September 2nd, 2012


Short update

Since my last post, not much post-worthy happened. We've been working on the reception album for luna_puella and J.'s wedding -- obviously we're not posting pics of that until after the event! And now we're busy with doing the same for colleague J.'s wedding, which is in two weeks. (I might post pics of that in a friends-locked entry, because none of my LJ-friends is going to be there.)

Other than that, I've had random crashes on my desktop, which is pretty frustrating. At first I thought I had installed some dodgy package which destabilised the whole Ubuntu install, but even trying to re-install from USB-stick gave immediate problems. I've run memtest86 twice now, and that crapped out on me too -- so my current hypothesis is that it's the memory module that has succumbed to bit-rot. (Even blowing the dust out of the case didn't help!)
So I'll try to pop into a computer store today to get a new memory module -- by now, my desktop is considered old, and the memory hardly costs anything anymore. I hope that will fix it...

Finished series: Steins;Gate

We've finished watching Steins;Gate. My first episode review is here.

The main character is Rintaro, an engineering student with an interest in weird gadgetry. He styles himself as a mad scientist, changed his name and constructs 'future gadgets' in his lab in Akihabara -- aided by an otaku hacker and a childhood friend who works in a maid cafe. And then everything changes because one of the future gadgets, the cellphone microwave, turns out to be a time machine. The lab acquires quite a few new members in a short time, most notably a brilliant young engineer who helps theorise the new time machine.

[Of course, things go pear-shaped after that]
You can play around with it for a bit, but when people start sending mail messages to the past, the past changes -- and people's memories with it. Except for our main mad scientist, who retains his memories of how things were before. That in itself is bewildering enough, but then CERN comes to shut down his operation: they are the only ones with a time-machine, and they want to keep it that way! Add in a mysterious time traveler who claims to know all about CERN and the future, the quest to find an old PC from 1974 and the inevitable death of one of the lab members, and you get a frantic cat-and-mouse game through time -- all in the course of a few weeks.
Even though Rintaro has a bad habit of making an idiot of himself and others, he turns out to be pretty dependable and resourceful when it's needed. Because he is the only one who can travel back in time and retain his memories, he's pretty lonely -- having to explain it all again and again and again to the same people. But in the end, he pulls through and even manages to prevent WW3 from happening!

The series isn't action-packed. There are whole episodes that are not much else than the characters walking around Akihabara and theorising about the nature of the time machine they built, or hunting down a certain person or part. But every episode, there's something that shows that there is more than is known at that moment, and that the truth is actually grander than anybody knows.
Because of the small area that is covered, it gave off the same feel as Durarara -- you have all these characters interacting as a group and separately, encountering each other as they go about their business.
It's a brainy series, which makes you think about what is happening and what will happen next. Sure, I'm interested in stories about time travel, but I think that's not the only appeal. The creative story-telling ranks very high.

I think it's a must-see, so I'll give it a 9.

Calcifer is a goner

Even with a new stick of RAM, Calcifer still crashes when doing memtest86. That doesn't involve any moving parts, so the only viable explanation is that the motherboard has become unstable. I guess four years of non-stop running took their toll on the electrolytic condensators. (The lightning strike of a year ago might not have helped either.)
So it's time to say my teary-eyed goodbyes. I've just ordered another nettop to replace Calcifer: an Atom/ION desktop. It's an upgrade of sorts, because the CPU in the new machine is a dual-core Atom, and the video drivers for the ION enable the playback of full HD video.

Getting all my stuff ported to the new machine is going to be a pain. :(