Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Feel like shooting me with a Paintball Gun? Close to South Carolina?

Alright, lets find out how many people want to take a paintball marker and shoot me with it...

Right now I'm intending to be at TriggerTyme's year end Scenario Game in Columbia South Carolina: The upfront cost is a $5 donation/toy for Toy's For Tots. Renting a marker, getting air, and getting paint will be a little bit more.

if you want more information, you can drop by the site and forum announcement:



Monday, November 27, 2006

Turn, Jump, Spin Around : OpenSUSE Irc on Novell Deal

Alright, I originally wrote this post over on linux.com. Basically, the long story short is that OpenSUSE hosted an IRC chat supposedly to go over the deal with Microsoft that was made by Novell.

Linux.com already has a slightly edited version up here

If you want to see the unedited text of the chat, you can click on this link

Anyways, this is my original thought over the event:
I'm still trying to plow through the un-edited version after reading the lightly edited version here, and, to be honest, this isn't what I expected.

I, personally, expected the IRC chat to be about how OpenSuse developers were going to handle the deal with Microsoft and Novell. I expected it to be about making plans on how to move forward, what programs were and were not going to be worked on, and possibly technical details about how exactly the interop center would actually be functioning.

I also expected the chat to cover any potential plans for mass-evacuation of OpenSuse developers to other projects if the worst fears were realized. I expected serious considerations to be given to Ubuntu, Debian, Gentoo, or RedHat development.

I expected questions and answers about how this might affect KDE and it's use on Windows, or how Novell might use KDE in the future. I expected questions about how Ximian and Evolution would be impacted by the deal, increased exchange server compatibility a possible topic.

What I did not expect, and what we got, was spin about how the deal was good, and about how nothing would really change in the long run. The overall tone of the IRC chat, and the questions that were not asked or addressed...

well, I'm going to state this: I have no problems with Non-Free software. I have no problems with Paying For software if it offers a reasonable price, after all, if I don't pay the coder or the designer, how are they going to afford to be able to work on the project in the future?

I have no problems with the non-free drivers at use in Ubuntu. Like it or not, Open-Source hasn't provided the performance the binary ATi and Nvidia drivers provide, and wireless with "free" drivers? Not happening on a lot of wireless chipsets.

Anyways, the point is, given what we just got from the OpenSuse chat, I'm far more comfortable staying with Mepis built on Ubuntu. People may complain about Mark Shuttleworths and Warren's use of non-free software, but they don't attempt to hide it or spin it.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Lets talk about Hotel Wireless

Alright, right now I am up in Pigeon Forge, TN, on a family trip, and I've come across what could be described as a pet peeve of mine. Right now my laptops are only getting 5-15% of the hotels wireless access service, and that is driving me bonkers. I am just on the very edge of the service bubble, enough that a newer wireless adapter is having no problems maintaining a connection at low levels, but an older netgear card is going haywire and won't stop scanning channels.

(no problems includes 600ms ping times and 14k modem connection speeds, http://test.lvcm.com says I'm running at about 512k, Planetside and City Of Heros say I'm not).

Anyways, the reason why it drives me bonkers is that I cannot figure out who in the world would setup a hotel's wireless connection signal like this. It isn't the first time that I've been on the edge of the service bubble, while at E3 earlier this year (yeah, when I had a regular paying job), I had the same exact event occur. Just on the very edge of the wireless bubble, only with 0-5% signal.

I get the feeling that the hotels simply buy the Linksys / Dlink / whoever marketing blitz that the Wireless Routers will reach for however many feet, place a router, walk the distance out, walk it out again, place another router, and so on. It seems like it never occurs to a hotel to bother having a network specialist come in to advice them on wireless network building (I am available for this, and trust me, I will glady travel 500+ miles to help set up wireless network infrastructures). The walls, plumbing, electrical lines, elevators, microwaves, and everything else will wreck havoc with the signal. The only way to really be sure that all rooms have "good" access is to actually walk inside the room with a laptop, PDA, or wireless network location device and very signal strengths of 50%+. The point at which you begin to lose 50% signal strength is where you need to be making your halfway point at. Walk from that point, set another router, go back to the middle, measure the signal strength, and make sure that everybody can connect.

That way everybody who visits the hotel can connect at a decent speed.

Is that really so hard?

note, about most of the way through this we went away to the Black Bear Jamboree Dinner and Show, so most of the vitriol I have against the hotel has kinda dissipated, until I reconnected to "very low" signal strenth. 4%-7% range.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

If you bought a PS3... I really feel sorry for you

a lot of different reports are starting to come in from people able to get their hands on the Playstation3, and the reports are not good. Now, I'm just gonna link two of these reports so far for the sake of commentary. Source is Anandtech/Dailytech

Issues with PS2 compatibility

Lack of Upscalar

The first problem with the Playstation3 on launch is that it's PS2 compatibility list is far short of what was expected. As the Playstation2 contained the hardware for the original Playstation, the Playstation3 contains the Emotion Chip and Graphics Synthesizer (read: 1 128bit Mips CPU with 2 Vector Processors) that made up the Playstation2, so it was expected that the Playstation2 compatibility would not be an issue. When the Playstation2 launched a few obscure titles had some issues, but most of them were Japan only releases, and not really big sellers. So, imagine the shock people are getting with games like Xenosaga Episode II, Radiata Stories, Devil May Cry, and Suikoden III not working properly? Okay, so that's not the entire list of known problems, I just happen to... oh yeah. OWN THOSE GAMES. Other popular titles like Gran Turismo 4 and Tekken 5 also have issues.

Now, the excuses are already flying, with pointers to the lack of rumble in the Playstation3 controller, to the Virtual Memory cards instead of physical memory cards... but these... well, are not exactly good excuses. The primary reason these are not good excuses is the Operating System base for the Playstation2 and Playstation3. It is Linux. There should not have been any problems mapping the physical memory cards to virtual memory cards, and it should not have been any problem routing Rumble commands to /dev/null. To have software issues like this when you have complete control of the Operating System and the Hardware is inexcusable.

Granted, the most common problem isn't the game locking up, although that happens on a lot of titles. The most common problem is music getting off track, or no music at all. Which... Sony responded to with this gem:

some people can put up with playing games that lack sound

I am thinking that ranks up there with "5 million people will buy our console, even without any games." I really think the Sound Engineers working on Playstation3 titles need to think about how their work is being taken for granted.

The second major piece of news on the launch of the Playstation3 is the lack up an upscaler. This really isn't a big deal in and of itself. People who have set a 640*480 picture to be their desktop background on a 1024*768 screen, and then selected "stretch" know how bad the picture can be pixelated. But, in the case of the Playstation3, it supports resolutions of 480 interlaced, 480 progressive, 720progressive, and at least 1080 interlaced. However, a lot of High Definition Televisions on the market, including a lot of Sony models, do not support the 720progressive resolution. Many only support 480 interlaced, 480 progressive, and 1080 interlaced.

So, Playstation3 games that do not support the 1080 interlaced picture, but support 720 progressive, drop to 480 progressive picture.

Suddenly, Nintendo's decision to forgo anything above 480 Progressive makes a lot more sense, although it's not like I told everybody that... BACK WHEN THE GAMECUBE LAUNCHED. AND WHEN THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE REVEALED FOR THE 360 AND PS3. Oh wait a second... I did.

Anyways, the point is being made that at 480 progressive downscale, the pictures are, well, blurry. I hate to break physics to the rest of the Video Game Crowd, BUT TELEVISIONS ARE BLURRY! CRT televisions depend on the motion blur in order to fool your eyes into seeing motion. That is how televisions WORK.

Anyways, so it isn't like this was an issue that wasn't seen by engineers, especially by engineers who created the High Definition standards and how High Definition is implemented in a television set.

My problem with Sony on this is that they really should have known better, and should have made sure that development teams checked the 480 progressive output views on their games. I know Epic did with Gears of War. It looks great on a 480 interlaced, and a 720progressive screen.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Update : what am I up to

kinda need to give a status update...

right now I'm building the guides on 3 different systems, the processors listed below. I'll post more information about the systems later.

AXp 2500+ / Radeon x1600
K6-2 500mhz / Volari ... something. I honestly forget.
Intel Pentium 4 530 / Geforce 6800

and yes, I know, no 64bit systems in the line-up, and not really a fairly balanced version of systems in use, but it's what I have available.

OS is the most recent release of Mepis on DVD.

And... right now I have the following guides under progress

Opera: on-site Deb Repository Install
Opera: Ubuntu Source Install
Opera: .deb download / install
opera deserves better than the guide I wrote before: Couple of different reasons for all 3. The on-site .deb repositories might be different than the Ubuntu source, and the .deb download and install might be useful if you like to compile a CD or DVD with your favorite programs archived

Valve's Linux Servers : Counter Strike / HalfLife
forum request

CDcat: http://cdcat.sourceforge.net/
irc request. Seems interesting.

Mepis DVD Install
Mepis DVD install / home account recovery
might as well show the new process step by step.

Mepis DVD Install / Video Capture
need to load up a straight vid capture of the Mepis install. Just give people an idea of how easy it is. The catch for me is that I want to capture the video from Linux, not from Windows. However, I'm... still fuzzy on getting video capture working properly. Gonna give myself a couple of weeks to get video capture working. If I can't, I'll just run it through Windows...


What would be nice for future guides:

I'd really like to redo the Unreal Guides using the Unreal Anthology pack, but as mentioned earlier, I'm kinda short on the... cash... side of things. I'm also interested in trying some more video cards in the systems... (so ATi/Amd... nvidia? hello?)

yeah, being selfish on that part asking for testing equipment... but then again, 2 weeks ago I couldn't have imagined asking for support on the guides, and I got a response that sent me slackjawed.


one... more... item. I'm kinda... well... fuzzy on a point. I'm hesitant to list those who donate because of privacy issues... I just don't want to throw people's names out there...

so... kinda need some feedback... would you want your name listed? or would you rather stay anonymous?

alright, back to work. the K6 system takes forever to do anything.

Friday, November 03, 2006

*blink*... *blink*

Okay. um. Wow. I was not expecting that reaction...

Right now I've had over $100 donated so far, so that means 2 new guides, or 4 remixs.

While I'm still boggling over that, now for some more technical issues.

What I need to figure out how to do next is publish this blog directly either the Mepisguides.com/index.html file, or the Mepisguides.com/fti/index.html file...

I also need to figure out some way to do a counter on the front page, because at this point, I'm now placing myself in the hands of others, and I want them to be able to keep track of what I do with their monies.

Am I nervous? Let me put it this way. I no longer sweat when facing a Windows Registry with stripped permissions. I'm sweating now.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ouch... I guess I'm L.F.J. now.

Alright... ... I'm kinda embarrassed to write this, don't really want to... but here I go.

I used to write the Live journal over at http://saist.livejournal.com/ I had started that livejournal when I went to work for Sitel, an outsourcing company. We worked for Cox Communications for about 3 years, then our assets were sold to Suddenlink. About 3 months after Suddenlink took over, I finally quit Sitel. The paycheck just was not worth the amount of pain we were being put through.

After I left Sitel I joined up with a local gaming center, for a couple of reasons. The owner had been a friend of the family for years and he was looking at a theft problem that had been continuing since the gaming center had opened. My initial job, as such, was to basically babysit the place. Get it open for business and make sure nothing went out the door.

Unfortunately, when the past months I've feel victim to the thefts as well with somebody stealing system memory from my computers, my Nintendo DS has gone missing, several of my Nintendo DS games have also gone missing, and I've gotten shorted cash on the Soda fund. Basically, I've gone broke from the Tournament Center.

And thats where I am now. Yesterday I gave the owner a choice. Either he could get rid of the person who I believed was committing the thefts, or I was walking out the door. The owner chose to keep the thief.

So, as of now, I am jobless, and broke, and I haven't a clue what I'm going to do from this point. Part of me wants to start Mepisguides.com back up, but the guides are fairly time consuming considering the way I do them. Another part of me wants to go back full time into tech support or into fixing computers again.

Now, when I was updating Mepisguides on a regular basis (how long ago was that?), I had several emails from people wishing to donate money. I turned those requests down asking that money be sent to Cblue or Warren for Mepislovers or Mepis itself. Now... as embarrassed as I am to admit it, any of those donations would have been nice...

So... I guess here's an outline for the deal. If people still want to donate to this loser, you could donate via paypal to mepisguides [space] @ [space] gmail.com

Part of me wants to guarantee a new guide for every $50 donated, or a remixed guide for $25. Remix being updating existing guides in Mepis6.

That... should allow me to continue to pay off bills for food and electricity, and if the pace keeps up, might turn into a livable income.

The other outline is that if you do want to actually hire me, I've put my most recent resume up:


And yes, in 3 different formats, HTML, Open Document, and Portable Document formats.

While I would personally prefer continuing to work in the Augusta Georgia Area, I'm realizing in my current situation that if I'm offered a job somewhere else, guess I will move.

If you are interested, please send emails to jason.frothingham [space] @ [space] gmail.com

I'll... update the blog with something else more in the lines of what you probably would want to read later. For now though... I still have some systems on the test bench I need to finish up.

Oh, and if you are interested in a Mepis Linux loaded computer and you want to buy one... I'm willing to work on those too.

(and don't forget to remove the [space]'s from the emails.