2005-02-14: Straight-Men-Don't-Hit-Restaurants-Together Day

V-Day is the one day of the year where it's the hardest for a pair of straight, dateless men to go have dinner without looking like a couple. This is why Brian and I did dinner at the drive-thru at Wienerschnitzel. The reason we were out, however, is that Computer Circulation Center was having a sale, and of course this required a visit. I found the object of a couple weeks' worth of questing, namely a DVI-to-DVI cable which wasn't subject to the Monster Tax or the lesser but still high Belkin Tax. For those unfamiliar with the nomenclature, the Monster or Belkin names are sufficient to convert a $10 cable into a $60-$130 cable. And of course, name-brand stores such as Fry's, Best Buy, Circuit City, Sears, etc will only carry the insanely-priced cables. Granted, the name-brand products do have better RF shielding and gold plated connectors, which make a world of difference when you're dealing with an analog signal. However, DVI is a DIGITAL signal, to which such things make no difference.

What was immediately apparent upon connection, was that the DVI cable did in fact remove the snow/distortion I used to be able to see when hooking the VGA cable up to my plasma TV. The only problem is that now it's made it apparent that Mplayer is apparently trying to smooth the video out, which is resulting in some color banding in gradient-range type areas on video. There's not a lot of documentation on what to do when you just don't like the way your video player is representing video, unfortunately. I'll get it figured out one of these days, though.

I also managed to make a UPS run today, to pick up the packages the UPS guy has been dutifully trying to deliver to the house, but which require an adult signature. One of them was my long-awaited Sprinco recoil management system and Wonderbuff, and the other was the pair of 40GB SATA drives and the RAID controller which used to be in Kamidake, the server you're probably reading this off of. I need to get Jonathan over at Firebright, my hosting provider, to take a picture of my server for me one of these days. I also need to take some pictures of the installation process for the Sprinco products. I was relieved to note that the Sprinco system is not visibly apparent from any perspective on my CZ-97B, nor is it apparent on the SKS. You can, however, feel both the recoil system on the '97 and the Wonderbuff on the SKS as you work the actions. Both weapons are to be tested on Thursday night's range run. Normally there'd have been a range run on Monday, but - c'mon, let's face it, if any of the attached guys had gone to the range instead of spending V-day with their significant others, they would probably be beaten within an inch of their lives and miss the next few range runs during the recovery process. The sensible thing was to postpone it until Thursday.