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Strip 598, Volume 4, Page 74


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< Piro >

the warm glow of the cute, evil timesink...

"computer 'smithing"

Saturday - August 21, 2004

[Piro] - 00:12:00 - [link here]

Last week I did something that i've been wanting to do for a while -- I stripped win2k off of my old Dell Inspiron 8100 laptop, wiped the hard drive and repartitioned it (after archiving a lot of junk i'll probably never need unless i actually delete it) and did a fresh install of winXP.

You might remember when i got this Dell about two and a half years ago. It's a potent, refurbished little beast that is more of a mobile desktop than a laptop (the bloody thing weighs 7.5 lbs). It came with Windows ME, which i didn't even boot up before i repartitioned and installed win2k over the top of it. This old Dell has been through a lot. It was the laptop that failed miserably in our attempt to show flash content at the first Naze Nani Megatokyo event at Otakon in 2002. I used it to process files for the first book. I did well over a year's worth of comics on it. Up till now, I haven't done a clean install of the operating system. As a result, there was the usual muck and clutter that slows down windows machines and makes them cry for the mercy of a fresh OS install.

Ever since I switched to the mac side of things, i have to say i've been enjoying not having to deal with the peculiarities of the windows operating systems. That isn't to say that macs don't have thier own peculiarities - they just seem to involve a lot less theatrics and drama than I was used to. I'm responsible for enough of my own drama that i don't need any from my computing platform. That said, there are things i i've missed not having windows as my main OS. All computing platforms have their own flavors, their own pluses and minuses, so i don't subscribe to the idea that one might be better than another. Even so, I did approach this rebuild with some apprehension.

Not because I haven't done windows installs before, it's just that with them you really sorta need to be current on things in the windows world to do things right. You know, all the tricks, settings, drivers, bits of twine, witches root and blood for sacrificial offerings to ensure a good build. Not really hard to do when you are using the platform, but you gotta do some research when you've been worshiping other gods for over a year :) I used to do regular rebuilds on an office full of Windows 3.1 machines running AutoCad, so i know how important this can be. The bad memories run deep.

The pleasant thing about XP, even over win2k, is how much easier it is to install. Good lord, its like night and day compared to the horror of a 3.1 install. Once you get past the... er, rather ugly (IMHO) colors of the basic XP theme, the interface shows a lot of small improvements. Once everything installed and even had the SP2 upgrades in place, it was like a different machine.

Given the fact that I have my mac G4 (Reki) at the Factory and my little 12" powermac (Hikari) for when I'm home, you might question exactly why i went to the trouble to rebuild the Dell (named Rakka -- see a pattern here? :P). Well, MT may not be a hardcore gaming comic like it sorta started out as, but that doesn't mean I don't miss playing games. I'm pretty much done traveling for the year (with the exception of Anime Weekend Atlanta next month, which Seraphim and I are going to), the store is up and running, the big crunch time of the past six months has started to level out... dammnit to hell, i deserve some friggin game time. :P

If you wanna hear from someone who is far more current and more on the cutting edge of games in play these days, you'll wanna read what Dom has to say about things. I'm a bit more behind the times. Not because i don't know what everyone is playing, it's just that I'm a little more quirky about the games i like to play. I rebuilt Rakka because i wanted to get back to playing Ragnarok Online.

Now, for everyone who has already started to write an email to me groaning about how RO is boring, or how much RO sucks, or how much Gravity sucks, or how i should be playing FFXI instead, save it. I like RO. I like RO because it's cute, it's quirky, its fun (for me) it meanders, and i like the feel of it. I don't play a game because others like it, i play it because i like it. Remember that old rant i wrote about "Generally Accepted Opinions"? Yeah, same thing.

The sad things about my little RO obsession is that i've wanted to get into the game for ages, but never really had the time. I tried during various beta phases. I tried when you had to pay to play during the beta phases. I wanted to play when all my friends were playing. Now, the game is out of beta and a fully released. the RO website doesn't suck anymore. All my friends have stopped playing. RO is "old news". I actually don't mind.

"I'll help you level up!" was what friends always used to tell me, but there was always a part of me that rebelled against that idea, at least initially. I wanted to do my time as a true noob and figure things out the hard way. Having someone walk me through everything just seemed... like it'd take the fun out of it. Part of that comes from a very single player mindset i suffer from. Kind of odd that'd i'd take so much interest in an online roll playing game :P

Anyways, i won't bore you with more details about learning the ropes while trying to level up out of being a novice. And even more odd is the fact that the extreme lateness of fridays comic had nothing to do with RO - i wish it did, that'd be a better excuse than the reason you're tired of hearing - struggled with the art, beat my head on the desk till the dialogue at least started to work. :)

< Seraphim >

help the folks in florida :)

"green grass"

Wednesday - August 18, 2004

[Seraphim] - 00:18:00 - [link here]

I remember August in my childhood being hot. It was the dog days of summer and in Michigan it was hot and humid and nights were spent flipping the pillow to find the 'cool' side. There was running through the sprinklers, going to the pool everyday, drinking ice cold lemonade and getting a brain freeze, being too hot to run after the ice cream truck, or just sitting around waiting for a storm to cool things off.

I walked outside last night and it was cold enough to see my breath. That is the universal kid sign for WINTER. Over at Weather Underground it says Ann Arbor, MI is 49 degrees. Something is wrong. This 'summer' (if you can even call it that) has been overly wet and unseasonably cold. My flowers are leggy from no sun and the blooms are stunted and rot before they open. They look like Audrey II from the "Little Shop of Horrors".

Weather Underground lets you look up the history either monthly or weekly and compare across years. In July 2002 there were 15 days that were 90 degrees or above - this year we had one whole day above 90 degrees and Piro and I weren't even in the state. I live for summer and warmth. May only had 7 days without rain. That was also the month that lightening hit nearby and blew the phone off the receiver. I haven't even recovered from last winter's seasonal affective disorder. The weather is very strange for southern Michigan this time of year.

And get this, just get this - - - the grass is actually GREEN. No - that is seriously wrong. In August in Michigan the lawns are supposed to be brown and parched and should have been scorched since July. Listen you Oregonians and Washingtonites - take your lousy Pacific Northwest weather back!

And good luck to all in Florida and anyone with family down there!!! I see the victims on the news and the majority of them could be my grandparents down there. If you can spare a few bucks check out the American Red Cross donation page. Charities rely on the many making small donations and not a few making giant endowments. Thanks!


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