The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

Clouds and computermachines…

| April 27, 2009

So, this article had me thinking about computers, usage patterns, etc.

In general, for my normal computing tasks, a processor about as powerful as the Intel atom in my netbook is enough. Maybe something a little more powerful, so that the hulu/youtube/etc isn’t so choppy (it is a very little bit choppy).

The only things which really need horsepower are dedicated tasks – video and photo editing and transcoding, virtual machines, big compiles, etc. The problem is that a lot of the same requirements (memory, CPU, etc.) are necessary for gamers too. So, I can completely see the article as making sense for a large number of folks, but I’m not sure how far-reaching it will be unless games reduse their hardware requirements (which may already be happening – I’m not in that space, so I can’t tell).

This is similar to the ongoing laptop vs. desktop argument I’ve often had with my brother in law. He’s always been a big fan of mobile workstation class laptops, but the reality is that these laptops always lag 6-12 months behind your workstation class desktops. So, while they’re perfectly adequate machines, if you really need power, you’re not going to find it on a laptop (though they are vastly improved and now quite decent). Even he bows to this reality in that he has several VM servers and racks of special purpose machines available..

So, what does this all mean? Well, I suspect that your normal casual users will end up buying good enough machines, which will continue to get cheaper, as forecasted in the article. I think that your gamers will continue to buy higher end hardware, likely a laptop, and maybe will also have a subnotebook as well (just because they’re lighter). Your power users will end up with a subnotebook, a mobile workstation, a deskside workstation, and possibly some backend servers used for other purposes besides the media center servers and such.

So, basically not much will change at all – it will likely all just get cheaper.

Installed Jaunty

| April 27, 2009

  • The laptop upgrade was a simple incremental upgrade. Nothing earthshaking, despite trying both Gnome and KDE4. I’m still using XFCE.

  • The netbook, however, is quite wonderful. I’m now using the Netbook Remix and the UI is quite good for small devices. Of course, I need to tweak the crap out of the base install (but that has more to do with me than anything else) and I need to post my install docs (including the old minimal install) but in general I’m quite happy.

    The one criticism I have, however, is that it created a swap drive which was too small to use for hibernation. This makes sense, as if it created a large enough one for hibernation, there wouldn’t be enough space for the install. At that point, however, with a gig of RAM, it’s not really worth even bothering to create it, and so I’ll be removing it to make some more space.

Well, it’s official

| April 27, 2009

Apparently Hillary left something on the seat which infected Gillibrand. She’s just as bad as who she replaced.

Linky, click “votes”.

Battletech, Zombies, House stuff, Time…

| April 26, 2009

  • Last weekend, Liz and I stopped by Zombie Planet. They have Battletech league which runs Thursdays, which I will likely start attending some time in the next month (I have meetings the next two Thursdays).
  • Because of the above, I picked up a copy of Battletech:Total Warfare. It’s a good thing that the pages are kind of glossy because it makes it easy to clean off the drool. I really like what they’ve done with this franchise, as well as with Shadowrun and I’m looking forward to Eclipse Phase. Anyway, specifically about Classic Battletech. See, in addition to the book, there’s lots of supporting stuff on the website, including:
    • PDFs of tables from the books which I can carve up and make my own reference cards
    • PDFs of blank record sheets.
    • CBT Miniatures rules as a free ancillary download.
  • As far as the book goes, I was pretty much blown away:
    • It is THE MOST gorgeous CBT book I’ve ever owned.
    • The full color treatment is wonderful.
    • $40? Come on – it’s worth $60. The Master Rules were $35 and were softcover and not nearly so nice.
  • I also found (finally) an open source mech generation program. It’s called Solaris Skunk Werks, it’s written in Java, and it produces Total Warfare style record sheets. I like it, and will try to find some time to hack on it. Apparently folks have been complaining about the startup time taking too long, so I suppose I’ll dig into code profiling Java programs to try and optimize it, if possible. There is also apparently MegaMekLab, which I haven’t looked at, but is another approach.
  • In an attempt to organize my life, and have the time to play things like Battletech and such, I’m starting to plan out my week for a regular schedule. The sad part is that once I did out how I wanted to spend my week, I realized that I really only have one day a week to devote to fire service stuff (and, to be honest, even that is more time than I want to devote to it, but that is another post, which involves talking about how I’m falling behind in my career, etc.). So, I’m going to end up taking a leave of absence from the department for the duration of me being a commissioner, because I really don’t have time to to both.
  • So, last weekend I got the compost pitched into a couple of fields and got them tilled in, transplanted some seedlings into individual containers, did a massive supply run (including $100+ worth of beer… see, I’m collecting bottles for homebrew, and one of the best ways to get bottles is to buy beer and then drink it!!). This weekend I serviced the tractor and got it mostly done, except I can’t seem to break the bolts free for them. So, I’m going to swing by my father in law’s house and borrow his big breaker bar, as well as a larger bore hose for the impact wrench (he thinks that my hose is too narrow so it can’t get the volume it needs to really put much power to it). This year, I’m going to be sure to put never-sieze on it. I also swept and mopped the house, which means that it’s vastly less yeechy. I still need to vacuum, but it’s progress.

Friday night is game night with Lizzy, so we set up terrain for Battletech / microarmor. I took pictures.


| April 14, 2009

Added a pile of pictures of the (now much larger) kittens. Socks is up to 9 pounds!

Socks says hi.

Socks says hi.

Random bits

| April 14, 2009

  • Spent the weekend at the brother in law’s. The nieces and nephew are too cute.
  • The plants are going like gangbusters.
  • The pea field is tilled and the peas will go in on Thursday.
  • I got a standard length guide rod for my 1911.
  • Will probably hit the range this weekend.

I think that’s about it.

Well, that’s icky….

| April 8, 2009

I wanted to install Trac into an OpenVZ container on Daisy, and when I installed the Ubuntu openvz kernel, it wouldn’t boot.

Doing a little poking around, it looks like that kernel is compiled with PAE turned on, and if your CPU doesn’t support it, it won’t boot.

So, the choice is to recompile my own kernel, which means I own all security updates from now on.

So, I think I’m just going to install it bare metal…

Oldie but goodie…

| April 8, 2009

Gentoo Is Rice

My wife is smart…

| April 8, 2009

While watching Star Trek: Nemesis

You know what Star Trek proves? Even when you don’t need money, you still need guns.

Welcoming spring

| April 4, 2009

Given the passing of the first of April, thy humble apostle, anointed with 2 stroke 40:1 mix, didst startest his new chainsaw, and with a mighty grumble, it did come to life, and the chips did fly, and care was taken, such that all digits did remain attached.

When the midday time was reached, a fire was made in the smoker, and the grates were cleaned, the applewood added to the fire, and the previously seasoned ribs of pork, found their place upon the smoker. Slow shall be the cooking, for it is now spring, the smells of the smoke and exhaust being proof.

And then it flurried on me, and I got toned out for a downed power lines call, because we’d been having 30mph sustained winds with gusts up to 60.

Bastard weather.