Musings about things that interest a "Geezer Gadget Geek" who also happens to enjoy some of the finer things in life that liberty in a free country makes possible.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It should come as a surprise to no one who knows me that the CBS show Numb3rs is my all time favourite television series. Just like the ever-popular Star Trek series of shows, this program is a geek's delight - full of suspense, drama, and enough Mathematics and Computer Simulations to delight even the moribund of geeky viewers.

The story centers around brothers Don and Charlie Eppes and their careers as FBI Agent and Mathematics Professor. All episodes focus on solving crimes in and around the Los Angeles, California area and in using Mathematics to aid in catching the bad guys. It is a geniune pleasure to see intelligent people featured as such - too much of modern TV is centered around boorish characters who almost glory in the comedic nature of their idiocy. Joining Don and Charlie are a diverse mixture of regular characters who add spice to the stories - David, Colby, Lynn, Larry, Megan, Alan, et al. We are presently into season six of the series and some of the characters are no longer with the show, but the central characters remain, as well as the outstanding writing, direction, and production of the finest show on television.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Porting Progress: zForth -> ARM

I've made great progress in working to port my zForth system from the Intel Pentium world to that of the ARM world. The platforms that I use at present are the wonderful QEMU virtualization platform on my Linux workstation, and the T-Mobile G1 cell-phone. Eventually, my goal is to also get it working on my HP-50G calculator in time to present it to the HHC 2010 Conference.

ARM is a powerful and very "clean" processor and I love working with it. RISC machines in general have much to offer low-level systems programmers such as myself and this makes it a fun project to work on.

Porting to a new processor involves many phases which, like scafolding at a construction site, each step is built so that you can "stand on it" and work on the next phase. The first phase was (1) to complete an ARM assembler, after that, (2) to modify the metacompiler so that ARM code is produced, and then with ARM code being produced begins (3) the repeating cycle of run-test-edit on both an ARM simulation environment (QEMU and the Android Emulator) and on the actual ARM hardware (the G1). I've completed phases one and two, with both taking about 6 months of part-time work (roughly an hour a week) and am now in the run-test-edit cycle with threading working perfectly, and some I/O working, but not all. I still have many more weeks ahead of me, but I've "hit my stride" per say, and am enjoying the trip! :)

Friday, December 4, 2009

I ordered my Kindle from Amazon two days ago, received it yesterday, and I thought I would record my first impressions here. Amazon has always been a first-class company and I received a quality product. The first book I downloaded into it was (of course) "Web Geek's Guide to the Android-Enabled Phone", and am looking forward to learning how to effectively use the Kindle with the book that Jerri, Prasanna, and I wrote.

I downloaded some books on my favourite hobby - Mathematics, to see how the Kindle handles the esoteric symbols and formula that make up the language of Mathematics. (Conclusion: no problemo! :)

I've also been busy on the website using Amazon's tool for requesting books to be published for the Kindle by visiting the many book orders that I've made in the past and clicking their "Kindle Request" feature.

I firmly believe in the eminent demise of paper books as the generations that are totally devoted to paper books pass on. Everything about eBooks makes them better in my very opinionated opinion - they take up no space, they can be indexed and searched electronically, one can highlight and mark them up with notes, clip portions from and transfer them among other useful devices, and basically do anything that an ordinary book can do - ONLY BETTER! I fail to see the attachment that so many have to the old paper-based technology, but then again, I never was a Luddite - someone who resists change just to resist it. Besides, my new Kindle fits perfectly into the padded slot in my beloved Franklin Planner, so why not?

About Me

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Hillsboro, Missouri, United States

I am a netizen of the world. I enjoy fresh air, fine wines, rural scenery, classical music, eBooks, and interacting with the other netizens of the world.

I look forward every day to waking up, writing code, and learning new things.