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DMI News

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Progress update

November 21, 2002 14:17

None. None at all. :)

Well, not useless productivity. I've done plenty, I just haven't accomplished anything. First off, the soundcard in spaz either refuses to do full duplex (likely) or the esd software isn't working right. So I might need to swap out the soundcard in there, although that means potential downtime, and lots of kernel recompiling. *sigh*

Inferno, the computer in the lab that runs icecast and a couple other servers, although has USB ports on the motherboard, does not appear to actually USE them. Bios betrays no indication that they exist, and if it weren't for the obvious labeling on the motherboard, I would have assumed they don't. Oh well, no crisis. Freedom (the den cam computer) DOES have working USB ports, so I figure I'll swap them out, exchange the HD's and all should be peachy. The whole point here is that once I have a computer with working USB ports in the lab, I'll be able to have a cam in there. Yay.


Outdoor Xmas Light Sugguestions

November 20, 2002 22:59

I have confirmed that the power outlet on my front porch works. Well, after I set the breaker again it did. It also works with X10 modules on a power strip, so I know I'll be able to use it. Now the plan is to figure out what type of lighting scheme I want to use. There are several things to consider.

First, it has to be cheap. Obviously. This is ME we're talking about here. Secondly, It has to look nice and not be too annoying. While the lights will OBVIOUSLY be flashing, controlled via the internet, they still have to be low-key enough to not attract more attention than any other randomly flashing Xmas light display would. Third, I can easily install 3 different individually controlled light strands, each which have to get power from the porch. The important thing to consider here is that they all need to be at least somewhat visible from the available cameras. Right now, the only cam I have available looks out the front door. I may be able to install at least one other camera outside, or looking out a window, but for now, assume that the front door cam will be the only one available.

I can put lights in the bushes, hanging from the rafters, or something out on the lawn. I used to have some rosebushes that might have come in handy for this, but they would have interfered with the sprinkler, so they had to go. But there are plenty of bushes along the house that can be decorated.

So if anyone has some ideas, feel free to contribute them. I'll come up with something anyway, regardless of any submissions. However, if any of you have any ideas that I might have failed to consider, now's the time. :)



November 20, 2002 16:26

I have solved the full duplex sound card problem on linux and shortly I should be making a few changes to reflect it. First off, the streaming audio in the office will come from spaz instead of node5, placing more of the functionality on linux instead of windows. I may also choose to run the office linux sound output through the mixer to use the big speakers instead of the cheapo UN-amplified ones that I'm using now. However, in the past there was some serious distortion when I did this, so it remains to be seen if this will work or not.

Also, since I'll have recording working full time, I'll also get the voice recognition working again and implement it in both the office and the living room, now that I have a working linux box in there as well. This gives me two rooms of the house that I will be able to command the lights through voice commands.

The front door cam computer will get converted to linux, and I'll otherwise probably just use it as an X station. The den cam may not be supported under linux. If it is, that computer will be upgraded immediately as well. If not, it will probably remain windows for the time being until I can replace the cam with a supported model. The kernel on the lab computer needs to be recompiled to support USB, and then it should be able to handle one of the USB cams, at which point a lab cam will be available.

Now that there will be linux boxes all over the house, building cam rotors gets a lot easier. At some point having windows compatibility would be nice, but its not something I want to spend my time on. Speaking of the controlling software, more and more people seem to be downloading and playing with it, and I'm getting more and more questions that would seem to imply that the software is cumbersome, difficult to understand and configure, and difficult to use. And they're probably right, as it has been designed specifically for my use, and hard coded to reflect that. However, since I mean to add multithreaded capability to it, and as I would like to use it on more than one computer for multiple purposes, it would make sense to redesign it so it gets the configuration data and command names from a config file instead of hard coding the names and ports directly into the program. So for those of you who are confused, give it some time, I'll have a better solution available soon.

Found a decent schematic for a marquee sign here which gave me a lot of ideas about what I was doing wrong. I plan to resume that project in the near future now that I have a better idea of what I'm doing. I'll need to make a roadtrip to tanner to get some more parts though, and while I'm at it, I can pick up some parts for the phone interface as well. This will allow me to commence, and therefore complete, several of the easier projects. Might be able to get the RC Car working too. :)

Had a reporter come over yesterday and interviewed me for an hour. She'll be selling the story to several publications. More details about that when I have them.

Installed an extra 128 megs in my new machine. Warcraft III is more smooth now. I'll probably fuss through the rest of the single player game, although I don't see myself playing it online. And at one mission per day, it'll probably take me the rest of the year to finish, which is fine with me. :)

Well, that's enough to keep me busy the rest of the week. I'll let everyone know when I have more.


Audio works again

November 17, 2002 21:14

Spent part of the day getting the office and living room audio streaming working again. Still got a few minor problems with it. First off, the linux driver on the living room comp doesn't support full duplex, so it can either record or playback, but not both at the same time. Hopefully I can find a full duplex driver, or figure out how to make it full duplex. ANYTHING. :) Also, there doesn't appear to be an obvious way to prevent feedback. But it works now, and the other problems can wait.

The office audio is still running under windows. I intend to eventually move that to a linux box, although the only one currently available in here that has the processing power to encode live mp3's is the primary server, and I have the same duplex problem on there, only I can't take it down frequently to get the sound working right. Perhaps after getting the LR audio working right, I'll have some ideas.

Office audio also is very.... quiet. The mic in connection doesn't seem to work. The line-in works fine, but since it only has a mic, and not the amplified input it expects, well... it doesn't work too well. I have it maxed out, and it only gets a faint input, but it's better than nothing. As with other things, I'll fix it later.


The Games Suck

November 15, 2002 12:43

As most people who know me are aware, my budget is rather tight. I have made a habit of aquiring computer equipment for dirt cheap, or free. The decision to spend $20 on something is a hard one, and I have spent many a trip to Fry's, intent on purchasing something, then changing my mind once I'm there, realizing that I don't REALLY need to buy some specific item that day. The net value of all computer equipment I'm using is less than a rent payment.

So needless to say, any games made past 1998 pretty much were unplayable by me. That changed Wednesday night. Fry's had a decent MB/CPU combo on sale, and now I'm running at 4 times my previous speed. So now I've got some games that I've heard about for years but never was able to try. And now I've tried them, and I'm not really THAT impressed.

I played GTA 3, Black & White, and Warcraft III. None of them seem to have that addictive feel that other games have held in the past. I find myself growing bored with them quickly. I think that for all the technical advances, they've neglected to innovate on genre, storyline, and gameplay. Warcraft III is starcraft with a different theme. I can't really even say that the graphics are better, they're just more 3D, but it runs a heck of a lot slower. Oooh Ahhh graphics are great for all of about 5 minutes. Then you concentrate almost completely on the game. And if the gameplay is old and stale, well, it won't be holding my interest for long.

I'll probably slowly work my way through WC3, but the other two games I don't even have the desire to try again. Maybe someday if I'm REALLY REALLY bored, but until that day, the best benefit of a faster computer is the high quality Divx movies will play smoothly in full screen mode. Still, it definitely wasn't a bad deal for $89 :)


Computer Fixed

November 14, 2002 01:36

My primary office computer has been fixed, replaced the CPU and motherboard and now it appears to be stable. After I get some sleep I'll get the audio streaming working again.

The next stage is to get streaming audio working on phat (the living room cam computer). I still have to tweak the cam program a bit to get a better picture capture, but otherwise I'm quite impressed with the way it has worked out with linux. I'll upgrade the doorbell computer sometime before the end of the weekend so its running linux as well. The computer in the den might or might not get converted, depending on if the cheapo parallel port cam on that computer is supported. I'm guessing that it won't be, but its hard to say without trying.

Although I've gotten a bit sidetracked, it is still my intention to get a cam working in the lab as well. I recently discovered the computer that I've had since late 97 has USB ports on it. I just so happen to have a spare USB cam sitting around and that room really needs a cam, so I'll attempt to get one working on there.

That is all.


No more Elaine

November 13, 2002 14:20

What started as a silly musing of the day has turned into a weeklong debate over the ethics of begging for money on the internet, and the limitations of those who choose to express disparity. As much fun as it has been, its time for everyone to go back to doing what they were doing, myself included. So, to summarize my thoughts on the whole matter:

There is nothing legally wrong with asking for handouts that you don't deserve. I find the act appalling, and after she asked me to promote her site, I responded with the reasons why I wouldn't. After she spammed my site several times, I chose to post my reply publically. A friend of mine named Eric also sent her a message. She doctored the original with numerous mispelled words, then replied complaining about the spelling, and admitted to doing so in later correspondance.

Replying to my message, she states that my assumptions are wrong since she's not in fact working right now, despite the #2 entry on her FAQ clearly states that she is. She has an amendment to that FAQ entry that implies that her spare time job is on hold, but nothing reading from that implies, at least to me, that she's out of work. I told her that intentional deception on her part does not help her case and she should immediately fix any discrepancies. She replied that she would. This was three days ago, and she has yet to revise her wording.

She then visited the site again and sent several rather off-color messages, which I posted in the last news entry. She CLAIMS it was her roommate, although whoever it was used the same computer. Even if it wasn't Elaine, it was someone acting at her request. Namecalling is immature, especially for someone older than I am. I wouldn't do it, and I wouldn't let someone else do it while representing me. Elaine apparently has no problem with it.

She has proven that she's at least somewhat dishonest. As far as I'm concerned, that destroys ALL credibility she ever had. But that's my opinion and mine alone. If others want to send her money, or stand up for her, fine. Its your money to waste, but I'm done talking about it.

Her Site for the other side of this story.


Elaine speaks!

November 12, 2002 11:55

Since I was so harsh with Elaine, I figure I'll be fair and post some of her comments about me. Can't be sure who's doing the typing, but I know its the same computer Eliane uses.

(Elaine): fat ass
(Elaine): heard of exercise?
(Elaine): hey porker, my name aint ELAINE. she's my housemate you bitch.
(Elaine): i'm not elaine but I'll be on your site whenver I want fat tard
(Elaine): you're funny attention grabber. have nothing better to do than to bash her site and you don't even know her you asshole.
(Elaine): she didn't ask you for anything. she wanted to tell you she liked your site you freak.
(Elaine): what are you talking about
(Elaine): dude i just asked her what you are talking about and she said she has to update it. did you even know that she has been in bed all day because of back pain? you're really low. I'm out of here. I hope you find positive vibe in yourlife some day.


A Letter

November 09, 2002 22:22

This Letter is in response to someone who runs a panhandling site. The whole email, with the original quoted is here:

I added you for a few hours, then I looked at your website. I have now removed your link from the page. To ask others for handouts because you didn't plan things through properly or that life didn't go the way you wanted it to, is pathetic. I know it worked for Karen, but panhandling on the street corner, or through a website, is nothing short of taking advantage of the good will of others for your own greedy financial benefit. I know you say you work hard now. Well, its about time. Instead of racking up student loans you should have been working while in school to avoid that pinch. You should have worked harder in high school to get the grades to earn scholorships and maybe your college loans wouldn't have been so severe, if you needed them at all. Yes, you say you couldn't work through college, perhaps you shouldn't have gone then. It obviously hasn't done you any good.

You are an able-bodied human being. You have a job, and in the current economy, that's good news. You speak the language. You apparently have a roof over your head. There are thousands... MILLIONS of people in the United States alone that are worse off than you, let alone the rest of the world. Yet most of them don't complain.

I'm going to do you a favor. I'm going to tell you how to solve this problem of yours. First of all, look at your budget. What is on there that you don't absolutely need to survive or maintain your current employment? Be honest, there's plenty there. Got cable/dish? Cancel it. Paying for internet service? Not anymore. How's that food budget? Time to develop a taste for ramen. No more cosmetics. No more magazines. No more buying new cars, or CDs, or furniture, or any crap you don't need. And if you've spent money on any of this stuff since the day you went into debt... SHAME ON YOU.

Life has not handed you a raw deal, you handed yourself one. You've made your bed, but now you don't want to sleep in it. Well TOO BAD! Paying off that debt will be the most rewarding thing you will ever do. But you're going to have to do it on your own. And if you choose to continue this farce, well, I'll say this.. you have a lot of nerve, but it speaks very poorly of you as a human being. Does it please you that people all over the world grace your site only to see that despite the fact that your life was, and still is, so full of potential, you've chosen to snub your nose at all of it and BEG for money. People all over the world dream, pray and DIE just for the CHANCE of the possibilities that you have. God you make me sick.

But hey.. I can't stop you. And if your own personal ethics allow you to sink to this level, well, there's not much I can do about it. But I'll be damned if I'm going to help you. Have a nice day.

-Paul Mathis

Save Elaine wrote:

Name: SaveElaine
Age: 29
Gender: Female
Status: Single
Comments: I love driving you insane!

:) Can you add me to your list of visitors?

Great website!!




More stuff

November 07, 2002 13:34

The office cam's computer is still flaky, so expect problems there. I'm in the process of upgrading/reloading some of my other machines, so those cams will likely be offline from time to time. I'm hoping that by the end of the weekend, everything will be functioning properly again.