Tag Archives: Technical Notes

False Positive for Bad RAM

Hey! If you ever want to create a false-positive for bad RAM in the new MacBook series, I’ve got a foolproof way to do so!

You’ll need two MacBooks. Put them both on a flat surface. Close one of them, then set the other MacBook on top of it. Power up the top MacBook. It will start up, and a few seconds later the power light will start gently pulsing but the screen will remain black. No matter what keys you hit, it won’t wake up.

Ta Dah! Those are the symptoms of a failed Power On Self Test due to bad or missing RAM.

What’s actually happened is that there’s a little rare-earth magnet in lid of MacBook that closes a switch in the body of the MacBook when the lid is closed. The magnet in the bottom MacBook is closing the switch in the top MacBook. The top MacBook will not wake up – as far as it is concerned, its lid is closed.

Digital Housekeeping

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve posted here on a regular basis.

Here’s the deal. I’m going to try to post here more often, but no promises. I’ve been doing some server maintenance that had fallen by the wayside, and it kind of kicked off my urge to vent more in public. Y’see, the hosting company got hacked back in January and I needed to reset my login passwords. Then I checked the server logs and found that I had an insecure installation of some gallery software that had become a link farm for spam sites. And some Russian streaming music site had somehow sucked up half my bandwidth.

So obviously I haven’t paid enough attention to this place for far too long. To make up for it, I’ve just gone through and back-linked a whole slew of comics. Read, enjoy, comment on them here. I’ll post other stuff too, I promise.

Newly mobile

Running a bit of a test here. I’ve got a new gizmo that may make posting a bit easier / more frequent.


So, I’m testing out a bit of tech right now… Nix has an iPod touch, with the wireless web access and swivel screen and on-screen keyboard and everything. She’s letting me fiddle with it for a bit and I figured I’d see how my bulky fingers worked with it.

Minor technical notes about the comic

Well, I’ve upgraded the backside of the comic. (Pauses to let snickering die down.)

And this time I think I’ve managed to do an upgrade without mangling a huge chunk of code. I’ve been using Newbsoft’s Walrus as a delivery system since the start, with a few modifications to make the comic look different than the default installation. The new Walrus separates a lot of the server-side PHP code from the HTML, which makes it easier to modify the look and feel of the site without mucking up something important.

And speaking of mucking up important stuff, sometime last year I managed to drop a bad tag into the comic’s RSS feed. That’s fixed now, so if you’re a comic feed subscriber you’re about to get swamped with six months of updates all at once.

Also, the new Walrus install makes for an easier, automated archive page. As a result, I’ve gone into the RSS feed and trimmed out all but the last six months of comics. This should speed up load times considerably.

Heck and also Drat.

Well, it looks like I’ve managed to mess up an upgrade of the ‘ol blogging software.
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Unadulterated Geekery

Ok, so there’s a bit of geekery below the cut for those of you who like looking through shell script source code. All others should move on…

Still there? Ok, you have been warned.

Here’s the background: during the summer, my new job tends to have a few slack periods when people aren’t bringing in new work. Rather than sit around twiddling our thumbs, we go back through our old work and see what needs improvement. There’s a rather large database of images which includes a “quality control” feedback form. Images that score low on quality get flagged for review and repair.

The trouble is, we’ve got literally tens of thousands of images in hundreds of directories. Gathering up the bad ones takes hours. So I wrote a script to do that for us. It was able to go through about 10,000 images and find 120 or so of the ones that we needed in about seven minutes.

Code is below the break…

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Over the weekend, I completed an on-line project that’s been lurking in the wings ever since the move to the new server: the creation of a dedicated blog for my Wife’s Japanese Snack Food Review.

There’s still a few things that need tweaking, and I’m sure there’s going to be more than a fair bit of teething problems as we get to work transferring and recatagorizing the past several years worth of reviews. Still, it’ll be worth it for the added functionality of having the snacks viewable by various keywords.

Spacious New Digs

Hello all. And welcome to the new home for Quirkblog, the Evil Little Webcomic, and all your other Quirk related needs. There’s a whole slew of reasons for moving here, some of which I’ll probably be posting about in the next few weeks.

For right now, I’m still sorting boxes, checking links, and enjoying the new server smell from the move.


I dislike bandwidth thieves. Usually, I don’t bother doing anything about it – I don’t mind horribly if a couple pictures of mine wind up on MySpace – but if someone takes a photo of mine and hotlinks it into a tacky ad? Well…