The beginning of the end

Tue 20 January 2004

The end is neigh! The beginning of the end is near - the Spring semester begins on Thursday. I'm taking a fairly light course load, but there's the classes I'm taking should be fairly intensive. (Note to self, update schedule) Graphics is gonna be cool; Cantrell has still been working on his spline based GLscreensaver. Now the splines are all glowy and wide.

Seems like I only update this page when I'm nearing the end of a cycle of debugging my desktop. This time around I've gotten SMB working, dug into the internals of iptables (the internet firewall / fitler for linux) and upgraded to a 2.6 kernel. A lot of people have said the preemptive stuff in 2.6 really helped desktop performance, but I haven't noticed any of that. I'll look at it more after I stop using Debian's provided kernel. I also moved the video drivers up to the latest version (and started using Debian's provided package). Looks like the internet ruminations were right on this one -- I get lower performance, hiccups and an annoying static on sound when programs do something somewhat video intensive, like openGL or full screen scrolling. Time to look into pinning the old drivers back. Also pointed out a minor bug in the Debian packages to the maintainer, he forgot to move a base package up to the new version when he moved the rest forward.

One and a half tons of stationary power

My brother, Cole, has been borrowing my car a lot lately, since his RX-7 has forgotten how to stop. This is a practice he'll be weened from when I leave tomorrow for school. He's looking to replace the brake booster now. The garage thought it was the master cylinder, but when he took it home to repair it, replacing it fixed nothing. Now he's repairing the power booster. Not that my car isn't a piece of crap. I'm still on my first car, some 6 years later. My roommate, Zack's been through several more than I, and my brother's already gone through one in his first year driving. He likes sporty cars -- his first was a CRX, a compact he made even more so after running into a SUV stopped in the middle of the road. Now he has an RX-7. The rotory idea is pretty cool, and I hear they're considering bringing it back if the RX-8 does ok in the market. So far its still on factory order. Myself, I'm more interested in some other engineering marvels. Hybrid electric cars are pretty nifty. Solid milage and they still move faster than my current car. Regenerative braking is cool, and theres all sorts of nifty things you can do with two different engines. The electric engine in the Prius functions as part of a continuously variable transmission, replaces the starter, is used to charge the batteries, and pitches in during high performance situations.

Dad really likes the hydrogen idea, but really hydrogen is just a liquid battery. Its nice in a modular energy design, but you still need a power source somewhere to create the fuel. And the distribution of hydrogen power is sort of a chicken and egg situation. If nobody buys a hydrogen powered car, there's no reason for stations to sell hydrogen. But very few would buy a hydrogen based car without a hydrogen source nearby. In theory, you could have a hydrogen generator plugged in your garage, but expect crazy energy bills, especially in the summer where the extra heat will seap into your air conditioned house. Hybrid electrics on the other hand, offer energy savings and build on an existing infrastructure. Yay hybrid!

Games

Picked up F Zero GX, a futuristic racer for the Gamecube. Very beautiful game, for the brief period in the learning curve where one looks for these things. I hope I can find an arcade cabinet with it soon, its very fun, and I'd love to see the arcade tracks. Someone has just released an initial beta of a gamecube Linux. Interesting stuff that I'd look into further if I had the tools. I'd need a special screwdriver to open the case, the rare ethernet adaptor to boot, and an image server. Lets just say Nintendo has their bases covered in preventing piracy. Unfortunately, this also makes it harder to run anything else on the Cube. This is part for the course in console systems however. You pay big bucks for the privledge of having hardware that is more functional (I hear the developer systems can read CD-Rs).

I also ordered Ikaruga from Best Buy for 20 dollars. Its gone from back ordered in 5 to 9 days to 30 days to 90!. If they don't have it and don't expect it in, they should have listed it that way. Wow this has been a long entry.

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