Computer Stuff: April 2004 Archives

ABC

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ABC is one of those open source projects that has taken on one of the most attractive qualities of the open source community, it's penchant for witty, faultlessly descriptive and devastatingly wry acronyms.

Michel was the one who told me about Apache, which is (if I'm not wrong) server software. Apparently it was put together by amalgamating numerous Unix patches. It stands for A Patchy Server.

My favorite though, is LAME, which stands for Lame is not An Mpeg Encoder. In fact it is used for that function, to encode mp3 files, but apparently the project was originally or fundamentally focused on another (I think more theoretically research based) aim.

I'm sure better information about these can be found through searching for them.

ABC isn't the most fantastic, but it's not bad, it stands for Yet Another Bittorrent Client. It is, however, a rather good client, in that it seems to offer queueing of torrents in a way that it doesn't strangle downstream like TorrentStorm seemed to. It's currently working its charm on getting me more Sports Night. It also happens to use Shadow's latest engine, ie it uses the protocol that my previous recommendation, BitTornado uses. Good stuff. I recommend it.

You do have to allow your torrents to seed for at least 30 mins after they complete though, but that is a small price to pay for queueing. And file sharing networks are about sharing, and the best way to make sure it stays that way is to make it easy on the people who share. Clever.

Perfect

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Why would I think that I'd be able, or it would even be possible, for me to build a system for myself that would be "perfect"? I should know by now that it's always going to be more complicated than all that, that something won't be quite right and there'll be some form of compromise as there always is.

I wonder if I had a paycheck if it would be more or less inconcievable for me to just blow money on components because we want to.

It's just that getting a SFF PC would be fun, and having a hyperthreaded cpu would be nice, and a proper gaming platform would be good, and a mid-range Nvidia graphics card isn't too much to ask for.

Thank god Windows is free :), like most other forms of software.

Subtitles

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I've figured that a lot of people bump into this site looking for subtitles for their divx/xvid .avi files, so I've decided that I should provide the public service of pointing them to a place where they can actually find said subtitles. That said, I'm not sure there are places that specialise so readily in TV subtitles - eventually a dubbed version for your country will come out. The best suggestion I can give you is to look here. The suggestions below tend to be for films.

Here. The site is called extratitles.to - it seems to be the most central place online for finding subtitles for films - the database is pretty huge. If you're looking specifically for english subs for asian films, try kloofy.net here, note that you'll have to register at kloofy. These are not necessarily the best or by any means the only way of getting at subs, but it's what I know of. The other way being to search the file sharing network you were on for them, but I'm assuming people who end up here are just piss-lazy (and honestly, not the bluntest edge of the club).

Though I'm assuming people who bother to come here already know the best way to play subs with their files is with BSPlayer. There's another way, but let's not confuse the poor dears.

Oh, go on then: VobSub.

BitTornado

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I've been using BitTornado for the past couple of weeks, and it seems to have significant improvements over the experimental client.

Apparently it's better known as "Shadow's Experimental Client" but it seems to have rebranded itself. Basically it fixes alot of things that were annoying about the original/experimental clients. First, it actually uses the most recent engine, as opposed to the experimental one which is a bit dated now, second, you can set a default download rate, ie dial-up etc., you can set the default download directory, and you no longer have a long allocation period each time you start or resume a download.

All basically reasons enough to move over to it.

There are other clients out there, but I tried Torrentstorm and the downstream seems limited when you limit your upstream, which is annoying since you can actually queue downloads. Azeureus, which is the Java based version, is supposed to be a bit buggy and take up a significant amount of processor overhead.

Beta Time

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It's hidden away in super secret places that only the Opera initiated know about, but Opera 7.5 Beta 1 is out in the wild, with a lovely new default skin!!!

I'm so happy I could... do something that happy people do.

Ok, having to admit that I was having my doubts about the efficacy of the new Overnet client, but 0.53 is turning out pretty fantastic. Download here.

If nothing else, the performance improvement is fantastic. On my brother's cable line, the downstream is consistently about 80-90 kbs, and for all the who-ha about the ratio changing, my upload doesn't go much past 10 anyway. I'm assuming that basically what this did was just make the community as a whole raise their upload barrier, so that downstream speeds have become rather ideal.

That might be the reason that MSN can't sign in anymore...

So yes, now the ratio is such that you have to set your upload to 20 to get unlimited downloads, but I've left my upload at 0, with no decrease in downstream, in fact, as I mentioned, quite the opposite.

I get the feeling I'm going to have a hard time keeping my queue to a reasonable number, as it is it's about 350+ at best, with about a quarter to a third paused. I'm trying to maintain at least a 10 gig leeway in terms of space on the temp drive. Which means I'm using up about 100 gig in temp files, but what else is new.

Buffy is still being rather fun. Makes me want to watch Buffy, strangely enough.

Buffy on Xbox

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I'm not sure if this is Computer Stuff, but if I ever doubted Xbox, I take it back. And I must say that the Buffy game is surprisingly effective at being buffy-esque, though I've only just started playing. The "witty banter" if not fantastic, is at least close enough to be amusing and qualify it as being what it says on the tin. And the buffy figurine is pretty accurate as well, though far too gamine to not be accused of Lara Croft syndrome.

Opera 7.5 Preview 4

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Beta Forum post here.

They weren't kidding when they said there were performance improvements - startup time has pretty much dropped to maybe a quarter of what it was. Opera used to have a start up lag of about 4 seconds, but now I hit my hotkeys and there it is. Obviously I'm talking about a cold startup of the Opera application, opening pages is still instantaneous.

What's very encouraging as well is that they've enabled the personal bar by default again, yay :). Main bar was always a waste of space anyway.

It now probably takes me about 15 mins-half an hour to customise a clean install of Opera. I move over my search.ini, my cookies, my wand.dat, my address book. I enable smooth scrolling, switch on my ad-blocking style sheet. Move plug-ins, enable trusted protocols. And any number of small things like disabling the mail client, removing unwanted panels, identifying as Opera, blocking pop-ups, making it default browser, changing the hotkey, setting Outlook as mail client, applying Blue Button as my current skin of choice now that search boxes have issues...

There have a been a fuck load of previews so far, and I'm still sort of wondering how they're shaping up on the UI stuff, since the new search panel is sort of lame - not that the start page was that great either. The fine tweaking has been fantastic overall, but I wonder at the end result of all the UI work. I'm assuming that my java related crashes are just temporary.

Oh, and smooth scrolling is nicer again, which is good.

Wing Man

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I need someone to go to Sim Lim with me, or at least tell me where CD media is cheapest. Leong? Winston next week? Should I call Jiang? Peishan perhaps? That place really does require moral support, or at least a wing-man.

A Flop

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And someone should tell the fuckwits on Alias that a Teraflop is a measure of speed, not a measure of storage.





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This page is a archive of entries in the Computer Stuff category from April 2004.

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