Max Romantschuk's weblog – June 2003 archive

Apples, boxen and Star Trek

Thursday 26th of June, 2003 – Permalink

Apple has been arguing that their benchmark figures are realistic. I don't know if this is the case or not, but the figures still seem blown up. The hardware is still looking cool as hell though.

Speaking of hardware, here is an interresting looking passively cooled x86 box... I don't know about performance, but it seems like an ideal MP3 server or something like that.

On a more surreal note, here is a very Freudian take on Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Your reaction will probably fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Be very offended
  2. Be very amused
  3. Don't care
Now, that's a little too obvious, now isn't it?

Apple releases G5, industry up in arms

Wednesday 25th of June, 2003 – Permalink

Apple released a new G5 workstation yesterday, no harm in that. What they did do wrong was claim the following: The Power Mac G5 is the world's fastest personal computer and the first with a 64-bit processor. In doing so they seriously shot themselves in the foot.

I've been looking at the Apple Power Mac pages and I must say I'm impressed with the machine from a technical point of view. But I don't see how Apple sees misleading marketing as an appropriate tool to boost sales. The claims made simply aren't true.

There is a good take on Apple's performance claims over at spl's soapbox. Ironically the author has recieved numerous hate mails from religeous Mac users cursing him to God knows where... What these people don't seem to understand is that Apple's conduct is damaging the very firm they love. If you ask me Apple should admit they made a mistake. nVidia did with their jet-engine-on-a-graphics-card GeForce FX, it can be done.

I like Apple's hardware, and would probably get some if I had more funds, but it's a shame to see such formidable engineering work get tainted with misleading advertising. Apple lost a fair bit of trust in my book today, but it's not too late to win it back...

Damned if you do, damned if you dont

Monday 23rd of June, 2003 – Permalink

As mentioned earlier I am going to go on forced (unpaid) leave from work during this summer. In a situation like this I'm entitled to uneployment benefits... but there is a catch. I have to jump through numerous bureaucratic hoops to get my benefits, and they're no small hoops by any means.

The organization at hand is the department of labour. To be able to get my benefits I have to supply them with a proof of forced leave, proof of having worked for X weeks (can't remember the time) and a bunch of other stuff. This all makes sense. Here comes the fun part: I'm enrolled at Helsinki University. Due to this I have to get the University to produce proof that I'm not studying full time, even though I'm working full time. Basically I'm being penalized for working, paying taxes and wanting to improve myself at the same time.

It seems to me that the authorities would like us to lead linear lives:

  1. Go to school
  2. Get a degree, determining your profession
  3. Work, pay taxes
  4. Retire
I just don't get it. If I'm working full time and continuing to work after my forced leave, what's the problem? I'm paying taxes, isn't that enough? Why is educating yourself and working at the same time a problem? Sure, I would get more studies done studying full time, but isn't it my choice how I live my life? I'm not sure I'm ever going to get a degree, but surely me educating myself is a positive thing, even without a degree? One is left to wonder...

In wait of the onslaught

Thursday 19th of June, 2003 – Permalink

I submitted a story to Slashdot which will probably be appearing on the front page within minutes... I wonder if the server and DSL line hosting my page is going to give up and die, and if my friend's closet will spontaneously burst into flames?

Update

The story has appeared on the front page, here. The DSL line is not dead yet...

Punk is dead and the Prodigy killed it

Wednesday 18th of June, 2003 – Permalink

It's not like I've updated lately. Mostly this is due to the everlasting issues of prioritizing ones time. Last week we were notified that everyone at our company would be taking a forced leave this summer, translating into one months worth without pay. Needless to say, this does not interface well with my wedding plans... The appropriate term in a situation like this would probably be shit happens.

My quest for silence is still on though. I've been working on my new case, which has included cardboard, contact glue, velcro and old towels (Fire hazard, anyone?) I'm close to completing the outgoing air tunnel, which will also enclose the power supply. It remains to be seen if this will work at all!

The quest for silence

Wednesday 4th of June, 2003 – Permalink

Have you noticed how computer noise levels have increased over the years? For one, I sure have! Ever since I started making music I've been playing around with ideas of making my computer more silent. Today I'm going to start reporting on my current project-in-the-making.

My current case is a mid-tower case lined with self-adhesive sound isolating mat. This configuration works quite well, but does get quite warm. The problem has increased as I've gotten faster components. I've come to the conclusion a change has to be done.

My friend recently swapped his full tower case for a smaller case. I jumped to the opportunity straight away, and bought the case. My reason for wanting a big case is simple: More space leaves me more room to play around with.

Initial plans

I already have experience from my current case that placing isolating mats in the right places will help a lot. The problem then becomes how to achieve good airflow. My plan is to build channels for air intake and exhaust lined with sound absobing materials. I've built a prototype of foam rubber, a simple U-turn shaped labyrinth with a fan in one end. This configuration left me only with a faint hum in the non-fan end of the tunnel. Suffice to say I was very pleased.

I'm also planning to glue solid subber mats on the side panels and other large metal areas, to avoid resonance and sound travel through the metal casing. To fasten the mats I'm hoping to use plain old contact glue, which is only 15€ for a 1 litre jar.

At this stage it is also clear that I'm going to figure out a way to hang the harddrives inside the case using some kind of rubber strap configuration. This should make sure any sound made by the harddrives can't travel out straight through the case.

I'm hoping this project will be a sucess, time will tell. In any case I'll keep my virtually non-existant reader base informed.

Miscellaneous cool stuff

Tuesday 3rd of June, 2003 – Permalink

I've been quite busy lately, for those weird enough to be interrested in my personal life I will let you know I've been occupied with preparing for my wedding... Anyway, I found a bunch of stuff which I felt obliged to share.

The Saint Paul Pioneer Press is running a story about a new instant messaging application called Trepia, which has the added twist of keeping track on where people physically are. The catch is that if this thing reaches critical mass one could use it to find people who share your interrests in your area. Nice!

New Scientist is talking about Gekko Tape. This should be something to watch out for for all you spider-man wannabees out there.

Last but not least, Slashdot reports that Johnatan Ive has won the first Designer of the Year award from the Design Museum in London. Mr Ive is the man behing the design of the iMac and iPod, among other things. I don't own any Apple hardware myself, but I must say this was a good pick for an award of this sort. Apple truly has shown the way of sensible-looking computers. The BBC has another take on Johnatan Ive.