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

  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 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

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

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


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

Paul Westbrook, since you've been using recently, virtually everything at 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 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, for movie searches, GuruNet for reference searches, and Amazon for book searches. A9 uses 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.


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 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 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.

Unlocking Raspberry Pi Potential: Navigating Network Booting Challenges for Enhanced Performance and Reliability

I've set up several Raspberry Pis around our house for various projects, but one recurring challenge is the potential for SD card failur...