Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Webcomics - QC does what Lumia should have done

Questionable Content is one the many webcomics I read. While it deals with risque subjects on a regular basis, as well as containing some jokes that will make your stomache turn upside down and try to run away, it's often low-key and subtle. Rarely does the comic give into fits of obscenities, and most of the vulgar stuff is limited to an a foul mouthed bird. So, when-ever you see the bird, you can probably count on the comic being a little tasteless, earthy, and blunt.

Until today. Seriously, not being able to see what the bird said and filling in what your mind thinks is simply hilarious:


If you hadn't figured out that Obama is an idiot...

Rarely do I post knee-jerk reactions to news. In many cases it is all too tempting to let the insults fly first, and never follow with well reasoned explinations. This story, however, gets a knee-jerk reaction post.

If you haven't figured out that President Obama and his administration are made up of ideological idiots who love double standards, the latest action seals that fact of reality without a single hesitation.

Seems the oh glorious leader of the Democratic Party that no Alternative Media will say anything bad about (that's CBS, CNN, ABC, NBC, Reuters, AP, and Microsoft for those of you who still can't wrap your heads around them loosing the "mainstream" title) decided it'd be cool to spend taxpayers money providing fuel for jets to fly around New York City at low altitudes : http://home.knology.net/news/read.php?ps=1018&rip_id=%3CD97RECD00%40news.ap.org%3E&_LT=HOME_LARSDCCLM_UNEWS

Why? To get promotional photos.

Can I get the Democrats out there to look up the term: NARCISSIST

Seriously, whether or not you hated Bush, the guy wasn't known to go preen in front of camera's when there were country wide issues on the table. If I was President, if I wanted photo's, I'd want them to be of me actually working on the issues of the day. Not taking a jet around the 9/11 IMPACT zone and freaking out half of New York City.

It is no longer a joke now. If you live in one of the 31 states using Diebold equipment, you need to lean hard on your state and federal reps to investigate the problems with Diebold equipment and issue a ReVote and kick Obama out of office.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Lumia update: heads up, latest comic is extremely coarse.

For those who caught my previous linking to Lumia's Kingdom where I complimented the comic on it's restraint for the matters it made jokes of, the latest update threw the restraint to the floor.

Now, since I know there is a possibility that artist might read this on his own, here's how I would have handled the comic for greater comedic effect.

I would have had Leon shut the door after the line: You killed over 1,000 people, including your own MOTHER!

From the opposite side have the more generic cuss word symbols filtering through the door, indicating the plant is screaming, with some words like EATON BY CARRION BIRDS filtering through. Then use Leon to comment that the plant still hadn't gotten over the Von Drechsler spell.

Comic readers then get the idea that the plant is foul-mouthed, nothing is actually spelled out, and the Von Drechsler name is placed into the story for future consideration.

At the same time, the joke is delivered that the plant is so powerless, it can't stop Leon from shutting the door on it, thereby contributing to the humiliating factor. Leon won't even stay in earshot to get the full rant.

Does a belief in Christ prevent a belief in Aliens?

Wanted to go back and touch on a subject that has been bugging me since the last post. In the last post I said this:
Now, this isn't because I am a Christian, and believe that God made the planet specifically for us, and made humans unique out of all the creature(s) in the universe.
The more I thought about this, the more I wanted to address the topic whether or not a belief in Jesus Christ prevents people from believing in Aliens that originate outside of planet earth. This isn't the first time I've gone after really controversial stuff, as one of my more controversial opinions is that you cannot be a Christian and a Democrat. In that case, the two are mutually exclusive. Is a belief in Aliens and Jesus Christ also mutually exclusive?

The first short answer is technically yes. A belief in Christ means you cannot believe in Aliens. The other short answer is technically no. Believing in Christ means you either have to believe in life outside of Planet Earth, or you have to accept the possibility that you are not alone in the universe.

Here's why the question can actually go both ways.

One of the major problems I have with Vertical Evolution is that teaches people that they are worthless. Vertical Evolution teaches that the universe, the solar system, the sun, the plants, the animals, planet Earth itself, and all the humans on it, derived from sheer numerical chance. In other words, you, as a person, are not special. You have no worth. You have no value. You are a product of chance, have a nice life.

Creationism teaches that people have value. You have been created by a force that you don't understand. That force loves you. That force cares for you. That force values you for you. You are special.

As already stated in the previous post, Vertical Evolution defies the laws of physics and requires that reality has broken itself with no consequence or other side effects that were not beneficial. While Creationism also defies the laws of physics and requires that breaking of reality, Creationism assigns a force behind those events, a force that does explain why the laws of our reality could be broken with only beneficial effects.

Now, I believe in what the Bible says. I believe that God created the Earth. I believe that God created Humans. I also believe it when God says that he made all humans special, above all of his other creations. If I accept what Genesis says at face value, and I have no scientific or theological reason not to, then I find myself in the position of presuming that God created no other planets like planet Earth, or creatures like humans.

Since I also believe in what the Bible says, I believe that the war for the souls of humans was fought on this planet. I believe that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified by Jews, was buried in a tomb, and was raised from the dead by his father 3 days later.

I do not believe that Jesus merely swooned on the cross. The Roman soldiers pierced the body of Jesus with a spear, which in pop culture is often referred to as the Spear of Longinus. Now, while I freely admit that I'm not an expert on the Romans, I do know that the guys had the whole killing people for fun thing down pat. Keep in mind the Romans were the kind of people who would shove a fist through somebody's butt, grab their heart, and rip it out. Any Roman soldier shoving a spear into a person isn't going to do it gently, or with care. So when the Roman's said something to the effect of "This Guy is Dead" I'm inclined to BELIEVE THEM.

I do not beleive that the disciples stole Jesus's body away. Again, I'm not an expert on the Roman's, but I do know this. The Roman's posted their soldiers in front of my God's tomb. Soldier's who quite literally would be killed ON SIGHT if they were caught goofing off. As the records of Julius's Caeser's battles indicate, the Romans had a very good handle on group fighting, solo fighting, and generally kicking everybody's elses rump. I'm supposed to believe that a bunch of fishermen and a tax collector overcame a group of trained Roman Soldiers? I don't think so. I think so even less when later records revealed that the Roman soldiers were never punished for the event, strange when a simple theft would probably have been punished by the soldiers getting crucified.

I do not believe that Roman Soldier guard stood aside for a political plot either. The Roman government had no reason to cause conflict with the Jews. The Roman records seconded the Gospel's in reporting that Barabbas the murderer was released when Jesus was sent to be crucified, to pacify the Jews. Why on earth would the Roman government deliberatly cause additional conflict by telling their soldiers to stand aside while they hid the body? Again, I'm not an expert on the Roman's, but that's just pure insanity.

I therefor have to conclude that the over 500 indivual citizens that witnessed Jesus after the very public execution were telling the truth about what they saw. If I was a lawyer today and I had 50 witness's for a crime, I'd be dancing. To have TEN TIMES THAT NUMBER? Oh yeah, and then there's account of the disciples, many who died under methods that wouldn't seem out of place in a Saw movie. All of them were given the chance to recant and claim Jesus hadn't risen. None did. Can you imagine yourself willingly dying for something you knew for a fact that was a lie? If you can, go seek help.

Okay, so I believe that Jesus Christ rose. I believe that Jesus Christ won the war for my soul here, on this planet.

I am therefor in the position that I don't believe in life outside of Earth. As egotistical as it sounds, this planet is the center of the universe. Jesus died for us. Not for our dogs. Not for our cats. Not for our horses. Jesus died for the only sentient beings on the planet... humans.

Now here's the twister. Jesus Christ also commanded his followers to go and spread the news. To tell everybody that he had risen. Not just to tell the Jews that the prophicies of the Messiah had been fulfilled and that Jesus Christ was the Risen Savior, but to tell the Gentiles. According to the Bible, Jesus Christ appeared yet again to Peter, explicitely for the purpose of sending him unto the Unwashed Masses (Acts 10:9-16).

Back then, nobody had any idea how big the Earth was. Realistically, some people still don't know how big the earth is. I'm not saying that there are reports of lost jungle tribes being discovered everyday in South America, nor that there are undiscovered tribes in Africa, but as far as I'm aware, there are parts of the world that nobody who those in the US, Europe, or Japan, would consider civilized have stepped in.

If there is actually life outside of Planet Earth, it would be the mission of the Christian to take the message of the Risen Savior onwards.

The problem is complicated by the factor that Christians actually do have to believe that there exists life outside of Earth. Where did Jesus go to? Where is God? Where is Heaven? Where is Hell?

Emperical evidence dictates that other plains of existance do exist. Over 500 people at once saw Jesus Christ ascend to the sky. According to the Bible, Peter witnessed the return of Elijah and Moses to Earth, two figures in Jewish history who had reportedly been taken up to Heaven directly, who had never died.

Then there's the whole subject of Vertical Evolution / Creationism again. In order for God to create the universe... he'd have to exist outside of that universe.

So a Christian has to accept that there is life outside of Planet Earth. A Christian has to accept that there are Angles and that there are Fallen Angels. What was it, one third of the heavenly host at once ejected from Heaven?

So the original question becomes a trick question with no presumably correct answer. By a strict interpretation, Planet Earth is Unique and that's it. Also by strict interpretation, there is more than we can see, and there could have been more created.


Which is about where we lead into the next question: Why are so many people fixated on the possiblity of exterrestial life? Why do so many people invest in projects like SETI? Seriously, even if you accept a starting point of 1960 for when people first started collecting data, we've only got Electromagnetic Radiation that's 49 years old. Which means, in terms of light, we can only see 49 years into the past from items that are 49 light years away. Let me make that clear: We can only detect and witness events that travel at the speed of light, in order of long they took to travel, which from 1960 is 49 years. 1970 is 10, 1980 is 20, 1990 is 30, 2000 is 40, 2009 is 49.

So, even if something was found at the extreme end of that data, we'd still have no practical way of making use of that data. Now, I'm not saying that SETI is useless, but as a searching tool it makes Folding@Home look like a good idea.

The answer I think is simple, and I think OC Supertones said quite well in their Little Man song. There's a hole in my heart.

I've said before that I believe that this world is corrupted. I believe that this world is broken. I believe that the cause of that corruption is sin. The effects of sin reverberate throughout the world each day.

Sin is a defect in humans, and only God can fill in the hole caused by sin. People who reject God, reject Jesus, seek other means to fill the voids in their hearts. A good case in point is the classic rock genre where great musicians develop hideous drug habits, many who died as a result of thier addictions. Now, I'm not saying there is a John Schlitt for every John Bonham, somebody who turns around and makes their life better with the help of Jesus Christ after a serious drug addiction...

Yet the question remains: What were all of these stars with money, fame, and fortune searching for? Why did they turn to drugs? Why did they die? Didn't they have everything they wanted? Of course, from the perspective of now, they didn't have everything. They were lacking something... I think that something was Jesus, and I'll point to all of the artists who became Christians as prime examples of people who found what fame and fortune were not delivering.

In the same way, those who are fixated on exterrestial life could be trying to fill a void in themselves. They can't accept that our plane of existance, we very well probably are alone in this universe.

Many of the Alien watchers believe in Evolution, which again, teaches that they are wortheless specks of dust. For some, it's a pursuit of meaning. It's trying to find something that is more valuable than themselves.

It's not a complete answer, and in some ways I don't understand the desires of one who would want to find exterrestial life.

By that token though, I don't understand how a fully sane and rational person could ever be a Democrat. Perhaps I don't want to be able to understand.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why I reject the idea of a Gov't Conspiracy against "aliens"

One of the stories currently being passed around, again, involves a former astronaught who claims the US Government is actively suppressing evidence of aliens and life beyond earth. I, for one, don't believe for a second that the US Government is suppressing anything involving aliens. Now, this isn't because I am a Christian, and believe that God made the planet specifically for us, and made humans unique out of all the creature in the universe. It's not because vertical evolution violates all of the current known laws of physics and thermodynamics, and that additional life in the universe would require even further disruption of so-far unbreakable aspects of reality.

Rather, I reject the idea because the US Government isn't the only government involved in space travel. I also reject the idea because the US has at least two diametrically opposed political parties.

Those who claim that the US Government are covering up evidence of aliens have a great deal more faith in the abilities of the government than I do, and have a grossly overstated imagination of the importance of the United States. Fact is, the US isn't the only country in the world. It's not the only country with radar. It's not the only country with satellites. It's not the only country with citizens that have camera's. It's not the only country with citizens who have phones or internet connected devices.

Anybody who seriously believes that ONLY the US has the capabilities to detect Aliens, and that ONLY the US would have been visited by Aliens, needs to have their ego reigned in. The fact is, if there WAS something out there in space, or some unidentified landing, it's a fair guess that at least the Russians, Chinese, Japanese, and possibly Koreans would be able to detect it, or extract such information from US systems. While the Japanese, and to some extent some segments of what remains of Russia, as well as what passes for South Korea, can be considered allies of the US and might agree to some sort of pact to limit the spread of such information, there's no doubt that China would have no part in such a deal. Such information could easily be weaponized.

In the same manner, while the two dominant political parties in the US come to agreements over some policies, there's no doubt that evidence of aliens or life outside of earth would be seen as a great political coup. Given the number of leaks from the aides of senators, tell-all's from former White House administrators and staff, and so on and so forth, if there WAS such information to be had, somebody would have used it to their benefit.

The fact is, while the US Military is quite good at secret operations, along with the FBI, NSA, CIA, BATF, and US Postal Service for that matter, congress and the White House have a lousy history of being able to keep secrets. Given that the current democrat leaders in Congress have no concept of personal responsability, or accountability, such information would have most certainly leaked from their offices. It hasn't, because it doesn't exist.

By the same token, if there was some kind of global agreement between every nation to not talk about Aliens, there's no way in the world it would hold. Countries at war do not hesitate to use any advantage, and an outside force to Earth, or even the very knowledge of such a force, would certainly be a weapon that no third world dictator could pass over.

While I realize that pointing out the bleeding obvious isn't going to stop people from claiming that aliens exist, and it won't stop people from believing that the US is the only nation in the world, and that somehow the government of the US is competent enough to maintain a lie for decades....

At least I'll have something to link people to when I tell them to SHUT UP.

Monday, April 13, 2009

DFI beats Biostar to a punch

Short version: I now have an I7 920 to test with, an actual processor. I don't, however, have a motherboard to couple WITH that processor. The only Intel motherboard I have is the D975XBX motherboard. So, while poking around on Newegg, I found something in the Intel section that actually made my mouth drop.


Yes, that is actually a Micro-ATX motherboard with two 16x PCIE slots. There's just one... big... problem. It's $229. Where this gets interesting is an email that was sent to Intel, well, last year.
I'm also.. .extremely... interested to know if Intel is working on SLI or Crossfire compatible MicroATX motherboards... given that so far the SLI / Crossfire market is largely confined to full-size ATX motherboards... which is great if you have space for a full tower, but not so great if you are trying to drive a 1080p display for home-theater purposes and want something smaller... (like Apevia's X-Qpack).

and then a follow-up
Going back to the dual-fgx on a SFF board... reason why I bring it up is that I'm having a hard time believing no manufacture has tried on in the market. I can just see OEM's like Dell and HP that have high-end market brands (Alienware / VoodooPC respectively) going haywire over a SFF board that would give them more options for chassis designs. From outward signs, with companies like Thermaltake entering the SFF chassis market ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811133045 : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811133035 ) it seems like a no-brainer to give consumers another option to use in the smaller computers.

I also ran the suggestion a couple times on Gamenikki.com, seeing this as a killer product, and fired off versions of the following in emails as far back as January 2008:
The basic premise of this letter is to suggest a hardware product that is not currently available in the market, that might be of interest to AMD and Asus to produce. Specifically speaking to myself, I needed to replace a couple of failing Socket 754 and Socket 939 motherboards within these past few weeks. Since these processors are far from new, I was unable to locate desirable hardware for either processor, and settled on Open-Box products off of Newegg.com that fit the specifications I needed.

I would think then that the replacement hardware market for older AMD HyperTransport compatible hardware is ripe for a special product. If I understand HyperTransport and AMD processor design correctly, and correct me if I don't, process changes should only require changing the wiring from the socket to the northbridge, and from the socket to memory slots. Ergo, hardware designs such as location of the PCIE slots, SATA controllers, Back Panel I/O devices, and other physical locations shouldn't change. I believe I've semi-witnessed this process in effect on Biostar's T-Force lineup where the board layout changed little between subsequent revisions.

I would think then that a template established for Socket 939, 940, 754, and perhaps Socket AM2 processors could be shared. Similar arrangement to most of the components would perhaps save on production costs.

Where this gets odd is what I'd actually like to see on a Micro-ATX board. I'm a fan of the Apevia X-QPack chassis, which accept Micro-ATX motherboards. However, most motherboards that are built for Micro-ATX are not as feature rich as ATX counterparts. One of the reasons why I'm familiar with Biostar's T-Force series is that they were a series of Micro-ATX motherboards with the feature loadout I would expect on normal ATX board.

There, however, was one product missing from the BioStar line-up. A dual-graphics card Micro-ATX moterhboard.

What I'd like to see then, and I think it's possible, is a Micro-ATX CrossFire motherboard using the latest Radeon Xpress Chipsets, but coupled to Socket 754 and Socket 939 sockets. The resulting product I think would be unique in the retail markets. As far as I am aware, no major vendor is currently producing motherboards for such processors. Any entry into the Socket 754 and Socket 939 markets now would have a significant percentage of the market to itself. By coupling a new motherboard with newer chipsets and CrossFire support, purchases of older AMD kit would have a significant reason to purchase the new upgrade, without having to leave their old parts completely behind.

I believe this might also be of interest to the OEM markets as well, the likes of Dell, HP, and Gateway. Many of their smaller chassis use Micro-ATX motherboards. Giving them the design option of shipping a CrossFire enabled system in a Micro-ATX format might be an enticing product difference.

BioStar was one of the first major motherboard vendors to really catch on to the benefits of the MicroATX format, and their T-Force lineup of motherboards coupled high-end over-clocker friendly chipsets with mATX format motherboards. As the emails I sent out indicated, I fully had expected Biostar to lead the charge on developing dual-gpu enthusiast mATX boards.

Well, the DFI motherboard is a killer entry alright, but not in the way I had imagined. One of the reasons for wanting a MicroATX format board is that they generally cost less, not only due to a smaller physical size, but because such boards often sacrifice extra components such as additional drive headers.

On the flip side, while there are other mATX boards with 2 PCIe slots available, including one by Jetway for AMD processors, almost all of the others only have dual 8x PCIe slots, rather than dual 16x slots. Hopefully then, if other vendors offer similar products, the pricing could go down.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dragonball Evolution

To get this started off, I like Dragonball. I like it, a lot. I liked it so much that when I had my first go at making a webpage, I used a Dragonball Z wallpaper for the background. When I snapped shots of my computers, a number of people commented on the number of wall-scrolls I had with Dragonball characters. I collected the Saturn and Playstation import games when there where no plans to ever bring any form of Dragonball games to the US. I own over 20 imported Bandai boxed DBZ / DBGT figures, most which have never left their boxes, and which remain hung on one of my walls. Most people upon entering my quarters make jokes about the sheer amount of Dragonball, DBZ, and DBGT stuff I own.

So, literal years ago, when I heard that a Dragonball movie was in production by Fox, I didn't know what to think. On one hand I was excited that Dragonball was going to the silverscreen. On the other hand, comic book movies tend to get treated badly in the conversion from animation to live action. One might say it wasn't until the latest crop of comic book movies, starting with Spiderman and Dark Knight, that comic book movies shook off their relationship with B-grade material.

Fox's Dragonball was also complicated by the very short list of actors that fit the roles. Fox wound up seeking mostly unknown actors, and while many agreed Jackie Chan was the perfect person for Muten Roshi, Chow Yun-Fat got the part instead. So, against all hoped for expectations, the movie was doomed to suck.

Only it doesn't. I'm not going to say that Dragonball Evolution is a good movie. It's production values and acting are somewhere along the lines of Hellboy II or Bulletproof Monk. I'm also not worried about spoilers. At over 20 years of age, anybody who really cares about Dragonball already knows what is going to happen.

While Chow Yun-Fat does a middling job of portraying the perverted Muten Roshi, he just isn't believable. As the only well-known justified star in the movie, that normally bodes badly for the rest of the actors. James Marsters appearence as Lord Piccolo was also stunted and lacking in any expression of emotion. For the most part he just glided around on wires, with only one in-movie scene allowing him to express any sort of emotion or feeling.

It was with some surprise then that the unknown cast did a much better job. Justin's performance as Goku couldn't have been easy. Dragonball is over 20 years old, with the original launch way back in 1985. Dragonball readers know who Goku is. They know what he becomes. They realize that his story in Dragonball is just the start of learning to control his power. Those who have watched the anime's know how Goku is supposed to sound given that Akira reportedly handpicked the voice actor(s) for the DB and DBZ animes. Call it the Anakin Skywalker effect if you will. Having to live up to a reputation and legacy that is just really beyond reach. Justin takes that legacy, and makes it his own. He doesn't try to be just like the Goku of the manga's and anime. He tries to be his own Goku, and when he masters the Kamehameha, he nails it.

In a similar effect, the actors behind Chi Chi, Yamcha, and Bulma all give convincing performances of who they are. Bulma's position as the action girl is carried out to great effect, and her introduction with Goku sparks a chemistry that one wouldn't expect. Emmy and Justin spark, but not as well as Justin sparks with Jamie Chung. The interactions between the two in their school and at a party will spark rememberences of awkward high-school moments in the past, and those to come. Rather than being a faked clumsy, Justin and Emmy's scenes as Goku and Chi Chi feeling each other out come across far more natural than I expected they could.

The biggest problem with Dragonball Evolution though, isn't exactly itself. It's Matrix Revolutions. The final fight scene between Neo and Smith were ripped almost straight from the pages of action animes. However, the final Matrix movie had a budget of $150 million dollars, while DBE was reported to weigh in at a third of the cost earlier this month. The lack of a budget really shows towards the end of the film. For a movie based on a manga that primarily about kicking butt, the lack of fight scenes is rather noticable. The fight scenes that do occur are rather short, and the final fight takes after the anime far too much. While you won't be waiting a week to see the end result of somebody's ultra-powerful attack, the final battle has a lot more standing around than it needed. Many of the cool special effects come early in the film, such as Bulma revealing the real-life version of the famed Capsule Corp vehicles, and when the final fight comes around, instead of getting treated to a knock down drag out fight between Goku and Piccolo, there are one or two good punches and... that's it. Next up is the massive energy balls of doom, and Justin nailing his main attack... and the movie is over.... after the extremely cool special effects scene with Shen Long.

Coming away from the movie, I was shocked at how clean it wound up being. Seriously, this is a flick you can take your children to, and that is a rare event in today's movie world.

There is also the hope that enough interest could convince Fox to continue the movie as a franchise. I think if they (Fox) push Chow Yun-Fat off to the side and let James actually do something more than stand-around and look evil, a second DBE film could be quite good.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Crunch - I almost have a car again

Okay, some more photos from the car I got after the wreck. These photos should be much clearer than the previous ones. I managed to locate my old phone, a LG AX8600GR, which has a much better camera than the Motorola phone I had been using.

This is the Constant Velocity (CV) axle that fell apart on me in the Beretta.

And here's the newly installed CV axle.

And this is the other side of the car, which we can't do yet until NAPA gets in a replacement ball-joint.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Lumia mirrored on ComicGen

Blue Zombie used to be one of the my favorite webcomics, and long after the comic had died, I kept it in my to-read list. The comic successfully spun a zombie story in a completely different light, and at one point had woven a compelling backstory. Like Erfworld, Blue Zombie turned perceptions upside down. The zombie wasn't a brain-dead gibbering mess intent on devouring all brains in sight. Rather she was a cute little thing that you wound up feeling sorry for. It didn't hurt either that as one of the early webcomics, it had a distinctive art-style.

The artist behind Blue Zombie recently started a new comic, Lumia's Kingdom (original site). Like Blue Zombie before it, the comic turns perceptions upside down. Yes, the King of Knadds is Greatly Well Hung, and quite naked. Although you never actually see this, and the entire interaction with the King of Knadds is played for laughs, you will probably feel just about as disturbed as Lumia probably feels.

A fair bit of warning, the comic tends to be risque, but honestly, if you've seen Spaceballs, Robin Hood: Men In Tights, or any Bob Hope / Bing Crosby Road movie for that matter, the humor is more along those lines. It's not gutter based, but it's not High-Elf either. Granted, in all fairness, the comic is much cleaner than what passes for comedy in movies today.

The bad news for Lumia is that the comic's host, ComicDish, was hacked. Many of the comicdish subsites, including Lumia's Kingdom, could have contained malicious javascript, and Google currently lists the site as a malicious host. That's not really a problem for me, I don't run Windows, and I don't run in /root. While the infection has been cleaned up, it could be a while before Google removes their alert on the site.

For now then, the artist, Tamar Curry, is updating the comic on http://lumia.comicgenesis.com/. Check it out.

Intel's lawsuit against AMD / GlobalFoundries: what is Intel after?

In the previous post I commented on how I wasn't exactly happy with Intel's lawsuit against AMD over the spin-off of the AMD fabs into a new company called GLOBALFOUNDRIES. The short version of the lawsuit is that Intel believes that AMD's spin-off of GlobalFoundries does not meet the majority percentage required for Globalfoundries to be consided a subsidiary of AMD, and thus is not a party to the x86 licensing agreements AMD has with Intel. AMD claims that Globalfoundries does qualify as a subsidiary as the requirements under the current agreement state that AMD must provide over 50% of the assets. Given that AMD is providing the physical fabs, the equipment in the fabs, and the employees of those fabs, there's little doubt that AMD has provided well over 50% of the assets for GlobalFoundries. At the same time that Intel is arguing with AMD that the terms of the cross-license agreement do not cover Globalfoundries, Intel also states they would be happy to negotiate a separate licensing agreement with Globalfoundries.

One of the questions raised over the lawsuits is just what is Intel after? Intel can't be after money as a reason for the spin-off is that AMD doesn't have that sort of money to spend. While Intel could be maneuvering to kill AMD, the fact is that current cross-licensing agreement is set to expire in 2011. If Intel was looking to kill AMD by withholding their x86 license and refusing to negotiate a new license, their's little doubt Intel could afford to wait another year and really put the screws to AMD's shareholders and investors. There's also the huge political mess that would result as anti-monopoly lawsuits would be flying left and right, and Intel could be in the possible legal position of being forced to open the x86 hardware architecture up with no license agreement. So I find it unlikely that Intel is actively trying to outright kill AMD with the lawsuits.

The answer as to what Intel might be after came from of all places, Schlock Mercenary. The story in question has General Xinchub posing and posturing as he tries to get the mercenaries to do some work he himself cannot accomplish. So, thinking outside of the box, what does AMD have that Intel doesn't have, or can't get?

Well, there is HyperTransport, but that's backed by a consortium that Intel could join at any time without having to resort to legal threats. Not to mention that Intel is also working on their own Peer-to-peer topographical connection, and while Hypertransport is years ahead of Intel's efforts, the technical superiority on paper hasn't manifested performance superiority.

There is Crossfire, but Intel already had Crossfire capable motherboards in the past, and while the Crossfire license has been renewed, Intel surely could have gotten that updated without legal wrangling. In any case, since Intel isn't in the graphics card business, it made sense for them to support both multi-GPU solutions.

Only, Intel IS getting into the graphics card market with their upcoming Project Larrabee. Epic, which has pummeled Intel in the past for their graphics, had good things to say about Larrabee. Larrabee has been revealed to be little more than multiple P5 cores with an extreme die-shrink, and is thus little more than an x86 software rendering solution. Granted, as TechArp's Intel page indicates, Intel has been offloading critical graphical instructions to the central processor for years. Larrabee is thus nothing more than an extension of the software rendering Intel has been using, only with dedicated hardware.

However, ATi's extensive patent and product portfolio is deep enough to be of extreme Interest to Intel's graphical ambitions. It is possible that AMD could extract a high-dollar figure from Intel in order to have access to these patents, and a cross-licensing agreement could be Intel's ticket. That's getting close enough to a reason, but there still needs to be something to clench the deal.

Intel's lawsuit also involves Globalfoundaries. Keeping the idea that Intel wants something AMD and Globalfoundries have, and that has to be licensed from both, or from just Globalfoundries, there is one important item in the Globalfoundries stack. I think Intel's after AMD's APM, or Automated Precision Manufacturing. AMD's fab technology has been both a blessing and a hinderance over the past years.

APM has allowed AMD to achieve astoundingly high yields on their processors. Intel, while having more fab capacity, and their own fab optimization techiques, is widely reguarded to have less than stellar yield ratios. This is actually a blessing to Intel as Intel can rebin failed products of one production range as lower-end products. I'm thinking stuff like Pentium to Celeron. AMD, on the other hand, has had a consectutive problem of having lots of mid-range parts in the market because their yields are so good, but nothing really on the top-end because they can't get everything else together. While AMD is open to licensing out APM, there's little doubt that APM for Intel would be set to a cost high enough it would be cheaper for Intel to just develop fab techniques internally.

With Intel extending their x86 designs into low-power architectures like Atom, and the upcoming project Larrabee's, APM could save Intel time and money on their external processor designs. Considering that Intel is open to licensing some of their hardware designs to other fab companies, the possibility is raised that Intel could be looking at a similar option for Globalfoundries.

Together, Intel's aspirations to get into the graphics market coupled with their desire to improve their own foundry technology might explain why Intel has gone after AMD so aggressively over the spin-off of Globalfoundries.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Intel shuts me up with Moblin

Most people who have read me for a while know that I typically have a less polite view of Intel, and have questioned their committment to Open-Licensed software. Well, Intel has managed to shut me up... and not with something like shipping a 920 for Mepisguides / Gamenikki. I think the title of this link says most of it:


Yes. You probably read that link right. Intel's handed over control of their Moblin spin to the Linux Foundation.

One of the main complaints against Linux by current users is that it's not as fast as it used to be. While Linux is generally faster on the same hardware when compared to Microsoft Operating Systems, real boot times and user logins can appear to be the same, even on higher-end hardware. While part of the speed appearance is based on the users Desktop Enviroment, where desktops like XFCE and IceWM appear to be much faster than Gnome or KDE, there is a common perception that Linux has lost it's focus on performance.

The Moblin spin aims to change the perception by targeting mobile devices, such as phones, and the netbook format, which are typically powered by processors like the Via C-Series, Via Nano series, or Intel Atom series. In addition both HP and Dell are looking at bringing the ARM architecture into the retail market, and as far as I'm aware, Microsoft doesn't make any version of Windows for ARM... so little doubt as to which OS-base they would turn to. Remember, Android DOES use the Linux kernel, and it's not a rumor that HP is looking at an Android based notebook... Source is actually WSJ.

Moblin's focus on performance on lower-end hardware has direct benefits to users of more powerful systems as Phoronix has indicated. As the performance changes to Moblin propegate back into the Linux kernel, most desktop users can expect to see the benefits of the faster boot times, and more than likely improved scheduler performance, not to mention better power-saving functions.

The real kicker is that while the Linux-Foundation holds the keys to Moblin, Intel is still the employer of almost all the current Moblin developers. Intel is also pretty cocky about their ability to compete, pretty much setting the challenge for Nvidia to step up with Moblin on Ion, and vendors to step up with Moblin on ARM.

While I honestly don't see Nvidia stepping up to Moblin since that would mean making a committment to Open-Licensed software, I can see Dell or HP funding ARM development to broaden their product portfolio's.

Okay, I can't say I'm happy about Intel's behavior towards AMD over the spin-off of GlobalFoundaries, Intel as a corporation has shown it does understand how to play fairly and initiate proper business challenges.

Yes, I know Mepisguides.com is down

Yes I am aware that the Mepisguides.com site is still down. Those needing to access the site can find Cblue's mirror at http://www.mepislovers.org/mepisguides/. Unfortunately the previous host simply ran out of room to host the site.

For future guides I'm looking at other solutions such as using Google Image to host the images, something I've been working with in this blog on a regular basis. That should take the pressure off hosts for future updates. I currently do have a line on somebody else offering to host the site, so hopefully Mepisguides.com will be back up soon.

Crunch- good news for a change

Apologies for another washed out image, but I figured I'd try and take a shot to show people what happened to the underside of the used car. The triangle object near mid-picture is part of the CV axle. As you can (hopefully see) it's been effectively sheared off.

The good news came after a visit to Chevy for parts. The engine in the Beretta wasn't the Quad4 I been lead to believe. It was the standard 2.2 4 cylinder. The repairman who ID'd the car as a Quad4 had transposed some numbers on the VIN. Quad4 Beretta's are supposedly signified by the letter T in the 8th number position. On my VIN there was a letter T in the 10th position. The critical 8th number was the number 4, signifying the 4 cylinder 2.2.

The upshot on correctly id'ing the car is that I was no longer looking at paying Vendor prices for parts, and the water pump job that everybody had told me was horrendous was going to be (relatively) easy.

Friday, April 03, 2009

More tech press picks up on Obama's friends list

I would be lying if I didn't admit to enjoying being able to say told you so, but here we go again. HardOCP passed along a link from Wired's blog system, the title of which is Obama: Stop Filling Administration with RIAA Insiders.

As I've pointed out multiple times over the years in this blog alone, Democrats and the RIAA / MPAA go hand in hand. They are friends, and are enemies of the consumer. I can not say that with any greater clarity.

Quit frankly Obama won't stop filling positions with people from the likes of the RIAA and MPAA. Such organizations helped Obama gain power, and such organizations help Obama maintain his power. It seems that much of the US tech industry has caught onto the fact that Obama is the worst thing to happen to them in years, and that if something isn't done fast to stop Obama and his adminstration, the recovery that will come in less than two years when Obama's party gets ejected from congress... might be years in cleaning up the mess of a president who has managed to make former President George W. Bush seem completely competent and rational.

Crunch followup

As I posted last month I was recently in a car wreck. While the police report cleared me of fault and charged one of the other drivers, I won't be seeing any money from the insurance company as I didn't hold the title to the car that was wrecked, although I was paying the insurance on the car. Yes, I am rather rubbed the wrong way about that and am seriously questioning what the point of me paying the insurance was if I wasn't the beneficiary of it.

Unfortunately in the current used car market where I am, there was very little that I could go and buy outright. The car that I wound up being able to afford was a 1996 Chevy Beretta... and well...

That would be the car needing completely new brakes... and while it might not be possible to see in the (pictures) (the videos didn't actually turn up usable)... needing new rear shock absorbers as well.

I thought that would be all the work that was required... but... wrong. Things went shortly even more downhill afterwards. The Beretta that I picked up happened to be the one with the mid-range Quad4 engine, in which the Water pump runs through the timing chains. That became a problem when the water pump sprung a leak, and I found out that the only place to get a new water pump was from Chevy, and I found out that labor was well above $650 and a six hour job for Chevy's techs.

Things have gone even more wrong since then. 2 nights ago while driving home from work I turned into the neighboor hood, and suddenly found myself missing a left front tire. Now, those who know me know I'm not exactly mechanically inclined so bear with me if I repeat this wrong... the CV axel came apart and the ball-joint holding the wheel up had rusted out...

All of these repairs are well over any budget I had, and now things like Anthrocon and E3 are entirely out of the picture.

I've made jokes about being bad about asking for donations before... but if any readers have something to spare... it'd be greatly appreciated at this time...