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Monthly Archives: October 2007

I was working on juven last night, and something occured to me:

I have no idea what I’m doing.

In the abstract software world, I can navigate around as easily as a limo driver with on-board navigation. In the physical hardware world, I am a kid on a bike in San Fransisco.

My first night didn’t work out to what I had hoped for. I stripped one of my old cases down to (and past) its base structure to attempt creation of a smaller case, but only succeeded in forcefully ripping out both sides of the hard drive bay and giving my finger a small (but rather deep) gash.

In the very least, I was happy with myself for plugging all the scattered cords into the motherboard in the right places. I’ve built millions of gajillions of computers in my life (by millions of gajillions I mean three), so I’m at least somewhat familiar with this stuff, but it’s more fun when, instead of taking the labeled cords from your brand spankin’ new case and plugging them into their corresponding motherboard slots (i.e. power LED, hard drive LED, power switch, reset switch), you end up salvaging those lights and switches from other computers in their most basic forms (a cord with a light or a button on the end) and duct taping them to the front of the case — if you can even call a heap of metal like this a case anymore.

I decided to take a break from all this hardware stuff you guys like to call real life and just try to get Ubuntu installed. I hooked up a loose hard drive, plugged in a keyboard and mouse that seemed more like dust bunnies than peripherals, and fired it up. But wait — what’s this? YOU’RE NOT BOOTING FROM MAH CD?! Is the BIOS checking for it? Let’s see…yes. Is the CD drive hooked up? …Yep, it looks like it. WHAT’S WRONG?!

Find out next time on this nonexistent show!

I’ll be trying some more stuff with it over the weekend, when I get back to my dad’s house. I’m sure it’s something stupid.

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I’ve decided to try to rebuild one of my current webservers (named palae, and yes, I name my servers) into a smaller, quieter, and more efficient machine without spending much money. Right now it’s got a fairly oversized case, a very loud power supply when turned up to full blast (which, for some reason, is required for the server not to overheat even when idle), and a hard drive with too much old stuff on it (including two operating systems which enjoy conflicting with each other).

So I’ve decided to try toning it down quite a few notches by stripping it of everything and starting almost anew with more power-conservant (and less noise-producent) parts. Which, I guess, actually works out fine, considering that most devices which don’t require much power are simply out-of-date ones, which I have plenty of.

So assuming that I actually decide to go through with this project, I’ll be posting about my progress off and on. My tasks will include:

  • swapping out the current 500GB hard drive for one or two 8’s that I have in my closet
  • using a suckier graphics card that doesn’t gobble down so much power
  • installing Ubuntu Server Edition (with LAMP)
  • fitting it all in a less obtrusive case

I’ve got extended hours at work this weekend because of Halloween, so I probably won’t get to start this until Monday.

Oh, and by the way, if you haven’t guessed, this new, rejuvenated, server, will be appropriately named juven.

EDIT: In other news, my favorite author has responded to a comment by me at his blog! I feel special.

 Here is yet another blog from my archives:

(just a note, this blog entry actually has a lot of big vocabulary words in it for no reason (Why did I do it?- Jeff), so anti-word people beware)

Its happened……

It all started when I wanted to take a bath. So naturally I started up the water- and tweaked the dials to reach the desirable temperature. Everything was according to plan……….until……..my toe touched the water. The water Ladies and Gentlemen, was lukewarm……..*gasps utter from the audience* Yes, yes I know. It was horrid, but the thing that makes it even worse, was that I didn’t pay any attention until I had half of my body submerged into the treacherous, tepid waters. Thats right! I had half of my body in unenthusiastic, boring, apathetic, unconcerned, mediocre water! I was shocked and angry because I really wanted to take a bath, but couldn’t (yeah thats a pretty odd statement, but its totally true). It sucked getting out! I was so cold, because I usually leave the window open in my bathroom for ventillation. Not a good idea, especially when a giant gale of wind blows through and hits me like a solid kick in the nuts. So shivering, I had to seek out my towel, dry myself off and find refuge under my bed covers……

-Neverhitboxes

So the realtors have captured exactly one-half of my room. In the far end, my Nintendo character poster, my ATLA rasterbation and my bed have all been defeated and replaced with schmancy art posters and thought-to-be-neat bed comforters. In the near end, my desk, my Kramer poster and my electronics have been untouched.

It’s a square-off.

A game of capture-the-point, if you will. We must reclaim the middle of my room!

However, the opposing force has an unfair advantage: the window. It’s open, and come morning the sun will be a destructive force against our nocturnal nature. Even if we manage to capture the objective tonight, by tomorrow we will be unable to hold it. The only option is to retreat to a casing and live to fight another day. The casing may be flimsy, and it may break easily under rain, but this…this cardboard box…it is our only hope. We must accept it.

Anyways, today they painted the front door, so they needed to keep it wide open for a while so it could dry. Apparently they didn’t know I have three cats that are supposed to stay indoors and one that’s supposed to stay outdoors. I’m the only house resident around (my siblings are in college and my mom & step-dad are on vacation), so not even the realtors knew about our cat situation until I got home from school. I managed to scrounge up two of the insider cats, and the contractor, a family friend, knew that the outside one was only supposed to come in to eat, so he took care of that.

It’s 7:00p and I am now the only one home. And I’m not sure where one of the indoor cats is. She’s usually pretty reclusive, so I’m hoping she’s just hiding somewhere, but frankly I’ve looked everywhere she could viably be and have found no trace. She’s got a collar and everything, so if she did get out, I think we’ll be fine so long as she comes across any decent people, but I’m still in a nervous state until then. I emailed my mom to see if there’re any places she hides in that I don’t know about, but I don’t think there are many places I didn’t check.

It’s too late to do much about it now; it’s very dark outside and I haven’t heard back from my mom yet, so I’ll have to wait until tomorrow in a situation that makes waiting horrible.

So I’m sitting here in my chair with a portable house phone by my side. Okay, normal situation — but at very odd intervals, this phone is beeping several times because it is being paged. And this is no soft sound — it BEEPS, and LOUDLY. Understandably, because the page function is meant to assist location of the phone, but still — this is LOUD.

The even stranger part is that I’m the only person home. Nobody’s trying to locate this phone. Now, I’ve got four cats, so I assume one of them is laying down on, playing with, or knocking over the station, but I can’t do a thing about it. You know why? I have no idea where the hell it even is. I don’t have a big house — it’s not terribly small, but I don’t live in a mansion or anything — but I can’t seem to locate this stupid station. Before you think I’m weird for not knowing where my home phone’s charger is, know that it’s probably been moved in the last week or so because of our attempts at cleaning up the house for selling.

In fact, I think it’s an open house today once our realtor gets here, so she’s going to be just showing people around while I’m sitting here trying to do whatever. People are going to be walking into my room and assessing it while I’m just gaming or something. Weird.

Anyways, back to the subject at hand. I’ve given up looking for this mysteriously-located phone station, because the more I do the more my feet get wet from our carpet, which was shampooed yesterday for the same reason mentioned above. So I’ve confined myself to just sitting in my chair with my legs pulled up; my own little island in the sea of wet carpet that is my house.

I’ll finish off this entry with a thoughtful comic I worked on for like five minutes a number of months ago, and just today decided to finish off. I know the trophy sucks, I know the white background looks horrible on this page, and I know it’s not funny (it’s not supposed to be). I just needed to finish this and get some feel of completion for myself.

dodgeball_final.jpg

    So let me admit right here, that I am a big fan of Zelda. I bought both the Wii and Zelda at launch and have spent 40+ hours playing it. Being the young and determined person I am, I beat the game in 35 hours. My Dad on the other hand, is not even half way through yet and has spent 100+ hours (according to his save file). Here begins my story.

“God Dammit!” “Shit!” “Oh fuck! I have to do it again?!” These are the sounds that emanate from the downstairs living room. My Dad is playing Zelda again. My Dad is well into his mid fifties and wasn’t born into a generation where video games existed, but even with that said it still doesn’t stop him from swearing up a storm when he gets knocked off his horse or when he dies in a boss battle. My Dad is truly determined to do whatever it takes to beat Zelda. He calls me when I’m out with friends (true story) and asks me, “Hey Jeff, how do you do a Shield Attack? It keeps asking me to do a shield attack and I have no CLUE (with emphasis) what the hell its talking about!” Then I will have to tell him how to do it, and chances are he probably still won’t get it, but by some chance, he discovers how to do it by pure luck accident (aka wave around the controllers).

            His sense of direction is alright in real life, but for some odd reason, real-life doesn’t transfer to what I call, “A Virtual Sense of Direction”(a term coined by me). He always runs around in circles and goes back into rooms he has already been in and wonders why everything looks familiar. It’s a true test of patience, I’ll have to say. I really have to try and not point out what he has to do, or beg him to let me do it for him. It is painful to watch, in fact I’m pretty sure that if you wanted to torture someone, all one would have to do is tie them down and make him/her watch my Dad play Zelda (I can hear their screams of frustration as I type this, “Oh God! You already did that temple!! Somebody, please, I’ll do anything! Get this man a strategy guide!!”). That’s why I usually bring a book with me so I don’t have to silently weep while watching him play (in fact when my brothers came down from LA, my brother Michael pointed out that that we all started reading books when my Dad began to play Zelda).

            Dad, I love you, but your navigation skills I’m afraid are in another castle.

 -Neverhitboxes

    So the story begins when I added my good friend, and went to her profile (on myspace of course). On her page was one of those “interactive refrigerator magnet boards” that one can drag letters to form messages to “get your friends excited about absolutely nothing”. So I put up a geeky reference and just saved it. Then like 5 minutes later, she posts a bulletin……..(The names and pictures have been blurred/sloppily “liquefied” for security reasons, and the rest is pretty self explanatory XD)

Yeah, I guess I am a really dorky guy.

-Neverhitboxes

Does anyone else think this is funny besides me?

So here was my day:

12:00a – The Orange Box is released. I am asleep, but have already paid for and preloaded it.
4:00a – I wake up inadvertently from excitement! I shower and get all my get-readying for school over with.
4:25a – I start playing Portal.
5:30a – The four alarms I set in fifteen minute increments start. I had planned to wake now, but I’m already up (and thinking with portals). Alarms get turned off.
7:00a – I beat Portal! I check out some of the bonus levels I unlocked, as well as skim over the achievements section. Man, there’re still a lot of things I can do!
7:10a – I start playing Half-Life 2: Episode Two.
8:00a – School. I have fun watching my friends’ faces when I tell them that I woke up at 4am to play Portal — and that I beat it before school. I love emotion! I also casually inform anyone who would eventually play Portal that the cake is a lie — including my physics desk. I am also the least tired I remember being for quite a while throughout the day — an odd occurrence, considering my operating hours for this day.
3:30p – I nervously show some family members how Portal works. I want to play Episode Two! That’s what I get for showing them the trailer.
4:00p – Back to HL2:E2.
8:30p – Episode Two: beaten.

This was pretty much my favorite day in quite a while. The following are rants about the awesomeness about the games involved in it.

Portal is awesome. Let me say that I’m not totally new to this concept — I’ve very repeatedly played with similar systems in Prey (with the custom portal-creation mod) and Narbacular Drop (the game from which Portal evolved, created by a group of students from Digipen who now all happily work for Valve), but Portal combines the slickness and meaning of the former with the portal-focused gameplay from the latter to make an — I simply must repeat myself — awesome game.

I’ve said before that I’m a huge storyline guy, and although no trailers do this one justice, the intricacy of it is really something to take into consideration; it’s much deeper than you’d imagine, even after playing completely through it. At first you’re just like, “Oh, so I’m this test participant for this awesome portal stuff, that’s cool”, but it gets so much more intricate — to an amount that I actually do not know at this time, but is sure to be hinted at upon the arrival of Episode Three (yep, you guessed it — Portal takes place in the Half-Life universe, and this is actually apparent during play of Episode Two; a matter which surely will be delved into further along in the episodes).

As for Episode Two: JEEZ VALVE, FINALLY!

Now that that’s out of my system, I can say that it’s actually a pretty good game. You can really tell how much work they put into the engine — maybe not through huge, blatantly noticeable things, but small things, like how when you’re in a cave the light reflections look much, well, shinier, and how (I love this) when you spin to face another direction really fast, your screen actually blurs — it sounds trivial, but it’s a pretty awesome thing when you notice it for the first time (if you came into my room when I noticed it, you’d just watch me spinning around in circles really fast for about two minutes straight).

There isn’t a whole lot of new stuff in it (a new car and a new type of mine come to mind), but the storyline actually starts to connect more with that of Half-Life 1 (notice I only said starts to — there are just a few things mentioned about some memories from the original Half-Life that could have to do with your future success), as well as Portal, as I mentioned already.

I hate to leave Team Fortress 2 out of the party, but I’d already played it in beta, so I’m not as super-excited about it right now. Make no mistake, though: The Orange Box is a purchase well worth the money if you’re any sort of fan at all of Half-Life or its relatives. Come to think of it, I think most people would enjoy Portal despite their gaming background.

Here is a blog from my archives:

You know what I really don’t like? People who act like they know a lot about computers. It drives me crazy to no extent. Just listening to them brag is enough to make me bleed from my eyes! They casually drop a few acronyms here and there, maybe the occasional “download” and every ignorant person’s jaw drops at their boundless knowledge. Now maybe a few of you have never met a person like the one I am describing, but I’m sure you’ll run across one, and when you do, you’ll truly wish you brought your camera with you, because the stuff that comes out of their mouth is truly nonsense (damn that was a long ass sentence).

Now let me give you an experience of mine. I consider myself pretty technical, but the computer network administrator for my high school on the other hand is a completely different issue (I’m not even going to capitalize his title he is so unworthy)! Now as I recall, the guy who is our current CNA used to be the “ball guy” at my middle school. This guy literally would wheel out a ball cart at lunch and at the end of lunch, pick up discarded balls and wheel the cart back in. Now the dire question I have, is how in the hell did this guy go from “Depressed Ball Maven”, to CNA of my school? The thing that further aggravates me is the fact that I am always under the impression that he knows nothing about computers.

The first day of my Web Design class he walked in and announced to the class that our network had a T3 Fiber-Optic Backbone. Ok. That’s cool. But the thing is that he made such a big deal about it, like he was proud in some way (not to mention that half of my class was completely clueless as to what the hell he was talking about- most of them are just in the class for credit). I don’t know if he noticed but the computer still takes an eternity and a half to login (its not the computers fault, they are more than capable). Yeah the network is distributed among hundreds of computers, but not every computer in the school is being logged into and used at once.

The CNA is a nice guy, I’m not going to lie about that, but I think he needs to learn the proper etiquette. When I was talking to him, I was pretty sure that must over used the words, hacker, server and T3 Fiber-Optic Backbone. Anyone can use these interchangeably in a sentence. “Yeah, all of these teenage hackers are trying to hack the server.” And, “Hey did I ever tell you about our T3 Fiber-Optic Backbone?” He just repeats himself, he’s like a parrot or a tape recorder. I can ask him, “Hey, do you guys use SAN’s here at our school?” and he would probably say something along the lines of, “I don’t remember quite, but one thing you can be sure of, is that no hacker can get into our servers because our T3 Fiber-Optic Backbone is so cool.” How does he keep things running, let alone keep his job? I’ll bet that whenever the Principal does a job evaluation, he just uses one of those sentences I used above.

Principal: “So Joe, lets just review how well you’ve done your job…”

Joe (CNA): “Well I’m sure our servers are safe from hackers, and that our T3 Fiber-Optic Backbone is faster than the speed of light.”

Principal: *jaw on the floor* “Wow, you must really do your job well, you get a raise. We clearly don’t pay you enough.”

 

Better yet, I’ll bet if we catch him off guard, he’ll probably just name some features in windows. “Uhhh, I can’t answer that right now, I need to open up my task manager and run DOS so I can further use my computer and ummm analyze the control panel…….have I discouraged you enough yet?” I still don’t know how this guy manages to keep things running, he must pay somebody off. I don’t even know how he managed to get the job in the first place (bomb threats). Well I guess I know who to blame when everything goes to hell and I lose all of my “documents”(because we all know how heartbroken I will be if I lose all my essays on Shakespeare, God forbid….).

-Neverhitboxes

 

/rant

 

P.S- I just realized that I typed a full page on how I hate people who pretend to know a lot about computers and that’s just ridiculous.

So I remember seeing a video not too long ago of people doing the same thing- in fact I just found it again. So basically, its just tons of people that wear these jackets that has one color on the back, one on the front, and a third color that they can flap open on the inside of the jacket. The idea is similar to the people who hold up cards in the bleachers- and each person’s card is part of a larger picture- when you put them all together- you get a huge picture. Same idea here- but they actually do it with people. The display they put on is unbelievable and it really makes you wonder how they even managed to organize the whole thing. You just have to watch the video. Its ridiculous.

p.s- Go Korea!

-Neverhitboxes