September 25th, 2005


New house, new people, new DVD, dead computers

Right, well yesterday I moved in to my student accomodation, and upon unpacking Achilles (the Win2k beast) I discovered that the case fan had not survived the car journey and was now making all sorts of loud grinding noises. Ah well, it's not like that fan was making the difference between happy computer and melted computer.

Shortly after, pewterfish and I powered down the firewall to run some Cat5 to my room, and upon powering the firewall back up it started making the same nasty grinding noises, this time from the power supply. Is making loud grindy noises an infectious disease among fans or something?

So, after a trip to Maplin and a suitable period of menancing electrics with a soldering iron, both fans were replaced with nice new quiet ones. And the firewall was powered back up, only to discover another fan was making that grinding noise as well. One bit of ferreting around later, and the firewall is now happily running without one of its many fans. Whereupon we discover that it's not booting, and the reason for it's refusal to boot appears to have something to do with /var/log disliking the power cycle. I hope this isn't a sign of things to come.

Anyway, the rest of the kit is behaving itself, and I've been hacking a GameBoy Printer emulator of mine hooked up to the parallel port on Odysseus (Slackware 10.1). The trouble with trying to do something like this on anything bar DOS is the operating system will quite happily not give your program cycles when the data comes in, and so you end up missing anything from bits up to whole bytes. This isn't a problem if you can drive the clock, however when printing the GameBoy like to use it's internal clock to send the data. Which means you run into the timing problems.

What else... Nick and Dan have succeded in getting me hooked on Firefly. I must admit, they appear to have one of the more accurate renditions of space physics. The Alliance cruisers are decidedly non-aerodynamic, the drives are completely silent (except of course if you're inside the ship or in atmosphere), and the insides of the ships have an absence of pointless flashing lights. It is a shame that the drives are always running, and that the ships appear to be as manouverable as the plot requires, but apart from that it's very good. I like the mix of new and old technologly as well - one of the things that you don't expect in a sci-fi series are people still riding horses.

Anyway, I'm off to go and make something to eat tonight, and then probably to watch more Firefly. Laptops make very nice DVD players.