Slacking once again

Monday 16. June, 2008

No, nothing to do with Slackware this time. For some reason I just don’t want to do anything. Just few days ago I entered my Prospekt Linux chroot environment and spent there less than 2 minutes and began to feel angry so then I just left to Firefox and StumbleUpon. Still haven’t stumbled upon on something I really want (secretly)… I guess I can’t get one from teh internet, which is scary 🙂

I did try to take look on the JPM sources again and then thought that I should have done it with Java as it has a friendly compiler telling me I’m doing something wrong with the data (structures), I guess sometimes dynamic data typing isn’t fun… or I’m doing something terribly wrong (quite likely, actually)…

On the other hand, you have different fingers. As school is out and has been for weeks actually and nothing better to do, I have been hanging around in our city’s market place or nearby my apartment with a friend. It’s almost weird, we just stand there for couple of hours talking about various stuff but mostly about computers. Weird or not, I has been really fun and different. It’s really nice to be outside for a change and “it is time better spent” than normally just sitting in front of a monitor.

We’ve been playing Synergy too and we are on the second round on the big map pack and desperately waiting for the Orange Box version so we could co-op through HL2 Episode Two.


New Computer

Monday 3. March, 2008

I finally got around to buy me a new computer as the old one really started to feel old. Now I just have to cut in some “expenses” as it was rather pricey for a student budget.

This is what I had before:

  • AMD Athlon XP 2400+, 2.0 GHz processor
  • 1 GB RAM (DDR-333)
  • Asus A7V8X-X motherboard
  • 200 GB HD by Seagate
  • Geforce 6600 GT (AGP)
  • Some cheap DVD-drive that cannot read cd-rw-disks it burned
  • 1,44 MB floppy drive
  • 1,2 MB floppy drive  (I don’t really use it… It just looked cool)

Hmm.. funny… I don’t remember what components I had on it…
Anyway this is what I got now:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6750, 2.66 GHz
  • Asus P5N-E SLI motherboard
  • Corsair Twin2x  1 GB DDR2-800 memory kit, total 2 GB(TWIN2X2048-6400C4 G)
  • Western Digital Caviar SE16 320 GB HD
  • Gigabyte GV-NX88T256H graphics adapter based on NVIDIA 8800 GT
  • Antec Sonata III case with 500 W power supply

As I don’t have a car, I had a bit of problem on how to get it into my apartment from the local post office, but my two friends from the university helped with it. I don’t live too far from the office so we brought the three packages over by our bare hands 🙂

The case was the heaviest package and I had to carry it as far as the first traffic lights until my friend told me I looked ridiculous carrying the heavy big package so we switched and I got the lightest package 🙂

Building the computer wasn’t so easy as I thought it would be. After putting every component where they belonged the computer booted fine. Then the problems started. My old Windows XP installation cd didn’t contain any sata-drivers as they were supplied in Service Pack 2. I had created the sata-driver floppy but the installation halted on STOP-error “PAGEFAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA” or something like that and a reboot later it told that the installation structures were damaged and it refused to continue. I restarted the installation several times just to get various different STOP-errors until I gave up and tried to install Ubuntu.

The Ubuntu installation didn’t start very well as I saw some error messages from the linux kernel, at this point suspicion rised. I rebooted and selected the memtesting from the boot menu of the Ubuntu dvd. What I was encountered with was various memory errors and a lot of red colored characters. OK, my memory chips weren’t working properly. Maybe one of the two Corsairs was broken? I tested them individually and neither of them failed testing. As I put them both back on the motherboard, the failing began again. I wasn’t thrilled at all. Apparently the motherboard fails to recognize the memkit and give them proper settings. Some googling with my laptop revealed that others have had the same problem. I had to manually set some timing and voltage settings in the BIOS. Tadaa! It didn’t fail anymore.

I think it was this site I got the working settings from:

Bios Settings:
SLI-Ready Memory = Disabled
Memory Voltage = 2.085
tCL = 4
tRCD = 4
tRP = 4
tRAS = 12
CMD = 2
Advanced Memory Timings

tRC = 22
tWTR = 15
All other settings = auto

Now I have Windows XP Professional, Windows 2003 Server and Ubuntu Linux installed (I got the Server from MS’ DreamSpark-service for students). Everything seems to working alright

As for performance… well.. none of few games has any performance issues. It was an interesting experience to play Portal and Half-Life 2: Episode Two without any stuttering or glitches. My SimCity Societies is still waiting to be tested as for some reason it keeps telling me about conflicts with emulation software even though I don’t have any emulation software. It seems like someone is going to get cracked.

(The HL2:EP2 achievement about squishing 333 grubs was only 3 bugs away… >:-()

Hello? Are you still standing there?

Sunday 25. November, 2007


Who can guess where that line is taken from? Here’s a hint: It’s a computer game and it’s name starts with P.

Apparently I have got a new obsession related to that game. I hope it’s nothing serious, though. I still want a big blue tower.

On the other news, it seems there’s something wrong somewhere as my laptop’s hard drive seem to be under massive use in both Fedora and Ubuntu. I have no idea what’s going on there, the system just uses hard drive. I suppose it’s somehow related to swapping, but it didn’t do that in previous versions of Ubuntu. Also, when ever it’s updating/installing/removing packages (aka using the hd) the whole system goes nearly unusable state. It’s not nice at all.  I already downloaded a Vector Linux installation cd image as they say it’s a lightweight distribution, but if the problem lies some where in the hardware changing distro won’t help.

I don’t remember having this sort of problem in my personally built Prospekt Linux. In case I get tired of Vector too Prospekt is the next installation. Hmm… I should write some sort of installation program for it…

I had to do a practice work (in Java) to the programming course I mentioned in an earlier post. So far I have a working implementation of “program that calculates the age of a person in months and years. Current date is taken from the system.” I still have to do some testing, write API documentation using Javadoc and a small report containing the testing material, short instructions and stuff. (How much instructions users need for a program that asks their birthday?)

Last Friday the teacher did a small review on the current state of our projects. He told my program was great (I’m not really sure how to translate the adjective he used) and needed only testing. I was quite sure that wrong input format wouldn’t crash it, but he still managed to do it. Apparently I never tested what would happen if there’s some extra spaces before the actual birthday. It was quite easy to fix, though, and I’m somewhat proud of it. Now it “cleans” all extra space from the input string by utilizing Java’s StringTokenizer-class.

Yet another news: I’m sick. My throat hurts and I’ve got fever. Usually I’ve been sick around December 6th, but it came early this year, it seems. A quick check to my calendar shows that the 6th day is Thursday and we’ll have final test in Calculus III on Friday, so I guess my immune-system predicted the test and decided I must get sick this weekend instead so I can attend to the test. It also knew that getting sick next weekend would have compromised the final test in Fotonics or my possible moving to Joensuu.


Thursday 18. October, 2007

I noticed that my little article on Intel 945GM chipset and Half-Life 2 has got a pair of new comments in this month. I’m very pleased because of that. Every comment received means that some has reacted on my writings. Those little comments motivated me to write once again a blog entry.

The last week has been very pleasing too. Last Friday I purchased the Orange box on Steam (that may sound a bit funny if one doesn’t know what Valve’s Steam is… 🙂 ). Well, the rest of the day was spent downloading the content and making room on the hard drive for it by moving stuff around and removing unnecessary stuff. I could finally play Half-Life 2 Episode Two on Saturday and I actually beated the game in the same day. Well… As always, I cheated a little on tough and scary places… (I simply hate that red screen of death nearly as much as the blue one on another “game”).

Half-Life 2 Episode Two is a great expansion and it was longer than Episode One, thanks Valve. As the game is not yet in real life stores, I’m not going to write what happens in the game as that potentially could ruin the game experience of others. But some things aren’t suprises for anyone:

  • The game has some new creatures such as
    • Antlion grubs
    • nastier form of antlions
    • Combine Hunters
    • some others too
  • We learn new things about “Our mutual friend”
  • Citadel has been blown apart (Such a shame… It was a beautiful tower, I want one)

As for the actual plot, I think it doesn’t ruin anything if I say that I was shocked on the way the Episode ended…

The Orange Box also contained Portal and Team Fortress 2 as “worth mentioning games”. Now I have Half-Life 2 and Episode One to give away as gifts, but I haven’t yet decided who to give them to… … maybe my brother if he would play them…

Portal is a cool game. I love the computer voice explaining things, she’s so formal and cold. “The floor in this test will kill you. Try to avoid it” or “… can cause permanent disabilities such as vaporization…”. Various things have very cool names such as “Aperture Science emergency intelligence incinerator”, “Aperture Science We-don’t-know-what-it-does-thing” or something like that…

hmm… It might be time to log off and close this computer for this night…

Railway Station 12 down and out

Tuesday 11. April, 2006

Well, after a while I got bored on the bug described in my earlier blog entry and decided to jump over that chapter. Well, I jumped over Water Hazard, Black Mesa East, We don't go to Ravenholm…, Highway 17, Sandtraps and Nova Prospekt too, straight to Entanglement. As a down side I can't help the feeling of cheating…

Railway Station 12, do you read me?

Monday 10. April, 2006

I thought that it would be great time to play Half-Life 2 through again after a pause of a few months. Well, I was wrong. The game crashed down in chapter Route Kanal. I just arrived to station which was being raided by Metropolices, when I walked to the radio and heard the dialogue:
“Station 12, come in. Station 12 – do you read?”
“Station 8, do you copy? Station 8, are you there? We have confirmed reports of manhacks. Repeat: they’re filling the underground with manhacks.”
“This is Station 8! We heard 12 go down and out. Surgical strike units are targeting railway stations. Repeat, Civil Protection is coming down on underground stations. We’re already getting refugees from 9 and outlying! Looks like we’re-”

The game crashed during the dialogue. This really pisses me off. Now the game doesn’t work either in Windows or Wine (it also looks bad in Wine).