dupdate 110709

[110709]

Well, a slightly different kind of fanart from me this time. I liked J’s idea of doing the character sketches, but I tried to put a spin on it. Kind of going off of what I said in d325, I’m trying something like balancing between my style, their style, and the character, but as with any of these sorts of experiments, the success or failure is debatable.

Anyway, this is Phryne from Fractale. I was going to try to be real pro and hash out a bunch of these real fast, but me being real slow coupled with an unexpected hardware failure (I suppose those are usually unexpected), has led to only this one being complete or even in progress. This is also the first non-full-page colored anything I’ve done for… well, a long time.

I last discussed equipment shuffling very recently in d313, but even the best plans of mice and men…

Continue reading “dupdate 110709”

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dcomic 526

[091116]

So last week was actually an anniversary I didn’t know about ’til just now. It’s been two years since Colette started doing server duty; the first time I reference such a thing is in Episode d155. The IP URL obviously doesn’t work anymore; I switched Colette over to our ATT line way back when Comcast said it was going to impose their 250GB cap on whatever service we have (don’t really know if they ever did it or not), so she’s been on a dynamic IP for a year now. The ATT line isn’t as fast, but it works, and that’s good enough.

Theoretically, it should also be Motoko’s second year too, but I’m pretty sure I was running my old P4 box back then. Motoko probably doesn’t attain her current state until… well I dunno… January 2008, maybe?

Colette actually has a pretty checkered history, and I didn’t know about it too recently. In her original state (Abit AN7 & Athlon XP 3200+), I think she was bought by a certain Mr. Spirtos I knew quite well (too well maybe) in elementary school, and some of high school. Sadly, he’s moved to Chicago these days. At any rate, it must have been a very high-end configuration back then; I’m pretty sure the 3200+ was like $500 at launch, and everyone knew that Athlons were better than Northwood P4s. But going on…

Somewhere along the way – it must have been 2005 or 2006, Colette got “donated” to the Pinewood robotics team because we intended to use her for CAD work (which we never did because it really was impractical for a small school like us). I’m pretty sure Mr. Spirtos intended to get her back at some point, but after the season finished, she either went home with team captain Mr. Wang or the great Generalachoo. At any rate, when the 2006-2007 robotics season started – I don’t remember the exact circumstances, but it musta been something stupid like CAD again – she changed hands again.

This time it was to me. I don’t know how much of the original kit I got (it was probably just the board, processor, and heatsink by now), but it wasn’t much. It’s interesting because in the present, the only part the current Colette shares with the original Colette is the AN7 motherboard; every single other part has changed, right down to some of the jumpers on said motherboard. Hell, even between now and when I got Colette from Generalachoo, all the parts have changed. I’m really surprised I didn’t write about this; I do mention that I’ve owned a custom desktop in d136, but that’s really it it seems.

You know, while we’re here, let’s talk about overclocking, cuz that’s what I tried on Colette shortly after I put her together, and I’m also surprised I didn’t write about it. The Athlon XP 3200+ doesn’t really have any OC headroom, though. I had to put an obscene (relatively) amount of additional voltage onto the CPU core to get, oh, 200 extra MHz from the chip, and really an unnoticeable amount of extra performance. Rule of thumb is that you need at least 10% more clockspeed to notice; 200MHz was like 8%. Kind of a fail.

The 2500+ I’m currently using could probably do 20 to 25% given a reasonable voltage bump, but by the time I got that chip, I didn’t care anymore. I mean, I’m at least 75% a laptop user, and one with pretty vanilla usage patterns (internet, video, music, etc); I don’t need a lot of juice from a laptop. I’m way, way more concerned about low noise, low heat, low weight, long battery life, and so on. Performance wise, I just want something that’ll do HD video with an SSD, and I’m set. Most dual-core chips made in the last couple years will do the trick, there’s no need to squeeze every last extra MHz out of the system.

But where’s the fun in that. Overclocking is also about getting the most out of a given piece of hardware, and who doesn’t want the best value possible?

Whereas the Athlon XP doesn’t have much OC headroom, the E2140 has a ton of it. The E2140 is pretty much Intel’s slowest dual-core processor, but 100% overclocks aren’t totally uncommon. In fact, you can get a decent overclock pretty much on the stock voltage of the chip. When I first got my EP35-DS3R (man what a clunky name) and E2140, I just raised the FSB to 1333MHz, and it ran with that. Nothing else needed. That takes the clock speed from 1600MHz to 2666MHz; a 66% increase!

Recently, after installing Windows 7, I took the time to tweak this setup a little more. I was able to take the voltage down a full 0.1v (that’s like 8% when the stock voltage is 1.3v) with the 66% overclock, indicating that the chip could probably hit 3GHz if I raised that voltage a little. But it’s really not that important, and I think 2.66GHz with a small undervolt is a good power/performance balance. At the very least you’re riding that fine value line where a little bit more clock speed or a little bit less voltage will cause system instability. I know because I tried. I was down another couple millivolts at first, but it didn’t pass a 24hr run of prime95, so I had to push it up a bit.

And then I found out my memory actually had some OC headroom as well! I got 1066MHz from nominal 800MHz memory, and I didn’t have to touch the timings or the voltage. Memory bandwidth really doesn’t do much for performance, but really, what the heck. If someone gives you five dollars, are you going to take it or ask if it’s fake? (I’m trying to quote that one comic page here, but I don’t think that was it)

Ok, that’s that for today.

dcomic 520

[091004]

My friend was supposed to be making some silly webpage about himself for a class at UCSC, and that inspired me to take a hack at a really less important backburner project I’ve had on my mind for a while.

So as you may know, I upload ost of my miscellaneous pictures to Colette now since the site doesn’t let me browse directories. Well, Colette lets me browse directories, but that’s about it. If I’m actually looking for a particular picture, it can be mighty hard to find, especially when I split uploaded pictures by month (probably a dumb thing to do; I might start doing it by quarters). At any rate, some times ago, I thought it’d be real nice to have some sort of gallery to make my searching for pictures easier.

I think maybe three or four months ago – probably when summer started – I tried installing a gallery onto Colette, but because I don’t really know much about this stuff, it was an epic fail. Or just a regular fail. Really, I just didn’t get anything to work.

It occurred to me that despite the insistence of someone – my sister maybe? – the apache server running on Colette wasn’t php capable when I tried to figure out that gallery stuff at the beginning of summer. Since all the gallery stuff required php in some way or another, that could explain the fail. I was fairly scared of messing stuff up, so I was hesistant to try to install php, but it turned out to be a simple process and I got that done. That php installed properly suggests that it indeed wasn’t there in the first place.

I wasn’t quite sure what to search, so it took me a while to find some sort of free gallery software that wasn’t complete crap and didn’t need something complicated like mySQL (although in retrospect, it might actually be really easy to get that going to; I’m just scared of messing stuff up. The Colette Windows install has been around for a year a half now, and I don’t quite remember how to set everything up again D:). At any rate, I found phpGallery.

I don’t think it actually took me that long to figure out how to install the thing. I remember doing a test run and being really, really surprised that it was working. It did take me a while to figure out that the script would accept a “../” for “up folder” (way to standardize the “..” computer industry!) in the configuration file, and thereby letme tidy up the entire setup a bit, but I ultimately got it configured and working more or less the way I wanted:

http://colette.trianglesoft.net/phpgraphy/

Ya, so it’s not quite polished per se, but it works and makes my life easier. BUT IT WORKS! I still can’t effin believe it. At this point you can start to see how Colette is a bit slow compared to some real enterprise servers. Clicking through some folders and you can see how some bigger pages are taking almost half a second to get generated; other phpgraphy galleries around the Internets are doing it in like 0.010 seconds…

But wait, there’s more!

I’d thought I’d written about this before, but a Google site search says no, so I’ll elaborate. About a year and a half ago (maybe more), I made a silly little splash page for Colette from a CPU-Z spec dump with some links to you know, the usual DA, brickshelf, etc. As you can see from the URL of this page, it isn’t quite being used anymore. That’s because I made a new one just for the lulz.

This story really goes back to the splash I made for a blog that me and a guy I know online were going to do. I taught myself a smattering of css in like a night and hacked this out at the same time. I still think it’s actually pretty stylish (though i bet the coding is awful), but it doesn’t work in IE (if I had something that could make your IE open this up and show you the fail, I’d link it here).

Anyway, I made a new splash for Colette based on the OrangePlanet splash. It’s not really a splash, I guess, just a small collection of links like the old one. For visual interest, there’s a little excerpt from the “My Computer > Properties” tab in the Windows XP installation. There was going to be a little header and footer as well, but I couldn’t get them to work in IE. BUT THIS WORKS IN IE! Almost perfectly.

I actually wrote up one version with an index and css file separate, which didn’t work in IE because it was based off of the OrangePlanet thing, but it bothered me and I basically re-wrote the whole thing until it worked in IE. Which, considering how bad I am at this kind of thing, took a considerable amount of time. At any rate, I’m done with this entry.

dcomic 463

[080427]

462 up, 481 drawn.

So Colette had an interesting hiccup this weekend (something to do with the Apache server, though I have no idea what; all I know is that it made a log file 9GB long o_O It looks like it decided to keep reporting some error over and over and over again…) so I rebooted her for the first time in about a month (about 24 days online!) and decided to install XP SP2. For the first time ever, all my computers are running “up-to-date”.

Honestly I never had a problem with SP1 and since the Dell OEM cD I usually do installations with only came with SP1 I didn’t bother to update for the majority of the past two or so years. Plus, SP2 used to crash my 500m in standby so naturally I’d try to steer clear. There are other reasons which are shadier, so I don’t think I’ll mention ’em.

Like a good friend of mine is considering switching to Mac for the duration of his college whatever-it-is-you-do-at-college for the increased “stability” and “security” of the Mac platform over Wintel (specifically XP). Now I don’t really like the Apple company for a variety of reasons, but I will tell you that you should probably buy their stock because it will probably go up as Vista seems to be pushing John Does away from the Wintel platform. I don’t really like the direction M$ is going either; I think they should stick with their core competency. Software dammit. They need to get off Google’s ass and show those Leopard and Penguin people a real OS.

They say the introduction of Vista parallels that of XP and I will agree to an extent. I myself ran with 1998 (and not even SE) up through the prototypical days of the NWars site (2004ish?) before 98 really didn’t want to work with my (new at that time!) 500m. I mean, XP was indeed bloated compared to 98. The reactionary in me didn’t let me switch until I had to. It’s hard to tell if the general resistance to Vista is comparable or greater than the general resistance to XP, but whatever.

But I’ve had a good experience with XP these past 4 years. By the time of the 500m, something like two years after the release of XP, it was already pretty good. I didn’t really mind switching (we’ll see if that’s the case with Vista in 2009!). Besides my SP2 standby BSoD (arguably caused by crappy Intel 855GM drivers) it was pretty stable too. I mean, I’ve had a BSoDs since then, but the vast majority have been due to overclocking/undervolting tinkering rather than anything to do with the OS itself.

And security? I’ve been adamant that viruses can be prevented solely by means of smart browsing and so far the theory hasn’t failed me. I’ve never touched a piece of antiviral software (save for the good old HiJackThis) in all my years of running XP and I’ve gotten maybe 1 or 2 infections that warranted a reformat. Call it luck, but I think there’s a degree of truth behind the theory if it’s been generally holding water for the better part of four years.

XP SP3 was released to manufacturers last a few days ago. Various flavors will be available to the public in a matter of days as well. I was using a beta on the 500m before I switched over to the TC4200 and there wasn’t anything terribly special about it. It was hard to verify the existence of the mythical 10% increase in performance when your computer is only used for word processing and internet. I’d also upraded the 500m to a 5400rpm drive in the middle of last year so any previous experience with the machine isn’t terribly comparable.

I recently noticed that some of my XP installations didn’t like to boot with a flash drive plugged in. This used to happen to me all the time when I first moved up to XP, but somewhere along the way it stopped happening or I stopped noticing. The issue arose again when I switched to a phone that could be charge by USB and act as a USB flash drive thanks to the installed MicroSD card (which is hella slow I might add). Maybe it’s just because of my extensive use of standby these recent years.

The inconvenience of shuffling large amounts of data between Colette and either of my two laptops via network, internet or 1GB USB stick finally became great enough such that I invested in a USB HDD enclosure. I used the Hitachi drive which I pulled from the TC4200 (though I might switch back; the Fujitsu drive makes a lot of noise, and the battery increase isn’t significant) and a cheap (but nice looking) Coolermaster enclosure. The drive will usually run with a single USB jack which is real nice. Previously any large file transfers I did were with an old 12GB IBM desktop drive using an IDE/USB adapter and (yet another) power supply.

This led me to move a lot of unused and yet-to-be-archived stuff off my D830 and Colette, leading to my now having nearly 60GB free on the former machine. That’s pretty slick. It also finally prompted me to rearrange my anime music collection which has been on my to-do list for a very long time. I finally standardized it such that one playlist will work on any computer with the same music file structure (assuming the actual music structure components are there) which is nice.

Ok I actually wasn’t going to write anything this time, but look what happened.

dcomic 442

[071026]

So at the request… or rather, coercion, of m’verygoodfriend Mr. Tsui, I’m playing Ace Attorney, Pheonix Wright. Hold it. Objection. Good grief. I’m like three hours into it; what’s supposed to be a 10-20 hour game. Fun fun. I imagine this is prolly how visual novels play, but I could be wrong.

But as you may have inferred from last week’s update I’ve setup my own webserver using Windows XP Pro and some free software. Namely the reasonably well known Apache http server and something called “xlight” for the ftp side of things. I couldn’t figure out how to get the default windows server software working. The box is that of my old and noisy Athlon XP (to get a name when I think of a good one XD) which has undergone a few patchy mods over the year. I’ve only had this for about a year and a half, but the mobo and processor are more than four years old. The server’s harddrive is from an old Dell – in the range of about 10 years. The newest component is the oversized CPU fan; DIY’ed to the heatsink with… paperclips.

Don’t expect NWars to be hosted anywhere other than freepages for a while though. My home connection is m’notsogoodfriend Comcast which, as you may know, is being pummelled for restricting bittorrent traffic here and there. I can attest that I’ve had my own download and upload speeds capped, at 750 and 50 kb/s respectively. But then again it’s not like NWars generates a lot of traffic. And the freepages hosting is just that. Free.

You can access the server at http://trianglesoft.net. There’s some old art there and some reference pictures. Nothing too exciting. Occasionally you should be able to find anime there, as I’m trying to avoid using bittorrent on my college network. Not to mention even with it’s 750kb/s cap, my comcast connection is sadly faster.

I’m still trying to figure out how to work this DNS thing such that it will “bind” the trianglesoft url to the IP (like it’ll display “trianglesoft.net” even if you enter the IP and so I can make subdomains… I just think it’d be hella cool to have “server1.trianglesoft.net” or the like XD). The reason that I have a domain at all is that my comcast connection has a somewhat dynamic IP and it may change from time to time. So my links should be written with the trianglesoft url such that I can redirect everything at the same time.

Anyways, comics are done through 459, but it looks like it might be a while before I get onto 460.

PS. The reference from today’s comic is this stupid youtube video featuring a randomass song and a particular secret boss fight in Tales of Destiny. When we (my usual Tales of gaming crew) actually went against this boss we took him out with a 1E6+ hit “infinite combo”, which, I daresay, was quite something. It’s a shame they usually fix these bugs in American releases of games. The line “until they reloaded the game” is not an original line. One of us thought this one up after we lost a particular boss fight… don’t quite recall the details.