Five Years

As of today, I’ve been blogging for five years. Crazy.

Merry Christmas, everyone.


It’s December 20th. Winter. It’s 11:00 at night. It’s 65°F outside. Isn’t that ridiculous?


This has to be the funniest spam I’ve read in a while:

Hello, I am David Smith for Dailywillsupplies.We would like to buy computer accessories.Please can we have Pentium P4 3.0 775 pins computer processor?Or can you please tell us the brand of processors you have in stock and the price per unit of product.We are interested in buying in large quantity of 50 pcs,would like to have the quote for this product and also like to know the best form of payment for this transaction.We await your reply. Thank you. David SMith.

Interestingly, it was sent to my address, which I haven’t used for anything in over two years. I’m actually surprised it’s still active. I guess they forgot I left.

nVIDIA Hateage

nVIDIA has released the first driver in the 8xxx series for their video chipsets. The release notes look pretty sparse for a major build number jump. I was told that the issue with X eating 100% CPU would be fixed in this release, but it looks like it isn’t. I’m getting the same “Xid” messages in syslog, along with “NV(0): WAIT (…..)” messages in the X server log which I don’t believe had been appearing before. Unlike before, I can’t save the X session by killing and restarting xfwm4; I have to bring the entire X process down remotely.

I’ve disabled window drop shadows for the time being to see if that helps solve the problem. Update: It doesn’t.

I’m really getting sick and tired of this. nVIDIA appears incapable of releasing a stable driver set. I understand that 7.0 hasn’t been released yet, and Composite is new and experimental, but many other chipsets (such as the ATI Radeon Mobility 7500 in my laptop) work nice and stably with Composite and Exa enabled in the 7.0 release candidate. Just another data point in the huge mess of reasons why OSS is better than closed-source proprietary shit. I tried the OSS nv driver earlier, but simply moving a translucent window across half the screen took about 5 seconds. Not pleasant. I tried nv’s experimental Exa support, but it crashes the X server on startup. Oh well. If I knew more, I’d try to hack on it.

I’m seriously considering tossing this card and buying an ATI instead. At least they release partial specs so OSS devs can write accelerated 2D drivers, even if the 3D acceleration is still a bit of a mystery. If my little 4-year-old laptop can handle Composite, I’m sure a newer board can as well.

Alternatively, anybody know of a decent video chipset with stable OSS drivers with acceleration that can handle Composite, without breaking the bank?

Update: As ElAngelo points out, nvidia released a quick fix-up release to hopefully fix the problems I’m experiencing. So far so good. On a side note, with the old drivers, it seems that disabling fast writes and sideband addressing seems to help the problem quite a bit: I didn’t get a lockup for a couple days, vs. the usual couple hours.

Of Warts and Hogs

RavenclawWhich Hogwarts house will you be sorted into?

Your in-depth results are: Ravenclaw - 12 Gryffindor - 11 Slytherin - 10 Hufflepuff - 8

I Love perl

Sleeping is lame! Instead, I added perl bindings for libxfce4panel to xfce4-perl. This means people can write plugins for the Xfce panel in perl. Yeah, I think it’s pretty awesome too.

This is really my one accomplishment for the weekend, aside from getting an oil change for my car and buying groceries.

My Poor Overheating Computer

Ever since I added a fifth hard drive to my computer, along with a higher-end video card (some of those higher-end features of which I’m now actually using), my machine has been overheating a bit, to the point that it sometimes locks up while performing long compiles. Not fun.

I’ve had my current computer case (affectionately named UPOS, aka Ugly Piece Of Shit) for over six years now. Despite having been around computers for a long time before that, it was the first computer that I built, as all the ones I had played with previously had been machines my dad had brought home from work. Anyway, my dad and I didn’t really know as much as we should have about building a computer, and our extensive research left out a rather important piece of the pie: the case. And so, we went for something relatively cheap, which, as it turns out, had terrible cooling and noise characteristics. To install a usable fan in the front of the case, we ended up cutting holes in the sheet metal and plastic bezel. Originally, I also “modded” the 5.25” drive bay bezel to hold a smaller fan in the drive bay. Eventually, after I added a second CD-RW drive, I had to remove the extra fan. At that point in time, I still only had one or two hard drives, so it wasn’t a terribly big deal.

Now, I have five hard drives and a single DVD-RW drive, taking up all of the bays. The interior is rather cramped, and all but one of the PCI slots are filled. The power supply is also a larger model than the one in it before.

So, I bit the bullet today (it was tasty) and ordered a new Antec P180 case. It’s pretty awesome. It has more drive bays than I currently need, and is constructed in such a way to deal with common thermal problems, and also to reduce noise levels. While I’ve gotten used to my relatively-noisy PC in my bedroom over the past 6 years, it’ll be nice to reduce that a bit. I’m not totally thrilled with the front-panel cover, as I always feel like they’re unnecessary and just get in the way, but I guess I really don’t use the DVD drive often enough for it to be annoying. Since it’s pretty heavy, I opted for the longest, cheapest shipping method, so unfortunately it probably won’t be here for about a week and a half, but fortunately it’ll be here before I leave for Maryland.

It belatedly occurs to me that I could have asked for this as a Christmas present and saved myself $150. Oh well.

Fun With Jogging

Fun things that happened during my jog tonight:

  1. I forgot about left-turning cars and the green left arrow, and almost got run over. It’s amazing how fast you can run when there are cars coming straight at you and they don’t look like they’re slowing down.

  2. I saw a tall Asian dude walking down the sidewalk smoking a joint. Weird.

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