December 09, 2001

Advogato Entry 231

Tired again, though I got up later today. That usually happens, too. I didn't get up early enough to keep Josh from waking up Dan two hours earlier than he had to be up. Josh thought we were all leaving to see a dance performance at noon. Sarah had told me that it was 2:00. I'd asked her, since I thought I heard Josh say noon, which seemed really weird for a Sunday (or, well, any day). Anyway, I didn't correct him until this morning, as I thought I'd just mis-heard him -- I didn't know he actually thought it was the wrong time.

Anyway, it was a good show. Five different dance routines. They were all pretty cool, though the last one was the best, IMHO. It had some good music. I guess I first thought it seemed pretty superficial and simple, depending on the music too much. Maybe it was, but it got the biggest applause, and it felt inspiring. I'm not sure what it was supposed to inspire, though ;-)

I have yet another programming assignment due on Tuesday at midnight. I have a test this week, then finals start next week. I should try to attend all my classes, get some review in for the finals. I also need to try to fit in some time with an advisor, though I don't know if that will happen.

I think I forgot to mention earlier that the wireless project is finally getting off the ground at work. Students, faculty, and staff can log in with their x.500 IDs, and they can even set up a `permanent' (semester-long) account that doesn't require them to keep logging in.

It's still a very poor security model. I wish it could be made better, but I just don't have the time or resources to research the options as a student.

Of course, I'm lazy. I don't know why that is. I've blamed it on my lack of female companionship, but it's impossible to say if that's it or not. Sarah continues to fill up a big chunk of my thought process... I hope I can come to some resolution to this stuff rolling around in my head. Unfortunately, Christmas break will probably be a stressful time for me in this regard, no matter if she becomes closer to me or not. Well, I don't know if I could keep my thoughts straight if we became closer -- I've never been in that sort of situation. I do know that I'll start having strange thoughts if things stay the way they are now...

Hmm... I wonder if I'll be bringing my computer home this Christmas. I haven't had two monitors at home before. Dunno if I'd bring both or not. I should just buy a laptop like Dan's. Crap.. I'm almost ready to shell out what Dan did to get his. It was like $2500! I'd want something lighter, though. His feels like a brick (though he usually has two batteries installed at a time to increase the time he can spend away from a wall jack). Needs more research.

He's been having some trouble with his wireless card. He thought it could do 128-bit WEP, but I guess not. I've been asking some questions on the TCWUG list, though his computer is running XP, so I'm not going to get into too many details.

Sometimes I'm amazed at how good XP is. Linux is awesome as well. The difference to me seems to be that XP seems to be a lot of flashy stuff without a huge amount of substance. Linux is the other way around. Well, that's my impression at least.

Well, the thoughts have stopped flowing for today...

Posted by mike at 06:27 PM Central | Dan , Josh , Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah , Wireless | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 11, 2001

Advogato Entry 233

Heavily considering shelling out cash for a Dell Inspiron 4100 with a UXGA display. My roommate got an 8100, but it's too heavy (and expensive!) I'm looking for something lighter than that, and not too likely to kill my pocketbook. I can get a configuration I like for about $1700. Well, I'll probably later spend another $60-$100 on a few hundred megs of RAM, plus some more for a wireless ethernet adapter.

I'd really like to get a laptop with Linux pre-installed, or no operating system at all, but that's not going to happen with the prices they're going at these days. I just can't justify the sacrifice when it comes to that much money.

Anyway, I guess I'm not sure if I really need the high-res screen. I'd probably be happy with SXGA (1280x1024) or SXGA+ (1400x1050). If I do get the UXGA screen, it'll have a pretty awesome DPI, though -- about 140! That also means that plenty of stuff will be downright tiny. Oh well..

I haven't been doing any open-source coding lately, but I've submitted a few bug reports! :-p I'm sure plenty of folks groan at that... It would seem to me that anyone who would like to contribute to open source should do some digging in bug databases. There are plenty of things to fix ;-)

Sounds like Sarah's presentation of her audio project went well, which is good. I, on the other hand, just managed to not finish my last programming assignment in Internet Programming. Oh well.

That class is kind of weird, though. The average score for the homeworks is something like 47/50 and the median score is 50/50 on most of them! Isn't that insane? It's not like they're the easiest projects in the world, though we weren't getting killed by them. I have to think, either the graders are too nice, or the students enjoy programming too much ;-)

Posted by mike at 10:02 PM Central | Dan , Internet , Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 13, 2001

Advogato Entry 234

I think I'll hold off getting a laptop until after Christmas. Still not sure if I want the system I mentioned previously -- in total, I'd probably shell out over $2000 to get the system, more RAM, and a wireless card. I'm just not sure if I want to spend that much money. Also, the system would have to arrive by the end of next week. I don't feel like pushing the shipping industry any harder than it's already going :-p

Which reminds me -- I have some savings bonds I should cash in..

School-related activities are winding down for the semester. I don't have any more homework, and I worked my way down to two finals: one on Tuesday and the other on Thursday.

Sarah, Sarah, Sarah.. Dammit. I just know I'm going to make a mess of things. On the upside, I know I'm handling things much better than I could be. I have some e-mail laying around from High School when I couldn't keep my eyes off another girl -- I basically didn't know up from down back then.

Anyway, just trying to be her friend, I guess. Might get to go see Lord of the Rings with her next week. I guess everyone else wants to wait until next Saturday, but I'm expecting to be at home by then. Sarah wants to go on Wednesday (opening night), so that's probably when I'd go.


Whoops! My finals are on Tuesday and Wednesday. Glad I went to class today (er, well, one of my classes).

Posted by mike at 07:29 AM Central | Laptop , Movies , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 29, 2001

Advogato Entry 240

My parents are way too nice. They just gave me $1000 to go toward a new laptop I'm planning on getting. This is in addition to Christmas and birthday stuff, and my monthly rent and bit extra.

Still looking at a Dell Inspiron 4100 with an extra battery, a UXGA screen, and some other stuff. Should come in around $1700. Looks like the price went up a bit since Christmas. Looks like Dell's `free' memory upgrade to 256MB wasn't quite free..

Had a pretty good Christmas. So far, it hasn't been quite as terrible as I was expecting. I didn't have to worry much about my (step-)grandfather (he slept a lot) -- just kept my young cousin busy by trying to avoid playing with her and her Barbie stuff (didn't quite succeed at that, which is fine :-)

I got a nice portable CD player with a decent radio in it (better choice for me rather than an MP3-playing model, since I use Ogg/Vorbis for most things).

Helped my brother install a new 60 GB hard drive. Sheesh, disk drive technology doesn't seem to be moving so fast anymore -- I got one of those 18 months ago! :-p I'd installed to the exact same motherboard before, and I knew he needed a BIOS update..

Not doing any coding -- hell, I can't even read my mail very well right now. My computer at the apartment is sitting cold right now because the power went out a few days ago.. It's in an ATX case, and I didn't have it connected to a UPS (an older P100 sitting in the corner came back up, since it's in an AT case). A week of mail is sitting on it, and I can't read it until I turn it back on..

Bah. Well, the only thing bugging me is if Sarah sent me a Christmas greeting. I could care less about other stuff :-)

Posted by mike at 06:12 PM Central | Hardware , Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 03, 2002

Advogato Entry 242

Finally plunked down cash for a new Dell laptop. I've described it before, so no sense doing it again.

Been running some errands today. Bought one of those fire-resistant safes for my documents. I thought I could put my backup tapes in there too, but the box isn't rated for that. I suppose I could still put them in there, but they'll probably melt if I ever burn something down by accident. Oh well. I'll probably get another safe for tapes and other electronic media in a year or so.

Anyway, the safe isn't really for protecting anything, it's just a big gray box that I can dump important things in, and not forget where they are..

Touched up a drawing I made of Sarah.. It finally looks like her ;-) I've never done much drawing -- always got frustrated with it. Even with this, it was basically just copying a photo I had.. Sure took a long time. Just like hacking/cracking is highly accelerated on TV and in movies, I guess the same must be true for artistry.. Of course, there are exceptionally fast folks out there, but I bet most painters take a long time to get things right.. Also, when it comes to a face, that's really hard anyway.

It might have been a bad idea for me to make the drawing, though.. Oh well.. I should be able to find other things to keep me occupied soon..

Posted by mike at 01:57 PM Central | Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 08, 2002

Advogato Entry 246

Finally got our Cyclades 8-port serial terminal server (TS800) working at work. I think, unfortunately, it was all a simple matter of having the ports numbered in the opposite direction on the front as on the back. I'd noticed this on my ethernet switch a month ago..

              8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
             |               |
             |               |
              1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

That seems so dumb.. I never think of rotating the thing 180° -- I figured that the lights on the front would directly correspond to the ports on the back.

Sheesh, this box should have been working months ago..

Anyway, I figured it out because we finally got some RJ45<->DB9 and RJ45<->DB25 adapters, though I have to wire them up myself. Discovered that the cables that work are not normal null-modem/crossover cables. They're similar, but they don't use the `standard' cabling. I'm not sure why it works. At any rate, I built an adapter that is wired like the cable that works, and another wired like how Cyclades says things should work. I hope at least one of them works, but if they both work, I'm not sure what to do..

I wish serial crossover was like ethernet crossover, where you don't have to splice any wires together..

Looks like Dell shipped my order yesterday (probably around midnight or something), four days earlier than they estimated. I guess they have some leeway in their estimates. Of course, the annoying thing is that it'll probably get to Minneapolis on Friday or Saturday, meaning that it can't get delivered until Monday.

Sarah and Josh went up north to visit her family. They'll be back Thursday, but that probably won't make me feel any better.

Need to find out when the CSci advisor is available... Crappy grades..

Posted by mike at 07:32 AM Central | Hardware , Josh , Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah , School , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 10, 2002

Advogato Entry 248

Not getting much work done today -- spending time playing with my new laptop. It hasn't booted Windows, as I stuck a Debian testing install CD in right away. What annoying hardware on laptops! Stupid i810 AC97 audio driver is crap (I guess I have to play with ALSA to get it to behave). The ATI Radeon chipset it has isn't yet supported in XFree86 4.x (though I hear it's supported in the CVS version, and 4.2 should handle it). I haven't been able to get AGP working, and I'm sure I totally horked something when I installed the box.

Oh well, at least there's something on the hard drive that boots and comes up with X (though in unaccelerated VESA mode).

I had problems after installing because I immediately went to the 2.4.16/17 kernel, which would die after a few minutes when an APM BIOS event of some sort occurred (ie, telling the system that a fan had spun up). Thankfully, someone else had run into the problem before, and I borrowed their kernel .config and built a new kernel..

I guess I thought the laptop had a firewire port on it, but I don't see one. The Linux APM driver apparently doesn't report the battery level, though it may be confused since I have two batteries installed at the moment.. (Hmm.. let me check -- yep! as soon as I take out the second battery, APM tools start working properly).

Networking is going to be an interesting challenge, though I suspect I'll try to rig up something where the system checks for a change in link status on the ethernet jack. Just plug in a cable, and get a DHCP client going automatically (someone *must* have done that already)

Anyway, having fun playing. I should really get back to work, though...


Got ALSA working, though that's going to turn into yet another thing to compile whenever I want to do a kernel upgrade.. I'm glad folks are planning to include it in the base kernel in 2.5/2.6 (or whatever). The sound card is a crappy AC97 thing that only understands 48000Hz sound. Funky. That wouldn't be too bad if most stuff was encoded at 48000Hz, but most stuff (save for DVDs) are 44100Hz. *sigh*

As I expected, once the net battery charge on my two batteries went down to 50%, the kernel APM driver saw a 100% charge, and started working it's way down. Strange that when I remove the primary battery, things break again, but when I remove the second battery, the APM driver reports the actual charge on the primary battery.. Weird..

Tried playing with hibernation a bit. I want to get suspend-to-disk working, mostly just for the hell of it. The system boots up in 35 seconds as it is, so it's not a huge deal. Also, the system already goes into a near-hibernation state when I do a normal suspend. The lights all turn off after a few seconds, so you don't even know it's suspended. If that's just a suspend-to-RAM deal, I think it's bad... Someone could close their laptop, forget about it, and have the battery slowly drain away...

Posted by mike at 01:43 PM Central | Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , XFree | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 11, 2002

Advogato Entry 249


#!/usr/bin/expect -f
eval spawn ./mii-diag --watch eth0
while {1} {
  expect {
    "Good link" {
      system /sbin/ifup eth0
    "have link beat" {
      system /sbin/ifup eth0
    "no link" {
      system /sbin/ifdown eth0
    "not established" {
      system /sbin/ifdown eth0
Posted by mike at 02:48 PM Central | Laptop , Old Advogato Diary | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 12, 2002

Advogato Entry 250

Wrote up some of my experiences so far in getting Linux going on my laptop, and submitted it to the linux-laptop folks.

Discovered the other day that APIC was the problem on my computer, causing it to hang when an APM event of some kind happened.

I want to get out of the apartment. I need to buy some more pop and get some RJ45 connectors so I can build a good Ethernet cable. There are probably tons of other things I should do, too. I'd like to pick up a wireless PC card, but I don't think there are any good deals on those around here (too bad my main source of stuff is either Tran Micro or Best Buy.. I'd go out and get the stuff, but my nerves are shot.

Last night, Josh's friend Teresa came over, and we all watched Pay It Forward. A decent movie, but that's not why I'm talking about it. Teresa had complained about her roommate bringing her boyfriend overnight recently. I didn't say anything, but Josh and Sarah have been staying overnight a lot over break.

This morning, Josh asked me if it bugged me when Sarah was around so much. I couldn't really give a good answer. I thought about it a bit, and sent him an e-mail telling him that it is kind of hard having her around. I'm jealous that they could be having such a great time together. Meanwhile, I feel like I'm alone in the apartment, so it's really weird when she's around, but I can't get to know her since she's in the other room or something (and then promptly exits the room when I come in).

Anyway, Josh asked me about this when he got back from work. Should she spend less time here? No.. Do you want want to get to know her better? Um, er. Uh. Yeah. But, you know.. Uh. Only if.. Hmm..

So, I don't know what's going on. I'm going nuts. Sarah's not around now, and I don't know how much I'll be around over the next few days.

Posted by mike at 01:17 PM Central | Josh , Laptop , Movies , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 13, 2002

Advogato Entry 251

Just saw "The Royal Tenenbaums" with my family. It was a very weird movie, and it involved some pretty dark feelings. Still, it was pretty funny, and I'm glad I saw it. We went to the new theater in town that has nice stadium seating. Heck, the picture was even in focus!

Decided to put my more private stuff in a plaintext file on my laptop. No need to clutter up these pages with the junk in my head.

Compiled a new kernel for my laptop with VESA framebuffer support, but it doesn't seem to work right.. A mode that had worked in a previous incantation of the 2.4.17 kernel no longer works. Strange. At any rate, nobody knows the value to put in for 1600x1200 anyway.

Posted by mike at 08:51 PM Central | Laptop , Movies , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 15, 2002

Advogato Entry 252

Got a wireless card for my laptop today. Cisco Aironet 340 from work. Looks like it doesn't support WEP at all, though iwlist seems to report that it handles 64- and 104-bit encryption. Strange.

Trying to figure out how to get the winmodem in my laptop working. Not that I need it now, but it'd be great to finally have a backup for when our building's network goes down. It appears to be a PCTel 2304 MDC modem (PCI), but the pctel drivers don't appear to work -- they look like they're for ISA PnP winmodems. `lspci -vv' reports that there's a subsystem of a Conexant unknown device 0x5421.

Oh well, I have ethernet almost everywhere anyway, so it doesn't matter too much if I get this to work.. It'd just be kind of cool. I think that's the last piece of non-working hardware on this box. (Hmm.. not exactly.. I still need to figure out how to get the video drivers working completely right..)

Posted by mike at 09:18 PM Central | Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , Wireless , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 18, 2002

Advogato Entry 254

Oh right.. Things could just work that well for me. Sheesh. Maybe I just need to be patient, but I've been patient for years and years.. It's gone on long enough.


Trying to compile a FreeS/WAN kernel on my laptop. Not sure if the modules and stuff are actually being built -- the kernel configurator didn't seem to have any FreeS/WAN-related options when I ran make-kpkg. I'm not sure if the kernel got patched or not..

Anyway, to be of any use, I'll probably have to compile that into the firewall as well. Hmm..

Posted by mike at 09:01 AM Central | Encryption , Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 19, 2002

Advogato Entry 255

Downloaded and compiled XFree86 4.1.blah from CVS yesterday, though I haven't bothered trying to install it. I knew I had to pull it out of CVS -- I fully expected the release ;-) Now I just have to wait for someone to put together a Debian package.

I've packaged things before, at least with RPMs (haven't done much with DEBs yet, though). X is a very big beast, though, and not something that's all that easy to do..

Anyway, hopefully unstable will get some packages built soon. It'll be cool to have accelerated drivers working on my laptop.

Called Sarah around noon. I guess she had a slow day. She was expecting to babysit and have her sister visit, but the babysitting gig fell through and her niece got sick, so her sister didn't come today.

She's been taking care of her dog, who is on his last legs, so I suppose it was good I called.. Still, I'm at an uncomfortable point in my friendship with her. I just hope it passes and everything straightens out.

Well, it should, as long as we can keep talking to each other.

School starts on Tuesday. I think I'm going to be very lazy this weekend.

Posted by mike at 04:39 PM Central | Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah , XFree | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 20, 2002

Advogato Entry 256

Still playing with my laptop, setting it up to have a cool desktop. I really like how it's set up, I figure I'll manage to pull off some Linux advocacy with it ;-)

Watching Ranma 1/2 with my roommates. Being lazy today.

Posted by mike at 02:46 PM Central | Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 21, 2002

Advogato Entry 257

Well, I still haven't installed X 4.2.0 on my laptop. It's compiled, but I don't want to install it and toast my current packaging setup. I'd really like to see some .debs soon, but I don't know where to look for those..

Classes start tomorrow. I have to be somewhere at 8:15, and I need to look up where to go for some of the classes that I'm on waiting lists for.. It's going to be a looong day tomorrow..

Anyway, I've learned quite a lot in the last week about Sarah and me. I've written a bunch of stuff in a private diary about the junk going through my head. There's a lot of it that is just junk, but I hope it helped me figure things out.

I talked about stuff with my roommate and I hope I've found why I find her so interesting. I identify with her a lot -- we're both fairly similar emotionally, and I know what it's like for her when she just isn't feeling `worthy.' I don't know what needs to be done for either of us to get us out of those emotional holes sometimes, but I might be in a better position to help than the other people she knows.

We also have some strangely similar tastes in food and other things, but I suppose that might just be random.. We're also the only two people that hang around the apartment that like to say `pop' instead of `soda,' so it's kind of funny to have us stand against everyone else ;-)

At any rate, my roommate thinks that Sarah and I have an interesting ability to communicate. Well, she is someone who actually gets me to step away from the computer for a minute. I guess I'm not really sure what to think about that.

I actually mentioned some stuff to Sarah.. I told her that I wished I had a girlfriend like her. I'm not really sure what she thought of that -- of all things, I had to tell her over AIM.. Anyway, she told me that she was sure I'd find someone, someone smarter than her :-)

That was kind of funny, since that's the only real thing I don't like about her.. I was just surprised that she mentioned it..

Anyway, I slowly beginning to understand us, figuring out what I want, and what I can and can't have in the end.. We can be friends, and I'm sure we can get pretty close -- but there are things that just shouldn't happen between us. I just hope I haven't overstepped already, and that things will just get better as time goes by.

I hope I can remember this stuff, too, as I'm pretty sure it's about as close as I can come to finding the truth. It's going to take time to understand it fully, and I know I can be forgetful sometimes.

Posted by mike at 06:30 PM Central | Erik , Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah , School , Software , XFree | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 23, 2002

Advogato Entry 258

Just had about the weirdest day of my life. Second day of classes, and I actually talked.. I'm taking some courses at the business school, and about half of the class is Computer Science students! What the hell? I think I was the only CS major in the previous class I took there.

Bumped into Sarah as she was coming out of a class, and helped her find an office to get a permission number to get into that course.. Showed off where I work, but only for a moment (I didn't really have anything interesting to show off...)

Discovered that Internet Explorer apparently doesn't like self-generated SSL certificates at all... Need to actually pay for a certificate at some point, or find a workaround.

Anyway, it's just been a weird day. I've been overstimulated by the talking in class and stuff.. My courses look to be pretty intensive. I know that my previous classes have been hard, but it wasn't obvious on the first day of class.. I guess I'm not sure how these classes really stack up..

Still waiting on permission numbers for two classes.. Not sure what will happen there.

Gotta cut down on using my laptop for web browsing. Using the scratchpad doesn't seem to be good for my wrist..

Posted by mike at 07:22 PM Central | Encryption , Internet , Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah , School , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 07, 2002

Advogato Entry 262

Having a bit of a crummy evening. I was tired this morning, and decided not to go to class. That was probably a bad move, and I stayed inside pretty much the whole day. Sarah and Josh brought me along to try out the Leaning Tower of Pizza that just opened downstairs. The pizza's pretty good, probably worth the price. As good as Papa John's is, I need some variety in my pizza diet ;-)

Anyway, I got reminded of things I didn't want to be reminded of while sitting across from Josh and Sarah. Blech.

Need to get some homework done soon. I'll have a busy weekend writing code or doing other work in pretty much all of my classes. I need to get some motivation to do that stuff. Not sure what the best place to do my work is. I've been doing a lot of stuff on my laptop these days, though I think it's probably easier to do programming on my desktop, where I have two monitors. The downside is that I can't relax on the couch with it ;-) Then again, even the laptop is annoying to deal with on the couch.

...And I do worry about the radio waves emananting from it into my legs.. I suppose it doesn't make me feel any better when the thing warms up to 50 degrees C or better..

Posted by mike at 08:16 PM Central | Josh , Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah , School , Wireless | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 24, 2002

Advogato Entry 266

Hmm. Haven't posted for a while.. I've been pretty busy with homework for classes and stuff. Stayed up late a few nights, up 'til 3AM or even later. I hope I can get started on homework sooner from now on, but I haven't had much luck with that over the past several years..

I spilled some Mountain Dew on my laptop a few days ago. It only affected the PgUp key in the upper right corner, but it was really annoying. I disassembled the system, bending the keyboard a bit in the process (always read the instructions when first working on a laptop). I haven't been able to fix it -- I've basically just spread sticky liquid around by dribbling water on the keyboard. I hear that a new keyboard is about $45..

Anyway, I should get working on some of my networking homework.

Posted by mike at 12:19 PM Central | Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , School | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 06, 2002

Advogato Entry 273

Haven't written for a while.. I've been busy trying to keep from drowning in homework and studying for exams.

Played with CodeWeavers' CrossOver Plugin package, and actually paid for a license. Seems to work pretty well, though I've only used it for QuickTime and Windows Media Player so far. WMP doesn't work right on my laptop (probably because I have a crummy AC'97 sound device), but QuickTime works fine (especially after I set it to always output at 48000Hz).

I've had some of my wishes come to fruition lately, though. I hear that Coca-Cola is looking into producing vanilla-flavored Coke, and Deep Space Nine is going to be on TV tonight. I just hope another wish or two comes true.

Posted by mike at 04:56 PM Central | Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , School , Software , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 09, 2002

Advogato Entry 274

Finally got sick enough of getting junk mail that I installed SpamAssassin. I'd been using Vipul's Razor for a while, but it hadn't been working well enough. Of course, once I bothered to look I noticed that SpamAssassin now checks the Razor database as well, so I can kill two birds with one stone. Of course, it has tons of rules, so it's actually like killing a few hundred birds with one stone.

Anyway, I saw someone post a little bit of code for drawing a simple graph of score vs. time on messages, and decided to make one of my own. I suppose it'll be a while before my graph looks like much of anything, though..

I just wish it was as easy to attack the bandwidth over-usage in my apartment building..

I also was happy to see anti-aliased text when I pulled down a copy of Galeon 1.2.0 and Mozilla 0.9.9 from Debian unstable. I played around and even got sub-pixel rendering working on my laptop. Very nice. Too bad that the Render extension doesn't work very well on Xinerama. Mozilla/Galeon actually works great, but gdkxft and StarOffice just gunk up the screen when they are used on the second head.. I guess the Gecko engine uses the Render extension in a different way than other programs do.

Also started using Evolution as my mail client. I was happy to see that it synchronizes quite nicely with my Palm IIIx. I haven't really used that thing to it's full potential.. Hopefully integrating mail, calendar, to-do, etc., will be good for me. Evolution just doesn't seem designed for the power user, though.. Sylpheed is still better in many ways..

Oh yeah, I switched partly because of Sylpheed being somewhat buggy with regard to GPG-signed messages. Of course, it looks like Sylpheed, mutt, and Evolution all occasionally produce broken messages. Well, maybe not mutt..

Uuuhh.. just saw a really freaky bug in the Gecko engine. For a moment there, I could type text into the scrollbar.. very weird.. Oh well, I can't seem to repeat it..

Posted by mike at 07:32 PM Central | Internet , Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , Software , XFree | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 12, 2002

Advogato Entry 277

Not really understanding the relationship between hotplug, cardmgr (PCMCIA), and usbmgr. Apparently, I can't use both cardmgr and hotplug at the same time. Okay, I can, but the kernel event daemon (keventd) and cardmgr will both start the networking scripts when I insert my wireless Ethernet card.

I haven't been able to get hotplug alone to work with my ethernet card, so I apparently have to run at least cardmgr. I guess this means that if I want to do USB stuff, I need to run usbmgr, which obviously doesn't try to start the networking scripts.. I guess it's good I don't have FireWire on my laptop, otherwise I'd have to see if there was a firemgr or similar program...

I suppose I probably just didn't properly set up hotplug..

Posted by mike at 04:17 PM Central | Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , Software , Wireless | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 18, 2002

Advogato Entry 280

Hmm.. It's April. XFree86 4.2.0 was posted back in January, IIRC. Still no Debian package for it.. I know, I know, the dude's busy. However, I've been living with the VESA driver on my laptop for quite a while now.. It's usually not too bad, but occasionally I want to run an OpenGL app or watch a DVD or something, and I can't at the moment.. Moving big windows around is also pretty painful..

Anyway, I think it might be a weekend project

Posted by mike at 06:58 AM Central | Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , XFree | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 04, 2003

Advogato Entry 297

Sort of fixed a problem that I was having with Debian's murasaki package where it would basically hang on startup (when /etc/init.d/murasaki start was run). On my desktop, some initialization programs were not working right. They were trying to execve() something that didn't exist, but the programs were written under the assumption that the execve() would never return -- which is normally the case unless there's an error of some kind.

The program was made to fork() before each execution, so I'm just lucky the software didn't explode in my face as a fork bomb. I guess it just ended up being a "fork fire," as it didn't get out of control, but there were about 15 processes going at any one time..

I haven't found anything to automatically mount/unmount my camera and other USB/FireWire devices like I want, but I suppose I haven't looked all that hard yet.

I got a little pissed off about binary-dependent, pseudo-open-source software the other day after my X server died after an upgrade. I need to get a new HALlib module in order for my second head to work again. Matrox hasn't updated their driver packages for X 4.2.1 yet. Supposedly the precompiled files on their website should work for 4.2.1, but they don't work for me (causing the console to get toasted). I could also recompile stuff myself, but X is just too big a package for me to handle..

Matrox apparently doesn't have too many problems releasing specs for their boards, but the HALlib stuff apparently has to be binary-only because the software interfaces with chips that Matrox got from other companies, and they don't want specs released..

Hmm.. It occurs to me that there is code in the kernel framebuffer driver that allows you to activate the second head on the G400 (and probably some other Matrox cards). It's unaccelerated, if I recall, but I might have to look into whether it's possible to get that code to initialize the second head so I don't have to deal with this again (or, get stuck with a slow head, rather than just one head and a blank screen next to it).

Makes me wish I could start a "nice" hardware company that releases specs and decent documentation, doesn't use chips and stuff from other companies that don't like to release specs, uses good standards where possible, etc.. Sounds nice, but the profit margins are probably too thin in the PC industry to pull it off. Maybe it's possible.. I just keep running into hardware at every turn that isn't fully workable under Linux. Even my new camera, which I'll probably recommend to friends, is only half-working with Linux -- you can get files off it like a USB hard drive, but you can't use it as a webcam (though you can get decent Linux-compatible webcams for <$20 anyway..)

It's just annoying when you look at what works and what doesn't in your system, and you realize you really only have half a computer...

Posted by mike at 07:54 PM Central | Hardware , Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , Photography , Software , XFree | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 26, 2003

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

I noticed a weird behavior on my laptop. Well, I suppose it's not all that weird in context, but it seems odd on it's own.

While watching MythTV recordings, the playback will pause for a few seconds approximately every 15 minutes. The reason this is happening is that the system clock is drifting forward a few seconds in that time. The pause happens when a program running in the background (ntpd) talks to some servers on the Internet and updates the time on my system.

Normally, the clock doesn't drift that much. Well, that's not exactly true. After a BIOS update sometime last year, my laptop's clock started drifting at a fantastic rate. I forget what it was, but it was on the order of several seconds every minute. Through some trickery, I was able to tell the Linux kernel to adjust for this clock skew, and the clock ended up being even more accurate than it had been in the first place.

Well, it is accurate, except when the system is under a fairly heavy load (such as when playing back my videos). I'm not exactly sure how the Linux clock system works (even the experts seem confused—it was very difficult for me to figure out how to fix the problem in the first place), but it appears to update the clock whenever the CPU handles interrupts. The system expects that all interrupts take the same amount of time to handle (or at least respond to), but apparently this isn't the case (at least on my laptop).

Well, this whole discussion is basically moot, since the clock skew problem can probably be fixed with a BIOS update to fix what Dell broke previously. It's just a neat problem to find ways to work around...

Posted by mike at 08:38 PM Central | Laptop , MythTV | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

July 02, 2003


I guess I could say that I did actual work today. Whether or not the stuff I'm doing will be useful is anyone's guess.

I'm getting interested in playing around with ACPI on Linux in. Dunno if I'll actually end up doing anything or not. A lot of the stuff I'm doing at work involves making systems go to sleep, and then praying that they'll wake back up again (okay, I haven't really had any problems yet, aside from when one system crashed after sleep-cycling about 90 times).

Anyway, most people who use Linux have to use APM, which is an old way of doing power management. Unfortunately, APM doesn't let you deal with fun things like hot-plugging of devices, and it looks like my system will never hibernate when using APM (support just doesn't exist in the BIOS).

Of course, ACPI has all sorts of other tricks you have to deal with, so I guess I might end up breaking something, which would be no fun.

Other than that, I have to figure out if I can get paid in this pay cycle or not. I'm not even sure who to report my times to, and with the holiday weekend, I don't know if anyone cares. Also, the team supervisor was already gone today.

My money might get a little bit tighter than I was expecting while this gets worked out (well, I still have money, but it's just at the point where I'd have to move some from somewhere else).

Posted by mike at 09:30 PM Central | Laptop , Software , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 09, 2003

They Must Have Attended Screw U

Attempted to go see Pirates of the Caribbean, but the folks at Block E don't want to sell tickets after the showing starts.. That annoyed me greatly—I think I will tend to go to other theaters if I can. The actual seating is nice, but the service there tends to suck, and who thought out that stupid bathroom positioning anyway? Oh well, I was not sure about how I felt about being near a certain couple for an extended period of time..

So, I ended up wasting time at Borders, and then went to Target with Spike and Erin. Picked up Weird Al's new CD, and was informed that he'll be at the State Fair. I may have to go to that..

Moved onto some different test platforms today at work. One involves the same model of laptop that my brother has, which is kind of neat. However, I ran into a problem as soon as I started. In theory, the thing is supposed to work, but I was greeted with the Mac's equivalent of a Blue Screen of Death. Of course, Apple decided that the crash message should be multi-lingual, which I don't quite get..

Anyway, I want to bring in my laptop, just to see if Linux behaves the same way as MacOS. Just curious.

I accidentally trashed the database containing my preferences and desired shows for MythTV. Oops. I guess I shouldn't give myself root access after about 11 PM.

Ugh. Hewlett-Packard has some really annoying Shockwave Flash banner ads on Yahoo now that use a ton of CPU power. Whenever I open a few pages from Yahoo news, my browser slows down to a snail's pace. Bastards..

Posted by mike at 11:13 PM Central | Erin , Hardware , Internet , Josh , Laptop , Movies , Music , Sarah , Software , Spike , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 18, 2004


Ugh. We had a power outage in my apartment building. It appears that only a few blocks were affected (maybe only ours), but maybe we were on the edge of something. Anyway, two of my three computers (er, three out of my four, if you count the laptop, but it's unaffected by piddly hour-long periods without current) are functioning now. One of them has experienced some hard disk corruption, it appears. Now, the challenge of finding a Linux recovery disk or CD that can handle the 200GB hard drive and the ATA133 controller.


The moment of community togetherness involved in the outage was my joining Adam and Kari on a trip to a bookstore. Well, it was a place I'd never been before, which was something I needed anyway.

I almost picked up a book named Tube about the history of television, but it was a $30 hardcover and I figured my money could be better spent on other things at the moment.

I want money.

Posted by mike at 06:42 PM Central | Abode , Adam , Books , Hardware , Kari , Laptop , Software , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 09, 2004

Little Brown Jug

The power adapter for my laptop was one of the models listed by Dell for a recall, although the manufacturer was different, so I'm unaffected by it. I know my adapter gets kind of toasty from time to time (when charging rather than just supplying normal power), but it doesn't get to the point of melting.

My family is planning to head out to Stillwater to see some of the fall colors. Not quite peak yet, but it should still be fairly nice.

Posted by mike at 10:44 AM Central | Family , Hardware , Laptop | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)