This update is not for Cassie… :-)

So, you know how over the summer I spent a fair amount of time setting up Linux, and it was a lot of work, but once it was done it was great? Well, about a month ago I figured out what was wrong with emerge – there were 15 bad blocks on my hard drive, which I couldn’t get rid of for the life of me. And supposedly modern hard drives will swap them out automatically. Well, I called Best Buy, and they decided to come out and replace the hard drive entirely. That happened about a week ago. And the new one didn’t have any working operating system on it. It claimed to have Windows XP, but that would give me the much-beloved Blue Screen of Death as soon as I booted up (while some people are surely saying this is typical of Windows, XP has mostly been better at this, to be fair). Anywho, I’ve now got Gentoo back up, and most of my system is back on. I’m still missing sound, my 2nd monitor, and a bunch of little, unimportant things (Shockwave, for example), but it’ll come. I guess the biggest problem right now is that I can’t seem to get my 2nd monitor working. And I can’t find the specs for it online, which is a bit weird. Well, I’ll get it eventually. In the meantime, I should be back online semi-regularly now. Though there are still some weird things going on with my system – for some reason, I can’t turn on DMA on my hard drive (this loads stuff into memory fast enough to play music and movies without them skipping). Perhaps I forgot to build something into the kernel. I need to learn more about that. Oh! and whenever I try to shut down X, it hangs and I have to power cycle. This isn’t really a problem, since after my other monitor starts working I shouldn’t have to turn anything off for 9 months, but in the meantime it’s a little weird.

Um… oh! news from Bridge Club! At the Activities Fair, we got roughly 30 more people to sign up for bridge-club-l (our mailing list), which is just fantastic. And for those of you who I haven’t told yet, Unit 551, the local ACBL sanctioned bridge club, has lost their lease on their building, and will be moving to the LAC starting at the beginning of November! So it looks like Mondays and Wednesdays we’ll have competitive games, and Thursdays we’ll have fun, teaching/learning/screwing around days. It looks to be a good year for bridge club, all in all.

Classes are going ok, all in all. Systems is absolutely amazing (CS105 Systems, not E59 Stems). We’re learning how computers work. Really. The first week, we went over data representations (two’s complement arithmetic, etc), and we’re now tackling assembler for the IA32. However, we have been looking at other architectures as well (SPARC jumps to mind as a prominent alternative example). Anywho, it’s a lot of work, but absolutely fascinating! This is the stuff I’ve always wondered about. My other classes are going ok. Nothing great, but certainly no complaints, except that my CS81 (Logic and Computability) class seems like a review of CS60 but with a boring prof. Well, I’m sure it’ll get better soon.

I haven’t been paying attention to world news for a couple weeks, so I have nothing to post about right now (hopefully that’ll change). um… my world news is that many of my friends are going to be abroad this semester. Yeah. It’s a little weird, but neat to hear what they’re going to be doing.

Oh! and for a strange, nerdy time, read up on John Conways work concerning Surreal Numbers. The subject is just that. And since I am in a weird mood, I leave you with a quote from my History82 reading last week:

“Having been entertained with no new theory now for a long while, I am sinking into a mere practical farmer. I have not a single new thing at present, except one experiment I am making to convert moss into dung, by endeavouring to rot it in a dunghill, by mixing it with fresh horse-dung. I shall let you know the result. If I succeed I shall be able to multiply my manure greatly.” – Henry Home, in a letter to William Cullen, 1752.

I’m pretty glad I didn’t live back then.

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