On Computers and the Evil... (08 Jun 2002)

On Computers and the Evils Of Powersaving

Went into school yesterday to startup everything and to fit a UPS on metis. Unfortunately I didn't compile the kernel with serial support (minimal and all that) so I'll have to reboot metis on Monday with a newer kernel. Good excuse to switch to 2.4.18 thou.

I also took marvin (the laptop) in with me and let it feed off the 2Mbps connection. It's now a fully up to date Debian unstable with 2.4.18 etc. I also finally got both my PCMCIA cards working. The 3Com network card was fine under 2.2.17, but the Aironet didn't work at all.

In comes 2.4 and both of them break. It turns out that the 3c575 driver has been replaced with 3c59x which has hotplug support (meaning it can handle the PCMCIA card without cardmgr or any of the rest of the pcmcia-cs tools). The airo drivers, however, do need pcmcia-cs and only the latest will do. Anyway - it's all working now.

Since I have an Aironet but no other 802.11b devices I set ethereal sniffing wifi0 and walked into town to pickup a book (more on that later). The Aironet is, as I understand, the best card for sniffing since it can do RFMON (multiple frequency sniffing I think). But the laptop went into power saving (which I expected) and powered down the PCMCIA bus too (which I didn't), so I got nil packets. Oh well.

A New Kind of Science

The book I was picking up was A New Kind of Science, which has finally reached this country. And thanks to Anna Gregson who came up to me in town and just gave me 30 pounds, thus neatly paying for nearly all of the book. I wish more stunning ladies would do stuff like that

I've only read the first couple of chapters but so far Wolfram is being a pompous twit. He spends a lot of words talking about how he is the first person to recognise that complexity can come from simple structures and how he is the first person to study it.

Doesn't exactly ring true does it?

I think, Stephen, that most people has realised that long ago. Certainly people who had looked at crypto. I mean, it's spelt out word for word in Cryptonomicon (the chapter about LPW and organ). LFSRs were the mainstay of military crypto for years and were very well studied. Maybe I'll think more highly of this book as I get more into it.

The Beauty of Fonts

This [via Raph] is a good discussion of why so much has been said about unhinted AA recently. Just look at Chimera - that's nice. Unfortunately, since I run Xinerama I can't have XRENDER as well, at least in 4.1.0. Maybe 4.2.0 will fix it, but Debian doesn't have it yet (thou I note that Gentoo does).

(as an aside, Freetype have a cool new, fontish, logo)


As a rule of thumb - if it isn't broken in konqueror then I don't know about it. Pill pointed out that Mozilla (and other Gecko based browsers) didn't like the CSS because publicfile was returning the MIME type as text/plain. Fixed that in a very DJB way, the name of the CSS file is now iv.css.text=css.