Tag computer (20)

computer miscellany
Mood: sneezy
Posted on 2008-09-03 10:31:00
Tags: computer
Words: 96

My Linux box is losing time...like a lot of time, over a minute an hour. Is there some battery I can replace on the motherboard or something?

I installed Windows on my Mac laptop last night with the help of Boot Camp. It worked, despite the fact that I did pretty much everything wrong or out of order. I really got into the groove of reading an instruction that contradicted what I had just done :-) Anyway, all the drivers and such work so maybe I have a hope for playing Warhammer Online, or possibly WoW crash-free!


pretty contentless
Mood: cheerful
Posted on 2008-08-22 13:34:00
Tags: referrer computer politics links
Words: 216

I got another link to my runs per inning calculator. Yay!

There's this new IM/email/social networking app called Digsby. It's pretty awesome - I can do Google Talk, AIM, and Facebook chat through it, as well as twitter, regular Facebook stuff and it checks my Gmail too! And it's written mostly in Python and there will be Mac/Linux clients soon. If you're gonna give it a try use this installer - apparently it fixes some memory problems. (hmm, it just crashed...but that's the first time that's happened)

Obama should announce his VP soon! Speaking of which, FiveThirtyEight.com shows he and McCain essentially tied. If Obama loses I'm am going to be quite distraught. On the other hand, politics is always entertaining: yesterday McCain couldn't say how many houses he owns and Obama hits back with an ad. Some scummy right-wing group trying to swiftboat Obama made an ad that even Fox wouldn't air!

A New York Times article about The Daily Show points out that it is actually a pretty substantive source for news, covering long-running scandals like prewar intelligence in a way most places don't. Also, this comment about how the staff finds footage to air from a former Daily Show employee is pretty interesting.

Here's a panoramic view from the high diving board of the Olympics.


why is my laptop crashing?
Mood: frustrated
Posted on 2008-08-19 09:36:00
Tags: worldofwarcraft computer
Words: 569

Executive summary: my laptop is now nigh-unusable for playing WoW.

Background: A while ago, I was having weird crashing problems with WoW where it would just quit to the desktop, no error indication or anything. I tried fixing it by reverting from Mac OS X 10.5.3 to 10.5.0 and that sorta seemed to help. Then, my account got hacked so I figured it was a good time to reinstall the OS and WoW completely, which I did.

Now the problem is somewhat different - when I crash, I get an error message (SFile2-Core.cpp line 1002: Failure to read data). It's mostly the same in that it only ever happens when I'm in the Outlands, and it usually happens after 30 minutes or so of play the first time, and then in rapid succession thereafter. If I quit for a while and come back later, it goes back to 30 minutesish before the first crash. Running in windowed mode as opposed to full screen seemed to help but that is no longer the case, it crashes about as quickly.

This was less of a problem before our alts hit 58 last week, but now that we're trying to quest in Hellfire it's pretty showstopping.

So my first thought, based on a google search and the particular message was that some memory was bad. Remember, this is the same laptop that I spilled a mug of tea on (although it seemed to mostly get better especially after I replaced the keyboard) so anything is potentially suspect.

It came with two sticks of 1GB memory, so first I tried taking stick B out of slot #2. It seemed to work better for a while, then CRASH! So I took stick A out and put stick B in slot #1. About the same CRASH! Then I tried putting stick A in slot #2 for completeness's sake...CRASH!

So, then djedi was suspicious of heat issues, since that would make sense with the diminishing time to extra crashes and my temperature monitor was showing CPU temperatures of 86 Celsius around crashes, which seemed awfully hot. So he rigged up something to cool the bottom of my laptop (involving two cookie sheets, a lot of ice, and a bag of frozen carrots), but that didn't make a whole lot of difference in temperature at the CPU. (although the bottom was much cooler than usual!) Then I remembered the WoW command /console maxFPS 30 which dramatically lowered the CPU temperature to the 50s while playing...and then it CRASHed. So I don't think it's heat.

Now I'm running a memtest on the stick that's in there, but it hasn't turned up anything yet. I really wish it would find just one error...at least then we'd have narrowed down the cause.

I'm getting to the point where I'd like to take it in for repair, but without knowing what needs to be repaired I doubt it would be fixed. And the laptop was quite expensive, and I only bought it a year ago so I really really really don't want to replace it or anything crazy like that. For now I patched WoW on my Linux box so that's at least a possibility.

It's frustrating because yes I'm aware that it's just a game, and a (gasp!) video one at that, but this is something djedi and I like to do together, and play and socialize with friends and such.


less crazy = good
Mood: refreshed
Posted on 2008-02-20 14:32:00
Tags: computer
Words: 57

I'm feeling much less filled with rage today, thanks for asking. Apple will replace my MacBook Pro keyboard for $150, which isn't bad, and Lowe's will give us the price on installation they said they would. Still don't know how to fix this bug but at least I got some advice this morning. Things are looking up.


laptop debate
Mood: confused
Posted on 2008-02-04 14:39:00
Tags: pictures guildwars worldofwarcraft mac computer politics
Words: 244

The Mac continues to get better. Three days after spilling a ton of tea on it the screen is all better, the fan no longer spins crazily, and the battery charges normally. (which may have been happening all along but I was suspicious for a while) Unfortunately, the only problem is that the "v" key (and maybe the Control key) don't work at all. So I guess I'll have to take it in and see if they can fix it, which honestly is pretty doubtful.

Assuming it can't be fixed, I'm leaning towards not replacing it since we don't play WoW much anymore (we picked up Guild Wars over the weekend...we'll see if we continue playing or not) and I just bought the damn thing. I am getting back a big ol' tax refund since I deducted a bunch of moving expenses, although the Maryland state tax situation is a little more unclear. (if there online calculator is right, which I don't think it is, I owe $500 and will be very miffed)

The cover of a romance novel I saw at HEB - thanks, cameraphone!

A work friend has an imported version of Smash Bros and I get to play it tomorrow night. I am extremely excited.

Super Tuesday is tomorrow! Some polls look really good for Obama, others look less good, so who knows. Not sure how I'll keep up with results while playing Smash Bros tomorrow night, but I'll think of something!


the laptop lives!
Mood: surprised
Posted on 2008-01-31 17:36:00
Tags: mac computer
Words: 48

So, it boots up and things seem to generally work. A corner of the screen is messed up and one of the fans keeps revving up and down. And the keyboard's a little crinkly. All in all, not bad.

And the up arrow gets stuck sometimes, or something?


MacBook Pro: October 17, 2007 - ?
Mood: anxious
Music: Radiohead - "Sulk"
Posted on 2008-01-31 07:59:00
Tags: work house worldofwarcraft mac computer politics links
Words: 366

While kicking butt in Arathi Basin last night, I knocked a big ol' glass of tea right onto my $3000 laptop. A good chunk of it went in the keyboard (which made the laptop turn off which is probably a good thing given the alternatives), so djedi hurriedly mopped as much as we could off, disconnected it and moved it to higher ground. (it's currently sitting upside-down on our dining room table in the hopes that it will drain or something) I didn't have the heart to try to turn it on this morning - guess I'll see about that tonight. I did buy the AppleCare for it, although I don't know if that covers spills or not.

The weird thing was that I wasn't super panicked or angry or whatever. I was upset at myself, but I know that I'm prone to clumsiness when I'm tired. (like when I burned my thumb on the oven last week!) And if the laptop is unrecoverable, well, that would suck, but I could get by for iPod syncing and WoW playing and whatnot. It would be nice if it worked though.

Ironically, I was just yesterday reading about jwz's backup strategy and thinking it sounded like a good idea. Not that I had anything particularly interesting on the laptop data-wise (I always back up my iTunes database), but still...

Other than that, work has been going really really well this week. My mom visits next Wednesday, Friday we close on our house (!), and that weekend djedi's parents are coming to hopefully buy carpet for us and stuff, which will be quite helpful.

I'm going to miss campaigning in Florida, specifically hearing about Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani saying that English should be the national language, and then advertising in Spanish. That's some good hypocrisy, there. Via dailykos, an article in Rolling Stone about how Republican's immigrant-bashing is not going to help them, especially in the Southwest.

Finally, on the way home I heard this kinda-brutal story on NPR about how Giuliani should have taken his advice from his leadership book, complete with excerpts from the audiobook itself. (it's the story on top, not the longer story on the bottom)

1 comment

lapping it up
Mood: content
Posted on 2007-10-17 15:01:00
Tags: mac computer cluesolver
Words: 180

I got a laptop! It's a 17" MacBook Pro and it's pretty sweet. I was feeling kinda blah yesterday, partially from guilt with spending money when we haven't started working yet, partially from the lousy overcast weather, and partially from not quite knowing what to do with myself. Obviously in two weeks when we're working I'll long for these days of endless free time, but it's kinda like when you're cold you can't imagine what it feels like to be hot, and vice versa.

But I can't stay grumpy for like in the face of new toys, so I'm feeling better. Been setting up stuff, got WoW and Ventrilo installed (I can push to talk now!), and I'm feeling more in the mood to work on the clue solver - right now I'm adding the ability to gain information by knowing how many cards each player has.

Hope everyone's having a nice week. Has anyone seen any good movies lately? We'd like to see something at the Alamo Drafthouse but I've heard very little about what's playing. Also, Netflix is fun.

1 comment

Mood: listless
Posted on 2007-07-02 11:11:00
Tags: movies microresolution haskell computer
Words: 195

For our anniversary, we ate at Famous Dave's BBQ and saw Ratatouille. Famous Dave's - not bad, but the meat was kind of fatty. And no, their brisket wasn't "as good as anything you'll find in the Lone Star State", as their menu audaciously claimed. Ratatouille - excellent, excellent, excellent (same director as The Incredibles!). Very sweet comedy. Made me hungry. kottke's review convinced me to see it.

After a little bit of pain, I got my new hard drive set up, SATA and all, and all the data copied over. It's even faster than the old one! I'm experiencing some weird freezes (usually if I wait 10-15 seconds it will come back) in WoW, but I think it may be a video driver problem; I just upgraded them so I'll try downgrading tonight or tomorrow.

Microresolution: I will spend at least one hour of concentrated time before the end of Saturday on the Haskell version of the hat puzzle. (writing the genetic algorithm) I've been trying to do this for a while but I always find myself distracted by other things. I don't know why it's so important to me to do this, but it is.


Mothers, lock up your hard drives
Mood: relaxed
Posted on 2007-06-29 10:31:00
Tags: computer
Words: 341

for I am their slayer. Yesterday morning I woke up, and after getting out of bed my first stop was my computer (as usual). Turned on the monitor and the screen was black and unresponsive to key-pressing. "That's odd," I thought, but sometimes two xscreensavers get running somehow and so it's slow to load the desktop. So I used the restroom, etc., came back and still nothing. Definitely bad. Couldn't switch to the console or ssh in, so I did an emergency sync, unmount and rebooted the computer. Everything seemed fine after that, and I didn't think much of it. (mistake #1)

When I got home from work it became immediately clear that things were not fine, as KDE was partially dead. I tried to vi /var/log/syslog and it said vi: command not found. Oh, this is bad. I couldn't even shutdown because it couldn't find that either. Switching to the console and trying to log in led to a string of I/O errors on /dev/hdc. Aha!

Next step was booting into a Knoppix CD I had lying around, which has saved my butt numerous times. It booted fine, of course, but then didn't find /dev/hdc at all. (/dev/hdc is my 320 GB I bought last year that has all my stuff except for music on it, so this is scary) I take a deep breath, shut it down, open up the case, clean out dust and check the connectors and such, reboot into Knoppix and presto, /dev/hdc is back! I rebooted into my real system and everything seemed fine after playing WoW, etc.

I went ahead and bought a new hard drive (after some persuasion from djedi) because if it's dying, it's dying (and there were definitely I/O errors on it before), so I have a new shiny 320GB SATA drive that I get to try to make my kernel work with. Hopefully I'll copy over data (takes foooorever) this weekend sometime.

I should add I'm a little irritated a hard drive I bought 15 months ago is dying already.


A Tale of Two Stories
Mood: bouncy
Posted on 2007-05-24 09:22:00
Tags: car story computer
Words: 858

1 - djedi and I were driving home when I heard a noise coming from under the car that quickly got louder. It sounded like something had fallen under the car and we were dragging it along or something. We were slowing down anyway so djedi poked his head out the door to see that the right front tire was quite flat. I pulled over to the side and we got out. Luckily we were less than a mile from home by this point, so regardless we could walk home or whatever. Anyway, djedi gets out the mini compressor that was a present from djedi's family (thanks!) and starts pumping air into it. After like 5 minutes of this, it's pretty clear it's not filling up, and I find a reasonably sized hole in the side. (I tried applying pressure with my finger while it was filling up, but that didn't seem to help)

So, djedi looks in the trunk and finds no spare tire. Ack! So I call AAA (the fact that I have a membership gives me great peace of mind, as I'm not so good with cars), and after they transfer me to the Maryland office (I hadn't changed my address...) she sends a tow truck out. Luckily we remember there's a Firestone just down the road, and they're only open until 7 (it's around 6:40 by now) but I can drop the car off out front.

While we're waiting, we both think it's awfully odd that the car, which definitely came with a spare tire, doesn't have one now, despite the fact that I've never used it or anything, so we go back to the trunk to check. Turns out all the storage is done origami-style - so you fold up some stuff to get to the jack and stuff, but then if you fold it up again there is a spare tire! Whoops. I read the instructions while djedi changes out the tire, which goes pretty smoothly. Just around the time we finish I see a tow truck driving the other way that honks as it goes by, and sure enough it turns around and stops. I explain to the friendly driver that we did in fact have a spare and so we could drive it ourselves :-)

Anyway, djedi walks home to start dinner and I carefully drive over to the Firestone. It's already 7:10 but they're still around finishing up, so I watch some "Jeopardy!" while I wait and finally tell them the situation, drop off the key and jog home. I don't like jogging, but this wasn't a long way and it was really a beautiful day out so I didn't mind.

Afterword: Since the hole was in the side of the tire, I'm getting four new tires. I needed an oil change anyway, so this works out decently. (and I'm not getting a Firestone charge card despite getting halfway through the application before realizing what the guy was trying to sell me...)

2 - Ever since I got my new computer a year and a halfish ago, it's been slow. Not for doing big computations, but for switching between screens, starting up Firefox, etc. World of Warcraft is particularly bad, as I've noticed a couple of times that when I switch away and from it, it's very slow and jerky, and loading new zones takes fooooorever. This made me kinda unhappy, but I had mostly learned to live with it. A few days ago I was rereading Linux Server Hacks and I got to the tip about using hdparm. Now I had set this up a long time ago but it suddenly occurred to me that maybe it wasn't working, and this was why things were so slow!

I went to my computer and did the timing tests with hdparm -tT /dev/hdc. The "Timing buffered disk reads" came back with 1.67 MB/sec, which even my years-old book says was laughably low. Encouraging! So I tried turning on lots of stuff with hdparm -d1 -u1 -X66 -c3 -m16 /dev/hdc. Unfortunately, it said that turning on DMA was "not supported", but everything else was turned on, and that got the speed up to around 3 MB/sec. (it turns out the old hdparm settings weren't working because my hard drive had changed from /dev/hda to /dev/hdc)

Not bad! But I wondered why I couldn't turn DMA on, as that would in general help the most. So after doing a little research I discovered the problem was that support for the IDE controller wasn't built in to the kernel. I decided to go ahead and download a new kernel anyway and (after eventually finding the right option) turned on the IDE controller supported. After installing it, I was indeed able to turn DMA on, and now the speed is anywhere between 30 to 60 MB/sec! I had to recompile a couple of times to get my sound and iptables filtering working again (I think the options changed between kernels), but I finally got it all up last night. My system is noticeably more responsive, and loading WoW screams (at least comparatively).

This makes me a happy panda!


lists are kind of a cop-out post format
Mood: hopeful
Posted on 2006-04-10 09:52:00
Tags: computer
Words: 207

Recently, I:


perhaps perhaps perhaps
Mood: stressed
Posted on 2006-03-24 13:07:00
Tags: computer links
Words: 94

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!


Mood: angry
Posted on 2006-03-17 08:59:00
Tags: phone music computer links
Words: 238

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....


stop breaking, things!
Mood: grumpy
Posted on 2006-03-13 09:16:00
Tags: phone computer
Words: 116

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!
Mood: happy
Posted on 2006-03-10 13:19:00
Tags: computer
Words: 170

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!


Bits and piece o' my weekend
Mood: hopeful
Posted on 2006-03-06 11:52:00
Tags: computer
Words: 458

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.


of video cards and wanting to kill computers
Mood: frustrated
Posted on 2006-03-01 09:42:00
Tags: linux computer
Words: 565

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.


interesting weekend!
Mood: sore
Music: nothin'
Posted on 2005-07-17 21:24:00
Tags: computer
Words: 327

Kind of a weird weekend. So Friday night we were at home and my hard drive just stopped working all of a sudden. It was bad - I was in the middle of downloading Debian packages and it suddenly quit, and then I couldn't do stuff like df or anything simple like that. Scrolled over to the console and there were hundreds of errors trying to read the hard drive. So I took out my trusty Knoppix rescue CD (it rocks!) and it didn't find my hard drive at all (in a moment of confusion, I thought it couldn't find either hard drive).

So that was bad. Luckily the next time I rebooted after opening the case, checking connections and such, it found the hard drive and seemed to be fine. But I figured the drive was on its way out, so I planned to get a new one. Stupid freakin hard drives. Grr!

Anyway, the next day djedi and destroyerj and I were going to help Sarah move (on the way up there, djedi and I stopped to get a new hard drive at Fry's). The moving went well, although I was foolish and had a rather large lunch (we ate at Fuddruckers, the third time I had been this week, oddly enough...), and didn't feel my best for the unmoving part. But we got it all done and after sitting on the couch for half an hour, we went over to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which I enjoyed. The visuals are quite nice, and I'm a sucker for good graphics. And Johnny Depp, especially when he's creepy!

Anyway, I recovered my computer and then somewhat broke it again and then fixed it, so all is well. Hooray!

Oh, and we put up foil on a window and some mats on the sliding door, so now the a/c can keep my apartment cool. Although the place does get depressingly dark. But it's sooo worth it.


meaning to post for a while - here it comes!
Mood: ecstatic
Music: New Kids On The Block - "Keep On Smilin'"
Posted on 2005-06-17 12:54:00
Tags: linux asmc tivo family computer
Words: 1065

Hmm. I meant to post yesterday, but I guess I've been kinda busy. I'm leaving after work to meet my family at a condo in Conroe (hmm, that kinda rhymes!) for Father's Day, as wonderjess has been mentioning. It'll be nice to see everyone in a relaxed environment. And apparently there will be pie! Mmm.

So David left yesterday to go home for Father's Day as well, so I was on my own yesterday. Work went pretty well (finally fixed my stupid problem), but I didn't leave until 5:40, which is really cutting it close to eat dinner and get to ASMC rehearsal by 7. I ended up cutting dinner a little short and not finishing the spaghetti I had reheated so I could get there on time. Baaad move, as we didn't start until 7:15, and we didn't "really start" (i.e. start running a scene) until almost 7:50. This is frustrating. But I'm still gonna make an effort to get there on time. And I brought the new Penrose book The Road to Reality, which is >1100 pages and supposedly a heavy read (I'm still reading introductory math stuff, but even some of it is stuff I haven't looked at in a long time). It's a birthday present (thanks, Mom & Dad!) that I'm slowly working my way through...

Rehearsal went well - we did "my" scene, and I have a pretty good idea of how it's going to work. Although it takes a lot of energy - we're supposed to be generally disorganized, running around and poking each other and stuff. Fun, though :-)

After I got home, I did some packing, printed out directions (there are apparently no good ways to get to Conroe from here, everywhere has me going on like 6 or 7 different highways...), and worked on a computer problem that I eventually solved.

So one of David's and mine (um, how does the grammar work there?) longish-term projects is to get TV shows off of the TiVo (using TiVoToGo) and burn them onto a DVD. So my first approach was to get them off onto David's computer, turn them into MPEGs, then edit them on my computer and burn them to DVD. I tried this a while ago, and I couldn't find good programs to do it on Linux (and burning a video DVD on Linux is crazy complicated, with .xml configuration files to configure the menus and stuff like that. Stuff that I probably could eventually figure out, but I finally gave up). So our next approach was to download the trial software that TiVo recommends to do it, and see if we could get that working.

The software is Sonic MyDVD, and it worked well once I figured out that I had to downgrade TiVo Desktop to 2.0 (you can download it from here) - it crashes all the time with version 2.1. Anyway, so I did that and eventually created an .iso image, and things were looking good.

A few days ago, I tried transfering the .iso file to my computer using WinSCP. It was going well, until the program wasn't able to make the file bigger than 2GB - it would error, and then quit and crash if you tried to reconnect and resume. This is where I was until last night.

So David and I had a number of ideas why this was happening - maybe the WinSCP program didn't work with greater than 2GB files, maybe the protocol didn't support it, or maybe my filesystem didn't support it. I had done some research that suggested that the protocol did support it, the WinSCP program did work with it, and my filesystem (ext3) did support it. So I was a bit at a loss.

The night before I wrote a quick program in C to try to create a 3GB file and see what happened. Lo and behold, it would quit once the file was 2GB, saying "File size limit exceeded". So I figured it was one of two things - either my C program needed to use 64-bit aware function calls, or my filesystem didn't support it.

So, we come to last night. First I looked at the filesystem, and everything I could find seemed to say that ext3 with 4KB block sizes should support up to 2TB files. I even tried creating a new ext3 filesystem on a spare partition and creating a big file there - no dice. So then I thought maybe my particular C program was the problem, and found a bunch of random documentation on the web about how to make the calls correctly. But all the documentation was old, and everything suggested that these calls should have been being made correctly by default, and indeed I couldn't solve it that way.

So I was kinda frustrated at this point, and thinking maybe my particular ssh daemon (the server side of SCP) was broken in some odd way or something. Finally, inspiration struck - there's a shell command "ulimit" that sets various limits on stuff you can do - how many files you can have open, how many processes you can be running, and, at long last, the size of files you can create! I had apparently played around with this before and set the maximum size up to 2GB (back in early college, I think). And I think the word "limit" in the error message I got should have tipped me off a little bit. But anyway, I fixed that, and it transferred over just fine. Then I burned it onto DVD (after first creating a data DVD that had the .iso file on it - doh!), and lo and behold, it played in the DVD player. Hooray!

That was oddly cathartic.

Anyway, the upshot of the story is that I was up until 2:20 or so, which was kinda fun (especially since I got stuff working!), but now I'm a little on the tired side. Should be OK for the drive, though.

Public Service Announcement: It has come to my attention that some readers of this journal are not impressed by del.icio.us. So, to increase understanding and adoptance, I will be posting neat features of del.icio.us on my future posts. (starting with the next one) Look for them in a journal near you!

In a related story, LJ added support for tags, which is pretty cool, so I'm gonna start tagging my entries. And you should too! :-)


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