Homecoming @ College

October 19, 2008

As usual I have been filling up my queue with work (technically a priority queue) :). However I have a bit of free time to write something and this subject as been on my mind all weekend so I can think of no better time to write about it than now.

This weekend was another typical homecoming weekend at the particular college I attend. I’m trying not to mention any names (which I why I always say “my college”). Anyyway homecoming just seems to be another excuse for the typical college students to go out and get completely wasted. I doubt I have written about this before, but getting drunk really isn’t my sort of thing. I, personally, have never had a drink even though I am of legal drinking age. I don’t mind when people drink. However, I do have a problem with people going and getting completed smashed.

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that it is unhealthy, on many fronts, to go out and get so drunk. Not only is there a potential of damaging your brain, but I have heard a hangover isn’t exactly fun. On top of all of that it typically effects those around you which, in my opinion, is even more important than anything else. The people that have to deal with you when you are drunk take the biggest hit. Sure, it is not always a problem, but on a college campus where everyone lives together it often is.

I remember a particular instance where one of my friends came back quite late, and he was not doing well at all. He threw up constantly and all he could do was curse and moan. A pretty sad state if you ask me. None of that was as bad as what his roommate had to deal with. His roommate was working on some homework and he had to deal with the constant cursing and smell of vomit. I stayed up with his roommate that night because he was disappointed about the events. Whether that super drunk guy knew it or not his poor decisions effected both me and my suite mate. For the record I don’t hold any grudges against him, and after that one incident it never happened again.

Many students insist on doing this time and time again with little regard to the people they hurt along the way. This is where I find the biggest issue.

The other thing I don’t understand is why events like homecoming are such a large excuse for drinking. I asked a few people I am friendly with why they get so drunk and they all say “beccause its homecoming”. That is just about the only reason I get from them. Some of these are fairly logically minded people as well, and certainly they must know that saying “because its homecoming” is not really a valid reason. They may as well say “because I feel like it”. That would at least be more of an accurate statement.

The final problem I see is that the college tolerates the students behavior at homecoming events even after placing down policy saying it is not allowed. This just encourages the student to continue breaking the rules even more because their is no punishment for their poor actions. It would be better for them to have less rules and that the students run around like ninnies than to have the current rules and just not enforce them because it seems like they are simply turning their cheek to the problem.

Hopefully I can get back to blogging about computers andd whatnot soon, but I have been swamped with work, and a little while from now I am going to a Computer Science and Math conference that will suck up another weekend. I am thinking that maybe I can write a few things on the long car ride out there :).

Gentoo and Xorg 7.4

October 3, 2008

(EDIT 1 [10-03-08]: I was able to find a way to get the synaptics touchpad to work :). So I changed the section where I talked about the touchpad.)

(EDIT 2 [12-19-08]: Updated package.keywords for xorg-server-1.5.2 and added a small section talking about a small problem I encountered.)

So today I was trying to get dual monitor support to work with my laptop and an external CRT I have laying around my house. Sadly though… somewhere between xorg-xserver- and xorg-xserver- support for mergedfb was dropped. This was particularly problematic for me since that is what I use to do dual screens. I accidentally received the upgrade when installing OpenOffice a week or so ago. Apparently versions of xserver less than are no longer in portage.  So… I figured if I was going to run an “unstable” version of X I might as well try out Xorg 7.4. To do this I had to add the following to package.keywords


########## Xorg 7.4 #################

Then I simply ran:

emerge -av xorg-x11

Then I let the magic begin. This will probably not work for everyone and certainly if you aren’t running at least modular X already you will have many issues because you need to follow the modular X migration guide.

Anyway so far it has been running very well, and I love having the use of xrandr. Especially on my laptop where I do a lot of moving around and switching of external monitors. I had several problems this week getting my laptop to work with projectors and I am hoping that this will help solve some of those problems as well. It really is quite amazing how far along X has come since I first started running Linux about 4 years ago.The one problem is that the synaptics driver does not compile against Xorg 7.4. I can still use the touchpad and as long as I can disable tap to click all will be well 🙂 . However I did find a synaptics driver. To install it I had to add the follow to /etc/portage/package.keywords:


Then I emerged it:

emerge -av xf86-input-synaptics

Another problem I encountered was that during the upgrade has to do with an ABI change that occurred. If you read those friendly messages at the end of the emerge there is one that goes like this:

You must rebuild all drivers if upgrading from xorg-server 1.4.1
or earlier, because the ABI changed. If you cannot start X because
of module version mismatch errors, this is your problem.
You can generate a list of all installed packages in the x11-drivers
category using this command:

emerge portage-utils; qlist -I -C x11-drivers/

That happened to me, but in a more subtle way. Everything was working except for a USB mouse I had hooked up. All I had to do was re-emerge the mouse driver. If you are not sure which driver to re-compile the quick and dirty way to compile them all at once is:

qlist -C -I x11-drivers/ | xargs emerge -v 

At this point you should be all set to restart X and hope that it works right :).

On another note, I am starting to think my “only update every 6 months” policy needs some refining. Once I am done with college hopefully I will be able to afford updating more often. At present I don’t enjoy dealing with the potential breakages that can occur with upgrades when I need to get work done. Luckily this problem occurred at the beginning of my fall break so I had some extra time to mess around with it 🙂 . Hopefully I can get in another blog entry or two in this time as well!