Monday, 29th of September, 2008
Flash memory writes a lot slower than it reads (like, more than 100X slower). A lot of the performance issues associated with that have been addressed with parallelism and caching, but your disk controller has to be optimized to take advantage of this, or your performance will be worse compared to a disk drive.
Flash memory wears out! A cell supports about 100,000 to 500,000 write cycles. (Though "high endurance cells" support over 1 million.) That sound acceptable, until you start to think about those poor cells that are being used as a swap disk for Photoshop or something. It could cause your flash drive to wear out quicker than what's acceptable if you're htiting those same cells over and over. This is where wear leveling comes in play - an advanced flash drive will actually make sure that you're writing to cells evenly, so your high-usage swap file moves around to all the cells. This is very different from the way data is physically stored on a hard disk drive.
Friday, 26th of September, 2008
Monday, 22nd of September, 2008
Sunday, 21st of September, 2008
Friday, 19th of September, 2008
My dream last night started with me going to the bank and withdraw half of my savings. Unfortunately, due to the "economic crisis", the bank ran out of cash - apparently all their assets were tied up in commodities. Apparently, the bank didn't even ask me if it was ok that I received my requested withdrawal in a mixture of cash and precious metals. They just emptied out the cash drawers (so I had a bunch of 5s, 1s, etc.) and then paid the rest in cubes of Platinum, Nickel, Tin, and Copper. The value of the cube of metal was even etched on the side of it - and I was told that the government, in light of recent events, has mandated that these cubes of metals should be accepted as legal tender the same way greenbacks are accepted. The cubes were wrapped in plastic to make sure that touching them wouldn't contribute to the metals wearing away or being dissolved.
It was one of those dreams that was realistic enough for me to panic that this was actually happening to me. I remember getting pretty excited about the shiny metal cubes (they were very attractive looking), but then I started getting stressed out that the value of my metals were now decreasing relative to the dollar, and I regretted not just depositing the metal back into my savings account right there. Some moments later I woke up and I was relieved it was a dream. Darn it, I thought sleeping was supposed to be relaxing.
Tuesday, 16th of September, 2008
Monday, 15th of September, 2008
"Only" 1.5 flat panel TVs? Amazing - we have 1 TV, and it's not a flat panel, lol.
Sunday, 14th of September, 2008
Picture - To get an idea of how much flooding was going on, I snapped a picture afterwards of the debris stuck on the fence of where the temporary river ran this morning.
Picture - On the way back from my walk I noticed that one of the utility poles was not exactly vertical anymore, and the lines running off of it across the street were really low to the ground.
Picture - It wasn't until I got closer did I realized what had really happened. That tree is completely uprooted and sitting on the lines!
Picture - It's easier to see the uprooting from the next street over.
Last picture for today, and this one is not mine. Someone submitted it on the KSDK website - it's a groundhog that got itself stuck in a coffee cup. Don't worry, after running into a few things it got itself free.
Saturday, 13th of September, 2008
It was AT&T's $15/month unlimited data plan price structure that got me into a 3G internet phone to begin with, so I wanted to stick with a "phone". While I could have gotten into a PDA or Blackberry and enjoyed better text input, that luxury costs another$15/month - because AT&T wants to charge the heavier data users with the PDA phones more for unlimited data.
What I ended up with is what I think is by far the best non-PDA phone that AT&T currently offers - the LG "VU", or CU920. With a 240x400 3" touch-screen, this phone has the best screen of any phone AT&T offers (short of the iPhone), especially in landscape mode. A touch-screen is ideal for navigating websites, and if you click on a text input box you get a touch-screen keyboard, like the iPhone. Now I know I just criticized the iPhone's touchscreen 3 months ago, but because the LG's keybooard is in "landscape" mode, I find it easier to use than the iPhone, and it certainly is better than punching out letters in a 12-key numberpad. It also has a vibrating feature for every keystroke to help with the tactile feedback. We'll see in a few months if I get used to it, or if I end up still preferring the handwriting recognition.
AT&T is using this phone to launch the Mobile TV service, which explains the consumer-oriented (rather than business) data plan price structure. But that also means Cellular Videos look brilliant on the 3" screen in landscape mode - you don't even have to subscribe to Mobile TV to enjoy this.
LG clearly wants consumers to consider this as an alternative to the iPhone, considering the physical design and the touch screen. Price helps lure some - it's $130 with a 2-year contract and mail-in rebate. But now it's the data plan that makes the iPhone such an expensive toy - upgrading my current plan to an iPhone plan would cost me $60/month extra! I can think of a lot of better things to do with $720 a year.
Of course since we were at the mall I wandered into Gamestop too. After finding out that Rock Band 2 for Playstation won't be out until like November, I went browsing for something else since I was getting a little tired of Guitar Hero II songs. That's when I discovered that you can play the Track Pack of Rock Band I without owning the real Rock Band game. After seeing a few songs that I practically grew up with, we had to get it - plus I was curious if any USB microphone would work or if I had to hunt around for a Rock Band specific USB mic.
With my phone vexation resolved, it was time to take care of the missing cylinder in the Cadillac. Earlier this week it developed a rough idle and what seemed to be about a 12.5% decrease in performance. The roughness was a steady throb that varied exactly with the speed of the engine, so I figured I was getting some sort of misfire consistently in one cylinder. Since the distributor rotor, cap, and plug wires have already been replaced, it was time to go after the plugs themselves. The new phone and Rock Band were enough to keep us busy while the car cooled down, and the rain stayed away, so I was able to get dirty this afternoon and change them all out. I kind of dreaded this since I remember space being tight from when I was doing the plug wires, but I also learned from last time that most of the job is easiest from under the car, so it wasn't too bad - just dirty.
Picture - Based on what I pulled out of the car it looks like cylinder 8 was the problematic one. The picture shows 7, 5, 3, and 1 on top, 8 to 2 on the bottom.
Thursday, 11th of September, 2008
"U.S. Senator Herb Kohl, a Democrat from Wisconsin and chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, has written a letter to the heads of Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile asking for an explanation as to why the price of text messaging continues to rise."
"Your four companies are the nation's leading wireless telephone companies, collectively serving more than 90 percent of the nation's wireless subscribers," Kohl wrote. "Since 2005, the cost for a consumer to send or receive a text message over each of your services has increased by 100 percent." - The Channel Wire
Text is so low bandwidth - even compared to a voice call. Yet now I'm subscribed to a $15/month unlimited 3G data plan, downloading up to several megabytes a day, but an unlimited text plan costs the same - another $15. Things like this explain why I have never been on a text plan in my life. On my phone I can check my email, watch streaming videos, visit websites - all the for the same price as a text plan!
Wednesday, 3rd of September, 2008
Once you skip the commercials it seems like you have just reclaimed a huge part of your free time. And of course, the article claims that means more quality free time with your spouse. Things never work that way though - I suspect I just watch twice as many shows...
Tuesday, 2nd of September, 2008
Later in the article, she admits "she would not reject a potential mate who has two copies of the risky allele. She paused, then added: 'But I might not start a joint bank account with them for the first few years.'" No surprise that this will be used as yet another tool against the sanctity of marriage.
Monday, 1st of September, 2008
I was only able to find one Fleetwood in the yard - though it was a 93. Unfortunately the pull-down latch was already taken. After diverting to removing a special throttle body off an EJ22 (I think I might finally have idle control on the Subaru) I remembered reading in an old thread on the Cadillac Forums that the pull-down mechanism on the Fleetwood is the same as the one in the Lincoln Town Car.
Picture - So I wandered over to the Ford section, where there seemed to be at least a dozen Lincoln Town Cars, among other things, like this ambitious Ford Fiesta.
The first Town Car I came across had the pull-down still there, though I may have been fortunate because I looked a few others and they were already gone. It looked really promising - same transparent worm gear mechanism, even the same wiring harness! Now I just had to see if it would physically bolt up - looks like the 3 bolt locations just might be the same. After going back and looking (and stowing the Subaru throttle body) I decided it was close enough to give it a try for a whopping $7. The hardest part of the swap ended up being that I had to buy a T27 torx bit to get the Fleetwood one off the car! I definitely put the Lincoln bolts on instead of the T27 screws. I was pleasantly pleased when the latch came roaring up as soon as I plugged in the harness, and it pulled down perfectly when I closed the trunk.