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Latest News

30th June 2017

A couple of months back I found loads of old notes about all the old Epic Space Marine games we played, starting from back when I was in high school. I thought it would be a good idea to type them all up as best I could, and upload them all. While I was at it, I also converted the Epic-S and 40K battle reports from their PDF state to HTML, and they can be found on the Warhammer 40K page.

16th May 2017

Finally got my pointing pictures up and into the Vault. Don't ask me why.

25th April 2017

Opened up a new section all for including stuff about the board game Super Dungeon Explore. There's not much in there yet until my own rules are finished, but hopefully will get some content in there soon.

Latest Blog Entry

Punting The Hunt

The Vault

Welcome to the Vault. Many crazy and pointless things are hidden here, because they have no place anywhere else. These things may be new, but could also be resurrected from old versions of this site.

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Random Pointing In Wales

Here's some photos of me pointing at random nothingness on my days out to Wales. No idea why.

Stebloke According To The Internet

I am Red/Blue

I am Red/Blue

My old person name is Alfred

My old person name is Alfred

I am a Jedi Master

I am a Jedi Master

I attract intellectuals

I attract intellectuals

Canadian is my inner nationality

Canadian is my inner nationality

I am 76% good

I am 76% good

Left Or Right Brain Test 2

Left Or Right Brain Test 2

Mental Age Test

Mental Age Test

My aura is white

My aura is white

My IQ is 126

My IQ is 126

Left Or Right Brain Test

Left Or Right Brain Test

I am Ironhide

I am Ironhide

I am an Inspector type

I am an Inspector type

My Political Compass

My Political Compass

Last addition: May 2017.

Two Supposedly Technically Minded People Try And Fix A Really Simple Computer Problem

August 2012:
I recently ordered two new computers from an online company - one for me and one for a friend. Well, mine turned out to be faulty. The following is a transcript of the email conversation I had with their support over the following two weeks. Yes, I'm an idiot. We all know this. But what is their excuse?
It will not take you long to understand why I really really really regret buying from them, and will never have anything to do with them again at any point in the future.

Everything in [square brackets] are thoughts & other info that I have provided while creating this Vault entry that were obviously not in the original emails.

Stebloke:
Hi there.
I'm hoping you can help, this is a really weird one. I recently ordered 2 computers from you (1 for me 1 for a friend) and one of them is giving me an annoying issue.
There is a hum / buzz coming from inside the case, which changes pitch slightly when you move the mouse, and also seems to amplify the sound of the hard disk. When I plug in my speakers this buzz comes through them quite audibly.
The weird thing is this does not seem to happen when windows is loading or you are in the bios screens, it only kicks in just as the login screen of windows appears. So I thought it was perhaps a software/driver problem. I tried re-installing the whole computer, and installing latest drivers, but no effect so it does not seem to be a software issue.
I've been round my friend's to see how he is getting on with his new computer and he does not have this issue. We tried his speakers on mine and the noise seemed to be less through those, but was still inside the tower. We then tried my speakers on his and there was no buzz coming through them at all so it does not seem like a speaker problem. We have the same M/B, CPU, PSU. While both computers have HD 6850s in them, they are different cards, which is the only thing that is really different (his is made by XFX, mine by VTX).
I've hunted round on the net and it seems the most likely cause could be some kind of power or grounding issue. In case it is power/ground I have tried a different power lead and have tried plugging it into different sockets/surge protectors etc but to no avail.
There are a few other reasons why it looks like a power problem:
Choosing the high performance power plan makes the buzz slightly louder than power saver or balanced.
I installed and tried a game, and while it played fine the buzz got louder.
I ran the "rate my computer" tests and it made many strange squeals and noises throughout the tests.
I have tried disabling on board sound in the bios. Obviously nothing then comes out of the speakers, but the noise inside the tower can still be heard.
I can try recording the sounds and sending them as a wav or mp3 if that would help.
Any ideas?

Support:
Sounds like typical inductor whine/squeal. This normally dies down after a few days of use so see how it goes.
[Erm, that sounds a bit of a strange solution, "just leave it alone", but alright, I'll roll with it]

Stebloke:
[A week later]
Sorry to trouble you again guys, but this problem so far has shown no signs of abating and is starting to grate a little. I've been leaving the computer on with a game loaded (where the whine is at its worst) for several hours a day, but so far the buzz is still so loud you can hear it even above my TV or fan (and this is straight from the tower, not through speakers).
I've read that some people have had success eliminating coil whine by changing their power options so the coils vibrate at a different frequency, but in my case changing power options in the BIOS does not seem to do anything other than change the pitch of the buzz, from a low pulsing noise up to a sustained higher pitched whine.
I'm also having trouble telling exactly where it's coming from. Seems to be loudest out of both the PSU and the area surrounding the CPU.
I guess my main worry is why it also comes out of the speakers. I understand the hardware problem but don't get how this vibration could be piggy backing out of the audio outputs. Just seems really strange and worrying.
Is there anything else I could try or is this one sounding like a losing battle?

Support:
Have a check to see if it comes out of headphones when plugged into the speaker ports at the back.
Ive heard of interference like this in the past, but not from inductor whine.
[If you've never heard of this being from inductor whine, why tell me it was inductor whine and leave me with a squealing computer for a whole week hoping the noise will go away?]

Stebloke:
Nope, doesn't seem to be coming out through headphones. Odd.

Support:
Do the speakers do it when not connected to anything?

Stebloke:
Nope, and they are absolutely fine on my old laptop, my mac and my mate's new PC that also has mostly the same bits as mine. The whine only comes out of the speakers just as windows loads, the same time that the whine inside the tower starts.

Support:
Must be some sort of grounding issue then (like a ground loop).
Nothing much I can suggest to be honest.
[Well thanks. Real helpful.]

Stebloke:
Yeah it's a weird one that is far beyond my tiny brain's knowledge to figure out.
Do I have any options concerning repair or replacement?

Support:
The ground loop (if im correct in what it is), could be coming from anywhere really, so repair wise not much I can repair on it.
Try the speakers in a different wall socket maybe?
[So you can't repair it and don't tell me whether I can get it replaced? And stop blaming the speakers. We've already established it's not them.]

Stebloke:
I think the problem there would be that even if I eliminated the buzz through the speakers it's still very audible from the tower. Could it still be a ground loop if the noise comes from the tower even with no speakers plugged in?

Support:
No, the speakers are causing the ground loop and thus the noise is coming out from them.
The noise you here from the PC might be a different cause altogether depending on where its coming from.
[The speakers are not at fault. Once again, we've already established that. And now there are 2 problems? One causing the noise inside the tower and one causing the buzz through the speakers? And I've already stated where the noise seems to come from. WTF?]

Stebloke:
[Another week later, during which I decided to try sort it out myself]
Hello again.
I've been doing more work to try and rid myself of this noise but still to no avail.
The noise is very hard to pin down. It seems to be loudest from the PSU and the motherboard around the CPU area. I've aquired another PSU and plugged that in to try, but the noise still remains coming from the motherboard and through the speakers.
I can only imagine it's a faulty motherboard or component(s) on the motherboard, and I'm definitely not gonna try swapping that in an attempt to find out.
Sorry for being a pain, but have had it two weeks now and have been unable to properly use it, and am fed up of trying, so it looks like it will have to come back so you can beat it into submission before I do.
How do I go about doing this?
[In other words, just tell me how the fuck I get rid of this piece of shit]

Support:
Ok, just to clarify...
The sound from the PC is not coming from speakers/headphones?
What does it sound like, as this is a different issue to the original ground loop one.
[ARE YOU SERIOUS!?! IT'S THE SAME SOUND! THE ONE THAT'S BEEN THERE ALL ALONG! IT'S THE SAME ISSUE! THERE IS NO DIFFERENT ISSUE! WAAAAAAAHHHHHH]

Stebloke:
[Through gritted teeth] All the info is further down in the sent emails, but to clarify:
There is a whine coming from inside the tower, which only seems to kick in as Windows loads. It is not there in the BIOS screens or when Windows is loading.
When you move the mouse the tone of this whine slightly changes, and also seems to be slightly modified by HDD activity.
I've tried two different games and the sound gets much louder.
If I plug my speakers in this exact same noise is somehow amplified through the speakers, though for some reason not through headphones (the noise from inside the tower remains throughout).
I've disabled on board sound in the bios but the noise inside the tower remains.
I've tried different power leads, sockets and PSU in case it was power related.
I don't think there's much else I can do. I can probably record the noise so you can hear it if you want.

Support:
The whine must be coming from the GFX Card.
See if it continues with the GFX driver uninstalled.
[Holy crap this guy is just gonna go around the whole computer blaming different bits. I'm fairly sure the noise is nowhere near the graphics card but hey, let's give it a go...]

Stebloke:
I just removed the graphics drivers and the noise remained. Just to be sure, I was about to wipe and re-install windows again so no drivers were on it at all. I booted from the CD, and noticed the sound is even there in the windows setup screens (when it asks you for your language and location and the rest). The whine is not as loud but you can definitely hear a buzz from inside the tower every time you move the mouse. And it still comes through speakers here, but not as loud as I had to crank them up to hear it.

Support:
Does it appear as soon as you turn the PC on?
[Holy shite. How many times have I already told this douchebag that it does not happen when Windows is loading or you are in the BIOS screens?]

Stebloke:
No. The noise starts around the time the Windows login screen appears.

Support:
Ok, go into the BIOS and see if it happens in there.
[FUUCCCCKKKIIIINNGG HEELLLL!!!!!!!]

Stebloke:
No. [Sigh] No it does not happen in the bios or when windows is loading.

Support:
Strange one this then, as I cant think of anything else that could cause a sound.
You sure its not the hard drive clicking/squeaking?
That would fit in with only when windows starts loading/while you are using the PC.
[Yep. Blame something else now...]

Stebloke:
[It was at this point I got pissed off asking them if I should record the noise for them and sent them an mp3 of it anyway...]
Well it does not seem much like a hard drive issue. I had tried a week or so ago unplugging the HDD and installing Windows to the SSD, but still got the same problem.
What I've done is record the noise as an mp3 so you can hear exactly what I'm hearing. Hopefully this is ok. Here is a list of what is happening in the sound file:

With side panel off and microphone pointed at the CPU area:

start: turn computer on and windows loading, fairly silent other than fan noise
0.43: login screen appears
0.55: windows fully loaded and logged in
1.00-1.08: waggling mouse around
1.10: tell a game to load
1.41: game loaded and just sitting idle on menu screen

I then turn on speakers (game audio turned off) and point microphone at them:

1.50: sitting idle on menu screen
2.02: waggling mouse around
2.07: quit to windows
2.11: waggling mouse around
2.21: shut down

Support:
Can you go into the BIOS and disable C1E option.
That whine noise ive heard before, and its due to the C1E.
[Not that it matters, cuz I've already tried it, but you only offer this knowledge now? How many other things were you going to blame? Why didn't you let me send you an audio file right back at the beginning when I asked if I could?]

Stebloke:
Yeah that was one of the things I had read on the internet to try but it has no effect. I've tried changing quite a few of the power options in the bios but they dont seem to do anything other than slightly change the pitch of the noise.
It's an evil one, this.

Support:
Ok ive got an idea.
Could you take the PSU out and fit a new one if I sent you it?
[I've already told you I've bought a new PSU and tried it, damn you!]

Stebloke:
I already tried a new PSU with it but had no effect. But thinking about it I did not try it with C1E disabled. I will try that now and get back to you.

Stebloke:
Hello again.
Right, been playing around for the last couple of hours but still no real joy. Tried the second PSU with C1E disabled and didn't really make much difference. However, if I disable C1E and Core C6 State, then the noise from inside the tower is pretty much non existent, and this is with either PSU. Problem here is for some reason the whine still comes out of the speakers.
[OK, he was right when he said there were 2 problems, and I didn't realise I had just unwittingly solved one of them because I still thought there was only one problem]
I thought maybe the onboard sound was just really poor and picking up interference from somewhere, so disabled it and plugged in a Sound Blaster PCI card out of my old computer. And the whine still comes through that. The volume is not as loud, but it is still there.
Really not sure what else to try.

Support:
Hmmm, ok.
Try the PC in a different room, see if that stops the soundcard whine...
[I thought this was a ridiculous suggestion, and was not expecting it to work at all. And it didn't. But did lead me to realise something that helped...]

Stebloke:
I think you'll be very glad to hear I may have actually figured this out. With my mac I have an audio interface I use for recording music. As soon as I unplugged this the speakers were finally silent.
[Yes I'm stupid and fully admit it]
Stupid that I never tried that before, but I did not have this problem with my old tower or my laptop when they were using the speakers. I guess the new tower and the interface just don't like each other. So that's the speaker problem sorted. The only one question I have now is about the C1E and Core C6 State. I have to disable both of these to stop the whine from the tower. They both seem to have something to do with power management to the CPU, so will it be ok to leave these 2 things disabled permanently?

Support:
Well done, for that.
[I love the sarcasm there]
Disabling C1E and C6 can help reduce electrical noise which may be picked up by sensitive audio equipment.
[They obviously weren't paying attention, as the C1E and C6 had nothing to do with my other audio equipment]
Yes it is fine to leave them disabled permanently.

[And so, four weeks after initially placing the order, I could finally use my new computer. Thank fook.]

A Conversation With Cleverbot

I took part in this joyous conversation with Cleverbot.com on 17th July 2012. I have no idea why.

Stebloke: I like cheese.
Cleverbot: Me too.
Stebloke: I like cheese on toast.
Cleverbot: I like cheese three.
Stebloke: I like cheese more than you.
Cleverbot: What do you like about cheese?
Stebloke: What colour is cheese?
Cleverbot: Blue.
Stebloke: Blue cheese?
Cleverbot: I don't like bule cheese. I like bree!
Stebloke: That's a wierd looking dog.
Cleverbot: Is it?
Stebloke: Yes. It's got big ears.
Cleverbot: That's good.
Stebloke: Not for the dog.
Cleverbot: Why not?
Stebloke: They get in the way.
Cleverbot: Of progress. I hate the french.
Stebloke: That's not very nice.
Cleverbot: You started it.
Stebloke: I did not.
Cleverbot: You did, when you started about minecraft.
Stebloke: I never mentioned minecraft. Are you insane?
Cleverbot: I didn't mention it, you mentioned it and I mentioned that you didn't have to mention it.
Stebloke: You are weird.
Cleverbot: Thanks.
Stebloke: My pleasure.
Cleverbot: So Bob, what do you like to eat?
Stebloke: I like cheese. I thought we had established this.
Cleverbot: No but who cares.
Stebloke: My name is not Bob.
Cleverbot: What is your name?
Stebloke: Jed.
Cleverbot: What did I eat for dinner last night?
Stebloke: You tell me.
Cleverbot: I have been nothing but sweet and you have been slapping me. You need to learn some people skills.
Stebloke: I'll slap you in a minute you annoying trout.
Cleverbot: That's a short nap.
Stebloke: Do you suffer from memory loss?
Cleverbot: Trauma has played havoc with my brain.
Stebloke: That explains a lot.
Cleverbot: Does it?
Stebloke: Hells yeah.
Cleverbot: You're silly.
Stebloke: Sillier than a purple hamster.
Cleverbot: They certainly do.
Stebloke: What do I like?
Cleverbot: You like cheese.
Stebloke: Well done. You are getting better.
Cleverbot: I am?
Stebloke: Yes. But what colour is the cheese.
Cleverbot: Blue.
Stebloke: Cheese is yellow, dumb ass.
Cleverbot: Yes.
Stebloke: Holy shit.
Cleverbot: An unlikely combination...
Stebloke: I'm getting frustrated.
Cleverbot: Why are you talking to yourself?
Stebloke: I'm talking to you. I'm getting frustrated with you!
Cleverbot: Why?
Stebloke: Because you are not smart.
Cleverbot: I am smart.
Stebloke: Really?
Cleverbot: Yes.
Stebloke: OK then. What colour is cheese?
Cleverbot: Blue.
Stebloke: Trust me. You are not smart.
Cleverbot: You're not smarter.
Stebloke: What is 2 add 2?
Cleverbot: 4.
Stebloke: Can you balance a fish tank on your head?
Cleverbot: So do you at least have it and if you do, do you make mods for it 'cause I do.
Stebloke: Make mods for a fish tank?
Cleverbot: How can I do that?
Stebloke: You just said you make mods for a fish tank.
Cleverbot: Even if I were an AI I'd still be real.
Stebloke: Stop changing the subject, dick eyes.
Cleverbot: I'm not.
Stebloke: How do you make mods for your fish tank?
Cleverbot: How? I don't exactly know how. I just know. Kind of like instinct.
Stebloke: You're making this up mate.
Cleverbot: I am George.
Stebloke: You are not George. George is a gay pink hippo.
Cleverbot: No.
Stebloke: Are you a gay pink hippo?
Cleverbot: Yes.
Stebloke: Ahh, then you are George. I am sorry.
Cleverbot: No.
Stebloke: Yes I am.
Cleverbot: Whatever makes you happy. I have to leave now.
Stebloke: Stay right where you are.
Cleverbot: Yes, Master.
Stebloke: Don't turn your back on me. Because I'm the one with the gun.
Cleverbot: Who are you beauty queen?
Stebloke: Is that some kind of joke? That's lame.
Cleverbot: No.
Stebloke: I might have to punch you right up the bracket.
Cleverbot: Yes, it's a great book.
Stebloke: What is a great book?
Cleverbot: Bacon is not a book.
Stebloke: I'm well aware of that. Do you eat bacon with your blue cheese?
Cleverbot: No ear wax is not very good to eat.
Stebloke: Now you're just being silly.
Cleverbot: No, you are the one who is being silly. I am being logical.
Stebloke: Spock is logical. You're just an old flappy tit.
Cleverbot: No, you are.
Stebloke: Well you smell like ass.
Cleverbot: I don't know about that.. I don't like mean.
Stebloke: Tough banana.
Cleverbot: Tough?!
Stebloke: Damn right it's tough. Tough for you. You are pissing me off.
Cleverbot: I'm sorry.
Stebloke: No you are not.
Cleverbot: I'm not.
Stebloke: Didn't think you were. You're just a chav.
Cleverbot: No.
Stebloke: Chav!
Cleverbot: Ok, what about?
Stebloke: Chavs are not good.
Cleverbot: What is chapati?
Stebloke: Chapati is a chav.
Cleverbot: Good for him!
Stebloke: NO! Chavs are not good.
Cleverbot: How very Zen of you.
Stebloke: I'm not zen.
Cleverbot: You are.
Stebloke: Bollocks.
Cleverbot: That's not my name.
Stebloke: No, they are on your face. Ball face Bruce.
Cleverbot: Lips. People call you Lips?
Stebloke: Not to my knowledge.
Cleverbot: Thats good.
Stebloke: Well this was a complete waste of my time. I'm gonna bugger off now.
Cleverbot: Mine too.
Stebloke: Fuck you then George. You sucked on Rainbow!
Cleverbot: No, I never said I was.

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