Wednesday, August 03, 2005

You know you need to upgrade that lightning-detection system when...

This one's a bit of a head-scratcher.

CBC News: No fatalities in Toronto airplane fire:

At mid-afternoon Tuesday, a spokesperson with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority said lightning was causing technical problems with the airport's lightning-detection system.

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Monday, July 18, 2005

Reinforcing preconcieved notions

Pretty much anytime we travel from GR to Ohio, we have to take US-23 through ann arbor. There's some occassional traffic hiccups and such due to weekend travel and sometimes we'll get a wise-ass pointing out that he/she has decoded our super-seekrit license plate messages and knows that we are Buckeyes.. wooo... Nothing super-bad, though. I just keep on driving and breathe a sigh of relief once I hit Toledo (I never thought I'd say that.. ;-) ).

This Friday was different. On our trip down to Columbus for Nate and Lisa's wedding, Patty all-of-a-sudden doubled over in pain as we were passing AA. As much as I wanted to get the hell away from the city, it was better not to mess around with a pregnancy, so we took the next exit. We found a few stoplights, construction, and.. well.. nothing else. After driving around for a few minutes looking for a gas station, fast food restaurant, whatever, we happened upon the waste-water treatment plant for AA. Oh, disgusting, you say. The smell must have been awful!

It didn't smell any worse than the rest of the town.. ;-)

Deciding that nothing was going to pan out from this exit, we got back on the highway and took the Washtenaw Ave. exit. Since I knew there were all sorts of places available in both directions, I made sure to go east towards Ypsilanti rather than towards the campus of that school. Got to the closest gas station where Patty ran inside. After a few minutes she came back out looking greener than when she went in. It was bar-none the worst restroom she'd ever been in (that's impressive, too.. she's been to the restrooms at Out R Inn and BW3 on campus).

We'll stay on the highway for the extra 5-10 minutes to Saline next time...

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Monday, June 20, 2005

What the Nemesis wasn't...

I'd love to see a layout diagram of an IC with non-perpendicular interconnects like the one talked about here:

ATI GPU First X Architecture Chip:

According to the X Initiative, 'The X Architecture rotates the primary direction of the interconnect in the fourth and fifth metal layers by 45 degrees' from the traditional right angles, but remains compatible with 'existing cell libraries, memory cells, compilers and IP cores by preserving the Manhattan geometry of metal layers one through three.' The X Initive says this is the first 'production-worthy approach' to the 'pervasive use' of this design.

But I gotta say.. going above Metal 2? What wusses. The Nemesis Encryptor didn't. We'll ignore the fact that it didn't work...

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Friday, June 17, 2005

At least there was one cool wolverine out there...

I would have made the trek all the way over to Detroit just to see this. It's unfortunate that this relative of the weasel has to return to a life of mediocrity.. :-)

Michigan Wolverines, NCAA Football, Michigan State Spartans, Ohio State Buckeyes - CBS

ROYAL OAK, Mich. -- Some University of Michigan backers weren't amused to learn the Detroit Zoo's baby wolverines had been given nicknames of rival Big Ten teams.

After receiving several dozen complaints, including threats to cancel memberships or reduce donations, the zoo renamed the 3½-month-old kits last week.

A zookeeper who graduated from Michigan State University had named the kits Sparty -- for the MSU mascot -- and Bucky, either for the Wisconsin Badger mascot or a variation on the Ohio State Buckeyes.

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Thursday, June 16, 2005


So I just felt Twiglet kick for the first and second times... hard!

I wonder if we can put that many "u"s in his middle name....

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Friday, June 10, 2005

New take on an old joke

Slashdot's signal to noise ratio has gotten so low that I often skip reading the comments. Luckily The Apple Blog caught this in a recent story about Nerds Making Better Lovers:


Saturday, May 21st 2005

Saw him in the evening and he was acting really strangely. I went shopping in the afternoon with the girls and I did turn up a bit late so thought it might be that. The bar was really crowded and loud so I suggested we go somewhere quieter to talk. He was still very subdued and distracted so I suggested we go somewhere nice to eat. All through dinner he just didn’t seem himself; he hardly laughed and didn’t seem to be paying any attention to me or to what I was saying. I just knew that something was wrong. He dropped me back home and I wondered if he was going to come in; he hesitated but followed. I asked him again if there was something the matter but he just half shook his head and turned the television on. After about 10 minutes of Silence, I said I was going upstairs to bed. I put my arms around him and told him that I loved him deeply. He just gave a sigh and a sad sort of smile. He didn’t follow me up but later he did, and I was surprised when we made love. He still seemed distant and a bit cold, and I started to think that he was going to leave me and that he had found someone else. I cried myself to sleep.

Saturday, May 21st 2005

Apple switched to Intel.

Absolutely gutted.

Got a shag though.

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Sunday, June 05, 2005

Apple + Intel take 500006

Ok, so the whole blogosphere has been peeing itself this weekend because of the rumor reported by CNET (individually confirmed by The Inquirer) that Apple will make the switch to Intel CPUs in their computers over the next couple years. People have been ranting about how tough it would be for ISVs to release software for Apple-PPC and Apple-x86. Jason Kottke actually raises a good point though:

But which chip is Intel making for Apple? (

Everyone's assuming that 'switching to Intel chips' meant x86 chips (found in most common desktop computers), but what if they're going to be manufacturing the PowerPC chips (or almost-compatible ones) that OS X already runs on?

Now since Apple has been involved with PowerPC since its inception (the whole AIM alliance thing which brought together design teams from Motorola (now Freescale), IBM, and Apple), might Apple have enough IP to license PPC to another chip designer/manufacturer? If so, then this could be very good news for Apple. Then they could rely on PowerPCs from multiple companies (Freescale seems more interested in the embedded market as of late). I wonder if IBM's processor design teams have been stretched thin lately designing Cell for Sony/Toshiba (PS3) and Xenon for Microsoft (Xbox360) to concentrate on Apple's low volume business.

I guess my question for the geeks out there is how tough would it be for Intel to connect different instruction decode engines (x86, PPC, etc.) to their execution engines? From my outsider's view, I would think it would be easier for Intel to do this on their more modern Pentium-4 design. Since Pentium-M is actually based on the older Pentium-III design, I would think that the Instruction decoding would be a little more tightly coupled to the execution engine (There's a good article on Pentium-M's design on Anandtech).

What are your thoughts? Could Intel-PPC be possible? Is Apple moving to x86? Or is this the outgrowth of the Vanderpool virtualization technology Intel has been touting for a couple years now?

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Saturday, June 04, 2005

Posting from my wall

No.. I'm not on the wall. But my computer monitor is. I finally got myself a projector and am currently using it to type this post (that's why people buy these things, right?). The purchase price became immediately worth it within 1 minute of power-up. At that point, when the Infocus logo appeared on the wall, the dog got very confused and after a minute of unease started barking at the wall.

Gotta love technology.

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The Blackwell Experience

So I went to Columbus last week to see the FEH Robot Competition (I'll toss up some pics of that in another post). My generous in-laws put Patty and me up in The Blackwell, that hotel on the business college campus. Two words:

bad ass.

Wait, one word.


Gorgeous room. Comfy bed, nice bathroom, useful desk, sweet robes, corkscrew and wine glasses.. real nice. Few cons: the same crappy UNITS tv they have in the dorms and the scariest toilet ever. If you didn't pull your hand away from the handle within a couple milliseconds of flushing, it would smack your fingers away.

I'd probably go back.. especially if someone else foots the bill again.. ;-)

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Grand Rapids, Geek Capital...

Wow.. it's still weird to see Grand Rapids mentioned anywhere outside of.. well.. Grand Rapids. Gives me an excuse to take Patty's newly repaired laptop downtown (Go Dell!)

Wi-Fi Networking News:

Grand Rapids, Michigan: The city of many bridges launches its wireless network test today involving 10 companies each running a live demonstration network across part of the city.


Sunday, May 22, 2005

Life without windows (Will it really suck?)

While I am ashamed to admit it, ever since we put the wireless card in Patty's laptop, I find myself using her windows-xp laptop more than I do my linux or mac desktops. Yeah, it feels dirty.. but I'm just too damn lazy to go all the way downstairs just to browse the web. Also, our couches are really comfortable.

Well, I think I just got my impetus to make that walk downstairs: the laptop is going in for repair due to stress fractures on the casing and the inability for the AC power cord to remain consistently connected. I guess I'll see if I can make it through these next few days without the trusty windows box.

I just shuddered...

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Monday, May 16, 2005

Unfinished Jobs (or: How not to iPod your Mercury)

Several months ago I purchased a wired FM modulator so that I'd be able to listen to my iPod in the car like all the cool kids with the white headphones. I finally got around to breaking my car hooking it up this weekend. After a little mix-up purchasing antenna adapters (who knew that my Ford/Mercury factory radio used Volkswagen/Audi antenna ports instead of Ford antenna ports? Silly Ford of Europe), I spliced the 12VDC lines from the cigarette lighter and had CCR pumping through the Cougar's speakers. Sweet. So, being the lazy geek, I had everything working, why try to clean it up? At this point I had:
  • a non-functioning cigarette lighter

  • console panels only partially reattached

  • a bunch of wires running out of the console to the passenger-side footwell

  • the fm modulator sitting in the footwell and power switch jammed between the seat and the cupholder

  • It was nice listening to something different on the drive to work today. Even though I do enjoy Splinter from The Offspring, it got a little old after listening to it for about the last 8 months. What? I already said I was lazy.

    Then this afternoon after work I settled into the driver's seat for a nice round of music on the trip home. Unfortunately, the modulator no longer worked. I know electronics have become disposable, but wasn't 16 hours a bit fleeting? I then realized that in the rat's nest of wires in the passenger footwell, 2 cables that were touching were the spliced 12VDC and ground cables going to the modulator. Oops. Looks like someone's gotta go grab an automobile fuse... and possibly some electrical tape to seal stuff up. Maybe this'll be an impetus to actually finish the job.


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    Saturday, May 14, 2005

    How To Configure WDS on the Linksys WRT54G (updated)

    Awhile ago I purchased this Linksys WRT54G wireless-g router. I got it to replace a Netgear wireless-b router that didn't play real well with the Proxim card in Patty's laptop. This Linksys router is a great little box. Recently, I gave my neighbor's iBook access to my network (I'm sorry, dialup just makes me puke). He got hooked on high-speed internet access, even if it was only available on one side of his house. Eventually he wanted to get his iMac and Tivo on the network, too. The obvious option would have been to purchase wireless devices for both boxes. Unfortunately the placement of these devices was not conducive to communicating with my little WRT. So we decided to have a little geeky fun. He purchased a WRT of his own and we got to work. First step we took was to flash a third-party firmware on both WRT's. We chose HyperWRT since it stays very close to the original Linksys codebase (read: stable operation) and opens up *just* enough of the hidden feature-set of the Linksys firmware to make it useful for us. In our situation, we wanted to explore WDS (Wireless Distribution System). In layman's terms, this would allow our two WRT's to form a huge wireless cloud around both of our houses that appeared to be one Access Point to any of our clients (laptops, tivos, etc.). So any device connected by wire or wirelessly to the WRT in his house would send packets through his WRT which would then forward them over a wireless connection to my WRT and eventually to my Linux router out to the big, bad internet. This extended the wireless cloud of the network and allowed him to connect his iMac and Tivo with regular ethernet, ensuring a cheaper more reliable network connection. Here's an awesome guide on using HyperWRT+WDS:

    HowTo: Configure HyperWRT 2.1b1 with WDS -

    One caveat: If you use HyperWRT for WDS, you have to stick with WEP encryption. Others have reported very spotty connections trying to use the more robust WPA/WDS combination with HyperWRT. If you're set on using WPA, you might want to look into Sveasoft's Alchemy firmware for the WRT. I've heard dubious reports on the stability of the Alchemy firmware, though, so YMMV.

    UPDATE: The link is dead (Thanks, A!). Here's a link to the content of that page via the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.

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    Thursday, May 05, 2005

    Go Hit Yourself With a Knowledge Stick

    I was all psyched about having Patty blog here, too, but she worried that she would dilute my content with a lot of pregnancy posts.

    I have content?

    Oh well, take a gander at her blog, Livin' in vivo Loca. It talks about all of her experiences as a Genetics Geek "enjoying" a first pregnancy. Hey, it's worth it just to hear the discussion about an "anteverted uterus."


    Wednesday, April 27, 2005

    How Cool is That?!

    It feels weird to be joining the world of bloggers. I'm too skittish to start my own, so I'm squatting on Raj's (well, not literally James, but you get the picture).
    We are so lucky to have such great friends. It's been so fun getting e-mails and Blog comments over the last few days. To be honest, this whole pregnancy started off a lot different than I predicted. I'll spare the 99% male audience a monologue on the emotional changes that kick off the joy of pregnancy. Not to mention the startling nausea. It's like a wretched hangover, 8 days a week, without the fun of partying the night before. It has been so uplifting to be getting messages from our friends. It's nice to not have this as a secret anymore. So anyway, I may post from time to time to make sure that MY story is getting out too. Raj has been awesome about taking care of my puking self, and then would tell others that I'm feeling 'great'. Gotta love him :)
    Well, I think that's it! I don't feel like I really said much, but Raj assures me that I don't have to. I could get used to this....

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    Thursday, April 21, 2005

    Oh Baby Baby..

    So we want to be cool like Britney.. but my hairy stomach doesn't look too good in a midriff.. What else could we do? Then we got it..

    We got pregnant.


    Say hello to the nice people, Twiglet (working name.. don't worry, it won't stick)

    Ok, so we really weren't inspired by Britney.. sorry to disappoint. We're about 10 weeks along. It was a little rough there for a bit. We had our due date pushed back twice.. but we're rolling along now. Our current due date is November 19.

    Hmm.. what else is taking place on November 19th?

    Funny how that worked out, huh? :-)

    We had our first official appointment today (that's where we got both of these pictures). Everything is progressing quite well. Because of that, we knew that we had to tell everyone. Plus, I'm starting to put on some paternity weight, so people were gonna start talking when they saw my belly.. :-)

    Phew.. that felt good to finally get that out.. and I did it without using the phrase "I done knockt' her up." Take that, Patty.

    Let's finish up with one more picture..


    Wednesday, April 20, 2005

    And You Thought Ohio Was Tough

    Up here in Michigan we start paying our amateurs in high school.. and no Mr. Such and Such.. no, our cheaters have *real* names.


    East Grand Rapids Athletics on Probation


    Saturday, April 09, 2005

    I Still Like Maxwell's Better

    Thursday nights out at the clubs on south campus definitely holds some fond memories. Granted, I probably would have puked had I seen what those places looked like during the day, but that was part of their charm.

    Then Campus Partners came in and leveled it all... and sat on it. You could see the tumbleweed just rolling through the wasteland.

    Finally several years later it's being developed. Soon the lucky current Buckeyes will have the upscale sock stores and 5-or-so Starbucks that they so desperately need. Anyways, take a look at the link below to see some renderings of OSU students having good, clean, preppy fun at the South Campus Gateway.

    South Campus Gateway-OSU - Towne Properties

    My memory's starting to go in my old age. Help me remember what clubs were around in that area circa-1997,98. Off the top of my head I remember Maxwell's, Panini's, Sloopy's, and Cornerstone. What else?

    Ah well.. just raise a pitcher of Icehouse in memory of the old south campus. We shall miss thee.

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    Friday, April 08, 2005

    When Worlds Collide

    It's the "Stupid Triangle!" That was the last thing I expected to see tonight as I was doing my normal feed-reading.

    Note to those of you outside of GR, sorry.. you had to be there..

    43 Folders: Jason Fried on The Project Triangle

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    Wednesday, April 06, 2005

    FPGAs *and* Linux?! Be Still My Beating Heart

    This article hits so many of my geeky buttons (there's a helluva image). This is an blurb about a network-connected camera that runs on embedded Linux and uses an FPGA for its video processing.

    Linux (specifically uCLinux) is used to control all the functions of the camera (ethernet, video streaming, etc.) running on an Axis SoC. Unfortunately, an embedded general-purpose microcontroller just doesn't have the horsepower to run a software encoder for the raw image data coming from the CCD. To solve that problem, Elphel tossed a .09-micron Spartan FPGA on the controller's memory bus. The logic designers then wrote an encoder for the open-source, royalty- free Ogg Theora video codec.

    Then they released it all (including the Verilog HDL for the FPGA!). How sweet is that? This is a must-read for all the geeks who read my blog.. so basically, all 3 of you who read it.. :-)

    Build an Ogg Theora camera using an FPGA and embedded Linux

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    Sunday, April 03, 2005

    So OSU Isn't The Shame Of The Nation

    So of course it's blasphemy for a Buckeye to be back here behind enemy lines.. but it sure does give me an interesting perspective on the world outside Columbus (yes, it does exist).

    Just a couple years ago, all I heard about was how bad life was around campus and how wrong all the students were for the riots that occured after football games. I didn't even participate.. but damn, I felt guilty. With all of the coverage in the local and national media, I wondered why OSU students were so different from everyone else...

    We're not.

    Tonight all the news in Grand Rapids has been about the cops tear-gassing students over in East Lansing after MSU's loss to UNC in the Final Four. So I guess it doesn't just happen in Columbus.

    The funniest part of the news was an interview with a student. He said nothing much was going on, but the police just started launching tear gas into the crowd. This winner while trying to do his best sober impression actually admitted running into a sign trying to get away.


    Well, between dodging rioting MSU students tonight, I've been working on trying to link version 1.1 and version 3.0 Linksys WRT54G routers using WDS. This is of course after some Guiness, Newcastle, John Courage, and several Miller Lites.. I guess I'll find out tomorrow if I was successful.. :-)

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    Friday, March 25, 2005

    Corporate Music?

    So what is it with all of these huge food companies trying to market through music?

    First it was Pepsi and iTunes.. then it was McDonalds and Sony.. and now another huge American corporation wants to get its name into the ears of music lovers everywhere..


    This guy just inked a deal with the PEZ company to design and manufacture an MP3 player that's in a PEZ container (complete with different heads).

    The Pez MP3 Project

    I can't wait to see the ads...

    parody ipod-pez ad

    (via BoingBoing)


    Wednesday, March 23, 2005

    Hot Wobbly Windows Action!!!

    Ok.. so I've been working on a short article on patching Beagle so that it would index your Snownews cache. Just as I'm putting the finishing touches on it, the Beagle guys release a new version of the software.

    Damn.. sorta..

    I'm working on getting this new version working with my Snownews patch. Once I get it all up and running, I'll post the article on how to patch Beagle 0.0.8 with my Snownews backend..

    Since you obviously have nothing to do until I get that done, take a look at these videos showing Luminocity, a proof-of-concept OpenGL-based window/compositing manager. If you are indeed that one person out there who's waiting for my Beagle patch, you will get overly-excited at these videos..

    Seth Nickell - Design Fu : xshots

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    Sunday, March 20, 2005

    Just Found My Next Car

    It's got 350K miles on it.. probably gets crappy mileage.. but there's *something* about this vehicle that appeals to me..

    1996 Ford Econoline Ohio State Party Bus

    First mod would be to get rid of that crappy Budweiser tap handle..

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    Saturday, March 19, 2005

    Tennis Anyone?

    Patty will like this. I guess this is why you can often catch tennis on in high-definition.

    Why Britney Spears Hates HDTV!


    Using Snownews with your Account

    I've been an avid Snownews user for awhile now. It's a great little text-based RSS aggregator that I have installed on all my linux boxes. The only problem is that it's a bit kludgy to keep track easily of which posts I've read and which ones I haven't gotten to yet because it caches everything locally. Basically, if I read some posts on my desktop, they would still be marked new on my Snownews installation on my laptop. That sucks. So I signed up for Bloglines, a web-based aggregator. It's sweet, but I missed the simple interface of snownews. Luckily, though, Bloglines provides a nice API for their web services. Using this documentation, I hacked up a quick patch for Snownews that allows it to connect to your Bloglines account and read your feeds. Now I use snownews when I'm on my linux boxes and the Bloglines website when I'm stuck on a Windoze box.

    Here's a link to my patch:
    Bloglines support for Snownews

    This should patch cleanly against Snownews To apply the patch, just go into the untar'd source directory for snownews and type:
    zcat bloglines.patch.gz | patch -p1

    Then just make and make install as usual. When you load up snownews, there will be one new option on the help menu. Press 'z' to enter your Bloglines account information. Then just exit out of snownews, load it back up and it'll connect and download all your Bloglines feeds (including categories). Voila!

    Standard disclaimers apply.. use at your own risk. Let me know if you have any problems using it.

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    Beagle and Dashboard Wiki - Gentoo Install

    Beagle is the tool that's supposed to change my life this week.. of course I'll probably forget about it in a few weeks. Until then, here's a great guide on getting it installed on a Gentoo system..

    Beagle and Dashboard Wiki - Gentoo Install

    Stick around and I'll put up a link sometime to a backend that allows Beagle to index Snownews feeds.

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    Friday, March 18, 2005

    f1rst ps0t!

    I wonder how many thousands of worthless blogs have gotten their starts just like this..