I don’t like sick!

Ugh. I am home ill. Last night was a pain. I am taking lots of C and trying to fight this thing hard. Mharis well and I am trying not to give this to her. Sure glad I have paid sick time. But why now? It’s my first wedding anniversary weekend (the day will be Sunday), and I wanted to do something special. But I didn’t mean THIS… bleah. Maybe I can do the something special with Mhari over 4th of July weekend… I sure HOPE I will be better by then. [insert muttered whimpering half-curses here]

I did the usual things this week. I worked. I played MMOs. S. Qin on Second Life bought land and is playing around with building on it. Hard to believe I am getting more involved there again. But at the same time, I still MUCK a little on Tapestries, so that shouldn’t be that surprising… Don’t know how long I will hold the land. Will be for at least 3 months, as I paid for that up front.

Anyways, I need to go back to bed. Maybe I can sleep more than 3 hours this time.

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Reviewing the past…

It’s coming up on July 8th soon. That’s the date that my old fauxpaw.com stops being mine. My registration of it expires on that date and there is a company with deeper pockets than mine that I made an agreement with around 3 years ago. They objected to my wanting thousands of dollars to release the domain to them, and they claimed a more legally defensible (with those deep pockets I mentioned) position and claim to the word ‘fauxpaw’ than I had. Even though I registered the domain name over a year before they filed a ‘trademark’ on the name.

While I had a legally backable claim to the name prior to theirs, I was unemployed at the time and thought their offer of $100.00 was a joke and an insult. I told them I wouldn’t think of releasing it for less than $100,000.00. I chose that number to make them understand that I felt it was important enough to care about. They replied with not a counter offer, but rather a note from their lawyers saying that they were willing to take it to court rather than make a better offer.

I countered by offering to not renew the domain when it came up for renewal in 2008, AND I would change all references on my site from Fauxpaw Productions, to Fauxpaw Publications. Their trademarked name was Fee Fi Faux Paw Productions or something like that. They accepted this, in writing. I was so sick of the whole thing, and so close to being broke and ready to live on the street that I made the agreement. I couldn’t afford to fight this, and what did I care any more, the fanzine business was starting to fail and I looked ahead and figured I would no longer be in the business by that time…

So here it is, 2008. July 8th is right around the corner. I ceased doing business as Fauxpaw Publications as of December 31st, 2006. I was right back then. I am no longer in business. Partly because of them I have no care to go back into business. The rest of the reasons have to do with wanting to do something else with my free time, and feeling that the print fanzine business, in the form I was doing it in, is outdated. The wheel will turn and it will be time for fanzines again, and maybe I will do them again. But right now they are not my thing. I still make reprints for Ed Zolna’s Second Ed Mailorder, but even that is trickling off. It’s only the FORNAX books that really sell any more.

But I was talking about the past here. In light of fauxpaw.com leaving my hands in a couple of weeks, I am moving files and editing journal entries to properly post to my newer ‘fifthpaw’ suite of websites. This is were the Modem Problems comic by Matthew McAndrews lives. It’s where other comic strips by other creators might live some day. But most of all its my current presence on the web. Someplace I call ‘mine’ for now.

As a side effect of going through things, I’m reading a lot of my old entries. Going through my time at NetObjects/Merant, Inc, into my mother’s heart attacks and illness and passing, to working a Electronic Arts in the Console Tech Support phone center, through my unemployment, moving in together with my girlfriend, doing conventions, producing fanzines, the getting ill, getting well, getting work where I am now, losing other relatives, proposing to my girlfriend, the ramp-up to getting married, getting married, and the ups and downs of life, in general… it’s something to go back and read your own words from 8-9 years ago. (I only started mirroring my posts here in spaces about 3 years back, so if you want to see the OLD stuff, go to livejournal.com… I’m Jethric there, too.)

Other than work and the usual ups and down of the usual week in the usual activities, that’s what I have been doing. Our City of Heroes stuff has been going well. It was an ‘Rikti Invasion’ week, so we spend time as our various characters battling them, then doing missions, then maybe fighting off more aliens. In general it was all the usual things.

I spent some time on Second Life… S. Qin is trying to purchase/rent a specific plot of land, but the landholder isn’t responding. Don’t know if he’s just not connecting, having a Real Life, or what. But he has not responded at all. Maybe I should consider going someplace else. I’ll ask around with some friends. Mostly I want to have someplace I can call ‘home’ there. Someplace where I can put things out in the world and complete strangers come by and do things with them for no explicable reason.

Second Life is sort of just a ‘laid back’ place where I waste time, at present. A place where I can still see and do ‘new’ things, yet doesn’t have the urgency or ‘purpose’ of a ‘proper’ MMO. It’s like the MUCKs still are, but with ‘3-D’ graphics and fewer words. I don’t know… it just keeps calling me back.

I am sure I am forgetting something important here, someplace. But my brain is still fogged from sleep. Maybe I will remember and post about whatever it is.

Enough… I won’t waste more time. It’s FRIDAY! If I can make it through the work day, I can have a WEEKEND. And other than the trip up to see Dr. James on Sunday… no obligations. Just relaxation and fighting off the heat wave… thanks for reading my words…

Another week passes

Yup, made it through another one. Mhari and I are doing well. She’ll be seeing her surgeon for her final post-surgery follow-up. At this one she is hoping to get cleared to return to normal activity including permission to drive again. Other than the effects of the warm weather on us, we are doing well.

As you may remember (or not) from last week’s posting, Mhari was having issues with her City of Heroes connectivity. Well, we got that straightend out by purchasing a PCI NIC Card. I got a Gigabit Ethernet card for her at Frys Electronics for $25 and popped it into her Acer. After that she has had not one lick of trouble with the game that is not normal for load or network conditions. So she’s back to happily playing her chacters.

As for myself, I’m spending a tiny bit of time on Second Life, but otherwise playing City of Heroes happily, and doing reading and the like. Watching a few movies here and there.

Last night Mhari and I, along with our Neighbor, RP, went to see Bleach: Memories of Nobody in the theater. It was fun to see on the big screen, and Viz Media did a good job on the translation. Good to see more and more ‘professional’ voice actors getting used for the english dubbing of these Anime films. This was Mhari’s first exposure to the Bleach Anime. We’ll see if she wants to watch any of the TV Episodes.

Well, that’s it for me. I don’t have that much to say this week. Everyone have a great weekend!

World so busy

Still no quotes, and I think it is going to be that way for a while. Doing that was fun, but it takes time. Back when I was starting that thing, I was trying to write these things at home. But more and more I started to write them in the little snipits of time I could manage between all the things I am doing at work. And work is taking more and more brain power at present. So I don’t have as many of those snipits as I used to have. So I really don’t have the time to come up with each week’s quote, research it, plan it and all that. So… I am going to not do that for now and go back to not knowing what to put on the subject line.

I’m also going to sort of leave off with the structure I had been using. I’ll still likely start off with how Mhari and I are doing, comment about some MMOs, likely City of Heroes, and then leave off there or comment about something in my day or week that caught my attention.

Well, Mhari and I are doing okay. She’s healing nicely, the scars from her surgery slowly fading down into just that, scars. She doesn’t eat as much as she used to, but she’s enjoying eating again when her medications down mess it up for her. (One of her Arthritis treatments that she takes once a week makes her feel all ‘icky’ for about 24 hours… but that’s ‘normal.) I’m sleeping better, for the most part, though for some reason, regardless of when I go to bed, I wake up around 3:45… and have to get up and move about for a little, then go back to bed. Some of the times it’s me retreating from some weird dream. Other times it’s needing to visit the restroom. Yet others it’s just waking up for no reason. But it always seems to be around the same time in the morning. Strange.

Over on the MMO front Mhari is fighting with game synchronization issues. She’ll log into City of Heroes and while she can move her character all about, none of the NPCs will talk to her (except maybe the Auction House ones… sometimes), the tram won’t work for her, and she can’t teleport to the base or enter Pocket D or a mission. This is happening almost consistently with her level 50 hero. And started happening when her Blaster hit level 45. It doesn’t happen to ANY of her other characters.

So, she’s been getting frustrated. She’s in communication with NCSoft Technical Support, but they keep pointing fingers at our Router and saying that is the root of all her problems. Connect her computer directly to our cable modem and all her problems will go away.

Well, SURE her problems will go away. It will likely work perfect. But then not a single other computer in our home will be able to communicate to the internet other than hers. So that is NOT a solution. And WHY would this only start happening once Issue 12 was released.

Add to that the fact that I play on the same home network, using that self same router. I DON’T HAVE THE PROBLEM with ANY of my characters.

So, with NCSoft Tech Support pointing fingers again and again at our Router, and reports on the forums that they only have under a hundred reports of this sort of issue and it is usually network related, we are taking things into our own hands.

Our first step was to try her playing the game with her character that gets the issue, using other computers in our home network. We narrowed it down to two computers. They are both Acer Aspire T135’s (I think that’s the right model), both with XP Home with SP3. Both with FX 5200 cards, 2 GB’s of RAM and different versions of the video driver for the FX5200. The other thing these computers have in common is there are three switches/hubs between them and the router. Our other machines are either attached directly to the router (my 2 main game machines), 1 switch/hub away (my backup/hot weather game machine), or 2 switches/hubs away (Mhari’s backup/hot weather game machine).

So, I had Mhari go to Microsoft Update on one of the Acers and check the option updates. Their were ones for the AMD Processor support, and for the on-board NIC. I had her install those and then try the game again. First time logging in, all worked great, then went downhill from there with successive logins, either quiting to login or quiting to windows and loading back up from scratch. So it helped… but not enough, and not consistently. We also told the game to stop sending the buff data, which is a tweak code NCSoft put in for the dialup users to make there be a bit less coming down the pipe.

However, it IS a clue. I got thinking about the Acers. They are 2+ year old systems. AMD 3200+’s. Single core. They are also made to be very inexpensive… I wouldn’t be surprised if the onboard NIC is skirting as close to the edge of compliance as it can. Or may just be old enough that the standards have shifted.

I am guessing that all the ‘real numbers’ stuff that got added in Issue 12 has increased either the size of the packets CoX sends, or the number of them they send or the speed they send them at. Add that to older/edge-of-compliance network hardware and crossing multiple switches, a router and etc, and you have more of a load and more of a chance for error/packet loss. And when you first log into the game, or change zones, it has to send a really large amount of data from the servers to the player’s client. And somewhere in there, a handshake is being lost, and the client’s signal to the server saying ‘I’m back, ready to play!’, is getting lost. And so the client got the ‘here’s where you are’ signal from the server, but the server says ‘huh? what was that? I can’t hear you!’. And so the client lets you move your character all about until you try to do something that requires response back from the server. And the client tells the server ‘I am interacting with NPC X’ and the server goes ‘but you’re no where NEAR NPC X’. So you try to take the tram and it goes ‘How can you be clicking on the tram door, you are across the zone still at the tunnel?’. And so on.

And since as a character goes up in levels they have more powers that need to report ‘real numbers’ on, that there are more bytes in the packets or more packets. And when you are in a team, since it’s also gotta report to you about all your teammates… even more chance for too much data too fast.

So… our plan next is to move her Acer to be connected one switch/hub closer to the router, and see if all works fine. If it does, consistently, then it is a signal strength/latency thing. If it still has problems, we move it another switch/hub closer. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I am also going to pick up a PCI gigabit NIC and pop it into the Other Acer, without moving it, and see if that corrects things. I am betting that, at this point, it will correct it. I am really starting to bet that all of this is a combination of factors, with the correctable part of it being the quality of the NIC in the Acers. But we will see.

Anyways, in other MMO news, I cancelled my last Eve Online account. I’m not playing it. Why pay for it.

Wow? You’re still reading? Sorry I had so high a noise to signal ratio. I’ll stop now. 😉 Write to everyone next week.