1 Jan 2007 ncm   » (Master)

My Frontier Labs "NEXBlack" Ogg player finally arrived from New York. (This is the one that runs 30+ hours (yes) on 2 NiMH AAs, and has no memory built in, but has a nice CF slot.) It's a substantial chunk of sturdy black plastic. I got a 2G CF card with it, now 87% full. The sound quality (of my 250kbps Vorbis files) is good. The earbuds are demonaically uncomfortable, and don't stay in, but they're loud. As noted by others, it freezes up (needs batteries popped just to turn it off) when it sees an .m3u file describing Ogg files. The UI is annoying, but I doubt other players are any better. The worst omission is that it won't sort by file date; it insists on alphabetizing, so I'll have to rename the files in album order with numeric prefixes. That, and when you turn it off and back on it doesn't remember where it was. I like it, but I'd like it better if Rockbox was on it.

I finally got my brother's laptop working OK for him under Ubuntu Edgy, but it wasn't pretty. I had to delete (ok, rename) the drivers for his Marvell ethernet so that the ipw2200 would have a stable interface name across boots and ACPI suspends. (Iftab is now completely useless, as is "mapping".) Wpa_supplicant wasn't too hard to get working: the suggested four-line /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf did the job. The dpkg really should install it by default. To keep Flash content from crashing firefox I had to add a line "export XLIB_SKIP_ARGB_VISUALS=1" to the /usr/bin/firefox script. Other firefox stuff was fixed by "dpkg --purge"-ing firefox and everything related, and re-installing them, but now it won't display PDFs in attachments from squirrelmail without an intermediate "save" step. The SD flash slot now has a driver, but still doesn't work.

To my complete surprise I have found myself obliged to design a cryptographic algorithm. Not a cipher, heaven forfend, but a feedback mode and envelope scheme. The idea is that when sending UDP-grams, without decent crypto anybody can disrupt your session from any cyber-cafe from here to Kamchatka. If you're encrypting anyway, it's wasteful to *also* compute a MAC, when you can use a chaining encryption mode to do both jobs at once at the cost of only an extra XOR.

By blacklisting ethernet, wireless, and audio driver modules, and also all the programs that hold them open (xmms, gamix, etc.), I got swsuspend2 waking my Dell D620 laptop up without bollixing audio and wireless networking. I also got the Dell driving a Pioneer plasma TV, but so far not without it cutting off half the image. Still no success with the Broadcom wireless card (which Dell calls a 1390), despite all lwfinger's efforts, but my orinoco card works OK now.

Last weekend I made a real egg nog for the first time: separate four eggs, whip the yolks to within an inch of their lives, add a half cup each of brandy and cream and four tbsp sugar, and whip some more. Whip the whites until stiff, and fold them in, and add some cinnamon and nutmeg. It makes a surprising amount of something unlike anything you can find in cartons.

Congratulations to njs & crew on releasing Monotone 0.32.

So, Happy New Year, everybody. Time for another donation to Darren Naish.

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