Golly, memory problems, and Windows 7

A few days ago, my previous computer shorted out its second battery, which was when I decided to get a new computer.

My computer was a laptop, about 5 years old (50 in computer-years) ,  and it had a problem with opengl which would not allow any programs using it to work, or work very slowly. For example, Phun would be at 1/2fps, and Atmosphir wouldn’t run at all. Eventually, during a movie shoot one day, my dad decided to finally get the graphics drivers installed. I tested them on Phun, and they worked! Unfortunately, when I loaded Powder Game, a java applet, the computer showed the dreaded BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH!

Also, I often run humongous life patterns and calculate millions of digits of  Π, so a laptop wasn’t that good.

So when we got back from the movie shoot, we figured out a plan which resulted in me getting a Dell vostro 410 with a much better graphics card and support for 64-bit, but currently with 32-bit XP. Then followed a day of uninstalling the licensed software, shipping, followed by a day of Bill Gosper coming over again. So of course I ran another pattern, a humongous 119-billion large pattern which Gosper’s laptop was doing about 1100 garbage collects in order to step 2^30.

Turns out, the 32-bit system required my computer to not use its full ram for the pattern, which caused my computer to go through 20 gcs in 2^25 steps.

The next day, I decided to switch this computer to a 64-bit OS. And why not put on there the version of Windows 7  just released to developers a few days ago?

So far, the new system has been working very well for me. I’ve installed the crucial programs,  and the new versions of the old programs are a lot better than Vista. For example, the calculator program has gone from two modes to four modes (standard, scientific, programmer, statistics), and the Paint program, which was completely terrible in vista, has been completely remade so that it has multiple brushes, and is much easier to use, although I would probably get one of the free ones on the net and use that more than Paint.

And until they manage to get 9223 petabytes of ram in a computer, I won’t have that problem with golly again.

Windows 7

Bill Gosper

Last Sunday, I, having met Bill Gosper and invted him over to dinner, had been working like crazy over the last 2 days to get the house clean, so that he would have a good time. It turned out that both he and I had a great time.

The evening started out by Bill giving me graciously a bunch of interesting presents, such as some Alan Adler-signed Aerobies, and a copy of Mandelbrot’s famous The Fractal Geometry of Nature, signed by Dr. Gosper:

For Neil on his 11+1/(1+1/(1+1/(1+1/(1+1/(1+1/(1+1/(3+1/(1+1/(7+1/3)))))))))rd birthday!

For non-mathematicians, this means that I am approximately 16972/1461 years old.

Then, since Bill and I are both computer geeks, he showed me some demonstrations of Macsyma, and I showed him some random programs, such as the ascii art editor Jave, and also how to get Golly to run certain MCell files

It was about time for dinner when Dr. Gosper presented me with the notorious Sam Loyd Buttonhole puzzle, and since I had forgotten how to solve it, we all tried to solve it, failing, until Bill showed us how to remove the thing from the buttonhole.

After dinner, we went out to play with the Aerobies, being careful to not get them stuck in any trees, which were at least half a football field away, because Aerobies put Frisbees (which I can barely throw) to shame by going amazingly far. Because it was getting dark and Bill had brought Aerobie boomerangs, we decided to go back to the house, instead of playing Australian roulette, which can give you a nasty blow on the head.

Before Bill was about to leave, he let me barrow his Cube packing puzzle,which is notoriously difficult. As of this writing, I have only completed the Medium challenge on it (packing 18 1x4x4 pieces into the 7x7x7 cube), and hope to complete the Hard challenge (packing all pieces in) within a week.

Welcome to my Blog!

This is my first blog post, and it is mainly to welcome you to my blog!