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Windows Is Fun
Date: 9/3/2006
Yesterday my PC started the same old trick of ignoring the pre-set video resolution/refresh that I had asked for and set it to some seemingly random res... well seemingly random until I worked out what machine uses that res. My Res util reported that windows was running in 1440x900x32bit @ 75hz. Which is of course what this machine runs at... not the 1280x1024x32bit @ 75hz that MY machine SHOULD be running at (what IS that, operating system envy?). Like I can understand XP choosing a refresh mode out of thin air, but changing to frigging resolution on me? Damn thats low. Of course the LCD just thumbed it's nose at the whole thing and I had to hard power cycle XP to get something running again.

Update: I'm having some luck with a util called Reforce to force refresh rates to what I want regardless of whether the monitor is plugged in or not. *fingers crossed*
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Tshirt Idea: I Hate Java In A New And Special Way
Date: 5/3/2006
Java sucks, and now you know why. However I don't agree that C++ is worse. At least with C++ you have some damn accountability. If it's broken that the app should be fixed. Whereas with frickin Java if it's broken then it might just be the Java implementation.

Currently all my Java apps are busted because of a bug in the JRE whereby it screws up the local timezone, meaning Java reports the current timezone as GMT (+0) instead of the setting in Windows: Australian EST (+11 currently).

I never liked Java to start with. But this just puts the last nail in the coffin, RIP Java. So I need a DVB recording server (ala Webscheduler) that ISN'T written in Java real quick, ideas?

Update: Seems Java has a bug that screws up the timezone when automatically adjust for daylight savings is switched on. Thus the easy workaround is to switch it off and manually adjust the timezone to some neighbouring country with the right offset from GMT. Gah, stupid STUPID Sun engineers.
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Quickies
Date: 2/3/2006
  • If your using WebScheduler to record digital TV (like me) and all your shows are shifted out of position by the number of hours in your timezone then you need to kiss WebScheduler goodbye and get a real scheduling record service. RIP Java, we hate you.
  • I saw Karnivool last night at the Mona Vale pub and man, they kick butt! Very tight live set, sounded very close to the album a lot of the time. I didn't get to see the band much from the back but hey I can still hear things ;) Not surprisingly they were using a Mesa Dual (Triple?) Rectifier and a 5150 guitar amps. Niiice amps. Oh and PRS guitars. A setup I could definitely see in my future.
  • Speaking of amps, my Peavey Classic 100 didn't fire up on Wednesday, so I had to get that attended to quick. Seems on of the internal power fuses was not seated correctly from the factory, causing undue sparking which eventually killed one of the power tubes. Way to go Peavey! It's fixed now, all good for the weekend.
  • The reason I tried the amp on Wednesday is because I was waiting around for the tech to come and replace the cable modem. They say "sometime between 8am and 12". Nice. So waiting, waiting... 11:59 the van shows up. Arrrgh. Thats so annoying!
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Hardware
Date: 24/2/2006
Ok, so the PC boots but the ongoing saga of stability took a new turn last night. In fit of morbid curiosity I pulled one of the memory sticks out of the machine, bringing it down to 256mb and did the usual video encode stress test overnight. It ran fine. And was still working in the morning. Currently the stock cooler fan is running about 3100rpm, the CPU is underclocked to 1.2ghz instead of 1.4ghz and it's voltage is stock. It ran at about 50 to 51° under load all night (12 hours straight).

I think the booting thing might have been related to having the fan speed set too low. Seems ok now.

So I have one suspect memory stick. Great. I'll swap in the other one and run it all again tonight and see what happens. Hopefully it'll fail quickly and I can ditch the bad ram and move on. I've bid on a few name brand sticks on ebay... I have 3 slots anyway so I may as well use them. 512mb is starting to feel cramped on XP anyway.

Update: Last night, back @ 1.4ghz again and the machine reset itself, and then this morning @ 1.33ghz the encode completed. So something is not happy at full speed. Maybe memory timing, the CL??? settings... hmmm I don't know. I guess I'll keep getting more sample points.

Update2: I ran memtest86 with both sticks in and it errored out. So I pulled the motherboard manual and read the section on RAM. Turns out that slot "1" is the furthest from the CPU instead of the closest. Duh. So I moved the sticks into slots 1 and 2 instead of 2 and 3 and reset the timing to the correct default. And reran memtest86 at 1.2ghz overnight. No errors. Then the next night at 1.4ghz, no errors. Riiiight finally. Then last night it froze while printing. *bash head against wall*
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The Cost Of Doing Business Online
Date: 22/2/2006
How much does it cost to take payments online?

processor base perc signup $20 $50
paypal $0.30 3.40% $0.00 $0.98 $2.00
kagi $1.00 2.50% $0.00 $1.50 $2.25
2co $0.45 5.50% $49.00 $1.55 $3.20
esellerate 10.00% $0.00 $2.00 $5.00
plimus 10.00% $0.00 $2.00 $4.50
swreg $1.00 6.00% $0.00 $2.20 $4.00
regnow $1.00 6.90% $19.95 $2.38 $4.45
shareit $2.95 5.00% $0.00 $3.95 $5.45


These are some popular payment processing sites. There are more listed here but most are expensive. Some people hate paypal, and with good reason most of the time, but still they do right by a business fee wise. I'm toying with using 2co as a 2nd option. I have used Kagi in the past, and the fees are low but access to your money is expensive and difficult compared to PayPal, and they seemed to have issues with fraud. I went backwards some months. Some people would rather rip you off than find a serial on the 'net somewhere. There fruadulant key ends up being banned in all future releases of the software anyway, so they get just 1 release of InScribe forever for all their efforts. Dumb crims.

Anyway, thought I'd share the list.
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Editor Work
Date: 21/2/2006
Amongst all the other things I'm doing, I had some time to play around with creating a rich edit component for Scribe. I am building it on top of the HTML control that Scribe already uses via sub-classing and adding editing functionality. So far it's going better than expected and I want to share a little video [860KB] of one of the tests. The test case is just holding the delete key down to gradually delete the whole document. What makes it cool is that you can see the live HTML changing on the fly in the right pane.

This in no way means there will be a functional HTML editor in the next release of Scribe, but I might release this as a plugin at some point for early adopters to try.

I'm not sure why I didn't try this before, my last attempt at rich editing was embedding IE and using a online javascript editor. But IE behaves differently as an embedded ActiveX control than when it runs as a web browser. And Mozilla doesn't even implement 97% of the API needed to embed fully. So that died a premature death, although the code is still in subversion.

I'm sure if this HTML/Edit hybrid ever sees the light of day it'll be pretty flakey for the first 'n' months/years/decades. Unless someone steps up to the plate to help with the coding. Takers?
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