Brewing Gentoo

Although my main system is still Slackware, I'm stubborn enough to brew Gentoo in a chroot environment. Now, I installed a VNC server and I can run GNOME in my Gentoo, so I can actually start using Gentoo almost like on a separate computer. Since it was installed from stage 1 and it's all compiled for Pentium 4, I'd like to measure the speed to get a glimpse of the legendary Gentoo speed boost. I just don't know, how.



I've seen being mentioned on many blogs, but I've never tried to take a look at it. Now, I've did take a look yesterday and I was really impressed. Seems like I'm going to become an active user.

Watching an incomplete file

Did you ever watch an incomplete video download? Under Linux there’s no problem with that. I’ve heard that Windows doesn’t allow two programs to open the same file, so you can’t download and preview in the same time, unless the downloading program saves a copy of the file somewhere.

For example, an incomplete Bit Torrent file has a full size, but a lot of small and big gaps in the data. The video codec tries to play the file and when it encounters a gap, it skips to next readable part of the file. What happens on the screen is that there is the before-the-gap frame to which the after-the-gap movements are applied. So you see a forest which suddenly becomes a blanket on someone’s head… and then the person blinks and the eyes pop out. Now it’s just garbled, unfinished file, but I’m sure that someone, someday, will get inspired and use this kind of distortion as a legitimate special effect.

UPDATE: Since there are people who come across this post looking for a way to watch incomplete files, here’s a little information for them.

There are many p2p programs, and this is your program-specific. The most important question is: Where does your program store temporary files? I use MLDonkey, which supports many p2p networks, including EDonkey and BitTorrent. In my installation, MLDonkey keeps the incomplete files in /home/p2p/mldonkey/temp directory. The files, while being downloaded, have temporary filenames, full of codes and digits. When there are many of them, it’s hard to tell, which is which. So I just try to open each one with MPlayer.

If you use another p2p software, I can’t really help you, beside telling that you should look for a “temp” or “tmp” directory somewhere near the installation of your program. It probably won’t be /tmp (Linux), C:\tmp\ nor C:\windows\temp (Windows). And besides, Windows will probably keep the files locked.

Ubuntu arrived

I already forgot the fact that I ordered a pack with Ubuntu Linux couple of weeks ago. I also already recalled my order and tried to find out if it was accepted. I even forgot it again. And the the door bell rang and I got the package: five nice packages of Ubuntu Install+Live. I'll save one for myself and let the other four go. Who should I give them to? If I give the package to someone and say: "Hey, this is good, install it." — I'll take the responsibility for my recommendation.

Unless I'm R&D (recommend and disappear).

JBL Creature II

Thirsty of nice stereo sound, I bought JBL Creature II Speakers. I like the idea of having 3 speakers: one big speaker for low, indirectional frequencies and satellites for directional middle and high range. Specialized speakers can do the job better than one speaker that tries to generate the whole range and fails. Having only one low frequency speaker is also a good idea. Why have two things of the same kind when just one is enough? Of course, this is not true for satellites, since they need to cooperate to create the stereo sound.
At first I thought that they are in shape of the Gaussian function, but then I plotted the Gaussian function in GNU Octave and realized that Gaussian function doesn't have this kind of round top. I wonder what function was used to create the shape. Formula, anybody?