Request For Proposals
Okay folks, here's the deal. I want to write about something related to the Pacific War, but I'm currently tapped out of ideas. The books I've been reading recently (Kaigun, Blossoming Silk Against The Rising Sun, A Glorious Way To Die) have been fascinating, but haven't led to any huge sparks of inspiration. So I come to you, virtual hat in virtual wing, to find out what YOU want to read about. Got a hankerin' to find out something about the Anti-Aircraft cruiser in WWII (though I don't know why you would)? Lemme know! If I think it'd be a fun topic to write about, I'll do it, even if it isn't about the Pacific War! Here's your chance to influence the direction of The Pond! Can I use any more exclamation points!!!!11!!!
How about something about PT boats? Most of your readers are aware that when MacArthur was ordered out of the Philippines, a group of PT boats were assigned to carry him and his family part of the way. The way I heard it, the reason there were so many PT boats there to begin with was that someone thought that the Philippines could build an entire self-defense Navy out of them. Supposedly, enough of the inexpensive boats could drive off an invasion fleet defended by capital ships!?!
However, other than the MacArthur evacuation, and a certain Kennedy having his PT boat rammed by a Japanese destroyer while it was idling in the dark, I do not recall hearing of any great PT boat exploits (and McHale's Navy does not count). Did PT boats ever live up their hype versus more conventional naval forces? Did they have any great accomplishments in the Pacific war?
Posted by: Siergen at September 28, 2011 08:50 PM (NE2Lf)
Amphibious warfare, right? Went from a military shorthand for "really bad idea" to something that we did often enough to get quite good at it. Was thinking about it, and... I'm having trouble thinking -why-, exactly, this happened.
It's easy to say "oh, technical advances made it possible", but which technical advances exactly? Things like carrier-based recon and portable radios landing with the troops could help, to be sure, but I don't know that they're deal-breakers. Infantry weapons didn't improve all that much in between the two wars, excepting more portable flamethrowers, and that's not really decisive either. Certainly tanks were a lot less influential in a landing than they were afterward (though it could be said that they are instrumental for a breakout, maybe?)
Nor do the landing craft represent a huge scientific leap forward - they have a lot of features to overcome various engineering problems that you encounter in landings, like the recessed propeller design and the retracting anchor, but all of these are things that could have existed in 1910.
Was it just a problem of doctrine? Something people assumed was the case, until other people fixed the problems that were making it difficult? Put more simply, could someone have gone back to 1905 with a bunch of army manuals, convinced the Marine staff, and had the necessary doctrines and equipment by 1915?
I like the PT boat one too, mind you. ;p
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at September 28, 2011 09:16 PM (GJQTS)
You've got the wrong end of that one, Steven. I don't mean "why did it happen?" (Like you said, it had to happen, so it did...) I mean "why did it not happen previously?" Mind you, that kind of discussion could easily boil down to "because the Dardanelles didn't work"...
Or maybe it's just a matter of materiel - you need to have significant shipping resources to nourish a lodgement, and good control of the surrounding sea lanes.
Maybe I'm just not up on the history of amphibious landing disasters from the 17th-19th centuries? I'm just wondering how it became a truism that you couldn't land forces on a beach held and defended by the enemy.
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at September 29, 2011 01:50 AM (GJQTS)
There were *plenty* of amphibious landings in the 19th and 18th centuries, it's just that they were generally aimed at undefended beaches. Burnside's amphibious force (which eventually became the Ninth Corps) comes to mind. Same with the riverine advances in the ACW western theatres. So the question is "why no amphibious assaults"?
Well, first off, for most of history, it wasn't necessary to assault across a defended beach. Force density was so diffuse that you had to deliberately seek out the enemy - there was always a flank that you could land unopposed beyond. Naval amphibious forces could outrun the enemy reaction force and get across the beach before somebody was in position to open fire. Even during the ACW, it wasn't like they ran tactical railroads down to the beaches. Forts would be assaulted by landing in their operational rear & assaulting on dry land - see examples like Battery Wagner in Charleston and Fort Fisher outside Wilmington.
It was only when increased force density and advanced capacity for dry-land mobility conspires to put the beach - all the beaches - within reach of the armed reaction force that the amphibious commander is compelled to make an assault out of the water.
I was just reading Austin Bay's short book on Ataturk, and he noted how Mustafa Kemal had enjoyed the experience of having been involved in a failed amphibious attack in the vicinity of Gallipoli during the First Balkan War. He had seen a Turkish force make a landing just up the Sea of Marmara from Gallipoli in an attempt to flank a Bulgarian force, and took so long getting off the piers that the land-based half of the pincer movement was slaughtered before the amphibious element was engaged.
In fact, the initial Gallipoli landings were successful, the troops got across the beach without a serious check. The attack died on the hills above the beach, where Kemal's reaction force famously fought to the death - "I am not ordering you to attack, I am ordering you to die" - in order to buy time to bring up enough troops to seal off the beaches. At that point, the offensive failed for the same reason that the Western Front was static - no flanks, and assault technique wasn't advanced enough to overcome trench-defense tactics.
Honestly, I can't see any way that the Gallipoli offensive could have succeeded without some combination of more advanced forward observer communications and tracked transport. There were too many defensive troops in the theatre to do it the old way, and no way to bring the localized advantage in ship-based artillery to bear or localized advantage in infantry off the beach in time to overwhelm the troops in the locality.
Posted by: Mitch H. at September 29, 2011 08:11 AM (jwKxK)
How about something about the Third Reich's airborne supply efforts for the DAK via monster gliders and seaplanes?
Posted by: The Old Man at September 29, 2011 10:04 AM (TcNy+)
Gallipoli would have succeeded if the Allies had more surprise (One of the dumber things Churchill did was to order a bombardment of the Turks months before the landing, to show British displeasure. It ended up showing the Turks the deficiencies of their defenses. Then there was the landings conducting just before the main assault by the Royal Navy, which showed the region was incredible weak on defenses - to the Turks.), launched the invasion sooner, actually show urgency in getting off the beach (More a problem of the leadership - and Ian Hamilton had been clear about the need to have good ,capable generals in command of the assault force, instead of the out-of-retirement retreads, Western Front rejects...And Hunter-Weston, that he got.), had more effective minesweepers, better coordination of their firepower. The British did not even need all of them, just some. And note on the beaches the landing force faced defenders, the attack took heavy casualties but still managed to drive the defenders off. In retrospect, Gallipoli was Dieppe, a classic example of how to do everything wrong, when it was well within their capability to do it right the first time. The USMC drew the correct conclusion that far from proving amphibious assault was impossible, Gallipoli prove the importance of getting the different parts of an amphibious assault operation right before you tried it.
Re: Siergen. See this might help answer your question. I do think you might be too harsh on MacArthur in this example, since he was ordered to leave the Philippines by FDR.
Re: The Old Man. Not sure of what you are referring to. Are you talking about the resupply and reinforcement effort of Army Group Africa during the Tunisia campaign? In that case, why not have talk about the F-Lighters?
Military buffs might be interested in Japan's Imperial Army by Edward Drea, which is probably the new standard reference in English about the IJA; and After Stalingrad by David Glantz, which just saw a paperback version released. I am currently working through The British Pacific Fleet by David Hobbs which seems pretty good so far. And for the old grognards, Hyperwar has finally put up From Stalingrad to Berlin to go with the other histories published by the US Army.
As for topics, here are two suggestion. How about something about the short, ugly life of the US Asiatic Fleet? Or for something out of the Pacific, the BEF? No, not the British Expeditionary Force. The Brazilian Expeditionary Force.
Posted by: cxt217 at September 29, 2011 01:59 PM (CKwfo)
I think an article about the Royal Australian Navy's role, and performance, in the Pacific war would be fun to read, and fun to research.
It wasn't trivial. HMAS Australia was one of the first major ships to be hit by kamikazes, for instance. (The official history of the RAN claims that it was the first but others dispute that.) And RAN ships served with the US Navy through most of the war, even before the RN had a significant presence in the theater.
I was fascinated by Brickmuppet's post on the events in Japan between the bombing of Hiroshima and the surrender: http://brickmuppet.mee.nu/66_years_ago. Of course he covered it pretty well, so no need for you to duplicate that. But in a similar vein, I'd be curious what kind of reaction there was to pivotal events such as Pearl Harbor, Midway, Iwo Jima, etc. The political/public relations side of events isn't necessarily your cup of tea, but it's the same saucer at least.
Posted by: David at September 29, 2011 05:04 PM (ttXyi)
I did not mean to disparage General MacArthur for his ordered evacuation- sorry if I gave that impression.
Posted by: Siergen at September 29, 2011 09:29 PM (NE2Lf)
Graphics Card WIN!
Ladies and gentlemen, our long national nightmare is over. Chiyo-chan once again has a graphics card installed.
Okay, it's from a company with the odd moniker of SPARKLE, and yes, the cooling fan is a lovely shade of purple, but make no mistake, the GT240 is no wimp. For all intents and purposes, it puts up the same sort of numbers as Nvidia's legendary 9800GT, but it does it while drawing 106w less power... and only requiring a single slot in my case to boot. Doesn't even need an auxiliary power connection!
Now it's not a new card. Heck, SPARKLE doesn't even list the GT240 on their products website anymore. However, for my needs, it's perfect. Just for a lark, I installed Fallout 3 and fired it up... and OMG, what a difference a few generations make! If you'll remember, my previous card was a 7600GT, a high-midrange card released in 2006. The GT240 first came out in 2009, though the version I have was released in 2010. This thing is quite the upgrade.
If you've played F3, think back to the first view you get of the Capitol Wasteland after you leave Vault 101... y'know, from the scenic overlook point? THIS view:
click to embiggenate
From this point, you can see off in the distance the remains of the Washington Monument and the Capitol building. Off to the right is the town of Megaton.
That was not what I saw when I first played the game with the 7600GT. What I saw basically ended at the water tower, and even that was somewhat indistinct. That first time, I was ambushed and killed by a mole rat... that didn't draw in until it was actually attacking me. I got used to taking a few steps and then zooming in, just to be able to see what was ahead of me. That first game, it took me an hour to find Megaton... I kept walking past it. It was like the entire Capitol Wasteland was enshrouded in dust or fog. That was quite atmospheric, but kinda hard to play. Eventually, I got it set up so I could play the game, but the tradeoff was no grass and a somewhat mannequin-like appearance to everybody. I mean more mannequin-like than Bethesda games usually look.
Now, though? I can actually SEE... and the game doesn't slow down. Chances are I could even turn the settings up to "ultra-high" and it'd be playable. Details keep popping up that I'd never seen... Moira Brown, the lunatic shop propriator in Megaton, wears a stained t-shirt under her stained and wrinkled jumpsuit. When I played, neither had stains, and the wrinkles were kinda more like suggestions.
What I'm saying is, it looks more like what you'd expect the End Of The World to look like. Sorta. I guess. You know what I mean.
The only negative I've noticed with the GT240 is that it doesn't play well with Windows Media Player on HD videos. However, since ZoomPlayer still handles them quite well, I'm not concerned in the least. The fan has a very quiet hiss to it, too. When the rest of Pond Central is quiet, I can hear it... but the moment there's any other sound in the living room (the TV, a fan in the window, a radio) it's drowned out. I'll get used to it easily enough.
I give the GT240 1GB GDDR5 two wingtips up, and the official Wonderduck Seal of Approval. If you need a single-slot, low power graphics card, this is the one for you. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go and ransack a grocery store for some post-apocalyptic goodies.
I'm running it on a Win 7 partition and can get it to medium which is a vast improvement over my old laptop. The baddies teleporting in was....special. Suddenly a deathclaw appears....out of nowhere.
You will now find that the sniper rifle is an awesome piece of kit.
Posted by: brickmuppet at September 26, 2011 09:24 PM (EJaOX)
Saturday Night Tunage X
Yes, DJ Wonderduck is back, and I'm cleaning the dust off my turntables to bring you another theme entry! I was sitting around last evening, pointedly not doing anything of value on a Friday night, when I decided to do a video search for "Live Aid", that amazing series of concerts in 1985. While I was watching Queen burn down Wembley Stadium, the idea for this post hit me.
Longtime readers know that I used to work in the radio biz. As near as I can figger, at least two of my readers (Brickmuppet, Greyduck) did so as well. Well tonight, I pay tribute to the technological marvel that used to be the best way to hear music before you bought it. Ladies and Gentlemen and Ducks, here's to Radio! For my younger readers, there was once a time when music flew through the air instead of through cables and wires. It was a wonderous time, a time of booming voices and catchy jingles, a time of fun and joy. Now, it's all digital this and iPod that and auto-frickin'-tune and on and on... bah. Get off my damn lawn.
The Day Everything Changed
It's been two years since Momzerduck passed away. It's amazing how much of that day and weekend remains crystal-clear in my memory, like it happened just yesterday... and how much of it remains just a grim haze. I remember the Bears beating the Steelers that afternoon. I remember having pancakes for brunch at a crowded Greek restaurant. And above all, I remember the last hour or so in that room at the U of Chicago ICU. I can close my eyes and experience it all again, which I really don't enjoy.
But most of all, I remember how much Momzerduck loved me and how very much I miss her.
Patrol, Bomber, Consolidated Aircraft
There was nothing particularly revolutionary about the PBY Catalina's design. It had a long range and was fairly sturdy, but it was neither fast nor maneuverable. Yet the Consolidated Aircraft design Model 28 was produced in greater numbers (at least 4000) than any other flying boat, served in the militaries of 29 different countries, is one of the best-known and most-loved planes of all time, and is still flying today. What was it about the Cat?
Good post! Of course, now I'm eagerly awaiting whatever you have to say about the Hornet's after action report.
One of the air museums up here has a Catalina on display. Probably Tillamook, but it might be at Evergreen. It's not as big in person as you'd expect, but then few of the World War II planes are. I remember being amazed the first time I saw a B-17 static display sitting next to an F-15 or maybe an F-14 that was nearly the same size.
I'm now curious to learn how they handled certain inevitable events on a 20 hour mission on this plane and others that had similarly long missions in those days.
Posted by: David at September 19, 2011 09:17 PM (Kn54v)
About how you'd expect, David. I suspect the hatches on the dash-4 and before had more than one use.
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 19, 2011 09:33 PM (o45Mg)
I found plenty of references to the galley... heck, TIME did an article on the "PBY Dumbo" back in 1945 that featured a lovely photo of a sailor "making breakfast for his crew"... but I couldn't find a picture of the head arrangements to save my life.
Except in modern PBYs... there's one flying out of Durban that has a full bathroom (minus tub/shower) with a standard-looking commode.
I'm sure you're right, Steven, about the hole, except... well, flying boat. Maybe they just went into the bilge.
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 19, 2011 11:57 PM (o45Mg)
Thanks, brother. The Cat has always been near and dear to my heart (I just LOVE butt-ugly aircraft!) - and the thought of paintin' one black and hangin' lousy-operating torps off it to hunt Nips at night freezes the marrow in my bones. Do you know anywhere I could buy a ride? Already have notched a Ford Trimotor, T-6, and B-17...
Now tell the story about Ring. Swede Larsen already seems to have been a perfect rectum - and I'd like to see how Stanhope measures up to him. Looking forward to your next posting.
Posted by: The Old Man at September 20, 2011 12:47 PM (TcNy+)
Reading the post about the PBY (For those who do not know, 'Catalina' was the name the British gave the PBY when they started to receive them. Unlike the Martlet, it stuck with the Americans.), I was reminded of one of the odder little tales to come out of the WW2, namely of the Dutch PBYs that spent time as part of Midway's aircraft complement following Pearl Harbor. And it was a PBY of the Royal Canadian Air Force which located the Kido Butai when the Japanese started their first Indian Ocean Raid.
The Australian also used the PBY as airborne minelayer in the Solomons, New Guinea, and South-East Asia, as well as a covert transport for supply coastwatchers and other parties behind enemy lines.
Posted by: cxt217 at September 20, 2011 02:32 PM (D0JxA)
I do not believe the British ever used 'Sheridan' as the name of a tank. They used 'Stuart' though, for the M3 light tanks.
As for whether it was politic - the US Army had already named some bases after Confederate officers (Fort Bragg comes to mind.), so why not name a tank after the one of the best?
The US Navy was obviously different from the US Army in giving names, though it seemed to have adopted names a bit (Catalina, obviously, and IIRC, 'Helldiver' for the SB2C was suggested by the manufacturer.).
And related to what Wonderduck commented - as much as Stanhope Ring's performance left much to be desired at Midway, I would add Marc Mitscher as another officer who fell short. The main difference between Mitscher and Ring was that Mitscher received a better reputation.
Posted by: cxt217 at September 20, 2011 09:09 PM (D0JxA)
Well, I don't know if the writer's block is gone or not. The "big guns" I mentioned in the last post was going to be a full-on episodic review of Rio Rainbow Gate! Ep01, but I discovered that I couldn't bring myself to do it. The reactions I had in the first five minutes were enough to put that thought out of my mind: cold sweats, shaking, nausea, and the sudden urge to hurt someone... anyone... and a sudden bout of self-loathing for willingly attempting to inflict the show upon myself and others. I just couldn't do it.
I ordered another graphics card, a GT240 by SPARKLE, this evening. 1GB of GDDR5 should make it pretty good for a low-power card (it draws its power from the PCIe slot only; no extra connections needed). It's probably the best I can do considering my system is five years old and its design only allows for a single-slot card. I could have put a 9800GT in... with liberal use of a dremel tool (which I don't have) and a willingness to hack bits out of the back of my case (which I also don't have).
I have Monday and Tuesday off. The reason for that will be revealed soon enough.
With any luck, I'll actually get the PBY post done on Monday. I've run through it enough in my head that it should be fairly straightforward, though time-consuming, to write... except for one thing. I can't seem to get it to flow well. Eh, either I'll figure it out or I won't. It'll be a voyage of discovery for us all.
Writers Block? ME?
Sunuvabeetchmartin. I've got writer's block. I've sat here for the past hour trying to put something interesting on the screen, and it ain't happening. Words aren't flowing worth a darn, every bit of verbiage is a struggle. I've had blogblock, where I can't come up with something to write about, before but I've got something to post this time... and it isn't coming.
I'm afraid there's only one cure: more cowbell drop the subject I'm working on for a while and pull out the big guns... like this one.
*blinks* I must research this colossal piece of artillery. When is it from so I can get a starting point for my search.
Posted by: Kevin at September 18, 2011 04:31 AM (UQXnV)
Kevin, search for "Little David." The short version is that it was originally used to test aerial bombs in controlled conditions. That's right, it fired bombs. When it looked like the US was going to be invading Japan, it was quickly converted to a weapon for use against fortified positions.
The 36" shells for the weaponized version are amazing.
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 18, 2011 07:04 AM (o45Mg)
As a modern artilleryman, the "big guns" always interest me.
Aw shoot...looks like the thing is in Maryland...why do I suddenly hear the words "road trip" in my head...
Posted by: Kevin at September 23, 2011 04:49 AM (BLuCq)
Graphics Card FAIL!, Part Two: The FAILeningIn our last installment, Our Intrepid Hero ordered a dual-slot graphics card instead of a single-slotter. Chagrined but infinitely wiser, he then began researching graphics cards that would actually fit into his computer, power supply and budget. A few hours later and a decision reached, the order went in for Nvidia GT240 as released by PNY. Only 512mb of video ram, but it's GDDR5. Various benchmarks and tests suggest that it was faster than the 1gb of GDDR3 on many of the other GT240s out there. And $59 with a $30 rebate? Score!
The order was accepted, the credit card was charged, and all was right with the world. Until Monday evening, when I still hadn't received a notice that the card had shipped. Nor on Tuesday morning. When I looked back at the above linky, it now said the item was backordered. Huh?
A quick call to TigerDirect confirmed that yes indeed, the card was backordered, but that an order had been placed with PNY to get more in, and if I hadn't heard anything else by Friday, I should call back. Which I did, at lunchtime today. And lo, I was informed that "there is no delivery date." Ah.
In my many years of experience working retail, I've learned that when I hear "no delivery date," that means that there's a very good chance that there will never BE a delivery date, ever. And so, I've canceled that order. So two weeks after I first placed an order for a graphics card, I'm still without one. I suspect that if I order another one from TigerDirect, it'll be eaten by a Pale-throated Three-toed Sloth or something before it ships.
No local retail that stocks 'em? I'm a little spoiled here... Fry's one block up the road, Micro Center two the other way.
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at September 16, 2011 11:20 PM (pWQz4)
There's a (BigBlueBox) here in town. That's about it for computer stores. Oh, there's some mom 'n' pop stores, but they've got no selection to speak of. Plus, of course, places like TigerDirect, CDW, NewEgg, etc etc etc are all so much cheaper...
Now, if I decided to drive an hour into the Chicago area, then I've got a world of choices. But no savings to speak of.
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 16, 2011 11:42 PM (o45Mg)
Yah, there's no shortage of GT240s out there... there IS a shortage of GT240s with GDDR5, however. I'll have to look at that Galaxy card, though I've never heard good things about the company...
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 17, 2011 08:54 AM (o45Mg)
I've had a lot of success with Directron - they're good about keeping an eye on their inventory and do a great job with shipping out quickly (even in an snow storm, as we had this past winter). Try this one: http://www.directron.com/zt2040110l.html?_s_icmp=filter . The only real catches are that it isn't a PNY and runs $90 - but at least they have it in stock...
Posted by: JT at September 17, 2011 09:06 AM (j/QSt)
JT, thanks. I've never heard of Directron, but I'll give 'em a look. As far as PNY goes, I only went with that one because, hey, $59 with a $30 rebate. There's a GT240 by SPARKLE out there that has 1GB of GDDR5 for $99, too... and it's in stock. Probably because of the pricetag, but...
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 17, 2011 01:41 PM (o45Mg)
Based on your previous post, it sounds like you have case-size issues. Do you need a low profile card or is the only problem the single slot issue? The Zotac is a single-slot, full-height card, if that's a problem.
Posted by: JT at September 17, 2011 04:04 PM (j/QSt)
Internally, there's plenty of room in my case. Well, I dunno if I could fit a single-card SLI rig (only $800!) inside, but a card+cooler combo like the 9800gt from two weeks ago would have fit fine if not for the single slot availability.
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 17, 2011 06:36 PM (o45Mg)
Heh, a single slot SLI sounds like fun, but I'd have to pass for that pricetag, too. I'm running a Gigabyte
AMD 785GT mainboard with built-in ATI 4200 hybrid Crossfire graphics, so at some point, I'll be shopping for a card, too - but an HD5670 or better, that'll work with my onboard GPU. BTW, Directron's where I got most of the pieces for my system and another as well. They have a selection filter and comparison tabs on the Video Cards page that may help you shop there (sadly, no slot filter, though...) Good luck with your shopping; let us know how it goes!
Posted by: JT at September 18, 2011 09:33 AM (j/QSt)
The Duck Collector's Holy Grail
I'm sure that most of the readers of The Pond are aware that I collect rubber duckies. The Flock is nearing 500 members, so I've got all shapes and sizes of duckies: huge duckies, tiny duckies, devil duckies, cast iron duckies, the list goes on and on.
It's also no surprise to my readers that I'm a fan of anime. In particular, I tend towards what are called "slice-of-life" shows. In recent times, the best slice-of-life show to air was called Hidamari Sketch, which starred a rubber duck and six art-school students. This particular rubber duckie, called Yuno's Duckie, is quite possibly the duckie I wish to have in The Flock the most... but that's a personal thing, my own wish and desire.
However, for serious American rubber duckie collectors there is one particular style of rubber duckie that is very difficult to obtain. It's called a Tolo duckie, so-called because of the maker, Tolo Toys. They're a UK company that sells children's toys and playthings... and they don't sell here in North America at all. Back in the days when the internet was fresh and new, I stumbled upon a website that, amongst other things, had a "webcam" of a rubber duckie doing things (sitting on a balcony, sitting on top of a computer monitor, sitting in a combat boot, stuff like that). That particular duck was my first exposure to a Tolo duck (though I called it a "chubby duckie" instead), and I immediately wanted one... and this predated my heavy-duty duckie collecting!
How hard is it to get one here in the US? Over at The Web's mecca for rubber duckie fans, Duckplanet.com, there was a forum thread where the participants wound up getting a dozen or so of them from a shop in New Zealand, but only after places in the UK and Australia wouldn't do it. So a chubby Tolo duckie is, truly, the Holy Grail for any rubber duckie fan.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, friends, Romans, countrymen... I have gained the Holy Grail.
According to Ph.Duck, this was the only rubber duckie anywhere in Northern Europe. Y'see, he was visiting family in Sweden last week, and went looking. As he put it, he purchased the duck from a British toy store chain in a Danish city using Swedish kronor while waiting to get on a French-made airliner to fly to America. I would have loved to have seen the look on the customs agent's face when Ph.Duck answered "A duck" to the usual question "Do you have anything to declare?"
Even better, Ph.Duck had no idea there was anything particularly special about this duckie, had no idea that I would practically wet myself with excitement when I pulled it out of the bag at dinner last night.
It's actually hard for me to believe that I have my own "chubby duckie", after all these years. Thanks, Ph.Duck!
Graphics Card FAIL!
When did the Nvidia 9800GT go dual-slot without me noticing? Looks like my choices are now the GT240 or stick with onboard.
This is the first time I've ever regretted getting a BTX-style computer.
UPDATE: Just to clarify, the title of this post really should be "Reading Comprehension FAIL," since it's my own darn fault. There were pictures at TigerDirect and Amazon that would have made it perfectly clear that the 9800GT wouldn't fit into Chiyo-chan, I just didn't bother. Wonderdumbarseduck, that's me.
There are a couple of reasons why I started buying all-in-one super-laptops. One is that I don't sweat this kind of thing any more. The graphics in this computer can't be swapped, so I don't have to think about it.
But I'll still stick with a desktop for a primary computer, if for no other reason that I prefer a real keyboard and larger monitors.
(Yes, I'm sure I can attach a full-size keyboard to a laptop. I don't care. I'm just an old-fashioned duck.)
If it is any consolation, I am the same way. Since I do not muck around with the graphics card or anything else inside the case any more than I have to, it works for me.
Posted by: cxt217 at September 10, 2011 10:46 PM (1Q0lw)
I'm still a desktop type of guy, too, but for a different reason: I'm too cheap to shell out the $$$ for a laptop with the kind of graphics horsepower needed to run WoW well.
When I got this computer new in 2007, for about $650, it did everything really well and needed nothing, but the "windows experience" thingy reported that the video card was the slowest part of the system. After I got into WoW it needed more graphics horsepower; I swapped in a new video card and then "windows experience" told me that the processor was the limiting factor.
There's no pleasing some people, I guess.
Posted by: Ed Hering at September 11, 2011 09:59 AM (mt2tk)
Tomshardware recently reviewed single slot graphics cards:
Posted by: conrad at September 11, 2011 10:28 AM (gjvRz)
Got the laptop, and agree with the laptop camp, but I've got this NICE Lian-Li case sitting by me BEGGING to be built and I'm, well I feel very strongly both ways?
Posted by: skyhack at September 11, 2011 11:27 PM (3ESSA)
While we all wait for my brain to decompress enough to get around to writing up the Friday Practice post for the Italian GP weekend, I've gotta share these excellent mashups I've stumbled upon recently.
First up, Sad But Superstitious:
Stevie Wonder and Metallica... who wouldathunkit?
Second, One Of These Heatwaves:
Martha & The Vandellas and Pink Floyd... who wouldathunkit? Actually, I have a confession to make... this was probably the first mashup I ever heard. I've had the mp3 for quite a few years. So it's not something I stumbled upon recently. So sue me.
Third, from the game DJ Hero, We Will Robot Rock You:
Stick with it... the first 40 seconds are a little slow. I have a feeling that Freddy would have loved this. Oh, almost forgot... Queen and Daft Punk... who wouldathunkit?
Finally, Casbah Circulation:
The Clash and an image song from Bakemonogatari? Who woul... nevermind, you know the drill. Too bad about the "glitchy" parts, as the masherupper calls them... the mp3 doesn't haven't 'em, by the way.
Off to get my brain working again, back in a while.
A few days ago, I got to wondering just why I blog in the first place. It surely wasn't for the public acclaim, fortune and fame. It wasn't because I had something important to say... or indeed, anything to say at all. So why do I do it? Why do I spend hours staring at a computer screen, trying to convey... something... to the various denizens of the intartubes, most of whom don't care what sort of effort and research I may put into a post?
Kinda like this, except without the pencil. Or the paper. Or the android. And with more ducks.
So really, nothing like this at all.
I've read that the primary reason that bloggers blog is narcissism, that they think so much of themselves that they figure that everybody will be enthralled by their every word. I suppose for some (most?) that's the case: look at the preponderance of "I Love Me!" blogs, facebook pages and tweets out there. Anybody who knows me would immediately start laughing at the thought of me being a narcissist... probably to the point of hypoxia.
I started The Pond all those years ago because the Official First Reader of The Pond, friend Mallory, suggested that maybe some other people might find the e-mail I sent her after every F1 race funny too. After some poking and prodding from her, I finally gave in. After a short post about Azumanga Daioh caught the eye of Big Papa Pixy Misa, founding father of MuNuVia (and later MeeNuVia), he invited me to join his burgeoning empire. And here I've sat, ever since. I reconnected with The Official First Friend of The Pond, Vaucaunson's Duck, more or less through The Pond, an amazing feat since we pretty much hadn't spoken much since our time in high school.
Somewhere along the way, Steven Den Beste started to linkify me for reasons that baffle me to this day. Via that connection, I starting conversing with the Brickmuppet off-blog. My expansion into WWII history brought in The Old Man, flatdarkmars, David, Peter the not-so-great and readers too numerous to mention. Various and sundry anime posts caught the eye of Siergen, Avatar, Ed, Author, Ben, Don, Ubu Roi, Jeff Lawson, and Robert from the Anime Corner Store every now and again... and plenty of other people as well. GreyDuck and Colleen started dropping by when they found out about the rubber duckies... I think everybody else just tolerates the ducks, otherwise. Heh.
But the F1 Update! has always been the heart and soul of The Pond, I suppose. The Official First Overseas Reader, Flotsky, dropped in because of them. People have said that they didn't give a rat's hindquarters about motorsports at all until they started reading the F1U!s. And hey, The Pond started because of Formula 1. But as of late, F1 has also been my bane; it takes a lot of time on race weekend to adequately cover a F1 race: just watching Practice 2, Quals and the race itself is six hours more or less, not to mention the hours it takes to do the writeups for them... and the F1U! itself usually takes as long as any two or three other posts combined, somewhere in the vicinity of three or four hours.
So why do I do all of this? Surprisingly, the answer is pretty simple, and can be boiled down to one word:
Friends like Pixy, Steven, 'Muppet, The Old Man, flatdarkmars, David, Peter the-not-so-great, Siergen, Avatar, Ed, Author, Ben, Don, Ubu, Jeff, Robert, GreyDuck, Colleen, Flotsky, Mallory, Vauc, and all the other myriad readers of The Pond I haven't named. You guys make it worthwhile when the jerks come out. When I don't have the energy to write much. And you understand when I don't write at all. And I never would have met any of you if it wasn't for The Pond.
That's why I blog.
Thanks, all you lot.
PS - If you weren't named, don't take it personally... there aren't enough pixels in the world for me to thank everybody the way I'd like to - Wonderduck.
And thank you for informing, educating, and entertaining.
Posted by: GreyDuck at September 07, 2011 11:30 PM (7lMXI)
*thinks* I started dropping by because GreyDuck mentioned your 12 Ducks of Christmas (so yes, other people care about the ducks). Then I got sucked into the Rio Rainbow Gate posts, for sheer surreality.
I actually don't read the F1 or history posts, but I think I read everything else. The bookstore trials & tribulations, the anime, the ducks... Yeah. :-)
Posted by: ButMadNNW at September 08, 2011 12:27 AM (LFp8g)
I most likely found you via a link from SDB, it's been long enough that I can't remember anymore. I'm a content junkie, one of those people that will cycle through the bookmark list several times a day even when I know there's no chance of an update. I like your anime and F1 posts, as well as the occasional duckie or generic posts, but the WW2 posts make my day when you do one.
Posted by: David at September 08, 2011 12:42 PM (ttXyi)
I found you via SDB, bookmarked you for the WW2 posts, and subsequently you got me back into Formula 1, which I had not followed since circa 1992-1995. Great fun!
Posted by: flatdarkmars at September 08, 2011 01:45 PM (zxqxC)
Thanks for all your great posts! Especially this one. I'd write more, but the new season starts tonight!
Posted by: Siergen at September 08, 2011 05:38 PM (HfzDP)
The military posts draw me back occasionally, and you have the ability to make racing exciting.
Posted by: karrde at September 08, 2011 06:09 PM (3ulfn)
I struggle with the same thing myself. Lot of the time I wonder "hey, what have I been up to?" and it comes down to "playing video games, painting orks, reading, etc..." I've written blog posts and just deleted 'em because they didn't really have anything interesting in them.
You do a great job of making interesting posts on all sorts of things, which I can only envy.
I oughta do more painting posts, though...
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at September 08, 2011 06:18 PM (pWQz4)
I'm not sure where I happened across your blog (either SDB or Pixy, I'm pretty sure) but it was interesting enough to keep coming back.
(And now I'm beating up other ninjas with you, too! Go, Turtles!)
Posted by: Hypozeuxis at September 08, 2011 10:44 PM (5eWak)
I'm a little late to this comment thread, but thank you for your kind words, and thank you for all the blogging!
Like many others, I found the Pond via SDB. I came for the Japanese animation, of which I used to be a casual fan, but I stayed for the Formula One (I'm a bigger and more loyal fan of that, despite the baleful influence of Eccelstone, Mosely, et al.) and the naval history. You even make rubber duckies interesting, which is IMO a sign of genius.
Posted by: Peter the Not-so-Great at September 10, 2011 03:13 PM (wL7w9)
I really don't care that much for F1, but your posts are can't-miss on the subject. And one of these days, I'll figure out just who HWMNBN really is!
Posted by: ubu at September 10, 2011 11:41 PM (GfCSm)
Going Shopping For Some Toys
My computer has three burning needs at the moment:
1) A new graphics card
2) A new external hard drive
3) A wireless mouse
The mouse I already have picked out, but I'd like some advice from the tech nabobs out there on the other two. I'm looking for a midrange graphics card that'll work with a 400w PSU, PCIx16 of course, but that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. I'm partial to Nvidia. Any thoughts?
For the external HD, I've been looking at the LaCie Minimus, for which the user reviews I've seen have been pretty good, but I'm open to anything. 2TB or more is preferred, but if someone knows about a great 1TB drive that's a must-own, I wouldn't say no.
I'm running Windows XP SP3 with an AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ with 3GB of RAM.
For a good recommendation, I'd really need to know more. What do you use the computer for what do you expect out of the part, etc. In general terms though: I've always had good success with buying either the current-generation mid-level nVidia board, or the top level of the previous generation (not the extreme overclocked one that gets more expensive, but the common version of that same board.) Generally such a part is in the $200-299 range, and lasts me many years. My current computer was built in January '08 and is only now starting to make me want to upgrade, and it's not the video card that's driving it. I mainly use this computer for watching anime, and playing MMORPGS.
On the hard drive, is this for storage, backup, or both of those? Would having extra features like being able to stream movies and music off it be desireable? How about being able to access it from a smartphone? Is write speed important, or do you only need read speed? If what you mainly want is a fast drive that doesn't happen to reside in your machine, that LaCie looks like a fine choice. If you want the extra features, I've heard good things about the WD LiveBook World Edition.
Posted by: David at September 03, 2011 06:08 PM (Kn54v)
David, the HD will be used for storage, not backup. I use my current external HD to hold video and music, but it's getting maxed out (there's a pun there: it's a Maxtor drive)... I just want something bigger. The Maxtor will be used for other purposes; maybe backup, maybe an expansion for my DVR, maybe just more storage space, I haven't really figured that out yet.
The graphics card... I'm an occasional gamer, not hard-core. I enjoyed Fallout 3, Portal, etc etc etc, and will go through phases where I'll play a game for three hours a night... and then won't game for weeks. I'd like to play the new versions of those games. I also intend to do some video editing once I get it.
Chiyo-chan's been with me for five years, and she still handles anything I can throw at her. Sure, a brand new system would be nice, but why? It'd be like moving from a Ferrari F40 to an Enzo... the Enzo goes a bit faster, but the F40's no slouch and is a legend to boot.
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 03, 2011 08:21 PM (o45Mg)
So it sounds like that LaCie drive is a fine choice. Nvidia has a "help me choose" tool where you plug in what you do, your budget, how much room your case has, and how many watts your PS provides, and it gives you a list of cards to chose from. At 400 watts, nothing appears in the list. So I suspect you have to go back at least two generations, which given the rest of your machine is probably a sensible thing to do anyways. I'd just hit your preferred online vendor and see what is the most recent Nvidia card you can find that fits your power supply and budget.
Posted by: David at September 03, 2011 10:38 PM (Kn54v)
I was sorta expecting to hear that. Back when my GPU went south a few months ago, GreyDuck pointed me at Nvidia's 9800GT. At the time, it was $149... not a bad price. Upon reading your comment, David, I headed to TigerDirect to see if it was still available. It was.
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 03, 2011 11:08 PM (o45Mg)
Went to BigBlueBoxStore to purchase the Minimus... got it home, took it out of the box, and wha-hey! No powercord.
They've got another one waiting for me, I'll pick it up tomorrow.
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 04, 2011 02:35 PM (o45Mg)
I've been banging around a couple of Seagate FreeAgent 2TBs for a couple of years, they're reliable. I've had lots of other externals through the evolution from 40GB to 3TB, so general observations:
1. Get two (2) drives and perform manual backups (Microsoft's free and excellent (I don't usually say that about free M$ stuff) robocopy works with XP SP2+).
2. One drive with a lot of important content will always fail at a bad time.
3. Two (2) drives with some kind of automatic backup will always propagate errors and bit rot.
4. I keep new content on my primary computers (laptop and home base big box) sync'd when I come back from a trip, migrate the stuff with robocopy to the primary content drive(s), then about once a month do the backups and purge the primary computers.
4. XP cannot support 3TB drives without ugly work-arounds.
Posted by: conrad at September 04, 2011 08:51 PM (rlhRl)
I Think It's Over
I've made it through Friday, bringing an end to the Bookstore Death March that has been my schedule for the past month. You know what that means, right? Break out the dancing gifs!
Of course, I was supposed to have last weekend off, and we all know what happened then. So I guess it's possible that it isn't all over after all... maybe a hail of frogs, or suddenly from out of nowhere: BADGERS! Maybe I'll get a call tomorrow morning saying I have to go back into the store...
"Dozo! Have a starfish!"
Right. I'll shut up about that. Regular blogination will resume as soon as I regenerate some hit points.
My cheerleader Miku actually came in today. Good timing! ;p
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at September 02, 2011 07:55 PM (pWQz4)
Yay! I suggest you set appropriate tripwires and traps to alert you of the approach of zombies, ninja, etc., and then get lots of sleep. Perhaps you can 'forget' to plug your phone in and the battery will run out.
With any luck, you'll wake up with a half-naked alien catgirl in your bed!
Posted by: David at September 02, 2011 11:21 PM (Kn54v)
...of all those, I think I find the Nagato Yuki most disturbing.
Which means that people will probably now find me most disturbing. Ah, well.
Posted by: GreyDuck at September 02, 2011 11:47 PM (7lMXI)
That Yuki GIF is straight out of the end animation for the first series; it's one of the dance moves.
I have already stolen it.
Posted by: Ed Hering at September 03, 2011 12:23 PM (mt2tk)
That bottommost image...is that one of those "girl THINGS" I hear tell about?
Posted by: brickmuppet at September 03, 2011 01:51 PM (EJaOX)
Just one more day. Day 19 in a row. I figured out that I worked 28 of 31 days in August and at one point, 23 out of 24. Yes, the overtime is sweet, but what good is it if you can't actually generate the energy to actually spend the cash?
Or to blog, for that matter. It'll come back soon enough... but for now, here's something goofy.