DIARY 2004















Fri, May 28

<16:17> Installed fetchmail. It was dead easy to configure it, then again its idea is rather simple: getting mail from several accounts into the local inbox.

The main motivation was that after I move, I may have to be offline for days or even weeks, meaning I need to use a remote mail server. When I get online at someone else's place, it's great to get everything into the laptop at once, and it gets filtered of spam because it'll go through my own mailserver.

However, I've noticed it is quite convenient even if I'm online. Much better than forwarding, because I'd have to keep track of things and avoid looping. And I like to use several mail accounts for registrations and related purposes; unfortunately my IKI address gets almost all the spam.

Packing is of course in progress, and it's starting to feel a little too empty and quiet here. Meaning I'll probably do a lot of reading tonight :)

<16:28> One thing about Wednesday: we finally probed the new Asian restaurant, Sakura Gava in Väinönkeskus. The food was excellent and the order was pretty fast. This may be due to the matrix menu system, where you choose a solid and a sauce. That way they can have reserves of m+n ingredients for mn dishes ready. I also liked the decoration, even if the place is very small. The only downsides were price (though the quality is worth it) and waiting culture; we had to be overly explicit about wanting to pay and leave, even after saying we're not having any dessert or such.

Thu, May 27

<22:52> Finally a day to myself, it's been a socialist week since Monday afternoon. But today hasn't been all fun and games of introversion. I'm tarring and bzipping everything and then some, for the mv /puistokatu/* /yliopistonkatu/ planned for Saturday. I should get the keys tomorrow night, I'm already pretty excited. I even had a dream this one night, overwhelming with the industrial/hack atmosphere of the place.

Tuesday night was my third meeting with Sanni, the friend of Rigorist. This was a 25th day of the month, like the previous occasions. Strange enough, but fun. I only had five hours of sleep that night, but the next day was surprisingly alert and energetic.

That day there was the Toukofest where most of the students went, and for those not going, a few of us teachers had to think of something to do. I gave a brief introduction into web publishing. Most of these anti-fest students (about 90%) were absent, not surprisingly.

<23:09> Today there was the kicking-away fest for the 9th graders. As I'm also leaving the school, I was asked to join a stupid quiz show against a few students. I didn't get a single question right, or I was too slow. There wasn't even much of a thrill of novelty because we've had these things before, but I guess the students find these more amusing. The questions were about rarely known facts about the school, the students and the teachers, for example they asked my GSM provider and my middle name, though obviously not on my turn :)

Tue, May 25

<00:46> "I love Mondays. On a Monday, anything is possible." (Thagg on Slashdot)

After spending a longish unexpected afternoon driving around with Teak, we ended up looting some old hardware with one of his friends. I got a Pentium MMX, 166 MHz, 64 MB, and accessories, all of which were destined for trashcan. The system booted with Tomsrtbt after a failed attempt to boot a Gentoo CDRW. I'm saving further hacking for the new apartment I'm moving into on Saturday.

<11:16> To clarify, the system BIOS was capable of CDROM booting -- though with limited choices of boot device order, and silly drive references like A and C -- there aren't any C or A drives in Linux! It seems, however, that the 8x CDROM drive couldn't read a CDRW, and I'd rather not burn a CDR for such purposes. I'll use another drive for the install then.

Before the Monday afternoon ventures, my programming course returned zero. As we had touched upon Python as well as C, we watched a very relevant movie: The Meaning of Life. One of the students had suggested it, as he had the video.

Sun, May 23

<23:11> I stand corrected. At the Plan B club on Friday I learned from Esmo a little something regarding the bit depth of Canon G1 raw files; such a geeky start for a night's conversation. My humble prosumer camera actually has ten bits per colour pixel, which is neat :) It didn't occur to me before, as I used rather mainstream output files with 8 bpp. (I was going to state 10 as the bit depth, but it might be confusing depending on the base :)

Otherwise it was a rather quiet night, but I wasn't looking for any heavy clubbing anyway. There'd been that meeting in the afternoon, and a relatively social week overall.

Hoo has a new heatsink as of Monday, or a 'hedgehog' as the overclocking kiddies prefer to say, which is cutely descriptive IMHO. I seem to remember that blue is also the colour of Sonic, though I've never played those games with the pointy-haired characters.

Speaking of tweaking, I've finally gotten into the memory settings of Hoo's BIOS. I've found a noticeable improvement to the default values, though the tests are still rather incomplete. One problem with the default values is that they are read from a chip on the DIMM which is a 400 MHz model, while the motherboard has a 266 MHz controller. So I'm not sure what the mobo does with those values.

Naturally, I wanted to go for the lowest latencies straight ahead, since the memory can obviously take the strain given the chipset limitation. Only the TRAS value should not be minimized, it should be ideally CAS + TRCD [+ 2]. Websites seem to disagree whether the additional two is necessary. Currently I've minimized both CAS and TRCD to two, and with a TRAS of either 5 or 6 (the only options) I get very similar results. It's the only thing left undecided in the setup; all of the other latencies are minimized, burst length and interleaving maximized.

Interestingly, I'm getting the biggest improvement in OpenGL applications. This is probably related to the EPIA's lack of dedicated video memory; the integrated graphics system uses a part of the main DIMM. I'm not sure if the same settings apply to the video memory, but I expect they do, since it's the same DIMM it is using.

Fri, May 21


kuokkalassa oli opekokous
seiskojen opsia viilattiin
toimin sihteerinä
sitten pyöräilin kotiin

Sun, May 16

<14:15> Visited my parents for the Friday night, to see Milja and Jussi as well. Among the things I brought back, was the Windows software for my Canon G1 digital camera. I installed it on Hoo via Wine, but it couldn't open any images; it was expecting to use USB which would be quite painful to set up under Wine, though probably not impossible. (USB transfer under Linux works fine with GPhoto, but I prefer plugging in the CF card.)

I was mainly interested in getting RAW images instead of the crippled JPEGs, but fortunately there was DCRaw. It seems to work OK, though the unpacked files are huge at about 9 MB. Not surprising for 3.3 Mpix with 24 bpp of course.

Last night being Yläkaupungin Yö there were plenty of cultural events around the city, but I wasn't in a particularly festive mood. One nice performance we followed was a set of West African music and dance by Mami Wata and Wolandoo at Ilokivi.

My GF took part in the SingStar karaoke competition at Agora. It's a PS2 game which Fouriers the voice to compare it against the 'correct' notes. It turned out, not surprisingly, that the people who scored the best sounded a little too monotonic and seemed to lack an artistic touch. There was also a noticeable lag between the voice and the music. Obviously, the analysis takes a little time, but it would be smarter IMHO to pass the voice through intact, and analyze a copy instead.

Fri, May 14

<00:14> My legs ache. Apparently the same 'real men' who write Fortran in any language never stretch after a tough exercise. Wednesday afternoon there was a floorball match between the best of Voionmaa students and a random selection of teachers. We lost with a score of 7 to 14. Not bad considering I haven't played it since being a junior high student myself. And it was fun, to the extent that an extroverted mainstream team-oriented sports can be. I even lost my breath several times.

Sat, May 8

<20:46> As a simple and silly experiment I swapped the old Pentium II into Prkl's CPU socket, knowing well that its software has been compiled for a P3. It booted fine and I could ssh in, but some applications complained of illegal instructions.

Which is actually a very good sign! The only difference between P2 and P3 being SSE instructions for vectorized floating point math. Thus Gentoo's way of compiling everything means real CPU-specific optimizations. Even Seti@Home, which is distributed as a binary, refused to run; it is, however, compiled against Glibc. This refutes my earlier claims about Glibc's relative lack of optimizations, which again is a good thing. Except if I need to use that P2 for real, it'll need some recompiles.

<23:53> Last night I took a small step towards street performership. A group of Rigorist's friends were hanging out by Harju (the esker by the city centre), sipping beer, and I decided by bring my guitar with me. Played a few songs and the guys seemed to like it all right.

It was a farewell party for Olli. He had directed one of Rigorist's plays, and the rest of the team were there too. Olli is leaving for Riihimäki to be a professional actor, at the end of this month.

Incidentally, I'll be moving into his current apartment near the university. I'm pretty excited, but also very defocused by all the practical issues of moving. The place is bigger and cheaper than my current flat, and carries plenty of character over from 1936 — the same year my third year set at Queens' College was built. Right next to the building is a Rosicrucian temple fnord.

As it got darker, we proceeded to a pub where I was greeted by two of my colleagues. I came home around 1:30, having consumed a mere triplet of ales. I was feeling a little dizzy. Somehow my tolerance for beer is much lower than other kinds of alcohol by the same absolute amount.

Thu, May 6

<22:22> Got these CDs I'd ordered last week from Bad Vugum:

I'll skip describing the first two bands as you probably know something about them already. Ektroverde is something I once heard on the Avaruusromua radio show, and I'd forgotten what it was like, it was merely hanging on my list of interesting bands. It's ambient jazz fused with electronica, nothing utterly extraordinary on this record so far. What's interesting is that the band has members of Aavikko and Moon Fog Prophet (why they have an official translation of the name is beyond me) in its lineup.

The Vacuum Cleaners, now, are something completely different. On this CD I recognize strange versions of Carmina Burana, which is nice as I like its classical implementations very much.

On with some gastro(nomical|logical|intestinal) experiments, today I lightly fried some vegetables and prawns, adding "Amoy Rich" Satay (peanut) sauce fortified with a little lemon juice and potato flour. Very much enjoyed. I left out my usual extra of chili, which was good as the sauce was just spicy enough by itself.

Risto A. Paju