Posted by Deliverator on August 26th, 2005
My entries here have become a little less frequent than I would like. I haven’t fallen off the map entirely, but have simply been dealing with too many mundane things right now that haven’t felt worthy of a dedicated entry. So, I will try and address them all in one fell swoop.
- Been very busy the last few weeks with work. Much of the work has been due to fallout from the recent worms that have been making the rounds. These worms have been bad enough as to make mainstream media outlets take notice (mainly because all their computers start crashing). Helping people deal with viruses is amongst the work that I dislike the most, usually because I am dealing with people who don’t head my advice as to how to secure themselves and are too stingey to do any level of preventative maintenance. In general, these are the sort of people that drive their cars until they break..and then bitch..rather than changing the oil once in a while… About the only thing that interests me about this sort of work is that I often encounter previously undocumented viruses/spyware. The sheer volume of predatory software coming out every month is astounding. The antivirus/antispy companies are most definitely not keeping up with the onslaught.
- My cousin Carolyn is running, swimming and biking in her second Ironman race this weekend up in Canada. That someone can bike a hundred miles, run a marathon and swim several miles in one day is astounding enough. Carolyn finished with a very low time for her age/experience level at last year’s Ironman Idaho. I don’t know what her goals are for this one (never having understood the motivation), but I assume she is pushing for an even better time this race, as she has subjected herself to a particularly brutal training schedule these last months. I wish her luck! There will be coverage of the event online, including video (for those with good broadband connections).
- The mini-itx media center is having difficulties with some of the more processor-intense codecs. The motherboard is only a 600 mhz VIA Epia, which with the Epia’s weak floating point unit makes it perform more like a PII-300 when used for media intensive applications. I might take a stab at adding some fans and overclocking the processor a bit. I don’t think I will need to overclock the processor much, as the problem mainly manifests itself in dropped frames and audio/video desynch. I could transcode the video server side and feed it to the media center box in a less processor intensive format using Videolan, but part of the problem with the high CPU load during playback is due to the use of a USB Wifi card. It might be a good time to invest in a 802.11g bridging mode AP and a PCI Wifi card. This would offer improved transfer speeds and lower cpu utilization. I feel this will be a better long-term solution than simply swapping out the motherboard for a faster one.
- Went to a surplus sale held by the school district at International’s old site. I was hoping to acquire a mill that I noticed on the item list for the TRC. Teachers are supposed to be able to freely recquisition items for their use, but I guess Brad (TRC’s faculty advisor) wasn’t able to get to it. When I arrived (and I was there from the moment the doors opened to the public), it already had a sold sticker on it with a name of Jeff Somebody. A pity, as it looked to be very serviceable and had a port for computer control. Other than the mill, there wasn’t much the peaked my interest. There was quite a lot of computer equipment on the list, but it all turned out to be total rubbish.
- Increased my land holdings in Second Life to 4608 square meters from 2560 square meters. I can now model complex items to my heart’s content with the extra server resources that the additional land grants me. I started by adding some much improved scripted (locking) doors and one-way, tint-adjustable windows to my virtual house, added “ice fishing” to my frozen over Koi pond and played around with xytext, a high prim (uses up a lot of server resources) notecard reader system. I will probably model the ROV that the TRC is building and maybe last year’s FRC entry, Tyr, as modelling challenges. Now that I have resources far in excess of my actual needs, I will have to be mindful of the urge to go “prim happy.”
- Stopped by Fry’s and picked up number of little goodies, including a glidepoint touchpad for use with my auxilary desktop. Now that I have my auxilary system on my desk, instead of under it, I have much less desk space. A touchpad is really optimum for the way I use this system, as I don’t play games on it, and a touchpad takes up much less space and requires less space for hand travel. I also picked up a two-port micro KVM (with integral cables) from Belkin. I haven’t liked the reliability or clutter of most consumer KVM units, but I have heard good things about the chipsets used in these, so will give this one a shot.
- One of the Konfabulator widget that I have found myself glancing at most often is CScrape, which shows you a more or less live feed of posting made to Craigslist. I got lucky the other day when a nice guy named Thomas Hargrove decided to partake in a little geek recycling (Matt W. has coined this “freecycling”). Tom gave me a number of parts from an old car-computer system that he tore out of a car he was selling. The parts included a Lilliput 7″ SVGA touch-screen like that used in my carputer and an Ampie case. This is a neat little mini-itx case designed to look like (and mount like) a car amplifier. It came with a nice DC-DC power supply, as well. I will have to rummage through my discarded gadget bins in the next few days and see what I can offer up freely to pass the spirit along.