Recent blog entries for uzi

So, the gig at Sun Cobalt is going well... I'm quite busy and happy with what I do. Also, Doris has finished her first year of Law School, and she's got another week of freedom around here before she goes off to Munich to study abroad for 2 months.

But that's not why I'm writing today... no... something else has inspired me... my suck ass landlord. Last year, yosh, Doris and I signed a year-long lease on a house 4 blocks from the school where Doris is going. We told the property manager that we were thinking of staying about 3 or 4 years at least, we signed everything, moved in, and have probably been their best tennants ever. A few days ago, on the first possible day to do so, the property manager drops off a note telling us to vacate the premises in 30 days (June 30th) since the owner wants to sell. Something like buying or selling a home is a big decision, and one would assume that they knew for a while that they wanted to sell... the property manager says that they had just decided on doing this. My complaint is that 30 days is a tough task in Silicon Valley... it's gotten easier because of the economy... and in some cases a bit cheaper, but it's still a pain in the ass. Doris going out of town doesn't help the matter either, and we really want to find something before she goes.

So, this has left the three of us in a mad scramble to find a new place to live... not fun when you want to spend your time working or enjoying the last few days in with your girlfriend for 2 months. We've found some possible places, but few that have me excited. It's still possible that the owners will be fickle and turn around keep us... I'll definitely be livid if I find that they put us to all this trouble just to rent again to someone else just because they "felt like it". We've been great tennants, and moves like this aren't made by people with a sense of decency... at least not without more than a 30-day notice with harsh and threatening language.

That, and between helping Joel and Amy move to SF (an hour or so drive for me), driving around the area looking at the neighborhoods of prospect houses to rent, and making a second trip to SF to drop off Doris at a friend's house, I've driven about 292 miles (about 467km, I think) today... I'm pooped...

So, thanks to SuSE's little US employee purge, I was left to find a new gig. After a semi-painful search, I've landed back over at Sun, working at Cobalt as a software engineer, hacking on pretty much anything and everything.

Other than that, got an IBM Thinkpad X20... really nice notebook computer. It's near perfect for my needs, and has everything that I like about the Sony Vaio z505's and more (and in pretty much the same formfactor), including the nipple with 3 buttons and the awesome IBM keyboard.

Obviously a lot more happening in the four months since my last entry, but eh... :)

Among other things, I've been playing with Pete Zaitcev's JavaStation. It's a nice little device that I've pretty much got everything working on at the moment, except for X. Hell, using the patch from here, I even have swap over nfs working on it... though I confess that I feel a bit dirty about it. :)

Other than that, been keepin' busy with a bunch of little things. I got another 256MB of RAM for my U1 and did a little shifting, leaving the SS20 with 144MB and the U1 with 320MB... and lemme tell you, this U1 just plain ROCKS right now. :) Doris's first final (out of five) is today... she's stressing out, but she'll be ok. :)

So, based on some other comments in the DBRI code, I put off the ring buffer fix, and instead settled for making some smaller fixes to the driver. You can now set the output ports, as well as more sensible volume defaults. The changes are in vger sparclinux cvs, or available for 2.2.x kernels here.

The 32-bit boot floppy was found to be broken for SuSE 7.0/SPARC... seems that there's a problem with genromfs or loopback mounting a romfs file (at least on a SPARC). Things would have been a lot easier to debug and fix if I wasn't testing on a machine that I later found to have a bad floppy drive. :( Whatever, it's fixed and done now...

I got a new machine... an Ultra 1 170E, 64MB, 2GB, Creator 3D, 20e10 (20" Sony Trinitron), CD and floppy... all for $550 (+$100 shipping). Not a bad deal at all... especially considering the monitor alone normally goes for at least half the price, and the rest of the machine usually goes for more than the total I paid. I swapped RAM and disk with my SS20 (bumping to 128MB and 4GB), and I have to say that this is one really nice SPARC/Linux desktop machine. A huge improvement over the SS20... and that's just because the video is to much faster on the Creator 3D than it was on the cg14/SX.

I spent last week at comdex... it was my first time at comdex... big show, just not the target audience... especially with standing in front of an Ultra 10 runnning Linux. I got a lot of confused looks. I can't say that I liked being in Vegas, either... it has no meaning for me unless Doris (my gf) is there with me. That, and with all the people in from California that could finally smoke indoors, it was like a smoker's heaven... and my hell. :( I got a bloody nose from all the smoke and dryness in the air... I _never_ get those. Eh, it's good to be back.

While I was there, I spent my time fighting with binutils and gcc in order to build a cross-compiler for those wanting to build kernels for their slower sparc32 machines on a faster Intel machine. Took some time, but I built (seemingly) working packages that I still have to test before I put them for download.

Other than that, things are goin' well for me at SuSE... seems like a good place to work. I'm just going to relax this weekend... I decided against travelling down to LA (though yosh did)... instead, I'll just spend the long holiday weekend with Doris and her family.

Spent the day hacking on the DBRI ISBN/audio driver used on the SS10, SS20 and LX SPARC workstations. The audio chipset is actually a cs4215. Pete Zaitcev and I figured out why the driver (as a module) wasn't loading and unloading properly, but that didn't change the fact that the driver wasn't working... though it has made debugging a lot easier since I can now load and unload the module at will. :) Apparently the driver is written with a "ring buffer", just an array that's treated in a circular fashion... only, things break when it attempts to go to the second set in the buffer. Finding that this was the issue was non-trivial. A work-around is simple - limit it to just one set... but I'll just go ahead and fix the problem with the ring buffer and mail it over to anton and davem. Nonetheless, I'm listening to the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper" album on my SS10 running 2.4.0-test10pre1 right now, so I'm at least partially satisfied. It's such a silly bug, though, that I'm wondering how it got submitted in it's non-working state for inclusion (this driver, though pretty different, works in the 2.2.x kernels).

Anyways, thanks schoen and davej for the kind words... and seth, I'd be happy to talk at CalLUG sometime... bug me in a few weeks. :)

11 Oct 2000 (updated 11 Oct 2000 at 05:24 UTC) »

It's been a while since my last diary entry, but really, there's been little worth mentioning until recently. With the exception of the time spent at OLS and moving homes, the time from early May until now has been a mundane routine of monotony.

Yosh and I moved from Fremont to Santa Clara to a nice 3-bedroom house, and my girlfriend, Doris moved in with us. She's hard at work on her first year of law school at Santa Clara U., about 4 blocks away from us. All is well at home... we split the $2650/month rent to 1000/1000/650... $650 for Doris, being the poor, hungry student.

What's not well is that Doris lost both of her grandparents on her dad's side in about 36 hours... her grandma died (she had parkinson's disease, and hasn't been healthy for years), and then as a result, her grandfather committed suicide (he lived for her). So on top of the stress Doris has as a first year law school student (by far the toughest year), she now has to deal with this huge loss. I'm just glad I can be there to comfort her. The dual-funeral will be this weekend in Los Angeles, and I'm taking Friday off to drive down Thursday night so Doris and her brother can join up with their families as early as possible.

I've also changed jobs... yesterday was my last day at Linuxcare, and today is my first day at SuSE (in their Oakland, CA office). It's quite a distance to drive, so I'll only be going into the office once or twice a week, and the work can be done from anywhere. My responsibilities include all things SPARC/Linux-related... which is my hobby in this whole Linux thing, so I'm looking forward to having a lot of fun. I know people are going to ask why I left Linuxcare... my answer is that I left for personal reasons, that I was more interested in the opportunity at SuSE, and so forth... I definitely wish Linuxcare the best of luck.

One thing though... I've gotten some skin rashes on my arms, and a mysterious bald spot on my chin. The more I think about it, the more is makes sense to me that these might be stress related. Besides some work stuff (that I can't openly talk about), I was also doing a stressful job hunt, trying to find the right place to go. One place in particular was really bad at getting back to me on things, and kept me waiting for over 2 months in total while they figured out what was going on (while not telling me).

That's basically it for now... oh yeah... and whoever posted my resume to a zillion job/resume sites, I'd like to send a big "fuck you". Actually, if your intentions were good, then that's cool... but I prefer to take care of that kind of stuff for myself. As a result (and because of the cool new job that I figure I could be sticking with long-term), I've taken my resume off my website...

Woohoo! Having cscope around totally rocks. I'm a bit bummed by the fact that what SCO released is not the latest version of it... besides the fact that it's pretty buggy. I took it upon myself to make a big step at improving that, though. I've just posted a patch to update the code from K&R C to ANSI C. Along the way, I had to fix a ton of bugs... mostly casting and argument bugs. There's one function in particular, progress(), that is especially gross. Look at it and then how it's called. I don't know what the person who did that bit was thinking, but it should work with my patch.

For us kernel hackers, I've added a '-k' option which ignores /usr/include since it only gets in the way.

So yep... I'm planning on taking this cscope to where I wanted the cscope I started working on to. Lots of features to be done... so little time. Bigfixes come first... then I'll drop in a ton of stuff. I just hope petr is open and receptive (and ready) for all of it...

I had a thought today. Now don't get me wrong on this... but I think "diary" here on Advogato should be changed to "journal".

Now, I don't give too much a shit about the whole "apprentice"/"journeyer"/"master" thing and all... and I tend not to be picky at all about wording... but I just got to thinking today how that would be something a tad bit more approprate.

Think about it for a second... "diary" implies "personal"... like what you're thinking about someone, whether good or bad... your own "for yourself" log of how you feel and what you think, and what you would write in a traditional "diary", as the term is normally used, most people would never put online for everyone to read. It's like admitting to the sick fuck thoughts in your head.

The word "journal" on the other hand, refers more to something of a written log of experiences... something more written as a record of events and such, and where are journals mostly kept? In a more professional environment... something I think embodies what these logs are a bit more closely.

If it's not changed, well, I don't give a rat's ass... but I figured it would be more correct that way. What do you all think?

Changing subjects... I had a great day hanging out with yosh, slow (actually this whole weekend), mjs, stephane, vicious, and mjs and stephane's friend Rebecca... a fun day with a lot of food, laughs, silliness, hacking and such. I do have to admit that Eazel currently has a much nicer office than Linuxcare. I mean, it's a place where people can actually get work done. :)

I'm picking up steam with the cscope I'm working on... I'm not rushing things. I want to do things right...and have something that works decently... but I'm basically still in planning, and I won't leap until I feel I have a proper design in mind...

Well well well... I just saw the movie "Titus" with yosh, greg, and my always lovely girlfriend Doris... and well... to be quite honest...

Ok, let me back up for a second here and explain things this way. Never before in my life have I disliked a movie so much that I wanted to immediately go to the nearest bookstore to buy the book for the sole purpose of burning it... and this movie achieved that. The story sucked, things were out of place, visuals were a bit much at times... and oh boy... some people over-acted just a wee bit at times.

Now, did I say I wanted to go and buy the books to burn 'em? Yep, well yosh, greg and I wanted to do it so badly that that is exactly what we did. Doris wasn't amused, but came along for the ride anyways... and what a brilliant fire it was, after greg the poured in the "white gas" as he called it. But let me tell you... after we burned those 4 copies we bought (we couldn't find any more to burn, otherwise we would have), it felt like a huge monkey got off our backs... oh what a relief.

The moral? If it hasn't been crystal clear up to this point, the big message is "don't see this piece of shit excuse for a movie"...

Anyways... back in the realm of computers... been playing with my SPARCs... sent in a few Linux Kernel patches for stuff that had broken... but I do have to say that Redhat 6.2beta and 2.3.99-preX have been very stable on my SS10 and SS20. Amazingly so... I'm quite happy.

Oh, and mbp from the Linuxcare Canberra office stayed here in Fremont with me and

none of your bees-wax
for a few days... it was really great to have him here... and I look forward to seeing him again... not to mention welcome other visitors...

Nothing much to say... I've been keeping busy lately. I should release a new cgvg soon with a nifty built-in pager patch from a LKML reader. The cscope is doin' fine so far... just taking a short break from it to sit back and stare at it a bit. I got some new toys to play with over here, so life is good in that regard.

My hunt for the "SPARC Architecture Manual v8" is over. It's a book that's been out of print for a while sadly, and it describes the cpu used in all sun4m machines (like the SS4, SS5, SS10, SS20, Classic, LX, etc.)... which there are differences from the latest and greatest, the v9 (or sun4u, aka. the UltraSparc machines... which I already had the book for as it was easy to find). Of course, I had to poke and prod several places for it... even my favorite bookstore in Los Angeles, OpAmp Technical Books... and they had an order in for me but I was able to cancel it because of my good fortune. I just happened to stroll across the Sparc International webpage and noticed that they both had it available for download and even orderable in hardcopy. So I did this and it got sent... and *nobody* else had the book in print still. It is kinda funny, though... the book has the v9 book's cover, except it says "v8" and the ISBN number is different, but the backside text of the book and the cover photos are identical... so it describes the v9 book on the back of my new v8 book. Of course, I also ordered the "SPARC Technical Papers" book, another book that is out of print and I really want, which I might still get, but even then, the search continues.

Ah, but today is a good day... I'll be spending it at the Sony Metreon in SF, doing stuff like video bowling, eating sushi and watching Fantasia 2000. The funny thing is I've already done a night just like this one before, except last time it was with phil... and this time with Doris, who is much cuter than him (sorry, dude). :) This is, of course, to have fun and celebrate 4 years with her... the 4 best years of my life...

Oh yeah... and it would be a crime to not mention how much harold rocks. He totally rocks! Thanks again, dude! :)

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