Monthly Archives: September, 2004

The movie we should have watched last weekend is…

Shaun of the Dead

Shaun isn’t having the greatest of times. The staff at the TV store he works in don’t take him very seriously as temporary boss; his girlfriend Liz has had enough of always meeting at the ‘Winchester’ Arms along with his yob mate; and his relationship with his dad – sorry, step-dad – remaims heavily fraught. And now the undead have risen and are spreading their zombie curse to everyone they can get their teeth into. Just doesn’t seem worth getting out of bed some days.

Movie Trailer, via Apple


Note to Self: When picking movies in the future, make sure you’re picking them because the story/concept appeals and not the special effects.

Is it just me?

As I’ve mentioned before I run SuSE Linux 9.0 Pro for my desktop OS. My PC is one that I home-built with a bit of help from my local hardware guru (Eric). For my video card, I’ve got a BFG GeForce 5600 SE (or was did they call it an Ultra? *shrug*) with 256MB of Video RAM. I’m subscribed to the SuSE-Linux-e mailing list and it seems that I frequently see messages coming into the list about people having all sorts of problems installing the NVidia video card drivers. Now, I know that you can supposedly get the newest drivers from SuSE via YOU and that NVidia has some special instructions for SuSE users on their linux driver download page but really what’s all the fuss about? The first time I installed the drivers the special instructions were out of date and YOU wasn’t showing the current driver; so this is what I did then and do everytime I need to install the NVIDIA drivers1:

  1. Hit Crtl-Alt-F1 to get a text console.
  2. Logged on to my system as root.
  3. Typed in init 3.
  4. Waited for my system to finish rebooting into text-only mode2
  5. Once I’m in text-only mode and logged in as root; if I haven’t downloaded the newest driver yet, I fire up lynx go to NVIDIA’s site and get the driver.
  6. Once I have the driver, I exit lynx (if necessary) and then type sh ./, where XXXX is the version of the driver.
  7. This launches NVIDIA’s special driver installer and I follow all the prompts in it. Their installer will check to see if it can download some extra files that it might be able to use instead of compiling them on the fly, but those files have yet to be out there. Then it works its magic and drops me back to the prompt.3
  8. Back at the prompt, I type sax2. This launches SuSE’s utility for configuring your video card and monitor settings.
  9. I go into the monitor settings and confirm that it’s detecting my monitor correctly (it has every time so far).
  10. Then I go into the video card settings and reselect my card. sax2 always defaults my card to the nv driver and it needs to be the driver for my specific card.
  11. After reselecting my card, I setup my display settings (24-bit color at 1600×12004).
  12. Once I’m satisfied with all my settings; I click Finish.
  13. sax2 then prompts me to see if I want to test my settings before I accept them and I click Yes.
  14. I think it’s while I’m in this test mode that sax2 allows me to adjust the how big of an image that my video card throws onto the monitor. Not the resolution but the actual displayed image; a software version of the controls on the bottom of the monitor that allow you to adjust the image size, orientation and what not. I use sax2 to adjust my screen until the display is centered and fits completely on my monitor (no cut-off edges).
  15. Then I click Ok.
  16. This throws me back to the prompt where I type reboot -n.
  17. When my system comes back up; the new drivers are installed and I’m back in runlevel 5 (graphical, multi-user). Everything looks sharp and my 3D stuff works. End of story. It sounds more complicated than it actually is but from what I’ve been reading on the mailing list; this sure beats the stuffing out of how other people do it. 🙂

1 I’m writing these instructions up from memory so there’s no guarantee that they’re 100% accurate; however they should be close enough for most people to figure out what they’re doing.
2 For some reason my system always hangs at one point during this process; I think it’s while it’s trying to shut down a specific process but the name of that process currently is eluding my memory. When I get to that point, I just hit Crtl-C and my PC will skip past the bad process.
3 Newer versions of the Nvidia driver complain that my kernel was built with RIVAFB support and say that if the RIVAFB module gets loaded that it’ll cause me problems but I just ignore that because I know the module never gets loaded. One of these days, I’ll have to figure out how to reconfigure my kernel so that support isn’t in there. *shrug* That’s a project for another time.
4 Why yes, I do love having a 21″ monitor. *shameless grin*

“don’t paint over their lollipop trees.”

Been feeling a bit burned out lately, too many weeks of running around doing stuff and not enough down time, I suspect (hence the lack of posts and lack of Ant-Boy).

Anyway, while taking a break I ran across this article over at CSM. I’ve felt that frustration as well when I was younger. Back in a high school painting class I took; I was working on painting a lighthouse on an icy shore. The teacher came over and said my waves were wrong, took the brush from my hand and painted the waves the way she thought they should be. After all these years1, I still feel somewhat annoyed/bitter that she did that. Ah well, not much I can do about it.

Our assignment was to paint watercolor landscapes. I painted trees with round tops, modeled after the pruned trees I saw as I walked to school each morning. I liked my painting; my teacher did not. She said my trees looked like lollipop trees; that they didn’t look like real trees, although they looked like the trees I knew.

Mrs. E picked up a paintbrush and painted over my trees to make them look the way she thought trees should look.

For the rest of my school years, I never voluntarily took an art class.

Anyway to Mrs. Kennar I say, though I’m not a teacher and I did continue taking art classes2 in high school and into college; I’ll never paint over your lollipop trees.

1 While I’ve been told that I look much older than my actual age (28); I’ve been through enough other experiences that thinking high school feels like I’m trudging through ancient history.
2 Though perhaps not surprisingly, I haven’t done any painting since I took that class.

Review: Steaming pile of poo

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to go and see Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Wow was that ever a mistake!

I went in knowing that most of the reviewers out there had said it was bad and about half of the geeks were saying the same1. However the trailers for the movie looked just gorgeous with an impressive style that felt very much like one would expect a 1940’s pulp sci-fi movie to look2, from the giant robots to the cars down to the ray pistol. The one interesting thing about the movie that one should remember is that the entire thing was shot in front of a green screen and there were no locations. All the background stuff was computer-rendered. Then it appears that they pushed the film of the actors through some filters to add a bit of noise & distortion into the film, giving a feeling of being from the 40’s. These computerized specials effects were unfortunately the only good thing about the movie. The writing of the movie was wretched. The acting was sub-par at best. If you wish to know more details, following the (more) link but be warned that there are some spoilers mixed in there.
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QotD: soulless lemmings

While reading a blog, I followed a link they had to another blog whose design they liked. I pulled up the source code of the 2nd blog to try getting some idea of how they put their site together and found this delightful commentary in the comments:

Meta information was once really useful, but thanks to Google it doesn’t do much for your well being anymore. Kind of like comfort food – it tastes good and it makes you feel cozy but causes a lot of heartburn and gas.

The meta tags you see blow are mostly for show. All rebuilt from vintage 2001 code that was rusting out in a forgotten web site. The interior was re-stitched by hand and features an 800 thread count. I’m not sure if the ‘MSSmartTagsPreventParsing’ is needed anymore but I left it in as a reminder of how much our world is controled by heartless global coporations who seek nothing more than to turn us all into soulless lemmings with a Platinum Card.

Have a nice day!

Quote found on Airbag. Kudos to the Binary Bonsai for the link.

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