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October 2002 Archives

October 18, 2002

Wooow... she even infused the meringue with an insusient hint of lemon zest!

Wow. I can't believe it's over.

It's Friday morning, and I'm packing up my stuff to drive outta here and return home. I sign out today at 1300 (1:00pm for you non-military types), and then essentially hit the road.

The last two weeks have been crazy hectic, but good. I got a lot of sincere "we're going to miss you" kinds of goodbyes. Tracy was out here a few weeks ago and said to me, "You're going to miss this place, aren't you?" Yeah, she's totally right. I met some really great people here, actually made some good friends, and will be sad to go.

That being said, I'm sure that I will be able to find it within me to turn the ignition and push down on the gas pedal later today and start driving. ;-) Even though I'll clear the state lines of Arizona with mixed feelings, it'll be fantastic to return home and be with my wife and friends. I can't wait; it'll be awesome. :-)

Quick summary of a bunch of things that happened over these last two weeks while I was too busy to write journal entries (in no particular order -- cope):

  • CPT Klak was here (Ft. H) to take a satellite imagery class. She came over to see my office, met with her old classmate MAJ F (we were all in Army ROTC at the same time at Notre Dame), and generally had fun while she was here. She returned to Ft. Gordon on a red eye last night.
  • CPT Klak -- a reservist like me -- has been extended for a second year. Big bonk. :-(
  • I got an Army Commendation Medal for my time here, which is really nice and totally unexpected. It was signed by the 2 star general commander of CECOM (the parent organization of the organization that I worked for down here at Ft. H).
  • A friend of mine (Dagny) teaches a Linux+ certification class in Tucson and asked me to come up and lecture at it, which I did. It was fun. I spoke for about an hour, and then took about another hour's worth of questions. John D. came with me (friend from Sierra Vista), who's actually a Solaris guy, but we both had fun.
  • Dagny and Jeff got married (not me, of course). Kudos for them!
  • Dagny, Jeff, and I went to Biosphere 2, which was pretty cool.
  • I had lots of "going away" dinners and meals with friends here in Sierra Vista -- too many to mention. I will miss them.
  • The mail client idea that I mentioned in ThunderJournal a few weeks ago has evolved and grown a bit. It's now turned into a low-bandwidth project with myself and 2 friends. Someday we might actually have code that does some of this kind of stuff. Ping me if you're interested.
  • I heard from a happy LAM customer today (after I accidentally deleted a post of his on the LAM list):

    No hard feelings! We don't mind as lam-mpi this weekend reduced our Markov-chain simulation from 30 hours to 1 hour.

  • LAM picked up a mirror in China at the High Performance and Scientific Computing Lab, Network Center, Lanzhou University.
  • Renzo is snubbing me again on my trip home. Worthless bastard. Ok, so he's on a cruise with his family. I still can't believe that they didn't check with me before scheduling their vacation!
  • After literally months of deliberation, LAM/MPI license woes are solved. LAM 6.5.7 has been released with the new license. Woof!
  • Don't do this:

     # cd /home # rm -rf `du -s * | sort -rn | head -1 | awk '{print $2}'`; 
  • Lots of cool things are happening in LAM.
  • SC in 2 weeks. Woo hoo!
  • Notre Dame has managed to go 6-0 in men's football. Amazing. There's a decent, building team there! There's been a good amount of healthy Irish Luck as well, but our new Coach seems to be doing well, and the players seem to be responding to him. Kudos!

Ok, I really gotta go pack now. Homeward bound!

October 25, 2002

Radio, box-side smelting... it's all the same, really.

As my last journal entry stated so succinctly, I'm home. Woo hoo!

Lots of work stuff to do:

  • Install Mandrake 9.0 on my new 2.4GHz box.

  • Install XP on Tracy's machine.

  • Commit a whole bunch of OSCAR stuff.

  • Work on a LAM/NSF proposal with Andy.

  • Get PIPT working for an SC2002 demo.

  • Finish the LAM boot SSI.

Lots of home stuff to do:

  • Re-setup my home office; probably re-layout the room with the new computer, tidy up (hide?) wires, etc.

  • Re-setup my wireless network access

  • Clean up (read: add shelving) in my "server closet"

  • Integrate Tivo better into TV system downstairs (volume doesn't work right)

  • Investigate multi-function remote controls to do Tivo/TV/cable/etc. integration better

  • Caulk up the back door

  • Finish going through all the bills and things that piled up while I was gone

So I installed Mandrake 9 on my new Dell Dimension 4500. Woo hoo! Only problem is -- performance stinks. :-(

Specifically -- disk performance stinks. As in whenever there is big disk activity going on, the machine "pauses". After doing some digging around, I started playing with hdparm, since that can have a huge impact on performance. I discovered that hdparm won't let me set using_dma to 1. So I can't use DMA with my disk! Doh!! Not being able to use DMA certainly explains the kind of behavior that I'm seeing...

After doing more digging around on the web, it seems that this is a known issue with Linux kernel 2.4.19 (which is what MDK 9.0 is). And it's not really Linux's fault -- it's the BIOS's fault for not setting up the device properly. Later Linux kernels (i.e., patches since 2.4.19) have apparently worked around this issue.

Arrgh. Haven't quite decided what I'm going to do about this yet.

And now the NIC is giving me lots of trouble, too (lots of error/dropped packets) -- don't know if this is another symptom of the same problem, or a different problem altogether.

I found that the new version of xwrits has a rabid new function that does lock the screen once an hour to force you to take a wrist break (as opposed to just popping up a window saying "it's time to take a break!).

I fried my Linksys WAP today. :-(

All I did was upgrade the firmware (the upgrade software told me that the upgrade was successful), and then it became totally unresponsive. I called tech support, and they advised me to contact the Returns department and see if I can return it. I bought the thing a long, long time ago and no longer have the receipt for it -- I kinda doubt that they'll take it back. :-(

October 30, 2002

I have a position of indirect respect and oblique power

I have had both more success and more failure in getting my new machine to use all of its capabilities:

  • Success: got linux 2.4.19-ac4 to compile and install
  • Failure: normal lowmem kernels won't use all of my RAM (I have 1GB RAM, they'll only use 896MB)
  • Success: got a highmem version of 2.4.19-ac4 to compile (that will use all 1GB of my RAM)
  • Failure: couldn't get it to work. Unresolved symbols in some kernel modules. I can't [yet ] tell if this is a problem with my kernel compile, or something with my installation of that kernel.
  • Success: running the lowmem 2.4.19-ac4 kernel enables DMA to my hard drive.
  • Failure: running the lowmem 2.4.19-ac4 kernel disables support for my i810 sound system.

More updates as they're available. Since I have a [mostly] working system, I'm using that for now and will be addressing the other issues (sound, highmem) when I get the time.

GNU ddd wouldn't compile with GCC 3.2. I had to make some minor mods to their source files to make it compile properly. Uck.

Notre Dame keeps winning men's football games. Wow. I'm amazed. Rock on to Ty Willingham and to our players!

Tracy and I set Tivo to take the game vs. FSU. We forgot the "nice people" factor -- while we were at Home Depot, one of the sales guys saw Tracy's ND sweatshirt and said, "They're winning right now, 10-3".


From the "sick and wrong" department (something I saw in someone else's perl code today):

     # I love this trick:     local $" = ')|(?:'; 

About October 2002

This page contains all entries posted to JeffJournal in October 2002. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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