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Strip 552, Volume 4, Page 33

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< Piro >

a slightly broken scan...

"broken old friend"

Tuesday - April 27, 2004

[Piro] - 22:30:00 - [link here]

[quick update - april 28, 2004]

I just have to post this today just... because. :) So pardon my fanboy moment here. Clannad was released today (in japan, of course) and no, i don't have my copy yet and no i is not why i was late with today's comic. Give me time to get a copy, THEN i'll let you know when it delays the comic. :P

A friend of mine has ordered the normal version for me, tho i do sorta wish i had gone for the limited release version (it comes with a blanket and lots of other goodies). I also have the Pre-Clannad disk coming too... Heh. I'm such a fanboy.

more on clannad in my next rant :) And before you ask, Clannad is Japanese only, and it does NOT have any adult content (it is an all ages game) :P Many were surprised by that, but I think that games like these can do just fine without the unf unf factor. :) Here's some basic info on the game, in case you've never heard of it before. :P

---

I really had a great time at Sakuracon, something I will go into in more length tomorrow, but that doesn't mean I haven't had my share of problems. Traveling across the country is always a relative pain, and having to fly to one city then change planes to get to your destination is just t3h bl3h.

My flight out there wasn't too bad. In fact, it was a nice, smooth flight on which I finished all of the drawings for Monday's comic. Fateful, these drawings, it seems. For they are the last drawings I was able to scan on my old friend, my Canon N670U scanner.

I bought this scanner back in early 2001, around the time I got that Dell laptop, and I've been using it to scan in drawings for Megatokyo ever since. I tried to replace it once with another canon scanner, but when I bought my Mac G4, that particular scanner didn't work with the Macs, and so it was back to the old N670U.

Not a bad scanner, really. Nice and small, inexpensive (I think it was $60 at the time), and did what I needed it to do. People often ask me what kind of special scanner I use to scan my drawings, and the truth is there really is nothing special about it. My N670U was just a plain, basic portable scanner. One neat thing about it was that it used LEDs rather than a cathode diode as a light source. It had a little worm gear that moved the scanning chassy back and forth and it was a noisy sucker. It was slow by expensive scanner standards, but it worked fine. It was also pretty portable - I could unplug it, stuff it in my bag with it's USB cable, and scan stuff while away from home. This, unfortunately, proved to be it's undoing.

I'm not really sure what happened, but I place it down to three things, all three of which were my fault and no fault of any airline, Sakuracon staff person, the city of Seattle, the city of Chicago or anything else. I can't even blame my cats. The first thing I did wrong was not pack it with enough padding. Sure, it was nice and light and thin, but that probably meant that it was more sensitive to being knocked around. I had it in my rolling bag (the same one I keep the camcorder in).

The second thing I did was, well, I was pulling the bag behind me on it's nice little wheels on the way to the car to head to the airport when I hit a crack in the pavement, and the whole bag slipped from my hand, and slammed to the ground. When I finally arrived in Seattle, I was able to set myself up and start scanning the drawings to put the comic together. Nothing on the scanner appeared broken, but something wasn't right. It kept telling me it was locked, and that I had to unlock it to continue. But it was unlocked. I tried it several times, finally tilting it slightly, wondering if somehow something was stuck. That did the trick. I was able to scan everything, and then proceeded to have almost no time to actually finish the comic until monday.

Not that I didn't do some drawings. I did several gift arts, including one for the Make-a-Wish foundation charity auction, and I wanted to scan them to post on the MT site. One small problem, I was never able to get the scanner to really work again. As far as it is concerned, it is locked, or stuck, and it won't allow me to scan anything. Finally, it allowed me to scan one last drawing (the drawing i did for the Make-A-Wish charity auction), but it had a line running thru it. After that, it would not do it again.

Figuring that it was just me, I figured that I would look at it when I got home. Unfortunately, I think I managed to hammer the nail further into the coffin while getting off the plane in the jetway at Chicago. Once again, the wheels got caught on the lip of a ramp, and the bag went down hard. Oops. That's should fix the problem -_-

Getting home at 12 midnight (there were lots of delays yesterday due to weather) I looked over what I had assembled so far in the comic, and felt that a few of the drawings needed to be changed. I went to work on the changes when it occurred to me that my scanner might not be working. I went to plug it in here and sure enough, it said it was locked, and nothing I could do short of taking a hammer to it would free it to scan for me. I had to face facts - my old scanner was probably broken.

So I made due with what I had already scanned (it turned out ok) and glumly went to CompUSA to pick out a new scanner. I think I was kinda grumpy with the salesman in the store who kinda wouldn't leave me alone so I could look over the scanners in peace (I know what I am looking for, please leave me alone) but now I feel kinda bad about it. I picked up another Canon, an 8000F which so far seems really nice (maybe now I can start scanning those japan trip slides from 9 years ago). It does a wonderful job of scanning stuff, its much quieter than the N670U, a hella lot faster, much higher resolution and color depth - basically, a much better scanner.

But I still feel kinda sad about the old one. I've used that thing a lot in the past 2 years. It's my fault it's not working. I suppose I could wrestle with it more and see what I could do to make it work, but I dunno... computers and components are funny things. Usually, when we get something new, the old stuff gets kicked to the curb and we don't worry too much about it. Pride and joy equipment becomes stuff that gets tossed in the closet a year later when it's replaced. Maybe its because I broke it that I feel bad. Maybe because this scanner was quite literally the window thru which much of my work found its way into the world.

pretty silly, but that's me. I'm feeling tired and oddly drained today, and my motivation is pretty low, but I'm working along slowly on wednesday's comic. This week's schedule seems pretty well borked from the outset, but I'll still have 3 comics done when it's over. Need to put the new scanner thru it's paces.

Oh, and those of you who gloated and rubbed my face in the fact that I missed a comic on friday, your words cannot hurt me anymore. I got Tycho love this weekend. The man said some very nice things about me, we had a great panel where we actually made people laugh. We pointed and laughed at people together. they wrote a comic about me for Monday. The man even hugged me.

It was some kinda special. Take that, MT Hate Club. :P

In all seriousness, Sakuracon was a lot of fun, and it was great to see Gabe and Tycho again. As for monday's MT comic, the other special thing about it was that both Daichi-san and Abe-san saw some of it as I was putting it together, but I'll tell you more about that in my next rant. right now, I need to get busy on tomorrows comic. Gonna be using this new scanner to put it together.

I don't know why, but that makes me kinda sad.

---

errata
(correcting misinformation in a previous rant)

it has been pointed out to me by several people that the little tags on CDs, in books and other merchandise are usually NOT RFID tags. Doh, that will teach me to read up a little more before I prattle on about things. One source, who asked that I not reveal his secret identity, gave the best summation of what these tags really are, so I'll post the info here:

These aren't RFID tags. There is no information stored on them. These are SensorMatic/Checkpoint "EAS" systems. The little tags that are on the books have two states. On and Off. Once de-activated, they don't re-activate. RFID tags have the ability to store fairly significant amounts of data on them. (However, if the tag doesn't de-activate, it's permanently on. The companies know this, and sell rolls of "permanently on" tags as a pricier product) Here is a Nice page on the specs.
I guess not everything is evil. Well, mostly not evil, or something like that. Sorry for the gaff.

< Dom >

Oop ack!

"Drive Away Dream"

Friday - April 30, 2004

[Dom] - 08:00:00 - [link here]

Okay, so here's an updated list of the companies I currently have appointments with or can piggyback into via Chris Baker:

Activision
Atlus
Blizzard
Koei
Konami
Namco
Nintendo
Sammy
Sega
SNK Neo Geo

These are the companies whose PR contacts I've gotten in touch with, but don't have a set appointment time yet:

Bandai
Bioware
Square Enix

Those are the companies on my list. Most were on my last list, too--and if they're on this list, it means that YES, I will see what they have on display at the show (this means you, overzealous Square Enix fans). If you have something you want to see from companies not on this list, by all means, contact me--Fred wants me to check out the Ragnarok Online people, while a few other fans have piped up wanting to see NCsoft's Guild Wars.

Guild Wars is kind of interesting to me, because I saw an extreeeeemely early version of it last year alongside City of Heroes, and the design was pretty novel--for an MMORPG at least, not for ex-Blizzard employees and Magic players. In Guild Wars, see, there's no monthly fee. You buy the game, you get to play everything that's in the game. The company's profit beyond the initial purchase will come from expansions. This is the interesting part: people who are without the expansions can still go to the new zones along with people who have the expansion, but will not be able to initiate missions in those zones themselves (the developers compared it to Magic: the Gathering's expansion system, where the old decks are still playable against the new 'uns).

Speaking of Magic, I'll probably be heading to the Invitational in the Wizards booth at some point--though I already have Brian Kibler's autograph, I might as well get Kai Budde's and Zvi Mowshowitz's. I'm such an ubergeek... what other person in this lifetime would like autographs from Joseph Campbell, Kai Budde, Vladimir Guerrerro, Barry Bonds, Yu Suzuki, Phil Foglio, Chiba Saeko, Misato Mitsumi and Aaron McGruder?

You know what? Don't answer that, if there's anyone else like me out there, I'll need to kill them.

Back to appointment making and some translation duty, talk to you guys later.

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