Archive for March, 2009

what video corruption looks like

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

The ilamlvelienae is the least of your worries.


my faux pas for 2009

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Last night my peer group gathered its computers together with the intention of playing LAN games all night. We got distracted by the prospect of overclocking our PCs, brought on partly by my new CPU cooler, and instead spent much of the night fiddling with our front side buses and benchmarking the results.

(Just to brag: my E6600, at 2.4ghz stock, makes it at least to 3.3ghz just by raising the FSB. No voltage adjustments, and it never went above 50 degrees playing Crysis. My 3dmark06 score rose from 11000 something to 15306.)

Then we burned a bit of fuel testing a friend’s new car sound system as we ambled cruised hooned to Sydney and back to fetch Krispy Kremes with which to celebrate.

It’s 2PM the following day, March the 29th, and I’ve only just realised something: We accidentally spent the entirety of Earth Hour overclocking our gaming PCs. With the lights on.

So sorry. People do.

some things i scraped off the interweb this week

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

First up, “Extreme Sheep LED Art”.

You herd me.

There’s a ton of skepticism in the comments about how real that could be. I’m inclined to think a) it’s worth watching for the hilarious concept alone, b) the fireworks at the end are thoroughly believable. Enjoy it either way.

Next, something serious, but just as breathtaking:

There’s some kind of trick photography going on – a weird lens here, some time-lapse there – but my brain can’t make heads or tails of it. It thinks it’s watching some stop-motion thing with teeny tiny scale models.

Somehow, though, the big boats still look big. Which leads me to…


Yeah. That’ll about do it.

I discovered Dark Roasted Blend dot com last night. It’s full of crazy awesome things like that.


And this. This is obviously a drawing or something, but seriously. If I was a supervillain, this would be my primary base of operations. In the sky. With cannons.

Honourable mention, of course, to the Blue Marlin.


It’s a barge. It sinks itself, swims underneath other boats, re-surfaces, and then carries said other boats around.

Like, for instance, that destroyer. Or an oil rig.

That’s about exhausted my quota of awesome for the week. Tune in next week, for more of whatever I happen to dig up in my travels.

Solved: Billion 7300a not forwarding port 80

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

It’s weird. I have ports 80, 2120 and 2121 forwarded to my Linux box via my Billion 7300a modem. The latter two (picked for random things because they’re cool numbers) work fine; requests to port 80 just stop dead at the modem and time out.

Everything’s forwarded correctly, my ISP doesn’t force me to opt-in to opening port 80, my DDNS URL resolves correctly to my home address, but nobody comes to the door when you knock.

Actually, it’s the modem hiding behind the door, and it’s got no intention of answering. The modem’s webconfig runs on port 80 as well, although yes it’s only available on the local network, not from outside.

According to this, you have to change the port the webconfig is running on – despite it not responding to hails from outside my network anyway – before forwards to another machine on port 80 will work at all.


It’s not just the 7300a that does this – I mentioned it to a friend, and he said his 5100c did exactly the same thing.

My next modem, when it comes time to replace this one, won’t be another Billion. My quest for the perfect modem continues.

balls: the movie

Monday, March 16th, 2009


I must have missed this one. Maybe it went straight to DVD?

Solved: 100% CPU usage on Acer Aspire 1640Z

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Do you have an Acer laptop? Is the CPU going full bore for no reason? Is your battery getting a bit old?

Then do I have a solution for you.

Fun problem at work this week, as above. The SYSTEM process – not the System Idle process, as you’d expect – was eating as much CPU time as it could, causing it to heat up and run its fans like crazy. Oh, and the laptop’s keyboard and touchpad were practically useless – it was ignoring 9 in every 10 keystrokes, and you’d get maybe 2-3 responses a second out of the touchpad.

I had to plug a USB keyboard and mouse into it; curiously they worked flawlessly. I guess it was too busy to listen to its PS/2 inputs.

I googled “system process using cpu“, and landed on an essay by Mark Russinovich (the Sysinternals guy) on how he used Process Explorer to hunt down whatever was using his CPU like crazy. His problem turned out to be bad network card drivers; in my case…


…it was something called Deferred Procedure Calls. A further google for that turns up a surprising number of Acer laptop users. This thread explains it all. There’s a hardware bug somewhere in the way certain Acers – at least the 1640Z, and some 3000 and 5000 series models – talk to old batteries. Possibly they’re getting hung up on it reading too close to zero, I don’t know.

The fix is simple. All you have to do is pull the battery out.


CPU usage will instantly decrease, and everything will return to normal until the next time you reboot with the battery slotted in.

If this is your problem, you have three simple options. First, you can chuck the battery out, leaving the laptop to rock from side to side on a flat surface because some of the feet are on the battery; two, you buy a new battery, gambling it’s the battery’s fault and not the laptop’s; and three, go buy yourself a shiny new laptop that isn’t crap.

Edit: I’m getting a lot of hits from people with recent Acer laptops, saying they have full CPU usage. This exact problem is to do with old batteries; if you’ve got a Core2 Acer or something similarly recent, it’s not the same problem and I can’t specifically help you. I suggest checking Task Manager (ctrl+alt+del, pick it from the list) and looking in the Processes tab – find what’s using your CPU, google the name of it and kill it. Aside from that I can’t really help.

giggling into my sleeve, please hold

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

I’m not a fan of the phone at work. If it rings, it means someone wants something from me, and if it’s not something routine and boring, it’s an emergency of some kind. I’m fairly bored with both kinds of calls these days.

One particular call today made me smile, though.

A nice old man wanted someone to come out and set up his new broadband modem for him, set up wireless with his laptop, etc etc. Standard stuff, and standard procedure for me is to take down their name and number and get the callout guy to ring them back for details and to arrange a time.

Me: “Okay, can I just get your phone number then?”
Him: “Yep, sure. it’s four two, eight four…”
Me: *furiously scribbling on whiteboard* “4284…”
Him: *pause* “Oh hang on, I’m giving you your number. I’ll give you my number now.”
Me: *polite chuckle* “Sure, go ahead?”
Him: “four two, eight four…”
Me: *blink*