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< Piro >

high voltage stuffs...

"back to three in one"

Sunday - September 9, 2007

[Piro] - 11:33:11 - [link here]

Summary: I'll be doing two comics for one more week, this Tuesday and Friday, and then returning to a full 3 comic per week schedule on Monday, September 17th. Expect more updates here and on Fredart during the week as well.

The past two weeks have been pretty productive for me. One of the reasons i needed to drop to a 2 comic per week schedule for a few weeks was because there were a lot of things to clear off my todo list before baby comes and, well... i needed a little bit of breathing room.

I put that breathing room to good work and got some things done around the house that have needed doing since Sarah and found out we were expecting. The past six months have REALLY gone by fast. Sarah is due in December, and as you probably can guess, that is coming up alarmingly fast. With each comic taking 1.5 full days to do, and all of the medical stuff, doctors visits, the MG store, etc, I was getting really worried that we were going to bring the baby home to a "ok, dad better start working on the nursery now' kind of situation. I don't really want to be that kinda dad. :P

The most complicated stuff i had to deal with was some of the wiring. The house is over 80 years old and some of the wiring is a little odd. The electrical service is fairly new and we had some of the pre-existing DIY horrors fixed when we moved in by the addition of another panel. This fixed the no-no of having multiple wires going into 15amp breakers, but it left me with not knowing what circuit breakers were leading where. First thing i had to do was run the entire house and re-label everything... an amazing pain in the ass. Some of the circuiting choices a previous homeowner had made here boggle all senses :P

The main thing I have been trying to do is clean up some of the scarier old outlets and switches in the house, install some GFIs where needed, etc.. Nothing like trying to figure out a bizzare old 3-way switch that you have no idea what it does. I seriously think it really does something like this a few doors down.

The good news for those of you who suddenly cringed at the idea of me working with wiring is that i have a very healthy respect for electricity and i came out of the more difficult electrical upgrades unscathed. When working as an architect, one of my projects was the addition of a secondary service to a local hospital. By code, Hospitals require a lot of redundancy in their electrical systems. There are Life Safety and Emergency power systems (I've installed at least two massive generators in hospitals) and in this case an entirely separate, secondary main in case there were any massive equipment failures on the primary main (which had some fairly old equipment).

When you start looking at what they have to do when they bring power off of main transmission lines you don't need examples of what can happen to learn respect for it. Of course, we DID have some examples (i remember turning a charred and blackened coupler over in my hands that was pulled from a blown transformer after a lightning storm). And while i'm still fascinated by the rather intense ways high voltage circuit breakers work, i'm quite content to leave the actual working with them to real electricians :) (on a more sober note, there were two deadly accidents within the local construction community during my years working there. Electricity is nothing to be trifled with - which is why Largo is crazier and stupider than many of you might think sometimes :)

The projects around here are by no means finished yet but are well underway, which is a huge relief for me. My focus this week is to get back to driving forward with several Megatokyo related projects that also need attention. The new website, finishing more scripts and balancing out the rest of this chapter, working to get ahead a little so that my production schedule is not up against the due date so often, the fact that a comic page should NOT take a whole day and a half to produce... etc. I also want to revisit and tweak the last comic - it was a bit of an experiment, going with out dialogue, but now that i've been looking at it i've decided that i need to add the dialogue.

Thanks for your patience with the month of 2 comic weeks. I really don't want to make this a permanent switch - the comic moves too slowly as it is, and my work this week is to focus on how to make that happen properly.

Now if i could just figure out what that center switch in the hall does.

(note: the rant image is not one of my photographs, it is one i found on the web while looking for photos of overhead wiring textures in Tokyo. I am working with better clipping tools these days that will help me keep better track of where i get things from. I really like to give credit properly when i use something.)

< Dom >


Thursday - August 23, 2007

[Dom] - 10:30:00 - [link here]

So not only has pixiebell been riding me for a month to write a new rant, but her sister Kuromi is now in on the act. And since her sister actually lives within striking distance of me and has deadly accuracy with a dodgeball, I find myself slogging through the MegaTokyo back end again.

You see, that's what's really keeping me from ranting more often - it's not that I don't like the writing. I LOVE writing. I have started writing for myself again (though it's for a D&D campaign, at least it's motivating me to work with weekly deadlines), and I still contribute to Newtype. Heck, I've been asked to write for some indie rags, and I think I just might take them up on their offer.

It's not that I don't like MegaTokyo, either. I love this site, and I love working with Fred. I've been here since the beginning, and if things go well, I'll turn off the lights on the way out.

But as you may or may not know, Megatokyo as a site was never designed to be as big as it was. So it's a giant patchwork, and it really shows on the back end.

Here's the process for writing a rant:
Step 1: Open up a browser and navigate to the SQL back end of MT, and create a table entry in the database for the rant. Write the rant, using appropriate meta-data.
Step 2: Assuming that I'm not using the default graphic (the charming picture of me you see above), find an appropriate image, resize it to 300x245 (and seriously, what the hell kind of proportion is that?) via some kind of image editor and save it.
Step 3: Open up a secure FTP program and hit up the MegaTokyo file server, navigating from /home/Dom to the /rantpics folder way somewhere in /htdocs. Pray that the server is accepting files at the moment, and keep that window open.
Step 4: Log into MegaTokyo via a shell, as root. Try and remember what the correct command and path is to run recache.php, and wait 5 minutes as everything runs.
Step 5: Remember that secure FTP client? Go back into it and dig into the RSS, then hand-edit the RSS feed, save it, and quit out.

In all, this process takes about an hour beyond writing the rant itself, and good god does it get tedious. Note that it involves at least 5 programs and two instances of praying that I don't break anything.

And that is why Fred and I haven't blogged since last month.

However! With the new MT site coming up, hopefully I'll be able to write my little piece, usually in under an hour, hit "publish" and voila!

So yeah, whenever that happens, I actually will rant more. Until then, I'll see you guys in the forums.


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