Monday, January 16, 2006

IF: a non-update update

In order to address the emails I've gotten from a couple of Risorgimento Represso fans, asking about when the sequel is coming out, I thought I'd post this publicly.

Progress is still very slow. I've still been mainly concentrating on the final, never-going-to-make-another-even-if-I-have-a-paper-bag-over-head-bug release of RR, which adds the Glulx target, and provides true context-sensitive hints (which I now wish I hadn't bothered starting to do, as it's quite time consuming). Once I get that out of the way, I can get back to alternating work between the Risorg2 transcript of expected gameplay, and the actual coding.

Patience is a virtue. Anyway, look at this way, even if it was 100% finished, I still couldn't release Risorg2, as I have no idea what I'm going to call it.

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Linksys's wireless-B media adapter

So there's only a couple of issues I've discovered with the Linksys Wireless-B Media Adapter. The control is really good, and the browsing works great.

However, even when you're not actively serving out files from the PC to the adapter, the service that runs in the background regularly chews up CPU cycles, hitting 35% at times. Ouch! And guess what needed to be installed before I could install this? Windows .NET Framework v1.1. Gee, I wonder if that's why it's slow?

I regularly kill the service if I've booted and know I'm not going to be using the adapter.

The other annoying thing is the service doesn't show up in the Services list, so there's no way to stop or restart it easily. I've resorted to killing it in Task Manager, but then I have no way to get it going again--running the Linksys's "Manage Shared Folders" application doesn't restart them, neither does launching their EXEs directly. In fact, launching their EXEs gives you a (Microsoft) message that "You can't launch this service this way, you should do it from the Services tool".

Argh.

Apart from those concerns, it's working great--we have to keep the CDs hidden away in a closet, or one or more of the kids gets into them and starts opening them, so having a way to stream MP3s from the PC to the stereo is great. It was certainly worth the minimal cash I spent on it.

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Friday, January 13, 2006

The grapes of wrath...

I picked up a Linksys Wireless-B Media Adapter for cheap from TigerDirect, and it arrived yesterday.

It's only 802.11b, and doesn't do video, but it does understand JPG and MP3 files, so it's a really handy way to play MP3 files from the PC on the home stereo. It also features a nice interface, and understands MP3 tags, so after you select the folder to share from your PC, you can browse on the TV via folder, artist, genre, song name and so on. Very nice.

I got it home yesterday, and set about hooking it up before supper. I was just moving the entertainment unit out from the wall to plug it in when Michelle voiced her suspicion that the kids might have been sticking things into the bass exhaust ports on the speakers. These are Monitor Audio Silver 8 speakers, with two bass drivers and one midrange each, and thus two exhaust ports each--one at the bottom and one at the top. I paid a bundle for them when I bought them in 2001 (or was it 2000?), and they're an amazing set of speakers. We've often found the kids sticking things into the ports, but usually it's items that are large enough that they remain sticking out, or they're not in far enough that we can reach in and grab them.

So once both kids were in bed, I pulled the fronts off, and started with the bottom driver. I unscrewed it and pulled it out. Behind it, nestled in the bottom of the cabinet, were a piece of chalk, a piece from a magnetic Caillou fridge puzzle, and a plastic harmonica. However, these were all things that had been missing for quite some time, and not what Michelle suspected was in there.

The next step was to open the midrange driver, as it's separated from the two bass drivers by foam inserts inside the cabinet--thus, anything dropped into the upper exhaust port is likely to stay up there behind the midrange. So I pulled that driver out and lo and behold, I found them: six grapes which had been stuffed into the upper exhaust port, and were sitting right behind the driver on the foam insert. Thank goodness Michelle had noticed the boys lingering around the back of the speaker while they were eating grapes. Now, to be fair to the kids, Nicholas did admit that he'd put grapes into the speaker when Michelle asked, and as far as we can tell, he's always truthful--we frequently rely on him to tell us what's happened if we come into the room and one or more of the kids is crying.

After recovering the grapes, I asked Michelle if they'd been near the other speaker--it's a little harder to get to, as the piano sits close to that side of the entertainment unit, and she thought not. But, I was already in speaker-opening mode, and I had the tools, so I thought I'd check. Clean of grapes, but behind the bottom driver, I found an AA battery that someone had slipped in there.

So my speakers are now gloriously free of all foreign substances. Short of covering the exhaust ports though, I'm not sure what I can do to stop them doing this. I suppose I'll have to resort to yearly checking of the cabinets--sigh.

And any comments talking about "sour grapes" run the risk of deletion by the anti-atrocious-pun filtering software.

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