Weekend Report - September 20 2003

[A70 Mirrored]It's been a busy last couple of weeks here. Two weeks ago I got my almost $2K (a GIC matured) order from Clones. The star is a Canon PowerShot A70 camera. Specifications at http://www.powershot.com/powershot2/a70-60/ and the influential review at http://www.tomshardware.com/consumer/20030709/index.html. Of course, that meant I had to also get a 256MB flash memory card and a Canon i850 printer (influential review for the i950 that made the i850 look good at: http://www.tomshardware.com/consumer/20030509/index.html). The other half of the expenses came from more computer upgrades: a pair of 120GB hard drives for BeOS use, a TV tuner and video capture card (works in BeOS nicely!), a DVD burner and a spare mouse. Now all I need is a cable TV signal splitter.

Naturally, all that required ripping apart the computer (lots of dust removed with a can of compressed air and the central vacuum cleaner), finding the right kind of bolts at Canadian Tire (drives don't ship with screws for some reason), and then reinstalling several different OSs (BeOS R5Pro, W98, W2K, RH9). Windows was the worst, with a day spent with IRQ problems (the nVidia GeForce2 driver doesn't handle shared interrupts, and the PCI slot next to it shares the same IRQ line). The BeOS nVidia driver at least partially worked, though I found an open source driver for BeOS that did work properly with shared interrupts. Eventually I gave up and left the PCI slot empty (slot cover off too, for more ventilation around the video board), and downgraded to an ISA bus network card.

That took quite a few days, with a half week off in the middle at the Dorval Island cottage to proof read my RAM file system code. And take lots of photos, and video. Yes, the camera does 640x480 15fps video capture too, though I usually use 320x220 which gives 10 minutes on the 256MB card. The camera, besides USB, has composite video out and audio out jacks so you can show your pictures and video to friends on a TV set, without fiddling with a computer.

[Dorval Island Ferry with Water Pipe Tunnelling Equipment on Parking Lot]

Simultaneous with the new equipment's arrivals, I received the Charles Stross SF book I had eagerly been waiting for (even ordered the hard cover edition): Singularity Sky - http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0441010725/701-9110913-2309936 and also Neil Stephenson's "Big U" which I was able to read at the cottage. Plus the huge new HeroQuest rule book http://www.glorantha.com/products/1001.html also arrived the same day, which I have to hurry up and read before the next RuneQuest / HeroQuest game.

Then I got a call from my former boss at Artech, they've got a need for a PC port programmer, starting Monday. I just don't have time this week to even catch up. Looks like I'll have to not watch TV and organize my time better. So I'd better write this before I disappear into the work related black hole!

- Alex

Copyright © 2003 by Alexander G. M. Smith.