The Giant Pachinko Machine of Doom | Cool stuff and the musings of a mad genius.

Section: Electronics

First let me just say that I resisted the urge to call the section ‘Magical Blue Smoke’…I’ll save that for a series of introductory How-To articles.

Personal History

I’ve been working with electronics for…well, almost as long as I can remember.  I haven’t always been doing it, I started when I was really young, and then it fell by the wayside for a number of years.  But it’s something that’ll always be with me.


Well, that’s an interesting question…  The same reason painters paint and sculptors sculpt I guess; the urge to create.  Some of us want to make things a little more…interesting.  If it weren’t for tinkerers and the will to create, we probably wouldn’t have had personal computers until the next big leap in computing technology was made necessary by war…not just because a couple of guys in a garage wanted to try something.

Where do we go from here?

I feel that ‘open source hardware’ and the whole DIY movement is part of the next step in the development of human intelligence and society, but more than that, it’s also one of the easiest ways to take yourself out of the loop of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.  Anyone can do it.  If you don’t know how, you can LEARN.  You can’t say that about most art forms.  The idea of open source hardware, is to let people make things themselves, and improve on things that others make, and maybe even make some money from it.  Things are getting really very exciting these days.  People are making their own 3D printers, milling machines, and laser cutters…  And we’re even getting close to commercial-like electronics manufacturing.  It’s like an industrial revolution on the desktop.

Soon, anyone with the will to do so, should be able to make pretty much anything themselves.  If that isn’t an exciting concept, check your pulse.

What this means for the site…

Well, mostly I’ll be talking about projects I’m working on, sharing information, doing how-to articles and whatnot.  It’ll be interesting, trust me.

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Some Kind of Future Space World…

It feels good when technology just works.  Back in February, I bought a real goddamn RAID card, five 2TB hard drives, and a tray-less 3-to-5 SATA2 hot swap bay enclosure.

Then, last week, my RAID card made a horrible shrieking alarm sound that made me think the apartment was on fire.  Turned out it was just my RAID5 array…  One of the 2TB drives failed, hard.  I’m used to motherboard RAID losing sync with drives if they time out, and claiming the array failed, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt and attempted a rebuild.  It failed to rebuild.

So, first thing I did after I got the money together was bought another drive from Newegg.  Then I did an RMA on the original drive through Western Digital.  It was a very painless experience; Enter the serial number, enter the reason for requesting an RMA, choose between cross-ship, and normal return (Normal, since I already had a drive en route from Newegg.), and then pay $6 for a UPS return label.

New drive arrives from Newegg (this morning), and we set about what needs to be done.

  1. Unpack new HDD.
  2. Tell the RAID card to ‘unplug’ the failed drive.
  3. Unlock and open the corresponding slot on the enclosure.
  4. Remove failed drive, replace with new drive.
  5. Wait for RAID manager to recognize new drive, and then initialize it.
  6. Select damaged array, click ‘Add Drive’, select newly initialized replacement.  Rebuild begins automatically.
  7. Pack failed HDD in static bag and shipper from replacement drive, apply UPS shipping label over label on Newegg box.

Holy shit, son.  It’s like we’re livin’ in some kind of FUTURE SPACE WORLD, where shit just works like it’s supposed to!

Now I’m gonna go on to the gritty details of the hardware, with a couple pictures, after the jump.  So stay tuned if that sort of thing interests you.  (I guarantee premium hardware porn, you betcha!)

Read more ›

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Adobe Illustrator Madman

I was looking through my directory of miscellaneous Illustrator files, a lot of which are cool logos and stuff I’ve done, and it occurred to me I haven’t shown off a lot of this awesomeness.  So I decided to show off a bunch of the logos I vectored for my arcade games.

Click a thumbnail to the see the full-size image!

Samurai Spirits ZERO
(Samurai Shodown V)

Bakumatsu Roman – Gekka no Kenshi, Dai Ni Maku: ~Tsuki ni Saku Hana, Chiri Yuku Hana~
(The Last Blade 2)

The King of Fighters ’96
The King of Fighters ’97
The King of Fighters ’98

 The KOF’97 logo is my favorite out of the KOFs, with those cool-ass flames and stuff.  It’s strange though that it’s the only one without that official KOF ‘F’ in it.  But the game’s sub-logo DOES include it.

So, yeah.  I’m pretty good with Adobe Illustrator.  I mostly did these to put on spine labels for the cartridge cases on my shelves, though I could easily cook up new mini-marquees or really anything else.

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Non-Specific Fuckery

There’s this thing I do, I like to call it ‘Non-Specific Fuckery’, it’s where I launch into a full-throated, verbose, erudite, curb stomp of a rant…but actually couldn’t give half a rat’s ass.  Not that I make it up or anything, it’s almost always an accurate portrayal of my opinions, just with the volume and fluster turned up to 11.  Instead of saying “No, that’s stupid.” when someone says something I disagree with, I launch into a vicious rant/argument that goes on for an hour and in the end is sometimes, based on the aftermath, impossible to discern from the wrath of god.  It’s fun as all hell, and cathartic.  Entertaining, too; It’s practically goddamned internet theatre.

It has its drawbacks, however; more and more lately, people are saying I’m being ‘successfully trolled’ into arguing.  In reality, as much zeal and mock anger as I put into it, I’m really just fucking around.  It’s a spectator sport, too.  I’ve built my reputation as a foremost internet bastard, fucker, and all-around son-of-a-bitch  as much on ‘Non-Specific Fuckery’ as I have on actual arguments, debate, fuckery, and shenanigans.  It’s my daily keyboard calisthenics.  How the fuck do you think I don’t have carpal tunnel after 15 years of IRC?

I’m not being trolled.  I’m being ornery.


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Review: Portal 2 (Singleplayer)

So, apparently MetaCritic is full of people hating on Portal 2.  What in the name of buggerfuckery?  How can anyone dislike this game?

Are they just pissed they haven’t been playing it since Friday?  Did they feel suckered into buying the Potato Sack?

CRY SOME MORE. The fact of the matter is, this game is awesome.  And I’m going to tell you why it’s awesome.

Read more ›

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The End of An Era…Again.

Ehh, I don’t know, guys.  I’m not really liking the new site.  I think I’m going to go back to the way things were.  I mean, it just doesn’t feel right if I don’t have to wrestle with the goddamned thing just to get a post up, and then don’t have to constantly scour it for spam…  This is too easy, WordPress actually WORKS.   Doesn’t really feel like there’s any merit to it, you know?  Oh well, it was a good experiment.

This was an April Fools joke, derp.

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Section: Tabletop RPGs

Personal History

I bought my first set of polyhedral dice in 1995 or so.  A plain set of Chessex opaque, blue with white numbers.  I still have it, sans a d20. (Which I just ordered a replacement for on Monday.) a short time prior to that, I had purchased a lone d10, and a pair of d6s so I could play in a Cyberpunk 2020 campaign I had found at The Gamer’s Realm, a gaming store in West Windsor, New Jersey.

A year or so of Cyberpunk 2020, still my favorite setting…  A sprinkling of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition…  A couple years of Shadowrun…  A bit of a run-in with D&D 4th Ed which never really went anywhere…  As much as I like RPGs, I haven’t played anywhere near my fill.  Something I hope to remedy.  However, as little as I actually get to play, I still enjoy the games themselves and the social experiences they represent.  I guess you could say I enjoy them as much in theory as in practice.

The Concept

You sit down around a table with a bunch of people, some of whom are your friends, some of whom you may be meeting for the first time and will become friends, and you share a story.  The setting and plot are the responsibility of the GM/DM/Referee but it is up to you, the players, to decide how events unfold…assuming the dice do what you want.  (Protip: Don’t get your hopes up.)

Random = Fun

The dice are what make it real.  Because of the addition of random chance, players often experience the same range of failure, success, tragedy, triumph, frustration, and relief that they would if the events were actually happening.  And yet, even the worst night of roleplaying is often more enjoyable than the best night sitting at home by yourself.

Variety is the spice of…Roleplaying

It can be a very compelling medium when properly executed.  Flexible, as well:  there is a roleplaying game for pretty much any taste.  From the extremes of past and future, to present day, and everything in between.  Reality-based, alternate-reality, historical, literary…cartoon!  Steampunk, Cyberpunk, Lovecraftian, Space Opera, Anime!  Serious and dramatic, action movie, light-hearted, slapstick!  Anything is possible between the different settings that are out there, and how the GM wants to portray it.

Tabletop RPGs Versus Videogames

Roleplaying is often maligned as something childish and/or nerdy, and yet videogames are orders of magnitude more accepted.  Why is that?  What’s the difference between the two?  I’ll tell you what the difference is: RPG players can’t find videogames with the richness and depth of the average tabletop roleplaying game.  It’s like playing a game that taps directly into the imagination of you and the people around you.  Videogames take place on the SCREEN, while RPGs take place in your IMAGINATION.  Now you tell ME which one has better graphics, yeah?

MMORPGs have come the closest so far, but they’re still a long ways off, and I’m not even sure some aspects can BE replicated in any other medium.  As of yet, nothing really matches sitting around a table with a bunch of people, rolling dice, carrying on, and enjoying yourselves.

And with that, I introduce the Tabletop RPG section.

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Upcoming features

Things have gotten off to a slow start for various reasons, but here’s a list of what should be coming up:

  • A gallery/feature of Range Murata artbooks and rare doujinshi.
  • Republishing and expansion of the ‘MVS-tan’ story from the old blog.
  • Review of Maid RPG.
  • Some introductory posts for the electronics section.
  • Some introductory posts for the Tabletop RPG section.
  • Explanation of some of the stupid crap I’ve been working on.
  • A review of Celsys IllustStudio and how to buy it.
  • Maybe even an actual DRAWING by me!  (Or something.)

Anyway, I’ve got plenty to do, so…  ,o/~

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Buy this RPG, Help Japan!

I know most of us have enough financial problems as it is without thinking about donating towards Japan earthquake relief, but someone sent me a link to this yesterday.  You can buy something that might give you a few laughs, and still help Japan!

You can buy the PDF version of the book for $7 and they’ll donate the profits AND another $5 to the Red Cross for disaster relief.  (According to the post, it’s basically $12 minus transaction fees.) Sounds like a good deal.  I only wish there was more I could do to help Japan, but the way things are going I’ll be in need of donations soon enough!

I’m looking through the book I just bought, and I’ll tell you, it’s put a big ol’ grin on my face already.  Makes me want to buy an additional print copy, but I don’t have the $$$ right now.

I also make a point of supporting people like this every chance I get, this is from the first page of the PDF book:

A Word On PDF Piracy

If you downloaded a pirated version of this product from the internet…

Well, give the game a try! Don’t just let this shit rot on your hard drive, it only takes like 5 minutes to put a scenario together: So go print out the needed parts, bring some friends together and throw down a session or two. We only hope that if you liked it, and got some fun play out of it, that you guys throw us some money for a genuine print or PDF version of the game ( It helps Ewen for all the murderously hard work he did on the translation (while simultaneously going for a grad degree and holding down a job, no less!), and encourages us to bring more nifty Japanese RPGs over into English.

I like that kind of honesty.  Also, the PDF is completely without security, so I can do anything I need to with its contents.  That’s always refreshing, too.  I once needed to copy, enlarge, and print the pin-out diagram for a microcontroller, only to find out that the PDF datasheet was secured, and I had to find a PDF cracker, only it didn’t work for some reason, so I ended up re-doing the whole diagram in Illustrator and losing an afternoon on what I was doing.

Even if I never play this game, and I think I know some people who’d probably play it with me, it was more than worth it to contribute to Japan’s earthquake relief AND put a smile on my face.  Mission accomplished, guys. :]

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Seven Years is a Long Damn Time

Exactly 7 years ago this minute, the first post was made to the original Giant Pachinko Machine of Doom…  For several of those years, I’ve been saying I would replace the whole thing because of the broken-ass hacked copy of B2Evolution I was running.  Me and Ed_K had to do quite a bit of hacking to make it work with the two domains.  And of course, all those changes made it impossible to update the software without having to re-fix everything.  It was a real nightmare.  So it’s very much a relief to finally replace the whole thing, especially with something that needs NO CHANGES to do what I want.

Anyway, look forward to cool stuff in the immediate future.  I’m back!

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