Analemma

Astronomy

If you took a picture of the Sun at the same time each day, would it remain in the same position? The answer is no, and the shape traced out by the Sun over the course of a year is called an analemma. The Sun's apparent shift is caused by the Earth's motion around the Sun when combined with the tilt of the Earth's rotation axis. The Sun will appear at its highest point of the analemma during summer and at its lowest during winter.

Adventures in Linux

Linux

Last week has been in the focus of playing with Linux. I installed a proxy masquerading firewall for a collegue, based on the Alcatel USB SpeedTouch modem, using the Open Source drivers of Benoit Papillault. It took some time to properly tuning the stability of the modem driver, but in the end, I managed to get a very stable box. It was based on Debian, of course. Unfortunately the stable Debian release, which new version is imminent... for several months now. As a result, stable has become archaic with its 2.2 kernel. I upgraded to a 2.4 kernel for USB support and used these pages to install and configure the modem. If you want to do the same, I advise you to use the 20011007 drivers (with pppoa3) and this HOWTO for the ppp setup.

After that, it was my machine's turn. First off all, I decided to fix the side effects of my unstable NVidia drivers, and upgraded my filesystems to ext3. Then I upgraded my NVidia drivers, only to found out that they were as unstable as the earlier release. Well, at least, ext3 was doing its job ;) I Googled a bit around, to found out that the following setting may be the solution : just add


Option "NoRenderAccel" "on"

to your XF86Config-4 file, and the crashes should be history. Looks like that fixes everything...

It is unbelievable how performant the Low Latency patch is for Linux desktop systems. Whereas a vanilla Linux 2.4.18 kernel is horribly sluggish on my 128 Meg based system, the LL patch really boosts things up. I first tried with the PreEmptable kernel patch, as it is now default in the 2.5 kernel series, but after giving unsatisfying results, I added the LL patch too. At least, my MPlayer is now again playing without glitches, while my Seti@Home is crunching in the background.

Box of Silk and Dogs

Music

After a search of nearly 2 years, I finally found a rare and limited edition (250 copies throughout Europe) of Muslimgauze's Box of Silk and Dogs. Staggering and gorgeous (also heavy), this set of previously unreleased material from the (sadly missed) late Bryn Jones has been housed in a quad-fold package which contains a total of nine CDs. Yes, kids, you're reading it right : a box containing 9 (!) CDs.

The outside is heavy black pressboard with simply the title and "by Muslimgauze" in black/white print. Unfold the 4 flaps and you have a 24 inch wide display of 9 CDs and backing photo of 2 shrouded people with rifles (the artwork on the CDs help make up the picture). 3 of the 4 panels have foam knobs for 3 CDs apiece and the 2nd panel from the right is where a short biography, limited edition discography and subscription/future releases info resides. Underneath each CD is the CD title, track listing and various pictures of Middle Eastern females. As usual per Staalplaat release, the artwork/packaging is superb.

It's hard to decribe what kind of music Muslimgauze really is : kinda like western electronic music, with eastern samples layered on top of it. But why don't you check it out yourself : this site has a taste of (legally !) downloadable Muslimgauze music.

Chess sets

Toys

I am thinking for some time now about building my own chess set, with some D&D figurines. The GamesWorkshop has many different interesting figurines, ranging from science fiction (check out the Tyranids) to fantasy (orks, goblins,...). I see that the Tolkien set has finally arrived.

Anyway, I was talking about building my own chess set; pity that GamesWorkshop figurines are so damned expensive, and I don't even talk about the painting hassle. I bumped into this site, which gives enough inspiration for themed chess sets, ranging from classical Greek to Egyptian styles.

Trash

Internet

A piece of trash every day, keeps the internet garbage away.

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