Monday, January 30, 2006

Beware the Asus P5GD1-VM motherboard!

In a nutshell, I replaced this mofo of a mobo because of one simple problem: it could not boot from an IDE CD-ROM drive, so I could not fix my computer. I thought there was something defective with my motherboard, so I replaced with with exactly the same one--and the new one had exactly the same problem.

However, there is exactly one scenario in which I was able to boot a CD. I was able to boot my Windows 2000 CD correctly under the following conditions:
  • The CD-ROM drive must be on the primary IDE channel (it worked as Slave for me).
  • In the BIOS, the "IDE mode" option must be set to "Compatible" (not "Enhanced", which is the default). You can tell when you are in "Compatible" mode because the BIOS screen shows only "Primary" and "Secondary", with no 3rd IDE pair.
Now, there is one tricky thing you have to deal with. "Compatible" mode changes the definition of "Primary". There are two IDE connectors on the motherboard. In Compatible mode, "Primary" means the upper IDE connector. However, in Enhanced mode, "Primary" is the lower IDE connector. Therefore, when you switch modes, you must physically swap the upper and lower connectors!

There are a couple more caveats.
  1. I could not boot any Linux CD correctly under any circumstances. I tried Damn Small Linux, Knoppix and the Kubuntu Live CD (I used the current version of each CD as of Jan. 20, 2006). Even if the boot process starts, the Linux CD will be unable to mount the CD filesystem, or it will crash or freeze during startup. You can boot Kubuntu from an external USB 2.0 drive, but not DSL or Knoppix. I also tried a RIP Linux floppy disk, and it was unable to see the CD drive.
  2. The Windows 2000 CD will not see the hard drive unless it is on the Primary IDE channel. So put your HDD on Primary Master and your CD on Primary Slave. Kubuntu could not see the hard drive either when I tried it, but I don't remember what configuration I was using at the time.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

What is the basis of a "free market" when copies are free?

A basic and fundamental economic note about my "free everything" idea:

I believe in a free market for creative works, but one that works differently from traditional free markets. A normal free market balances supply and demand of "units", where producers make one unit for every unit used by consumers. But in the world I want to see, this concept of supply is irrelevant. There is no reason to limit supply when the incremental cost of additional units is virtually zero, as is the case on the internet. Supply in the traditional sense, therefore, should be virtually infinite; as a result, this free market I envision is better served by a different notion of supply, which is, approximately, the supply of distinct works (unique works, not copies). The balance in the intellectual free market should be between the supply of distinct works and the demand for distinct works.

Today, of course, the market is based on balancing supply and demand of copies only, which in my view is just plain wrong. If copies were free, it would utterly change the face of both content industries and technologies. The changes to technology have already begun in a limited fashion (e.g. the 60 GB IPod), but it remains to be seen whether the content industries will be willing to allow this new world, or whether they will enact ever-stronger laws to ensure we will be stuck in the 20th century forever.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

IAL list

Marginally interesting languages from

Monday, January 09, 2006

Counterpart conjunction?

A conjunction 'X' to indicate a relationship between nouns, dependant on the context?

He traded his shirt X shoes. (X=for)
The difference between men X women. or: men X women differ (X=and)
Balls and chains X prison bars serve the same purpose.