Haruka's Diary
Chasing After Rainbows

31 January 2017

726th post: PC Issues

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A bit of a background: I have two desktop PCs from around 2009. A Dell and a Lenovo. These aren't exactly great as they were acquired used and appeared to be used office PCs. The Dell was used as a family PC upgraded with a low-end graphics card in 2014, whereas the Lenovo was just sitting around not being used other than as somewhere to store copies of files from elsewhere.

There are also two laptops from 2008 and 2011 that have since become impractical to use. Apart from RAM, hard drive of one of them, and some lithium-ion cells from the battery back (may have mentioned it when I talk about power banks), none of the remaining parts are reusable.

Since around August 2016, the Dell desktop PC failed. Initially, I thought it was just the capacitors as a few on the motherboard were leaking, but (after waiting weeks for parts to arrive) that didn't work. Hadn't touched it since, other than transferring usable parts to the Lenovo PC. These were the graphics card mentioned above, RAM, and SSD. HDD had clicking sounds, and it already has an optical drive.

So, this meant that apart from a 2012 MacBook Pro, and now a slightly upgraded 2009 Lenovo desktop PC (not as powerful as the Dell to play recent games with), I don't feel easy having only a non-Windows laptop and, and a desktop PC that is considered old.

Only just recently, the HDD of the Lenovo failed when it too had that dreaded clicking sound. It didn't matter as I was thinking of reinstalling the operating system on the SSD, which I didn't do when transferring stuff from the Dell PC and already have copies of the files elsewhere.

There were early symptoms that the drive was failing, from slow read/write speeds, to very loud drive activity. As someone who has used PCs since the 1990s used to loud noises from PCs and even slower loading times, I never thought anything was wrong about that. With what I saw on the motherboard of this one at the same time as the Dell PC, my initial thought was bad capacitors as that can have the same symptoms. This turned out to not be the case.

This situation did leave me with a sense of insecurity. Those expended capacitors on the only PC hardware I have running Windows are a concern as who knows when they will go. With the things I do, I need a Windows PC. Can't do much with the MacBook Pro, and certainly not a tablet PC that is useless to me as a day-to-day device. I'm not that kind of person that uses a PC just for emails before smartphones and tablet PCs as we know today came to picture.

Long story short, I need a new desktop PC. Since I also need to replace the PS3 as something to play new games on, it has to be a new custom-built mid or high end PC. I could just grab any old PC or console from a place that sells them used, but there is a limit to what you can get away used. Used PCs generally aren't designed for playing the latest games, or anything with the specs of one released within the past 5 years. As for not getting a used PS4, it is already in its 4th year since release (PS3 was supported for 8 years), and if using the PS3 was telling anything, I'm kind of fed up with the lack of backward compatibility and endless updates that don't happen in the background is driving me crazy.

03 January 2017

725th post: Annoying power bank

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(A short quick post here when I realized it was getting too long while writing series of tweets.)

Just bought another power bank case without cells as replacement of my oldest power bank with 4 cells, but the next oldest that is still working (2 cells) has proven to be more annoying to use these days. I have opened it up before and know it uses two li-ion 18650 cells. The same cells used in laptops with removable battery and Tesla cars.

Part of the case comes off on removing charging cable on the USB micro-B end. On output end (USB standard-A), some plugs are either too loose or huge to fit it in properly without a pass through device like a USB charge doctor, which in itself adds to the bulk and consumes more power.

I thought its "discreet charge indicators" was neat, but proved annoying to tell if charging when looking at the opposite side. The wordings on it has faded away, so you can't tell which side the indicators are at as the design looks similar on both ends.

Even more annoying, the indicators are a series of 3 blue LEDs. What the indicators are fairly easy to understand, but:
  • 3 indicators means more ambiguity of its actual charge than those with more
  • Blue, the colour it uses, is one of the hardest LED colours for me to be able to see. The other being white.
  • The jump between solid 1 flashing 1, and solid 2 flashing 1, (all 3 solid while charging means fully charged) is a lot quicker than flashing 1 to solid 1 flashing 1. This made me doubt that one light represents a third of total capacity. This is a lot more noticeable when charging via my solar panels, if I could see the indicator.
Well, like I said earlier, this thing is my second oldest power bank still in use, so some of the problems I mentioned could possible be due to usage over time. Circuitry inside probably wasn't properly calibrated.

It also felt like it wasn't holding as much charge as it did when new, but no way of telling without being able to measure capacity. Owing to the way the cells are wired up inside (welded to a metal strip connected together), measuring the cells means a one-way disassembly, unless I feel like soldering the joints with wires, if that's possible.

The new (empty) power bank case is able to hold 5 cells. There could be a lot of empty space. Can't combine both old power banks without leaving out 1 behind since there aren't at least 6 slots. Without knowing the capacity at this moment, I can't say that I could just fill in the the blanks from elsewhere.

24 November 2016

Short story: The Amnesia That Nobody Noticed

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[Author's note: Perhaps I need to think of writing stories that is outside the same world that story 1-4 and 6-8 takes place in to get a fresh perspective. Short stories are where I have some ideas to write down, but not enough to turn it into a series.]

I live in a small town, built around a large round lake. The people here know each other well. Perhaps too well that most know me by name.

This town really has nothing in terms of leisure. I was kind of surprised when a classmate told me about bringing me to a coffee shop. To my dismay, it was just a vending machine at a bus stop.

As for traditions, it's tough. I don't want to do it, but I'm expected to due to my family line. Dad is the mayor of this small boring town, so the stress is even higher for those who recognized me as the mayor's child.

AH! I WANT TO MOVE OUT OF THIS PLACE!

...

Morning came, but there was something odd about how my grandma and little sister reacted to me. (Dad went to the town hall early, mom passed away years ago) They told me that I was behaving like I had amnesia and didn't even know who I was.

...huh? Yesterday?

The date today I see everywhere suggested that the "yesterday" I recalled was two days ago, not the previous day. That can't be right.

Since then, the days where I seemed to skipped days happens randomly. It's like I had a comma, but, apart from the unusual behavior, people that knew me did saw me as usual on those days. My little sister got weirded out when she saw me touching myself as she was waking me up on days I seem to fall into a comma.

This is getting weird.

22 October 2016

723rd post: Ongoing DDoS attacks

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Many US-based servers are currently apparently having denial of service attacks, which includes Twitter.

I have never seen it down for this long before. I don't know what is going on.

Here's a news article in greater detail: USA Today

04 October 2016

722nd post: Fixing an old motherboard

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Wondering what happened? Well, you wouldn't have noticed anything out of the ordinary if you have been following me on Twitter, but I need to take my mind off things from the stress of finding jobs. (Still not successful about it, if you are wondering.) This meant I stayed away from anything that required a lot of thinking. As of the time of writing this, I do not have any new content to publish.

Also, legitimised my Minecraft copy and hopped onto a multiplayer server, which meant a lot of time spent away on it like any new game I purchased with an interest in. How long have I played Minecraft? No idea, but looking at changelogs, I'm pretty certain it was before release v1.2 (released March 2012) where hoppers and redstone lamps weren't a thing.

So enough about that, and on to what I want to talk about.

In early August, one of the PCs failed to boot up. Shortly before it happened, it restarted randomly without warning, so that's a sign it's something to do with the hardware, which turned out to be the capacitors.

I knew what the problem was, but I didn't know about the kinds of capacitors or soldering, so I thought about sending it to a repair shop. What held me back is my savings being so low that I deemed it as not important or urgent unless my parents were to help me. Financially at the very least. (As time told me, they didn't)

Then, something happened. Something as insignificant as wires inside a car cigarette socket to alligator clips, that I never used since ordering, fell off. No way I could put the wires back without soldering. Certainly not with cellophane tape either. When thinking of what else I could do with a soldering iron, I remembered the bad capacitors.

I looked up at how to solder and identifying bad capacitors after ordering a set. This is when I found out why it happened could be due to age as year printed on the board suggested it was made about 10 years ago. But it also falls within the range of time when there were a lot of bad capacitors going off, so I'm not sure which exactly.

Recently, just as replacement capacitors and soldering set arrives, I found out that there are even more bad capacitors with less obvious signs of failure on this board. Found more on another desktop PC that is still working, but showed unusually high amounts of heat generated for something that wasn't CPU intensive. Just as I thought I found them all, it turned out that there were ten more capacitors in a different form factor that could have failed.

More problems right after the other... Hope there are not more issues that I hadn't found yet.

07 July 2016

Yononana no Okugi (Part 7)

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It was getting cloudy when I left school, where darker clouds appear to be in the direction of where I live. While the station I am at is underground, most stations on the line are not. At where I would be alighting, there's practically no shelter between platform and home as the station ticket concourse is the only sheltered area along that stretch of the road. I'm guessing it would be raining heavily with winds over there, so it seems unlikely I'll get home dry.

Getting to the train platform took a lot longer than usual as my thinking ability was hindered by the newly acquired persistent feeling as I thought about directions to the right platform. It's not painful or like a headache, but more like the body wanting something it doesn't have.

The station is massive as many lines intersect here. There are no escalators, but thankfully I don't have to lift up my leg  much to climb up every morning. Elevators are available, but are inconveniently located further away than the stairs at the ticket concourse level.

There are a mix of people in either school or office uniforms at the platforms, though it doesn't necessarily mean those wearing one isn't another. There are conditions that prevents them from wearing the other set for school or work, or to impersonate as a member that they are not a part of. Many working people would wear the school uniforms just to get away from the movement-restricting skirt of the office uniform that is so tight that cycling is almost impossible. Allowed skirt length varies by the length of her legs, but generally up to mid-thigh while sitting at shortest, and a little above the knees when standing at longest. For amputees, length would be based on when she still had legs.

Along the platform, there are worn out markings to indicate stopping points for "Women only" carriages. Kind of pointless as we became a single-gendered human species today. Most stations are like relics of a different era as signs are usually not changed unless information on them needs to be updated, but all station buildings are still kept maintained.

The train I boarded had few available seats, but few standing passengers. A pretty normal sight for this time of the day as students would be returning, but not quite yet for the end of working hours. I managed to find a place to seat in an area where there aren't anyone standing.

As the train carriage vibrates as it moves, it becomes quite a sight to see everyone's breasts wobbling at the same time, where intensity depends on the vibration of the carriage. We can't do anything about this as we are prevented from having it restrained or hidden from view, even though people don't like it.

Speaking of the breasts, I observed that many on this train with the largest bust size are students or workers of Mizuho Academy, the school that my student council president mentioned earlier. It forms the skyline of this city with their tall futuristic buildings, where it easily overshadows the buildings of this city. Mizuho Academy is technically part of my city, but at the same time, appears to be like a bordering self-sustainable city state of the future. It is pretty obvious that the average heights of those buildings are taller than the world's tallest buildings we know of, but everyone pretends the campus doesn't exist for some reason, and I can't seem to raise this glaringly obvious oversight anywhere. As a matter of fact, nobody knows what goes on inside. The general public is free to visit as they please, but ones that did went there aren't willing to share what they saw. It gives me an impression of a military base where there are secrets going on with non-disclosure agreements if they let you into it. Just what is going on in there?!

Wait a minute. Kotani Sakae, my student council president, mentioned she was wearing a Mizuho uniform that looks like ours. Thinking about it, she does appear to have the same body measurements as  these Mizhuho girls, but how different is it from our uniform? Does it have special technologies built into it? She didn't demonstrate any special features, apart from not going crazy from seeing pre-evolution men.

Part 6 | Part 8

29 April 2016

Yononaka no Okugi (Part 6)

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I thought about what happened with the student council and the tour of the school's disused sports facilities. I didn't understand why things were the way they were.

The sight of a group photo of males earlier, even if if it was brief, was sufficient to trigger a new unfamiliar feeling inside me that heavily affected my ability to concentrate. Hitoshi pointed out the rate of increase of intensity is based on how long I have visually seen males, multiplied by the number of them, and add that on top of any preexisting amounts I had prior to that. Whether I saw them in person, which is unlikely in this world, or through a medium, does not make any difference. If I had seen a page that had three separate photos of men for five seconds, the increase in intensity is the same as seeing one man for fifteen seconds.

The problem here is that I saw multiple images of an all-male a baseball team pasted onto the ceiling that I saw by accident when I happened to look in that direction after tripping over the clothes I was trying to wear. The largest I saw were two group photos of about fifteen people each. Being how good-looking I found them to be, and never seen males in my life before, I simply stared at those photos for a good thirty seconds before Hitoshi realized that there were photos up there and covered my eyes. Even though it was only thirty seconds, the number of men I saw meant I received at least fifteen minutes worth. Likely more as there there were smaller ones around it. It's difficult to say without looking, which is something we should be avoiding, but the student council was certain that no members were absent on the days the group photo was taken.

Receiving 15 minutes worth is a lot more than anyone who could have stumbled upon images of men by accident, let alone in a day for me, but it is nowhere near the highest ever recorded. I wouldn't want to think what it is like living with it.

As much as I would like to take the taxi or the bus, the layout around the school and my residence meant that waling to and from the train station is the most convenient way for both ends. Well, a taxi could drive up to those places, but finding one without heading to the train station is hard, and it is as good as taking the train if I am already at the train station. I would like to cycle, but the route is full of narrow streets with hilly terrain and blind spots, and I'm not exactly in the mental condition to watch out for dangers.

Getting home now with this newly acquired mental state is a torture. The last thing I would want right now is noticing other people and talking to them.



Author's note: I apologize for not having any new content since December 2015, October 2014 for stories other than story 8 (the special that got split off to be a story on its own), and April 2014 (!) for the last story 7 content. So many things are happening in my life, time seem to fly by quickly, and I was focusing on finding a full-time job that I hadn't succeeded so far. It's hard to come up with content when your focus is mainly on finding a job that takes up so much time of the day, plus eating and sleeping, that you have little time for other things, and it takes a long time to even come up with an idea. Take a look at my Twitter in case you are wondering if I'm still alive. Savings has dried up, and I'm on what is left of my emergency money that was strictly spent on necessities. I guess I should start looking for jobs in a different field. It's been way too long since I received my most recent certification and harder to explain the time gap.

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中野区, 東京都, Japan
帰国子女 英語能力は堪能。趣味はアニメや漫画やプログラムコードを編集。通常、あたしの小説を英語で書いてです。Grew up abroad &travelled to different countries. I write my own fictional novel on my blog.