Older blog entries for ncm (starting at number 339)

10 Jul 2009 (updated 10 Jul 2009 at 05:35 UTC) »

This Nvidia 9400 GT v1.1 (PCI 10de:065b) thing they gave me at the office works OK since I put in the new Xorg nv driver (drv_nv.so), version 2.1.14, just released this week. (Thanks Aaron!) I had to build from source, which is much easier than it once was (thank you, somebody); not quite "apt-get source xserver-xorg-video-nv; dpkg-buildpackage -b", but close. Now my GL programs run uselessly slowly, but I assume the 600MB/s load on my main-memory bus is gone, and I'm driving the monitor with HDMI instead of analog. It's really astonishing how little difference that last makes.

Why is it that when I resume Epiphany-browser after a crash (which most typically is because somebody used it to look at Ebay), it makes all the windows full-screen? That had been fixed for a while, and now it's back again.

And, why does running lspci in a regular user account make my Debian Sid laptop unable to fork new processes, or, maybe, unable to read the disk?

9 Jul 2009 (updated 14 Jul 2009 at 06:08 UTC) »

President Obama's stacking of the Justice Department with lawyers drawn from the RIAA had left me mystified. What does he need the most experienced hirable extortionists on the planet for? His continuing failure to prosecute the torturing murderers from the previous administration had left me similarly mystified.

All I can conclude is that the torturing murderers have some means to sabotage Obama's administration, and it is only by holding out the threat of prosecution that he is able to control them. The extortionist lawyers, then, are being kept busy preparing airtight cases against the torturers to threaten them with. Since there's no statute of limitations on murder (many of the tortured were actually tortured to death), the cases may be used any time in the future. At least I hope that's what's going on. Maybe, instead, the spooks are extorting Obama with the threat of such sabotage, and have forced him to hire their extortionist pals and to abjure prosecution. The public evidence supports either scenario.

On a happier note, the best implementation on Youtube, since the original, of Daft Bodies is at -_q8ojxtVB4. It's curiously difficult to find this one by searching. To do Daft Bodies well must be much harder than it seems, seeing how frequently it's done badly (and posted), and seeing just how badly it's done.

7 Jul 2009 (updated 8 Jul 2009 at 07:35 UTC) »

I wonder if the real purpose of Youtube, which costs Google at least a half-billion dollars each year, is really to take load off the Gmail system. Imagine everybody e-mailing those videos around to one another! In principle, Google could share storage for attachments that match, but it would be expensive just to determine that they match, and people would be tempted to alter them enough to reduce such a benefit, e.g. with annotations. With Youtube, there's just one copy, and no scanning.

I tried installing an Nvidia 9400GT video card ($70). The current X.org nv driver claimed to support that model number, but didn't recognize the card; evidently "ver1.1" is different. It's curiously difficult to get the nouveau driver installed in Debian Sid with a new kernel. With no assurance it would know the card, I gave up and went back to the old motherboard i945, which I estimate consumes maybe 10% of available memory bandwidth.

Each time Firefox crashes, when I restart it I have to turn off my network interface so it doesn't eat my machine reloading all the pages. Couldn't there be a mode to leave those pages unloaded until I'm ready to look at them?

21 Jun 2009 (updated 21 Jun 2009 at 05:52 UTC) »

For anybody who thinks the US "stimulus" was enough, check out this unemployment projection :

9 Jun 2009 (updated 9 Jun 2009 at 04:42 UTC) »

Remember, it's only a conspiracy if it's against the law. Don't let anybody accuse you of hatching conspiracy theories if what you're talking about is technically legal.

On a completely different topic, I'd like anybody who has, or gets, a canker sore (an oral ulcer) to please try chewing up a mouthful of walnuts, and holding the mash in your mouth for 30 seconds, and to report here whether it helped more or less immediately. Thanks, and good luck.

2 Jun 2009 (updated 2 Jun 2009 at 23:46 UTC) »

... and it's "toe the line", not "tow the line". You're standing at a line, following the rules. Oh, and it's "currying Fauvel" -- brushing that famous donkey, Fauvel -- not "currying favor"; and "eat umble pie" -- innards -- not "eat humble pie". Oh, is this too much correctness for you? Never mind.

I set up a backyard pool last weekend, and before I even got any water in it, the frame was swarmed with about a hundred thousand microscopic crawling insects weighing probably a gram, in total. With the naked eye I could just see there was something there, and identify a color. At 160x, one filled the microscope field. They turned out to be thrips, just one of 4700 known species. More species of thrips are known than mammals, with probably thousands more thrip species unnoted. I wonder why they liked my pool.

My brother-in-law gave me a G1 Android phone, and I took it on vacation to read, and even answer, e-mail on. It's the first time I've gone anywhere in, what, 20 years? without a laptop. It worked, but I had to wait to read the mouse-over punchlines to my favorite webcomix until after I got home. Android won't be there until its browser does mouse-overs.

I only just got my Dell Latitude D620 to resume properly from an ACPI "suspend to RAM". I've been using TuxOnIce for the last 2+ years, but have finally abandoned it. This was part of upgrading to a kernel, itself prompted by trying to get my US$2 "Clique Hue HD" (sn9c20x) webcams working. That failed, but I got a pair of 6-foot USB cables, cheap, and the cameras are good-looking even if they won't themselves look. (The microphones work, I think.) My guess is they ended up remaindered for $2 because the MSWindows drivers shipped with them suck. Who knows, the Linux driver might even work someday.

27 May 2009 (updated 27 May 2009 at 06:46 UTC) »
Raph: Seriously, the "degradation" is one of the best things about your LeBe Book typeface. It's beautiful.
27 Mar 2009 (updated 27 Mar 2009 at 01:36 UTC) »
Domanic: I wonder if these fraudulent tipsters are using your tip jar to verify that the account has not been closed, before using it to buy stuff from somebody else. If so, then it suffices to expose your tip jar only to people who have otherwise identified themselves.

I do not wish to take anything away from those who posted on their admiration for female pioneers in computing, nor from the admired pioneers themselves, but hasn't Ada herself been shown to have been a sort of spokesmodel for Charles Babbage, her published work ghostwritten? I seem to recall that something definitely traceable to her indicated a lack of basic algebra. If this is not right I would welcome correction. Perhaps Emilie du Ch√Ętelet or Mary Somerville would make a more durable standard-bearer.

26 Mar 2009 (updated 26 Mar 2009 at 00:10 UTC) »

I just looked up Feelspace, a project where they use a belt with vibrators to provide an artificial magnetic direction sense. It immediately struck me that they would do better to use a much simpler system: a single actuator that vibrates (or, better, in my estimation, applies a small current) when your head is oriented to the desired heading, or to a reference heading.

Given distinguishable stimulae (e.g. frequency) it might identify the cardinal points. A single actuator mounted, e.g., at the back of the scalp or near the ear would be much less intrusive than the designs I see on the web site, and fit easily in a hat or pair of glasses with no visible wiring.

The hat form ought to be especially easy to build.

25 Mar 2009 (updated 25 Mar 2009 at 18:33 UTC) »
wingo: Re Didier Verna reporting Lisp achieving image processing performance of at 60% of C ... that's a very low bar. People used to use Fortran because it was much faster than C; now they use C++ because it's faster than Fortran. Fortran didn't get slower. It's no surprise when you say Verna doesn't care about speed -- he also doesn't know about speed. Is pretending supposed to benefit the Lisp community? Maybe it's just traditional.

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