Sunday Morning idle queries ??

Patrick O'Callaghan pocallaghan at
Mon Jul 7 12:42:27 UTC 2008

On Sun, 2008-07-06 at 13:05 -0400, William Case wrote:
> Hi Max and Patrick;
> On Sun, 2008-07-06 at 10:40 -0430, Patrick O'Callaghan wrote: 
> > On Sun, 2008-07-06 at 10:16 -0400, William Case wrote:
> > > Hi;
> > 
> > Hi Bill,
> > 
> > > Just wondering about a few things:
> > > 
> > > 1) I noticed a program in the latest update list called 'augeas' for
> > > editing config files.  I have gone to their site etc.-- looks
> > > interesting.  Has anyone have experience using it and would like to
> > > comment?
> > Installing it now to check it out. Nice idea, as long as they can keep
> > the config file descriptions in sync with the various packages.
> > 
> Let me and others know how it turns out.

Maybe when I figure it out. Unfortunately the documentation is, shall we
say, spare. Maybe it'll improve with time.

> > > 2) I have just installed kmod-nvidia from livnia.  I have been watching
> > > the discussion here on its effectiveness re: Xorg etc.  It seems to work
> > > fine for me.  Now the question is: which is the best 3D application
> > > (window manager??) to use with it?  Compiz?
> > 
> > No opinion. I presume if you have a fancy graphics card you got it for
> > some sepcific reason, otherwise you don't need it. Nowadays onboard
> > video chipsets are more than enough for everyday use, for many values of
> > "everyday" (I can even run Compiz on my Intel 965, I just can't be
> > bothered).
> > 
> It wasn't purchased for a specific purpose.  It is a C51PV GeForce 6150
> integrated in my newly installed M2NPV-VM motherboard.  I just thought I
> would try out 3D for a bit of time to see what I get.

It's fun for a while, then you start wondering what's the point. Great
for wowing your friends (and annoying those with Macs :-) but not really
a great advance in usability IMHO. Maybe I just need to give it time ...

> > > 3) My project for the next while is to work out how various multimedia
> > > work.  The more I delve into the subject the more confusing it gets.
> > > I can find lots of info on the various pieces of hardware used, but then
> > > what?  How do various software components fit together e.g. gstreamer,
> > > xine, Totem, ripping, burning, editing, codecs, audio (drivers), video
> > > (drivers), etc., etc.  Info and howtos on individual pieces of software
> > > exist, but I can't seem to find anything online or a textbook that puts
> > > it all together in an overview.  Wikipedia, for example, is full of
> > > stubs on this subject.
> > 
> > Good luck with that (really). It's a definite hole that needs to be
> > filled. I'm sure if you do it collaboratively, maybe as a Wiki, people
> > will be glad to contribute what they know.
> I have been thinking about your suggestions all morning.  I have decided
> to develop the following strategy.  If you have a better suggestion let
> me know.
> 1) Start by using mainly cut and paste from wherever I can find info.
> 2) Using NoteCase in conjunction with FreeMind to begin organizing data
> conceptually and storing the details.
> 3) Begin with hardware (and perhaps the prerequisite drivers even if
> drivers are technically software) so that I can develop a basic
> understanding of the physical limitations and problems that software has
> to overcome for each different type of use.
> 4) As I go through the hardware list, perhaps I will pickup the
> applicability and use of various pieces of software.
> 5) So far I have the following list of hardware, off the top of my head,
> that seems to play a role:
>         RJ45; Twisted Pair Cable
>         CATV; Coaxial Cable
>         USB
>         Wireless
>         NIC
>         RAM (how used for sockets, caches, DMA etc. by media hardware)
>         Audio Card/Chip
>         Video Card/chip
>         CD/DVD Drive
>         CD Disk
>         DVD Disk
>         Digital Still Picture Camera
>         Digital Video Camera
>         WebCam
>         TV Tuners
>         Any suggestions of additions or deletions gratefully accepted.

You'll end up writing the Encyclopedia of Computer Hardware. Very much
off the top if my head, I think it would be better first to establish a
frame of reference: start with a quick survey of the basic principles of
digital media, such as the A/D and D/A conversion, compression and
packetizing techniques, streaming, buffering and synchronization, then a
discussion of the various popular wrapper formats (Quicktime, Real,
Flash, DVD etc.). After that, you can get into specifics of how the
multiple architectures that have evolved allow us to deal with all this
(or not).


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