Tuesday, June 29, 2004

SkipJam iMedia Center

SkipJam iMedia Center Here is a pretty cool product line of products that will let you display your computer audio and video contents on your AV system. It looks like they have a server product that will transmit content to up to 4 client products. It looks like the client product will also play content off of a PC or a Network Storage Device.

The SkipJam iMedia center will play MPEG 1/2/4, MP3, WMA, WAV, Ogg, JPG.

I am not sure that I am all that interested in this. The SkipJam iMedia Player seems not to be worth $499.

RSS, Shrook and Distributed checking

I have been using a RSS aggregator/reader for about two months, and I really like it. It seems that RSS could be the next way that information is distributed. For example, using a RSS aggregator/reader can be used to get timely news from the different news sources. Also, I can see rss feeds replacing email newsletters. Email newsletters have a problem because the messages may get missed either because people have too many spam messages, or their spam filters are too agressive and filter these news letters. Also rss feeds can help save the bandwidth for a web publisher. The
rss xml can be smaller than the formated html for the pages.

Now it seems that rss feeds will be easier for everyone to use. Apple is including a rss reader in their Safari 2.0 for Mac OS X 10.4. So I think that more and more people will be using rss feeds.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

New Kenwood AV Amp

Kenwood VRS-N8100
Gizmodo has an article on a new Kenwood AV Amplifier. It plays MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and Xvid video files. Also it play MP3, WMA and OggVorbis audio files. There is a 10/100 Ethernet interface to stream formats.

I wonder how much this will cost when it comes to the US. Also I wonder what the video interface will be. In order to make most computer video content to look good on a tv, especially a Hi-def one, there will have to be a good line doubler. I am sure that the hardware on this box will be pretty amazing.

sshd through dns

A while ago, I wrote about how t-mobile silently traps SMTP traffic. Boing Boing has an article about some one who as done a presentation on how ssh could be tunnled through dns.

This seems like this could be a way to get free internet access from an internet cafe. But, I also think that this would be pretty easy to block. All a dns server would have to do is to not forward dns queries that are not in a known format.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Blocking web slurping

I noticed in the web logs for one of my web sites, that someone was running a program to slurp all of the content to their computer. Here are some excerpts of the logs:

xx.xx.xx.xx - - [07/Jun/2004:03:50:08 -0700] "GET /indilist.php?PHPSESSID=823c1a9974e1972a0d9420d3291805df HTTP/1.0" 200 21221 "-" "BlackWidow-Spider1 (+http://www.xxxxxxx.com)"
xx.xx.xx.xx - - [07/Jun/2004:03:50:09 -0700] "GET /famlist.php?PHPSESSID=823c1a9974e1972a0d9420d3291805df HTTP/1.0" 200 21175 "-" "BlackWidow-Spider1 (+http://www.xxxxxxx.com)"
xx.xx.xx.xx - - [07/Jun/2004:03:50:11 -0700] "GET /sourcelist.php?PHPSESSID=823c1a9974e1972a0d9420d3291805df HTTP/1.0" 200 19183 "-" "BlackWidow-Spider1 (+http://www.xxxxxxx.com)"
xx.xx.xx.xx - - [07/Jun/2004:03:50:12 -0700] "GET /placelist.php?PHPSESSID=823c1a9974e1972a0d9420d3291805df HTTP/1.0" 200 34963 "-" "BlackWidow-Spider1 (+http://www.xxxxxx.com)"

I don't mind that search engines crawl my web sites (That is why I made this information public), but I don't want people to slurp all of the data down.

I put the following mod_rewrite rule to block people using this software from downloading my content.


RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{http_USER_AGENT} ^blackwidow
RewriteRule /* - [F]

This will only work if they don't change the User Agent (which I kow that they can do) If they change the User Agent, I will either list the new User Agent, or I will start blocking ip addresses.

There is one down side with this solution. When this rule fires, the web server will not return the error document becuase it the permissions are set up so that it does not have permissions to access the error document. I will fix that if it is easy. In some ways I don't care about their user experience, since they shouldn't be doing this anyway.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Alpine web movie

Mute main image

I just found a pretty cool web movie that Alpine created for their car audio products. It is called Mute.

It seems that companies are doing this a lot, and it seems to be working. I really liked it when BMW came out with their film series.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

BMW iPod

Apple and BMW announced that BMW owners can play their iPod on their stereo. Engaget has a good review on this, and I agree with it. I think that this product will be cool, once the iPod UI is shown on the head unit itself. Ideally, I think that it would bew great if the head unit had a motorozed slot that took in the iPod.

I think that Alpine could do a good job if they do what they announced at CES. Alpine already has the ability to have a ui from components on their head units. For example here is a picture of their hda-5460.


Friday, June 18, 2004

Trackback info

This is a good blog entry that describes trackbacks.

Parsing RSS in PHP

I found this pretty cool project to display RSS feeds in PHP scripts. It is called Magpie RSS. It parses the rss feed, and then allows PHP to display it as you want.

It looks like it supports RSS 0.9 through RSS 1.0. It also parses RSS 1.0's modules, RSS 2.0, and Atom

Here is an example that I created of a php script parsing this blog.

There is another example of this that is availabe with PEAR. But it doesn't appear that XML_RSS has been updated as recently.



Wednesday, June 16, 2004

New Swiss Army knife

This is a pretty cool upgrade to the old Swiss Army knife. It has a USB key drive, that is removable for travel on airplanes. http://www.victorinox.com/
Swiss Army Knife

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Test driving cars

This weekend we went looking at cars. We are looking for a vehicle to replace our 93 Nissan Sentra. (I bought his car while I was in college. It has been a great car, and is still running great.)

We were looking at Minivans and midsize SUVs. On Saturday, we went to the Honda dealership, to look at the Pilot and the Odyssey. I had seen a very good review of the Town & Country, so we decided to also go to the Chrysler dealership.

Today we decided to go to the Toyota dealership to check out the Sienna and the Highlander.


Thursday, June 10, 2004

AirPort Express

AirPort ExpressApple just announced their AirportExpress. This little device is a 802.11b/g base station. The really cool thing about it is that it can stream music from iTunes directly to a stereo wirelessly.

I have read some posts where people like them. I just don't see myself buying one. I think that it would have been so much better if it had a little lcd or video out.

Since this requires iTunes to be running, and in order for someone to change what is playing though this device, they need to use their iTunes interface, most people will put their computer near their stereo. As soon as you do this, you might as well just use an audio cable between your mac and your stereo.

I definitly think that it is great if you don't already have a Access Point. Also if you need to extend the range of your current wireless network with WDS, I could see buying this. I am am happy with my TiVo with the Digital Music Player to access my music.

Monday, June 7, 2004

Rack mounted server

A while ago I was wanted to colocate one of my servers, but I found out that it was pretty expensive if the sever is not rack mounted. I then looked for a relatively inexpensive rack mounted case for this server, but I couldn't find one.


I ended up using a Linux virtual server through TekTonic since it allows me to run Fedora Core, and I can run what ever software I want to run. But there are some limitiations, like I can not get as much performace as I could if I has my own server.


On /. there is a post of someone that created their own 2U rack mounted server. This is the type of computer that I would want to buy or build.

Friday, June 4, 2004

iptables with VPS

I have a virtual private server with TekTonic, and I wanted to set up iptables to secure the server. I then looked on the web for some examples of people who had setup iptables to secure their servers. I found a couple of links:




I started following these examples and I noticed that I wasn't able to use some of these rules. One of the most important one was the state module. I thought that I could fix the problem by installing iptables from rpm. This didn't solve the problem.