Saturday, December 31, 2005

Server hosting

We have put an offer on another house.  I am trying to figure out what to do about my server.  We currently host our mail server and web server at our house.  When we sell our house, and move in to the new house, I am thinking that there will be some time before we have the phone line and DSL installed.  So I am trying to think of what  to do about these servers.  I was thinking that there are three options.

  1. Turn off the servers for the duration of the transition.

  2. Move the server to a co-location facility

  3. Move only the mail and web server to a VPS

Sereniti Home Networking

Product GatewayI saw a review of Sereniti Home Networking in the January 2006 Popular Mechanics.  From the brief review, it looks like it is a standard broadband router, but they also charge users a monthly or yearly fee to keep the rules up to date.

The description of many of the security features looks like it depends on some software running on the PCs on the local network.  Since it seems that all of this functionality is pretty standard, I wonder if they are just licensing some others companies software suite.

Friday, December 30, 2005


I just installed the BetterSearch Firefox pluginextension.  This is a pretty cool pluginextension, that enhances the results page from various search engines.  Some of the features are:

  1. Displaying a small preview image of the page in the search results page.

  2. Adding a "Open in new Window" link

  3. And a "Wayback Machine" link

The one feature that I think is most interesting is the "Quick Preview" feature.  This will show you the page in an iframe of the search results page.

[via Razvan Antonescu]

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Blog Mad

Blog Mad is a new way to get traffic to your blog.  It sounds like it will be similar to BlogExplosion where you can surf other blogs or play games to earn credits to increase the traffic for your blog.

Right now they are taking pre-launch signups for this, where they are giving credits for referrals and just signing up.


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V Cast Video

VcastSince I enabled V Cast on my phone, so I don't have to pay for data access when I use my phone as a bluetooth modem, I wanted to check out what content was available with V Cast.  In their video selection, they have clips from several different news networks.  Also they have some clips from The Daily Show.  Our kids love the clips from Sesame Street.

I did find a "bug"  if you use a bluetooth headset, you can not get the audio played through the headset.  It will only play through the internal speaker.  I have not tried a wired headset.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


In this post, I mentioned a java application that would create a audio profile of your iTunes.  OGMT (OmniGraffle Musical Taste) is an applescript that will create a OmniGraffle document that represnt your musical taste.

Here is the the image from my iTunes library


[via TUAW]

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Monday, December 26, 2005

Weblog API Primer

This post has a great description on the different XML-RPC APIs available for posting to blogging systems.

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Classic in .Mac

Installing the games on the kid's computer this weekend was the first time that I had to run Classic in a long time.  Since on all of other computers, I had deleted the Mac OS 9 system folder, I had to go and find one of my old Mac OS 9 CDs. 

This was a pain, as I hadn't used these CDs in several years, so it took me a while to find them.  Also when I did find them, it was a pain to install it as I had to reboot the computer while booted from the CD and do a clean install.

I think that Apple should make a disk image available to their .Mac subscribers.  This disk image would contain a Mac OS 9 system folder.  It would only need to contain enough to allow Classic to run, but wouldn't need to be able to boot a computer.  This could be another benefit of being a .Mac subscriber, and to justify the $99/year cost.

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Simple Finder

When I set up the iMac for our kids, I wanted to use Simple Finder, to make it easier for the kids to use the computer.  (And hopefully will prevent them from changing the configuration.)  I noticed some interesting behavior.

  1. In Simple Finder Mode, you can not add items to the Dock.  There is a Folder that is in the Dock named "My Applications" that contain aliases to the applications that the user has permission to run.

  2. I wasn't able to give the user access to more than one of these AppleScript applications.  I assume that this is caused because the application have the same creator code, and the preference screen is remember this, and not the location of the application.

I ended up just using a normal mode and added the AppleScripts to the Dock.  I then disabled modification of the Dock.

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Sunday, December 25, 2005

Playing games without CDs

Our kids got a refurbished iMac for Christmas.  I also got them Didi & Ditto and a Reader Rabbit game. Both of these games require the CD to be mounted for them to be played.

I didn't want to have to deal with CDs, as it always seems that CDs that the kids have access to end up getting scratched.  So I created disk images from each of these CDs, and put them in a place where all users can have access to.  Then I wanted to make sure that when the applications are launched the disk images were mounted. 


I have noticed some interesting things in address-o-sync.

  1. Nowhere in their documentation does it list the port that needs to be added to the firewall to allow incoming connections.  (I believe that port number 9879 is used)

  2. Only up to 4 email address for a contact get synchronized between computers.  I wonder if this is caused because Apple's implementation of vcard only handles 4 email addresses.  It looks like the vcard spec itself, doesn't have that limitation

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Bug with Sharing Address Books

A couple of days ago, I noticed that in both my and my wife's address book, all of the groups in Address Book had disapeared.  It looks like this was caused by the Address Book sharing that I had enabled.

When I restored the data to a version that had the groups, as soon as the sharing process ran the groups got removed.  This probably happened because I had marked this sharing to accept changes from the invitees.

Friday, December 23, 2005


Writely is a online web Word Processor.  It looks like it is a nice wrapper around a wiki system.

I do have concern about the security of these documents.  All of these documents are stored on their server.  I do wonder what their business plan is.  How are they going to make money from these documents?

[via TUAW]

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Performancing blog editor

I saw this post that mentions the Performancing for Firefox blog editor plugin.  With this plugin, you can post to your blog directly from Firefox.

I installed, this and like the idea, but I am currently going to stick with ecto to do my posting.  One problem is that their implementation of the metaWeblog API does not handle categories.

[via Om Malik on Broadband]

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Free iTunes TV show downloads has a post that links to two free iTunes TV show downloads.  One is a Saturday Night Live short, the other is a Sci Fi channel special on Battlestar Galactica.

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I have been hearing about DRBD a while as a way to add redundancy for a server.  DRDB is a block device that can be mirrored across a network.  This is very similar to a network RAID-1.

I have been thinking about doing this for one of the databases that I use.  I could set up two machines that run mysql.  Only one machine at at time would be writing to the database and the file system, but both machines would have access to the files.  When one of the machines go down, the other automatically takes over.

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Spam filtering in Apple Mail

I have been noticing that Apple Mail has been marking valid mail as spam pretty often, and it doesn't seem to be improving when I train with these mistaken spam messages. 

I had been thinking that Apple's Mail was using bayesian analysis to determine the spam messages.  But I just found out that Mail uses Latent Semantics analysis for spam filtering.  This post has a great description and comparison of Latent Semantics and Bayesian Net.

[via Stephen Hebditch's blog]

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Wireless failure on WRT54GS

The wireless access point in our Linksys WRT54GS stopped working.  The wired router still is working fine.  I switched the Airport Express from using WDS to directly connecting it to the router.

This makes me think that it is better to use a seperate wireless access point and router, instead of integrated one.  In addition to being able handle a failure in one of these pieces, it will allow easier upgrading to new wireless or wired protocols when they are available.

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Annoyance in Delicious Library

I really like using Delicious Library.  It is a pretty cool program to keep track of my DVDs CDs and books.  One feature is that you can "check-out" items to people in your Address Book.  By default it schedules a "check-in" date for a week.

If the item is not checked-in by the specified date, it considers it overdue.  After a certain amount of time the item is automatically checked in.

USB extension cable for PS2 headset

A couple of weeks ago, I bought some extension cables to allow me to play SOCOM 3 while sitting on the couch instead of sitting on the floor.  The extension cable for the controller worked perfectly.  The problem I had was with the extension cable for the headset.

The headset connects to the PS2 through the USB port.  I bought a standard USB 2.0 extension cable.  When I connected the cable, the headset wasn't recognized by SOCOM 3.  I think that the headset is just using USB 1.1.  I would assume that you could use a USB 2.0 cable for USB 1.1 devices.

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url encode string

Here is an easy way to url encode a string

In python:

import urllib;
urllib.quote("string to encode");

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Bluetooth Car Headunit

Jenmp8610Bt-1rjpierson commented in this post about how Jensen has come out with a head unit that supports the bluetooth handsfree profile.  The Jensen MP8610BT is a MP3/WMA/CD receiver that has bluetooth so you can talk on your cell phone handsfree.  I assume it will automatically mute the audio when you talk on the phone.

I was really interested in getting one of these for our Sentra.  When I was looking for more information on it, I saw that the major electronics manufacturers are planning on adding bluetooth support to their head units.  I assume that they will be announcing these at CES.  The main thing that I want is a head unit that has built-in bluetooth and is satellite radio ready, so I think that I will wait for their announcements.

Friday, December 16, 2005


I just tried Zoë for a little bit.  It is an interesting email client.  It is a java application that runs in the background.  It provides a web interface to you email.  You enter the information for each of your email accounts an it will download the messages.  It can also keep the messages on the server, so you can continue to use your normal email client.

One thing that it does is that it indexes all of you email.  It povides an index of all email addresses, mailing lists, attachements, and urls.  And there is a search field that lets you find emails by keyword.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Get S.M.A.R.T status via email

This post describes a script that will send an email with the S.M.A.R.T. and RAID status for the drive connected to a Mac OS X computer.

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SendEmail is a command line email client written in perl.  This make it very easy to send email from scripts or other programs.

The benefit of calling SendEmail rather than calling mail, is that Postfix or Sendmail doesn't have to be configured, or even installed, on the machine.


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This is pretty cool.  Feed2Podcast is a site that will take an rss feed and, using text to speech, creates a podcast.

Here is a link to the podcast feed for this blog.

[via TUAW]

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Effectivness of Validate Trackbacks plugin

I added logging to the Validate Trackback LifeType plugin.  I was curious about how many trackbacks were caught by the ip dnsbl checks, url dnsbl checks, checking to see if there was a resulting trackback ping url, or the Bayesian filter.

From December 2nd to today:

5808 trackbacks were stopped because the resulting pages do not have a trackback ping url.

2830 trackbacks were stopped becuase the ip address was listed in a dns blacklist

16 trackbacks were stopped because the domain of the trackback url was listed in a dns blacklist

It looks like all of the trackbacks were caught before the Bayesian filter had to be run.

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Google AdSense and flash ads

Since I have enabled Flashblock, I noticed something really interesting.  I noticed that one of the Google AdSense that appears on this blog had the Flashblock icon.

It looks like Google is experimenting with Flash ads.  The interesting thing is that their AdSense settings don't specify this type of ad.

Flasblockadsense    Adsense

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Holiday channels on XM

XM is broadcasting holiday music on 5 channels. Sometimes when I am in the mood, I like to listen to these. The interesting thing is that they have replaced 5 normal broadcast channels with these holiday channels.

The new channels appear at the channel numbers that the replaced channels, in addition to a position in the 103-107 range. I wonder if they just replace existing channels, and not added the new channels, because they didn't have enough staff to program for all of the channels. I think more likely, XM is running out of available bandwidth to add additional channels.

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I get really annoyed when I open a page in a different tab in Firefox, and suddenly my CPU usage goes way up.  Usually there is a flash animation running in the background.

Flashblock is a Firefox extension that causes all flash animations not to run automatically.  You have to explicitly click on an icon to start the animation.  Flashblock has just been updated to support Firefox 1.5.

[via ExtraBITS]

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Blogger and splogs

When I run a search on Google Blog Search, for blogs that link to this blog, 6 of the 8 results are splogs.  It appears that these pages has a snippets of the text from this blog and links directly here.  They all are using Adsense ads, to make money.

The interesting thing is that 4 of the 6 are hosted with Google's Blogger service.  I would think that Google wouldn't want to host these sites.  But then again, they do get money if people click on those ads.

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Friday, December 9, 2005

Sharing Address books

I finally got the sharing of our Address Books working.  I was assuming that once you accessed a shared address book, you could drag a card from the shared address book, into one of the local groups.  Then when it is updated remotely, the updates would automatically appear.

This is not the case.  When you drag a card from a remote address book, it makes a copy of it locally.  This means that updates don't happen automatically.

Responsibility of broadcasters

Do television broadcasters have any responsibility to keep a quality of service for their viewing public?  And when there is something that would affect this quality, do they have to notify the viewers?

Ever since we have gotten our HDTV, we have noticed when the broadcasters do something to their towers.  For example, our NBC station is having a problem with their transmitter.  Interference with digital signals is more noticeable than analog signals.

movabletype API

I have been thinking about implementing the MovableType xmlrpc API for LifeType.  I have been getting a little annoyed with the metaWeblog api, since it doesn't have seperate fields for the main text and the "more" text.  LifeType works arounds this limitation currently by using a special string to indicate the different text fields.

It is pretty easy to implement the newPost API, as the client just has to set the additional fields.  On the server, if the fields are set, it knows that it is a MovableType client, and not a metaWeblog client.

XCode and documentation

A couple of days ago, I was writing some java code.  I wanted to be a "good" developer, and document my code.  I decided to use javadoc format comments, as this is the standard for java code.

Since I was doing this on my Mac, I decided to use Xcode to do the development.  Once I got the code written and compiling, I figured I could add a new target to the project that would create the javadoc.

Thursday, December 8, 2005


WinshortcutterAt work people send out links to files on windows shares.  When I receive those on my mac, I need to convert this to a smb url, so the server can be mounted in the Finder.

WinShortcutter is an application and a service that automatically converts these urls and mounts the servers.  In addition, it optionally will create an alias for that server.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Installed new springs

Last week, I had new springs installed into our Nissan Sentra.  I decided to go with the Eibach Pro Kit Lowering Springs, which only lowered the front and rear by 1.2".

I like the way the car drives now.  The only problem that I had was to train my expectation of where the location of the seats are. I will take a picture when I get a chance.

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iTunes Signature

iTunes Signature Maker is an interesting java applet. It creates a "signature" music file from your iTunes library. It takes snippets of your favorite tracks, and puts them together in a single track.

Here is my signature file.

[via TUAW]

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Monday, December 5, 2005

Another benefit for Google Analytics

I was looking at my Google Analytics stats, and I just though of another benefit for Google to do this.  Since Google Analytics will get information about referrer for any site that has the Analytics script embedded in the pages, Google could increase the number of sites that get crawled.

For example, site X is not being crawled by Google, because it has not been submitted to Google, or it there are no links (that Google crawls) to it.  Site X links to site Y, which has the Google Analytics script embedded.  When a user clicks on the link from site X to Site Y, now Google will know to crawl site X.

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Google to replace Technorati?

I can envision that Google could replace Technorati as authority for blog referrals.  I haven't found a good way to get the results that I expect.

For example, in the main Google page, you can do a search "".  This will return a list of all pages that link to pages in this blog, but not including any pages in the blog itself.

The problem with using the main Google search is that results are not limited to blogs.  And Google doesn't itself provide rss feeds for the results.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Google Maps in Address Book

I guess I have had a pretty old version of this plugin installed.  The latest version of the Google Maps Address Book plugin will, in addition to showing a map of an address, will also show driving directions between two address.  The plugin lets you select a address, if a given card has multiple addresses.

[via Hawk Wings]

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GoogeFill is a plugin for Address Book that will automatically retreive an address from a phone number, and put it into the Address Book card.

[via Hawk Wings]

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iwconfig for Mac OS X

This post mentions the airport command line tool.  This lets you see the signal strength of the currently connected 802.11 network.

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Wireless network access

As we have been traveling to the Palm Springs are about once a month as my wife's grandfather goes through cancer treatment, we have been staying in condos in the area.  The condos allow us to have a "regular" schedule for the kids bed time.

One thing about condos compared to hotel room, is that they don't tend to offer "high speed" internet access.  Since I want to be able to continue to work while there, I was looking into ways that I could high speed access.

Friday, December 2, 2005

Still problems with Vonage

I thought that I had fixed the problems with my Vonage phone line.  The same problems happened again today. 

I moved the Vonage ATA to the outside of my firewall.  I gave the ATA it's own public static ip address.  When I did this, everything works fine.  I think that there is some other port that needs to be opened for incoming connections, that is not specified in this document.

Thursday, December 1, 2005


This is pretty cool.  foXpose is a Firefox 1.5 extension that gives you an eXposé-like view into the open tabs that you have in your browser.  It will work on all platforms.  The key command to activate this extension is ctrl + shift + x ( cmd + shift + X on the Mac )

[via TUAW]

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Linux Linksys router

Linksys has create the 5th version of their WRT54GS router.  This version runs VxWorks instead of Linux.  So it will be a lot harder to install Open Source firmware on it.

But to allow hobbyists to continue to hack on these device, Linksys has released the WRT54GL.  This is the same as version 4 of the WRT54GS.

Problem receiving calls

Today we had a problem receiving calls on our Vonage line.  I called their Customer support, and they solved the problem.  There were two things that they did.

  1. Added more ports to be forwarded to the Vonage ATA. (Here is a page that has the ports listed)

  2. Had me disable and re-enable the Voice Mail.  The person that I talked to said that there are some scripts that run when Voice Mail is enabled.

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New features in Firefox 1.5

I just used some of the new features in Firefox 1.5

  1. You can change the ordering of the tabs just by drag-and-dropping them.

  2. It handles refused connections to web servers differently.  Instead of just showing a dialog, it renders the error in the main html window.  I have included a screen shot of this.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Firefox 1.5

Firefox-Logo-1Firefox has just been updated to 1.5.  It is working fine for me, but I haven't really noticed any of the new features.

The one problem that I had was getting some old extensions to work.  This post has some instructions on getting this to work.

[via MAKE: Blog]

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Script to remove old files

I finally got around to writing a script to remove old files from dcc that were filling up my disk.  The script was pretty simple.

DATE=`date +"%y%m%d"`
if [ -d $LOGDIR ]; then
find $LOGDIR -type f -name 'msg.*' -mtime $TIMELIMIT -exec rm {} \;

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Monday, November 28, 2005

Cast Away

CastawayToday, I downloaded Cast Away, which is an applescript that allows you to specify settings for each podcast in iTunes. For example, you can specify how many episodes to keep for podcast.

It looks like it can do this cleanup on a daily basis.  When you set this up, all that it does is an a entry in your user's crontab.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get this to work.  I was getting some AppleScript error.  Until I get this to work, I have reverted to manually deleting podcast episodes that I don't have time to listen to.

[via TUAW]

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convert between text formats

I just saw this post that describes the textutil command line tool.  This tool can convert between text, html, Rich Text, Microsoft Word formats, in addition to others.

It is pretty cool that this is built into to Mac OS X 10.4.

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Digital Life

I just saw the HDTV edition of Digital Life TV, and I actually liked this show.  It is a lot like the old Screen Savers from TechTV.

Here is the link to subscribe to this in iTunes.

[via HD Beat]

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Apple Mail and dialup

Over Thanksgiving, we were staying in a condo that did not have high speed network access, so I was using dialup to access the network.

I have configured Mail to get my mail with IMAP.  The main reason that I did this is because I want to leave my mail on the server, so I can check it with different clients.  Another benefit of IMAP is that that clients can only download the headers instead of downloading the whole message.

It sees that Apple's implementation is pretty poor when it comes to IMAP. Here are the probelems that I have seen:

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Hopefully last memory post

Hopefully, this will be the last post that I have to make on this topic.  The problem that I was having was that I was running out of memory when there was a lot of access in apache.  The swap partition was being filled up, and eventually the machine just bogged down swapping.

Part of the problem was that LifeType is using a lot of memory.  This is being fixed in the 1.1 release.  But, I don't want to upgrade to it until it is more stable.

In the mean time, I have just reduced the number of threads that apache can start.  The worst thing that can happen is that when there is a lot of access, some requests may be denied.  At least this is better than having the whole machine go down.

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Forty Faces

Forty Faces is an interesting site.  It will show a photo representing each of the most recently updated blogs that it is watching.

Currently, it is looking at the rss feed to determine when there are new posts.  Maybe in the future it will use xmlrpc pings to determine when new posts are made.

[via Paint the Tiger • Carve the Swan]

The neighbors must love this

This video is pretty cool.  At first I though that this person just hooked up X10 controlled lights to a midi player, but I think that some more thought went into this.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Synergy Gui

SynergyI just saw this post about a UI for synergy on Mac OS X.  I have been using synergy to share the keyboard and mouse on my Windows and Linux workstations at work.  Previously, there has only been a command line version available on Mac OS X.  Now SynergyKM provides a UI for configuration of Synergy.

I see that it includes a version of the synergy built in.  I wonder if you want to use a different version, if it would be possible to put one in your search path.

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spam and virus in .Mac mail

I have been getting a lot of spam and virus messages through my .Mac email account.  Recently, I have been receiving a lot of email with the the Sober.U worm in it.

I would think that Apple would want to protecting their customers from these things.

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Monday, November 21, 2005

Found memory leak

I think that I have found the problem that I was having where it appeared that apache was leaking.

I had some mod_rewrite rules that forward request from where this blog was hosted to the new domain name.

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>

RewriteEngine on

RewriteRule ^/blog$ [L,R]

RewriteRule ^/blog/(.*)$1 [L,R]


I changed this to:

Alias /blog /<path_to_LifeType>

When people browse the old url, the url that they will see in their browser will be the old one, but I think that is reasonable.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Video over IP

Ever since I had to change one of the the RG6 cables coming into our living room, from a satellite feed be used for the ATSC antenna, I have been trying to figure out how I can use the other TiVo, without bringing  another drop to the room.  I have been thinking about getting a device that would send the audio and video signal over TCP/IP.  I want to put the DIRECTV receiver near the multiswitch, and then send the video signal over a ethernet cable.

I saw these products that are Cat-5 based video distribution systems.  Unfortunately, these don't say that they use TCP/IP.  I assume that they send analog signals over the 8 wires of the Cat-5 cable.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Google Analytics

Google just came out with their Google Analytics.  This is a service to allow statistics about web traffic maintained.  It is using the Urchin software that Google bought earlier this year.  Urchin created software products that allowed companies to track their web site usage.

I signed up to have my stats tracked through Google Analytics.  I had been using Site Meter.  I  Both of these services require javascript to be put into pages, and then the services track these impressions.  One problem about these are that the tracking depends on the browser downloading the scripts to do the tracking.  I also am using awstats which parses the log files, so this should be more accurate.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Power failure and Linksys PSUS4

Last night a transformer exploded in our neighborhood, so the power went out at our house.  After about an hour our UPS ran out of power so the remainder of the network equipment turned off.

This morning I tried to print something, and I noticed that the Linksys PSUS4 was not accepting print jobs.  It looks like it wasn't using the ip address that I had previously allocated to it, and it wasn't getting an ip address from the dhcp server.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Authentication for WDS

Previously, I had a problem getting WDS to work with WPA or WEP.  One of my coworkers directed me to this page that describes some steps needed to get an Airport to work with a Linksys with WDS.

I was able to get these instructions to work with 128 bit WEP, and not WAP.  I am sure that it wouldn't be too difficult to to get this to work with WAP.

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

Improve quality of iPhoto Books

Today, we ordered an iPhoto book.  I just tried this hint to improve the quality of the books.  It changes the dpi of the pdf files that iPhoto creates from 150 dpi to 300 dpi.  Hopefully this will improve the quality.

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Another benefit of XM on DIRECTV

On Friday, XM broadcast a "I Crossed the Line" with Bill Cosby.  I wanted to hear it, but I was busy with the kids.  I was thinking of setting up a script similar to this one that would record the broadcast with Audio Hijack.  But I didn't have the time to set this up.

I mentioned previously that DIRECTV is going to broadcast XM channels as their music channels.  When they do this it should be possible to record these channels.  I have a standalone DIRECTV receiver plugged into a TiVo.  It should be possible to schedule a recoding for that channel at the specified time.

This should work as long as DIRECTV doesn't enable macrovision on these channels.

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Saturday, November 12, 2005

C'etait un Rendezvous

This post has a link to a torrent of the 1978 film where a Ferrari 275 GTB drives through the streets of Paris at up to 140 MPH.  The footage show the driver running red lights, weaving though traffic and pedestrians.

This short reminds me of a lot of the car chases in

Someone posted a page that put the
route on a map via Google Maps

Participatory Culture]

Jinzora 2.3

I have updated the version of Jinzora that I had installed previouslyVersion 2.3 includes podcast support.  With each podcast, you can specify how many shows you want to keep.  So you can keep only one of a daily news show, while you may want to keep more of a music podcast.

Another feature that this version adds is "link tracks".  These are links to music files that are not local to the Jinzora installation.  These tracks appear as local tracks do.  There doesn't seem to be a way that you can a whole directory structure in this manner.  Also it would be cool if there were some common interface so different jukebox software could share tracks.

Creative Commons support in Google

Google has added a "Usage Rights" filter to their advanced search page.  So it looks like you can limit your searches to pages that have been marked with certain Creative Commons licenses. 

It looks like Google's cache knows about the license that I have put on my blog. It would be good to know what it is looking for when determining a page's license, so I can make sure that my other sites are correctly tagged.

[via Google Weblog]

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MailtagsiconI saw this post that mentions MailTags.  This allows you to tag mail messages with metadata such as comments, due dates and other information.  Once the messages are tagged, you can create Smart Mailboxes to automatically group these messages.

Unfortunately, it doesn't support IMAP mail boxes.  Once this problem is solved, I will use it.

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Friday, November 11, 2005

Sveasoft Talisman 1.1

Yesterday, I noticed that the 1.1 version of Sveasoft Talisman firmware was available.  I downloaded it to try it out, and I had some problems with it.  The settings that I saved from the 1.0.5 version were not completely successfully loaded into it.  It looks like the port forwarding settings are not backwards compatible.

Once I manually created the port forward settings, I went to set up the QoS settings.  I encountered a bug where as soon as I set up one QoS rule, none of the incoming connections worked.

Since these problems were happening, I decided to revert back to version 1.0.5.

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Bayesian filter for trackbacks

I have finally checked in the change that runs the trackbacks through the Bayesian filter that is part of LifeType.  Now if you use svn to get the plugin, you will get this functionality.

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

dns blacklists in validatetrackbacks

I have noticed that the validatetrackback plugin was doing "expensive" work when it wasn't really necessary to do this.  I have seen some trackbacks come from machines that are listed on real time dns blacklists.

Doing a dns check is a lot faster than downloading a html file and parsing through it, or even running the Bayesian filter.  So I added an option in the validatetrackbacks script to check the black lists before doing any expensive operations.

I have posted a copy of the plugin here, but my hope is to check it into the tree in the next few days.

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pLog is now LifeType

pLog has been renamed LifeType.  At the same time, the team has redesigned the web site.  Apparently, Amazon holds the "plog" trademark in the US.

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Added timeout in validatetrackback plugin

I added a time out to the validatetrackback plugin for pLog.  Now this plugin will not leave a thread around if the server specified in the trackback leaves the connection open.  This has been checked into svn.

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Updated Post Trackback script

I updated the Post Trackbacks script.  Now it correctly handles titles that have quotation characters in them.  You can download the script from this page.

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Make disk image from folder

I was attempting to create a Automator action that would create a disk image from a folder.  After spending about 10 minutes trying to do this, I saw this hint that describes a easier way.  All you have to do is to drag the folder onto the Disk Utility application icon.

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Using Wi-Fi at Willy's

In a previous post, I mention that Armadillo Willy's has Wi-Fi Internet access.  I thought that it was pretty silly to mix computers and barbeque.  But here I am eating my chopped briscit, while using my laptop.

My wife is out of town for a couple of days, so I am home watching the kids.  The babysitter came over for a few hours, so I am taking this opportunity to check my work email.  Bit since I was pretty hungry, I didn't want to just go to Starbucks to use the network access there.

Friday, November 4, 2005

Battery menu item

I just removed the battery menu item from my menu bar, as I was attempting to remove clutter.  I then noticed that I didn't get any warning when my computer was about to go to sleep when the battery was dead.

It looks like Apple has put all of the logic that displays the warning about forced sleep, into the menu item application.  I think that they should have separated these two applications.  Now I am going to look to see if I can find a third party application that does this.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2005

911 with Vonage

This past weekend, we had to call 911. (It wasn't an emergency in our house, it was to report something happening outside).  We had entered our address into the online form for the 911 information.  When we called, we actually got the emergency dispatch for our city.

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Monday, October 31, 2005

encryption in iChat

Ichat Encryption-1The 10.4.3 update adds encryption support to iChat.  Unfortunately it only adds it for people using AIM accounts from  This is an artificial limitation, as these accounts are using the same AIM servers.

I don't know what type of encryption this uses, but I hope that it uses something compatible with the other IM encryptions (i.e. Gaim-Encryption)

[via TUAW]

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Sunday, October 30, 2005

ATSC broadcast power

I wonder why broadcasters do this.  It appears that our local ABC affiliate does not broadcast at full power during the day.  We don't get good reception of KGO during the day, but at night the signal comes in perfectly. 

I could understand this if they were broadcasting some other digital channels during this time, but this doesn't appear to be the case.  I wonder if this is just to save electricity.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

STEALTHtenna amplifier

Since the STEALTHtenna was installed in the attic, the reception was a little flaky.  I bought the amplifier for the STEALTHtenna, and it has solved the problem.

While I was up there I attempted to make sure that the antenna was pointing in the "right" direction, according to a compass.  After I did this, I got no signal.  This may have had something to do with our attic being a little faraday cage, with the foil covering on the roofing matterial.  I had to go through the manual process to estimate the right direction to point the antenna.

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Making your Powerbook a Wi-Fi access point

The MAKE: Blog has a post that describes the steps to make a Powerbook running Mac OS X  into a 802.11 access point.  I haven't tried this is a while.  Last time that I did I wasn't able to get the DHCP server to hand out ip addresses.

Large transmission tower

Tall TowerThis is pretty cool.  In Chicago, there is a proposal to build a 2000 ft tower to broadcast radio signals such as HDTV.  This would allow an unobstructed view for these signals for quite a range.

I would love it if something like this was done in the San Francisco Bay area, even though this would never happen.

[via HD Beat]

More Vonage and TiVo

I have been having a difficult time to get my HD10-250 to make phone calls over the Vonage line.  The tips that I described before didn't seem to work.

I found this page that did have a tip that works for me.  This is the configuration that I use to dial:

Dial In Number: 1-212-277-3895

Call waiting: "*70,"

Dial Prefix: "*99,12122773895,,,,"

Tone/Pulse: Tone

Phone Detection: Off

Dial Tone Detection: Off

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

D-Link NAS enclosure

3060000000050767.JpgThe D-Link DSM-G600 is a enclosure that would allow you to create a NAS by adding a hard drive.  This is pretty cool, especially since the NAS devices that have hard drives installed are pretty expensive.

The one things that I ams not sure on is what protocols this supports.  I would assume that this supports SMB and potentially AFP, but their specification doesn't state specifically.

[via Engadget]

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Olive Symphony

SymphonyNow this is a cool media player.  The Olive Symphony is a component digital music player that has some pretty cool features.  I has an 80 GB hard drive that can store the music files.  It has a CD drive that can rip audio cd directly to the hard drive.  Also you can burn cd from the Symphony itself.  When playing the music there are both Toslink and coaxial digital outputs for playing high quality audio

In addition to being able to rip the audio from CDs, the Symphony can access music on computers on the local area network, from either Bonjour or UPnP A/V protocols.  In addition to being able to access music from computers on the network, the music that is on the hard drive is made available on the network through the same protocols.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Previously, I had bought an internal ATSC antannae.  I haven't been that happy with the reception of this.  I wasn't not able to get our local NBC affiliate, and I was only able to get ABC or CBS, if no body mooved in front of the antanne.

I decided to buy a Channel Master STEALTHtenna.  Since we live in a townhouse, I didn't want to put this antenna on the roof, so I decided to install it in the attic.  The installation was pretty easy.

Apple Store Experience

Yesterday, I went to the Apple Store because the hinge on the right side of my PowerBook G4 was a little loose.  I had this problem a little over a year ago, and they were able to tighten the screws in the store.  I had AppleCare back then, and I decided not to continue it.  I was hoping that they would fix again like they did last time.

when i got to the Apple Store in Valley Fair, there were a couple of people in front of me.  When it was my turn, I was told that I had to sign in.  (There were no signs that told people that they should sign in.)  Luckily, I the person was able to take the laptop into the back and tighten the screws.

I am hoping that I can make this laptop last until the new x86 PowerBooks come out.

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Free music

StanfordStanford has posted 30 tracks in the iTunes Music Store for free download.  The interesting part was that there the "Get Tracks" button, did not add the tracks to the Shopping Cart, but it started to download automatically.  Maybe this is true for all free tracks now.

I also noticed that the tracks that are downloaded are not Protected AAC tracks, but are just standard .m4a tracks.

[via TUAW]

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Automatically create torrent rss feeds

This looks pretty cool for someone who has a podcast.  It looks like you can log into your Prodigem account, and enter a rss feed, it can convert the attachment urls to urls for torrent for those files.  This makes it very easy to create the torrent feeds.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Syncronize Firefox bookmarks

Bookmarks Synchronizer is a Firefox extension that will allow you to synchronize your Firefox bookmarks between computers.  This brings one of the features that is available in Safari to Firefox.  I am using this to synchronize my bookmarks between my laptop and my desktop at work.

[via TUAW]

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1080p DVD player

3060000000050047.JpgI saw this post about the Classé CDP-300, which is a DVD player that has some pretty cool features.  It has a touchscreen lcd display on the device itself, to allow previews of videos playing.  This is a great feature for playing DVD-Audio discs where you don't really need the video display.

The one feature that I don't understand, except for the bragging rights, is the 1080p output.  DVDs inherently have a resolution of 480i, so this DVD player has a line doubler that increases the resolution.  I don't know if this is better than the line doublers in nice HDTVs.  Also, I don't know how many TVs support 1080p input.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

spam blog tool

Almost a year ago, there was a site that had been taking my rss feed and using that to generate a blog with my content, without any acknowledgment.  It looks like this tool has been created for this purpose.

It appears that this tool will read an rss feed and the make posts to standard blogging systems.  The main headline on their site is:

Who Else Wants to Know How I Maintain Daily Posts to Several  Content Blogs on Various Subjects, All Without Writing A Single Word or Lifting A Single Finger?

This appears to be a software package thats main purpose is to plagiarize.

dcc and disk space

I have been noticing that I have been running out of disk space on one of my servers.  I just noticed that the log directory for dcc has 171,000 files.  I removed them, and that freed 1.2GB of space.

I need to write a script to make sure that this directory doesn't get to large.

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

ATSC antenna

When I set up the DIRECTV HD DVR, DIRECTV doesn't give local channels in HD, so you need to connect an ATSC antenna.  I first tried the Zenith Silver Sensor Digital HDTV Indoor Antenna.  It only worked for some channels.  When I looked closely at the box, it was only a UHF antenna.

I then bought the Terk HDTVi.  This antenna allows me to receive most of the ATSC channels in my area.

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DIRECTV HD DVR installed

Yesterday, the installer came to install the DIRECTV HD DVR.  Since we already had a DIRECTV installation, all that was involved was installing the triple sat dish, installing a new multiswtich and one additional line to the living room.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

detect rootkits on OS X

This article on MacDevCenter, has some good tips for detecting rootkit attacks on Mac OS X.

[via TUAW]

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Mercedes Minivan?

Mb R ClassI just saw some pictures of the 2006 Mercedes R-Class.  They call it a "Grand Sports Tourer", but it looks like a minivan to me.  It is funny that luxury car makers do not want to make minivans, even though I think that there is a market for them.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Podcast of videos

I just saw this post on macosxhints.  It describes that you can create a url for an rss feed for all of the videos with a particular tag in

For example, here is an example of a url:

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On Thursday, I picked up a copy of SOCOM 3.  I really like the game.  This new version has several new features

  1. Better graphics

  2. Larger maps

  3. 16:9 screen

  4. Customizable weapons

  5. Drivable vehicles

It definitely is an improvement over SOCOM 2, but there are some downsides to it.

  • When enabling Progressive scan mode, the graphics appear to be dithered

  • The controls for driving the vehicles are a little strange.  R1 to drive forward, and L1 to go backwards.  Also using the right analog stick changes the view, so it gets a little confusing for driving.

  • In order to join or create a Clan, you need to verify an account with a credit card.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Mobile IM

I just tried out the Mobile IM client, for AOL, MSN and Yahoo, that is available through Get It Now.  It is interesting, but I don't know if I would use it.  It pretty much just sets up a IM to text message proxy.  So once set up, it forwards IM messages to the phone with text messages, so the phone is not always using air time when using Mobile IM.

I did noticed one problem.  There is not a way in the UI for Mobile IM to disconnect from the IM services.  What you have to do is to connect to the IM services from a computer.  This will cause the IM session to be closed.

I don't see using this myself.  I don't want to be connected that much.

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Sunday, October 9, 2005

Integrated car computer

2645319218675165.JpgThe ICEPAC is a pretty cool way to get a computer into your car.  It is has 1Ghz cpu, 256 MB RAM, 40GB hard drive and a DVD/CD-RW drive.  All of this fits in a single DIN unit.  The motorized LCD fits in a second DIN slot.

One cool thing about this is that CDs and DVDs can be played without Windows having to be booted.  With an external GPS antenna, the computer becomes a GPS navigation unit. 

I don't know how well this would integrate with a XM receiver.  It doesn't have line in, but it does have a Firewire connection.  But I don't think that there are any XM receivers that have a Firewire output.

[via Autoblog]

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BugMeNot Bookmarklet

This post has a pretty cool Bookmarklet that automatically opens a browser window to BugMeNot with the current domain filled in.  This allows you to easily get a user name and password for many sites that require registration.

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The trains are really for our son

Dcp 3887This weekend our son and I made some pretty cool Thomas the Train tracks.  I keep getting tempted to add more tracks so we can build more complicated setups.

Right now we have the Conductor Figure 8 set, the Up and Away Expansion Pack, and a Cross and Switch Expansion Pack.

Of course, our son has the most fun from these trains.

Saturday, October 8, 2005

Gallery 2

I just upgraded our gallery software to Gallery 2, from the 1.5.1 version.  This looks pretty cool.  I really like the external modules that can be enabled/disabled individually.

It did a great job at importing the photos and albums from the previous version of gallery.  One things that I found out is that you shouldn't cancell the import while it is in progress.  When I did that, and tried to reimport the data, it failed.  I had to drop all of the tables, and delete the data directory.

Friday, October 7, 2005

Google Reader

Google has released (I don't know how officially) their web based RSS/Atom reader.  I tried it out, but I didn't have much luck.  It didn't successfully import feeds from my OPML file.  It only imported 47 of them.

It looks like this could be pretty cool once the bugs have been worked out.

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Vienna RSS reader

This post mentions the new Vienna RSS reader.  It is a new RSS/Atom reader for Mac OS X.  It is pretty cool as this is a open source app, while the other full featured RSS readers are all shareware applications.

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I flagged this post when I saw it.  When I ordered our new TV, I called DIRECTV to see if this deal was still good.  The person that I talked to knew about the deal, and said that I qualified for it, as an existing customer.  Also this price also includes the needed dish and standard installation.

Unfortunately, they will not install it until November, as this is the first available installation time.

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Logo XmradioStarting on November 15th, DIRECTV will replace their MusicChoice channels with XM music channels.  This is great, as I have not been very impressed with the current music channels on DIRECTV.

It appears that DIRECTV has a server of music where each of the tracks have been tagged with a bunch of categories.  Then for each channel, the server randomly picks each track. With XM, the music programming is a lot better.

Unfortunately, it looks like U-POP is not being carried.  I wonder if this is because U-POP is a WorldSpace Satellite channel.  Also I wonder which 50 channels will be available for Total Choice subscribers. U-POP is is part of the Total Choice Plus and Total Choice Premier lineups.

[via Engadget]

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Thursday, October 6, 2005

Yet more strange http access

I just looked in my logs and I noticed a series of http request that take the url, and append "/text/javascript".  It appears that the Ocelli web crawler is attempting to download pages that are javascript pages.  I don't know what type of web server would change the format of the resulting page just by appending a mime type to the url.

GPL software in TV

This is pretty cool.  I just looked through the documentation that came with the Sony 34" HDTV (KD-34XBR960) that we just bought.  One of the documents is titled:

Required Public Statement for GPL/LGPL licensed Software Used in This Television

It looks like the TV is running linux, and used the MontaVista Linux Kernel.  All of this software that they use is available on their linux web site.

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