Older blog entries for claudio (starting at number 103)

31 Aug 2001 (updated 31 Aug 2001 at 18:32 UTC) »

A raster Star Wars scroller patch for xscreensaver. The GL version is just too slow and too ugly if you don't have hardware GL.

Aww, how crappy these CRTs look after a couple of days working with with a flat panel. They're round, fuzzy and reflective, and throw bad radiation on your face.

26 Aug 2001 (updated 26 Aug 2001 at 14:12 UTC) »

Porting an application to a platform you never worked on is fun. After checking the RKRM and the sources of the v2600 emulator, I managed write an AmigaOS port of Sarien, and it kind of works. It's slow as hell, but good enough for my first attempt to write code on the Amiga :) DICE C seems to work fine.

My dual-head setup with my old CRT and my new TFT monitors was highly unstable with the Mach64 and G400 cards, and it seems that mga_hal was causing the problem. KDE 2.2 works nicely with the dual-screen layout, and so does XScreensaver. Hmm, I wish I had a way to tell XScreensaver to run GL hacks only on the accelerated head.

Received my Samsung 570s TFT flat panel monitor yesterday, and here's a quick review:

  • First impressions: the box is not very cleverly designed. It has a plastic handler so you can easily carry it around, but only before you open the box for the first time. It's easy to unpack and set up, all cables, including two stereo audio cables, are included. Just plug the cables, turn it on and press the auto-calibration button.
  • Manual: very concise and straightforward. Most useful information is how to clean the screen.
  • OSD and controls: Complete set of adjustments, including RGB levels.
  • Resolution: 1024x768 @ 75Hz. Good enough for my myopia. Get the 17" panel if you need more.
  • Image quality: Absolutely great. Sharp image, no flicker, no distortions, no moire (and now I see how crappy my X fonts are), perhaps only a bit too bright. Scrolling can cause annoying persistency effects, like most notebook screens around. Tilt angle must be precisely adjusted to avoid brightness differences between the top and bottom of the screen.
  • Built-in speakers: Hideous. Horrid. Same sound as the cheapest speakers you can find around. It's good only for VoIP, you won't want to hear music on it. Plug the sound output to a stereo, and you'll be much happier.
  • Bottom line: I'm using it in a dual head setup with a cheap Samsung 500b CRT, and the image quality looks very poor compared to the TFT. Heck, a 19" Sony CRT image looks poor compared to the TFT. I'll wait for some significative price drop and build an all-TFT multi-head system >:)
Also found that my short-distance depth perception is almost non-existent with the new glasses. Tried to solder a serial cable, and the result was, hrm, crappy.
23 Aug 2001 (updated 23 Aug 2001 at 18:50 UTC) »

A long time since I posted something here.

  • Got my Masters degree, and added the title to my user name. That's the only thing it will be good for, anyway :)
  • It seems that some misguided master certified me as master. Or someone took the M.Sc. too seriously. Either that, or the cert algorithm is severily broken.
  • Cross-platform madness: played with Sarien in Linux running in PPC, IA64 and S/390, Atari MiNT, m68k Mac with MPW, OS/2 DART and DIVE with EMX, 16-bit DOS with Turbo C++ 3.01, Nano-X on Unix and AmigaOS with DICE C. Fixed a ton of portability bugs in the process. The Make utilities used: GNU make, Borland make, MPW make and DICE make. A PalmOS port using prc-tools is on the works. Also added some interesting features to the game engine: mouse support and high-resolution mode (since the background pictures are stored in a vectorial format). See the screenshots.
  • Still in the "cross-" department, built a few RPM-packaged cross-compilers and cross-development libraries for Conectiva Linux. It seems that cross-building to S/390 is hopelessly broken with gcc 2.95.3 -- let's see if 3.01 is any better.
  • Got a new pair of thick glasses. Boy, I thought this myopia would stop a couple of years ago! Now a peripapillary atrophy has been diagnosed. Ick! OTOH, I ordered a flat panel TFT monitor to make my poor eyes happier. Set up my X server in a non-xinerama, dual screen multihead layout, and now it explodes with no apparent reason. Hmm.
  • Upgraded my slow 333 MHz K6-II to a slow (by today's standards) 500 MHz K6-II!
  • Upgraded my slow 100 MHz Pentium box to a slow 133 MHz Pentium box! Upgraded from 24 Mb of RAM to 32 Mb of RAM!
  • Played with cflow and graphviz to generate a function call graph.
  • Trying to squeeze the Conectiva distro in a 100Mb ISO, and getting rid of some bloat along the way.
  • More things I don't remember now.
28 May 2001 (updated 28 May 2001 at 15:21 UTC) »

Satuday night in weirdland. It's incredibly fun, you should try it! Set a voyage to lands unknown aboard an old battered car (and I mean it!) with your geek friends! Make sure the car is held together by pieces of wire, lacks door handles and shifts gear automatically -- when you're least expecting it. (Don't know where to find one of these? marcelo's brother can loan you this fine piece of precision machinery!) Listen to one of the geeks singing Turkish songs! Park your car in front of a restaurant, and go walking to another one. Watch as children throw sticky toys across the room until they hit the ceiling -- and stay there! Observe the people trying stupid things to retrieve them! (Don't believe it? We have photos!) Entertainment is guaranteed for all.

libtool sucks.

These PalmOS devices are incredibly wonderful toys. They even can be used as organizers! After a few years considering them useless for my needs, I ordered a IIIc unit and I'm really impressed with its simple, clean, ingenious design. Now I must find a decent way to keep track of my bugzilla tickets using it (perhaps importing them to the To-do list?), with comments as attached notes?

Yesterday was a bad hair day. Went to bed 02:00AM, woke up this morning at 6:30AM with my hair still bad, hopefully it will calm down today.

I'll move xmp to sourceforge this week. And I still can't add igor_nest to the sarien project.

In the past few weeks I'm being much more productive working at home. It seems that the noise levels and the number of spurious interrupts increased noticeably in the office, or my perception of the surroundings has been enhanced somehow. In either case, all these small annoyances and disturbances are slowing down my CPU cycles. Or it's just ADD, and in that case I should take Ritalin and listen to Phil Collins :)

Or perhaps I should get a sound card and a pair of headphones -- at home I've been working listening to things like Primus, The Residents, Kronos Quartet, Astor Piazzolla (!) and Malmsteen's Concerto for Electric Guitar. And some Greek music.

acme should post his article on software packaging. /me takes note: bug him to post the article.

Interesting findings can arise from silly mistakes. As jameson pointed out, in my previous diary entry I made a typo in the Sarien URL in Sourceforge -- and it pointed to an existing project I wasn't aware of!

Using the FreeSCI graphics subsystem in sarien could be a good idea, but before doing anything I must clean up that code. I suspect there are many bugs lurking from the dark corners of that code. BTW, does anyone know if there is any problem using glob() in BeOS? It seems that Sarien built fine except for a missing glob.h.

Regarding FreeSCI, I must check how is the sound subsystem going. I've worked with /dev/sequencer and an Adlib card emulator in xmp.

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