July 27, 2013

(Throwing Hands Up In Frustration)

Right, I give up.  I've done everything I can do, everything I can think of, and this stupid graphics card is still not working.  Either the card has a problem, or it just won't work with my computer.  Either is possible, I have no idea which is more likely.


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July 26, 2013

Graphics Card Installed, Problems Continue!

Right, this is getting really annoying.  After dinner, I sat down in front of the open side of my computer and gently installed the eVGA GT630 I purchased last week.  At first, it looked like everything was going smoothly... the drivers installed without freezing, which just confirms that indeed, the PSU was the problem.  Great!  Reboot when prompted, and voila!  Windows boots up...

...Blue Screen of Death.  "Machine_Check_Exception."  Again.

Now I began to invent curse words.  If you ever hear me say "serathilk", you know I'm really pissed.  I rebooted in safe mode, removed drivers, and tried again.  After a couple of tries (with BSoDs) , install happened, rebooted, and the screen came back up in 1440 x 900 resolution!  Yay! 

Then it BSoD'ed again.  The only thing I can figure is that, somewhere, my motherboard hates the GT630.  Or everything hates ME, one of the two.

I've sent a support request to eVGA, maybe I'll hear from them this weekend.

I really wanted to play Kerbal Space Program this weekend, too.

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PSU Installed!

It only took nigh on three hours to do, but my computer now has a 600w Corsair CX600 installed.  Now, I'm sure many of you out there are saying to yourself "three hours?  How in the world did it take that long???"

Well, there were a few problems along the way.  Problem number one, and the most time-consuming, discovering that the CX600 doesn't actually have a four-pin 12v ATX connector.  This, I found out after I had spent an hour and a bit getting the old PSU out, getting the new one in, and running cable.  The four-pin 12v ATX is used on old motherboards, like mine, and is never seen anymore.  After nearly removing the installed CX600 in frustration, I remembered that I have another computer (which I'm typing this post on) and could google around about this conundrum.  This is where I discovered that Corsair has a more modern eight-pin connector that splits into two four-pin 12v ATXs.  While I wish that had been obvious from looking at the various cables, it's done and over with.

Problem number two, and the most aggravating, was finding out that my old PSU was actually better equipped for hard-drive and DVD drive power cables.  That one, an old ThermalTake (which only puts 18amps to the 12v rail, by the way... well below the 20 required for my new graphics card, which confirms the suspicions of all of you, and thanks!), has four individual cords with a four-pin molex connector on them.  The CX600 has ONE cord with four molexi "spliced in."  The run from the top of my case (DVD) to the bottom (hard drive) is just barely within reach of the CX600's cord... and that, I think, only because my DVD drive is installed in the bottom of the optical drive bay.  If it was in the top slot, I don't think it'd reach.  Getting that cable run was quite annoying... I'm still not even sure I can put the side panel back on.

Problem number three was that the younger me who installed the ThermalTake PSU all these many years ago was something of a diplodocus when he put it in.  Slip-tabs that would normally hold the drive in place were badly bent, a plastic friction clip wasn't there at all, so on and so forth.  As it is, I managed to re-bend the bottom tab to do a little bit of gripping, but the three case screws that are supposed to just lock the PSU in place are, instead, doing most of the work of keeping it from falling. 

So there it is... three hours of effort, dust and swearing... a LOT of swearing... but little Chiyo-chan now has a new heart PSU.  Next step is the graphics card, but that won't come until AFTER dinner.  I'm starving.

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July 25, 2013

Oh, HELL No.

Here are a few things I am NOT going to do that involve this film:

1) Watch this clip again
2) Watch this clip in HQ full-screen (again)
3) Watch it when it comes out
4) Watch it when it comes out in IMAX
5) Watch it when it comes out on Blu-Ray

Really, it might be the greatest movie of all time, but that makes no difference to me.  The thought of being adrift in space with no hope of rescue and a sudden reentry imminent is enough to turn my bowels to water and my knees to pudding.  SEEING one of my worst fears on the screen like that?  Nope, nope and a thousand times nope.

I'd rather chew my leg out of a bear trap than do that.

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July 24, 2013

I've Got So Much Nuthin', It Hurts!

...and that's a lot of nuthin'.  I've not had time nor energy enough to even think about installing the new PSU, which I remember as being a nasty job in this particular BTX case.  Well, ces't la vie.  More something will come soon, I hope.  Here, have something fun, on me:

I... uh... even I don't know what to say to that, and I'm the one that put it here.

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July 21, 2013

Graphics Card Weirdness

Okay, so here's the gig.  I had time today to finally install the new graphics card... and it wouldn't.  Let me explain.

The first time I tried, I got a black screen.  Okay, didn't get the card seated correctly... not hard to do when the PCI-E slot's locking lever is broken.  Pulled it out, stuck it back in, voila! 

Windows froze during boot.  Never even made it to the desktop.  Hold down the power button and try again.  Yay, desktop!  I wait for the computer to finish trying to find the mouse and keep hitting cancel on the driver search function, then plop the install disc into it and voila!

Windows froze during install.  It was at this point that I began to think that this wasn't going to go as smoothly as the other two times I've installed graphic cards.  Power button, reboot, bluescreen before POST.  As I was too flustered at what was going on, I didn't write it down (of course) but the relevant part that I remember was this: Machine Check Exception.

 Power button, desktop, cancel cancel cancel cancel install disc it makes it a little bit farther before lockup.  At this point, I give up, pull the brand new GeForce GT630 out, put the SPARKLE GT240 back in... it functions as long as I don't have it do anything more strenuous than Minesweeper... and everything works right as rain.  Sighing, I send eVGA an eMail, asking for advice.

Response: install the drivers under safe mode, and how much power does your PSU put out at the 12v rail?  B-b-b-b-but if I install the drivers under safe mode, that'll kill off the SPARKLE, and for me to read the label on the PSU, I have to remove the PSU... and I remember having the devil's own time physically installing it in the first place.  Oh, and it's seven years old, it may not be putting out that much power anymore, right?

Suggestions, anybody?  This sound similar to anyone?  I really don't want to sink more money into this if I don't absolutely have to, but I'm willing to invest in a new PSU if need be... I'll just put it into the new computer that'll be coming down the pike soon enough.

UPDATE: And all this after I splurged on Steam's summer sale, too.  Saints Row 3, the DLC for Skyrim, and Kerbal Space Program... and I can't play any of 'em!

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July 20, 2013

Saturday Night Tunage XVII

Oh no!  Look out!  It's another installment of Saturday Night Tunage with your host, DJ Wonderduck!

It amazes me that I've managed to go seven months since the last one of these, or at least that's what the search feature says, but it does appear to be true!  I do believe that I've deprived you, my faithful readers/listeners, for much too long.  What you believe, on the other hand,  is up to you!  I make no promises that these songs haven't been featured before, but I don't much care... I like 'em all the same!  With all that out of the way, let's get on with the tunage!


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July 18, 2013

Wanderduck's Missing Pictures

A few of you may remember the pictures from my trip to Orlando last month.  I was just going through the (metaphorical) pile of snapshots unused from the journey, and I realized that I didn't use my two favorites... because they didn't fit the narrative as well as some others.  In lieu of actual content, I aim to rectify that oversight right here, right now.

The first:

Just a duck somewhere above the middle of the country... far, far above the middle of the country.  Probably Indiana or Kentucky, as it was fairly early in the flight.  Love the clouds, and the somewhat wistful view of Wanderduck looking out the window.  Just a fun little picture.

The second:

Wanderduck with the biggest, cheesiest sh*t-eating-est grin you've ever seen on a rubber duckie.  He's such a ham.  Which, to be sure, is what makes him an ideal companion for journeys. 

For either picture, click to get a big version.  I'm sure Wanderduck'd love to be your desktop wallpaper for a while!

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July 16, 2013

The Gleam Is Off... um... EVERYTHING

Look, I know I occasionally whine and complain about stuff here at The Pond.  Stuff happens, and sometimes you just have to react.  But today... today, I have a legitimate cause to complain, and there's no way anybody would disagree with me.

My assistant manager gave her two weeks' notice today.

Classes start in four weeks.

No way I'm getting a replacement in time.  I'm going to be working open-to-close all the way through Rush, which'll take us into September.  I'm actually scheduled for 57 hours the week before classes start.

I'm doomed. 

And if that wasn't enough, my DVR appears to have coughed up a hard-drive and died.  Thankfully, I just rent it... I think.  But I lost all the movies and stuff I'd recorded.  Like the entirety of Firefly in HD.  Don't let nobody tell you different, "Our Mrs Reynolds" is worth watching in HD.  Oh yes, yes it surely is. 

I'm already there, I think.

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July 15, 2013

The Sparkle Is Off The Rose

Some of you may remember back nearly two years ago when I went through that joyous time I liked to call "graphics card hell".  That was the time when my old Nvidia 7600GT went all pear-shaped and I had to replace it.  The first attempt was with a 9800GT... which failed because it was a two-slot card and my case would only support a single.  The second attempt was a PNY GT240... which failed because it was out of stock with no return-to-stock date, which is a nice way of saying "never."  The third and final attempt was the acquisition of a GT240 from a company calling itself Sparkle.  By this time it was very much a case of burning down, falling over, then sinking into a swamp, but it did work.  And it worked very well indeed!  I was quite pleased by my purchase, and to be sure it was a lovely card and all was bacon and chocolate and chocolate-covered bacon.

I had no idea that was a thing... though I shouldn't be surprised, should I?
However, three months ago I had my first inkling of a problem: a high-pitched squealing noise issuing from the innards of my computer.  When it occurred, the first couple of times, a sharp rap on the case with my knuckles ("Bap!") usually made it stop.  Then it stopped for good on its own.  Since everything seemed to still work, I let it go with a shrug and a muttered oath: "Computers."  Which was fine, until I decided to play me some Skyrim.  Booted up the game, began to walk around, saw a bear come at me, drew my sword... and the screen went blank with a "no signal" message on it.  Meanwhile, the sounds of a bear eating my character began to emanate from the speakers.  Since I couldn't actually see anything, the only way I could reboot was to do the old "hold down the power switch" gig.  Then I tried it again, thinking that I must have accidentally done something to glitch the game.  Nope.  Same thing occurred, but faster this time.  Over the next few days, I experimented with other games.  Trine went for about 5 minutes before it did the same thing.  Hell, Motocross Madness 2 blacked out after about 15 minutes.  Some research pretty much confirmed my problem: overheating.  The squealing sound?  Death of the cooling fan on my Sparkle.  So I hied myself off to Amazon and got myself a new graphics card.

The GT630 is hardly a powerhouse... it may not even be as good as the Sparkle, to be honest.  But I don't much care at the moment as this whole experience has just pointed out to me that Chiyo-chan, my smart and lovely computer, is seven years old and essentially un-upgradeable anymore.  So the GT630 is only a stopgap card (and at $65, not an expensive one, either).  In about a month, the new school year begins at Duck U.  I think that as a "huzzah, you've survived!" gift to myself, I'll be getting a new computer... and that's if I don't get one before that.  I already have a name for it picked out... and that's the important bit, y'know.  I will, of course, keep you updated as the process goes on.  God help us all.

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July 11, 2013

All I Want... Is For It To Be Cool. Is That Too Much To Ask?

I don't get excited about movies much anymore.  It's been a long time since I eagerly awaited some big Hollywood blockbuster... I outgrew that sort of thing, I think.  But then, almost a year ago, I caught wind of something that sounded cool, if they did it right.  Then a couple of months ago, the trailers started to hit the web.  And tomorrow, July 12, 2013, the first movie I've been really excited about in years is hitting the movie screens.  Ladles and girlymen, allow me to introduce to you...

WANT.  OH SO WANT.  Mecha!  Kaiju!  Heck, GLaDOS!  It may not be Sharknado, but it'll do.

(note: longtime readers will point out that I did get excited about Tintin.  While true, that was an excitement mixed with deep-seated fear that it would suck.  It was that fear that kept me from seeing it in the theatre.  Nothing of the sort is going to happen to me with Pacific Rim.  I grew up with Tintin.  I learned to read with Tintin.  It would have seriously hurt if that movie was bad.  This one?  If it's bad, I'm out $10 and two hours or whatever.)

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