Archive for October, 2004

Getting out to vote

Sunday, October 31st, 2004

We just received what seems like our 6,347th phone call urging us to get out to vote. We’ve had George W. Bush, John Kerry, Bill Clinton, Rudy Jiulliani, Ken Blackwell, and countless other less known people call us to tell us that our vote is important. Some of the above have called multiple times. In years past this would have maybe helped me to get out to vote, but with the election being deadlocked I’m sure to get out and voice my opinion. Things have changed over the years. It used to be that people would go vote if they wanted to vote but now it appears that it’s better to annoy the hell out of everyone. I think the next person to call is going to get an earful, and maybe I’ll even threaten to not vote. I would, of course, still vote but this telemarketing scheme of garnering votes is a bit out of hand. What is going to happen for future elections? SMS messages on my cell phone every 20 minutes urging me to vote? Someone please remind me again why I pay for a home telelphone just to receive voice spam.

More on the MPC850

Friday, October 29th, 2004

I managed to get the DirectvDSL X2 modem to erase its flash and reprogram with new flash through the BDM port. The new stuff doesn’t work though. It was more of a test to see if I could reliably erase and reprogram the flash chip. I’m using the MPCBDM version 2 cable and gdb with mpcbdm support. Not knowing anything about the processor or in-system flashing, it was a long uphill battle. My next trials will be to load a boot loader that will eventually boot linux. I’m trying for U-Boot right now but I think I’m going to have to make a custom board config file. It doesn’t look easy but we’ll see.

I wrote a Flash.dev file for the Intel DA28F320J5 flash chip. It wasn’t really hard once I figured out what the format was but it’s just easier to get the Flash.dev from someone else. If you want it leave a comment to this blog entry, and I’ll get back to you.

I just don’t get it

Thursday, October 28th, 2004

I really don’t. No, I’m not talking about sex. I’m talking about how closed minded people can be. How can people be so naive as to not even tolerate the discussions against their presidential candidate? I always knew that politics could be such a dividing force, but I never really understood it. I was never much of a political person; I just didn’t care.

Given enough time, everyone has many awakenings in his or her life. Some come sooner rather than later, but the opposite is also true. I read an essay the other day that talked about the first amendment and how it doesn’t really apply anymore. The essay cites many examples of free speech not being tolerated. I’m not going to cite them here but if you want to read the essay pick up a copy of “The Longman Reader, sixth edition” and turn to page 606. The essay is titled “Free Speech on Campus”. It goes on to talk about numerous cases where radio DJs, newspaper writers, and even a college professor are silenced when attempting to speak about certain topics because someone might be offended. This begs the question, was the ability to remove oneself from participating in a bothersom situation taken away somewhere along the line? I must have missed when that executive order was issued, probably because I wasn’t following politics then. My stance has always been to exit from the situation if I don’t like it. It applies to conversations, radio shows, newspaper writings, emails, and so on. I have ultimate control of the situation that I am placed in even if someone else placed me in said situation. When I receive an email that I don’t like, I delete it. When I hear a radio conversation that I don’t like, I turn it off. When I read a bothersom newspaper story, I stop reading that story. No one has forced me to participate. Why is it so difficult to just let something go instead of complain about it? Why is it so easy to slam the door shut on conversation when someone says something that is bothersom to another? Have we no respect for those around us?

I just don’t get it.

American Airlines 587

Wednesday, October 27th, 2004

I’m always interested in reading the findings of airplane crashes. It helps me to be a better and safer pilot by analyzing what happened and why. One thing that tremendously irks me though is when a pilot is blamed for a crash when many other factors out of the pilots control or knowledge led to the aircraft accident. In this case, the co-pilot was blamed for “improperly” moving the rudder pedals back and forth on climb out from JFK airport. Perhaps swinging the pedals back and forth was not proper, but that action should not have caused the airplane to come out of the sky because of structural failure. There is this thing called a blowdown limit which is essentially a safety measure built into the design of some flight control surfaces, including the rudder. Basically it is supposed to prevent full deflections of these surfaces from reaching a structural failure point. So with this in mind, I have to assume that there was not enough representation on behalf of the pilots and they were seen as a convenient scapegoat. I’ve read several first hand accounts of what happens in those NTSB meetings. It’s basically a fight between all parties involved to shed blame, and understandably so since very costly litigation and settlement payouts hinge on what party takes the blame. People who think that the NTSB have the victims best interests at heart are sadly mistaken. The end result is largely driven by financial interests and not always the facts. Of course, much is driven by the flow of dough in the world. But, it still irks me.

Motorola MPC850

Tuesday, October 26th, 2004

On a lighter, and more interesting note, I’ve been discovering the inner workings of BDM ports on Motorola processors. It all started when this useless DirectvDSL modem showed up on my desk at work. It’s useless because the firmware is hardcoded to work only with DirectvDSL and since they’re no longer operational, it’s basically a brick. Opening it up, I discovered a MPC850 processor, 4 MBytes Flash, and 16 MBytes of RAM. It would make a nice embedded systems project. I traced out the debug port which turned out to be BDM instead of JTAG, although they are very similar. I built a BDM interface and it works. After figuring out how to use the BDM support in GDB (GNU Debugger), I’m finding myself getting into the inner workings of the processor and what makes it tick. I’ve only ever dealt with 8-bit micros before, but this 32-bit thing is something else. Maybe it’s just overwhelming because this processor is capable of so many other things. If you’re knowledgable on the MPC8xx/5xx processors, I’d like to hear from you. I have some questions.

Seven days to go

Tuesday, October 26th, 2004

Seven days to go and I’ve figured out who I’m voting for; John Kerry. He’s no prize but how long can we keep going like we have been? My number one reason is that I believe that the kidnappings and beheadings will continue if Bush is elected for another four years. It is all too easy to tune out the murders of innocent civilians when they are not your friends or family. The media will tune them out as routine and uninteresting, and hence there will be little reporting of the beheadings over time. They’ve already demonstrated that fact with US Military soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The editor of one local news paper stated, when asked why there is no reporting of those soldiers killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, that their readers are not interested in the reading about the killings day after day. Many of the popular news websites had also stopped reporting when US soldiers were killed. CNN has, at least, maintained a list of each soldier with a picture if possible and a short bio of those killed. For the most part, though, it seems that these fallen soldiers are forgotten and maybe even unappreciated. I suppose it’s human nature to some extent to forget, but still these things are happening. So why are we so interested in shielding the real world from view?