Older blog entries for zab (starting at number 16)

Wow, am I a slack-ass or what. Almost a month and a half since my last entry. At least I lasted longer than rth. OK, so, I guess if people care about anything here they might care about the state of my geeking.

I'm still flailing around trying to get maestro hardware so that I can fix up the known problems in the OSS Maestro driver. The APM hacks it has are not playing nice with ACPI, there are playback problems that feel like they're due to APU accessing races, and supporting FM synth and MIDI would be nice. Then there is the Big Bad Maestro3, aka Allegro, that is being shipped in lots of machines now. The bad news is that we can't get full docs on its DSP core. The good news is that the sparse docs that exist seem to be enough to get Sound Blaster emulation working. Yes, we're taking a PCI DSP and telling it to be probably the crappiest sound chip known to man. Go Team. All of this is made even more interesting by the fact that I don't have the hardware :) I have a fellow playing with the allegro remotely. I also have various people (including ESS) trying to get me hardware. It will sort itself out in the end.

I packaged up what little code exists for Matofali and put it up on http://www.zabbo.net/matofali/. Maybe some adventerous soul will pick it up and run with it.

I sent a note to the NSPR list saying that I had a neato IO abstraction model and it felt like it might be fun to include it in NSPR. I got two responses. One of the form "duh, we have something like that over here.." and "ACK, wrong wrong wrong." The former wasn't too surprising, but the code they have is nowhere near ideal. The latter proved to be quite interesting indeed. A fellow at Netscape sat me down and explained to me why the IO engine API I had come up with was on serious crack. Given our discussions, I'd love to sit down and write an IO engine. But I need some sort of real world daemon to use it. FTP is tempting, but... Anyone have any bright ideas?

The BeBox is still lying idle. I still don't have the infrastructure to be happy coding on it. Someday, someday.

I've just put Gnebula up on http://www.zabbo.net/gnebula/. Its incomplete, but there you have it. I always wanted to make it a real Etherman clone, but I just don't have the patience for interface design.

Another phhttpd release is pending. Chuck is cleaning up his patches that make the event loop much more clear and fix the signal queue failover.

Is that it? I guess so. Real Life is as fun as usual. I'll tell you about it sometime when we're nowhere near computers.

Ok, so I've taken to doing this weekly. Sue me.

I've been having lots of fun entertaining visitors. A few weekends ago Mang, Willy, and Ben visited. We went to an Astral Projection party. It was hilarious. I'd never seen so many glow sticks. But we had Gummy Bears to tide us over, so we survived just fine. We got home as the sun was coming up and hit one of the three 24 hour cafes near my apartment. *yawn*

Deb is here in Montreal now. Hooray! It turns out there are uncooperative buildings that are foiling our plans for wireless goodness, but maybe we can run some cat5 through the sewers or something. We're only a few blocks apart.

My insane friend Andrew is visiting this weekend. We worked together on the Netaid project. It was a riot. We're going to go to IKEA so that I can buy shelves for my poor computers that are sitting in a pile right now. That much closer to a proper working environment at home! DSL is still waiting for Bell to pull their head out, I'm sure.

Ryan visited a while ago too. We had fun, except that I drank way too much. I thought I had learned not to drink on an empty stomach after the inagural Matt Shawn Wilson party, but apparently I was mistaken. Ung. I'll never drink vodka, tequilla, or sake again. Well, for a good few days, anyway.

On the Geek Front, Chuck's Scalable IO paper is now available near CITI's linux-scalability page. At least, I thought it was. I can't find it now. I know it was there somewhere :) Anyway, its a good paper. The world needs more Chucks.

Along those lines, the library I'm writing to abstract IO state engines is coming along nicely. I'll probably plug Chuck's /dev/poll hacks into it soon and try and release it under a sensible license. Teaching matofali to use it will be so cool.

Out of no where, Wil Sowerbutts recently sent me some mail. One of these decades I really do intend to take his initial work and finish the Bebox linux port. It just needs some PCI and SMP loving. The Bebox would make the most hilarious test box. Its SMP with no L2 cache and big endian SMP PPC. It will break drivers left and right. But doing this requires making my computer room not suck, which requires the shelves mentioned above. All in good time.

Man has it ever been a long time since I've updated this. Bad Zach.

We went to a rave last weekend. A good time was had by all, except when we had to stand outside waiting in line to get in. That was cold. The music wasn't as clear as I would have hoped, but there were a few moments of clarity. Glow sticks. Have I mentioned glow sticks?

I have a futon-couch now. It is pretending to be The Couch until I can afford a real one.

We had an exciting time driving to the US border and back to do some immigration paperwork. On the way back Footloose came on the radio. Stefan "smart-ass" Brands pointed out that I was about 7 when the movie first came out. For the rest of the song he kept saying things like "I can see you dancing around in front of the mirror in your little room. Is this the part where you jumped off the bed? Admit it!". I can look back at the situation and laugh now. Did I mention we drove to the border in the Zero Knowledge Van? We turned a few heads, I think.

Many projects still pending DSL and a proper machine room build-up at home. Until then I'm playing lots of games under Windows. Whee!

I just composed a nice lengthy diary entry. It talked about many fabulous things like my fun times playing computer games, shaver's new fantastic apartment, yet another installment of Globe Rules, and even some nice open sourcey projecty updatey things.

But Navigator cored on me.

I hate Netscape Navigator. I hate Netscape Navigator.

I think I'll spend this evening aiming positive hacking vibes in blizzard's direction.

Well, I'm mostly moved now. My apartment is super neat. One of these days I'll get the pictures of it off of Phil's camera and maybe share them. I have an enormous shopping list, at the top of which is couch.

I managed to make it Ottawa over the weekend for some brief partying. I hung out with my good TPG friends, it was good clean fun. Phil, the evil one, introduced me to Home World. Added to shopping list: Uber-Sexy video card and gi-normous monitor. I tried poutine again and wasn't too impressed, again. Maybe its an acquired tastes, like coffee (yuck) and beer (ew). I'm basically doomed.

I arrived back on Sunday night to find that Montreal had been buried in a few feet of snow. I so have Federico beat on the Ice Planet Hoth scale. I didn't grow up in the stuff, so I thought it was great fun. I even manged to catch a ride from a truck driver that was zipping around town in his pick-up pretending to be a taxi.

I'm tempted to write up a rant on coding style, but what would be the point? StudlyCapsAreEvil (extra points for half the characters being redundant and expressed in the source tree), but everyone knows that. #ifdefs hurt, but thats no surprise either. Yet people continue to use them. Baby steps.

Lots of neat people are in town for some linux show as well. Last night we went to dinner at a yummy supposedly-malaysian restaurant. I was very happy with their curry, but Mang kept saying that their Malaysian dishes were a little off. The others braved some exotic desert while I stayed with cheesecake. My cheesecake was nummy, Phil's exotic desert came with a sausage. No, we're not sure either.

Welp, I'm officially no longer employed by Red Hat. It was fun.

Time to pack up all my stuff and move, again. Hopefully the next entry will find me glowing about how painless the move was. Uh-Huh.

Off I go.

We saw The Matrix on an IMAX screen. It was big, and the audio was especially nice. I had meant to bring a camera to the event so that we could have pictures of us all being silly, but I forgot. Someone else remembered, but by the time they had given me a camera I had realized that I don' t like carrying a camera around. So there.

Yesterday we had a package delivered to our door. Someone sent us the fuel tank from a 1947 Jeep. Neat.

I've been reading all sorts of interesting things about wireless ethernet. I'm excited.

I'm sure other things are worth mentioning, but I can't be bothered to remember what they might be.

I manged to get to work at an unreasonably early hour this morning. Which meant that the streetcar and subway were packed.

every woman who walks by is every woman you'll never have
beautiful, quick and poisonous as mercury
kept running through my head. It was scary.

Ben and I went to dinner at Southern Accent last night. Happily spicy food and strong drinks (including the Voodootini). We didn't understand why it was empty until the waiter explained that it was Oscar night. Oh. That would explain the other restaurants that were closed but had private parties with big TVs.

I arrived at work to find e-mail from Steph who is indeed still alive. Good, good.

I played around a bit with glade this weekend and was not terribly impressed. I'm not smart enough to put up with GUI design work. It sure would be Neato if it were integreated with a usable IDE, though.

Being sick really sucks.

Romeo Must Die and Erin Brockovich didn't suck.

Much Music is near the theatre where we saw R.M.D.. Either N-Sync or the Backstreet Boys were there (who cares which) so the entire block was filled with scary teenagers. That sucked.

<blizzard> Was that your ass or your face?
I'm still not sure what to make of that. Blizzard sucks.

Our Giganet stuff appeared. I hope Ben does cool things with it. Ben doesn't suck.

Lesson #1: I can't read movie schedules.
I thought that Romeo Must Die was playing at the Paramount last night. It wasn't, but we'll get to that.

It all started innocently enough. We wanted to have some food with friends and see a fun movie. We had a nice dinner on College and headed to the theatre. We had some time before the movie so we headed over to Sugar Mountain.

Lesson #2: Even after 20-someodd years, eating bags of sugar does bad things to your body.

So keep in mind that from this point on we were constantly popping Reeses Pieces and Jelly Bellys and such.

We were prepared. We had food in us (some with more alcohol than others), and candy. We were ready to see Jet Li kick some ass. But what's this? It isn't playing at 7:45 as we thought. No, its playing at 9:30.

Lesson #3: Buy tickets ahead of time

Ok, so we have a good hour to kill. The Boys decided to go to the Playdium and play video games for an hour. Tyla preferred to hang out in Chapters for a while and then retire.

Lesson #4: Quit while you're ahead. Do like Tyla. Tyla smart.

We had fun at the Playdium, though its no Metreon. blizzard got to use skid marks on a raceway to spell his initials, I showed some Storm Troopers where they could put thir silly cod pieces, and shaver polished his sniping skills. Oh, and it was loud in there. We all came out with headaches. Remember the candy? So we're now on various levels of sugar highs, with headaches, off to see Jet Li kick some ass.

But what's this? The automated teller won't sell us tickets for the 9:30 showing? Maybe its too new, or unrated, or something. No. The counter informs us that the showing is in fact invite-only. Awesome. So we've now spent a good 2 hours of our lives waiting for a movie that we aren't going to see. But we didn't let these 14 or 15 things going wrong deter us, heavens no!

We bought three tickets to see Mission to Mars. Yes, thats right, the movie that everyone we've ever talked to said was awful. We got into the theatre 15 minutes before the show and it was empty. We had our own private screening!

Now, if you've been to the large Famous Players theatres you know that funny things are about to happen. Before each showing they have an employee (Player?) stand before the audience and give a little speech. So some poor schmuck had to give the speech to just the three of us.

Brad: Hi, I'm Brad, and welcome to famous players.
blizzard: There's only three of us, you really don't need to bother.
zab: Pull up a chair!
Brad: You know I once did this speach to a single person.
shaver: For what movie?
Brad: Reindeer Games.
Trio: [much laughter]
Brad: Ok guys, I have to give the speach now. ...... if you have any questions or comments that aren't retarded .....
Trio: [chortle]
Brad: .... please turn them off your cell phones and pagers so as not to disturb your two buddies there....
Trio: [guffaw]

At this point two more people came into the theatre!

NewPerson: How come no one else is here?
shaver: I think we're about to find out.

And you know what? The movie wasn't really all that horrible. It had its cheesy spots, but plenty of nice ones as well. Trying to fall asleep while coming down from a sugar high was much worse.

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