Holy Heatsink, Batman

Zalman CoolerI’ve been looking for alternative cooling solutions for my home PC for a while now, as it runs pretty hot. However, most of the ones that I see are water-based, and I’m a little leery of putting anything that uses liquid that close to $3,000 worth of computer equipment. So today when I stumbled across this monstrosity, I caught myself thinking (briefly!), “Hey! Looks like Zalman might be able to help me out!” Part of what changed my mind:

“Drawing a massive 1400W of power, it comes with instructions on how to daisychain five 300W power supplies to feed it and apparently requires ‘starter cartridges’ to get it spinning in the first place…”

Once again, I’m nerd enough to want one, and reasonable enough to not get one…ever.

Update: This is a replica of a considerably smaller – but still impressive! – Zalman CPU fan.

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The eBayowulf Cluster

This may be pure, unadulterated navel-gazing, but I thought that if I didn’t have a post about the progress page that I’ve created for The eBayowulf Cluster then nobody would end up seeing it. (Who really pays attention to all the junk tucked away in the sidebar, anyway?) Check back for updates!


Einstein: A Student of Latin?

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Who knew? (Thanks M. Liang Liu!)


Who do you want to meet before you die?

I would be willing to wager that everyone is asked this question at least once during their lifetime. Having been asked several times – and having asked it of myself on more than one occasion – I was intrigued when I ran across The Six Thousand this morning (thanks, BoingBoing!), self-billed as:

6000 intriguing people you want to meet online before you die. Who will make the list tomorrow?

While I obviously recognize the general application of the concept, this is posted in “Nerd Stuff” because, at present, the list is almost entirely populated with people that nerds would want to meet.

On the list, Xeni Jardin, in particular, is one person that I’ve wondered about meeting recently. Two additions that I would like to see to The Six Thousand (disregarding the “online” part of its description) are Stephen Hawking and Jim Gray. Luckily, I was (serendipitously) included in a group discussion with the latter of the two. (Check! Only 5,999 to go!)

Personally, I would probably also have to add Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman, despite their reputation (or at least Stallman’s) as something of an “acquired taste”. I’d better cut it short there, as I could probably continue in this vein all day. So…can you name 6,000 people you want to meet before you die?


Nerd Literature

A friend of mine has had an idea for a fantasy novel (think “Dungeons & Dragons”, not “Fabio & Bodices”), and he recently decided to begin publishing it – one piece at a time – here. Unfortunately, he’s decided to reserve all rights, as opposed to publishing under Creative Commons (or something similar), but it was difficult enough to get him to start blogging so I’ll let it slide. I think it’s fantastic that he’s publishing it online, and I’m excited to see what kind of comments it generates and where it goes from here. As of right now, the prologue is the only thing that’s been posted, but there’s more to come (hopefully soon).

Another interesting example of fiction being posted online in a “bloggy” format is Cory Doctorow‘s new novel Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town. Mr. Doctorow has decided to publish the entire novel to teh Intarwebs as an RSS feed under a Creative Commons Developing Nations license. (Actually, I did a bit of poking around and found out that it’s also being released for download in just about every format known to man; more information here). It’s an interesting experiment, and I’d be curious to see statistics on sales vs. downloads, etc., etc.

Both excellent projects; check them out! (And don’t forget to leave Joe some comments!)


Out, damn tilda!

Just about any modern text exitor has a way of creating backup files. As any Emacs or jEdit user will tell you, one of the simplest (and at times one of the most annoying) ways of going about this is to create a file with the same name as the original, and append a tilda (~) to the end of the filename. When editing several files in different directories, this can lead to a whole mess of tilda-files lurking around, taking up space and just generally making a nuisance of themselves. Instead of manually searching through all of my directories and removing these files by hand, I’ve made use of the find command to run search-and-destroy missions these tilda files. All I did was add this line to my .bashrc:

alias emacs-clean='find . -name '*~' -exec rm {} \;'

Pretty simple, really. Note that this will not, however, remove any dot-tilda-files (backups of “hidden” files prefixed with a “.”; e.g., .bashrc~) that happen to be hiding out in your directories. To take care of these, you could add the following to your .bashrc:

alias dot-emacs-clean='find . -name '.*~' -exec rm {} \;'

Now you can happily edit away without worrying about those irksome tilda-files. Happy coding!

Update: It was brought to my attention that the correct spelling of the word is ’tilde’. However, since I’m unwilling to change my pronunciation of the word from ’til-duh’ to ’til-deh’, I’m equally unwilling to change the spelling of the word in this post. Thanks anyway, Bob! 🙂

Update: I’ve since made a change to my emacs-clean script so that it includes dot-files. I use the -or flag, like so:

alias emacs-clean='find . -name "*~" -or -name ".*~" -exec rm {} \;'


XBox 360 Architecture

XBox 360 Architecture Nobody who reads this will be interested at all in this (or, to put it in more flattering terms, 100% of my readership will be interested in this), but Jeffery Brown (Chief Engineer for the Xbox360 CPU Chip Development) has released an “introductory” paper on the design of the XBox 360 CPU Architecture. This is some pretty intense hardware – 3 3.2 GHz cores, a 5.4 GHz FSB with 21.6GB/sec bandwidth – and at first glance it looks like Tomasulo had a thing or two to say about its overall design.

If you have any idea what the picture above means (click for full-size), check it out. If not, I’d recommend checking out the comments on /. to find out what the Peanut Gallery has to say about all this…