Monday, December 17, 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007

It is possible the music you listen to affects your perception of the wine you drink.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16372623#guide

I've got to try this for myself!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Despite the gratification which comes with receiving a "No misspellings found" message from the spell-checker two posts in a row, I have no confidence in my writing. This primarily comes from my lack of confidence in my ability to properly use commas, semicolons, colons, parentheses, "i.e."s, "ex."s, dashes, hyphens, ellipses, et ceteras, etc.

Oh, and I am humbled after the spellcheck catches my misspelling "primarily" as "primarilly". When will I learn? I routinely make that mistake.

I have made attempts at reducing the usage of contractions from my writing, albeit unnecessary. I'm not a purist of any sort. Also, I have been paying close attention to how I use the words "this" and "that" - mostly the latter. In many instances "that" can be removed without affecting the grammar of a sentence, and in many other instances can be replaced for clarity.

Examples:
"Did I tell you that I went to the store with Nick?"
"Did I tell you I went to the store with Nick?"

"I like the one that has the red stripes."
"I like the one which has the red stripes."

"I believe that this is the only way to live." (Oh God, save us from this grammar!)
"I believe that/this is the only way to live." (Depends upon where/when the description of "the only way to live" occurred.)

I don't think there is anything wrong with the first two examples, but the alternatives are far more pleasing to the eyes & ears. The third is simply disgusting, and I am guilty of using that (proper usage!) construct in conversation.

Forgive me. I have hit the point at which I can no longer think straight. At this (proper usage!) point I should really go to bed. Goodnight.
Forget all this talk of dieting; I have come up with a simpler plan.

I will no longer eat fast food, I will have no more than one 'snack' per day, I will exercise daily and during free time, and I will drink as much water as possible.

This is a plan I know I can stick to, and I won't have to jump through hoops to do so. I want to look good and feel good for Linnea's sake and for my own. I might even pick up some whey protein in order to bulk up in areas other than my belly.

I find it important to note I do not consider myself fat, nor do I have a negative self-image. I simply desire to live healthier and to make better and consistent decisions for my long-term well-being. If I did have a negative self-image I would be a slave to my body; it is vastly more important for my body to be a slave to my will.
A friend of mine has set for himself the very achievable goal of no longer owning a car. In his estimation he only leaves town at most twice per month, and can easily walk, bike, or ride the bus/taxi to run his daily errands.

Cost of owning a car:
Fuel - $50-100/month
Insurance - $50-$100/month (depending up marital status, driving history, type of insurance, age, etc.)
Maintenance - $0-$300/month

Taking a guess for the median, the average monthly cost of car ownership, assuming the car has been paid for in full, is ~$200-$300.

Cost of using alternative transportation and renting when needed:
Fuel - $0-$50/month (refueling rental vehicle given my friend's driving habits)
Insurance - $0/month
Car rental - $0-100/month
Bus - $0/month (students ride for free, but the cost for non-students isn't exactly high)
Taxi - $10-$30/month (students ride for $1-$2 depending upon time of day)
Bike - $0/month
Walking - $0/month

Once again, taking a guess for the median, the average monthly cost of alternative transportation for a student is ~$95/month. I imagine it is in the range of ~$150-$200 for non-students.

That's a ~$100-$200 gap for students, which further widens if the car has not been paid for in full (required full coverage insurance plus monthly car payment). In a single year, that is $1200-$2400. That's a free vacation to the exotic location of your choice.

In Linnea's and my case this simply is not possible: Linnea commutes 60+ miles round-trip every weekday, and if we moved closer to her work I would need to commute every day to school. However, this is a goal worth working towards. In the mean time I'm doing what I can to head off the maintenance costs by performing repairs on my own. We will also be reducing the coverage on the vehicle from full coverage to liability, which should result in significant savings. Linnea is also doing what she can by hooking up with other people for ride-sharing, which helps cover some fuel and maintenance costs.

I strongly encourage everyone to do the math with their driving habits, and to consider the benefits of a less car-dependent lifestyle. We haven't even discussed the environmental, physical, and social benefits, but even the weakest of imaginations should be able to explore the idea further without prompting.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I've begun a new experiment at http://cardumb.blogspot.com.

The idea is this: I'm basically stupid when it comes to cars. I've never changed my own oil, and the most significant thing I've ever done is to swap a blown tire for a spare.

All of that is changing. The rules go like this: I have to fix the problem so long as the tools cost less than the labor to have someone else do it, factoring in my ability to locate replacement parts for lesser cost than the shop charges.

The goal is simple. I intend to learn more about the function of an engine, and the systems which keep a car running smoothly. I also intend to save a metric ton of money on the cost of repairs with the trade-off being my time. Since the knowledge I gain will be of use in the future, the time spent now is well worth it in the long run.

I doubt the blog will ever be popular, but this is not the intent. That would be to document the learning process; to show how simple or difficult it is for a car dunce like myself to become an adequate mechanic, and to determine what resources are helpful as part of that process.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Not much inspires me, but when I find something which does I pay very close attention to it in order to see what I can learn.

Right now, I have my ears trained on Animal Collective, and more specifically the live show recently posted to the NPR All Songs Considered Live Concert Series. There are only a handful of songs within this show that really grab my hair with one hand and punch my face with the other - but they punch hard. If you have never listened to Animal Collective, do yourself a favor by at least downloading the show at http://www.npr.org/liveconcerts (or, more specifically, at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14564305).

If songs like "House" (formerly "Material Things") and "Leaf House" don't rattle your brain into a highly energized state, I can't even begin to guess what might possibly do the trick for you.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Evidently J.K. Rowling has stated the "Dumbledore" character from her book series is gay. She is calling it a "prolonged argument for tolerance."

I would like to note that I have neither read any of her books, nor do I intend to read them, nor do I think they will be remembered in 100 years as great literature. Now, let's think critically about her announcement:
  1. If nobody picked up on the evidently completely lacking subtext that Dumbledore is gay, can it possibly matter?
  2. If his being gay is not a plot point, what function does announcing this *outside* the context of character development serve? Does she need some explanation for a totally shocking and out-of-character gay orgy in her next novel?
  3. Since Dumbledore is a fictional character, why would anyone care whether or not he is gay? If Bambi is a transsexual deer, does it matter?
  4. How is this supposed to teach people who disagree with a gay sexual lifestyle tolerance? I'm especially thinking of the Christian right, who might pose an argument like, "If you don't find out that someone is a murderer until you've known and liked them for a long time, does it unmake them guilty of murder?"
  5. If being gay is part of his character, wouldn't it have been helpful for the actor who plays Dumbledore to know this before making the movies that have been made? Ponder this phrase: "What's my motivation?" This leads me to believe the author is just pulling things out of a sunless crevice in order to stay within the media spotlight.
No matter how many pop books or astonishingly yawn-able character developments she hacks, she will never be remembered like Tolkien.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

First the serious (nerdy) bits:

The firmware loading for the DWL-650 Rev P1 can (and should) be pulled out of the /etc/network/interfaces file and made into a udev rule. This is the preferred way to load firmware. With the firmware loading pulled out of the interfaces file, you are free to configure your adapter using Network Manager without hosing your network configuration. In my case, my udev file is

/etc/udev/rules.d/85-hostap-firmware.rules

# 85-hostap-firmware.rules - udev rules for loading firmware for hostap-driven network adapters

# DWL-650 Rev. P1
PROGRAM="/bin/uname -r"

KERNEL=="wlan0", SUBSYSTEM=="net", ATTRS{modalias}=="pcmcia:m000Bc7110f06fn00pfn00pa1A424A1Cpb6EA57632pcDD97A26Bpd56B21F52", \
RUN+="/usr/sbin/prism2_srec -gs wlan0 /lib/firmware/$result/prism2-pm010102.hex"
KERNEL=="wlan0", SUBSYSTEM=="net", ATTRS{modalias}=="pcmcia:m000Bc7110f06fn00pfn00pa1A424A1Cpb6EA57632pcDD97A26Bpd56B21F52", \
RUN+="/usr/sbin/prism2_srec -gp wlan0 /lib/firmware/$result/prism2-pm010102.hex"
KERNEL=="wlan0", SUBSYSTEM=="net", ATTRS{modalias}=="pcmcia:m000Bc7110f06fn00pfn00pa1A424A1Cpb6EA57632pcDD97A26Bpd56B21F52", \
RUN+="/usr/sbin/prism2_srec -rp wlan0 /lib/firmware/$result/prism2-rf010804.hex"
As you will hopefully note, the firmware files should be placed in /lib/firmware/(kernel version)/, and in my case are renamed to prism2-pm010102.hex and prism2-010804.hex. The files can be named anything, so long as the udev rule points to the correct files. You will need to remember to copy these firmware files to the new directory created every time a kernel upgrade comes down the pipe. I have a feature request in to include this udev rule and the firmware as part of the restricted drivers package, and have had correspondence regarding this.

Now, on to less serious (but not exactly less nerdy) topics:

HOLY CRAP, the B-52s songs are LOADED with sexual innuendo! I was listening to the "Cosmic Thing" album way back in '89-'91 and was far too young to pick up what most of the lyrics were actually saying. Here's an example (from "Bushfire"):

On the horizon, the landscape's burning red
Bushfire---smoke in your eyes... smoke in your eyes
If you feel something, that makes you warm all over
If you got a fire and you can't put it out---got a bushfire

Rolling through a field of molten flowers
Burning in a field of molten flowers
There's a bushfire---there's a bushfire burning---yeah

Bushfire! Bushfire! Bushfire!

My mind's been going places without me lately
I need your arms to take me down, take me to the ground
But I hold back! Get away from the heat
Hold back! In my field of vision
Hold back! Baby burning---fire

Fire in a field of molten flowers,
Fire in a field of molten flowers
There's a bushfire burning---yeah.
You better hold back! Hold back!

Bushfire! Bushfire! Bushfire!

Well I'm movin' to the beat of a big bushfire
I'm dancin' to the beat of a big bushfire
And the flames are warm and getting brighter

Well everybody loves to dance around the heat and fire
Oh lightnin' strike twice
Hey everybody bask in the afterglow---Bushfire
Naked light shining over my bed, been lying here too long
I need your arms to take me down, take me to the ground

But I hold back---get away from the heat!
Hold back! In my field of vision
Hold back! I see smoke---smoke in your eyes

Bushfire! Bushfire! Bushfire!
The landscape's burning, red hot
If that isn't about hot sex, I don't know what is.

-sin613

P.S. - The "Cosmic Thing" album is one of my favorite albums. Some day I will cover "Deadbeat Club" and everyone will love it... but only an elite few will know it wasn't an original tune.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

To the kind Russian gent who thinks he is me: I most assuredly did not forget my password.

Thank you.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

For anyone out there with an Audiovox 8910 who wish they could run J2ME MIDlets: there is (potentially) hope.

For those familiar with this phone, you already know that it's not an amazing device. It's actually quite the opposite: a very drab, boring, feature poor phone. But there are some nice things about it: you don't need to worry about it being stolen, some models run J2ME MIDlets, the camera is decent, and they're so cheap they aren't worth stealing.

Oh yeah, and because they were so popular, there is quite a bit of information to be found out there on thems intarwebs.

Now, on to the J2ME stuffs: I'm hard at work extracting the firmware from a Bell Mobility branded 8910, which supports MIDP 1.0 MIDlets.

I have the phone in question working on Alltel's phone network with one exception: WAP. Unlike most other models of this phone, the Bell Mobility model does not allow WAP username/password changes through use of ##20022002(END). To complicate matters further, none of the /nvm/nvm/ files can be replaced with either QPST (Qualcomm Product Support Tool) or BitPim. Neither can the CUPST (Curitel Product Support Tool) be used to change the username/password: the tool locks up when you try.

I saw a glimmer of hope when I found that QXDM (Qualcomm eXtensible Diagnostics Monitor?) was capable of displaying - and evidently allowing direct edits to - the firmware. Now remember that username/password settings should be stored in NVRAM, not the firmware, *but* settings to restore to a "default" state could potentially exist in the firmware.

The current problem that I have is QXDM's inability to display more than 256 bytes of the phone's memory at a time. That brings us to our next piece of software: CDMA Workshop. It's going to take ~7 hours to dump the full 16MB (128Mb) of phone memory, but it should be a perfect copy of Bell Mobility's firmware - a firmware I had previously not been able to find anywhere on the Internet, and one of two firmwares (Virgin Mobile's being the other) capable of running J2ME MIDlets. I will put this somewhere online and post a link ASAP.

If I am correct regarding the storage of a default username/password, I should be
able to locate the correct memory location and make the appropriate edit directly to the phone's memory using QXDM. I will keep you updated on that, as well.

A final note: one with a trained eye may spot the firmware size and say "16MB? All other firmwares are 9MB or less!" Yes, you are correct, but all 8910s have 16MB of memory. I am being thorough, even if it isn't needed.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Smooth move, Swiffer.

There is a Swiffer(tm) commercial which takes place in a courtroom. Here is the best I can muster for dialog re-creation:

Woman: I walked into the kitchen and the evidence was everywhere!
Lawyer: Can you please point to the defendant?
Woman: Yes! (points at a broom "sitting" at the defense table)

Think about this for a second: "Can you please point to the defendant?" I would hope that anyone in a court of law would be capable of pointing to the defendant.

Swiffer, I hope you didn't pay much for that commercial.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Stephanie Peterson.

In my dreams, location plays a prominent role. Architecture is significant, the lay of the land sticks out in my mind. On occasion, though, the place neither matters nor sticks out in my memory. It is in these dreams that feelings tend to play a more crucial role. Last night I had one of these few-and-far-between dreams.

REALITY: In 7th grade (or grade 7, if you're from up north) I sat next to Stephanie Peterson in Algebra I. This was the 'advanced placement' class for those of us that didn't suck at math. Neither Stephanie nor I really had any friends in the class with us, so when students paired up for checking work or collectively solving problems we tended to end up together. She was quiet and very reserved - I could never really tell what she thought of me. But I liked her. Not romantically, though - I liked who she was. We were never really 'friends', not even 'acquaintances' by any stretch of the imagination. I don't believe I have ever had a real conversation with her, mainly because there was nothing to talk about and she wasn't one for small talk. A year or two after high school was the last time I saw her. I have heard since then she's living communally, growing organic foods and such. I really have no idea whether that is true.

DREAM: I won't dwell on details, but the gist is that Stephanie Peterson was the primary person I was interacting with. We had a real conversation, closed with an embrace. When I woke up, I had the sense that I just had a very important conversation with a long-lost friend. The embrace left me with a strong sense of closure and in a very comforted state of mind.

Stephanie Peterson is not a name that crosses my mind very often, so now I am curious as to whether there is a reason for her showing up in a dream.

Presently on my mind: math, chess, purchasing books for school.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

This post will likely bore you to death, so unless that's the kind of thing you are into you might want to skip it.

Personal reinstall procedure:
1. Install firmware and hostap-utils for wireless adapter and configure for use with AP
2. Install midisport firmware package (automatically installs fxload)
3. Install Rosegarden (import studio configuration), VLC, DeVeDe, Audacity, and 'Restricted Extras'
4. Install BitPim, Wine, ntfs-3g and ntfs-utils
5. Enable System Monitor applet
6. Install BRWC200
7. Setup printer
8. Test instruction set for enabling DRI for Mach64
9. Set home pages in Firefox: gmail.com | reader.google.com
10. Import Pidgin settings OR regroup contacts
11. Enable additional repositories (Google's Linux repo, mainly)
12. Install atitvout package & test
13. ?

TODO from prior backup:
1. Import bookmarks
2. Restructure home folder
3. ?
apathy. make believe enemies.
i concede there's more than me.
please, body, do something.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Ape 17 is in constant danger.

Many years ago, 17 apes were plucked from their mothers' arms for diabolic experimentation in the laboratory of the seemingly evil, yet seemingly good-natured white-coat, Dr. Strem.

For years these caged animals fought against their captors through every manner of biting hands and flinging whatever flingables on which they could lay their hands. With the passage of time, some of the apes began to disappear. There was speculation they were being systematically biologically tampered with for some seemingly evil purpose, but no solid proof. But one thing was certain: the apes were dying.

Rest assured, though, that ape 17 stays quite alive for the duration of our story. However, quite to our dismay, apes 1-16 must pass before ape 17 is able to make his daring escape.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

just answer the question.

and stop stomping around and slamming doors.

i don't care if you're on the rag, you're an adult.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I hadn't even noticed that I was staring while she took our order.

"I remember someone who smiled like that," I thought to myself, "she's not smiling for tips, but because she really is cheerful. Shana?"

Shana Jensen was one of the few people from high school years that I could never forget, and not due to having had a hormone-induced interest in her. She really was nice, in the largest sense of the word. I imagined her strolling through the forest singing to the birds landing on her fingers and arms, with every wild creature gathering around her in eager anticipation for what she would do or say next. I had convinced myself that, had she stopped smiling, the earth itself would not be able to avoid feeling what sadness she must be feeling. She had no enemies, and I couldn't fathom anyone disliking her. She was graceful. She was amazing. I was convinced that it was all because of her smile.

She left the table.

I noted to Dan that our waitress looked very much like she could very well be related to the Jensens in Crookston, to which he agreed. Jarrod and Nick confessed that they had not even looked at her while she took our order. I began to speculate that perhaps she was a younger sister or cousin to Shana.

"Well, I think I will just ask her if she is related and that will be that. She just looks too much like a Jensen," I stated.

She returned to the table with our drinks and that same pleasant smile.

"Excuse me," I blurted, "but are you by any chance related to the Jensens from Crookston?"

In a way most indescribable, her wide and sincere smile became even wider and more sincere.

"I am Shana Jensen!" she laughed. "I didn't know whether or not you had recognized me!"

Unbelievable. It really is possible to have an unforgettable smile.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The final verdict on support for the D-Link DWL-650 Rev. P1 in Ubuntu 7.10 "Gutsy Gibbon" Tribe 1 is in. Everything works like a charm.

There are a couple things you will need to do in order to have your card fully functional. First, you *will* need the firmware available at http://www.red-bean.com/~proski/firmware/ (just download latest-prism.tar.bz2 and extract pm010102.hex and rf010804.hex). I would recommend putting the files in /lib/firmware (in my case, I've put them in /lib/firmware/dwl-650).

With the firmware in place, edit /etc/network/interfaces like so:

...
auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
fw_primary /lib/firmware/dwl-650/pm010102.hex
fw_secondary /lib/firmware/dwl-650/rf010804.hex
...


The final yet very important step is to install hostap-utils. From a terminal type:

sudo apt-get install hostap-utils
That should be it! Now reboot, and your card should light on up. Networks should appear in the Network Manager, assuming there are some to connect to.

If you have any problems, first check to make sure hostap_cs is loading by running lsmod, then check to make sure your card is being recognized by running lspcmcia. If everything seems okay, try blacklisting the orinoco_cs module.
Tonight I am upgrading to Ubuntu 7.10a1, better known as Gutsy Gibbon Tribe 1.

The very first thing to note is that the D-Link DWL-650 Rev. P1 works. Now, I'm being careful with my wording here because it doesn't "just work", it just "works". Catch that? I will still need to download the firmware mentioned in a prior post and do some other configuration, but the hostap_cs.ko module in Linux kernel 2.6.22 does not need to be edited to support this card. It works.

Second thing to note is that the installer is taking forever to do its thing. Yay, Live CD! I had thought about doing an upgrade install, but a full install is just so "clean", not to mention much faster.

Once I've got this upgrade performed I will be eliminating a desktop I've had set up for quite some time and parting it out with the help of Google Products & Checkout. As an aside, I would recommend checking those services out since they will eventually replace EBay. I'm not joking.

More will follow the upgrade.

Monday, March 26, 2007

the verbs:

hey kid, broken jaw
never did anything for ya
hey man, broken gun
still stuck practicing a failed religion

it's a - 12 more to miles city
another 320 to dodge
10 more jobs and 3 more ladies
gettin' paid and gettin' laid
it's a - back down, you forget
that those footprints there are mine
the verbs, man, the verbs
showin' some self respect
no more doin' time

hey man, wealth in hand
never did anything for ya
hey man, a means to an end
10 alone while the protest's rollin'

it's a - bang! bang! you crossed my tracks
american dream, flag burnin' supreme
i got my peace, the verbs, i'll show ya
it's a - no fuzz, we put 'em down
put ourselves up on the soap now
you bow down to the bullhorn sound
i'm the law, i'm the law, i'll show ya

it's a - 4 more to miles city
another 312 to dodge
it's a - process man, a process
slowly the verbs replace the law

hey kid
hey kid
hey kid

-single

Monday, February 26, 2007

i win again.

i am presently online via wireless using a DWL-650 Rev P in Ubuntu Linux 7.04 Feisty Fawn Herd 4 (isn't that a mouthful).

first and foremost, hostap_cs.ko needs to be modified as per my previous post. this can be fixed via source, but if you're lazy like me you'd prefer a thirty second hex edit over recompilation.

second, you need to ensure that hostap and hostap_cs are being loaded via your /etc/modules file.

third, you need to ensure that orinoco_cs is blacklisted in /etc/modprobe.conf/blacklist.

and onto the good stuff...

getting the firmware to load is a trick, really. i copied the firmware files from http://www.red-bean.com/~proski/firmware/ into the directory /etc/firmware (if you don't have one, it doesn't hurt to make it) and changed their permissions:

chmod 644 /etc/firmware/*

in my case, i'm using the files pm010102.hex and rf010802.hex. i edited my /etc/network/interfaces file as follows:

...
auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
fw_primary /etc/firmware/pm010102.hex
fw_secondary /etc/firmware/rf010802.hex
wireless-essid
wireless-key
...
then i just rebooted. well, when i say "just" i am not quite telling the truth. it seems that everything works fine and dandy up until firmware loading. following the reboot (which was absolutely necessary), your card still won't be usable. just eject it and put it back in. assuming your ESSID and key are correct, you should (fairly quickly) be connected to your wireless network.

problem #1: you can't scan for networks. don't ask me why, but i'm working on it.

problem #2: you won't see your wireless connection displayed by gnome-network-manager. once again, don't ask me why.

in my tinkering during the past 24 hours, i've seen both problems resolved but had no idea how and couldn't reproduce it... so they're fixable.

for now, courage.
i win.

it's been a tough night of avoiding studying for my classes, but i have officially won.

it turns out that there is a bug in the module hostap_cs.ko that is presently shipping with feisty fawn. it is supposed to be looking for the D-Link DWL-650 Rev P1 PCMCIA card with a manufacturers ID of 000B and a card ID of 7110, but the card ID was 7100 instead. i didn't have what i needed to recompile the modules, so i just used a hex editor and massaged them to my liking. that is, i first searched for the (text) string "m000Bc7100" and changed it to "m000Bc7110", then searched for the hex string "0B000071" and changed it to "0B001071". after modprobing hostap and hostap_cs, lspcmcia -vvv now shows that hostap_cs is being used for my DWL-650 Rev P1.

there is still one hurdle, and that is loading the firmware via prism2_srev. the utility dies with this error:
Downloading to volatile memory (RAM).
ioctl[PRISM2_IOCTL_DOWNLOAD]: Input/output error
i'm sure i'll be able to figure it out. one step at a time.