Thursday, November 29, 2012

An End to Upgrading CPUs?

It is ironic that I would be reading about the end of upgrading CPUs in home PCs a week after doing just that. Over at Ars Technica, there is an article about how Intel is planning to move to soldered on the motherboard processors and probably abandoning sockets.

To those few remaining hobbyist builders who do buy a low end CPU to be upgraded later this is something of concern. Unfortunately for them, this is no longer the norm in home building PCs. Instead we see most people swapping out the entire guts of a system when they upgrade, so this isn’t a big deal to them.

For me, I have always operated on the cheap side of computing and have upgraded processors on most rigs I have had. The three PCs in the house all have had more powerful CPUs dropped in that have extended their lives out considerably. The real world performance gains have been nothing to sneeze at either.

So I’m a little sad to see this kind of change to the industry being talked about. It is far from the first computer component category to implode with dedicated sound cards and video cards becoming niche products made only by a few manufacturers. With most PC users content with the onboard gear, only gamers have kept those two items afloat.

Combine this with the talk of AMD being in serious trouble and we have a recipe for returning to the bad old days of computing where PCs cost two to four grand to buy. Maybe ARM can start making inroads as an architecture against x86, but…

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ever Feel…

Like you’ve been run over by a Mack truck? That’s how yesterday felt thanks to a cold that leveled me. It was so bad my vision blurred forcing me to quit halfway through watching a movie. Today is better, thankfully.

In the process of writing the review for Spirited Away, I took just over 400 screen captures and now am choosing 40 to use. After that, more will be taken for the extras and narrowed down to ten. Then I have to get The Last Starfighter screen captures underway. With a lot of luck and perseverance, both reviews will be up by Saturday.

Meanwhile, I present a video I found on YouTube of another 1950’s jet fighter since I have been waxing nostalgic since Thanksgiving:

The F-89D Scorpion all weather interceptor used unguided rockets instead of guns!

It is a rare thing to find color footage of forgotten jets like the F-89D. It is a pity the massive volley fire of rockets was not shown.

The Canadians had a more successful jet in the same role, the Avro CF-100 Canuck. Fortunately, there is more footage of it around:

Check out Part 2 on YouTube too.

They look like Mk. 4 models to me and here you do get to see rocket pods fired as well as guns. Early F-89’s were gun armed with six 20mm cannons, but the Delta model on only carried rockets or guided missiles.

I am perpetually amazed at what engineers and designers pulled off with the technology of the time.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

How to Survive Black Friday

Massive swarms of shoppers bustling about like yellow jackets on the prowl for meat or sugar is not my idea of fun to deal with. It has been many years since I braved a store during the Black Friday weekend and so far I’ve succeeded at avoiding the perilous locations. For those of us (mainly of the male persuasion) who consider shopping boring and/or painful, the Web has given us a way to safely survive Black Friday.

Online sales.

In my case, there usually isn’t anything I’m even interested in the big store sales, but there is gold to be found at online vendors. Yesterday, I snared Iron Man 2 on Blu-ray at for under $4 along with a couple more heavily discounted BDs. My little Christmas present to myself, now that I have taken care of required gifts to others.

Not once while browsing did I get crowded away from a display, though a cat did jump on me. Spending long minutes if not hours standing in line to get in and also to check out? Did not happen. Only a few mouse clicks were required, which is not terribly taxing. It was bitterly windy and I did not feel it at all.

I have come to the conclusion this is the manly way to shop. You can be as under dressed as you want while lounging around with food and drink, yet still score a decent deal. This isn’t just surviving Black Friday – it is surviving it in total comfort without any stress.

You should try it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Turkey Day!

Here in the States, it is the holiday of Thanksgiving tomorrow.  Festivities mean I won’t be online, so I’m wishing everyone a safe and thankful holiday a little early.

A few things that I am grateful for this year:

  1. Completing my fourth straight workout on the home gym and finally getting back to where I was before the bout of Lyme Disease.
  2. Being able to afford upgrading my PC so that it will run for a few more years. Intel Q9450 for the win!
  3. Qualifying for my carry permit.
  4. Finding and acquiring every Japanese made Godzilla movie. A task much harder than you would think!
  5. Successfully repairing my beat up hiking shoes to give me more miles of treading.
  6. Bad movies to watch on bad days.
  7. Finding a permanent diet change that has helped my digestive tract to behave.
  8. Fractale and C-Control actually put out on Blu-ray here in the U.S.A. Thank you, Funimation!
  9. Discovering I am not the weakest link when online gaming with younger friends.
  10. Having the Subaru back in action again.
  11. The help of friends to get to church and providing a place to stay overnight for those long winter months without the car.
  12. Having random strangers stop and actually read the posts on the blog. It may be a small amount of traffic, but it is nice to finally give back to the Web after years of reading others’ contributions.
  13. Turkeys for being so edible.
  14. The patience of God for putting up with me.
  15. The number fifteen, so I can conclude this list in units of five.

So what is on your gratitude list this year?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fractale Episode 7: Veneer Town

The series shifts into high gear and the social commentary into overdrive when Clain and Nessa are introduced to the last city where Fractale functions completely. Nothing is what it seems in an episode that reveals more about Phryne and Nessa. Fractale: Reiterated continues with updated HD screen captures and revised text.

Fractale TitleFractale 07 Veneer Town

Be warned, this episode isn’t shy with its critiques of urban living and the chattering middle and upper classes. The world that watches the Kardashians, Big Brother, and The Jersey Shore  is not that much different from what we see when the series finally depicts a city. What is portrayed is not flattering at all.

Fractale 07 Photographing NessaFractale 07 Photographing Nessa 2

Veneer Town begins on the Danan, where Clain has turned into a photography addict taking pictures of life aboard the Granite’s airship. Living life through the narrow focus of the viewfinder lands him in trouble with the girls once again, since he doesn’t realize they are washing their delicates. Please, somebody shoot this dead horse  running joke!

An attempt to photograph Nessa fails, since she doesn’t show up on the camera.  Clain is apologetic, but the ten year old doppel doesn’t care because she loves fun, especially when he is having fun. A film noir style narration by the boy reveals he didn’t know at the time what lay behind her smile.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Prisoner Episode 2: Free For All

Number 6 runs for office when election time hits the Village. Drawn in by the idea he might be able to engineer a mass escape, the nameless hero tries his hand at politics with the assistance of a new maid. Cold war paranoia meets campaign season in a fast moving and thought provoking second episode.

The Prisoner Main TitleThe Prisoner 02 Free For All

There is are differences of opinion on which episodes go where in continuity of The Prisoner, but I agree with A&E that this should be the second. Written by Patrick McGoohan under an alias, Paddy Fitz, and directed by him, it shows a Number 6 who still does not understand the ways of the Village which should place it near the beginning.

The Prisoner 02 TelephoneThe Prisoner 02 The New Number 2

It all starts with a phone call that rapidly becomes creepy and thoroughly intimidating. Wait, I should back up and note that there is a new Number 2 (Eric Portman) in the opening credits. He even calls himself “the new Number 2.” Disorienting as always, the show rarely lets us relax.

How would you feel if the person on the other end of the phone call suddenly appeared on your turned off television set? Unnerved, perhaps? How about hanging up on said caller and having him walk in the door mere seconds later? That is what happens to Number 6 when Number 2 calls – what a way to start out a day.

Another Experiment

After only getting the two votes in the poll, I briefly put up another only to yank it down since it wasn’t going to get any votes anyway. So ends one experiment on the blog. Today starts another experiment with introducing ads to the blog.

I will try to have them be as unobtrusive as possible and am looking at tailored ads for the review posts -- if that can be made to work. There is much for me to learn about how all of it functions, which is half the reason for the experiment. The other half is to see what if any money can be made to support my DVD and Bluray addiction.

Since I use movies that I purchased or were given as gifts, there is an actual financial cost to writing those reviews. No rental discs are used and the only reviews that I didn’t own the discs involve one of my father’s DVDs and experiments using streaming from Crackle and Hulu. The latter two led to purchases and the reviews are being rewritten over time.

We will see if I even make it to my first dollar on the ads. Such are the perils of the mad scientist lifestyle.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Health 11-17-2012

Things are improving, other than the pain index. Today I just completed my second workout of the week. I will be trying to get weight training in every other day and have shortened the routine slightly to compensate. Also, hitting the 45 minute plus mark seems to be detrimental rather than helpful, so this reduces it to around 30 minutes.

My hopes are that the strengthening of muscles will help with the back pain with a focus on the upper pinched nerves.

This is the first time I’ve been able to successfully work out on the home gym since the bout of Lyme Disease five months ago. It has been a much longer road back from that than I wished for.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How to Fly a Skyray

I ran across this video of a nearly forgotten U.S. Navy jet fighter that was quite a performer in its day. The Douglas F4D-1 Skyray was a fascinating bird with a modified delta wing and an incredible climb rate. Hampered by the Westinghouse jet engine fiasco of the late ‘40s, the plane had to make do with a Pratt and Whitney J57 engine instead. Even so, it was a great short range interceptor and even stood duty with NORAD for awhile.

From ground checks to landing, all is covered in this long video.

Be warned, it is a long video and I almost felt qualified to fly the Skyray after watching it. Too bad there aren’t any around; it was a very good looking fighter.

Sick of Polls? How About Another One?

 Don't worry, this one isn't political.

Since I have decided to devote even more time to the blog, I thought I'd try an experiment and ask visitors to vote on the next movie to review after I finish up the one I'm working on left over from Halloween. Whether or not I get much feedback is iffy, but hey -- it is worth a shot.

Take a look over at the right hand side, the poll will be there for a week.

So please vote!

UPDATED Well that went slightly better than expected, since I did not expect any votes at all. But the bad news for me is that it is a tie with two votes cast in total. So now I'll have to do both reviews to be fair.

The winners are Spirited Away and The Last Starfighter with one vote each. Given the quality of the DVD editions I have the reviews will take some time to write. They will be posted the same day in order of the votes received.

Health 11-15-2012

Not a good week so far. I don’t know if the weather vacillating is the cause, but my pain index has spiked quite a bit. That has affected my sleep, which is irritating because last week was good in that category. I’m also trying to develop an ear infection in the left ear, so the immune system is doing its usual stellar job.

Video gaming has shown me to be dull in the reflex and concentration areas as well. Repetitive tasks that don’t requite swiftness are the order of the day, err, week.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Kimi ni Todoke Episode 4: Rumors

Sawako’s social learning curve grows steeper when she encounters just how vicious rumors can be amongst teenagers. Insecurity, suspicion, and confusion rise to the fore in a shift toward a darker storyline. But first, lot’s of lighthearted chibi moments!

Kimi ni Todoke Title 1Kimi ni Todoke 04 Rumors

I don’t think there is a more vicious creature on the face of the planet than a teenage girl. Sorry honey badgers, Tasmanian devils, and wolverines – you don’t even come close. The mini-arc that begins with the fourth episode depicts the darker side of high school very well and reminds me of why I would never want to be a teen again.

Kimi ni Todoke 04 Sawako's ParentsKimi ni Todoke 04 Bathtub

Things begin innocuously enough when Sawako’s parents notice she is happy. Her father’s reaction to his wife’s speculation she might have met a boy indicates he may not be ready for that. It is cute and comical in the right measures.

By the way, the above screen capture is as close to fan service as you will ever see in the show. There is no need to have fan service when you have a good story to tell. I wish more anime production teams would understand this.

Sawako lounges in the bathtub while thinking about all the good things that have happened to her. Images of Kazehaya, Chizuru, and Ayane all flash through her mind’s eye. Life can’t get much better for her, she thinks.

Improving HD Streaming

Ever start writing something and go completely blank due to interruptions? This is one of those posts. I know I had something else in mind… Oh well. So I’ll write a little bit about some tech upgrades while the brain cells attempt to fire. It isn’t even a cold morning.

A visit from my sister and her husband last month revealed that the intermittent streaming problems with the cobbled together media center PC had become an issue. Trying to properly stream the Notre Dame game in high definition became an exercise in pulling teeth. After that, continued issues with other sites, especially Crunchyroll, forced me to do some exploring and tinkering.

While the current WiFi is only 802.11g in the house, it should be sufficient for 720p rates. However, research revealed issues with even the most recent standards. Stuttering and complete stops are common complaints across the Web. Some people advocate using power line networking modules, but this rickety old farm house would be a poor place to attempt that.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Too Much Time on My Hands

Having spent nearly two decades as an online news and politics junkie, it has been quite a surprise to find out just how much time it consumed daily. I may not have quit cold turkey, but it is close to that extreme. So it is amazing how much longer days seem; I look at the clock and it is still the morning when it would normally be the afternoon.

The readjustment is still in progress, but I’ve already gotten started on some projects that were on the backburner. Okay, they were not on the backburner. They were pure speculation wedged behind some dusty books on a remote bookshelf. You know, the dark places where even dust bunnies fear to go.

One minor project is cataloguing my movie collection and putting it into a spreadsheet or database. It is a bigger task than I expected, but is well underway now. That will help keep things in order for movie reviews, not to mention when I loan the things out.

While not earthshaking in consequences or intellectual depth, it is a good example of the little things that have gone undone due to a lack of time. Now that time has opened up for me.

At least I won’t be suffering the fate shown in this classic video:

Remember when pop rock was actually good?

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Fractale Episode 6: The Farthest Town

The series kicks into gear when a stop to repair the airship leads to a chance encounter with refugees, another Lost Millennium faction, and a mysterious man. Things aren’t quite what they seem when Clain learns a harsh lesson about appearances and we get further insight into the problems of Fractale’s world. UPDATED  November 2012: Fractale Reiterated continues with HD pictures and revised text.

Fractale TitleFractale 06 The Farthest Town

The beginning of the episode is very reminiscent of a Studio Ghibli film as we are introduced to another remote farmhouse like Clain’s. But this one has a gigantic cobbled together antenna array in back, along with a mysterious middle aged man pounding away on it.  From his lofty perch, he spies the Granite’s airship landing in the area.

Fractale 06 Mystery ManFractale 06 Sunda Wonders

It is a lovely scene and The Farthest Town is filled with more like it. Visually, this is one of the prettier episodes in the whole series so I found myself taking far more screen captures than I needed to.  But as superficially attractive as it may be, it doesn’t lack in story depth.

Focusing on the Near

It is time to be as myopic as the vast majority of people are and focus nearly exclusively on my life. First steps were taken this morning:

  1. Delete political and newspaper bookmarks
  2. Delete the ridiculous amounts of emails inhabiting the inbox
  3. Profit

Hey, it makes as much sense as anything these days, though I’m a little fuzzy on how step two gets to three. Forward and downward!


After the pain at the dentist today, a nap will be in order. Then work on the movie review I failed to get in for Halloween or maybe a revamp of an earlier review. One thing is for sure, I won’t be eating any apples today.

Health 11-7-2012

Today I have a bright and early dental appointment with multiple cavities to be filled. Early December will see the bad molar extracted; it is good that I am used to dealing with pain.

The humidifier is up and running for the season. An unexpected benefit is that I’m sleeping better thanks to it, so I wonder if I should have been using it during the drought this year. Even joint pain has been lessened since I fired it up again, which I find very odd.

Time’s Up, America

With the re-election of Barack Obama to the presidency, there is no chance of turning things around. My analysis of the race turned out to be wrong due to two factors: thinking the 2010 elections indicated a change in the electorate and believing the Democratic Party affiliation sample was overstated dramatically. Well, 2010 appears to have been a temper tantrum rather than a real desire to change course and this is no longer a center-right country, but a left wing nation. Blame will be put on Romney’s campaign, but the reality is that we really are a +6 Democrat country despite what Gallup said.

The gains by the Democrats in the House and Senate show that nationally and the Minnesota state legislature has switched back to the DFL. So much for Minnesota being in play, not to mention many other states so listed. Pot legalization passed in Colorado and Washington, while gay marriage did in Maine. The left now own the country and will continue to do so until the country fails.

The media claim there is no mandate for Obama with this close an election, but I disagree. You will be seeing a lot of executive orders bypassing Congress in the future, for humility is not a trait the President has in any quantity. So, yes, he has a mandate.

In the end, we always end up with the President we deserve as a nation, not what we as individuals may deserve. Things are going to go very badly from here on out, though it was probably unavoidable no matter the outcome of the election.

With that in mind, I call upon all who read this post to come unto Christ, for it is only through him that we can be saved – not by any mortal politician.

Locally, Greg Davids and Jeremy Miller both won with 58% of the vote in a district that went DFL for everything else. Both amendments failed easily as did Quist and Bills.

For me, this is most likely the last hurrah in national and international affairs, since I feel a deep need to get my personal house in order. I’ve been a news junkie for all my adult life and it is time for that to change. Having fought the good fight, I am content with what I have done. Time to focus on the things in my life I can control.

Monday, November 05, 2012

The Other 2012 Races

Like most political junkies, the Presidential race is the main focus for me, especially given what is on the line this time out. But there are other offices up for election this year, so it is past time for me to say something about them.

Minnesota District 28 is both brand spanking new and old at the same time. It used to be District 31, so I hope I don’t mistype that repeatedly.

The state senate boundaries stayed the same, so it looks like it will be another close one. I am voting for Jeremy Miller, who has done a very good job as a rookie senator. He easily deserves a full four year term to expand on what he started in 2010. My hopes are that the margin of victory expands, but it will depend somewhat on coat tails from above. More on that later.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Why I Am Voting for Mitt Romney

Earlier this year, I would have told you that I was voting against Barack Obama because I didn’t expect to have a candidate I could vote for.

Four years ago, America faced a choice that would decide whether the country would continue on or embrace change while in the middle of a crisis. When the latter was decided on, many voters assumed that change for change’s sake was a great thing. However, many did not understand anything about Obama because much of his past was buried deeply by the main stream news media. As a result, change did come and things got far worse.

Change for change’s sake is a teenager’s concept of improving life. The results of four years of President Barack Obama has resulted in things listed in this post by anonymous blogger Zombie. Please read them since they include a great deal that you will never hear from the national media.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Proof the Japanese Are Weird

Hatsune Blitzkrieg.

I rest my case.

At least Squid Girl and Godzilla got some cameos in this odd tribute to the vocaloid idol. It still amazes me how obsessed Japan is with the Nazis, which goes to show how poor a job McArthur did in running the occupation.

Speaking of Squid Girl, the second season will start coming out on DVD in March. That’s good news for those of us who revere our squid overlord.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

First Flight for J-31, China’s Second Stealth Fighter

I was reading the Telegraph and ran across the news that the J-31 prototype has flown. Anybody who thinks we don’t need the F-35 needs to wake up about now. The aircraft is a pretty bird, typical of Lockheed’s designs.

Looks way too much like an F-22 to be a coincidence!

I also found the first comments on the video at YouTube to be informative:

:D Now, america has a match. Finally, they can't push their way around. There's someone that can stop them.

GimiGlider 57 minutes ago

arise n may our blood n flesh build the new Chinese great wall.

long live China!

megaoceanpark 1 hour ago


CCPJAYLPHAN1994 2 hours ago

Nationalism is very strong in China these days and there is an arms race slowly ramping up in Asia due to it. South Korea and Japan are working on stealth fighter prototypes (actually closer to concept testbeds) while looking at the F-35 for possible procurement.

Interesting times.