Another snow day, yippee! I had a three day work week last week and a late start. Today was cancelled and depending on what happens tonight will probably be at least delayed if not cancelled.
February 2005 Archives
I wasn't too impressed by Chris Rock last night. He had his opening monologue which I think dragged on a bit too long and harped on people too long. Also his Jay Walking bit seemed a little forced, I wonder if the people were prompted. After the opening he didn't do too much else, which was sad.
One of the worst bits mostly because it could have been better was when Adam Sandler and Rock were out there together. These two guys were on some of the best years of SNL recently and each has there own stand up careers. Their bit was just boring and not well done.
Now I guess I have to see some of the movies, only one I have seen is Ray.
All I really want these days is a hug.
Well I got a new game last weekend, played it a bit during the week and more today. The game is Mercenaries from Lucasarts and Pandemic. It is basically in the same vain as GTA. The big difference is it is all military based. Lots of cool vehicles like tanks, helicopters and humvee's. A big map to explore and lots of missions. It isn't so open you have no idea what is happening, but it is open enough to explore some.
Well today I wanted to explore the new South Van Dorn Street extenstion to Telegraph Rd. I left from my house and walked to it. It seems totally complete, not sure why it isn't opened yet. On my way back I found a path that goes along the power lines and is a bit of a shortcut back to my place. It was fun finding new places. I walked for about an hour and forty five minutes. Listend to the new John Grisham's latest The Broker. The coolest thing about that is the same person has read the last few, really good voice actor.
You ever get told something and it feels like you are sucker punched to the gut. Well today was one of those days. Kind of sucks, but just another challenge I suppose.
Well the snow is still coming down as of 4:30 PM, not fast but still falling. So far 4" have fallen here at HoD. Some roads are still bare some covered. See what tomorrow brings.
Yesterday our school hosted an AIMS mini conference on tablets. I did about 20 minutes on the technical aspects of the tablet. I used to do this on Microsoft products in front of hundreds so it was cool to do it again. We had a little over 30 people attend from about 20 schools. We also had a representative from GoBinder do a presentation. Then we had 6 teachers talk about how the tablets are used in their classrooms. The last hour we gave the attendees one of our loaner tablets to play with. Toshiba also sent a few representatives to talk to anyone who had questions. We didn't concentrate on the M200 tablet, but it is what we have so it was prominent.
Well I got that magical call about 10 till 6 this morning. My boss saying we are closed for the day. It's like being a kid again. Snow days rule. Now just have to shovel driveway once it starts slowing down a bit.
Ok I just wanted to rant a bit about Intel and the fact that it seems to have gone schizophrenic. First I must give credit to some excellent articles that I used to jog my memory a bit, Part I and II. arstechnica is just great for really in depth technical articles.
Anyway so things have been pretty settled in the land of Intel for a while. By that I mean that there have been steady and incremental speed increases and not gigantic changes in the overall PC. In mid 1997 the Pentium II came out and brought with it AGP and the ATX standard. The RAM at that point was still SDRAM. The Pentium II was basically a newer Pentium Pro with some tweaks to speed up 16-bit code. It also took the L2 Cache out of the processor package but still on the processor itself, this lowered its speed however.
In early 1999 the Pentium III came out. It basically picked up where the PII left off. Just added some new multimedia functions and bumped up the speed. The one major change was integrating the L2 cache back into processor and returning it to full speed. At this point Intel had one of its hiccups and tried to force RDRAM down the throats of everyone. Luckily, it failed fairly rapidly and everyone went back to the course of speeding up SDRAM. All along though the other major components in the computer kept chugging along.
In mid 2001 Intel unveiled the Pentium 4 processor. At first it was barely faster in raw MHz a quite a bit slower in real usage. Intel had made a dramatic shift in the way the processor worked, this was supposedly to allow the processor to scale to higher MHz faster and easier. This it did do, but all the while being slower clock for clock than its competitors such as AMD and the former P3. As the P4 progressed its external clock speed went from 400 MHz to 533 and then to 800. In order to keep up the memory changed from standard SDRAM to DDR and now DDR2.
In mid 2003 Intel released the P4 with Hyper-Threading. This allowed the chip to act like 2 processors at most times. This was actually a good increase in performance and even revitalized it for a while.
Other changes have now started occurring on the PC front as well. USB was released and came into its own. At this point the legacy ports of Parallel, Serial and PS/2 are all dead. I say good riddance, however it makes a great deal of legacy products useless on newer machines. SerialATA was released, which in time will totally replace how HD, CD/DVD and other storage are attached to computers. Most recently PCI Express (not to be confused with the apparently short lived server standard of PCI-X) has started showing up on motherboards. This is the replacement initially for AGP and eventually for PCI itself. Again this is a good thing, however it kills off many legacy products. Lastly, there is now a new motherboard standard called BTX. Along with the new motherboards it will bring new Power Supply and Case standards.
The last gasp of the P4 was recently released, named the Prescott-2M core. This processor is most likely going to be the last of the now dead P4 line. It has introduced EM64T instructions, which are Intel's emulation of AMD's x86-64 instruction set. It also has doubled the L2 cache to 2 MB. Essentially this chip is barely if at all faster than the previous generation of P4 which has been said for a while. In the summer of 2003 the 3.2 GHz P4 was released, today we have the newest P4 running at 3.6 GHz with almost an identical clock for clock speed. In almost 2 year we have barely gotten a 15% speed improvement.
There is hope on the horizon however. In early 2003 a new mobile processor was introduced called the Pentium M. Many will know as part of the Intel Centrino package that also includes wireless and core chipsets. This chip currently is nothing short of amazing. Take a look at this page of a review of the latest P4. Look for the lines on Pentium M and Pentium M 2.4. The 2.4 line is a slightly overclocked version to simulate a soon to be released chip. You will notice the PM is totally destroying other Intel chips that are more than 50% faster in GHz.
This amazing chip is basically a Pentium III with a few of the good parts of the P4 thrown in. Those being the Hyper Transport bus to allow for faster external clock speeds and the MMX and SSE instruction sets. Currently the PM is hampered by slower RAM and lower end chipsets since it was designed for laptops where those aspects allow for less heat and longer battery life. Intel is slowly ramping up the speed and features on this processor, and I assume at this point that is the heir apparent to the desktop throne once the P4 is put to rest. Intel has been very quiet about this processor and comparing it to the P4, also it is currently priced a bit high.
Now the purpose of this rant, directed at Intel. Stop all development of the P4, just sell what you have now. You have already scrapped anything beyond 3.8 GHz, why waste any more time. Give me a Pentium M with 2 MB of cache, a 800 MHz bus, EM64T (x86-64) at a normal price. If you could throw in Hyper-Threading, dual cores or heck both great. If not down the line is fine. Give me a chip set that has PCI Express, SATA and all the other goodies in a desktop board. Package it up all nice on a BTX platform and let us all move forward.
There was a nice stable run of 6-7 years now lets get the next evolution of PCs. We can all see it coming, just stop dragging your feet.
Well to just see what happens I signed up for google ads. I am mostly interested in seeing what ads show up. If I make a few bucks great, if not no big deal. If you hate them let me know and I will consider removing them. Just a test for now.
On Saturday night 2/12 I watched Ray. It was a really amazing movie. I learned a lot about Ray Charles and his life. I also learned a lot about the time he lived in. The only downside of the DVD was the rough cut way the extended edition was created. It bounced to a different title and transfer quality and also the DVD seemed to have some problems.
On Sunday I watched two movies. First, was Hitch in the theater. It had some very funny moments and the story was pretty good too. It was also very appropriate for the occasion. The second movie was Mulan II on DVD. It was pretty much as expected, the story was maybe a little too predictable and the animation was not as good as original. The surprising part was the fact that all the original voice talent came back for this direct to DVD feature. Added some class to it I think.
On Tuesday I watched The Grudge. Roger and Travis had rented and watched it on Sunday. They said I had to watch it becuase it was so scary. I have to agree it was indeed very scary. I screamed quite a few times.
Yesterday a bunch of us went to watch Constantine. It was a pretty good story. I think the best part was the hell based special effects. Also some of the casting was great. As long as you aren't too religious I would recommend it.
On Friday almost all of my work's Toshiba Tecra S1's were decommissioned in favor of Toshiba Protege M200's. It was a great day. Most of the S1's had been fixed several times in the their 18 month life span, the average was nine repairs. The system board/video card just kept failing over and over. The M200's we have had since last May have been rock solid. This will make my job and Patrick's a whole bunch easier. Glad to see them go.
Well two weeks ago I managed to gain 4 pounds and this week I lost 3.5 so I am about even I guess. Managed to work out 4 days. Friday I worked until 9 PM so didn't have a chance to workout. I have tomorrow of so I may go on a long walk.
What happens when a bunch of drunks with cell phones decided to call you. Nothing but fun. Luckily due to charms of wiring in current residence only one line to disconnect to shut off phones.
Today I decided my car really needed to be cleaned. Last week when searching for something I moved the driver seat forward and up and ewww! I didn't have time to clean then though. I started by taking my car to a car wash. There are two reasons for this, one it is cold and I didn't want to get wet and two I am lazy. In the process the car is in theory vacuumed. Which is to say they stick a giant hose in car for about 60 seconds.
When I got it home I started by using my ridiculous main vacuum, the story of which is for another time. I found that it worked well but couldn't really get into small places. Then I wanted to clean the rest of car. I had used this nifty Armor All wipes about a year ago and went to use them again, they were all dried out though. Off I went to the local Wal*Mart to acquire some more. I got three kinds of wipes, glass, leather and general cleaning. While there I took a quick glance at the vacuum section. I found this nice little Dirt Devil Power Reach. It has a detachable brush head for working in foot wells and such and a small attachment to get along sides seats. It was still a little bigger than I wanted but worked pretty well.
I spent about two hours cleaning car, probably cleaner than it has been in almost a year.
While at the grocery store stocking up for superbowl sunday I noticed a new (to me at least) trend with soda. The return of new shapes of 8 oz bottles and cans. I am truly curious about the history of this return of size. Is in theory because people can't drink 12 oz or is it supposedly a diet thing? Soda in bottles went from 12 oz can to 12 oz bottle to 16 oz bottle to 20 oz bottle to 1 liter bottle. Then of course you could always buy a 2 liter bottle, however few have that as a personal size. Now all of a sudden it has started back the other way back down to 8 oz. I would love to know the marketing thoughts behind this current move.
Well it is noon and I have already watched (while reading and doing other things) 2 hours of superbowl programming. Amazingly it was actaully good stuff. Right now is a Tony Hawk thing, not really tied into superbowl.
Well I hadn't weighed my self from 12/19-1/30 and in that time I managed to gain 8.5 pounds. Kind of depressing. I worked out everyday this week and actually went the right direction. Lost 2.5 pounds this week. Hopefully I can keep it up. Of course today is all about eating so may go the other way a bit.
I have been lax in my blogging of late so I need to update a bunch of movies of late.
On Saturday the 22nd (the day of one of the recent snow storms) I watched the Manchurian Canidate and The Village. The Manchurian Canidate was good by mostly predictable. If you've seen commercials and trailers for the movie you pretty much know what is going to happen. Entertaining non the less. The Village wasn't really what I was expecting at all, but I liked it. As always with a M. Night film there is a sizeable twist, that I for one didn't realize. Others say they say it coming.
Sun the 23rd we watched Friday Night Lights before watching the two final playoff games. First the viewing was soured by my failure and purchase of the Full Screen version. It was a very good football movie. It showed what High School means to people in parts of the country and it is amazing. It was also about the team aspect and the hopes of joining the NFL. The football sequences were very good as well.
On Sat the 29th after helping me the Dish Jerry, Karri and I attempted to go to the movies. We wanted to see The Avaitor. We had bought tickets ahead of time and got to the theater about 10-15 minutes early. Unfortunately the theater was already full pretty much. The only seats available were in front row. Karri wisely vetoed that. We had already gotten popcorn and such so we didn't want to go to later showing. We grudgingly went to another film. I noticed that In Good Company and suggested that. It was acceptable and we went to it. I personally liked, it was funny and had touching moments. It also really made you think about some of the stuff happening right now with acquisitions and layoffs.
Last night I watched Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Travis started out watching it and then gave up about 20 monites in. This movie could have been a really good video game, it was a so so movie. The entire movie was green/blue screen. All computer generated backgrounds and such. It was very stylized and a period piece. It was supposed to be like the serials back in the 40's and 50's. It was set around WWII time. It was just kind of silly at points, not a horrible movie but not great either.
This past week my current residence had its roof replaced. In anticipation of this last weekend I took the DirectTV dish off the roof. I had to make a platform, basically a mini pallet to mount it to. Jerry helped me get it down from roof and mount it. It wasn't perfect, but we were getting 70-80% levels. The roof was replaced this week so today the dish could go back up. This time Travis helped me replace it. He got up on roof and screwed it in while I held it. Afterwards I checked and on the first try we got about 95% on all but the spot beams we don't get. Travis then sealed the base and holes to make sure there were no more leaks. Yeah, one project done.
Today at school it was a dress down day for all the staff that aren't teachers. This includes yours truly. It was themed superbowl and more generally NFL. My school is in Baltimore so by default there are many Ravens fans. I however am a Redskins fan so I can decked out in my proper turtleneck and jersey. Lets just say I had a less than warm welcome from some. Fun was had by all however. I may also be imortilized in the Year book wearing this garb, we will see.