Failand Paintchat

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[7/27/2009] So, Derek and I finally did another paintchat. Our objective this time was to fill as much white space as possible; click above to see the result.

We went into this with a theme to be as random as possible (I was thinking stuff in the vein of Looney Bin Chronicles, still one of my absolute favorite things I’ve ever drawn); we failed at that, then failed at drawing, then drew about fail, then somehow wound up with something that was kinda epic.

Yeah, expand the image to full size and look around. There’s a lot of stupid/cute little jokes hidden in there…

dcomic 511


J’s got his Eila, so let’s talk computers again this time around. The last time I “inventoried” the fleet was back in d212. Not much has changed this time; the fleet has actually retained the same members for almost a year now, which is probably a record since I started to care. This is, for the record, probably the first picture I’ve taken of the fleet in its entirety, too. At any rate, I’m just going to put out an abridged version of the inventory:

DL004 Colette

Amd Athlon XP 2500+ (1.83GHz, 1.38v)
1536MB, DDR 333MHz
Nvidia Quadro NV18
Samsung 64GB RBX MLC
Windows XP Corp SP3

DL012 Motoko

Intel Pentium Dual Core E2140 (2.66GHz, stock)
2048MB, DDR2 800MHz
Nvidia Quadro NV34
Samsung 64GB RBX MLC
Windows XP Corp SP3

DL013 TC4200

Intel Pentium M 740 (800 – 1733MHz, 0.7 – 1.0v)
2048MB, DDR2 533MHz
Intel GMA950
Transcend 4GB 300X SLC
12″ XGA 1024 x 768

DL014 E6400

Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 (800 – 2233MHz, 0.875 – 0.9v)
2048MB, DDR2 800MHz
Intel GMAX4500
Samsung 64GB RBX SLC
14.1″ WSXGA+ 1440 x 900

On Friday the fleet finally went completely solid-state. This has been a long time in the making, though it ultimately happened sooner than I thought. The TC4200 got its CFSSD way back in 2008, the E6400 got one near Christmas, Motoko got hers in March, and Colette finally got her 80GB, 7200RPM notebook drive replaced with this last upgrade. I hadn’t been planning on moving Colette to SSD until the price of the said Samsung drive dropped a bit further, as I don’t really use her as a day to day driver, but since I’ve got a fair amount of income at the moment, I figured why not.

So obviously all my files don’t fit onto three 64GB SSDs and a 4GB CF. Storage space has, for the past year and a half now, largely been provided by 500GB desktop drives, the first of which I purchased in late 2007. Currently, there are three such drives; the total capacity of which is maybe 1/3 to 1/2 filled. A lot of people seem to like to cram everything they own into a single 500GB notebook drive or whatnot, but I like to keep my boot drives clean. Even with the 64GB SSDs on Motoko and the E6400, I don’t use up much more than 30-40GB at a time.

A couple smaller updates: all the fleet members now have 2GB of memory (save for Colette, who’s got 1536MB). I don’t like running page files on the SSDs (though it really shouldn’t be too bad for the true SSDs; I dunno about the CFSSD though), so the working set has to go entirely on memory. I initially thought 1GB would suffice for my usage, but I hit this 1GB limit at least a few times with the TC4200, so I decided to give everyone 2GB. Haven’t ever hit that limit yet. Colette and Motoko now have these Quadro graphics cards. I don’t remember why I did this anymore, but it obviously must have been due to the fact that I don’t need much graphical power.

Ok, something different now:

That’s an Inspiron 910 on the left and an aforementioned D610 on the right. The Mini 9 proves that Dell’s pricing is retarded. Back in May, we upgraded my mom to an E6400. Playing with the configuration doodads on Dell’s site gave us two identically specced E6400’s at the same price… except that one came with a Mini 9. Since this price was essentially on par with the lowest priced E6400 of the same configuration, I could say we got this for free.

The D610 is indeed loading OSX. A friend of mine was considering hackintoshing his E1505 so that he could try his hand at the iPhone SDK. That piqued my curiosity so I decided to give it a go. At this point, after much hassle, I’ve gotten the whole shebang to work, albeit not very well. At the very least, there’s sound and wifi. I can also dual-boot Windows XP using the XP bootloader to boot (NPI!!!). The biggest problem at the moment seems to be that none of the power-saving features, especially of the GPU, seem to work. The thing’s constantly pulling 27W at the plug (whereas it should be doing like 11W at idle) and the fan’s just churning away full speed all the time. Can’t sleep or standby either.

I’m fairly confident that I can get the mess running on the E1505, but we’ll have to see how that goes.

I’ve so far maintained a policy in which I don’t name laptops, only desktops. At least for me, I feel like if you didn’t go and choose and buy all the parts for your computer and put it together (as easy as that is these days), it isn’t really name worthy. I mean, this isn’t really set in stone; the Dell Dimension v333c that’s still chugging away in my dad’s office is named Flonne (honorary member of the fleet, I suppose). It’s a pre-built machine, but there’s nothing left of the original machine save for the power supply and motherboard. Processor has gone from some Celeron to a Pentium III. Memory is like 384MB of SDRAM, up from 128. Hard drive definitely isn’t the original 10GB mess. Video is a PCI Quadro over the original IGP. I suppose if you’ve owned the machine for a while and used it and tweaked it some, it can, you know, come to deserve a name, but so far I haven’t given any of my laptops names.

If I had to choose, the HP would probably be Minatsu (DCII). The E6400 is a bit tougher. I’d really want to use Nagato, but I don’t think it’s in good taste to use what I generally consider a pretty popular character in a fairly well-read series, but after Nagato, the choices really broaden out. Looking at some of the more obscure series at the top of my rank list, I could go with Aika (Aria), Fate (Nanoha; again, though, kinda falls in the same pitfall as Nagato), Suigintou (Rozen Maiden; doesn’t really roll off the tongue), Triela (Gunslinger Girl; again, doesn’t really roll off the tongue), etc.

Having some sort of theme (which I don’t), would probably help.

Alright, this one actually took a while to write. I think I’m off for now.

EDIT: I nearly forgot – I don’t really consider myself much of a photographer, but I found this in my archives and I thought it was a really nice shot:

J245 – RLRAoS: 20 Questions

[7/15/2009] Aaaand so, I am behind again. orz.

My sister makes an appearance in today’s comic (She’s the one who drew this update). While we were in Taiwan we played some 20 Questions to pass the time on road trips. Basically, the point of the game is to guess what the other person is thinking of using 20 yes-no questions (the answer “sometimes” is also acceptable). You start by supplying whether the item in question is animal (a critter), vegetable (a plant), or mineral (everything else) — abstract concepts are disallowed. Obviously, minerals tend to be the hardest to guess. More info about 20 Questions can be found on Wiki.

So yeah, that’s all for this time. More 4koma to come, probably.

Random side fun thing: so, one of my friends on IM who I talk to a lot is currently stuck with spotty internet service and also has to use web IM clients. This creates an interesting scenario: not only does she fall off the network occaionally, sometimes I receive her messages out of order. Today, after she fell off the network, then signed back on, this exchange occured (name changed to protect the innocent):

[06:40] KenoColin: hello again
[06:41] mina: FUCK YOU

Followed by:

[06:41] KenoColin: ………
[06:41] KenoColin: D:
[06:41] mina: dear internet:

Ah, failures in communication.

dcomic 509


So. Back to art for this entry.

So we’ve seen these before. This was my last set of general sketching tomfoolery before I ran the comic into the ground trying to finish it up. Now that it’s over, I can get back doodling. So I did some last night…

So ok, not quite as experimental as the last batch, but more or less the same; I just want to give a fair comparison for the next bit. This is done more in the style of what’s been done in the comic itself with only one flavor of (attemptedly) consistent shading. I think I said #4 in the first image was the best of that lot way back when I posted this in… November?

Anyway, I’ve been going on about putting an exponential amount of extra time into a drawing for a small increase in quality since d233. Well, here we go:

At this point, I think we cross the line between “sketch” and “finished drawing” (albeit in pencil). The figures in the first three images are probably like 15-30 minutes, whereas the two in the last image probably took 45-60 minutes; so we’re putting in like double the time for a small, but significant (I think at least) increase in quality. When your entire drawing time is only an hour, doubling ain’t bad, but if this were a colored piece, we’d be talking going from 5-10 hours to 10-20…

All the little splotches and shit are from my scanner. I think.

Ok, that’s it for now.

J244 – Grind 3

Even more Art Grind…

6-6: A full-body shot! Whoo~! We finally get to see 518’s feet, which are digitigrade. I tried drawing her from the 3/4 behind view, because I’ve never drawn her from this angle before. Seems to have turned out okay. Sometime I need to find a picture of someone actually having their shirt tied the way 518 wears it so I can draw it accurately…

6-7: Diner Waitress 518~! Ponytail moé moé! *ahem* Aaaaaanyway, I thought I’d draw 518 with different clothes for a change and the hair somehow naturally followed. I’m pretty happy with how this one turned out (the style is slightly different from normal, but I still like it). The claw and hand both look fairly “natural”.

Those of you with sharp eyes may notice that her name tag reads “Unit 518”.

6-8: Someone suggested that I try drawing 518 in a more “realistic” style. So I did, and here is the result. I guess it looks okay, but it feels somehow “off” … maybe because I’m not used to the style…

6-9: I discovered while drawing this one that a good way to check that 518’s hand is drawn correctly is to cover each half of it in turn and see if the other half still looks like a “normal” hand. If both halves check out, the hand is fine.

dcomic 508


My biggest qualm with Win7 (at least with the RC) is that it still takes up more than 7GB on disk (as measured by the size of the Windows folder). I do believe that a large portion of this 7GB is taken up by legacy drivers and whatnot, but it’s still about three times the size of even a year-old XP installation (as measured on my desktop) that has taken up a bit of bloat. I’m fairly certain there will programs like nLite or vLite that can reduce the on-disk footprint, but it’d be nice if Microsoft could do something about this 7GB, which doesn’t even consider programs, page file, system restore, etc.

Other than the disk footprint, the RC doesn’t really seem to eat too many resources, though benchmarks across the web have shown it to be slower than XP in some scenarios. The Pentium M 740 on my TC4200 is just able to playback 720p video without lagging, so the Pentium M 750 on the test machine should be able to do the same, especially since its about a hundred MHz faster. Such is indeed the case, but opening things like task manager whilst a video is playing will cause it to stutter a bit; this doesn’t happen on the 740 with XP Tablet. So the processor takes a bit more load, but the memory usage isn’t out of the ballpark and I think the RC is reasonable in both these regards.

I’m also not too fond of how Vista and Win7 have tried to shuffle a bunch of folders and control panel all over the place to “simplify” the layout of the OS. I’m fairly certain you can probably mess with everything so as to layout the OS like XP, but I’ve been trying to use 7 as it would be out of the box, so I don’t have to tweak it everytime I do a clean install. It’s not too hard to get the general gist of things, but yeah…

Ok, that’s enough about Win7 for now. The really good thing that happened to me is that I finally figured how to make my TC4200 read SDHC cards. Way back in d209, I commented about the fact that, with my CF-SSD setup, I got a meager 6GB of overall storage, with an effective 3.5GB of usable storage. Well, that figure has gone down to like 2GB in the past couple of months, as I’ve loaded a couple more things onto the main drive and as half of the SD cards is full of music.

Because I don’t like to store media on the main drive; this whole business boils down to the fact that I have < 1GB of usable space for anime and whatnot and this has really been getting annoying these past couple months. It means I have to reload the card after I watch two or three episodes and I don’t really have any flexibility in what I can watch without reloading the damn thing. I originally bought a 16GB SDHC with the 4GB CF in anticipation of such a problem, but as I’ve said… SDHC didn’t work.

In December or so, I tried using one of these Addonics dual-CF adapters and a slower 16GB CF along with my 4GB main drive, but the HP BIOS sucks balls and can’t address two physical drives in the single HDD slot, so teh 16GB drive was forever stuck in PIO mode, which is a bunch of fail. Still using the dual-CF adapter since it’s a better fit than my original adapter, but I had to return the 16GB CF.

More recently, someone pointed out that HP had released an updated driver for the Texas Instruments card reader than comes on the TC4200. This driver revision was released in June of 2008, meaing that I didn’t know about it at all, because I bought the TC4200 in March of 2008, and downloaded all my drivers in early April. I used that same set of drivers for my CF reinstallation since they all worked fine. Furthermore, I didn’t expect HP to release a new driver almost three years after the TC4200’s original release.

Now, the guy and HP’s site said the new driver would fix the fact that “The notebook PC does not recognize 4GB SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) from SanDisk, Panasonic, Toshiba, etc. when inserted”. Since they only mentioned 4GB SDHC cards, I figured that the original 4GB limit of the SD format would still apply and that SDHC cards greater than 4GB would still not be recognized, so I actually didn’t bother looking into the driver for a while.

Regardless, I ultimately installed the new driver and discovered that it did work with 4GB SDHC and my old 16GB SDHC and that really made my week. No more pokey 2GB crap.

Ok, that’s it for now.