new hippy

But WTF is it?

I hate it when I see somebody mention an application or product that will apparently produce miracles, but when I visit their web site all I see is a lot of gushing about how great it is and lots about recent updates and not a damned thing about what the product does. Really... is the market already saturated, so you don't need any more customers?

Still not sure what it is. If the front page and the FAQ page don't enlighten me, I'm afraid I've just run out of patience.
  • Current Music
    Trinity Dream
new hippy

Another infrequent update

Playing Payday 2 these days.

Deb still using the Mac. I'd been using Starr's old black Mac but finally tried to get the Thinkpad fixed, failed, bought a used one (in pretty good condition!) on eBay, swapped a few parts around (the webcam was broken and there was no Bluetooth and mine had 8GB RAM), got a SSD drive (dropped the damn thing 5 minutes into a trip to Fallon and nuked the hard drive), and generally have managed to migrate back to it. The black Mac is sitting alone running some maintenance tasks on a power supply (and an old battery), I gave the good one to Deb. (So she now has a black battery for her white Mac. How... diverse!)

Actually the replacement Thinkpad had a few differences, including an i3 (better!) instead of the Phenom and a different style top cover, but I'm using the old battery (extra capacity and almost new) and I now have 3 power supplies. So it's not a real powerhouse but it holds its own for ordinary tasks and runs Windows 7 just fine and I've got my old drive set up as an external for now. Plus I have spare parts, up to and including a working spare display. Theoretically, from what I've seen, I should be able to upgrade to an i7, but it's only a 2-core part (I thought all i7s were 4-core with hyperthreading? WTF?) but again, the i3 seems fine.

I find that I cannot post replies on my friends' journals. How annoying.
  • Current Music
    Calm like a Bomb

Life just keeps going on

Let's see.

I did fix the MacBook because my daughter needed a laptop. Did cost about $400 as predicted. Still worth it. Ended up being an upgrade, too; the old one was a Core Duo, but the new one is a Core 2 Duo. I can run Lion on it, but no further, but I can also upgrade the RAM to 4GB (it can really only use about 3.3GB). I expect to upgrade the RAM first, then the OS.

Starr gave me her old black MacBook about 2 years ago. I was using the Lenovo almost as a desktop -- better performance for my games than my old P4 desktop -- so I used the Mac as my primary laptop. When I upgraded my desktop I switched over and gave the Mac to Silkensteel. ...Then the Lenovo died, and I still hope to fix it, but I got the BlackMac back from Silkensteel (she wasn't using it anyway) and breathed life back into it. Same upgrade comments as Deb's MacBook except that I didn't have to break it and upgrade the motherboard. :)

I got an iPhone. Not because I wanted an iPhone, but because my old Blackberry wasn't cutting it, I needed something newer, and one of my favorite overstock/refurb/whatever discount sites (IceMonkey, in case you're interested) was selling these for $100. (All the Android phones they sell -- ALL of them that I've seen, or very nearly -- are for the Verizon network. I'm on AT&T at the moment (via Red Pocket), so the iPhone 3GS 8GB was the first that showed up that I could use.) Works OK, has issues with the charging cables (I guess I could buy a real Apple charger but for now I have a real Apple charge cable and my MacBook and that USUALLY works) and battery life, and it's a bit old, but it does the job. Helped fill the gap wonderfully between losing the Lenovo and getting the BlackMac back. I got one for my daughter a few months later when they carried it again, though she got the 16GB model. We're both happier.

I don't like AT&T as a company, I'm only on their network because I ended up on Red Pocket when T-Mobile pissed me off enough to leave them. And then a mere few months later T-Mobile started doing some really good stuff. They could have kept me as a customer with a lot less work, but here we are. Fortunately I did NOT swear never to go back, as I really like some of what they're doing, and I just may consider looking at their offerings again. Once the sting wears off. Meantime Red Pocket is serving my needs and my daughter's. Mostly.

Right pinky: Nearly 100% use in the finger, except the strength. I don't notice except on rare occasions. The muscle used to ache once in a while, probably because I was using it and (mostly subconsciously) occasionally deliberately exercising it, but that's stopped too. I still do that, though.

But strong or not, I've got my finger back.

Playing Borderlands 2 these days. Doing my usual trick, which is to play it forever until I either completely burn out (hasn't happened yet) or something else comes along and I jump ship. My friend The Bob might have lured me into Sanctum 2 if he'd told me about that $4 sale before it ended. I'm still giving him a hard time about that... My daughter gave me this after she got back from SacAnime this year.

Gotta run.
new hippy

Getting a Teamspeak 3 server running on my CentOS 4.5 hosting service

I'm just posting these notes here for reference.

First, I used because it works, where a later version (, I think) doesn't.

Have to create the user via the panel. Useradd isn't included.

Oh look, it doesn't run.

Oh look, I can't mount on /dev/shm.

Hah! It works, and persists when I reboot. Yay me!
  • Current Music
    Klaus Badelt - To the Pirates' Cave!
Vulcan dopeslap

E-PARASITE: The Great Firewall of America

I'm going to sign this petition as soon as I can figure out whether I have an account, or if I haven't, sign up for one. (I think I already have one though.)

Please do the same.

White House Petition Against E-PARASITE/SOPA

"Should the Obama administration go against its own State Department, it will serve to undermine Clinton's long term efforts in pushing internet freedom around the globe. That would be quite a legacy to leave: to contradict one's own Secretary of State who is pushing for greater internet freedom, and impose a system of censorship on the US. Please tell the White House not to take such a drastic measure."

Beginner's Guide to Killing Floor (pt. 3)

Continuing to talk about the specific perks.

The Sharpshooter, or "Sharp", specializes in long-range weaponry and headshots. OK, I stole that line directly from the wiki, I admit it.

As I've mentioned, this is a good perk to start any game with because he gets a headshot bonus with the pistol and because he's the only perk that can level using the pistol. He also gets extra headshot bonuses on the sniper rifles and the crossbow. A high-level Sharp with a crossbow at normal difficulties can single-shot a Scrake and two-shot a Fleshpound. His weapons are the pistol, the Handcannon, the lever-action rifle, the M14EBR sniper rifle, and the compound crossbow.

The 9mm pistol (Beretta M9A1) is one of the two basic weapons that every class spawns with. It's a semi-automatic handgun with a medium rate of fire, decent magazine size and cheap ammo. Unlike most weapons it cannot be dropped during normal play -- unless you have two, in which case you can drop one. The iron sights are very basic but it's a fairly accurate weapon in close-to-medium range. Not unlike with the Commando's Bullpup, I recommend that you carefully line up your shots and pick off the specimens at medium range. It's surprisingly effective.

The only way to drop a single 9mm pistol is to die while using it. Unlike the knife, however, another player can pick it up and carry two. Having two pistols will not increase your ammo capacity, however, and while your rate of fire will go up you will lose accuracy (and you won't be able to use the iron sights). On the other hand dual 9mms make a decent backup weapon for in-your-face emergency defense, so pick what works for you. If you find yourself needing the accuracy more than the rate-of-fire you can always drop one and pick it up again later.

The 9mm comes with a flashlight that can be toggled with alt-fire. Dual 9mms are one of the few weapons that a Sharpshooter can carry along side the Crossbow.

The Handcannon, on the other hand, is a Desert Eagle .50 AE (50 caliber) handgun. It has a much slower rate of fire, more expensive ammo, and a smaller clip than the 9mm. It is also more powerful, being able to reliably single-shot a crawler and can penetrate multiple clots with a single headshot.

Like the 9mm you can carry dual handcannons. Also like the 9mm your rate-of-fire goes up and your accuracy goes down, with no change in capacity. In my experience it's worse with the Handcannon because of its higher recoil. It is also -- single or dual -- one of a few weapons that the Sharpshooter can carry along side a crossbow.

Between the choices above, in descending order of preference, I would carry: a single Handcannon; dual 9mms, dual Handcannons; or a single 9mm. I rarely carry dual Handcannons unless I pick one up at random, or happen to notice a new player join between waves who doesn't have time to visit the Trader. (So I'll buy an extra and drop it for him when I see him.) Dual 9mms are a balance between accuracy and killing power, and if I have dual Handcannons, well, I can always drop one. A single 9mm is default and is still useful.

The lever-action rifle is a semi-automatic rifle (Winchester Model 94). It has a decent rate of fire, decent damage, and is the cheapest primary weapon in KF. It's fairly easy to make headshots at medium-to-long range and the iron sights are easy to use. A high-level Sharp can take out a Scrake with only a few headshots (3 to 5 rounds depending on difficulty). Unfortunately you can't carry one along side a Crossbow or it would be my first choice, hands down. Reload is fairly slow, one round at a time, but unlike a magazine reload it can be interrupted partway through. Like the shotgun, you should reload obsessively every chance you get. Reload time gets a boost from the Sharpshooter perk.

The M14EBR is a high-accuracy, high-firing-rate semi-automatic sniper rifle with a laser sight (enable using alt-fire). It is less powerful per shot than the lever-action but has a higher damage-per-second and a magazine reload.

I personally dislike the sight on this weapon, I feel it obscures too much of the target. I prefer the lever-action rifle and tend to use the M14 only when faced with a high volume of specimens, or when I run out of lever-action ammo. I also shoot from the hip a lot.

The compound crossbow is a very high-accuracy, high-powered, low-speed weapon for the Sharpshooter, though it's an amazing weapon for any perk. On higher difficulties the off-perk multiplier drops considerably but is still worth having. It has the second-most expensive ammo of any weapon (only the L.A.W. rockets cost more) and the total capacity is 35 bolts. As mentioned before, a high-level Sharp can single-shot a Scrake and two-shot a Fleshpound, though it depends on the difficulty level (and it helps considerably to have a clear shot at an unraged specimen). It's also a very heavy weapon; the Sharpshooter can only carry dual 9mms, single or dual Handcannon, SCARMK17, MAC10, MP7M or the M79 Grenade launcher. That seems like a large list until you realize that most of them are very expensive off-perk, the MP7M and MAC10 have low capacity, the MAC10 is cheap but has high recoil, and of that list only the pistols get the Sharpshooter's headshot bonus. You could also carry one of the Berserker's blade weapons (Katana, Fire Axe, or Machete).

One thing to note is that a high-level Support Specialist, with his extra carrying capacity, can usually carry a Crossbow plus most any other assault weapon.

Beginner's Guide to Killing Floor (pt. 2)

Here's some perk-specific advice.

I've already talked about going Sharp or Zerk on the first wave after you join. Going Zerk means using your knife; if it's several waves into the game you might want to avoid that. (Unless you're a high-level Zerk, but this is supposed to be a beginner's guide, yes?)

Medic: I have very little advice for Medics, as I've never played one. In general: try not to be a Battle Medic; your job is to keep your teammates healed. Fight when you have to, duck behind the other players when you can. Keep track of them, keep them healthy. You don't level your perk by killing -- you level your perk by healing.

The Medic gets a faster recharge on his syringe, more injection potency, better armour (starting level 1), faster movement (starting level 2), plus discounts on armour and a substantial discount on the MP7M "medic gun". Those all increase with his level. At level 5 he spawns with armour, at level 6 with an MP7M.

Support Specialist: Don't let the extra welding ability go to your head. But you need welding points to level. There's a way to do this.
- Join a solo game on an easy setting.
- Kill off all but a very few clots. One or two should be enough.
- Run through a door with them chasing you, but you need enough distance to start welding.
- Close the door and start welding it.
- While continuing to weld the door, put a brick on your "fire" button.
- The clots will continue to damage the door, you will continue to repair it. Check to make sure you're keeping it welded. If they're doing too much damage, unweld it, kill some clots, and try again at another door.
- Go to bed.
Next morning you'll have all the welding points you need to get to the next level. Maybe several next levels.

I actually bound the spacebar as a second "fire" key and used two old hard drives (one to balance, one as the weight) to hold the key down, but you can use whatever works for you.

After that you'll only need shotgun kill points to level, and you won't feel such a strong need to weld every damned door in sight.

All shotguns are 100% miss from point blank range. If there's a Scrake or Fleshpound in your face, either try to backpedal or crouch and aim for the head.

The shotgun is surprisingly effective, especially with the Support's penetration bonus. Reload obsessively whenever you don't need to fire continuously. Try to position yourself to hit several specimens at once, or use your sidearm for the small stuff if you can, to conserve ammo.

The hunting shotgun is a real sleeper. It's too slow to be useful for general shooting unless your other shotgun is out of ammo. But it's good against larger specimens, and the alt-fire, which fires both barrels, is particularly effective.

My favorite Scrake strategy for Support: backpedal while hitting him with slow fire from the other shotgun (careful to aim for the head!), keeping a distance of about 20 or 30 feet, until he rages. Instantly switch to the hunting shotgun, aim for the head (of course) and shoot with the alternate fire. If you did it right he should die instantly and you will be unscratched.

The AA12 is an awesome automatic shotgun with a drum of 20 shells. It does less damage per shot than the other two shotguns but has the best accuracy and the highest damage-per-second. If you do it right you can take out a Fleshpound without reloading. However, it has a long reload time and you can only carry up to 80 shells total.

The Support Specialist welds faster (starting level 1), gets more grenade damage (starting level 1) and more shotgun damage and penetration, can carry more shotgun and grenade ammo (starting level 1), can carry extra weight (starting level 1), and gets discounts on shotgun weapons. At level 5 he spawns with a pump-action shotgun and at level 6 he spawns with a hunting shotgun.

The Commando's weapons are the Bullpup, the AK-47, and the SCARMK17. He can see Stalkers and the Patriarch when they're invisible, and he can see specimens' health bars. To level he needs to get kills with his perk's weapons and Stalker kills.

Commando is a mixed bag. I'm told that at higher difficulty settings he's not even considered worth playing. However, he's good at rapid fire, he can spot things others can't easily see, and the SCAR can be very useful in his hands. He's a good mid-weight perk and probably the easiest perk to play.

While his weapons can fire rapidly, in general I highly recommend ammo conservation. If you're holding the firing key down and there's not either a horde or a tough specimen in front of you, you're throwing away ammo. Short bursts aimed at the head are best.

Bullpup is one of my favorite weapons! It's lightweight and not very powerful, but it has a low recoil and is very accurate. I like it very much for use against small specimens. Use the iron sights, aim for the neck, and stroke the trigger. It will pull up and headshot the specimen. Aim at the next specimen and repeat. If you set it to semi-auto mode it will handle the short bursts for you but for myself, I find it easy to control the trigger well enough that I don't bother. Once you get the technique down you can quickly snipe hordes of specimens very efficiently at medium range. If too many get up close, switch to automatic and just hold it down against the recoil. I find the iron sights to work well in most conditions. In spite of its lesser damage, in later waves I may keep it in favor of the AK-47 simply because it's so easy to use. It's also a great backup weapon for other classes.

The AK-47 is the Russian weapon we've all come to know and love. As compared to the Bullpup it has a slower firing rate, less ammo, more recoil, and in my opinion a crappier sight; however, it does a lot more damage. If I feel my team is a bit weak I may keep it in favor of the Bullpup in later waves due to its better fire-power.

The SCARMK17 is a thing of wonder. It has a very nice scope, does more damage than either the Bullpup or AK, has a higher rate of fire, weighs less and is more accurate. But it also costs more, has more recoil and a smaller magazine.

The best thing about the SCAR is that you can use alt-fire to set it to semi-automatic, which gives you a single round per trigger pull, sight in with the scope and rapidly single- or two-shot most small specimens. As with the Bullpup you can clean up large amounts of specimens, but at slightly longer range as well. It basically turns your Commando into a half-decent sniper for the little stuff.

The SCAR is light enough to make it one of the few weapons the Sharp can carry along side of the rather heavy crossbow. For myself, I've tried it and I prefer the Handcannon.

A high-level Commando can take out a Scrake solo but it's very expensive, and will cost at least one magazine if not more. And then he'll have to reload. Against a Fleshpound he's better off supporting another, more appropriate class, or ganging up on it with other players. If there's a decent Sharp or Commando or Zerk available I'll report Scrakes and Fleshpounds as I'm running away, and only engage it directly if I have no choice. However, I can be very effective at supporting him by wiping out the little stuff while he takes on the big guy.

The Commando gets extra damage and discounts on his perk's weapons, increased magazine size (starting level 1) and increased reload speed. These increase with level. He can see cloaked specimens and (starting level 1) can see all specimens' healths. At level 5 he spawns with a Bullpup and at level 6 he spawns with an AK-47.