J270 – Dining with a General

[2/22/2010] So, this should have been up several weeks ago. Stupid schoolwork! orz …

Anyway, at the beginning of February I went to a career fair. Of course, this meant I had to dress up formally. Apparently I didn’t do it too well…

Why do we even have formal clothing anyway? I understand the point of having particular clothes for particular situations, but it’s reached the point that people are being judged by their clothes. It’s probably impossible to get hired if you don’t dress up fancy, even if your job has nothing to do with that.

“But dressing up shows that you’re responsible!” goes the response (or something like that). I don’t think so; dressing up shows you’re capable of dressing up, or maybe that you’re capable of dolling yourself up to make yourself look more qualified. Shouldn’t responsiblity come across in the things you’ve done or the way you carry yourself?

Worse is when you go in for an interview where the interviewer is in a T-shirt but expects you to dress up formally anyway (haven’t had one of these, but I know they exist).

Anyway, I’m getting tired and incoherent now. I’ll leave you guys with this link to the full text version of “Dining with a General”. Until next week!

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The first part of this entry was actually written before last week’s post! It just didn’t get posted because of the thing with the TC4200. I was almost going to skip it again due to the thing with my WRT54G, but considering the break between part 7 and part 8, I figure this was appropriate.


Looking back (or rather, Google-searching the site), it seems like it’s been a long time since I last discussed the NW “reference collection”. It seems like I got the idea that I really did want such thing in d111, dated for November 2006! There’s another footnote in d113, dated just a few weeks later, suggesting that I actually started doing something and would like to finish it soon…

At any rate, this endeavor seems to have proven fruitful to some degree; for the past year or two, I have had a small biner full of copies of “stuff” relevant to the comic, including a couple character sheets and reference for location and ships, but generally fairly not comprehensive, and I didn’t use it that much. Hence, despite the slow evolution in “style”, you still get a slow evolution in the “content”. I think I’ve written about wanting to focus on making “content” more consistent, but I can’t find the entry for now…

That has led to what I consider a major overhaul of the reference collection. I have aimed to make it 1) consistent (with itself – some pages of the old reference collection contradicted themselves – ie, one picture of a symphonia class battleship didn’t look like another picture, etc), 2) digital, no more having to lug a silly binder around, 3) more comprehensive. This has resulted in “the big scan”, where I went through about five years of sketchbook and scanned out what I could use in the new storyline. That was about 100 pages total, and the whole experience made me realize just how slow effin scanners/scanner software is…

I have also redrawn a number of references which were previously inconsistent/incorrect. Each of the NW characters that’ll move forward into “season 2” get a new reference sheet, and I really made a point of drawing new references for ship classes like the Symphonia, Ultima, Enigma, etc, which have changed fairly drastically since their original 2002 form. The most time consuming thing to reference seems to have been the Aruku Reshivu. It has apparently taken me several pages of reference just to plan out one silly room…

So this week’s update actually consists of a couple of these new reference sketches. I have actually uploaded these before, but I do not believe I’ve posted ’em:

That last one is of the small ship that Lam has been using in the past couple pages, most visible here in d261. It’s actually another design that has its roots way, way back in elementary school, probably when I was in fifth grade. It’s interesting because the styling is ultimately pretty similar to that of the Aruku Reshivu, despite having been drawn many, many years in advance (and yes, the Reshivu is actually a recent design, not a rehash!). I’d post reference for the Reshivu, but there’s a few, and I’d prefer to save it for a single dump, maybe along with a post dedicated to said ship.

Anyway, you get the idea. Being of characters and stuff that are actually in the series right now, these are the most relevant; now I’m going to post a couple older pics, which, while less relevant, I thought were interesting.

This is a “map” of the Milky Way. It just shows the relative positions of earth (Sol on the map), Confederate League Systems 1, 3, and 53, the Orion belt and the Perseus arm. In this map, I’ve used a cartesian coordinate system, but J said that we should probably use a circular, or spherical one. I’m not sure which one I prefer; they both have their pros and cons…

Then we have a somewhat distorted “map” of Confederate League 1A, aka BKS “Jungle Planet”. When the first version of this map was done in 6th grade, this world was still known as “Comicland”, and for many years after, that’s what “CL” stood for. In this second (or maybe even third) revision, I’ve tried to consider plate tectonics, and I hope the geography is somewhat believable…


Last two pics are of the Confederate League capital complex on CL03A aka BKS “Main Planet”. This is another “thing” that was designed many, many years ago, possibly even before the original Bradly and Keno character designs. I was telling J how I really liked reusing old designs like this… it makes my childhood feel worthwhile and/or productive.

Ok, that’s it for now. Next week we get to hear about my WRT160N and maybe some of my other adventures on eBay…

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Hey. This is the last page of part 7. Whoo.

Anyway, I had another entry planned for today, but something came up that made me write about other things. I had a (minor?) hardware fault with the TC4200 that put an end to nearly two years of trouble-free operation (technically I supposed it’s nearly four years, since I doubt the previous owner had any issues…).

But anyway, about a week ago, I remember powering the machine up from standby and not getting anything on the display. Sometimes it can take this thing up to a minute to resume from standy (I think it has to do with how quickly the wireless card can negotiate a link with the infrastructure – I’m not totally sure about that though), so I didn’t think anything about it…

Until a couple minutes had passed. At that point, I force shut-downed the thing and restarted. When it started back up, it looked like the post screen didn’t show up, but I got a picture at the Windows desktop and thought nothing of it anymore.

Two days ago, I was resuming from standby, and the same sort of thing happened. My first thought was that the CF card was finally going south and corrupting itself, but when I rebooted, I didn’t get a picture at the post screen, and I didn’t get a picture at the Windows desktop either. It looked like the machine was running though, as all the lights seem to come on at the right time, etc.

So I connected my external display (the only CRT in the neighborhood, I bet) and there was my desktop.

So the display was dead. A little strange, I thought, I hadn’t seen any of the traditional symptoms of inverter or backlight failure, and an LCD failure is typically characterized by discolored lines and the loss of like large fractions of the display. But that wasn’t the case, and things got weirder when I noticed that the digitizer wasn’t working either. At this point I had been thinking I’d have to buy a new display, but…

I decided to crack the thing open and take a look.

I’ve cracked open plenty of Dells and other laptops over the past couple years, and the TC4200 remains one of least maintenance friendly. Dell’s machines are always easy to take apart, and it’s nice that they give you a service manual. HP gives you manuals too, and Lenovo does it for ThinkPads, but after that, the industry really fails in this sort of thing. Great, but HP’s manuals don’t really make things much easier.

On the TC4200, all of the screws are a combination Torx and slot screws. Torx is really an ass to work with (especially when I don’t have a Torx set), and the slot is thin and long enough such that my thin flat screws don’t quite bridge the gap and my wide ones are too fat to fit in it. I can usually somehow make my “usual” phillips work somehow… but it’s annoying as hell.

There’s also this bezel right in front of the display that takes great care to remove. The manual makes it look so simple… just lift and pull… but in reality, the display is close enough to the chassis, such that lifting and pulling just isn’t possible. You need to twist it and turn it just the right way to fit it under the display… otherwise you’ll break it. And I broke my first one.

HP also uses a lot of tape (at least relative to Dell). Tape keeps one side of the keyboard connected to the chassis, and it also keeps the display bezel attached to the display. I suppose that makes the entire display assembly feel pretty solid though… enough such that I didn’t think you could dismantle it via conventional methods. There’s no instructions, but you can. I took a leap of faith. But I wouldn’t suggest it done very often because there’s that damn tape.

At any rate, here’s a picture!


It really doesn’t have anything to do with the ultimate problem, though. I just took the display apart to tighten the hinge while I was at it. Unfortunately, most of the play in the hinge is actually caused by the hinge itself, rather than loose screws joining the hinge to the display assembly (which often turns out to be the case in some older Dells).

The actual problem seems to be with the cable connecting the display to the chassis. I suppose since this is a tablet, that group of cables comes under more wear and tear than the equivalent connection in a standard laptop. Just re-seating the cable seems to have solved my original problem for now, but I fear that something is getting stripped inside this bundle of wires (and you can’t see it because the bundle of wires is sheathed), which may eventually require a replacement in the future…

So yeah, that’s that story.

I’m watching the Chobits anime right now. Made in 2002, I’d read the manga a little bit later, and probably a second and third time eventually, but something in the anime caught my eye (either it didn’t exist in the manga or I just didn’t care until now).

Minoru has this display on his desk:


If you can see what’s going on, it’s a screen with a digitizer (he uses a pen most of the time), but the stand is hinged such that it can stand vertically… or at a slant such that you can draw on it like a Cintiq. And it’s hueg. And that just floored me. I can’t believe in the eight years between now and then, no one has actually made something like this. A Cintiq kind of costs a fortune already, but then the cost of adding the special hinge is like icing on the cake. I just can’t believe a market for this doesn’t exist.

If I had the money, I’d totally buy this. I’m talking to YOU, manufacturers.

Ok, ’til next time.

As you can see, there were supposed to be pictures. But my WRT54G kicked the bucket early this week, and the pictures were on the server which is now turned off. So maybe an edit later.

10/02/21: Infrastructure back online. Pictures added.