Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Version 2.1 of QSoas is out

I have just released QSoas version 2.1. It brings in a new solve command to solve arbitrary non-linear equations of one unknown. I took advantage of this command in the figure to solve the equation for . It also provides a new way to reparametrize fits using the reparametrize-fit command, a new series of fits to model the behaviour of an adsorbed 1- or 2-electrons catalyst on an electrode (these fits are discussed in great details in our recent review (DOI: 10.1016/j.coelec.2016.11.002), improvements in various commands, the possibility to now compile using Ruby 2.3 and the most recent version of the GSL library, and sketches for an emacs major mode, which you can activate (for QSoas script files, ending in .cmds) using the following snippet in $HOME/.emacs:

(autoload 'qsoas-mode "$HOME/Prog/QSoas/misc/qsoas-mode.el" nil t)
(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.cmds$" . qsoas-mode))

Of course, you'll have to adapt the path $HOME/Prog/QSoas/misc/qsoas-mode.el to the actual location of qsoas-mode.el.

As before, you can download the source code from our website, and purchase the pre-built binaries following the links from that page too. Enjoy !

Friday, January 6, 2017

RFH: screen that hurts my eyes

Short summary:

My eyes hurt when I use my home desktop computer - but only with this computer. This has been very long and frustrating for me, so if you think you can help, read the whole story just below, or skip to what I've tried and what I suspect might be the problem, and post comments below, or send me a mail (my adress should be quite obvious in this page).

Whole story:

Two years ago, I bought myself a new fancy motherboard (a Asus B85M-G C2) with a new fancy Intel-based processor with built-in graphics (an Intel Core i7-4770) and memory to go with it. I installed it in the place of my old AMD-based motherboard, keeping everything else (my hoard of hard drives and such) excepted the graphics card, which was not needed anymore. I immediately noticed my eyes were aching when using the computer. I was quite surprised since I had been using the screen very heavily for almost 10 years before that, without any problems. I attributed that to Intel Graphics, so I tried putting back the old graphics card, but it did not help. The situation was very frustrating, since working on the computer for an hour or so was making my eyes hurt for several days. This problem was specific to this computer, I could keep on using my computer at work and my laptop without problems.

I could use the computer using SSH from my laptop, so I could profit from the faster processor, but, hey, that wasn't how it was meant to happen. I bought another screen, also tried with one from the work, without any change. I tried using two screens at the same time (this is what I have at work), also without success, so I just kept not using the computer directly. I moved recently to a new place and tried to get that working back again, but didn't get any luck. Frustrated, I got another desktop computer and another screen, and I still have the same problem ! I also tried remounting the old motherboard with the AMD processor and the old graphics card, but that didn't bring any improvement. I just don't get it. This situation is rather frustrating for me, and it's been holding me back in my software projects for two years now (which partly explains my lack of involvement in Debian over the past few years). This post is here in the hope someone will have a idea, but also for me to keep track of what I've done and what I should.

What is puzzling me is that the computer I had before was perfectly fine, and that I have a very very similar setup at work (also with a NVIDIA graphics card) that doesn't hurt my eyes at all.

What I've tried:

Here is what I tried, you need to keep in mind that when a trial fails, my eyes keep on hurting for several days, and might trigger false positives.
  • putting back the old (NVIDIA) graphics card, buying a new one (NVIDIA as well);
  • putting back the old motherboard (but with a new OS, but maybe my eyes were too sore for a clean test);
  • using another screen (a new one from the same brand, Samsung), a Dell and a HP from my work, and a brand new Phillips;
  • using two screens at the same time;
  • using a completely different (new, based on Xeon processors and a NVIDIA graphics card) computer (with new mouse, keyboard, hard drives and so on);
  • changing house, including changing the lighting conditions, the desk, the internet provider (no, I didn't do that just because of my computer problems !);
  • changing the way I drive the screens between VGA, DVI and HDMI;
  • copying the system I have in my workplace to the new computer and booting from that system (after a few adaptations, though).

As you can guess, none of those brought any improvement.

Wild hypotheses:

  • Is that a software thing ? Is there something wrong for me in the versions of Debian dating from August 2014 and after ?
  • Is that a BIOS problem with recent computers ?
  • Is that linked to some waves (bluetooth shoudln't be on, but maybe I didn't check well enough ?)
  • Is that linked to EFI (but I also have the problems when I use legacy BIOS for booting)
  • Something weird in my home ?
  • Anything else ?

Any help will be greatly appreciated, but please don't advise going to see a doctor, I don't see how this could be a medical condition specific to my home desktop computer, unless this is a very specific psychosomatic problem.