Time Out, Rewind, Shuffle, Reboot

by Scott ChitwoodThursday March 12th, 2009
Posted in More Than Words

I think I’ve pushed Oxidizer to my personal limits for the moment, so it’s high time to to refocus my energies towards some site enhancements and updates. A bit of a sore spot is our very ancient Oxidizer 0.3.b tutorial; it just isn’t getting it done anymore. The big O™ has been bounced through Dave’s magic grinder several times over and the fantabulous members of our little niche-within-a-niche group have taught myself and others much more along the way.

We need a better way to share info and keep current with each new build of Oxidizer. And a wiki is the way to make that happen; create an environment where information easy to access and all the kids are happy.

So, to make that happen we’ll be implementing a few other changes along the way.

First thing we’ve got to do is make site readability a priority. Say goodbye to reverse text on a dark background, we need something a bit cleaner and easier on the eyes. Testing of generic themes starts right away in order to see what format suits my fancy.

Upgrade the forum plugin to the latest version to take advantage of new features.

Install the wiki plugin and test it for usability and long term structure.

Start skinning the generic theme to give a bit o’ that Rampant Mac personality.

I think that covers it. More info to come as things progress.

Scotty out!

iBook G4 Open Case Surgery

by Scott ChitwoodSunday December 7th, 2008
Posted in More Than Words

It wasn’t so long ago (just last month to be exact) that I had mentioned our iBook G4 was “roasted and toasted”, and as such we made the decision to upgrade to an early 2008 MacBook Pro. And boy howdy, I’m quite pleased with the new toy! Shortly after receiving the MBP my thoughts turned to attempting a repair of the iBook.

The unfortunate story behind the iBook was its performance history; four trips to the repair center through AppleCare related to logic board and DC-In board issues along with less than stellar power cord connectors were constant issues for us. After sitting idle for the better part of year we purchased a replacement battery along with a third party charger. The DC-In board promptly went belly up two days later. Again we left it idle.

But where to acquire and how to replace the DC-In board? I had no idea other than to strike up the issue with a local Mac reseller to see if they did in-house repairs on laptop systems. That was the plan anyway, then karma intervened and I ran across a link to iFixit that had just the part we needed and a great set of instructions for tearing down the iBook and replacing the DC-In board.

iBook G4 DC-In Board

Awesome! This was just the motivation I needed to dig into the project. And why not, it certainly didn’t look any more difficult than accessing the lower RAM slot in a Bondi Blue iMac G3.

Hello! MacBook Pro

by Scott ChitwoodSaturday November 8th, 2008
Posted in More Than Words

Just wanted to share a screenshot from the new Mac that arrived at the Chitwood homestead. Model is MacBook Pro 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo, that makes it the previous generation, not the nifty new unibody MBP. But all things considered, pretty darm impressed with it so far!

MacBook Pro Screenshot 11-08-2008

All Work and No Play Make Jack a Dull Boy

by Scott ChitwoodMonday November 3rd, 2008
Posted in More Than Words

Ever have that strange sensation that you’re running a race and the racer in front of you is you? No? Well then, carry on and just skip on by my little excursion into altered reality. For my part, I’ve been trying to catch that punk (quite unsuccessfully) since well before the turn of the seasons and it doesn’t feel like the race is getting any tighter. I am however, hoping to break free soon, and it seems quite remiss of me to have let the old Ranch™ linger with very few words (or desktops) in recent weeks, so it seems like a good idea to at least take quick peak into the room and shout a quick hello.

Our good pal David Burnett has kept the place alive in a good way with Oxidizer updates and teasers. A big hearty cheer there! I’ve personally lacked time to get in and toy around with it much, though I’m hoping that I can break through my current stagnation and up the cool factor of rendered genomes as soon as my schedule allows a few spare moments.

It may also been time to start considering some additional tutorials for Oxidizer; the app has really matured in big ways and it deserves a deeper look from the users standpoint. If anyone in our happy little group is of mind to share some thoughts on any aspect of Oxidizer, for inlcusion on the front page, I’d be happy to toss up a soap box for you stand on.

One thing I’m glad to see is site performance is back up to speed for me. Not having word from any readers/users I’m thinking the whole three week episode may have been isolated to me and I’m going with the idea that a recent system update was the offending party. Things got so bad that the site would barely load over my cable modem; damn near went crazy from the thing — web host and ISP were both understanding of the problem, just couldn’t resolve it. The only other thing that bothers me a little about the issue is that most other sites were loading fine, RM was my only big headache. Hmmmm…

Last but not least it’s Mac upgrade season at the Chitwood house. With our 800 MHz Quicksilver G4 getting long in the tooth, iBook G4 roasted and toasted, Bondi Blue iMac G3 packed away in the garage, and three of us needing to share one system ever more on a daily basis we’re in need of a better way to share.

It was a bit of decision for us; a Mac Mini in the living room with a wireless keyboard/mouse combo that could use the HDTV as a monitor? or a 15″ MacBook Pro that would allow for a little more freedom to move about but could still mirror to HDTV? Portability was the deciding factor, so hello 15″ MacBook Pro! We opted for the previous model, not the latest and greatest edition — the savings were pretty darn big so we’ll be quite fine with the purchase.

Presto, Change-o

by Scott ChitwoodTuesday January 22nd, 2008
Posted in More Than Words

An interface update/experiment is in progress, hopefully this won’t take too awful long — if it does, you’ll just have to wait for our digital dust to settle. Thanks!

You may need to dump your browser cache to see in progress changes. Should you get to feeling nostalgic for the previous build an image is just a click away.

UPDATE Jan. 24th » Cooking right along and most everything is looking good other than a few scattered oddities and a big mess to clean up on the forum page. The new place is feeling just like home…

UPDATE Jan. 28th » Just a few more little kinks to iron out on the site in general. Forum is coming along real nice but still needs some love before we call it a day.

UPDATE Jan. 29th » Whew, I think we’re there with the new skin — the forum even looks pretty darn spiffy. I’m betting a few things were missed along the way, those will be fixinated promptly as they are discovered. Over and out Scotty…

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chitwoods pixelpost

by Scott ChitwoodFriday January 11th, 2008
Posted in More Than Words

I’ve been wanting to build a nice online photo gallery for quite awhile but really wasn’t satisfied with the CMS options that have been out there for a few years. Everything I tried was a little too heavy on features, or were more complex than I wanted to take on for customizing the CSS. A flickr gallery seemed to be a good alternative to hosting my own site and it is an option that works if one puts in the time to do it right; but being a bit lazy about adding tags (and other stuff) and a being little less than apt at the whole social networking scene my interest just didn’t hold.

Then a recent link to pixelpost found in a forum thread got me excited about giving the idea another look. And boy howdy am I glad to have stumbled on such a nice piece of software! Installing pixelpost hardly took any effort at all, admin options are simple to work with, and customizing the CSS was a breeze too — both light and dark variants!

So feel free to toss about the place and see what you think. Heck, you might even run across a photo of an old guy that still has all of his hair :^)

chitwood's pixelpost

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Share Your Oxidizer Creations

by Scott ChitwoodWednesday January 2nd, 2008
Posted in More Than Words, Oxidizer Blog

Want to share your creative efforts with the rest of the class here at Rampant Mac? We’d love to help you showcase your nifty stack of artistic endeavors. How does it work? You’ll need to join our happy little group with a quick visit to our registration page, once you’ve done that you’re ready to upload files. Please take a moment to read through our guidelines posted below so you’ll know what to send us.

Thanks!


File Guidelines

This system is set up specifically with Oxidizer still images and animations in mind. However, we may be open to receiving/publishing additional items such as icons, other styles of desktop wallpaper, or GUI elements of other types; we’ll see how things unfold and work out the details as needed.

All files should be submitted as Zip archives, be sure to include a read me file/document that tells us your user name and which also contains any copyright notices that you require to protect your work. A link to a Creative Commons license is also acceptable for copyright purposes. Also, be sure to include descriptive text for your creation, something that we can use for posting alongside your art. We reserve the right to edit descriptive text for spelling errors and content as needed.

You can be assured that we’ll always honor your works as yours alone, we will never claim any ownership over your creations. Any items submitted for publication at Rampant Mac must be your own original work(s). Modifications of existing works by others will not be published without the consent of the originating artist.

Desktop Picture/Wallpaper Guidelines

Just a few requirements here. Minimum dimensions of submitted images should be no less than 1920×1200 for widescreen format and 1600×1200 for fullscreen format. Images with excessive JPEG compression will not be published. Please keep embedded web addresses confined to the upper or lower corner of images. Submissions which use text as a design element should do so in a way that is truly a design element otherwise those type of items may not be published. Remember, quality is king of our galleries and we’d love to see them shine with your creations!

Animation Guidelines

We’ll have to work these out as we go along.

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Hello Peeps

by David BurnettWednesday November 28th, 2007
Posted in More Than Words, Oxidizer Blog

Hello every one.I’m Dave, the author of Oxidizer, a little program that you may have heard about.

I came across Rapmant Mac a while back while I was trawling through Google looking to see how much Oxidizer was spreading and to see what people were creating with it. I had not exactly been pushing Oxidizer back then, mostly just posts to the Electric Sheep forum, so it was an interesting experiment in ‘word of mouth’. And there was this guy rendering who was the odd flame and had written a balanced mini review too. So I bookmarked the site, wrote a brief comment and made the occasional return to admire Scott’s flames and give, or response to, the occasional comment. In the end it became one of the sites on my RSS menu in Safari to make sure I do not miss a post.

A week or so ago while Scott approached me with the idea of making Rampant Mac a ‘landing site’ for Oxidizer users, a single site for user community complete with me blogging. I thought it would be a great idea, so here I am.

The next post will probably be a brief description of how Oxidizer works under the hood, why that changed massively between version 0.3 and 0.4 and may or may not be coming in 0.5 and why it’s not always my fault that Oxidizer crashes :0)

Finally, here’s a bit of a tip… Every time Oxidizer renders a still image and the progress dialogue is shown it writes the flam3 genome it is rendering to the console log. This includes rendering previews, the rendering of the thumbnails in the Breeder and the thumbnail rendered when copying a flame from the Breeder or Gene Pool to the main editor.

To view the Console log use Console.app it should show the latest log by default. To go further back in time…

  • Click on the ‘Logs’ toolbar item and find /Library/Logs in the tree view.
  • Open the ‘Console’ item .
  • Open the ‘501’ item

You should now see the last ten days worth of Console Logs.

You should be able to copy the flam3 genome to a text file and load it back in Oxidizer. Then the next thing you should then do is try and get Oxidizer to crash again, and once you get it down to load this flam3 flame and change this setting to this value, or load and render and it will crash then send me the flam3 file and detailed instructions on what to do.

Dave