Friday, December 28, 2012

It's the Mislabeling That Gets Me Most.

Over a year and a half ago I really got my nose bent out of shape over cartoon nudity. It was in the span of one weekend where I watched episodes of Family Guy and American Dad that had exposed wiener hanging out all over the place. Then there was an anime based off a manga I liked. I was expecting a bunch of female nudity and got none of that and instead was treated to tons of male nudity. (I promised never to talk about that series again. Here's a hint: It's about a foxgirl trying to be a “dog-god.”) I took to this blog and ranted all day about it. In the ensuing hissy I glossed over a couple of important points.

The first one is that while I would rather not see nudity or have cursing in my cartoons, I don't mind it as long as I'm warned ahead of time. Picking up a copy of UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie complete collection I flip it over and read the back. Runaway alien princess crash lands into a boy's bathroom and they become emotionally entangled and engaged to be married. (Where have I seen that before?) With the corresponding pictures that leave nothing to the imagination and a “TV MA SL” rating I give it a try. It was cheap enough. It was in the discount bin, for good reason. Overall I had no problem with the nudity because I knew it was coming. The thing that scared me most was the fact it was originally made by Kaishaku.

The second point, and I think this is the most important one, is when things are mislabeled. I have found so much of this I don't know where to start. Well, I mentioned American Dad earlier. It does say uncensored and contains language and parental discretion. Right above that is the letter “G.” One would assume for general audiences. I remember there being a few F-bombs and it does contain the episode in which Stan's pud falls out of his PJs. (It also has the one which a couple of chicks take their tops off.) That would confuse any parent. It gets worse. Pani Poni Dash. Ten year old child genius Rebecca Miyamoto goes to Japan to teach a high school class of eccentrics. With an over your head stream of anime and manga references from the 60's and 70's this is rated PG. How does it get that with the nudity?

Galaxy Angel has been my guilty secret this year. I have put forth great effort in acquiring as much of the series as possible on DVD. That has proved to be incredibly difficult. Unfortunately I came to this series too late. I may be in luck, there seems to be a Blu-ray complete set available only in Japan, I hope it does come out over here. Galaxy Angel is cute, funny, and just a blast to watch. One of the more surprising elements were a few episodes dealing with wounded warriors. Even given the ten minute limit, they were exceptionally well done and told a great story. However (Probably saw that coming the moment you saw the words “Galaxy Angel”) there is an episode with nudity in it. The box says suggested for ages 13 on up.

I talk to all kinds of people. It runs the gamut from religious fanatics to anti-religious fanatics. Most parents agree they don't want that kind of thing in their households. They don't mind it personally, we've all read Playboy and Penthouse, they don't want their kids watching and taking it to school.

Sometimes I'm asked about a series. If I have watched it, like To Love Ru, I'll say: “Runaway alien princess crash lands into a boy's bathroom and they become emotionally entangled and engaged to be married. (Where have I seen that before?) To Love Ru is pretty generic story telling and breaks no new ground at all. Motto To Love Ru and the OVAs are not much different. To Love Ru Darkness has much improved writing and storytelling. It is rated TV 14 D for sexually suggestive dialogue. I guess because there wasn't much talking in that scene in episode one where Lala is totally naked and Rito had his hands on her breasts.”

If I hadn't watched a series they asked about? I'll direct them to YouTube.

Excel Saga. This was buy one get one free. For a dollar. Like Pani Poni Dash years later its sub focus was parodying just about everything. Fortunately most of the jokes were from the 80's and 90's so I was able to get them. The animation blew me away. This was made in the late 90's. Compared to what we get today, most of the 90's doesn't really hold up all that well. I think that had a lot to do with what was being ported over at the time. Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon's animation quality can't hold a candle to Animaniacs. (Toei to this day looks twenty years older than everybody else. Compare Air the TV series to Air the Movie.(Imagine if Sailor Moon had been made by J.C. Staff?))

I watched this two times in a row. First the English dub which was one of the best I ever heard. Then again Japanese dub with subtitles and ADV Vid Notes. (Not as prolific as Pani Poni Dash, but still a big help. (I call it Pani Poni Pause because I do that a lot since they are on screen for only a second.)) All the time I was scratching my head wondering why Excel Saga was rated 17+. There was no nudity. Sure there was cursing. Which was completely necessary. It wasn't in the original Japanese dub. So why put it in the English version? This could have been rated PG-13. Opens up a much larger audience. People complain all day and night about the restrictions put on the movie industry by the rating board. These individuals obviously haven't ever looked at the box office receipts for rated G, PG, PG-13, and R. Rare is the rated R movie that scores big.

Then there was the final episode. Yes, I was very disturbed by this episode, but there was a warning on the box, and a warning in the previous episode's review for the next episode. Therefore I gots nothing to complain about. I was warned. Though I wondered why this episode couldn't have been packaged with Puni Puni Poemy. Would have been a perfect fit. (Sailor Moon made a split second cameo in this series. She looked much better than any episode made by Toei.)

Mislabeling goes both ways. Some get labeled most harsher than they need be, some get labeled much softer. What's a parent to do? Here is a site your kid told me about where you can watch and download anime and manga for free.

In closing: I would rather not have the nudity and bad language, but If the cover says it's in there, I won't bitch. Hasting ain't taking money out of my pocket and leaving behind copies of TV MA Rosario Vampire.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Windows OEM Disk Key Trick.

If I had known about this years ago I wouldn't have bought so many copies of Windows XP. Every time I bought a new computer I would buy an OEM copy of XP. Almost all store bought systems like Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo, et al. come with tons of crapware that just slows things down and takes up all your hard drive space. Using an OEM disk I could wipe the hard drive and just have the stuff I really wanted on it. I found out years later that I only ever needed to do was buy one disk. First of all I was fooled by the hype from Micro$oft that said once a key was activate it was permanently attached to that system. Nope. You can transfer it to another. If the auto-activation fails just call MS and tell them that you changed the motherboard or some such. The next thing I would find out is that the sticker with the CD key can be used with a plain vanilla OEM disk from Microsoft.

There are some things you have to know to make this trick work right. You have to match up the version of Windows listed on the sticker with the same OEM disk. So for instance you have to use the CD key for XP Home with an OEM XP Home disk. You can't mix and match Home and Pro. Same thing with Vista, 7, and 8. You also must match bits. 32-bit with 32-bit and 64 with 64. Disks will be labeled, stickers not so. Most XP machines will be 32-bit. Vista machines are pretty much a crap shot. Win 7 boxes will mostly be 64-bit. (I have found some 32s.) Win 8 I have yet to find one that is 32-bit. Now if you can access the hard drive it's easy. If there is a folder named "Program Files (X86)" you have a 64-bit system.

When the prompt to input the key comes up in Windows XP, Vista, and 7 all you have to do is type in the key on the sticker affixed somewhere on the tower or the underside of the laptop. If activation fails call Microsoft. Nowadays they have a computer system for this and ironically enough it is easier than talking to a person.

Now Windows 8 is a different animal. No stickers. Go look. I went to several stores and found not one machine with a sticker on it. I did some digging and discovered that the key is now in the BIOS. Meaning the Micro$oft has finally won the battle. They have been trying for years to force PC vendors to do something like this. Ostensibly to stop pirates. That is a problem. Demo models on stores shelves are easy prey. Copy the key down and you have a free copy of Windows. In reality it is a way to force people to buy a new copy of Windows if the motherboard croaks. Are these companies really going to waste storehouse space keeping thousands of spare motherboards for each variation of computers they make? They'll probably wind up charging you for a new copy of Windows every time you send it in to be fixed.

However, the trick works. I was able to use an OEM Win 8 disk on a store bought system. The key was automatically inputed. (I used a key sniffer app on the original hard drive and on the one I used. Remember those hard drives Staples had on sale?) One caveat though: I didn't try activation. Oddly enough the machine wasn't activated to begin with. I didn't want to activate with a hand drive that I put in, I would rather use the original.

Why even buy an OEM disk? Can't you make one? Yes. You are allowed to and supposed to make a back up copy based upon the stored image on a hidden partition on the hard drive. It saves PC manufacturers all of a dollar to make you burn your own copy. The problem is that it also puts all the crapware on that copy. The OEM disk is just Windows.

Once again: Why buy an OEM disk? You can burn your own copy. Okay, but on occasion I work on other people's computers. Usually they haven't made that copy. I can use my own OEM copies on many different computers. When it comes to drivers all I have to do is download them form the vendor's web site. Also if their system has been infected with malware, there is a probability the the re-install hard drive partition has been infected as well.

Aren't OEM disks expensive? Doesn't that add a lot to the cost of a computer? Yes. Something like OEM disks are for people like me who like to experiment and tinker. Check with your local mom and pop computer store. The one I go to will make you a copy of Windows and sell it to you for about ten dollars. Providing you show them the original sticker.

Finally on an unrelated note: Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel does work on Windows 8. The original version and 103a.

Friday, December 14, 2012

From Fraudenstachel to Freudenstachel: How to use RKSF patches.

Most common time for me to catch a mistake in a comic: one minute before posting it.

Second most common time to catch a mistake: one minute after posting it.

Third most common time: years and years later.

As good as the programmers are with our favorite video game franchise, mistakes will slip by. Some are not obvious to begin with. For instance why the game crashes to desktop randomly. It doesn't happen all the time. Try as you might you can't get it to repeat the crash while the screen capture software is running. Or why does the Rush Coil not appear even though you're using the Iris Stage password?

Fortunately there are patches to fix this. (Insert line from Blazing Saddles here.)

Using the RKSF patches is different from the Rosenkreuzstilette patches. The RKS ones use an EXE file the bring you to a menu that makes you search all over your hard drive to find the game and copies the new files over for you. RKSF makes you do all the copying and pasting.

As always you must make a backup copy of the original. Staples recently had a sale on 500GB hard drives. I bought a bunch. So I gots plenty of space.

I'm using Windows 7 so I don't need to unzip the files. All you have to do is just click on it like a normal folder. Highlight all the files and just right-click and Copy or hit Ctrl+C.

Here you will need to click "Copy and Replace."

Here click "Yes."

Now you have a fully upgraded version of Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel. Of course it resets your controller configuration.

I keep an original copy of the game so I can continue to enjoy stuff like:

(Being pointed out by a guy who routinely misspells the name of his own web site.)

That second image leads me into a rant that I'll keep short. Whenever the word Asian is used to describe a person, some people will start the whole L/R stereotype BS. Doesn't matter if the country is Japan, Korea, China, Vietnam, or wherever. It bugs me because I spent two years in Korea and half the country is named "Lee." I have even gone so far as to engage in conversations with Korean-American friends of mine just to see if a joke I wanted to do in the comic would work. Ultimately I just let it go. You're not going to change a stereotype overnight. Things like that image up there don't help.

Friday, December 7, 2012

That Whole Eye Surgery Thing.

I seriously doubt there is anyone who was reading the comic back in 2006 that still is. I know that no one is going into the archive to read the Season 18 run of comics. In them is a series of comics of me poking fun of an eye surgery.

That all started when I was just a little boy. I was born with a defect in my eye that if I didn't get fixed I would have gone blind in that eye. Due to circumstances beyond my family's control, I was never able to get the follow ups I needed. It really wasn't much of an issue. I can't see what I call "artificial 3D." When you put those goggles on what I see is barf inducing semi-interlaced double images. That aside I was still able to get my driver's license and graduated high school (thank goodness for spell checks, guess which one in this sentence I got wrong on the first try.) My eye was not much of an issue. The state has me declared legally blind in that eye, but they have never given me any guff over it.

The Army on the other hand.

Since I couldn't pass the eye test with that eye I couldn't get licensed by my company. So each and every time went to a new unit I had to go to the ophthalmologist and get permission from the doctor to drive a Humvee. Every time I saw the doctor they would say they could fix that problem. I turned them down because I simply didn’t have the time and as a private I had no pull. They also didn’t explain to me what was going on.

Then one did. He told me that while the surgery I had as a kid wasn't new, no one had done any follow up surveys until years after my surgery. It had been found out that the charts used at the time were off by one millimeter. Using the new charts he could fix my eye and if that was successful I could have normal vision like everybody else. I decide to do it because I was now a sergeant and had some pull. Also I had decided not to re-enlist and go home anyway so get it done now. I could get it done before going to Afghanistan and it should heal up a short while later. I talked it over with my chain of command and in December of 2004 I went under the knife.

2005 turned into the year of hell for me and my eye was to blame for most of it. You see, double vision was supposed to be a good thing. Why? That meant my brain was still using my eye. After things healed up my eye would go into its proper position and thing would be good. That never happened. After six months things got bad. The double vision was making me nauseous and I was having dizzy spells whenever object at high speed moved from eye to eye. I tried toughing it out as much as possible but by the end of the year I was sent home from Afghanistan to get more surgery.

Little over a year after this whole thing started I had two more surgeries which put me back to where I was before this whole thing started, mostly. If I'm tired from a long day of work, sometimes the double vision will be there. A good nap takes care of that.

I think it was a valuable lesson learned. If it really doesn't need to be fixed, then don't.

I don't blame any one but myself for all the trouble I went through. I'm the one who said yes.