Archives for November 2004

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Linux: fun with 6.8.1

I messed around a little today with 6.8.1. That probably means nothing to most of you. If talk of x servers and xinerama just leaves you confused, feel free to click the screenshot link and then move on. Sometimes I need to do a little talking about Linux, as much for me to go back and look at later as for your benefit.

Getting the server itself up and running was no problem. I compiled it yesterday and just ran make install today. It plays well with the nvidia drivers. Getting xcompmgr going was similarly no problem, though it's definitely a little flakier -- when I first go to a desktop it'll be all garbled and I'll have to drag a window around to clear things up. But after that things seem to mostly work.

Right now the drop-shadows and transparency you can see in the screenshot only work on the root desktop, not on virtual desks (in e16 terms "multiple desks"). The drop shadow does work on tooltip-style popups on all desks, though, and looks really nice on things like the firefox auto-complete url drop-down.

Obviously the real fun starts when people start integrating support for this into window managers and apps.

The one problem that was almost a show-stopper was some conflict between Xorg's xinerama support and mplayer. When playing a widescreen movie mplayer would throw part onto the other screen instead of making full-size only one screen. My solution for now? Switch to xine.

i guess this is organization

Several times over the last week or two I've thought about the fact that I hadn't seen my tickets for UCLA or Notre Dame lately. I knew they were somewhere in the apartment, so I wasn't too worried, but it was just a nagging little thought in the back of my head.

Today I had that thought again and decided to look for them. I vaguely remembered the last place I had them being the couch, so I went and looked under it. There they were.

Does that count as organization? I knew where they were.

formation flying

Driving down Fig an hour or so ago I saw a large formation of helicopters heading east to west. Some chopper I didn't recognize in front, then five or six LAPD birds, and finally five or six Sherrifs department choppers (which I don't think I've seen before). I'm suspecting it was for filming; there's something going on over on the other side of downtown involving tanks and gunfire and such (or at least that's what was billed in the filming announcement), so it might well be that.

it had a good run

So yesterday I got my server back from the Bay Area and lugged it up to the apartment. Tonight I shut down my homebrew caseless wonder and moved some of the guts over to the rackmount case. The rackmount server's a P3 600, so I kept that instead of the PII 400. I also discovered that PC100 ram won't work in a PC133 motherboard. It's the same size/shape...

Anyway, everything's now running fine. The only problem is that the enormous fan in the case is a little too much noise to leave sitting over the entertainment center. I need to investigate where I can move that to.

From the old drive I've loaded up some missing posts from June - September. You can find those through the archives.

36 Hours in Downtown LA

New York Times writer Janelle Brown today has a piece on 36 hours in downtown LA (found via LA Observed). The choices are good... I don't really understand why the NYT has thrown so much love to the Golden Gopher, but whatever, it's a trendy choice. I absolutely concur with the recommendation of Conservancy walking tours. That's something I need to take more advantage of myself.

At the very end of the piece, though, she gives a recommendation to the Hotel Fig.

The Figueroa Hotel (939 South Figueroa Street, 213-627-8971) opened in 1925 and is still a destination downtown. Its eclectic Moroccan-themed spaces are filled with ottomans, pink bougainvillea and Moroccan tile. Its 285 rooms are $98 to $225.

Now I have to admit that it's been four years since I was last there, but here's the impression I got back then: the lobby and bar are nice, but the hotel itself is just not. During the summer of 2000 I spent a week there while working a conference at the convention center. I shared a room that was tiny: two single beds, a crappy old tv, a chair, and a bathroom. We called it Camp Figgy. If they've remodelled in the last couple years I'd like to hear it, but if people are paying $100 for the kind of room I got that's just ridiculous.

time for a cell-ebration?

So I'm pretty sure that between 6:30pm or so and now something dramatically changed with cell phone coverage in my apartment. Living downtown, indoor cell reception isn't always the greatest. In my apartment it's been really bad, basically where you needed to stand next to the window to have a decent conversation.

Tonight I went to plug my phone in to charge, and the first thing I noticed was a new "AT&T/Cingu" network tag. Hmmm... Merger's finally taking shape.

Next thing I notice: I have five bars of coverage sitting at my desk. I call voicemail and walk around the apartment. I get down to 3 bars at our door, but no lower.

This could be a beautiful thing. Maybe those AT&T commercials where the people had bars over their heads weren't a lie.

Update (a few minutes later): It looks like what's happened is the AT&T network tag has been changed to be dual, while the Cingular one still just says Cingular. The AT&T one gives me a lot better coverage in my apartment right now, though, so I've moved it up my network priority list.

626, 727, hike

Can I just say now that for how creative they're all supposed to be, some of the gallery people around me are getting pretty lazy with their naming schemes. Across the street from me and appearing out of the blue Tuesday is 626 Gallery (ok, they probably didn't show up out of the blue, but I left for school Tuesday morning and when I got back there was a gallery there). One block down is Gallery 727.

I understand how to read your address, ok? Put a little more work into it.

In class today we watched the short 'George Lucas in Love' (google for it, you'll find a copy somewhere). Take the title jabs there and insert them here.

In related news, Downtown Art Walk is right now. I think I might cruise the neighborhood for a little bit and get baffled some more by the art scene. I'm telling you, I don't fit in at galleries.

good old college journalism

Have I mentioned before how much I dislike the Daily Trojan? If not, consider just a few words in this article:

In addition to these endeavors, the university is working on a master plan for the campus that involves land north of Jefferson Boulevard and east of the Intestate 10 freeway, Williams said.


east of the Intestate 10 freeway

  1. It's "Interstate"
  2. It's the 110 freeway. The 10 runs east-west. That is unless USC has some land in North Carolina I don't know about. We do have a campus in Virginia, so who knows...

I swear I can't read a single edition of the DT without finding some typos or shoddy journalism to get mad at.

new mo' better life?

Via a comment on my buzznet site I just got what could be wonderful news if it pans out. User golden (who hasn't posted any pictures as of yet, but I'll link you just in case she does in the future) had this to say in response to an image of the closed Mo' Better Meaty Meat Burgers location:

Actually, to prevent you from going into withdrawal I would like to pass on some info about the late Mo Better Meaty Meat Burgers. To make a long story short, the original owners of the stand decided to take a break from Mo Better for a while, because of being a bit over worked w/out reliable help. So they sold it back in late 1998, to someone who actually ran the business into the ground. Fortunately, the original owners are looking for a new location to open back up sometime soon...

I have indeed been in withdrawl, and would love to be able to get out of it.

Better get in line now...

This Daily News article talks about a shared-cost plan for sidewalk repair. The "WHA?!?" moment is at the end, when we get this gem:

This year, the City Council set aside enough money to replace 52 miles of sidewalks, but with a 4,600-mile backlog of damaged sidewalks, the average wait is about 80 years, Robertson said.

See, here's the thing: apparently the city doesn't technically own the sidewalks, so for a long time they just didn't do anything about them. They left it up to the property owners to take care of. Well, that didn't work out so well and now there's a lot to catch up on.

I've always wondered about the trees planted alongside streets. You always see the sidewalks where they've been there too long and the roots have pushed the sidewalk into all sorts of not flat shapes, but then you see streets that have been freshly landscaped with smaller trees. Do they have new ways to do it now where that same thing isn't going to happen in a couple decades?

computers; they hate me, but i love them

I've been doing some eThreads2 coding this afternoon. I had to set up an Apache2/modperl setup on my laptop to do development now that the real installation's running live on this site. You would think there would be a way to partition namespaces in modperl to have live and devel versions of the same libs in memory, but I can't seem to come up with a way. Is it weird that I'm coding on my laptop just because I really like how the transparent terminals look on top of a background I'm using? Take a look at that shot, though... Isn't that just amazing? The background's from deviantart; I don't have a more specific URL handy at the moment.

My roommate Chris and I were counting up the other day and totalled up that we've got ten computers in the apartment -- and 9 of them are mine. To be fair, though, two of those are the XBox and the Tivo. Both are in reality PC's, but you can count or not count them as you wish. The list aside from those two:

I should be getting my former server back this weekend. At that point I'll retire the homebrew, though, so the numbers will stay the same.

ah, that 710 gap

The Pasadena Star News today has an article about the MTA studying the possibility of a tunnel to complete the 710. When I first started working up here at JPL two years ago I was confused by the short little dead-end spur of the 210 that I would get onto off of California. I later read that this spur had been intended to connect to the 710 (and occasionally the 110), but that connector had been blocked by the fact that it went through South Pasadena. From the article:

MTA officials came to West Covina City Hall to brief the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments' transportation committee on the tunneling proposal. SGVCOG, a 30-city organization, almost unanimously supports closing the 710 gap.

The city of South Pasadena, however, has battled the freeway project since 1964. The 710 Freeway goes as far north as Valley Boulevard, on the Alhambra-El Sereno border.

I know I've written before about the fuss South Pasadena people have made over the Gold Line, but I can't seem to find where at the moment (perhaps it's in my soon to be resolved June - October blackhole). A website called is a little less diplomatic on its "Truth" page.

This Website is intended to address the war of misinformation, distortion and outright false claims made by a small but intensely committed group of 710 Freeway opponents. This group composed primarily of South Pasadena residents, operates from the premise that their South Pasadena's interests outweigh staggering impacts, traffic congestion and pollution that their City forces upon residents of other Southern California cities. In essence, their message is that it is OK to subject others to vehicles and air pollution because "our community" is a "more special place" than all others.

My basic take is that something has to be done, and South Pasadena needs to get with the program and work on an amenable solution instead of taking a complete blocking stance. Just understand that this project at some point is going to happen, and it's a lot more likely to be pallatable to you if you're a part of the solution rather than continuing to be the problem.