East of the Sun, West of the Moon

2006/10/28

Back in the saddle

Filed under: General — Erwin @ 3:46 pm

Go BoardAfter a 11-12 month hiatus I’m back at DGS and dusting off my Go skills. I blame this on Pรคr!

In some ways it’s like riding a bicycle, you immediately pick it back up and find your balance, but in other ways… you forget what certain signs mean and find out the hard way that you should’ve paid closer attention to them.

Hey Annie, are you up for a game as well, perhaps? Or Kalle? I have no idea who else among the readers here plays the game, but anyone that does is certainly invited to create a (free) account at DGS and challenge me to a game. My userid is jochie and my rank is 16 kyu right now, although I’m sure that’ll change a bit in the days/weeks to come. ๐Ÿ™‚

Update: Add Lydia to that list, how silly of me to forget. ๐Ÿ™‚

2006/10/22

Linkage on 2006-10-21

Filed under: Linkage — Erwin @ 2:00 am

Boy Scouts get MPAA-approved copyright merit badge
What the hell?
(tags: copyright fair-use)

2006/10/19

Linkage on 2006-10-18

Filed under: Linkage — Erwin @ 2:00 am

ThermoInDock 0.98 – VersionTracker:
Glance at all 12 thermal sensors in my MacBook Pro in one go. Still don’t know which sensor is where, though!
(tags: osx apple hardware laptop)

2006/10/16

Total Recall

Filed under: Technology — Erwin @ 5:40 pm

Master of PuppetsSo far, so good:

When Who Units
August 14 Dell 4,200,000
August 24 Apple 1,800,000
September 19 Toshiba, Lenovo/IBM 830,000 and 526,000 respectively
October 4 Fujitsu 338,000
October 6 Hitachi 16,000
October 16 Sharp 28,000

That makes about 7.7 million units in total and is going to cause a bit of a dent in their ego. At this point it’s still unknown if Hewlett Packard (which claims its configuration prevents overheating), Gateway, or Acer (which has admitted to being in talks with Sony) are going to get in on the fun. At least in HP’s case I’m a bit suspicious of their story as it is my understanding that the batteries could cause problems even when not in actual use. What gives?

Now listening to: Metallica – Battery (from Master of Puppets)

2006/10/12

Cool It!

Filed under: OS X,Software,Technology — Erwin @ 8:21 pm

Fan Control Preference PaneStep 1:

Someone writes a minimal program to interface with Apple’s SMC (system management control), helpfully calling it smc. Version 0.01 does the basics, allowing you to query the current values and to set them as you see fit, as long as you know what the cryptic names mean. (It explains what several of the values mean.) Aside from that it displays in a more readable format what the status of the fans is, a sign of things to come rather quickly.

Step 2:

After some discussion back and forth, people start writing wrappers around smc to adjust the minimum RPM setting, including hooks with other (all licensed with GPL) programs to make sure that the adjustment is applied at boot time and after waking up from sleep.

Step 3:

Someone writes a GUI (a preference pane) that interfaces with a background process to adjust the fan speed according to the user’s settings, all wrapped in an installer package.

Result:

A MacBook Pro with a temperature that hovers around 40-50 Celsius (104-122 Fahrenheit) instead of 60 Celsius (140 Fahrenheit), and I can assure you that’s a LOT more comfortable when using it as a laptop! YAY!

It’s not perfect yet, as I hear that it causes a minor inconvenience when rebooting, but nothing that can’t be fixed within days (and I don’t reboot very often with this machine, it mostly just sleeps). ๐Ÿ™‚

Updates: There are now smcFanControl 1.12 and Fan Control 1.1 respectively. I’m sticking to Fan Control because I like the sliding scale and lower/upper threshold settings.

The Votemaster is back

Filed under: News — Erwin @ 7:11 pm

After two years of letting the website gather dust (I assume), Andrew Tanenbaum is back with Electoral Vote Predictor which now follows the polls for the upcoming US Senate & House elections in November.

Click for www.electoral-vote.com Click for www.electoral-vote.com

2006/10/11

Now reading: iWoz

Filed under: Books,Humo(u)r,Technology — Erwin @ 4:13 am

iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing ItI picked it up last Saturday and am (slowly, one lunch break at a time, so to speak) reading it at the moment. Enjoying it so far. Wozniak’s sense of humour can be quirky at times but he’s such a geek that it’s easy to accept the times where I don’t think it’s as funny as he does. ๐Ÿ˜‰

2006/10/9

Do The Math

Filed under: General — Erwin @ 2:51 pm

Oriental SnackI finally found, at Big Lots, the Japanese snacks that I had been looking for recently (because I haven’t had them since I last visited the Netherlands and I missed them).

Unfortunately what they sell are 3 ounce bags (in a box that could fit half a pound, easily) for $1.00 plus tax while the online store that I’ve been considering sells 1 pound bags for $2.99 plus tax and shipping. If you ignore the shipping that’s a great deal, $0.19 per ounce instead of $0.33 per ounce. The catch, of course, is that shipping means UPS, FedEx or DHL, where even the cheapest option for a 1 pound bag is around $10.00, destroying your initial advantage!

Now let’s try a few calculations. Suppose I’d want 5 pounds of these snacks (and yes, I am confident they’ll be eaten, M and I both love it).

  • Getting that in 3 ounce containers locally means buying 27 boxes. Ridiculous overpackaging aside, that’s $27.00 plus tax, so around $28.85.
  • Getting that in 5 bags of 1 pound each, online, will cost me $14.95, plus shipping cost of $10.33, makes a total of $25.20.

That’s heading in the right direction…

This gets even better when going up to 10 pounds: $57.80 versus $40.55. Even if the last bag goes a little stale towards the end that will be worth effort. To minimize that we’ll repackage one bag at a time, keeping the remaining 1 pound bags in better shape.

The downside to this approach is the need to store the bags somewhere convenient, but we can work that out. ๐Ÿ™‚

2006/10/5

Learn from history?

Filed under: Linkage — Erwin @ 7:13 pm

Courtesy of Maps of War, an overview of who was in charge in the Middle East for the past 5000 years:

Linkage on 2006-10-04

Filed under: Linkage — Erwin @ 2:00 am

MiniBatteryLogger
This is a recently started application that appears to be evolving rather nicely. Keeps track of your battery history/status.
(tags: software hardware apple osx monitor shareware)

Perian – A swiss-army knife for QuickTime
One player to rule them all. Wait, I thought that’s what VLC was? Oh well.
(tags: software apple osx video music)

VMware Converter 3.0 Starter Beta
Taking a running system and turning it into a virtual machine, that definitely sounds useful.
(tags: software hardware)

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