November 15, 2002

Asus A7V8X and ALSA

Folks, Skywalker here. I have to tell you about my new motherboard. My old motherboard (a very faithful Abit KT7-Raid) was hit my lightning. Results were that I had to replace it. Well it used SDRAM not DDR-SDRAM. So I also had to replace my Gigabyte of ram, which was over $300 alone!!!!! But, I digress.

Read on!

At first I took home an MSI board which had great features for the most part, even had an optional bluetooth piece. The problem was that whenever I would reboot from linux I'd lose USB all-together! Not kewl.

Took it back to the store (I used to work there) and my friend at the store exchanged it for an Asus board.

It has:
6 USB 2.0 ports
2 IEEE 1394 ports (A and B type, one each)
on-board 5.1 audio including SPDIF in and out
6 PCI slots
AGP 8x
DDR 400 support
333MHz max front side bus
2 VIA IDE ports
ATA Raid with 2 Serial ATA plugs and 1 ATA plug
On-board 10/100 Etherney

With it, I bought an Athlon XP 2000+ (the next one up had to big of a price jump) and 1 Gigabyte of DDR-SDRAM (Kingston, 333MHz.)

The performance has been great, stability has been great. I've been running it for 3 days now with not one lock-up or even a slight stability problem. Mind you, I've mostly been using Linux but there you go. I've been getting ~90 FPS in Quake 3 (Linux) and over 100FPS in Unreal Tournament.

Another nice feature was the ethernet. There is an option on this board for 10/100/1000 ethernet, but unfortunately the store didn't have any with that feature in-stock. But, the CD had a GPLed source provided driver for the ethernet chip. It compiled cleanly, no warning and worked immediately, no weird configuration was necesary.

Now here come the negatives.

The MSI board I originally bought, had a nice feature where it would scan the outboard (as in non VIA southbridge) hard disk controllers for bootable devices and made them options when configuring your boot sequence. The Asus just didn't have that. The problem being that the MSI used an Ami BIOS if I recall that correctly, where as the Asus uses an Award BIOS. I personally preferred the Ami BIOS, it had alot more options as far as front side bus adjustment. The Award BIOS however had been easier to configure.

The other problem I had was the on-board sound's configuration in linux. It worked right off the bat except in games that use OpenAL. I don't know why honestly. But it did. I fixed this by updating to the CVS version of ALSA. Worked with no problems after that. I also tried the comercial OSS drivers but the sound was really tinny and distorted with them for some reason. They also are less multimedia oriented (in my opinion) than the ALSA drivers. Not to mention that I didn't feel like shelling out the $20 for them. Configuration was basically the same as always for the sound other than that.

On the Windows side of things, I use Windows XP. Everything installed, cleanly no problems. One complaint is that the sound driver's in Windows don't seem to want to let me force use of the SPDIF output. I don't know why, but it won't and it is really annoying me! If I figure out why I'll let you all know.

Well, that's my rant about my lovely new motherboard. Skywalker out!

Posted by at 11:28 AM | Comments (2)

November 14, 2002

Settings for Ogg Vorbis in Grip

Ok, I finally figured out how to get Grip to put all the info from the CD into the tag.
Here is the Encoder Command Line :

-o %m -a %a -l %d -t %n -b %b %w -d %y -N %t -G %G

This will put in everything but comments.

Posted by at 05:35 PM | Comments (120)

November 13, 2002

Guess who I met...

Well folks, Skywalker here, the resident military/politics expert (oh yeah...I am...) and I had a great experience today. I go to GaTech and today we had Col. Danny McKnight, US Army (Ret.) speak this afternoon. I haveto say he was great! He was very articulate, had a lot of information to give and was all around just a really nice guy. He even let me and my younger brother have a picture taken with him.

Now, for those of you wondering who he is, and why this is so cool, read on!

Danny McKnight was the commander of Task Force Ranger in Somalia. Despite what you may think, they were kicking butt over there despite limits on their supplies and their men. He explained some of the innaccuracies of the movie Black Hawk Down (such as the men removing the rear plates of their kevlar vests - didn't happen, the vests didn't have rear plates.) If anyone wants some more information from his lecture, I would be glad to post a full story on it.

All in all, great guy and speaker. Now to try and post the photo...Oh btw, I'm the great looking guy on the left.


Posted by at 07:54 PM | Comments (1)

November 09, 2002

I hate computer games, no I love them..

I hate computer games man. I guess this is why I spend countless hours playing Madden 2002... 8-(

I have so much stuff I need to get done, like move this site to it's domain name for one, get my server back up and running and so on.

I think it's the devil's plot to keep me occupied with games so I can slowly decay into nothing. It's working.

There is not a day that goes by when I'm not thinking, "I need to go home after work and not play games, but get stuff done". However it all ends up half done sitting in limbo while I'm kicking the crap out of some poor team in Madden 2k2.

I guess I'm an addict, I took a good step and sold 23 of my games on ebay so I could by the TV card that is now in my workstation, it stopped me for a month.

It's sad to think how much productive time I've wasted away in computer games, I could be proficient in several programming languages now had I spent the time learning instead of playing.

Well, today I vow not to play anything else until the server is up and running properly. Give me plenty of time to do bills while the drives are being formatted, hehe.

Posted by at 11:05 AM | Comments (2)

IPCop, Open Source Firewall

I have been looking for an easier way to manage my firewall/router setup at home. Currently running Linux out of the box, setup as needed. However it's too bulky for me personally and so I'm on the hunt for something a tad more dedicated. In comes a small, and serious open source firewall for home and SoHo use.
I downloaded their iso image, burned the cd and installed it to a spare 500Mb hard drive I had lying around... it's quick to install and very easy to use. I did have one problem... wireless. The current stable release is v0.1.1 as of today and so I'm waiting for v 0.2 which will include native wireless support. I'm very excited about this software, if you are looking for something powerful and easy to use this is a must see.

Posted by at 09:26 AM | Comments (1)

MS admits its Linux-bashing jihad is a failure

From The Register
By Thomas C Greene in Washington
Posted: 08/11/2002 at 10:21 GMT

The Beast has hired a research crew to do a bit of attitude sampling among the Great Unwashed in the US and abroad, and has found that slagging Linux is not winning it any points. In a company memo posted by Eric S. Raymond here we learn that regular folks are both eager for a Microsoft alternative and generally respectful of the open-source concept.

We also learn that bombastic hoots by Steve Ballmer likening the GPL to a virus are in fact offensive to many people. Outright lies, like Ballmer's claim that Windows is, overall, cheaper than Linux also haven't been playing well, the researchers discovered.

"A plurality (40%) of all respondents felt that a low TCO [total cost of ownership] was the best reason to support OSS [open source software], the report says. MS does make much about the fact that running *nix requires a bit of expertise, whereas dumber, hence cheaper, employees can manage a Windows system. On the other hand they've got a license that just keeps on taking, so it's hard to believe that after a couple of years the Redmond crack addiction isn't going to start upsetting the economic tables to MS' advantage.

Additionally, we're told that "one-third of all respondents cited 'an alternative to Microsoft' as one of the best reasons to support OSS." Apparently a lot of people are starting to question the wisdom of a computing monoculture, as they should.

Most interestingly, "messages that criticize OSS, Linux, & the GPL are NOT effective," the survey crew has learned. (emphasis original)

"On the other hand, 'positive' OSS, Linux, and GPL messages are very effective -- both across geographies and audiences."

What this might mean we're almost afraid to ask. But apparently we can expect Ballmer to start waxing sentimental about how wonderful Linux and the GPl are, second only to Windows and the license that keeps on taking.

"In the short term, then, Microsoft should avoid criticizing OSS and Linux directly, continue to develop and aim to eventually win the TCO argument."

I have no idea what this means but I can hardly wait to find out. I seriously doubt that the TCO argument can be won without frequent recourse to outrageous lies and strident insistence that black is white and up is down. But then this is the sort of gravity-defying rhetoric at which the Redmond PR machine excels, so all bets are off.

One of the goals of the survey was to compare reactions to open-source software and Microsoft's self-serving substitute with strings, 'shared-source' software. There's a fair bit of tortured rhetoric involved, but the wind-up is that SSS could probably fly so long as it's adequately misrepresented. Traditionally cynical Europeans and Asians are unlikely to be fooled, the survey notes, but Americans won't be much trouble, having always been easy, willing prey for commercial manipulators and propagandists.

"Overall, the greatest challenges we face are with the International audience -- especially the French, Germans, and Japanese," the memo laments.

But they've still got the Americans by the short and curlies: "support for Shared Source was strongest in the US (73%)," the writers were relieved to say.

Of course that number is certain to change as the details become better known.

Posted by at 08:35 AM | Comments (2)

November 03, 2002

Packers shut down by Glory

Today the Green Bay Packers were abused and run over by the Ohio Glory. Week two in the USFL's third season brought yet another blow out at the hands of the Glory's abusive defense and unstoppable offense. Check out the game stats here. (note* Game played on Madden 2002 pc edition.)

Posted by at 07:56 PM | Comments (0)

Die Mp3 Die!

I have seen the future, and it is Ogg.
Ogg Vorbis to be exact.. it's the Open Source audio compression codec that is taking the world by storm.
Since Thompson Multimedia decided they wanted to ruin mp3 and charge for everything and anything that has to do with it, the world community is turning to Ogg Vorbis.
Vorbis is 100% Free, Open Source, and besides that it sounds better than mp3. The sound stage and clarity is an impressive improvement over mp3.

I've been working for the past week converting my mp3 collection to Ogg Vorbis files, here is a rip I made yesterday of Brainchild in .ogg format.

I have a ways to go before I'm done, I still have about 225 more cd's to go :-)

Check out their site

Posted by at 10:32 AM | Comments (2)

November 01, 2002

NFL Becoming a Video Game

I found this on my start page, being a huge Steelers fan, and naturally a football fan, I found this quite enlightening.
The NFL is becoming a video game

Posted by at 06:24 AM | Comments (0)