Com arg wav

Commentary on the Portal 2 ARG: http://valvearg.com/wiki/Com-arg.wav (not actually an audio file).

Note in particular:
* Estimated time to 'solve': 7 hours
* Actual time to solve: 7 hours 16 minutes
...
* Combined might of internets is terrifying



I remember watching as this was solved .. they're right, the combined might is terrifying!

Twice is coincidence

Twice now I have lost all my data *while setting up or doing the backup*. I have never otherwise had a loss. Clearly, backups themselves are what cause the problem.

Also, RAID-5 doesn't protect you from disk failure, if multiple drives in your brand-new unit fail simultaneously.

Can anyone recommend any resources for recovering deleted files from an ext2/3 filesystem? My old filer still works perfectly fine, and has been shutdown since I moved everything over.
  • Current Mood
    depressed depressed

recommended careers

1. Biomedical Engineer
2. Computer Engineer
3. Electrical Engineer (I am detecting a pattern here)
4. Chemical Engineer
5. Environmental Engineer
6. Hydrologist / Hydrogeologist (why not just say "Hydraulic Engineer" and be done with it?)
7. Aerospace Engineer
8. Computer Support Person (Ha! Unless they meant BOFH)
9. Oceanographer (If I get to dive a lot, sure)
10. Geologist
11. Engineering Tech (hunh?)
12. Explosives Specialist (I could do that)
13. Mechanical Engineering Tech
14. Physicist (only #14?! shows what they know)
15. Astronomer (could easily have done that)
16. Agricultural Engineer (you mean, "farmer"?)
17. Mechanical Engineer
18. Mathematician
19. Optometrist
20. Business Systems Analyst (Ha! Unless they meant BOFH)
21. Web Developer (nah, already helped develop one web already)
22. Database Developer
23. Computer Programmer
24. Video Game Developer
25. Electrical Engineering Tech
26. Electronics Engineering Tech (pretty fine hair to split)
27. Avionics Tech
28. Broadcast Technician ("In five, four, three, ..., ..., !")
29. Multimedia Developer
30. Race Car Mechanic (could be fun for awhile)
31. Optical / Ophthalmic Lab Technician
32. Motorcycle Mechanic
33. Diesel Mechanic
34. Automobile Mechanic ("well, thot's yer problem roght thare!")
35. Aircraft Mechanic
36. Heavy Equipment Mechanic
37. Heating, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration Tech
38. Small Engine Mechanic
39. Cable Installer and Repairer
40. Production Woodworker

(no subject)

From Risks Digest: Boy falsely jailed because of DST changeover

In a nutshell: on 11 Mar 2007, a school received a bomb threat and through their phone logs traced the call back to a 15-year-old boy, who was arrested and incarcerated for twelve days despite the fact that the boy's voice sounded nothing like the voice on the tape.

Of course the authorities had forgotten about the early onset of daylight savings time, and the boy had actually called the school *an hour before* the bomb threat.

After he protested his innocence, [...] the principal said: 'Well, why should we believe you? You're a criminal. Criminals lie all the time.'
Twelve days?

SONY STR-DA50ES PROTECTOR (FAN)

For the record (well, for the search engines): I had a problem with a SONY STR-DA50ES, where shortly after power-up it'd start flashing "PROTECTOR (FAN)," and the relays would never click on. I'd had the problem twice in the past, when it cleared itself up after some hours or a day or two. But not this time.

There are only a couple mentions of this on the net, one saying "it's a capacitor problem" (but, frustratingly, not saying _what_ capacitor), another (regarding the STR-DA30ES) saying it was a bad solder joint on the bridge rectifier feeding the +5V line.

The service manual has complete circuit diagrams and component board traces, but nothing about the firmware or error messages. I worked out the fan protection circuit, and worked out that I could tie the thermistor monitoring line to +5V to trick the controller into thinking the temperature was okay (working on the theory that a capacitor had shorted out). This let the relays click on, but the display would still flash PROTECTOR (FAN).

After finding the STR-DA30ES mention, I probed the bridge (D955). I got about +1V on the DC side -- it should have been around +9.7V. This line feeds a couple regulators to make the +3.3V and +5V lines, but they too were less than 1V. Weirdly, the AC side of the bridge had 0V. The AC line from the transformer had around 9.7V. Narrowing in on the section in-between I found that fuse F953 on the main board had blown. I'm not sure why there was +1V on the DC side of the bridge (though there are multiple power circuits in the system), but the low +3.3V and +5V lines are apparently enough to piss off the controller chip, and I guess the thing it first notices is the wrong voltage on the thermistor monitoring wire.

Shorting over the fuse made it work. I'll hit radio shack this weekend for a new fuse.

So, dear future reader who found this through a net search, check fuse F953. It's on the main board (the big one along the bottom), in the front corner that doesn't have the fan connector. Glass cylindrical fuse.

(And to my puzzled friends who watch my livejournal: hey, this was an easy way to publish something for the search engines to find. And I guess the moral of the story is, check the obvious things like fuses first.)

I've never been at the zeroth percentile before

I don't much do these quizzes, but this one amused me..

Triumph Speed Triple
You scored 7 moxie, 5 zeal, and -4 pomp!

You, Sir, are a Hooligan. You have a bit of an attitude, and you don't
care what people think about it. Your idea of a good time is seeing how
far you can carry a wheelie between lanes of traffic. You crash a lot,
but that's part of the fun, isn't it? Anyone who doesn't like it can
sod off.


Your weapon is the Triumph Speed Triple, a powerful and godawful ugly bike that fits your personality perfectly.




My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 73% on moxie
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 77% on zeal
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 0% on pomp
Link: The Motorcycle Personality Test written by iocaine on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Cathartic robots

I'm not much of a computer game player. However, there are a very few games that can captivate me.

SNIPE is a very simple DOS game, which runs in 40x24 text mode. You move around in a toroidal maze -- actually, "you" stay in the middle of the screen while the maze moves around you -- shooting at little bugs that hatch from nests. It's all very simple, you can only shoot in eight directions, in some modes your shots can bounce, and the little snipes can shoot back. It's very simple and pretty fast; it doesn't take much brain activity, so it's good for shutting down the higher parts of your brain and satisfying the biological need to run around and shoot things. I find it very cathartic. It got me through college.

Unfortunately, I haven't had a DOS machine in many years, so I haven't played it in awhile.


Nethack is the game that taught me programming. Well, I knew BASIC from high school, and I learned C in a computational physics class, but it was from reading the HACK 3.0 source code that I learned such things as linked lists. Nethack is a descendant of rogue, which I'm going to assume you know. There was a PC version of rogue floating around campus, it was all multicolored and pretty. Then there was HACK, which was richer, but merely black and white. I wanted to colorize HACK, and start adding to its richness, so when I discovered that the source code was available (my first encounter with open source), well, I spent the night in one of the labs, printing it all out. Several months later, I had a colorized, richer version.

I've been playing nethack for 15 or 20 years now, off and on. I've contributed to the game (check out the extended credits!), I've ported it, I've plumbed its depths. I usually play an Archaeologist ("Utah Jake"). But I have to admit, in all these years, I've never actually ascended. Archaeologists are hard.


And finally, there's Total Annihilation. It's an early real-time strategy game that runs on windows 95. It's pretty basic; you control a robot army, some units can create more units, and you have to worry about two resources: metal and energy. There are immobile units (solar collectors, laser turrets, artillery cannons, more), walking robot units of various types, different types of tanks, various aircraft, etc. On the strategic level, there's a balance you have to strike between building up your economy and attacking your enemies. On the tactical level, you can control units individually, or set them off to go patrol an area and do the right thing. It has a good UI.

I really like pitting these robot armies against each other. I find it cathartic, blowing them up. And although I can think circles around the little AI that runs the computer-driven opponent, I still like outsmarting it. Sometimes I play the game in a way a friend of mine called "Sim Fortress": I build up a defensive structure which I think I can leave on autopilot, and then I go away and let the game play for a day or so.. to see how good my defense was. I nearly always win, which can be really flattering when I need that.


Something like a year ago, I took my old windows machine apart. I no longer needed to do my own taxes (which was the main reason I had a windows machine); I needed the motherboard for my new firewall; and I needed to pack up my lab so that it could become Gina's office. I bagged and tagged the parts, things got reused elsewhere, but I knew I had my CDs.

A couple months ago, things (esp. work) made me, well, desire catharsis. What was supposed to be a quick "put a machine together" became a multiweek struggle to get the damned win95 system to install, but I finally sorted it out, and tonight, for the first time in too long, I got to blow up little robots.

And that made me very happy.