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DrQue.net on a PSP

DrQue.net on a PSP

   This is DrQue.net on a PlayStation Portable (PSP).  The site works pretty good, despite having a hard time fitting in the 480x272 screen.  I would have credited some of the good display to XHTML, but the PSP's web browser is reported to be a decent good browser.  The browsers is identified as "Mozilla/4.0 (PSP (PlayStation Portable); 2.00)" in the logs. 
   From a hardware standpoint, I like the PSP, probably because I was a big fan of the Game Gear.  I've never been impressed with any of the Game Boy systems as it always seemed they were either poorly laid out (Game Boy advanced, which looked more like a makeup case then a game system) and/or inferior hardware (like monochrome displays and CPUs under 100 MHz).  So in my mind, the PSP picked up where the Game Gear left off. 
   There are some problems with the system overall.  Just like the Game Gear, battery life on the PSP is poor.  And for whatever reason, the PSP was designed with some kind of mini-disk, which is just silly on a portable game system. 
   There seems to be a lot of potential for the device though.  If they ditched the CD drive for Compact Flash and added a touch screen, the PSP could easily be a PDA.  It has a USB port, so it wouldn't be much work to make it possible to plug the PSP into a cellphone for Internet access.  The system has a very nice 4.3" screen and a 333 MIPS-based CPU, so streaming audio and video shouldn't be a problem.  I could see it spun as a good toy for Jr. so he can play games and watch cartoons on the way to grandma's house and as a way for on-the-go business person at the airport to watch the news and check his e-mail.  That probably won't happen, but it would be kind of cool.

June 18, 2006

Happy Birthday Tyson!

Tyson, June 18, 2006

Tyson, June 18, 2006

   It is Tyson's (a.k.a. Pluvius) birthday today.  A crowd of 8 of us took Tyson out for sushi, where we consumed a massive quantity of very tasty sushi.  Hope you had a good birthday Tyson!

3 comments have been made.

From Pluvius a.k.a. Tyson (http://www.pluvius.net)

Caledonia, IL

June 22, 2006 at 1:39 PM

Que! Yes, I had a good birthday, the sushi made the day! Thanks to all who joined us (Juliet, Jake, Gina, Matt, Ted, Nate and Que) I had a great time! We'll have to visit the Silver Lounge and Shogun again soon ;) Thanks again everyone!

From Pluvius a.k.a. Tyson (http://www.pluvius.net)

Caledonia, IL

July 04, 2006 at 1:42 PM

After re-reading my comment, I realized I forgot Staack - so thanks to you

From Pluvius a.k.a. Tyson (http://www.pluvius.net)

Caledonia, IL

July 04, 2006 at 1:45 PM

Damn it - this thing truncated my comment again grrr, its still buggy Que.

June 17, 2006

Getting libxml to work

   As a follow up to the XML bug we ran into in PHP, we tried the recommended update to libxml.  They said the bug was in libxml prior to version 2.6.21.  I had libxml installed with Debian, and it uses version 2.6.16.  So, I downloaded the latest version of libxml, version 2.6.26.  However, the default compile didn't take effect.  Seems it wanted to install the compiled libraries in /usr/local/lib, where Debian had placed the libraries in /usr/lib.  I didn't catch this at first and couldn't understand why PHP still wasn't working.  You need to configure libxml to install in /usr/lib, and the command './configure --prefix=/usr' did the trick.  Then, I recompiled PHP and the nasty bug was no more.
   Teresa and Jr. taken yesterday at Rotary Gardens, Janesville, WI.  I did a quick set of Teresa and Jr. for their wedding invitations.
Andy

Andy

   Pictured is Andy today at lunch.  We met so I could learn some more about artificial intelligence and how we can apply it to our game.  I explained how the game works and we talked a little about various AI techniques.  Andy is going to have a look at the source code a little and maybe implement some AI for the computer player.

June 15, 2006

Dieing cable modem

   We were off for over 3 and a half hour today on the count of the cable modem.  When it died the first time, the modem wasn't giving us our IP address (our static IP address is 24.196.75.114).  So we called our ISP and they had to have someone reprogram the modem.  Luckily, that can be done remotely and after our conversation, it was minor minutes before our connection was back on-line.  Then, a few hours latter, the connection died again.  I reset the modem, but it only ran for several seconds before completely turning off.  I tried a few things (leaving it unplugged to cool down for several minutes, different power supply, ext), but with no luck.  I called the ISP again and they are to have a new modem with a tech come out tomorrow.
   Despite having help on the way, I can't live with knowing the site is down.  I suspected the fuse on the cable modem was a polyfuse.  These are "self repairing fuses".  When they "trip", you have to unplug the device, wait for the fuse to cool and plug it back in.  I've worked with polyfuses in the past, which is why I was suspect the cable modem had such a device, and one that was faulty. 
   The cable modem opens up quite easy (I was happy about that).  Inside is a single board, neatly laided out.  The power supply section of the board was just below the power connector, and in between was a surface mount polyfuse. 
   To test my theory, I power up the board and allowed it to turn itself off.  Then, using an amp meter to keep on eye on current, I bypassed the fuse.  Sure enough, the board came back to life.  I watched the current for many more seconds then the unit typically stayed power up and saw nothing unusual.  This is an indication there isn't something going on that's tripping the fuse.  Satisfied the fuse was the culprit, I cranked up the soldering iron and pulled out the fuse.  In it's place, I put a piece of 20 gage copper wire.  That fuse should be a little harder to blow.  (For those of you who don't get it, that was electrical geek humor.  20 gage solid copper wire is rated for 14 amps and probably wouldn't melt with 10 times that amount.  There is no fuse now).
   That did the trick, and our Internet connection is back.  If a replacement comes tomorrow, I will ask the guy what he thinks about giving me a replacement modem.  I don't care if he does, this one works now.  And if anything else goes wrong, it will really be broken.
   Pictured is some sunburst.
Kristy

Kristy

   Not too happy about PHP's DOM, mainly due to lack of documentation.  Took me forever to figure out how to change data inside a tag.  Turns out I was looking for "firstChild->data".  Once I figured that out, I found a bug in PHP.  Seems changing "firstChild->data" causes a segmentation fault if the data about to be changed is less then 4 characters in length.  Now that I know this, I can work around it, but man, talk about a long walk!  Turns out the bug is not in PHP itself, but in the library libxml.  I will have to try that.
   Despite all the set-backs, I got a working over the Internet multiplayer version of the Squares game.  It is far from perfect, but it is functional.
The Moon

The Moon

   The moon seen through the trees.  I took this shot using the 70-300mm lens, which added a good deal of red Chromatic aberration around the black edges in the light.  I played around a bit with color correction.  The moon as I saw it was orange/yellow, but the camera wanted to make it white.  So I set a manual color temperature of 6500K and that seemed to do the trick.
   I can tell people have been looking at the pictures from Erin and Russell's wedding.  We've jumped from our average of around 4,000 hits a day to 13,387 yesterday and 10,770 today.  Despite the great increase in hits, the number of visitors stayed around the same—about 250 a day.  This means visitors spent a lot longer looking around then usual; what one would expect from people looking at pictures.
   Something I didn't like so much happened near the end of the day.  I noticed I was having trouble viewing DrQue.net locally.  I was getting traffic, but couldn't seem to view the pages myself.  After a lot of playing around, I noticed consistent hits for the galleries of DrQue.net.  But the requests seemed to be coming in for all the picture sizes, which is unusual for a normal visitor.  At closer inspection of the log, I believe someone had decided to leech my entire gallery.  Our current ISP is no where near as cool as TDS Metrocom and we only have 384 Kbits/sec of upstream bandwidth.  There are over 18,000 files in the gallery, consuming 1.67 gigabytes.  We simply do not have the bandwidth to be serving all this at once.  After I firewalled that IP address, the site came back to normal speed.  I'm considering offering a CD of all my pictures for people who want them to avoid this problem in the future.
   Took an 18.22 mile bike ride today around the Rock County Airport.  There was an airshow going on, but by the time we showed up it was over.  At least, that's what the rude security guard said as I was biking in.  Despite being over, I watched several skydivers come in, a stunt plane and what looked, from a distance, to be explosions on the ground.  I did a long circle of the airport and came to Happy Hollow Road, which was barricaded off.  That type of thing has never detoured me in the past, and it didn't today either.  When I got about halfway down the road, a Rock County Sheriff squad car started flashing his lights and the officer told me I needed to go back the way I came.  I can't imagine why biking down that road would be seen as a problem, but there wasn't much I could do.  So, I got my first police escort, back to the barricade from which I came.  Fitting the airport is in Janesville, since that generally the kind of people I find in Janesville—rude and controlling.
   The ride had a much lower speed average then usual, just over 12 miles/hour.  Part of this had to do with the fact I had a strong headwind most of the northbound trip.  The wind was, in fact, mostly from the east, but seemed to get  going north, east and south.  Dur ring my escort, I was heading west and had little trouble holding 20 miles/hour. 
   This shot makes me want to sky-drive again.

2 comments have been made.

From Erin Rose Tollefsen

Fitchburg, WI

June 11, 2006 at 9:58 PM

Hey hun! Wow...I am suprised at the number of people who want to see our wedding pics! Sorry if that has been messing up your site! I have been plugging your site on myspace, so that could be why too...heh. Everyone who I know has seen the wedding site absolutely love it! You did an excellent job! I cannot thank you enough! Some have also told me that they have tried signing the guest book, but it does not work...just wanted to let you know. Hope you are doing well and I hope we can all hang out again sometime soon!

From Andrew Que (http://www.DrQue.net/)

Wisconsin, USA

June 13, 2006 at 2:03 PM

Erin - Yeah, I had to fix the guestbook-- my bad. Should be working now. And it's not the traffic to your wedding pictures that almost killed the server. We figured out who did that. The wedding site traffic we can handle.