Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn


Today I had the joy of temporarily catsitting and having company in my office. If it wouldn't be such a pain, I'd probably bring my cats with me to work, but together, along with the stuff they need, they're pretty heavy and awkward. I think the visiting cat gave her seal of approval to my office, which is nice - being cat-certified is far better than being ISO9000-certified, I think.

The banana dessert was rather good - it was similar to a banana split, but less kitsch and considerably better tasting. Almost as interesting was today's vegetarian meal, which I could not pronounce but enjoyed - it was a novel pasta-ish thing with interesting sauces straight out of some alternate-universe Italy. My stomach seems to be confused and unhappy at the meat and other oddities I've been tossing at it, but it was worth it.

I reorganised my living room a bit, and finally found the Neverending Story soundtrack. I had forgotten how awesome it is - I'm no longer a big fan of the main theme, but the rest of it is masterfully emotive.
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I'm a bit saddened to hear that one of the people I was helping learn C for one of their classes ended up dropping it - things are apparently not working out between them and their prof, so they're going to take it again when it'll be taught by someone else. He was making good progress at learning the language, maybe while he waits to take it again (which should be easy coasting given where he is now), we can go over some useful data structures and some techniques to make C easier to manage. Mostly unrelated, I read a bit about better function prototypes in Perl6, and was happy to see that named parameters will be considerably less awkward than in Perl5 and more powerful than most other languages I've seen. Of course, it's more important that people arn't just putting toppings on a pie in the sky -- at some point it'll be important to actually wrap it up and make a full release of the software, so people can consider using it and get started. I have a good amount of belief that Perl6 will be awesome, partly because they've kept the formalists away and partly because Perl5 was rather awesome (equally awesome as C or MIPS assembly, in my book). I still expect there to be a few rude shocks though, as with any language, it's rare that people with a clue like the whole thing.

The Neuros OSD has interesting hardware, and recently some amusingly bad driver "features" were found and fixed. One of them caused the network interface, when things became sufficiently busy, to effectively turn itself off for a few seconds while waiting for the network to become less busy. This was presumably intended(!) by whomever wrote the driver. As for me, I'm still trying to get comfortable with my development environment and am looking at getting an X working on it. It's hard to make much progress with how tired I've been while at home recently though. 15 minutes here and half an hour there isn't enough to really do much.

For the amused, here's the chain of connectors I use to connect my TV-PC to the OSD:

In order, from right-to-left:

  1. Serial-to-OSD cable (the other end looks bizarrely like an audio cable)
  2. DB9 to DB25 converter
  3. DB25-DB25 null-modem adapter
  4. DB25 to DB9 converter
  5. DB9 to USB adapter
I wish there had been some nice single USB adapter to handle all that. Oh well. I guess serial consoles arn't going away yet, even if the serial interface is increasingly rare on modern machines. I'd guess this is because serial interfaces are very simple to program on all levels (compared to USB, anyhow). I wonder if Sun hardware still does LOM stuff over serial.

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