The content of this blog is my personal opinion only. Although I am an employee - currently of Nvidia, in the past of other companies such as Iagination Technologies, MIPS, Intellectual Ventures, Intel, AMD, Motorola, and Gould - I reveal this only so that the reader may account for any possible bias I may have towards my employer's products. The statements I make here in no way represent my employer's position, nor am I authorized to speak on behalf of my employer. In fact, this posting may not even represent my personal opinion, since occasionally I play devil's advocate.

See http://docs.google.com/View?id=dcxddbtr_23cg5thdfj for photo credits.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Logitech Marble Mouse Problems

Background: I have used trackballs for many years.  My favorite of all time was the Kensington TurboMouse: I still have 4 of them, but they are all breaking, not working so well.  I have reluctantly been forced to use the Kensington Expert Mouse, and have used others in the past.  (Reluctantly, because I find the newer Expert Mouse and SlimBlade and others just don't work so well.  I suppose that there must be a reason why Kensington discontinued the TurboBall. Probably reviews such as http://www1.epinions.com/review/cmhd-MousingDevices-All-Kensington_TurboBall/content_43841326724).

A few weeks ago I decided to try a Logitech Marble Mouse.  For several reasons, including:

a) it is available in more stores.

b) it is smaller than the Expert Mouse, and could fit on a small keyboard tray


I was concerned that it did not have a scroll wheel, like the Kensingtons.  And, that has been a pain. 

But, there is a much more important problem:  this trackball works for a while, and then stops.  Replugging the USB doesn't help.  The only thing that seems to help is rebooting, and/or reinstalling the Logitech software.

Like I said, I have used a wide variety of trackballs, manly Kensingtons but also others.  I have NEVER had these sporadic failures and silences with any other device. Heck, it should not be necessary to install software at all, should it?  I normally don't have to for other devices.

Buyer beware.  I can't recommend this Logitech Marble Mouse trackball.   I am going to go to the store and buy another Kensington Expert Mouse this evening or tomorrow.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

ISO Coding Dojo

I heard about software or coding dojos (on Randall Schwartz's FLOSS weekly).

Sounds interesting.  Does anyone know of any dojos already running in thge Portland or Seattle area, that I could try out?  Failing that, is anyone interested in trying to start one?

From http://codingdojo.org/

A Coding Dojo is a meeting where a bunch of coders get together to work on a programming challenge. They are there have fun and to engage in DeliberatePractice in order to improve their skills.

The ParisDojo focuses on coding in front of others, most often something from scratch, in a very short amount of time (1 to 1.5 hours). They use various languages, various tools, various exercise formats. They consider the outcome of an exercise successful when it is completed within allocated time AND audience can repeat the exercise at home by themselves.


I'm interested in software coding dojos, on many topics, in many languages.

I am also wondering if we could have a hardware coding dojo, in an RTL like Verilog, or with your favorite CAD tool chain.  FPGA design?  I am uncertain as to how much infrastructure is necessary to set that up, but it might be fun. Maybe we could get a CAD company like Mentor to sponsor.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

No Pens! Squared!

I've arrived home in Portland, and apparently have left behind pens for my two pen based devices: my Tablet PC, and my Motorola Ming smart phone.

Fortunately, the Ming is touch based, so I can use the phone.  Writing notes is a pain.

Fortunately the Tablet PC is a convertible, so I have a keyboard and an ALPS pad, which I am using now.

But it is a pain to be able to leave behind such an essential piece of equipment.  My wife's Tablet PC pen has a tether.


This is a good argument for a touch device like the iPad.  However, I *want* to be able to write and draw. I think that I still need a stylus to draw.  A pen is more precise than my fingers.

Ideal:  a touch screen that can also be used with a stylus made of plastic or wood, for fine work.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Craftsman Should Choose His Tools

I have long said that a craftsman should choose his tools.  Indeed, I have long practiced it, to the extent that corporate IT departments have allowed it.

For many years, my primary computer was a tablet PC. (Compaq Concerto 1992(? when did it come out?) to 1998; a Toshiba Portege 3500 at AMD in 2002-4.  Intel IT stopped this.)

I have often used my own Biomorph computer desk at work.  (Intel, AMD, and now at IV.  But Intel IT stopped this 2004-2009.)

I nearly always provide my own keyboard, separate numeric pad, and trackball.

At work today I have provided all of my own displays:  3 1920x1200 24" displays, with USB display adapters.  I think this makes me much more productive than using the company standard 1680x1050 monitor.

At the end of the day, my productivity is my own responsibility.  If better tools help me be more productive, good on me.

Mobile Docking Mobile

I wish that I could "dock" my iPod shuffle with my smartphone.

Actually, I wish that my iPod shuffle could download new podcasts for me to listen to over the air (OTA).  But I can understand how that might be difficult for a device as small as the iPod shuffle.

But I wish that I could control my iPod shuff;e from my smartphone.  I don't want to mess with no stinking PC no longer!


Another possibility: make it possible to ssh or https *into* an iPod shuffle. Give it USB bridged to Ethernet, so that it can charge, and be controlled, from the web.  Or tether it to a USB phone.  Or wireless (battery, again).

Monday, May 10, 2010

Nvidia Secret Sauce for ECC?


See http://semipublic.comp-arch.net/wiki/Poor_Man%27s_ECC

In particular
US patent 7,117,421, Transparent error correction code memory system and method,
assigned to Nvidia,