppear above this article.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Way Back Machine: The almost way too coolest net tool ever.

I found out about his a few weeks ago. What it is and archive of websites going back ten and fifteen years ago. It is mind blowing.

Note the title has the word almost in it. It's kind of buggy.

Right in the eye catching middle of the page is a search box. You type into it and are taken to the current site. Not an archived site, the one that is there right now, not the archive. The actual archive search is in teeny-tiny box in the no so eye catching upper left corner of the page.

You need to know the exact URL. No guesses allowed. You would think that Web Site #9 would be or something. Nope. Fortunately The MSTing Mine still has a dead link right on the front page.

Sites are not fully archived. You get bits and pieces on one date, and different bits and pieces at a different date. Some sites don't get archived at the right time. Web Site Number 9 only got archived after in was taken down. I did manage to save a couple of fanfics that are not available elsewhere. Video Night at Mako-chan's and the Misery Senshi Neo-Zero Double Blitzkrieg Debacle. However I didn't save La Bleu Sammy. I only regret having read it.

When sites are saved by the Way Back Machine, sometimes the original coding is messed up a bit. Like CSS documents aren't saved and such. Things like frames and scroll bars are scrolled way off where you can't see them.

Bookmarking is a bitch. I can't seem to bookmark individual pages like a normal site. Sometimes it won't work, other times it will take me back to the Way Back Machine's homepage. Once in a while I'm lucky enough to at least be able to bookmark the home page of the site I found.

The Way Back Machine's archive is not searchable by Google. A real major draw back.

One major bug is that sometimes there is confusion of an old snapshot with a current one. Once in awhile the hacked version of The People's Sprites will show up in 2006.

Speaking of which, y'all might find this interesting. I don't put a lot of weight behind that declaration. Remember that the Deccus Wily Sprite had been removed. I imagine for a reason. Too bad the sheet itself isn't there. None of the other snapshots have it. Like I said, it's buggy.

I did look up mine. Interesting, I had forgotten a lot of tings. Like when I was posting a bunch of comics. I was truly mystified as to when certain ones went up. Now I know. I have been wanting to change from calling them seasons and go with the year of publication.

(Yikes! As I write all this out, I am looking at many different pages at once, one of them is mine, (of course.) I just noticed a mistake in the comic posted and promptly fixed it.)

I did go through earlier snapshots and have to constantly wonder why this was saved and not that. I'm not going to comment on the construction; because unlike other comics that annoy me when the cartoonist digs up old comics to (A) apologize for his work, (B) make us feel sorry for him, or (C) brag about how great he is now and we all should bow before his greatness. I try not to be that annoying. I'm mildly satisfied by annoying people by pointing the boney finger of indignation at what annoys me about them.

Weren't we talking Deccus a few paragraphs ago? Here is Those Beyond Time dot com. Yes it really did exist. Unfortunately 2003 wasn't archived. So the actual comic is lost except to those of us that manged to find it originally. You can at least read Warped Reality the way Deccus had intended.

(By the way, if you Google Those Beyond Time you will find a blog about an elf chick who likes to draw elf chicks. Interesting.)

Now I am not at all pissed, ticked, annoyed, or anything negative emotionally at all the bugs the Way Back Machine has. These are people spending what little spare time they have and what little money they have in a labor of love. The archivers are having to deal with over 15 years of thousands of different styles and evolutions in web coding. Trying to make it all work in current browsers that are constantly being changed.

I am happy enough to have finally found Shadey Theatre.

I am currently going through and doing what I should have done 8 years ago. Too bad there's only a handful of comics saved.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Ravy 2011 Pg. 49.

Click Here.

I have a choice of subjects. I can talk about how I got shit on by AVG, or I can go positive and talk about the latest issue of Rosario Vampire. We all know what I usually do.

Got a warning message that my AVG subscription was about to expire. How could that be? It's brand new. Model number 2011. I installed it in a fresh install of Windows 7 just a couple of months ago. I retyped the license key many times. No effect. I registered, nothing happened. I did get a hold of a technician on the phone. He gave me a new license, but it only extended the deadline by a few more days. Then he went and told me the original license had been activated in 2009 and made it sound like that I was trying to cheat them. I knew then and there that they had fucked me. You see, how do you activate a license in 2009 for a product that didn't get released until late 2010? Then wasn't purchased until late 2011 and installed.

This tricked had been employed before. Remember CompUSA? When they went out of business, I bought a bunch of anti-virus software for everybody I knew. A few days later I started getting multiple ears full of complaints that the software had expired. I learned later that some software manufacturers put an expiration date, or even deactivate unsold previous version licenses when new software comes out. AVG did it too. That brand new copy of AVG 2011 I paid $60 for a two year license was already set to expire at the end of 2011.

I wasn't going to yell at a phone jockey over this, he was just reading and doing what was written down for him by the guys that did the fucking in the first place. I kept my voice low and language clean and said simply that this was inexcusable and that I am no longer a customer of AVG and switched to a competitor.

In other news: I found an old webcomic. Stay tuned.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cheap Flash.

Being in the right place at the right time has allowed me to purchase three copies of Flash for the price of one.

Way back when in 2004 I was perusing my favoritest computer store when I saw a used copy of Flash MX on the shelf for about $200. A lesson I learned a long time is you don't wait for next time to buy something like that. You buy it now. Many a time is that I decide I don't want that right now, I want it next week. Next week it is no longer on the shelf.

Not much later I noted that everybody had switched to Flash 8. I figure I should look into it as well. Discovered I could use Flash MX to upgrade for only $200. So I did. Flash 8 worked fine on XP and was a little hectic on Vista. So I saw no real reason to change. Until Win 7. It was just that Flash Eight was old tech. Not to sure if it would even work with Win 7. Didn't even try. Checked in with Adobe and found that my copy of Flash MX was still valid for the upgrade to Flash CS5.

I know that Flash's days are numbered. Adobe is moving in the direction of HTML5. I have a feeling that someday that Flash MX will be scrubbed as an upgrade tool so that Adobe can force people to buy the $700 full version that is no different than the upgrade.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ravy 2011 Pg. 48.

Click Here.

Looks like only a few weeks left. Going end officially middle of December. I do have plans to fill out the last two weeks. Be picking up again in January.

By the way, Any Video Converter is mostly excellent addition to your video editing portfolio. It can convert just about anything to the most common formats. I have some Real Media formatted videos, and the codec packs for Windows wouldn't play them in Windows Media Player. The converter I was using before did a really crappy job on Real Media formatted files. I did a Google search and found Any Video Converter.  Tried it out and it worked fine. The free version will do what you need it to do. Even with GVI.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Addendum to Ya See It, Save It.

I had originally meant to tell this story a while ago but forgot. I could always go back into the article and add to it, but hey, I can probably stretch it out to a multi-paragraph, rambling, rabbit trailing off into unrelated nothingness of a multi-paragraph, rambling, rabbit trailing off into unrelated nothingness.

Around November of 2003, me and a bunch of guys were granted passes to go to Kuwait for about a few days of R&R. Not everybody could take leave during our little vacation in Iraq. So a drawing was held. People wrote their names on a piece of paper and put it in the platoon sergeant's hat. I didn't put my name in because I thought that the married soldiers should get the opportunity to go home. I was used to such long deployments. A few years earlier I had spent a couple of years in Korea and never took leave. Of course Korea and Iraq have a few differences, mostly in the amount of drinky-girls available to give you a lap dance.

So the drawing is held, and by total coincidence, happenstance, by shear luck itself, divine providence from God, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Belldandy, the first name drawn was the platoon sergeant's, by the platoon sergeant. Wow, didn't see that coming.

So I get to go to the port-a-potty capitol of Operation Iraqi Liberation.

It was really nice. No weapon, got to leave that back with HQ. I had the SAW. Nice not to worry about that for a few days. A well stocked PX. Restocked on babywipes. I was down to those wet naps from the MREs. Trust me, babywipes are your friend. A real shower from a real shower. Hot water, with privacy. No PT. Sleep in, go to bed late as you want. On a real bed.

An internet cafe in which you can hook up your own laptop. Important note because remember at this time thumb drives had yet to become really available. All I had on me was a broken zip drive and my laptop. I paid my fee, plugged in and went to everybody's favorite place: Bob and George.

I had saved and read, re-read, read again, and read some more all of our favorites. It was time to update. Taco, Umiliphus, Oddball, Jailhouse Blues, and Warped Reality to name a few.

HOLD IT! Something is not right, here. Where's Warped Reality? It's not there at all? What happened? I want to know if all the other evil scientists ever managed to catch Dr. Evil.

My first instinct was to do an internet search. (I won't say a Google search because I quite frankly can't remember if I was using Google at this time.) I searched for Warped Reality and found a site called (don't bother it doesn't exist anymore.) Apparently Deccus decided to strike out on his own. I guess so he could do what he wanted to do without having to follow the rules set out by someone else.

That's one of the sad stories of cartooning. If you have someone else publish your work, you have a dozen other people telling you what to do. And sometimes making changes without any say so on your part.

Months and months later I'm home and go and try to find this site. All I find is a banner saying “Under Construction.” Once a month, once every two months, six, and so forth I check in until I get that “Server not found” messages. Another great web cartoonist captured by reality.

Fortunately I was smart. And saved all those new comics Deccus did. Oh, I forgot to mention in addition to Warped Reality there was another comic that Deccus had started. Ironically named “Those Beyond Time.” All about the Wily-bots adventures in time travel to put things wrong that once went right. I saved about seven of them.

That's what taught me the lesson to always save what you see. You never know if a comic, news article, Youtube video, or blog gets scrubbed out of existence.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ravy 2011 Pg. 47.


The last couple of weeks of comics were really fun to do. Working with the kids was a blast. Next year they really take over for awhile. Writing for them wasn't all that hard, I just had to keep my sense of humor in check. I'm dealing with characters that are between the ages of 4 and 14. Just because my parents let me read Hustler Humor at that age...

I poke fun of that. The kids sneaking into my room, finding all those black and white comic books, and getting a box of crayons to improve them. However, unlike Becky I don't go full Konata when buying manga so those are my only copies of Haruhi Suzumiya being colored in.

The next run of comics were more difficult logistically speaking. Taking dozens of pictures of that car, cutting it out, screen shots of Google Street View and getting that camera turned perfect and giving up when it won't. Forgetting what percentage of fading was used for the characters behind the glass.

That last paragraph in conjunction with this week's comics is a hint of things to come. But not next year, I still have yet to explain why Nancy needed all those rubber balls.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Ravy 2011 Pg. 46.

Click Here.

It's been a couple of weeks on the new schedule. It's been trying. To getting the blog updated at the right time to getting the page uploaded so the link up there works. Then there's the fact I've forgotten a few times to even update the site. I try my best because I'm annoyed by those that don't.

Bloom County has been annoying me. It's not Berkely Breathed's fault what so ever. I got over being annoyed by him 20 years ago. It's the syndicator really. I have a paid subscription that delivers to my inbox a slew of selected comics. The one that I save is Bloom County. What annoys me is the filename. They put today's date on the comic. It gets worse because you can go to the web site that Bloom County is posted on and the filename is a long string of garbage. For about a week last month the ones I got in the mail did not have today's date. They had a generic filename. It was the same one everyday. So I had to redo the name myself.

It did get fixed.

Now the version of Bloom County over at the Seattle Times had the original date on it. I like that because I could look up that date in history and get reminded of what was going on in the world at the time. Which was influencing the comic then.


That run has come to an end. At the time I write this, that page seems locked on the final comic. May be they can go to Outland, or better yet start at the beginning. Time will tell.

I gets worse. I have all the original books. I even have several copies of the album, still in the books. I have even been buying the Bloom County Anthology series. The best part of that, there are comics that were published way back when, but have been lost, protoform versions, and the occasional commentary.

I'm sure Mr. Breathed appreciates all the money that I, and originally my mom through my dad's credit card have given him.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Advice for Future Veterans.

Over the years I have had the rather dubious honor of dolling out advice to those that are considering joining the military. First of all I warn them that I am going to be brutally honest in what I tell them. I also warn them that it has been a number of years since I went through Basic and AIT.

I'm sure most of us have seen Full Metal Jacket. That was accurate back in the 60's and 70's. If want something that is more real, at least for the 90's, get Pauley Shore's In the Army Now. Yes, I do recommend it for accuracy in the Basic Training and AIT sequences. It's toned down, but it is generally spot on.

I don't talk much about Basic, what I say is that it isn't all that hard. Hell, I made it through. They really don't try and kick anybody out. The drill sergeants do everything they can to keep people in. I think even adding a push up or two when counting the PT test. I imagine it looks bad on an NCOER if they wash out too many students. I went through a class of about two hundred people. Of that about ten did not graduate with us. Most because of injuries and family emergencies. As I recall only two quit. No one was washed out.

There was this one girl from New York. She had a real thick stereotypical “New Yak” accent. She got held back because of an injury. I saw her right before I graduated AIT. I was surprised to still see her there, even more surprised to her new southern accent.

I talk at length with those wanting to join what to expect from Basic and AIT and tell them lots of stories. For this article I'll skip all that and finally get to what a new private at their new unit should do:

Start working on your promotion to sergeant first class, first sergeant, sergeant major, lieutenant, warrant officer, or what ever immediately. Pester to death your squad leader for all the Army classes you can get. Combat Life Saver, Air Assault, Airborne, Path Finder, Arms Room, Commo. Get as many correspondence courses done as possible. This stuff impresses the guys at the Pentagon when looking at promotion packets.

The immediate effect is on getting promoted to E-5 and E-6. While these are currently automatic promotions, you can get there quicker by going to promotion boards. While you're working towards that promotion board, practice on the Soldier of the Month boards. All you need to do is win one. You may even get a certificate signed by the Colonel. That makes it worth about 5 points. All that stuff I talked about before, all worth points. Badges and classes. 

Yes, you need the stinking badges.

What is also worth promotion points? College. Every semester hour is worth some points. I'm afraid I don't remember and have no real desire to fact-check it. However in my conversations, especially with my friends' kids, I really double, triple, and quadruple down on the college portion. The easiest way to get credit hours is with CLEP testing. What that is is simply the final exam. Instead of spending two or three months in a class room, you spend an hour or so. And get the credits. I CLEPed U.S. and World history. As I recall these were worth about 3 hours apiece. That was the CLEP recommendation. Go find a college that will give you more. One only gave about two, another gave about 3.5 or even 4. That's very important because remember what I said at the beginning of this paragraph?

Let's not forget all those military classes and correspondence courses. They can be translated into college hours. Even Basic and AIT.

Unfortunately there are some classes you will have to sit in. This is the time to do it. All colleges have required classes, don't wait to use your GI Bill. Let the Army by way of the Tax Payer take care of that. Get all the basic stuff out of the way first. Save your GI Bill for the more advanced and much more expensive degrees down the road.

Even if you decide that you don't want to be an SFC, or even a sergeant. You get out after four years active. At maybe the ripe old age of 22. So why even bother trying to get promoted to 1SG? Because it sets you up to be light years beyond everybody else at your school of choice. You can graduate years earlier and join the work force with a better paying job which means you will be paying more in taxes which in will turn help pay for the education opportunities of that 17 year old future veteran in the recruiter’s office right now.

Military vs. Civilian Friends:

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Tell you not to do something stupid when drunk.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will post 360 security so you don’t get caught.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Call your parents Mr. and Mrs.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Call your parents mom and dad.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Hope the night out drinking goes smoothly, and hope that no one is late for the ride home.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Know some wild stuff will happen, and set up rally points and a SERE route.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Bail you out of jail and tell you what you did was wrong.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will be sitting in jail next to you saying, “Damn...we f**ked up...but hey, that was fun!"

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Borrow your stuff for a few days then give it back.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Steal each other's stuff so often nobody remembers who bought it in the first place.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will listen to your relationship problems and hope it works out for you. MILITARY FRIENDS: Will listen to you over a long hard road march, and will help you straighten it out better than Dr. Phil what's his name.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Know a few things about you.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Might try to hit on your girl behind your back.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will try and hit on your girl right in front of you and have spooned with you in the field more than your girl has; and would never even think twice about it.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Would knock on your door.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Walk right in and say, "I'm home!"

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will wish you had enough money to go out that night, and are sorry you couldn't come.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will share their last dollar with you, drag you along, and try to work free drinks all night.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Want the money they loaned you back next week.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Can't begin to remember who owes who money after taking care of each other for so long.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will tell you "They'd take a bullet for you."
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will actually take a bullet for you.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will ignore this.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will post this.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ravy 2011 Pg. 45.

Click Here.

That's not a new character standing there. She's was in the comic a long time ago. Bringing her back and in that form was a bolt from the blog that inspired me. She doesn't play much of a role this year, but next... let's not get ahead.

Lucked out and found volume one of the Royal Rumble Anthology, used. Gone through the first two disks and have noticed a few things. The song used for Ricky Steamboat's entrance was changed. I remember it being The Allen Parsons Project. I can't remember if he was using it at that particular time, but the song used now was put in only recently. I understand because the rights for WWE to use it probably expired. What I don't understand is why it's done to other wrestlers that had songs owned by WWE. On the Bobby Heenan set during the Gimmick Battle Royal, Hillbilly Jim's song was changed.

On the second disk of the Royal Rumble had a match I had only seen once before: Harley Race VS. King Haku. That's odd because I have an official VHS tape of the second Rumble and that match is not on it.

Poor Bret Hart and Ted Dibiase, both kept getting nailed with that 1 and 2 position. Who did they keep pissing off? Warlord, 29 and 30? Didn't really work out all that well.

What the WWE should do is go back to showing the wrestlers drawing the numbers. Of course all those slips are blank and the entrance is scripted. At least it looks somewhat authentic.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

If Ya See It, Save It.

As it is told, once it is on the net, it's there for life. Not so. Many a time has been I go looking for something and I can't find it no more. I quickly learned to immediately bookmark it, or better yet in this day and age of large ass hard drives and infinite online storage I now download everything I want to save.

Remember when there use to be all these sprite sites, some with rather large public domain sections? I grabbed up a few. One day that Wily sprite made be Deccus showed up. I snagged it just in time. Next day it was gone. Along with a bunch of others I wish I had saved.

Jib Jab used to make all their videos in flash, now they all have been converted to YouTube. I have the original interactive versions. Bunches of the original Foamy the Squirrel, Joesph Blanchett, Joanime, Andrew Dickman. All the really cool kids have moved to YouTube. That's where the action is at, and mostly because bunches of other people had used hand held cameras to re-record the original flash video and post it to YouTube. I miss regular ol' SWF. Often you can watch them at full screen, and then shrink the video itself back to its original size and see all kinds of extras. Like sprite sheets, limbs, objects before they come on screen, and after they leave. I've learned a lot by doing that.

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Perusing Jib Jab's site I noted many video's not there. Bill Clinton cooking brownies, Hillary running for Senate, Rapping Cowboy, Adam and Eve, Farting Waffles, and many many more. Glad I saved them. Except the waffles. Didn't like that one.

I remember a time before YouTube when AMVs were traded on CD by friends. I have a Dragon Ball video set to It's My Life. In the early days people would make whole sites dedicated to their works of love and allowed you to download them, ten PM to three AM. When the transfer rates were cheapest. I spent days downloading Sailor Moon on Jerry Springer, Sailor Mercury in I'm Blue, Jinnai in the Bugrom. At the time I had DAILUP! I got pretty pissed when I downloaded one that sucked.

That site has long since disappeared, but the owner has since redid these gems in much higher quality on YouTube.

Whole sites disappear. One that I have always regretted not saving was Shadey Theatre. That was the first web comic I read. What got me hooked and inspired me to do my comic. However I never saved any of the comics. Pretty much it was 8-Bit Theater using sprites from Final Fantasy 4, 5, 6, repainted Megaman to look like FF7, and some plot elements form Warped Reality. I think. Jeeze, I last saw it in 2003. I only really can remember a vague outline and some characterizations.

You know, once in while, perusing the archives, I'll find the odd protoform essay, spelling error, graphical mistake that was probably meant to be but I forgot why, or even whole comics that need to be made gone. Like a couple that were posted in June of 2004 that had certain well known and respected “Authors” that I felt really guilty about using.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ravy 2011 Pg. 44.

Click Here.

Taking a look back  at an old story form another character's perspective.

I believe that is the first time I ever let the word bitch through. I figured that if the FCC let's Bob and Tom say it, then it is alright with me. I've tried to maintain some semblance  of decorum, (for this comic), but once in a while to help get that feeling I want a character to show, you have to cross that line.

I just did a comic and in the punchline I used (bleep.) Shit would be a much better word to use and funnier. However there are some lines in the comic I am not willing to cross just yet.

Identical twin sisters kissing, no prob.

On an unrelated note:

What was Cyberteam in Akihabara? It's a hybrid magic girl/sentai/robot fighter/playing card/tiny monster show. I think it's main purpose was to collate all that together and tell a semi-comprehensible story at the same time. It's a bit slow and it really could have been done in 14 episodes instead of 26. Sometimes we get to know things that just are not important, like how many siblings Suzume has. Only one ever shows up and only once. Other problems are that you have to deal with the interminable little girl crap, inconstant characterizations, nudity, and a rather aged look to the series. Not as bad as Toei though. I remember watching this back in 2000 and thinking how old it looked. Even watching side by side with Ghostsweepers.

The best part is that all the pertinent characters get fully developed. They are not one dimensional. You get to see all the motivations, desires, triumphs, and tragedies. Nice that there is a short version of the transformation sequences. The tendency to play around with the end theme and credits lends some freshness.

I have had the rather dubious distinction of having watched three different dubs: AXN, ADV, and the original Japanese. Of which AXN is the best for people who don't like to read their cartoon shows. AXN was far from perfect, but they chose the right voices and even got the pronunciations of the names correct. The Japanese dub surprised me at how low pitched Hibari's voice was. I also recommend listening to the voice actor commentary on the ADV version. They really went in and researched this series and found all the references to anime and real history. Though you do have to put up with what the weather is like in Texas during fall/winter.

The one thing that has me the most perplexed at how many Cyberteam theme CDs there are. I have four. There were dozens more I saw on the shelf. Even more oddly is no merch. Just a couple of keychains on Amazon.

Overall it's not a bad series, buts it's not an outstanding one either. Something to fill in the time between releases of really good series.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New Schedule.

I'm changing the update schedule for the website.

It will change from
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

I have already been doing a double update in Thursday anyway. Mostly because I like not having to worry about doing anything on Friday. So I might as well set it in stone now, or more precisely: HTML.

There is a secondary change to the unannounced schedule. I would try and get the site updated by noon Eastern Standard Time. Reality demands a change. I am going to move it later in the day, somewhere around ten PM Eastern. I'm not going to bore with any more details.

I do this out of respect for the guy that stops in once in awhile. I've said before one of the things that annoys me is when people make these kinds of changes and don't tell anybody.

These changes will take effect on the 31st of October and will probably last until about April of 2012.

Or until I arbitrarily change it sooner, or later.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ravy 2011 Pg. 43.

Click Here.

Ghosts of Vista.

My biggest complaint about C 64 was having to type in that command every time and wait forever for the game to load. Imagine my pleasure with Win 98 at having to just double click on an icon and just go.

Had some difficulty moving from 98 to XP, but most of that was resolved by downloading updated versions of my software. This week I got reminded why I went form XP to 7.

Ubuntu 11: Onerous Ocelot. The great thing about earlier versions of Ubuntu is that even though you had to do some deep digging to get some stuff to work, it was still pretty straight forward. The commands were there in the menus. You might have had to look up what they were, But hell, I could figure it out.

So why do programmers that are way smarter than me do dumb stuff like remove the easily clickable restricted drivers option and the Synaptic Package Manager? Now we have Ubuntu Software Center which was no help what so ever in getting the wireless on my laptop to work. It's always worked before. After about five hours of reading one tutorial and forum post after another I accomplished screwing up the install and having to start form scratch. Then I found some obscure site that I forgot to book mark that had the real instructions. It wasn't Canonical by the way.

Look, I love Linux. It has saved my bacon many times over the years. Mostly due to my own errors. But this was frustrating as hell. If that was pissing me off, think of everybody else that just wants to turn thier computer on and go. Why in the hell should anybody have to type in some long and easily misspelled command line in Terminal, or XTerm, or is it UXTerm?

My dream job would be a tester with hire/fire authority. The only thing I would tell some dumbass programmer that removed the two pixel wide option is fix it. If I get any sass, then your ass is going out the nearest exit. Especially if it's a window that's not exactly on the first floor.

You'd think people learn from Vista.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Said enough on Monday.

Title says it all. Of course, this post will be trapped between two Mondays. Could cause a lot of confusion.

Or as I call it: S.O.P.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ravy 2011 Pg. 42.

Click Here.

Recently discovered that the upgraded web editor I use has decided to scrunch all the code on a page down to about a couple of lines. Fortunately there is a right click option to "Reformat HTML." Not going to fix everything. Pointless. Too much work to retinker with something that isn't really broken.

But hell.

Why was it necessary to jam all the code together from what had been working fine for the past seven years anyway? Thank a lot Micro$oft.

In other news: Currently working on comic 1800. After about two weeks of messing with stage size and test uploads to YouTube I finally got the third scene done. I was stuck trying to get a five second bit with a carrot topped bikini wearing paranoidal Deutschlandic magic girl to work. I could get it to work fine in its own FLA. But when I copy/pasted the frames over to the actual movie, everything screwed up. Eventually I discovered quite by accident (usually the way) that I needed to click don't replace existing items in the library. (Note: I didn't put that in quotes. I don't want to fact check it because there's the possibility of a crash that would ruin everything I typed out so far. Thanks a lot Adoobie.)

The next part may be a scene from a show about a pill popping doctor that is very similar to a sci-fi movie from the 60's about the future that has long since come to pass, and is best enjoyed while popping pills.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Double checking ones self.

Believe it or not, I do take the time look over my work several times before it is published. Every few weeks I'll reread all the comics waiting in the queue and I'll often catch spelling and graphic errors. Often I'll miss a few and wind up correcting them while placing the comic on the page for publication.

Every few years I'll go through a read over a season and I'll still find mistakes and correct them. (Of course by that time I have forgotten whether or not it was intentional.)

For the blog first I'll usually write everything out in a word processor. Proofread it for spelling, grammer, and fact check. Then copy/paste it over to the blog. Then proofread it again. Then usually the day before I'll take a look and wind up adding in some more or even deleting some.

And of course much later I'll find that I overlooked something still because spill chucks wont cats gamma.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Winning Great with Win 98: Fluxed Capacitors.

No I didn't change my mind about Win 8 and misspelled it in the title.

If you're expecting this to be one of my long drawn out diarrhea of the keyboard sessions with lots of unrelated twists and turns and ultimately ends up with me realizing that what I wanted was in front of my face the whole time making all that work moot, you're right. Let's get started.

A while ago a friend of mine got a butt load of ancient copiers and was tearing them down for the scrap metal. I blundered by and took a look around to see if there was anything worth saving. I saw nothing and told her to make sure to separate out the aluminum. As I was getting ready to leave I stumbled over this:

 Cool. "Do you mind if I take it home and look at? If it's good enough I could take it to the auction and sell it for you."

"I was hoping you would. I know nothing about computers."

Skipping ahead to my workspace. I open it up and was surprised to see a couple of SATA ports and a stick 1 GB, 256 GB, and 128 GB of ram. Somebody must have added that ram in at some point. Now I plug everything in and peek through the bios and see a 2.6 Celeron. Nothing fancy but an interesting choice for a computer meant to run some copiers. I leave the bios and note on the post screen the option for a boot menu. Now even more surprising is that I can boot from a USB. Now I'm impressed. For a pretty old machine it has a function my brand newer rig doesn't.

Alas it turns out that hard drive is scrap metal. Throw in another and proceed to find the drivers. Going from HP's home page I drill down until I find the HP Compaq D530 SFF. That page says "Huh? We don't know what that is." You got a picture of it right there! "Huh? We do?" (By the way, I just looked again, it's worse, they won't even show me the page.)

It's Google time. First page is drivers for XP. Good good. But I need drivers for Vista at least. I click the link on the left and am presented with a whole list of OSes. Usually when presented with such a list all I typically get is the drivers for XP and maybe a network update for everybody else. Well not quite, OS/2 had audio drivers. Meanwhile 2000, XP, Vista, and 98 and audio and video drivers.

HOLD IT! You mean this thing has drivers for Windows 98? I have been wanting this for such a long time. I have some old games that won't work on 7. (I've tried DOS Box and it's a real pain in the ass.) Driver for Win 98? Especially on a machine this new. It was probably built in 2004, maybe 2005. I have a couple of machines from the 90's, but they're like bottom of the barrel even then. So I try downloading the drivers and the links are surprisingly good. (By the way, I'm not sure if that website is an actual HP site or a clone of it.) I go to my Windows Museum and grab out a copy of Win 98 SE. (Again, by the way, it has to be SE. I made the mistake of loading up Win 98 and the drivers didn't work.)

Drivers are all loaded up. Things are going great. I decide to keep it for myself. I go back and pay my friend. She wasn't too happy about it. She'd seen computers go for $200. I told her that was one of mine. I also sold one just like it a week later for $20. Minus a ten percent commission. I'm giving you a guaranteed $100. "$100!? Oh I'll definitely take that!
(My words. Hers were more like "(Bleep) YEAH!")

Back home  it's time to load up all those great old games, everything goes to crap. Change out the DVD, ram, reconfigure the PATA setup, (I hope it's not the power supply, it's one of those proprietary ones,) even Lunix wouldn't load up, and lastly I try the CPU. I removed the heat sink and find that 7 out of 10 capacitors are corroded over. This motherboard is crap.

I take the board to another friend's computer store. (My family has put his grandkids through college by now.) He lets me dig though his pile of similar machines. Unfortunately the boards are different and don't have Win 98 drivers. I keep digging and find an unlabeled one with an almost exact motherboard in it. The numbers are different, but hey, it's worth a try.

I am now happily playing Discworld Noir. Let's see if I can get Discworld 1 and 2 loaded. Wait, what's that? They're available on Scumm VM and it works in Win 7?


Monday, October 10, 2011

Ravy 2011 Pg. 41.

Click Here.

When coming up with character names, I have two versions: One is the real one, the other is the back story I make up at the last possible second for the comic.

Sera's name is directly from Megaman Dash 2. In the comic however, let's say that only those who have for some strange reason been hanging around long enough would know what other character has that name.

On top of that, I'm about half way done with next year's run of comics and I have yet to reveal why Toni thinks she's heard the name "Hanakoganei" before.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Addendum to Economic Sacrifice.

I forgot to mention this earlier, and it was quite the controversy years ago in my state. When Guard and Reserve Units would come back form Afghanistan and Iraq, they would leave their equipment behind. I can only guess at the reasons: expedites transitions for one unit to another. You can deploy quicker if you don't have to spend weeks prepping gear. You can can continue working up to the last minute if the equipment is staying. You won't have to waste time washing it. The equipment will be available immediately upon a new units arrival. Often Guard/Reserve gear doesn't have as much wear and tear on that Active Duty gear does.

That left a jurisdictional dispute between the states, the Feds, and the Four-H Club. In times of natural disasters states would use that equipment to fight fires, floods, and such and such. It was bad enough losing all these people and the economic input the were providing, then losing the use of the equipment permanently. The states were expecting this stuff back.

I'm a little bit very hazy as to the command/control and who pays what, but in the five minutes I spent looking it up I saw why states would object. Without that camouflaged equipment, states would have to negotiate with local contractors and pay 100% of everything. So states would have to come up with additional revenue out of an already strained budget.

There is an upside, that equipment needs to be replaced. And I have been seeing a lot of brand new M916A3s getting delivered over the past several years.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ravy 2011 Pg. 40.

Long long time ago I made mention that I spent hours pasting together a new background, then forgot to save the extra stuff not used in the panel.

A week later I found it.

I have a not new, but new to me way of making these. I save them as JPGs. The dithering gives backgrounds and objects a "rough textured" appearance. I like it. Of course I then resave them as PNGs to prevent any further dithering.

One more thing:

Click Here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How Other Comics Annoy Me Personally: Part 3. Take your pinky off teh shift key.

I'd bet you're probably thinking I have certain people in mind. Of course I do. I'm constantly taking the time to quickly look at their webpages and comics as I type this out. But I'm not going to name names. Why not? Because I keep seeing these annoyances repeated over and over. Just because teh really cool kids did it, doesn't mean you'll (me) be cool as well. Just because they did this spectacular effect, doesn't mean it was any good to begin with. Count how many times it was used. If was used once, or even a few times, (or even in every comic,) probably wasn't a good idea to begin with and is not worth repeating.

In this rambling misgiving I am going after the comics themselves. What I am NOT going to do is criticize story, jokes, writing, or even the art. What's good and what is not good is subjective. One person finds stick figures a number one, the next finds it crap. Someone may think jokes about lesbian twin sisters are funny, or maybe they think it's just gay.

I just got done reading a comic about a fairly popular video game amongst a group of hardcore fans and discovered that while the art style was very distracting, I found myself ignoring it and reading the text. It was well written and the jokes were pretty funny.

Another reason I won't name names is that I don't want to piss off certain people. SO I'll just go back to my random ramblings.

Headers and footers. Sometimes these can be excessively too large. I opened up one of these comics in MS Paint with the magnification set at 100%; I took a tape measure to my monitor and measured it. The whole comic was about seven and a half inches tall. The header and footer was two and a half inches. Really? Inch and a quarter apiece? Really? That really is annoying. You got to have some way to identify your comic sure, do a cover page. (Please not a “click here to enter.”) Put in some fancy, but small and undistracting title bar and if you must have a copyright statement keep it short, sweet, to the point, small, and undistracting.

Keep in mind how people read. Since I come from a European background I read left to right so I construct my comics the same way. I try and keep it so that there is no question as to which speech box is to be read first, second, third, and so on. The second will usually be to the right or below the first. Only rarely do speech boxes cross panels. I try not to cover up the characters at all costs. Though sometimes I have no choice or I need to hide something for a while. The text is clean and crisp (usually for easy editing if years later I find I mispelled a word,) and it is on a flat white background.

However, people still haven't learned from other people's mistakes. I've seen this font that puts a halo around the text. This would be a cool effect for angels, but not every character. It gets to be very difficult to read with the background showing through. Speaking of that, FOR GODDESS SAKE DON”T FADE THE TEXT BOX INTO THE BACKGROUND! On top of that DON”T USE A FONT LESS THAN A TEN AND THAT IS ANTI-ALIASSED! You do this, people won't read your comic because they can't. You may have Superman like vision, not everybody else can see through Lois Lane's clothes.

Now the occasional misspelled word is okay, but not okay in every line. Use a word predecessor to type everything out first and then copy/paste it into the comic. Get one with a spell check. You can download Open Office for free. (Buy the weigh, spell chucks wont cats gamma.)

How do we read? Typically you don't move your head , you don't move the book, you don't move the monitor. You move your eyes. (And sometimes lips.) So make sure you consider this: NO LEFT TO RIGHT SCROLL BARS! It is annoying to have to stop reading, move the mouse to the bottom of the browser and move the screen, continue reading, stop, scroll back to the left, continue reading, stop..... you get it? Be sure to chose a panel format that prevents left/right scroll bars. Consider the flow of the comic. Will the reader be able to at least understand which way to read it? I've seen comics constructed like it was a game of snake. You start in the upper left, then it's up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, and Mr. T as B.A. Baracus.

One final bit about flow is once in a while I'll see the up to down method. It's not just a webcomic thing. Some nationally syndicated cartoonists and my local paper will often chop up comics to do this for space. It's annoying.

Here is one thing about writing and flow: This comic I was reading last year seemed as if it was changing stories halfway through the comic. Out of an eight panel or so comic, it felt like I was reading a different comic at around panel five. Not really annoying, just confusing. It was beautifully animated, just not a consistent read within one single comic.

Oops, Am I criticizing something I said I wasn't going to criticize? Put it to you this way, writing to me is the most important part. So what about stick figures? Good writing will overcome that every time. Then again, what's that song by Tim Wilson?

Plan ahead on your publication destination. If you have your own site which allows for the format, size, and color depth you desire, great. But not everybody can spend the money. So you decide to use a freebie site instead. These freebies can have many limitations. Some are not mentioned. Facebook changes all formats to JPG. They say you can upload a GIF, but it is re-GIFed at a lower quality or even changed to JPG. I have to consider that. One of my local papers runs a bad cartoon contest every year. I have to print out the comics, then they scan them in and resize for the paper. I've learned to make compromises of number of colors and what colors to use. For one comic I had to change the color of Penny's speech box so it wouldn't blend into the background.

Keep in mind that site providers will often shrink large comics down. So the reader will have to click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger version, click on another thumbnail to see an even slightly larger thumbnail, to click on that to be blinded by white background.

Filenames. Keep your comics organized. If someone is asking about comic number 1495 you can look it up real quick and give an answer immediately instead of stalling for days trying to track it down. Plus, some readers save comics, they do like to reread them in order. A number of free providers have this strange tendency to generate completely random filenames. Like comic number 1 suddenly becomes 34r78106re2807314 b1bx018exb7t1e82t7bex871290te087.

If you can't control the file name, put the comic number in the header or footer.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ravy 2011 Pg. 39.

Click Here.

Just like that, I completely throw you for a loop.

By the way, I have been conducting a experiment for about a month now. It seems to be working. I plan on implementing it soon.

Here's a hint: target="_top"

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How Other Comics Annoy Me Personally: Part Two.

Continuing where I left off with web design and go in a more attitudinal direction.

Overdoing the graphics. Now the choice of a simplistic design versus a grandiose is a personal one. (Sometimes it seems as if the cartoonist spends more time on the back and next buttons than he does the actual comic). I believe that the comic is the most important part. That is why I said previously is to put it at the top and centered so it loads quicker. Putting up a bunch of surrounding graphics drastically slows down load times. Especially if you are on a slow server.

I use a cable modem, four GB of ram, Phenom 2 3.0, and a VelociRaptor. Some comics still take more than 20 seconds. Some of those comics are in JPG. You can say I'm being impatient, but think of all those people that are still on dial up. Combine a slow server with dial up and you can just forget about ever having an audience or even having a guy come back twice.

So what you can do is change servers. Which may mean a new URL. Please be sure to leave a note on the original site saying you have moved. I have given up on many a comic because I had thought the cartoonist had given up. Only to find years later that that I am now years behind in reading and collecting.

You have your nifty new high speed server. So now you think it is time to retool everything with all the new Java scripting, CSS, and layouts you have been studying on for months. Please don't shut down your site. Leave it up. You can do all this retooling on your hard drive without having to upload anything. Please continue updating the comic as you do this or else people will think you gave up. If you take your site down and only leave a message about it being under construction, and it may take longer than you think (it always does) and people will think you gave up. Also you won't get any new readers because the search bots can't crawl your site. So if there is an explosion of interest in some obscure Japanese video game, and you did some comics about it, you may wind up missing the boat.

You’re done with the retooling, spent weeks testing, retesting, and testing some more to make sure everything runs correctly. And you tested it some more. You've uploaded it. No complaints, or no complaints worth paying any attention too. Now's the time to take that extended vacation.

Please TELL US give us a time frame as to your expected return. Remember, these can take longer than you think (it always does.) When it does, give us a note saying that updates will resume a little later than expected.

Oh yes, updates, the thing that annoys me the most. Even if you have no regular update schedule, you have one. You fall into a habit of posting new comics at a certain time all the time. Fans are very smart and figure it out real quick. If you think that just because you don't have an announced schedule and you can skip today's, this week's, or this month's update, think again. Because of the fact you will fall into the habit of screwing off updates. It is always better to piss off readers with the content of the comic or your blog than it is by not updating because you're trying to get the date with some chick in a video game.

You must always update at the same time all the time. Us true fans are always forgiving of down servers, bad weather, melted CPUs, or a total loss of interest. Just be sure to tell us that you have found out that this thing called “woman” is more interesting than some comic about obscure Japanese video games, magic girls, and lesbians.

Next week: The comics themselves.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ravy 2011 Pg. 38.

If you don't click here now, it may be too late.

Ain't nothing like forgetting those tiny little details that causes you to have to do a last minute mad dash to fix things.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Win 8: Fail Great.

I know it's too soon, but I am annoyed within five minutes of using it. Greeted with the touch interface. Click on desktop and goes to what looks like Win Vista. Want to play Solitaire? Click on the Start button and go right back to Touch. Click on Explorer to get to Libraries. Then you can get to My Computer. Now I'm really annoyed because I now have to dig through many folders to find Solitaire. Then I realize that I have forgotten the filename used. You see the name you see in the Start menu is not what is used in Programs and other folders.

There's MS Paint. Just as buggy as it is in Win 7. XP Paint still works. I transferred it over it open and works fine. Except the fact it adopts all the bugs too.

I only tried the Ink Pad app, much to my dismay I couldn't close it. I'm guessing that there is supposed to be a button on whatever pad device Win 8 is going on the closes apps, but you still need that close button in the app itself. Had to Ctrl-Alt-Delete to close it.

I've only tried it for an hour, not loaded any other programs, and don't have any drivers. I'll continue looking at it and report back.

Download it here:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How Other Comics Annoy Me Personally: Part One.

Another multiparter, This one is tentatively planned for three. No promises.

As a reader of several webcomics, there are things in the web design that annoy me. When talking about it I'm not doing it as a programmer. I'm going to say my peace as a consumer. (What's that saying? Those who can't... criticize?)

The first is on navigation. There's more than one comic, so how do you navigate to those others? Sometimes funny symbols are used. The symbols blend into the background. Java scripting and Flash is used and therefore is not usable because they are blocked by the browser. With text sometimes the background color obscures the text link. People will use words not native to themselves. And I'm left guessing what it is I have to do to find the previous comic. Other times you can't find home link in the real tiny text on the bottom left underneath all the blogging.

Is there any real solution to archives? Drop down menus, calenders, lists, to just flat out nothing at all. I understand that there may really be no silver bullet especially for those letting a free service do that archiving for them.

Don't blind the reader. And don't give them an epileptic fit. Use colors that let the text be readable. Bright pinks, reds, yellows will send me away getting the eye drops and an insulin shot. Don't send people from a really dark page to a white page. That really hurts my eyes. As an example go to Page 50 of Season 20. Click on the Dr. Wily logo at the top. Just remember, you don't have to click on it. It's not like I have your cat or anything.

Hiding the comic. I hate this. I go to website that is abstemiously about a comic strip. Instead I'm greeted by the cartoonist's Bob Zany like zeal in selling merch. So you have to scroll down to read the comic. Keep the comic above the fold. So that it can be read first thing. Have some title graphic, some links that you think are important, but please center the comic at eye level. If you must tell us about how much up some other cartoonist's ass you nose is or how you can't get enough of some obscure Japanese video game; PUH-LEASE put it below the comic or a link to some other page.

Don't put the comic on some other page. I'm going to your comic's home page I would like to think I'm going to see a comics strip. I don't want to have to click on “current/newest/latest comic” just to have to click on link to click on a thumbnail view to click on another thumbnail to get blinded because now I'm staring center of a white background.

And why are there still “click here to enter” pages that are just “click here to enter?”

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ravy 2011 Pg. 37.

Click Here.

I do an occasional comic for my Facebook friends. Yes, I still have some. I call it Penelope for Your Thoughts. It's news with Cajun Bob Vivant:  Penny Bell. The format I use is is a news broadcast with Op and Penny. (Ravy is currently on another assignment.) I've been using that system to kind of explain in long, drawn out, and painfully inaccurate ways on how I make these comics.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

“No Great Economic Sacrifice;” Are You Kidding Me?

Tooling around trying to find something on the radio to listen to, I fall upon a daytime talk show. The guest on at the time was talking about the War on Terror. He made a point that there has been no call for economic sacrifice. He meant stuff like Victory Gardens, scrap metal recycling, buy war bonds, and bring back the Steel Penny. While true, the guest hadn't thought it through and I was ticked that the host hadn't challenged that statement.

I'll pick up the slack.

There has been great economic sacrifice. One way is the call to duty by the military. The military is essentially divided into two main parts: Active and Guard/Reserve. The Active Duty's impact on the economy is that when a unit deploys that's anywhere from 100 to 1000 people no longer participating in the local economy for at least a year. That number of people not buying food, gas, clothes, music, books, movies, manga, going to baseball games, dry cleaning, military surplus, and going to strip clubs. That can really hurt a small community that is completely dependent on the military customers for its business. And businesses can go away for good leaving employees without jobs.

I will put myself into a potentially hazardous situation and say the when a Guard or Reserve unit deploys, that can even be more detrimental. Why? Who makes up one of these units? Unlike an Active unit that is made up of people from all over America, and in some cases all over the world. A Guard unit is made up of people from the local towns, cities, counties, and states. These people are not soldiers 24/7. When not doing the two weekends a month and two weeks out of the summer; they are going to their day jobs. People like plumbers, carpenters, truckers, managers, telemarketers, cops, firefighters, lawyers, judges, politicians, and strippers.

These citizen soldiers are activated and become full time soldiers for at least two years. A year to train up and deploy then redeploy. And a year on the actual deployment. That's two years of not participating in the local economy. Especially if you are making less as a soldier than a garbage collector. On top of that businesses have just lost several employees and now must scramble to fill those positions. It costs a business a lot of money to hire someone, even just temporarily to fill a slot. These businesses are losing customers because they can't fulfill the customer orders. Those customers are losing business because they are scrambling to fill slots left open by deploying Guard/Reserve employees.

Two years later the citizen soldier comes home gets their job back (hopefully, I've heard stories) and one year later does it all again.

So even though you are not seeing a flood of ads to join the Army in the national interest, doesn't mean that there hasn't been a call for great economic sacrifice.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Browsing for a Better Browser.

When I first got on the net way back when. I used what came with Windows: MSN Explorer. I always found it rather slow and unwieldy. A friend pointed me to Internet Explorer. (I got him back, I hooked him up with his now third ex-wife.)

IE was great.


I kept hearing about this foxy little upstart browser. All the magazines and online reviews said it was fast, safe, and easy to use. When I saw that one of my favorite webcomics was saying "Best viewed in Firefox." I decided it was time to take a peak. At first I thought that it was really no different than IE. Until that fateful day that when I went to paste in a password. Instead of hitting Ctrl/V, I hit Ctrl/B. My bookmarks came up. I no longer had to click twice to get them. It's a keeper.


Since then Firefox has become bloated, slow, and unwieldy. I figured it was time for a change. To get me to change browsers, one had to pass two tests. The first is what brought me permanently to Firefox: bookmarks. Could you just import your bookmarks from another browser or a backup file and go forward? Like with Firefox? The one that stuck out like a sore thumb was Safari. For the life of me I couldn't figure out to import my bookmarks and make it look like it does everywhere else. I can drag and drop the backup HTML file onto the Bookmarks Bar then I would have to click twice to get anywhere. Or I can set the bookmarks as my homepage and center click to open the link as a new tab and then click on the tab to see the page.


So how do the others I tested do? Internet Explorer did okay. It alphabetized my bookmarks. Now I get to spend all day reorganizing them back into the order I want. Plus I still have to click once to get to see them. But they stay open during the entire session.

Chrome: They are on a toolbar that autohides. So I have to click twice to get to any page. They imported in the same order as I had them in Firefox.

Opera keeps the bookmarks pane opens and stay open for each session. Alphabetized again and you can't reorganize them. Wait? What's that? I have to check "Sort by My Order." Why doesn't it sort by my order to begin with?

On to test two: my site. I have to admit that one of the things I have failed to do over many years is to see how my site looks on other browsers. Does it function the way I intend? The answer is yes. The CSS, Flash, and links work the way they are supposed to in every browser. For the looks, I get that my site looks basic. I care more about being able to access the comic than spending time designing some super flashy interface that can't be seen because it turns into a mush of CSS and Java-scripting and doesn't work on an iPad. (That is one thing I need to fix: Change the Flash content to YouTube or simple HTML. No big rush since most of that is buried in the archive that isn't visited anyway.)

Firefox, Chrome, and Safari display just fine. I really can't see a difference. Internet Explorer and Opera really stand out. For opposite reasons. IE makes my site look bad.(Who can I blame beside me? I know! Micro$oft!) The links on the darker background are almost impossible to see. There is a setting buried in Internet Options that you can uncheck to make things look the way they are supposed to. But will the average user go that far? No. I've talked to many people. All they really care about is just being able to click around and have a good time. Not dig around in the bowels (literally) of some program to fix what some guy that gets paid hundreds of thousands of dollars should have fixed in the first place.

I don't get paid that much. I'll never get paid that much. Maybe that's why I recognize the fact that I will eventually change up the color scheme so it doesn't A: Blind anybody visiting; and B: Doesn't cause any unnecessary squinting to see the links.

Opera is the lone standout. My site looks great (to me. I don't trust my eyes. I've been up all night typing this out.) Turned out better than intended. Everything is nice clean, clear, and crisp.

Final verdict: I'm sticking with Firefox. None off the others have that perfect combination to make me switch. Firefox has all the great add-ons I like and have spent years figuring how to make work. I don't want to start from scratch.

bonus: spelling suggestions:
Ctrl-Carl, Curl
CSS-CUSS, ASS (boy is that spot on)
iPad-paid, IPA

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ravy 2011 Pg. 36.


A long time ago I used to be about two years ahead of schedule. That has since withered down to about six months. Mostly because I spent a year trying to get a date with Yuffie on Final Fantasy 7.

Six months ago there was this huge controversy over Michelle McCool using A.J. Styles finishing maneuver. Then there was Wrestlemania 27 with several wrestlers using Kurt Angle's five moves of doom.

Of course there's me trying to poke fun at all this six months later.


Friday, September 2, 2011

More Inukami.

Just kidding. I'm done with it. I swear. Figuratively, and literally.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Win Great with Win 8. Part Deux.

I have been hearing that there might be a major overhaul to the interface. My initial reaction is don't. The start menu and My Computer has been working fine since 1995. Then again, the way iOS works is to just put an icon on the “desktop.” (I don't have an iPad or iPhone, so I'm not familiar with the terminology.) That's exactly what I do. For the common stuff I use all day it's right on the desktop. I just don't want to be locked out of my harddrive. I also don't want to be forced into sticking all of my music in My Music. I don't want to use a Libraries system which is nothing more than an overly complicated version of what I do anyway.

This is something from Win 7 that I love: the Favorites Menu in Explorer. It's easy to add location to it. What’s so great is say I'm in my comic folder and need to go to C drive. I just click on it without having to click on the back button, going to the Start menu, or minimizing a dozen windows to see the hard drive shortcut on the Desktop. I would really like to see that feature kept in Win 8.

Compatibility Mode has been garbage since day one. With Vista and 7 it does have its one good point. If a program won't install, set Compatibility Mode to “Run this program as an administrator” and it may install. However that doesn't mean that program will actually run as it did in XP and 9x. Or at all. Is there a way to get it to work as it was promised to do?

XP Mode made that promise as well, but it was a disappointment. From the overly lengthy startup times to programs not working because the detect that they are on a network. It's one great feature is that I can install an app in XP Mode to test it out. If it is no good, or if it was dangerous to begin with, then it is contained in an easily deletable folder that is not connected to my Win 7 Registry.

Just like a sandbox. What that is just simply an app that is contained in its own folder. Like Rosenkreuzstilette (haven't said a word about that game in a while.) You don't have to install it. It doesn't hook itself into the Registry and a hundred hidden folders. If you get a new computer, just transfer the file and keep going.

Sandboxing is quite the step up from that. The app is locked from being able to access anything else like the Registry. So if you get a virus laden deathtrap, just delete the app. In addition, it tones down DLL hell and won't delete DLLs needed by other programs when it is uninstalled.

The big disadvantage to this system is that it makes it easier to pirate software. But hey, let's be realistic. Hackers and pirates don't care. If you put some protection program in your app, they will find a way to break it. In some cases, upstanding citizens will look for hacks. Especially if they have to go through the twenty page registration process each and every time they click on the app. They will immediately go to Google and look up how to hack a way around such an annoyance. (Or so I hear.)

I think the best way around all that is an app store. I have Intel AppUp. I used it to get Angry Birds up and running. I just registered once and that was it. I can download what I want and uninstall at will. If someone tries to pirate the app by uploading the file folder to a file sharing site, it won't work.

However (didn't see that coming, now did you?) that is an app store's biggest weakness as well. If you can't get the app to work after transferring the file folder, how do you back it up? And no, you can't depend on being able to re-download it. After having installed Win 7, I tried to install Bejeweled 2 that I had downloaded from Popcap. I couldn't play the game because Popcap had lost all my registration information. What if that happens to your copy of Photoshop?

Windows has always had some basic free apps, but some improvement are needed. How about spell check in Word Pad? Or a better GIF filter in MS Paint? Layers, fades, and gradient fills? Just fix the damn transparency bugs.

The one thing that Microsoft should do that they are talking about not doing is an extended public beta testing. With Win 7 MS did what they hadn't done before: get feedback from the everyday user. Granted, up until a few years ago, MS would have had to mail out beta version of software. Only those that had the Technet subscription service could get betas. Just too expensive to mail out to a million people at once. Now that most have high speed internet, it can now be cost effective. Now MS can hear about and fix that MP3 bug before thousands of copies are sold in stores and installed on OEM computers.

If Microsoft had done a public beta test on Vista, there probably never would have been Windows 7.