Archive for September, 2009

Images submitted.

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Thanks to everybody that voted. I sent in the pictures this morning as planned. This took, of course, considerably more effort than I anticipated because:

  1. The images had to be less than 5MB to upload via their form, and 3 of mine were over that.
  2. The online form once submitted thought for a really long time and then returned me to the blank form.
  3. Upon deciding that I should email them to be sure, I proceeded to email them to photos@blah rather than photo@blah. I noticed this only after the first three emails had finished uploading and the “Email returned” message came back.
  4. So I sent them all again.

Today I received an email in return saying basically: thanks for sending them by email we’re having upload issues. So maybe there won’t be much competition now…

So now I hope you’re wondering which images I submitted. If you look at the poll now that it’s closed there were two clear winners. Of course this morning when there was only 6 voters there was a four way tie. In the end I went with some combination of my gut and the voters. So the finalists were…

Fields at Dusk #1 (2619)
Fields at Dusk #1
Wheels of Agriculture (2411)
Wheels of Agriculture
Cleared for Landing (2007)
Cleared for Landing
Independence Day (2886)
Independence Day

Another photo contest… (due soon, please vote now!)

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Well since the photos are due on the 30th at 4PM, I suppose I better get these posted. Relying on the wisdom of my good readers seems to have worked out last time so here we go again.

The contest this time is for Madison County Tourism. Although they didn’t say this, I have to believe they are judging not just on the artistic merits but also on the basis of the image making the County look good. I’m allowed to submit 4 images, so two images will be chosen based on your votes. The other two will be chosen by me, but I’ll certainly take your votes in mind. Please vote by Wednesday morning so I can do final touch-ups and get the images submitted before I go to work. Here they are in random order, click through to browse them in the gallery. Click them in the gallery for mucho grande.

Please choose your favorite images (up to three).

  • Cleared for Landing (22%, 6 Votes)
  • Fields at Dusk with Barn (22%, 6 Votes)
  • Independence Day (15%, 4 Votes)
  • Wheels of Agriculture (11%, 3 Votes)
  • Fields at Dusk #2 (11%, 3 Votes)
  • Flower Please (7%, 2 Votes)
  • Fields at Dusk #1 (7%, 2 Votes)
  • Not Quite Goldenrod Honey (4%, 1 Votes)
  • Pink Stars (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Easter Lily (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Easter Sunday Silver (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 9

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Fields at Dusk #1 (2619)
Fields at Dusk #1
Easter Sunday Silver (1238)
Easter Sunday Silver
Easter Lily (1237)
Easter Lily
Wheels of Agriculture (2411)
Wheels of Agriculture
Pink Stars (2927)
Pink Stars
Cleared for Landing (2007)
Cleared for Landing
Not Quite Goldenrod Honey (4315)
Not Quite Goldenrod Honey
Fields at Dusk #2 (2608)
Fields at Dusk #2
Flower Please (2658)
Flower Please
Fields at Dusk with Barn (2635)
Fields at Dusk with Barn
Independence Day (2886)
Independence Day

No slag yet!

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Actually, according to the Asus board monitoring software, the CPU temperature is considerably lower than before. It’s worth mentioning that this could be for a combination of reasons:

  1. The CPU is more efficient.
  2. I blew a fair amount of crud out of the heat sink.
  3. I adjusted the duct that provides direct venting from the exterior to the CPU fan.

In fact, the CPU fan rarely kicks up out of the lowest speed now… Woot! The other thing I noticed is that according to ThrottleWatch (which may not be savvy enough for PD’s) the CPU speed never reduces on idle like it did for the P4. This doesn’t seem to be causing a thermal problem, so I’m not too concerned, although it does make me wonder about power usage.

Anyhow, I ran my favorite three benchmarks to see what kind of improvement I got. Here are the before and after numbers:

Benchmark P4 650 PD 945
SM2.0 2624 3109
SM3.0 3330 3607
CPU 1030 1744
Total 5798 7372
Supreme Commander
Frames 7197 8958
Sim 8029 8498
Render 5762 6552
Composite 13791 15049
X3:Reunion Demo
Scene 00 Avg. FPS 42.3 44.5
Scene 01 Avg. FPS 22.5 24.0
Scene 02 Avg. FPS 57.3 59.6
Scene 03 Avg. FPS 56.5 58.2
Avg. FPS 44.65 46.56

So the 3DMark CPU score showed the largest improvement with about 70% increase. The theoretical would be 100% of course. On the other end of the spectrum, the X3 benchmark showed very little improvement, but considering it is more of a video benchmark than CPU[1] this is not terribly surprising.

Supreme Commander was in the middle, with a 5% increase in sim score and a 14% increase in render score, for a moderate 10% improvement. The number of rendered frames increased by about 25%, however, which may indicate some game play improvement will be seen. Honestly, I expected quite a bit more improvement, so I checked on the game forums and learned that the game threads are not very well distributed across the CPUs. Someone has written a ‘maximizer’ that moves some of the load from the saturated CPU0 to CPU1. I’ll give that a try tomorrow maybe.

For now, I’m just happy that I’m running cool and content… and no worse for the wear.

  1. Despite the fact that the actual game is a CPU HOG. []

Tech musings…

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

K & I decided to finally cash in our Discover Card cash back that we’ve been accumulating pretty much since we were married.[1] We’ve replaced the TV in our entertainment center with a new Sony Bravia LCD TV. Nothing enormous, a nice 32″ set, which is about as large as the entertainment center can handle. It took us pretty much all night to finally get it set up properly. Apparently everybody else in the world would rather have their images distorted or cut off than display[2] some tiny piece of unused space. Yuck.
I think we finally got it squared away between the TV and the cable box… which pretty much means we’ll have to go through it again when we finally stick a DVD in. I also had to scrounge for component video cables. [3] Minus two points to my geek score for not realizing that S-video supports only standard resolution broadcast. HD resolution requires either component or HDMI connectivity. That’s ok, I get the two geek points returned for backing the right technology[4] when I selected our DVD player 8 years ago. HDMI wasn’t in wide use yet, so no support for that… but since I don’t have anything that provides and HDMI output[5] no big deal there. Anyways, it does look pretty nice and we’re looking forward to testing it out properly. DVR recordings look pretty good but just don’t do it justice.

In other news, I’ve sold off the excess camera gear and I’m about half way to my next L-series lens. Not sure when the other half will ever come around, but I’ll look for excuses.

Finally, I took the plunge on an e-bay CPU. It only cost me $59, but it feels like a gamble. If it works, it will double my processing bandwidth and increase the work on my heatsink by about 15%. If it doesn’t, I’ll be out $59 and some thermal paste.[6] It is pretty remarkable that they can squeeze two 3.4GHz processors onto the same form factor and only increase the thermal load from 84 to 95 watts. I suppose it helps when the transistor size is reduces by a third (90 to 65nm process). So bye-bye Hyper-threading, hello dual core…. assuming my PC doesn’t just melt into a glowing pile of slag.

The good news is my new improved space heater will be just in time for winter!

  1. Ok, not really, but it’s been many many years. []
  2. or not display as the case might be []
  3. Thankfully they are physically and electrically identical to RCA audio and video cables. []
  4. Component Video []
  5. yet []
  6. Hmm… I suppose I ought to check to see if I have any thermal paste left… []

Horses, smiles and silliness.

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

This past weekend we headed out to Burlingame Road to watch the Limestone Creek Hunt Club hold their Hunter Pace event. Well it turns out that waiting for teams of horse riders to come buy is a bit too much for the 2 year old, so we only watched one group come by. Of that group, only one decided to make the jump.


Later we headed out to Valley Falls to visit J&J. On the way we stopped for lunch where I tagged a few pics of Nate.

I also found this sign strangely amusing, as if they expected the NBA to come through or something.

Highland Forest and Family Time

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

On Labor Day, after spending the weekend with K’s folks, we headed out to Highland Forest for a walk in the woods and some time in the sun.

It was a nice day out but the slightly faded leaves and brilliant goldenrod were harbingers of things to come.

IMG_4095 IMG_4111 IMG_4094

After our walk we came home and spent more time outside. Nate helped me fix my boat.[1] He’s pretty skilled with the screwdriver actually. We now keep them out of reach.

K had the camera when N took a little tumble. These three images capture the recovery pretty well.

IMG_4136 IMG_4137 IMG_4138

Then some shenanigans with the maple tree.

IMG_4148 IMG_4149 IMG_4150 IMG_4152

And Nate took some pictures of us…

Saving the best for last… one of the pics from the morning is my new favorite.

  1. I broke one of the traveler fair-leads so decided to replace them both. []

State Fair

Monday, September 7th, 2009

Busy weekend at the Schierer household as we packed in as much summer as we could. Not to mention all the stuff we regularly do in a weekend.

K started Friday at the Dr’s office. Baby and K are doing great.[1] K’s folks came out for the weekend so we started with The Great New York State Fair.

IMG_3919 IMG_3934 IMG_3935 IMG_4024
IMG_3954 IMG_3946 IMG_3977 IMG_3994


More pics in the gallery.

Is it just me or is “Mangels” not such a good name to use for amusement park rides?

  1. Apparently the pics from a few weeks back weren’t clear enough for the Dr, so they asked to take more. More pictures are posted. []

Bigger boy bed…

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

Nate spent his first night in a full sized bed a few nights back. He picked out the bedding himself from a subset K had found.


Also a cute pic of K just because it’s so easy.