Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
April 26, 2007
Retcon does DALEKS! And stuff.
Category: Linkage

Since there was apparently some trouble involving viruses over at the old Retroactive Continuity, I've updated De's link to direct readers to the new online home of his ramblings at Retroactive Continuity Redux. And if you pop over there today (or read this post), you will be in for a treat, as De has begun to chronicle of the history of the Daleks beginning with a discussion of the First Doctor's encounters with the stylish cyborgs. Yay!

In other news, I had a bit of trouble getting online today, as somehow my router got reset and I couldn't remember the default password to log into my 3rd party firmware and configure it correctly for connecting to the web. Eventually I got all of that sorted out, though I'm sure that there are still some values that I have yet to reconfigure to my liking. I have also figured out why some of the older games that I nabbed recently (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Battle Nexus and Batman: Vengeance for $5 each!) were running headache-inducingly slow on my machine despite the fact that it should be more than capable of running these titles, so that's good. Apparently, the problem had to do with the dynamic switching of the CPU speed. Usually, when a program requires more resources, the CPU speed increases accordingly, but for whatever reason it wasn't doing that here. If I manually set the speed to a fixed higher value, however, the games run properly. So remember that if you ever have any similar problems!

By the way, have you ever noticed the redundancy of the term "walking zombie"? Unless they get their legs blown off by a shotgun blast, walking is one of the few things that zombies typically do. They didn't in the Dawn of the Dead "remake", but wow that movie was awful.

-posted by Wes | 9:03 pm | Comments (1)
January 17, 2007
Scary-Crayon: The Best and Worst of 2006!
Category: Linkage … SC Updates

Okay, so I don't post Scary-Crayon updates here as much as I did before the creation of the SC blog (I figure that interested parties will subscribe to the RSS feed or something), but I definitely recommend checking out the latest article. Well, I don't recommend doing so the way I'd recommend that you brush and floss regularly and not drink nail polish, but... yeah. This one's arguably got more in common with a Wesoteric entry than a standard SC article, as it focuses less on the specific subjects than my thoughts on the selections and reasons for picking them, so insofar as you find my observations and comments and stuff to be remotely interesting you should enjoy it. And then, when you finish reading that, you can also have a look at Molly's and Greg's lists! I like team-up type articles. 🙂

Some other neat stuff came out of the article, too: Molly and I were able to solve a mystery involving disappearing images and missing html code (apparently McAfee was the culprit), and fooling with programs with Greg has resulted in me developing a newfound appreciation of and respect for WinSCP. The piece also gave me a chance to practice some fun new image editing techniques! I'm particularly pleased with the Dalek spread.

EXTERMINATE

And speaking of Daleks, Greg pointed out this picture from the archives, which I took at Shore Leave 26 in 2004. I took it because the Avengers figures made me think of Mickey Glitter, but look what else is in the picture! A DALEK! Actually, there are apparently several boxes of Daleks framing the Avengers. Greg rightly notes that if this were to happen today, I probably wouldn't even notice the Avengers figures as I grabbed at the boxes while spasming uncontrollably and shrieking, "EXTERMINATE!!!!" I wish I had a TARDIS so that I could travel back in time to that day!

All for now, then. Ja! 🙂

-posted by Wes | 12:52 pm | Comments (3)
November 23, 2006
a public service announcement
Category: Linkage

Laptop users, have you ever wanted to turn off your monitor without closing the lid? I don't mean setting the timer in the power options properties -- I mean simply turning the thing off via a keyboard shortcut or, at the very least, a system tray icon. I have been wanting to do this ever since I got the machine (back in the old days, I simply would have pressed the monitor button), and now and again I have gone on little searches of the web to see if I can find a utility that will let me do just that. Until tonight, all of those searches were failures. I have no idea why these programs are so hard to find -- you'd think that a whole heap of people would want to do this! So many, in fact, that you'd expect Windows to have a default shortcut key for just that function. If there is, I have not found it yet.

What I found tonight, however, is a utility that will finally let me do what I've been wanting to do for ages. Granted, my search probably would've gone a little better if I'd been willing to pay for this functionality, as there are several programs (Softany Monitor Control came up most frequently during my searches) that will give you the ability to manually turn off your monitor for a fee ($16.95 for the Softany program). Alas, I hate paying for computer programs -- especially when they're for things that I should already be able to do for free! So I've been searching and searching and searching.

In the end -- at last -- I found three programs that are up to the task, though only one (at least thus far) is my preferred program of choice.

First, there's Tooler 1.00. This one would have been effective, except when I turned the monitor back on by moving the mouse or pressing a key, there would be this weird little window active in the upper left-hand corner that sometimes needed to be closed manually. Otherwise this tiny tool would have been perfect, but I decided to do a bit more searching first. Had I not found another program, however, I would've gone with this.

Then, thanks to a forum post in a thread, I stumbled onto NirCmd, a command-line tool that, among many other things, will let users create a shortcut to turn off the freaking monitor, which is all I really wanted to do. Admittedly, you'd have to know a little bit about creating shortcuts and using said tools (which takes us back to the good ol' DOS days) before using this program -- which could be a bit daunting for some -- but that wasn't my main problem. No, my problem was that while the monitor turned off just fine, I had absolute HELL getting it to come back on. When I tried, it did this weird flickery thing and get dim and then my computer started beeping and I'm not sure what the hell happened, but once my screen came back I promptly deleted that program, rebooted the computer, and ran a registry scan (since it modifies registry values -- I wonder if something conflicted with my custom settings?) to remove any lingering issues. NirCmd may work better for you, though, so feel free to give it a try.

Ultimately, however, I opted to go with ShutdownTray, which (thus far, anyway) does exactly what I need it to do with no freakish or annoying side effects. It sits in my systray and can be activated with a simple right click, and it allowed me to set up a keyboard shortcut with the greatest of ease. Now, by pressing Ctrl+Alt+M (for monitor!), I can turn off the screen and give it a rest while I do other things. I will say, however, that after I first used it the screen turned back on for no reason several minutes later. Subsequent tries have not yielded the same effect, so I suspect that I inadvertently jostled the desk, thereby causing the mouse to move and wake up the screen. Apparently some of the paid programs have settings that automatically decrease mouse sensitivity when the screen is off -- which would be ideal, as then it would take a deliberate effort to bring the picture back -- but we'll see how I do with this free tool first. Seems to be effective so far!

Hopefully now someone using the Google to find a good, free program that turns off the monitor will end up here at some point and give ShutdownTray a try. And hopefully this post has been of use to some of my readers. Or at least I hope it has been interesting! I dunno. Anyway, ja ne. 🙂

-posted by Wes | 1:14 am | Comments (5)
November 6, 2006
Wacky World Land
Category: Books … Linkage … TV, Film, & DVDs

You know, I wonder if somehow having a comment spam filter attracts spam comments. I mean, WordPress and Akismet appear to do a really good job of catching them, but I never got this many spam messages back on the old Blog of Wes. (There's no sense in reading the old page since I ported all of the old entries over to here, but if you're interested you can take a gander at the old layout :)) Perhaps the programs are lying, in order to exaggerate their performance and effectiveness!

Aaaand on a note somewhat related to that last comment, VOTE TOMORROW! Assuming that you have not already. I'm planning to vote Democratic across the board... and it really sucks that I feel like I have to do that, but I think that's the extent to which the political scene has been polarized as of late. And have you seen some of the Republican National Committee advertisements for this campaign? They're like weird fake campaign ads on a sketch comedy show! Insanity.

Also, given yesterday's international news, I totally want to read this book. Could be interesting!

The Prestige is pretty good stuff, by the way. A lot of the reviews that I've read have called it a challenging and confusing film, but I honestly didn't get any of that -- it seemed fairly easy to understand to me, especially since it goes out of its way to explain the twist ending at the end, replete with flashbacks. Anyway, I wouldn't call it a masterpiece (I probably couldn't rank it among even my top 20 or 30 favorite films, though I'd certainly add it to my DVD collection for $7.50 or less), but it's definitely a great film and makes for a good theater experience. It's certainly the best movie I've seen at the cinema this year! But then, the only other movies I've seen thus far are V for Vendetta and Silent Hill, so that's not saying too much.

Finally, the latest Neurotically Yours cartoon from Ill Will Press -- entitled "Useless Software" -- is quite funny. "It all just says pissed off and a date next to it!" Go watch. 🙂

-posted by Wes | 1:33 pm | Comments (3)
October 16, 2006
Money from Nigeria!
Category: Linkage

Either I rarely get these or they usually get sent directly to my spam folder, but I received one of those Nigerian money scam e-mails in my inbox today! The odd thing about this one, though, is that it doesn't ask for my bank account info -- only for an initial reply -- as apparently we'd have to go through a multi-step process that culminates in diplomats delivering the money to my doorstep. I'm almost tempted to reply to see how that would play out! Perhaps they'd use my name and address and any other information they require for identity theft purposes... or perhaps something far more sinister is afoot.

Also interesting is the letter's signature, which reads:

Prof.Charles Soludo
Governor Central Bank Of Nigeria.

Now, being me, I wondered if Professor Charles Soludo actually a real person, so I went to Wikipedia... and behold! There is, in fact, a Professor Soludo, and he is indeed the Governor of the Board of Directors for the Central Bank of Nigeria. I wonder if he knows that people are using his name in spam scam schemes...

Okay, I just Googled Soludo's name and came across 419.bittenus.com, a page that details a whole bunch of scams. Apparently the lengthy process that is supposed to culminate in MONEY AT THE DOOR requires the payee to pay a whole bunch of fees that sometimes exceed thousands of dollars. Sometimes the payees are also convinced to travel to Africa in order to complete the deals, where they are murdered. Horrific!

Speaking of horrific...

Police: Mom Uses Baby As Weapon To Hit Boyfriend

It's like something out of a Bloodlust Software game! I am totally going to make myself a pair of toy babychuks now. IT'S NINJA TIME!!! 😀

-posted by Wes | 5:39 pm | Comments (0)
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