Archive for category Computers

An amazing thing happened recently

I can’t believe it myself, but I have actually found time to play a game on my computer. I recently found that I still had Warcraft III on my home PC. I couldn’t remember playing it in the recent past, so I looked at the save files. February 2003. That marks the last time I had actually played a game on the PC. This is rather amazing, considering that before I met Lisa, I spent at least 2 hours a weeknight playing computer based games. My life has really changed. I spent part of Sunday night playing, and last night as well. I’m working my way through the Orc campaign. At least that’s where I left off before. It took me about 30 minutes to become reoriented and remember all the details, but I’m feeling pretty confident in the interface now.

My interest was partially sparked by the recent release of World of Warcraft. Unfortunately, my home machine is just too lame to run it. Its time to start saving up for a new one.

Ok, that’s all the update I have time for today… whee!
I’d also like to get Halo 2 for the Xbox. I did find time to play all the way through Halo. I had to do this in the evenings after Morgan went to bed. Both Lisa and I feel pretty strongly that the violent games are inappropriate for Morgan.

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Dysfunctional Development Practices

I am working with a team that has been working together for a while. I learned today that one of the “normal” practices for this team is to reboot development machines between code changes. This is done to mitigate the various odd behaviors and crashes they encounter if they don’t. My first thought after hearing this was, “WHAT?!?!” It sounds amazingly unproductive to me. Of course, in my experience I tend to develop code a bit differently than other people.

My development practices tend toward a short “author/build/test” cycle. Short in terms of a function or two. Normally, I would follow the new code flow in a debugger, to make sure things are behaving how I would expect them to. This system allows me to guarantee that my code is solid when I make it available to everyone else, and I have a system that allows pretty rapid development. My guess is that members of this team do a lot more authoring before testing changes. This, in my experience, just leads to more difficult debugging, and less tested code. Especially when in this development system we don’t have debuggers. I guess I should feel lucky that I have printf available to me.

I asked why no one had figured out why a reboot is needed, and was told that the person who could fix the problem doesn’t run into the problem because they develop differently from everyone else. What kind of dysfunctional system is that?

Given the longer “author/build/test/reboot” cycle of this team I may have to modify my own practices. It will be impractical to reboot my machine 12+ times a day. Perhaps I’ll spend some free time trying to understand what the root problem is and fix it for everyone, instead of just complaining. 🙂

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HP iPod ????

What possible reason would anyone want to buy a HP iPod? Apple sells the EXACT SAME PRODUCT (and actually invented it), minus the seemingly useless HP Tattoos. I just don’t understand.

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Errors in Linux Device Drivers book

I have been reading “Linux Device Drivers: Second Edition“, and noticed a couple of problems on page 286.

There is no “atomic_add_and_test” in the 2.4 kernel. Also, the book claims that the _test functions return the previous value of the atomic type. Unfortunately, this isn’t how they behave.

atomic_sub_and_test, atomic_dec_and_test, atomic_inc_and_test returns true if the result is zero, false otherwise.

atomic_add_negative returns true if the value is negative, false if it is greater than or equal to zero.

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Floppy Raid

This is just too funny.

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New Hazelware Apps Available

There are two new freeware utility applications available for the Palm OS at my friend’s site Hazelware The applications “WiFi-Where” and “Event Inspector” are available on his programs section of his site..

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Environmental cost of computing equipment

This article at Wired raises some interesting issues: Wired News: Short-Lived PCs Have Hidden Costs In my mind, it is an argument against a laptop computer purchase. It is much harder to upgrade a laptop than it is a desktop machine. It also is a case against distributed computing projects like Distributed.net, or seti at home that provide an incentive to leave your computer on all the time (to help contribute to the computing effort).

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Is broadband set to make power lines sing?

The following article “Is broadband set to make power lines sing? | CNET News.com” provides and interesting glimpse into a possible access method for the internet…

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iButtons

These look pretty darn useful. I’ll have to peruse the site when I have more time.

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Robot Birds

This article about robotic bird-like devices is interesting.

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