I love my computer
Posted on 2006-03-27 13:10:00
(not exactly, but it made a nice counterpoint to the last entry)
djedi and I seem to have pinned down the problem - after exchanging the motherboard and getting a new one with a non-NVIDIA chipset, I put the new one in and hooked everything up. It booted after a while (took a scarily long time the first time - luckily there are neat colored lights that indicate what it's doing), and sorta worked. By "sorta" I mean it was jerky at times, even when I wasn't in WoW, and WoW was more jerky until the computer basically froze. Rebooted and checked the error log - lots of hard drive errors. Ugggh. WTF was going on?
djedi and I suspected power problems, maybe, so I disconnected the power from my second hard drive and booted up. Guess what - no problems! Even played WoW and all that. Then I replugged in the second hard drive with a power plug on a different chain from the first hard drive. Bam, problem solved. Guh. So I'm still making things work in Linux now that everything's different (printer and sound seem to be the only noticable casualties), and I'm gonna transfer stuff back to the old hard drive and make sure that works so I can return the new one to Fry's. But then this horrible ordeal will presumably be over!
Desperately trying to get some work done today. The compiler seems determined not to let that happen.
perhaps perhaps perhaps
Posted on 2006-03-24 13:07:00
Tags: computer links
I just heard 94.7 boast about how their studio was "AMD-powered". Neat!
Got a new motherboard (third one this month, for those of you keeping score at home) that will undoubtedly work out of the box and not have any problems ever.
How does one become a ninja? - now you know!
Kotaku has some awesome features today - first showing the endings of two horrible Zelda games (not made by Nintendo, thank goodness), and then showing the beginnings of them as well. I'd point out particular parts that are bad, but really they're all hilarious!
Posted on 2006-03-21 18:43:00
It's sooo cold! I thought when it was below freezing, you got snow as a bonus? My fingers are having trouble typing.... :-(
"16 Blocks" - weird at first, then good, then dragged a bit. The ending, though, was good, and that brings the rating up to pretty good. Bruce Willis is old, which is sad. And Mos Def has an annoying accent the whole time.
Popcorn is expensive ($6 for a medium??) in Maryland.
Posted on 2006-03-17 08:59:00
Tags: phone music computer links
So originally this post was going to be about how angry I am that my new hard drive is dying, which I am. Although the upside is that I can return the new hard drive I got because presumably the old one will still work with a new motherboard, which is almost certainly the culprit. But, upon further reflection, meh. I'll fix it, it'll keep working eventually, and all that jazz.
Things that cheered me up:
- My new phone is out for delivery and should be arriving any minute now!
- Wednesday morning, as I drove to destroyerj's house to let him in, I was listening to KUT. Since this week is SXSW, they have lots of good live music on, and I listened to Sonya Kitchell, whose new CD I will be buying when it comes out (maybe I'll buy it at Starbucks just for fun!). I've been listening to the two songs from it that are available from the website quite a few times.
- This article "Who Can Name the Bigger Number" is interesting.
- The wikipedia article on recurring parts in the Colbert Report gave me a laugh. I should watch more of it!
- This site (NSFW, although it's not dirty, and only the sound is important) that destroyerj pointed me to is hilarious! -50 DKP for my motherboard.
- This SNL segment about a pirate convention is good stuff, although I may have linked to it before....
Fun with google
Posted on 2006-03-15 12:08:00
I have the number one result on Google for "experimented". Score!
spring break! civ4! weird nightmare!
Posted on 2006-03-15 09:23:00
Tags: dreams civilization4
So I took yesterday off from work to have my own Spring Break. It was great! I finished installing my new hard drive (*grumble*) and things seem to be working fine. I also played a lot of Civ 4 - djedi and I started a new game at Chieftain (difficulty level 2 of 9), since I had played a few games at Warlord (difficulty 3 of 9) and been trounced pretty well. It was fun, I learned a lot from playing with him and also manually controlling our workers, and we would have won big time (I was way ahead when I decided to stop). The next game I play will be back on Warlord! Anyway, we also took a walk and generally had a very relaxing day. Good stuff!
Nightmare: So I was at Rice with my mom - I had made the trip down to see a keynote by Steve Jobs, which took place in an Astrodome-like building where Rice Stadium really is. Near the end of his presentation, he announced some new environmental initiative for something or other, that involved using CFC's. My mom took a look at that and said, "That won't work!" - in fact, it would be pretty bad for the environment. They gave us CDs of the presentation on the way out as a memento of sorts or something. So, erm, something happened to make them aware of this, and it became a big deal because it would mean all sorts of bad press for them. Meanwhile, I went to a Phils concert, except due to illness and stuff there were only like 5 people singing, and they were accompanied on the piano, so I didn't stay too long.
So for some reason the next day we were at the Astrodome-like building again and Steve Jobs was talking again, and after he was done talking and people were leaving, it was pretty clear he was going to do bad stuff to us to prevent the word that this new initiative was bad for the environment get out. I responded that I had already send copies of the CD to my friends and distributed on the Internet, so the jig was up anyway, so he had to let us go. This was in fact a lie, although I thought as I was saying this "Man, I totally should have done that! Crap." But he believed us, and before heading back to Austin I popped the CD in a computer to try to actually send it to someone. Except there was this weird UNIX-like operating system on the computer I was using (there were UNIX commands, but they did different things - I like "df" did "ls" or something), so I was confused and a little nervous about the whole thing. But then I guess I left or something.
Anyway, I woke up and was totally scared to get out of bed because Steve Jobs and his goons were after me :-)
stop breaking, things!
Posted on 2006-03-13 09:16:00
Tags: phone computer
The hard drive on my computer died (the one I bought in January), so I have to deal with that. Urrggggh. I'm probably gonna end up buying a whole new hard drive. March sucks.
My phone, whose screen has been cracked for a while, finally gave out yesterday - it still turns on, but there are funky psychedelic colors making it impossible to see. Luckily I could order a new one online, and I was at the end of my contract anyway so it's free. But if you're trying to get in touch with me over the next week or so, don't rely on the cell phone too much...
I'll post for real (and less grumpy?) later.
lack of computer problems => happy panda!
Posted on 2006-03-10 13:19:00
So on djedi's advice, I went to Fry's (again!!) yesterday and got new memory. Stuck it in my computer and all the problems magically went away. Awesome! So I played WoW and it was noticeably smoother, as well as freeze-free. Hooray!
The things I still need to check/fix:
1) USB support (particularly for my camera) - probably will work, but need to try it
2) Sound - doesn't work, need to play around with nvsound kernel module some more.
3) Hard Drive weirdness - there have been some concerning errors in the syslog about not handling interrupts and not reading data correctly. There have been some reports of data corruption on nForce4 based motherboards (of which mine is). Hopefully the problem will go away, because I really really really don't want to have to get another motherboard with a different chipset. Ugh. But I'm not sure what I can do other than that if the problems continue...
Not only that, but I had a breakthrough at work yesterday, so things are going well!
Posted on 2006-03-07 10:42:00
Bits and piece o' my weekend
Posted on 2006-03-06 11:52:00
The weekend: all in all, not bad. Watched Beetlejuice Friday night with a few people - good stuff! Very campy and whatnot, but I enjoyed it. Also watched the last 4 episodes of Arrested Development again - while they are good, it puts me in the mood to rewatch season 2 (and I haven't seen most of season 3, either).
Saturday djedi and I did our taxes. That was...fun. It actually wasn't as bad as I had thought, but I ended up owing a fair bit, which I kinda expected. That's a little irritating, but I also feel like I'm doing my civic duty and whatnot. (speaking of which, I'd like to serve on a jury at some point!) But I'll be sending in my check in early April...
Sunday was a busy day - we and wildrice13 helped onefishclappin and krikwennavd (man, I can't spell backwards!) move some stuff to their new house. Got to see the place and took some pictures which I'll put up at some point. Then we went to the Zilker Kite Festival - unfortunately by the time we got there things were winding down, but it was nice to walk around outside and see the kites and whatnot. I took pictures there, too (apparently 25000 people attended!)
We then went to Fry's and got me a new motherboard (details below), had dinner at Fuddrucker's, then wildrice13 went home and we played WoW.
As previously detailed, my computer is not terribly happy. The freezing 1-3 times when playing WoW is, well, livable, but I tried playing some Civ 4 this weekend and it would freeze up every 15 turns or so, with no signs of stopping. Not to mention it freezes sometimes just in X, without either of the two running. So djedi convinced me to get a new motherboard, since mine is pretty old and it's really the only part of the computer I haven't upgraded since I built it almost 4 years ago. Serendipitously, onefishclappin had a spare Athlon 64 3200 lying around at home, so I'll be using that with the motherboard I bought. Hopefully I'll get a chance to put it together tonight or tomorrow night, and we'll see how things go. I'm not expecting too many problems because I'm just going to take my existing Debian i386 install and run it on there (so the processor will run in 32-bit compatibility mode, which will be a little slower, but oh well). It'll just take a while to disconnect everything from my motherboard and swap the new guy in.
On an unrelated note, I'm irritated Brokeback Mountain didn't win Best Picture. I haven't actually seen Crash, but djedi wasn't impressed by it (although I'm not sure how impressed he was by Brokeback...). Grr.
Posted on 2006-03-02 10:15:00
What a difference a day makes. Yesterday I woke up cranky and not having slept well because of computer issues. Work was frustrating (doing lots of boring stuff) and I was unfocused and unproductive. Robolab was fine (fewer kids make it easier!), and tax center was slow and boring, plus I had a headache that kept getting worse. I got home and worked on my computer to upgrade software for about two hours, before going to bed, still with a headache. (although I finally did get most of the stuff on my computer working - haven't tried the new X server, though, which was the point of upgrading)
Last night I slept really well, and I'm feeling great this morning, although I still have a lingering mini-headache. I'm optimistic about stuff, and I have new exciting things to work on at work. Hooray!
I woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, and I was right in the middle of a dream including djedi and destroyerj. I thought, "Hmm, I should set up something so I can email people the morning after they were in my dream, with a brief synopsis of the dream and their role in it. And in the same email, I could include the application to be in the next night's dream!" This was a bit crazy for me even at 4 AM, which I quickly realized :-)
Of the two dreams I remember last night, both involved elevators. I've always been a little scared of elevators, but I haven't had a problem with it in real life in a long time, so maybe that's why they keep showing up? Mostly nothing goes wrong in the elevators, but they're always weird in some way - the one I remember from last night destroyerj was pulling on some sort of pulley or something to move it, and it could move horizontally as well. They're usually weird enough to make me uneasy in the dream...
of video cards and wanting to kill computers
Posted on 2006-03-01 09:42:00
Tags: linux computer
This entire thing is gonna be a computer rant, so skip if you're not interested.
So last night I was having trouble deciding what I wanted to do - try out Civ 4 (which I had installed the previous night on my computer), play WoW or work on this dental site project. Eventually I decided on Civ 4. So I go to run it and it crashes. Well, no huge surprise, so I checked the cedega forums and tried a few things, one of which worked. Yay! So I was going to start a new game and was picking out a leader when my computer froze, just like it did in WoW.
"Arrrrgh", I thought, and did a hard reset and started up the game again, and the same thing happened (like it sometimes does in WoW - usually on the third reset it'll stay). So I opened up my computer, blew out some dust and let it run with the case open to hopefully get more cooling or something (although I didn't think cooling was the problem, really, since when it does run without freezing it runs for hours on end).
Then I noticed the fan on the video card wasn't turning! Ack!
So after trying a few things to grease up the fan (djedi won't tell me what he put on it, but he went in the kitchen to do so (and we didn't have WD-40..)), nothing worked, and I ran out to Fry's to get a new video card.
On the way I was pretty darn happy. A new video card that will presumably fix my problem. Hooray!
Ended up getting an eVGA NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT. When I got home, wildrice13 mentioned that was the same video card he got (after his previous one blew up) and it was good and all that. So that was nice.
Stick the new card in, boot up, things are looking OK (the fan is turning). Things aren't accelerated correctly, so I install new drivers. glxgears (the standard FPS test, should at least 5000 FPS) is running at around 500 FPS. I screw around with that for a while, can't get it any higher (direct rendering is on, glxgears is using the accelerated libGL.so). Give up and try WoW, which works OK for a while, then freezes. Aaaaaargh! Hard reset, and the computer freezes when I'm just in X, no WoW at all. Oh, crap, this never happened before. Disable AGP and it doesn't freeze, although glxgears is now dog slow (150 FPS) and it's noticeably slower to switch between virtual screens. Give up and go to bed in a foul mood.
This morning I turned on AGP again and it didn't freeze outside of WoW, although I tried WoW and it did freeze after a while. So I guess I'll screw around with it some more this evening or something. Because spending $180 on a video card and ending up in a worse state than when I started is unacceptable. If all else fails, I guess I'll go back to the old card (assuming whatever djedi did didn't hose it completely) and return this one. Ugh.
I forgot to mention: I'm highly suspicious of the motherboard AGP stuff. But I don't know a good way to test this, and I'm sure not going to buy a new motherboard without being pretty darn sure that's the problem.
math problem not so interesting
Posted on 2006-02-28 08:51:00
Tags: pictures links
I mentioned an interesting math problem last entry -
OK, I lied, it's not too exciting. I implemented the interquartile range method first (because it was easier than calculating the standard deviation) and ran it on a set of markers. It found a lot of markers that were in the correct city, but were definitely outliers from a statistics perspective. These markers are all dental clinics (more or less), and it turns out they're not evenly distributed throughout a city. So I kept the interquartile range method but added a test to only reject it if the distance from the median point was more than .25 latitude or longitude. This got rid of the false positives (and kept something that indeed wasn't categorized correctly!), so that's what I'm using. The sad part is that I'm pretty sure that that would give the same result if I just did that test and not the interquartile range, but I don't have the heart to test that. So, not so interesting problem after all, but at least it's presumably solved.
I'm definitely making more progress on this side project, and hopefully I'll work on it tonight a bit and maybe be "done" for now ("done" because it's never done, stuff keeps getting added, which I'm going to have to deal with at some point. ugh...) On the plus side, I'm writing a lot of stuff that can at least be theoretically reused for some other project. *shrug*
Here's a good article about lobbying to get your industry millions. Ugh. Hopefully the fact that the article was written will shed some light on the system. I am proud, however, that my former congressman Lloyd Doggett was mentioned as trying to end the offending credit. Good for him!
Some indie rockers are refusing to license their songs for Hummer commercials, turning down big money in the process. Good for them!
Wow, this is turning into Link Tuesday. One more: here are the local commercials that Rudy's aired during the Super Bowl. Good stuff!
mostly computer stuff
Posted on 2006-02-26 14:06:00
So destroyerj was invited to the Where 2.0 conference to talk for 5 minutes about scipionus.com. He's trying to score me an invite as well, which would very much rock :-)
Another WoW player found out about my guild information table mod, and they now have an information page up. Good stuff!
I got a random email asking if I wanted to interview for a 2 month job in California. I don't, of course, but it was kinda neat to get that sort of an email.
Don Knotts died! That's sad - I really enjoyed The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.
So I'm working on an interesting computer/math problem - if you're interested,
I have lots of markers on a map of the US. I'd like to have an interface such that you can click on a city name and have the map move to that city. (I started out doing this for major cities, but the process involves finding it on Google Maps, getting the coordinates and entering them into a file, which can take quite a while, and I'm sure not doing that for all cities)
Now I'd like some way to automate this. Each marker knows what city it's in, so the simple idea is to, for each, city, find the markers that are in the city and take the mean of their latitude and longitude, and center the map there. This seems like it will work, but I'm a bit concerned about markers that have their city wrong (for example, if the city we're doing is Austin and there's a marker that's in Pennsylvania mistakenly saying it's in Austin, the map will be centered way off from Austin). So what I really want to do is reject outlying points. djedi had the idea of taking the mean, calculating the standard deviation and throwing out things more than 1 standard deviation away. (Presumably I'd do this in the latitude and longitude dimensions) My statistics book talks about finding the interquartile range (difference between the third and first quartile), and rejecting anything more than 2 or so interquartile ranges away from the median.
Anyway, I'm gonna cook up a script to try both these approaches, and hopefully at least one will turn out well. I'm going to have it spit out which markers it's rejecting, too, to hopefully get some idea of the rate of false positives here...
I'll post with results once I figure them out :-)
purging old memory, and pictures!
Posted on 2006-02-23 10:48:00
At some point I had a lot of things to mention on LJ, none of it terribly important. As I am behind on mentioning such things, I'm removing them from my memory - *poof* - and now I feel free to post again.
The trip to Rice went well - chatted with candidates at the information session on Monday night and interviewed people Tuesday. I have a few tips for people who interview:
- Don't be late. Seriously, not only are you wasting the interviewer's time and making your interview shorter, you're possibly putting them in an irritated mood. I actually wasn't irritated, but interviewing can be subjective, and you're only hurting yourself.
- So, stuff happens, and you're late for whatever reason. Please apologize/acknowledge that you are in fact late. I'm not sure how I feel about hearing an excuse, either way is fine, but pretending like nothing happened is not a good option. Yeesh.
Afterwards, I drove back, and it was incredibly foggy most of the way from Brenham to Austin. There was lots of billowing fog and all that. It was pretty scary - I was going 45-50 a lot of the way and it still seemed fast. Had I known it was gonna be so foggy, I might have taken I-10 to 71 back - at least there are lights on I-10. Anyway, we made terrible time and I was exhausted afterwards, but at least we made it back safely...
I took a few pictures at Rice, and so I put up a set of random pictures left on my camera. I'm showing one behind the cut because it's so sad for Rice folk!
Ack! What happened to the hedges?? (apparently they're just being pruned, but wow is that sad)
I'm sure I'll think of more things to say right after I post this, but oh well.
off to houston
Posted on 2006-02-20 12:38:00
Hmm, apparently I've used that subject before, because Firefox autocompleted it for me.
Anyway, I'm off to Houston to do recruiting stuff at Rice. Back tomorrow!
randomness x 2
Posted on 2006-02-15 16:49:00
So on the way back from lunch today, I heard the song "Janie's Got a Gun" on BOB. Good song, so I sung along until I pulled in to NI.
Flash forward to me driving to Robolab. BOB went to commercial, so I switched to 94.7 to the song..."Janie's Got a Gun". I thought "Weird...Aerosmith must be having a concert here soon or something". Still a good song, so I sung along for a bit. Until I noticed the words were in fact "(Dick) Cheney's Got a Gun", apparently sung (very convincingly!) by some Seattle DJ. Heh!
(the guy he shot is doing much better now, thank goodness)
I have a bad feeling about this...
Music: bass line to "Here in My Car" or whatever it's really called
Posted on 2006-02-12 00:12:00
So most of Friday afternoon, djedi and I noticed a party going on somewhere near us, and we eventually figured out it was the apartment directly below us, which apparently has some new occupants. When we returned to the apartment, it smelled like cigarette smoke (actually, what it really smells like is a hotel room where people have smoked in the past or something. ewww.).
So, fine, a party on Friday night isn't such a huge deal, and the music wasn't too loud. Unfortunately, ever since we got back from dinner tonight, there's another party going on. Same smell (actually, it never went away), louder music, and hearing of conversations on the balcony below us. (I mostly hate listening to other people's conversations, especially inane ones). If this keeps up, we may have to drop a depth charge on them or something. Although, on the plus side, I won't feel guilty playing DDR at my place anymore...
why I'm happy
Music: nothing yet
Posted on 2006-01-31 09:14:00
(in chronological order)
- My sister wonderjess got into grad school at Wash U - congrats!!
- Game night last night was fun - we played games that we don't usually play, which is always interesting. After people left, I stayed up too late...
- ...finishing my guild information table mod! There are instructions for installing it (and the source for it).
- This morning was weighing morning, and I lost a pound and some not too insignificant portion of my body fat! I still have a long way to go to get to my goals (I'm about 10% of the way there for both weight and body fat percentage), but the trend over the last month has been pretty consistently downward.
- I'm drinking a mocha!
Posted on 2006-01-29 00:01:00
I spent all evening installing a new hard drive/copying data over (I had 90GB and 120GB drives, now I have 120GB and 320GB drives), and it all works! And I learned some things along the way that I had always wondered about, too (like how to make lilo work when you need to chroot - the key is to remount the partition with the dev option).
Also, I thought it fitting to mention that the very same day that I posted I could cook from a recipe, due to some miscommunication I made a waffle that, when I opened the waffle iron, split in half (the long way). Here's a tip, kids: be sure the waffle iron's been Pamed!
Posted on 2006-01-25 13:46:00
I have robolab and then tax volunteering this afternoon/evening, so this is gonna be quick!
Didn't make Master Sergeant in WoW, but that's OK - hopefully I'll make it next week. I am making good progress on the guild mod - most of what's left is writing the server stuff to receive it when people send it in. Hopefully I'll get some good work done on that this weekend (but we'll see).
There's a great deal on a hard drive - $120 for a 320 GB Western Digital, if you're in the market for such things (I am!)
Music: Home Video - "In a Submarine" (Pandora)
Posted on 2006-01-23 15:00:00
I had a nice weekend. I got some work done and made some progress on the guild mod, of which the actual mod part is pretty much done (finally...). Went over to destroyerj's to play Guitar Hero, which was a lot of fun. It's a lot like DDR with your hands, sorta. The music was good, too, and it's rewarding to get the guitar parts right, because otherwise it doesn't play the "real" notes and instead you get an amp feedbackish sound or something. So, neat game!
Speaking of DDR, we played that on Sunday, which was at first very weird since they're similar games, but you do totally different things. Had a good workout and all which was good, although I'm a little pessimistic about weighing in tmw morning.
Also, hopefully I'll make Master Sergeant in WoW tmw!
A few random links:
SNL on Saturday was pretty good. There was a cute pirate sketch which I highly recommend. Arr!
Look, a MMO dancing game?? How weird. (and the post mentions Cantina Crawls from SWG - neat!)
bad mood friday!
Mood: pissed off
Music: Jimmy Eat World - "Cautioners"
Posted on 2006-01-20 15:39:00
I'm really having a pretty bad day here. I stayed up late working on the guild mod, so I was tired today, then was late to work because I was trying to fix some email computer problems (doesn't affect my main email), which I was unable to do. Then like three more things I worked on didn't work, the details of which I don't really feel like going into. Then I got a soda and cookie to cheer me up, which helped somewhat, although presumably isn't so good for the diet. *sigh*
Anyway, things are looking up a tiny bit, although still well below par for a Friday. But I have good music on, which helps. Ooh, the piano Zelda theme! That's good.
Since I'm in a bad mood, you only get one link: The ahhhhhh page (much like The Aargh Page) - the patterns on this one are more interesting, I think. (although the color scheme seems a bit confusing to me for some reason)
Hope everyone else is having a nice Friday :-)
Perhaps lust is my sin as well?
Posted on 2006-01-18 14:32:00
Oh, man - look at this awesome pong clock! (two computer players play pong and they score to make the score equal to the time. And you can play pong on it too!) And it's on sale! I've been looking for a reward if I lose the weight I want...
early morning post!
Music: Greg Edmonson - "Firefly - Main Title"
Posted on 2006-01-18 08:20:00
Oof, it's early. And to think I used to get in to work so early regularly...
My mom is in town, so I did breakfast with her (hence the earliness). I had a productive night - took care of a bunch of odds and ends, and I made a breakthrough on my planned WoW mod. The most important part was the name - I came up with the gem "GwyddenTelMod", which I think I'll stick with (the name of our guild is "Gwydden Telaid", which means "Beautiful Trees" (or something close) in Welsh). Anyway, I can save guild data and parse it in Python, so now I just need some code to generate an HTML page and some way to automate the uploading somehow. But those are less difficult than what I've already done. Woohoo!
Mmm...good music (see above, or below if your friends page is different from mine!)
If you're a friend of fairydust1, you can add fairydust1blog to your friends list, and there will be a post there every time she posts on her "real" blog. The first time it ran it picked up all of the posts, but that shouldn't happen anymore, hopefully.
There's a neat hip-hop mashup of the Darth Vader theme video thing. As seen on jwz, who I've friended (he's Jamie Zawinski, who was an original hacker on Netscape back in the day, and his home page has some interesting rants).
This backup was done by LJBackup.