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Changing the media type on a 3c509b-c [Aug. 26th, 2009|01:49 pm]
Adam
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A few weeks ago I had to replace an old ethernet card at my parents' house due to lightning damage. We had purchased a few spare cards for exactly this scenario, but I needed to reconfigure them using an old DOS utility from 3com. I needed to disable Plug 'n' Play and configured the I/O and IRQ addresses manually to match the old card. However, I kept getting this error:
The NIC has been configured by Plug and Play.

This option can only be set using the Plug and Play configuration utility.

I found the solution in section 6.1.7 of this page, which is rendered in German.

Running the 3c5x9cfg.exe tool as 3c5x9cfg CONFIGURE /PNP:DISABLED and then power-cycling the computer fixes the problem.

Kudos to the Google oracle for this. Boo to 3com for providing a brain-dead error message.
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Free Kindle Books [Aug. 12th, 2009|12:02 pm]
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Amazon has a large number of public domain and copyrighted books available for free on the Kindle.

<3 technology. There are many titles in there that for years I've wanted to devour.
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(no subject) [Jul. 14th, 2009|05:35 pm]
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Complete with music.

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debategraph [Jan. 14th, 2009|08:19 pm]
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One of the problems with debates on the internet is that they tend to degrade into tangents and shouting matches, and one can easily lose the flow of the argument due to the noise.

A few years ago, I had an idea: build a website that would enable people to articulate specific arguments for or against a particular idea (e.g., Israel's recent actions in Gaza) and then break down those arguments into smaller sub-arguments and related ideas. By doing this for a large number of arguments, you could conceivably end up with some common sub-arguments -- a country's need to defend its citizens is always/never a justification for war, for example. After a while, then, you could construct a pretty large and detailed graph of common arguments and counter-arguments along with their respective origins. Some conclusion that was argued from basic moral principles could be shown visually as a chain of arguments, each one supporting the next until the conclusion is reached.

A site like this would hopefully tease out the arguments themselves, deferring the discussion of their validity to another time or place (maybe the site could provide a place for comments on each node in the graph). Aside from the obvious benefit of having the arguments cleanly articulated, this visual representation of an argument might help people to follow and understand arguments that are too complex to be explained verbally.

Somebody build a site that does this. It's available at debategraph.org.
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Election [Nov. 1st, 2008|10:23 am]
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A recent article from Economist takes a considered look at the candidates.

Tim O'Reilly, founder of O'Reilly Media and a prominent figure in the world of technology and open source software, has posted a very thoughtful endorsement of Senator Obama.


I have tried, with moderate success, not to become emotionally invested in this campaign. What follows is mostly a brain-dump of my feelings on a few major issues that are most important to me, both personally and professionally.

The commercials that mocked Senator McCain for not knowing how to send an email were rather silly, but the point that they make is germane when our stock market operates almost entirely on computer-driven trading. The humans keep an eye on things to ensure that there is no major meltdown (oops), but the low-level details are automated. Much of our critical infrastructure operates this way, and it's important that we have leaders who grok the basic ideas.

The scorn for science that Tim O'Reilly describes, especially coming from Governor Palin, is depressing. Regardless of leanings on thorny social and moral issues related to science, the most effective way for us to drag ourselves backward in world standing is to dismiss the overwhelming scientific evidence for things like climate change. The rest of the world is ready to tackle the major energy and environmental problems that we're facing, but somehow we still find it respectable to deny that there is a (largely man-made) problem. You can convince yourself that the world looks fine, that there's no need for concern, or that the colder-than-average weather in the last few years is evidence against global warming, but this ignores the significant evidence given by climatologists (who know better than anyone) that we're contributing heavily to changes in the global climate. We don't ignore such strong evidence in other parts of our lives. If your doctor warns you that continuing to do X will make your lifestyle extremely difficult or impossible to maintain in the near future, do you continue with X? I should hope not. It's time to be intellectually honest about this, even if it means that we need to change our old ways.

Without a big shift in our attitude toward fixing these things, the world is going to leave us behind. And we don't have enough remaining clout to convince them to wait for us. The incentives need to come from the top, where there is awareness of the problem. By the time the market starts to feel pressure from climate change, it's far too late. The free market isn't a silver bullet, but it certainly has an important role to play, in addition to some strong and thoughtful leadership.

Obama is not my ideal candidate. When he voted for the FISA legislation that legalized President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program (i.e., enabling the NSA to spy on our conversations, and not just those of suspected criminals, without a warrant), he nearly lost my vote. I don't like the fact that he committed to public campaign finance and then withdrew that commitment once he realized that he could raise significantly more money on his own. (I understand the decision from a strategic perspective, but the reversal on a campaign commitment is unfortunate.) In addition, Senator Biden's stances on major issues (privacy and civil rights come immediately to mind), although far less naive and scary than Gov. Palin's, are a mixed bag.

In spite of those things, though, I think that Senator Obama's keen insight, calm nature, and charisma are significant intellectual and character qualities that stand a good chance of helping to begin the long process of healing our weakened image in the eyes of the world. A muscly posture backed by a powerful military has not worked well. An interventionist approach to world events has not worked well, especially when we focus on events that threaten our oil supply and ignore other devastating problems (e.g., Darfur, or Zimbabwe, or even Hurricane Katrina).

Soft skills are important. Negotiating, even if it means meeting with people who are considered enemies, is not the same as being a sympathizer. To move forward, I believe that we need someone who is able to understand and communicate a nuanced view of reality, since the world is a messy, complicated place that does not respond well to being over-simplified. The ability to do so is not an elitist quality. It is a sign of maturity and character.

Please remember to vote.
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Chris DiBona, Android, Jello [Oct. 8th, 2008|04:41 pm]
Adam
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Today Chris DiBona, the open source program manager at Google, gave a talk at MSU on open source communities. Most of the tidbits I had heard before, but he had an Android-powered mobile phone to demonstrate and pass around (though, unfortunately, it never reached me). He did a short demonstration of how easy it is to develop and deploy your own applications for the phone using Eclipse. The phone's hardware contains a camera, an accelerometer (for switching the screen from portrait to landscape mode dynamically), and a GPS receiver, along with the Android stack of open source applications based on Linux. Pretty awesome setup. After my somewhat disappointing experience with developing software for my Palm Treo, I'm excited that these phones are finally really opening up. These things in our pockets are computers, even the cheap ones that you get for 99 cents (two year contact required), and it's long overdue that the manufacturers and network operators let us use them as such.

DiBona also talked about the Summer of Code program, and there seemed to be some genuine interest among the other students. I would certainly participate again, and I hope that we can get some more MSU involvement next time.

As a closing aside, when DiBona asked someone for a recently-used Google search string, someone offered "nail jello to a wall". Naturally, Google has the answer.
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Cider Mill Ride [Oct. 6th, 2008|09:46 am]
Adam
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Bike turns 1000km old

The photo is a bit fuzzy (taken with a mobile phone), but the bottom number is most significant: the Allez road bike that I bought over the summer turned 1000km old during a 60-mile ride to/from Uncle John's Cider Mill yesterday. We had seven riders and lovely weather (once the temperature rose above 40F, anyway).

The cider at the Mill was fresh and unpasteurized, making it the best refreshment we could have asked for. They also produce wine and pies, I'm told. Next time I drive by on US127, I think I will be stopping by again.
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Spartan Stadium [Oct. 6th, 2008|09:31 am]
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This is my third year as a Spartan, and I finally attended a home football game this weekend. The tailgating experience was calmer than I expected, but the atmosphere inside and outside the stadium was exciting. Michigan State won the game despite a comeback by Iowa in the second half. This was the homecoming game, so thankfully the win meant that there probably would be no riots, cars being burned, etc. Since I can attend three home hockey games for the price of one football ticket, though, I think I will stick with just one game per season.
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(no subject) [Sep. 17th, 2008|05:45 pm]
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I just came across a PhD thesis from a student at the University of Edinburgh, and the author dedicated page 42 to the memory of Douglas Adams.

Very cool.
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(no subject) [Sep. 4th, 2008|02:51 pm]
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Yesterday's bike ride with a few of the MSU cycling clubbers.
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