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


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


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.


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

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


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 "" "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 support

I have to say that I have been very happy with the support over at 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.

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.

Empowering Your Home's Power Protection: A Deep Dive into UPS Monitoring and Integration

Our household relies on several Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPSs) to safeguard our network equipment and computers. A crucial aspect of ...