Saturday, November 27, 2004

Let's not argue about who killed whom.

This week, my brother is visiting from DC, where he has been going to school. We were very excited to get together, because since we last saw each other this summer, both he and my older brother got new computers that are now capable of playing decent games. So, we planned, and when the time came, he snuck away from his wife and her family, and we played some Half-life.

There were a lot of concerns about this, because I’m an experienced player, and they’re all more or less complete novices. My DC brother got the game about a few weeks ago and played through the entire single player game in a surprisingly short amount of time. My youngest brother joined one of the LAN parties with my friends at this forum, but didn’t stay long or do very well. He’s an unbeatable Halo player, and we were doing well to get him away from Halo 2, which he just got recently. My older brother is very new to the entire multiplayer FPS experience, except for occasional games of Halo, which isn’t the same.

So, to counter my experience, I went out looking for new maps, so that I would have to learn all of the maps instead of having intimate, practiced knowledge of their layout. My early efforts at finding maps were disappointing. I found a couple of maps that their author was very proud of, but it turned out that they had very limited weapons, and they were extremely difficult to move around in. They were the sort of maps that a couple of players could easily control against an arbitrary number of opponents. Then I found The Snark Pit. It’s a forum for map developers, and they turn out some great work. I downloaded a lot of maps, and they clearly show the improvements that come from peer review. They are beautiful maps to be in (especially one that with snowfall, giving it an idyllic peaceful feel), and most of them give great game play.

So, Thursday (Thanksgiving) night, we got together and spent about 4 or 5 hours straight blasting each other away through half a dozen maps. They made some good progress in their skills, and so I think that at least two of them (the younger brothers) could hold their own in the Phischkneght LAN parties. We gave up because we were getting tired and our reaction times were dwindling. The peak of the evening was when we were playing on a small map (the Snark Pit review said it was only good for two players) that was just a small open arena. I had a tendency to get the long jump module and jump all over the place, leading my brothers to dub me “Spider Man”. We had a frenzied bloodbath. It got too intense for us, and we had to finish up with a peaceful round of Crossfire.

We managed to get together again Friday night, and we soon decided that the only map we wanted to play on was this arena map. We spent about an hour and a half there. It was insane. My youngest brother and I were neck and neck the whole time (he was usually ahead by 5-15 kills until near the end when I took the lead), and the other brothers had about 2/3 our scores. At the end, the two higher scores were over 300, and the lower scores were over 200. I had the most kills by a small margin, and also the fewest deaths by a much larger margin. In all, there were over 1000 kills during that time, meaning that the average life span was less than 30 seconds. It was the best round I have ever had, with bullets, rockets, and trash talk flying freely. About an hour after the game ended, I had finally calmed down enough that I wasn’t shaking. I think I’ve still got some adrenaline pumping from it.

Anyway, I need to play again. The next time we have a LAN party together, I have about 60 MB of maps for us to try out. We may find a few new favorites. Plus, the less we play Subtransit, the better.

[Edited to correct the size of my maps file from 60 GB to 60 MB. Give me a break. I was writing at 2 a.m.]

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Only there to help

Well, I had a frustrating drive home.

I had just dropped off Andy (being the nice guy I am) and got on I-15. About a mile from my exit, my tire went flat. Ok, no problem. This is why I have a cell phone, right? RIGHT? Well, I tried to call home and I got a message telling me that I needed to make a payment before I make a call. So, I get ahold of a rep who needs the SSN of the person whose name is on the account. For those of you wondering, no, I don't know my dad's number and I don't have any burning desire to know. Thankfully, police officers Campbell and Ricks pulled up and called Julianne. Even nicer was that they called a guy with a jack to come and put the spare on the car, seeing as how we never put a jack in the Jetta.

So my thanks to the police officers of the world, putting themselves on the line to make the world a better place for us. Even if we occasionally forget that.

May your tires never go flat


One More Round

I was not expecting this round but sushi is never unwanted or unwelcome.

This round we had a Vegas roll, a BSCR roll, a Diva roll, and a Utah roll. Since I have rated two of these already you will have to read the other post to catch their rating. The new ones this round were the Utah Roll and the Diva Roll.

  • Utah Roll – I really enjoyed this one once I figured out that it was best with a little wasabi a little soy sauce and a slice of ginger. The best way to describe this roll is understated. Jake may say this is a little low but I’ll give it an 8.
  • Diva Roll – This roll originally comes with macadamia nuts but I HATE nuts so I ordered it without. It also has soy paper as the wrap instead of the seaweed witch had a pleasant pink color to it. Considering the nut problem I give it an 8.

Well hopefully I can do my network upgrade next but that will have to wait until my next post.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Stardate 24601

I know, what a cheesy title, right? Sorry. (I was going to go with "Come see the harder side of K-Mart", but I don't think that many people would get it. It's a Wall Street joke. But then, I guess a classic literary/Star Trek reference is pretty esoteric, too. But far more geeky.)

Did I forget to write here that I had bulging capacitors on my Intel motherboard? 'Tis true.

Intel arranged a replacement with me and said replacement is currently on a UPS truck that should stop at my house today. Sometimes they can't find my house, which pisses me off, but there's nothing I can do about it, so I'll just breathe deeply instead.

Leon and I went for sushi again yesterday. I called him in the morning, inviting him to lunch, and starved myself until lunch so I'd have room for the forthcoming sushi.

Problem is, my sugar dropped and Leon got off work late, so I was starving. I ordered a bowl of edamame when we got there, and wolfed it down when the girl brought it to the table. It was good.

I had a BSCR and a Vegas roll (that took 45 minutes to get to the table). They were both quite good. Leon tried two rolls he hadn't had before, the Utah and the Diva I think, and he's going to review those on this very blog.

The sushi was excellent, as was the service other than the late food. The waitress offered us free desserts to make up for the late food and we gratefully accepted. I had a dessert called the Mt. Fuji that was like a super-rich cakey brownie with dollops of whipped cream and some vanilla ice cream. It was very good.

I paid $60 for the meal, $13.xx of which was the tip. We were well served.

I found a copy of Half Life 2 Collector's Edition at my local Wal*Mart yesterday. I was surprised to see it there, two days after Half Life's big release date.

So the story goes like this: I have Half Life 2. I have a processor, video card, memory and other system internals that surpass by a fair bit what it'll take to run the demanding game. What I don't have is my motherboard. Dammit, Intel.

Oh, and get this...the guy at Intel tried to tell me that he rarely if ever hears of the caps going bad on Intel boards. Must be a new hire, because this bad cap epidemic is bigger than pokemon (like, so yesterday).

I was going to wear my geek-screaming HL2 shirt to work today, but I wrestled with the dog last night, and she got me (and my shirt) absolutely filthy. Dirty dog.

Nice day in the lab so far.

Oh yeah, Phischkneght readers, wiggle on over to check out the WEA blog here: This is going to be a good thing.

And now I have to go post over there.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Technical Advancements

Last night I worked in the Davis Lab until 11:00pm. It was exciting because (a. the printer was dead and I kept having to apologize for peoples' inability to print, (b. Crystal brought me dinner, and (c. it's a really big deal to a lot of people when the printer dies and some of them are not nice about it.

But it was also boring, because a, b, and c are all that happened (work wise) in seven hours.

I decided to remotely log on to my home server, DENTSERVER, and try to get some real work done.

I tweaked around with the DSL modem for a while, got things set a little better than they were before. Then I turned to the new USB print server.

This was tricky. I've been meaning to give the manual a long good look, but of course the manual was at home. And I didn't remember the manufacturer and model number of the print server.

What could I do? I logged on to ZipZoomFly and looked up my order that brought the print server. I found the manufacturer and model number from there.

I got to D-Link's web page and didn't really find out anything I didn't already know. I knew that the print server wants to be from the start, which is what I suspected was the root problem.

The modem documentation claims that the modem will automatically detect if it's on a DHCP-served network and reset its own IP address to the DHCP's subnet if necessary. The DSL modem was already serving out addresses in the 192.168.0.x subnet, so with ten clients or so, was already in use.

So my first troubleshooting attempt involved setting the modem's subnet to 192.168.1.x and renewing all the leases on the network clients. Well, the print server didn't want to play.

And that's where I was when I started last night.

Knowing that the print server lied about paying attention to the DHCP server's subnet, I tried setting the DSL modem's subnet back to 192.168.0.x and then waited for clients to auto-renew and come back online.

My hope was that because the print server wasn't currently talking to a DHCP server, it would be constantly pinging the network for a DHCP server that was on the subnet it was looking for. If the print server was actively pinging for a print server, then it could get the IP address it wanted from the modem right away, because all the other network clients weren't yet aware that the subnet had changed, and would have to wait until their IP leases expired to re-ping the DHCP server and find out that they'd been out of touch all this time.

Unfortunately, when I changed the subnet, my connection to DENTSERVER was immediately terminated. If I'd been sitting in front of the machine, I could have manually requested a new IP address from the DHCP, but of course I wasn't.

So, just like all the other clients on the network, I just had to wait until DENTSERVER's lease ran out and requested a lease renewal--which would of course be turned down by the DHCP server--that IP was no longer valid, so DENTSERVER would get a new IP address. Or three of them, actually, because DENTSERVER runs a trio of NICs.

Are we confused yet?

DENTSERVER's lease didn't expire for 2.5 hours. That's when I was finally able to log back on to it.

I pulled up a remote FireFox window and typed into the address bar. Sure enough, there was the print server. It had grabbed the ".10" address before any of the other clients were even close.

The funny thing is, once the print server has the IP address it wants, you can go into its web management utility and set it to something else. But only after it has the address it wants. So is now an empty address on my network.

I gave DENTPRINTER 01 on DENTNET PRINTSERVER on DENTNET the only address that made sense to me... It works!

Monday, November 15, 2004

Quick Update

I'm alive, I just don't feel like writing lately. Sorry.

Leon's post about sushi is spot on, though. The Cobra was not my favorite but edible, the Vegas went to eleven, and the BSCR was very good indeed.

I. Am. Tired.

The lab printer has crashed, and all sorts of people hate me. Not much I can do about that, other than not take all the death threats personally.

I bought an HL2 compatible vid card last night, but if you want to know the specifics, you'll have to talk to me in person. Let's just say it's a pretty substantial upgrade in more than one way. Now I'll have to figure out what to do with my Radeon 9000 Pro (128MB DDR).

I'll bet ATI is having a banner year.

Jeesh, I wish I were in bed...and I have so much to do, including sitting at this desk until 11:00 pm. Then I get to fix Julianne's PC and then...well, we'll see.

Well that's it.

Oh yeah, saw "The Incredibles" this was quite good. That was the same day Leon bought me sushi. Good day.

***Heavy edit alert***

I'm going to be having some members of WEA (that's Weber Entrepreneurs Association) swing by to see how a blog works...and had second thoughts about a little bit of that last post.

You can ask me what got deleted if you're so inclined. In the meantime...Hi WEA people! Welcome! Feel free to poke around and see what's here.


And now for something good.

It’s no secret that Jake and I like sushi. In fact I love it. There is not much I enjoy more than going out with a friend and eating good food. This past Saturday Jake and I went to the Happy Sumo and had our standard of five rolls. Though the service this round was not great the sushi was one of the best rounds I have ever had. So I will give you a list of what we had and a personal ranking on each roll, 1 to 10, and 10 being the best.
  • Vegas Roll – In my personal opinion these set the bar against witch I judge the rest. And this round they were top notch. We ordered two of these they are a good way to make sure you get something you like when trying something new.10
  • Cobra Roll – This was one a new one we tried this round out. While it looks a little like a snake because of the salmon skin the skin also added a flavor and texture I really did not care for. The roll also has a sweet flavor to it that I really did enjoy. 5
  • Playboy Roll – I have had this one before so if I came back to it I must like it. This one reminds me of the samurai (witch is also great FYI) in that it has the salmon sashimi on top but also includes flying fish eggs. I prefer to dip this one in soy sauce because it helps bring out the flavor. A very good choice. 9
  • BSCR Roll – Finally this was the surprise of the night. I am usually cautious of food that is presented as an acronym. This one proved its self an exception. BSCR stand for Baked Scallop California Roll and this one was delicious. The scallop was seasoned breaded and sautéed in butter and had a delicate texture it was placed over the California roll with each piece on its side. The only draw back is that it is difficult to cut the scallop with chopsticks witch makes eating it a challenge. 8

Over all I was a great meal that kept me full almost the rest of the day.

Thursday, November 04, 2004


What can I say? I was wrong.

I thought that John Kerry should be our next president. But our next president should be whomever the most people vote for. And that wasn't Kerry. So I was wrong. I'll live with it.

There's been much talk of unhappy Democrats moving to Canada. But what's the point of that? Canada is cold, and I already got my lifetime dose of extreme coldness in Wisconsin.

Also, you can't take your guns. I like my guns. I have a few, and moving isn't a good enough reason to be rid of them.

Mexico, overall, seems to be a better choice. And it's a cheaper place to live. But I'll stay here. I was wrong.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Voting and Fragging (but not in that order)

Two things:

First, the LAN party was great. It was the most evenly matched that I've ever seen, with everyone playing well all evening. We'll definitely have to do it again. I just hope that I'm not as busy that weekend as I was last weekend.

I'm in Hampton, Virginia where I've been watching election coverage for about 8 hours now. I have been fanatical, and I'm very relieved to see Bush taking Florida and (most likely) Ohio. It's been thrilling. Ohio's snail-paced count, always holding Bush ahead by about 100,000 votes (the lead is 103,942 votes as CNN calls it "too close to call"), Bush's slow rise to the top of Florida, razor-thin races in New Hampshire, Nevada, and Iowa, and color commentary by James Carville and Tucker Carlson have all made it a fantastic evening.

Right now, it looks like Bush has taken Ohio and therefore the election (New Mexico and Iowa won't hurt to have either, especially since both are former Gore states). The final tally, prior to provisional and military ballots, will probably be about exactly 100,000. There are anywhere from 100,000 to 250,000 provisional ballots, which aren't likely to close that gap, even if most of them turn out to be legitimate ballots (which is unlikely). The military votes will only help boost Bush's lead, so of course, CNN is completely ignoring them.

Actually, CNN has been pretty fair throughout the evening, even if they have not for a moment forgotten that they want Kerry to win. As things got bleaker and even Carville had to admit that the numbers weren't good for Kerry, CNN kept looking with greater desperation for a way for Kerry to win. The provisional ballots, for example, are a "safety net". In fact, I just heard the word "recount" thrown out. I hope it doesn't come to that.

Anyway, Bush has a 3 million vote lead in the popular vote, and he's been a good sport about it. The democrats, on the other hand, have a plane full of lawyers headed to Ohio to try to wrangle something for Kerry. If this gets ugly, then for the second time in a row, it will not be the fault of Bush and his supporters. I think that we could use a good Nixon, but chances are that Kerry thinks that he should be Kennedy and Bush should be the graceful Nixon. If he forces the issue, then it's the voters that will lose.

My Prediction/Wish

You know what I want to see?

I want Bush to win the popular vote, and Kerry to win the electoral. Heh.

I didn't vote for Gore, but after all the malfeasance we've seen from the Bushies, I'd love to see him go out the way he came in.


You know what they say, 'Vote early, and vote often!'

So I skipped my first class and voted instead. And who knows? Maybe my votes will help unseat an incumbent or two.

Oh yeah, we had the kind of ballots with the infamous chads. But I didn't leave any hanging, or even pregnant.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Report of the Second Annual Wilcox Halloween LAN Party

Or WHaLaP II. Up for vote: Should next year's be called WHaLaP III, or WHaLaP IIV?


Stan (Last minute...Sorry, Stan, and thanks for coming!)

First order of business:

I will never again have Baja Fresh cater a LAN party. The food was 1.5 hours late, and the girl had to call for directions TWICE, even though I had left detailed directions at the store the day before.

I'm not even sure that I'll go back there for lunch. Oh, wait, I've got points on my card. I'll spend those and then I may not go back.


The movie. I'm sorry, guys, I really thought that more of you would enjoy This Is Spinal Tap more than you did. Maybe you were just too hungry. Next year, the movie will be planned in advance and hopefully more people will laugh.

Those were the two major drawbacks of the evening. As you'll no doubt notice, neither of them has anything to do with LAN battle. And the battle went well.

The matches were relatively even, there was much carnage, and we used a frag limit this time that seemed to have the effect of keeping the game a little more fresh.

Krys is a Counter Strike junkie, and wasn't used to dealing with the sort of alliances that are formed at WHaLaP. He made his concerns known, and was summarily dismissed. He was probably just hungry.

Yes, Leon and I teamed up when convenient. And yes, we did pretty well. We didn't totally r00l, though except in SubTrasit, which is my map. When in SubTransit, bow down, because you're in for a severe ass kicking. Verily, it was so.

So. That's about it. We did set up computers in the great room, but Krys moved downstairs until more people showed up, because he didn't want to be all alone in there.

My Dad decided not to play. He had worked all day, and was tired, and HL is new to him. Maybe Jeff and I can play with him some later and get him more comfortable in the game.

Sorry again for the food, guys. I know it wasn't worth it. But now we know, and next year, we'll try something different.

Hmm, speaking of next year...looks like we need to plan on Friday, Oct. 28, 2005. Halloween is a Monday next year, so I'll have to take the kids out that Saturday night. So it's Friday.

On second thought, I don’t know. Will the trick-or-treating take place on a Monday?

Also, I'm thinking of a change of venue. Leon's basement may be the best place to do this thing, and he plans on building up his network infrastructure in the short term. Let's talk, Leon.

One last thing before I post...I'm at peace with Acronis now.

I finally asked if they were going to offer me a refund or not, and they offered to replace the software that I bought for any of their other titles (Except TrueImage 8.0 Server).

I replied in email that I'd like TrueImage 8.0, but since it won't run on my server, and they weren't offering me the Server version, I'd take a copy of Acronis Power Utilities.

So they sent me a key and a link for TrueImage 8.0. I replied again, pointing out that TrueImage wasn't what I asked for, and then they sent me a key and link for Power Utilities.

My conclusion is this: Typical. Yeah, their customer support was only so-so, but Norton probably wouldn't have been any better. Norton just wouldn't have crashed my server in the first place. Maybe.

So it's all good.