9 January 2006, Darrell @ 8:19 pm

Welcome to the Windy Weather Website.

Cape Arago Lighthouse
Click for a larger view.

These are musings from my vantage point on the Oregon South Coast.

A long-time software engineer and general geek, I continue my exploration with Photography, 3D Graphics, Linux and other nonsense. Come along for the ride.

My Photo Gallery is here.

Look on the left for links to topics of interest as well as my other personal sites.

I no longer recommend WordPress for websites. Services like Weebly and Squarespace are much better these days. If you have questions about building a website, I can help you get started. Contact me.

Enjoy, and don’t hesitate to drop me a note at djduffy at windyweather dot net if you have a question or comment that you don’t want to just leave here on the site.

15 April 2014, Darrell @ 6:09 pm

For my kitchen upgrade I’ve decided to upgrade the drawer slides to “Soft Close”. It turns out that it’s harder to find soft close that will work with older drawers. I found mine made in the USA by Knape and Vogt. I selected model 8419 so that they provide full extension with “Over Travel” so that the drawer will extend beyond the new counter top. Have a look on the Knape and Vogt website.

New Drawer Slides in Cabinet

New Drawer Slides in Cabinet

(more…)

14 March 2014, Darrell @ 2:14 pm

I’m redoing some of my kitchen.

Counter tops in this. I’ll post a picture of the actual granite lot when I get it.

English Brown Granite Counter tops.

English Brown Granite Counter tops.

Most folks stock 3cm [1.3"] rather than 2cm thick granite these days. I’ll get 3cm with full bullnose edges and short 4″ splashes. I’m wondering about a 4″ high splash that’s 1.3 ” thick. Not sure if we do something else for the splashes. Update: The fabricator will cut the granite thinner for the backsplashes. Problem solved. (more…)

27 November 2013, Darrell @ 9:47 pm
Sale in Wow

Sale in Wow

All of the battle chest with all but Pandaria for $5 and then Pandaria for another $10. It might as well be free.

It seems to me that this not so much a sale as a desperation move to avoid going to free to play. All the other games have gone F2P. So why not Wow? They appear to be clinging to the teat of those $15 / mo subscriptions, while all the other companies are doing just fine with F2P or Freemium.

Perfect World has always been F2P and has made so much money that they bought their own game studio – Cryptic Studios. There is clearly plenty of money in F2P, but Blizzard apparently cannot yet bring itself to cut the cord and go there. Once the cost of the entire game is $15, it would seem that it might as well be free. Uh Oh? What about all those physical boxes on store shelves? Seriously, are they going to bring the price back up to $25 / $40 where it used to be after the holidays?

I have never seen details of the economics of F2P mmo games on the PC. There have been some articles about F2P games on mobile, but those use a different model, since you do Pay to Get Ahead with those games. With MMOs you cannot pay to get ahead or play better. But many companies are making great MMO games, far better than and more modern than Wow, and they are using a F2P model. Consider Tera, Guild Wars 2, Rift, Neverwinter, etc. etc. All released as F2P or converted to F2P. And all with much more modern graphics, more efficient game play style and many other advantages. (more…)

23 November 2013, Darrell @ 2:52 pm
QtSSA Version 1.2

QtSSA Version 1.2

I have lots of screenshots from the games I play. I used to use screen capture programs to do this, but almost all the games use PrintScreen now to save the images. Most tag the images with unique names based on the date and time, but Guild Wars 2 is not doing that. They tag the files with sequential numbers which makes it difficult to archive the images.

The problem is that the names are not unique if you delete the files in the screen shot folder and take more screenshots. In that case they start over from gw001.jpg again. So I wrote a program to archive my screenshots from my game programs.

I back up my screenshots to folders in the form yyyy_MM, like 2013_11 so that I can easily find them and so that not too many files appear in a single folder. Also, since my system drive is an SSD, I don’t want screen shots to accumulate there to excess and use up that valuable space.

Update: 11 Mar 2014 – Get Version 1.5 to add zoom/pan and reorder pairs. Read more below.

Update: Get version 1.2 with a fixed installer and screen shot image review. Read more below.

Update: Get version 1.1 that supports sub-folders. Read more below.

If you want to skip ahead , you can get the program on SourceForge. (more…)

16 November 2013, Darrell @ 7:46 pm
The Nightmare Tower

The Nightmare Tower

The recent content for Guild Wars 2 is not well balanced to be fun for any but the strongest players. Here’s an example.

The first installment of the Tower of Nightmares spawned an evil tower in Kessex Hills and some recurring events around the tower and in other places. It was ok if you were with a very large group and were above level 40. Kessex Hills is a 15-25 area. But for one thing, you can’t play that area until you are about 35, and if you go near any of the new content at less than 40, you are instantly dead. I’m talking with Green [Masterwork] equipment, not just white or blue armor.

These events were so scary that it was very fitting that they occurred during Halloween.

So in early November, the second installment is up for this content. The Nightmares Within. (more…)

2 November 2013, Darrell @ 9:25 pm
Kaetlin Stormcaller

Kaetlin Stormcaller

Guild Wars 2 was developed with new ideas like eliminating the Holy Trinity, no backtracking to quest givers, everybody is a healer and so forth. But one thing they haven’t eliminated is “Grinding”. By Grinding I mean repetitive game play that is the most efficient way to move forward in the game.

I’ve played 6 characters from level 1 to level 40′s and recently started one – an Elementalist. When I reached level 17, I wanted to level to 20 to wear armor that I’d crafted so it seemed that Grinding Champions in Queensdale was the most efficient way to level quickly. I kept track of the progress and here are those results.

This is not a complete description of champion grinding in Queensdale. The GW2 forums or wiki will provide better descriptions. It’s an overview of what’s required to level in this way, with examples and my observations about how GW2 really does seem to include a lot of Grinding. (more…)

2 November 2013, Darrell @ 8:33 am

MMOx_2013_10_00002

The last update from WordPress.Org has left us all with less trust in WordPress. They released 3.7 with a nasty bug that caused images in the “Visual” display of the edit post windows to be displayed wrong. Easy issue to test for.

They have now fixed the bug with a 3.7.1 update.

We all trust WordPress.org a little less this week.

- ww

2 November 2013, Darrell @ 8:20 am
Baobab

Baobab

Every post should start with an interesting picture.

Ok. Now for the article.

I’m using a Linux Mint system hooked to my TV to watch Netcasts from the Twit.tv network and other things. It’s built using an Thermaltake Armor 30 case and a Core i5 Haswell processor, 8GB RAM, GFX 640 graphics, and a 250GB HD.

But the system is slow. So I’ve decided that the best approach would be to get a cheap SSD for it. I found a Refurbished 60GB SSD on Newegg for about $40. That should do the trick. Given there aren’t that many apps installed on the Linux system, it uses far less than 60GB, so the small size is no problem.

Migration to SSD

I don’t want to completely rebuild the system. I’d rather migrate it to the SSD. A forum post led me to using gparted to migrate the partitions from the 250GB hard drive to the SSD. Also, it seems best to test this scheme using a virtual machine before I actually migrate the system. One of the VMs I keep current is a Linux Mint 15 system in a 60GB VM disk on my Windows 7 system. I use Virtual Box.

After I did the experiments with the VM, I successfully migrated a 250GB HD – 9GB used- to a 60GB SSD with no problems using this scheme. (more…)

25 September 2013, Darrell @ 8:38 am
Asura Mesmer

Asura Mesmer

Guild Wars 2 is hard to play. Compared with World of Warcraft, or Tera, both of which I love and do not complain about.

The reason appears to be that ArenaNet is designing the game for the end-game players. For example, the recent update notes stated that they have upped the health of the champions [bosses] and reduced the time required to kill them. These are the events that show up in all areas, including low level areas and that you can do once per day, per account to get mid level loot and exp.

I think the problem is that the “Down-leveling” math is not fair and they are compensating in other parts of the game rather than fixing “Down-leveling”.

The ArenaNet folks are not happy with any criticism on their forums, so I need to post this here. (more…)

21 September 2013, Darrell @ 10:54 am

Rant – It’s still all about some hack or other

Arrrrggg

Arrrrggg

I played GW1 for 2 years. All my 9 toons [of all classes] have done Ring of Fire. So I’m not saying that I’m the coolest player, but I have some chops.

So here’s my Rant.

With Arenanet, it’s not about careful design, it’s all about the hack.
They may think they are doing careful design. But by hiding that design and making it non-obvious, it’s really all about the hack that we eventually discover and document.

BTW: By hack I do not mean any exploit of the game. I mean an obscure play style, or path that allows you to solve a game problem. A solution that is totally legal and in keeping with the terms of service of the game, but is so obscure that you are not likely to find it without help.

(more…)

17 September 2013, Darrell @ 5:17 am
CMS_Levels of Abstraction_1_1

Level 0

Over the past 15 years or so we have seen several levels of abstraction develop in the evolution of tools for the web. At this point, there are WYSIWYG website builders that model the page and it’s high level elements and allow building of entire websites. Among these site builders are SquareSpace, Weebly, and several others. There are also other tools such as Joomla, Drupal and other CMS schemes that solve more flexible problems.
However, as far as I can determine, none of these CMS schemes to date solve what I am calling here, for lack of a better name, “The Agency Problem”.

There is a natural extension to the abstraction that we have thus far reached that does solve this “Agency Problem”. It occurs to me that this problem is of sufficient generality that it deserves consideration as the next level of abstraction for CMS systems to solve. In this paper, I’ll present my take on the levels of abstraction in the technology of building websites and present a scheme which solves “The Agency Problem”. (more…)

15 August 2013, Darrell @ 8:28 am
Defender - Champions Online

Defender – Champions Online

So you want to be a Super Hero? Well there are a few choices out there. Here are three, and my choice for Best of Breed. All these are Free to Play, so you can easily try them all.

Marvel Heroes is of course based on the Marvel Universe. But I’d give it a pass. It’s a pretty game, but only 2.5 D [Dimensions] in this age of 3 Dimensions.

DC Universe Online is a very pretty 3D game and is a very good choice. But it has a complicated overloaded control scheme that I didn’t like.

Champions Online is a full 3D experience in a new Superhero world. Cell shaded, with Roll-Your-Own heroes and Costumes, it’s a great game if you want to be social, or if you don’t. Brought to you by Cryptic Studios which is owned now by Perfect World. (more…)

3 August 2013, Darrell @ 4:29 pm
Alienware Aurora R2

Alienware Aurora R2

Recently I’ve gone round and round with my Aurora R2 system.

I finally chose to upgrade the system with new Motherboard, processor and memory, but I get ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.

You may remember this system from previous tales on this blog.

As you can see from the image of the system on that page, the system had 8GB of memory that was all working. Somewhere along the way it developed an issue where it would only use 1/2 of the memory.

 

Update: See note at the bottom about performance of Intel Graphics on Haswell.

Update: System is now stable. I moved back to a previous version of the Nvidia GTX drivers for the 560ti.

(more…)

17 July 2013, Darrell @ 5:29 am
ASUS GTX 760

ASUS GTX 760

Did I mention that I upgraded my video card? Woo hoo!! I got a new ASUS GTX 760 and it is hot – or rather cool. This is an upgrade from a GTX 560ti, which I passed along to the Aurora R2 system.

I have noticed that the new drivers are a little glitchy. I’ve had a few driver crashes – black screen followed by a popup indicating that the driver failed and restarted. Oh well. I’m sure that Nvidia is working on fixing those problems.

I’ve not noticed that the video performance is better in Tera. I was using maxed out settings with the GTX 560ti. But with 4 times the Cuda cores things surely are going to be better.

- ww

17 July 2013, Darrell @ 4:29 am

Video Netcast on Tablet

In early 2011, I made a media PC to watch netcasts on my TV. At the time the system was connected to a plasma display and was running at 1440 resolution. Also at the time, it was perfectly able to play the netcasts from the Twit.tv network, as well as other videos.

Currently the jetway atom PC is connected to my new TV which is full HD and it has been upgraded to Linux Mint 14. Also I’ve noticed that it will no longer play live broadcasts or recorded shows from this site. So what has changed? (more…)

14 July 2013, Darrell @ 9:35 am
Intel ci7 3770 box

Intel Core i7

I’m using two of my computers for, among other things, to edit and convert videos for upload to YouTube. Here’s my channel. One of he machines is an Alienware Aurora R2 I obtained used with Core i5-750, circa Q3 ’09. The other is a system I built from scratch, with a Core i7-2600 circa Q1 ’11.

I’m considering upgrading the older Alienware system to an Ivy Bridge 3770 processor. This upgrade of the processor, motherboard and memory will cost about $550. So the question is: How effective will this upgrade be in increasing Video Conversion performance?

A BenchMark

I decided to do some testing to find out whether the two systems that I have are very different in performance before proceeding with the upgrade. When using both systems to edit videos, they perform very well using Corel Video Studio X5 [2600] and X6 [750]. The editing process proceeds with no noticeable delays or lags. Any performance issue has to do with how long it takes to convert the video. (more…)

3 June 2013, Darrell @ 11:05 pm
Your SSD

Your SSD

After upgrading my system with a shiny new SSD, the HD light was blinking like a heart beat every second or so, and that concerned me. SSD’s have a limited lifetime, for writes, so it occurred to me that Windows might be burning up my SSD by continually writing to it.

After checking around a little on the web, I found the SysInternals windows utilities on the Microsoft techweb site. At first I tried DiskMon, which showed disk activity,  but didn’t show which files were being accessed. Then I found Process Monitor, which showed which files were being written and  by how much. (more…)

22 May 2013, Darrell @ 9:40 am
Logitech Receiver on Case

Logitech Receiver on Case

Mouse Glitches? Keyboard Dropouts?

Don’t put the Logitech Receiver on the computer case. (more…)

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