Monthly Archives: February 2005

Grammar test

This is making the rounds with the linuxchix, so I figured I should probably share my shameful results:

You scored 93% Beginner, 86% Intermediate, 75% Advanced, and 61% Expert!

You have a good understanding of beginner and intermediate level commonly confused English words, getting at least 75% of the beginner and intermediate level questions correct. This is a good score. Remember, these are commonly confused English words, which means most people don’t use them properly. You got a respectable score.
Hey! If you liked my test, send the link to your friends. They don’t need to be OkCupid members to take it.

The Commonly Confused Words Test

Test statistics:

* Compared to users who took the test and are and in your age group:
o 100% had lower Beginner scores.
o 100% had lower Intermediate scores.
o 100% had lower Advanced scores.
o 100% had lower Expert scores.
* With respect to Beginner, users aged 55 to 59 scored highest.
* With respect to Intermediate, users aged 55 to 59 scored highest.
* With respect to Advanced, users aged 55 to 59 scored highest.
* With respect to Expert, users aged 55 to 59 scored highest.

So far, I’ve received the worst score out of all the chix. I would blame this on being a programmer, but as I hardly think that’s relevant given the competition I’ll have to think of something else to blame. I’ll get back to you on that later, maybe :)

Since my scores were so bad, I don’t get where they come off telling me I’m “100% better” than other users in my age group, but whatever.

Mouse mod done!

That mouse mod I mentioned earlier is finished:

Mouse mod

The figure (a Tie pilot) wouldn’t fit in there with his legs, and since the window is large enough for this to be obvious, it’s a kinda Jenova effect :)

I don’t think it came out too bad for my first dremel mod, though I did manage to engineer it so that the mouse buttons are now harder to press (which had more to do with glue than the dremel). Eh, if I’m lucky, this will improve my grip strength… if I’m unlucky it’ll give be carpal tunnel syndrome :/

I think I’m getting used to it already, at least.

Super extra-special thanks go to happicow for his rockin’ soldering skillz, and also to everyone who posted comments on the other post for their rockin’ EE skillz.

Help needed for “anonymous, anti-tyranny blogging service”

Not that I have a huge audience or anything, or that this won’t appear in a zillion other places by the time you read it here, but this is from Dan Gillmor’s blog

A group that wants to assist free speech in authoritarian nations is looking for a technically savvy person — a CTO or lead engineer type — who can do a short term study, possibly leading to a longer-term job. This is a paying gig for the right person.

The project is intended, in its intitial form, to make possible blogging that is impossible (or at least extremely difficult) to trace. One of the people involved calls it an “anonymous, anti-tyranny blogging service.”

If you’re interested, please send e-mail to Jim Hake at

Note to other bloggers: Please post your own notice about this. It’s a good cause.

Personally, I don’t think it’s technically feasible to give truly (or even satisfactory) anonymous internet publishing to a lot of people, but I’ve been wrong before :)

Needless to say, this is a worthwhile cause, and if anyone is capable of and willing to help, they definitely should try.

LED voltage

After my last hardware question, I have another:

What size resistor would I need to powera 3.7v LED from a 5v lead?

After a bit of googling, I found this response:

—– 5 V supply ———
U(R) = 5V – 3.7V = 1.3 V

Your LEDs uses 3.7V that leaves the resistor to consume the last 1.3V.

I(R) = 5 * 15 mA = 75 mA = 0.075 A

If more than 20mA flows through a LED, it will be fried. So to be sure, I say, at most the will use 15mA. The total current used by the LEDs will be 5 * 15mA.

U(R) = R * I(R) => R = U(R) / I(R) = 1.3 V / 0.075 A = 17 Ohm

Then I use Ohms formula to calculate the size of the resistor. Since you cannot buy a 17 ohm resistor, you will have buy a resistor at approx. the same size. You can use a 15 ohm resistor,
When you use a 15 ohm instead of a 17 ohm 1 LED will use about 2 mA more (17mA total per LED), but thats not a problem.

But happicow says 15 ohms doesn’t sound like anything near enough (he thinks something between 470 and 650 ohms sounds better). He’s more of an electrical engineer than I am (more being >0), but he doesn’t remember the formulas to figure it out. Anyone know the correct formula off the top of their head?

I think the aove example was for 5 LEDs, so removing the 5 from the second equation gives 0.015A, and using that number in the third equation gives 86 Ohm, but this is still nowhere near the number happicow is expecting. When I asked him about this, he told me it doesn’t work that way (I did say I’m no electrical engineer, afterall).

In case you are wondering, I’m finally doing that mouse mod I’ve been meaning to do.

Question regarding PCI voltage

I’m looking to buy a HDTV card (while I still can) and have found one that is designed specifically for Linux (the fact that it’s also linked from the EFF site certainly doesn’t hurt). The only problem is this item in their faq:

Is the card an universal pci card?
No, The HD-3000/HD-2000 card are PCI 2.2 compliant 5-Volt cards. There may be mother boards that only accept 3.3 volt cards so check that the PCI slot has a 5v key/riser toward the center of the board and not a 3.3v only key/riser toward the connector end of the mother board.

Now, I know my motherboard (ASUS A7V8X-X, you may have to select a country from their front page before this link works) has PCI 2.2, but neither ASUS’ crummy website nor my manual mention anything about the voltage. Since I’ve had similar problems with this board before (wherein RAM that should have been compatible wasn’t), I’m extra paranoid about this, but out of everyone I’ve asked, no one can give me a satisfactory description of what exactly a “key/riser” is (nor can google tell me, it seems).

Anyway, here’s a picture of some PCI slots on my motherboard (click for larger version):

PCI slots

Can someone who knows what they are talking about please tell me whether my motherboard supports 5v PCI 2.2?

Alternately, does anyone else have recommendations for other HDTV cards that claim to (or better, actually do) work with Linux?

The Shining

I just watched Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining for the first time.

I really wasn’t expecting that movie to actually be scary, but I was pleasantly surprised- I think the crap that passes for horror today has given me an overly cynical view of the genre in general.

Even cooler, I now get some references in other media that had previously gone over my head, e.g., the “perfect for a child… homey” line (and the following bits with the twins [“Forever and ever and ever”]) in S1E1 of Spaced (when Marsha is giving them a tour of the apartment). :)

Donnie Darko

Yesterday, I watched the director’s cut of Donnie Darko, a movie which I had never seen before (or even heard of for that matter prior to last week). This was really a very interesting movie… a bit confusing and paradoxical, but that really goes with the territory, doesn’t it? Anyway, it was less confusing than some anime I’ve seen :)

I can’t really go into detail without spoiling everything and getting into long-winded (and utterly futile) discussions regarding whether it is possible to go back in time and kill your own father before you are born (not that this happens in Donnie Darko), so suffice to say that this is a highly entertaining science fiction (if you’re into this sort of thing) movie that won’t leave you with any undistracting bits of closure, so no worries there. Yes, I did like it (did I mention yet that I’m an anime fan so am used to this stuff?).

Today, I watched the movie again, this time with the commentary. For some really weird reason, Kevin Smith was part of the commentary, even though he had absolutely nothing to do with the original movie. Whatever, Kevin Smith is cool :)

Anyway, I was kinda dissappointed with the commentary in that a lot of it seemed to consist of talking about other movies which I’ve never heard of and the director saying that other than the plot as the whole, he just tried to make the movie like a comic book (which he isn’t a big fan of). He didn’t have any reason whatsoever for many of the things done in the movie (e.g., Cherita Chen’s character quirks), and the reasons he did give were often a bit disappointing.

I guess the moral is, try to reason out your own explanations in cases like this, because hearing the official explanations kills the magic. *sigh*

Update re: lawyer

Regarding my last post, I received a voice mail from my lawyer, and they found the questionaire, and apologized for sending the warning note. *phew*

That’s definitely a load off my shoulders.

Suddenly, today’s looking like it may be a good day. I hope that doesn’t foretell worse things to come…


I just got a letter from my lawyer, and the responses I sent her two weeks ago never arrived! Now I’m in trouble:

Because of the time limitations imposed on us by the Rules of Court, it is imperative that you immediately return these papers to us. Failure to comply with the Rules of Court will seriously affect your defense, and the outcome of this lawsuit.

I hate the postal service sometimes. Why does this stuff always happen to me? I just want to crawl in a hole and die right about now. Or at least go home and take care of this ASAP, $DEITY knows, I’m not going to be able to get any work done with this crap on my mind.

*sigh* I called and left a message. Hopefully they have an email address I can send my responses to; at least that way I know shit will get there in time. I photocopied the other responses before I sent them, so it could be as simple as transcribing my previous responses. I bet this means they didn’t get my other letter, with the previous summons, either. Crap.

Why is it that every time things start to go well, this crap comes back and bites me in the arse? I really hate cars. I think instead of getting mine inspected, I’ll just drive it into a gorge somewhere.

Back in Ithaca

Since I spent all day today in a car coming back from our roadtrip, and I just saw this on Samantha Blackmon’s blog, I figured I’d share. And no, I don’t consider this a quiz, it’s really more like main character exposition, that happens to be relevant at the moment. I never said I was well traveled (in fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve said the opposite many times), but I am getting better!

bold the states you’ve been to, underline the states you’ve lived in and italicize the state you’re in now…

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C /

Go HERE to have a form generate the HTML for you.