Call of Duty 4 does not meet minimum requirements and does not start

If “Call of Duty 4”: appears to start with the intro screen and then disappears, it probably means your computer doesn’t meet minimum requirements. What an unfriendly and unclear way to handle this problem.

Here is the computer:

* AMD Athlon XP 3200+
* nVidia 5900 FX graphics adapter
* 700GB disk free

So because it is an Athlon XP and not an Athlon 64, I think I’m hosed. The minimum requirements are according to “firingsquad”:

# CPU: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 2.4 GHz or AMD(R) Athlon(TM) 64 2800+ processor or any 1.8Ghz Dual Core Processor or better supported
# RAM: 512MB RAM (768MB for Windows Vista)
# Harddrive: 8GB of free hard drive space
# Video card (generic): NVIDIA(R) Geforce(TM) 6600 or better or ATI(R) Radeon(R) 9800Pro or better

I had forgotten the “differences”: but essentially the Athlon 64 is 64 bits internally.

Anagram Solver

Calvin wants to solve anagrams. There are lots of great programs out there, but not much source. “”: has a good list of source code that is out there, but its hard to find a simple program.

“Gtanag.mai”: is perhaps the simplest program that is a C program. I’m sure you could use it in any language. What it does is pretty brute force. It takes any dictionary like say a Google search for “unix dictionary list”:google which gets you to “words.txt”: that has a 25,000 word dictionary or the Unix V7 “/usr/dict/words”: and finds all anagrams by first making each entry canonical that is, it takes all the letters and alpha sorts them, so “rich” becomes “chir” and “calvin” becomes “acilnv” and then it can compare them by sorting all the words. If “acilnv” matches, then you have all the words that are anagrams. That is, use the same letters. Quite clever really.

Then there is one that is quite elegant using primes. Basically instead of the canonical form being the sorted order, it assigns a prime number to each letter. Then when you multiply, that number will be unique since it is a product of primes, if the numbers are the same then the word has to be the same. Wow, people like “falbdablet”: are sure smart!

So the usage if you like Unix (or Mac OS X which is the same is):

bq. canonize < dictionary | sort | gather The first command, takes an entire text file and turns into the canonical form that looks like "rich=chir" and then sort sorts the canonical alphabetically. Then gather just finds all the identical words. You could also use fgrep to find for instance all the canonical matches. We worked on a new program "search.c" that opens a dictionary that is canonical and sorted and looks for all anagrams. The Unix V7 English list is 24,000 words, but to find some really great word lists, "": has a good word list. The main problem is that we really just want an uncluttered list. So "": has a dictionary and also things that include proper names and abbreviations. The "": is what is allowed by Scrabble or simple "zip": format. The only small problem is that this is a DOS file format, so you need a small tool like "tofrodos": to get rid of the CRLF that is in DOS files vs. just the CR that is Unix files.

Anagram Games

Found lots of anagram exercises on the web from Stanford and Duke in particular, but found one that is a simple game that is pretty easy to understand:

* “Devdaily”: This one is a little complicated, but basically it shows you a scrambled word and you have to figure out how to unscramble and turn it into a real word.

There are also lots of completed programs on the web and even whole sites devoted to it. That’s because anagrams are essentially what Scrabble players need. Take a jumble of letters and turn them into potential words and you can just google:”Anagram” to see literally dozens of games.

* “”: There is a whole site devoted to anagrams and a more advanced program that takes an entire phrase and converts it.
* “Andy’s Anagram Solver”: Has a really big 132,000 word dictionary. See how many ways there are to scramble Lakeside! into French.
* “Brendan’s Anagram Generator”: This one tries to take a word and turn it into English. It uses Evan’s program.


Dad gave me an old laptop to use. It is from 2004! So it needs lots of updating. First up is to get:

# “Java”: So that I can write programs
# “Dr. Java”: Which is a simple editor and program
# “Intel 2200 BG”: I couldn’t connect to Apple’s latest Time Capsule and my drivers haven’t been in updated in four years, so got the latest 11.0 version from last year.
* “Intel Pro100/VM”:*+XP+Professional&lang=eng&strOSs=44&submit=Go%21 The Pro100/VM is OEM only, so you have to download the Pro100/VE drivers, but these are made in 2003, so after five years, I hope there are some improvements.

Puzzles and Computers

Calvin wanted to work with someone to combine a love of puzzles and a love of computers. Here are some ways to do that:

“”: are a really fun kind of puzzle. The simplest is the substitution cypher. One letter in English is translated directly into another. Writing a program to do this isn’t too hard as this site shows. You just need to have a Java compiler to use it. Of course this is just the source. To really use it, you have to know how to compile and run it on the Mac. Just the directions listed don’t work. (Of course, nothing is easy anymore, even though Java is supposed to be interpreted!)

“Hello World on the Mac”: I learn to program everything just from figuring out how to print “hello world”. This probably comes from the dawn of time, but I learned it first when I learned C (I don’t want to tell you how many years ago, OK, 30, there you have it!) where the first program was literally printf(“hello world\n”). It is amazing how complicated folks have made it.

“DrJava”: If Xcode is a little much at Princeton, they use a simplified development environment called Dr Java, this seems way simpler to me. It is only command line, but that is OK for kids really. Otherwise the user interface code is 10x more than the rest of it. As an aside, watch you, Java SE for Windows 6 Update 4 and 5 are incompatible with the exe file, you have to use .jar version of DrJava otherwise you get a strange, “no zip entry error message”

“Java SE”: If you don’t have a Mac, you have to load Java on Windows first. This is not the standard Java runtime, but what is know as the Standard Edition that lets you compile Java programs. It is required by Dr. Java to compile and run Java.

“”: A little complicated, this takes any pile of characters and turns them into an anagram.

“Anagram Solver”: Something from Stanford, but it includes recursion to solve a program.

Doubly Special Relativity

Calvin and I have been reading a really interesting book about the politics of physic (yes there is such a thing called) “The Trouble with Physics”: about the big issues with string theory. Thanks to Peter for sending to me.

He describes a really interesting theory called “Doubly Special Relativity (DSR)”: that although highly speculative makes more sense to us then a 12 dimensional universe. Basically it says that just as there is a speed limit for light at C, there is also a smallest possible length which is called Planck’s length. As things get smaller and smaller (remember as you go faster, everything gets shorter and time gets longer, until you get to the speed of light when time stops and distances are zero), that the all observers can agree that nothing is smaller than Planck’s length with is

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