Well it’s winter and it’s getting dry and colder out (-11C right now), so you know what that means…
Yup, it’s Static Electricity Season. I can’t walk anywhere without building up a charge, and when I went to turn on the bedroom light, I got a double dose from the screws above and below the switch.
I’d better not have to work on any of the computers’ internals anytime soon…
While I was picking up a new network card, I figured I’d finish converting all of my video cabling over to S-Video. I’m running everything through a switcher now, but all of the inputs have to be of the same type, so they were all still using composite/RCA for lack of enough cables. The PS2 was the real sticking point, since it only came with a composite cable and needs a special plug, and the official Sony S-Video adapter was $50 when I checked on it. Nuts to that. Fortunately, this time I found a third-party cable that was much cheaper.
And wow, what a difference it makes. I’d never really taken a close look before, since it’s sometimes hard to tell what the difference is, but GTA:SA makes it blatantly obvious. All of the fine print on the loading screen is clear and readable now instead of blurry, the little mini-map in the corner is sharp now, so it’s easier to tell where I am and what the markers are, I can finally clearly see the ammo numbers, and it just seems sharper and brighter overall.
Component inputs on an HDTV would be even better, but then I’d be spoiling myself…
I’ve been interested in checking out World of Warcraft for my next MMORPG fix, but apparently they’re having a few problems… If I do decide to give it a try, I’ll probably wait another week or two first.
If I can find the time. Damn this affluent Western burden of having too many leisure options… :-P
To give you an idea of just how out-of-touch I am, I didn’t even realize that yesterday was the day of the provincial election until it was too late…
Reviews of the Nintendo DS are starting to trickle in, and they’re pretty positive so far. Although the dual screens and touchpad seem a bit gimmicky, it’s at least as functional as a standard GBA if you strip all the gimmicks away. It’ll be interesting to see what they do with the WiFi and Internet capabilities, too.
I’d been thinking of upgrading my plain old GBA to a GBA SP for a while, but I’ll probably pick up a DS instead. There’s nothing terribly compelling right now, but it’ll still solve the backlight and battery problems with the original, and still let me use any nifty new DS-specific stuff that might come out…
And then a couple hours later someone else posted that he’d been working on something similar and was just about to release his version. And his does a much better job. And mine appears to be a bit buggy.
I am now waiting on the completion of the single biggest thing I have ever tried to download: Half-Life 2. It’ll probably be at least 3-4 gigs of data transferred, to meet the ~8 gig install size, but at this rate it should be done by morning.
Normally, given the option, I prefer to get copies of software on actual physical media instead of downloading them. In this case though, there is a difference: the CD version apparently still has the CD-in-drive check on startup. Even though the downloadable version obviously doesn’t. Don’t bother trying to reason it out; it’s apparently because of Orders From Above and nothing else… There’s also been the what-happens-if-I-lose-it concern, but they’ve actually included the ability to burn backup copies to DVD/CD.
The whole online activation requirement for HL2 has been a bit controversial, but at least it’s a one-time-only thing for the single-player game. (Multiplayer always has to do a key check, as is standard nowadays.) It has been effective, though: they avoided having any pre-release or zero-day leaks of pirated copies of the whole game, unlike nearly every other big title to come out recently.
Hopefully my system is even capable of running it well. I technically meet all of the specs, except that my FSB is stuck at 266MHz, which is a bit lacking compared to the effective 800MHz you can get on recent motherboards. It should be good enough with some options turned down, at least.
Wow. Superman, Lois, Lana, and Jimmy sure spent a lot of time being jerks to each other.
Reminded by a recent comment, I went and looked at my financial records in Quicken, and the last time I updated it was about three months ago…
I seem to go through a pattern when it comes to Quicken. I realize that I really should keep better track of my spending, so I start up a new Quicken database and enter my latest balances and updates. Then, for a while I’ll meticulously keep track of all of my bank account and credit card transactions at the end of the day. Then I realize that I’m not really learning much about how I spend my money, since a lot of it is in cash transactions, so I set up a ‘cash’ account and start keeping track of every little cash payment, too. Then I get busy or distracted, so I just leave the receipts near the computer and enter the updates whenever I have free time, using the monthly statements to fill in any holes I may have forgotten about. And then I suddenly realize that I haven’t updated it in three months and it’s just way too behind now…
Then, a couple years later, I start the whole process over again, swearing that I’ll do a better job this time.
Oh well, maybe in 2006…
37) Hijack a train, derail it, and set it on fire:
Subject: New Drug Store Kenny
Oh my God, they overdosed Kenny! You bastards!
Subject: The crocodile's best weapon against infection Ann
I didn’t know Typhoid Mary had a sister. Those crocodiles better watch out…
Subject: re : painfull appointment tuesday at 22-00
I think I might skip this appointment.
Subject: scan your PC for free Andy
No thanks, I’ve already got all the Andy I need.
Subject: Earth is not round! It's dirty!
Hey, round things can be dirty…
Subject: FAt sluts get DIRTY!
Subject: i haerd you borke into a huose last ngiht
This is just fun to say with a mock-Swedish accent.
Subject: can Joaquin come over and watch?
Sure, he can sit there enthralled while I fix up compiler warnings, validate type safety after adjusting interfaces, fill out work schedule estimates…
Subject: assist your husband with his pain
Things You Didn’t Know About Yourself Part #1: Your gay spouse.
Subject: why does your wife spy on you
Things You Didn’t Know About Yourself Part #2: And apparently I’m a polygamist.
Subject: help your daughter with her pain
Things You Didn’t Know About Yourself Part #3: With a presumably adopted or bastard daughter.
Subject: Please confirm everything,. Mon, 01 Nov 2004
Gee, I don’t know if I have the authority to confirm *everything*…
In the previous chapter of our saga, I was still trying to find a method of making the MPEG-2 streams DVD-compliant without re-encoding, and I think I’ve finally got it.
As if I didn’t have enough distractions already, I picked up one of the new slimmer PS2s yesterday and wow, this thing is *tiny*:
(That white blob is my way-overexposed hand.)
This is actually the first real console I’ve had since the original NES. I know the Xbox has technically better specs and graphics and so forth, but in the console world the raw performance specs have never really seemed to matter all that much. Video game history is littered with systems that were technically superior spec-wise, but still colossal failures. It’s more a matter of what titles there are to choose from and what style of games you enjoy, and the PS2 library will fit me better, I think.
And I also picked up a handful of games, of course. Gran Turismo 3, since I haven’t played a decent driving game since Pod. Katamari Damacy, which proves that the Japanese have been smoking something pretty potent lately. FFX and the first .hack to check out the current console RPG scene.
And of course, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Because life isn’t complete until you’ve beaten an enemy gang member to death with a giant purple dildo.
Having now successfully burned a handful of DVDs, a few things are becoming clearer:
(Yes, I know, you’re probably getting sick of these video-related entries by now :-P)
More kittens than you can shake a stick at. If you were inclined to shake sticks at kittens, for some reason.