July 23, 2015

Rokka - Braves of the Six Flowers

So, while torrenting is down, I checked out CrunchyRoll, and ended up watching the first two episodes of Rokka - Braves of the Six Flowers because it looked like it had a bunny girl.

There are worse reasons for watching an anime.

Actually, for the typical Pseudo-medieval fantasy, where god-chosen warriors must unite to fight an ancient evil, it's managing to stick in a few unexpected twists, or at least interesting variants. The bunny princess is actually an extremely capable fighter, although not terribly experienced (and I can't tell for sure if the ears are part of her headdress, they probably are.). The roguish guy has been training almost all his life to be worthy of being chosen, and another warrior is known to the princess - he's one of her vassals who nearly bested her in the annual tournament. You see, this ancient evil keeps a reasonably consistent schedule, and with it being 300 years since the last attack, they're due. So they're not all strangers, and the choosing isn't a total surprise.

But the real surprise comes up in the second episode, and so this is a spoiler. One of the chosen is a warrior who has a rifle, and the power she manifests, as opposed to all the flying light blade powers everyone else has so far, is she can spontaneously make gunpowder, creating paper-wrapped cartridges around her supply of iron balls. She also an Albino, and keeps one eye covered. But where it really gets interesting is that she's a misanthrope, and apparently she's been going around the country murdering those who potentially might have been chosen. Rogeish Guy doesn't know that, and he's the first one to find her.

Clearly this is going to change, since this is only the second episode, but still, imagine if Sailor Mars was beating the crap out of her classmates just to keep them out of the running from maybe becoming one of the scouts. You gotta wonder whose side she's on.

So yeah, Albino Nutgirl, only not as fun-crazy as Shiro.

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July 21, 2015


Cloning the HD still seems to be out of the question. so it looks like a new install is in order. On the plus side, it allows me to get rid of some legacy stuff from my previous system migration and turn on some more features of my motherboard. Like, for example UEFI booting, and changing my SATA mode from IDE emulation to AHCI.

This was tricky to make happen, and I'm not entirely sure how much better it will make things (since I'm still mid-transition) but I'm told it is an important step for the future, and it was darned tricky to make happen, involving downloading an ISO of the installer, and using a program to burn a DVD and to burn it to an SD/USB thumb drive, which while an interesting exercise, failed to twig the necessary bits to make the installer format the Hitachi 2TB drive in UEFI mode. The eventual trick was forcing the DVD drive to boot in UEFI mode, and then the installer was happy to also format the drive in UEFI.

After that it was simple install, load motherboard drivers (and their updates) and 217 Windows updates to have a virginal Win 7 install to work with.

The next trick will be trying to copy all my programs and their local data, and if necessary, the proper registry keys so as to not have to re-build EVERYTHING.

It's not the best result, which would have been to be able to clone the drive and continue on as if nothing had happened, but I have hope that things will be back to working. I was plagued with crashes and freezes and a boot drive that required a power cycle to reboot, and which had run out of spare sectors. Right now I had to turn off the page file and boot in safe mode just to run for more than 5 minutes. And it's been getting worse.

Pray for me....

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July 09, 2015

If it Weren't for Etna...

... I wouldn't be online at all.

Seems that Seagate hard drives are becoming deprecated. Guess what Himawari's OS is installed on. Bit Rot has set in, and though I only know of three files that were affected (and nothing major was lost) there could be more, and at least one bad sector turned up in the worst place, the Master Boot Record. I discovered the problems after I got back from LibertyCon, and I found myself staring at a black screen saying some NT file couldn't be loaded.  It was trying to boot from my E: drive, which only contains my Anime files and a copy of my old XP install (trimmed) where I have some programs I want to remember to reinstall someday.

Much shenanigans ensued, and are still going on. I went out and bought two new WD 3 TB hard drives (last day of the sale at Fry's, $89 each!!) only to find that Win7 won't install on anything bigger than 2 TB. E: is a Hitachi 2 TB, so much juggling has ensued.

Now occasionally C:/D: can be induced to boot, usually by unplugging E: (the two partitions are a legacy of XP not being able to handle a big drive). After a successful boot, I can restart and connect E: and it will pretend everything's okay. But if you run the drive too hard, it seems to crash and reboot the system (and fail to boot the drive).

And it gets worse, as cloning software fails time and again ("If there weren't bad sectors, I wouldn't be cloning. No! Don't give up on the whole thing!") Windows Backup of course doesn't include the OS or the Program files (!) but the system image may. Only trying to install the system image on the other drive doesn't work because it's not the same drive, or something. It has been one frustrating failure after another.

(The worst was an attempt to install Win7 on the Hitachi. The configuration was ODD! My account had admin privs, but every time I went to delete large numbers of unneeded junk files being restored, it would demand that I click on a button saying I'm an administrator to delete them.  And then I've spent a couple of attempts to have the Win7 Install disk fix the boot process of the Hitachi, only to find out that the C: partition was blank, but the D: wasn't.)

It's even more complicated than that. I extracted all of the Windows Backup to one of the new 3 TB WD drives and set it aside just to be safe, and duplicated E: and D: to the other (the intent was to somehow get just C: on the Hitachi drive). I know my data is safe, and there are a couple of images of the rest of the system floating around, but getting anything to put them together in a way that WORKS isn't working.

In the meantime, I haven't been able to do anything useful on Himawari in over a week. I even missed the opening of the public Beta of World of Warships! Okay, that might not count as being anything useful either, but hey, it was a holiday weekend....

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June 17, 2015

Shingeki no Bahamut Genesis

You may recall I highly recommended this Epic series. Mawaru has just put up the 4th and final BD on NyaaTorrents.

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June 16, 2015

Himawari gets an Upgrade

World of Tanks and other things have been taxing Himawari's poor GTX 650 video card. It doesn't take TOO much to max out the GPU and the fan whirrs like mad without much provocation. So, I went for the top of the line, but missed a little again. I set out for a GTX 980 Ti, but what I found was the non-Ti model for about $120 less (Still a $500+ card), but it was the best thing on the shelves at Fry's and still 5 times more powerful than the old card. One nifty thing about the Corsair modular power supply is that in the bag of power cables, there was one specifically for supplying juice to Extra Power-hungry PCIE cards. No need to tap into the hard drive lines.

I also found a liquid cooling unit for the CPU. Fortunately I didn't let the Salesgal talk me into the bigger unit, as the one I got barely fit in my full size case. Installing it was scary, mostly because I couldn't get the damned OEM heat sink off. I did think it odd that instead of the typical thermal grease, the original heat sink came with a patch of gray something pre-masked on it. I thought it was nice and would keep things neat. I didn't realize the putty would stick like glue. By the time I prized free the heatsink, the processor was yanked out of the ZIF socket along with it! I even bent a couple of pins slightly. Fortunately they were not bent so far that they could not be bent back without breaking. But getting the processor free of the heat sink required the services of a kitchen knife, and even then it was iffy that I could get it off, and getting cut was a possibility, given how unwieldy the heat sink was. When the CPU suddenly popped off, it was surprising.

The cooling unit came with all kinds of hardware for attaching the cooling plate instead of the using the original heat-sink mounting hardware. Virtually none of it fit (the ZIF socket must be higher profile than they planned for), so I figured out how to use the original screws to hold it in place. The radiator/fan/pump unit replaced the rear fan in the case, and took up a lot of room, almost 3". It also came with a second fan, in case I needed even MORE cooling.

Once I managed to get it all together, it was amazing. The new graphics card has three fans, but because of that, they all run much slower, and so the noise level has gone down considerably during games, and the water cooling has totally stabilized the CPU temperature, and again, killed almost all the noise. The only downside is the noise it does produce is a steady, low sine-wave note, which even though it's quiet, still penetrates from all directions.

Interestingly, my UPS also reports a slightly lower power consumption.

My frame rates didn't quite get the boost I thought they would, but the graphics modes are higher, so that evens out. My network is more of a limiting factor now. The reduction of noise (except for that note) is really, really significant, and I wonder if I added that second fan would it drop even more.

I'm even tempted to push the Overclocking button on my motherboard. The Graphics card has some overclocking options as well, but I'm not sure how to use them properly.

One sad thing is that my case, which is lined with foam to help deaden sound, is opaque. And the liquid cooling unit has an RGB LED set in it that will actually indicate temperature. The video card also has some gaudy LED bits on it, but none of that can be seen when the case is buttoned up.

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June 07, 2015

Knights of Sidonia - Suits

A space suit with a skirt and super high heels?


Why not?  If you've got the technology, flaunt it.

They also have... other... technology. It's good to see the tradition has survived a thousand years after the distruction of Earth.  Below the fold...

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May 29, 2015


Gave up eztv for being taken over by a scumbag, and now BTChat goes down.

And this is your internet on Throttling.
At 5 AM, do they REALLY need to suddenly cut my bandwidth from 4 megabits to 50Kbytes. on one cell tower, and ONLY for BitTorrent?  Isn't that against the new Net Neutrality law?  So what difference does it make, a file transfer that was going to be done in 30 minutes will now run at a constant low level for several hours. What does that save?

Please Clearwire, lie to me and tell me it's Peak Hours.

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May 26, 2015

Absolute Duo

Absolutely Awful.

I only finished it off this weekend because I wanted something short and I only had three episodes left to watch. I hate leaving stuff unfinished, and it was at the top of the list alphabetically.

There was one part though that had me yelling at the screen.

I'm going to assume you've at least heard of it, as if it's not enough of a standard story. If not, I think I started reviewing it below, so you can check that out.

So, there's one girl whose weapon manifests as a spear-like thing that almost resembles a folded umbrella, but it's so damned big, she can't normally lift it. There are also bad guys who wear techno armor, and they start attacking in earnest in the second half of the series. So Umbrella-girl gets captured during a raid, and they convince her to come to their side by promising to make her stronger so our Hero will like her, after he rejected her. This is by means of an exo-suit that resembles nothing so much as a unitard, but shows off her overdeveloped figure quite a bit  And the dose of mind-control that comes with it is an added bonus.

So when she shows up for the final battle, of course the heroes are conflicted. "We can't kill our friend, who's trying to kill us". There must be a TVTrope for that. Mostly she's focused on Our Hero, to whom she vows to show she she's strong enough for by trying to kill him, out of love, or something. And that's what had me yelling at them. Think! Turn this to your advantage! You've already figured out that she's brainwashed, but devoted to you. Promise her anything, just to get her to smash the hell out of the enemy forces.


Japanese writers just don't think like us though. And there are story patterns to fill, and they followed them to a T.

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May 11, 2015

Junk Files

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Yeah, so I'm the last to know.... The reason EZTV has sucked so much lately, and is carrying all these bottom-dwelling, hijacked and repackaged torrents is because it lost in a hostile takeover by scammers. Do not use it any more.

One thing that really bugs me in some areas of the Torrenting world is this overwhelming urge some folks have to toot their own horn for things they really don't have anything to do with. You start with the group who digitizes a TV show, and they put their name on the file. Now, fansubbing is a different story, since they put some work into the job.

But what really gets me is the repackaging. Let's say I'm trying to watch The Flash. EZTV has been a little wonky since the move, and all the sources they have are repackagers. What I mean is, if I download the latest episode of The Flash and get the torrent from say, BTChat, I JUST get the show. But go to EZTV, and you get a directory, and there are worthless files like .nfo (which windows doesn't like) but even more worthless text files that say "Torrent Downloaded from Demonoid.com" which it wasn't, and then, some repackager takes that and throws in their OWN text file that says something similar. Some even chew up a few megs with a "preview" file. All of which is worthless. And it cuts down on which trackers you can add in (that may be why).

But even more irritating is, since each episode is now in its own directory, you can't just click the next file button in MediaPlayerClassic to get the next one.

I've tried looking for ways to relocate an individual file within uTorrent, but it won't do that.  The best I can do is tell it to skip files, but the tiny text files are usually included in one block anyway. The thing is, I also use uTorrent as a sort of video manager, so I can tag things I've watched by changing the label to (drum roll) "Watched". It's a first world problem, to be sure, but the motivation is so 80's Apple ][ game cracker, where they'd find a way to wedge their names into the opening screen. (Even back then, there were script kiddies running game cracking tools).

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April 29, 2015

Knights of Sidonia

Since I never finished watching the first series, and the second was coming out, I powered through it this weekend. It was actually pretty good for a Mecha show, with some interesting side stories that come from the setting (A colony seed ship passing through territory infested with the same monsters that destroyed the Earth, and no compunctions by the leadership against a little genetic engineering on the population.) There are of course, those moments where you facepalm over physics (They have artificial gravity, but maneuvering with the main thrusters is not compensated for). But the MC, while a bit confused at first because he was virtually a bubble boy - raised in the catacombs beneath the city with no companionship but the flight simulator and his grandfather, the best fighter in history and the man he was cloned from - is not some ball of angst like most leads in a mecha show. He gets past his cluelessness, except about girls, and the not-quite-a-girl who really likes him (genetic engineering, again).

But the interesting thing I just ran across is this.  Here's an image generated with the character models on Deviant Art. Apparently the producers of the show have released some of the character models, with armatures, compatible with Blender, at sidonia-3dmodel.com. I haven't tried to navigate the site yet, but I will. Because Thigh Boots.

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