October 29th, 2011

#3026: Hi10p still screwy, but better

This morning I saw that there's now a version 7.9 of K-Lite Codec Pack, so I DLed it. Removed CCCP from Cephiro, installed that...and have exactly the same problems.

I spent 15 minutes trying to figure out how to disable the H.264 decoder on the video card, and finally had to go look at the help file. The switch for that is in a non-obvious place, and labeled in a non-obvious fashion, which is why it took going to the FAQ.

Now the video will play for about two minutes at a time without the audio dropping--better than having it happen every ten seconds or so--and will begin to run out-of-sync after that. *sigh*

It's doing this when the data stream is about 1.5 Mb/s wide--megabits, not -bytes--which is really pretty small for video. Considering that the data pipe from El-Hazard is 100 Mb wide, this shouldn't be an issue for streaming it via the network.

...and now it's doing it with the Patlabor movies again, which was fixed. These are 8 GB files on Cephiro's hard drive, with an input bandwidth of 8-10 Mb/s.

So when I run something like a random ep of Fractale, the video input rate bounces off of 15 Mb/s for some video sequences and averages around 9.5, so it's not because the computer is choking on a flood of data. It's the damn decoder not working right and I don't know why.

The video drivers must need updating. The latest version of them are from 9/28 of this year, and that's what's on my system now; it's going to take some time for AMD to get off its collective ass and issue another update, assuming they do it at all. It might be time to start pricing Nvidia cards, as much as I'd hate to spend the money right now.

But I've got SofTenni BD rips, encoded in Hi10p, downloading on El-Hazard as I type this; those clock in at about 490 MB each--I thought Hi10p was supposed to lead to smaller files?--and perhaps they will work where the ultra-big ones do not, for whatever reason.

Since the Patlabor movies have stopped working perhaps it's a sign that videos which are not multi-gigabyte files will work. And maybe I'm just grasping at straws.

God damn it, this is pissing me off.

* * *

Germany is saying there will be a war if the Euro fails. It's not Germany saying they're going to start something, I don't think, but it really doesn't take much of a crystal ball to figure out how things shake out once there's an economic disaster. Not when we have so many examples of how that's worked out in history, time and time again.

* * *

Erogami finally got a broom, because she finally got "Put Out The Fires!" accomplished. Turns out all the Horde folks do that quest in Firewing Square, because that's the easiest place to do it in all of Hordedom.

So when I was given the tip in trade chat, I said, "Oh, I hadn't even thought about belfland! Thanks!"

"I don't understand what that means."


"Blood ELF land. belfland."

"I don't get it."

"Silvermoon City is the home of the blood elves. The BELFs come from Silvermoon City. That's what makes it BELFLAND."

...further conversation was cut short as I left the city, and therefore trade chat. Which is just as well, because if I had had to amplify that any further, I would have been TYPING IN ALL CAPS AND CALLING THAT MOTHERFUCKER A SCREECHING MORON....

I had done the quest in order to get Tricky Treats, as I was 1 TT away from being able to buy a broom; but part of the reward for the related quest that pops up when you smash the Headless Horseman's pumpkin head is a "crudely wrapped package" which contains random drops. Mine included a broom, and I got a handful of TTs from both quests, so I spent the TTs on a "Burning Wickerman" which makes a cute little burning man for cooking.

Lacking anything better to do I then rode the broom around Azeroth trying to get the Cataclysm candy buckets that I could reach, which amounted to the ones at Mount Hyjal and in Twilight Highlands. (Can't get to Deepholm or Vash'jir unless you're over 80, dag nag it.)

Erogami is a stone's throw from getting "the Hallowed", but as the event ends Monday it's doubtful that I'll get there. I'm not sure what level you have to be to get into the dungeon containing the Headless Horseman, and you need to kill him to get the achievement. *sigh*

* * *

It's a nice day today, and I kind-of feel like I might have some energy; I thought I might drag the Fiero out of the garage and see if I can do anything about the brakes.

As of right now I have all of the components required to make a fog cooler, so I thought I might try doing that, too. I don't know how the chicken wire I bought will do for that, but it's chicken wire and it should work, so F it.

Maybe dig through the garage a bit and see if I can't find the lumber I need to fix my bed and make that wood rack I was thinking about the other day.

...none of which is going to happen before I eat breakfast. I got up around 7 and had a bagel, but that's not enough food for me to do manual labor. Maybe I'll have a snack now, get a couple McRib around 11-ish, and then set out to accomplish things.

And maybe I'll just sit here and turn into a damp dishrag. *sigh*

#3027: Better, and worse!

The better part:

I rode the motorcycle today. A lot. Hehhheh.

This morning around 11 I rode the bike to the bank and Walgreen's, to cash a check and buy some "thank you" cards. On the way home I stopped at McDonald's and bought a couple McRibs. Since breakfast had been a bagel with cream cheese at 7-iah--and since it was nearing 12 when I got home--I was starving.

After eating, I hit the driveway, and I'll tell that story in a bit because I'm telling the "better" part first.

One of the things I accomplished today was to finally build a fog cooler. It consists of a watertight box of some kind--I'm using a styrofoam cooler--with a pipe running through it. The pipe is actually supposed to be made of chicken wire, because you then fill the cooler with ice and aim the fog machine into one end of the pipe. With the cooler full of ice, when the fog flows through the pipe it is cooled--you see?

...and then the fog will hug the ground instead of billowing up. It was too windy outside for the thing to work well, so I brought it inside; despite not having it full of ice (only about halfway, not quite enough to cover the top of the chicken wire) it worked well enough that the fog drifted down the stairs instead of filling the entire entry hall. It works!

I don't know WTF I'll do with it. Hopefully it won't be windy on Halloween and I can have it propped up in the front window, spewing fog into the front yard. That would be fun.

The damn street here is lined with cars. I was wondering what the hell was going on, and I gradually twigged to last Saturday before Halloween and Crete's Trick or Treat Trail is in the woods near here. Yeah. So once done in the driveway I put my windbreaker over my hoodie, put on the 3/4 helmet, and rode down to see if I was right.

I was.

I'd kind of like to go see what it's like, but as a single man I know what people would be thinking: Eeew! It's a PEDOPHILE! That can be the ONLY reason he's coming to a family event by himself! That's right; being a single male at a family-oriented event is now proof that you're a pervert. *sigh*

...so I rode home, and adjusted the bike's idle a bit. I had turned it down a few weeks ago, but now it idles too slow, so I bumped it up a couple hundred RPM. I like where it idles now.

Once that was done, I put on the full face helmet and went out for another ride. I didn't really have any particular plan; and as I rode south on Route 1 I decided, Let's go to Beecher!

So I got to Beecher, and then thought, Let's go to Grant Park! I rode down to Grant Park, and idled around a little bit--and looked at the big grain elevator they've got there. I think that's probably the only remaining spur off the former MoPac main line (now UP) between Chicago Heights and Kankakee.

My cheeks hurt from smiling. There were a few asshats, but it wasn't too bad.

The windbreaker did a yeoman's job of keeping me from freezing. My legs are uncomfortably cold now, and I could have stood to be warmer than I was, but it wasn't bad; I was "cool but not cold". I think that windbreaker kept me warmer than the suede jacket does. Huh.

So I feel pretty chipper, since I had a good time. That's the "better".

Now for the "worse".

As I said, after eating lunch I hit the driveway. First up: get out the Fiero and see what's what.

...it wouldn't stay running. When I finally got it running, it was obviously not firing on all cylinders.

WTF? It was running fine when I parked it on the 12th of Aug! It started right up every other time it's sat for a while, so why is it doing this? Argh! I tried reseating the plug wires and checked under the distributor cap, but while that improved the situation it did not fix it. Argh etc.

So I resolved to fix the brakes first and then worry about the engine. WTF, the brakes went wrong first, and I can't drive the thing at all if the f-ing brakes will catch on fire, so I might as well--

Got the LF wheel off and had a gander at the brakes. I couldn't open the bleeder, so I sprayed PB Blaster on it and then went to do the thing with the fog cooler. When I finished building it, I was able to get the bleeder open and let some juice out.

Still hard to turn, with pads dragging badly. Hmm.

I unscrewed the caliper bolts and C-clamped the piston back into its bore, then pulled the caliper off. It looks as if the caliper jammed on the slides; I don't think the brake hose went bad, or at least not as bad as I thought. When the pads are loose, the thing should slide back and forth, and I had to use a hammer to get it to move. Hmm.

I can't remember if the caliper slides are removable on the front calipers, and the manual doesn't say one way or another, so I've got to go to the Fiero Forum and ask there. While I'm at it I'm going to ask for suggestions about the f-ing misfiring problem. *sigh*

So I put everything back together and tabled the matter for now. Zarg-barg-a-ding-dong.

To make things even more entertaining, it looks like I'm missing a vacuum hose from the cruise control. The vacuum servo is shot, so it needs replacing, but there's a vacumm fitting with nothing on it. I can't find a diagram of how it's supposed to be hooked up, though I have yet to check the Factory Service Manual. This can't be the cause of my misfiring problem because that hose has obviously been missing for a while; I'm just wondering how in the f-ing hell I didn't notice that before. I've only had the car for nine years!

...which is why I can't remember how the front calipers are put together: it's been nine years since I last worked on the front brakes. *sigh*

The only thing I can think of is maybe the fuel in the tank is shitty. I'll probably have to check my fuel pressure and find a way to drain the tank, so I can put in fresh fuel. That might do it, and it might be a complete waste of time.

I need to find a computer that has a serial port, or I've got to buy a serial-to-USB convertor; I've got a program and a hardware interface that will let me use a PC as a scantool. It reads the diagnostic data from the car's computer--all the engine control parameters and stuff--and presents it in an easy-to-understand format so you can instantly see WTF is going on with the car.

But it requires an RS-232 connection, something that's no longer a sine qua non on computers. My nifty Inspiron 1525 doesn't have one. *sigh*

Worst case: I still have the crappy Compaq laptop I bought in 1998; it has a serial port and while it can't run very much it can run WinALDL. Assuming the computer still works, of course.

* * *

Anyway, I'm going to have Chinese food for dinner tonight, because I can and because I haven't had it for a while.

So I guess we're moving back to "better" again.

On the "worse" side it looks like there's no room in the Og Expedition to the Napanee Gun Show for the ol' Fungus, so I'm staying home tomorrow. It's just as well, though, since what normally happens is I end up wandering around the gun show by myself anyway, and the social aspect only extends to the trip "to" and "from" and whatever other socializing might go on. (Such as blogmeets or what-have-you.) That's good enough, but--shit. Even if I had the money to spare for firearms and related gewgaws I don't have my FOID card yet so why bother looking?

It's better for everyone without a fifth (or eighth or whatever) wheel.

Back to "better": I'm trying to figure out what I can do to make the front yard a little spooky for Monday without spending a lot of money (like less than $10) or having to do a lot of work. The fog machine(s) will help; I could go buy a couple colored light bulbs for atmosphere and dig the fake skeleton out of the basement. (I'll tell that story later.)

...so I'm not going to be totally bereft of decor this Monday.

Right now, I need to go get my food. Later!