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.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

OneNote vs. Paper Notebooks

F**k f**k f**k f**k f**k

OneNote has started, once again, losing stuff I have written.  Reporting "corrupt section".  Reporting "sync errors" (only one instance open).   Typically losing the some of the most recent pages written.

Compare OneNote to paper:

OneNote: searchable.  Paper: not

Paper: more reliable.  Once written, doesn't go away.   OneNote: frequent lossages.

OneNote: occasionally works fast. Occasionally records attribution.

I have often said that the purpose of writing notes is not to have the notes to review, but that the act of writing helps you remember.  OneNote reduces that, by allowing cut and paste.  And increases the need, since it loses stuff so often.

I wonder if OneNote's problem is a faulty hard disk on my laptop.

Hung again.

My company provided PC is hung again.  Just rebooted; hung again in trying to email via Outlook the same OneNote page that hung it in the first place.

My blog must be very boring.   I mainly write in it when one of my machines is hung.  Typically the Windows machine.  That's the only time during the normal workday that I am free to do non-wprk stuff like blog.  Actually, perhaps not even free then - maybe I should just grab a coffee.  But gotta vent.  Gotta think out loud.

One of the problems with these hangs is that I don't know if it will persist, or go away if I wait.  So my BKM is to wait - for enough time to type in a quick blog entry such as this, or to get some tea.  If it has unhung by the time I get back, great.  If not, reboot.  Which looks like what I'll have to do this time.


Hey: cloud apps are a form of micro-rebooting.  If the cloud app hangs, you don't reboot your PC, you just reconnect.   If your PC hangs...  well, you may need to reboot your PC.  It would be nice if the cloud app maintained session state, so that you could reconnect.  More often than not, however, it's not the full local PC that hangs, just a browser.

Gotta get back.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Andi Kleen on (my) x86 Machine Check Architecture

Today ran across Andi Kleen's paper
"Machine check handling on Linux",
SUSE Labs,
Aug 2004,
along with related stuff as he has worked on Linux machine check handling over the years.

He says:

    With the Pentium Pro Intel defined a new generic x86 machine architecture[intelsys]. This architecture is implemented by modern x86 CPUs from Intel and AMD. ... The advantage of this generic architecture is that a single machine check handler can work on many different CPUs.
This makes me feel proud, but also ashamed:

(1) Proud that I was able to define, in 1991, a Machine Check Architecture that continues to be useful, with the *generic* property that Andi recognizes as one of its main goals.

(2) Ashamed that it should have taken until Andi got around to it in 2004-9 to get proper support into Linux.


TBD: write up the lessons learned from MCA, how I would do it better, as https://semipublic.comp-arch.net/wiki/Machine_Check_Architecture

Friday, June 11, 2010

Security: SSL or separate server users: choose one

I would like to set up my several shared hosted websites so that each server runs as a separate user.

I would also like to use SSL, to get password encryption for stuff like mediawiki passwords.

But I would like all the servers to use the same SSL certifucarte, since I have to pay for the privilege.

Unfortunately, the shared hosting service I use only allows different domains and subdomains to run as different users. It apparently does not allow different paths within the same domain, e.g. https://glew.ca/andy, to run as different users.

So it appears that, unless I pay for more certificates, or give in and run my own server computer, rather than just using shared hosting, I can have either SSL, or separate users - but not both.

(If they allowed wildcard certificates... but they don't. Or if they allowed setuid or the equivalent... but they don't.)

Monday, June 07, 2010

Forgot PC laptop power supply

Again. 200 miles away. 3+ hours' drive.

Need to get another iGo. Annoying that cannot get a matching tip for either of my 2 existing iGo generic power supplies.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Dell streak dimensions - the new PalmPilot?

Many folks are complaining about the Dell Streak, e.g. Dell Streak is not the droid you are looking for | ZDNet.  They say "why would you want a cell phone this big?"

I just watched one of the many Youtube videos (Dell Streak: The versatile 5-inch Android tablet ), and I'm not so sure.  I may *want* this beast.

It looked remarkably like my old, much beloved, PalmPilot, sitting in the demonstrator's hand.  So I looked up the sizes:

Pilot 1000120x80x18 mm160 g
PalmPilot Personal4.7x3.1x.7 in5.6 oz
PalmPilot Professional117x81x17 mm
4.6x3.2x.7 in
6.0 oz
Palm III81x119x18 mm160g
5.6 oz
Kyocera 6035
1st SmartPhone?
14.2x6.6x2.2 mm
5.6x2.6x.86 in
7.34 oz
Dell Streak153x79x10mm
6x3.1x0.4 in
iPhone4.4x2.4x0.46 in
115x61x11.6 mm
4.8 oz
iPad242.8x189.7x13.4 mm
9.56x7.47x13.4 in
1.5-1.6 lb

The largest screen that can fit into a man’s shirt pocket.” That’s how Dell executive Ron Garriques described the Streak which was showcased at the D: All Things Digital conference according to a CNet report.

The Dell Streak is almost the same size as my much beloved PalmPilot and, in particular, my old Kyocera phone. I _loved_ those devices. I would still be using my Kyocera - the original, pre-Microsoft, SmartPhone - except for coverage problems.

True, the Dell Streak is longer than my much beloved PalmPilot and my old Kyocera phone. Can you tell that I loved those devices? In particular, it is longer. I do wish that they did not need quite so much bezel, quite so much non-display; I do wish that the display could go much closer to the edge of the top surface. Sure, there has to be a place to put the display logic and drivers, but could not some smart packaging engineer figure out how to fold them under the display?

My biggest concern is not size, but passivity: one of the big reasons I loved my PalmPilot and, then, later, the Kyocera SmartPhone, was that it was a pleasure to enter data into it using the stylus and Graffiti. For several years they were my primary means of keeping track of addresses, to-do items, etc. - basically, they were my PDA! And I haven't had a PDA anywhere near as good since my Kyocera bit the dust, even though I have gone through several smartphones. My Ming A1200 with its stylus came close, but it was not BIG enough to be a good PDA. I doubt that the on-screen keyboard will cut it.

In any case - I look forward to trying the Dell Streak out in person. I hope that there will be some scribbling/handwriting app available, even if I have to write with my finger.


Here's a dream: something the size of the Dell Streak, although perhaps a bit smaller. Multitouch, but also stylus (how?). Also touch on the backside, like the Motorola BackFlip (which my wife loves) (how to use touch both front and back, I am not sure - movement?).