The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

Wedding update

| July 30, 2006

The wedding went off without any problems. It was wonderful, everyone had a good time, and it was absolutely beautiful. I will post pictures as I get them.

Thanks to everyone who came and shared the day with us, and everyone who sent congratulations and well wishes.

unfunny pranks

| July 27, 2006

This week has been very busy, because I'll be gone for two weeks.

Folks at work decided to play a joke.

This very much made my day

Recent movie viewings

| July 24, 2006

The Weather Underground

Documentary about the weather underground from the 60's and 70's.

I have no cohesive response, merely a series of points:

(1) They are lucky more of them weren't shot. If I owned a business, and knew that some anti-war protestors were going to be coming around, I'd make sure to be there to keep an eye on the shop. As soon as folks start breaking my windows, I start shooting them. Same with robbing stores and banks and such.

(2) The problem with their idea of revolution is that, even though I would love to see a more constitutionalist/libertarian philosophy take hold, that's not what they're advocating. They're talking about various flavors of Marxism, socialism and communism, which I vehemently oppose (something about the idea of a “greater good” and taking away individual liberty in the name of grand societal ambition just rubs me the wrong way). So, even if I agreed with them about the need for revolution, I would not support their revolution. Personally, I think that in order to be successful, these things can't be too tumultuous – a slow progression towards libertarian ideals will be much more easily accepted than violent overthrow. Additionally, it's playing within the system, which is always a plus.

(3) What amazes me is that most of them are STILL proponents of socialist revolution. While I admire their tenacity, don't they realize that socialism doesn't scale, and is an especially hard sell in this country? The ideal of rugged individualism is still quite well entrenched, especially in large sections of middle America, and runs directly contrary to any type of socialism excepting old-fashioned charity. One might even propose the idea that this ideal is increasing. Witness the spread of concealed carry laws, castle doctrine laws, and the backlash against social welfare programs.

RENT

Yeah, I don't get it. If the point is “everyone's life is valuable, even though we're dirt poor and have AIDS”, if I agree with you, can I have the two and a half hours of my life back? Liz's response was that she didn't know how they could make a movie which completely lost the power of the stage production. Like I said, I just don't get it.

Cat baths

| July 22, 2006

Arthur's fur is ketting a little matted and clumpy in the back by his tail. It was also kind of oily/greasy all over, so I decided to give him a bath.

I also have a new love of doors on showers – you can just toss the cat in and shut the door until he stops freaking out, then give him a bath. Plus, you can wash him through a slightly open door, so he can't run to the end of the tub and jump out on you.

Arthur Bath 1Arthur Bath 2 Yes, even with his hair all wet, he’s still a HUGE cat.

Book stack update

| July 22, 2006

Previous post was here. I've been busy with the wedding, reloading, reading how my new GPS works, reading how the RockBox firmware works (my Rio Karma finally died, so Liz is buying me an iPod Nano as a wedding present, and I'm going to toss the RockBox firmware on it so that I can play useful formats, like Ogg. I'll let you know how I make out).

Both added to and removed from the stack in the intervening time: The Global War on Your Guns, Wayne LaPierre

Mini Review: This had very little surprises, and most chapters were variants on the themes of:

  1. The UN is a bureaucracy which cannot act rapidly, hence why it is very bad at stopping genocide.
  2. The UN is corrupt.
  3. The UN is comprised of member countries which think that the needs of society trump those of the individual, and it is perfectly acceptable to sacrifice individual liberties upon the altar of social engineering.
  4. The UN wants to remove private ownership of firearms because it removes the threat of people being able to resist their social engineering by force of arms.

The one surprise was a chapter on UN designs to limit our first amendment protections as well. The case is made that this is why they want UN control of the internet: as long as the US has control (via a US-based nonprofit organization, ICANN), our ideals of free speech will be promoted, and all attempts to limit that will be resisted. This is not good for despotic regimes.

Another interesting point is the statistic that the US owns 1/3 of worldwide small arms. This is too little! I want to see us to own HALF the world arms in my lifetime.

Nothing in this book was surprising, but that is because it is basically preaching to the choir. I'm not a big fan of the UN anyway, and this just kind of lays it all out.


Currently reading: People's History of the United States : 1492 to Present, Howard Zinn

Added to the stack since my last book post: Nothing, except the stuff that was added and removed. mentioned at the top.

Currently on the stack: We Were Soldiers Once… and Young, Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore (Ret.) and Joseph L. Galloway Great Issues in American History, Volume II – From the Revolution to the Civil War, 1765-1865, Richard Hofstadter. Great Issues in American History, Volume III – From Reconstruction to the Present Day, 1864-1981, Richard Hofstadter and Beatrice K. Hofstadter Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower, Stephen King SAS Survival Handbook, John “Lofty” Wiseman The Underground History of American Education, John Taylor Gatto On Killing : The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, Dave Grossman On Combat, Dave Grossman Serenity: The Official Visual Companion, Joss Whedon; Paperback Serenity Role Playing Game, Jamie Chambers

KittenWar

| July 22, 2006

Added Mikey and Toby.

I don't have any pictures of Arthur as a kitten. He arrived before I got a digital camera.

Note that these links will only work after the kitten submissions have been approved by the KittenWar moderators.

Differences in PSU quality

| July 18, 2006

The PSU (Power Supply Unit) is probably the most underrated component in most computer systems. Quality of power affects heat, system stability, and uptime.

About a week ago, the power supply in my server died. When I pulled it out, it was the generic no-name PSU which came with the system, which I bought off ebay some years ago. Here are the specs:

Voltage Current
3.3V 40A
5V 46A
12V 24A
-5V 1A
-12V 1A
+5V sb 1.8A

This power supply is rated at 550W, which is typically a “sustained” rate, as opposed to the “peak” rate which is what the individual voltages are. Doing the math, it's 676W, peak. (I think the label called it 650W peak, which is fine).

Now, this may look all well and good on the surface, but it's not. See, servers need lots of drives. Drives are power hungry, especially at startup on the 12V line. My drives pull 2A per on that line on startup, then settle down to 0.5A. There are 9 drives, which means that the PSU is peaking out at 18A, just for the drives! When I bought it, there were 12 drives, which means it was pegged.

Now, contrast this with the Turbo-Cool 510ATX PSU from PC Power and Cooling

Voltage Current
3.3V 30A
5V 40A
12V 34A
-5V 0.3A
-12V 2A
+5V sb 3A

Running the numbers on this, we find that this PSU, despite being rated at 510W, actually weighs in at a peak of 747.5W.

Now, in a postmortem of the other PSU, I think what happened is that the 12V lines are actually 2 12A lines combined into one 24A line, and one of them died. When it died, the whole server died, and wouldn't boot. Unplugging half the drives allowed the machine to boot.

Some thoughts: (1) You get what you pay for. (2) Cheap power supplies are cheap. (3) PC Power and Cooling Power Supplies are way overspeced/way underrated (this is discussed at this page on PC Power and Cooling's website).

I also notice that PC Power and Cooling has even more powerful 850W and 1000kW PSU's. Sweet! If I'm ever building a new box and need a beefy PSU, these will fit the bill.

Kittens

| July 17, 2006

KittenWar.com

Very safe for work.

No kittens were harmed in the making of this website.

New LJ Userpic

| July 17, 2006

New glasses. Less hair. Such is the way of time, I suppose.

Edit: I think I like this one better. This is me and Toby.

Catching up

| July 13, 2006

Hey folks, been busy.

Wedding plans are basically done, and we're just tying up some loose ends. Kudos to Lizzy for coordinating and planning the whole thing.

I've been handling loose ends and taking care of planning the fun part – the honeymoon. We are going on a cruise in Alaska and, of course, there are excursions from the boat. We will be horseback riding through Klondike national forest, looking at the Mendenhall glacier, going on a brewery tour, going hiking in a rainforest (yes, apparently they have rainforests in Alaska), and going saltwater salmon fishing.

We had my bachelor party last Saturday. Simon planned a nice one; we hit F1 racing up near boston, and raced some go-carts, shot some pool, threw some darts, drank some beer, and just generally had a good time. Thanks to all who attended, including .

In other news, we've bought a Lowrance iFinder GPS. This little unit is very feature-packed, boasting an internal magnetic compass and barometer, is waterproof, and takes SD/MMC cards. It also has a 12 channel receiver and WAAS capability. The kicker is that you can find these for about $125 – much less than comparable units from Garmin and Magellan. With software and the special card reader (you need one of the Lowrance or LEI cardreaders to use it with the software), it comes in at $250, shipped. For the curious, the software is Windows only, but the card reader can be used under Linux, and firmware upgrades are java apps, which are also supported under Linux.

As a corollary to the GPS purchase, Liz and I are taking up Geocaching. Of course, we've been busy with the wedding, so we haven't actually found any yet, but we will. I have found one which is near work, however. We will be geocaching up in Alaska, which is kind of neat.

On the software side, becoming a paid member of the geocaching website allows you to flag and download waypoints to a file. This file can be converted via GPSBabel into the iFinder's native waypoint format, allowing for the batch dumping of large numbers of waypoints. Additionally, it is easy to just click on all the caches and print them off to a printer. So, you have the waypoints in the GPS, plus a pile of sheets with information about the waypoint.

Some links: An interesting bit of short fiction. This guy is writing a story in a kind of action sort of story, and it makes for a decent read. Cornered Cat A website about women and guns. If you've ever given any thought to self-defense (and perhaps, more importantly, if you haven't), maybe you should proke around and have a read. LinCity-NG Because I'm a Sim City junky, this provides me with the same type of micro-management fix in a nice Free Software Way.

In other news, I'm still shooting, still reloading, and have a pile of stuff I want to post about (updates to shooting pages, discussions of power supplies as a result of the one in my server dying, etc.), but, as I said, I've been busy.

If I don't have a chance to post again before the wedding, I look forward to seeing some of you there.