Monday, October 31, 2011

Ravy 2011 Pg. 44.

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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.

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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.