Tuesday, November 28, 2000

Advogato Entry 39


Well, I've been away for a while. It happens. Anyway, I've been playing with all sorts of things. I wrote a small game for my Palm for one of my classes. It's based on an old PC game where the object was to drop depth charges on submarines passing below the surface. The old PC game was just an animated terminal game. At least on the Palm you can get graphics ;-) Then, as now, the name of the game was Depth Charge (pretty lame, but obvious). I'll try and post a copy of the source somewhere pretty soon.

Another thing that has really been bothering me lately is my lack of portable music. I have an old CD player that is probably due for a replacement. There are a lot of MP3 players out there, but they are all spendy and don't play Vorbis files (AFAIK). When I can wander down the street and pick up 128MB of PC133 memory for $60, you'd think that it would be cheap and easy to get slower memory for portable music devices (of course, you have to get non-volatile memory, or spend all of your batteries refreshing the bits). If only I knew how to build this sort of thing...

Paying $200-$300 for a device that can only play an hour of music is absurd to me.

Of course, I wonder how these devices that do exist actually work. I haven't seen many of them in use, especially not the ones with huge storage capacities. I don't think the hierarchical filesystem model is quite the right way to access the files -- it would probably be better to build a database that reads all of the ID3 tags, allowing you to look by album, artist, title, genre, etc. Of course, how many of us actually have appropriate ID3 tags? I thought so...

I'm debating whether the best way to talk to one of these things is via ethernet or USB. USB works for lots of people, but some of us don't have USB ports that are known to be working (I think I accidentally plugged mine in backwards at some point -- they are on an add-on slot in my computer, much like the old PS/2 and COM/LPT ports were. Anyway, I burned out a mouse by doing something wrong..). Ethernet is probably a little easier to do, though it may be unsafe if you are in a dorm or something, where others could notice when one of these things broadcasts it's presence. (of course, the appropriate thing to do would be to print out a DHCP'ed address on the LCD, rather than broadcasting that info -- not plug-n-play, but safer)

Something like the ucSimm would be nice, but I understand that doesn't have enough CPU power to handle decoding of much of anything more complicated than ADPCM. Perhaps something based off of a StrongARM or another low-power general-purpose cpu. Of course, I don't know how much floating-point processing is required for this stuff..

Wednesday, November 29, 2000

Advogato Entry 40


Can't write much -- I have to go to a meeting for one of my CSci classes soon. I've been busy trying to get my computer from falling to pieces. I installed ReiserFS when I got a big 60 GB hard drive a few months ago. It worked for a while, but it seemed to be unstable. Of course, it doesn't help that I play around quite a bit. Right now, I'm running 2.4.0-test9 with reiserfs patched on. Anyway, I spent the morning copying files back and forth between partitions, and doing mkreiserfs when I could. I think things are a little more stable now.

In the whole process, I noticed that my ipchains rules were not running -- I forgot to insert a module (blah!). I'll have to dig around and see if anyone managed to break into my system through the holes that I covered up with those ipchains rules...

What's the deal with the new markup languages using lowercase tags? I got used to doing them all in uppercase (they're easier to see that way, IMHO). Oh well, I guess I just have to re-train myself. Hell, if I can learn the Dvorak keyboard layout, I can do my HTML tags `right'...

Speaking of Dvorak, I wonder if I should spend some dough on a decent Dvorak keyboard. I have a keyboard now that just allowed me to move the keys around, but I'd like one that is actually designed for it.. Sort of. Then again, with the way I've been doing things before, it seems like I'm more in need of an ergonomic mouse than an ergonomic keyboard. Damn Solitaire ;-)

I also need a new sound card (I think). My system bus is running at 112MHz right now (x3.5 = 392MHz clock speed ;-). I'm supposed to have an AMD K6-2 350, but I just wanted to bump that up a bit.. Anyway, having an old ISA SB16 hanging on my computer probably doesn't do anything good for my system..

Well, gotta go..