Archive for Computers

And now for something completely different…

It’s random bullshit time!  In other words, not much philosophy, more general cheering and bitching and random life events and wait is this thing on?

Anyways…

If you live in the US, it’s tax time!  This year is probably the easiest I’ll have it from here on out, as I didn’t have anything really to give me any extra tax breaks, so I just had to enter the W2 info and answer no to a lot of things.  However, because of that I apparently ended up even-steven with the state, and owing the Feds $1, which is already taken care of.  No refunds, but on the other hand I didn’t really owe anything either.  $1, big whoop.

Second bit of news is that apparently there’s a true spiritual successor to Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri coming out!  They can’t use the name since it’s owned by EA, but it’s due out in the fall, but teh screenshots look promising.  Then again, I haven’t touched a Civ game since Civ2 and Alpha Cen, so there’ll prolly be all sorts of new things too.  And even better, it’ll be supported officially on Linux from the start!

Speaking of Linux, this Thursday the 17th is the release date of the next (x)ubuntu LTS, 14.04.  I’ve made it a habit to stick with the LTS until the next one or until something major needs some library that hasn’t or won’t be backported.  I’ve managed to make 12.04 work fine on my desktop until this week, when I found out that apparently my media players fail at Wavpack in MKV, at least however Over-Time does it.  Just means I’ll have to drop a resolution to watch it, and presumably it won’t be an issue after this week.

One nice thing is that I can upgrade straight from 12.04 to 14.04, as long as my install is up to date, which I’m actually doing right now as I write this.  When I went from 10.04 to 12.04 I had to go through the intermediate distros I think… didn’t matter in the end, since I did a fresh install when I got my SSD drive anyways.  My laptop is actually still on 10.04, but I’m planning on backing that up and giving it a clean install coming up here.  Really tempted to do that before I upgrade my desktop, but we’ll see.

In other news, work’s looking to get crazy real soon too… one of the people on my team left end of last week, and we have a bunch of upcoming projects which were gonna tie us up some even without that.  For once, our sales team was just too good!

Getting away from that a bit, since I’m not really looking forward to tomorrow, art is pretty much still in a holding pattern.  No word yet on the pic from Syrinoth, but considering they just moved a little over 3 weeks ago, they could still be busy settling in, or just getting all the commissions done at once for one huge art dump!  Just wish I knew how far down the list I am, and like I mentioned, that pic is one that won’t be reposted here due to content.

The only other piece I have out being worked on is the conbadge, and that artist is still clearing out her queue, so no doubt it’ll be a while longer before she gets far enough down it to get to mine.  There’s people that have been waiting far longer for their stuff after all!

I’m also still keeping an eye on Natoli’s progress through her commissions… I’ve got a specific pic in mind still that I’d like to get, once she finishes.  Form the looks of the progress, it should hopefully be within the next month.  Barring that, if they get around to doing another weekend stream sketch session, I’ll probably snag a slot.  Not for myself, but as a gift for a certain dragoness who apparently hasn’t gotten any arts done before.

Speaking of which, last week I took a long, hard look at how I felt, and manned dragoned up and let her know I was possibly interested in something more than friends.  She didn’t say yes, but she didn’t say no either, and the feeling I got from her replies is that she felt at least somewhat similarly, but she hadn’t fully looked at it before then.  Basically the comments that got me to say something was something she’d come up with in a moment of kinda-sorta-not-really panic when a mutual friend almost threw a wrench in the works without realizing that’s what he was doing.

So basically to sum it up we’re still keepin on keepin on, so to speak, and seeing where things lead on its own.  And honestly?  I’m fine with that.  If things work out for us, great, and if they don’t, I’ll still have a great friend, so it’s win-win!  My worst fear was that I’d been totally misreading things and that I’d scare her off, but thankfully that wasn’t the case, and that was a huge relief.  The entire day before, even though it was such a simple thing, I was nervous as all hell, and kept reminding myself in the words of  a favorite song of one of my friends, to “get up and try, try, try” because in the end it’s worth it.

I could probably write a bit more, but it’s late, I got work in the morning, and I don’t want to be drowsing out at my desk in the middle of the day.  Been thinking of taking vitamins or something, since Gatorade of all things seems to help, and I don’t drink coffee(or any caffinated beverage, really), but again, something for another time. So, I’ll leave you with this reminder, which helped me get through things, and that a certain pair of hatchies I know would like everyone to remember:

Where there is desire there is gonna be a flame

Where there’s a flame someone’s bound to get burned

Just because it burns doesn’t mean you’re gonna die

You gotta get up, and try, and try, and try…

Expecting something different?

If you’re seeing this, it means that the move was successful.  I’d been testing this setup on a different host and already wrote quite a few posts while I was waiting on database services.  I’ve already discussed a lot of the reasoning behind this on the opening post( http://starfox.net/general/whats-in-a-name/ ) so I won’t cover it again here. I’ll be leaving the old website up still though for a little while, reachable through the links on the sidebar, in case you were after anything.  Don’t expect it to remain there forever, though, as eventually I’ll remove most of it(except maybe the Eldoran stuff, because Wikipedia needs its external sources).

That said, feel free to browse the past posts, and the ones yet to come.  In the not-so-immortal words of Deckard Cain, “Stay a while and listen.”

What’s in a name?

Ah, that new blog smell.  Smells like… bleach?

Hopefully this attempt will last a wee bit longer than my previous ones, as once I have all the kinks worked out, this will be the main face of my website.

A personal website… seems so passe in the days of twitter/facebook/tumblr, etc.  When I took my first steps onto the internet however back in the late 90s, none of those existed. If you wanted a webspace, you had to either register at something like angelfire or geocities with their ~blah names, or for the elite of elite you could get your own domain name! (You also had to know HTML and we liked it that way! *shakes cane*)

Back in 1999, I was still in high school, and found a free hosting scheme that offered a domain to go with it.  Too good to be true?  Of course it was, but I didn’t know it then.  I looked for what was available, and as I had been using Starfox as a callsign in various games and such, I went wiht starfox.net.  Everything went smoothly, so imagine my surprise when a month later I got a bill from Network Solutions for $70 for 2 years on starfox.net.

After I paid it, I found that I actually had full control of the domain rather than my host, who I had expected to handle all that.  So I mentally shrugged my shoulders, and pointed it at a better free hosting service I had a site on, and moved on.  Like I said, having a domain was a big deal back then!

As time wore on, things changed, and my hosting bit the dust, so I moved it to another host.  In the early 2000s Network Solutions lost its monopoly on serving as a registrar as well, and I was able to move to another host for a slightly cheaper price.  To my surprise, I found out you could set up e-mail forwarding too!  Rather than having to tell people to e-mail <random letters and numbers>@<isp> I could tell them, “Just e-mail me at <blah>@starfox.net” and I’d know it would go to wherever I had my e-mail set up.  And time marched on.

My website evolved alongside, though in fits and starts.  I don’t have the original site anymore anywhere I don’t think, but it was some monstrosity using frames to make menus like magic, because frames were hot shit back in the late 90s.  At some point in the early 00’s I rebuilt it to use a floating table and css, around the time I was really into the Eldoran trilogy of anime, so I added informational pages on that.  Then it sat again for a few years, for another revamp around 2006-2007.  I was starting to really job-hunt at that point, and since I was using <name>@starfox.net on my resumes, I wanted to make sure it was too horrible if they ever visited it.

It stayed that way pretty much up until now.  Last year I started thinking about it, wanting to change it but with no idea what to change it to.  I checked with a coworker that had his own domain as well still, and he uses his just for a recipe website for his family and to host an Exchange server.  I considered a general re-do but I’m old enough now that the thought of recoding all that HTML just doesn’t appeal to me.

A couple nights ago, I was lamenting the fact that I really could use somewhere to write about stuff, either just to get it off my chest or to squee about(yes, dragons can squee), and I recalled that you can host your own blog.  Why sign up for LJ or tumblr, when I don’t know anyone on either, and can do this instead?

Thus, I spent a large chunk of today working out how to work with this and getting it set up in a staging area on a different webhost.  My current one doesn’t have SQL turned on, and I don’t know how soon they’ll get to it, so either I’ll move this to this new host I’m trying, or move it to the main site once it’s active.

Back to the blog title though.  Once I had this shiny new blog installed, I needed a title for it.  Then, I recalled how I got my domain in the first place, and decided to bring it back full circle.

Llewelyn Mistral, Starfox, Ikimasu~

As to the rest of what I’ve been doing, it’s a whole lot of computer junk.  As we all know, dragons hoard things.  Me, I hoard data.  And Transformers.  And Books.  And, well, to get back to the point I have a lot of data stored away on my PC, and there’s a famous saying about data and users:

“There are two kinds of users:  those who have lost data and those who will.”

I’ve got gigabytes of music and images, and terabytes of video.  (Hey, 2 Terabytes is still multiple terabytes!) A lot of my video has been adequately protected, as I’ve had a NAS for years now that I move completed series to, and as I have I’ve also burnt it to disc. Sure, my current NAS is more powerful(Synology DS414 with 8TB in RAID compared to a unRAID server with 4TB) and I need a lot fewer discs due to going from CD to DVD to Blu-Ray, but the point stands.  One thing I’ve never adequately backed up though is those images and music, and the unfinished series sitting on my desktop.

I’d been saying for years that I wanted to set up rsync between my desktop(as I run Linux) and the NAS, but I finally decided enough was enough after doubling my space and put my time where my mouth was.  Some fumbling around in the terminal and some testing, and I’ve now got rsync set up to allow manual sync, so all that’s left is to automate it sometime this week.

Kinda ironic that on my vacation from working with computers, I’m using the time to work with computers, eh?

As I said though, I have a tendancy to hoard data and there had been years of cruft building up in some of those.  Music, I’d always kept semi-organized to make it easy to find songs, but the images and documents folder had slipped away from me as I got lazy with keeping up, so part of my time since going on vacation has been spent re-organizing my file structures, to coincide with getting real backups going.  The majority of it has gone to the images library though.

When I first started I had thought “Gee whillikers, it shouldn’t be too had to tag everything to find easily.  Thanks, gThumb!” and so when I started going through I started tagging.  And tagging.  And tagging.  And then I began to get a real grasp of how many files 16000+ actually was.  So, I decided to say screw it, and managed to categorize everything adequately again by folder, with one exception: my anthro art folder.

When I started collecting furry art, I originally had kept a folder for each artist, but at some point along the way between then and now I thought I’d switch to categorizing in folders by content.  I already had enough by that point that I got burned out on it and stopped halfway through, and then basically left it there for years, while I just added images to the “new” folder instead.  With this shiny new tagging system I thought I could have my cake and eat it too, and use artist folders with content tagging, but that was before I realized how much work it was going to turn out to be.

Now, I’m back in the situation I was before; half in one scheme, half in the other, but I don’t want to stay there this time.  I already deleted some garbage I had thought was neat back when I was 16, but there’s still several thousand images to sort through.  I really would like to tag it all, but I don’t know if the effort is really worth it.  I could just blow most of it away and start anew, except a lot of it is actually good art objectively, and some of the places I got it no longer exist.

And then there’s the video.  Because of the NAS move, my HTPC(which runs XBMC) now has an outdated database.  All the links to the various files i had shared out are at a different address, so I’ve got to load it all back in, once it finishes spending the next several hours purging itself.  However, this does provide an opportunity as well.

Super Sentai.  Kamen Rider.  Both franchises that have run for many, many years in the Land of the Rising Sun.  The way I(and most in the toku fansubbing community) view them is a bunch of loosely -related separate series.  After all, they all have their own stand-alone stories, and the only crossover is the yearly VS movie. Just like anime, right?

Well, there’s no toku equivalent of anidb, so for XBMC to load the data, it has to scrape it from tvdb instead.  The administrator there, rather than treat it like the rest of the world, instead sees it as multiple seasons of the same single series. So even though one year might involve using super-science switches and cosmic power to the next year’s magical rings and circles, all they get in the system is a single blurb about how it all started, and the only difference is the season poster.  What, you want to watch GoGo Sentai Boukenger?  No, what you really want to watch is season 30 of Super Sentai, since started in the 1970s.  What’s that, you mean Kamen Rider Kuuga doesn’t involve a successor organization to Shocker?  NO WAI!

Now, there’s two trains of thought i can use to deal with this. The first one, which I had been using, is to create nfo files for Every. Single. Episode. to organize it as separate series.  A lot of that can be automated with the right tools, but it’s still hours and hours of grunt work, even with that.  Or I can take option 2 and go with what he wants, since I know better and can still find it if I want to.  I have to admit, I’m seriously considering the latter option, especially as it’ll make it easier if I have to move devices again or load XBMC from scratch again.  Even though it’s just different ways of naming things, it still grinds my gears.

And I guess that brings the whole dragonwall full circle.  (Hey, if BBB can have bearwalls, I can have dragonwalls!) From the meaning of a domain name, to how to name folders for file archival, to how I want to name some TV series in my media manager.  A name may just be a label, with only the importance we assign to it, but that label still carries meaning regardless, even if we’re the only ones who’ll ever see it. And… I think I lost my point again.  I blame it on it being 1AM already.

So I’ll leave it at that and go find bed before I end up with a face full of keys.