Older blog entries for claudio (starting at number 109)

Oh boy, I'm so stupid.

I spent six hours this afternoon trying to understand why this old Sound Blaster card wasn't returning the correct value after a reset. I read all the available documentation on Sound Blasters I could find in google. I read the Linux and FreeBSD drivers to confirm that they do exactly the same as I was trying. Tried two different cards and they didn't work. And they would never work, unless you set up PnP correctly :P (Yeah, I checked all other details and forgot this stupid PnP thing. Oh well.)

At least I got some experience points, or so I hope.

Totally unrelated note: Edonkey2000 has a strange name, but it seems to work pretty well. The binary-only Linux client has a messy output, so I wrote a curses-based wrapper.

Running in kernel mode for a couple of days, after many months of userland activities.

Debian should try not to break mozilla and konqueror at the same time. So I'm stuck with old Navigator 4 in my Debian Box.

I'm transferring helllabs.org from (ick!) NSI to dotster. With the price difference I can donate $10 to dyndns and save $10.

[RPM-]Packaging several versions of gcc in such a way that they'll all work is a PITA. kgcc and stackguard will be integrated after 2.7/2.95 and 3.0 can coexist peacefully. The 2.95-based cross-compilers will be next.

Do QNX and BeOS run under VMware?

19 Sep 2001 (updated 19 Sep 2001 at 09:12 UTC) »

Something must be wrong. It's 5:50AM (-0300) and I'm fixing gcc packages.

(By the way, gcc is very packaging-unfriendly. It's tricky to have it built and installed in some alternative place in your filesystem to build packages. A better way to build packages would be to divert installations from the real prefix to the buildroot the same way fakeroot does with owners.)

Last weekend I read the format specs of old SCUMM-based games. After writing a Sierra AGI interpreter that (kind of) works, how difficult would it be to write an alternative SCUMM interpreter?

Finally got my OV511 camera back. And it's not running very well, perhaps it's time to mess with the driver again.

Someone tell kojima that I borrowed a couple of Moloko CDs from his desk. I hope he doesn't mind. I've been told that he's in Denmark now and will return in a month or so.

7 Sep 2001 (updated 7 Sep 2001 at 13:14 UTC) »

Autoconf is a nice and useful tool. I like it. It solves problems.

#ifdef ALLOW_RANT

Automake, OTOH, is a crapball of infinite radius. It adds immense amounts of bloat to your otherwise simple makesystem. It wouldn't be such a problem if it simply worked, but that's not the case. And since RPM doesn't provide a diversion mechanism, I'll have to circumvent this annoyance in a less elegant way. To hell with "GNU Standards-compliant Makefiles", I want packages I can actually build!

Libtool is a different story. It's conceptually interesting, but the way it was implemented is braindead. Calling it stupid is an insult to stupid things.

#else

I suspect the autoconf 2.13->2.5x transition have some minor flaws that break some ill-behaved packages, but that's a minor issue. Life is beautiful.

#endif /* ALLOW_RANT */
3 Sep 2001 (updated 3 Sep 2001 at 17:29 UTC) »

After the new ports integrated to the CVS tree, I guess I can declare Sarien as a fairly cross-platform project:

  • The Amiga port now operates in windowed/full-screen modes (switchable at runtime) with AHI sound, and is buildable with gcc and DICE.
  • The MacOS X Cocoa port is working fine, native sound drivers are in the works.
  • Sega Dreamcast, with working sound.
  • A PocketPC port runs in WinCE-based handhelds. kojima tested the Linux version in his iPAQ and it seems to run fine too.
  • QNX: full-screen and windowed modes are available in the Photon driver, sound uses the ALSA driver.
  • MS-DOS: both 16 and 32-bit versions available.
  • BeOS: uses SDL.
  • Win32: native and SDL versions available.
  • POSIX: Known to run on Linux (IA32, IA64, PPC, S/390, Alpha), FreeBSD, IRIX, AIX and Solaris. Some problems in OpenBSD have been reported.
Todo list: PalmOS, MacOS 7/8/9, Atari ST, Playstation, Microwindows/Nano-X, OS/2.
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.

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