Wednesday, October 1, 2003

I2C Or Not I2C, That Is the Question

Looked at some documentation I probably have no right to see, and then tried to muck with code I probably have no right to fiddle with. Oh well, I still couldn't get it to work. I just hope I haven't burnt out anything…

A potential new job was outlined to me today. However, because it involves people currently employed by Adaptec, nothing can even start happening until November.

This requires debate.

My car's speedometer cable (I believe) is making squeaking and rubbing noises. The car made noise last winter, but I never did anything about it. The noise went away over the summer, but over the last month on days when it's been cold, the noise has returned. A little strategically placed grease should do the trick, but I'm not so sure I feel like dismantling a dashboard (though this really shouldn't be hard at all).

Posted by mike at 06:48 PM | Car , Software , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Serial Killer

I used to think that it was silly to have USB ports on the front of a computer.

I don't think it's silly anymore.

Posted by mike at 09:30 PM | Hardware | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 2, 2003

Brought to You by Glagnar's Human Rinds

Hmm. Interesting.

A possible response by TV networks to PVR devices such as TiVo is a simple one: change the name of your TV shows. This week, people who have machines set up to record “Enterprise” won't get anything. The name of the show has been changed to “Star Trek: Enterprise.”

Before you know it, TV shows will have names resembling subject lines of junk mail messages ;-)

I figured out the problem I was working on yesterday. Mostly, the solution involved plugging in a thing I forgot to plug in last week. Doh.

We went through and moved a bunch of USB and SCSI stuff off of the shelves at work, and then took down the shelves. Our main storage closet is very empty now.

At least I got paid yesterday :-D

Posted by mike at 09:15 PM | Hardware , MythTV , Software , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, October 3, 2003

Epoch Shakur

It's the end of an era. Granted, the era was only a few months long…

The TiVo has been disconnected at work, and the big TVs have been put back in their original boxes. However, we have no shortage of computer monitors. I estimate that there are 100 functional displays at that place. Not bad for a site with a dozen people ;-)

Otherwise, not much…

Samwise Gamgee

A brave and loyal associate full of optimism, you remain true to your friends and their efforts, to whatever end.

Edit: I took the test a few times, changing variables that I think would be affected by my mood rather than my ethics. Other possibilities: Legolas Greenleaf and Gandalf from LoTR, as well as Marcus Cole and Delenn from B5.

Yeah, that's cheating.

Posted by mike at 07:56 PM | Movies , TV , Work | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Saturday, October 4, 2003

Stop! In the Name of the Law!

Beware of women in vans, though I suspect women in SUVs are close behind… Hah! 'cuz “close behind” is like tailgating!

Why the hell am I up this early?

Posted by mike at 09:08 AM | Car | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What the…?

Okay, who sent me a text message last night at 1:25AM asking if I was on a booty call? That makes no sense. On so many levels! Someone with 310 as the exchange number (nobody in my address book has that).

Posted by mike at 09:59 AM | Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Crud. Google's calculator function won't translate from miles per gallon to rods per hogshead. It will, however, give you the speed of light in furlongs per fortnight.

Posted by mike at 03:47 PM | Internet | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Living Vicariously Through C-SPAN

Reading The Partly Cloudy Patriot, by Sarah Vowell…

So what does it mean that in the last twelve months I've taken trips to the sites of so many historical tragedies? Besides Gettysburg and Salem, I've dropped by Little Bighorn Battlefield (more ominous than Gettysburg in that a bunch of headstones mark the spot where soldiers in Custer's 7th Cavalry fell down and died); the North Dakota ranch where Theodore Rooselevt escaped when his wife and mother died on the same day; Dealey Plaza in Dallas; and the George W. Bush inauguration.

Hmm… Must remember to tune into This American Life on NPR sometime soon…

Posted by mike at 11:20 PM | Books | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, October 5, 2003

The American Way

Ah, Laundry Day, how I hate you.

I stayed up late reading the Sarah Vowell book. Cripes, this woman is my hero. I wish I had the vocabulary, travel experience, and knowledge of German existentialist cinema that she has.

The creepiest thing I learned: April 19th is “Patriot's Day,” at least in some states. That's the day in 1775 when the first shots were fired in the lead up to the American Revolution. Over 200 years later, Timothy McVeigh put a truck bomb in front of a federal building in Oklahoma City (though Internet research also shows that the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas was torched on that day a few years earlier). The incongruity with that and the new September 11th “Patriot Day” is disorienting.

I think I may have to read the book again. It's something I'd like to absorb more thoroughly.

Yesterday, I finally went to see Once Upon a Time in Mexico with my brother. It's a decent action movie, though the blood and gore factor was a bit higher than I expected. However, I have little doubt that a shotgun discharged at point blank range toward someone's kneecaps would probably have a similar effect to what was shown in the movie.

The most entertaining moment for me had to be when the Johnny Depp character was at a bullfight, wearing khakis and a t-shirt saying “CIA: Central Intelligence Agency,” as he laid plans for overthrowing the government. And, does he say “Savvy?” in every movie he's in?

After the movie, we went to Burger King, where I re-discovered the silliness that goes on in the fast food industry. I ordered a sandwich, an apple pie, and a small drink. The last thing I see before the price pops up on the little screen pointed at me is “MED COKE.” Medium? I wanted a small.

“I'm sorry, sir, we only have medium, large, and extra large. You can see it's not on the menu.” I mutter something about this being a letter-writing offense, but pay up. Later, when my food is ready, I tell her to tell her manager that I'd like to see small beverages back on the menu. She looks at me like I'm from Jupiter.

Despite cases being laughed out of courtrooms recently, fast food joint are not doing a good job of convincing me that there isn't a conspiracy to make everyone in America fat.

Posted by mike at 02:07 PM | Books , Food , Movies , September 11th , War | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Monday, October 6, 2003

Think Dunk Tank

I got Think Tank by Blur the other day. The first time I listened to it, I thought it was amazing. The second time, not so much. However, I can't seem to stay away from the melodies and sound mixes of the disc for very long.

“Try Blur—It's Highly Addictive™”

For some reason, I really like the song “Faint” by Linkin Park (I must be losing it). I imagine the rest of the songs on that disc are probably not to my liking, so I must spend some time compiling one of those P2P clients to find out for certain.

The program I had been using a few months ago has become pretty difficult to set up and use, so I haven't been downloading much music for most of this year. Well, plus I'm weak-willed when authority figures tell me I'm doing something wrong…

Yeah, I'd never make it as President.

I totally fubared a computer today at work. Well, it's not really fubared. Truly destroying a Linux box takes effort (hmm… though there are a few commands I know&hellip). I managed to put a lot of files in a place where they shouldn't be—residing in place of other files.

“Oops, I mounted that partition again?” Bah.

On a few random political points:

The only thing I'll say about the impending California recall election is that Gray Davis makes me think of Johnny Carson impersonating a politician. And it creeps me out.

Israel attacked Syria the other day. Everyone was pissed off by that, except not. Syria is one of those countries that the U.S. administration has discussed in the past with potential military action in mind.

Wherever they got this reinvented idea of manifest destiny, I'll never know.

Posted by mike at 11:06 PM | Internet , Music , Politics , Software , War , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Where's Mothra?

Next Wednesday, October 15th, will probably be my last day of work. In addition, I might not work Thursday and Friday this week, since most people will be gone taking classes provided by Adaptec for job-hunting.

The Asian ladybeetles are taking over in Hudson. There are usually several crawling over my car at the end of the day. Some co-workers and I took a short peek inside Wal-Mart today, and one of them flicked one off. It promptly attacked my forehead…

Oh, and apparently you can say ‘fucking’ on broadcast TV, as long as you're not referring to sex.

Posted by mike at 06:25 PM | TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Where's Dogbert When You Need Him?

A guy came into work today, apparently to assist in the shutdown of the site. It seems that he does that on a regular basis—traveling to sites that have been shut down, or that will be shut down, and handling some of the dirty work. He told some stories about how other people hadn't taken losing their jobs so well in the past, and just left huge messes in their wake.

I suppose the implication is that we are all pushovers for orderly doing what we're told, going down without a fight, etc.

Mostly, it just bugs me that this guy has done this at least a few times before. It's as though the company has a “shutdown squad”—probably not a bad idea, just a very creepy one.

Anyway, during our daily escape for lunch, we drove around some of the subdivisions under development in Hudson. I'll never understand the need to have a 45° slope (or greater) on a roof. I have no desire for my house to look like a church.

But, after getting pissed off by the appearance of what passes for housing these days, we drove through some of the back roads and got a hint of the fall colors. Just yesterday, I had been thinking that it would be nice to come back over the weekend to do a trip to see the leaves, but the leaves seem to be turning very quickly. The change from yesterday to today seemed very dramatic to me. Maybe the fairly low amount of rain we've gotten this year has something to do with that.

I think I'm going to go buy some more hardware for my PVR project over the weekend. My pocketbook will take a hit, but I'm really desiring the opportunity to have an extra system around to experiment with. I expect I'll continue using my main box for TV recording for quite a while, until I work out some bugs.

It's very difficult to do fairly low-level software development on a machine you depend on every day. I just need some more flexibility.

Oh, and LiveJournal appears to only be contacting my site every 24 hours for updates. It looks like their servers download my syndication feed at 5:30 PM, which is just around the time I usually get back from work. So, many of my updates will appear to be nearly a day behind now.


Posted by mike at 11:57 PM | Hardware , MythTV , Software , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, October 10, 2003

Mean Carotene

Yesterday, I took the balance of my lunch hour to take the highway down to River Falls, both to take in some of the fall colors and just to answer the question of “how long does it take to get there?” It's barely ten minutes from my workplace, amazingly enough. I had so many friends go there for college, and I might have visited them if I knew it was so close (well, if I had a car at that time…)

I was driving along thinking, “Man, they make great roads in Wisconsin,” until I hit the city limits and felt the cheap asphalt buckling like crazy. Still, it's a pretty nice drive most of the way.

Today, I took a tour up to Stillwater and back again, to see the difference between the green trees a few weeks ago, and the colorized versions now. The traffic told me that I wasn't the only one with that idea ;-)

Hmm… It's been a while since I've seen some people who now have haircuts. Maybe I'll see them tonight.

Posted by mike at 02:19 PM | Car , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Off the Router, Through the 'Net…

Yeesh. I wonder what percentage of my daily food intake originated from Sysco.

Posted by mike at 06:00 PM | Food | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, October 11, 2003

I Compute, Therefore I Am

Went out and bought computer crap today. I'll call it my bonus for actually going to work for these next three days (pay for this week should about cover the parts).

The motherboard I got is pretty nifty, though it requires no less than 3 extra expansion slots to hold all of the excess connectors for USB, FireWire, and audio (although the board I got didn't come with the audio riser thingy—I may have to go order one, but I might just get a PCI sound card).

I've been battling with the IDE controller and Ethernet drivers. The Linux kernel that comes on a standard Debian install disc doesn't understand either one properly. I had purchased a 200GB drive earlier, but the older kernel only understod ATA100 drives and lower, meaning that I could only see the first ~137GB of the hard drive. So, I looked through my closet and found a 1GB drive (my former roommates at UV will recognize this one as the tormentor that I had placed in the sun room for my audio playback box). That installed fine, and I eventually was able to upgrade to a kernel that understands the IDE controller well enough to access the entire 200GB of my big disk.

Unfortunately, I still haven't gotten the gigabit Ethernet chip working (Broadcom Tigron3 5788). The most recent stable release of the Linux kernel (2.4.22) doesn't support the card, but there is a driver for the basic chipset “family” that it's in. I did some searches and discovered that the chipset should be supported properly in the prerelease kernels for 2.4.23. So, I've got to figure out how difficult it will be to compile this stuff.

Fortunately, I've had my 256MB USB keychain drive to sneakernet things onto this new box. I tried hooking the new machine up to my desktop system via FireWire, but something gets messed up whenever I try that.

There was a strange little sticker on one of the USB ports saying to not use that particular port when Bluetooth is in use. I haven't been able to figure out if there's actually a Bluetooth module on the motherboard, but it would be cool if there was. In theory, I could use that instead of finding an IR receiver for a remote control. Well, if a signal can manage to penetrate the computer case ;-)

Sunday, October 12, 2003

It Is a Good Shrubbery

Well, I finally got high-resolution video playing back on my computer. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite seem to be flowing at full framerate yet. Looks like the Linux drivers for my motherboard's AGP slot need some work. In addition, the video drivers for my Matrox G550 have a limitation of a video size of 1024x1024. I'm not sure if that's a hardware limitation, or just an arbitrary limit that the driver author put in. Even if there is a hardware limitation, I wonder if it could be worked around in some way for 1280x720 video, which contains fewer pixels than a 1024x1024 square.

However, an alternative which already exists is to use the “texture engine” instead of doing traditional video overlay. This has advantages and disadvantages. With the G550 driver, this goes up to nearly 2048x2048. Also, you get gamma correction in the video output automatically. However, video doesn't seem to be synchronized with the scan of the monitor, so you get a shearing effect where, say, the top half of the screen is one frame of video, and the bottom half is the other. I'd get that problem with video overlay, but it was much less frequent. In addition, it just seems to be more CPU intensive, and scaling the video away from the “native” resolution slows the frame rate pretty dramatically.

I think I've finally figured out a good method for watching the video stream without the player crashing every 60 seconds when some corrupted data is received. It's amazing enough that I get a usable signal after it has been bounced off the school across the street—I have to expect some data loss (line-of-sight to the tower goes almost straight through the whole building I'm in).

So, I've been watching soothing high-definition video for the past hour. And it really is soothing—way too many pictures of nature scenes for you to think that this is being broadcast in 2003. In fact, there are so many flowers in the test streams that TPT sends out that you'd think HDTV was a pet project for a botanist (one short video was called On the Azalea Trail). Then again, there's so much green, you'd think that it was done by a golfer.

Now, I just need to figure out what needs to be tweaked so the video plays back more smoothly…

Posted by mike at 11:29 PM | Hardware , Software , TV , XFree | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, October 13, 2003

Instruments of Death

Spent some time at work this morning determining the terminal velocity of 800-page reference manuals sliding down a tarp. Yeah, this building doesn't have an elevator, so we tried to make a chute to get everything to the front door. It sort of worked. We'd hoped to get it all of the way to the door, but ended up just using it to have books land somewhat more softly than if they'd just been dropped straight to the floor.

Last night, I got high-def video playing back at full framerate 99% of the time on my new machine. Mostly, I just went into the BIOS and told it to load “performance” settings. However, doing that increased the voltages to the CPU, AGP slot, and RAM, so I'm thinking I'll have to go in and tweak things in more detail. The video still jerks every so often, but there are several reasons why that could be happening. The video stream might be getting garbled, and I'm pretty sure my monitor is running at 60 Hertz rather than the 59.94 Hz that is appropriate for TV. I think I'm going to see if I can convince my monitor to work at 1920x1440 interlaced, hopefully it will go at the proper 29.97/59.94 frequency.

A coworker got sick of the “I ♥ my Cub” stickers everywhere, so he went and found the appropriate font on some random disc he had, and made a few things saying simply “Cub sucks.”

Okay, it doesn't sound like much, but the font really makes the whole thing come together…

Posted by mike at 04:02 PM | Comedy , Hardware , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

One Headlight (sort of)

I had a minor incident with my car yesterday. I was just a few blocks from home, driving down 4th St when I got stuck behind a moving van-style truck trying to turn onto the I-35W exit ramp. I guess the ramp lights must have been turned on, because he didn't go forward like I expected, and one of the posts hanging down in back of the truck clipped my headlamp and hood.

The damage is minor, but a quick glance at part prices on the Internet did not make me happy. Presumably, junkyard parts would be a lot cheaper (plus, I don't necessarily need to replace the hood, though it would be nice to have it look normal). Anyway, I'll get the car looked at on Thursday or Friday, and get the headlamp replaced as quickly as I can (though, amazingly, neither bulb broke—just the glass enclosure). I'm still thinking about what I want to do about the hood.

I brought my new computer to work today, just to see how well it works with a moderately good rooftop antenna. I could pick up a signal on every channel, though a few of them didn't always work very well. I'm not sure if that's due to a poor cable or what. I know that the analog channels had some pretty nasty junk pop up from time to time. Anyway, in a few days, I hope to bring the system down to my parents' place and see what sort of a signal I get there. On good days, they probably get as good or better reception than we have in Hudson (my parents have a bigger antenna and an amplifier), but it's hard to say how powerful the digital stations are in comparison…

Lots more stuff going into the dumpster today at work, although things seemed to have a lot more value today. A bunch of FibreChannel cards and other adapters that should probably be recycled rather than trashed (actually, the whole dumpster is largely paper and computer equipment). However, it looks like anyone looking to go dumpster diving will have to sift through a huge amount of stuff to get anything useful.

Oh, almost forgot. I plucked a copy of NeXTStep out of the stuff sliding down our makeshift chute today. I'll have to see if it is a full copy of a version appropriate for Dan's NeXT box.

Edit: Well, it turned out that the NeXT software was for i486/Pentium, so it went into the dumpster.

Posted by mike at 03:23 PM | Car , Dan , Family , Hardware , Software , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Shaq Would Not Approve

Yesterday was my last day of work. Nothing really special happened, though I just got my farewell handshakes from the crew there. Today, I started my job search anew, after stopping by Carlson to visit my old boss. We went out for lunch with some other guys there, and he explained some of the things they'd been working on. They had quite a time dealing with the Windows worms that broke out over the summer, but they had set up a separate virtual LAN to quarantine systems that got infected. He also mentioned the ways they're trying to avoid paying an arm and a leg for Oracle software. A quarter million dollars for a cluster of just a few systems? Uh, no thanks.

After that, I wandered over to the East Bank and did a quick search through the job postings at the I.T. Career Center. Not a whole lot of interesting stuff. Most of their postings were months old, which was pretty disappointing to see.

I wandered farther east to Tran Micro and picked up some fans for the new computer I've been fiddling with, though I had to backtrack a ways because I forgot to stop by the cash machine on the way there. I paid with a new $20, which got a comment or two.

For my trip back west, I took a detour back to the West Bank and stopped by Sarah's workplace just to see what's up. I hadn't seen the new system there yet, so that was pretty neat to see. I also told her that I'd seen Josh on the way into campus earlier in the day, and explained some of what he'd told me about our court case against Joe. Too bad it might get extended yet again, but it was nifty to hear that pretty much the Eischenses and Joe are the only landlords that the University wants out of their system.

I went home and tried to rest a bit, but remembered that I was hoping to go out and look for an S-Video to RCA adapter. I've been trying to get my Matrox G550 to output to my small TV, but I only have an RCA input on that thing. I have a VGA to S-Video and RCA that came with my G400, but it doesn't seem to work right. I don't get anything out of the RCA jack on it. I have a 7-pin S-Video to RCA adapter that came with another card, but it must be wired differently than the 7-pin output on my G400 adapter.

Anyway, I went to RadioShack and brought one to the counter. I forget the exact price the cashier told me, but it was approaching $30. Uh, what? A cheap (though out-of-spec) connector can be made with a few wires and a strategically placed capacitor. There's no reason for it to cost that much (the cashier said, “well, there's a computer in there,” and I just rolled my eyes), and I don't even know if the adapter would fix the problems I'm having. I'll have to lug my computer somewhere where there's a TV with an S-Video input, or maybe I'll just swap the video cards in my desktop and this new system temporarily (since I know that this card can do TV-out to RCA just fine).

Posted by mike at 06:17 PM | Hardware , Internet , Josh , Sarah , School , Software , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, October 17, 2003

You Cannot Corrupt Me!

I swapped video cards last night, putting my G400 in the new box I've been working with. The TV output seems to work great, although I have started to see an annoying “banding” effect indicating that the card was scaling video so the interlacing didn't line up properly. Ugh. But that seemed to only happen with some of the video I fed in, so hopefully there's just a bug with some particular display mode.

I should have done some stuff today—mostly looking for parts for my car—but it just didn't happen. I kept being drawn back to the computer to try slightly different things, and then about mid-afternoon my energy level dropped like a stone.

One of my “atomic” clocks has been off for two days straight in the morning. I know it had gotten reset at some point last night, so it managed to get corrupted information about the time two mornings in a row. Very strange. I hope it stops. I expect my clocks to be correct, dammit.

Well, I should go find some supper.

Posted by mike at 07:25 PM | Car , Food , Hardware , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Choo! Choo!

Went to see Intolerable Cruelty. I highly recommend it, especially if you like the comedies that the Coen brothers have done. There are some points where the film kind of wimped out, but what do you expect from a romantic comedy?

Hmm. Now I suppose I have to get back into some model railroading so I can meet women… ;-)

Oh, and Bruce Campbell has a cameo.

Posted by mike at 12:09 AM | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, October 20, 2003

Looking for My Free Lunch

I called home today, since I had missed a call from my parents yesterday and didn't notice until late last night. Turns out that my aunt out in Arizona had gone through some surgery to remove a (benign) tumor and repair damage done due to its presence (bad things happen when your intestines try to expel something that is attached to them). Anyway, she's recovering now, and my grandmother jetted off to help her through the next few weeks. My mom is planning to head down on Election Day to see her (heh, at least this is an off-year).

I also chatted with a friend of mine down in Rochester who knows a thing or two about cars. He's going to look into getting a replacement headlight for cheap, which is awesome. Of course, I just get the feeling that he'll see the damage and say, “Oh, that's nothing.”

Which is exactly why I'd like him to do it for/with me rather than paying an arm and a leg for some collision place to do it.

I decided to go RF hunting and found a good spot in my apartment to receive ABC, so I ended up recording Alias tonight. I was amazed at how grainy it looked in hi-def, but I guess that's not unexpected for such a low-light series… Even with a gamma-corrected display, it was hard to see anything through some parts of the episode.

Hm. It's late.

Posted by mike at 01:23 AM | Car , Family , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mux Me

Spent most of the day cursing the fact that something “standard” is not necessarily something free. I've been hunting all over for snippets of information on the different ways of encapsulating MPEG-2 video and audio, in an effort to more thoroughly understand how the video stream coming from my digital TV tuner card goes through the rest of my computer to be displayed on the screen. That stuff works okay, but it's nowhere near where I'd like it to be, so I'm trying to learn as much as I can so that I can improve things. But, the lack of definitive information is just frustrating…

Posted by mike at 11:54 PM | Hardware , Software , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, October 21, 2003


More demuxing work today. I've gotten far enough to see that TPT has encoded their time stuff wrong, indicating that daylight savings time ends at midnight on the 30th. Another channel is closer, indicating 2 AM on the 27th. But, at least one of the channels I've looked at is in fact giving the correct time and date of 2 AM on the 26th.

I've been learning a lot of interesting stuff. There are fields for transmitting electronic program guides both for over-the-air and cable, and the cable one even has a little flag for folks with A/B cable. There was also some work put into figuring out how to insert the EPG into the VBI of an analog broadcast, not that anyone will ever implement that…

Well, mostly just nuts-n-bolts work today. If I can stick with it, maybe I'll put together something neat, but I guess this is mostly just an exercise to stretch my programming muscle.

Like my real muscles, I'm not sure if I'm impressed or not yet…

Posted by mike at 11:05 PM | Software , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

You Must Ask Yourself, “What Would Boy George Do?”

Got an E-vite to a Halloween party, but I'm not sure what to do with that. I'm not a Halloween person. I generally feel incompatible with costumes. The most creative idea I've had would be to do the Tom Hanks character in Castaway, but Mike and shirtless is not a good combination. Especially if it's cold out.

I picked at the car a bit today, removing some more broken glass from the headlight. The car really doesn't look too bad, but it's unfortunate that the hit had to happen. I'm pretty sure I had been thinking “this car is in great condition” not long before the accident happened. Unfortunately, as much as having a pristine hood would make me happy, the cost of fixing it outweighs the benefit by a pretty wide margin.

Anyway, I picked the glass away to discover that it was attached with a few small clips, along with some pretty hefty adhesive. Removing enough of the glass and to put on new glass without damaging the (fiberglass?) assembly would be nearly impossible.

I drove out intending to buy some food (but mostly some beverages), but ended up buying the Indiana Jones set (along with some beverages). Now I just need to reattach my monitor to my main system so I can actually watch the DVDs.

Hmm. I could just attach my laptop to the monitor.

Anyway, my monitor is missing because it's in my bedroom attached to the new machine so I can play with HDTV stuff. If I had a job, I might just get a new monitor (actually, more likely an HDTV), but I don't. Hmm. Motivation to look for a job.

Still slowly slogging through the process of decoding the MPEG stream my digital TV tuner card spits out. Late last night, I figured out how to decode the short channel names used by broadcasters (like “TPT Wx,” “KSTP-DT,” etc.), and today I worked on decoding some more similar information. I'm almost at the point where I can actually seek through a stream, pick out the “programs” (basically subchannels), and demultiplex the packets I actually want. Some of this stuff just seems to be way more complicated than it should be.

I guess this is being difficult for me because I'm trying to go for a 100% implementation of functionality. All you need to know to decode a stream and watch something is about 10%, but the other 90% is sometimes useful. In order to do things properly, I've been slogging through a good portion of the 90% in preparation for doing the 10%. Well, this doesn't mean that I'm 90% done, just that I've already got a better foundation than most of the other software I've found.

Of course, progress has slowed today as I bothered to turn on my TV to see what was on. I Love the 80s Strikes Back took up much of the evening.

I Love the 80s Addendum: Snausages.

Posted by mike at 11:04 PM | Car , Hardware , Movies , Software , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 23, 2003


I have an incredible knack for IMing people just as they step away from the keyboard.

For hours.

Posted by mike at 07:40 PM | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, October 24, 2003

Please Make Your Check Out to…

Well, my MPEG stream decoder project is still chugging along. I'll probably forget about it sometime next week. Anyway, in order to get a handle on how far I've gotten, I thought it would be nice to go and count the lines of code I've written. No, not by hand. We have computers for that sort of thing ;-)

Anyway, I figured off the top of my head that it might be 2000 lines. Not a whole lot in my book, but I suppose not so bad. I counted up the size of the different files to determine that I had 70 kB of source code, which I was pretty amazed at.

I downloaded a code counting program called SLOCCount, and ran it on my code. I was somewhat disappointed to see that it tallied 1534 lines of code. But, looking through more output, I saw that it estimated the development time to be nearly 4 months, and the cost of development (including overhead) ran $42,341.

Considering that I've only been working on it for about five days, I suppose I should take a break ;-)

Posted by mike at 04:46 PM | Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Welcome to the Padded Room

I kinda hate my upstairs neighbor. The fact that his subwoofer seems to be putting out more noise than my entire stereo on most occasions is a factor. I suppose my resonance chamber of a bedroom doesn't help things. I really need to put more things on the walls, but I don't know if that would dampen the noise much.

The noise level is not excessive, just at that point where it is extremely irritating. I'm so glad I didn't put my main computer in my bedroom, or I'd get really pissed off. The bass I hear just interferes with my brain, making it impossible for me to put any coherent thought together.

And the boots! Don't get me started on the boots (or whatever footwear is used up there).

Well, anyway, I went to the HAM fest at RiverCentre with my brother today. I picked up a new 60mm fan to potentially replace the old one on my desktop's CPU heatsink for just $1. Plus $5 for parking and $10 for a ticket to get in. Yay.

Lots of old computer crap there, and a surprising number of Macs and Mac clones (there was a whole pallet load in one corner).

Tracked down a bug in my software that had been troubling me for the last two days or so. Turned out to be a simle thing where I thought a field was one byte shorter than it really was. Oops.

I'd kind of like to see a movie this weekend, but I think I had worked far enough down my list that movies were either gone or just didn't seem appealing enough. I could watch my DVD of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom since I already watched the first one, but Temple is my least favorite.

My parents will be up tomorrow for the Simon and Garfunkel concert and we'll probably be doing some bumming around town. My Mom has a stated interest in seeing the light rail terminals, which is oh so exciting.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Where Are the Puppets?

Ah, so God doesn't just hate fags these days. Good to know someone's keeping track.

Posted by mike at 12:23 AM | War | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Welcome to the Dark Side

One of the strangest things I've seen in the last few days was on The Daily Show last night. There was a dedication in Baghdad marking the reopening of one of the major bridges there. The military band on hand played several songs, including “Imperial March” from Star Wars.

Good choice. *gack*

Not much else has been going on.

Posted by mike at 02:57 PM | Daily Show , Movies , Music , War | Comments (0) | TrackBack

That'th Thuper!

Heh. I think Escondido is a funny name. Ethpethially if you thay it with a lithp.

Posted by mike at 11:01 PM | News | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Fight Fight Fight. Bite Bite Bite.

The team behind The Simpsons were almost sued by Fox News Channel for their fake news crawls (NPR interview ~6:00)? Priceless. That conglomerate has some serious issues to work out.

Spent the afternoon helping Adam install Debian on his old machine. I hope I didn't take control too much, but I could tell that it wasn't the best first impression of a Linux install. Oh well, that's Debian for ya.

I managed to snag a LiveJournal code from him, so I now have a user account there, which I will be using for the friends page.

Posted by mike at 07:44 PM | Comedy , Internet , News , Software , TV | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 30, 2003

You Know the Words

Bite my shiny metal ass.


Posted by mike at 10:09 AM | Hardware | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, October 31, 2003

40 Days and 40 Nights of Overcast Skies

Let's see. Viagra spammers should be put in jail, and have their cellmates force-fed the stuff. That should solve the problem.

It's been kind of dull around here lately, though I suppose the weather hasn't helped. The cold mixed with frequent light rain puts a damper on things. Strangely, the humidity is low enough for me to be getting severely chapped lips, and the occasional “geek problems.”

I wish the sky was clear, then I'd at least have a chance of seeing the Northern Lights. I don't think I've ever seen the aurora..

Looks like I'll be picking up a new headlight for my car next week unless my friend from back home calls me up today to say he has one. I had forgotten to call him about it before yesterday.

Microsoft has made a new command-line interface for Windows. It's called MSH, for Microsoft SHell—but the codename is “MONAD.” This just makes me wonder if the codename was the result of a bad Tupac Shakur joke (or Tupac Amaru, for that matter).

That just brought back some high school memories. It's been a long time…

Posted by mike at 10:59 AM | Car , Internet , School , Software , Weather | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Do You Know Any Slow Or Special People?

Staying up late flipping through the channels, I came across some video on one of the public access channels of Al Franken when he came to town a few weeks ago.

So, you're asking, what would Stuart Smalley have to say to President Bush? Well, to get started:

Hello Me.
I'm President Bush
I haven't created any new jobs
But that's okay
Because I'm good enough
Smart enough
And doggone it
Almost half the people voted for me

It was mentioned that Bill O'Reilly had an odd interview on NPR. I listened to it and could tell it had been designed to be moderately confrontational, not unlike the setups that O'Reilly has on his own shows. Listening to it, I had to admit that he's pretty good at what he does, but there are inconsistencies in what he says versus reality. Towards the end of the scheduled interview period (30 minutes or so), he decides to shut down the interview, which was done via radio between two separate locations, so he only had to flip a switch. That's kind of funny, because the context of him quitting was some questioning along the lines of how he shuts out or shoots down any negative criticism so that he always gets the last word.

In fairness, you can't believe every word you hear from Al Franken's mouth. He's a comedian and a satirist. On the other hand, you can't believe every word you hear from Bill O'Reilly because he's a lying bastard. ;-)

Posted by mike at 01:45 PM | Books , News , Politics , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack