Saturday, March 14, 2009

Some Problems Solved, Other Problems Identified, Including Some Mental Problems

I got up this morning and engaged in the usual ritual of sitting around for a while before finally showering, dressing, and heading out into the world.
After hitting the comic shop I swung by Staples.
In playing around with the Cintiq – I’m thinking about using my webcam to record a video of the Cintiq in action – I’d found that the biggest problem was where to put it when I’m actually using it. When not being used it’s simply serving as my secondary monitor, and rests in the spot where I’d formerly placed my old 20.1” monitor, which isn’t really suitably positioned for drawing on it.
However, I had difficulty moving it directly in front of me, as the cable wouldn’t quite reach, and if I tilted it back to a comfortable angle it would bump into my main monitor, or else it would be partly obscuring the main monitor.
The latter point was something of an issue, as I want to use the main monitor to display the reference image I’m working from. Also, I have Photoshop open on the main monitor with all of my tools, while the image I’m actually drawing is displayed on the Cintiq, allowing me to devote its full screen real estate as my canvas, while leaving my main monitor as my tool box (I have one of the keys on the side of the Cintiq programmed to toggle which display I’m using. One click and I’m controlling the cursor on the main monitor; click again and I’m back to the Cintiq. This = teh awesome). Having the Cintiq blocking the monitor blocked my access to the tools hidden behind it.
So, long story already long, I stopped at Staples to pick up some things that would help me resolve these problems.
The first item was a monitor stand, which would provide clearance for tilting the Cintiq back while it’s in front of me and still allow me a full view of the main monitor.
Also, with my old desk I’d been accustomed to the monitor being higher up anyway, so two birds, one stone. Or rather, two monitors, one monitor stand.
One other drawback to my new desk has been that there’s no shelf for the computer itself, so the computer has been set directly on the floor. I didn’t like that, as I’m not thrilled with the idea of an expensive piece of electronic equipment resting directly on the static-charged carpet.
So the second item I picked up was a little cart/stand for the computer. This serves the function of getting the computer off the carpet and providing a little more slack for the Cintiq’s cable, which allows me to place it directly in front of me.
I’m a problem-solver!
I’m also kind of dumb.
Now that my old 20.1” monitor is essentially a spare, I decided that I would set up Munin, my old computer, in the room I refer to as “the library.” (It’s my intention to eventually make that room more library-ish, but for right now it’s just the spare bedroom that I’ve dumped all of my comic books in.)
In any case, it occurred to me that in order to hook the 20.1” monitor up to Munin I’d need a DVI cable. I didn’t think I had a spare one lying around, and I wasn’t able to find one. So while I was at Staples I looked around to see if they sold DVI cables. They only had one, which was 10’ long – much more than I need – and didn’t have a price. I decided to skip it and take another look when I got home to see if I had a spare.
On the way home something occurred to me. The Cintiq came with a DVI cable built in, and, if I stopped to remember removing the 20.1” monitor on Wednesday, I would realize that I disconnected a DVI cable from the back of the computer. A DVI cable that’s still connected to the currently dormant 20.1” monitor.
This was, literally, a “Well, duh” moment, which was followed by a “God you’re stupid” moment.
(I’ve mentioned this in the past, but the pronoun I use in my head [or out loud] to refer to myself changes with my mood. Sometimes I think of myself as “I,” other times it’s “We,” but more often than not it’s “You.” Why? We I don’t know. Mental problems, I suppose.)
Once I got home and finished setting up the various stands and confirming that my solution actually solved my problems, I set about hooking Munin up in the library.
(Actually, I watched some recorded TV first.)
I thought that I was going to have to engage in some troubleshooting to figure out the power problems that Munin has been having, but once I had it hooked up it powered up normally with no issues. Well, there was one issue; I had to restart it once to get the wireless adapter to come on, but it was at least booting up fully and seemed to be working.
Naturally, as it’s been turned off for months, it had to download some updates, which required a restart. I set it to restart and left the room.
When I came back I found that it hadn’t restarted, it had turned off.
I hit the power button to turn it back on. No joy.
At this point I’m assuming that it’s a problem with the power supply. I have two options: I can buy a new power supply, or cannibalize the power supply from my third desktop.
Ultimately I decided that I didn’t feel like doing anything with it right now (Hey Scott: want to help with a power supply swap on Wednesday?), and just left things as they are.
What I might end up doing is simply taking the hard drive out of Munin and putting it into Hugin, as my main concern is preserving the data. For example, I have my comic book database on Munin’s hard drive.
Of course, I’d also like to have a secondary desktop set up. I could just use the old Munin, but with its skimpy on-board graphics it can’t really push enough pixels for the 20.1” monitor, so I’ll probably go the power supply route.
Anyway, I know I haven’t posted much this week, but you really haven’t been missing anything. I’ll probably do a fill in the blanks post tomorrow, if I don’t do the video post.
Anyway, here are some pictures:

The setup when the Cintiq is not being used for drawing.

The setup when I’m using the Cintiq.

Bonus pictures:

The Wonder Woman action figure that came with the Blu-ray of the animated movie.

My other recent major purchase, though it was actually close to ten times cheaper than the Cintiq.

1 comment:

Merlin T Wizard said...

Yeah, you know I am. I've had to do a few power supply swaps in my time.