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User information for Zathrus

Real Name Zathrus   
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Nickname Zathrus
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Signed On September 18, 2003
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Total Comments 4286 (Master)
User ID 18483
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News Comments > Out of the Blue

27. Re: No subject Jul 31, 2007, 16:15 Zathrus
Last week I ordered a fancy one that is solar powered

Silly Enahs.

Powered attic fans can actually increase your energy bills because when they draw air out of the attic they have to draw new air in from somewhere. And if you don't have enough ventilation in your attic then it'll come from the living space. So now you're losing air conditioned air to the attic, and the living space is pulling in hot air from the outside.

Of course, this is only an issue if you don't have enough ventilation in your attic. But even so, convection powered fans are generally more than adequate. Of course, ridge vents are best, but that's not exactly a simple retrofit...

The only thing not great are the windows, but that unfortunately is way out of my budget to upgrade to more energy efficient windows

Even the most efficient window is a hole in the wall compared to, well, a wall. Unless you have single-paned windows that leak like a sieve, it's questionable that you'd ever regain the investment from new windows. (There are other reasons for new windows; just saying that going from double paned to triple-ultra-hyper-uber-efficient is usually not worth it).

They spend millions a year to tell me how evil I am, instead of using that money to lobby the government to offer tax incentives on upgrading to more energy efficient equipment and such

Er... they spend money on both. Thing is, when you're looking for a government handout, that money has to come from somewhere... so it's not too hard to lobby against such government programs when you can argue that you won't have to cut other programs, increase taxes, etc.

Many of the electric companies offer rebates in conjunction with manufacturers, even without government incentive. It's a win-win situation for them -- the power company doesn't have to spin up costly secondary plants (which cost much more to run than they can bill residential customers) or buy power from another company (ditto) and the manufacturer gets to sell you stuff and make money.

That is a lot better for the environment then telling me I and the oil companies are evil.

But... you are evil...

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News Comments > Out of the Blue

44. Re: Off topic Jul 31, 2007, 13:05 Zathrus
Not posting in over a month

I've been busy!

He just wants to hack the system Blue so he can put a blue or green background behind his name.

Nah, I just want to ban the entire state of Arkansas.

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News Comments > Out of the Blue

41. Re: Off topic Jul 30, 2007, 23:03 Zathrus
Sorry to veer wildly off topic

There's a topic?

Grats on the house Warhawk -- hope you get moved in soon.

Blue -- can we at least have T-Shirts again? Or does something in your contract with UGO prevent that? Blink once for yes, twice for no.

As for the board -- if you have the rights to alter the code, I'd be happy to look at it sometime and add some basic features like IP banning, etc.

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News Comments > Halo 2 & Shadowrun XP?

63. Re: Cheese Jun 13, 2007, 14:21 Zathrus
Blacks created the word Nigger, due to Nigeria. It was not whites, spaniards, dutch or brits that created this.

You're an idiot.

Nigger comes from the Latin "niger" which means black. And the word well predated the establishment of the country of Nigeria or Niger (by, oh, a few hundred years).

The rest of your statements are completely irrelevant, and often incorrect as well.

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News Comments > Out of the Blue

5. Re: Bus Vs. One Lucky Cyclist In China. Jun 13, 2007, 11:29 Zathrus
that is the right side of the screen, not left

Well, if you want to be pedantic then it was the middle of the screen. But saying "left side" draws your eye to the far side of the street, which is where it happens.

Second, there seemed to be room behind the white minivan, with this bus sliding out of control at you and you are stopped, I dunno...maybe put it in reverse and get more room?

Well, yeah, and after the jump the minivan either backed up or the bus moved forward (hope not!), since it looks like the bus taps the minivan's front bumper. But also realize that they're showing it slowed down for the majority of the clip, so the minivan didn't have a whole lot of time to do much of anything.

And, honestly, backing up is probably a bad idea in general -- if there's any traffic behind you, they're expecting to stop just before hitting you -- backing up makes them hit you, which will probably push you into the bus since your brakes are no longer engaged.

Honestly, I'd just be praying "don't tip over onto me".

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News Comments > Into the Black

9. Re: Lawyer in $54 Million Pants Lawsuit Jun 13, 2007, 10:41 Zathrus
Wow... that wasn't the writeup that I read when I submitted the link. It's even better though!

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News Comments > Out of the Blue

9. Re: No subject Jun 12, 2007, 12:29 Zathrus
there are some spoilers there from Sunday night

Heh, yeah, a "few".

SST, just in case:

But what I find really hilarious is all the fans at the end wanking on about how it definitely means this, or it definitely means that...

Which just goes to show that some people can't take an ambiguous ending -- they have to have it be definite. Even though Chase is very clear in stating that he wanted it to be anything but that. Maybe he dies. Maybe he doesn't. Maybe his entire family is killed in retribution. Maybe he goes on to rule both NJ and NY; maybe he winds up in the slammer. Who knows? That's the point.

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News Comments > EA's Mac Attack

24. Re: GREAT IDEA! Jun 12, 2007, 10:33 Zathrus
Uh, no. Linux may be Unix-like but is not based on Unix.

BSD, which OS X is based on, was based on Unix, but I believe all that old crusty unix stuff was replaced during the AT&T Unix/BSD legals.

Ok, if we want to jump the thread here and get all pedantic... what do you mean by "Unix"? There is no single source code base that is definitively "Unix", at least not for many decades now.

Linux is not strictly based off any traditional Unix or BSD codebase (as in, actual lines of code), but it's certainly Unix-like/Unix-based in concepts and methodologies (although the Open Group would like you to not use the trademarked term "Unix" in conjunction with it, thank-you-very-much).

BSD is definitively Unix-derived; however the lawsuit v AT&T wound up with it being completely freed of any possible infringement (some lines of code were changed in the process, as you note, but relatively few; far more infringement was found in AT&T's codebase than in Berkeley's).

OSX is definitively BSD-derived as well; there's no question of that.

Oh, and Unix is hardly "old crusty" -- the major remaining Unix players are AIX (IBM), HP-UX (HP), and Solaris (Sun). They're all excellent systems, by and large, even if I want to go beat the crap out of each one of them for various foolishness (yes, I develop for all of them; plus more).

Oh, and finally -- anything made for OSX doesn't make it instantly portable to Linux, especially given the nightmare that is 3D support on Linux right now.

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News Comments > Out of the Blue

13. Re: No subject Jun 11, 2007, 15:12 Zathrus
I saw it more as "the ending is whatever you want it to be"

I agree completely. And the amount of speculation going on pretty much shows that they nailed it on that.

As for JfC -- sorry, won't watch it. He screwed us with Deadwood, so why support him with his next project, only to have him flit to a shiny new toy a couple seasons in?

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News Comments > Out of the Blue

27. Re: Getting something from somewhere Jun 7, 2007, 16:24 Zathrus
There is a really cheap device called a cassette recorder that hooks up to the phone line

The services I was referring to generally have a free tier. Hard to get cheaper than that.

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News Comments > Out of the Blue

23. Re: Getting something from somewhere Jun 7, 2007, 15:55 Zathrus
Legality issues aside, it would be nice if phones had the option to record and save conversations (starting as soon as you picked up).

Excepting a few states, if you're in the US you do have that right (find out if your state is a two-party notification state or not; if they are, then the other side would have to be notified as well. Otherwise you can always record as long as everyone who picks up the phone at your house is aware of it).

And there are a number of online sites that will let you do exactly this too, either automatically or at the touch of a button (like hit #9 during a call or something). You could probably do it yourself if you used Asterix and routed all your phone calls through the Asterix server.

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News Comments > Out of the Blue

15. Re: Getting something from somewhere Jun 7, 2007, 15:04 Zathrus
If you're thinking of having kids let me be a warning to you all!

Bah, that's what *69 is for.

And I woke up to find the 14-month old had pooped through her diaper, all over her bed, her clothes, and even into her hair. Good thing I woke up early, since I then spent 15 mins bathing her and trying to get it out of her hair.

She's currently at the doctor's office, since she's having diarrhea and not eating or drinking anything.

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News Comments > Out of the Blue

2. Re: No subject Jun 5, 2007, 11:08 Zathrus
Isn't today also World Hunger Awareness day?

Yes. And Saint Boniface Day and National Gingerbread Day.

Thanks go to the Freakanomics Blog, which has decided to catalog all the celebrations on each day for some reason.

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News Comments > Morning Tech Bits

8. Re: No subject Jun 5, 2007, 08:55 Zathrus
I'll probably hit craigslist for a 21" CRT soon, too.

I have a Viewsonic 21PS you can have if you'll pay shipping.

I'll be honest though -- it's over a decade old (I bought it in the summer of 1996) and kinda dim... even at full brightness, I cannot play many games with lights on in the room or else I can't see certain things (e.g. -- the HL2 calibration setup, as I recall, was useless to me -- I had to install PowerStrip and crank up the gamma on my video card).

But hey, if you want it, it'll just cost you shipping. I even have a box and padding for it, as well as a good VGA->BNC cable.

Personally, I'd like to get an LCD at some point (to replace the 19" CRT I have right now), but it's a very low priority thing and I have 3 perfectly functional 19" CRTs right now (1 on my desktop, 1 perpetually off connected to my server, and 1 in a box).

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News Comments > Sunday Tech Bits

16. Re: Not a problem in Linux. Jun 4, 2007, 15:33 Zathrus
But, if there needs to be so much of the system memory reserved for something like the video card, and it can use that 3-4gb range for that, then it is not a waste

What you're misunderstanding here is that there's no physical memory located at that point. If you have 128MB, 1GB, or 3 GB of memory it doesn't matter -- the video card is going to map from D000 0000 to FFFF FFFF (from 3.25GB up to 4GB) no matter what. It'll still do that if you have 4GB of memory -- but you won't ever be able to access the physical memory that's located in that address range because it's being "obscured" by the device driver.

That's what he means by >3GB of physical memory being a waste.

But if you have only say 3gb, and windows uses the 2-3gb range for system usage, that means that the 760mb of system memory starts coming from the usable 0-2gb range, no?

No. See above. MMIO does not take up real memory.

But then he says that only 64bit OSes can access that 3-4gb range. But I think he means for general application usage, not dedicated hardware usage?

What he says is that some motherboards can remap the memory that's physically located behind the MMIO area to someplace else (e.g. -- the memory that's physically at 3-4GB is mapped to 8-9GB if you have 8GB of memory), or the OS can have the MMIO located somewhere else (say, toward the end of the 48-bit address range of current 64-bit x86 CPUs; why no, they don't have a full 64-bit virtual address space... go see the Wikipedia article on AMD64 if you want details). Either way, the memory is no longer obscured and can be used.

So he implies that that the 3-4gb of memory is wasted, but really, depending on the system configuration, it is not wasted that much?

No, it is completely wasted. Much like on older PCs running DOS (and even your current PC, although you probably don't even notice or care) much of the 768K-1024K area was unusable due to MMIO. You could get small chunks of memory available via himem.sys, or QEMM, or similar, but a good bit of memory was simply unavailable for use in any manner whatsoever. Of course, now that we're playing with GB of memory, a few paltry KBs are irrelevant. When's the last time you saw options in your BIOS to disable Video BIOS or Video RAM shadowing? That's all part of the crap in that 384K that haunted us in the DOS and Win 3.x days.

It's the exact same thing now, but with bigger numbers.

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News Comments > Out of the Blue

17. Re: No subject Jun 4, 2007, 15:13 Zathrus
the place I moved to last year, has not one god damn power outlet outside

Hrm... I guess that, technically, my old house didn't either. None on the front at all (although I eventually added some garage outlets that were closer to the outside), and the one on the rear deck was inside a screened porch. I was never really bothered by it though, since there were a number of garage and porch outlets.

Our current house has usefully located exterior outlets (3 total), but the garage sucks. And the incompetent morons who owned the house before us drywalled over all the access valves -- one outdoor spigot is off (and I'll have to cut a hole over a shower to get to it), and I have no idea where the main house valves for water or gas. I can at least turn the water off at the curb if I want, but I hate that.

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News Comments > Out of the Blue

12. Re: No subject Jun 4, 2007, 14:10 Zathrus
Because now every f'in thing you want to plug up has a power convert at the plug, and so you can only plug one up to the damn wall socket, and it usually covers up the other one just a little so you can not even plug in a lamp

That's what power strips, or those little 1' extension cords are made for.

Or the 6-to-2 plug adapters that you use instead of a wall plate.

Silly Enahs. And, besides, you shouldn't be plugging in lamps given what kind of freaky lightbulbs you favor!

Oh, and my garage has precisely two outlets -- one on the wall, and one on the ceiling (for the garage door opener). And it's all sheetrocked. Yay. I'm already planning to suck power off the garage door outlet and use WireMold conduit to add at least one more outlet for a workbench, and to punch a new outlet in near an outside outlet. But still, freaking silly. And then there's the basement, where I find new and interesting electrical/plumbing nightmares every time I cut a hole in the sheetrock...

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News Comments > Sunday Tech Bits

14. Re: Not a problem in Linux. Jun 4, 2007, 13:52 Zathrus
I have read nearly everything Dan has written in the past 3+ years, and that has to be his most confusing/poor written article ever when it comes to understanding of people who are tech smart, just do not know much info on that specific subject (like say, mem controllers)

Hrm, I guess I know enough about OS's, device drivers, memory models, etc then -- it wasn't confusing at all to me. And I didn't know the exact details about why various bits of memory between 3 and 4 GB were being reserved; but I do now. (I knew it was for memory mapped I/O, but not the specifics).

Dan says that only certain hardware can access that upper level of memory, like say a video card. Then, would it not make sense in some form with your 121729712 MB of videocard memory to use that space, and not take up the "free mem" available to standard basic applications?

I'm not sure I follow what you're asking.

There are two (slightly) different concepts occurring here -- first, memory mapped I/O. Basically device drivers allow programs to access their memory by saying "use location X" -- when you access location X then the call is intercepted by the device driver and you read/write to its own memory instead. This isn't just for video cards (although in a typical system they have the largest chunk of MMIO), but also for your hard drives, optical drives, network card, USB, etc.

The second concept, for Windows only, is that the OS reserves a large portion of the address space for itself. On a standard XP/Vista system, addresses from 0-2GB are available to programs, from 2GB-3GB is for Windows itself (system libraries and such), and 3GB-4GB is MMIO. As Dan notes, you can tell Windows to let applications use up to 3GB, in which case Windows has to try to stuff everything into the 3-4GB range (which, as he notes, may not be a wise course of action).

In any case the video card is never using up space available to "standard basic applications" in Windows. At least not unless you have >1 GB of video card memory (and other MMIO).

If you're asking "well, ok, so why did they put the MMIO crap in the 3-4GB range anyway?" -- well, if not there, then where? It has to be somewhere between 0 and 4 GB for 32-bit applications; they cannot address outside of that (yes, even with PAE's magic tricks -- PAE simply maps 4GB chunks at a time into the 32-bit addressable range; at it does it at a rather steep cost even then, and requires special programming). Given that, putting the MMIO at the end of the 4GB range and mapping downward is sane. Much the same was done with the 8086 and it's 1 MB of address space (thus, the 640K limit).

You could ditch MMIO entirely, of course. If you don't mind your system running about as fast as a 486 with PIO drives -- because that's what you're talking about doing. MMIO allows, amongst other things, DMA capabilities -- so that the CPU doesn't have to be involved in every single byte being moved from a device to main memory or vica versa. Write a block of memory to your video card's MMIO and the CPU will stop caring once the device driver has figured out what you're doing (a few hundred instructions at most); then the video card will talk directly to main memory and copy all the data itself (which is potentially millions of instructions; or billions once you start talking about 1GB+ of video memory). There's a reason why we've kept the MMIO concept (in its various forms) around for decades -- it's really, really freaking fast and the only way to do it sanely.

I could go search Wiki and the internet for it, or read some of my many books...but ehh, I don't do it!

No! At no point in writing this did I actually need to do any research. That's how much of a nerd I am. So there.

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News Comments > Morning Tech Bits

3. Re: No subject Jun 4, 2007, 13:29 Zathrus
Oh no!!! I just HAVE TO sell my LCD screen now, it is so bad...

Well, if true then it's effectively adding 50ms to your lag, which is pretty substantial for FPS games.

Of course, given how little info is given, I'd vote that it's likely to be due to useless digital->analog->digital conversions (if not using DVI-D) or a non-native resolution.

If this was generally true then people would've noticed and complained about it long, long ago.

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News Comments > Out of the Blue

2. Re: No subject Jun 4, 2007, 11:03 Zathrus
Sopranos SST:
So, here's a question -- the Italians whacked the wrong guy... but was the girl still Phil's mistress?

If so, then she had some pretty serious daddy issues, given how much he looked like Phil...

As for the whacking -- what I found more interesting was that the NY crew all got together and planned it out, and then did it. Tony's crew, on the other hand, passed it down through what, 3 or 4 different guys and then brought in some Italians to actually do it. No wonder the NY crew pulled it off better.

But at least Tony finally got to put his boot up AJ's ass.

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