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December 2004 Archives

December 31, 2004

The Incredibles

Filed in: TV & Movies.

I went to see The Incredibles yesterday. Pixar's story of a family of superheros forced into living "normal" lives by the government is (typically for Pixar) full of quirky humour and should be appreciated by young and old.

The showing I went to was more or less full, most of the audience being children. The small child on a tricycle who pops up a few times during the movie proved popular with them...

Posted at 2:58 PM | Comments (1)

December 29, 2004

BlogShares text ads

Filed in: Website Management.

A while ago I placed a text ad on BlogShares and only got one hit as a result. When I moved my mood icons/user icons pages to a new location, I thought I'd give it another try and set up an ad for 100,000 impressions.

From those impressions, I got a total of 57 hits. Most of them were from individual blog pages, or the main text ads page. Not a huge return rate, but it still made BlogShares the second biggest referrer (not counting search engines) for the main Tetrap domain for December.

Speaking of referrers, the referrer-spamming bots have been hitting my site again - one hit the NZDWFC site some 150 times or so this month. I've taken to banning any such bots on sight. They're so stupid and easy to spot too.

Posted at 11:47 PM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2004

I killed Windows Media Player!

Filed in: Computers.

I noticed there was an update to Windows Media Player, and promptly told my computer to fetch it. Of course, partway through the installation, the CPU hit 100% usage and reset, hosing WMP...

The only thing stopping me from taking this heap in to get fixed right now is the fact then I'd be stuck at home without a PC for a week or so. :P

Posted at 4:49 PM | Comments (4)

December 27, 2004

Couple of random blog links

Filed in: Links.

Winter/Christmas themed entries I found while surfin' about on BE:

Posted at 5:50 PM | Comments (0)

Firefox and popups

Filed in: Internet.

I've been discovering one of the hazards of surfing on BlogExplosion is that a few blogs seem to have popups. I guess popup makers are beginning to find ways around FireFox's popup prevention. Already scanned for Spyware, so I'm fairly certain it wasn't that...

But it's makin' me nervous...

On another note, why is there no Google International Zeitgeist for New Zealand?

Posted at 3:10 PM | Comments (4)

Firefly

Filed in: TV & Movies.

I realised today that I'd completely forgotten to watch the Firefly premiere last Tuesday. Having enjoyed Buffy and Angel, I was interested to see what Joss Weadon would do for a space series. Fortunately my dad, who also likes Science Fiction, still had it on tape.

In case you didn't get the parallels, all the incidental music appears to have been ripped from a Western, as well as the clothing and the look of much of the worlds they land on. Would probably appeal to fans of Cowboy Beebop. It also reminded me a lot of the group from Alien: Resurrection, which Joss wrote... I took an instant liking to most of the characters, and it's good to see Gina Torres in something again. :)

Shame we're getting to see it two years late, but better late than never...

Posted at 11:43 AM | Comments (2)

December 24, 2004

Trek site

Filed in: Links.

Jeff pointed me to Ex Astris Scientia, a formidable Star Trek site. I spent hours reading the "Inconsistencies" section, which has some interesting discussions on TOS versus new-style Klingons, various scientific problems, etc, etc.

Posted at 8:41 PM | Comments (0)

That's Just Prime

Filed in: Computers.

I installed Prime 95, which includes a "torture test", running your CPU at 100% and testing a number of the functions.

My computer reset by itself after approximately 40 seconds of running.

I tried installing ITE Smartguardian, which came on the disks for my motherboard. I think it's broken - it displays "Temp 1" as 201°C all the time. "Temp 2" is a slightly more realistic 48°C, but it doesn't seem to get any hotter while the stress test is running.

I rang the shop from whence the PC came, and they said they couldn't pass a diagnosis without the machine there to run tests on, so I will probably have to bite the bullet and take it in after work starts in the new year.

Edit: Oh, I should add that after my previous entry, I also downloaded a piece of memory testing software from Microsoft's site, and that checked my memory out as fine.

Posted at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2004

My Crappy PC

Filed in: Computers.

I have occasional problems with my computer just up and resetting in the middle of doing something. This is, naturally, hugely annoying and I worry that one of these days a reset is going to kill something.

I'm pretty sure it's not the AGP/PCI cards I've got installed, so I guess that leaves the memory, motherboard, CPU, power supply, and two of the four storage devices installed.

Theory #1 is that the CPU is overheating, which is why I usually operate the PC with the side cover off. However doing so hasn't stopped the problem.

The resets most often happen specifically during the process of loading a level in Unreal Tournament 2004. Last night I had one occur while playing a Shockwave Flash file. I've also had one while sending an email in Pegasus with a particularly large attachment. This could suggest some arcane problem with the single hard drive in the machine.

Theory #2 is something wrong with either the CPU (an AMD Athlon XP 2000+) or the motherboard. Perhaps some instruction UT2004 executes during the level loading triggers a bug in the Athlon chip which causes the reset. It's hard to say, because sometimes a particular level will work fine, sometimes it will crash the computer when it's loading.

Posted at 2:46 PM | Comments (8)

December 22, 2004

cmdlineext02.dll

Filed in: Computers.

A while ago I kept finding a DLL in my temporary directory, an odd place to store a DLL, and mentioned it in my LiveJournal in a post titled I have a strange thing. So far that's proven to be the most popular post there in terms of comments, simply because there isn't a lot of information about the DLL on the web.

The library appears to be installed with a number of games. I got it most recently from Rollercoaster Tycoon 2. It may be created by other games, and may well be something to do with copy protection which requires you to keep the CDROM in the drive while you play. One person thought it might be preventing the copying of games altogether. CmdLineExt03.dll is likely to be a variant of 02, though so far no one has reported a CmdLineExt01.dll. The file is recreated on bootup if it's deleted.

Other games which may install it include Unreal Tournament 2003 (possibly only before the patch which removes the need to keep the CD in while playing), Grand Theft Auto Vice City, Nascar Racing 2003, Diablo 2, and quite probably some non-game software.

The latest anonymous comment suggests creating a directory with the same name as the file in order to prevent it coming back. Cunning!

Posted at 8:07 PM | Comments (30)

December 21, 2004

Wireless Networking

Filed in: Computers.

So after a bit of messing about with configurations, we now have a wireless network set up here, and the computers can see each other and surf the net via broadband. It's not perfect though. There's a lot of noise along with the signal and a lot of dropped packets. I suspect much of the noise is from the appliances in the kitchen. Is there any reliable way of determining the source of radio noise?

At least now we can transfer files around and possibly even play games...

Posted at 9:43 PM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2004

Adventures with XP

Filed in: Computers.

For various reasons, one of these being Windows 98 was becoming increasingly unstable (e.g. halting the system when I attempted to create directories (or Folders, if you were introduced to computers after about 1995 (but I digress))) I went about installing Windows XP on Saturday. This went OK, and before long I had most of my software reloaded.

Unfortunately, after that, it all went a bit pear shaped.

Continue reading "Adventures with XP"

Posted at 10:45 PM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2004

Grammy Awards

Filed in: Music.

Good luck to Björk, who's nominated for two awards this year for Medulla and Oceania. She was nominated for best packaging on Family Tree last year, but didn't win.

I'm not sure whether this is a good or bad thing. It may prompt more people to buy Medulla, which is good, but on the other hand Medulla is not exactly the most accessible of albums. Even Björk's fans are deeply divided on it. On the other (third??) hand, the first Björk album I heard was Homogenic, which isn't exactly accessible either, and it's still my favourite of her albums.

On a related but tangental topic: Lord of the Rings, and the "Best Song Written For A Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media" award.

  1. Enya, May It Be - nominated but didn't win.
  2. ????
  3. Annie Lennox, Into The West - nominated

I guess Emiliana Torrini isn't well known enough to get nominated. Though I note that one of the nominations this year is Kylie Minogue's single Slow, which she co-wrote.

Posted at 8:19 PM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2004

Upgrading MT

Filed in: Weblogging.

I've finally upgraded my Movable Type installation to 3.131 and also installed MT-Blacklist to see if it stops the increasing amounts of comment spam coming my way recently. The installation instructions for the plugin weren't too clear, and the configuration pages all have a "concatenation" error of some sort at the bottom of them. I may need to update another file somewhere...

At any rate, perhaps now I'll get more legitimate comments than spam. :)

Posted at 11:07 PM | Comments (0)

Kicking a man when he's down

Filed in: Links.

Bruce Simpson writes on making electronics less attractive, having been burgled on the weekend and most of his stuff taken. Bruce was previously bankrupted by the NZ government after he designed and built a do-it-yourself cruise missile.

As he points out, even passwords on PCs can be circumvented. I suspect any such measure on electronics such as DVD players is going to have similar problems... Besides which, you'd end up with hundreds of people locked out after a power cut because they can't remember the pass code for their microwave, all calling technical support. :)

Posted at 6:18 PM | Comments (0)

Cryptic Number Plate

Filed in: Misc.

As I was driving home, I noticed the car in front of me had the number plate "SUPOOH". I can't work out what it's supposed to mean. Could mean Winnie the Pooh is now a sysadmin (Super User Pooh) or possibly it's some sort of slang (S'up Ooh. Who's Ooh?)...

Why get a personalised plate and put something that cryptic on it??

Posted at 5:40 PM | Comments (4)

December 10, 2004

TSV 28

Filed in: Doctor Who, TSV Online.

TSV 28 is now online. It includes some cool stuff like interviews with Paul Cornell and David Halliwell, the last part of Jeff Stone's Murder at Midnight, an analysis of The War Machines, and some pretty cool artwork and cartoons. :)

There are one or two pieces still to come for that issue as well...

Posted at 10:12 PM | Comments (0)

Monkeys and Typewriters

Filed in: Links.

Weekly World News: Monkeys Type Shakespeare Play

Ripshaw assembled 5,000 monkeys and an equal number of typewriters. The monkeys were rewarded with bananas every time they filled up a page with letters.

"Ninety-nine percent of it was nonsense," Ripshaw says. "But one of the monkeys put up a blog on the Internet, and it has a big following."

Snicker

Posted at 7:44 PM | Comments (0)

December 9, 2004

New Zealand now has Civil Unions

Filed in: Tetrap.Local.

MPs say I do to civil unions

This is excellent! The head of Destnazi Cult was, of course, on TV complaining that society was going to pot, but that's to be expected.

Posted at 6:12 PM | Comments (1)

December 8, 2004

November in Tetrapyriarbus News

Filed in: Website Management.

Take two, as I managed to crash Firefox last time...

Ya know what I'm tired of? Referrer spammers. Seriously, I'm tired of seeing a bizarre site pop up in the referrer list, and going to visit it, only to discover it's some completely irrelavant site selling yoghurt or something. No, really, WTF?

There were still some 3000 or so 301 redirections, again, mostly due to Yahoo, but judging by a recent post on the Yahoo! Search Blog they're on top of it. Excellent. Now about some of those other search crawlers (Grub, for instance, doesn't treat 301 redirections properly).

Anyway, on with the pointless stuff: Ze most popular DiscContinuity Guide Entries were:

  1. Land of the Dead
  2. The Twilight Kingdom
  3. Davros
  4. Storm Warning
  5. The Natural History of Fear

We are behind on those. People will be punished. Or something. Anyway, the most popular NZDWFC archive items were:

  1. Moonboots and Dinner Suits review
  2. Who Killed Kennedy eBook
  3. I Exterminated JNT
  4. Build Your Own TARDIS review
  5. Davros artwork

So much the same as last time, only with an added obsession for moon boots. Why, I wonder...

Posted at 9:14 PM | Comments (0)

Movie pimping

Filed in: TV & Movies.

Somehow a while ago I ended up signing up for a mailing list for promoting the upcoming Spielburg version of War of the Worlds. At the start of this month they launched the web site. Well, a holding page for the web site anyway. There's currently a graphic there showing a three fingered hand wrapped in red weed, clutching the Earth. This leads me to make the following observations:

  1. The Martians in Wells' novel had tentacles, whereas this looks more like the hands sported by the aliens in the '53 film.
  2. The red weed is, of course, from the novel and doesn't appear in the '53 film.

I'm still interested to know if they're going to use the Jeff Wayne soundtrack, as apparently he owns the film/TV rights...

Posted at 12:14 AM | Comments (0)

December 7, 2004

I've been sick

Filed in: Doctor Who.

So bear with me. :) I came down with some sort of flu last Wednesday and have been suffering ever since.

We've now got ADSL connected, so once the wireless network is set up, I'll be able to use it from this computer. Xtra, apparently, is happy enough to supply the service, but they won't provide helpdesk support for it. This is typical of Xtra. Hopefully there won't be any problems with it.


Yesterday it was announced that Prime TV have picked up the license to screen Doctor Who in New Zealand. This has had mixed reactions as only about 75% of the population can actually get Prime, and in some places the signal is marginal. It's still preferable to Sky getting it, as Sky is pay TV and even less of the population has it.

Posted at 4:33 PM | Comments (0)

December 5, 2004

Moving ISPs

Filed in: Computers.

Hopefully very soon now I'll be getting broadband. Because this is with a different ISP, the web space my LiveJournal icons and stuff is going to go bye bye, so I will probably move them to my main tetrap.com domain. Of course, the fun part will be when my email address changes, and I have to track down every online service I've given my old one to and give them the new one. A bit of a hassle, but hopefully worth it...

Now if only I could stop slacking on BlogShares and do some more work on my web page. :)

Posted at 7:59 PM | Comments (0)

December 3, 2004

Random things

Filed in: Computers, TV & Movies.

Just finished watching the last episode of Farscape season 4. You could probably hear the cry of anguish as it finished. Now I just have to wait until the subsequent mini-series either screens here or comes out on DVD...


NZ government seems to be very close to voting the civil union bill into law. This will allow same-sex couples to enter into a marriage-like civil union. It's about time.


It's becoming obvious that at some point I'm going to need to upgrade to Window XP... I attempted to use Yahoo! Chat today in FireFox. This required downloading Java support, which I started doing, until the Java installer announced it was only suitable for newer versions of Windows, and then stalled. So I guess I'll be using IE to access Java stuff...

Posted at 10:12 PM | Comments (0)

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