The Atheist’s Prayer

Sunday 1. November, 2009

From something that really looks like a t-shirt:

Our brains, which art in our heads, treasured be thy name. Thy reasoning come. Thy best you can do be done on earth as it is. Give us this day new insight to help us resolve conflicts and ease pain. And lead us not into supernatural explanations; deliver us from denial of logic. For thine is the kingdom of reason, and even though thy powers are limited and you’re not always glorious, you are the best evolutionary adaptation we have for helping this earth now and forever and ever.

So be it.

So nice…

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Long lost love

Sunday 26. April, 2009

Recently I have been checking the university’s “computer recycling area” in hopes of finding me a new ancient computer. I saw a couple of old machines in the student lab and after finishing my experiment I just couldn’t stop staring at them. They were so old and looked so nice. It was so nice, but then came a dude who took the machines from the floor and carried them away. I suppose they went to recycling, but they didn’t go the way newer computers go. Normally computers to be removed from service go to the IT department for some good blancking of the hard disks, the very same place decides if the machines go to other duties, to sale or to the “floor” where students and other people can grab them for free.

I though the two oldies would go to the same place and end up to the “floor” as the “MHz limit” for resale is about 1000 MHz, and any 386-machine is well below that limit with their blazing 16-33 MHz. Sadly though the machines never went to the department for judging, I even asked if they had seen those machines.

Afterwards I have been thinking more and more about my old Acer 1100SX, who, sadly, was sent to the landfill years ago. Now I want it back. I really want it back. I even checked local online action sites (by local I mean Finnish), but all the oldies there were too new for me. Ebay instead did have some 386 machines, but the prices… I really won’t pay $300 for a 20 years old computer (+shipping, of course). Crazy people… You can’t really do anything serious with it. It would just sit on the table (or floor) and look good. Maybe occasionally I would try to play or do something, get frustrated and shutdown the machine (that’s what I do with the other oldies I have).

I’m surprised that there’s no real information of the Acer 1100SX desktop computer on the net. Googling didn’t really reveal anything about the system. Except that it was Windows 3.0 compatible and that some companies claim to sell memory modules for it. There’s not even a picture. I don’t know if I would be more depressed if there were pictures of the system somewhere or, as it currently seems,  no pictures at all. Few pictures might make me want it back even harder.

Let’s at least put some specs up

Acer 1100SX

  • 386SX-processor, 16 MHz
  • 2 MB RAM
  • 3,5″ 1,44 MB floppy drive
  • 5,25″ 1,2 MB floppy drive
  • 40 MB Hard disk
  • Integrated VGA graphics card
  • 14″ VGA color monitor
  • 4(?) ISA slots
    • 1200 bps modem
    • Game port extension card
    • Diamond Sound Something sound card (I added it later)
    • Allied Telesyn AT-2000 Network card (this one too)
  • AT-power supply (surprise!)
  • manufactured 1989
  • I also got an Epson-matrix printer, I loved it

The machine was bought used in 1996-1997 I think. The monitor’s power switch broke 1999 and dad thought that we could replace the whole machine with a brand new model. I still used the machine more or less actively for a couple of years while my brother was playing with the new one. As time went by I used the machine less and less. Finally it just sit in the corner looking sadly at me until mom decided to throw it away.

It had MS-DOS 3.33 and Windows 3.0 installed including some Microsoft entertainment pack. It was all in English so I had to buy a Finnish-English-Finnish-dictionary to understand the system 🙂 Later my cousin gave me MS-DOS 6.22 and Windows for Workgroups 3.11. The Windows was in Finnish this time 🙂 Due to the DOS 3.33 limits the hard disk was originally partitioned in two partitions, 32 MB C: and 8 MB D:. The D:-drive contained all the games the machine had, and I still have kept the same partitioning: C: for system, D: for games 🙂

When the machine was about to be thrown away, I took several components from it to remember it by. Most notably the RAM-modules, power supply and the cool 5,25″ floppy drive, that I put on the Compaq P733 I told about in some earlier post. (The newest computer didn’t have BIOS support for it. I wonder why…)

I think the machine was originally equipped with only 1 MB RAM as the other four of eight 256 KB modules looked different than the other four. I also got 5,25″ floppies including MS-DOS 3.33 and Windows/386 for which I even have the user manuals. Sadly I didn’t have floppies for the Windows 3.0 nor the WordPerfect 5.2. There were also some Acer setup utilities that could lower the CPU speed to 8 MHz and other tool to park hard disk heads to the designated parking zones. I think there was also a text mode tutorial program on what exactly is a computer and what you can do with it.

Edit 12.07.2009:

Acer 1100SX Specifications

Acer 7013A Specifications (the monitor)

Edit 28.11.2010:

Some fucker was selling an Acer 1100SX motherboard on Ebay for $60. When did they become so expensive? Admittedly they are quite rare these days…

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Thursday 25. December, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2009 to everybody who has managed to reach this blog site. Especially for those who have commented the Intel 945GM article.

Thermophysics, the experiment 1

Monday 18. August, 2008

Today I had a measurement to do in our university’s physics student laboratory. I had a kettle full of water of 80 degrees Celsius, an aluminium rod and a smaller pot of room temperature water.

The idea was to conduct heat from the bottom of the hot kettle through the rod to the pot. I had temperature sensor in both the upper and the lower end of the rod and in the little pot. The temperatures were read to a computer running some Matlab-script. I was supposed to measure the temperatures for 10 minutes with 1 minute intervals and write them down (It cleary would have been too little work for us if the script had had a for-loop to do this too).

So, for ten minutes I wrote the results down and changed in a copper rod and did the same things to it too. In half way of the second measurement set, my instructor took a look on the first results and was a bit puzzled.

Somehow the upper end of the rod heated as expected, the water in the pot heated as well. But the temperature of the lower end of the rod got lower! How is this possible?

(this is an “I want comments”-post and the real answer to the question above will be revealed later, unless someone finds it out. >:-) )

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.

Shopping for a new stuff

Monday 12. May, 2008

Today I kinda went shopping with my friend. I just got some urge to get a microphone for my computer so I could make weird voices and comments too while playing Synergy. There were few microphone models but I couldn’t decide so I went to look some keyboards and ended up buying a one too (Logitech Cordless Desktop EX110, comes with a mouse too) and then went back to the microphones and took one manufactored too by Logitech.

The keyboard seems to be better than the old one (Microsoft ComfortCurve 2000, which wasn’t that comfortable to me). The weird thing is that this Logitech-keyboard doesn’t have Scroll Lock-key and the Insert/Home/Pg U -keyset is a 3×2-keys not the ordinary 2×3-keys matrix, also they have moved the insert-key away from this set and put it in place of Scroll lock.

The microphone was a bit of disappointment but thats probably some driver problem. Currently I have to yell at the microphone to get Windows Sound Recorder to catch anything and the same goes to everything else too. If I turn on the mic boost, there’s a lot of background noise but I can record with my normal speaking voice, but the noise is unacceptable! Is this due to Asus P5N-E SLI motherboard and its drivers? I bet it would work in Linux >:-) This current situation means no funny voices on Synergy. God damn! Has anyone else had this same problem?

So Proud of Myself

Wednesday 9. April, 2008

Today I finally managed to repair my A-Link RR24AP(c) adsl-modem. The problem was that the wireless side didn’t function at all because the boot environment of the modem was corrupted. The corruption was my fault as I accidentaly used a wrong power source which wasn’t powerful enough, all I could see was the lan-connection light flickering.

Few weeks ago I contacted A-link’s tech support and they told me to send the modem to their technicians, but I didn’t bother to that as the warranty period had ended quite some time ago.

The modem accepts ssh-connections for controlling it and a linux shell/toolset, busybox. Boot environment configuration can be accessed through /proc/ticfg/env -file. A quick look into it and some knowledge from RouterTech’s forums and the modem’s system log revealed that WLAN_EEPROM-values were missing. I don’t know exactly what these values are but I do know that without them the wireless doesn’t work.

I found a recovery software through the same forums but the program didn’t start. I crashed immediately. I was very disappointed as it was my only hope. As I knew that I needed those WLAN_EEPROM-settings so it came to my mind to take a look on that program with a hex editor (Notepad++ with hex editing plugin, in case you want to know…) and indeed there they were! Apparently it was a template of the eeprom-settings, but still I got my hopes up again!

I didn’t expect this template to work directly which was then confirmed when I tried it. Again the answer was found in RouterTech’s forums. Some other guy had the same problem of missing/corrupted WLAN_EEPROMs and some other guy told him that WLAN_EEPROM8-line contains a hardware specific id in REVERSE order (12 34 56 would become 56 34 12). Modifying that line did the trick! The WLAN-led lit up! I had restored the right WLAN_EEPROMs (WLAN_EEPROM0-WLAN_EEPROM14) and I had a working wireless access point. One problem, though, the modem though that the BSSID was 00:00:00:00:00:00 THAT IS NOT RIGHT! (and only my laptop’s Intel 3945 detected it, my buffalo usb-wlan stick didn’t see anything).

And to the Google we went… it turned out that WLAN_HWADDR0 should be set and contain the MAC-address of the wlan-system.

Now the modem is under testing and seems to run just fine.

(I don’t publish the WLAN_EEPROM-values here because I don’t know if  that would be legal)