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Topics - Wayne

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Technically 14 months, I think, but close enough. >_>

We had a competition here some time ago; where folks picked their ten favorite anime series and then Saucer tallied them up. El-Hazard winning was no surprise to anyone here, I'm sure; but some of the other choices were series that [at the time] I had never heard of-- like Azumanga Daioh-- or never watched (like Evangelion or Ranma 1/2).

Well... things change a lot in a year [or 14 months :P]. Think about it as kind of a "then and now" experiment... talk about how your picks then were different from what they would be now-- if we had a competition this year, say-- and why.

I mean, here's my list, as of May 2004:

10. Full Metal Panic
09. Gundam [Wing]
08. Rurouni Kenshin
07. Ah! My Goddess [OAV]
06. Love Hina
05. Tenchi Muyo!
04. Bubblegum Crisis (Tokyo 2040 only)
03. El-Hazard (TMW/Wanderers only)
02. Crest/Banner of the Stars
01. Inuyasha

At that point I had only seen half of FMP! (12/24 episodes), hadn't seen the ending of BGC Tokyo 2040 (I think I was at #18 or something), and hadn't seen quite a few others.

Here's what my list would be now:

10- Crest/Banner of the Stars
09- Chrono Crusade
08- Rune Soldiers
07- Irresponsible Captain Tylor
06- Ah! My Goddess (OAV/TV)
05- Full Metal Panic! (includes Fumoffu, without T2R)
04- Tenchi Muyo! (includes Magical Project S)
03- Martian Successor Nadesico
02- Azumanga Daioh
01- El-Hazard (TMW only)

Five of those are completely new (Azumanga Daioh, Nadesico, Tylor, RS, Chrono Crusade), and my old #1 slot was knocked completely off (due to Rumiko Takahashi's typical "the plot must never move" style making Inuyasha unbearably boring), and #2 was blown back to #10. BGC had a wretchedly poor ending, and the Love Hina anime simply doesn't hold the charm it once did.

And instead of it being a challenge to think up ten spots, there were a bunch scraping the bottom of the list-- Love Hina, Fullmetal Alchemist, s.CRY.ed and Grenadier all being somewhat enjoyable in their own rights; and that's just a small sample-- this time.

The one trend that didn't change was that I seem to prefer older anime that I "discover" to newer ones that just come out... the only anime made in 2004/2005 on the list was the Ah! My Goddess TV series, and that's still #6; and I think Chrono Crusade (might've been late 2003, though). There's also quite a mix of comedy, drama, and action up there; no one genre really stands out [the total absence of "psychological"/mind-trip anime is a noted and deliberate lack, though, heh].

Again, it's really interesting how "the list" changed in the last year or so, mostly due to word-of-mouth recommendations of anime (since our anime club tended to play anime I didn't like (the only series it played that I was interested in at all was Gungrave; the rest were CLAMP bits like X and Chobits or "mind-trip" attempts of Soultaker, Paranoia Agent, etc.)) from folks online.

Anyway... how about the rest of you? How have things changed... or not? :]

Non-El-Hazard Topical Discussions / Technical Difficulties II
« on: September 21, 2004, 02:53:02 pm »
Just in case anyone was wondering where I've been (doubtful, nobody's posted in the RP in the last month and I have zero new PMs, heh), we had... a little incident in late August. I'll go ahead and post this from my LJ:

"During an electrical storm a little over three weeks ago our house was hit (no damage, from what I can see) and our router, DSL modem, and the two connected computers' (mine and Draco's laptop) Ethernet cards were fried. As in dead. :/ Here's basically what happened during that time (and for those curious, I spent my time away from the 'net mostly playing Skies of Arcadia, Threads of Fate, and FF6-- yay for catching up on RPGs)....

We called Southwestern Bell the following Monday (the damage was done on Friday the 27th); the storm had knocked out our phone line (my stepmother insisted that was the only problem, shaking her head and giving me some "Duhs!" when I told her the hardware had been damaged too-- I was a big enough man not to laugh when I was proven right, heh). She didn't let me talk, and the SBC people said to wait until the DSL service was restored (that Friday, the 3rd). We waited. Surprise surprise, it didn't work.

I called on Monday the 6th to tech support, and stated that our old modem (a Speedstream) had been damaged during the storm. They asked me some questions (I'd already run all the tests but unfortunately the girl I was talking to was in India and apparently "I've already verified the problem" wasn't on her script); eventually they connected me to sales and they offered to both send us a 2Wire wireless hub + DSL modem (above my protests that we already had a router and wouldn't need one, heh) and lower our monthly rate to $29.99 (now that one Dad and I jumped at), their new rate. Naturally, being a big company, SBC doesn't advertise that they changed their fees-- if you don't call them, they leave you at the old payment plan. Heh.

So anyway, the modem arrived on Thursday (I think; it was sometime that week). It didn't work. When the modem was plugged in the Ethernet light came on (I used a USB connection cable-- more on that later), but the DSL light never did, despite being properly connected. We called SBC tech support on Friday, and they told us that there was a problem with our DSL line and they'd reconnect on the following Tuesday (the 14th now). I doubted that (the discrepency was the change in our payment rate but with a one-month suspension since we were without service) was the problem, but what to do? Well, that day rolled around and, no surprise, it still didn't work. We called tech support, got someone actually competent, who explained that a lot of 2Wire modems had been shipped with faulty software (as ours was-- the computer could access the modem's IP, but the software was for the wrong modem and messed up the DSL signal). He volunteered to send a fixed 2Wire modem, but I asked for another Speedstream (since we already had a hub), and he confirmed that. 2-3 business days... it arrived last Friday (the 17th).

It didn't work either! Annoyed now I called Efficient (heh) Networks, the company that makes Speedstream modems, and discussed the problem. After confirming that the DSL light came on but the Ethernet LED did not-- whether I connected the modem directly to my computer or the router's WAN port, and couldn't use its IP address to connect with it at all-- he said that it was probably a bad modem as well (I added that I could ping our previous modem, which cinched it), and to call SBC. I do, and this time get someone else from India (or somewhere near there; it was like a female version of Apu from the Simpsons, heh). Grr outsourcing. I think maybe the Democrats are onto something there. Anyway, she can't resolve the problem either (duh), and transfers the call to the mysterious (and American) "level 2" tech support. Felix goes through another couple tests (apparently tech support staff never share notes), then asks me to try connecting the new modem to another computer. I grab Draco's laptop and plug it in-- nothing doing, no Ethernet light. He thinks that's odd, and offers to send a tech over on Monday (yesterday, now)-- if the modem needs replaced, like I think, there's no charge (but obviously if he fixes a problem on-site then there is). I mention this to Dad and Sue and they think it's cool, so we confirm it.

A tech (who, surprisingly, actually lives here in Fulton) drops by around noon (fortunately I eat late-- unfortunately my friends call late and I get about a 15-minute interruption in my pizza due to consecutive phone calls regarding D&D, grr... but that's a different story). I have the modem in hand and he plugs it in to his laptop. It works instantly. To add insult to injury he plugs in the DSL line and brings up an IE window. *sigh* He suggests that maybe the storm blew out both my computer's and the laptop's Ethernet cards (if you remember from paragraph #1 that is indeed what happened), and to try replacing them, since obviously the modem was good. I'm puzzled as to how the 2Wire worked on the new one did not-- until I remember that I used USB to connect the 2Wire modem! A bit more sheepish now I sign his form (and the notice that $60 will be added to our phone bill for his visit) and wait until after dinner. We drop by Radio Shack, get a new Ethernet card and a wireless card for Draco's laptop (and immediately add a bloody surge protector), and head back home. ...we then realize that our "new" router (bought and installed two days before the storm) was damaged too! We fly back to Radio Shack with about ten minutes before closing (I do not speed, naturally :] ), hand in the router and grab another (Linksys Wireless-B), and head back home. Plug in, set up... and "We get signal."

And it's about freakin' time."

So, let that be a lesson... of some kind... to everyone. Always use surge protectors (even though they don't always work  :-/), and remember that even a major setback can have some good results (why, if I hadn't been disconnected, I would've never beaten those three older RPGs! ... >_>).

And I guess there's another lesson about the incompetence of major companies (I left out just how many hours we racked up on hold in those various phone calls; it averaged out to around 15 minutes apiece) and the "side effect" of the outsourcing problem, but I digress.

Anyway! Back and glad to see the site seems to be up and running steadily, which is cool. Hope everyone else is doing well, and remember there's only a little over three months before Christmas. ^_^V

Non-El-Hazard Topical Discussions / My computer's dead. :(
« on: February 18, 2004, 05:57:49 pm »
What a topic for my first thread here, eh? Well, maybe sharing some misery can help. *chuckles* Here's what happened; to those [morbidly and otherwise] curious....

I was trying to uninstall Roxio Easy CD Creator earlier today-- because, y'know, it's bad-- upon downloading something else instead. Everything worked fine, and I removed the files (doing a system check to make sure I didn't miss anything). I restarted.

...and Windows does not restart. :/ I retry and hit the "use last successful configuration." No change. A bit worried now, I try Safe Mode. No change. I try safe mode/command prompt... and I figure out the problem. When the computer shows me its driver list, it hangs after reading the AGP driver. Something was deleted without my doing-- I'm assuming it had to do with Roxio's program-- and now I can't start the computer up at all-- so even if I knew what was missing, I can't do anything about it.

*sighs* And I have way too much unbacked-up data on my hard drive to justify a reformat and restore, and system restore obviously deletes everything. I can't use an XP boot disc since the operating system disc in the set doesn't work that way, nor can I download an ISO (my computer was the one with the burner and "software," heh).

So now Prometheus is dead and I'm using my brother's computer. :( The only thing I can think of is getting another internal hard drive, removing the current one, using the restore disc on the new one to get XP and my Dell info on it, transferring the data from the current hard drive (by using it as a slave) after that, and then reformatting the current one (and using it basically as a backup drive).

Does anyone have any better ideas? Remember, I can't even get safe mode or the prompt to work, and losing my data is unacceptable. If there's any suggestions, I'm certainly open to them now....

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