March 25, 2011

Alcyone's sick

Rats. Starting a couple of days ago, every once in a while Alcyone would start buzzing loudly and vibrating. It sounds just like a hard drive dying. To make it stop, I have to turn the computer off and then rap the case sharply a few times.

I didn't need this.

Alcyone has two 500GB drives, and I just now looked it up. They're ST9500420AS, which turns out to be Seagate. I just checked, and Newegg sells the same size drive from  Toshiba for just $70. I trust Toshiba the most of all HD makers. I've never had a Toshiba drive fail on me.

So maybe it's about that time.

(By the way, all my computers get backed up daily by Deneb, the NAS. So data loss is not really an issue here.)

UPDATE: Just thought I'd mention that I'm working on another flash to run April 1, like I had last year. But if Alcyone dies on me, I might not be able to complete it. I ordered the replacement drives and they should arrive next week some time, but installation and recovery-from-backup might be challenging.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 11:39 AM | Comments (12) | Add Comment
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March 20, 2011

Windows Upgrades

So, last night I used the "Windows Anytime" gizmo in the control panel and upgraded to Win 7 Pro.

It was painful, even though it didn't really have to download all that much. But it did have to download, and later I found out why. Microsoft just release Win 7 SP1, and the update server is getting hammered. I installed it last night and this morning.

It was taking forever, last night, and I got to the point where I couldn't keep my eyes open. So I went to bed, and this morning I pressed the "restart now" button so the installation could finish.

Saten is downloading it now. It ran blitz-quick until it got to 31% downloaded, and then stalled. Ten minutes later it's up to 33%. It's 9:00 now and I figure it'll finish about noon at the rate it's going.

Probably worth getting, y'all, but definitely worth waiting a bit longer.

UPDATE: 9:30, and 96% downloaded! Ahead of schedule!

UPDATE: 10:00 and all's well! After an hour of downloading and 20 minutes of installation. Whew!

UPDATE: I spoke too soon. It took 15 minutes for the restart.

UPDATE: By the way, SP1 installs .NET, and a program called "mscorsvw.exe" runs fully CPU bound in the background. To make it stop, you have to do this afterwards.

Open a command prompt with administrator privilege.

cd C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727

ngen.exe executequeueditems

(Entering that command on the Slate seemed daunting, so I created a .bat file and ran that.)

UPDATE: I should mention that the ngen takes a long time, especially if you only have a single CPU, because while it's running, mscorsvw continues to run in the background trying to suck CPU cycles. The Slate has a single CPU but it's hyperthreaded, so ngen got one thread and mscorsvw got the other. Even so, it took something like 20 minutes to finish.

Alcyone is a quad-core system, and its CPUs are a lot faster, so it only took about five minutes.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 07:56 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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March 19, 2011

DRM: "Software Defender"

Am I willing to install "Software Defender" on my computer?

That's required in order to play Cosplay Fetish Academy. But there have been so many horror stories about DRM packages totally fucking up computers that I'm a bit leery. Anyone know anything about this one?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 07:02 PM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
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February 26, 2011

(Relatively) new CCCP version

I've been having trouble with Zoom Player, especially when watching 1080p shows. If I skip around, sometimes it would take several seconds for the video to start playing, even though the sound was running.

And once in a while when I pause playback, upon continuing play the sound would be gone, and wouldn't come back. I'd have to stop playing entirely and reload the video file.

Today, just for the hell of it, I decided to see if there was a new version of the Combined Community Codec Pack, or "CCCP". (And yeah, their logo is a hammer and sickle, which I think is actually pretty cool.) And it turns out there was a new version of it last October.

So I downloaded and installed it, and now playback works fine. Video picks up and plays immediately after I jump around, and sound doesn't die on pauses.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, I really wish Victorique would finish ep 8 of Gosick. I'm having to avoid writeups on other people's blogs, for fear of spoilers. But from what I've seen, some people liked it and some despised it. It finishes off the current plot arc, and the question is whether that got botched. My bet is "mostly yes", but I won't know until I can watch it.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 03:09 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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February 20, 2011

How to do this?

The problem: you have a directory full of ".as" files, which are pure text. (They're Flash actionscript.) You need to find the one that contains a certain text string, which might include kanji or might be normal roman letters. It could even be just a number. (I can live without being able to search for Japanese text, but it would be nice to have.)

How do you search them to find that one?

In XP, Windows Search could search the contents of files as well as the filenames, but in Win7 I can't find any way to do that. Is there some other utility available with the  OS which can do it? Or is there some utility I can download which will do it?

This is a job for grep! Except that I don't know where to find that, either. (I used to have those for Win, but that was about four computers ago and I don't know whether I have backups going that back that far.)

UPDATE: Here's what doesn't work: Organize -> folder and search options -> Search -> Always search file names and contents

It seems that Windows search doesn't recognize .as as a text file extension, so it doesn't search inside them even if you tell it to.

And I do have indexing enabled, and this directory is indexed. Doesn't help.

UPDATE: I found my archive for Arcturus, the HP workstation, and I didn't backup that particular directory. Rats.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 11:39 AM | Comments (26) | Add Comment
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February 06, 2011

Flash upgrade

I just bought the upgrade to Flash 11 AKA Flash CS5, and downloaded it and installed it.

Adobe shuuure wants me to install the Google browser toolbar, you know that? What with various downloads (the upgrade, patches, and so on) I had to tell the installer three times that I didn't want the damned thing, even though it was free (and "could easily be uninstalled later" as I was assured).

There are a lot of people out there using it, but I don't want anything to do with it.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 10:52 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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The Big Game

I really couldn't care less about the Superbowl, but it gives me an excuse to use Saten for something. I've got Saten connected to the NFL's web site, where there's a flash animation which shows the state of the game in real time. It's actually pretty cool, showing each play as a colored bar on graphic of a football field.


If this isn't the ultimate hyper-geek way to "watch" a football game, I don't want to know what is.

And Green Bay is kicking Pittsburgh's butt. I didn't think that Green Bay had been competitive since the days of Vince Lombardi. I wonder what happened?

...You know? I watched the very first Super Bowl with my dad. (He was a Green Bay fan. My team was the Los Angeles Rams.)

UPDATE: Nyaahaahaa! And a person with an iPad couldn't do this because they can't run flash!!!

UPDATE: Well, as best I can tell it's turning out to be a pretty good game. Too many SuperBowls have turned out to be mismatches.

Pittsburgh started slow, but they seem to have come out for the second half breathing fire. But Green Bay's defense isn't rolling over dead, and it looks like Green Bay's offense still has some drive left.

UPDATE: Looks like both team's defenses have got their teeth in it now. Neither offense seems able to do anything.

UPDATE: I didn't know the NFL permitted 2-point conversions. Can't say I'm surprised that Pittsburgh tried it. Now they can tie the game up with just a field goal.

UPDATE: Gonna be an exciting ending. 2:10 to go, Pittsburg is behind by six, and they have the ball. If they make a touchdown and get the extra point, they lose. If they get a touchdown and miss the extra point, we go into overtime. And if they don't, then they drown their sorrow in the locker room after the game.

UPDATE: And in the end Green Bay's defense was just too tough. Congratulations to Green Bay for a hard fought game. And to Pittsburgh. How many Superbowls have we had where the game was still in doubt during the last two minutes? Not all that many.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 04:45 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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February 05, 2011


This is dull, but I ain't gotta else to say.

This morning my torrent machine was at a standstill. The traffic graph showed it running 100% right up to maybe 2:00 AM, and then shutting down completely. No torrents running at all.

In fact, I couldn't even do a tracert to any place, even though that worked normally on the other computer.

Oddly enough, when I turned on WiFi on the torrent machine, it was able to access the net normally. So I took a look at the TCP/IP settings for the ethernet interface, and it was no longer set to use the Qube as a gateway.

So once that got fixed, it was back online just like normal. I have no idea why it got shut off, but my suspicion is that IP lease ran out and the DHCP server on Deneb didn't provide the right information.

But I looked at it, and the DHCP server is set up properly. So I'm confused.

IP leases currently run out weekly. Next Saturday it'll be interesting to see if the torrent machine falls to its knees again. Or to see if either of the others do before then.

Meanwhile, it occurred to me today that I never fully cycled Saten's battery. When I get a new device with a lithium battery in it, I like to run the battery through a full charge/discharge/charge cycle once. I got told one time that it would make the battery work better.

With older battery technologies you had to do that on a regular basis, but with lithium batteries once is enough.

And even if it's not helpful, it certainly won't hurt anything. And I'm also curious to see how long it lasts. I changed the power settings to leave everything running full forever on batteries, and I've got a flash animation running that's keeping the CPU at about 40%. It's been 40 minutes so far, and the battery shows 92% full, which isn't too bad.

UPDATE: After 3 hours, it still says 33%, which is not too bad. Under real use it would probably last even longer, because normal use doesn't load the CPU like this.

UPDATE: Just shy of 4 hours when I got the 10% warning and decided to bail.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 05:02 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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January 30, 2011

Saten -- we got subtitles!

Zoom Player installed easily, and it shows subtitles. So now I have something I can use while laying in bed to watch fansubs.

Though I probably won't do much of it. It's more of a "I gotta make this work" thing, like getting fansubs to run on Uiharu, which I've then never used.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 08:10 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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January 29, 2011

Saten -- connecting to Deneb!

Saten, the HP Slate, can see Alcyone and Arcturus, the two computers, but it didn't see Deneb, the Windows Home Server. Connector was able to see Deneb, but I couldn't open it as a file server (or to access fansubs).

Tonight I figured out why: I hadn't updated the "hosts" file. That's in Windows\system32\drivers\etc and it needed a line with Deneb's IP.

And now this means I can watch fansubs on Saten by wireless.

I wonder if Uiharu, the iPaq, has a hosts file?

UPDATE: If there is, I'll never find it. No file search.

UPDATE: And for my next trick I'll figure out why mplayerc shows subtitles on Alcyone but not on Saten, when playing exactly the same file.

Or maybe I'll have to install zoom player on Saten.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 08:27 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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