Archives 2005

Big Design

Chip

I have completed the steering rack. The design is now too big to handle for my laptop. After all the recommended spec for Autodesk Inventor are:

Recommended System Requirements (includes Autodesk Vault client)
Part and assembly design (less than 1,000 parts)

  • Intel® Pentium® 4, Intel® Xeon™, or AMD Athlon processor, 2GHz or higher
  • 1 GB or more RAM        
  • 3.5 GB free disk space
  • 128 MB OpenGL-capable graphics card
Preferred System requirements (includes Autodesk Vault client)
Large assembly design (more than 1,000 parts)
  • Intel® Pentium® 4, Intel® Xeon™, or AMD Opteron™ processor, 3 GHz or higher
  • 3 GB or more RAM
  • 3.5 GB free disk space
  • 128 MB or more OpenGL-capable workstation class graphics card
My Laptop is a P3 700 with 192MB of RAM and 6 gig of storage space.

Hydrofiol

Chip
An evil space ship with a hull forged from lost Iron Chef Utensils. It's mixing bowl dough drive is powered by a modified quantum rice cooker power core.

Axel Hub

Chip

I have created an axel hub assembly. Thankfully the bearings used were matched to SKF Bearing Part Numbers. Inventor is so swar. Notice also the rod end bearing. This came from the Cbliss site in the iParts section. I have modified it so that it can be moved. It had to be separated into two parts to do this, the ball and the cup. The spline on the end of the axel is temporary. I don't have any wheels yet, nor do I have any specs or drawings to base my axel off. It's a guestimate. There is also a hole in the side of the hub body. This is to access the grub screw in the retainer ring that holds in place the axel and retains the bearings. The cup of the universal joint is also temporary. I haven't worked out any degrees of movement or the forces in place to design the drive shafts or drive couplings.

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Work Story

Chip

This began as a conversation typed in WordPad about an idiotic customer. We type at the counter in WordPad or Notepad so that we can speak about a customer without them seeing. This may be for work - i.e. talking about cost prices or doing package deals, or, could quickly become something much more sinister as demonstrated here. We went paragraph for paragraph continuing the story throwing down the gauntlet to each other as we went. We even ended the universe a few times which is hard to continue on from. Since we have such godly main characters, the universe, more than likely, will be ended a few more times. It is still work in progress.

Story Follows:

Wanker!!!!

And how high are his socks.

And could he be stupider?

Nay, to be more stupid would cause a vacuum so great it would suck the earth, outer planets and surrounding solar systems into it leaving only a vortex of crushed planets and dust. Entire suns would be snuffed with little effort. Time would come to a stand-still and all that is would end in an instant. Even God would be dumbfounded by the sheer raw 'vacuumy' power.

Rue it would be the end, but not for his stupidity as you may think; nay, his socks are high with nefarious purpose; for underneath laid the Shins of destruction and doomsday. Why, upon revealing one of these monstrosities, an unholy choir would begin dark Gregorian chants in an ancient tongue pertaining to peanut butter, spam and blood. An orchestra of xylophones, hewn from the bones of the still born, accompanying the chants, would render a most eerie melody.

Whence the chanting and orchestral clanging climbed to its climax, the light would be drawn from the surroundings by the sheer negative force that is the Shins! Chaotically darkening surroundings are then met by claps of thunder with flashes of green and purple lightning. Illumed by the multi-coloured flashes, the small daemon creatures would be revealed, summoned to further-expose the Shins, they would begin their arduous task. For they are the only known creatures that can withstand the apocalyptic forces about to be unleashed!

Only when the darkness has become absolute and the Shins have drawn enough light to power a city for twenty years, a great and terrible cry of "any discounts?" is uttered by the beast himself. At this moment multiple phrases of unspeakable horror are uttered such as "Do you have USB?" and followed by the ultimate fear that is "Less for cash?". With this barrage of stupidity, coupled with the power of the Shins, the world and then the universe would be torn asunder and in the next split second, compressed into a perfect bright green sphere that played the jingle from a 1980s McDonalds commercial in a perpetual loop.

Alone in the dark nothingness the man wielding the power of the Shins is left, accompanied only by a small collection of multi-coloured marbles created from universes destroyed. Dully glowing in their various colours, each emitting their own foul jingles. The mad, mad man find's no comfort in their songs as he searches for another universe to inflict his incredibly stupid vacuum on while slowly being driven further into madness by the incessant jingles of his fallen foes - the compressed universes.

Soaring through the empty void in search of distant worlds to destroy he happens on vast field of stars, a whole new galaxy some how unharmed by his rampage. At the centre of the galaxy a star burns brighter than any other as if powered by a thousand discarded batteries. Unbeknown to Shins, here was the realm of the "Battery Guy", once he had been a mortal human but the pursuit of the ultimate charge had driven him beyond the constraints of mere mortals. He sat at the centre of a great field of small torches testing every battery within reach trying to find the perfect charge. Shins, while mighty and stupid, may have met there match in this bright and almost psychotically surreal place.

Gazing out upon the vast field of torches; Battery Guy saw a deep blackening approach. Great spans of his torch field were sinking into darkness. "I hear a foul voice on the air" he muttered to himself as his battery powered, pre-amplified ears detected the jingles of a thousand fast food restaurants each calling out, pleading for him to dine and buy extra side dishes you already ordered. The swirling vortex of nothingness with multi-coloured lightning and jingling doom approached at tremendous pace smothering all that it came in contact with thick, black nothingness. Battery Guy, enraged by the culling of his glowing fields realised he was up against an awesome power of negativity. Battery Guy donned a back pack filled with the batteries that provided his favourite charges and cocked his shoulder mounted battery tester, ready to take on this foe of incredible anti-matter!

As the dark being Shins landed in the field, shattering thousands of small globes, Battery Guy realised this was a foe unlike any other he had encountered before. He knew that his options where few. Focusing on the batteries strapped to him, he used his power to draw them around him in a great suit of Eveready goodness. Shins, ready for this, blasted him with jingle after jingle until the suit cracked and fell away. Battery Guy was not concerned for he was merely testing his foes resolve. He knew that if it came down to it he could always use the free tackle he got when he was unlucky in fishing in some sort of entanglement trap. Shins, confused to be told this seemingly unrelated fact at the start of a pitched battle to the death, prepared himself for combat.

Shins began concentrating, shards of broken globe, torch bodies and flayed metal battery cases started rising and swirling around him until they had formed a swirling sphere of shrapnel. Shins then closed his eyes and brought his forearms to his body crossing them on his chest and screamed in an un-earthly tone: "DISCOUNT!" A blinding flash of light emitted from Shins and a thundering BOOM was heard taking Battery Guy's vision and stunning him for a number of seconds. When Battery Guy's vision recovered and the sphere of floating shrapnel had gone. Shins stood proud and threatening holding his new toy and laughing demonically. A conjured weapon! This terrible weapon was composed of melted and forged shrapnel, bound by tortured souls from the universes that were. Shins levelled the glowing scrap weapon at Battery Guy pulling the trigger with glee.

A great and terrible fear gripped Battery Guy, for he knew that it would take more than the power of the universe to deflect such a mighty blow as was about to come at him. His only hope was that it would take at least half an hour for Shins to fire as he was in the midst of a monologue in a bizarre tongue that had never been spoken before. "LESS FOR CASH" "GIVE ME A DEAL" "LESS FOR CASH". Truly it was a vicious onslaught. This, however, was nothing compared to the stench of Shins. The smell of a million warm casks of goon wafted thought the thin atmosphere of the torch fields. In such dire straights there where few options, even fewer which were actually possible. Briefly the idea of composing a jingle to counter act all the many flying about entered the Battery Guys head. He knew he had minutes rather than the hours he would require; also lacking was a creative marketing team to assist him in workshopping ideas, a white board and a small sound stage to thresh out different version until he found one he liked. He knew there was only one option left, he reached into his battery bag and clutched.....a fish.

With a shrieking tear, Battery Guy removed the thick brown butcher's paper from the fish. A mackerel! Reeling in a combination of confusion and disgust, Shins fell backward; tripped by one of the many flat batteries strewn about the land. This was Battery Guy's chance! Casually, with the mackerel to his waist, he started loading it via the gills with batteries; the life-blood of the torch fields. Your standard mackerel will take 8 'C' sized battery rounds; Battery Guy however had a custom modified mackerel with a laser sight and scope. It was also modified to take the all-powerful and highly regarded magnum 'D' sized rounds. The modified mackerel will now carry only 4 rounds because of the increased calibre. The magnum 'D' battery round delivers enough battery-power to split a planet in half! This stopping power is the reason that the Magnum 'D' is held in such high regard among the most ancient of beings. Battery Guy began his slow, menacing walk toward Shins training his mackerel on his foe. Cowering, Shins attempts to scuttle backward along the ground. Standing over Shins, Battery Guy, while gritting his teeth sneered "I'm gunna blow your face off!"

Shins knew his number was nearly up he began to throw absolutely every twisted taunt he could think of at Battery Guy hoping to merely stall for time long enough to formulate a plan of some kind. Desperately clawing the ground for batteries, Shins began to hurl dead batteries at the now towering figure before him. The batteries where merely absorbed into the already tremendous figure. Battery Guy cocked his mackerel and fired, for one second everything was silent and still, the shards of broken glass glimmered in the light and then a great blue and white light leapt from the mackerel and hurled the force of a million non memory affect NiMH D's at Shins. The impact rocked the fabric of existence. Shins was blasted back for thousands of kilometres, screaming for a better deal the whole way.

Feeling the great tremor, an ancient being was roused into consciousness. Aeons ago across multiple periods in time there was a hero. This hero existed from when Barbarians roamed searching for the secret of steel to the darkened future where Cyborgs hunted the Humans. Such a strong being, he dedicated himself to saving the day on countless occasions, even to the point of saving humanity it's self. Not content with these petty tasks this godly being set himself aloft, drifting in space. He found a dead star, tunnelled to its centre and began to slumber until called upon again when greater things than humanity were at stake. The great tremor set about with such force that it re-ignited not only the hero but the frozen star.

Deep within the bowls of the star a force began to stir. It had been know by many names when it had walked the surface of earth but had remained sealed away until it was needed for a million years or more. It slowly began to become aware of its surroundings while awaking. A hundred thousand one liners filtered through its mind and it chose what seemed like the most fitting. Slowly the vocal cords unwound and the great Austrian/Californian accent spoke for the first time in millennia, "GET OUT-DUH!" With a great thundering Arnie was reborn to end this battle that had been started so senselessly.

Arnie, filled with a mixture of rage and curiosity started to climb from his now re-ignited star. When he surfaced he was presented by a two hundred kilometres long trail of debris ending in glowing hot crater. Unfortunately, this trail of debris included bits of his Green Cadillac. Noticing these shards by the trail, Arnie screamed with pure rage "You Idiout!" and charged toward Shins. Shins picking himself up and moments later was confronted by a very pissed off Arnie. They began to stare each other down, sizing up their foe but something caught both their attention. It was Battery Guy! He was riding a lightning bolt as if it was mere rope. He landed delicately as though weightless. The piano man stopped playing and the barman hid behind his bar. The scene was set for a round of fisticuffs of epic proportions.

Battery Guy knew of Arnie from days long past, he had seen reports of his last great adventure commonly known as "super big boom crush your skull for I am Arnie 4, the musical". This harrowing tale of woe had seen Arnie take on the entire evil planet Doom Boom Crush, which had been taken over by space Nazis from the future. Finally after destroying all of their forces except for the evil Kernel Red Hat and his chief henchman Ultra Klink Beta. They had sadly escaped in a waiting Hydrofiol*. Knowing that the most important aspect of the Hydrofiol was that it could operate in Portuguese should the need arise. Arnie decided to seal himself in the centre of the star until he was needed.

Shins threw down the gauntlet. "Drew them on for have!!" His attempt at a blistering and scathing insult had come out garbled. Arnie, thinking through what he had just heard a number of times, looked a little confused. Shins retorted with a mighty "Hah!" desperately trying to recover. Arnie, caught further off guard, succumbed to the first barrage of punches that Shins threw. Arnie fell backward then stood, took two steps and uppercutted Shins with immeasurable rage. Shins' head was thrown back as he copped it under the chin with such force that he left the ground. Shins was thrown backward a number of metres where he landed, crashing to the ground. The ground quaked and cracked underneath him. Shins gasped, only just holding on to consciousness.

Battery Guy saw his chance and leapt at shins as he lay prone on the ground. His mackerel let loose a barrage of batteries which punched a hole through the sound barrier and hit shins in the chest. Shins screamed in pain, "It's an imaginary keyboard! I can do what I want!", and then shins fell silent. Battery Guy held his mackerel high and shouted "charge". The universe was safe for battery lovers everywhere. But not for Battery Guy himself who had angered Arnie with his antics.

Arnie initiated his interrogation routine - a routine he had called upon many times in the past. "I am going to ask you a number of questions and I want them answered immediately". "What are you doing? Zis is my star and noow it iss on fier! What are you doing! Noooo! You have re-ignited it vhyiiii?" Battery Guy, taken aback, attempted a coherent answer. "Teh shinz is teh gr34t darkn3ss". "I h4d t0 fight h1m...". "For t3h win of te][ galaxies and r34l1tyz of j0r everywhere". Arnie, never before hearing l33t spoken aloud returned fire. "Vat are you speaking?! You idioot!", "I vill not accept this garbage!" Battery Guy, offended by Arnie's "Ignorance", threw down the gauntlet... "S1r you will not s01L teh l33t" raising his mackerel to his waist ready to fire and pulled the trigger. Arnie, pre-empting this, had already set about diving to the right and landing in a commando roll, a move that had obviously been rehearsed for just such an occasion. The spray of battery missed him completely.

Battery Guy fired volley after volley of highly charged batteries at Arnie who continued to commando roll. Finally Arnie rolled into a small cottage, which, for some reason, happened to be parked in the area. Battery Guy advanced toward the house whilst reloading the mackerel. "St00pid n00b", shouted Battery Guy as he advanced up to the front door. As he reached for the door knob Arnie kicked the door open screamed "Get to da Choppa", and ran full force at Battery Guy. Battery Guy was totally unprepared for this suicide assault and promptly fell flat on his arse in shock. Arnie kicked him in the head and leapt into a nearby tree. Battery Guy fired after him but was only able to hit one of Arnie's stunt men, Dwayne Vort, who happened to be sitting at a nearby beatnik cafe smoking, and composing his latest epic, "Bang Bang Diddly".

Shoving rubble and pieces of roofing aside the Beatnik owner looked at Battery Guy and said "Who's gunna pay for all this?". Battery Guy then indicated at Arnie and said "He is, he's the one that started all this!" Arnie then shouted at shins "You are a schoolgirl compared to me!" in a streak of "randomness for no particular reason". Quietly Shins hauled himself to his feet and crept toward Arnie failing his DEX + Stealth roll by only 1, he almost made it to Arnie. Arnie however, did not fail his Perception + Awareness roll hearing Shins attempting to sneak up on him. Arnie screamed in desperation at Battery Guy - "Give meee da weapon!" Battery Guy, weighing things up for a moment, decided to assist the greater good tossing the Mackerel to Arnie. Arnie cocked the Mackerel in a fluid motion, having used this type of mackerel before and cut loose with an automatic volley of batteries mowing down Shins for the second time. Once the smoke had cleared, Battery Guy and Arnie crept cautiously up to the fallen figure of Shins. Arnie seeing Shins chest cavity contents were missing deduced that was obviously dead, he then felt the need to make a speech and turned to Battery Guy. "I feeel I haf made ze mestake, I see now my follies in aaatacking yoo Battery Guy, perhaps now ve can become friends and you can move into my star, it is very lonely being ze only godly hero in ze cosmos" to which Battery Guy replied "OMFG teh win!"

The celebrations of the defeat of shins went on for many hours at the beatnik bar after mopping up the remains of Dwayne. Arnie and Battery Guy drank passion pop and goon till the wee hours of the morning. Finally in a drunken haze Battery Guy declared that he felt bad for wrecking Arnie's green Cadillac and would buy him a new one. After much discussion a plan was drawn up to go to the planet Caddillacia where all of the universes Cadillacs are forged in crimson rivers, or green ones if the car happens to be that colour. The trip began in earnest before the cheap booze could wear off.

Arnie happened to have a ship shaped like a used teabag which he had arrived on the sun all those centuries ago which they set off in. They where scarcely a hundred light years away when disaster struck. It seemed that shins or some other unknown party had left an unpleasant surprise for our two intrepid adventures. "Somebody set us up the bomb" Battery Guy quietly uttered in fearful surprise while beholding the monstrosity. It seemed there was a large stack of dirty socks strapped to several tons of TNT in the hold and an Orion TV/VCR Combo with the words, press play, scrawled in blood on the monitor.

Arnie and Battery Guy set about looking for the remote. It seems this cold war Orion Combo unit was completely useless without the remote. "Perhaps it's behind the lounge" uttered Battery Guy looking over his shoulder at Arnie as he searched. Arnie, seeing the opportunity presented said "I hav an idea!" and promptly turned and opened a large trunk by his side marked with various danger symbols - Arnie donned a very heavy pair of gloves made from a compound consisting of Titanium, Asbestos, Rubber and Lead with Leather buckles and gold trim. He then reached into the box and pulled out his Flammable, Biohazardous, Electrocution Serving, Explosive, Nuclear X-Ray machine. This "hand held" device could not possibly be used by any normal human, only someone of Arnie's stature could possibly wield this dangerous, yet, incredibly useful device. Arnie trained the device on the lounge and put a sequence of numbers into its glowing keypad. The ship began to shudder and lights began to flicker intermittently under the massive strain the device was putting on the ship's Tachyon based Banana Generator.

The X-Ray device began glowing, arcs of electricity sizzled over its surfaces, blood began to drip from the bottom of the device and the top caught fire. After about a minute of what could only be called "processing", the device then emitted a single low pitched beep and powered down. When Battery Guy emerged from where he was sheltering, he looked in awe at the now transparent lounge. Unfortunately, the remote wasn't hidden down the back of the lounge. "Oh, I am idiot!, ze remote is here on the coffee table!", Arnie threw the device back in the trunk and slammed it's lid. It seems that the device actually made objects permanently transparent through the use of a combination of voodoo, green carpet weaving patterns and advanced quantum theory.

Pressing the "on" button on the remote the Orion promptly started to smoke and spew bubbles from somewhere inside the casing. Finally after much struggle and a few well placed kicks the screen lit up and displayed the image of non other than Shins. "You have got the better deal, and less for cash, but all your base are belong to us!" The Orion then rose up on its chromed telescopic death legs and began to advance on Arnie and Battery Guy. Arnie swung a mighty punch at the screen which should have shattered it as it had a thousand Robots, Demons and Small Asteroids; instead, a blinding light flashed up and Arnie was pushed back, as he often seemed to when he got in fights lately. The Orion screamed a demonic scream and then rather anticlimactically turned into a small alarm clock with its read out counting down rapidly from one hundred seconds.

Arnie and Battery Guy attempted to defuse the bomb, but then, shooting a bomb at point blank range with a sawn off shotgun doesn't really count much towards defusing. The explosion ripped through the ship damaging it beyond repair and leaving Arnie and Battery Guy floating in space. Fortunately, being Godlike beings of almost unimaginable power has perks such as being impervious to the ravages of spaces unforgiving vacuum. They still, however, lacked any means of propulsion and where left drifting with nothing but a small inflatable dingy which Arnie insisted had teleportation powers, a blue esky which was missing its lid, a set of children's beach sand toys and a number of pieces of charred wreckage. Arnie reassured Battery Guy that the dingy only lacked a palm tree and a bucket of sand in order to work. A dried out stinky crab claw would also make things work.

Arnie had fashioned a device to collect small comets and space dust using his esky and some banned plastic six pack plastic wrappers that drifted by, this hung out behind the dingy on some frayed and burnt wire removed from parts of charred wreckage. A number of millennia later Battery Guy was looking a little dim with lack of charge. Arnie, after performing his regular Esky Content check spoke the words that Battery Guy waiting so long for: "Finally ve have collected enough dust to use ze teleporter! I have also manufactured a makeshift palm tree out of ze wreckage of ze lost Voyager III probe from earth which we ran into a number of years ago." Arnie scraped the collection of small comets and dust from the bottom of the esky into a yellow plastic bucket using his green plastic spade, forcing it through his orange bucket sieve. Arnie placed the plastic bucket into the bucket fuel receptacle of the makeshift palm tree and pulled on one of the more lever looking palm fronds. The teleporter began to whir.

The teleporter while an amazing piece of backyard science was far from perfect. Arnie and Battery Guy found themselves temporarily trapped in the fabric of the universe for a few minutes as Arnie attempted to recalibrate the palm tree to home in on more precise coordinates. The fabric of the universe was an odd place where up was down, left was right, and for some reason you could always get a cup of tea in less than two minutes. With a bit of delicate fine tuning and a lot of heavy bashing Arnie was able to get the device up and running again and our intrepid heroes where once again on their way. However, all did not go according to plan as our heroes were forced to take a few more detours involving alternate realities along the way.

Caddillacia is an amazing sector of the Luxury Car quadrant. It is between the two other more popular car manufacturing quadrants called the "Cheap Jap Import Quadrant" and the quadrant almost entirely supported by sales in Australia called "Holden Commodore Manufacturing Quadrant". Battery Guy, dazzled and entranced by the rounded shapes and shininess of plastic chrome began to steer into the Cheap Jap Import Quadrant looking to buy Arnie a KIA instead. Arnie, while Battery Guy piloted urged Battery Guy to steer clear of the Cheap Jap Import Quadrant as their product looked really shiny but they broke easily and were impossible to get parts for. Realising his folly, Battery Guy headed back to Luxury Car space. During the long journey together, Arnie taught Battery Guy to fly the dingy. With his hundreds of years of practice showing, Battery Guy brought down the dingy into one of the more "budget" Cadillac dealerships. He guided the dingy down and landed with a smooth whoosh and soft landing. This dealership was situated on the edge of town near the DosBox Banditos territory. It was worth the risk of being attacked by the ruthless Banditos for the low, low prices they were offering to copse customers to purchase there.

An African American salesperson came out to greet them when they landed. He was a very large, well built man with enough Jewellery to satisfy Paris Hilton for the rest of her life. Gold everywhere, in terms of weight, he was wearing about 50kg of gold chains around his neck. He approached and questioned "What type of Cadillac do you fools want?". Arnie, not used to this sort of lingo retorted. "Vy are you callingg me fool, you have no idea who I am, yoo idiouut!". Recognising this salesperson immediately, Battery Guy set about calming down Arnie. "n00b, this is Mr. T! How could you not recognise him. He runs with the A Team for the win!". Mr. T, seeing that the dispute would come to a peaceful resolve said "Right fools, I'm Mr. T, who are you?". "I am Battery Guy, seeker of Charge, this here is Arnie the… big."

Mr. T looking genuinely concerned and getting comfortable, put one foot up on the bumper of a nearby Cadillac and started his typical and mandatory spiel: "We are trapped here in this dealership; trapped like damn fools. Those Banditos have been raiding my properties and stealing my Cadillacs. Now me and the A Team, we'd go whoop their ass, but now that we're all retired, we aren't the formidable force that we once were. I'm s'posed to be retired, I'm losing money left and right and I'm barely making enough money to make ends meet. Now I honour the fool that saves my dealership from those Banditos, hell, I'd give them one GM products from all of the Luxury car range. Now these Bandito dudes are lead by a fool called Lucky, Lucky I have DosBox. He's this fool that thinks he knows his shit about computers, hell, my momma knows more about computers than that fool! He rolls up to my dealership and he's all like: I'm taking this Cadillac and then he pulls out this cardboard box with DOS written on it. He screams out "Lucky I have DOSBox", tosses it at my feet and I pass out. That's spooky fool." Taken aback and somehow inspired, Battery Guy commits himself and Arnie, taking the quest. Arnie, also inspired begins to assure Mr. T. "Mr. T, ve are honoured to do zis for yoo. I am sorry about my behaviour. You must discover your own strength again; you could be massive and godlike like me. Ve vill get rid of zees Banditos."

So the after a few hours of growing accustomed to the surroundings of the dealership and noting places where fortifications could be improved battery guy and Arnie drew up a plan of defence and attack. The plans they had drawn up involved sentry guns, four hundred kilos of dynamite, an army of enraged wildebeests and two paper bags of nondescript size. Battery guy first took all the batteries from all the cars in the dealership and gathered them in the one place and Arnie drank all of the petrol from their tanks. Mr T Somewhat "dismayed" by the rather low key attempts at defence questioned them at length in a most tense exchange. "You fools don’t know what you doin’!" "First you come in here and give me some jibber jabber about how amazing you are even though you ain’t got no gold guns or sense and then show me this big plan you have and then totally disregard yo own plan and start drinking my gas and stealin’ my batteries". T shook his head they had power these two but they didn’t understand what kind of Banditos they where up against.

The sun was beginning to set in Caddillacia, throwing long shadows across the dealership. Fortifications in place, petrol consumed and batteries piled up - they had survived the day. According to Mr. T’s observations, it was a feat in it’s self for these two "super beings" to survive the carnage, even though no fight ensued. Arnie, on-edge and overconfident from his petrol pumping decided that he’d begin scouting the area. "I am going to scowt ze immediate area for Banditos, they could be hiding anyvere!" Battery guy, subdued and clinging to his pile of car batteries like a cat hoarding fluffy toys. He appeared totally un-phased about Arnie’s suicide mission. Eyes glazed over and glowing electric blue, it was obvious that something was amiss with battery guy, this had of course gone unnoticed by the gassed-up Arnie. Night had finally fallen and Arnie began painting himself like a zebra using his Dulux Urban Cammo Kit or D.U.C.K as the elite had coined it. So elite was this piece of kit that you need a belt sander to remove it. Arnie, seeing the lack of light in the Dealership began checking on Battery Guy. "Battery Guy, have you set up ze flood lights we discussed so ve can see ze Banditos approaching? Zis is wery tactically important!" Battery Guy just scowled. Somehow sobered up by the DUCK fumes, it was obvious now to Arnie that something was wrong with Battery Guy. Arnie continued looking at Battery Guy awaiting his answer. There was an awkward silence. Arnie opened his mouth, about to speak when something moved in the shadows, quickly Battery Guy snapped out his trance powering up a flood light and pointing it into the night. A tumble weed! It seems it was out of cue with the awkward silence scene. Disappointed, Battery Guy powered down the spot light and scowled again "FINE!" Climbing to the top of his pile he concentrated for a second. He smiled and tapped his heels together three times. Five lightning bolts leapt in different directions to somewhere near outskirts of the dealership, a number of small explosions followed as the small amounts of petrol remaining in the tanks exploded, clearly these bolts were aimed at cars. The entire dealership was now draped in a flickering orange light permeating from the outskirts. The lights in the dealership office came on and the door exploded open nearly torn from it’s hinges. "Has the fight started? What! What the hell are you fools destroying now?" Battery Guy turned to Arnie and growled "There’s your light!" Mr T looking a little confused walked over to Arnie. "Why do you two have to destroy everything? Hell, the Banditos would do less damage!" Arnie looked over at Battery Guy realising what had happened he lent in and began quietly telling Mr T his theory. "I read once in ‘Mega Being’ that battery dependant beings are of two polarities, Acid and Alkaline! Ze car batteries are Acid batteries; he has been consumed by DARK POWER! Ve must do something before he incinerates the area within a 2 kilometre radius. He is coming down; he has used up all his Acid batteries! This could be disastrous!"

Suspension

Chip

Well, as you can see from the pictures, the suspension is pretty sussed. The other end will be a mirror of this end.

I need to work the axel hubs and steering into it now.

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Tuesday, 27th December 2005

Chip

I have been doing a pretty crappy job of my blog lately. It really sucks arse to work in retail during the Christmas/holiday season. That 80h week just killed me. Bureaucratic bullshit spitting morons.

It was all good. Worked over the weekend so the shop was good for when my area manager came in. That was fine because I was taking the next weekend off. No show. Worked through the week too because he was *supposedly* coming later in the week. No show. Calls, tells me he's coming on the weekend. I say, I'm not on, on the weekend. He says "Yes you are.". Bullshit. Saturday morning rolls around, I am told that bigwigs will be visiting and the store must be shit-hot so they can see why my sales have improved nearly 150%. Area manager comes, says nothing, moves a bulk stack infront of my cabinets which is just stupid and the bigwigs are a no-show. Now, I've worked 80h fixing things for arseholes that don't think my store is important enough to warrant their "presence". Makes me want to really hurt them.

Then there's the other gem that my area manager came up with. We have some christmas lights left. I took the initiative, being a MANAGER to mark down the prices and have a "manager's special" on lights. I marked them down below cost in some cases, I printed a list of our stock on hand, from that data I made a list to display all the old prices and my new prices. We sold quite a few. Then, my area manager sees it. His reaction was "I'm not sure how <bigwig's name> will react to those prices..." Yeah, thanks for backing me up you tool. We are going to mark them down below cost and well below the pricing that I had displayed later if they did not sell through, why not wear the loss now and free up the space for something we will make money on! Stupidness. Why do I give a shit anyway, she can react the way she wants, it's my store, that stock needs to be cleared. It's really a simple concept. My area manager is just too scared of upper management to be of any use or support to store managers in the area.

Anyway, the DAY I had off was great, considering I spent two of my three days driving down to Ulladulla to spend ONE down there. Of course I have to work today. Because I'm cheaper being a salaried employee. Bastards.

Sunday I spent a few hours in the pool. I got to see that thing that I barely see in my basement store. What's it called, oh, that's right, the sun. So I got my vitamin A for the year. It's safe to hide away again, where bigwigs fail to venture. It was good, I did manage to unwind quite a bit, most of my bloodlust toward my area manager has subsided. Then we drove back up Monday.

I gathered my Earth Monies from all my gifts and I think I will buy a new video card. Decisions, Decisions. I have about $200 so I was thinking probably one of the Winfast NVIDIA Geforce FX 6600TD cards or their variants. I have it narrowed to two at the moment. Since I only have $200 and I don't have PCI-Express I can't get a shit-hot card. It will have to be better than my Geforce 4 MX440 that Goldy graciously gave me for nothing.

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winfast_a6600td_2s
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winfast_a6600td_1s

WinFast A6600 TD 256MB $235 DCLEA082 Adelong Leadtek

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winfast_a6600gt_2s
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winfast_a6600gt_1s

WinFast A6600 GT TDH 128MB $279 DCLEA069 Adelong Leadtek

"Core" powerboard failure...

Chip

Hrm.... It's suposed to look technical. I added "core" Tongue2

The core power board crapped out (read: shat a brick and ejected it's rocker switch onto the floor) over night and I am not sure what time. I will have to go over the logs. It took 20 min to get back up, I replaced it with another board. Lucky those 5 leads and 3 packs are all tidy an neatly loomed up. It was a snap. Trickiest part was lining the new powerboard up onto the screws and clipping it in. I suspect it may have a small colony of bugs living in it, judging by the brown bug crap in my poorly shot photo. Meh, it's 6:30 something in the morning, I just got up. Can't be expecting a nice shot =) There will however be nice shots if there is anything interesting inside.

In other news, I have passed 200 blog entries now! l33t!

Wednesday, 21st December 2005

Chip
image
Immune

Work. Too much in fact. Stupid me, scheduled the weekend off and have now been told to work it. Yay for the 10 day 80.5h week Shock!

I noticed something hillarious on my juice thismorning. I decided to try the "Fruitful Super Juice - Immune" this morning. The blurb is so over the top it's hillarious. All of the bold is in green and about 2pt bigger in bold on the actual label.

"Drink immune for an anti-oxidant-packed punch. It's delicious zingy blend of apple, pineapple and guava not only tastes super good, it's loaded with fruit juice goodness.... and let's face it, in todays world we need all the help we can get.

It might just help keep you on top of things, and we've vlended in Echinacea, plus Anti-oxidants: we think your system could celebrate the extra nourishment.

It's all good with no nasties so treat yourself well - drink Immune every day."

I couldn't help smirking and giggling all the way through... Then, one of my staff asked me what was so funny. I could barely contain myself to read it aloud to them. It was kind of a stuttered reading indispensed with laughing and snickering Big Grin! 

Diff

Chip

Found an idea diff for the buggy! But... It's $900 Wired

It was on this site which is really cool and I'm sure I will be ordering some other stuff from them!

Shopping Buggy

Chip
I have decided to start designing a small buggy to carry stuff up the stairs. I am going to slowly flesh out this brief properly as I come up with more ideas.

Design Brief:

Basic Requirements:

  • Must carry ~40kg and it’s own weight up standard incline stairs.
  • Must have facilities to hang shopping bags on or a suitable 'tray and cage' arrangement to carry and contain a load of shopping bags.
  • Will be propelled and steered electrically.
  • Will be operated remotely.
  • Buggy will carry a web server and webcam.
  • Buggy must be able to navigate standard 800mm minimum clearance hallways.
  • Must have a balance mechanism to counter-balance load while climbing stairs.
  • Buggy will be reasonably quiet.
  • 4 wheel drive (diffs) - probably not a centre diff.
  • 4 wheel steer
  • Independant Suspension
Control System:
  • Lappy.
  • 802.11b wireless.
  • 2 or 4 wheel steer modes.
  • Controller(s)
    • PWM for traction motor(s).
    • Stepper Control for steering Stepper(s).

Telemetry:

  • Per Wheel RPM.
  • Per Motor Current.
  • Current Draw of traction motor(s).
  • Roll/Incline sensor.
  • Slip indicator.
  • Front and rear looking camera.

Interface:

  • Visual Basic.
  • Display of Telemetry.
  • Allow Control of Buggy.
  • On-Screen and Physical Controller.
  • Fail-Over Controller that plugs into buggy.
  • Front and rear looking camera.

Vehicle:

  • Propulsion
    • Traction Motor(s).
      • Probably a VW generator (doubled ended).
  • Components.
    • Modular.
    • Easy to construct using available equipment and materials.
  • Drive Train.
    • Wheels.
      • Square form pneumatic wheelbarrow wheels with keys or splines on axels (not roller bearings obviously.)
    • Power transfer
      • Front and rear quasi diff.
        • A bevel gear set from an angle grinder.
      • Universal Joints.
  • Steering.
    • Arms actuating wheel hub.
    • Stepper actuated.
    • Both Software and Manual adjustment.
  • Suspension.
    • Arms.
    • Springs.
    • Towers?
  • Brakes (Possible)
    • Motor + lever on disc?
    • Pneumatic?
    • Hydraulic?
    • Manual Handbrake?

Power:

  • Batteries
    • SLA Battery
    • Bank of smaller SLA Batteries
      • 24 volt series/parallel arrangement
  • Charging
    • AC Inlet/Built In Charger?
    • External Charger?
    • Careing for battery
      • Auto discharging etc?
      • Zapping.

Electronics:

  • Circuit board Dress / Wire Loom Dress
  • Modular design
    • Plug and Socket interfaces for key components.
  • Documentation of circuits!

Thursday, 08th December 2005

Chip

angry

At the moment I am in a mood that could only be described as "the centre of a nuclear explosion". I just obliterated the cordless handset I was talking to my area manager on.

It seems this week is the anti-Tim week. Not only am I now open for incredibly stupid hours that will cost the company more in wages than they could possibly recoup in gross profit and inevariably end up pissing away my time waiting for customers to arrive in an empty store, but also, the company feels that it can throw out my possessions left in my previous store without asking.

I spoke to one of the full-timers from the store and they had said that all the *stock* was moved out of my box, that's fair enough, it’s stock I had stashed to buy later, I don't own it yet, put it back on the floor to sell or in the storeroom. They said that they didn't know where the rest went though. I called the Area Manager that "tidied" my box of stuff and asked where it's contents had ended up. The Area Manager had thrown it all out. I asked him about my Tandy sign. He said that he had thrown that out too. I then replied "You could have called me". To which he replied he was "not in the mood to call anyone after losing $18K out of that store in stolen goods".

Is that *my* fault? The answer is simply: absofuckingloutly NOT. If he was a professional, as he claims to be, he would have called regardless of his mood because he would have been able to control himself. So, my bits and pieces of my old store, sentimental, important things got thrown in the garbage without my consent. How the fuck am I going to get another Tandy sign? Steal it from another store - yeah, that won't get me in trouble; have the Area Manager in question get one made, very, very, VERY unlikely. Even if I do get another one, it wont be *my* Tandy store's Tandy sign, there will be no sentimental attachment to a copy. Why the fuck would I even be concearned if it didn't have sentimental value.

After questioning him about his heartless, ill-conceded tidy up he reminded me that the area needed to make an Extra $60K today and that I need to pull a $5K day to help this - all of this in a tone like he had done nothing wrong. Shit, that motherfucker didn’t even apologize. Fuck that. He can go fuck himself and come here and sell shit in my store, I'm not. Is he that stupid that he could not grasp the clear anger in my voice and realise that asking me to do anything for him would be stupid, and, it probably would not get done anyway?

I have no chance to achieve budget anyway. This christmas is NOT going to be the big christmas that the retail big-wigs think it's going to be. To add insult to injury he knows I have no chance at $5K in 8 hours in a god damn Tandy store. I am not helping him do anything. I'm not helping any other stores do anything either, I have enough of my own problems. Other stores that feel that can use my store as a stationary cache, fuck them, they can re-inflate their shrivelled little brains and make sure that they order stationary {bags, ticket paper etc} by themselves.

That stuff comes out of my budget impacting on MY bottom line, not theirs. I already haven't a piss-weak chance in hell of making budget and getting a bonus, but, if I came close and missed because of an overspend in stationary, rest asured, I would Deck the Manager that took that stationary from my store. My bonus would be $200.

This leads me to the second anti-Tim event of the week. My wife is pregnant, so we go through the usual tests and stuff without a hitch. At 20 weeks (now) we had to get an ultrasound done to identify any growth defects. We waited a whole hour and a half after our appointment time and finally go in, add to that the 30 minutes we were early.

This was of course a big problem as they had asked my Wife to drink water and have a full bladder for the ultrasound. So, she downed 4 glasses of water before we left. The problem was, she couldn’t retain all of that for the extra hour and a half that it took for the nurse to see us. Strike 1.

So, we get in there, the nurse appears to be pre-occupied, in a hurry and just generally narky. We go through the tests and she takes 50 or so pictures of different pieces of anatomy to measure and check. I’m no doctor or ultrasound operator but to me, the pictures looked pretty out of focus… Twice the nurse, over the duration of thaking the 50 or so pictures asked my Wife to empty out a bit of her bladder, and then entirely empty it. This may have been why the images weren’t clear. Strike 2.

The doctor comes in to examine some of the images. The nurse had obviously done a shit job as the doctor herself started to take a few shots because she could not see what she needed to see in the shots that the nurse took. That’s fine. The doctor finishes what she’s doing and then after a brief flick through the images gives the OK for us to leave. I think it was "It looks OK, you don’t have to wait outside for the results".

My Wife had an appointment the next day, what did we see on the report, nothing other than a long-winded explanation that, summarised, said that the baby’s nose bone might be too short and that another ultrasound would be required because the images weren’t clear enough for a proper diagnosis. This brings me to my point. If I were a doctor, I wouldn’t draw a conclusion on poor data, I would not put my name to it.

Why the fuck would she do that? Raising possible false alarm. My Wife’s on the ceiling worrying about it now, that’s just what she does and you can’t blame her for that really. If it were up to me, I would ask for another ultrasound before I drew a conclusion or provided my diagnosis.

I am a programmer and I also work on electronics – what is the rule? GIGO! Garbage In, Garbage Out. If I am working on program based around a database and all the records are crap, or if I don’t qualify my user input and don’t throw errors when inputs are incorrect I have rubbish data. If I have rubbish data, I get rubbish results. I’m working on an audio amplifier. If the pre-amplifier throws a noisy signal to the power-amp, the resulting signal and the output will me noisy wont it.

FUCKING GIGO! It's not a hard concept...

I thought doctors were supposed to be smart people. I’m sure she probably knows a lot about medicine, what about common sense?! Why not mention to us, before we leave, that the images might be too fuzzy to draw an accurate conclusion? Afraid of losing face? Fuck you, fuck your face and tell the truth. I hate people that feel that they need to sugar coat things or alter the truth in order to report results that people may not want to hear or in order to protect themselves - even both.

It’s easier and better for all if the truth is told the first time. Another work example, I manage a store. My area manager may not want to hear that I had say, a stereo stolen off the shelf. I can cover it up, it’s easy, yeah, "all the stock is here Area Manager". What if a full stock take was done by a party other than me? Who’s fucked then? Me, because I committed fraud by concealing a loss.

Back to the store manager’s perspective, wouldn’t you want your stock levels to be accurate? I know I do. Cop a bit of an upset phone call and that’s it, but everything is square, shit happens. Take it on the chin and stop being a fucking bitch, it’s more important to the business to have accurate stock levels. It’s not like I’m going to shout at the doctor for her nurse not doing a good job, in fact I’d do the opposite, I actually would appreciate the honesty.

It’s not hard. Where are the controls that prevent a doctor from fucking you around? I get fired and referred to the Police if I commit fraud in the company.

It’s not fucking fair. hissyfit

Friday, 02nd December 2005

Chip

Work.

Yummy coffee with cream! I had to use what was left before it went off... l33t! Looks like it's a brocure check today, since it wasn't completed by my minions before the other day, the brocure actually started yesterday. Hope my area manager doesn't come in and check the brochure or I am screwed. I must train my minions more so they can properly tie up a brocure in the whole DAY that I gave them. At least I have a 3 day weekend to make up for all the 6 dayers that I have done.

:wq Cool! 

The Race Is On!!!

Chip

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MARSIS_release_1_H

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MARSIS_release_2_H

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MARSIS_release_3_H

They have found water ice on Mars! (well... under it's surface) That paves the way for more exploration and possibly even human exploration!

Image 1:
"Two strong and distinct echoes coming from the area correspond to a surface reflection and subsurface interface between two different materials. By analysis of the two echoes, the scientists were able to draw the likely scenario of a nearly pure, cold water-ice layer thicker than 1 km, overlying a deeper layer of basaltic regolith." -- www.esa.int

Image 2, 3:
"First data include buried impact craters, probing of layered deposits at the north pole and hints of the presence of deep underground water-ice. First results reveal an almost circular structure, about 250 km in diameter, shallowly buried under the surface of the northern lowlands of the Chryse Planitia region in the mid-latitudes on Mars. The scientists have interpreted it as a buried basin of impact origin, possibly containing a thick layer of water-ice-rich material." -- www.esa.int

How is it that important events like this aren't mentioned on the news. No, we need to know which celebrity is rooting which other celebrity in some weird love triangle or some other bullshit! Jeees, "Possible habitability on ANOTHER PLANET" gets pushed back or not mentioned at all. No, that's not important at all. Damn dissapointing. Yaaaay! Shallow, fame/material possession oriented society for teh win!!!111~~ angry

Thursday, 24th November 2005

Chip

Work.

Shit's going down at work. My fulltimer is leaving, I'm getting a new one on monday though! Should be good. He's a good mate and he's worked here before. Shit, he *even* reads this blog... LOL! Should make for a fun and entertaining work environment. I'm going to miss my old full timer though, he's a champion. Very funny too. Ah well. He's going to "a better place" where pay is abundant and hours are slightly fewer. FSKING JB HIFI! Grrrrrrrrrrrr...

Tuesday, 22nd November 2005

Chip
A descent storm and I haven't got my bloody lightning release made yet. I haven't decided wether to use solar panels or a PhotoDarlington Pair. Both seem plausable but I think the solar panel may be a bit slow. hissyfit

Saturday, 19th November 2005

Chip

Not much happening today. I probably should be catching up on sleep.

I added some more smilies:

santahatstockingxmastreeangryviolentstirthepotsoapboxhissyfitgloomydrunkboggled

7:40 PM Update.

Short down-time. I have built the server up now to it's final arrangement. It has a cover now and the Hard Drive is screwed in =) It's now in 'hopefully don't have to touch again' mode  now. Mail is still broken, although permissions and stuff are right the mail isn't being delivered where it needs to be. Gallery is now working agian. I can upload images. I also added 5 more DVDs to the DVD section.

I removed the original 6.5 gig drive from the server. It was a really early 7200 RPM drive. Pretty fast for it's time. A Seagate Medalist Pro 6530. Gold goes to this drive thisevening for HEAT! I nearly dropped it, it was THAT hot. 

Friday, 18th November 2005

Chip

Jees! No updates since the 6th! I'm getting slack. First with laziness then with technical failure. Damn, 2 weeks.

Well it's almost the weekend now! I had a hectic day. Very tired, I tried to keep myself busy so I would stay awake. I managed to work my butt off and to stay awake, I got  a lot done at work. Tidied the stock room and it looks bloody terrific now. The last 3 days have been nastily late nights - I decided to install Ubuntu Linux. That part was easy. Installing and configuring the various services seems to be the very tricky part. At least as of now, WWW, FTP, SQL, DNS all work how they are supposed to, POP3 is up but doesn't work properly. Bugger it, it's not that important right now!

The port of the website was incredibly easy. I was very surprised. Since MySQL uses data files for it's database, I just FTP'd them up and restarted MySQL - BAM! all good. As for the website, that was a bit trickier. I had to upload the whole lot then adjust all the config files for Geeklog and Gallery so they didn't use the "C:directorydirectory" structure and used the "/var/asd/directory" structure. That was easy. The site looked pretty shit, no CSS - why? DNS was broken, there was a direct link with a FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name) for the CSS file in the config, so it was looking for "HTTP://www.zagadka.org/cssfile.css" but it couldn't work out where www.zagadka.org was. DNS is fine as of about 4PM today, so now it works.

FTP had a little tiff with me, I forgot to add my username to the group that was allowed to access the FTP server - dropped me as soon as I connected and entered my username... I ended up uninstalling it and reinstalling it.

That's one thing I am really impressed with Ubuntu/Debian. You can get a package down off  the net and 9/10 it will work straight up - it's awesome. All you need to do is "apt-get install <package>". It will get the package off the net and install it. If you have it installed already it will download the newer version if there is one. Awesome. This is very, very stream-lined. It's been so long since I have had only a console to communicate with a box. I didn't install the GUI at all - yes, I'm hardcore Tongue2

Tomorrow's Project: Fix the fscking mail server! 

Teething Problems... Sorted

Chip

Teething Problems... are pretty much sorted now. I have the Website and Database up as well as Gallery. The Mail daemon is up but it's putting mail in a different place to where it's looking when I try to retrieve it. It's gotta be somewhere! Oh well. I will fix that later. At least DNS is online now! I fixed that this afternoon. Only one warning on www.dnsreport.com. It took some tweaking and a number of reloads of www.dnsreport.com, but I have it set nicely now. Only thing that is wrong, serving my own DNS - not such a boggle but I have two Nameservers, both on the same connection so I get a warning on the 'name servers on separate class C networks' part.

Linuxariffic

Chip

Massive downtime. Windows update single headedly killed my server system. I tried to repair it in the morning and again in the afternoon, but it was fair Borked. Tonight, I tried to fix it. Still dead. At least the website data survived.

Big Upgrade! I have now moved to a distribution of Linux to see how it goes. I’m sure it will work great, as that’s primarily what Linux is designed for - being a server...

I had a couple of distributions on DVD from a PC User Mag and decided to take the plunge. I also took advantage of the down-time to upgrade the hard drive from its impressive 6 GBs of epic power to 40 GB! OMG! =P

I chose Ubuntu Linux, it seems to have the most updates + support... I just need to get all the stuff that I require on there and configured! FTP Server, HTTP Server, SSH Server, Mail Server etc etc etc…

Sunday, 06th November 2005

Chip

Ah! The weekend at last!

Breaky with bacon and eggs twice! Awesome! Bacon, Scrambled Eggs and Toast mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Also trying to get this crap to work...: Here

Tuesday, 01st November 2005

Chip
Work. An exciting 8 hour meeting at Head Office today. <sarcasm> yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! </sarcasm>

Sunday, 30th October 2005

Chip
Sunday. Rain. Excellent. It means today will be of a descent temperature below 25 degC... Mmmmmmmm. I wish it would rain all day.

Friday, 28th October 2005

Chip
Work.
Not much blogging is happening... Re-Arranging the whole store front to back!

Tuesday, 25th October 2005

Chip

Work. The day of the idiot it seems...

I can almost guarantee my offsider here will be convulsing on the floor in the fetal position before the day is through. He's been dealing with a heap of stupid requests...

Customer starts their query with only:"What kind of memory card does my camera take?"

and

A discontinued line was reduced to $20 to clear it. It has no box or accessories. It is marked $20 'as is'. This normally retails for $89, even at this price it is below cost. A customer puts the unit on hold. Calls later. "Is there any chance of a further discount?"

Sunday, 23rd October 2005

Chip

Sunday.

Off to Mum and Dad's to fix the car.

Saturday, 22nd October 2005

Chip
Saturday! Off to see Serenity!@

Friday, 21st October 2005

Chip

Work...

Friday at last!

Serenity on saturday! 

Wednesday, 19th October 2005

Chip
Some moron broke into the electrical cupboard and switched off all the breakers... A nice big F - U to that person. No hot water, no internet and no website all day. What kind of an idiot breaks into an electrical cupboard anyway? Jesus, it's got a board with breakers, lots of pretty looking cables and ducts, a hot water heater and a bloody MDF in it. Grrrrrr.... Sounds like this/these person/people have the brain/s of Terrance and Phillip from southpark.

"Come Terrance! Lets Search For Tweasure!"

image
Terrance and Phillip

Yeah, because there's going to be gold and diamonds in the fucking electrical cupboard! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...

http://www.doctronics.co.uk/4511.htm

Yay for down time... ...not

Chip
Some moron broke into the electrical cupboard and switched off all the breakers...

Sunday, 16th October 2005

Chip
Finally saw Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy! Rented it. The movie is awesome!

Saturday, 15th October 2005

Chip

Work.

Breaky. A Chicken Souvlaki Skewer and a Spring Roll. Life on the edge! Ah the TAFE days. Spring Rolls made up about 50% of my diet! Healthy! Mmmmmm. I like to keep my stomach strong by eating some Salmonella infested food on occasion. Oh! and there's only one way to eat the spring roll. Bite off the ends. Squeeze out the insides into your mouth then eat the yummy hollow pastry stuff!! Just don't tell my mum that I do that! I'm sure she would not be impressed l33t!

Friday, 14th October 2005

Chip

Work. Friday at last! Well, sorta. I have to work Saturday! MAD!

12:10 PM:

DAMN EXCEL!!!! Why does such a small bug mess up my spreadsheet so badly!!!! I'm talking about TRUNC() - a function that slices the fraction off without rounding the number.

TRUNC(1.25) = 1

Now the boggle:

I have $211.25 worth of money to take from the til in takings leaving the float... I have already taken from the til $211.20 in notes and coins starting from the largest denomination, now I need to calculate how many 5c pieces to take out. By the time the formulars have cascaded down from $100 notes to coins down to the 5cs that's the last one you will take out. So to check this we have a formula. I have $1.25 in 5c coins is the $1.25 of 5c less than what I have removed already? Nay, there is only 0.05. Cool. Divide the remainder by the money denominator ($0.05). To see how many will fit (1 in this case) we divide the remainder by the coin value and we get 1. So we need 1 5c piece. No probs. Answer x Denomination = Coin to remove. Swar. ONLY fscking TRUNC(1,0) seems to return 0.0000999998 == 0. SHIT!

Thursday, 13th October 2005

Chip

Work.

7:24 PM:

Brenny Linked me an article about the upcoming doom movie. It's worth a read. So here it is: Original Link

   

FEATURE: LIGHTS, CAMERA, DOOM ACTION!

Silver screen screams and horrors! We hit the Doom movie set - full report inside!

15:24 It's been on-again, off-again more times than Pammy, Tommy and the Iranian nuclear program all put together - but finally, after ten years, the ultimate game-movie is coming to a screen near you. As ever, the big question on every gamer's lips is, "Have they f***ed it up?", or more likely, "Just how badly have they f***ed it up?"

It's a fair enough question. History pretty much dictates that films based on games are going to stink, pissing right in the eyes of the gamers that made the film possible in the first place and leaving the source material unconscious in a ditch. But there's always that faint hope that this will be the one to break the mould, the one that finally does justice to our memories, hopes and dreams. If you've seen the Doom trailer, that crack of hope will have opened just a little, because it looks - not too loud now - pretty good.

To be honest though, we've been expecting this, as we've had a bit of an inside track on the film's development all year. In fact, PC ZONE visited the set of Doom in Prague during principal photography and had a chat with many of the key players, including Karl Urban, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, Rosamund Pike and visual FX supervisor Jon Farhat. We've been itching to tell you all about it, but a pesky international embargo has kept us gagged (until now). Finally, we can make like a bloated zombie and spill our guts (though not too much of the plot hopefully), and reveal why we think Doom could break every precedent there is for game-based movies.

IF IT'S WORTH DOING...
Admittedly, we haven't seen the finished product yet, so we could be horribly wrong here. But what we can assert with confidence is that everyone involved went into the project with the right frame of mind and the right level of respect for the wants of the fans. The script, for a start, went through at least seven major revisions before filming got under way, starting with an ultragritty first draft by first-timer David Callaham, then through the hands of producer John Wells and eventually to Wesley Strick, a big-time Hollywood script doctor who came aboard to polish the dialogue. At every step, id Software had broad approval.

"The story is very similar," says id's Todd Hollenshead. "It isn't based exactly on the Doom 3 story, but there are a lot of similarities between who the good guys are, who the bad guys are and how that all works out." Suffice it to say, the plot will be instantly recognisable, despite a few inevitable tweaks for the sake of storytelling.

MARS ATTACKS
The action takes place at a scientific research base on Mars, where a meddling scientist (called Dr Carmack, ho ho) has unwittingly opened a wormhole to 'somewhere bad'. It's not necessarily the gates of hell, but it may as well be, as the accident has unleashed a legion of imps and demons into the facility. To make matters worse, people are turning into hideous zombie mutants left and right, and nobody knows why. Answering a distress call from the stricken base, an elite Rapid Response Tactical Squad is sent in to seal off the facility and kill whatever they find inside - unless it eats them first.

Apart from the games, the inspiration here is clearly Aliens, as well as a little bit of Predator (no bad thing either way). The squad of space marines even have nicknames that could be from either of those films - Duke, Goat, Destroyer, not to forget John 'Reaper' Grimm, better known to you and me as DoomGuy.

LEADING MAN
One of the big questions throughout the development of Doom was: who would play DoomGuy? Names such as Arnie and Vin Diesel were tossed around early on, but when the project was finally green-lit it looked like the part would fall to The Rock, former People's Champion now turned serious actor. As it turns out, the brawny grappler preferred the 'Sarge' role, leaving the door open for a personable Kiwi called Karl Urban. Best known for his taciturn performance as Eomer in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, he's also played villains in Riddick and The Bourne Supremacy, but cites Doom as the most challenging, exhausting film he's ever done. Luckily for us, he also understands the gravity of his position.

"I've got to admit I had concerns," admits the star in his thick Kiwi twang. "I was a massive, massive game fan in my college years, and I thought, I don't want to be involved with something if they're not going to do it justice. But after looking at the script and seeing the attention to character, I was convinced. Because you can't just hang this off corridors and killing zombies - there has to be more to it than that. If you don't have the story and the characters right, people are going to get bored pretty quickly. There have been examples of videogame films in the recent past that haven't got that right; we're aware of that, and we're doing everything to inject as much three-dimensionality into these characters as we can."

Urban describes John Grimm as a "thinking man's soldier". He's good at his job and gets the job done with ruthless efficiency, but is a little more introspective and cerebral than your average grunt. "I'm hoping he's going to appeal to the gamers who are not these guys who are built like brick shithouses," says Urban. "They're normal guys like you and me."

One of the other great things about the script is that it doesn't attempt to crowbar a romantic subplot into what is, essentially, a bloody and violent horror film. Perhaps to provide an equivalent emotional journey, John Grimm instead must come to terms with his estranged sister Sam - one of the scientists trapped on the base, played by former Bond-girl Rosamund Pike. The two haven't seen each other since their parents died in a scientific accident, after which John abandoned his budding scientific career and joined the space marines. When the Martian mission comes up, he volunteers to go back and, er, face his demons.

LA-DI-DA...
"Sam's the impostor, because she's not in the game," says Rosamund Pike, perhaps the poshest person ever to be associated with the name Doom. "She's the brains of the piece really. She's the insider, the person who has access to the computer files and the scientific knowledge to work out what's going on. People are turning into these creatures, but she's the one who works out why not everybody turns, and that's quite a crucial thing to the story."

For Pike, Samantha Grimm is a vital addition to the formula, balancing the overriding masculinity of the film and injecting the space marines with a bit of humanity. "She despises them and what they stand for at the beginning, but it's quite interesting how things work out."

AS BAD AS THEY WANNA BE
Another key decision made early on was to consciously go for an R-18 rating. Trying to reach a wider audience by pulling back to a PG-13 was one of the many things that ruined Aliens Vs Predator; here, luckily, the producers realised that without the right level of gibs and ultraviolence, it just wouldn't be Doom.

For Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, this was practically a prerequisite to his involvement. "What I love about this film is it's very unapologetic," enthuses the big man. "We pull no punches - it's rated R-plus! When I first spoke to Andrzej (Bartowiak, the director), he asked me what's important. And I said it's important to me to deliver on the sci-fi front, on the videogame enthusiast front and on the horror front. All these genres are very, very loyal. And I said with an R-rating we have the ability to really scare the shit out of people, and I think we should. And he goes 'Well we're not going to do that.' There was this long pause, and I'm thinking, shit... Then he says: 'We're going to f***ing terrify them!' That was cool to hear."

The Rock plays the character of Sarge, loosely based on Master Sergeant Kelly from Doom 3. In preparing for the role, Rock sought out some classic asshole commanders from the Hollywood backcatalogue, especially Full Metal Jacket for Lee Ermey and The Rock (funnily enough) for Ed Harrison.

"It's great," says Johnson. "I get to play what I call the BMFOP - the baddest motherf***er on the planet. I'm excited about that. He's not a bad guy as such; he's just a guy who's extremely dedicated to the Marine Corps. He believes in seeing through the orders at all costs, and if he has to kill everybody, then that's what he has to do. I admire Sarge for that."

The Rock describes the experience of making the film as like reliving a childhood dream, playing soldiers and toting around ridiculous amounts of firepower. "At one time I've got a BFG, a rifle, a handgun and I've also got this chaingun that Destroyer uses. It's basically one of the guns that's mounted on top of a Humvee, duh-duh-duh-duh (makes machine-gun noise). It's awesome, because as soon as we get off that helicopter, it's balls to the wall. I would say the first eight to ten minutes of the movie is setting up everything, and then bang, we get into it."

ALL ACTION
Towards the end of the film, the action takes on another dimension, with a breathtaking four-minute action sequence shot in first-person perspective. At this point the film achieves the most literal possible interpretation of the game, as we enter John Grimm's head and battle the Baron and other familiar hellspawn.

We spoke to VFX supervisor Jon Farhat about the sequence. "Primarily, the purpose of it is to be true to the fans. We're hoping that by the time it comes around and you're into a POV, that the audience is like, 'Yeah! THIS is Doom!' So the FPS section is really paying tribute to that and trying to take everything we know about visual FX and special FX and just pile it in there to make something non-stop. I guarantee you it will be pretty intense. It's a combination of creature effects, make-up effects, CG environments, CG creatures, live characters - everything all in one."

Having seen part of the FPS sequence being filmed, we can assure you it looks fantastic - it's a surprisingly scary effect, especially when the Baron starts beating seven shades of shit out of you/John Grimm. Like any FPS, it proves an efficient way of immersing the viewer in the action, and we're just surprised the technique has never been used to much effect in the past.

This sequence alone should satisfy gamers looking for a slice of raw Doomstyle action on the silver screen. Whether the rest of the film lives up to the legacy is another question, but what we can say is, for perhaps the first time in a videogameinspired production, the hearts and minds of the key players were in the right place. This, for us, is sufficient reason to be in the queue on October 28. No doubt we'll see you there.

Anthony Holden

We have hope now! =)

Wednesday, 12th October 2005

Chip

Hrm... Work.

After lots of careful consideration, it looks like I'm going to stay here a while. I could lay out a heap of positives and negatives about the whole thing but it boils down to one thing: Earth Monies. I need more Earth Monies! (see reference Invader Zim)

Monday, 10th October 2005

Chip

Work.

Train was late, full when it arrived and the next one delayed too... Why am I not suprised? Cityrail will sweep that shit under the carpet now, everyone has gotten over the shiny new timetable and have resumed their routine of not paying attention to running times. Cityrail are going w00t! We got away with it again! Change the timetable, run it real tight for a few solid months then go back to how it was. Arseholes. I'm tired of the gorram trains!

Working at another store today. More stories of 'oh-by-the-way-your-working-here-now-don't-care-about-employees' type Big Business Acumen. <sarcasm> GG Bosses! Terrific in fact. Well done, I love you! </sarcasm>

Sunday, 09th October 2005

Chip

Sunday...

Yummy chicken Kievs for lunch. Had to use them, defrosted them for another day but didn't eat them. Don't want to waste yummy kievs!

Watching some recorded Discovery Channel. Extreme Engineering! In this episode they are building a MASSIVE face shovel. MASSIVE! Very cool. I love mining gear. It's awesome! It takes 8 railway cards and 30 trucks to move it in pieces!

Oh! and the explosives! Muahahah! 190 holes. ~1ft in dia and 45 ft deep, blasting cap... 2 tonnes of amonium nitrate + fuel oil in each hole. Nasty.

Another documentry for me to watch! The top 10 tanks. 

Friday, 07th October 2005

Chip

Friday off.

It appears that I have been strong-armed into a new position. Fscking terrific.

Today I made some more inventor parts for my new project: The CRO tool. It is going to have a Square + Sine wave generator with a frequency meter/display. This is the integration of two dick smith kits.

image
p2220

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p7042

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BNC_Panel_Mount_Image

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Knob

There we are P2220 and P704X. The knobs are almost-dayglow-green... The ones I have here are. I guess they mixed the plastic colours incorrectly. I will have to buy more SINCE TOMORROW IS MY LAST DAY... Thumbs Down!Thumbs Down!Thumbs Down! MAD!

The two kits are:

K7001 : 50MHz Frequency Meter

K7338 : Sine/Square Wave Generator (Not on website)

Wednesday, 05th October 2005

Chip

Work.

G0t jet pack? http://www.peroxidepropulsion.com/article/26

Stuart Ross has come up with a jet pack belt! Here is the offical (though incomplete) website http://www.rocketbelt.co.uk/ 

Tuesday, 04th October 2005

Chip

Tuesday.

Crappy day at work for no particular reason...

Finished off (read made working) the video distribution amp. The chip was working but the image was just about white. I tested it on the DVD, you could only just see the screensaver logo bouncing around the white screen. No contrast at all, in addition only the first amp and last amp from four were working (this chip has 4 amps). I started checking for more shorts and found one! There was a short between the PCB pin and a ground plane. I fixed that up with a scribe and tried it again. No cure.

I read the datasheet about the chip (MAX497CPE) hopeing to find some troubleshooting info. Looking at the example circuit diagram it clicked. I decided to check if the chip was getting power - or at least power to the right places. I started by fitting a new battery to my multimeter. Something I should have got ages ago. After seeing which pins should be getting power I started checking traces starting at the regulators. The chip requires both +5V (pins 9 and 15) and -5V (pins 11 and 13). This is achieved using a 7805 (positive regulator) and a 7905 (negative regulator). BAM! no -5V on 11 and 13! I started checking for un-soldered pins. On this board there are no vias so connecting the top and bottom layers is depended on soldering both top and bottom pads of some components.

I ran into a dead end. I started manually checking the traces again. Whats this! A mistake on the board; NO! Immediately I was looking at ways of jumpering the -5V where I needed it. Looking closer at the middle of the board the -5V jumped straight off the regulator, through a filter cap and to an empty pad. Hrmmmmmm... There was nothing in this hole because I was making this as a Standalone unit. It has pads here to daisy chain +/-5V to other slave boards. Gee! Where do those traces lead on the other side of the board? Bloody pins 11 and 13! Wired BUGGER! I stuck a PCB pin in there immediately and soldered it both sides. I didn't bother with the +5V because there are no traces on the top of the board taking +5V anywhere, just a pad surrounded by the ground plane.

image
PCB Pin
Of Death!
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IMG_0060

Whoola! Workies. Thumbs Up!Thumbs Up!Thumbs Up! The finished product at last! Still lots more images in the gallery. I'm so proud l33t!

Monday, 03rd October 2005

Chip

Monday. A day of cleaning... ...and cleaning. Frown

Most of it's done now, there is just a little to do in the kitchen. 

Sunday, 02nd October 2005

Chip

Sunday. Off to fix Kel's Car.

All went well, air cleaner, fuel filter, oil filter, engine oil, transmission fluid. There was so much crap in the engine that Dad and I actually had to open the rocker cover and clean out some of the muck! It seems to change gears smoother now and idles better.

Saturday, 01st October 2005

Chip

Saturday. Yay.

Started work on a video distribution amplifier for work. Should mean prudy pictures on all the screens. DVD players don't like having 10 TVs connected to them! TVs also don't like having a piss-weak signal. Some TVs just go dull, others roll vertically or flicker. Some display the blue screen of 'no signal'...

I used my new toy to take these photos. I couldn't be bothered dragging out my D60.

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IMG_0050
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IMG_0042

There is still work to be done on the power supply side of things. The IEC + Fuseholder needs to be wired to the switch and then to the transformer. An earth wire will also need to be run from the IECs earth terminal to the steel body of the transformer for safety. The leads on the transformer will be shortened and cable tied to make them look prudy. l33t!

I also need to grab a few metres of cable, some sidecutters, a DVD, a Drink and my wire stripppers. Why? So I can make the 12 coax flyleads I need to make to join the 8 RCA outputs to the amp and the 1 RCA input to the 4 inputs on the amp (while I have a drink and watch a dvd...)

I also discovered that one of my drill kits had some 'Spur Point' type bits in it. Excellent! Perfect actually. It meant that I didn't end up with the eliptical holes that you would get in thin plastic from a standard twist drill. Hence, all the holes that the RCA sockets poke through are beautiful and centred.

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IMG_0031

"Also known as a wood or dowel bit, they have a central point and two raised spurs that help keep the bit drilling straight. The bit cuts timber very fast when used in a power drill and leaves a clean sided hole. They are ideal for drilling holes for dowels as the sides of the holes are clean and parallel. Sizes range from 3 to 10mm. Spur point bits should only be used for drilling wood or some plastics."

I used a trick to drill the holes in the back panel. It involved printing a 1:1 drawing of the front panel holes, locating it on the panel with a rule to make sure that it was in the right place and then sticking it to the panel.

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IMG_0020

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IMG_0033

I am rather pleased with how neat and tidy the panels turned out! Naturally I knocked up a design in Inventor before I started. This helps immensly. It only took like 5 minutes to knock up a set of working drawings from the model. I love inventor!

image
Overall_Assembly

 

More images / work in progress shots: http://www.zagadka.org/gallery/vidamp

Not so "Upgradey"...

Chip

Well all this dual and 6 processor stuff is crap. No time to pick it up from the guy. There is definately an impending space issue. To that avail I will be installing a new 40 gig hard drive. One that came out of the system that Goldy sold me. It's a nice quick seagate drive. Hopefully not too loud! We will see.

Monday, 26th September 2005

Chip

Monday off! I worked Saturday. Yay.

Bought a UPS. It's DOA. I discovered today that ZBox (This Webserver) was off. I was like WTF?! Powered it back on. Later in the afternoon I looked again and it was off again. The bloody UPS software that was on there was like "OMFG teh UPS is not talking to ME OMG!; if the UPS is not talking to me, It must be on battery OMFG! I'd better shut down this server!" All well and good IF THE BLOODY UPS WAS ACUTALLY CONNECTED! It turns out the UPS was a dud and it has to be taken back anyway. I just didn't think the software would have a spaz attack like that... Hence - Server down for most of the day.

Other than that.

I set up my new CRO. A Dick Smith Q1806. It's good for 60MHz. I also set up my new lab power supply. A Dick Smith Q1760. 0-30VDC @ 5A.

The images show the manufacturer's version Pintek CRO. Mine just has "Dick Smith" where it says Pintek on that one and "Q1806" above the original "PS-605"...

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PS_605_B

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Q1760


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PS_605_FRONT_dm_001


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PS_605_BACK_dm

Saturday, 24th September 2005

Chip
Yay. I have to work today. Terrific. Addicted to Firefly. 12:04 AM . . .... .. . must ..... . . .. ...... watch ... .. . ..... . .... .more!!! Nyaaaaaah! 6H Til I get up. Hrm... To start disc 4 or not to start disc 4...

Monday, 19th September 2005

Chip

I hate banks, why should they close at 4? BUSINESS hours are 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM. Why 4? Are they not doing business??? Arseholes...

I just saw a trailer for a movie called Serenity. It looks really cool. I simply must see it when it comes out! It is based around a small series that was screened only on cable called Firefly. It has a big cult sci-fi following. The fans banded together and the director of Buffy and Angel picked it up and went with it! Cool! It looks like it may be similar to some of our Starwars RPG games where lots of property and people get broken and blown up to complete a simple task! Yeah, our characters were never good at diplomacy. Especially Darren's, Jabba the Hutt ended up taking Darren's character, "Drink Solo"s, leg for betraying him! Hrm.... Darren's character "Drink Solo" who smuggles with his ship the "Y2K Falcon" hrmmmm... Tongue2 I had a crazy techie I believe. Or was it a droid. I did have a droid character at one stage called LE-37 l33t! He was a gun turret on treads basically! I used to mod myself!

http://www.serenitymovie.com/

Other news: I have re-stocked my supply of yummy V8 juice. That tropical yumminnessssss!

Yay. A quiz. I am a Topaz. Joy.

You scored as Topaz. Not like any other, topaz-types love to stick out from the crowd! They tend to have their own style and make their own decisions and they're rarely afraid to show it. They tend to have many successes because of their own ingenuity and most show their feelings on the outside. They are their own person and many have great imaginations.

See All Results/Comment



Topaz

67%

Aquamarine

63%

Garnet

56%

Athemyst

53%

Peridot

47%

Emerald

43%

Ruby

30%

Celestite

27%

Which Mystic Gem Stone Relates To You?

Sunday, 18th September 2005

Chip

Sunday! Work tomorrow =( Well I got two days weekend, not like some of my staff (Lynx!). Frown Man they really need to sort out that other store. It's a staff-sucking black hole.

Reading Fark.Com today. Lots of interesting stuff:

PLANET-DISSOLVING DUST CLOUD IS HEADED TOWARD EARTH! Yay... It's a "theory" so far and "we shouldn't panic until all the facts are known". 2014... Tongue

WORLD'S FASTEST: Bugatti Veyron Busts Out With 1,000-hp and $1.3 Million Price Tag A new VW monster. 1001HP, 0->60Mph in 3 sec, 252Mph Top speed! Incredible. It is now the top speed and highest power production car out. VW bought Bugatti and this is it's first finished product after reviving the dieing company. They have orders for 30 already!

New NINTENDO controller... I think they stuffed it... Thumbs Down!Thumbs Down!Thumbs Down!

The worlds Smallest Robots.... Nanobots anyone? Tongue2 

NASA to unveil plan for moon mission in 2018: Interesting...

Saturday, 17th September 2005

Chip

Saturday!

Today I am going to try to make some triggers for different conditions; Lightning, Sound and Beam-Interupt. They will aid in special photography sessions for storms, broken lightglobes, bursting baloons etc. Cool.

In other news I put together one of my metal-halide lights today. Damn they are bright! 150W Floods. They are going to be very helpfull. I modified my old tripod to mount the fixture (lighting terms - the enclosure for the lamp) on the tripod and hang it's ballast from the bottom centre of the tripod. This particular tripod has a rubber plug in the base of the vertical slide. I took this out, drilled a hole, inserted a screw + bolt and cable harness.

Screw->Flat Washer->Cable Harness->Plug->Shakeproof Washer->Nut

This is re-inserted into the vertical's base and the screw tightened so the plug is compressed, securing it very firmly. This was required because the ballast weighs about 2Kg. The ballast was hung from the cable harness using two cable ties.

Pictures Later.

With all this experimenting and no breakfast of coffee, it has occured to me that I am hungry. The cripping imploding stomach feeling also indicates this. Hrm... I really should have a rest and eat something =) But there's so much more experimenting to go today! I need to get my breadboard out and a PC powersupply.

Another thought. BUGGER! I didn't buy any 7809s (9V Regulator IC). I hope I have some in my semis box. All the circuits run off 9V and I don't have my Lab Powersupply yet.

More thoughts. I need a CRO.

2:49 PM:
Finished off the light. The method seems OK. I need to purchase some cheap-arse tripods to put lamps on.

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CRW_1344
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CRW_1341
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CRW_1339

It works quite well. Bloody bright! I want to get some 5000K globes for them now, the ones in there are 4200K which is just under daylight. About time something worked out in this shit-house week. Sick

7:31 PM:
I took some shots lit with my new light staring my new pint mug =)

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CRW_1372
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CRW_1366
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CRW_1361
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CRW_1359

Friday, 16th September 2005

Chip
Friday at last!

Thursday, 15th September 2005

Chip

Work.

I'm not a massive fan on Limp Bizket but their lyrics from "Break Stuff" are rather appropriate today:

It's just one of those days,
When you don't wanna wake up,
Everything is fucked,
Everybody sux,
You don't really know why,
But want justify,
Rippin' someone's head off.
No human contact,
And if you interact,
Your life is on contract....

Big resounding un-enthused "meh" to today.

Wednesday, 14th September 2005

Chip

Work.
I may be running a city store for 2 weeks. Hrm. It seems, according to the area manager and the store manager from that store, that I have a big "challenge". If there's not enough staff there, they can go jump off something. If the store is shit or there's stuff I have to fix, they can go jump off something. I am relief managing, why should I have to fix the store that I am in? Grrrrrr. Deep sense of forboding. I really don't need to get screwed with, there is a lot of stuff that I need to fix in my own store. Thumbs Down!Thumbs Down!Thumbs Down!

10:36 PM:
Hrm, heated 'discussion' with my area manager re: Pay. Foreboding was right. It seems there are also a few other managers that have joined the bandwagon too. Others also being roughted sideways. Big can of worms. They tell us to communicate with our surrounding stores! Well. I did. I have MUD on my mind.

>look
You are in an office at the back of a retail outlet.
There is a desk up against one wall. Above the desk is a window opening onto the shop floor. Just below the window there are two telephones mounted on the wall labelled ‘Line 1’ and ‘Line 2’. On the desk is a myriad of paperwork and different coloured stationary. There is a keyboard, a monitor, a mouse, a stapler, a tape dispenser, an orange A4 envelope addressed to you and a selection of stock items that shouldn't be there. In front of the desk is an office gas lift swivel chair. You see various scattered notes on the wall behind the desk reminding you and others to complete various tasks. Under the desk is a safe, the computer's CPU a filing cabinet and a vacuum cleaner. On the floor there is a can and some screwed up paper.

> get envelope from desk
You pick up an orange A4 envelope [closed].

> use envelope
Nothing happens. Perhaps if you opened the envelope.

> open envelope
You open the envelope [open]

> look envelope
The envelope [open] contains a letter of offer.

> get letter from envelope
You slide the letter out from the envelope. It is a letter of offer addressed to you.

> use letter
Nothing happens. Perhaps if you read the letter.

> read letter
Letter of offer. You. Position. Salary: $[not enough]
You are pissed off.

> get can opener from desk
You pick up a can opener.

> look can opener
This is a shiny new Stabco can opener. It is an old style manual can opener. The brand Stabco is embossed along the small green plastic handle.

> get all from floor
You pick up a ball of paper.
You pick up a can.

> dest ball of paper
You destroy a ball of paper using your Zapper[1].

> look can
Writhetech Can 'o Worms. Once this shit starts, it’s not going to be contained easily, guaranteed. On the back of the can there is a small blurb: Writhetech pride themselves on creating situations that can’t be easily resolved. Our research and development team are always adding new features to our series of Can ‘o’ Worms. Using parallel processing and a number of random number generators this product continually adds elements to the situation as time progresses guaranteeing you long lasting chaos and a shit storm you can be proud of! Shake before use.

> use can
Nothing happens. Perhaps if you opened the can or shook the can something might happen.

> open can
You can not open the can without some sort of tool.

> shake can
The can starts to violently shake in your hand and works it’s way out of your grip. The can drops to the floor still shaking violently. After about 10 seconds pass, the shaking settles down to a dull rumble.

> get can
You pick up a can [rumbling].

> use can opener with can
At arms length you begin to open your Writhetech Can ‘o’ Worms. I guess you want to start some major shit! The can hisses as you break the seal. You start working your way around the edge of the can using a levering action. You progress to three quarters the way around and the lid leaps off explosively. Using all your strength you maintain your grip on the can as it unleashes nothing less than an earthquaketyphoonocane! Stock is falling off shelves, paper is blowing around your office wildly. Phones, faxes printers are all operating at random. Your computer monitor explodes. Silence. You peer over the steaming mouth of the can read on the bottom inside face: Consider your shit started.

Tuesday, 13th September 2005

Chip
Work. For a bit then a manager's metting at H/O. Maybe I will shout at my Area Manager, I don't know yet. This whole pay situation is RIDICULOUS. The other fun (not) part of the day will be the after hours ELECTRONICS TRAINING like I need goddam electronics training, especially IN MY OWN FRAKKING TIME! FFS! MAD! A wholly un-fun week, feeling rather unstable at the moment, job/pay wise and very under-valued. The whole cap on my salary when I had my own little store was understandable. NOW, however, I am in a store that is currently running second in the COMPANY (Australia AND New Zealand). Where's my frakking payrise you tightarsed bastards. Thumbs Down!Thumbs Down!Thumbs Down!

Saturday, 10th September 2005

Chip

1:23 AM:
Home! Sleep time! I got myself a pair of OLD pint mugs. I had to drink 10 pints of OLD to get them!well in reality, I only had 5 pints and employed a dubious method of duplicating the stamps on my card but that's a secret ! l33t!

What a terrific night! Plenty of OLD and Sourcream, Chilli Sauce and Wedges and also Nachos.

7:17 AM:
Kel off to work. Back to sleep for me in a minute!

11:47 AM:
That chicken from the fridge was bloody YUMMY! Off for more Sleep.

5:02 PM:
Woken up because Kel got home from work MAD!

7:34 PM:

Tomorrow will be my 100th Blog! (If I do one...) Time for some dinner! 

Thursday, 08th September 2005

Chip

Work.

Yay for the new timetable! It still doesn't fix the other passengers that I have to sit/stand next to. I had to endure sitting in between two fat, smelly Indians. How much more unpleasant can you get? Why do they smell like that? Obviously, not all of them do but WHY?!? Do they do it on purpose? Racist?! Nay! I am simply describing my observation/experience and drawing attention to the fact that they stank and that I was squished. Don't dare place comments re: racism... Sure there are plenty of other stinky people, not just Indians. They piss me off just as much.

1:06 PM:

The new Foamy should be out today but it's not up yet.

2:47 PM:

New Foamy up. http://www.illwillpress.com/

Wednesday, 07th September 2005

Chip

Work.

Not such an interesting day. I started work on a store map for the new store I am working in. Should be usefull later when we do stocktake or if we need to re-merchendise anything. 

Monday, 05th September 2005

Chip

Work.

Had a stack today... Dropped 3 large coffees. PISSED OFF. Bruised Knee, sore calf... $10 down the drain, or on the path as it were. So not impressed. I got up, kicked the cup and kept walking.

New addition to the family (of cameras). The status of my DX4330 was confirmed by the repairer as: Totally and Thoroughly Borked... Plus he can't get parts for it anyway. Here is it's replacement. Finally I have a Carry-Around camera again!!!

image
Canon Powershot
A75

 

Sunday, 04th September 2005

Chip

Sunday. Yay.

Re-Organised the lounge room today.

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Noodles!

 

Favorite &quot;Build Up&quot;

Chip

Let's start off this section with my favorite instrumental "build up" either from a song or a movie be it for suspense or for another effect.

1. Code Red composed by Elliot Goldenthal from Final Fantasy - The Spirit Within. Damn this song builds up from a whisper to a thunderous overture. It is from the scene where Dr. Aki is operating on Cpt. Edwards to remove a phantom contamination.

2. Timecrash - The Fifth Element Soundtrack. Only my favorite movie! 

3. Jean Michel Jarre - Oxygene Part II. Builds from a simple synth lead into an intricate and technical piece with consistant beat all the way through.

4. Bolero - This piece runs through a number of soft instruments and builds each cycle adding more instruments.

5. The Rise of Sodom and Gomorrah - Therion. The first 1min 10sec. Similar to Bolero in method starting with a single instrument and adding layers.

Saturday, 03rd September 2005

Chip

Saturday.

I don't know why, but I have a fascination with this song by Enya. It is called "Tempus Vernum" - That's Spring Time in English... The song it totally in Latin. It is a song about the contrast of elements. There are some direct translation problems but you get the idea as a lot of English is Rooted in Latin. Why is it that I can remember and recite the lyrics to this song but the things i do need to remember fall out somewhere?!?!?

Ergo,
oceanus, maritimus,
ergo
opacare, matutinus,
ergo
septentrio, meridies,
ergo
occidens et orientis,
ergo
oceanus, maritimus,
opacare, matutinus,
septentrio, meridies,
occidens et orientis,
ergo
terra, stella,
hiems et aestas,
ergo
autumnus et
tempus vernum,
ergo
radius solis
et umbra,
ignis, aqua
caelum, luna,
terra, stella,
hierns et aestas,
autumnus et
tempus vernum...


tempus vernum...

Friday, 02nd September 2005

Chip

Work.

New goodies have arrived. A BG-ED3 - A battery Grip and an EP-EX15 - An eyepiece extender so my nose isn't so squished. 

Thursday, 01st September 2005

Chip

Work.

The last day in my store Upset

RIP Tandy North Sydney October 2002 -> October 2005.

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa UpsetUpsetUpset 

Sunday, 28th August 2005

Chip

Sunday.

I made a DVD section. Now, I need to implement some sort of template so I can keep the DVD bits consistant.

9:24 PM:
I have 17 DVDs in there now. Not bad. Looks nice. 

image
V8 Juice

This V8 Juice is so yummmy! Addictive - BUT good for you Big Grin! 

Saturday, 27th August 2005

Chip

Saturday! Up early. Seeing a pattern? Cat...

Shopping today. Bought some more DVDs. Constantine, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Day after Tomorrow and Escape From LA. I know, I know, Escape from LA. It's a tad cheesy. I like it anyway... 'Tis an entertaining movie to me.

Quote Block - Yeah it works. Theres 120 in there, random stuff, I haven't actually read it all yet (dumbass...) but it works. It won't be above the menu and in a block when I am done...

10:34 PM:

I found myself quite distressed tonight after completing the modifications to th quote of the day plugin. All was well with the plugin and it's running but something was amiss when the search for quote material began.

I thought about where I would get quotes. I then remembered my tome  of character sheets from our various games. Contained in that was over 5 years of RPG gaming and also what I needed; quotes from the games. Now, where was the tome of character containment ? I could not think where it was. After about 20 minutes of forreging I found it phew!

Friday, 26th August 2005

Chip

Work.

Friday at bloody last! My store is so empty now (of both stock and fittings) that it has an echo!

Today I actually remembered to take home the stuff that I bought for my tripod... So now I can play with my shiny new stuff =P I was very dissapointed yesterday when  I forgot it and arrived home empty handed...

Thursday, 25th August 2005

Chip

Work...

I got to central. There was a broken down train on my usual incoming platfom. So, I came in on a different one. Waited for my north shore train. No probs. The guy announced Hornsby and the indicator board also indicated Hornsby. Arriving at Town Hall I was a little confused when we arrived into platform 6, the indicator board displaying Liverpool. WTF!? I thought to myself, that's OK, we'll prolly switch in the tunnels to the north shore line. Pulling into Wynyard's platform 6 and the indicator board still showing Liverpool I was a tad worried. I got off and went upstairs to platforms 3 and 4 for the North Shore. Now 30 minutes late with TWO stores to open... Pissed off... After all the shitting around with getting up early and getting onto a train early I may as well have left at normal time! MAD!

10:50 AM:

On a lighter note. I have new goodies for my tripod. Manfrotto is teh win! These things are the only Repairable tripods and also the only tripods you can buy parts for. I saw Morris today at my favorite camera shop Foto and Frame; he had good news for me, my portrait adapter elbow, spiked feet and tripod bag had arrived!!! I ordered a battery grip for my D60 and also a 15mm Viewfinder extension so my nose doesn't get squashed Tongue2 

Wednesday, 24th August 2005

Chip

Work.

Feeling very un-inspired... 

Monday, 22nd August 2005

Chip

Work. First day back in 3 weeks actually. Well, officially. I happened to run the chatswood store on sunday and opened it late because the website was wrong about opening hours, we will not speak of that again.

I sent my 28-70 f/2.8 EX DF off to be serviced. In it's travels it's front element and front body have come loose - NO FOCUS FOR YOU! MAD! To focus I must hold the element toward the camera body. Yay. It's like juggling.

I also sent away my little DX4330. It's borked too. Hopefully it will be an easy fix. Kodak want $265 to LOOK. I don't get that back wether they fix it or not. 'Sif.

While at the camera store I bought an awesome tripod. It's very nicely engineered. A Manfrotto 190CLB tripod and a 128RC fluid head. Together, a very nice bit of kit.

image
mf128rc
image
mf190clb

MF 128RC SPECIFICATIONS

A lightweight fluid head with adjustable pan bar and quick-release camera plate with secondary security. Ideal for cameras up to 8.9lbs in weight. The head has smooth fluid movements, pan and tilt locks. The adjustable pan bar can be positioned either on the left or right side.

  • Finish: Black
  • Video: Yes
  • Maximum Load Capacity: 4.0 kg (8.9 lbs)
  • Head Height: 12 cm (4.6 inches)
  • Pan: 360°
  • Tilt: -60° +90°
  • QR Plate Supplied: 200PL
  • Weight:1.0 kg (2.3 lbs)

MF 190CLB SPECIFICATIONS

Lightweight, compact and sturdy, this tripod is ideal for 35mm SLR cameras, especially when on the move outdoors.

Key features include:

  • four leg angle settings
  • centre column with an innovative three faced design
  • low angle adapter built in the centre column for ground level shots
  • rapid action lever leg locks with just 45° run

  • Finish: Black
  • Material: Anodized Aluminum
  • Series: 3001
  • Still Photography: Yes
  • Video: Yes
  • Sports Optics: Yes
  • Column Type: Rapid
  • Maximum Height with extended center column: 145 cm (57.1 inches)
  • Maximum Height: 116 cm (45.7 inches)
  • Minimum Height: 17 cm (6.7 inches)
  • Closed Length: 53 cm (20.9 inches)
  • Leg Sections: 3
  • Maximum Load Capacity: 5.0 kg (11.1 lbs)
  • Head Mount: 3/8" threaded mount
  • Weight: 1.8 kg (3.9 lbs)

 Because I got a fluid head I can make good use of the tripod in video as well for smooth pans and tilts. Very cool. It looks like I will have to purchase a portrait angle or something because it doesn't have an axis to rotate to portrait.

Friday, 19th August 2005

Chip

Very, Very, Very... Very, Very, Very, VERY VERY... Tired...

So CBF today. Some dickhead maintenance person from strata management has  cleaned the roof and gutters. All good, except the arsehole managed to get 90% of the gutter crap on my balcony. I just cleaned that!

In other news I still have NFI where I will be working once my store closes. Yay. Woolworths, We're about people and Australia... pfffft. Like the guy on the roof. Arseholes... The only people they are about are themselves and their shareholders. The only way they are about Australia is in their ads, when, in fact 90% of their new bloody canned fruit/veggies range is from overseas!

from Today Tonight's story "Store brands not Australian-made"

Generic tinned fruit
In Woolworths Safeways new Select range:
• Select tinned pears, peaches and mixed fruits are not from South Africa.
• Home Brand tinned fruit;  pineapple was imported from Thailand, apricots, pears and peaches from South Africa.

Generic tinned vegetables
In the Select range:
• Garden peas and corn from Belgium
• Sweet corn from Thailand
• Asparagus imported from Peru
• Beans and chickpeas came from Italy

In the Home Brand range:
• Tomatoes and baked beans were from Italy
• Potatoes from Belgium
• Water chestnuts were from China
• Pickled onions were also imported

Of the 27 tinned Woolworths/Safeways Select and Home Brand generics only two, beetroot and mushrooms, were Australian grown.

Generic frozen foods
Woolworths Safeway Home Brand frozen foods:
• Beans came from China
• Spinach from the USA
• Corn and peas were imported from New Zealand
• Potato chips from Belgium

Some other generic foods
• Home Brand blended vegetable oil and olive oil came from Malaysia and Spain
• Chicken noodles were imported from China. 

I've sat there and watched the bastards pat each other on the back and congratulate each other in both Woolworths and Dick Smith for a fucking week now, like they are the best thing ever. So sick and tired of it. 

Sunday, 14th August 2005

Chip

Sunday.

Off to stupid work conference. Fscking Terriffic. 

Saturday, 13th August 2005

Chip
My Birthday!

Friday, 12th August 2005

Chip

Late up today, despite fending off the cat to prolong sleep a few times.

4:24 PM:
"Lunch". Kebab + Beer Makes Tim Smilie!

Thursday, 11th August 2005

Chip

Up early AGAIN! Damn Cat!

I woke to another claw slap on the nose...

4:16 PM:
My Lovely wife has bought me some goodies for my birthday (and days leading to it).

  • Absolut Vanilla Vodka (mmmmm)
  • Baileys
  • Butterscotch Schnapps
  • Kahlúa (Coffee Liqueur)
  • Midori (Melon Liqueur)
  • Malibu (Caribbean White Rum)

That means I can have Splices, QF Shots, Cowboy Shots, Illusions All sorts of Yummy drinks and shots. Plus there's left over VB stubbies in the fridge too if I get bored of them.

No, I don't plan on consuming all of these in one night/sitting!!!

Wednesday, 10th August 2005

Chip

8:00 AM:
Up ealry again. Changed the cat's toilet and now having Coffee and a Pie for breaky. Don't worry, I washed my hands!

10:00 PM:
Down to the RSL for dinner and a drink! 'Twas great. A T-Bone and quite a few OLDs. It's 10 PM now. Home, time for another beer and a DVD. Highlander! Yeah, Christopher Lambert is the king! THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!

Tuesday, 09th August 2005

Chip

Up early thismorning... couldn't sleep in.

Waiting for SP1 to download. I'm getting the installer for it so I can install it on some people's dial-up boxes. 337MB. Yay. 

Sunday, 07th August 2005

Chip

Lots to update. Will have to do that later.

Fixing refesh boggle with editing + creating entries... Something was Borked... Fixed now I hope. More lib-common.php tweaking... Now for the more difficult task of disassembling my old digi cam and seeing why it craps out on start-up. I think the zoom may be jammed. Hopefully it's just something I can just clean out! The camera is well and truely out of warranty, so, why not!

12:01 PM:
Ze camera, she is dead... It must be some sort of other fault. I thought it was the AF/Zoom that was jammed. I removed the AF/Zoom sub-assembly from the camera and tried to manipulate the zoom manually - this seemed to work.

The easiest part was removing the two lanyards, one wrist lanyard and one holding the lens cap to the camera. Once that was done I removed the bottom cover. From there I had access to the clips holding the back and front covers on. I removed the screws on the left and right side holding the front and back covers on.

I unclipped the back cover and it slid off. I then removed the micro power connector and the press in ribbon connector for the LCD.

image
Back Cover Removed

I'd say the trickiest part of the disassembly was the front cover. It is held on by clips and a single screw that is accessed once the back cover is removed. It took me nearly 2 minutes to find. This single screw is embedded 20mm into the camera body in a small diameter hole with not much clearance. You can’t see it until you are just about looking directly down the hole.

image
Font Panel Screw

Once all the pretty plastic is removed it doesn't look like a camera any more! I removed the viewfinder assembly which exposed a sprocket that allowed me to manually manipulate the Zoom/AF. The viewfinder does not look down the barrel of the actual lens, so the view-finder has its own independent zoom. This is linked via gears to run in synch with the actual zoom. Shown also is a shot of the micro motor before the viewfinder sub-assembly was removed.

image
Bare Camera
image
Exposed Viewfinder Sprocket
image
Micro Motor

Next I separated the AF/Zoom sub-assembly which I discovered later was unnecessary.

image
CRW_1016

image
CRW_1017

Once separated, I removed the CCD from the back of the sub-assembly. I then removed the micro motor to make sure there was nothing in the cavity where it and the main AF/Zoom sprocket meet. It is an open cavity, not a closed gearbox type arrangement. There is however a small gearbox on the end of the micro-motor which IS sealed. I was able to manually zoom in and out.

image
CCD Board
image
Zoom Out
image
Zoom In

This little operation involved removing three covers, two boards, three micro press in flat connectors, a micro power connector, the view finder sub-assembly, a CCD board, a micro motor and 29 screws. It's still not bloody fixed!

image
Screws laid out
image
Error

Looks like it's off to the phone book/internet and the registered Kodak repairers therein... Frown

Saturday, 30th July 2005

Chip
Today is the day. I am getting married!

Friday, 29th July 2005

Chip

Friday. T-Minus ONE Day, Counting! Big Grin!

Today Kel and I are seeing our Celebrant. Kel also has her hair-trial today. 

Thursday, 28th July 2005

Chip

Thursday.

A photographic expedition l33t!

We went to the harbor:

image
CRW_0776
image
CRW_0772

Then off to the light house:

r1c1 r1c2 r1c3 r1c4
r2c1 r2c2 r2c3 r2c4

As you can see, I'm very light on the pictures as it's really hard to upload a set of full resolution JPEGs at 1.5-3MB ea. On dialup... So I have uploaded a few resized images. This set of 8 images are 4.5 meg. I resized them incorrectly! That's an extra meg! MAD! (edit 07/08/05 - Upped full res images and retouched/cropped.)

Wednesday, 27th July 2005

Chip

Wednesday.
Left for the coast.

We checked out the wedding spot this afternoon. Looks nice. There was some sea spray or smoke or something hovering around and I got some great shots of the sun coming through it.

These are some un-touched Low-Res RAW conversions. (edit 07/08/05 - re-touched the images. Uploaded replacing low res un touched images.)

image
CRW_0750
image
CRW_0747
image
CRW_0742

Tuesday, 26th July 2005

Chip

Tuesday!

Well Illwillpress' Neurotically Yours is encoded now. All cut and synched up now. I just need to draw up some menus and crank up Encore DVD and do all the linking and stuff. It's funny how 7,883,885 bytes (7.51MB) of flash has turned into 1,948,051,377 bytes (1.81GB) of M2Vs, Wavs and AVIs! That's going to give me about 20 eps a disc. So that means I am going to need 4 discs and a lot of time!

5:10 PM:
Episodes 1 to 10 are done now, complete with menus and linking etc.

Discovery launches tonight about 0030 tonight!

9:59 PM:
2 hours 38 min til launch! I am going to stay up and watch it!

Monday, 25th July 2005

Chip

Monday. My first holiday day!

More DVD work to be done. I have installed a cat feeder. No more 5:30 AM wake-ups from the mow-mow...

10:55 AM:
I have ironed out all of the bugs that I can see in the software's preview function of the DVD. The menu works properly now. I can now build this DVD in 20 minutes from start to finish. I have had plenty of bloody practice. The DVD software is so damn buggy that I have had to start again a few times. Grrrrrr...

My test DVD is just a few videos that I had downloaded recently to see what I could do.

  1. Red vs Blue Episode 54.
  2. Red vs Blue Episode 55.
  3. Red vs Blue Episode 56.
  4. Red vs Blue Episode 57.
  5. I'm still seeing Breen - An awesome Machinima video to Breaking Benjamin's 'So Cold'. It's just another demonstration of the power of Valve's Half-Life 2 Engine.
  6. 'Climb Dance' - An old favorite video. Ari Vatannen's 1988 run on Pike's Peak when he set the record time.

Lots to do!

2:00 PM:
New project! I decided to make a DVD of some episodes of Neurotically Yours by Illwill Press. It seems I have bitten off more than I can chew, well maybe not. Perhaps more than I can chew in one sitting. After doing my research I found that there's a lot more involved than I thought.

  • Convert the Flash to an AVI video.
  • Separate the audio out into a WAV file.
  • Trim the audio ends off (intro and end frames).
  • Re-Encode the AVI file as PAL, 625 Line, 720x576. Removing intro frames and end frames, apply a noise-reduction filter.
  • Start a new Premier project
  • Import the WAV (audio) file and MV2 (video) files.
  • Synch up the audio and video.
  • Export to a finished MV2 + WAV pair.
  • Add MV2 + WAV pair into Encore DVD as Asset.
  • Create a new TimeLine.
  • Add into the TimeLine the video and audio.
  • Create a button for the menu.
  • Create a menu, add the button, link it to the TimeLine!
Oh, Is that all... Big Grin!

5:12 PM:
2 More eps to re-encode! 

Sunday, 24th July 2005

Chip

Sunday!

Cat noises and a scratched nose. Up early. I started doing some more DVD stuff in Encore DVD - damn that software is a POS. Burnt a disc and it's good finally! It only took 4 discs.

Discs:

  1. Only one clip worked, no image or audio on the others!
  2. Suicide: Burnt a DVD+R to see if it would read in the dvd player... ...it doesn't...
  3. Reincoded some of the clips to the right format, tweaked the menu a bit. The menu is still stuffed btw. All the clips working, no sound! Frakk!
  4. Finally! All clips and audio working. Menu "sort of" working...

Nice bacon and grilled tomato breakfast! Follow that up at lunch time (after grocery shopping) with a beer, a curry and a cheese naan bread. Mmmmmm Holidays are good. Let's go for +20kg in 3 weeks! Tongue2

During the day I played HL2 a bit and remebered that I had seen a mod that allowed you to spawn anything in the game and muck around with it. Tie it to stuff, weld it to stuff, move it where ever you want it etc. I've seen screenshots of this sort of stuff already, cheesy G-Man in odd/rude positions with other NPCs etc. I decided I would make a BIG gun. Not just a big gun, actually a MASSIVELY BIG gun!

In the mod you can set dynamite charges. I used LOTS!

image
gm_construct0006
image
gm_construct0009
image
gm_construct0008
image
gm_construct0012
image
gm_construct0016
image
gm_construct0029

As you can see in the last two images I did a 'dry run' to see if everything would hold together.

Here is a nice sequence firing a bundle of 'I' beams - 5 tonne in game. I put some other I beams on top of the rocks so the bundle would sit at the right angle when fired.

image
gm_construct0051
image
gm_construct0053
image
gm_construct0054

I then made a MKII version of the canon using a desk, the same pipe and some grave stones.

image
gm_construct0082
image
gm_construct0083

Now for the "Big Guns". The 20 foot shipping container! The car and vending machine firing monster!

image
gm_construct0084
image
gm_construct0085
image
gm_construct0092
image
gm_construct0094
image
gm_construct0096
image
gm_construction0097
image
gm_construct0098
image
gm_construct0099
image
gm_construct0100
image
gm_construct0102

As you can see, they ended up about 300m away in the water! It was such great fun. There is nothing better than a mod that adds play time and value to the purchase of your game. Just like it did with quake and HL1 - so many mods make it live longer!

Saturday, 23rd July 2005

Chip
Saturday! Time to play with my new DVD Burner.

Friday, 22nd July 2005

Chip
Friday at last! My last day before holidays - where I am getting married.

Thursday, 21st July 2005

Chip

Work.

Today I am here by myself. How incredibly motivated I feel.

Let's talk about patience. EFTPOS is down, what do you do? You approve the card manually by calling the customer's bank's approval line! Poor customer. Such a large chunk from their day, the entire 10 minutes, unforgivable. Manual approval. Tut, tut, tut...

The whole presentation of ID... What a hassle! You know, that massive reach downward into the pocket, the difficult "prying open" of the wallet and then the worst; dragging the card from it's home in the depths of your wallet. These types of people are the FIRST to complain when they see un-authorised transaction on their precious credit card statement. No, they couldn't link the whole presentation of ID and the preventing of un-authorised transactions... nooooo...

Moving on, we ask the customer for ID. A drivers licence. Once we pick up the phone, we are not manually approving the card are we; no, we, of course, are aparently under the impression he's fraudulent. Far be it for him to question first, no, just open up. "You know there's a number for fraudulent cards and a reward". Did he just say what I thought they said? I'm just doing my job, get the ID, call the number, get the code BAM. Done. The incessant ranting continues... "Do you need my passport number?", "We'll put it up on the wall so that everyone can see it".

We start to dial the number and the spouting of random shit continues from the customer's mouth.

At this point it was beyond a joke and the tolerance threshold had well and truly been breached. Hang up the phone. We give the customer some options.

  1. We can continue with the approval over the phone and give you your nice shiny new phone.
  2. You can leave.

Opting for the first option, the customer quietens down a little. Then, recalling what I had done the customer fires up with another "nugget" of intelligence. "DID YOU JUST HANG UP?!?!?" he fired. "Are you trying to prolong this further?"

Well that tolerance threshold we talked about is now lying on the floor in pieces that have been stomped into the carpet by a massive booted giant. We retort with some of his own medicine. "Yeah mate, absolutely". Silence. Perhaps the sarcasm was lost on such a simple specimen.

We continue with the approval and the ranting, though decidedly quieter. A few buttons, card numbers, merchant numbers etc... Approved at last! The customer leaves with their nice new phone still bitching on the way out.

Go jump off something really high you impatient, arrogant bastard! Wink

Wednesday, 20th July 2005

Chip

Well, That's great! I just need to tweak some CSS bits and pieces in the layout and colouring of my new GUI text editor. Once it's all good, I will roll it out onto the text boxes for leaving comments etc. Some of the icons also need some adjusting with the dark background and stray white/light pixils on their edges. A screenshot is coming!

Tuesday, 19th July 2005

Chip

LOL!OMFG Teh Win! Thumbs Up!

image
A Flower

I also added code and buttons to put in smilies!

Smilie!Roll Your EyesLOL!UpsetCool!l33t!TongueTongue2PirateTiredWinkShock!Big Grin!Confused ???SickRed FacedEeeek!Paranoid!WiredFrownMAD!Wierdo!

Monday, 18th July 2005

Chip

Work.

I have finally cracked it!!! Using my new pretty GUI text editor and my "Insert Gallery Image" extension I can now insert an Image with a few clicks of a button! =)

Here is an image I have inserted using this new code:

image
IMG_0373

w00t!

Now to create some nice icons instead of having a link on my editor page saying "[Insert Gallery Image]". 

Another Image in IE to check my Code Works...

image
A Peach Face

I guess that's a "Yes!"

Sunday, 17th July 2005

Chip

Up early >=(.

I slept in to oh, say 7 AM when some considerate people decided they would lug their belongings out of their unit using a step climbing box trolley. So that's what, 3 flights of stairs, two short and one full-story. Two sets of ~8 steps and a ~16 set. 32 steps. So with a stair climbing trolley, thats 32 individual bangs not counting the 4 more steps exiting the building and the other 10 if they go down to the car park. 32 bangs per trip, no sleep for me.

I had some left over prawns and eggs. I made terryaki and garlic prawns and scrambled eggs with toast and coffee.

Now that I am up early and have finished my breakfast, they have finished their moving. Typical! 

Today I will be trying to finish off the dialogue page that will allow me to insert images from my gallery using just the mouse.

Saturday, 16th July 2005

Chip

Finally the weekend!

Mum took me out today to choose Kel and I's wedding gifts. Kel and I spoke earlier and agreed for me to choose some kitchen gear. We are very lucky to have this opportunity. It means that I am able to select stuff that matches what we have, plus we don't end up with 3 of the same things ie 3 whisks or something.

I chose a selection of plates, glasses, a set of cutlery ( + matching steak knife add-on), knife block (paring, utility, carving, cook's, boning and sandwich spreading) and other kitchen gadgets - tongs, a whisk, salt and pepper grinders, a flour sieve and really cool looking stainless cap for keeping wine, beer and champagne fresh.

It was good to spend time with Mum, unfortunately Dad was working and my sister Jen was out. We had coffee together in the morning then after we shopped, we had some soup that she had made for lunch. Yummy! I then fixed some computer boggles and we had some more coffee.

I am typing this now on my laptop across a 11mbit wireless link, two routers and two 100 mbit copper links - just in this room... I was fortunate enough to have one of my regular customers give me a wireless router and a wireless PCMCIA Card. So now, I can recline on the lounge (as I am now) 5M away from the server this site is hosted on and do what I need to do in comfort =) With my TV, my heater and some beer =)

Lappy ---> Router =X=> Router ===> Server

--- 802.11b Wireless

=== 100mbit Copper

"Over the wireless, off the router, down the copper, bounce the other router - nothing but net!" =P 

Friday, 15th July 2005

Chip

Work.

More GL editing. I am trying, at the moment, to change the way I edit my stories. HTML is all well and good but I want to change it so that I am guaranteed HTML 4.01 standard code in my posts. To do this I want to implement a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) style editor. As much as I like raw HTML, the CBF factor on making a post look nice with tags as opposed to using boring text is very high!

Yay for me and getting things working! I am using TinyMCE. It's bloody awesome! Bold, Italic, Unerline, strikethrough, left align, center, right align, justified, point list, numbered list, indent, link, anchor, image, horizontal rule, subscript, superscript and symbol insertion. Flawless! Plus it contains a button to view the HTML for tweaking. SWEEEEET!

Thursday, 14th July 2005

Chip
5:39 AM:
I am up early this morning to watch the discovery launch!

Well, they canned it. NASA is still looking at the Engine Cut-Off sensor on Space Shuttle Discovery's External Tank. The sensor protects an orbiter's main engines by triggering them to shut down in the event fuel runs unexpectedly low. For the moment, no new launch date for Discovery has been set. Bugger! Back to bed for me!

9:14 AM:
Work. Yay.

Wednesday, 13th July 2005

Chip
Work.

7:38PM:
10H Till Discovery Launches! OMFG! I totally forgot about it!
Discovery On The Pad
Discovery On The Pad
Discovery On The Pad 2
Discovery On The Pad 2


Beastie Vibes

Chip
It looks like ZBox may well be getting an upgrade! I am looking at a few second hand bits at the moment, we are moving to either a Dual PII 350 + SCSI setup or a Six processor P3 733s/866s. Six processors, yah. Well Overkill is fun. The dualie, while something new and gutsy, is not as exciting as the full on project that may insue from the 6 CPU beastie.

If I go for the big 6 CPU beastie, the plan is to make a cluster for folding, video encoding and also storage. The project will involve building all three boards into one 4U rack mount case or a cube case of some description. It will have a built in internal 10/100 network for inter-board communication, water cooling and some largish RAID 5 storage.

I will try and work on a feature that will allow me to 'bring online' say another board if it is getting loaded up. This will mean only one board will run all the time - saving ~.3KW each unit that is off. It will suck probably 900W when all three boards are loaded and accessing storage.

The other gadget it will have is a 40x4 LCD displaying how much power it is actually using. I plan on building a digital power meter kit from Jaycar to incorporate into it. On the front panel it will also have internal and external network activity. I have a 5 port switch that will be used in this project for internal networking. Each board has 2 100 Mbit ports.

I plan on jumpering one port from each board to the outside of the case for separate network connection as well as one external jumper to uplink the switch. The other three will be linked into the switch.

Monday, 11th July 2005

Chip
Work.

Lots of roster mess to sort out.

Awwww man! No updates from ESA's Mars Express. No descent stories from NewScientist - Bloody terrorists!

Sunday, 10th July 2005

Chip
Mmmm Sunday Morning Breaky:
I cooked a big breaky for Kel and I this morning. Bacon, Eggs, Tomatoes, Sausages, Mortadella, Salami, Shaved Ham, Fetta Cheese. I managed to cram all this - bar the sausages and eggs onto a roll. Mmmmmmmmmmm...

Lots of CS:Source (CounterStrike: Source a HL2 Mod). I have been getting pretty involved with this mod lately and have been playing it almost every day.

Wednesday, 06th July 2005

Chip
Work.

A new X-Ray satellite is being launched called Astro-E2. It's literally a really cool x-ray telescope. This X-Ray telescope will be much cooler than the other two that currently operate; XMM-Newton and Chandra. These two split the X-Rays through a prism. Astro-E2 will instead measure how much a detector's temperature changes every time a photon hits it. To do this it need to be bloody cold. 0.06 Kelvin! That's cold! Space is 2.7K in temperature. To achieve this, the satellite is wrapped in three layers of insulation like a big thermos to keep the XRS (X-Ray Spectrometer) cold. From the outside in, a layer of Foil insulation, A layer of solid neon at 10Kelvin and a layer of liquid helium at 1.3K surround the inside refrigerator containing the XRS. Very cool. This sat is also going to have a CCD camera and a High-Energy X-Ray detector. It's going to launch at Uchinoura Space Center, Kagoshima in Japan at 0300GMT aboard an M5 rocket.

Deep Impact :
They don't know about the impact part yet, just the plume ("I can't see shit through this smoke!") The plume of material is opaque and they can't see the crater that was left by the impactor. Some of the deep impact team are saying that the nucleus is not like a cucumber inside but a loaf of bread, others say it's like a delicate soufflé. In other words, very delicate and porous. Once they can see the base of the plume they can speculate the size of the crater, they indicate that it may be weeks before the plume has subsided enough.

Tuesday, 05th July 2005

Chip
Work.

Bullseye for Deep Impact! XMM1-Newton images of impact
From ESA.int:
"These images, taken by the Optical Monitor on board ESA's XMM-Newton observatory on 3 and 4 July 2005, show a comparison between the states of the comet before and just after impact.

The images were taken in the blue (top) and ultraviolet channels (bottom) of the instrument. The ultraviolet images show the emissions of hydroxyl ions, the direct decay product of water.

About 1.5 hours after the impact, the brightness of hydroxyl groups is increased by a factor of about five. Later, about 4.5 hours after the impact the ultraviolet emission is decreased again which indicates that the peak has passed."

Monday, 04th July 2005

Chip
Work.

Later tonight we should see results from MARSIS. It starts scanning today! We will also see the Deep Impact mission come to a head.

Scientists have discovered that when radio frequencies are projected at space dust clouds they produce Masers. Masers are Lasers with radio wavelengths. The Maser is also amplified by 5%. They theorise this phenomena could provide a handy way to amplify deep space transmissions for communication in the future. Very cool. The way they worked all this out was to watch a neutron star or pulsar called B1641-45. Pulsars emit powerful beams of radio waves from their poles. Because pulsars are always rotating, they appear to sweep around like a lighthouse beams. They observed the beam entering the cloud and also observed the maser 'output' of the cloud. They did this using a radio telescope in Parkes. Cool. Aussie Scientists discover it first again!

Work has started in the mirror lab at Steward Observatory to produce six 8.4m concave mirrors and one 8.4m 'doughnut' mirror for a new telescope in Chile. This is a massive project that will probably take 10 years to complete. They calculate this telescope will have 10 times the resolving power of Hubble and will be more powerful than any other telescope in the world. This type of telescope is called an "off axis" telescope. Mirrors are placed around the axis in a petal arrangement. In the centre is a doughnut mirror. The petals pick up the light, the light is bounced off smaller petals that are placed out on an arm. The light is reflected from the small petals to the doughnut. The doughnut reflects the light to a central mirror in the middle of the axis and in the middle of the small petals. this project is called Giant Magellan Telescope or GMT.
GMT
An Off Axis (Magellan) Telescope

Thursday, 30th June 2005

Chip
Ah. Work. Yay.

Not much happening at all really.

MARSIS boom antennas are out!
The orbiter will be going through testing or the 'commissioning phase' for 10 days. On the 4th of July it will start surveying properly. Fingers crossed for water! THAT will mean a big step and a real kick in the arse for manned flights to Mars! Very exciting.
MARSIS
MARSIS fully deployed.

Possible methane lake found on titan.
In a recent image of the surface of titan there is a kidney shaped dark blob. It is speculated that this is a methane lake! Pretty cool stuff. It's approximately 230km long and 70km wide. That's a lot of methane!
Methane Lake
Lake of Methane

XMM-Newton and Hubble commissioned to observe comet impact.
No, there is not going to be a comet impact earth. Scientist are going to hurl a 370kg copper projectile at the comet and measure the light and x-rays emitted at impact. The will tell the scientists about the comet including temperatures and chemical composition.

The comet they are going to observe is called 'Comet 9P/Tempel 1'. It was discovered by Ernst Wilhelm Leberecht Tempel a French astronomer in 1867. Hopefully they don't destroy the comet, I'm sure Tempel would not be impressed...
preimpact
The impactor and Tempel 1

XMM-Newton is a big multi mirrored x-ray telescope. There will be over 20 major optical, x-ray and radio telescope facilities on the ground making observations. The impact is due for the early morning of the 4th of July in the early morning (EDT). Once the craft (deep impact) has dropped it's projectile it will do a flyby recording data for 14 minutes as it passes the comet.
XMM Newton
XMM1 X-Ray Telescope
M100
Nebula M100 taken by XMM1

Sunday, 26th June 2005

Chip
A day of burning CDs and HL2. I must have more space! Hard drive space is vanishing fast!

Saturday, 25th June 2005

Chip
Weekend at last!

Off to the NVidia site. New detonators are out. Then, the new drivers need a thorough "Testing" in HL2!

Thursday, 23rd June 2005

Chip
Too busy to blog!

On sunday I bought 3 great things. Fear and Loathing in LasVegas on DVD FINALLY, Neverwinter Nights and Half-Life 2. On monday I was given a video card that was good enough to play HL2. No more GF2 MX =) Since then, most of my time at home has been used playing Half-Life 2.

Saturday, 18th June 2005

Chip
Up dull, grumpy and early. So much for brightness... The only brightness here is the bloody sun coming through my crappy barely opaque non-sun-blocking vertical drapes. Damn it! I wanted to sleep! Ah well.

9:00 AM:
It seems Josh is having some boggles with his server. I moves some stuff around and wrote a guide for him. What an incredibly exciting morning! I think it's definitely way too early to start watching alien and to have a beer. Bugger. If I woke up at bloody lunch time like I wanted to this would be no problem! However, josh wouldn't get his assistance til lunch time either. I don't think he's awake yet to get it anyway! =( Grrrrrr no win situation...

I have discovered heresy within my own home! It seems that I own Alien 1 to 4 and haven't bloody watched the fourth one! I really have NFI how I overlooked it! That is my plan today to watch all of the alien movies. Though it's not much fun watching movies by your self. I may go to Brenny's yet.

Friday, 17th June 2005

Chip
Work.

Off to the pub with another tab. Thanks to me. I fixed the pub's digital tv box and they are very happy!

Thursday, 16th June 2005

Chip
Work.

Tuesday and Wednesday. Pretty boring and very uneventful. They have been written off and will not be heard from again!!! I don't want one day box with "Work." in it. What a waste.

Today:
Very nearly collapsing and having involuntary convulsions of denial about the fact that both my trains were on time and I got seats on both! WTF?!?

It is going to be a particularly crap day today, although it's been ok so far, my sales person is off sick. So I have the crap I do plus I have to sell stuff today =) Yay! It's not so bad, only a small store. Then again, I haven't had the lunch rush yet! Although, I have had 'lunch' of sorts. Mmmmmmm cold pizza!

Mars Express! We are meer WEEKS away from discovereing wether Mars has water on it or not! The second antenna was deployed today and they are awaiting telemetry to see wether it's opened all the way. Very cool! There are some more great images on the ESA site from MARSIS too!

Monday, 13th June 2005

Chip
Queen's Birthday Holiday. Happy birthday your highness. I get a day off =)

A day of sleep, vegetation and Neverwinter Nights.

Sunday, 12th June 2005

Chip
Managed to sleep in to 11AM! What an effort that is for me, for some reason I keep waking up early. =(

Now I am divising a plan to fit all the crap I need to do into today so I can relax (read bludge) on the public holiday monday!

Saturday, 11th June 2005

Chip
Up early as usual...
Into some NWN (Neverwinter Nights).

Shopping time "Yaaaaay!" not...

Can't get much better, yummy Butter chicken, OLD, A couch to recline on and some Red Dwarf!

Custard for dinner! lol...

Friday, 10th June 2005

Chip
Work.

Thursday, 09th June 2005

Chip
Fucking trains.
I wait for my train. I wait some more for my train. The train arrives twelve minutes late and its full. I wait five minutes for the next train. Yay. Seventeen minutes!

Hrm. I read in ARN that PCs came out the day before I was born!

Wednesday, 08th June 2005

Chip
Work.

I went into work not in my uniform the same as the two previous days. I plan on sleeping or vegetating out the back.

3PM:
I am just too tired and I am going home before I colapse.

Tuesday, 07th June 2005

Chip
Up early again for stock take at the other store. The one that I actually wanted to help with. We crawled though that slowly, we hadn’t created the work sheets so there was a little time wasted there. Once we had some sheets out being counted it was all good, we printed the rest and started tracking how we were going using a map of the store and a highlighter.

Lynx and I entered the counted stock quantities into the stock take software. We kept up pretty easily with the counters as they returned their sheets. He used to work in a job where he primarily did data entry so he was at home entering the reams of bloody count sheets that we had to enter.

It was about 9PM when we had entered all the figures and could attain a variance. We ended up about $10K under, but that was all good, some key parts of the store we missed. We also had one or two keying errors where we entered the wrong quantity or had double pressed a key by accident.

Once we had knocked over the first variance, correcting major errors it was about 9PM. The current figure I can’t tell you, but it is substantially less than $2K now, which is obviously a much better figure!

The fucking train… It was 9:30PM and after looking at numbers and count sheets all day I was not in the mood for any antics. The station master on platform 19 was a n00b. She was not the master of *anything* and certainly not good enough to work at central, you know, like the core station at the CENTER of the rail network.

1) She had no fucking idea. Every 5 to 10 minutes she would announce contradicting information and just general crap.
2) She could barely speak English. Yeah, champion fucking effort city rail. Would you not make it a pre-requisite of a job where you not only have to manage a platform and the attached trains approaching and departing the platform, BUT ALSO, make multiple announcements to customers about the status of said services?

Useless crappy recruiting and worthless announcements aside, the train was 20 minutes late. A 40 minute wait. Fucking terrific. I got home about 20 to 12.

5:40AM to ~11:40PM = 18h

Monday, 06th June 2005

Chip
Up early for stock take at another store… Yah, that’s smart. It will be the last time I do that unless it’s for my brother DSE store across the road where I actually know the manager. I didn’t end up going to the other store anyway and it was lucky that I arrived early, the DSE store’s stock take prep was ruined. I got there at seven and the other manager wasn’t there yet so I opened up my shop and milled about in there for a bit at like 10 past 7 because it was bloody cold. Yay.

FYI so this makes more sense:
Stock take:
We count all the products in the store and how many of each product we have. This tells us what we physically have as opposed to what the computer says we should have.

Range:
The store is divided into manageable sections called ranges. We record all the catalogue numbers that occur in each range and then enter them into the stock take software. The software then tells us any catalogue items we have not recorded and also prints us nice work sheets to record counts on.

Variance:
The difference between the counted stock quantities and what we are supposed to have on hand according to the computer system.

It seems at the DSE store one of the staff got a little too ahead of themselves and deleted some ranges out of the computer that he thought were not current. It seems that they were and, well, we needed to do the bastards again. =( When the manager finally got in late at 8:30ish. So we started recording catalogue numbers in the store room first. Then the guy that deleted the ranges came in with an excel sheet of all the ranges that he had typed in at home. We imported them into the stock take software and all was good bar some scattered ranges that needed to be re-done. I left that store at 7PM. So 12h work. Got home at twenty past eight…

5:45AM to ~8:20PM = ~14h 35m

Sunday, 05th June 2005

Chip
Mum + Dads today. What a great BBQ. I should have caught up with my Aunt and Uncle but I didn't really catch up at all. I was a little nervous, I havn't seen them many years; when really, I should have.

Saturday, 04th June 2005

Chip
Home all day and No Blog?!?!?

Friday, 03rd June 2005

Chip

Work.

Ah! Friday at last! Hrm, I might watch one of the Fridays on the weekend. "Cause its Friday, you aint got no job, and you aint got shit todo!"

I have finished P1500 - an S-Video socket and, as promised the rocker switch P7720 from yesterday.

Not a bad likeness! =P

7:00 PM:
Dumbass! I forgot to bring home the parts to actually MAKE this damn S-Video switch I have been designing... Doh!

Thursday, 02nd June 2005

Chip
Work.

I've been doing some more drawing. Pics later.

Wednesday, 01st June 2005

Chip
Work.
I have an interview today at head office - an evaluation as it were. I'd better get a pay rise or the shit is going to hit the fan!!!

Tuesday, 31st May 2005

Chip
Work or Paperwork as it were. Lots.

Monday, 30th May 2005

Chip
Work.

It seems things have settled down quite a bit in regards to the stomach bug bit. I was feeling bad this morning but once I ate and drank a bit it settled. There is still a slight "ache" there but no explosive diarrhea and twisted guts. A big plus.

More NWN... Re-Addicted I think. I don't know why I dropped it in the first place! Nm... Killed more trolls and ogres. Damn they hurt when they make contact, they drop like 50% of my hitpoints in one swipe. They don't like fire bolts though! I can see one of my quests being a big problem though. Claiming one of the troll's heads as revenge for one of the NPCs. I killed them all already! I went through the troll caves and ancient creator ruins backwards kinda. So I went from bottom up then talked to the NPC that I was supposed to and then go kill them... Doh!

Sunday, 29th May 2005

Chip
Up early, damnit!#@$@$#%@$#%

While cleaning yesterday I noticed I still had Neverwinter Nights installed. I also found, in my “crap” folder, my saved games! But wait for it; from 2003! My thief character Zagadka de Noir. He is a Halfling thief with 17 dex. Very cool. It seems that the last time I played I must have just finished going through a dungeon and had LOTS of loot on me. It seems that this stuff fetched quite a few pretty pennies, especially after I bought the “Mask of Persuasion” from a “Suspicious Character” somewhere in the game. That item helps me sell stuff for a higher price and buy stuff cheaper. I had saved for a few really cool twink items having like 90K of gold! I bough a really cool set of Thief’s armour with multiple modifiers for thief related stuff. I also got a +2 AC ring, a +2 all saves ring and another helm that I swap when I’m not selling stuff that gives some thief bonuses. Man this “Suspicious Character” near the docks had a lot of high-end cool thief stuff. Now I can lay the smack down on some Trolls and Gobbies! I also made level 9 in the process of getting to the second chapter where I bought all this crap.

I fucking hate Nero BackItUp. Backing up 8 gig of VCD images I made of miscellaneous video clips and then, on the 11th disc of 13. BAM! “Backup Failed”. No error message, no alternative to solve the problem nothing. Fucking dead! 11 discs and 3 hours down the fucking tube. What a piece of shit!

Back to Neverwinter Nights. Doing well. Have laid the smack down on several Gobbies, golems, trolls, animated amour things and even some gargoyles! Man my thief is hard enough to hit with 17 dex! He has 19 now! I got some gaunts that give +2 dex! What a find! The main reason I have been able to survive larger mobs was the parry and improved parry feats, that helps me out big time! I also have sneak attack, 1d6 extra damage for a sneak attack. So I send Tommi in, my Halfling thief minion, and if he engages the other creature in combat I can do sneak attacks on it. I also found another “Shortsword +1”. I am dual wielding two +1 shortswords! I didn’t even know you could do that, he’s only -4/-4 because he has the “Two Weapon Fighting” feat. He used to use Shortsword/Dagger. Two Shortswords is working out well, he hits a lot of the time too. These last few mobs have been really nasty; the golems and grey horrors and shit. Big mobs that have so many immunities you have to scroll down the description page to see them all. I think I will pick this game up again, very therapeutic since I can’t see myself playing actual DnD anytime soon, very unfortunately.

Saturday, 28th May 2005

Chip
Slept til late! Well 10AM is late for me. Feeling OKish… Still having problems untangling my guts that appear to have tied themselves in tight, painful knots. Yay for me. What a cool weekend. I decided to start making space and tidying up a bit, on my hard drive. I burned lots of stuff.

Friday, 27th May 2005

Chip
Work.
Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo the bug is back. Went home feeling crap – pun intended because that’s what I had to do, real quick and repeatedly.

Bug: 2 Tim: 0

Thursday, 26th May 2005

Chip
Thursday 26th May 2005:
Yay for it not being flu; It's a weird stomach bug, or something I ate that is bothering me, I don't feel like shit anymore and hurt all over; just feel like my guts are going to explode. "Phew, lucky it's not flu!" Bullshit! Give me the fucking flu over this torture!

CeBit Today... I think I will manage, just.

CeBit Update:
CeBit was goooood! Lots of cool gear to look at, one thing caught my eye some "Embedded Systems". They were really cool, small PCs; the size of something you would expect to be a DVD player or a Digital Set Top Box... Very Cool. I collected a lot of propaganda.

The Geil Memory stand. I was wearing my badge that Identified me from Dick Smith Electronics; always good at these shows, you get more attention instead of bullshit salesmanship. The guy at Geil gave us a good spiel and he then handed over a promo bag that contained a bight green nVidia box; my eyes lit up. Seems it was a press kit... Boooooooo =( Where's my free video card!

Drank 1.5 mugs of shit coffee at the D-Link stand so I got two mugs. Man that coffee was bad! Really, REALLY, REALLY bad... If I wasn’t sick I probably could have taken it, I tipped most of the second mug down the sink. But I have two nice new shiny D-Link Mugs! I wandered around the rest of the show with my friend and co-worker teetering between being high on caffeine and sick in the stomach. NASTY Coffee!

There was a cool refrigeration place there that looked really cool and we went back to later, it really wasn't that cool. It was just a bench full of brochures and a small TEC (Thermo-Electric Conductor - See Peltier/Peltier Effect) demonstration burbling away on it. There were also miscellaneous temperature controlled wine cabinets and small mini-fridges, certainly not as cool as I thought.

A lot of the big names in case “rice” were there, CoolerMaster, Thermaltake, Geil and Corsair – well their distributors anyway – just to name a few. Lots of really cool LED covered, Cold-Cathode-Lit, shiny windowed, water cooled cases with lots of displays indicators and some more LEDs for good measure.

The lady at the Laser stand was nice, she gave me some pens, photo paper and some of their new headphones to try. Name badge paid off again! =P Free loot is always good!

After a fun couple of hours I headed home and proceeded to go from computer to toilet about 50 times for the rest of the day. Fucking stomach bug. Toward dinner I was feeling OK and things had “Stabilized”…

Wednesday, 25th May 2005

Chip
Work.

Flu sucks.

Tuesday, 24th May 2005

Chip
Stocktake is here! I am at work Very early.
Well it's now 4:53 PM. ALL counted, all entered and all spot checked. The stupid system requires me to close down all the registers before I can get a damn figure! This means that I need to wait until I have counted the tils at 5:30 and finalised. Fucking hopeless and more time I need to spend here unnecessarily.

Monday, 23th May 2005

Chip
Work.

Still too busy to blog! Damn stocktake!

Sunday, 22th May 2005

Chip
Sunday. No blog. NFI why, didn't do much at all.

Saturday, 21st May 2005

Chip
Saturday at last!

I am having my parents over to pick up their PC. It's time to clean…

EVERYTHING!

2H til they come! Cue mission impossible theme!

I started with the kitchen, put the dried plates and cutlery away and washed some stray cups about the house and a stack of plates. That all out of the way I moved to the cook tops then the benches. I removed the pot stands, dunking them in the sink ready for cleaning; next I removed the burners from the cook top, they needed some cleaning too; once cleared I set about cleaning then polishing the cook top, I love stainless steel! I let the gear soak and washed the benches. I cleaned all of the cook top parts and set them to dry on a tea towel.

Now for the rest of the house. A general tidy up. Next I moved things off the floor all around the house and vacuumed. Once that was all done I gathered the rubbish and swept the kitchen and laundry floors. Done! (Last few bars of MI theme – Victory)!

2:12 PM:
Parents are now gone, it was good to see them. They were very happy with their PC - fixed and tweaked by me of course.

Now it's time to see if my little Experiment worked.
When you want to keep an opened sparkling wine fresh it is said that placing a metal fork or spoon into the neck of the bottle and placing it in the fridge will keep it fresh and retain the bubbles.

It seems it is true. I didn't drink all my OLD last night (a Long Neck). I could not bear tipping it down the sink. So I decided to try the above. IT WORKED! I removed the fork and poured it into my nice clean chilled stein and whoa! To my surprise, at least 30mm of head!!! Once that calmed down a bit I continued pouring and emptied the bottle. The taste test; I was a bit dubious about trying it, knowing stale beer is really not nice. A small sip, mmm, a bigger sip… It was great; I would say just as good as when it was opened! Don't worry, I am just as surprised to see it worked. I am now a believer! =P

Ah! The next best thing to your fiancé buying you beer and eating pizza to go with it, drinking said beer the next day with cold pizza while enjoying some TV. I will be watching some taped Stargate Atlantis. I am terribly addicted to it. I also have some taped ninja turtles that I want to watch. Yes, ninja turtles, the original.

Friday, 20th May 2005

Chip
Work.
10:00 AM:
Started counting the 'P' range. For those of you who are not familiar with Dick Smith/Tandy Catalogue numbers; The P category, standing for 'Plugs' consists of all those little bits and pieces you see at Dick Smith Stores; i.e. little plugs and sockets, adapters and fuses. These little mofos are going to take a long time to count.

5:20 PM:
When I said they would take a while I wasn't kidding. 6.5 hours. Yeah. A long time. 7 pages at 60 lines a page = 420 lines to count; often each line would have average 50+ items to count. 420 x ~50 average = ~21000 odd items I counted. Yay. This has really cooked my brain, SO - Fucking - Tedious.

7:42 PM:
Yay! Pizza. We will be getting three pizzas and garlic bread. We have decided to try the Dominoes "BBQ Burst" crust on a BBQ Meat lovers. Mmmmm should be nice. We are also having a chicken and bacon on thin and a supreme on thin. mmmmmmmmmmmmm. Kel bought me some OLD, how awesome is that! Can't get a much better deal than Pizza and Beer that was personally selected and bought by my Fiancé!

8:50 PM:
Hrm, that BBQ burst wasn't all that special…

Thursday, 19th May 2005

Chip
Work.
Stocktake preparation:
- tidy
- count storeroom

Boooooooooooorrrrrring.

Wednesday, 18th May 2005

Chip
Work.
Fixing Audit Points is so fun.

Tuesday, 17th May 2005

Chip
No blog!

Disaster. I had not time at all to spare at work. My store was Audited. Lots of fun that was. Ran around the store all day with the auditor. Fun.

Monday, 16th May 2005

Chip
Work. By my self. Bugger...

I've been regularly reading the main stories on New Scientist lately, particularly the space related ones.

There is some REALLY cool stuff that ESA and NASA are planning. According to NS, THE DECISION TO JUNK HUBBLE HAS BEEN OVERTURNED!!!! This is awesome, how could you waste a cool piece of gear like that! They have postponed two other major missions to rescue and upgrade the Hubble instead. They have postponed:

Space Interferometry Mission: - Now called "SIM PlanetQuest"
A search for extra solar planets that was scheduled for 2011. Looks like ESA is going to win that one as they are planning a similar mission about that time.

Space Interferometry Mission


Terrestrial Planet Finder:
"The Terrestrial Planet Finder observatories will study all aspects of planets outside our solar system: from their formation and development in disks of dust and gas around newly forming stars to the presence and features of those planets orbiting the nearest stars; from the numbers at various sizes and places to their suitability as an abode for life." This mission was going to start in 2014.

Coronograph
Formation-flying infrared interferometer


Mars Science Laboratory:
This looks like another cool one. It's another rover. I reckon, if there was Martians, they would be pissed at the amount of "low tech" junk that we are leaving on the surface of their planet! It was planned to launch in December 2009, arriving at Mars in October 2010.

Mars Science Laboratory


It seems that Mike Griffin is a smart man: "Reducing budgets across all programmes or eliminating funding in the middle of existing projects is not an effective way to save money. I would look to delaying programmes that have not yet started." About time they started thinking logically

They are also retiring their three main shuttles. This means they will be looking at alternatives in July this year. There are 28 planned shuttle flights this year. 18 of those are going to be used to carry parts to the international space station.

Back to MARSIS:
The first 20m antenna has successfully been deployed. It was tricky though. On the 7th May, they discovered that one of the segments of the 13 wasn’t unfolded and locked into a straight position. They rotated the orbiter exposing the boom to the sun for about 5 minutes where it warmed, they then rolled it back into the darkness and it unfolded all the way. They believe that the fibreglass lost it’s elasticity after being exposed to the cold of space for 2 years in a folded position. They have decided to postpone the deployment of the second boom a few weeks while they analyse the results of the first unfolding. They may also need to expose this boom to the sun in the hope it will reduce kinking, doing this would risk a “whiplash” effect caused by the boom unfolding with too much force.

Sunday, 15th May 2005

Chip
Ah! More Sleep - Pancakes!

Over the day I watched 7 episodes of Stargate Atlantis. It's quite good. I was of the opinion that it would be a "rehash", just more of the same stuff. I was wrong! It's got new concepts, new "badies" and a new cast. "Thoroughly addicted" would be my state of interest in this how =) I can't wait to watch more!

Saturday, 14th May 2005

Chip
A day of cleaning and tidying... Yay. Then! Probably a DVD or Sleep. Depends on how high the CBF factor is.

Sleep! Sleep is good.
Bit of surfing and a bit of research on AT power supplies. That way I will be able to re-wire it for my macro lamp project.

In other news:
World's largest cocaine haul. 16T of cocaine! Man they were going to have a big party - or not... Found on a river bank. I bet those para-militists are pretty pissed it's gone now. $460M US! Almost HALF A BILLION!

Friday, 13th May 2005

Chip
Friday the 13th. My day.
Not much to speak of. The train was on time. Nothing interesting to report =)

This morning on the train I started reading "Applied Mechanics", an old 1979 engineering book. I want to learn some more about mechanics, well learning it properly again.

1:00 PM:
Made the default title for new articles "Day, xth month year" instead of null... l33t... Next week I will have it blogging automatically for me!

Thursday, 12th May 2005

Chip
I hate the train.
Get to the station. Miss the early train. The next train, my "late train" is cancelled. The train after that is packed to the point where I couldn’t even board it. The train after that I got on. Stood for 1h 25m. Caught the connecting train ended up 35 minutes late to work. Just lucky I have contingencies in place for WHEN this happens. Yes WHEN. Because with ShittyRail (CityRail) you know its GOING TO HAPPEN. Bastards.

10:00 AM:
More stock take prep, oh what fun. I am gripped by the excitement of recording catalogue numbers! But it gets better! The catalogue numbers must be entered into the computer! Whoa! Crazy, massive unforgettable fun... yer...

12:00 AM:
Goldy sent me a link to another web comic called CTRL+ALT+DEL - Tragically 1337. It's really good. I read the archives from Jan 01 05 to now. I will be making a button when I get some spare time. You will probably see it in the bottom left corner with the other buttons.

The particular comic he sent me was this one titled "The almighty twenty". This refers to rolling a critical hit with what’s called a "natural 20" on a 20 sided dice. Natural 20 means without any modifiers like +1 weapons or spells or whatever. A critical hit means that whatever you hit is probably dead. In some rules you roll again to calculate where the critical hit is located, in a "simple rules" game you just lay the smack down on it and it's dead.

It has been wholly too long since I have got out the AD&D dice (D20, D12, D10s, D8, D6s and D4s) and played a game.

1:00 PM:
It's Lunch Time!
New Scientist: It seems that there is going to be a massive nuclear reactor built in either France or Japan. When I say massive I mean 5 to 10billion US massive. It's going to be used to research the use of nuclear fusion in clean energy production. The project is called ITER - International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. This can only end in tears…

1:09 PM:
Mr Brenny arrives. Now we eat. Then I will rant after he informed me of the reason the trains were late/fubar today.

It seems that our CrappyTrail staff are on drugs. They must be, else they wouldn’t be striking over a random drug test?!?! This shits me to tears. Officials turn up at the Flemington, Mortdale and Hornsby maintenance workshops. The workers then refuse to submit to drug tests, drop their tools and leave. Why not just take the test, be cleared and keep working? If you haven’t taken anything, what do you have to hide?

So. I have to be late for work because some fucker doesn't want his boss to know he or she is on drugs. As if the whole "train to work" thing isn’t enough of an ordeal. For fucks sake, these are the people we trust our lives to daily. They fix things like brakes and door mechanisms - from fucking bogies to roof, they maintain and repair it. I ride four trains a day. Damn my life expectancy must be dropping exponentially per trip.

In the press release to the Herald Sun, the Cityrail representative comes up with a pearler: "We have got some cancellations to services across the network…" and "But they're kept to a minimum". I don’t know how many trains they run each morning but 17 cancelled trains is not near "minimum". I also don’t think all the morning south coast trains running four car sets instead of eight car sets minimal either. A whole sector of the network (the south line) running at 50% capacity, yeah minimal.

When they build these timetables it doesn’t take rocket science to cut down the ticket purchase times vs destination statistics and come up with a timetable to match them. Fucking hell, don’t they know what a database is? If they do, well, they have no excuses; they’re just shit in general as I first thought…

While we are on the 4 car bit, why the fuck do they find it necessary to run 6 car trains in peak? Perhaps they are rolling dice to determine how many cars to have on the train. Yeah they roll 1D10 - 2.

   A quiet office in Cityrail headquarters :
 The silence is broken by the clacking of dice on table.
 An executive has rolled 8 on his D10.
   "Ooh an 8!"
The executive enthusiastically announced.
   "Don’t forget the minus two sir…"
The secretary tactfully advised.
Puzzled, the executive began the tedious calculation of eight minus two.
   "Oh yeah… …That makes it a… erm…"
   "Six Sir…"
The secretary jumped in.
   "Six!, yeah, you’re right."
The executive, like his trains, came in late.
The secretary recorded the figure and looked up.
   "OK, so that’s a six car train for the 7:35."
Happy with the progress, the secretary ushered on the next timetable entry and prompted.
   "Excellent; let’s move on, the 7:51. Roll please sir."

I just wish they would admit how fucking pathetic they actually are. Face it; you bastards are doing a REALLY BAD JOB! Why do I pay $33 dollars a week to travel from the west to north Sydney? Why do I have to pay so much for shit service that is almost never on time? Why, when it is on time, is it barely consistent with the timetable?

I can see it now:

A Cityrail Maintenance depot tomorrow :
"Dude; those brakes will be fine man, just clip them in, don’t worry about the retention pin man, I wan't to keep it as a keyring. It’ll hold. It’s all good man, Just pass me that joint dude! Puff, Puff, Give man, don’t break the rules!".

Fucking assholes!

SMH News the day after:
"60 killed and 124 injured in a run-away train incident."

Maintenance guys investigate the wreckage after they truck it to the depot because the bastard is so mangled :

Excited by his discovery the Cityrail engineer exclaims :
"Dude! I found my bong! I thought that's where I left it!"
The engineer carefully retrieves bong from inside the EEBS mechanism cradling it with both hands.
Startled, he jumps as the violent hiss of compressed air bursts out. The emergency brake cylinders are charged and their pistons violently rammed down their length. The brake pad comes to rest on the wheel with a solid "Clunk".
In dramatic realisation the engineer thinks he solved it!
"Ah so that's why the EEBS didn't kick in..."

When questioned, the Cityrail representative said "It seems there was a Failure of the main brake system along with an additional failure of the Electronic Emergency Brake System or "EEBS". The investigating engineer reported there was an ‘object’ lodged in it."
The representative refused to comment as to the nature of the ‘object’.
(press room upraw)

Wednesday, 11 May 2005

Chip
Work.

Ran into Dave on the train, caught up a little bit. It seems he's scored some sweet 19" monitors and a sweet glass "Graphic Designer's" desk. Sounds really cool.

8:57 AM:
Mmmm blueberry muffin today. Yumyumyum.

2:25 PM:
Terribly interesting day. Fixed Gary's Home PC after some amateur dude looked at it who was "good with computers" tried to. Friends don't give the name "Guru" lightly. This is the name I have, because, when I fix stuff and it stays fixed, unless people mess with it. Then that "warranty" doesn't apply. If you don't try to mess with it, it will STAY FIXED!

There is also the compulsory installation of both Firefox and Thunderbird. This almost guarantees that their PC won't be filled with spy ware crap after a day of use. "This browser is really quick, I haven't had any spy ware or rubbish install it's self for months now" - yes, that’s why I installed it and told you NOT to use Internet Explorer. Except for windows updates… Meh, enough showing off…

7:32 PM:
Yum, Fish for dinner. Beautiful crumbed Dory with Golden brown potatoe wedge goodness! Mmmmmmm. Don't forget the chicken salt on the wedges! Oh, and the vegies with cheese sauce mmmmmmmmmmm.

It seems as though I am talking about food too much these days. I like food. I like eating food. I like to cook it too - when Kel trusts me enough to let loose in the kitchen sometimes...

Remember the comment earlier about staying fixed? Yeah, it's true. I have had Mum's PC for 4 days now. I reinstalled everything and reseated all the components. It has been folding for FOUR DAYS at FULL LOAD! It has completed 4 WUs!.

Folding is a great idea. Folding refers to the folding and un-folding of proteins. We are talking about Folding@Home or FAH. The reason for this research is when a protein unfolds incorrectly it can cause diseases or defects in the body. It would consume massive ammounts of CPU and RAM resources on a supercomputer and years to simulate the folding and un-folding of proteins under different conditions. They use dontated "CPU Time" from millions of people around the world that want to help to run their simulations for them. So, what happens is the person wishing to donate some CPU time downloads a client. These guys then pass out WUs or "Work Units", this is data for the client to crunch. Once the client has finished with the WU the results are passed back to the FAH guys and their server passes the client another WU. This type of system is called "Distributed Computing". There are also other projects like SETI@Home that works a similar way. SETI is a project that is looking for extra-terrestrial signals using a big radio teliscope. SETI stands for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. They do a similar thing but pass out blocks of signal for the people to analyse and send back.

Tuesday, 10th May 2005

Chip
Actually got a seat today. Only noticed it 10 minutes into the train trip. Bastards sitting on the inside of the aisle. I had to squeeze past 2 people across to the window seat. I hate that!

Yummy Yummy Pinapple Doughnut...

My thirteenth blog! It's Friday 13th in a few days. But thats MY day, I am immune =) Being borne on the 13th and all... =P

10:51 AM:
That damn MOD song "Countdown Theme" is STILL STUCK IN MY HEAD!

More Foamy The Squirrel. In fact 74 episodes! I wish I had the bandwidth to support the site by hosting some episodes.

Monday, 9th May 2005

Chip
Not much interesting happening today. I spent the morning doing a LOT of paperwork that I had neglected, probably one and a half phone-books or ~75mm in thickness.

Train was cancelled. Next train was packed. Are we seeing a pattern with the public train system yet? Been busy setting up for stock take today. Haven’t done much in the way of blogging. Hence, one large update for the whole day. Its almost 5 PM now. In my lunch I was fitted a suit for my wedding, my friend Gary runs the store. He chose a great looking one for me. The rest of my break I spent downloading MORE foamy flash movies; some of the earlier ones that weren’t on the illwillpress site. Classic stuff. I want a “Squirrelly Wrath” Foamy coffee mug or a Pilz-E "Extra Medication for All!" mug. Just can’t get enough of these flash cartoons! They’re great!

On Sunday I came across this MOD, I can’t get the damn thing out of my head! I don’t know why. It’s called “Countdown Theme”, sorry, no credits. I have no idea where it came from. I probably have 1500-2000 MODs and S3Ms etc. Anyway I converted it to a WAV then to an MP3 and dumped it on my iPod.

7:00 PM:
Barbecue time! Nice big steak.

Sunday, 8th May 2005

Chip
Up early as usual... Damn brain thinking. Its 8:40PM now, thought I'd better complete a blog for today. No point in ruining it now.

Didn't do much this morning. It's mother's day. Went to Mum and Dad's with Kel and had a barbecue. The other thing I did while over there was sort some of the crap that I have at their house. I have heaps. Computer and Electronics parts mainly. Anyway, I brought home some PC power supplies and other bits.

One of the power supplies I will be using in a project of mine that is in the works. A set of 2 maybe 3 halogen lights on "Helping Hand" arms. These will be mounted on a bracket then mounted on the bottom of my camera. Running from the bracket will be cables. At the end of the cables will be a box. This box will contain one, maybe two SLA batteries for portable use. The AT power supply will also be in this box. It will have two purposes. One. Charge the SLAs. Two. Run the lights from AC power. A PC power supply is perfect for halogens. It has a 12V rail that can run into 10s of Amps. Perfect.

This light or lights will be used for macro photography. It’s difficult to get the depth of field that you want in low-light in macro photography because the f/ stop is so low (bigger hole). If the f/stop is higher (smaller hole) the depth of field is increased. To use a higher f/stop there needs to be more light.

So, if the subject is better lit I can a) possibly hand-hold shots with a shallow depth of field because the shutter speed required will be faster. Or b) get a better depth of field by using a higher f/stop on a tripod! I hope that all makes sense. It’s bed time!

Saterday, 7th May 2005

Chip

Ah! Saterday at last!
8:40 AM:
Yes, that's right. Eight forty! My silly body, being the way it is doesn't sleep when it's supposed to! Doesn't really matter, I had lots of stuff to do today. HAD! No internet today, Tel$tra seem to be having boggles all about new south wales with their DSLAMs. Connection logins timing out. Bastards, I hope they fix it.

I'm updating this via LAN on the box next to the box that serves www.zagadka.org! Well, maybe not that exciting. Maybe not worthy of the exclamation mark I gave it. Meh.

Well without internet it seems that I will be cleaning and tweaking the server as well as a backup. Backups are good. Backups save tears... Oh yeah, theres the other fun "real world" stuff that I have to do today. Real cleaning and Vacuuming. Joy.

Without internet I can't watch more of the Foamy The Squirrel movies that I discovered yesterday. Bugger. That little critter has a mouth from the gutter and an attitude to match! The one that I watched was called "Foamy's Rant II". It was basically his rant about those fat people sueing McDonalds because they were fat, rather than just not eating there... Also about Mobiles in cinemas/restaurants. Hilarious!

Back the the computer. The 'ol download folder needs a thorough cleaning and cataloguing. So many little movie clips, flash animations, apache/webserver related crap, Geeklog bits and pieces, miscellaneous game demos all sorts of crap. Anyway, it needs a clean!

10:32 AM:
Still no internet. I have decided to start some more drawing. A UB2 zippy box. The larger one that I drew before was a UB1. Only taken me 20-30 minutes. I have completed the body of the box and the lid. I need to detail the inside of the box with the rails to slide boards between.

11:00 AM:
Finished off the Zippy box.


3:00 PM:
I decided to watch Constantine. Disc didn"™t want to read in the DVD player. Tried the PS2. Reads in the PS2 but skips. Damn. Ended up digging out a DVDROM and installing it in the computer. Finally! What an awesome movie! After some vacuuming and tidying I made some beef noodles, but added some garlic. Watched the first 40 minutes of MallRats, another favourite movie then Bub got home.

Friday, 6th May 2005

Chip

One week of blog. I am glad I stuck to doing this. An outlet for me is a plus! Keeping a diary is a good idea. This is the first one I have managed to keep for a week!

9:00AM
Any positive feelings were quickly dashed this morning by the procurement of certain information, i.e. the offering of a job that I wanted to another in the company. Offering an Assistant manager a Store Manager role when A Store Manager (me) has already specifically asked for that position. What a bunch of fucking crap.

9:40 AM:
I have tried to stem the amount of swearing used in my blog, succeeding to do so thus far. I believe that is the first one. Yay. Another celebration" I apologise to anyone offended; the amount of frustration right now, when stacked, is higher than me.
Therefore some "venting" is necessary

I'm going to go watch some: Strongbad Emails to cheer me up a little.

Thursday, 5th May 2005

Chip

Work. Yay.
Morning trip was bullshit. Train was delayed first by 6 minutes, then by 8 then by 12. It arrived after 15 and was full any way. Next one was in 5 minutes. Lo and Behold! What do I see sitting at Redfern's Everleigh Workshops sitting in a siding? Not one, not two but three brand new shiny Millenium trains. What a fucking waste.
On and off all day I have been trying to add image tags to make a pretty table and description to my posts. It works.

Wednesday, 4th May 2005.

Chip
Work == teh suck.

11:00 AM:
ESA's Mars Express orbiter has started it's 10 day RADAR antenna deployment. The antenna is used to send radar waves to the surface (and below). This will tell us wether there are reservoirs or water below the surface as well as mapping the composition of the surface and up to 5km below. This particular piece of equipment has been called "MARSIS" or Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding.


Fibreglass antenna folded up.

Underground Reservoir.


The antenna has enough stored elastic energy to un-fold it's self once released. The antenna pictured is 20m long when deployed. There are two long (20m) antennas and one 7m antenna. Images are from ESA.

3:00 PM:
Long resounding meeeeeeeh. Headache, indigestion (yummy lasagne, prolly ate too much) and tiredness makes me something, something...

5:00 PM:
Still headacheage. Boredom > Me. Fixed some theme problems with this site. Some double borders that were tables accidently nested inside eachother and also added a sub-title bar to the articles. The site looks a little more "clean cut" now.

Tuesday, 3rd May 2005

Chip

Work.

9:30 AM:
Caught up on my four favourite web comics Flintlocke, UserFriendly, PVP and Penny Arcade. Always good for a laugh. Redbull + Coffee in 2h, Awake at last... Sad really.

11:00 AM:
It's that time again, that"™s right! Stock take! Yaaaaaaaaaay!!!! ...not. Updated my store map just then. Ran around the store with my hi-lighter and checked all the sections that need re-labelling. Fun. Only about 30 ranges need labels. Glad I didn't remove the ranges from the last stock take!

2:30 PM:
I really haven"™t achieved that much today. Finding it difficult to get motivated, knowing there"™s over 3000 lines of stock that need counting in 20 days. I added some favourite links to the left hand side of the site as you may have noticed. Took me 30 mins to gather/make the damn 88x31 buttons. I gave up with Strongbad, ended up just putting a miniature image of him there, I reckon it looks good!

3:00 PM:

//---------------------------------------------------------------------------+</p>
<p>// | Library Includes: You shouldn't have to touch anything below here | // +---------------------------------------------------------------------------+


Dangerous times! Modifying the great "all-powerful" lib-common.php; The holder of many functions; the core of GeekLog! I feel elite now. My little modification was to include an extra parameter in the function "COM_optionList()". This function is a very elegant solution to creating a drop down menu from data contained in a database, just pass it your table, field names and it dumps the whole table in there and creates a drop down menu for you.

My little addition just allowed me to pass the SQL ordering suffix for the "ORDER BY" syntax, so now I can pass it "ASC" (there"™s no real point in this as its the default) or "DESC" for descending order.

Next I modified the "story.php" the part that controls the editing of stories on my website. I added the extra parameter where story.php draws the drop down menu that says wether or not to display the story on the front page. I change this almost every time while creating blog entries, hence the modification. More streamlining == teh win!

Following the successful modification of the drop down menu I set about making the size of the editing text boxes larger. They were only 50x15 characters! Way too small! Now they are a comfortable 80x25.

Monday, 2nd May 2005.

Chip

11:00 AM:

Dump iParts on web server quick! A not-so-busy morning at work. Boooooring. I did draw a slide switch and the cut-out of the zippy box in some spare time. Also, I dumped an image of the square push button for your viewing pleasure.

2:00 PM:

Finished the cut-out of the lid ready to start assembling!

3:00 PM:

Another update. We have a win. I have almost finished my 3D model.

I think based on this, I may be able to put the project in the next size down Zippy Box. Then it will be a bit smaller, then again, it's: a) a prototype and b) not supposed to be hand-held. There will be a remote release attached to this as well for manual shooting. The remote-remote will be smaller and "hand-held" with two buttons. One button will control AF/AE (Auto Focus/Auto Exposure) depending on the mode of the camera and the remote release, the other will control the shutter.

So that's done, now what. Next I have to draw the connector I will be using. It is an 8 pin mic plug. Very heavy duty and solid. 8 pins for redundancy, only three will be used to start with. Depends if I add pretty LEDs and crap to the remote...

The layout. Yes, it's not even. That will come later.

Components:

5 x P7552 - Square push buttons.

These will be used for navigation through the menu system. They will be up, down, left, right and in the center; set.

3 x P7610 DPDT Slide Switches.

The first will be used to switch between "set" mode and "run" mode. The second will be used to set "Manual" or "Controller" shooting. The third will control the backligths and LEDs, incase they interfere with a low-light shot.

The menus are designed. I just need to code the damn thing now. But first, the prototype!

Sunday, 1st May 2005.

Chip

I can't believe it's May already! Made some pancakes for breaky, I got a good recipe off a forum that I frequent called Overclockers Australia (requires registration). There is a section of the forum called "Geek Food" that the forum members post queries and ideas about different foods.

Finishing off the drawing of the square push-button. Its turned out OK. I detailed the internals, they will be left out to save resources when I make my 3D prototype.

5 PM:

Decided to start the Zippy. The main body and the lid of it is done, just detailing the board holding slots on each side. Taking about 50-60 seconds per line because of a repeating pattern, slows things down quite a bit!

As you can see in this image, theres a big long repeating pattern. Takes ages to re-draw.

Well it's sucking down 50% of my CPU time. Thats a P4 2.4 with 1Gb of RAM. I don't even want to imagine how long a re-draw would take on my poor old Laptop... (A P3 550.). It seems theres a *magical* tick box that stops the square patterns taking a week to calculate and re-draw. It's the "Associative" tick box. This means it just makes an array copy of the selection and it doesn't update them when the original changes... yay.

Finally we have zippy boxage.

Lots of waiting and two crashes, here it is!

Saterday, 30th April 2005.

HRSC High Resolution Stereo Colour Imager

Morning Update... Yeah. Going to have to try to keep this updated! Surely there's something interesting to add...

Ah Ha! Heres something!

This morning I checked out the ESA site after hearing about Mars Express on TV last night. There was a documentary on the ABC about the various mars missions. Very cool, anyway, I found the Mars Express page at ESA. There are some incredible surface pictures coming from the orbiter, it has a HRSC mounted on it. That's "High Resolution Stereo Camera". A very cool piece of kit.

The HRSC uses a special set of 9 CCDs consisting of a single line of 5184pixels each. For imaging there are three channels red, green, blue, near infra-red. Next there are two "photometry" channels, they are used for sensing brightness to determine the composition of the surface these are angled just under 18 degrees either side of the perpendicular. Heres the tricky part, the other 3 CCDs. To create 3D data based on imaging using a method called "photogrammetry" you need a front-looking, back-looking and down-looking image. Positioned perpendicular to the surface is one CCD called the "Nadir" channel or downward looking channel, either side of the nadir at +/-18.9° are two more channels for the forward-looking and backward looking images.

That's a HUGE image, they must decrease the amount of data they have to send, as bandwidth and time are limited. They do this by using a 2x2 pixel summary. This means they average out the values of each 2x2 block of pixels reducing the data size 4 fold.

There are some really stunning images coming off that orbiter. Check them out in the Mars Express Gallery

I like learning stuff. Just wish I could keep it in my head! I hope they find water on mars ... that's the mission of Mars express, well one of the objectives. It is equipped with RADAR that can scan up to 5km below the surface! Water on mars. Damn that would heat things up. It would very quickly start a new "Space Race" I think. Race to mars. Hrm... Mars "look" like a hot planet; all orangy and desert looking. The fact is its incredibly cold, -113°C to 0°C yay! I'm thinking shorts.

Arvo:
Did some shopping around today. We bought "Monopoly". Finding things to do together is a big plus. Kel (my Fiance) and I have lots in common but not any hobbies in common, difficult to explain. Meh, I won't try... Movies, Monopoly and Barbecue tonight!

Time to sharpen my knife and try out my new chopping board. A very nice Wiltshire board I figured if we are going to buy good knives, then I need to replace my crappy, split, warped board...

Night:
Well the er... chopping board works, as far as chopping boards work. My "cutting experience" wasn't what I could call "enhanced" by any means... Meh. It seems I will be having an Audience for my barcueing. The flat across the way have like 20 people over on their patio.

Friday, 29th April 2005.

Chip

I haven't really been doing all that much. Mainly working and drawing switches and stuff in Inventor. I am creating each component for use in my prototype Remote Release for my DSLR. It's going to be programmable so you can do long exposures, multiple timed shots etc.Once I have completed models of each component I will be able to create a prototype in Inventor to see how everything will fit. It's a hell of a lot easier than drawing it on paper or actually building it to see if it will all fit and look ok.

At the moment I am going to start drawing a square push button that I bought from Dick Smith. I also have to draw the Zippy box I am going to use. The other thing I have to investigate is taking apart some Neon lit rocker switches and replacing the Neon with an LED so it can be lit when used with low voltages.

I have already drawn a different push button; I think it will be too high off the panel though, so that's why I bought the smaller square ones to try. The only advantage of the taller ones is they use an 11mm round hole, that's a lot easier than the square buttons where you must drill a 9mm hole and file or nibble it into a square hole.

The LCD for the project is already modelled. It's an Ampire brand 16x2 with Backlight. I am still thinking about how that's going to be mounted. I am trying to decide what lid to use on the Zippy box. I could use just the plastic lid, just the thin Aluminium lid or both. If I use just the plastic the LCD will be in-set 2mm, it will look pretty deep. On the other hand I could use just the Aluminium lid. That I think would be pretty flimsy on its own, but would look nicer. If I used both then I would cut a bigger hole in the plastic so the LCD could fit but the top of the LCD would sit flush with the bottom of the Aluminium panel; giving me the best of both worlds.

The other thing I want to investigate is creating/sourcing a 2 stage button for manual shooting. I was thinking of using a pair of micro switches at different heights. That would probably be difficult to set up and achieve consistant switching from. It might need a de-bounce circuit as its going to be used on a diital input.

Start A Blog.

Chip
I have decided to start a blog. Very sheepish, but why not! At least then I might actually get some CONTENT for the site!

New Site... ...Again.

Chip

I had started writing a very basic CMS (Content Management System). The CBF factor became too high so I started trying open-source CMSs. First there was Xoops. Xoops is pretty cool and very happy looking. It works very well. I have no complaints on the CMS side of things. There was the compatibility with Gallery 1.5 RC3. It was there but wasn't very complete. The module to add your gallery into it was pretty old, being based on 1.3.3 or something. The other thing was support. I submitted some bits and pieces on the forum of the module and received no response =(

Next PostNuke. That lasted about 2 hours then I junked it because I discovered Mambo.

Mambo is VERY cool. I found it had a very round about way of posting articles though. This is truly an amazing little piece of kit, every facet of your content and layout is customisable though configs and themes. Very, Very Cool. But not for me. This also has the Gallery Compatibility boggle. Same as Xoops I got it to work. *I* could view the gallery but the filed based users and groups of gallery prevented the public (non-registered users) from viewing.

A week later I decided to try GeekLog. This is a very elegant, very streamlined solution. No fancy config pages just the necessities. The guts of it are configured from two PHP files, the rest is module based. Each module has it's own configs but some have built in config pages. The layouts are set using HTML based themes containing tags for each element you want to load in that particular area. Once I got things figured out I created a new gallery, first standalone then I integrated it with GeekLog. BAM! Worked first time. All I had to do was alter my gallery config to tell Gallery where GeekLog's files were living and that was it. Straight away, no bugs, no issues, no boggles - a relief after all the previous experimenting. This was the *last* option for Gallery compatibility, other than writing from scratch. Next thing to do, once I clean up all my articles that I brought across, is to finish customizing GeekLog so it looks the way I want it to.

I have already done the bulk of it, colour scheme, layout etc. It just needs a few hours of solid &quot;testing and tweaking&quot;. I also need to write my &quot;CBF Speaker Stand&quot; article about my Low CBF Factor speaker stands =)

CRON!!

Chip
No, not "CROM!!!" like Conan, Cron... I have installed Cron now to periodically update the web usage statistics. We will be using webalizer.

"*/30 * * * * webalizer.cmd"

This entry in our crontab will process our logs every 30 mins.

LCD Faceplate Mod

DCP_0148.JPG

So you wanna put an LCD on the front of your case? Heres How! This is an updated version of my original article from way back in may 2002. Stuff you will need: An LCD with a HDD4470 controller. This particular controller is very easy to interface with and is also commonly available. We will be using the DSE (Dick Smith Electronics) Z-4172(Backlit). The preference goes to the DSE LCDs because the dimensions are different. My drawings will be based on the footprint of the two DSE LCDs. If anyone knows anywhere else I can source LCDs let me know, I will compile a list at the bottom of the article with responses I get.DSE only sell the two versions. Altronics have 16x2 displaysin two flavours.


Z-4170(Not Backlit)

Z-4172(Backlit)
Datasheet:ac-16b.
Manufacturer: Ampire
Lines: 2
Chars/Line: 16
Datasheet:ac-16b.
Manufacturer: Ampire
Lines: 2
Chars/Line: 16
   

Altronics Z-7000A(Not Backlit)

Altronics Z-7011(Backlit)
Datasheet: PDF
Manufacturer: Not listed.
Lines: 2
Chars/Line: 16
Datasheet: PDF
Manufacturer: Not listed.
Lines: 2
Chars/Line: 16

The HDD44780 LCD Controller hdd44780controller.pdfOnce again my favourite chip carrier board H-5601.You can also use prototype board or even etch your own board if you can be bothered =) H-5601 The mounting gear: To mount the LCD I used four M2.5 by 25mm bolts with the appropriate nuts. To mount the socket on the back of my PC for the parallel port I used M3 by 12mm bolts and nuts. You can get these from DSE too and most electronic stores or even the hardware. H1200 - m2.5 hex nuts pk25 H1212 - m2.5 x 25mm pk25 H1686 - m2.5 mixed (pictured) H1325 - m3 hex nut pk25 H1326 - m3 hex nut pk200 H1064 - m3 x 12mm pk25 H1065 - m3 x 12mm pk200 H1687- m3 mixed (pictured)

Cable:Power - General purpose medium weight hook-up wire. I used black =)Data - 25 Way ribbon cable. DSE, Jaycar etc, you could also recycle an old IDE/SCSI cable from the crap bin...

W2748 W2242

Plugs and Sockets:25 way Female x 1 - Ribbon style25 way Male x 2 - Ribbon style4 pin 90 degree header pins (Floppy drive style). I found some at Altronics, not 90 degree, but hopefully they are the same pitch. I have ordered some anyway, I will see. The picture is incorrect, but it will give you an idea what I mean. If you cant find any, do what I did in my original LCD and de-solder some from an old floppy drive.

P2693 P2694 P5492 (Altronics)

Components: 100Kohmpot, I used a miniature trim pot (DSE Cat: R-1929)100ohm pot, same (DSE Cat: R-1947)NB:Pot = potentiometer. Tools Needed:

Soldering Iron: Hopefully with a fine tip, solder pads on the LCD are pretty damn close
Screwdriver (Phillips): Used for securing screws
Jewellers Screwdriver (flat): Used for tweaking pots when done
Side Cutters/Wire Strippers: Stripping/Trimming wire
Scissors: Cutting the ribbon cable
Stanley knife or blade: Handy; Deburr/Trim.
Drills: 3mm for the M2.5 holes and 7mm for the nibbler to fit through
Nibbler or File: Cutting out the front panel, Filing the edges of your prototype board or chip holder board after its been cut.
Small spanner, small shifting spanner or pliers: Doing up the nuts on the LCD
Hacksaw: Cutting your prototype board or chip holder to the right size

Space: You will need about 35mm clearance from the front of the case in the 5.25" bay. This is including the thickness of the blanking panel. I have a HDD behind my LCD, it just makes it.? Design: I drew the LCD footprint to scale and then the inside dimensions of the back of the blanking panel. I took the measurements off the datasheet and drew it to scale in CAD. Paint just doesn't cut it. That way when you print, its to scale. What I did here was printed the drawing to scale, cut it out, stuck it inside the blanking panel. I then drilled and nibbled/filed. I had to adjust the template a few times, it moved around. It doesn't work as well for large holes, like it did with the USB ports.I read in EA (Electronics Australia) a good method for doing it. It involves a similar method to mine, however before they drill, they cut the outline of what is to be nibbled with a Stanley knife/Blade. They then drill, remove the template and then nibble/file. I am going to try this on the one I will build. Doing it this way means that there is no way of it moving. It doesn't move that much when drilling, however when nibbling/filing it can move. Tip: Cleaning holes drilled in plastic - or anything for that matter!:When you drill a hole, you almost always get crappy burrs. There is a really good way to fix this that my dad showed me when I was little. I have always used it since then.What you do is use a large diameter drill (larger than the hole, at least 2x) or a counter-sink bit. Pressing lightly you twirl the bit in your fingers while the tip of it is sitting in the hole you drilled. This removes the swarf/burrs and gives you a nice tiny little champher around the hole. When you do this on metal you may have to press a little harder. The Circuit Board:CAUTION: Remember the LCD is STATIC SENSITIVE!There are 14 tiny solder joints that are great fun to do. NOT. This is on the LCD. Take extreme care not to overheat the LCD.Snap your chip holder pair of boards in half, then cut your single board in half down the centre. You can cut the board using a hacksaw (not a h4x0r). The other option is scoring it (making a cut in it) on both sides, then placing it in the vice with the lines level with the jaws of the vice, then snapping it. Sometimes it doesn't work, but other times, you get a nice neat edge. Once you've done this, file the edge flat.

The circuit its self:This is based on a couple of diagrams I have seen. FAQ: Q:Can I get a blue back lit LCD like in phones. A:Yes and no, hard to get pre-made, you can get blue backlighting and do it yourself though. Don't you worry, as soon as I find where I can get some in Australia. I will let you all know =) Q:What can I display on the LCD? A:Anything you want. If you can find or make software to do it. I have some visual basic software that I wrote for it to display different stuff. There are also many WinAmp LCD Plugins to display current song/bit rate etc.

Database Driven!

database

I have been very busy coding and now the website is now entirely database driven. All I have to do now is create some pretty admin/maintenance pages so I dont have to go to the SQL shell every time I want to post news! Menus and content are controlled by the database! Sweeet =)

zagadka.org Registered!

Chip
Well it''s all go here. zagadka.org is registered and live! It will of course take 24-72h to propogate but probably less as we control our own DNS. ns1.wraithdragonmedia.com.au now has zagadka.org SOA and www.zagadka.org A records installed and we''re off!

Moving

Chip
The real www.wraithdragonmedia.com.au website will be going up soon so this will be moving. This current site is just a test/burn in to iron out server bugs. I havent picked a domain yet so we will see what happens with that! Wraith Dragon Media is a web-development company. The new site will detail the business and its product/service offerings.')

It Begins!

IMG_9690_1.jpg

ZBox is now live and can actually stay live. Its now not too noisy to leave on at night. www.zagadka.org is live! See this mod I did to fix the noise problems.'

Gallery!

Chip
My photo gallery is now up. It is a collection of photographs I have taken over the years. Here.

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