Wednesday, November 30, 2005

New Vexxarr Thursday!

Vexxarr is on paper and ready to scan! You see, I don't own a notebook PC...or a notebook Mac (the very idea!). What I have is a growing family of desktops.

I have the TiVo-like PC in my livingroom named Vexxarr. No I don't do the strip there, I use Vexxarr for digital recording and playback of movies, television shows and - well - browsing the internet with friends on a Sony Wega 36" television (Red vs Blue looks AWESOME on a Wega and you haven't lived until you've seen Strongbad Email on a 36" screen).

Next to Vexxarr sits Big Mac my Dual 2.5 G5 with Final Cut Pro 4.5 HD. It is On Big Mac (hard drive Fries and Fire Wire Drive Shake) that I earn my living...when it isn't freezing or spontaneously deleting files (error: unknown file - click OK to continue?). Big Mac is used exclusively for editing HD NTSC and DV NTSC video. Nothing else...lest it become

Downstairs I have Elder God - my single processor 3.1ghz monster in a tower case (he's an all front case mod - everything: VGA, DVI USB, Firewire, Ethernet, Printer, DVD drives...everything is on the front - only the power cable comes out of the back). Elder God is my gaming/graphics/video encoding and conversion box.

Next to Elder God is Singularity, my Windows 98 box and life support system for my apparently immortal Umax Vista S8. Singularity started life as a Dell Dimension XPS D333 with an Intel P2 processor. When the motherboard died, I made another case mod (of course) and now Singularity is an AMD 1Ghz with an MSI motherboard and a hacked power switch and hard drive light circuit board (not surprisingly, I found the wiring diagram on the internet).

And on top of Singularity sits Pilfered. Pilfered is an old AMD 660mhz with PCI VGA graphics output. It has my old rolodex from work on it and all of my client contact information. Recently, I pulled the chassis of an old Vectorscope from my parts library and built a compact case for Pilfered. Pilfered is now a small rectangle, roughly 18"x8"x6" and is all side...well...mostly side. Anyway, it's as small as I could make an ATX standard computer and it sits under its monitor. It is Pilfered that I have in my hotel room and it is pilfered that I am updating Vexxarr's blog with right now.

While none of these computers has the polish and sophistication of a laptop, none of them cost me more than $400 either. And since I'm taking my Xbox with me anyway, I might as well throw in a PC the size of a loaf of bread (see, most hotel rooms prevent you from connecting your game system to their TV so I always bring a modest Batesias LCD monitor with s-video inputs).

And there you have it. A glimpse into the ugly world of Hunter's casemods.

And Vexxarr will be updated tomorrow around 6pm EST (3pm Pacific). Friday's will update at 2am EST as usual.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Wednesday to post Thursday!

I'm in Utah. That's the beginning and end of it folks. I'm in Utah and no matter how hard I whine, I'm still about 1500 miles from my scanner. Oh the Wednesday Vexxarr will be done. I have five hours on an airplane to make sure that happens. But it won't be laid betwixt the scanning plates of my Venerable Umax Vista S8 until Thursday at 4:30pm. But when that happens - look out!

Oh and my apologies in advance to that poor, poor bastard in Deertick Wyoming. It has to be like some kind of lottery of the damned over there - waiting for my update.

Oh well, Wyoming. It's not like anybody actually LIVES there, right?

Saturday, November 26, 2005


And a late Vexxarr for the 25th... To the family of that poor guy in Deertick Wyoming - I'm sorry. It wasn't my fault. As you see, I have a comic up now ostensibly for the 25th. If you guys in the Midwest want to jump the gun every time I have to push the strip a day, don't come crying to me.

Now next week, I have a job in Utah. I don't know why. This means that I will do two strips for Monday. Either I will post them both or find someone to upload Wednesdays strip on time. Either way, I'll be back in town Thursday so Vexxarr will continue it's three strip a week reign of terror.

The Turkey was good, by the way. The gym was brutal and unforgiving. It may be the only place on earth grown men are allowed to cry openly.

I did.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Travel Day!

Today I hit the road to visit my parents in North Carolina. The best part is driving for hours with no apparent destination. Wait... Ok, there is no best part. There are only lots of smaller not quite so bad parts.


The point is: read Vexxarr and enjoy. Friday may be late but it will be posted. Do you hear me? IT WILL BE POSTED.

I will have some form of comic up for every day this strip is officially running or someone from Deertick Wyoming will die. Such is the gravity of my dedication.

Also, I need more feedback. I write and draw a screwed up strip like today and no one tells me "Dude, you are help." These are things I need to hear. If you like a strip, please let me know. I need to understand the rarity of my success so that I may treasure the moments when I bring a tiny spark of joy into somebody's life. Also, I get lonely here in my basement.

Now, I'm off to the gym for a pre-emptive but ultimately futile battle with assorted 45 pound plates in an effort to stave off THANKSGIVING: THE BLOATING. See, it's a little known fact that a brutal and relentless chest day before any major holiday negates any and all calories eaten for the next 48-hour period. Don't look at me like this - it's true.

And for those of you unfamiliar with obscure American traditional holidays, Chest Day is the day when American males celebrate the bench press as the answer to all their other physical shortcomings. It is traditionally on a Monday or any day immediately before an all-you-can-eat buffet. True adherents to the religion also include Leg Day as the termination of festivities known collectively as "The week of futile exercise in an effort to impress girlfriends past". This is followed by a wake and an entire day of walking like you have weasels in your shoes.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The 16th is posted! The 18th will be on schedule...

Ok, Got this one up and it actually makes me giggle. Maybe that's because I can hear the delivery in my head. I always imagine a sort of New York minimalist delivery on my one line gags.



In other newts, I have gotten the distinct feeling that you guys really, really want shirts. Now you know how I feel about So I'm being serious about giving a shout out to a more reputable shirt printer. I've contacted people here and am currently working the problem. Nudity, as they say, is not an option.

...on second thought... But I digress.

I'm going to put a topic in the forum for you guys to sound off. I want sizes, cuts and if possible what you'd like to see as a price. Mark that, what your tolerate as a price as I won't be able to get shirts in such a small order as cheap as I'd like.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

As usual, a late Vexxarr for Wednesday...

I'm working on three separate long-format videos at the moment. Deadlines Thursday and Monday. Worse yet, I had to visit a friend's facility to gain access to his digibeta deck for a couple of shots...and brought the wrong tape. I made two trips.


It's 4:00am and I'll Vexx you guys up in the morning. For those of you in Australia or somesuch, this means nothing. Vexxarr will be there when you get up just as always.

See you after four hours of sleep!


Monday, November 14, 2005

T-Shirts and books

I know I've made a lot of noise about T-shirtery around these posts. The truth is that given my current readership (and I'm sure that every one of you would buy Vexxarr wearables) T-shirt printing requires a respectable capital outlay. This takes into account many factors including but not limited to: using actual silk screen printers, three color design, high quality black shirts, various sizes... The list goes on.

So I leave this in your hands. If any one of you can get me a shirt printer who works in quantities of under, say, 200 and is affordable at that rate, please let me know. I'll drop the cash and get these things to you faster than you can make me the new beneficiary to your collective insurance policies.

Books, however... Well, books are another matter altogether. Thanks to a little service known as I will be able to get printed versions of the Vexter not long after I hit strip number 200 (today's was number 140 for those of you keeping score at home).

Lulu scores over other online printing entities on several levels: they are affordable, they accept .doc .pdf and other text formats, they are NOT, they don't want to "help me market and distribute" my works. Seems to good to be true. But they seem to offer a quality product at a price you can afford and with which I can actually supplement this site.

So the status is currently: T-shirts pending. Books imminent.

Let me know what you think.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Sony Aids and Abets Virus Authors

Yep. The first Virus to use Sony BMG's RootKit exploit is if full swing. While Sony maintains that "the [rootkit] component is not malicious and does not compromise security..." virus authors had no trouble applying a thick layer of egg over Sony's face. The Stinx-E trojan hit British email address yesterday proving that Sony was either lying or being an idiot. Honestly, which is worse?

American Taliban!

Pat Robertson is the the head cleric of the American Taliban, I swear. First he claims that secularism and homosexuality brought down the twin towers in the September Eleventh terrorist attack, then he thinks enough of himself to dictate US foreign policy with regard to Venezuela. Now he is warning the residents of the good state Pennsylvania that they were no longer in the protective light of God for voting out their corrupt school board.

We need to be careful of these fundamentalist religious progressives euphemistically referred to as 'Christian Conservatives'. They are not technically true political conservatives because actual Conservatives stand for a limited government which keeps out of the private affairs of its citizens. Remember that - that's a key point. Robertson and his cohorts on the other hand want to build an intrusive religious oligarchy where their religious doctrine control matters of law and liberty. Worse still, Robertson feels good enough about his in with God to place himself at the top of the fundimentalist dog-plie.

Still, is Taliban too strong a term for Robertson and his fundimentalist lackies? Consider: he's already calling for religious assassination of his enemies. How long before he starts promising the favor of God in return for overt works in service to Robertson's own political goals?

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Freelancing and Planning Ahead

Ok, Got you Monday's strip. Now Wednesdays strip has to be done before dawn Wednesday. Today's strip - for those paying attention in the dead of the night was posted AT DAWN. This cannot continue. The problem is that I freelance and as such, I have to do the work I am handed whenever it is handed to me. So, why not do Vexxarr in advance during my free time? Well, the answer of course is that I have no free time. Imagine looking down a calendar and knowing that you know where you will be and what you will be doing every minute of every day for twenty-one days. It's like the army without all that snappy dressing.

My streak of work is at an end so after this week, I get some slack. It's feast or famine ladies and gents...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Late update for November 7th...

Due to layovers, and computer stuff, I'll be a bit late with the Vexin' this Monday. So check back in the PM (my time) and I'll have your expected alien goodness...

Sorry and bless you all for checking in on me!


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Early Update for November 4th

I'm out of town for the weekend you go!

I'll be back Sunday for our normal malaise...

See you then!

Intellectual Honesty

Truth is, Sony has been on my bad side for a long time. First, their premier HD field monitor was a turd. I apologize for that blunt description but when you have a smelly useless bundle of waste material, I call it what it is.

Again, let me clarify: the Sony BVM D9H5U is the worlds greatest paperweight. It has poor clarity, the SDI input card costs just about what the whole monitor sells for and its battery interface is like some kind of sick joke. This was Sony saying 'we don't actually know what an HD field monitor looks like but someone once described one to us in a bar...while intoxicated...both of us intoxicated...and one of us was speaking Flemish.'

Ad this to the fact that their entre' to the HDV market was intentionally crippled so as 'not to undermine their professional HD market'. And you have a company which, after YEARS of respect, I have just started to feel 'icky' about.

So when I threaten to stop dealing with Sony on a professional level, I may be stretching a point. For the moment, Sony is losing the consumer, prosumer and professional HD war. I fully expect them to rally within the next 5-10 years and regain their leader status but for now, they aspire to underwhelm.

Remember SONY: Soon Only Not Yet

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


You heard right! Sony is guilty of writing and distribution a Trojan that may constitute a violation of the U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Sony has secretly installed a form of malware, known as a 'rootkit', on any PC that loaded a music CD infected with First 4's new DRM scheme.

A criminal act under this US law is defined as any code which: "knowingly causes the transmission of a program ... and as a result of such conduct, intentionally causes damage, without authorization, to a protected computer." This rootkit, which indiscriminately hides the contents of a private hard drive from its owner, clearly violates this statute.

The new First 4 cloaking function is a type of DRM designed to hide anything saved with a file name beginning with $sys$. Try this with a copy of a small program - notepad for example - and if the new file vanishes from your are infected.

You can get this Trojan root from the Sony BMG CD Get Right With the Man by the Van Zant brothers. There are doubtless other infected CD's. My advice is that no SONY CD is safe.

Sony claims that it will discontinue use of this rootkit in future releases. For my part, until Sony either puts a warning in bold print on any CD label containing this malware or publishes and maintains a comprehensive list of the media containing this Trojan in a public forum, I am done with Sony.

My camera of choice is the Panasonic DVX100a. My next camera purchase will be the Panasonic HVX200 and I shoot professionally with the Panasonic AJHD 27f so I can say with all honesty that this is no hollow threat. Sony, you are off my vendor's list. Goodbye.