tephra: (WTF? Friendly Hostility)
Today was "update stuff that hasn't been updated for years" day. It started out well enough, I updated the installation of eFiction on Hafoc's website and things went swimmingly. There's a  major update on that forthcoming, slowly, and I'm sure all the problems I didn't have today will show up then.

Then I went to work on Omnifariously Knotty and pretty much crashed and burned.

My problem there is that I dearly love the layout theme, but it's not been updated in over two and a half years. I've used some tweaks that other people have created, or tried to. One works (the date tabs include year for posts over a year old), but the one I worked on again today worked only partially. It was supposed to wrap the main content under the second column to use some of the wasted space as you scroll down. Well it worked great on the "home" page but when I when I checked it on the Categories page and the About page... nope. The content ran under the second column. No matter how often I look at the assorted template files I can't see why it works on home.php and not on categories.php or any of the other files that I tweaked. It's one line added to them, not exactly a lot of room in that for errors.

There is also a much more annoying problem with that layout. I've installed the OpenID plugin on my instance of WordPress but the layout doesn't display the option to use it. I poked and fiddled with the comments.php file today to try to get that fixed. That also didn't go well. I need to learn how to use php with forms (or at all really) and figure out how to construct the if/else loop in there to drop through the options of having a login account (which no one has other than me), supplying an email address, or using OpenID. Sure, as the site stands now people can use a name and email to comment, but I'd really, really like to have OpenID as an option.

Maybe I should just go looking for a different layout theme. *sigh*
tephra: (WTF? Friendly Hostility)
So I have this MP3 player that [livejournal.com profile] hafoc gave me for my birthday. The LCD went screwy and the warranty ends in a couple weeks so I emailed Creative for an RMA. They sent a canned email suggesting I try upgrading the firmware and if that didn't work email them back. Okay, I can do that.

So I do the firmware upgrade thing but several steps they mention don't occur. It's cool though, the LCD is fixed! Insert much "It works!" happiness.

Then it stops working.

So I do the firmware upgrade hokey pokey with the connect, disconnect, hold down the power button and reconnect, find new hardware, upgrade the firmware steps.

It works!

... for about 2 minutes.

Turn off. Turn on. It works! ... for a minute.

Do many, many variations for the firmware hokey pokey, never see the "add new hardware" stage happen again. Never get more than 2 minutes of functioning LCD.

Decide that I will do it one more time after rebooting my PC while everything is "fresh."

Forget to check the "format data drive" option the first time I do the firmware upgrade. Figure I'll just do it again right now without the hokey pokey steps and run the upgrade immediately with the format option checked.

Toss on about 8 songs and disconnect.

It works for about 2 minutes. Fuck it, time to get an RMA, try turning it on and off just to see if it's going to do the work for less time thing again.

It's been an hour. It's still working.

WTF?!

Now I only have a couple weeks left on the warranty so I'm left with the "will this thing keep working or not" problem.

[livejournal.com profile] havoc should expect this thing to be surgically attached for the next week or so. If it's going to die again it needs to do it soon so I'm going to use it as close to non-stop as I can manage. :P

And mom just called so I put it on pause and the LCD died. Turn off. Turn on. Working again. O.o

For a minute, maybe.

Turn off/on.

Well about three and a half minutes so far....

ARGH!

And I really need to add more music because the same eight songs for a hour is a bit much, no matter how awesome they are....

And dead again. Emailing Creative and either getting more firmware hokey pokey steps or an RMA.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
Well I've managed to tag all my posts in 2004, soon the whole of my journal will be tagged and easily searchable.

For those that noticed that my email and websites (and everything hosted on my website and linked here) are down, I know why now. It seems my admin moved and didn't bother to warn me of the expected server outage. I managed to find a mutual friend that knew of the move and according to him the server should be back up sometime tomorrow. I'm guessing the hold up is the DSL connection at the new location since my admin hosts the server in his home.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
Well I swapped out the 802.11b router and NIC for 802.11g versions today. It was painless but I'm not sure the port triggering for bittorrent is working properly. It could just be that the swarms for the two torrents I'm using to test things are slow as well as small. With the previous router I had issues with DHCP so I had static IPs on the local machines and therefore could use port forwarding to send all torrent traffic to my machine. Since [livejournal.com profile] hafoc doesn't use bittorrent that was an adequate solution. Now that DHCP is working on the LAN I figured that I should use port triggering to avoid a possible (though unlikely) IP change issue but I'm not seeing the nice little green "lights" on my torrents, just the yellow of a firewalled connection. I haven't made any changes to the firewall and it was working fine with the old router so something must be up with the router settings. I tried port forwarding for the heck of it but there was no appreciable change so I don't think it's the fact I went over to port triggering that's keeping the "your firewalled" indicator up.

Now pardon me while I go and happily geek for a bit more. :)
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
But we all know that. And really this has less to do with ME than with baby Gateway boxen. I believe I mentioned that I wiped out ME and put 2kPro on my brother's machine. And it was working pretty nice, right up until I managed to download AVG and install it. It found a virus immediately but that wasn't a surprise given how long the machine had been up and online trying to download AVG in the first place. The surprise, and problem, started when I walked away from the machine while it was scanning.

I came back to a black screen with a dump of memory displayed. Remembering that I had not disabled the screensaver before walking away I just rebooted, turned off the screensaver, and restarted the scan. It dumped memory again scanning some ntoskrl file. Great. Rebooted again and sat through some very unsettling noises from the hard drive. Boot failed with a memory dump. It was late, and hot, so I turned it off and went to bed.

Booted up fine today, so I saved the AVG install file to the thumbdrive so I wouldn't have to download it again, and started poking around. Found remnants of the WinME installation. Crud. Started a reinstall of 2k, this time I decided to reformat the partition rather than just opting for a "clean install". Drive failure halfway through the format. I've tried everything but the thing is just not recoverable.

Needless to say my brother is not happy. Note that if he had bothered to call me before taking it into his head to pay someone $300 to "fix" his computer he wouldn't be out that $300 plus the cost of a new PC, he's just be out the cost of a new PC. But he "knows" ME (as in it doesn't scare him silly any longer, just makes me swear at it more) so he was against the idea of a new PC running anything other than ME.

We have a cousin that is continually replacing her PCs, she's got a decent one she's willing to sell. Unfortunately I think $500 is a bit much for it since the one I got back in March was that much and was new, not a year or two old. I'll have to cram some comparison shopping into the next couple hours and a few hours tomorrow. Ideally I'd like to have his replacement here and set up by tomorrow late afternoon at the absolute latest. That way I can set up the dialup connection, email, and his printer and scanner. Gods know that no one else in the family is up to that, and I'd rather he didn't pay the rip-off artist to work on his new PC.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
As readers of [livejournal.com profile] hafoc's blog know, I've been working with linux this weekend. This is not entirely on a whim, my laptop runs linux and has since a few weeks after I bought it. The theory is that this will help me keep my unix based skills somewhat functional between bouts of actually using unix on a regular basis (like the Solaris training jobs I was doing). In practice it means that once or twice a year I get the laptop out and spend a day or two updating and patching and playing around a bit. Usually just before I go traveling with it. (Anthrocon!)

So I've updated and patched and played around, enjoying the fact that somewhere between version 7.2 and 9.1 the folks at SuSE have managed to fix the problem with the driver for my laptop's sound card (while ignoring the fact that the current version is now 9.3).

And generally making happy little geek noises while claiming the recliner as the ideal upgrade station.

I've updated Firefox and added all the extensions of which I've grown fond. And I've decided that I don't really need to install Thunderbird. SSH will get me into my mail server while traveling (the main time I use the laptop) and mutt is fine for email without the hassle of having to get downloaded email from the laptop to the desktop after the trip.

Anyway, I decided on a whim to see if the Firefox installation on the laptop will display Japanese. Since I don't actually read Japanese this is purely an ascetic thing, I don't like to see "garbage characters" where there should be text. So I went over to JEDI and let it rip on the word "black" (for no other reason than the fact that I was thinking of Kurogane). Low and behold, kanji and hiragana/katakana all displayed nicely.

Sweet.

I then go and check out Jeffery's Japanese <-> English Dictionary and do the "logical" thing and check the encodings page.... No pretty Japanese.

WTF?

So I remember that I had issues with this page when I used my new XP machine there the first time and go looking for another page to test things on.

My laptop displays Klingon. And a whole bunch of languages I've never head of before.

Kick. Ass.

Now to write myself a note that the encodings test page doesn't work so I won't get myself into another "why doesn't this page work when that one does" tizzy.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
I need a KMFMS shirt or something.

My VLC problems? Microsoft's driver update of the nVidia audio codec interface. The first "audio problem" entry in the VLC forums was my exact problem. Considering that in most forums about video playback the "audio problem" is a lack of appropriate codec I really wasn't expecting my solution to be handed to me so easily.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
Okay video people, any idea what's up with this?

I went to play Noir episode 12 (an OGM file) and it starts up with the volume LOUD, scratchy, and tinny. It sounded like really bad "tape hiss" which is interesting since this came from a digital source. At first I thought I had hit the wrong button last night and had turned up the volume rather than muting my PC, but turning down the volume using the convenient keyboard button did nothing. Reducing the volume on the speaker was the next step.

So I stop the video and tried it again, still very loud, still hissy and scratchy. Maybe it's a bad file I think, so I try one I've already watched. That one sounds horrible too (the "background noise" is so loud that you can't really hear the dialog, since this is dubbed and not subbed this is bad). Okay, maybe I've blown the speakers with that initial burst (I hope not, these are nice speakers), so I play an MP3. No sound at all. Turn up system volume... ah, speakers are fine.

Listen to song and ponder stuff.

Maybe I can play this with some other program.... nope, I've got nothing that will handle an OGM other than VLC. Consider getting codecs for Windows Media Player... see everyone saying get VLC instead. Am not surprised.

Poke around the gazillion and one options with VLC. Resort to returning to defaults in the off chance that I somehow changed something with an errant key stroke. Try video again, still scaring the cats with the audio. *hmph*

This is going to turn into one of those "reboot and all will be fixed" things isn't it?

(So much for video with late lunch.)

Update: Rebooting did not magically fix things. Removing and reinstalling VLC did not magically fix things. I have noticed that the first system sound after an attempt to use VLC is also mangled but then everything goes back to normal. Anyone have any ideas or should I get a chicken to wave over the PC?

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