Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars

Archive for January, 2007

Week #5

Posted by Trixter on January 31, 2007

What the hell:

  • weight: 233 lbs
  • body fat percentage: 29.0 %
  • health index: WTF fatty

These results anger me. I cheated slightly on Saturday and Sunday but there’s no way that, over the course of a week, I somehow ingested 7000 extra calories over my break-even intake. I did not gain two pounds in a single week. So, either my previous measurement was wrong, or this one is (although I did it three times and took the average). Hmph.

Posted in Weight Loss | 6 Comments »

Mirrors in DOS

Posted by Trixter on January 27, 2007

So now that I have this giant extra drive on my XT, what should I do with it? Other than the obvious frivolity (such as an entire movie 8088_corr style), backups is the obvious choice since I still actively develop software on it. The best way to do this would normally be rsync, but since I haven’t come across a 16-bit DOS port of rsync that functions properly, the obvious alternative is XXCOPY. Why XXCOPY and not DOS’ XCOPY? Because XXCOPY has rsync-like functionality, where you can have it copy only changed files and also delete non-existant files/dirs in the destination. In other words:

rsync -va --delete <source> <destination>

…is handled by XXCOPY thusly:

xxcopy <source> <destination> /clone /yy

And best of all, the author of XXCOPY is the guy who coded Mad Planets, which was an 8086, so compatibility with my XT is all but assured! (rubs hands in glee)

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The Mighty Mite

Posted by Trixter on January 26, 2007

I’ve added a CompactFlash II memory card to my XT. And it was surprisingly easy, cheap and fast! Since CompactFlash essentially follows the IDE spec, you can get gaggles of CF-to-IDE adapters from ebay for single-digit dollars, including shipping. I grabbed one, stuck an IBM Microdrive 320MB CFII card into it, and now my XT has a giant (for an XT) second hard drive on this tiny little card!

(Confession: I lied about the “easy” part. It’s very easy to physically attach the thing to the cable… it’s incredibly difficult to find an IDE adapter that works in an 8-bit ISA slot. I lucked out and found a Silicon Computer adapter (ADP50, I believe) online somewhere for cheap, but they’re incredibly uncommon.)

So, how are the benchmarks against the actual Maxtor 340MB drive that’s also in the machine? Spinrite sez:

  • Maxtor 340MB, circa 1994:
    • Average Seek: 18ms
    • Sustained transfer rate: 321KB/s
  • IBM CompactFlashII Microdrive, 320MB, circa 2002:
    • Average Seek: 25ms
    • Sustained transfer rate: 322KB/s

Well, I think it’s obvious both drives can go much faster; it’s the 8-bit ISA interface that is holding them back. Still, that’s incredibly fast hard drive access for an XT; the only faster times I know of have been obtained by my friend Michael Brutman, who has SCSI boards in his machine. SCSI isn’t a faster disk technology, but the interface boards sure are (they are memory-mapped, which means disk transfers go right into system memory, as opposed to traditionally being stored/moved by the DMA controller.)

Should you do this with any CF card you have lying around? Yes… but only if you aren’t going to write to it often. Flash is only guaranteed for something between 10,000 to 100,000 writes, then it starts to disintegrate. The only exceptions I know of are IBM Microdrives, because they’re not actually Flash memory at all — they’re tiny hard drives! Read performance is worse than actual Flash, but you can write to them all you like.

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Week #4

Posted by Trixter on January 25, 2007

An odd improvement:

  • weight: 231 lbs
  • body fat percentage: 29.0 %
  • health index: Slightly less fat

Weight went down, BFP went up.  Odd.  Probably because I took my measurements in the morning instead of the evening.  Note to self:  Be more consistent.

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Week #3

Posted by Trixter on January 16, 2007

A mild improvement:

  • weight: 233 lbs
  • body fat percentage: 27.0 %
  • health index: fatty boom boom

Mel thinks my body is hoarding everything in some sort of survival mode because, up until a few days ago, I’ve been limiting myself to 1200 calories a day.  A few days ago is when I learned 1200 a day for a male was unrealistic (I achieved it without a hunger problem, but it was affecting my mood adversely) so I’m up to 1500 calories now.

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I’m full?

Posted by Trixter on January 13, 2007

So a secret part of my weight-loss plan was to have something to look forward to — nearline, not far. I know the ultimate goal is looking and feeling better, but that’s hard to justify when you pass by some donated goodies in the office or are invited out to the Bust-a-Gut Cafe for lunch. So, much like Weight Watchers allows 35 extra points per week, I’ve been saving up Saturday as a day of sin. I figure from 9am to 9pm Saturday I can eat whatever I want, and stick to 1500 calories the other six days like I’ve been doing. My body can absorb only so much, so even if I cram 10,000 calories into my gaping maw on Saturday, most of it is going to come out the pooper.

So here I am, it’s Saturday, and I’ve got two apple fritters next to me. I eat one… and I’m full. I swear, I feel like I’m going to make myself sick if I try to eat the second one.

Yesterday, I built myself a salad so large it needed a bigger bowl. And I couldn’t finish that either (although I did my best).

Can stomachs shrink?

Posted in Weight Loss | 3 Comments »

16x DVD+/-R: Fact or fiction?

Posted by Trixter on January 10, 2007

Now that the MindCandy Volume 2 is finished, it’s time to archive the project and get all 550 gigabytes of it off of the video rig so that I can completely retrofit the rig with service pack 2, new drivers, the works. Compressed, it will fit onto about $20 of DVDs, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and buy some 16x DVD-Rs and some 16x DVD+Rs to see which is faster.

The results are disappointing. They both suck, never coming anywhere near the rated burn speed until the very end of the disc (which is the last place you need speed).

Back when the DVD format wars were new, one of the major differences noted between the formats was that DVD+Rs burn at CLV (Constant Linear Velocity, where the disc slows down toward the outer edge so that data is burnt at the same speed “under the laser”), while DVD-Rs burn at CAV (Constant Angular Velocity, which means the disc spins at the same rate throughout the burn). CLV burns slower, but supposedly results in a higher quality burn. So you would think that DVD-R would spank DVD+R in terms of speed, right?

Wrong again. Burning 100 meg shy of a full disc, here are the numbers on my LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S PS0B:

  • 16x DVD-R (Disc ID: RITEKF1): Average Write Rate: 15,208 KB/s (11.0x) – Maximum Write Rate: 21,779 KB/s (15.7x). Burn completed in 6m29s.
  • 16x DVD+R (Disc ID: RICOHJPN-R03-04): Average Write Rate: 15,208 KB/s (11.0x) – Maximum Write Rate: 21,792 KB/s (15.7x). Burn completed in 6m20s.

They’re the same! Worse, the best you can do with a 16x drive feeding it 16x media is really 11x. At that rate, I’ll just keep buying 8x media; they cost less, but only take 80 seconds longer to burn.

So, what’s the point of 16x again?

Posted in Technology | 5 Comments »

Side Effects

Posted by Trixter on January 10, 2007

TMI alert — turn back now if you don’t like TMI!

So I know I must be on the right track again, because I have become re-acquainted with one of the weight-loss side effects that I had forgotten about:  I am defecating 2, sometimes 3 times a day.   My anus isn’t used to this and is extremely unhappy with me at the moment.

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Week 2

Posted by Trixter on January 9, 2007

Looks like unorthodox worked, although it was an unintentional fluke:

  • weight: 234 lbs
  • body fat percentage: 28.0 %
  • health index: fatty bo-batty

Hm… 3 pounds, but no fat loss.  Water-weight?  Loss of muscle?

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Posted by Trixter on January 4, 2007

The past few days, I’ve had to work long hours and generally had no willpower at all during the day. I’ve had two 1800 calorie lunches and today I had a 1500 calorie lunch. So, to make up for it, I’ve had nothing but my mainstay snack for dinner all three nights in a row — My giant bowl of popcorn:

The Gentle Giant

One meal a day is an unhealthy and stupid way to lose weight, since your body can’t possibly use a giant meal right away and it gets turned into fat. And yet, rumor has it that Sid Caesar used to do just that — he’d have one giant meal for dinner and tough it out until the next dinnertime.

Obviously, when work calms down, I plan on going back to my original plan, which was a slimfast for breakfast, a giant salad for lunch, and a reasonable dinner.

Posted in Weight Loss | 5 Comments »