Monday, May 30, 2005

Find and Replace in AppleScript

Since AppleScript doesn't have a built in capability for encoding or decoding HTML entities, or even a search a replace capability, I went looking for some sample code that does a search and replace.  This page has a good example of how to do this.

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Updated Post Trackbacks applescript

I have updated the Post Trackbacks AppleScript.  It looks like ecto now html encodes the urls when using the link tool (which is the correct thing to do).  Now the script correctly parses the urls out of the body text, and it un-htmlencodes the url before calling curl.

You can download the script here.

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Saturday, May 28, 2005

Gaming headset

4621628861772595Tritton has come out with surround sound headphones, that include a built-in microphone. These headphones have four drivers in each of ear pieces, used to give the surround sound effect. These look like they would be good for online games.

Unfortunately, these only have a USB interface, so they require a Windows driver installed in order to use them. I would love to see one of these compatible with the PlayStation 2. When I play SOCOM II, I usually wear headphones on top of the headset, so I don't wake the kids or my wife up. This gets pretty uncomfortable after a while. I would love it if someone would make a headphone that integrated a microphone. Then the cable would have two ends. One with a headphone plug to connect to the main sound source, and then another mini jack plug to connect to the headset port.

[via Engadget]


In the May 2005 issue of Linux Pro Magazine there was a review of the Bluefish HTML editor.  I downloaded it through fink to try it out.  It looks like a pretty good program to edit html. It looks better than Mozilla or emacs, which is what I have been using.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Flexible screen kit

148794XWhen we moved into our house, the screen on the back door had some holes in it, so I knew that I wanted to replace it.  I decided to purchase the flexible screen kit.  I was thinking that this would help keep the screen from popping out and the screen door on the track, when the kids started pushing on it.

The screen never did get popped out of the door, but the door seemed pretty unstable, and was falling off the track.  Also the screen was pretty dark, so it was hard to seen in and out through the screen.  After about 3 years of use, some holes started to appear, I decided to just go to Home Depot and pick up a standard screen.

Free PSP

339348 ImageSince I actually received a free iPod Shuffle, I decided to try to get a free PSP. If you are interested in getting one of these, then check out this site.  Also, FreeStuff-IHMC has a good site that helps you get your items faster.

iPod Shuffle review

I finally had a chance to use the iPod Shuffle.  I had to fly to Philadelphia this week, so the iPod Shuffle was great to use on the plane.  There was a problem though.  After about 3 hours into the 5½ hour flight the headphones started to hurt.  I am thinking about buying the Apple In-Ear Headphones.  They seems like they would be more comfortable.

The other thing that I would like to see is the ability to rate tracks on the iPod Shuffle itself.  Apple is marketing this as a device where a random sample of your music gets added to the iPod Shuffle.  Then you play it in a random order.  Since everyone probably has music in their collection that don't like as much, there will be some songs they don't want to listen to, it would great if you could do something on the iPod that would help to train the AutoFill random selection.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

pLog 1.0.1

pLog 1.0.1 has been released and includes some new features and bug fixes.  It can be downloaded from

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BitTorrent 4.1.0

Version 4.1.0 of the official BitTorrent client has been released.  This version has support for trackerless torrents.  This allows you to download files, even when the centralized tracker is not available.  Also this is helpful for people publishing content, when they are not able to run a tracker.

After I upgraded the rpm, I neede to make two changes in order to get this to work for me.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Podcast support in pLog

The upcoming version 1.0.1 of pLog will have built-in support for podcasting.  Now audio files included as resources will be added as enclosures in the posts in the rss feed.

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Podcasting reading with Shrook

The latest version of Shrook now has integrated podcast support.  Now you can download your audio podcasts directly into iTunes from within Shrook.  It doesn't only handle audio enclosures, but handles any type of enclosures like video or torrent files.

Threre are two features that I would like to see:

  1. Automatically changing the genre of the auto tracks that are added to iTunes.

  2. Create a playlist in iTunes where all audio tracks are added.

Threat to television

Mark Pesce delivers a good speech on the threat the the television industry has with piracy.  He also gives good suggestions on how the television industry can still make money. Here is a torrent, where it is available.

[via Mostly Muppet Dot Com]

Saturday, May 21, 2005

memory leak in apache

I think that the server problem that I mentioned before is a memory leak in apache.  When I restart apache, each of the worker threads take up a certain amount of memory.  Then I make a request to a simple php script, and then the resident memory has increased after.

The simple script that I am using is:


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

more blog scraping

This is really annoying.  I noticed today that I had a new site that linked to my blog, according to Technorati.  I think that they picked my blog because I had a post that talked about light bulbs, and I guess that they are selling light bulbs.

But they are posting the articles that I have written on their site.  They are not doing this automatically, since their blog is running on Blogger.  They do have links to my blog, but the posts say that they are posted by "Ron".

They don't have any AdSense or any other ads on this page, so they are not trying to get direct revenue from the content.  But since this page does link to the page that actually sells the light bulbs, I think that they are trying increase their PageRank.

moblogging in pLog

This is very cool.  Some one wrote a moblog plugin for pLog.  Now you can create posts and upload images from a cell phone or from any email client.

This page has information on how to set this up.

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Sunday, May 15, 2005

LED lightbulb

Hiwt-105 Led1 EA couple of weeks ago, I saw an episode of "I Want That!" that described these LED light-bulbs.  Appalachian Wind Systems, LLC makes a bunch of different types of LED light bulbs.  In addition to saving electricity over incandescent and florescent bulbs, they are supposed to last a lot longer.

I would be interested in these bulbs if they were dimmable, so I could use them with my X10 system.  I couldn't tell from the specs if they are capable of dimming.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

More TiVo and Vonage

In a post I wrote a while ago, I talked about a way to make a TiVo make phone calls over a VoIP connect.  Vonage used to have instructions on dial prefixes that would work.  (It looks like they removed all of those instructions.)

I just got a new TiVo, and was trying to set it up, and the second phone call was failing.  I did a search on the web, and I found these instructions that would allow the TiVo to make the phone calls over a broadband connection.

Fixing locked iTunes music library file

When I was copying music to the iPod Shuffle, I accidentally disconnected the iPod from my laptop.  This caused iTunes to crash.  I guess it didn't close the library file correctly, because when I launched iTunes again, I got the following error message:

" The iTunes 4 Music Library rile is locked, on a locked disk, or you do not have write permissions for this file."

This page has a description of how to fix this problem.

Update: The previous page is not available.  Here is the page on Google Cache. 

Update #2: It looks like the page is gone from Google Cache. 

Free iPod Shuffle

iPod Shuffle in box
On Friday, my free iPod Shuffle arrived. I got this by using the web site. The one site that made it very easy to fufill the requirements is on the I Hate my Cubicle website. They have a banner program that if you use them as a referrer, you can have your referrer link added to their banner rotation. From this I got people, that I don't know, using my referral link.

Now, I am going to try to see if I can get a free Mac Mini or Photo iPod.

If you are interested in trying these out, click on these links (Mac Mini, Photo iPod), or go to FreeStuff-IHMC.

More iPod Shuffle photos.

Delicious Library

I tried and really like Delicious Library.  It is a library manager for all of your DVDs, CDs, books and games, just like DVDAttache.  It has a great polish. 

The one unique feature that it has is that it can use a firewire web cam to act like a barcode scanner.  This will allow items to be automatically imported, without any typing.  In addition to this, you can enter items with title, UPC, or ISBN searches.

Also, you can export the library to your ipod.  And they have added Spotlight indexing of the library.

Friday, May 13, 2005


It seems like Mac compatible web cams that they sell in the store are pretty expensive.  macam is a QuickTime component that lets you use many different web cams with software that use QuickTime input APIs.

Podcast book

Today was the big announcement on the Geek News Central Podcast.  Todd, the podcaster there, announced that he has published a new book on podcasting.  "Podcasting: Do It Yourself Guide" looks like a good book if you are interested in podcasting.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Showing full names for post

I looked through all of the templates that are available for pLog, and I noticed that all of them don't show the full name for the authors of the posts.  I made the following change to allow this to work.


<span class="date">
| {$locale->formatDate($postDate,"%d %B, %Y %H:%M")}


<span class="date">
{if strlen($postOwner->getFullName()) > 0 }
| {$locale->formatDate($postDate,"%d %B, %Y %H:%M")}

Sunday, May 8, 2005

Moved XM Commander

Repositioned XM Commander
The velcro holding the XM Commander display in our Odyssey got loose, so I reattached it with some stronger velcro. I also took the opportunity to position it better. Now the buttons are more accessible and the display is easer to see from the drivers seat.

Unfortunately, the strongest velcro that I could find is white, so it is a little more visible than I would have liked.

Phone powered devices

These telco powered devices are pretty funny, but also interesting. These are devices that are powered by the electrical current on telephone lines.  I assume that most of these work by having a battery, and using the phone current to trickle charge the battery.

I think that the funniest product is the telco powered vibrator.

[via MAKE: blog]

Make your own ring tones

The April 29th episode of the Make podcast, mentions smashTheTONES.  This is a free service that lets you upload your own music to use a ring tone for your cell phone.  It also lets you upload images as well.

I tried to use this with my Motorola T730c, but this phone only supports uploading images though this service.  Also, I am not able to see the images on my phone, but I think that this is caused because I don't pay for Verizon's GetPIX service

Automatically install malicious Dashboard widget

This is an interesting web page that describes how a web page can automatically install a Dashboard widget.  It also looks like Apple does not provide a way for you to remove an installed Dashboard widget. 

This web page installs a moderately malicious widget.  In order to remove it, you will have to manually remove it and restart the Dashboard.

Apple need to prevent these types of attacks.

[via Slashdot]

Potential server problems

Twice today, my server got unresponsive where I had to turn it off, and then turn it back on.  When it was in this state, I noticed that the hard drive was thrashing. After rebooting it the first time, I noticed that apache died because it wasn't able to allocate memory.

I think that one of the processes is leaking memory so bad that it eventually uses all of the swap space.  I don't think that this problem is caused by anything external, as I can see a log of all of the connections though my firewall.  Now I just need to find out what is leaking the memory.

Update:  I found out what causing the problem.  I had installed version 1.3.0 of munin.  Since I had a cron job that got the statistics every 5 minutes and it appears that some of the processes were not finishing, so eventually the computer would run out of memory.    I updated munin to 1.3.2, and it doesn't seem to have this problem.

Friday, May 6, 2005

Turning off FileVault

I have decided to turn off FileVault on my PowerBook.  When FileVault is enabled, your home directory is copied into an encrypted disk image, which is mounted when you log in.  This disk image is supposed to be a sparse disk image, which is supposed to increase in size to fit the contents of the image.  The size of the disk images is supposed to decrease when files are deleted.

It looks like Apple's implementation is not that good.  When you create a new file, the disk image size is increased.  This happens, even though a larger file was just deleted.  The only time that the disk image is compressed is when the computer is shut down, and I hardly ever shutdown my laptop, but instead I just put it to sleep.

ecto 2.3

There is a new version of ecto, and it is pretty cool.  Now ecto has explicit support for tags from Technorati,, and Flickr.  This version allows you create and add tags from directly in the draft window.

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Waiting for Mac OS X 10.4

Tiger ReitalboxI am waiting before installing Mac OS X 10.4.  The main thing that I need before installing it support for Cisco's VPN client.  This is needed for logging into the network at my job.

Maybe, I will try getting the built-in VPN client to to work with my companies VPN server.  If that would work, then I can install 10.4

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Conditionally call Growl from AppleScript

In this post I mentioned that I added Growl support to the Post TrackBack AppleScript.  I wanted to do this in a way that would work correctly if Growl wasn't installed.  (AppleScript has a habit of popping up a dialog if it can't find an application that it was expecting.

This page has a great example of using Growl if it is installed.

Monday, May 2, 2005

Smoke Alarm

Sa302 Hires SmThe smoke alarm in our bedroom was pretty old, so I decided that I wanted to get a new one to replace it.  I went to Home Depot, and I saw the First Alert SA302.  This smoke alarm uses both photo and ion detectors to determine when there is smoke in the room.  Since this was going to go in our bedroom, I wanted a alarm that could detect smoke from any type of fires.

This alarm also has a "Remote Controlled silence/test" feature, where you can use your TV remote to silence false alarms and test the alarm.  I though that this would be a good feature, because then my wife wouldn't have to get on a stepping stool to silence the alarm.


A while ago, I had tried to use Proteus as my IM client, and I even registered it.  I eventually switched back to using Apple's iChat since Proteus did not easily integrate with Apple's Address Book.

This weekend, I downloaded the latest version of Proteus, and I really like it.  It now integrates well with Apple's Address book and displays the full name for a user, instead of the IM username.  It also displays the picture that is assigned to the card in Address Book.


FlashGot is a pretty cool Firefox extension that allow you to have all of your download be managed by an external download manager.  It adds a new radio button to the download dialog, which allows you to specify if you want the browser to download the file or send it to the download manager.  Also, there is a preference that lets you specify that files with certain extension should always be sent to the download manager.

On Mac OS X, it allow downloads to be sent to Speed Download.

Updated Post Trackback script

I have updated the Post Trackback script.  Now, if you have Growl installed, it will present notifications with Growl instead of a dialog in ecto.

You can download the script here.