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Showing posts from May, 2006

Florida Cracker Boston Trip: Day 3

Tuesday, May 30th - Back to Salem

We enjoyed the Monday evening in Salem so much we went back to really look around Tuesday. So we got on the road in the morning and headed back over to Salem. This time we parked along Derby Street, across from the Custom House. The girls split up from us, and we went our separate ways for most of the day.

Megan and Lauran went up the street to the House of the Seven Gables. Before they got there they hit In A Pig's Eye for lunch and then Ye Olde Pepper Candy Co. for some sweets. Then they went across the street to the House and took the tour.

Judy and I wondered around the surrounding streets, looking at the Scale House, the Narbonne House, the Hawkes House, and the Derby House. We also wondered around and just looked at many of the surrounding residences, just enjoying the look of the architecture. Judy and I also checked out the Orientation Center next to the Friendship of Salem. While there Judy picked up a small monograph about the Friendship. I…

Florida Cracker Boston Trip: Day 2 - Memorial Day

Monday, May 29th - To Salem and back


I slept in late that morning until about 10am. I got up and checked on the girls. Lauran was sleeping the sleep of the innocents. She was out on the sofa while Megan was back in the second bedroom. Judy was also snoozing pretty heavily, so Megan and I went out to forage for breakfast for the family.

We found a local store and picked up some supplies: break, peanut butter, grape jam, nachoes, salsa, stuff from the basic food groups. We paid for our groceries and headed back to Judy and Lauran. When we got back everybody got up and had a very late breakfast. Lauran was still zoned out from here staying up since Friday, and Judy's joints were really bothering her. Megan and I wanted to do something, so we decided to go see the new X-Men film.

Jean Grey is alive but comes back as Phoenix, the 'bad' girl.Phoenix kills Cyclops when Cyclops first finds her at Alkali Lake (Megan says good riddance to him).Frasier looks good as a b…

Florida Cracker Boston Trip: Day 1

We got up at 5 am Sunday morning. We'd worked like crazy until midnight Saturday cleaning, packing, and generally getting ready to fly up to Boston. I'd even loaded up the van Saturday night so the only thing Judy and Megan had to do was flop in the van for the trip to the airport.

And it was a good think I had. It still took 30 minutes to get everybody up and out the vehicle. It was at that point out next door neighbor Chuck showed up. I'd talked him into driving the van back to our house, and then coming back next Sunday to pick us up. We'd looked after his house many times when he and his wife went on long trips.

We got to the airport around 6am, checked in, and went out to the gate. We sat around waiting for the flight to board. We were finally in the air around 7:50 am. Even though the flight was through Delta we flew up on a Song 757. What was interesting about the 757 flight was the in-flight entertainment system.

Behind each seat headrest, right in front of the …

Why Nokia may be good for Linux

Let's start off with an article in CNN's Technology section, "Making cell phones simple is hard." The article's primary thrust is that the cellular operators want people to buy more sophisticated handsets so they can sell more expensive data services, and thus make more money. The simple voice-as-business model just doesn't work for the cellular operators any more, so they have to convince buyers to pay for downloaded music, email, and streaming video services. The biggest threat to this? Push back from a lot of customers who just want simple, reliable, and easy-to-use mobile telephones that deliver high-quality voice. And by the way, you can count me in as part of this crowd.

The process of cramming ever-more functionality onto cellphones has made the cellphones ever-more difficult to configure and operate. Tiny screens, deeply layered menus, and the confusing user interface force many users to set up just the basics and then leave the rest of it alone out o…

Hell freezes over: Dell opts for AMD's Opteron

In spite of all the stonewalling, when Dell's numbers fell last quarter, the handwriting was really on the wall. Dell could no longer be a sole-source Intel shop. The business market had voted with its pocketbook, and Dell lost. Dell's first quarter net income slipped 18%.

Note that this win is servers only. According to the article, Dell also said it would be building new servers using Intel's Woodcrest, which will be Intel's start of a long-awaited march back into competitive parity with AMD. I'm a decades-long fan of Intel. I've owned Intel stock since 1988 when I was given my first 12 shares. I've watched Intel stock split 6 times since then. Those 12 modest shares alone have grown to over 400 (not including other purchases over time).

In spite of my Intel stock investment I've purchased AMD hardware over Intel. I've built three home systems over the past four years using nothing but Athlon XP 32-bit chips. All the hardware was purchased from Newe…

Bush Demands That Iran Halt Production of Long Letters

By Andy BorowitzDays after receiving an 18-page letter from Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President George W. Bush called the lengthy missive “an act of war” and demanded that Iran halt its production of long letters at once. At the White House, aides said that writing a letter of such length to President Bush, who is known for his extreme distaste for reading, was the most provocative act Mr. Ahmadinejad could have possibly committed. “Everyone knows that the last book the president read was ‘My Pet Goat,’” one aide said. “Expecting him to read an 18-page letter is really asking for it, and that Iranian dude must have known that.” According to those close to Mr. Bush, the president was infuriated upon receipt of the 18-page letter and asked aides if it was some kind of joke. The president then demanded that the letter be boiled down to a one- or two-page format, or possibly adapted to a DVD version, just as he had ordered for news reports on Hurricane Katrina. In Tehran, Pre…

Suse 10.1 and NetBeans 5.5 beta are a great match

After settling in with Suse 10.1, it's time to start back into some interesting development. I've been using NetBeans 5 for a while now, and I'm happy with it and the results. I've tried to go back to Eclipse 3, especially the Eclipse 3.2 release candidates (RC4 has just been released at the time of this posting), but I'm more comfortable with now with NetBeans. I've switched and there's no going back.

Now comes the release of NetBeans 5.5 beta. NetBeans 5.5 will integrate better support for J2EE development into the base NetBeans 5 platform; Java EE 5, JSAS PE 9, Servlet 2.5, JavaServer Pages 2.1, JavaServer Faces 1.2, JAX-WS 2.0, and Enterprise Java Beans 3 session beans. To start with the opening page is much better organized with helpful links to get the new user (and seasoned user alike) up and running as quickly as possible. There are other new features I'm sure I missed, and I'm quite certain that many bugs have been squashed since NetBeans 5 …

Mission Impossible 3 needed more Simon Pegg

I went with the youngest daughter to see M:I-3 Saturday. I'm glad I did, as I got to see Simon Pegg (on the right in the image) again playing the character Benji Dunn. As far as I'm concerned he had far too little screen time. I've enjoyed Simon Pegg in "Shuan of the Dead", "Spaced", and even the new Dr. Who episode "The Long Game" where he played The Editor. Great stuff.

Biggest problem we both had with this movie was Tom Cruise. His Cruiseness was all over the place, doing all sorts of incredible stunts. There was such an overload of His Cruiseness and His Cruiseness Action that there was little time left for decent plot or character development, let alone decent screen time for Simon Pegg or Ving Rhames or Laurence Fishburne. The only reason to see so much Cruise, according to my youngest, is because he kept getting the "living snot" beat out of him in just about every scene. And he even dies. Once. All that, according to the young…

OpenSuse 10.1 audio problem answer?

Well, looks like I may have an answer as to why audio is broken on my Gateway M685 under OpenSuse 10.1. There is no kernel support. In looking at the file include/linux/pci_ids.h, there is no listing for the 82801G High Definition Audio Controller. I can find it at the Linux PCI Id Repository, and it has an ID of 27d8.

I know from some limited kernel driver work I did in the very recent past on Linux kernel 2.6.15 that if you don't have your PCI ID to search with while enumerating PCI devices, then your device won't get found and returned to you.

If this is indeed the case, then until support is added for the 82801G to the kernel, I'm screwed. And I can hear the Linux fanboyz screaching now, "Add it yourself! You've got the source!" Lovely.

OpenSuse 10.1 Final installed

I upgraded my notebook to OpenSuse 10.1 Final this weekend. Once again, upgrade is a misnomer, as I actually performed a re-format of the root and a new installation. I used Suse 10.1 RC3 as my 'launching pad'. Here's what I did to prepare for the installation.
I downloaded the ISO diffs that allowed me to upgrade from the RC-1 ISO images to the final release images using applydeltaiso. I ignored the MD5 sum that applydeltaiso produces. I created CD ISOs 1 through 5 as well as the add-ons ISO.
I burned all six ISOs to CDROM using K3b. K3b works fine as long as it's allowed to burn the ISOs undisturbed. I thought I'd be cute and do other work on my notebook while K3b was burning. Turned out that of the six CDROMs I created, three of them failed their checksum tests under initial self-test. I had to boot back up under RC-3 and reburn the failing CDROMs. On the next self-test attempt they all passed.Once all the CDROMs were burned and they all passed the initial self-c…

Suse 10.1 RC-3 annoyance

I don't know what's happening, but automatic mount of USB drives is not working. The devices are being detected and added to /dev, but neither the Cruzer or the Western Digital Passport are being automounted under /media. And I have no idea why.

Nokia 770 update - better than expected

Back on April 23rd I upgraded my Nokia's software load. Since then I've worked with it a bit I've noted some more (good) features. Generally speaking the latest release is faster and uses less resources. Somebody has worked hard to clean up the internals, although I can't state specifically what they are. But here's a few things I've noticed.
Power startup is now twice as fast. Using a digital stopwatch (yes, I did time it), it takes 35 seconds to go from cold start to complete desktop. Now before you think that's too slow, keep in mind the typical multi-gigahertz multi-gigabyte OS (Windows or Linux, take your choice) takes the same amount of time to boot. Besides, the December software drop took nearly a minute.I've installed a status bar cpu/memory load meter on my 770. I installed it before I upgraded and kept some simple statistics on memory usage. Since the upgrade I re-installed it and checked again. Sure enough, the amount of memory used by the sy…