23 Dec

grinding cd/dvd reader

Yesterday, I backed up my /home/kae directory, formatted the computer, and installed Windows XP. Why? Because I felt the need to spend the next week playing the Thief and Dungeon Keeper games series. I really wanted to do it through ’98 (yes, I still have the licenses for these OSes), but couldn’t get drivers for my laptop for Windows 98 – the Acer TravelMate 2420 just will not work in Win98…

So anyway – a blissful day later, I decided I should put my system back together. Installed Partition Manager, shuffled the hard-drive around to make space, and got the Fedora 8 disc from the latest Linux Format (/nice/ desktop theme, lads! Much better than that weird balloon crap in FC7).

Stuck the DVD in, rebooted, and …GRIND…

oh dear… tried again. …GRIND…

tried with one of the games CDs that had been working fine for the last day …GRIND…

I worried about this for a few minutes before opening the drive up and taking a look to see if there was something blocking the lens’s path. nope.

It took me a while to notice though that the lens was parked on the /outside edge/ of where a disk would be. As the file allocation table for a CD/DVD is held on the inner rim of the disk, it does not make sense for the lens to be parked far from it when not in use.

I pushed the lens platform in with my finger. I really don’t like doing things like that, as I might be breaking something by doing it, but as the system was already screwed, this was a viable solution.

On rebooting, everything worked fine.

What seems to have happened is that at some point over the last few hours, the lens platform must have moved a little bit too far and was unable to return to its usual route. I am not sure why that happened, as I can only imagine it would happen if I was over-burning something, which I haven’t done in a long time.

Anyway – back to resetting my system, and then back to Dungeon Keeper!

ps: this post, boring as it is, is out there purely because I spent a while trying to find the cause of the noise and disc-drive failure and had to figure it out myself in the end – hopefully someone else searching for “grinding noises dvd” will find this post useful.

19 Dec

first official IE8 mention

And it’s a good one! The IE team announced in a very good article that IE8 passes the Acid2 test.

The Acid2 test does not test CSS compliance. Instead, it tests that broken CSS is parsed in a consistent manner.

More info about Acid2

Well done Microsoft – let’s hope you keep the information coming (they’ve been notably silent so far about IE8) and that the info is as positive and important to web developers as this milestone is.

03 Dec

thought about "lopsided universe" idea

Sorry if this post is totally bonkers – I’m a layman but like to think about this stuff.

Got an email newsletter from Galaxy Zoo today. In it was a link to a recent Telegraph article pointing out the apparent lopsidedness of the universe. In short, most galaxies that we see in the universe appear to be rotating in the same direction, where the direction should be random.

I had a thought about this, and it occurred to me that this could be explained if there was some sort of “coriolis force” acting on space itself.

How can this be? Surely space is just space? Well, not according to quantum loop gravity, which describes space as a load of interlinked nodes. Where you think there is nothing, there is actually a load of interlinked points.

The “coriolis force” is hard to explain. A short explanation might be this: on a planet that is spinning, if you have a solid object which is sitting still (relative to the planet surface) on any latitude of the planet other than 0 or at the axis, then one side of the object is actually moving through space faster than the other because of the slight difference in radius of the sides’ paths through space as the planet rotates. Yeah – headrush.

Anyway – what it means is that objects sitting on the “north” hemisphere tend to turn clockwise instinctively, and vice versa.

So, what does this have to do with galaxies?

Well, if most galaxies are rotating in a specific direction, then that could indicate a coriolis effect happening on space itself. This could happen if the universe itself was rotating.

A further implication is that if you map the rotation of all galaxies and analyse them carefully, you may find that you can actually pinpoint the centre of that rotating universe. This is something that traditionally has been thought of as impossible, because the universe might not have a “centre” at all.

Anyway, please comment if you think this is stupid, but give a reason why it is.