Older blog entries for ischmidt (starting at number 9)

Urrgh. Keeping this thing up to date is work :)

Trying to decide what I want to do with my life, a la the classic-but-cheesy Twisted Sister video. I'm trying to listen to Neil Peart and not "give in to security" in order to "experience to extremes", but my current situation is comfy and pays ridiculous amounts of money. I guess this is where I find out if I really am a "lazy stupid American". *sigh*. Ok, enough, I'll leave the angst to the X-Men.

Saw "Almost Famous" last night. Highly recommended, and not just because it features talented View Askew regular Jason Lee. Any human being who loves music should see this film ASAP - if the theater I went to is anything to extrapolate from, Cameron Crowe's probably getting the Mallrats call this morning, so see it while you can. It's too big of a movie (even though it's only 1.85:1 ;-) to see only on TV, 16:9 or otherwise.

Back from a little vacation time. Doing nothing is always good :-)

Finally saw "Free Enterprise". It's at once both hysterically funny and disturbing if you're at all into sci-fi, comics, or home theater. Three words if you need any convicing to find and see it: "William Shatner rapping".

It's nice to see the demo scene picking up again. The top 3 entries at Assembly 2000 were quite stunning, although the Maturefurk (aka FutureMark aka Remedy Entertainment aka Future Crew) entry isn't kidding about requiring hardware T&L on your video card - it's a day and night difference between a TNT2 and a GeForce 2 MX on several scenes.

Warning, unfocused babbling detected ahead...

Today's adventure: KDE 2.0beta 3. Wowow. I've been using and loving 1.x since 1.0 came out, but 2.0 is really much nicer. Having the taskbar integrated into the panel a la Windows instead of as separate pieces a la KDE 1.x saves a decent amount of vertical screen space, and we all know what dimension we have less space in :)

A few gripes: - For years now in KDE and AfterStep before that I was used to having CTRL-(the 4 arrow keys) move to the next desktop in that direction. KDE2 only allows left and right movement (with wrapping to automatically go to top and bottom). This sucks.

- I don't like the new window widgets or their placement, but changing themes seems to have no effect on them, even after a restart. Considering how hyped themes are in KDE2, the inability for me to get a KDE 1-style look and feel back is somewhat disconcerting.

Other than that I suggest everyone try it out, except for you GNOME zombies who think Unix sucks ;-) Fair warning: the Redhat RPMs install in /opt/kde2, but since they have the same "root name" as the KDE 1.1.2 RPMs from Redhat 6.2 RPM will automagically delete your KDE 1.1.2 files and libraries. To work around that problem, rename all the 1.92 RPMs from kdefoo-1.92.i386.rpm to kde2foo-1.92.i386.rpm. I've successfully got KDevelop 1.2 and some homebrew KDE 1.x apps compiling and running under KDE2.0b3 after that (along with a little QTDIR and KDEDIR environment variable magic, of course).

Work's basically done for this cycle, so I'll be taking a week's vacation next week (with more vacation in October - I'm planning on going to Atlanta Linux Showcase so I can finally meet some of my heroes :)

As many of you probably know, ST2: Wrath of Khan is out on DVD, at least in Region 1. As per usual with Paramount there's almost no extras (although the original trailer in an anamorphic transfer is nice). The 16:9 enhanced transfer of the actual movie is amazing, completely blowing away the widescreen VHS edition I bought a few years ago. The new Dolby 5.1 sound mix is very nice as well - James Horner's groundbreaking score is better than ever, and you feel every explosion through the subwoofer channel :) And it's always fun to watch Ricardo "Rich Corinthian Leather"* Montalban out-scenery-chew William Shatner. Shatner almost looks subdued by comparison.

* If you get this reference, you're too old. I know I am...

Hmmph. Cable's back working again. They had some horrible problem causing major slowdowns, to the point where the Redhat DHCP client couldn't get a lease (Win98's could though, how embarassing for the Penguin).

Still couldn't get XingDVD to behave - I seem to have picked up a config problem where Wine can't load any of Windows' ACM compression drivers now (so Media Player, which used to play some stuff, is broke now too). Aiiigh :/

Nice to see Marcus and BBrox reading Cryptonomicon - I finished that just over a year ago, courtesy of my hell trip to the Creative Labs' developer conference. Highest possible recommendation for any thinking person.

Interesting legal day - Napster's goin' down, and things are looking up for DeCSS/2600. Dr. David Touretzky is a serious hero - not only has he been picked by Scientologists, he may well be why the good guys win the 2600 trial.

Woo. I got some XingDVD tips from the ultracool Marcus. For the benefit of all you Wine alcoholics out there, here they are:

- Make sure you have r/w access to /dev/sgX (where the SCSI DVD ROM is attached).
- Start X in either 8 or 15 bit Mode.
- Start Xing with:
wine XingDVD.exe -desktop 800x600
- Press Play.

In other news, saw X-Men this weekend, and I'd like to say it completely rocks. The characters, plot, and even overall "feel" of the film are faithful to the comics. Plus it's just plain good entertainment. If you haven't seen it yet (and it's showing in your area, sorry my European friends :) GO!

Yikes. Long long time no post. Projects are coming to a close at work, so I sent in a new (and probably useless right now) Wine patch - it supports some of the new instructions on the Pentium Pro and later CPUs.

I must figure out how to get XingDVD to work on Wine - I get a window with no controls in it and when I click where Play should be it says it can't find the DVD. The LiViD stuff desyncs rather badly in the opposite direction now that I've upgraded from a 400 to an 866 :-)

I posted MTPng 4.2a on the site, for those who didn't notice ;)

In other news: I successfully installed Debian potato on hemispheres, my Official Experimental Box (it's a dual PPro 200 with 128 megs of RAM that I rescued from a fate in the dumpster at work :) Unfortunately, although I made it through dselect alive this time (it had been my nemesis on all previous install attempts), I couldn't figure out after installing all the KDE packages how to make KDE the default window manager. I think this is why my two "production" machines (force-ten and cygnusx1) are Redhat all the way ;-)

It's amazingly busy at work from here on through July probably. Wheeeeee :-)

I promise, there will be a new MTPng release soon. I've got 2 things I'm trying to do before then:

  • Separate the OSS backend from the mixer core
  • Write an ALSA native backend, since that's the drivers I run for "production" now.

I'm looking forward to seeing Gav's take on open source vs. traditional economics. It's a subject I've discussed a lot with some friends at work recently. We all more or less agree with the principles of Professor Eben Moglen's Anarchism Triumphant, but as well-paid toilers on traditional closed source software we're still wondering how people make money in the Brave New Economy. I know about indirect effects - Linus of course has his international man-of-mystery job as a direct result of some 386 operating system he wrote for free, and I know about things like CoSource, but doubts remain.

I guess that's why I'm a programmer not an economist ;-)

Whee. Long time no post. Anyway, I've discovered that the noise reduction feature in that last version of MTPng actually causes more noise than it removes (oops). I should have a fix out soon in case it's not obvious what to #if 0 out :)

Found the original MODs by SLL that became the famous SoundSmith SLL4 and SLL8 tunes. They're pitched a bit differently than the better-known (to me) SoundSmith versions - perhaps H. Aalbers messed up the conversions. OTOH, other MODs I have of FUN.MUSIC songs are identical (Cambodia for instance). Weird all around.

On the WINE front, I submitted a patch that implements the DOS INT21h/73xx calls that Internet Explorer 5.0 makes on Win9x (yikes). This eliminates a major source of FIXME messages in that program. Alexandre's now accepted it into CVS, so you'll get it if you're up to date. Still on the WINE plate: Some DirectX7 DirectDraw stuff. I need to write a test app less complicated than The Sims first though ;-)

I've posted a new version of MTPng on my website. This features in-progress support for the modified SMUS format used by Will Harvey in at least 2 of his IIgs games, as well as some structural cleanup to make adding more formats much easier.

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