March 23, 2013

Thalia's Specialty

The future father-in-law treated the family to a comedy show last night, starring J. B. Smoove, whom everyone else has apparently seen as an actor on the TV series Curb Your Enthusiasm. I must confess to not being a fan of that show.

I haven't been to a comedy show in many years, but this one was pretty good. Although, I must confess I liked one of the warm-up comedians more, as my tastes run less to impersonations and sound effects, and more on observation and self-deprecation.

The club was downtown right near the city's major sports arena, and it took forever to find a place to park the car. It turns out that there was a professional lacrosse game going on. I had no idea that pro lacrosse was that popular. Unfortunately for us, the game ended just a few minutes before our show did, so we got stuck in the giant traffic jam leaving, too. I'm just kvetching now, really it was a fun evening.

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March 21, 2013

Paper Airplanes and Legos

Legos never cease to amaze me.

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March 14, 2013

New Computer Envy

Hil is a big fan of Breaking Bad, a TV series about a high school chemistry teacher who turns his skills to evil. We don't get the cable channel that runs new episodes, but the episodes show up on NetFlix the next day. So I was instructed that by the time the new season starts up, there would be a way to watch NetFlix on the living room TV.

I love building computers, so I put together a HTPC ("Home Theater PC"). It cost about $300 in parts, all told. I tried to get Linux running on it, but there didn't seem to be good graphic drivers or sound drivers for the hardware. It took a good four hours to get the graphics to work at all, at the end of which I was too irritated to work out what wasn't working with the audio. I had a completely legal extra copy of Win7 hanging around, so I installed that without issue.

Anyway, as long as I had Win7 going, I used it's built-in profiling tools to benchmark the new system, then I compared the benchmarks to my current primary desktop system. I'm depressed now, because the $300 computer was better in every respect other than HD access time and 3D graphics performance, and it was a near thing in both those cases. That's even though my main computer has a discreet graphics card, while the HTPC uses a fancy new AMD chip with the graphic processor as a CPU co-processor.[1]

So now I'm having new-computer envy. But I shall hold on for a while yet, I think. I don't need a new PC, I just want a new PC.

[1]: I remember reading somewhere about a humorous proposed law of computer design, that there would always be alternating cycles of the following two steps: (a) This special purpose processing would be faster if we did it on a specialized secondary chip! (b) We've got too many secondary chips and the new CPUs are crazy fast, let's re-integrate all those special processes into the CPU! This has happened for audio, Ethernet, video, floating-point math, and other stuff too.

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March 13, 2013

Mother Nature

Today in Buffalo, we've had heavy snow, then light rain, then sunshine, then snow again. All between 9AM and noon.

I love springtime in Buffalo. It keeps us on our toes.

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March 09, 2013

Strike Two

Cornell has wished me luck in my academic endeavors, provided that I pursue said endeavors elsewhere. That's somewhat despiriting, as I had high hopes of attending the school build by telegraph wealth.

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