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Diary
By dn (Thu Jul 26, 2007 at 10:02:41 PM EST) (all tags)
Do you still love me? Do you? Do you?


I changed the oil in my car last weekend. The driveway now sports several new oily spots. As usual I don't seem to be able to do it without making a mess. But that is OK: the ecosystem, nature's big paper towel. And anyway it's nothing compared to the old road-oiler I used to drive.

I thought I had filter wrenches for anything, but they were all too big for the tiny filter the oil change place put on. It had that rough rubberized stuff on the end, though, so I was able to get enough grip to make it turn by hand. At least I didn't have to resort to the redneck oil filter wrench: a screwdriver driven through the filter with a hammer. Scratch that. There's no "at least" about it. It's funny as hell, just too messy for regular use.

Got a migraine later that evening after changing the oil. I've got lower-grade chronic migraine all the time, but this was a genuine, bona fide, electrified, six-car monorail head burster. I suspect it was the used oil soaking through the skin on my hands. Since I quit taking Keppra, everything oily—mineral and vegetable alike—seems to cause problems. (Except pistachios. Prostaglandins are so mysterious.) Damn it, receptors, settle back down!

At work I've been designing circuit boards with MSP430 microcontrollers. The little buggers are quite nice compared to a lot of other µCs. Von Neumann architecture, no paging, no funky addressing modes, modules that are only a little painful to use, decent free compilers, compilers that automatically turn bit bashing into the appropriate bit set/clear opcodes, etc. You can take your 8051s and PICs and shove 'em. Preferably the ceramic DIP versions, you lousy digital apostates.

The only downsides I've found are (1) the undervoltage reset can lock out the JTAG programmer, (2) the I2C slave mode lacks full hardware support meaning lots of interrupts and wait states on the I2C bus, and (3) the interrupt controller has hard-wired priorities.

One oddity about the MSP430 is that its hardware multiplier is memory mapped. I expect that is painful in assembler, and there's a little extra load/store overhead. But since it is memory mapped, the DMA engine can directly blit arrays of data into it, with no instruction fetch overhead. It has an accumulate mode so various signal-processy things are straightforward. The TI website has a rather amazing example of an entire FIR filter being done this way.

I'm reading William Gibson's Pattern Recognition. It's a contemporary novel set in the almost-present, which is just odd for a Gibson novel, like stepping through the top step that isn't actually there on a staircase.

I need to read Harry Potter and the Darth Vaderly Hollows or whatever it is, for the completeness's sake if nothing else. Trouble is, I keep thinking I want to reread the previous books first. That would be fun, but there is so much of them to read. What to do, what to do ...

< I dunno | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
No diary in over a year | 13 comments (13 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
I liked Pattern Recognition by Phage (2.00 / 0) #1 Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 12:21:47 AM EST
It got slated, but reading Gibson is always a pleasure. I loved the allergy to brands... Who doesn't think Bibendum is a surreal grotesque ?

I just finished it by dn (2.00 / 0) #11 Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 06:25:16 PM EST
Certainly not glittering cyberpunk, and a non-spectacular ending, but nonetheless a full story.

Re. brand allergy, I was cringing when she went to Tokyo. I just knew a Hello Kitty store was going to leap out and kill her. It was hilarious how HK went so far beyond the bounds of ordinary merchandising that it had no effect.

    I ♥   
 TOXIC 
WASTE

[ Parent ]
Sure, why not? by Arbeit Macht Pie (4.00 / 1) #2 Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 01:10:06 AM EST
Unlike the "love" from other people in my life, my love is unconditional.

Ah the duxup approach. by anonimouse (4.00 / 2) #3 Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 02:23:41 AM EST
I like to spread the love too, but there are conditions attached to mine.

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
[ Parent ]
Yeah, right by wiredog (4.00 / 3) #4 Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 02:58:51 AM EST
Aren't your conditions "Breathing, willing, and not Mrs. Mouse?"

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
2/3 by anonimouse (4.00 / 1) #5 Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 03:00:09 AM EST
Why not Mrs Mouse?

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
[ Parent ]
Good point by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #6 Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 03:07:58 AM EST


Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
What, the lamp has to be on? by dn (2.00 / 0) #12 Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 06:28:15 PM EST
 \     /
N \\ // T
    v


    I ♥   
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WASTE

[ Parent ]
Re-read by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #7 Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 04:26:59 AM EST
well, I picked up #1 on Sunday, and am 85% done with #3. Of course, #4,5 are twice the length, with #6 being a bit shorter. That's reading about 30 minutes over lunch, and 30 minutes to an hour at night.

we've been using by garlic (2.00 / 0) #8 Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 09:39:50 AM EST
Xilinx V4s with powerpc's inside. Spent the last 2 weeks screwing around with the DCMs because Xilinx's documentation on how to get them to lock and stablize was wrong.


Those are cool by dn (2.00 / 0) #13 Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 06:34:57 PM EST
Although I'm vaguely glad I have never needed anything that big and powerful.

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WASTE

[ Parent ]
bah by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #9 Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 10:49:04 AM EST
Any undervoltage lockout feature should do a full reset. Stupid designers.

When I'm imprisoned as an enemy combatant, will you blog about it?

There's a problem by dn (2.00 / 0) #10 Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 06:16:27 PM EST
I call it a flaw in the JTAG interface. It's dumb that the test port cannot unconditionally reflash the chip.

The voltage monitor is unusual in that it starts out disabled: after power-on reset, the firmware has to program the threshold and enable it. If you accidentally program it above VCC, it goes into reset and never comes out. If the JTAG interface was sensible, you could just burn in non-broken firmware. But noooo, that won't work. You have to jam a higher voltage into the power supply just so the stupid JTAG comes unstuck.

Mind you, I discovered this by setting the threshold high just to see what happens. I expected the chip to become useless, just not beyond the reach of the test port.

    I ♥   
 TOXIC 
WASTE

[ Parent ]
No diary in over a year | 13 comments (13 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback