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Letters to the World » General

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Letters to the World


Making my Mac a bit more Feisty

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 8:43 pm

On a whim, I decided to give the PPC build of Ubuntu Linux ‘Feisty Fawn’ a whirl on my G4 Powerbook tonight. Only using the live CD right now, as I’m going to need to do a bit of spring summer cleaning to clear off enough space on my internal hard drive.

But anyway, I’m liking what I’ve found so far with the live CD alone.

Compiz (or, as Ubuntu refers to it in its user-friendly GUI, “Desktop Effects”) works straight out of the box on the PowerBook’s Radeon 9700, with no additional package or driver downloading necessary. Yay for fancy 3D desktop cubes and wobbly windows. (Hey, I’m an easily entertained ADDer…)

WiFi doesn’t quite work out of the box, thanks to Broadcom’s reluctance to open-source their cards’ firmware. But with the bcm43xx-fwcutter package saved to a USB stick and a firmware file copied over from the OS X partition, it connects quite nicely, even just using the live CD. I’m running off of the built-in AirPort card in Linux as I type this right now.

I may have to clear off some disk space to officially install this alongside OS X. Runs even better here than it does on the six-year-old Gateway laptop that I’ve been playing around with the i386 build on. Not to mention that the Gateway’s video card is way too out-of-date to run any sort of fancy graphical effects (yes, this is really the first big chance I’ve gotten to actually play with Compiz; I’m so behind the times).

(It’s a shame, though, that Adobe won’t release a Linux-PPC version of Flash Player, and only choose to do so for i386. Puts a bit of a damper on web surfing, what with all the Flash-heavy sites out there these days…)


Yet another for the ‘euonym’ file

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 5:10 pm

Truly the best name for a musician I’ve ever seen, from this Atlanta Journal-Constitution article about the Duluth High School orchestra: Misol Do. (It’s even a major triad, at that!)


A major record label finally has some sense…

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 9:53 am

Whoa. Remember all that speculation about EMI Records selling unencrypted music downloads? Turns out, they really were serious. They’ll be selling DRM-free MPEG-4 audio files at 256 kbps, as well as DRM-free music videos, via the iTunes store. The catch is that the unprotected audio files will cost an additional 30¢ (videos will remain at the same price), but that’s a small price to pay for tunes that will work on any MPEG-4-compatible player (and that can be easily converted for use on any other).

So when’s this going to be offered? The Unofficial Apple Weblog reports that this will begin some time in May.

A reasonable decision from an RIAA label… you’d think this was some sort of April Fool, but nope, it’s real. Color me amazed. (And now I’m really wondering when the Beatles catalog will be added; they are, after all, on an EMI label…)


Talking about the weather, for a change

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 1:20 pm

It’s a week before April even starts. Yet it’s already 82°F outside. Something just doesn’t seem right here.


Am I just cursed with bad luck?

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 1:47 pm

It seems that today, the trackpad on my PowerBook has decided to randomly stop working.

I’m hoping this is only a temporary thing, but neither cleaning the pad nor rebooting seems to have fixed it. At least the system works with an external mouse…

Grr. I hope I don’t have to ship this thing off for service again.

Edited 2:27pm to add: And suddenly it’s working again (though it intermittently thinks I have two fingers down rather than one). Maybe it was just excessively moist or something?


Truly a ‘Cody moment’ if there ever was one…

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 1:06 am

Note to self: Do not leave a duffel bag lying by the heater in the bedroom for a span of several months. Very Bad Things will happen when one does this. Like parts of the bag turning from black to a strange orange-ish shade. Or one of the handles literally falling off.

Seriously, what was I thinking here? I swear, I have no common sense sometimes.

At least the bag is still un-warped enough to actually close…


One less reason to upgrade to Vista

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 1:17 am

Ooh. From the Global Nerdy blog, found via del.icio.us: The free PowerPoint 2007 viewer includes the six new font families designed for Windows Vista. It can be downloaded from Microsoft’s site here.

Nice. Particularly given that the installer is a self-extracting .cab that can also be extracted on Mac OS and Linux, and indeed, there’s nothing in the license that prevents an installation of the fonts on those operating systems. ::switches his default monospaced font to Consolas::


A major self-esteem boost: programming?!

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 11:05 pm

My self-esteem had been going down a bit with all the stress from class assignments, but I’ve just had it restored.

I just ported a genetic algorithm from JGAP to GAlib in approximately five hours, having barely even looked at the GAlib code before this afternoon.

(For the curious, this was not merely as a personal challenge, though it sort of ended up being one in the end; it was because the program, a grueling gamut of 1023 different values for a variable in the objective function, run 10 times each, under 1440 different combinations of GA parameters— yes, that’s 14,731,200 executions of the algorithm— was going much slower than I had anticipated.)

Edited 2006/02/24: Why the heck did I type ‘jgap.org’ for the link to that package? I knew the site was hosted at SourceForge. Thanks to Silon for pointing out that mistake…

Edited further to add: Just for completeness’ sake, I figured out why I typed the link wrong originally. The package in which JGAP’s classes are contained is named org.jgap, which would imply that the developers owned the domain jgap.org, according to Java package naming conventions. Except that they don’t. Now I’m wondering why they chose that package name…


My brain and I just do not get along.

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 8:41 pm

OK, so the Jeopardy! contestant test was being held on Jeopardy’s web site at 8:00 tonight.

So I logged in 30 minutes ahead of time, just like they suggested, and left the window for it in the background so that I could come back to it when it was actually time to start.

Yep, you guessed it… by the time 8:00 actually struck, I totally forgot I even had the window open. By the time I remembered I was supposed to be taking the test, it was already over.

I am such a scatterbrain… -_-;;


The Mac came back

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 2:08 pm

My PowerBook has returned to me, now with working power.

I am happy.

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