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Cure for the Common Cold

Posted 2010.03.30 18.53 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There’s one miracle medicine that totally fixes all the symptoms.

You know when the cold is just coming on and your throat is sore, it hurts to talk, you feel all achy and miserable? I have the cure.

I call it: Baileys Irish Cream.

See, the cream coats your throat and takes away the rawness, while the alcohol acts as a mild anaesthetic, numbing the pain in your throat, sinuses, and joints.

Ok so maybe it doesn’t cure the cold… but anyhow, it’s good stuff.

Don’t Barf on the Furniture!

Posted 2010.03.25 8.40 in Cats by Stephanie

It’s one of my rules.

I expect most people have a similar rule, but perhaps they don’t need to spell it out – like an unwritten rule, common sense or whatever. I expect people who live with cats, will have a better idea what I’m talking about.

So my cats like cat grass. I’m not talking about catnip, but cat grass. It’s a plant, it’s grass, it’s safe for cats to eat and it helps their digestion. It’s good especially in springtime when they’re prone to hairballs, what with the winter fur shedding. Pixie is fairly good, she nibbles in moderation. Misha is more apt to gorge on the greens then hock it all back up a little while later.

Hence the rule: Don’t Barf on the Furniture.

When I give them catgrass, I remind them of the rule. Over and over. I’m glad you’re enjoying the catgrass, just Don’t Barf on the Furniture!

So imagine the joy I felt in my heart when the cats woke me at 4:00am. They had been playing chase, and the chase ended in my bedroom. Misha had been in the process of climbing overtop of me when it happened. I woke to a cat practically standing on my face making Hoch Hoch noises.

I tried to get her to move off the bed – first through reminding her Don’t Barf on the Furniture! Then by physically trying to push her off the bed. Cats have the ability to alter local gravity though, so when they don’t want to move they can seem double or tripple their weight. It makes them very immobile.

She did finally turn around so she was aiming off the side of the bed. More Hoch Hoch noises. Then she jumped down and sat in a corner. She was upset and embarrased. She knows she broke a rule, but more importantly, she embarassed herself infront of Pixie while they were playing.

Finally I could see that she’d managed to barf on the bed, the sheets, and my pillow. It looked like she got them all in a single shot – pretty remarkable. Anyhow, 4:00am is not the time for doing laundry, so I got up and tried to finish the night sleeping on the sofa.

Cats. Gotta love ’em.

The Fun of being Adopted

Posted 2010.03.21 9.48 in Life On Drugs, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

Now and then, I’ve encountered people or situations where it seems like there is some mild taboo or shame about adoption. Or where being adopted is somehow considered to be unfortunate, or otherwise not so great.

I don’t have any such problems with it myself; it was never a secret in my family. I don’t remember being told I was adopted, it’s something I’ve always known. My folks never kept it secret so there was never any ‘shock’ or ‘surprise’ about it.

Some people might feel like it’s unfortunate to ‘have no history’ or not know ‘where you came from’, but I see that as an advantage, rather than a problem.

You see, where all the non-adopted people might know their family background and might be able to trace their family tree, the thing is, typically what they find is that their roots are normal, boring, and un-remarkable. Adoptees, on the other hand, have no such limiting ‘facts‘ and ‘evidence‘, and are therefore able to come up with whatever exciting and unique background that they want.

I, for example, am the secret love child of a european monarch and the descendant of an ancient Celtic demigod. At birth, a mysterious hidden society stole me away from the hospital, smuggled me into Canada, and used forged paperwork to turn me over to the CAS. They allowed the CAS to adopt me out to a normal family, but assigned a watcher to keep track of me over the years. I was to have been inducted into the society at age 21, but my watcher was unexpectedly killed in a tragic blimp accident, and the mysterious society lost track of me.

To this day, they continue to scour the earth trying to track me down. Meanwhile, the fabulous and mystical powers that are my birthright remain largely untapped…

Pokemon SoulSilver Save Hack

Posted 2010.03.20 11.45 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

So after taking apart the pokegame and the pokewalker, I put it all back together and have been playing with it now and then. I figured out how to catch more pokemen but couldn’t tell which ones are good or bad…so I sort of go by who’s cuter. My guy Bungee was cute but then he evovled and got bigger and meaner and less cute. I had a hooty that I stuck in the pokewalker and sort of forgot about for a day or two, and he caught a few things. One of them was some kind of frilly fluffy pony thing, and she’s cute so I put the hooty away and have the pony stuffed in the pokewalker. Anyways, blah blah blah.

So I’ve been seeing lots of people saying that they can’t get the precious save-game data out of their pokecartridge, or they’ve been playing on a flashcart and now want to put the save data back into the pokecart so they can use the pokewalker (the IR stuff is hardware, only exists on the real cartridge not the flashcarts.)

This morning I decided to have a look and see what the problem was. I took apart my SoulSilver cart again to map out how it was set up.

In normal cartridges, edge-connector pin 6 is the /CS signal for the EEPROM. (See here for details.) Toggling that line low gives you access to the EEPROM chip. In the SoulSilver cartridge though, pin 6 doesn’t go to the EEPROM but instead it goes to the small MCU. My assumption is that the game is coded so that the /CS EEPROM signal is used to toggle both the eeprom and the IR device with that MCU handling the logic.

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WTF is a Totodile?

Posted 2010.03.17 22.34 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

So there’s this new game that just came out for the DS, called Pokemon. I don’t really get it. There’s these wild semi-magical beasties that you catch, squish them down into little balls, then release them now and then and force them to fight each other for entertainment and money.

Anyhow, it came with a pedometer that connects wirelessly to the game card, and I wanted to know how it worked.

Before I got out the magic screwdrivers and scalpel, I did play with it for a bit. I got a Totodile, and I named him Bungee. He defeated a bunch of other wild creatures. He can scratch and squirt water and glare menacingly.

But then I got bored and started prying things apart…

The cartridge casing looks black, but it’s transparent – you can shine light through it. The big chip is the ROM, it’s 1Gb (128MB). The smaller chip above that is a flash ram for the game saves, it’s 4Mb (512kB). At the top is the IR transceiver bit, below that is an oscillator. The chip on the right is some kind of microprocessor.

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Posted 2010.03.15 21.14 in Aquaria by Stephanie

It has been a tumultuous fortnight, for the snailies.

About 2 weeks ago, my girl Shelly died for reasons unknown. She just slowed down and died. She had laid a dozen egg clutches, and had about 200 offspring sliming around the place, and I don’t know why she died but it was sad.

Then a few days after she passed on, some of her daughters started laying clutches of their own. Within a week, there were five new little clutches laid.

Then over the weekend Munchkin started to slow down, the way Shelly had. Munchkin was the father of all the wee babies. Today I came home from work in the afternoon, to find Munchkin too had passed away. 🙁 Again, I don’t know why…

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DST is teh Sux.

Posted 2010.03.15 8.36 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

I dislike daylight savings time. A lot.

First off, it sucks having to go through an hour ‘jet lag’ twice a year. Second off, just when the sun was coming up in the morning and it was getting easier to ‘rise and shine’ (or in my case, rise and glow dimly) they bump things back an hour so it’s not bright out any more when it’s time to get up. And third, since they messed with the timing for when DST starts and ends, we spend more time in the wrong time zone than we do in the time zone we’re supposed to be in!

Eastern Standard Time, the zone that my location is supposed to be in, now only lasts like 4 or 4.5 months? WTF is up with that? Why even bother for those last couple months? Just frigging change us to the next time zone over and call it a day.

It’s also a pisser when you have friends all over the world. Try and work out the relative times in your head, when it changes twice a year. Got a friend in Australia? When we go forward an hour, they go back an hour. Sometimes they’re 14 hours ahead, sometimes they’re 16 hours ahead. And since our change dates were screwed with, there’s also some time when they’re 15 hours ahead. Friends in Japan? They wisely don’t change their timezones around, but we do, so it changes twice a year. Friends in Europe? They do have DST but not when we do, so once more there’s a bunch of different numbers to try and remember.

Then you have your clocks that automatically adjust. By some coincidence all the clocks in my livingroom automatically change themselves, but the ones in my bedroom don’t. So yesterday I woke up at 9am, was pleased to see I’d slept in a bit… got up, fed the cats, made myself coffee, then sat down in the livingroom and suddenly it was 10:30! WTF?!

Whoever invented this DST BS should be hurt.