Star Wars For a New Generation

by fwhagen Mon, 01 June 2009

This past weekend, I sat down with my 6 year old daughter and watched Star Wars.  It was her first time, certainly not mine.  She really likes the Clone Wars series on Cartoon Network, so I thought it was time.  It was an interesting experience.

Star Wars came out when I was 7.  I never saw it in the theaters in its original release; my parents seldom took us to a theater, and then only for "kids" movies.  I did see it years later, but never the original cut.  My first exposure was a VHS tape that our uncle gave my father.  I watched that tape over and over until it wore out, literally.  I bought the trilogy on VHS when it was released as a boxed set later on, and again when it was remastered with THX sound.  And I got a copy when the whole set was reworked with new CGI content.  Oh, I have seen Star Wars a few times...

The version I showed my daughter was in HD.  Obviously the latest remastered, cleaned, reedited, Greedo shot first, equatorial shock wave edition.  It was beautiful.  After the attack on Leia's ship, I remarked to my wife, "I don't believe I have ever seen this movie look so good!".  Funny, the version I always remember was grainy and almost smoky; it was thick with atmosphere.  This version was crisp and clean, clear and sharp; it looked great, yet somehow lacked something.  She loved it. 

It's funny how 32 years has changed so much.  The impact the film had on me was dramatic, even life changing (OK, I was only 7).  Not so much for her.  That old tape was a treasure to be handled carefully and saved for the future.  The copy from this past weekend was just so many bits on our DVR.  It is marvelous to see the world through her new eyes, yet make my own feel that much older.


Filed Under: Life

I've Been Wondering...

by fwhagen Tue, 10 February 2009

Why are Unicorns hollow?


Filed Under: Life

Goodbye, Mr. Clarke

by fwhagen Wed, 19 March 2008

He was one of the greatest people of our time.  More than just an author.  More than a great scientist.  More than an engineer, physicist, humanitarian, advisor, prophet, philosopher, and more.  He helped define the world we live in from the positive side.  He helped define who I am today through his stories.  He had his hands in most of the great information technologies we enjoy today.  We all owe him more than we can know.  And now he is gone.  Goodbye, we will miss you.

From the BBC:  Writer Arthur C Clarke dies at 90


Filed Under: Life

Confirmation of Godliness

by fwhagen Thu, 28 February 2008

Not that there was any doubt, and of course, answered honestly: says I'm an Uber Cool Nerd God.  What are you?  Click here!

Respect the score.

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Filed Under: Blog | Life

Cooking for Nerds: Super-Quick Ballpark-Style Hot Dogs

by fwhagen Tue, 26 February 2008

Ok, no amazing technology or code hints here.  But when I get a good idea, I want to share.  Take Quick and Good, add some Lazy, and I have a post.

I love hot dogs.  I hate cleaning up or firing up the grill for just myself.  And have you ever tried microwaving a hot dog?  ugh.  But in a eureka moment, I found the answer:  Take a dog, or two, and drop into a glass.  Fill the glass with water, preferably higher than the dogs (yes, they will float a bit).  Pop it all in the microwave, and if you have it, hit the button for 1 cup of hot water (otherwise, 90 seconds?).  Let sit another minute or so, then pour out the water, some, all, doesn't matter.  Throw in buns, add mustard, and Viola, you have hot hot dogs ready to eat!  Don't you dare put ketchup on them puppies.  That's just wrong.

The water protects the dogs from the microwaves so they don't burst during the heating.  Also the water gets hot which helps warm them too.  You can actually see the difference where the dogs float out of the water.  In three minutes, you have a good ballpark style dog from fridge to bun.  Not perfect, but easy, quick and lazy.


Filed Under: Life


by fwhagen Tue, 12 February 2008

My home server finally died this week.  Even my daughter was inconvenienced.  The old PII on a SE440BX-2 has been a faithful, long lived servant these many years, but finally passed on.  I bought this board a long long time ago and have been running it 24x7 as my home server for over 5 years now.  I don't remember exactly how long, as it was 3 major upgrades ago.  BTW, you can still run a nice server on 256MB RAM for file, print, Web, and FTP with Win2003.  I believe the failure was with some component of the BX2 finally wearing out.

On to newer hardware!  I purchased a 35W Celeron to run the server on now.  Going to put it in a quiet Antec case with a Hi-Eff PSU.  Should be a simple and low-cost build.  Only spent $200 so far including the case (most expensive part), PSU, CPU, motherboard and optical (SATA).  I happen to have 1GB of DDR2 from a mistake purchase last year that I will use.

Yes, the comic feeds are down and will be for a few days.  Sorry.  I will get them up first thing.  *Heavy Sigh*

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Filed Under: Life | System


by fwhagen Mon, 07 January 2008

Delivery for the Beast was delayed until Monday.  So no glory for me.  Heavy sigh.

Then on Saturday, the SCSI subsys on my server went south, knocking out the system volume.  Everything is backed up, but I had to spend the weekend rebuilding.  The machine is almost 10 years old, so I'm not complaining, but all of my feed builders were interrupted.  I will get them re-initialized tonight, so there will only be a day or two missing from them.  Sorry.

Maybe I will get to buy some new server hardware this spring....

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Filed Under: Life | System

The Beast Stirs

by fwhagen Fri, 04 January 2008

Finally, after dreaming of the Core2 series of processors, I am upgrading my system.  Well, I have been since August, anyway.  I finally bought the CPU/MB/Memory combo this week.  They should be here today!

Here is the plan (in the order purchased):

Case   Antec P182 Advanced Super Mid Tower Case
PSU   Corsair VX450W Quiet High Efficiency PSU
Optical   LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA
Motherboard   Asus Maximus Formula - LGA 775 Intel X38
CPU   Intel Q6600 Core 2 Quad 2.4GHz
Memory   Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500)

Last will be the video card.  I am leaning toward the ATI HD3870 in a Saphire or Diamond Viper configuration.

The case is excellent!  The P182 is the finest case I have ever worked with.  The walls are thick, heavy and absorb vibrations very well as they were designed to quiet the system.  Rubber gromitts for drive mounts, very nice airflow and great cable management technique make this a joy to work on.

I chose the Corsair PSU because of its efficiency and noise ratings.  It is based on the Seasonic designs and should be very quiet.  Also, my choice of size is controversial, but on metering my Prescott at full load, I never saw it cross 280Watts*.  If I bought a kilowatt PSU, I would waste a lot of energy and heat from the inefficiency at the low end of usage.

I wanted to get a SATA optical, but don't care about Lightscribe.  I may get a second later....

The Maximus Formula is an expensive drop.  I did not intend to spend $270 on a motherboard.  But the X38 chipset is the only one to support PCI-E 2.0 and it is supposed to be compatible with Penryn when it comes out.  I don't anticipate replacing this board for a very long time.  And the 2.0 spec has shown some dramatic gains for the HD3870 cards in reviews.  So, ouch, but I think a good buy.

The Core2Duo E6600 is considered the best over-clocker in years.  It's price is $229.  The Quad core Q6600 is very similar and is only $50 more.  It was not a difficult decision.

Memory is memory, from what I hear.  I still went ahead and spent the extra $20 for 1066 for the lower latencies and OC ability.

I will post more as the system specs out and I have a chance to play more.  But I am very excited.  Should be a fun weekend!  Total spent so far (including the anticipated $200 for video):  Under $1000.  Great time to build PCs.

*EDIT:  Updated to 280 from 250.  Mistake at time of post.

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Filed Under: Life | System

Why Socialism Doesn't Work

by fwhagen Wed, 12 December 2007

I heard a brilliant reason clever generalization for why Socialism, and by extension Communism, will always be doomed to failure:

Have you ever rented a car?  Did you wash it?

Edit:  Commenter inadvertantly reminds me that this is not a reason, but a gross simplification.  I don't discount the hundreds of other reasons and historical proofs for the failure of Marxist states.

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Filed Under: Life | Politics

Daylight Stoopid Time - Fall 2007 Edition

by fwhagen Fri, 26 October 2007

Here's your reminder that DST is ending again this weekend and you will be losing your free hour everyday.  But Wait!!  Congress moved it this year:  It's actually next week!  Yay!  Another week of free hours.  It a good thing Congress is saving us Time and Money, and more than ever before!

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Filed Under: Life | Rant | Worse Than Failure