Archive for the ‘movies’ Category.

Workaround for Acronova Nimbie USB Plus, QQGetTray, and OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) Failure with USB 3.0 Cable

I recently acquired an Acronova Nimbie USB Plus NB21-DVD to automate portions of some CD and DVD projects I’ve been working on. This has worked great on Windows 7, but on OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) I was unable to get QQGetTray to work. This software faciliates programs which support action-on-insert and eject-on-completion to work with the Nimbie autoloaders by detecting ejections (via tray opening) and triggering disc changes. Thus, it’s pretty important…

So, how does one make this work? Use a USB 2.0 cable instead of the provided USB 3.0 cable.

How did I find this workaround? After a bunch of searching and digging it just happened to be buried in a response from Acronova in the Customer Questions and Answers on the NB21-DVD’s Amazon page:

The new OS X El captain has changed the way it handles USB 3. In the meantime, instead of using the included blue USB 3 cable, use a USB 2 cable to operate Nimbie under USB 2.0 mode.
By Acronova on December 1, 2015

While writing this post I received a reply to a support ticket I opened with Acronova saying the same thing, and further messages indicated that the QQGetTray developers are still working on the issue.

Frustrating, and surprising, but it works. This workaround is not mentioned anywhere on the product’s site or knowledge base, nor is there any info listed about a fix for QQGetTray. While this keeps the drive from being able to rip at full USB 3.0 speeds, I can deal with this compromise in order to get a toolchain working to avoid manually swapping discs.

The symptoms are that OS X successfully sees the optical drive via a USB 3.0 SATA bridge, was also seeing a USB 2.0 device called NT21, yet QQGetTray would report “Status: No devices found” and fail to actuate the loader mechanism. This was on a Late 2014 iMac with Retina display, model ID iMac15,1, running Mac OS X 10.11.2. When connected via a USB 2.0 cable (instead of the provided blue USB 3.0 cable) the optical drive is then seen as hanging off the internal USB 2.0 hub along with the NT21 device. It all then runs as USB 2.0, and QQGetTray works properly.

River Bends Trail Video: June 2011

Yesterday I met up with some friends from MMBA / mountain biking stuff and recorded this video of one lap of the current single track at River Bends. It starts out with me following a guy named Jim (who provided the camera), until part-way through (after ripping his shirt on a tree) he drops back and I follow Vlad to the end of the single track trail. This does not show any of the pavement, seasonal loops, or two track return trail.

Click the image above or here to watch.

Life in a Day

Arriving home from picking up a pizza I noticed that I’d just received a message from Jeff informing me of a live premier stream of Life in a Day (Wikipedia, Google, Google Blog). I’m both extremely thankful that Jeff sent this glad that I began watching it, because it was absolutely captivating.

This film was comprised completely of crowdsourced footage all filmed on July 24th 2010 assembled into a stunning portrait of life across the world. I couldn’t help but be reminded of Godfrey Reggio films such as Koyaanisqatsi and Naqoyqatsi, but for some reason this felt significantly more engaging. Apparently this is going to be released by National Geographic and I must strongly recommend watching this. It is truly wonderful.

Continental Divide!

Here, have a low-res (due to bandwidth constraints) through-acrylic photo of the train rounding a snow-covered curve a bit west of Denver, not long before passing through the Moffat Tunnel and crossing the Continental Divide.

Thus far the trip has been rather nice. At meals people are seated four to a table, with groups less than four combined as needed. Thus far this has worked out well, and I’ve met some rather interesting people. Food eaten and meal companions have been as follows. While this list currently contains three meals, it’ll be updated with breakfast and lunch from the 17-Nov, as appropriate:

Dinner #1 / 15-Nov-2009:

Food: Bison meatloaf a chipotle sauce, salad w/ vinaigrette dressing, bread, mashed potatos, and a key lime cake covered in blueberries.
Companion(s): A woman who takes the train because of a fear of flying, a retired Air Force cargo and commercial pilot living in Salt Lake City, UT who has the time to take the train and strongly dislikes our airport security, and an oral / maxillofacial surgeon interviewing for residency and booking cheap last-minute travel from Chicago to Omaha.

Breakfast #1 / 16-Nov-2009:

Food: Cheese omelet with grits, bacon, and a croissant.
Companion(s):The same retired pilot from dinner last night, eaten while sitting in the Denver station during a short layover.

Lunch #1 / 16-Nov-2009:

Food: Chipotle black bean burger (Morningstar Farms) with crinkle-cut potato chips and chocolate ice cream.
Companion(s): A boyfriend/girlfriend couple taking the train from Boston to Emeryville, then to Portland and back to Chicago (from there he is then flying back to Turkey to visit his parents and she’s heading to her family’s place in Milwaukee), and with a rather quiet woman who lives near Corvallis, OR who seems to regularly the train when traveling.

Dinner #2 / 16-Nov-2009:

Food: Ricotta-stuffed ravoli-esque pasta, steamed veggies, salad w/ blue cheese dressing, bread.
Companion(s): Retired couple from Sacramento area. Husband works as a process engineer, formerly making Polaris missile fuel for Bridgestone, now for the pharmaceutical company they were spun off as. Wife is a retired librarian, considering applying for director positions.

Diverant from airline food there are no vegan, vegetarian-variant (non-ovo-lacto, etc), or religion-specific (Kosher, Halal, Hindu, etc) meals. Overall the food is definitely better than airline food, but I am glad that I brought some extra snacks on board as I find myself wanting something to munch on that’s a little more in line with my normal tastes.

Meals are served with plastic plates and cups, stainless steel utensils, and disposable table cloths and napkins. Meal choice is made at the table and preparation takes ten to fifteen minutes, implying that non-breakfast foods are semi-prepared. As my breakfast contained eggs it was pretty easy to tell that they were freshly cooked, although they may have been from boxed eggs. The menus are half standard items, and half chef’s special / specials of the day. Breakfast and lunch are first come, first serve, with the queue being assigned numbers which are then called out across the train as available. For dinner someone comes around and asks which of a predetermined set of times one wishes to eat at (one of four), then the reserved time is written on a slip of paper and used as one’s dinner reservation. My dinner reservations for both yesterday and today were at 7:15pm, which allow for eating to take place sometime after sunset. After eating one typically returns to their room to find the seats transformed into beds, ready for sleepytime.

Traveling this late in the year with the sun setting so early makes it a bit dull later in the evenings, but drawing the curtains to block light from the car’s hallway and turning out the in-cabin lights makes things outside, including stars, plenty visible. Towns, and their typically rail-side industrial areas are particularly visible and interesting at night. Last night I also used this time to watch a mountain biking historical film called Klunkerz, and today I’m writing this post. I wish I’d brought along one more movie for tonight, but books or the provided-daily newspaper will defintely suffice.

After spending the whole of the day sitting in various comfortable chairs and looking out large windows (floor to ceiling, wrapping around to the roof when in the observation / lounge car) looking at beautiful mountains and canyons I feel certain that this is a wonderful way to travel. If one can afford the extra time and doesn’t mind being with minimum facilities for a few days, this is an ideal way to cross the country. There is generally no security theater††, comfortable seating, decent food, self-service coffee/water/juice, the ability to move around, time to walk outside during smoke breaks / extended stops, and the ability to isolate one’s self in a comfortable private cabin. If I wish to talk to others the observation / lounge car is easily accessible, but while sitting here I’ve felt completely detached from the other passengers, free to simply sit and look out the window, relaxing and watching the country roll by.

Brought along in a Trader Joe’s paper grocery bag were Trader Joe’s Oh My! Omega trail mix, TJ’s Tom Yum Cashews, TJ’s “This apple walks into a bar…”, Meiji Almond, Cisco’s Coconut Sable Biscuits, Suntory’s Black Boss Coffee, a 10oz bag of caramel corn from “Nuts On Clark” in Chicago’s Union Station, and two bottles of Goats Do Roam-brand wine; one eponymous and one bottle of Goats In Villages. Note that a personal stock of alcohol is permitted to be consumed in one’s private cabin, but it may not be brought to common areas such as the dining car, observation car, or coach seating.

†† Unexpectedly there were fifteen or so low-visibility (non-uniformed but with badges and firearms strapped to arms or legs, wearing logo’d jackets) DHS folks all armed with handguns, with two dogs, waiting for us at the normally-lengthy stop in Grand Junction, CO. The cabin attendant indicated that normally they visit the train in Reno, NV looking for drugs, but these dogs were bomb sniffing. I tend to believe the explosive dog claim, as when I walked past one and the dog started to sniff me, the officer holding it pulled it back. I’ve never had a drug sniffing dog not be allowed to sniff me all it wanted. While lingering around the outside of the train during this extended break I overheard the DHS individuals repeatedly refering to a female and boarding the train via the dining car’s non-public ground-level entrance. Despite this, I never saw anyone actually being removed from the train, and all the identifiable DHS individuals seemed to depart the area at the same time, in unmarked vehicles, before the train left the station.

Masala Dosa, Race Across The Sky

Here, have a photo of the Masala Dosa from Rangoli Express that I ate for dinner before meeting some friends to see a mountain biking movie called Race Across The Sky. While the dosa was excellent, too large to easily fit on the tray, and requiring some 16:9 cropping to look passable, I thought the movie was just okay.

I really enjoyed the footage of people riding through interesting and beautiful places, but much of the fanboy / celebrity worship bits wore on me. In particular, during the panel discussion portion before and after the movie the presenter’s strong desire to talk about Lance Armstrong whenever possible wore on me. Although, I guess he is a brand to be sold, and one which brings lots of attention to the race…

Pixar’s Up

This evening some friends and I had a really nice dinner at Lebanese Grill in Shelby Township, then went to one of the MJR Theaters in Partridge Creek to see Pixar’s Up. The showing of it that we saw was digital, and required viewing with dual-polarizer 3D glasses, as seen above.

I really enjoyed this film, with it having a very nice combination of fun, funny, mature, and sad parts. The story was definitely a kid’s film, but well enough done and with sufficient subtle social references for adults to giggle ridiculously at times. The 3D was also well done, with nothing that seemed put there just to fly into your face or show unnatural amounts of depth. In fact, most of the time I forgot that I was watching a “3D” film, and just felt like it was a very high quality, deep-feeling digital projection. I equate this to when surround sound was no longer simply shown off but instead used for subtle effect.

If you enjoy Pixar films or just good animated stories, I definitely recommend seeing this.

(Hmm, I just realized that I should have used a polarizing filter when photographing these. Oh well.)

Control

Screen capture from Control of Sam Riley as Ian Curtis, with the Unknown Pleasures album artwork in the background.

Danielle and I finally watched Control (Official Site · IMDB · Wikipedia), which she had received from Netflix last week. While it was a bit slow and (obviously) predictable, I enjoyed it.

I think that tonight I also got banstyle.nuxx.net working properly again. Over the past two days I did a bunch of extensive testing with spare RAM, Breakin, and a white board, and I think that I may have narrowed down the problem. I believe that the MCEs I was seeing were caused by a combination of a failing DIMM and modules which were the same in part number but not in actual chip content. There may actually be a bad slot there too, but I’m not certain of that.

I’ve winnowed the box down to 6GB of matched, tested RAM and it seems to pass all the tests I’ve thrown at it thus far. With the discovery that ad6 is dying as well I ordered a 3ware 8006-2LP and two Seagate ST3500320AS 500GB disks. Those were fitted into the server and I then dumped the the partitions from ad4 to it and everything seemed to be working fine, but occasionally slowly. Jumpering the board to force the first PCI-X slot to 66MHz (to match the PCI 8006-2LP) and turning on bus mastering for IDE transfers on the PCI slots seems to have sorted this out.

SMART tests and a number of hours of Breakin have shown the disks to be okay, so come Monday morning I’ll attempt to get a good 36 hours of burning in happening. If this all goes good the server will be back in place on Wednesday, with everything moved (shifted?) back over by Thursday evening.

If you are interested, here is a photo of my workbench just after dumping the partitions from one half of the old mirror to the new mirror set. Due to a bug in dump (or UFS) on FreeBSD 7.0 I had 6.3 booting off of an external USB drive, running dump to throw data from disk to another, a partition at a time.

After that photo was taken fstab was edited, everything booted up great, and then the new drives each passed an extended offline SMART test.