Wednesday, December 29, 2004

After-market navigation with XM data

Pioneer Electronics AVIC-NC2 In a previous post, I mentioned that XM is delivering navigation data in their stream, and the Acura RL is using this data in its navigation stystem. I was hoping that someone would come out with an after-market system that uses this data. This post at Droxy mentions that Pioneer has announced their AVIC-NC2.



Replaced router


Last night, I replaced our Netgear FR114P with a Linksys WRT54GS. I wanted to get this new router for a couple of reasons:


  1. Better QoS. The QoS in our Vonage ATA only handles upstream bandwidth. The QoS in the Linksys does QoS on both upstream and downstream. (previous post)

  2. Better reliability. I was never sure about how reliable the Motorola VT1000v is. Since the Motorola VT1000v was connected directly to the broadband connection, and the Netgear was connected to the Motorola, if the Vonage ATA crashed, my whole network would be in accessible.



Monday, December 27, 2004

s/mime certificates


A while ago, I setup s/mime certificates for my email accounts. I just noticed that the certificates are about to expire. So I created some new certificates, and these are the steps that I followed. These certificates will work with Apple's Mail as well as Mozilla.


There are several reasons that I do this:


  1. Whenever I send emails, I always sign the messages. Many email programs (Apple Mail, Mozilla, Outlook) will automatically notify the recipient that the sender has been verified, and that the message has not been modified. So when someone receives an email from me, they can be certain that I sent the email.

  2. Signed messages get marked with a lower score from spam filters, so there is less of a chance of false positives

  3. When sending email to a recipient that also has a s/mime certificate, most email programs will give you the option to encrypt the message.


I originally got these instructions from this page at macosxhnts.


Sunday, December 26, 2004

DVDAttache


For Christmas we got a lot of DVDs (Baby Einstein 15 DVD collection), and last night I wanted to enter them into the application that I use to manage our DVD collection. During the process of entering the DVDs, the application started crashing. So, I decided to find a different one. DVDAttache is the best one that I have found.


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Fixed bug in plog xmlrpc


I fixed a bug in the code that I did for implementing MetaWeblog xmlrpc support. If no categories were specified for a post, the server would get an error.


The thing that I want to work on next is to get the dateCreated that is specified by the client to be used for the resulting article.


I have posted the updated script here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Post with tips for dealing with stolen blog content


The ProBlogger blog has a post that describes some very good steps to take when you find that someone is stealing your content.

Upgraded PostNuke


Since there is a new worm that is using Google to spread itself to phpBB forums, I decided to upgrade my PostNuke and PNphpBB to the latest versions.


After backing up my previous installation, I downloaded the latest version of PostNuke. I then followed the steps listed here. (They should do something similar to gallery, where the archive always expands to the same name, so it is easy to do upgrades).



Door Knob Covers


It is fun watching our son defeat the childproofing devices around our house. We have the Safety 1st Secure Grip Door Knob Covers on one of our door. I had been noticing that the door was open when I could have sworn that I had closed it.


Normally an adult will squeeze both sides of the covers and then turn the knob. A kid can't do this so I was interested how he was getting in.


Google Response for copyright infrigement


In a previous post, I mentioned that there was a web site that had been posting my content without permission. I had contacted Google since this web master was attempting to make money by posting Google AdSense ads on these pages.


The response that I got was that Google only is responsible for the contents of the ads, and not the content of the the web pages that the ads are displayed on.


UPS works


This morning the power went out at our house. This was the first real use of our Tripp Lite UPS 1500VA system. The power was out for about 40 minutes, and the UPS was up for about 35 minutes. I was very pleased that we got it.



Monday, December 20, 2004

UPS to RSS


Jason (his blog) made a comment on my previous post about getting a RSS feed for FedEx tracking information. He wrote cgi that generates an rss feed from UPS tracking information. The post that describes this.



Friday, December 17, 2004

Delphi SkyFi2


Skyfi 2In my previous post, I was wondering if the Delphi SkyFi2 would work with all of the original SkyFi components. From Delphi's product page, it looks like it is completely backwards compatible with all of the old accessories



Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Firefox Inline Autocomplete


The Geek Ramblings blog entry, Firefox Inline Autocomplete, describes how to enable autofill in the location bar


To turn on inline autocomplete in Firefox...


Enter about:config in the URL field

Right-click on the page and create a new Boolean value

Enter browser.urlbar.autoFill as the preference name (note, case-sensitive: 'F', not 'f')

Set the value to true

Site displaying content without permission


It looks like there is a web site out there that is displaying content from this blog witihout getting permission or placing the proper citations on their web site.



Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Doctor insurance scam


We have been dealing with what appears to be a scam by an anesthesiologist. In September, our daughter was born by cesarean. We knew that the surgeon and the hospital was a part of our health insurance network, so we knew that their charges would be covered.


A couple of months later, we received a bill for the anesthesiologist, requesting payment, since the insurance company only payed 70%. Since the hospital assigned the anesthesiologist, and the hospital was under the contract with the insurance company, I though that it was strange that the anesthesiologist wouldn't be covered. I call my insurance company, and then they said that they agreed to pay 100%. But that is 100% of what they deem to be the correct cost. So I am still liable for the difference.



mod_pubsub


After I posted a recent post, I noticed that there was one client accessing an image about every 3 seconds. This was the referrer:


http://mod-pubsub.org:9000/tests/rss_scroller.html?debug=false


It looks like mod_pubsub is causing this traffic. mod_pubsub is an interesting project. it looks like the goal of the project is to create a "realtime" browser. It will automatically update the contents of a browser as content changes, without requiring a reload.


HitMaps back up


HitMaps is back, and is creating maps for traffic on websites. It looks like they have a new solution for sites that have a lot of traffic. Admins of sites with a lot of load will have to upload a comma separated file to their web server, in order to generate the maps.

Navigation data and XM Radio


XM RadioI just saw this post today about how Sirius will be including traffic maps and data with their service. The more interesting thing is that XM is already sending this data in their XM NavTraffic system. They are sending traffic data in their signals that can be sent to a car navigation system and overlayed on the map. Also the navigation system can reroute the directions to avoid traffic congestion. The 2005 Acura RL has this system as standard equipment.


Monday, December 13, 2004

Virtual Desktops for Mac OS X


The Apple Blog has a review of the different Virtual Desktop applications that are available for Mac OS X. At different times I have tried these Virtual Desktop applications, and wasn't impressed. I think that I expected an experience similar to that in KDE on linux. I am trying again with Desktop Manager, and I will give it a chance.


Desktop Manager has one of the features that I want in a Virtual Desktop; The ability to mark windows to appear on all desktops. Now I can keep the windows with my server output on the background of all of my desktops


WinSwitch


I have been using Fast User Switching in Mac OS X. I have found that it is a great way to test new software, without worrying about the software corrupting my user files. I have created a test account, and I run the software with that user. I can easily switch back and forth between my account and the test account.


The only problem with Apple's implementation is that the user switch menu item is pretty large, as it uses the users full name as the menu title. WinSwitch is a better implementation of this menu with a lot more features. Not only does it let you change how the menu appears, but you can specify scripts or applications that get run when switching to or from a user.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Streaming mp3 servers


I have been trying to find a solution to fulfill all of my needs to listen to my music. I have about 40Gb of Music on my linux computer at home. I have netjuke installed there in order to allow me to listen to my music on my computers when I am at work, as well as listening to my music on my TiVo at home, using NetjukeTiVo.


Normally, I would just create a m3u for a collection of music that I have an urge to listen to now, and I would add that playlist of music to iTunes. This doesn't allow me to use the main feature of iTunes, where it can do a very good job at organizing music, and creating smart playlists.


What I want to be able to do is to play all of my music randomly, skipping over the Children's and Holiday music and the comedy tracks.


One way to solve this is to copy all of the music on the linux computer to my PowerBook, but I don't have enough space on my laptop. Also, I really don't want to have two copies of my music.



Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Strange web client access pattern


I have been noticing some strange web access in my logs. I mentioned them in this earlier post. The request looks like this:


213.172.36.XX - - [07/Dec/2004:16:05:53 -0800] "GET /index.php?op=viewarticle&articleid=105&blogid=2 HTTP/1.0" 200 49712 "http://www.XXXXXX.info/" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.2; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)"


All of these request have the same interesting traits:


  1. All of the urls have been converted to lower case. (With my blog system, this will cause the main page to be returned everytime)

  2. All of the requests have referral urls in the .info root domain

  3. The hosts specified in the referral do not resolve. But domains appear to have been registered though a French domain registrar, with made up names for the contacts



Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Etheric.net support


I have to say that I have been very happy with the support over at Etheric.net. They have been very responsive to fix problems when they occur.


For example, when we were hearing noise on our Vonage line, caused by latency problems, they fixed the problems quickly. Also last night our connection went down around midnight. I called and talked to someone in Technical support and they had the problem fixed within 5 minutes.

Sunday, December 5, 2004

BlogExplosion javascript


The Zero Boss blog has posted a pretty cool javascript that will detect when a web visitor is seeing our site thought BlogExplosion, and then present a message.

Replacement mirrors


This weekend, I replaced the left and right mirrors on our 1993 Sentra. m3 mirror evoThese mirrors have LED turn signals on them. I bought them on ebay for $10, so I figured that even if they didn't work, I wouldn't be out much.


Installation took longer than I expected, but I have finished the majority of the work.



Thursday, December 2, 2004

Multi-channel MP3 files


Fraunhoffer ISS, Thomson, and Agere Systems, has announced a new mp3 format that supports 5.1 channels of audio. Supposedly the files are not significantly larger than regular mp3.


http://www.mp3surround-format.com/



Clarion iPod interface

Clarion iPodGizmodo has a post (with a picture) of Clarion's new VRX755VD. It looks like it has one of the nicest interfaces for controlling an iPod. Unfortunately, it will only work on one of their headunits that have a video screen. I hope that they will come out with one that doesn't require the video screen.

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Duke Nukem 3D for Mac OS X


It looks like Ryan Gordon, who brought the last couple of Unreal Tournament games to the Mac, has ported Nuke Nukem 3D to Mac OS X. This installer will install the shareware version, or the commercial version if you have the PC "Atomic Edition" or the MacSoft version.


Now I can waste more time, playing this game that I used to play a long time ago.

FedEx to RSS


A while ago, Boing Boing had a post, about someone who created a cgi to get FedEx tracking information into a RSS feed. I am receiving a package, that happens to be via FedEx, and I tried this out, and it works pretty well.


Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Saving RSS bandwidth


Hack the Planet weblog as a post about different service offering to save bandwidth for users and webmasters. Of the two listed on that post, I think that the most promising is RSScache.com. RSScache.com is a web proxy that supports rss feeds.



Monday, November 29, 2004

Another blog linking service


I Hate My Cubicle!!! had a post about BlogLinker.com, which is a blog linking service. The way that it works is that you add web sites to your url list. Then, in addition to that url appearing in your list, your url will appear in their list, if they have also signed up with BlogLinker.


This is an interesting way to get traffic to your website.





Sunday, November 28, 2004

HitMaps down


In this post, I mentioned HitMaps. It looks like their service is going through an upgrade. Adding new users and counting for existing users has been suspended, until the upgrade is complete.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Azureus


I have been playing with BitTorrent for a little while, and Azureus is a great cross platform client. It is written in Java, and it runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. It allows you to quickly download large files quickly, by using a little bit of everyone's upload bandwidth.


Thursday, November 25, 2004

eBay to RSS feed


In August, Boing Boing had a post about a eBay query to RSS feed service. I just started to use rssauction.com, to keep an eye out for parts for my 1993 Nissan Sentra. It is pretty cool, since you can see the new auctions in your rss aggregator.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Wireless X10 light switch


Wireless X10 light switchOur son's room does not have an overhead light, so I install this wireless X10 light switch. It has been working great, except it gets reprogrammed periodically. This switch gets programed by pressing an hold the buttons for a few seconds. Since our son is tall enough now to press the buttons, he reprograms it regularly.


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Get TV shows via RSS & BitTorrent


Engadget has a good article on how to setup BitTorrent and RSS to automatically download video content as it becomes available.


I have gotten these instructions to work on Mac OS X and on my RedHat 9 Linux computers

xname.org


XName is a service that provides primary and secondary DNS servers for people with their own domain. These services are free, but they do ask for a donation if you like the service. This is good to have in case your primary DNS server is not available. You will still be able to potentially get email and web traffic.


Monday, November 22, 2004

XM Radio Online adds Mac support


MacCentral has a post that mentions that XM Radio adds Mac OS X support to their XM Radio Online. It looks like it will support any platform that can run Windows Media Player 9.0 or newer. This is pretty cool, as I listen to XM Radio driving to and from work, and now I can continue to listen when I am not in my car.


GearLive


If you are trying the websites like FreeiPods.com or FreePhotoiPods.com, GearLive is a way for you to trade your referrals. When you register, you can list all of your current open offers. You also list all of the offers that you are eligible for. Then you can search for all of the people who can help you fulfill your offers.


Friday, November 19, 2004

10x10


10x10 is a website that has an interesting way to display the news. It shows a 10 x 10 grid of photos for the top 100 news stories. When you click on an image, it will take you to news story.

IM Smarter


IM Smarter is a interesting service, that works with most IM protocols. It is a services that keeps a log of all of your im, so you can search through them later. The more interesting features are:


  1. Set up reminders

  2. Create blog entries directly from your im clients



Blocking a blog spammer


I have been noticing that there have been requests to my blog, with the referrer of "http://12.163.72.13/". One of the interesting things about these requests is that the whole url has been converted to lowercase. (Which means that they were only seeing the main index page, and not the page that they indented.)


After I searched for that referrer url on Google, I found this post. It looks like this is a signature is for a blog spammer. Even though they did not successfully post any spam comments, I decided to blog these requests.



Thursday, November 18, 2004

Updated MetaWeblog support in plog


I have updated the changes that I mentioned in a previous post, to better support the metaWeblog API in plog. The new file is here. In order to use it, remove the .txt extension and place it in your plog directory.



Wednesday, November 17, 2004

ecto


I have been playing with an xmlrpc client for posting to my blog. ecto is the best client that I have seen so far.


It is client that supports any weblog system that uses any of the standard xmlrpc APIs. With this appliication, you can create new entries, as well as manage the existing ones.


Crazy Rabbit

Here is page with an pretty cool flash animation.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Zinio.com


Zinio.com is a pretty cool service. Instead of having physical magazines delivered to you home, you can not have some magazines delivered to you electronically.


The electronic versions of the magazines are probably rendered from the original source material. Some of the interesting benefits of the electronic versions are:


  1. The urls become true hyperlinks

  2. The content is searchable

  3. It is very easy to retain an archive of the content, without taking a lot of physical space

  4. It is possible to send articles to people you know.



Added metaWeblog support to plog

In a previous post, I mentioned how I was having problems getting ecto to work with plog. Since plog only implementsthe Blogger API, this does not have all of the features that I was looking for. I extended the xmlrpc.php file to include a partial metaWeblog support.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Smart night vision


Smart night visionAutoblog has a post on Honda's new smart night vision system Not only does it allow the driver to see at night, but it will automatically identify pedestrians that are going to cross the path of the car.

ecto and pLog

I have been trying to get ecto to work with pLog,
in order to post from my Mac. I have been not been able to get it
to work completely. When I load the existing posts, it puts the
titles of messages into the body section. Also when creating new
messages all of the message body appears in the title section.

HitMaps

HitMaps is a web site that will plot the location of the visitors to your web site on a world map. It works by having you include an img link on your web page. Then they map all of the unique ip address requesting the image. Then once a day it regenerates the image.

Here is the map for paulstimesink.com:


Locations of visitors to this page

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Remote for AirPort Express


Airport Express RemoteKeyspan has come out with a remote for the AirPort Express. It plugs into the USB port of the AirPort Express, and it send the commands to the Mac playing the music. It will go on sale in mid-November for $59.99


Now someone should come out with a USB lcd display. This would show the track information about the playing tracks.


Hashcash

Hashcash is an interesting method that can potentially stop spam. Hashcash adds X-Hashcash: headers to email messages. The generation of the headers will take some CPU cycles, so it is not feasible for spammers to put this header into each of their email messages. On the receiving end, it is a very inexpensive algorithm to validate the header.

This has been built into SpamAssassin 3.0, so if people start using these headers SpamAssassin will give these messages a lower spam score. Here are the instructions for SpamAssassin

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

FreeiPods.com

I signed up with FreeiPods.com. They are giving away free iPods if you sign up for an offer, and you get 5 other people to sign up as well. They make their money from the referral fee from the companies that give the offers. There are a couple of web sites that have investigated this, and they have found that this is legit. (Engadget story, Wired News)

Here is the link to sign up.

Sunday, November 7, 2004

Spam Poison

I found this website yesterday that is supposed to help combat
spam. Spam Poison is a web site that you link to from your web
pages, it has links to pages that have a bunch of fake email
addresses. This is supposed to fight spammer is two ways.

  1. Spam web crawlers will waste time on these web pages

  2. All of these fake email address will waste the resources of the spammers


I am not sure about how effective this web site will be. I would
assume that the spammers will just not crawl hosts in the
spampoison.com domain.

DSM-320 MediaLounge

Dlink DSB-302Dlink has a network media player. The MedialLounge will play music, photos and videos on your TV/entertainment center. It has a pretty good list of media types that it supports (Audio: MP3, WMA, WAV; Image: JPEG, JPEG200, TIFF, GIF, BMP, PNG; Video: MPEG1/2/4, AVI, XviD)

I realy like the form factor, but I don't like the fact that they only have Windows software. Maybe they will release the protocol, and some one will come out with a open source server software.

Friday, November 5, 2004

Lowrance iWay


Lowrance GPSLowrance has come out with an auto GPS system. They are known for aviation and boating GPS systems. It has a lot of pretty cool features.



  1. 20Gb hard drive

  2. built-in MP3 player

  3. Adapter for hooking it up to the car stereo


It is listed for around $800, so it is around the same price as the TomTom Go. If this can be mounted on the dash, this would be very cool.


iCruze

iCruzeMonster has come out with a iPod to car stereo adapter. It connects the iPod to the CD Changer port of the car stereo. I am assuming that the iCruze represents the playlists as CDs, so changing CDs on the head unit will probably change the playlists on the iPod. This is supposed to show the track titles on the head units that support it. Maybe it is using CD-TEXT for that.

Mac OS X DAV copies


I noticed something interesting a couple of days ago, while doing a
copy of a large file to a WebDAV server. It looks like the Mac OS
X Finder first it caches the file to the local disk, and then during
the "Closing file" state, it actually transfers it.DAV copy
I wonder if this is done to help problems with the connection.

Wednesday, November 3, 2004

TiVo and Vonage

I have been having problems getting my TiVos making phone calls over the Vonage phone line. I have changed one of my TiVos to use our ethernet network, but our other one does not have Home Media Option (It is a TiVo/DIRECTV box). Vonage has posted some instructions about how to get this to work. It has been hit and miss for me. Some of calls work and some don't.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Another USB sound device

HarmonyExpress
A while ago, I wrote a post about Turtle Beach coming out with a USB audio device that has analog and digital outputs. On November 15th, Miglia is coming out with a similar device. Their HarmonyExpress is pretty much the same type of device as the Audio Advantage Micro, but it doesn't support true AC3 DTS output. Also, it costs over twice as much as the Audio Advantage Micro, at $70.

a9 toolbar for Firefox

A9.com has released a toolbar Firefox for thier search engine. It brings some of the functionality of the a9 website into the browser. For example, it makes it easy to perform searches again.

Friday, October 29, 2004

VNC Video Card

I have a server running RedHat 9, that I do not keep a monitor or keyboard connected to. I want to upgrade it to Fedora Core 2, but it is such a hassle, having to connect it to a monitor, keyboard and mouse.

I would love to see someone make a "network video card". This would be a video card that does not actually connect to a monitor. It would actually have a ethernet port. Instead of rendering the video to VGA it would render it to VNC. Then anyone with a VNC client could look at the computer "screen". Also, I was thinking that this video card would have either a USB cable or a PS/2 mouse and keyboard out, so the clients could control the computer. This solution would allow remote controlling of all features, including BIOS settings.

SkiFi 2

Skyfi 2As I am sure most TiVo users have experienced, I have wanted to replay things other than TV. When driving in the car and you miss something on the radio, I want the ability to replay. Delfi, as reported in Engadget, has come out with a new version of the SkiFi that solves some of these problems.

The SkiFi 2 has some minor tweaks, but the most interesting change to be is that they added a 30-minute buffer. Son now it willbe possible to pause and rewind into the buffer.

Growl

Growl is a great new application service that allows any Mac OS X application to present notifications in a unified manor. This allows notifications for iChat, Mail, iTunes and other applications to present a unified notification. So now instead of having some applications bounce their dock icons, some opening windows, and others putting badges on the doc icon, there can be an integrated notification system.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

WhoLinksToMe.com

WhoLinksToMe.com is a very simple service that will determine what webpages link to a given host. What it does is automates searching on Google ( link:www.yourdomain.com query) , Yahoo! and MSN with (linkdomain:www.yourdomain.com), and then puts it on a web page.

Basestation with built-in hard drive

Ximeta Combo 160GB 802.11g routerEngadget has a post that describes a new 802.11g wireless access point and router that also has a built in 160Gb hard drive. I am not sure what protocols this supports, but I am assuming that it will suport SMB

iPod Photo

iPod PhotoNow I actually am really interested in buying a iPod. The 60Gb iPod Photo has enough space to hold all of our 40+ Gb of music, as well as all of our photos.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Removed Blogsnob

I have noticed that BlogSnob has started to put adds for commercial products/companies in thier listings. When I signed up with BlogSnob, it was meant for advertizing other blogs. I don't like that they just changed the types of ads, but even if they did, I should get some of the money that they get.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Script to inventory computers on network

Macosxhints has a post that describes a script that will list the computer on a network. It uses the arp cache to get the list of computers on the network. It also will map the MAC Address to manufacturer for each device.

Since it uses the arp cache, the post has instructions on quickly access each machine on the network to populate the arp cache.

New Product Idea

Imagine you are on a long road trip, going 60 or 70 on the freeway, and your kids (2 years and 6 weeks) have finally fallen asleep. And it is even during their nap time, so they should be rested in a couple of hours. You and your wife can now listen to the CDs of your choice. But then suddenly traffic comes to a stop... And they wake up, not getting enough sleep

I think that this product will solve this problem:

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Navigation in Honda Odyssey

This weekend was our first chance to have a long trip in the Odyssey. I though that the navigation system was great, and was really useful. There were a few bugs/limitations that I hope get resolved in a future release of the software:

Saturday, October 16, 2004

EyeHome

EyeHomeatmaspheric | endeavors has a review of the EyeHome media player. It looks like a great networked media player, that is intented for Mac OS X. It uses rendezvous to locate Mac OS X computers on the network.

It shows photos from iPhoto, music from iTunes and all music files from the Movies directory in the home directory. It will play MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX¨, 3IVX and XVID video files and AIFF, MP3, WAV, (unprotected) AAC, Ogg Vorbis adn unencrypted WMA audio files.


Sharing drives between Windows XP and ME

Today, I was setting up sharing between a Windows XP computer and a Windows ME computer. This page had the instructions that worked the best for me.

Arnold Called

I must be important... I got a personal call from Arnold Schwarzenegger .....

ArnoldMessage.wav

I think that this is soo funny. Do these types of calls really affect the election? Are there people out there who really think that this an individual call from the Governor?

What does this cost the Republican Party, to call each of the registered voters in the state? Who pays the bill if they call my cell phone, and I have to pay minutes?

Monday, October 11, 2004

Playing with the Sims

Sims tortureThis is a little sick, but I laughed so hard I made my self cry. Here is a great account of what happens when you put two Sims in a box with a chair, fireplace and picture of a clown.

I start out by creating a random couple. I build them a little
room,
seen below, with a door. One they've both walked in to check their
"home" out, I get rid of the door. As you can see, the room contains
the following:

* A ghetto chair
* A fireplace
* A clown painting


Link (via Boing Boing)

Network problems resolved (hopefully)

Last week, and then earlier today, our network connection would suddenly stop working. It appeared that all incoming connections would timeout, and all outbound connections would never receive responses. The other interesting fact, was that our Vonage ATA, which had a different ip address was working fine.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

XM FM Modulator

XM Delphi FM modulator
This afternoon, I installed the Delphi FM Modulator for the Delphi SkiFi in our 1993 Nissan Sentra. It is great to be able to listen to XM, without using the tape adapter or the cigarette lighter. Also there isn't the problem with tape hiss.

Thursday, October 7, 2004

Switched to Etheric.net

We had our wireless broadband, by etheric.net, installed today and it is working great. We are seeing upload and download speeds of areound 3Mbs

Speed results

There was only one problem that we saw. When it was first installed, there was about a 5 minute period that the connection stopped working. Since the installer was still here, he called technical support and by the time that he was off the phone it was working.

BlogExplosion

BlogExplosion is a website that is a way to bring traffic to your blog. It is a site that will generate traffic to your blog when you view other blogs. So if you are interested in finding new blogs, this is one way to do it, and get more traffic to your blog.

The one thing that I would love to see is BlogExplosion generate an rss feed that contains urls to the blogs to be viewed.

Update: This rss feed would just have a url to the blog, and not show each of the blog entries.


Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Show ip address GeekTool script

Macosxhints has a post that describes a pretty cool script for GeekTool that shows the ip addresses for each of the active network interfaces, as well as the public ip address for the computer.

Check IP screen shot

2000 VW Jetta GLX for sale

JettaIf you are in the bay area, and are in the market for a 2000 Jetta GLX, we are selling ours

Craigslist post

Cars.com post

Monday, October 4, 2004

Importing self-signed certificates

I have been trying to read a rss feed on a secure web site with a self-signed certificate, but Shrook has been having a problem loading it. Shrook uses Apple's Web toolkit to do http communication, and it looks it will not load data from a site with a self-signed certificate, when the certificate is not loaded in the keychain. Here are the steps that I used to get it to work:

Change Trash IMAP folder in Mozilla

I was having problems using Mozilla on an Exchange IMAP server. The web interface to the IMAP server wants to use a folder called "Deleted Items" as the trash folder, while Mozilla, by default, wants to use a folder called "Trash". I got tired of having two different folders that deleted emails get moved to, so I found a page with some instructions to tell Mozilla to use a different IMAP folder for the trash folder.



Best error dialog .... EVER!!

Best error dialog ever!!!

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Raid in single drive bay

IO Data RAIDEngadget has a post on a interesting Raid1 solution. IO Data Device has a hardware raid that fits 2 2.5 inch hard drives and a Raid controller into a standard 3.5" drive bay. Since this is a hardware based solution, it should work on any hardware and OS that supports IDE drives.

They are pretty expensive: 40, 60, and 80GB models are around $800 USD, $1000 USD, and $1300 USD respectively. Maybe this makes sense for a computer case that has only one drive bay.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Enabling InnoDB for SpamAssassin Bayes database

Here are the steps that I used to upgrade the SpamAssassin mysql database from MyISAM to InnoDB.

Since mysql in Fedora Core 1 comes with version 3.23.58 of mysql wirth InnoDB support configured, all that was needed was to enable it in the configuration file. Using the instructions I found on this page, I added the following lines to the [mysqld] section of my my.cnf file:

# You can write your other MySQL server options here
# ...
# Data files must be able to hold your data and indexes.
# Make sure that you have enough free disk space.
innodb_data_file_path = ibdata1:10M:autoextend
#
# Set buffer pool size to 50-80% of your computer's memory
set-variable = innodb_buffer_pool_size=70M
set-variable = innodb_additional_mem_pool_size=10M
#
# Set the log file size to about 25% of the buffer pool size
set-variable = innodb_log_file_size=20M
set-variable = innodb_log_buffer_size=8M
#
innodb_flush_log_at_trx_commit=1

  1. Stop Amavisd - "/etc/init.d/amavisd stop"
  2. Flush the bayes database - "sa-learn --sync"
  3. Backup the database - "sa-learn --backup > backup.txt"
  4. For each of the tables, run the sql commands:
    ALTER TABLE <table name> TYPE=InnoDB;
    ANALYZE TABLE <table name>;
  5. Start Amavisd - "/etc/init.d/amavisd start"

Monday, September 27, 2004

Alpine KCA-420i review

Playlistmag.com has a review of the Alpine KCA-420i, which is Alpine's adapter so the iPod can be used with their Ai-NET head units. The reviewer states that the interface is not what he expected, but it is still the best way to connect the iPod to a car stereo.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Wireless broadband

Previously, I had talked about the problems that I have had with SBC. We are going to try going with Etheric Networks. They have a wireless plan that has a guaranteed up/download rate of 1Mbps and a burst rate up to 4Mpbs. Their SOHO Broadband package includes 2 - 8 ip address, and they permit users to share bandwidth and host servers. This with Vonage for phone service will be roughly the same price as SBC for our business phone line with business DSL.

Here are the reviews of Etheric Networks on BroadbandReports.com

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Gateway Connected DVD Player

Gateway Connected DVD PlayerGateway has a progressive-scan DVD player that streams content from a PC. It streams music, photos and video from a PC with built-in 802.11g. It looks like it supports MPEG and DivX video files.

PVRblog has a review of this player. The DVD player has a price of $119 on gateway.com.

One downside of this DVD player for me is that there isn't Mac OS X or Linux server software for it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

SpamAssassin 3.0

Last night I upgraded our server to SpamAssassin 3.0, from 2.6x. There are some new featres that should help reduce the amount of spam that gets through.
  1. Built-in support for URI Blacklists like SURBL - This allows SpamAssassin to mark messages as spam, if they have urls that are in a lot of reported spam messages. Previously this was a plugin for the older SpamAssassin, which had to be installed separately. Here is my post where I described it.
  2. Built-in support for Sender Policy Framework - This helps SpamAssassin determine when messages may have a forged sender. Here is my post were I talked about SPF.
  3. Support to have the Bayesian databases put into a mysql database. - This one really interst me for two reasons:
    1. To allow backup mail hosts to have the same bayesian database for spam checking. Most people who have a backup mail server only have the up to date bayesian database on their primary mail server.
    2. To have the potential to have a some centralized bayesian database server. Imagine if everyone running SpamAssassin send their bayesian tokens to this centralized server. Then everyone could benefit from this large corpus of spam and ham data


Finding similar blogs

I am interested in finding blogs that are similar to the ones that I already read. I found two web sites that offer to do this.



Free Gmail accounts


Get Firefox!


The Spread Firefox team is giving away over 2,000 Gmail invites. Here are the rules:

  1. The site must have a Firefox button, logo or banner linking to the Firefox project either through sfx or directly.
  2. The person must not already have Gmail.
  3. The site must be publicly viewable with some content.
  4. The site must not consist mostly of advertising.
  5. The site must not contain any adult content.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Password generator

Here is a page that has a bookmarklet that will generate a password for websites, given a master password. This is how it works:
It gets the hostname from the page's URL and mixes it together with
your personal master password using a little cryptographic magic we
call MD5.
It will always get the same result if given that hostname and master
password, but will never get that result if either changes. (Well, once
in a few billion times it might.)

Essential Mac OS X Software

On 43 Folders, there is a post that is collecting a list of essential OS X software. Here is my list:

Friday, September 17, 2004

Checklist for securing ssh

On the Kasia in a nutshell blog, there is a good post about how to make an ssh server as secure as possible, while still allowing connections from external networks.

XM Audio Component

Polk XM
I was looking into getting a component XM Radio, and I only found one. Polk is coming out with their XRt12 tuner, wich is an A/V component that plays XM radio. This is advertised as a high end device.

I am not sure that this is worth the $329.95 price. I am not sure about how good the quality will be, especially since the source audio is inherently low quality (MPEG). This would just the same a playing an MP3 on a high end audio system.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Another benefit of A9

A9

If you log into A9, Amazon will give you a π/2% (1.57%) discount on purchases on Amazon.com. This is a great way to get people to use A9.com

Paul Westbrook, since you've been using A9.com recently, virtually everything at Amazon.com is automatically
an additional
π/2% (1.57%) off for you. Collecting this discount is zero effort on your part. It will be
applied automatically at checkout (it will happen whether you use the shopping cart or our 1-Click
Shopping®). You don't need to do anything to get this discount except keep using A9.com as your regular
search engine.

Description of RSS support in Firefox

Get Firefox!


Phil Windley posted Firebird Support for RSS, which is a good description of Firefox's support for RSS feeds


The latest version of the Firebird browser autodiscovers the RSS feeds of sites that you visit and puts an RSS badge in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. Clicking on the badge let's you add the feed to your bookmarks folder. Then, clicking on the bookmark folder gives a list of the most recent posts on that site. At this point, I'd say "good start." Here's why:

Dropping SBC

I need to find a different ISP. SBC screwed up our DSL again today. When we woke up, I noticed that our Vonage line didn't have a dial tone. The phone line that has the DSL also didn't have any dial tone. So I called them up, and their automated system recognized the problem and stated that a technition would come out to fix the problem by 6pm.

Around 2pm, I checked the line and the problem had not been resolved. So, I called SBC to check on the status of it. The automated system still stated that the problem would be fixed by 6pm, but I wanted to see if I could get the time that the technicion would be here, so I could make sure that I was here, so I pressed 0 to talk to an person. The person that I talked to said that a cable had been cut and the problem would be fixed by Saturday at 8pm.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

A9 search engine

A9Amazon has launched a new search engine. It looks like it is using Google for web and images searches, IMDb.com for movie searches, GuruNet for reference searches, and Amazon for book searches. A9 uses Amazon.com account to save a search history and saved bookmarks.

I am sure that Amazon will be using the search history as a way to suggest products from their store.

Firefox

Get Firefox!
The Firefox team has come out with their Preview Release of Firefox 1.0. I have been using it for a couple of days, and it looks like a great browser. Here are some of the features that I like that weren't in the previous version:
  1. You can subscribe to RSS feeds in your bookmarks
  2. Status message is displayed when a pop-up is blocked
  3. Displays the domain associated with a ssl certificate, for secure sites
  4. Displays the address bar with a different color when viewing a secure site
When I upgraded, some of my extensions stopped working, but they should be coming out with updated versions soon. The only improvement that I would like to see happen is to be able to configure Firefox to use the Mac OS X Keychain

You can download firefox here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

New Mac OS X RSS Reader

NewsFireI have just started using NewsFire, a new Mac OS X RSS aggregator. It is a slick looking application, that really uses Mac OS X's Aqua look at feel. The author also has written Acquisition.

I had been using Shrook, but it seems like it doesn't work that well if it is not able to connect to shrook.com. The one feature that I would love to see in NewsFire is the ability to mark articles.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Viewsonic WMA100

WMA100Viewsonic is coming out with a pretty cool wireless media adapter. The WMA100 is a 802.11 component that will play audio and video onto a TV, in addition it will also display photos. Some of the features differentiate it from the other devices are:
  • Playing MPEG-1,2,4 video files
  • Playing MP3, un-DRM’d AAC, WMA files
  • JPEG, GIF, and PNG photos
  • Scales video and pictures to the TVs native resoultion
  • DVI, composite-video, component-video, S-Video and VGA video outputs
  • analog and coaxial SPDIF audio outputs with Dolby 5.1 pass through
It looks like this will cost $299 and be available during the fourth quarter of this year.

OMWAVE media PC

OMWAVE EH1Engadget has a post on OMWAVE's EH1 media PC. This is a A/V component looking PC, running Windows XP, that with their OMtheater software will:
  • Play Audio CDs and MP# files
  • Play DVD and DivX video files
  • Download music and videos to it's hard drive
  • Display digital photos
  • Watch, record and pause TV
  • Update the program guide data (available in France)
  • Burn CDs and DVDs
  • Contains web browser and email client
  • Runs all Windows software, including games
It looks like these go for between 1,090.00€ and 1,990.00€

New Car

In a previous post, I mentioned that we were looking into getting a new minivan. We ended up getting an Odyssey. We got one with Navigation. We also had an after-market DVD system installed, and they did a great job with it. We are still planning on installing XM Radio and a CD changer. We will be installing an Alpine CD Changer and use the Blitzsafe HON/ALP DMX V.1D converter to allow the XM Radio to be connected to the head unit through line-in. The only thing to do now is to figure out where on the dash to install the XM radio interface, where it will not look bad.

Potential disaster adverted

Washing Machine Valve Shut-Off KitYesterday, I got a call from my father-in-law. He said that the alarm on our washing machine was going off. This is the alarm on the Washing Machine Valve Shut-Off Kit. It appears that our washing machine had leaked some water onto the floor. This device potentiallly saved us from some major damage. When the kit senses water, it cuts off water supply to the washing machine. (The reason that we bought this is becuase our old washing machine leaked and caused about $2000 of damage).

Friday, September 10, 2004

Denon DVD-1910

Denon DVD-1910Home Theater Blog has a review of the Denon DVD-1910. This is a DVD player that has a lot of high end features:
  • HDCP compliant DVI output
  • Faroudja FLI2301 DCDI deinterlacer
  • 3:2 pull down detection
  • HDCD playback
  • 480p, 720p and 1080i up scaling
All of this is available for a retail price tag of $269

Thursday, September 9, 2004

New addition to our family

My wife gave birth to our daughter yesterday. Kaya Mae was born at 2:39 on 9/8. She is a healthy 9lbs 6oz and 20.5" long.

Saturday, September 4, 2004

Outlet with nightlight

4238 Smarthome has a pretty cool outlet that has a built-in nightlight. I am thinking of buying two of these, one for our son's room, and one for his bathroom vanity.


Building Linux PVR for $635

/. has a post that links to instructions on creating a Linux based PVR running MythTV. The screen shots for MythTV look great. If I didn't have our TiVos, I would thinking about building one.

Thursday, September 2, 2004

Munin server stat graphing tool

My friend Todd (blog) pointed me to a cool piece of software. Munin is a piece of software that wll show information about a computer in a graphical format. One of the interesting things that I like about this is that the software is broken into two pieces. A node that gathers information on a machine, and a server that connects to different nodes, and graphs this information. So I have one machine running the server, while it is gathering this statistical information from all of my servers.



Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Site monitoring

Yesterday, I noticed that one of my TiVo boxes were not successfully
making calls on my Vonage phone line, so I decided to switch the phone
cable to the jack that has our second phone line (the one with the
DSL). I then went to work. I got a call from my wife
stating that our Vonage phone line was not working. When I looked
into it, I noticed that our dsl was down.

I was able to fix the problem, just by switching the phone cable back
to the Vonage phone line (I could have also just added a DSL
filter). But this made me want to find a way to at least be
notified when our dsl is down.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Ethernet Jack Wireless Points

Wi-Fi Network News has a post about new access points that plug directly into ethernet jacks. These Aruba access points are powered over with Power over Ethernet and connect to a Aruba switch (I assume that the switch has built in Power over Ethernet.)

Also Aruba worked out a deal with Ortronics to make 802.11 access
points that are built into the ethernet jacks. This seems like a
great product to use when wiring a house. I would have loved to
use it when I wired our house. This would solve all of the
wireless dead spots in our house, since there would be more consistent
coverage

SoundBridge includes free 802.11

SoundBridgeMy last post
described the Linksys Music System. I really like how inexpensive it was.
Now it looks like Roku has brought down the price on their SoundBridge, by including free 802.11.

For
the people who have already bought one of One of the SoundBridges, they
can get a free Roku tested 802.11 card, $100 off another SoundBridge or
their High-Def media player, or send a $50 refund check.

I really like the features of this player. The one that really interests me is that it can work with the open source server software made by SlimDevices.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Linksys Music System

I am amazed about all of the cool network music players that are out there now. Now there are 802.11b media players that are available for less that $200.

Wireless-B Music SystemThe Linksys Wireless-B Music System is a 802.11b device that plays MP3 and WMA music files from a PC, as well as music streams from the Rhapsody Digital Music service. It looks like it is only compatible with Windows PCs. If it were compatible with Mac OS X, this would be a serious competitor to the Squeezebox, since it is so much cheaper.

BL-C10A Network Camera

BL-C10AI have been interested in buying a network camera for a while. I think that it would be great to have a camera that could be used for looking at who is at the front door, or to be used as a baby monitor.

Panasonic makes a BL-C10A which is a ethernet network camera. It has a 100-degree per seconds pan-and-tilt control that can be operated remotely. It looks like it has a web interface to see the pictures, as well as sending pictures via mail or ftp.

It looks like it supports different versions of Windows, I wonder if I could use it with Mac OS X, from the browser.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Spellchecking in Firefox

blogggity.com has a post on a spell checker for Firefox. It looks
like there is a sourceforge project where they ported the spell checker
from Mozilla into an extension for Firefox

Monday, August 23, 2004

IceRocket

IceRocket.com is a new search engine, that has some pretty cool features. The search results can contain a thumbnail preview of the home page of the resulting web site. Also it has a feature where you can email a query to them, and get an email response with the result.

I don't think that this will be serious competition for Google, but they do have some good features.

2Wire MediaPortal


2Wire MediaPortal
2Wire is working on a pretty cool DVR. The MediaPortal is a PVR that can receive standard def and high def satellite signals, as well as ATSC and NTSC broadcasts. It will record HD broadcasts in 480p, 720p and 1080i. It will record up to 180 hour of standard def content, and up to 25 hours of high def content.

In addition to the DVR functionality, it will play, store and organize video, music and photos localy and from networked PCs.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Another Vonage post

There is one more thing that I want to do with the Vonage phone line.
The vonage phone line is only connected to the new jacks that are were
wired when I ran structured wiring to a couple of places in our house.
The next thing that I want to do is to wire the original jacks to this
phone line. What I will do is run the new Vonage line on one of the
pairs of wires on the Cat 5 that goes from the distribution panel, to
the external junction box. Then I will connect this line to the rest
of the house wiring.

I probably will not do this until I get a UPS for the phone adapter, and the DSL modem.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

More Vonage

Yesterday, I switched out phone to the Vonage phone line. Now all calls to our landline phone line will be forwarded to the Vonage phone line. The phone line is working great. In fact, the TiVo work well with the line too.


Since SBC does not have have Local Number Portabilty, I still have to keep my old line. I have cancelled all of the other features, except for Call Forwarding. I also change the line to be at a Metered Rate. So now I am playing $9.21 for a line that I had paid $60.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Audio Advantage Micro

Audio AdvantageI was looking for a cheap way to get digital audio out of my mac, and it looks like Turtle Beach has a solution. has a post on this litte device. The Audio Advantage is a usb audio device that has analog audio and digital audio out.

With Mac OS X, it looks like it will only output analog stereo audio or PCM digital audio. With Windows, it looks like it will output Dolby Digital or DTS. Also on Windows it can have simulated surround sound.

This looks like a great device for only $30.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Vonage delivered

Our Vonage broadband phone adapter was delivered yesterday. The installation was pretty easy. I decided not not install it as the Vonage documentation instructed me. I plugged the adapter directly into my dsl modem, which has 4 ethernet ports. I have saveral static ip addresses, so I allocated one for it directly. I decided that I didn't want to plug my current firewall into the adapter itself because I wasn't sure about how well the modem adapter would route my non-phone traffic. Also, I didn't want to put the adapter in my internal network, becase if I had a lot of network traffic, it could interfere with the bandwidth for it.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

HUSH ATX Media PVR

HUSH PVRHush Technology is coming out with another cool product. Their Hush ATX Media PVR is a silent Microsoft Windows XP based PVR and media center, that looks like it does a lot of cool stuff. Here are the specs of the hardware:
  • Hush ATX Aluminium Case with 3 Heatpipes,
  • 240 Watt Power Supply, Fanless,
  • Mainboard FIC P4-865PE, Socket 478, Intel Chipset 865PE, FSB 800
  • 2.8GHz Intel® Celeron® Processor,
  • 512MB DDRAM PC400 (2x256MB),
  • 160GB Samsung HDD, 7200 RPM,
  • Teac DVD-R / RAM / CDR-W Combo, DV-W22E, Slim Line,
  • Radeon 92V, 128MB DDR SDRAM incl. Graphic Card-Kit
  • DVI+CRT+TV out, Fanless, AGP 8X RiserCard,
  • Hauppauge NOVA-S, Digital SAT TV Card PCI,
  • 4x USB 2.0, 2x IEEE 1394 FireWire, RS232, parallel, Mouse and Keyboard Ports,
  • 6 channal Audio Realtec ALC650 Sound 5.1, SPDIF out (Optical/RCA)
  • 10/100 LAN Ethernet on Board,
  • USB / FireWire Panel in Front, for 2xUSB + 2xFireWire in Front,
  • ATI Remote Wonder - Remote Control
Since the only input looks to be the Hauppauge NOVA-S, Digital SAT TV Card, I don't think that this will work in the US, without some modification. I wonder if it could be replaced with a NTSC or ATSC card, and the software would just recognize it.

Also I am not sure about how much this will cost when it does come out, and if it comes out in the US.

HUSH AVX Music Server

HUSH AVX Music ServerWhile looking at the HUSH ATX PC case, I saw that Hush Technololgy makes a Media server. It seems pretty cool. It is a component size device that has a CD drive, in order to rip CDs. The interesting features is that it comes with a Dell Pocket PC device, with a 802.11 card. They have installed software that automaticalllyy finds the music server on the network, and then allows control of it. The interface on the PDA, also allows you to search for your music on the server.

The AVX Music Server has a 160Gb drive, and what I think is the coolest features is that it is fan less, so that it should be silent, except for the drive. A couple of things that I would love to see are digital audio out, as well as video out, so you are not tied to the PDA based remote.

Hush ATX

Hish ATX
/. mentions the Hush ATX which is a Silent PC, made by Hush Technologies. The whole case is made from a bunch of aluminum heat sinks, and it is fitted with heatpipes. Here is a review from TrustedReviews.

Logic Supply has them for sale for $1675, for a 2Ghz Celeron model. It looks like they are out of stock now.


Thursday, August 12, 2004

Local Number Portability for Campbell

When we get the broadband phone from Vonage, I will want to transfer our current number over to it. According to Vonage's web site, it is not possible in my area, but looking at the California Public Utility's web site it should be possible. Here is a link to a page that is supposed to remind consumers that Local Number Portability is available.

Friday, August 6, 2004

Portable/Car DVD player

Visteon DVD DocGizmodo has a post about an neat DVD player. It is the usual portable DVD player, that plays DVD with it's internal batteries. When you get into the car, you just have to connect the player to the dock on the roof of the car, and the picture on the screen automatically flips and the DVD will continue to play. When the player is docked, the audio can go to the cars sound system, so you can get better sound.