You may have noticed recently that TideLog has been flagged as a security risk by Google and others. This is NOT true, their search engine has picked up on some 7Zip archives such as our Destruction Derby download, and thinks they’re malware.

TideLog is infection free, so is the entire server, and Google’s shoddy tactics have cost me users and search results.

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I recently upgraded the BIOS on my server’s SuperMicro X9DRL-iF board, and ran into a strange issue, which I fixed, and upon reflection, think I know why it happened. The BIOS fix was a Spectre fix, so it wasn’t a case of don’t-fix-unless-broken, as Spectre is a critical fix, so it was a must-do as it’s an internet facing server powering Kitamura’s infrastructure.

Issue

I upgraded the IPMI/BMC firmware first, as it still had the original version less than v2.0. I did it in DOS as it’s a simple dUpdate.exe -f nameofupdatefile.bin dance. If i’d done it through the IPMI interface, I’d have needed a serial key, which I don’t have. When the update finished the BMC/IPMI rebooted itself, and, I wrongly assumed, reset its configuration.

Second I flashed the BIOS, which again was a simple “ami.bat X9DRL8.712” command, and upon reboot, everything seemed fine, until the server suddenly ramped up the fans followed by a loud beeping while Windows loaded. This started and stopped, with the fans speeding up and slowing down. I logged into Windows Server, and used HWMonitor to check temps, all good. I opened SuperDoctor, and the PSU had an exclamation. Strangely I noticed it wasn’t showing temps. True enough, hooking an LED up to the overheat LED header showed it was in fact an overheat condition, even though it wasn’t, ha. My X9DRL is custom built into a Phanteks Enthoo Pro tower case, so doesn’t have all the extra LED’s the original rack chassis did.

Eventually I hooked up a laptop to the IPMI port and logged in to the IPMI interface. True enough, all the sensors were showing N/A. I reset the IPMI/BMC, and upon a reboot, all sensors were showing again, and the annoying issue stopped. NOTE a full power cycle is needed, just letting the BMC reset isn’t enough.

Note to self, use the -r option switch next time to reset IPMI/BMC config! Something must have changed in the 3.31FW from 1.8 that was causing the sensors not to read, and go into panic!

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Ever since the new Supergirl TV series started, starring the beautiful, talented and all-round cheeky and friendly super lady Melissa Benoist, we wanted the new costume in our costume collection, but we wanted it to be perfect. We started it in 2016, and two years later we’re so proud to have the designer of our specific costume herself, Annabelle “Belle” Collins, model it for us. Annabelle is a long time cosplayer, and also a keen costume designer in her job, she’s studied SuperMel’s costume extensively, and ours is the first completed one she’s done. The thing that makes Annabelle special is she was mentored 13 years ago at fashion school by Colleen Atwood, the legend lady who originally designed SuperMel’s costume for CBS & DC Comics!

She’s nailed it, don’t you think? She even got Mel’s feisty balled knuckles “ready-to-fight, don’t-push-me” pose spot on! We present SuperBelle Zor-El! Heh, that has a nice ring to it!

It’s great having a dedicated designer and cosplayer in our team as we normally have different people making and modelling them. Kana has designed two, and she has two designer friends, as well as our models who actually do the roleplay, such as Yurie.

And the big beauty of the CBS/CW clone costume is it’s a plastic composite material, with leather trim and diamond S shield, as well as the leather thigh high boots, so it’ll stand up to messy KryptoGunge better than our other Spandex and Lycra costumes, the colours tend to change on those 🙂

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This shoot isn’t quite KryptoGunge, but it’s still sexy and messy for fans of WAM and Superheroine peril. Yurie wanted to get messy after she saw Kana trapped by Mika and me in our edible KryptoGunge.

So we’ve shot a little peril video of her writhing around in gloop in our SuperLady costume, and here’s a small vidcap of her covered in gloop, pretending to be weakened by it, even though it isn’t KryptoGunge:

She played as good a part as Kana did, and I wanted Kana to go get her Supergirl costume on and jump in there with her and wrestle her, but it was a solo test, and a very erotic test it was! 🙂

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Rikku’s Volvo B7TL double decker has recently hit over 1 million miles, (yes 1 MILLION), and just today threw a Brake ECU message with yellow CHECK lamp. Her B7TL was the first double decker we bought in 2009 from West Midlands Travel, owned by National Express. Today I actually had time to do some pictures of the diagnostic menu.

It’s the most common “Check diagnostics for xxxxx ECU at next stop” message you’ll see, and as the brake system has wear level sensors, if you have drivers that don’t realise there’s a RETARDER (engine brake between the driveshaft and gearbox), they use the brakes too much and the lining wears out, triggering this fault message. It isn’t really a fault, but a friendly message to say, “Hey, your brakes are wearing thin!”

If you get this too much, you need to take your drivers into a meeting and tell them to use the brake pedal only half way for just the retarder! Pressing it all the way activates the service brakes as well, and can make the braking too bitey and uncomfortable for passengers. Retarders are great, they’re like using the gears to slow down in a manual car, saving the brakes.

The drivers always send me photos of the display at the roadside once they’re empty and pulled over safely, and I keep them as part of the service history, and they’re good for TideLog too, here you can see the message, plus the yellow CHECK lamp, so the vehicle systems are telling us gently there’s something needs replacing that isn’t critical, such as brake light LED clusters, or brake discs/pads:

The yellow CHECK lamp means a non-critical message or error. If the red STOP! exclamation lamp EVER illuminates, don’t do what First Manchester do and continue driving, you MUST STOP IMMEDIATELY.

So, I have trained Rikku and the drivers to be able to do basic diagnostics as they’re on the radio to us at Comms when out on the road. On the Volvos (B7TL, B9TL double deckers and B7RLE single decker) it’s really easy, you can do it using the steering column stalks without the IMPACT software on a laptop, that’s usually my job if I need to access freeze frame data from the systems when the error occurred, a bit like the flight data recorder of an aeroplane. Here the bus tells us what’s wrong, and as we’ve entered the diagnostic menu the yellow CHECK lamp goes out:

“Sensor lining left forward value too low. Active. Number of events 34”

This error basically translates to “Left front wheel brake wear sensor has detected brake lining worn past limit, error has occurred 34 times (ignition cycles) and it is still an active error.”

Replacing the brake pads and discs (I usually do all of them for safety in one go) recalibrating the sensors, and clearing the faults solves the issue!

 

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