GIMPing for fun

I’ve decided that I need to use the GIMP more often, so I’m reading Grokking the GIMP. It’s online and published under a free document license (even though it’s also available as a dead-tree version). To aid in my education, here’s a list of web pages that have free images.

Well, crap

So one of my DVD players crapped out yesterday. Luckily, not the one that I actually watch DVDs on, but unlickily, it’s the one that I watch all my VCDs and SVCDs on. It still plays the video from VCDs and SVCDs, but the audio is really low (I’ve got the volume on the player and on the TV maxed out), and it won’t play any video or audio at all on DVDs.
But since I paid less than $100 for it at Wal-Mart about 2 years ago, I think I’ve gotten my money out of it. Now the only problem is, what am I going to buy to replace it? I’m actually thinking I may just not buy another DVD player, and instead get a slimline DVD-ROM drive for my “test” computer; it’s in a slimline case already anyway (it looks like a PS2 when I’ve got it standing on end), and would probably fit the bill just fine.
Now the only trick is finding a small form-factor, 9mm height DVD-ROM drive with a black bezel and a standard 44-pin IDE connector (or even better, a standard 40-pin IDE connector and a 2-pin floppy power connector) that I can fit into the case.
Here’s hoping.

Atkins yay!

I’ve been on the Atkins plan for about two months now (well, six weeks to two months, I lost count). I’m down to 251 pounds as of when I got up this afternoon. That’s down from over 280 when I started. My personal goal is 185, but I think I may settle for 200. I can’t remember the last time I was down that low, but I think it was some time in 1995.
The hardest part (and the part that’s the REAL reason I’m not below 250 by now) is the fact that bread (actually, most foods that have starch in them) is essentially verboten. And bread is a major component of many of my favorite foods, like sandwiches and pizza. For example, I’ve lost 3 or 4 pounds in the last 2 days, but it’s all weight that I put on this weekend when I got a pizza and a sixpack.
But I’ve got the willpower (I hope) to resist most of these urges. Now I just need to make myself start exercising.

Tech Support rant #1

UGH! OK, listen up. If you’ve ever called tech support, you probably need to read this, and commit it to memory.

“Reboot” means “Shut down and restart”.
“Restart” means “Shut down and restart”.
“Restore” means “Run that piece of shit CD you got from your computer manufacturer which formats your system”.

Reboot == Restart != Restore

Update: kernel 2.6.0-test1

OK, I’ve got it all up and running now. I’m kinda tired, though, so not many details right now.
nHere’s what my major stumbling blocks were, and how I fixed them:

(1) I was unable to allocate any terminals once I got X running. Cause: no entries in /dev/pts. Solution: I mounted the “devpts” filesystem: “mount -t devpts none /dev/pts” and I also added a similar line to /etc/fstab.

(2) I was unable to get USB working. I had compiled the modules for all 3 controllers, but I hadn’t loaded any of them. So I modprobe’d ehci-hcd and uhci-hcd (USB 2.0 controller and USB 1.1 controller, respectively), and then modprobe’d “hid” to get the mouse working. Restarted X, and my buttons 4-7 were working (wheel + mouse6 and mouse7)

(3) I’m still having some trouble with latency and preemption with XMMS. I haven’t figured out what’s going on yet. To minimize the effect, I hdparm -c 1 -d 1 /dev/hd? (which turns on DMA and 32-bit addressing for all of my fixed discs). I’ve tried it with both a preemptable kernel, and a non-preemptable kernel. It still skips when flipping to other virtual desktops.

(4) I had forgotten to modprobe snd-pcm-oss and snd-emu10k1 (the module name changed from the 2.4.20 kernel I was using). A quick edit of /etc/modules and that’s fixed too.

GRUB was easy to install. “grub-install –root-directory=/boot /dev/ide/host0/bus0/target0/lun0/disc” was all it took. Then, since I’m running Debian, I ran update-grub, and edited /boot/boot/grub/menu.lst to fix my boot options & define a default (the old kernel, until I was sure 2.6 would work).

I think that’s it. And I think I’ve also figured out why my test box wasn’t working right under 2.6; I may try it again when I get up. Or tonight at work; I haven’t decided yet.

Linux 2.6.0-test2

I’m about to try out the newest Linux kernel, 2.6.0-test2. It’s a “test” kernel, so it’s almost certainly got some bugs in it. But I tried it out on a test box I’ve got, and it worked pretty well.
I’m also switching to GRUB, since I like it a lot more than LILO. I’ve had some bad experiences with LILO (L 99 99 99 99 99), and Grub doesn’t seem to have the same kidn of problems; it only needs to be written to the boot record once.