The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

Finally have time to breathe

| December 27, 2003

Wednesday I went over my parents' house and then to my grandmother's house for Christmas eve dinner with that side of the family.

Thursday I went over my parents' house for brunch and presents, and then to my other granparents' house for Christmas dinner.

Friday I ran some errands about town, up in Warwick, and at my parents' house to show them how to use the camcorder my brother and I gave them for Christmas. I also ended up helping my brother put together his new computer, and put Linux on my father's laptop. He was amazed that there was all this software legally available for free.

It was a lot of driving for me. Over 350 miles, I think. Considering I usually only drive about 5 miles each day, that is a lot.

Today I took apart my old entertainment center (which reminds me , you can pick it and the chairs up whenever you can get the truck from your dad. I'll even help you move it and set it up if we can take the truck to Staples afterward and buy some new chairs) and set up my new racks. My mother got me 2 14U racks, which I stacked to give me one tall one (1U = 1.75 inches). All the stereo gear and the computers go in it, and it's all on casters, so unlike the old one, which I left a foot or so away from the wall, this can be pushed up to the wall and pulled out when I need to get at all the wiring behind it. It also opens up the room quite a bit – there's a foot more space and this arrangement looks less overwhelming than the other one did.

I suppose that's it. Time to play True Crime: Streets of LA, which is quite a fun game.

What a day…

| December 23, 2003

This job is going to kill me.

I had 2 nosebleeds today. One lasted 20 minutes. I had another one last friday. I think the stress is getting to me.

Oh, and engineers shouldn't care about End User Licensing Agreements (EULAs) on the software that they write. Shut up and do what you're told.

It's just one of those days when you want to just whale on a bag while screaming at the top of your lungs.

In other news, I broke Liz's car. This makes 2 things of hers I broke, nominally due to poor engineering.

1.) About a month ago a trip over her laptop power cord, spilling a bowl of popcorn in the process. Meanwhile, it’s a good thing she had a hand on the laptop, because on Apple Powerbooks, the cord is locked in there securely. So securely that a good yank will pull the laptop off whatever it is on. The connector finally did give, and it bent. We were able to straighten it with pliers, but I’ll probably end up having to get her another one eventually. Now, on the Dells, you sneeze on the connector and it falls out. This has it’s own set of problems; the plastic wears away over time and it falls out too easily, but I’d rather have it fall out than take my laptop off the desk. 2.) Her beetle’s hood release is broken. The hood will not come out. So, today, I figure that I’ll help her. Something is clicking under the hood, so it’s trying, it’s just stuck. Maybe the catch is sticking or something. I get in the car, find the lever (which is in an annoying spot anyway, and not labeled), and pull it lightly. I ask how hard I am supposed to pull it. She says “Hard, it feels like you will break it, but you won’t.” So I pull the lever until it hits the underside of the dash. There is a “ptwang”. Apparently the cable has pulled out of the handle. For the record: – My Oldsmobile required about twice as much force to open as this does, and it never broke – My Chrysler requires almost no force – In both of these, the lever can traverse its maximum ark without bothering the cable. The Olds could be pulled up until it hits the dash, and the Chrysler can be pulled until the arm of the lever impacts part of the molded plastic housing, thus prohibiting any further travel. This VW has no such prevention measures. I am not impressed by this famed “german engineering prowess”.

Why I need a house, tools, and game room

| December 22, 2003

Remember that joystick thing?

Arcade machine cabinet – $1099.95.

I could build one for like $100 + time.

I think I will, given the space and time.


| December 22, 2003

Do NOT get in your car while pumping gas and then get out and touch the gas nozzle. Apparently, the largest cause of fires while pumping gas is electrostatic discharge, which arcs a spark from you to the car and starts a fire. Make sure to touch something metal on the car first to ground yourself.

I guess that's it for now.

I'm such a doofus

| December 21, 2003

So, Liz gets me a Playstation 2, right? I have oodles of CPU power and Graphics hardware. What do I buy? Midway Arcade Treasures of course. Classic, old school arcade games, including Gauntlet (Warrior is about to die…) and Rampage!

I think I need some of these and a multitap (1->4 player converter box). The nice thing is that they connect to the PC as well, so I can use them for playing games with MAME and the like.

And I need a light gun. They have several out there, one looks like a Desert Eagle, another looks like a Sig P99. I think I'll go with the Eagle.

Oh well, off to play games.

Happy christmas all!

| December 20, 2003

Liz is going to her parents' house for christmas, and I am going to my parents' house as well, so we decided to have our own little private Christmas day today.

I got Liz the bits to make a Strawberry Shortcake Lunchbox PC. As the name implies, this is a conversion of a metal lunchbox adorned with the Strawberry Shortcake cartoon character into a computer case. We will be using a Nano-ITX (12cm square) board coupled with a silent 160GB Seagate hard drive. Of course, the nano-itx boards aren't out yet, so we'll just have to wait for it to come out. 🙂

Liz got me a Playstation 2. I have to say, if I had known that these were this cool, I would have gotten one years ago. The graphics are insane, especially in Gran Turismo 3. The lightsource effects, smoke/dust/etc are just tremendous.

the tree Liz’s christmas tree. (Fooey on all you critics. I told you she would get one. It fit in the beetle, and we got it last night) mikey helps with the lights Mikey helps with the lights.

RIAA can't subpoena your information anymore

| December 19, 2003

A federal appeals cour overturned a previous decision, resulting in a verdict that says that the RIAA can't compel an ISP to provide the names of people at given IP addresses. Also in there is stuff about how the ISP is not responsible for traffic on their network, bringing them in line with telcos (phone companies are not responsible if you use them to run an illegal sports book, for example). Also, this may mean that all the existing lawsuits may be dropped. According to some lawyers on a list I'm on, they said that any information gained through this stuff that's been overturned is no longer admissable in court, so they can't know who you are and this all goes away. Other groups are calling for the RIAA to return the money to the people who settled – the RIAA doesn't need the money, but the people they sued do.

Story here


| December 18, 2003

PETA's new flier campaign targets children

Because, you know, killing animals is bad and stuff.

Anyone want to go to Beef & Spud for dinner in leather boots and fur-lined parkas?

Take this poll

| December 18, 2003

From :

Last Thursday night group meeting before break

| December 14, 2003

Thursday the 18th is the last “Thursday night hang out and chat” meeting before break. It is also 193's last day. People should come and hang out.