The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker


| December 30, 2008

So true

Christmas update

| December 27, 2008

First off, 's dad woke up, which definitely made for a happy Christmas. See, we lost my grandfather on Christmas eve about 10 years ago, and I was hoping for him to not have to go through that as well. As it turns out, my Christmas wish was granted, and his dad woke up.

Redneck Life was the game most played this Christmas, as I got copies for both my father and father in law. Quite hilarious – my sides hurt from laughing so hard.

My mother also got a Wii, and we got her Mario Kart, plus controllers and other assorted accessories, so we played various Wii Sports, Mario Party, and Mario Kart.

I got a bunch of nifty stuff (and this shows the variety of my interests)

Lizzy got me a Nikon Coolpix S202, which seems to be a Nikon Coolpix S200 in a case derived from the S210. The reviews are slightly hard on it, but for what it is (a 8MP 3x optical zoom point and shoot), it's just fine. Bear in mind that it is replacing a 2.1MP camera (an Olympus D510) where my only complaint was the time it took to turn on and to auto focus. This one is vastly faster. If I wanted a really fancy camera, I'd grab some type of DSLR, likely after talking to and for suggestions. So, this likely will mean more action shots of kittens, plus there's a cool panorama mode which I want to try out by standing in the yard and spinning around.

She also got me some speakers so I can listen to music while reading in the pretty living room. Since I'm currently subscribed to magnatune, I may branch out from my usual punk and metal staples and pick up something a little more mellow – their classical and jazz selections are fairly extensive.

Finally, a pair of wireless Gamecube controllers. Since we have the Wii, we play the old Gamecube games on it.. which requires Gamecube controllers.. which normally have wires.. which the cats attack. These new ones have no wires, so the cats don't get to attack them, which makes playing Mario Kart: Double Dash, a little less likely to require shouting at cats.

My folks got me a 18″ 42cc Poulan Pro Chainsaw, which is something I needed since I seized up the other one (which, admittedly was 40 years old and we didn't know what the mix was supposed to be, so I likely had it too lean). When I told my in laws about it, they selflessly offered to let me come over and try out the saw on some trees which the ice storm took down – I can even take them back to my house for burning in the woodstove, if I like. Aren't they nice folks? Of course, I'll likely take them up on it, since I want to try out my new toy!

My brother got me a brake kit (you know, the thing that you use to turn in the piston on the caliper so you can affix the new pads). Beats the hell out of doing it with a screwdriver…

My in laws got me the first two Iron Empires graphic novels, as well as toying with my emotions by picking me up some interesting sake. Specifically Rihaku Wandering Poet and Mantensei Star-Filled Sky.

In a bit of unfortunate happenstance, I have scored myself some killer rabbit slippers. See, Liz got them for her dad, but his feet are just a tad too big. So, I get them.

I hope everyone else got their toys this Christmas, and had fun with the family.

Full of win

| December 23, 2008

Programmer's Bill of Rights

I heartily approve.

Olofson Relief Fund

| December 22, 2008

For those of you who have a little good fortune to spare, these folks need your help.

Really short version:

Man has rifle. Rifle is broken. At the range, rifle goes bang bang instead of bang. ATF has him in jail for illegal machinegun. Rifle was broken. They don't care. He won't take a deal, won't plead guilty, and is fighting it. Meanwhile, he has a wife and 3 kids.

You can read more about it here.

If you can afford to give a little, you can donate to their Relief fund here, either on a one-time or on a recurring basis.

Logical fallacy

| December 21, 2008

The pastor for the church running this gun turn in was on the news saying “each one of these guns turned in saved someone's life”.

Congratulations – you just called everyone who turned in a gun a murderer.



| December 20, 2008

Alternity Dark*Matter induces fanboy squee.

(Although, depending on the group, I could see it being run with a FATE rules engine, just to keep it night and light.. Alternity is a bit crunchy.. not that this is a bad thing, it just has to be what your group wants).

Car show loophole

| December 20, 2008

In New York, you can't drive a car off the lot without first showing the dealership proof of insurance. You can, however, buy a car at a car show or from a private individual without showing such proof of insurance. These unlicensed dealers represent a hazard, since they are not bound by the same regulations as everyone else. Support closing the car show loophole.

Sound retarded? Well, the above is actually the case in NY, and folks don't seem to care all that much about it, as they don't want to interfere in the private lives of individuals, and assume that they will follow the laws. However, the above is the same argument made about gun shows, and yet no one seems concerned about interfering with people selling legally owned firearms to each other.


| December 20, 2008

So, Liz gets an iPod touch, and gives me her iPod 3G. Of course, I want to put Rockbox on it. Normally, this is not very difficult, except that this was an HFS formatted iPod, and I needed to redo it as Fat32 (because that is what Rockbox understands).

The basic gist here is: (1) Save off the old firmware. (2) Blow away the partition table (3) Repartition the thing. (4) Put the old firmware on. (5) Install rockbox (patches the firmware and sets it up to dual boot).


dd if=/dev/sdd2 of=3g_firmware dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=1M count=10

Notice the problem?

Yeah, I blew zeros over the first 10MB of my hard drive.

However, I fixed it. See, /dev/sdb is a mirror of /dev/sda, both with the same partition table and (supposedly) identical data.

So: dd if=/dev/sdb of=/dev/sda bs=1M count=10

Fixed the partitions and boot partition. So, all I need to do is fix up the bootloader (because that is the one part which was different, so that each drive can boot independently): sudo grub root (hd0,0) setup (hd0)

Bob's your uncle.

A christmas miracle

| December 20, 2008

The fire chief from the next town down the street rescued two women trapped in a car right before it was hit by a train.

The miracle part is that it wasn't a call – he just happened to be driving by.


| December 19, 2008

Lizzy got me a Serenity Christmas Ornament for the tree.

I also managed to score:

  • Most of the Dark*Matter books for Alternity. (4 books, $15, shipped)
  • More StarDrive campaign stuff for Alternity. (3 books, $13, shipped).

Got to love ebay.

The real sad thing is that these books are GOOD, but the product line was killed by WotC, who then went to printing those really horribly smudgy glossy books.