May 2004

Hardware instability

Saturday, May 29th, 2004

Well, I’m annoyed now. My hardware’s been unstable since the start of the summer. In WinXP I experience random BSOD on mysterious STOP codes like 0x0000008E and 0x0000007E (which are like page faults and unhandled system thread exceptions). I’m suspecting bad RAM. I pulled out one of my memory cards and left 3DMark03 running in loop, and indeed the computer still crashed. I have the other RAM DIMM out and will do the same kinda test to see what happens. If this crashes as well, the only thing I have left to suspect is this damn AIW 8500DV, which’ll be out of here soon anyway.

I hate stuff like this.

Leadtek Winfast A360 (GeForce FX5700)

Friday, May 28th, 2004

So, I decided I’m going to move away from my ATI hardware (an 8500DV AIW) and on to a cheap GeForce card by Leadtek. According to reviews, my 3D performance should increase significantly (from 1000 3DMarks with my current card to ~3500), and this way I should be able to use the Nvidia Linux drivers which are all the rave lately. Frankly I’m tired of ATI’s piss-poor graphics support for Linux.

The other thing is that now I will move my TV capture to a separate card in the PCI slot. A Hauppauge WinTV PVR Media Center Edition (MCE) 250 is my current choice. What’s nice is that then I’ll also get the capture functionality in Linux, which I’ve been missing with my ATI card.

The only thing I fear is that the Leadtek’s fan won’t fit in my Ecube because the AGP slot is near the side panel. But if that happens I’ll RMA to NewEgg.


Sunday, May 23rd, 2004

About a year ago, I bought a commercial version of Debian from a Canadian company called Libra Systems. It’s called Libranet, and it’s become pretty popular. Basically, it is a 2-CD distro that gets you up-and-running with a Debian sarge system in no time. Pretty soon, Libranet may be obsolete what with the debian-installer efforts and better and better configuration tools being released for free, but I’m still thankful for a commercial Debian distro that gets out of your way and allows you to get up and running with ease, and all the while maintaining 100% compatibility with the official Debian branches. I have since upgraded to sid without a problem, and even run Gnome 2.6 from experimental. All of this upgrading has never been met with problems, despite the custom packages produced by the Libranet maintainers.

In any event, libranet-archive is a project that is not entirely mine. Someone on the libranet mailing list (a great place to get general Debian Linux help) said that he had made archives of the mailing list from February 2001 to December 2003. So I opted to host them on my server. You can view the libranet-archive here. I plan on continuing his effort by turning my mboxes of the libranet mailing list since December 2003 into html using the same tool, MHonArc. For now, though, this may be useful for people searching for answers to the questions.


Sunday, May 23rd, 2004
Daily Reads

Other Blogs

Projects I’d Like to Work On

  • Glade-3 UI Designer: This is the only real tool out there for designing GTK+ interfaces without resorting to pure-source design. Development has stagnated a bit, but there are some good ideas for the rewrite which is in CVS right now (Glade-3). I am sure if I spent some time hacking it, I could make serious usability improvements and make it a more viable tool; I’ve played with the CVS checkout and although it’s a complete rewrite in terms of internals, the UI design approach is about the same. I think we can do better, and I think this is probably the best project for me to hack if I want to really learn GTK/Glib/GObject. I’ve heard that Dan Wither is working on a GUI designer for C#/GTK# called Stetic, but he hasn’t released anything. I think I’d want a good GTK+ designer first, and then we could make it work with C#, too. Since Glade-3 is a rewrite, this seems like a viable suggestion.
  • Galeon: a tabbed. mozilla-based web browser that is fully integrated into GNOME, is lean, and has a shitload of awesome features I can hardly live without. I have a few ideas for new, useful features I could add.
  • Gnome-Vim: this makes vim a bonobo component so it could be used in other Gnome apps, like anjuta, evolution or even nautilus.
  • Nautilus: the GNOME file browser and graphical shell. I’d like to work on Nautilus’ plug-in architecture, and maybe even write a plug-in or two.
  • GTK+: a toolkit for writing GUI apps in C, I’d like to delve into its internals and focus on hacking toward fixing speed issues (particularly, responsiveness and redrawing, the two things that take the most complaints from “usability experts” coming from other desktop environments).

Fun Stuff

New design

Thursday, May 20th, 2004

So, I spent a little bit of time to get a new design going on this site. Basically put back together CuteNews 1.31 and coded some nice-looking stylesheets to go with the site. I also had to learn a little PHP for modifying CuteNews and also for simplifying the layout of the site (the header and footer are componentized, and the header has a little php code behind it so that it figures out what page you are on and chooses which images to write to HTML based on that information).

The reason I came back to this site is that I plan on working on a lot of projects this summer, and hopefully I’ll be disciplined enough to document my efforts here. We’ll see how that goes.