Older blog entries for gesslein (starting at number 7)

23 Jul 2011 (updated 23 Jul 2011 at 11:02 UTC) »

I received via UPS and set up my new super-powered Linux desktop computer a couple of days ago from System76.
Now I can fully support, maintain, and improve Mathomatic.

Here is my review:

On July 13, 2011, I purchased a high-end Wildebeest Performance desktop from System76. It was built, tested, and shipped within a week of my purchase, because I spent $200 for one day shipping.

The system arrived at my door just fine, but nothing extra included, just the box. I cannot tell the 2 USB-3.0 ports from the 6 USB-2.0 ports, because there is no available documentation on the hardware that I can see. The headphone and microphone ports on the front do not fit 1/8" plugs, I do not know if they are broken or use some new type of connector. There were no extra cables inside the box to add any drives. So I just used it as is.

The computer worked without changes first time. I was able to use most of the features of this new, 8 core 3.4 GHz computer with 16 Gigabytes of RAM, it seems like a fine purchase. The latest Ubuntu version 11.04 (Natty) seems to be flaky as usual, I am going to have to switch to another distro someday. But this is a powerful software development computer, it compiles Mathomatic in 1 second! And VirtualBox runs much faster and better on it, I can view HD videos just fine by running video playback software in any OS running on a virtual machine.

The BIOS and motherboard are Intel brand re-branded to System76. Hopefully this computer will serve me well for years to come. I have reduced the CPU speed a little by putting it in OnDemand mode, my previous computer may have burned out early because I always had it running at the maximum speed.

A few fixable glitches with this new computer so far. That's my report. Questions are welcome.

15 Jul 2011 (updated 15 Jul 2011 at 10:27 UTC) »

My Linux desktop computer died a few days ago, won't have the new one for 2 weeks. All Mathomatic development and updates are on hold until then. You can still download the latest and greatest from the Mathomatic website.

I am always impressed by Mathomatic's functionality, it solves and simplifies perfectly most of the time, and I don't know how a program I created is smarter than me!

Previous behavior of Mathomatic:

1-> y=x

#1: y = x

1-> derivative z ; Fail!
Variable not found; the derivative would be zero.
Command usage: derivative ["nosimplify"] [variable or "all"] [order]
1-> y=2

#2: y = 2

2-> derivative x ; Fail!
Current expression contains no variables; the derivative would be zero.
Command usage: derivative ["nosimplify"] [variable or "all"] [order]

Differentiation failed with a helpful error message and useless command usage info when the result is zero. That was wrong.


Current behavior of Mathomatic, available in the development version and the next release:

1-> y=x

#1: y = x

1-> derivative z ; Success!
Warning: Variable not found; the derivative will be zero.
Differentiating the RHS with respect to (z) and simplifying...

#2: y' = 0

2-> y=2

#3: y = 2

3-> derivative x ; Success!
Warning: Current expression contains no variables; the derivative will be zero.
Warning: Variable not found; the derivative will be zero.
Differentiating the RHS with respect to (x) and simplifying...

#4: y' = 0


Mathomatic succeeds now when the derivative is zero, giving a warning message (or two).

Displaying command usage info whenever a command failed will not happen anymore. Command usage info is displayed by the help command and when something has been entered incorrectly on the command line.

More progress, I think. There have been many important improvements and fixes to Mathomatic this year. I am pleased, and thankful for the support I get. :-)

I am out of the hospital and back in my new, wonderful, peaceful home, feeling better, caught up on my chores, and ready to work on Mathomatic. Now what?

I am currently being treated for pneumonia in the local hospital. So far, they have made over 100 mistakes and are treating me badly. They also throw their garbage on the floor, I am always picking up after the hospital staff.

I cannot work further on Mathomatic until I get home to my Ubuntu Desktop.
I can answer emails, though.

23 Jun 2011 (updated 23 Jun 2011 at 19:02 UTC) »

My Ubuntu desktop hard drive is failing, it is taking all day to copy it to a new 500 GB drive I just bought. Don't know if it will work to just "dd" the disks to make an exact copy. No errors yet, just extremely slow. If it works, I will be happily testing the new hard drive. CloneZilla didn't work at all for me. I tried the stable and latest versions, the latest version wouldn't run and the stable version gave nothing but functionality errors.

Only a few hours of sleep again, this is very bad for me.

Update: "sudo dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb" worked perfectly to clone and replace the hard drive! I am back in the Linux business!

I only got 4 hours sleep last night, but today I figured out how to update the Debian package for Mathomatic. I submitted version 15.6.2 by email to Sandro Tosi for approval. Next time I will do better, now that I understand how Debian packaging works.

I released Mathomatic version 15.6.2 today. All package builds successful and everything updated. It is quite a lot of work making a release. Next I have to figure out how to update the Debian package that Sandro Tosi so nicely made.

All is well in my new home.

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