Friday, October 26, 2012

Will Do Biochemistry For Food

The job hunt is driving me absolutely nuts. Now I have followed current events, and while I am not omniscient (read: "I could be wrong, I can't follow all the bazillions of news sources, both major and minor, it would take too long"), I'm not going to fault Obama...IMHO there are too many factors. And there is more than one branch of government. Greed, mindless opposition from the Tea Party (yeah, I've read up on them...they lost credibility with me on the 'death panels'), any wonder why his policies are suffering? (And I'd probably be a military officer if not for that stupid DODMERB...) The point is, I'm going out with a broad skill set, three degrees (BS, MS, MD), and nobody's hiring me. I'm not even putting up an ego...I have obligations to meet. And yeah, I'm wierd, but I never let down anyone who gave me a fair chance. This also explains why this latest ep of Kane's Mind is so late. However, I made a commitment when I started getting a lot of subscribers...that I would see this out to completion. Apparently...some people like the crap I do.

There are some issues I'd like to address...
  1.  I did retcon Kane's age owing to certain informational websites. 
  2.  Allegedly, the Armstrong Station incident resulted in all personnel being killed except for Kane, and that he was sworn to secrecy. I consider this a discrepancy as there are indications it wasn't exactly suppressed. Kane may have pulled survivors out, and they're now working at SMC labs. Whatever the case, information got out, and the SMC grunts know...Kane may have been one of those people like Gordon Freeman, the right man in the wrong place. However he's still a Marine. I've known a few. Some have taught me tactics on the paintball field. They are trained brutally and come out the best on the ground. (Though USAF and USN will argue about the air...) 
  3.  Some have argued about my political opinions. Personally I'm with Voltaire on this..."I may not agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it." And actually, the line about Obamacare was on professional rather than political grounds. 
  4. "Kane has an artificial eye." This is another discrepancy between the lore sites and the game. The graphics would show at least a difference between his natural eye and his cybered eye. I went a different route using technology currently in actual experimentation, and following along similar lines as the "medchip." That said, I hoped to enrich Kane and stay within consistent precedents set by ID. 
Oh...and by the's the latest.  Pardon errors with the Spanish...and I intended that there be a homage to Red vs. Blue, whom I sponsored since 2002...that and Spanish is a language in which I had high school training.  (I'm retaking Spanish to hopefully attain fluency in a professional sense.)  Some sentences need grammatical correction, others, it's deliberate.  Example...

"I can has cheezburger" is grammatically incorrect, but it's an assembly of artistic license for a theme.  So my best literal translation to Spanish would be..."¿Yo puedo tiene cheezburger?"  That is, "Yo puedo" ("I can"), "tiene" ("has," the English conjugation, as in "he/she/it has," as opposed to "I have," "you have," or "they have,"), "cheezburger" (which would be translated as a foreign-derived cognate, like a brand name).

Seriously, I am not trying to rip off Red vs. Blue, I reference them in the dialogue (Kane is a history buff, so to him, Roosterteeth is part of modern media history) and in the credits.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Kane's Mind Lives Again!

Well, it never really died, but after a year of technical difficulties, chasing schedules across three time zones, professional issues, classes, and whatever else, Jared and I finally managed to wrap up Kane's Mind 25. His cameo is now DONE. Woot! Now to start work on KM26...that's going to be another trick and a half...but it'll be interesting.

Friday, June 29, 2012

So...where is the new episode?

Okay. I have been largely busy, but with good reason, so my fans (at least those that read my posts on my site) shall be enlightened. I have been busy finishing up my MD. The bad news...I am not licensed to practice yet. The good news...I have my MD, which means I am as much a doctor as a PhD is a doctor. I'm working my way towards formal licensure bit by bit so sooner or later I will be fully trained and practicing. Or maybe not...I might end up like Michael Crichton and, while medically educated, produce something of worth on a sci-fi front. Kane's Mind is NOT dead. Let me make that clear. There have been technical and logistical issues. Bearing in mind that episodes 24 and 25 have been a dual effort by myself and Jared. Coordinating two people in two timezones with two lives and independent technical difficulties (my network and software issues and Jared's microphone breaking down) is not easy in an amateur production. Jared and I have been working hard to the best of our abilities to finish this joint project and get our own projects back on track. In the meantime I have been trying to apply some creativity in some spare time. I am glad that people actually like my work, and if people have constructive criticism (bearing in mind I'm working from the PC version, and making allowances for the rendering, models, and NPC scripts that ID software produced), I'd be glad to either make intelligent counter-arguments or improve my own work...or more likely, both. I'll try to keep kicking out some content that people actually enjoy. So far the MLTF2 dub spoofs have entertained bronies and non-bronies alike (kind of what I geared it for). I have one more in the works, and then I'm thinking of doing a TF2 dub based on "The Hunger Games" trailer. But Jared and I are going to finish KM25 so I can resume my own pace. So far...he's exceeded his own stellar performance on KM24. Ross Scott and Martin Billamy (Little Kuriboh) had long delays before releasing new episodes. I can only hope that I can meet the same demands for quality. Hang in there. It's coming.

Friday, June 22, 2012

I enrolled in MiraCosta college to engage in a surgical training course. However, this course was exclusive to vocational the point that, on the day the course started, I found out it had a THREE YEAR WAITING LIST. On the other hand, I managed to get enrolled in a class on Adobe Photoshop. It's a decent and academically relevant way to defer student loans, especially since CS6 extended (and yes, I own a legitimate copy now, thanks to student discounts) handles DICOM files, which are the format for medical imaging systems. Basically if I requested the raw data from a CT scanner, I could have the full imaging data for a patient. If I needed data between two "slices" (images taken on a given plane) for details on a surgical site, I could work it out from the same data. The radiologist would be important for interpretation of the information, whereas I'd need a map for the procedure. Ah yes. The photoshop class has been immensely beneficial. After years of pirating Adobe Photoshop, I can now is worth every penny to actually purchase a legitimate copy with a license. (To anyone trying to sue me or press charges...screw off. I'm doing genuine academic work, and I have invested in your product now that I know it is worth every penny. I have a recipt. Just one more case where piracy has led to long-run profits.) Also, I recently acquired a used Wacom Intuos2 tablet. The surface works great for my optical mouse, and the medium-scale tablet area gives me plenty of room to work. I need to set the pen buttons, but the tablet works great. Wacom tablets rule. I mean if you want to even do amateur work, it's worth investing in a basic tablet. My old Graphire lasted me since college (1999) until I lost the pen and couldn't get a replacement. While the science involved in making them work is a hair on the complicated side, the result is a robust and long-lasting system. It's like the Logitech of tablets. (My logitech keyboard has thus far exceeded 10 years, and looks near to pristene after I did a thorough cleaning of it...even without cleaning, it operates damn near perfectly.) A good used Wacom tablet will yield some great service life. Primarily, don't be concerned about gimmicks if you're an amateur...a pro would invest the thousand bucks in a Cintiq (that's basically a Wacom tablet with a built-in monitor so you see what your pen is operating on). A basic tablet gives you the operating surface of a notecard. If you can work that area, great. In fact I used it for fine work in my early photoshop projects. However, a medium-area tablet (6x8 active area) gives plenty of room to work. Even older models like the Intuos2 (the current one is Intuos4) are very good. My replacement tablet was a used model, US$50...didn't have the mouse, but since I used a Logitech optical mouse it didn't matter. The pen was there and the damn thing works like a charm. With my editorial done, I'm going to put up my first photoshop project. All subject matter is used either because I built it, it was public domain, or I obtained express written permission. The image links back to my DeviantArt site, which has links to the authors of other material...worth checking out if you're a fan of space exploration. Orbiter, the XR1, and the Arrow (from the UCGO add-on module) are awesome. The only hardware reccomendation I would make would be a cheap joystick for atmospheric maneuvers (launch or re-entry). Logitech makes a good one for $20 that handles the basics. Thrustmaster is another brand I've known to have a good track record...while more expensive, they are very versatile. Here's the product of assignment #1: From: I may not be able to build an FTL vessel in my backyard...but...Einstein is one of my heroes for one reason. "Imagination is more important than knowledge." We have to dream to come up with imaginative twists, new hypotheses, new ideas. Science is a modality of reason, not blind faith.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

POW! Right to the moon...

If anyone's ever had a curiosity about space flight (and I mean the real stuff, not like space fighter simulations from thousands of years in the future or galaxies far far away where the technology makes things way easier) then there's a free program out there called Orbiter.  Currently only for the Windows OS, but I'm sure an enterprising programmer might work something out with Orbiter's creator and work on a port to MacOS or Linux.  This program simulates gravity, orbits, failure conditions, even flights to other planets with realistic management of resources (fuel, oxygen, heat).

You begin with a few different space vehicles.

The Delta Glider (DG) is a hypothetical single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) vehicle capable of interplanetary flight.  However, despite its fictitious powerplant and heat shield composition, it's still bound by a realistic physics system.  Due to its small size and long range, though, it's far more forgiving.  Expect to crash a few times, though.  Though it takes off like an airplane from Earth, making that transition from atmospheric flight to orbit takes practice.

I reccomend running the "DG to the Moon" tutorial.  This will give you an idea of what to expect, and it will also take you through some of the more esoteric and essential terms of space flight and orbital mechanics, things like apoapsis (the highest point on a given orbit, called "apogee" if the orbit is about earth, or "aphelion" when referring to orbits about the sun), or normal mode (an autopilot mode which points the spacecraft out of the plane of your orbit, used for adjusting the orbital plane), what a transition orbit is, how to do it, how to land on a moon when there's no atmosphere...and it'll involve you in the easier steps, also teaching you how to read the data displays and what the information means.

Space shuttle Atlantis.  This is a realistic simulation of an actual launch vehicle.  Bigger, heavier, and without the fuel capacity or engine power of the DG.  Flying this takes patience, planning, and a lot more skill.  The orbiter does not move as readily, so maneuvering is tricky.  I haven't taken this one into orbit yet, I'm still learning the basics on the DG.  However, I also reccomend running the "Atlantis to ISS" tutorial, as it'll demonstrate things like orbital planes and why they are important, and how to synchronize orbits.

Because it's a simulation, you can quicksave your state, or exit the simulation (Orbiter autosaves the last state of the simulator as "Current simulator state," so it picks up where you left off when you resume) where you can save your last simulation state in an independent file, or fast-forward time (the 3-day long flight to the moon can be sped up so you only spend an hour in realtime).  Just remember to be in a stable orbit or trajectory with the autopilot turned off.  The autopilot program can't calculate with time sped up 100 times or more, or you may find yourself slamming into something you were trying to avoid, or flying off into space.  (If you're really careless you can end up killing yourself and your crew before liftoff by speeding up time with all the hatches closed and running out of oxygen.)  The "time warp" feature is handy, just don't overdo it.

The program comes with documentation.  If you can't find information on a particular vehicle in the main Orbiter manual, look for the relevant operations'll give you specific instructions on items specific to that spacecraft (SCRAM jets, hover thrusters, various keyboard commands).  If all else fails, hold alt-shift, and it shows a list of keyboard commands on screen.  Release alt-shift to clear your screen and return to the simulation.

Other ships include the dragonfly, a low-orbit shuttle used to move things around between orbits, Shuttle Alpha, a launch vehicle great for low-gravity worlds like the moon and mars, and any number of add-ons, including sci-fi starfighters and warp drive for those who just want to play around with "what if" scenarios.

Some things I found that'll make learning to fly to space easier include:
Go Play In Space by Bruce Irving.  This is a great guide that puts terminology and techniques into plain English.  Think of it like "Spaceflight for Dummies."
Dan's Orbiter Page is the home of "Orbiter Sound 3.5," the sound module for orbiter.  This provides the user with engine sounds, hull noises, and audible warnings. He also hosts "Universal MMU," a module which allows you to perform EVA's in orbit.
Aerobrake MFD (Multifunction display) module is a great way to help plan re-entry paths, helping you predict when to burn engines to break orbit so that you can glide in over your destination spaceport.

And of course, there are plenty of really good add-ons that make an initial installation of orbiter complete...
Apollo Mission Simulator for Orbiter has complete meshes and documentation for flying the Apollo missions 8 through 17.  Missions are even subdivided so you can skip ahead to different parts in a historical flight (say you want to take Neil's first steps on the moon...just skip ahead to the EVA), or play out the whole thing.
Altea Aerospace  is the site which hosts the XR series of Delta Glider variants, from the upgraded Delta Glider XR1 (upgraded controls and an integrated cockpit system make this one easier to fly) to the XR5 Vanguard (the shuttle-scale SSTO vehicle).

You can even re-skin your vehicles.  All you need to do is find the save (scenario) file, open it in a text editor, find your ship among the entries, and add a line:

SKIN [skin name here]

Here are some of the examples of the many available skins for download (all images drawn from their original source on Orbit Hangar Mods, another great source for lots of orbiter add-ons):

This is a higher-resolution skin for the Space Shuttle Atlantis, reskinned as Endeavor.

For those who want a more martial feel, this is a re-skin of the XR2 for the US Navy flight program.

Richard Branson did say he would be starting up commercial space flights, right?  You can see the future with this XR2 re-skin.

Uh...oooookay, while the Sonic Rainboom, while disputed by physics students, has been observed in reality occuring with Space Shuttle Atlantis:
I don't think the NASA engineers would appreciate the paint job (unless of course it actually did make the heat shield 20% cooler).

Okay, now you're just being silly.


Additional resources:
Orbiter Wiki

Anyway, it's a really cool game.  And it's free.

In other news, I had a guest shot on "One Hour and a Half Later" by Mark Taylor.
And I still ask myself why I signed on for this...

Friday, April 6, 2012

"Where's the New Episode?"

Damn, you know, I thought only producers of the highest caliber like Ross Scott or Martin Billamy (Little Kuriboh) got that question.  And, to be honest, when I do get asked, it is prefaced with a rather understanding statement, such as, "I know you have a life and you're busy."  True that.  I'm studying for one of my med school final exams, the FCCE.  However, I also am trying to get some study break time, and even putting in an hour a day on my video work makes progress.

However, sometimes people don't get it, so I'm going to lay it out.

Because this latest episode is a cameo I promised someone, it is taking longer.  This is due to the schedules we both keep, and the logistics of coordinating two people in two different time zones.  Jared is exceedingly busy at times.  I'm hoping we can grab some time.

So, here's the update.

Kane's Mind episode 25 is close to 15 minutes long.
We are, thus far, 5 minutes in, a pretty hefty chunk of time.
We are working on getting the rest of it done in one session assuming we can schedule the time for it, although this may be a week or two away.  If we can't get it done in one session, I think we might be able to finish in two.

I didn't get this far into the project to abandon it halfway.  If I was going to pull the plug I'd have done so about twenty episodes ago.

About the April Fools' release:

I think this may have started with one of the Master Minds, with the Out of Our Minds series.  It's lately become a tradition of sorts...mind makers might make at least one.  I released this as an April Fool's joke because I had to give my fans SOMETHING...

Shout out to Curtis Trudeau-Brown (Corky064, Felix's Mind) for being the "Hendrix."

Until I can finish KM25, I'm working on bits and pieces of other projects, including another MLTF2 dub and an instructional video to teach technophobes how to build their own computer.  Yes, even these days, there are still computer-illiterate people.  However (and someone please correct me if I'm wrong because I would hate to misinform people), processors are hitting a new bottleneck...that is, the multicore processors improve efficiency, but you can still only cram so many transistors onto the silicon before heat becomes a greater issue.  So, terms have slowed their evolution, which means people have time to learn about the tech before the learning curve jumps again.

Pieces out.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Build a computer and save hundreds of dollars. Part 1: shopping

People don't know...but apparently when you get a computer, you pay a lot for preloaded software you don't need.  You also pay for the labor for building the machine.  If you do your homework and know what you buy when you buy the computer, you might be paying for honest labor and an honest price.  However, for the most part, too many people don't know what they get.

I grew up with the tech trends.  I messed around with an Apple IIe when I was six.  I built thirty-six computers in high school in one batch.  I went to med school instead of going into computer engineering...but computers are a part of life.  However, they are a tool.  They are only as smart as their users.  Unfortunately, there are plenty of smart people whose minds bork at the modern computer.  The thing is, it's not so fundamentally different as long as you do a little research.  So, let's build you a new machine.

I make no money off of my brand reccomendations.  Also do look at the date on my article, as the specific brands do change.  However, if I plan this right, the algorithm should still be sound.

1) General vs. specific purpose?
If I ask you what you want your computer to do, and your answer is 'I don't know,' you're asking for a general purpose machine.  This is a balanced computer, not a lot of extravagance, but you don't want to be shorted on resources that will actually help.  Specific purpose machines are built for people who know EXACTLY what they want.  These are the people who aren't reading this.  Next step...

2) Conventions and scale
What people need to know when buying are what the numbers really mean, and what practical scales imply.  A few values are important, some can be varied, some have lower limits.  If you have unlimited $$$, go for broke...but I'm trying to save some cash here.  A newbie reading this can get a high-end system, know that it can do the job, and if he doesn't work it to the nth degree, it'll last a good long time...four years at least, over the two years expected.
Currently, as of 2012, there are some reccomendations on different variables.  I'm going to talk you through them.

simply, cycles per second.  This is a measure of raw speed, and requires a bit of mind-expanding stuff.  Everything that goes on in a computer is based on math.  Imagine doing your budget or working your taxes or even writing stuff by hand on a page.  You could consider each action (doing a math problem or writing a sentence) a process that can be done in one unit of time, that is, a cycle.  In fact, this is how programmers write the instructions (programs, software, applications).  Each line of code (the stuff a programmer writes) roughly equates to something the computer carries out during a cycle.
Now...the operating system, plus the user interface (the stuff that you actually interact with in order to tell the computer what to do) runs in a loop, ready and waiting to accept commands.
Each second, the computer executes two to three billion cycles...that is, operations...every second.  That's why it's measured in hertz...2-3 giga (billion) hertz (cycles per second.)
So, why should you care?  Simply put, it's an unfortunate issue of the technology curve and the kind of computing power that the industry expects the consumer to have.
 HOWEVER...the industry does not want to leave the consumer behind.  What's more, before I got into med school, I worked in retail, and the industry had a love-hate relationship with people like me...I sometimes talked people out of a get a satisfied customer that came back for a sale they would want and were satisfied with.
So...this first part is kind of mind-boggling unless you spent some time either growing up with the technology or in a computer science class.  However, there is a sound analogy:
A car.
Motor vehicles can be assessed in two key variables: torque (how much acceleration you can get out of the chassis) and brake horsepower (once you get it moving, how fast can you move it).  If you think of a computer as a car in terms of overall performance, the CPU is the engine.  (The CPU is, in fact, the backbone of the system on many levels, but I'm simplifying it here to explain.)  The clock speed, rated in frequency (x amount of gigahertz...that's the frequency) is the raw base speed of the processor for its rated tolerance.  CPU's will always run to their rated tolerance unless the software dictates otherwise.  That's the basic brake horsepower.  The torque equates to the power of the processor, which is a function of how it's constructed.  That's a little more complicated.  The bottom line is that the higher the hertz, the more oomph you get off the start.  These days, 2.5-2.6GHz does wonders and satisfies basic needs.

That said, if you spend the amount of money asked for a low-grade computer and know how to shop, you can get a medium-to-high grade rig and, even if you don't use all the power today, it ought to keep you up to spec for a good long while.

Okay.  When we talk bytes, we talk storage space.  Storage space is divided two ways...volatile and nonvolatile.  The key difference...if someone pulls the plug on your computer, anything in nonvolatile storage is still there, and can be retrieved after you reboot.  (I know this from hard experience...I had medical essays set back by hours when my cat put her paw in the wrong place and shut my computer down...)
A computer is different from a calculator because it stores information in memory to be used in a later step in the program.  This memory is RAM, random access memory.  (The computer doesn't really store things randomly but it does seem that way over the course of a few billion operations.  Don't worry about how many this scale it's a measure of speed...the people who do worry about it are dedicated and established programmers.)  If you imagine the computer as someone doing your taxes by hand, the RAM is the scratch pad used for calculations.  The bigger the pad, the more stuff can be done before it has to be turned over to a new page (next cycle).  For RAM, you usually want 4GB at least.  This is a decent amount to start.  You can always add more later if you find you need it, but leave off such investments until you decide you want 'em later.  RAM is cheap as long as you look for basic stuff like capacity.  Some extravagances include built-in heatsinks, but that's for die-hard system tweakers at this point.  Let's talk about getting you started, okay?
The other bytes you need to worry about are the onboard storage bytes.  This is your hard drive.  It's a high-speed magnetic storage device that is nonvolatile (remember what I said?  If you pull the plug, anything stored here doesn't go away?).  Because of its mechanical nature it is slower than RAM, but it is more robust.
For me, I think of a cell.  The hard drive is your DNA.  To make something work, it has to copy the information into something that works faster...the RAM is your RNA.  After that, the system needs to do something with that it takes it to a ribosome...
Okay.  That's a little obscure.  So, let me bring it down to earth.  You want to get information from the encyclopedia at the local library (the information on the hard drive).  But, library can't take the encyclopedia out of the library.  However, they will let you take the encyclopedia to the photocopier (encoding the information to RAM), allowing you to use it.
The more RAM you have, the more information the computer can use at once.  However, hard drives are dramatically larger by orders of magnitude (my computer has 8GB RAM...but 1000GB of hard disk space).  Why?  Because you, as the user, aren't using all of the information on the hard drive at once!  However, you want it there because it's your information and needs to be stored.
That said...when it comes to hard drive space, in my experience, you can get away with 250-500 gigabytes of space.  I have a terabyte (1000 gigabytes) and use it because I do more information-intensive tasks.  250-500 will get you started.  You can always add another hard drive.

Wait...revolutions per minute?  Okay, this is a minor point, but something that might be important in the long run.  I throw this in here to make things clear when buying hardware.
Hard disk drives have a raw speed rating based on how fast the discs (the actual components that store the information) spin past the drive heads (the things that read and write information...if you use cassette tapes, it's the same kind of operating principle).  The faster the drive spins, the quicker you can access information.  Unless you want to go cheap, I reccomend not skimping on RPM.  You want to look for a 7200 RPM drive.

8x, 20x, what does that mean?  This refers to optical drive speed ratings.  Don't worry about this unless you're buying drive media.  In this day and age we have an engineering bottleneck, and the fastest drives are inexpensive.

3) CPU
Okay.  Hopefully I haven't confused the hell out of you, but if I have, feel free to scroll back, print out, ask questions.  I'd rather be patient and have you understand.  Unfortunately I can't be there to help you so I'm going to lay things out as I've learned from experience.
First, brand names.  If you're inexperienced, I would say forget Intel.  Once upon a time, when model numbers indicated performance, I'd have gone wholeheartedly with Intel.  These days, I'm trying to reccomend cost-performance benefits by experience.  Now I'm not knocking Intel, they make a solid product.  However, what I've used now and what I'm reccomending is an AMD Phenom II.
American Micro Devices (AMD) is a decent competitor for Intel, and like Intel, they make a solid product.  AMD makes it less expensively for its performance.  Depending on when you read this, I reccomend doing some homework...look up "benchmarks," that'll point you to performance data.  Here's the deal...for fifty bucks a chip, you end up with (at last check, anyway) a 3.0 GHZ Phenom II x2 CPU.  (I'll tell you about the x2 in a sec.)  It doesn't take a lot of money to get some decent power.
Now, when it comes to CPU's, people may talk about dual-core or quad-core...the 'core' number is actually important for performance.  I have an AMD Phenom II x4, which is an AMD (make) Phenom II (model) x4 (four cores).  The physical chip breaks itself up into four processor cores, which divides the billions of tasks among them...this increases performance.  More cores can be more effective if you run demanding apps.  However, if you're not going for high-end applications (like massively powerful graphics applications, sound applications, pro-grade video software or massively powerful math programs) then a dual core (Phenom II x2) will give you plenty of power at a low price.

 4) Mainboard
The Mainboard, aka the motherboard or MoBo, is the chassis that holds the engine (your CPU).  There's a lot of choices out there.  Once you select your CPU, it narrows down the choices of mainboard by socket...that is, the compatible socket that holds the CPU.  It's not that hard...simply, will the chip fit the hole?  This is easy enough.  The CPU box will have a socket specification, and the mainboard will meet it.  This will help you figure out which boards will meet your needs.
Mainboards rarely limit your capabilities by architecture (what's on all those squiggly lines running around the board) but might limit them by engineering (the slots on the surface into which you insert cards, or items that are physically built into the board).  You will need to ask the sales rep.  Here are some things to consider:
-Do you want to expand for the future?  I reccomended 2-4 GB of RAM, but can the board handle more later?  If so, how much?
-What items are built into the mainboard?  Most mainboards at least have sound processors using Realtec or Creative chipsets (both are very good for basic needs), and some have graphics chips onboard (my computer mainboard came with an NVidia chipset, but when I bought it that chipset was bypassed in favor of a graphics card).  A lot have ethernet (also known as 10-base-T or cat-5) adapters for hardwired looks like a fat version of a telephone socket.  Sometimes the features of your mainboard may save you some money and hassle because items are already built in.
-What slots are available?  Sometimes people add in their own hardware for different functions.  You may end up picking out a new mainboard based on information you find out.  Be prepared to adapt to meet current demands.  These days tech has hit a bottleneck in physics, so you have low-cost opportunities to change.

 5) Graphics
Well, you want to see what you work on, right?
I reccomend a mid-range graphics card rather than using one built into the mainboard.  Simply put, the internet runs more and more elaborate websites, and if your internet connection handles the information, sometimes your computer will be hard-pressed to handle it.  My personal mid-range reccomendation is an ATI Radeon 4550, but the equivalent nVidia will be just as good.  At those specs it comes down to where you shop, and both will deliver equivalent performance.  If the mainboard has an onboard GPU (graphics processing unit) of equivalent power, then you don't need to buy extra hardware.

6) Cooling
I am not kidding on this.  By itself, a modern CPU can reach temperatures sufficient to fry an egg even before you start messing with the clock speed.  This is within the manufacturer's ratings.  It's also why when you get a computer there's a huge hunk of fluted metal on it with a fan on top.  That hunk of metal is a heatsink.  The fan is there to increase airflow.  If you're reading this and want to build your own computer and save some money, this is how you make a long-term investment...
Now for a basic do not need an extravagant kit with lots of tubes, a big radiator, and pumps.  These days, it is simple.  I reccomend an Antec Kuhler 620, a low-maintenance pre-built system.  Sixty bucks saves peace of mind...and it cuts the operating noise.  As far as cooling the rest of the system, this brings me to...

7) the case
This is what holds everything together.  You have the backbone, the engine, the chassis, but you need a skeleton.  Now, case sizes run in mini, mid, and full tower designs, with more exotic assemblies.  I would reccomend a's a reasonable size with plenty of space to build, and it's not overly huge.  Full-tower designs have lots of space but...can get extravagantly BIG.
In a good mid-tower case you want 3-4 large drive bays (these are the 5.25" bays) for your CD/DVD/BluRay drives and one or two 3.5" bays for your hard disk drive (although a mid-tower case will have several more).  Most want airflow.  A good case will allow airflow through the system in a consistent direction.  Most cases are arranged so that most of the airflow will run lower/front to upper/back, drawing air over the components and exhausting heat from the case.  These cases will often come with a couple of fans mounted strategically to propel air through the case.  (The liquid cooler I mentioned earlier can have its radiator mounted in place of one of these fans so that it does double duty, moving air through the case and also cooling the's worked for me.  This mounting displaced one of the factory fans, but I mounted it so that it draws air past the RAM to keep those modules cool.)
With people concerned about whether they put things together right, I reccomend a windowed case.  If you buy a simple case, an acrylic window isn't that much more expensive, and allows you to view the interior of the case without opening it.  (I use an NZXT case, not too expensive, comes with two pre-mounted fans and an acrylic window.)

8) Optical drives
When I grew up with computers, I remember when the CD-ROM was a big deal.  I also remember the 7th Guest, a game which pretty much sold the CD-ROM to the public, and became a proof of concept that turned this media from an extravagance into a reality.  The optical drive is what you're going to need in order to install software, and perhaps create archival copies of your data for backups.
These days, you can inexpensively acquire a single optical drive that handles reading of CD's and DVD's...and also accomodates writing of writable and re-writable media.  (Ideally, you want something which can write to CD's, DVD+/-R and RW.  That handles all common media, and saves you the headache of looking for specific media for your drive.)

9) Power supply
Well, you can't just plug this into a wall just yet.  You need an AC-to-DC converter system which delivers appropriate volts to each part of the computer and won't overload.  Now...unless you decided you want a high-grade gaming graphics card, I would suggest you look for a power supply with a minimum rating of 300 watts.  This will power the mainboard, CPU, graphics (whether on the mainboard or a graphics card), hard disc drive, and optical drives, as well as cooling systems including fans and a pre-built liquid cooler.  If you use a higher-end graphics card, you will have to consider a higher-rating of power well as its configuration of rails.  (Each "rail" is a circuit handling a specific volt/ampere combination.  The volts are specific to the components to which the "rail" can connect.  The amperes are an engineering limit of the power supply.  In most applications, power supplies are easy.  But, if you put in a high-end graphics card, look at the system requirements or consult with the sales rep to be sure you meet the power requirements.)

10) Extras that might be a good idea
Some people might call this extravagant, but I like to have these for peace of mind and utility.  I've used them before many times.
One of these extras is an automatic fan controller with thermometer.  I reccomend an electronic automatic system because it KEEPS THINGS SIMPLE.  The one I use is an Aerocool FP-01 becaue it only occupies one 5.25" drive bay and can be set for automatic mode, allowing all onboard fail-safes to communicate.  As long as the CPU sensor doesn't exceed 65C, I'm happy.  (When I really work my computer, I rarely see the temperature exceed 37C, and most of the time it hovers around 30C...I set the alarm at 65C so that I have plenty of time to shut down before catastrophic failure, allowing me to shut down and save the hardware and software.)  Bear in mind that this is only peace of mind.  You have to spend extra to make it an insurance policy, including features that produce a second automatic shutdown in case of overheat.  (A note here...most if not all mainboards and CPU's have this kind of fail-safe already built in to prevent damage in case of cooling failure.  The sensors are built into the board and/or the processor, and kick in at a factory-set temperature, or in case the CPU cooling fan fails.  The fan controller for the novice is a long as they install it properly.)
Another extra is based on preference...a front-facing multifunction port panel.  These panels feature solid state media readers for things like digital cameras and video recorders, USB ports for extra peripherals like mice, direct connections for digital cameras, or external hard disks for backup (a good idea but let's deal with building the core system first).  The FP-01 comes with a variety of ports, but do some homework...try to do what you want with less space and fewer $$$.  You might find cheaper alternatives.

Next instructional to put the thing together.

Skyrim: the character, the current state

"If anyone had suggested that I would amount to a high position I would have called them mad.  I was just one wood elf whose parents were wiped out in a purge, and ended up among other thinking people.  I was raised to respect intelligent life.  In my youth we had traded with humans and beastfolk in small groups.  So what if humans didn't have pointed ears or lived as long as mer?  They tried to live.  So did we.  I was an orphan, a survivor once destined for execution merely by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Then I worked my way up to High Hrothgar with Lydia, my housecarl...although I treat her as a comrade in arms, as when open battle is nigh, she is invaluable as a frontline asset.  It seems...although I cannot understand how...I have a skill with working the energy of magicka.  When I reached the monastery...I did what the monks asked...and they pronounced me dragonborn.  They taught me how to use my 'thu'um', that it was something that could be learned...but for me, would be natural."

"Ran into the Companions of first glance, the place looks like a stronghold of fighters...but going inside and speaking with these people on the reccomendation of one who pointed me here...these people, humans, elves, all...are all after my own heart.  Honorable fighters, but given a task will get the job done.  An order of true warriors, sparing the innocent lives.  Although...there's something I see in a few of their eyes.  A wildness...but it reminds me of the woods."

"Ran into a problem on a retrieval of an artifact fragment. senior went...big and furry.  Wow.  Werewolves are not only real, but the powerful ones aren't mindless beasts.  They carry that power.  I don't know if they mean to make me a seems to be up in the air.  There is an issue, though, based on the conduct of people in the environment.  This party...the 'silver hand.'  My commanding companion's conduct is that like a soldier.  Even as a werewolf, he handled himself well, choosing his targets.  If he was a monster, I would have been fighting for my life."

"A later ritual...a human, Aela, was my 'forebear,' to invite me into the senior council of the companions, the 'circle.'  I use the blood she gives..."

"HOLYCRAPWHATARUSH!  Oh geez...I'm huge...I'm in  The underforge.  People will panic.  Guards will arm themselves and I may have to act in defense.  Better to duck out.  There's a passage out another way..."

"Oh man, what'd I do last night?  Oh, hi Aela..."

"The werewolf blood isn't so bad...I'm used to not being rested, and I feel alive, like being in the forests at home at times.  What's's not like it's in control of me.  I feel like it's like my sword, only active if I pull it."

"The companions are well and good, but I need guidance in other ways.  Blade, bow, and armor work well, but I'm a dovahkiin, apparently.  There's a lot more out there.  I think I need to head to Winterhold."

Much later...

"Are these people KIDDING ME?!  I could count at least three senior mages that could handle the task better than I...all I did was do detective work and find the necessary artifacts to keep one location from exploding on a scale that would have put a crater in the map of Skyrim!  In the short term I could understand awarding me merit...but they made me Arch Mage of the College!  I am very thin on arcane arts theory.  I am glad they still allow me to learn.  Frankly I think Tolfdir would be a better Archmage...he has not only the aptitude, but the professionalism and the wisdom of experience.  I only knew Archmage Savos Aren briefly, I met him reporting on errands while I was in the college.  He was just, firm, and a quiet academic...and had a way of quietly earning respect.  I'd faced entities that would start tearing me apart in seconds.  Archmage Aren was one who could do it faster, but had a restraint about him.  How can I hope to replace him?  On the plus side, there is a pragmatist who deals in...well, I would say questionable goods, but if I am to be the senior of the college, I have to say he does not deal in things that could be...overtly catastrophic.  Surely, a powerful weapon could be dangerous...but given the fact we had an artifact here that could have blown a chunk of Skyrim off the map...Enthir's dealings are fair and circumspect.  Mages on campus with high level spells aren't deploying them on fellow students.  On the other hand, I've faced said spells in the field, and taken down the casters with blade and bow, still surviving.
...maybe that's why they made me Archmage?
Anyway, many of the young mages here give me hope.  Our senior librarian is an orc, very protective of the books, justly so.  We have an ambitious Khajit who hoped to be Archmage...Maybe not the archmage here but he may be a renowned mage if he develops better spells.  We have a nord mage, highly dedicated with a drive that reminds me of me when I was learning my own basic spells."

"I swear, half the time I come back to the college another dragon drops on the place and starts attacking not only me but the staff and students.  We prevail again.  All are alive and well.  But Faralda...I swear, if she didn't simply try to emphasize that she was 'most helpful,' and simply expanded her own aptitude...hell, I lived in the woods most of my life before coming to Skyrim and learned merit over station, and that nobility is defined by action...if she stopped brown-nosing and simply went professional...
Tolfdir needs to be on the senior instruction staff, and Mirabelle Ervine should have been my senior, but if I am to be Archmage, I want her on hand to be my second because she keeps this place running.
Elves live longer.  Faralda will either have to be patient, or put aside ambition for academics."

"This is getting more and more tricky.  First the college.  Now the Companions.  I can't deny the services I did them, but I am a newcomer.  Surely Aela would be a better leader for the Companions than I!  And yet, at times when we fought together, she had a pragmatic bent that I would not have expected, picking up a staff of fireballs and using it in battle.  That, and coupled with the knowledge that nords are not only learning at the Winterhold College, but Teaching there...perhaps, as long as Jorrvaskr and the Winterhold College remain neutral, that we can open all possibilities to the citizens of Skyrim."

"Like it or not, I'm rooted here."

"Twice already.  I get hit by people jumping out of the bushes to kill me...and they have written orders mentioning me by name.  And now, I get hooked up with this kid who's summoning an assassin for the 'dark brotherhood...' the party mentioned on the notes..."

"Astrid, the leader of the dark brotherhood, tried to recruit me.  You know, I might like to learn to be an assassin, it might help me be a more effective warrior for the companions.  But...I am a bit miffed that these guys are actively out to kill me."

"Arch Mage, Arch Fighter, and now, thanks to entanglements with a guild of thieves, arch-thief.  With all these arches, you could build a bridge out of me!!!"

Skyrim: the character, a quickie

"Can't believe my luck.  Tied up on a cart bound for a fort.  Judgement?  I can't believe it...what'd I do other than survive?  My mother and father are dead from conflicts with other mer, and all I was...a hunter surviving on game.  I did nothing against others.  Not human, mer, or beastfolk..."

"That bitch!  She ordered my execution even though I was not on the list of condemned prisoners!  I had learned from my people of process of law, that to end a life on a judgement of law was a task to be taken not lightly!  She wanted my head removed on a technicality?"

"They say the wood elves are uneducated, but we are learned in letter and lore.  So I recognized that a dragon hit this keep.  I'm outta here."

"I kept close to the imperial until I ran into the stormcloak...they debated for seconds.  I followed the Stormcloak.  At least the Stormcloaks aren't after my head on a whim."

"Clear of that death camp.  At least, if I have to face justice, it shall be for laws I actually broke.  I hope to stay clean.  However...this region appears to be in civil war.  My home was hit in a purge by other elves.  I dare not go back.  I am alone.  But my fellow offered me shelter, work, food.  Even if I come and go.  The town even has an elven resident.  He seems more pragmatic...although his facial structure does not suggest wood elf.  Still, he is a decent character."

"General goods storekeeper has a bit of a problem...seems someone stole an ornament, a golden 'dragon claw.'  Well, he offers good coin for its return."

"Hunted the 'dragon claw' to a barrow.  Found the thief, tried to give amnesty for information.  He bolted.  Ended up at the business end of a mechanized deathtrap.  Ow.  Still, I recovered the claw.  However, I investigate..."

"Curiosity killed the cat.  But some cats avoid the deathtrap.  I managed to clear traps and undead...until I find a wall of an ancient script.  One set of markings seems so, almost known.  It burns itself into me...that word.  To translate into the lingua franca, it is 'Force.'  but there is more meaning under do I know that?"

"Returned the artifact to the shopkeep.  Gained some gold and some information.  I met my friend at his home...and his fellow 'rebels.'  Yes, rebels.  It seemed that I had embroiled myself in a civil war by association.  Well, I might not be a politician but I do know who tried to cut my head off.  He told me to bring a plea of aid to Whiterun owing to the dragons.  I know at least one dragon is a threat, and it tore up a fortified keep.  Time to move."

"Moved on to Whiterun.  A long trip, but a decent town...people here are varied.  While the homes are of artifice, even the humans bear the look of the people I know, tested in adversity.  I even met a couple of my fellow bosmer.  But, I needed to plead a case."

"The dark elves, dunmer, are more honorable than one might think.  I met one who was housecarl to the Jarl himself.  There are differences...but we are all people.  The Jarl hears my plea."

"We have a call to investigate at a watchpost near Whiterun.  Things have gone seriously wrong."

"Okay, worse than seriously wrong.  The main tower is all that's left.  What did this...okay, never mind...INCOMING DRAGON!!!"

"We managed to pin the dragon with sustained fire and kill it.  It took all of us, concerted fire from archers.  We were lucky.  I investigated the corpse and..."


"After I regurgitate my lunch, I look up at a skeleton of a dragon.  Unless I was out of it for a decade or two, that dragon had been fleshed...I was told that only a 'dragonborn' could have absorbed the dragon soul.  Was that the rush I felt?  I take stock of my faculties...and there's a bit more of me there.  What I saw before now has new meaning.  One of our number suggests I should 'shout.'  But I have a feeling it dangerous.  So...I pick a clear spot."

"I never knew my voice could tear the skin off a local fox.  Ow.  That had to hurt.  I have to go back to the Jarl.  I seem to be on good terms with the locals...I should at least get some information."

"HOLY CRAP!  What in all the divines was that?!  A word...'dovahkiin.'  But it just...exploded through everything!  I'm surprised the holds still stand!"

"The people here believe in a legend of a 'dragonborn,' one born with the soul of a dragon.  They's me.  Apparently, that thunderous word came from a place in the mountains called 'High Hrothgar,' a monestary where monks learn the way of the voice, whatever that is.  And that I have been summoned.  One dragon wiped out a fortified keep.  Another hit a watchtower and took a company's worth of soldiers to dispatch.  There is a threat, and if I've got a weapon in me...I need to know about it..."

Thursday, March 29, 2012


You know, I don't think it is possible to do a "mind" series based on Skyrim unless you have master-level editing skills.  Largely, the gameplay includes a lot of menu accesses which freeze game time so you can equip your character.  These equipment changes aren't all without penalty in a hot combat situation.  You do need a split second to swap spells or weapons.  A skilled editor could work frame-by-frame to find appropriate transitions.

However, as Simon James and Jared O'Brien had tried to say in so many words by presenting examples in "Out of Our Minds" (two episodes I had been involved in and I hope to do others because, hell, it was so much fun), Minds series are easy to do...but difficult to do well.  I actually found one mind maker on YouTube who actually re-voiced a voiced character, Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 of the Halo series, and did a good job of it:

He even got tongue in cheek and held the dialogue for the cutscenes.  He didn't even deviate from the scenario of "what'd I do last night..."  Most people push that too far.  With someone coming out of cryo it's reasonable, but if you'd followed the Halo franchise, MCPO John-117 comes out of it.

And yeah, the voice seems a bit young, but in Halo:Fall of Reach, John always seemed a bit young to me.  And the timbre matches quite a few Marine NCO's I'd met in person...and don't laugh (civvies) or take offense (marines) because these guys were (and hopefully still are) fully-trained ass kickers.

I will say this...if this is the same Bethesda that was "Bethesda Softworks," the same people who created "Terminator: Future Shock" I will say this...why the hell did you waste so much time with Fallout?!  Okay, maybe it wasn't a waste, I hadn't played it.  That statement was a gut reaction owing to RSMM2's "mind" series.

A quick aside...I saw two "mind" series based on Skyrim.  One had one episode and looked like it could turn into something good.  One had multiple episodes and looked like it was going to turn into shit for a minds series and should have been established as a "Let's Play."  I gave a lot of criticism to the latter.  Response?  He wanted more input.  More ways to improve.  He wanted something good.

Skyrim is something to experience.  Bethesda gave us everything we could want in an MMORPG, including the interface, the interactivity, and the environment, with the AI dynamic...without worrying about PK's, resource farmers, and underground illicit economies.  Plus, you only pay once.  You don't get locked into a class.  The only thing you're locked into as a character is your race.  (The only thing I wish Bethesda did was offer more racial histories on each race so we could get more into our characters.)

If this Bethesda is the same Bethesda that did "Terminator:Future Shock" I only have one complaint...WHY DIDN'T YOU REVAMP IT FOR NEWER SYSTEMS?!  Seriously.  I remember playing it on a 386, then a had a solid plot and kept the ambeance.  There are times I'd wished I'd been more of a computer game junkie in high school so I could run the story to conclusion...the story of a survivor, a lucky escapee of a Skynet death camp, joining the resistance under John Connor, fighting the battle.  Things were silent...simple, you were running the solo ops, danger could occur anywhere.

Back to Skyrim...I have to say some things...but not from my PoV.  Next post.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Familliarity through Education

You know, I think relating my own experiences in learning how to work with this software might help the younger generation...the "underage" set who are making minds series before their voices become more effective editors.  See...there's no crime in making mistakes.  Nor is there a crime in posting it to YouTube, as long as you're willing to weather the rants and trolls.  The crime is in refusing to acknowledge that you have room to improve.  In fact, even the master machinimists, The crew of Roosterteeth, had mix problems and kludges in the earliest episodes of Red vs. Blue.  (Actually I sponsored them from the start because I found the idea funny, and I think good arts deserve support, especially those that throw the product up for free.)  Look at the difference between episode 1 season 1, and episode 1 season 2.  And those two episodes were on the same original Halo title.

I started working on sound editing software in high school.  These were the days of the 386/486, and when I moved to Mac (educational institutions loved macs back then for their resilience, and higher institutions love them now for their efficiency and power)...the 68030/68040.  In my Junior year, the internet was just starting to become civillianized.  Basically, I was living the tech trends and working with the tools, playing around with what we had.  Lots of my stuff seemed pale imitation with bare improvement.  However, I learned.  With school projects, I tried to figure out the software...I created animated productions with the predecessor to flash.  I made animations and movies in Adobe Premiere.  I learned the rhythm and flow of various tools.

Thus, decades later, when I got to Kane's Mind, I was able to kludge Windows Live Movie Maker to produce a result and at least show that Sony Vegas was a worthwhile investment, that I could use it to produce something that people could enjoy.

So, I encourage you to familliarize yourself with the software.  Figure out some tricks.  Put stuff together.  Don't submit it yet, just play with it and become familliar with various tools, even free ones.  The better-written ones will seem intuitive.  Also, work your files "stepwise," save alternate copies if you're not sure. 

When I am working solo, I can do a lot of work in an hour a day.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sink SOPA. Pop PIPA.

The topic of this month and the next month...the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect Intellectual Property Act.

A lot of people are "blacking" their sites in protest.  Personally, I wrote my representative and senators regarding this matter.  As far as "blacking" the sites goes, isn't this preparing for compliance with these rather draconic (and frankly unconstitutional) dictates?

To however many few of you actually watch my site, I would prefer to protest with the facts.  And this person lays them out quite well.  In fact, I post this video not only with his blessing, but his explicit request.  Until I am sure SOPA and PIPA are dead where they should be, I am also putting it up on my featured tab on YouTube.

We already have copyright laws, which in practice are a double-edged sword.  In fact, in practice, particularly with the music industry, the artists are making MORE profits with the file sharing and piracy in place.  I would like to refer to a post by one of my acquaintances, Simon James:

Especially where the RIAA is concerned, they can all burn.  Frankly, I have heard that I could be sued simply for ripping a CD so I can use it on my iPhone.  No file sharing involved...a legitimate transaction to purchase the disc, with transfer to an appropriate format for playing.

Furthermore, I have a prediction, if SOPA and/or PIPA pass...PIRACY WILL EXPLODE.

Cutting off the revenue streams to the major sites may stop them, but distributed file sharing will spread out.  What if someone writes a tracker-free version of BitTorrent?  You can't shut down the torrents by stopping the tracker servers then.  Or, suppose we have another hacker attack on the US by foreign-based independent groups?  It wouldn't take much to slip a brand new malware or spyware bot through (even US advertisers get away with this, gathering consumer information without prosecution) which bypasses a firewall or tricks firewall programs into allowing information traffic to this software.  The program could then host a few hundred megabytes worth of packets.  Expanded over a few hundred computers with redundancy, you effectively turn unwitting users into servers for pirated software.  As virus checkers update to stop this malware, new malware is written to seek out the old stuff and patch it, making it different enough to fool the countermeasures.

With some more devious coding, you could even bait law enforcement into collaring people as software/media pirates, when in truth their only crime was plugging their computer into the internet.

Meanwhile, the legitimate users are tied up behind walls.  Whenever you add a layer of protection, there is a cost in processing power and a cost in configuration.  With one broad-reaching system, you end up with configuration problems simply because no two people are alike.  Intellectual property debates will hamper expression.  Unscrupulous and litigious parties will have grounds to throw lawsuits and criminal accusations around simply to secure more content rights just because the other guy's content is similar enough to have a case.  And in the meantime, the real criminals, including the pirates and the RIAA, run unchecked.

You want to talk about lost jobs and lost profits then?  How about an infrastructure that's turned against itself?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

For those who haven't seen YouTube...

By this time, it's been a while since the release of Kane's Mind episode 24.  And well worth it too, because:
1) Synchronizing the schedules of two "Minds" can be a pain, and
2) The end result works.

Jared doesn't do improv the way I do improv.  We have stylistic differences.  So, I used my style of improv...and left an open canvas.  What we got was a chocolate chip cookie.

Some background...I'd read books on invention, and the chocolate chip cookie was an accident in the plant.  However, they ran out the batch...and it ran incredibly well.  The rest is history.

Working with my style, that happens a lot.  Sometimes I have an expectation, and then I take it on a tangent, editing or random ideas factor in...and then the lightbulb goes on.  "Holy crap...this works better!"

Jared got a cameo for helping me figure out a technical issue a year ago.  The first few lines were executed when we had a face-to-face meeting over July 4.  I freewheeled it...and he came up with some great ideas in the process.  Kane's Mind 24 is as much his talent as mine.  And he finishes out his cameo (okay, not that big a spoiler, I mean if you've actually played Quake 4 you will know what happens, don't know where we go with it, do you?) in KM 25.

So, here it is:

Furthermore, in the interim, I worked on another "My Little Team Portal 2" video.  I did some research on the comments, and looked up some Brony opinions, and finally found roles for the Sniper and Pyro that did not insult the roles.  (My first MLTF2 video had the Pyro as the "voice" of the snooty prince...)  I hope to leave the Portal crossover out of any further MLTF2 gets insanely complex at times.

On another note, I bought a Cherilee figure that I hoped to donate to Toys for Tots, but when I went to donate, the USMC already collected the bin.  I'd welcome suggestions for agencies to which to donate.

And sorry, if I get too many private collectors, it goes on EBay.  I bought this to give to charity.  (Actually if EBay will let me, most of it will go to 75-90% of the proceeds from the sale).