29 October 2007 - 0:42Bad AMD BE-2350 processor?

I’m currently building a computer: Parts list:

  • MSI K9AGM2-L motherboard ($51)
  • AMD BE-2350 CPU (45 watts dual processor) ($86)
  • 2 Samsung 500GB drives ($110 each)
  • ANTEC NSK-2480 case with 380 watt 80+ certified power supply ($83)
  • 2 GB DDR800 A-DATA RAM (2 sticks so the double data rate can go full speed) ($61)
  • Lite-On 20X DVD burner ($35)
  • Gigabyte 7200GS PCI-E ($29) video card (fastest one with no fan I could find)
  • Scythe CPU Mini Ninja cooler (huge, may work with no fan since the CPU will be next to a case fan) ($30)
  • BTC 9019URFIII wireless keyboard ($43)

The problem is the thing just won’t boot. I get either one long or two short beeps (it’s hard to tell) and the monitor makes a bad clicking noise not sinking up. First I thought it was a bad monitor–I borrowed it from work and had no evidence it was working. So I checked it with a laptop and it works fine. Next I called MSI and they said the memory I have might be wrong. It is the right type but not tested with that motherboard. I took some RAM that is known to be good and to be compatible from my computer at work. I was sure that would fix it but still nothing. Next I ordered another motherboard. Still no good. New power supply–nothing. Tomorrow I will see about RMAing the CPU. That’s all that’s left. I am still worried that the motherboard is simply not compatible with the CPU even though the MSI website says it is. It only claims it will work with the latest version of their BIOS. I have no way to determine the BIOS version or update it without a CPU that works. Plus, the time is running out on various parts’ 30 day return policies. I consider it all a learning experience.

No Comments | Tags: Computers

22 October 2007 - 12:05Thomas Friedman and Cliff Clavin–Separated at Birth?

Thomas FriedmanCliff Clavin

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20 October 2007 - 13:48Randomized reassignment of children

… and no parent is to know his own child, nor any child his parent. — Plato, 360 B.C.

Ok, when someone pointed out this idea of mine goes back 2400 years to Plato I felt a bit late to the party, but in good company. I had the thought when I had heard one too many times the “conservative” (feel the air quotes) idea that everyone stars off equal and the best rise to the top, while the same people push for elimination of the inheritance tax (the so-call “death tax”).

Obviously in our society (and probably all societies) children born into rich families have a huge leg up on those that aren’t. The true conservative ideal would be for everyone to start out really equal–i.e. a 100% inheritance tax. Thinking further, I had the idea of random reassignment of babies. All babies born in a certain period are simply given to other parents who also had babies during the same period. This has several good effects, to which no conservative should object, and which are universally appealing liberal values:

First, it serves to remove the inherent inequity of the correlation between genetics and inherited wealth. Secondly, it will reduce racist tendencies–any parent can end up with children of any race. Finally, imagine parents who for whatever reason are more interested in the well-being of their genetic offspring than of the children they are charged with raising. Since they cannot find their biological children, all they can do to improve their lot is to promote the general welfare, making sure there are things like good public education and health care.

A modification of this plan could also include parents unable to have children. The randomization also in effect isolating the chance of not having children from the biological inability to produce them. And unwanted children can be placed into the pool as well, automatically taking care of adoption.

I have found, despite the Platonic pedigree of this idea, that it is unpopular among those with children, and that it is quite unwise to try to discuss it with expectant mothers. But then, I am perhaps not wise.

No Comments | Tags: idea, politics

17 October 2007 - 11:45Migraine

Took my car in to be serviced–inspection and some recall work. Mazda arranged for a rental car which sounded convenient. Not so much. The guy from Enterprise took forever to show up, then drove me back to the Enterprise place, did some paperwork, inspected the car. Then had to go back and get the right keys. Then went to put some gas in it, which turned out to be a quarter of a tank. If he was going to waste my time filling it up at least fill the thing up. Developed a migraine driving to work. Perhaps keeping track of them will prove useful. Ugh.

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16 October 2007 - 12:12Upside Down Racing League

Ah sigh, another of my brilliant ideas appears to have been had independently, further encouraging me to finally start writing them down.

Modern race cars (Formula 1 and Indy cars in particular) have wings and tunnels providing downforce, to increase traction. In fact, so much downforce that they could actually drive upside down. So why not an upside down racing league, or URL? Probably a big oval track with some kind of half-loops as ramps to get started. Such a track would be expensive to build, but seems to me to be completely plausible. The cars would have to be designed for this of course, as things like oil pumps are not usually built to run upside down. I remember reading in Popular Mechanics years ago about the twin-rotor helicopter that would be able to fly upside down, limited only by the oiling system. And obviously many piston powered airplanes can do it. It would also be hard on the drivers to sit upside down like that lap after lap. Perhaps cars would be designed to have the driver upright with the wheels above him.

I’m sure there would be a market for such racing. One problem is that everyone wants to see crashes at a race. The crashes on this track might be spectacular, but I envision the track being over water or a net or something to reduce deaths. And the crashes wouldn’t multiply–any car losing speed would just fall out of the way, leaving no debris on the track. But I still think it would be really cool to see and be technically challenging to the competitors. Hard to imagine much spin-off technology to street cars though.

And this would be much more feasible than my new idea for upside down sailboat racing….

1 Comment | Tags: idea