Archive for the ‘Computing’ Category.

Almost too easy

With my new monitor I of course had to get my TV card going again — you might remember that Stéphanie and I had stopped watching TV?… Not anymore, we’re now quite normal again :-)

Configuring tvtime is fairly easy, but reordering the channels is somewhat annoying since you have to specify their position with an attribute in the stationslist.xml file, which looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE stationlist PUBLIC "-//tvtime//DTD stationlist 1.0//EN"
<stationlist xmlns="">
  <list norm="PAL" frequencies="europe">
    <station name="DR1" active="1" position="1" band="VHF E2-E12" channel="E5" finetune="0" norm="PAL" audio="auto"/>

I would have gone for the simple solution where the document order would determine the relative position of the channels since I find it much easier to reorder the lines than updating the attributes.

Luckily it was very easy for me to edit the XML file to suit my need using the excellent Beautiful Soup Python library. I simply did this in an interactive Python session:

>>> from BeautifulSoup import BeautifulStoneSoup
>>> soup = BeautifulStoneSoup(open('.tvtime/stationlist.xml', 'r'))
>>> for i, station in enumerate(soup.findAll('station')):
...   station['position'] = i+1
>>> soup

after which I got the changed XML in the terminal, which I could then copy-paste into the file. The result was a nice file where the position attribute reflected the document order, just as I wanted it!

My Dell 3007WFP is here!

My Dell 3007WFP where it belong: on my desk! My monitor arrived late Tuesday and I’ve been mesmerized ever since :-) I have been blogging a bit about it, and now it’s finally there, right infront of me…

It’s huge, really, really huge, please see for yourself on the image on the right (click to see the full size). You actually have to turn your head to look from one corner to another — that feels weird and wonderful at the same time :-)

Unpacking and setting it up went quick and easy. The big cardboard box was made so that instead of lifting the monitor up and out of the box, the box itself could be lifted up past the monitor so that only the bottom piece of the box was left standing. It was then easy to pull out the monitor.

Having connected the power cable and dual-link DVI cable (which came with the monitor) I turned the machine on. It came up fine with the BIOS and the kernel writing it’s usual status messages in gigantic letters. But when GDM was supposed to start the screen went blank.

“Hmm…”, I thought. Switching to the console worked fine, so I took at look at my xorg.conf file. With my old ViewSonic monitor I had had to issue a IgnoreEDID commands to the nvidia driver because the monitor reported some wrong values. Having deleted that setting I could simply set the resolution to 2650×1600 and restart X — it worked just like that.

Closer view I had been reading about how other people had to specify special modelines and other voodoo to get the monitor working… so I was glad to have it working without any battles :-) The built-in memory card reader also works fine, I transferred the pictures you see in the post via it. It simply showed up as any other USB mass storage device in GNU/Linux and I could easily mount it.

After having used the monitor for three days I think it’s super. The image is crisp and clear and the colors are as good as any other LCD I’ve seen. The viewing angle is large enough that I haven’t noticed any distortion of colors. Stéphanie and I rented The Da Vinci Code the evening I got the monitor and I saw no ghosting while watching it.

My conclussion must be that if you have the money and if you spend a lot of time at your computer, then this monitor is fantastic. I’m still trying to get used to administrating so much space, but I’m sure that I’ll get used to it with time :-)

My Dell 3007WFP is on its way…

My next monitor My new Dell 3007WFP has been shipped! It has been in “pre-production” since I ordered it on the 14th, but today it suddenly rushed all the way through “production” and “delivery preparation”. What a nice surprice! :-) The delivery date is set at the 29th, though, but I hope it will be here before.

This makes my previous question about a suitable GPU even more relevant…

GPU for a Dell 3007WFP

My next monitor Having decided on a gorgeous 30-inch Dell 3007WFP, the next question is: what kind of graphics card should I buy to drive it? My current card is a Nvidia GeForce 6500 with no dual-link DVI output, so I have to upgrade. About the dual-link DVI: a normal DVI connection has the bandwidth to output images of size up to 1920×1200, but I need 2560×1600… Luckily someone invented dual-link DVI which doubles the bandwidth. This should not be confused with having two single-link DVI connections on the same card. Of those cards with two DVI connections, some have one dual-link and one single-link DVI. There are also high-end cards with two dual-link connections. Nvidia has a list of dual-link DVI cards online.

I don’t plan to do lots of 3D graphics, so I don’t need a particular fast card, the only requirement is that it has dual-link DVI. And it should preferrable be without a fan. AnandTech recently had a story on fan-less graphics cards where they concluded that a Gigabyte 7600 GS/GT gave a good performance. They of course tested it mostly for 3D performance, but I need 2D performance. How much of a difference are there between modern graphics cards in 2D performance?

Please give me your suggestions.

New monitor!

A big one this time… :-) Look for yourself:

My next monitor

I’ve finally done it — I’ve bought the Dell UltraSharp3007WFP LCD! This is a 30″ flat panel monitor, a bit more than two times as big as the 20″ LCD I have now. The resolution is 2560×1600 pixels compared to 1600×1200 before. Wow! :-)

I’ve been lurking around it for quite some time now, and yesterday I discovered that Dell has put it on sale here in Denmark: 25% off so it now costs just 11,500 DKK. So I placed an order :-)

The sad thing is that they say it will take at least three weeks for it to be delivered :-(