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In the past 24 hours I have had no less than three DC power supplies die on me. One killed off my 5-CD changer, which hasn't been used much since I ripped everything to MP3 a few years ago, so that's no great loss. The other two were the original PSU for the only decent non-laptop screen in the house - a 15" LCD, uncased -which died at some point since I last fired up said screen (or perhaps as I fired up said screen) and the other I had cannibalised from a 3com hub, but it couldn't handle the load and melted something vital internally after about an hour. So now I've solved the problem by resorting to my Finn-like heap of as-yet undiscarded junk, and rigging up the following gem:
Read more... )
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Dammit, looks like my server just fell over (again). This means email to me will remain undelivered for a few hours. Just, you know, in case you're expecting a reply or anything.

update: huh, it's back. I guess it just rebooted rather than freezing. Please be assured that the root cause of this is being addressed as fast as I can do a live repartition a 350GB USB-connected drive (which isn't very fast, and isn't helped by the box rebooting in the middle of the process)
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When I left the house this morning, the webserver was less than 5% of the way through fsck'ing a 350GB USB-attached disk, and an hour and change later it doesn't appear to be back online, so I suspect both www.waider.ie and my email will be down until I get home this evening. Gah.

update: we're back. w00t.
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Got a short-notice invite to a friend's place last week, where after the initial social activity had been dealt with we had a few rounds of Guitar Hero II on his PS3. After an initially promising start, I basically sucked rocks - got booed off the stage on the first attempt and possibly second or subsequent attempts, and when I finally did make it through a song I had something like an 80% hit rate. Given that I play an actual guitar I was pondering why it was that I found this game so tricky, and I think it's a combination of three things:
  1. My sense of timing is a bit slack, which doesn't matter so much when you're playing on your own, but really sucks when you're trying to play this video game;
  2. There's no concept of recovering a bum note or almost getting the right timing, which is particularly galling when the note you missed is a long one and you basically have to stand there like a spare tool waiting for the next note to arrive;
  3. The guitar itself is more like one of those keyboard-worn-as-guitar (keytar?) things so beloved of 80s musicians, in as much as the "notes" you're playing are fret-wide buttons. On the other hand, you do "strum" it, so it winds up being an odd sort of hybrid and I'm not sure my brain quite understood how to deal with it.
I thought it might be interesting to hack a bunch of extra strumming buttons onto one of the guitars so you could effectively finger-pick - useful for fast runs, I suspect. I would also be interested in seeing a more realistic controller; I played around with a fully electronic guitar at some point years ago, which had real strings (slack, heavy nylon) as actuators and used pressure sensors on the fretboard to figure out where you'd put your fingers, and on the whole was pretty much exactly like playing a real guitar - albeit lacking the facility for things like pick scrapes and harmonics.

I also had a few rounds of the original Wipeout, the soundtrack to which I've owned since it came out (I'd never seen the game before this particular evening, though!) and the high point was finishing third in a race, but mainly I was happy with any race in which I didn't finish last.

updated to add: I've been looking for the video clip that was floating around a while back of a guy playing pretty much every instrument in a studio, followed by 30 seconds of him swearing in frustration at either Rock Band or Guitar Hero. While looking for (and failing to find) the clip, I discovered that there's a lot of people out there who really get on a soapbox about how these gamers should, like, go out and buy a real instrument. I'd like to stress that I'm in no way in this camp.
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I finally got around to hauling some (in fact, very little) of my old computer gear plus some bedding and a bag of shoes to the recycling depot in Ringsend. Finding information on recycling is a bit confusing: there's the Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council website, which tends to focus more on getting information out there than it does on laying it out clearly, so the details on Ballyogan Recycling Centre (my alternative to Ringsend) are duplicated, stale, etc. depending on which versions you look at. Repak seem to go to great lengths to hide information from you, putting a thin menu on each website section that your attention is completely distracted from by the boilerplate rubbish on the rest of the page. WEEE Ireland, the newest of the bunch, provides a county-level map of the country but no links to useful information like what waste is accepted at which centers. And finally Dublin Waste is about the best of the lot, with the minor exception that the price list for Ringsend is out of date, which makes me wonder what else is out of date there. The location of the Ringsend Centre is a little tricky, too; it's the first exit off a roundabout where, if you miss that and take the second instead thinking there might be an alternative route around, you find yourself paying €1.65 to cross the Liffey on the East Link toll bridge and there's no means of correcting your navigational error short of turning around in the middle of a narrow two-lane road. Anyway, when finally I got there, the guy on the gate looked at the stuff in the car and waved me in without charging, which was neat; the prices, as noted, are not those listed on the web (they've actually dropped, perhaps to encourage people to recycle) and at worst I'd have paid a tenner for my bootload of junk. Now to try and consolidate the rest of the computer junk into as small and non-commercial-looking a pile as possible and see about getting rid of that.
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Today I decided I'd use some of my large pile of change-jar coins to pay my way on the DART. Since they've got a 20-coin "rule" on the manned window, I figured I'd feed my coins to the machine. Which, er, broke. With a message like "can't display template 82" or thereabouts. It eventually timed out whatever it was doing, but would not allow me to insert more coins, so I cancelled the transaction and tried again, this time with less coins. And I broke it again. And the third time, I used more high-denomination coins and less of the crappy 5¢ ones, and got my ticket just in time for the arriving train - because otherwise I'd actually have taken a picture to capture the moment, and possibly have taken the time to figure out exactly how many coins break the system. Seriously, though. I wrote vending machine logic in college, in FORTRAN, as part of my college girlfriend's project. It's not hard. Getting it this badly wrong is pretty dumb.
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You may be drinking with some techie people if you say,
I still don't know what "persistent rebalance" means!
and everyone laughs.
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Over the weekend, my phone suddenly decided that it could no longer register on Vodafone's network. Thinking that this might be a continuation of the other hardware failures my phone has had, I figured I'd try the SIM in another phone. I tried two different phones, and both refused to even unlock the SIM, from which I concluded that the problem was with the SIM itself. I called Vodafone at about 9:30 this morning, and the customer service line rang out, which was on par with my expectations; I tried again later on, and this time got through to a customer service rep, who in a very short space of time confirmed that I could get a new SIM by going to my nearest Vodafone shop and telling them I needed one. He didn't have a useful explanation as to why the old SIM had died, but I wasn't expecting one anyway. And so I visited the local Vodafone store, and five minutes later I was connected to Vodafone's network once more. No charge, no hassle. Frankly, I'm quite stunned.
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The Memtest x86+ website includes a note stating, "Due to a disk failure, I lost all users registered on the Memtest86+ mailing list since 1st July 2007. Please register again if you registered after this date."
waider: (Default)
After a recent night of revelry I woke up to discover that my phone was apparently dead. Poking the power button elicited a brief lighting-up, but neither plugging it into the charger nor hooking it to a USB port caused any further activity.The Saga Continues... )
So, in summary: I rock. FoneShop rocks. FoneMenders and Vodafone both suck.
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It appears that my Mac can crash my wireless router/gateway. Which is a piece of crap I got from someone for free, but it's still not exactly an ideal situation.
waider: (Default)
My DSL has been down since about 8am this morning. I just found a possible explanation. Service with a "Screw You, Hippie!" strikes again.
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- laptop decided it didn't like the local power source (or something) and refused to either power up on mains or recharge itself. It's fine now, although I suspect the battery may be roached.
- phone and digicam ran out of power, the latter at an inopportune moment leaving me to take a bunch of photos on the former. The former only ran out of power when one of my travelling companions borrowed my "Irish plug to freakish foreign power socket" adapter overnight on the one night when I actually needed a recharge; fortunately, the phone spent an hour and a half beeping plaintively in lieu of actually shutting down and ran out of power right as I was boarding the flight home.
- Vodafone's picture album service appears to be broken again, meaning my cheapskate Flickr gateway isn't working right now.
- the phone's email client choked on one particular message, by which I mean the entire phone OS appeared to reboot. This was repeatable, too. I can't see anything wrong with the message now that I can look at it in a real client, so I can only assume shoddy coding in the client itself.
waider: (Default)
Basically, you wire it up with microphones. Dippy name (forced acronym: Tai Chi) but nifty technique.
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I have been hesitating for months over spending amount X on some geekery, while today within 25 minutes I spent about 66% of X on clothing without even blinking.
waider: (Default)
"can you update that file for me again?"
"I've given you sudo access. work away... hey! where's my server gone?"

He claims it was tcpdump that did it.
waider: (Default)
Discoveries while attempting to get rid of some of the last decade of accumulated cruft (actually, some is even older than that):
  • licenses for SCO OpenServer 5, Star Office 5, and some other random piece of crap downloadable software
  • Notes on the design of my website, for the layout I was using prior to the current one
  • Someone's thesis describing a HTML document management system
  • A paper presented by a coworker at Motorola on a helpdesk system I wrote
  • Certificates for my Firewall-1 training, OSP training, and whiskey tasting
  • an actual back-of-the-envelope drawing of my apartment on Watling street, with measurements (all 360 square feet of it)
Also, I ended up walking around the house with a 500MB Apple SCSI drive in my pocket for a while.


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