Archive for May, 2008

Old-tattered-notebook-from-1999 notes


So, these are probably more useful here than sitting in a dusty binder…


  • “Common Lisp, Typing, and Mathematics” by Francis Sergereart – good (long) paper about one application of Common Lisp; Postscript here
  • “Getting Started With LaTeX”, David R. Wilkins – here


  • AT&T Graphviz – very very useful program for visualization of directed and undirected graphs


  • Croquet (from the Croquet Project, not to be confused with the Croquet Consortium) – by my description, an attempt to extend the original 2-dimensional paradigm for a GUI into 3 dimensions; by their description, “Croquet is a powerful new open source software development environment and software infrastructure for creating and deploying deeply collaborative multi-user online applications and metaverses on and across multiple operating systems and devices.”… I think it’s an interesting project, anyhow. Check out some of the papers Alan Kay helped write, and look at some of the videos.


  • JGraph – some sort of graphing and visualization software, open-source and written in Java
  • Ploticus – more graphing and visualization, not as shiny as JGraph, but not Java either; apparently good for on-the-fly graph generation, for websites and such
  • TeXmacs – ” GNU TeXmacs is a free wysiwyw (what you see is what you want) editing platform with special features for scientists.”… it puts Mathematica’s rendering to shame.


  • Very useful link for using matrices in POV-Ray
  • Media and Particle Systems in POV-Ray, here
  • Photons & caustics in POV-Ray, here


  • “Weaving the Web”, Tim Berners-Lee – “The original design and ultimate destiny of the World Wide Web, by its inventor.”


  • Grasshopper Enterprises, “Borders of science, boundaries of imagination,” might be complete and total bullshit, but the page has some interesting things on lucid dreaming and other workings of the mind


  • cachegrind – cache profiler, part of the valgrind suite, designed to pinpoint cache misses in code
  • I don’t know why, but I wrote down “BDI2000 JTAG”, maybe because the Abatron BDI-2000 can be used to debug the Linux kernel via JTAG?


  • “The Grand Inquisitor” from “The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoevsky  –  I think I’m supposed to read this because I don’t know why else I’d have written it down.



20 pages of scrap notes, 2008.05.19-05.23


I astound myself by how many pages of scrap notes I accumulate over 5 days, just during my down time at work.


  • “Exposing the Modern Racist Paradigm,” extremely long page here
  • Someone’s opinions on why the Amiga is awesome, here . . . meaningful to me because I haven’t used an Amiga
  • Simputer – “self-contained, open hardware handheld computer, designed for use in environments where computing devices such as personal computers are deemed inappropriate.” (quoth wikipedia)… this looks like a project that didn’t do as well as expected and is rather old right now, but it looks interesting anyhow.
  • Someone’s blog about the memristor, and why it’s the 4th circuit element, and why he thinks it’s useful/revolutionary.
  • Reversible computing . . . worthy of consideration


  • Intel Atom D945GCLF motherboard from Tranquil PC Ltd. – $82 for motherboard with 1.60 GHz Atom 230; looks like a pretty good deal
  • OLPC XO 2.0 – new version of the XO, which “isn’t really a laptop at all but a double-screened, fold-up electronic book”, and which Negroponte has a goal of being producing for $75 each.
  • Pen Computing – good resource on mobile/handheld/rugged computing products


  • Lulu – Self publishing service; allows you to publish (as in, actual physical books that can be purchased online) with no setup fees. You keep 80% of creator revenue on sales, and you keep the copyrights to the material.
  • Adam Smith’s Lost Legacy – because someone’s pissed about how people constantly mangle what Adam Smith said


  • Digilent Inc. – Offers some inexpensive starter boards with Xilinx Spartan FPGAs or Atmel AVR microcontrollers
  • Xtreme Data, Inc. – “Database Analytics Appliance able to sustain 1TB/min of SQL processing”… well, that’s kinda boring, but I suppose it does live up to the name, and somehow accomplishes this with FPGAs.
  • DRC Computer Corporation – offers Reconfigurable Processor Unit which fits into an AMD Opteron socket on a multiway board, allowing it to directly connect to its bus and access memory, and offload CPU-intensive software routines to hardware; they use Xilinx FPGAs for this.
  • Project VGA – “Low Budget, Open Source, VGA Compatible video card”
  • FPGA Central – Good resource for FPGA links


  • Llamasoft Blog – From the maker of one of my favorite games, Llamatron. He has written some interesting software.
  • JavaSpaces – distributed shared memory in Java, along with other stuff, and part of Jini from Sun. This could be neat if I actually used Java.
  • VX32 – “virtual extension environment” for x86; one can run x86 apps in this for a secure, isolated environment in which they are limited in what they are allowed to do.
  • ACL2 (Applicative Common Lisp) – “both a programming language in which you can model computer systems and a tool to help you prove properties of those models,” and part of the Boyer-Moore family of theorem provers

Overdue scrap notes, 2008.05.01-05.16



  • Reaktor diary: might be helpful as I learn to use Reaktor
  • Despite that this program is not open source but proprietary, it offers more comprehensible insight into its workings than any of the open source synth software I have tried so far.
  • Given, I’ve only used a couple premade instruments, but their internal structure is out-in-the-open in the form of modules, not as blocks of code that I would have a hard time finding and a harder time comprehending.


  • Chilling Effects Clearinghouse: “A joint project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and (about a dozen schools)…. Chilling Effects aims to help you understand the protections that the First Amendment and intellectual property laws give to your online activities.”
  • Linux Softpedia – EDA: looks like a good collection of Electronic Design Automation software for Linux
  • Signs (or here): “a tool for logic synthesis and gate level simulation… include synthesis of RTL-style VHDL circuit descriptions and a dynamic graphical netlist viewer…”
  • KTechLab: “…an Open Source Intergated Design Environment (IDE) for electronic and PIC microcontroller circuit design and simulation.”
  • Alliance CAD: “a complete set of free CAD tools and portable libraries for VLSI design… includes a VHDL compiler and simulator, logic synthesis tools, and automatic place and route tools.”
  • Octeon Plus – some chip, 4 to 16 MIPS64 core, 600-1000 MHz, 15-40W power usage… looks pretty fast (Linuxdevices link)
  • Helpful link about silkscreening/screenprinting from


  • “This Film is Not Yet Rated” (IMDB) – some movie my friend Adam recommended; looks like the full version is online, for now, at Google Videos
  • Univ. of Manchester, Advanced Processor Tech. Group – good link for some software projects and papers relevant to processors
  • “In Defense of Lost Causes” – Slavoj Zizek (Amazon)… maybe an interesting book from a “Slovene sociologist, philosopher, and cultural critic.” who describes himself as a Marxist
  • Right Is Wrong: How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution, and Made Us All Less Safe” – Arianna Huffington (Amazon) . . . just in case you needed more anti-conservative propaganda
  • Past public lectures from Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics are available here (though videos look like mostly Windows Media Player or Flash).
  • SIMH: software from the Computer History Simulation Project, able to simulate (not emulate?) a variety of rather old hardware, like the DEC PDP


  • Excerpts from Einstein’s letter to Eric Gutkind on 1954-01-03 – expresses some of his views on religion pretty well… apparently lining up a bit with the “Deus sive nature” views of Spinoza
  • Reconfigurable computing… worth learning about.
  • Microcode… also worth learning about, particularly with x86
  • FpgaC: “FpgaC compiles a subset of the C language to net lists which can be imported into an FPGA vendors tool chains… excellent alternative to VHDL/Verilog for algorithmic expression of FPGA reconfigurable computing tasks.” . . . like an HLL rather than an HDL.
  • Atmel FPSLIC: AVR microcontroller and SRAM-based FPGA combined on one die
  • Achronix: FPGAs running up to around 2 GHz
  • OpenCores: Designs and publishes core designs (for FPGAs, CPLDs, ASICs in general) under a license based on the LGPL
  • OpenFPGA: Promote FPGAs in blahblahblah by trying to have open standards and information and practices
  • Pragmatic Marketing: I dunno, but I’ve read a few useful links here


Scrap notes, 2008.04.25ish-2008.05.03

  • Adobe Open Screen Project – apparently Adobe is now opening up the SWF and FLV formats, which hopefully soon means significantly less trouble getting Flash to work for me on Linux.
  • Tilera TILE64 – some sort of chip with 64 interconnected cores (or “tiles”); according to their site, tiles can be grouped into clusters, and the chip can run multiple operating systems simultaneously. Maybe kinda neat.
  • Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest – “whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels.” Kinda interesting to read.
  • Contiki OS – “Contiki is a small, open source, highly portable, multitasking computer operating system developed for use on a number of memory-constrained networked systems ranging from 8-bit computers to embedded systems on microcontrollers, including sensor network motes.” (from Wikipedia entry). Apparently can run from a few KB and provide multitasking and TCP/IP, as well as a full GUI if given about 30 KB. It runs on a variety of systems, including AVR micros, Commodore, Apple II, blahblahblah. Looks handy.
  • Sort of reminds me of the TRON Project despite not really being anything like it.