The Haus

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Athlon XP 2600+ Released

HardOCP (and just about every other hardware site) has the scoop on AMD's latest offering, the Athlon XP 2600+. It is based on the new Thoroughbred core. The big difference with this one over the previous T'Breds is that it is very overclockable, if you are into that sort of thing. Personally, I believe it would make more sense to wait for the 2800+ which is supposed to have a 333Mhz front side bus. It's kind of funny that my 1800+ is already getting "slow." Of course, most of the time it's just twiddling its transistors.

ATI Radeon 8500 Linux Drivers

ATI has released XFree86 4.x drivers for their Radeon 8500/8500LE cards. Like NVIDIA's drivers, ATI's are binary-only. I'm sure Stallman and his cronies will get their undies in a bundle about that. Unlike NVIDIA's, ATI's are only available in RPM format. I'm waiting for a site to post benchmarks comparing these drivers to the open source ones as well as to NVIDIA's. Now they just have to get ones supporting the 9700 before DOOM III comes out. Thanks Linux Games.

UT Linux DoS Fix

Epic has posted a new version of the Linux dedicated server for Unreal Tournament on the Unreal Technology page. This fixes a problem with denial of service attacks against UT Linux servers. All server ops are strongly encouraged to upgrade. Thanks Blue.

Monday, August 19, 2002

Is the DMCA Really That Bad?

That's what this column is asking. The author is not attempting to defend the DMCA, which he calls "an egregious law and a brazen power grab by Hollywood, the music industry and software companies" which "should be unceremoniously tossed out by the courts." Rather, he is saying that some, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, are resorting to fearmongering to whip up support against it. FUD is always FUD, even if it is for a good cause. Thanks Slashdot.

OpenOffice Printing Follow-Up

OK, so I decided to upgrade to Ghostscript 7.05 anyway and installed the HP hpijs 1.2 driver. Actually, the upgrade to GS 7.05 was relatively painless. After tweaking some settings, I determined that using the 600x600 Grayscale setting in the hpijs driver allows for lightning-fast and very crisp printing with both WordPefect 8 for Linux and OpenOffice 1.0.1. It took a little effort, but the results are more than worth it. If only all hardware manufacturers would support their products as well as HP does now (and Epson has for a long time)!

More OpenOffice Printing

Last night I mercilessly slaughtered a few more trees in an effort to make printing look better in OpenOffice in Linux. This time, I was trying various Ghostscript drivers that work with my HP Deskjet 810C. I had been using HP's hpijs driver which, according to Linux Printing, is supposed to give the best results. It works great with output from WordPerfect, but OpenOffice output looks like garbage (fonts aren't crisp at all and every other line is darker than the rest). After that, I tried the cdj880 driver which produced infinitely crisper text, but it had an odd greenish hue to it as if it was using the color cartridge to produce black instead of the black cartridge. WordPerfect output looked great with that driver.

Finally, I tried the cdj550 driver. Not only did the printing get done much faster, but the output looks very nice. No odd hues, no alternating dark lines, no fuzzy fonts. The only caveat is that after a print job is done, the "eject paper" light flashes. Punching the button makes it go away. Eureka!

All in all, it seems that OpenOffice's PostScript generator could use some work, but at least I got it to work. There is a new version of HP's driver that I would like to try, but it would mean upgrading to Ghostscript 7.05. I'm not sure if I have the stomach for that, especially since it seems to be working decently. I have to give credit to HP for making a driver and releasing it completely open source with a BSD-style license.

Now I just have to get used to OpenOffice. Most of the frustrations I've felt with it is just because I don't understand how all of its functions work. That will come with time. If nothing else, I will use it for all the M$ Office docs people insist on sending me. It imports Word, Excel, and PowerPoint stuff very nicely--better than any non-Office app I've tried.

No Old News

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