Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Memory ball alarm clock

BallradioI saw this post on Gizmodo for this Memory Ball alarm clock radio.  When I first saw the picture, I though that in order to turn off the alarm you would have to roll the pall to a particular position, or a sequence of positions.  This would be something similar to the alarm clock that rolls away from you when you hit snooze.

Jinzora importing

I have played around with Jinzora a little bit, and I have found it to be a pretty cool program.

But, there seems to be some problems with importing media.  I tried to have Jinzora import my music using the folder structure only (since this is what the page recommends).  On the same screen there is a pop-up that describes how, what I thought was, the meta information should be presented to the user.  I guess I picked the wrong option.  All of my artists got interpreted as Genres and all of the albums got interpreted as artists.

The strange thing about this was that when I looked at the information for a specific track, it had all of the correct information.  It looked like the browsing information was just wrong.  I didn't see a way to rebuild the browsing structure.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Free Opera

Opera is having it's 10-year online anniversary, and is giving away licenses for its browser, for today only.  The Opera browser is available for Windows, Linux, FreeBSD and Mac OS 9/X.

Here is the page that has the registration information.

[via The Apple Blog]

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Monday, August 29, 2005


I installed Jinzora today.  It looks like it has promise, especially since netjuke is not supported anymore.  (In fact, the web site is not running anymore.)

There are a few things that I like about it are:

  • It can automatically transcode music to support slower connections.

  • It can display a list of similar tracks

There are some things that don't work with it.

  • I was only able to import music when the meta data was read from the folder structure, and not from the tags.

  • You can not remove all of the tracks from the database from within the interface.  I had to drop the tabes, and the recreate them again.

  • I have not been able to figure out how to change the interface.  I set it up in the install wizard, and I am not able to change it.

netjuke and PHP5

I wanted to get some streams from my netjuke installation, and when I tried I got some php parse errors.  I am sure that this is happening now because I am using PHP5, which I wasn't using before upgrading to Fedora Core 4.

I will look into fixing these problems, but if it takes too much time, I will look into installing Jinzora.

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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Vonage and ADT

Today I tested my ADT security system because wanted to find out if it is actually working with my currently wiring setup.  I have connected the phone line from the security system to our patch panel.  This is connected to our Vonage ATA. (Similar to the article in Make magazine)

Supposedly, this is not supposed to work, like modems and fax machines are not supposed to work.  If it didn't work,  I would have thought of either

  1. Buying the cell service connector for the ADT system.

  2. Buy the ABN Broadband Adapter from, and switch to using their service.

  3. Switch to using for service.

Changes in iSync

Since upgrading to Mac OS X 10.4, I had noticed some changes to iSync.  I had noticed that the .Mac icon in iSync doesn't do anything.  Also, the iSync menu item can not initiate a sync with my phone.

Chris Holland wrote the same thing on The Apple Blog.  But he also mentioned Sync Now, "re-adds" the feature to sync your devices without launching iSync.  The program works perfectly

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Saturday, August 27, 2005

Free games

I just saw this article on  They list 10 free full featured games that can be downloaded.  I used to play Marathon a while ago, and it is neat to be able to download the games.

The versions that are available, for Mac OS, is only Mac 9 applications.  So if you want to run this on Mac OS X, you will have to use Classic.  Bungie open  sourced the code to Marathon in 2000, and there has been work to continue development on it.  You can download a Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux client from this project.

[via dealmac]

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Personal Radio Recorder

Morphy Richards Dab EpgPVR Wire has a post that mentions a digital radio that can schedule recordings with a program guide.  The Morphy Richards DAB EPG Radio records audio content to a SD card.

I wonder how they are doing the EPG.  I know that HD Radio includes the program information for the programs that are on now, but I didn't think that it included future programs.  Maybe the EPG has to be loaded on the SD card.

I do like the idea of a recorder for radio.  When I am listening to my XM radio coming to work, I hear of upcoming programs.  I usually am not able to hear them since I am not in the car.  It would be great to record these programs and listen to them while I drive.  I know that the XM MyFi will record programs, but I want something that is better intergrated with my car stereo.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

cron jobs with launchd

In this post, I described ClamXav and how it will install a cron job to scan files as well as updating the virus definitions.  In Mac OS X 10.4, Apple has created launchd to replace crond, init, and xinitd.  So I wanted to replace with the cron jobs with Launch Actions.

Here are the plist files that I have created to replace the cron jobs.  I created these plist files with Launchd Editor, I wasn't able to get the scripts to work when I created them with Property List Editor

Google Talk in Proteus

I set up Proteus to access the Google Talk IM system.  Google Talk appears a service that is intended to compete with AIM and Yahoo IM.  It uses the Jabber open standard for communication.  The instructions that were posted at TUAW and Make: Blog worked perfectly for Proteus.

I can't tell if Google is allowing communication from Google Talk users with other users of other Jabber servers.  Ideally, they would allow this since this is one of the benefits of using an open standard.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

POP3 server on Mac OS X

I set up ClamXav to run with a cron job on my laptop.  Since this is using cron, the output of the job is mailed to the my local account.  I wanted see if there was a way that I could use the native mbox files in Apple's Mail.  There were a couple of posts on Mac OS X hints that described doing this (hint 1, hint 2).

I discovered, as Joe Maller did, that Mac OS 10.4 doesn't use the mbox format to store its messages.  It looks like it is using separate files for each message to allow Spotlight to index the messages.

The only way that I thought that it would be possible to read these messages in Apple's Mail was to setup a POP3 server on my laptop, that would read these mbox formatted files, and present a protocol that Mail can understand.  I found this post that described setting up qpopper.  I was actually able to skip from the unpacking step to the step that runs configure.

Monday, August 22, 2005


I use ClamAV on my mail server, but I really haven't tried out ClamXav.  ClamXav is a Mac OS X wrapper around ClamAV.  It provides a way o manually scan folders as well it will automatically scan certain folders.  For example, it can automatically scan your download and mail folders.

The MacDevCenter has a good article on setting up ClamXav.  At the end of the article, there is an interview with the developer.

[via TUAW]

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NewsFire will support Spotlight

A screenshot has been posted on the NewsFire blog.  It looks like the 1.2 version of NewsFire will have Spotlight support.  It looks like you will be able to search for NewsFire posts from the Spotlight menu.

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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Europe gets the cool car head units

It seems that all of the cool head units are available in Europe and not here.  A while ago, I was looking at Single DIN Navigation units for my car.  I don't like the look of the ones that have the screen that pops out of the unit itself.  There were only two available in the US.  (The Harman Kardon TrafficPro and the Blaupunkt TravelPilot.)

Europe has a lot available.  Here is a page from the gps warehouse that lists all of the single din navigation head units.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

DNS zones after upgrade to FC4

I just registered a new domain, and I was in the process of setting up my secondary domain server, and I noticed that all of the other zones were missing from the DNS server.

It looks likes the latest rpm for bind moved the file /etc/named.confto /etc/named.conf.rpmsave.  I am sure that there was some mention of this in the install log file, but I didn't see it.

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Ear Force AXT

Axt Full MicOne of my friends sent me this link to this new headset.  I mentioned before that I want to get a headset that would allow me to play SOCOM II with with headphones.

It looks like the Ear Force AXT is a headset that is meant to be used with an Xbox.  it has a RCA input to connect to a Xbox or a receiver, and a "mic adapter" to plug into the Xbox communication module for the communication.

This could be used for playing SOCOM II on a PS2.  If the "mic adapter" is a standard headset connector, I should be able to use it.  I use the DATEL GameTalk Headset, and this provides a USB adapter for standard headset.  Is the Xbox headset compatible with cell phones?

Friday, August 19, 2005

More BlueTooth thoughts

Now that I have had a chance to play with my phone, I have thought of some things that I would love to get.  I would love to use more of the Bluetooth functionality.

I would love to use this on my computer.  I want some software that will automatically pause iTunes and lock my computer when I walk away.  Also I would like CallerID information to be presented on the screen when someone calls.  I know that Sailing Clicker and Romeo supports this, but they are not compatible with the Motorola E815.  BluePhoneElite does support the CallerID display, but it doesn't support the proximity features.

I also want to get a Bluetooth headset for the phone.  In addition to that, when I replace the car head unit, I want to see if someone makes a headunit that has a BlueTooth hands free unit built in.  This should cause the music to mute when the phone is answered.  I imagine that an external mic would be mounted somewhere on the dash.

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Script to prevent memory leak

I have still been having problems where apache is spawning threads that are not responding.  I am not exactly sure what the problem is, but in the mean time, I have written a script that will kill and restart apache.

I set the script up to page me when it fixes this problem.  I really need to look at what type of access is causing these apache threads to get stuck.

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Motorola E815

Mot E815Yesterday the Motorola E815 that I order arrived.  I finally got it activated this morning.  It is exactly what I wanted.  It is a BlueTooth camera phone, that can sync with my Mac though iSync.

The interface is pretty much the same as my Motorola T730, but the screen is larger and has a higher resolution.  I had no problem having the phone recognized by my computer.

I actually took a test picture and wanted to figure out how to get it to my computer.  It looks like Verizon did not enable the file transfer profile, so I am not able to directly copy the images over. 

Monday, August 15, 2005

Printserver with CUPS

I finally got around to configuring printing after upgrading to Fedora Core 4, from Red Hat 9.  Fedora Core 4 doesn't have lpd available, only CUPS.  I previously had configured lpd to be a print server for two attached USB printers.

This page has instructions for configuring CUPS to be a print server.  Everything worked perfectly just following the instructions.  I actually didn't have to do steps 3 & 4, as Mac OS X already has the CUPS daemon running.  It also automatically recognizes the printers that are broadcasted by the server.

CUPS is very cool for network printer sharing.  The broadcast protocol, lets the clients know what type of printer is running on each queue.  Also, I assume that it is making the printer description available to the clients, so that the clients can do some processing.

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Spotlight in Mail

I have started to play with Spotlight in Mail, and it is pretty cool.  Doing on demand text based searches is very fast. 

Today, I just started to creates some Smart Mailboxes and I think that they have potential.  One thing that I think is missing is to be able to use the Account as a qualifier in the searches.  For example,  I would like to have a Mailbox that contains messages with attachments, but only for my work account.  I am not able to specify an account, but I can specify "Any Recipient contains:"

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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Setup Harmony 880 Remote


I finally set up the Harmony 880 remote that I got a while ago.  It was pretty easy to move my configuration to the new remote.  All I had to do was connect the USB cable to the remote and the computer, and update the configuration from the web site.  All of the settings that I had configured before automatically got transfered.

Now that I have used the new remote for a while there are some things that I like and some that I don't like.  When I first got the Harmony 688, I noticed that it was harder to use the remote without looking at the buttons.  The 880's buttons are even harder to distinguish with out looking.  It does have a solution about this problem.  There appears to be a gyroscope in the remote.  When it is moved, the buttons light up automatically

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Stingray firewall

Topview LaI saw this post on Gizmodo about the Stingray Hardware Firewall.  It is a device that is supposed to sit in between your Cable/DSL modem and your computer.  It is supposed to automatically configure itself for the different network and virus threats.

They claim that you will not need to configure it to make this work.  (I think that is only true if your ISP is setup to give you an ip address with DHCP.)  Also I doubt that this firewall will allow any inbound connections.

I don't know if the protection provide by this is any better than any gateway that offers SPI.  This is pretty expensive.  They are charging  $129 CAD, while the Linksys WRT54GS is $71, and it gives you a WiFi access point.

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"Discovered" feature of Navigation

I am sure that this was in the manual, that I haven't read, but I just noticed a cool feature of the Honda Navigation unit.  If you click on the icon that shows the GPS signal strength, it will show you the GPS coordinates.  Then it also gives the address that is closest to your current position.  It also allows you to save this position for later.

I think that this is an easier way to save your current destination, as opposed to doing a lookup for the name of the business or address.

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My wife was on the news

My wife was interviewed for the CBS 5 Eyewitness News.  Someone killed a bunch of ducks at a local car wash, and my wife went there to offer condolences, and she was interview while she was there.

Here is her blog post about the incident.  Here is the video of the news segment.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Exchange support in iCal

I launched iCal today, for the first time after upgrading to Mac OS X 10.4, and I noticed something interesting.  There was a notification that was asking me if I wanted to accept a meeting.

We use Exchange at work, and iCal looked at the mailbox in Mail and noticed that one of the messages was a meeting request.  It parsed that and presented this notification.  When I accepted it, it put it in the calendar that I chose and it sent an email to the person who scheduled the meeting.

I then looked at the preference settings for iCal, and I saw that this functionality is optional. 

Mail Exchange

2 cool Dashboard Widgets

Indextop20050412Now that I have upgraded to Mac OS X 10.4, I have started to play with Dashboard Widgets.  I found two very cool widgets


Since I have been doing a lot of php programming, I have been going to to look up functions.  This is a widget that will allow you to look at the function reference and user notes for each function.


This widget shows the WiFi networks that your computer can see.  It shows the SSID, Channel, Signal Strength and an icon that indicated if it is secured with a passowrd. 

The other thing that it does is it will show a list of the WiFi Hotspots near a specified address.  The strange thing about this is that it doesn't cache the list of addresses, so if you don't have access to a network, you will not be able to find where you can get network access.

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NeoOffice/J review

MacDevCenter has posted a review of NeoOffice/J, that really goes into whether it can replace Microsoft Office.

At the end of the review, there is an interview with the lead developer.

[via TUAW]

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Hawking Network Camera

5292109332243966.JpgGearBits has a review of the Hawking HNC230G Wireless Network camera.  This is a relatively inexpensive (under $90) camera that allows you to see pictures of anywhere you have network access.

I would love to get one of these, especially since it has a good price.  This may not work in my current network setup, as I use WPA for wireless encryption, and I didn't see what type of 802.11 encryption it supports.  Also, it looks like a Windows computer is required to set this up.  I wonder if the http server is available, but maybe not supported, so you can use a Mac or a Linux computer.

[via Engadget]

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DTV: Internet TV

16Military ScreenshotI just downloaded this new application called DTV.  They are calling it an Internet TV application, but it is just a Video Podcast application.  It has an integrated guide that lists "channels" that have been submitted.  It can also download the video files via HTTP or BitTorrent.

This has the same functionality as iTunes and ANT.  DTV does have a better interface than either of those applications.  (I still haven't figured out how to display video in a separate window, and not in the preview pane or full screen.  I got this to work once.)


I just saw a post mentioning splunk.  Splunk is a tool that lets you search through log files for various search terms.

I installed this, and tried it out for a little bit.  It looks like it has promise, but I don't think that I will use it.  I don't see the need of having a separate process to running all of the time to search though log files.  I am happy to do the searching my self with grep.

Maybe if I had to watch over many different machines, this would be more useful.  One thing that I would love to see is to be able to network different Splunk installations, so all an administrator would have to do is look at one machine to see all of the log files for the whole network.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Black Dog USB Linux Server

Nw Hm Prod 06This looks like a pretty cool device.  The Black Dog is a small USB computer that is running Debian, that when authenticated with biometrics launches a X server on the host computer.  Then you can interact with the computer in that way.

I would assume that this will only work if the host computer is set to to support USB networking.  Also I assume that if this computer needs access to the network, the host computer will need to install firewall in bridging mode.

[via Gizmodo]

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Fuel cell bus

Fuel Cell BusYesterday, I was running some errands and I saw a strange looking bus.  It looked like it has a white exhaust, but then I realized that it was steam.  The VTA has 3 fuel cell buses

I think that this is great.  I would hope that as municipalities start implementing these sort of things, they would make the fueling stations available to the public.  I think that this would allow fuel cell consumer vehicles to proliferate faster.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Dual boot Windows/Linux

I had to set up my computer to be able to dual boot into both Linux and Windows.  I am using two seperate drives that contain the different Operating Systems.  I haven't configured a partition that can be shared between the two yet.  (I don't know if I will need to do that)

This page has instructions that helped me get this working.  I just modified the Grub configuration files to show a Windows boot option.

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Sunday, August 7, 2005

duckdriver referrer

I noticed some strange referrers in my http logs.  I saw some entries like: - - [08/Aug/2005:01:30:59 -0700] "GET /imgs/rss20_logo.gif HTTP/1.1" 200 989 "" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Konqueror/3.1; Linux)"

It looks like there is a web site called DuckDriver which states it is a Personal Internet Manager.  It looks like it is caching my site.  But that is not the bad part, it looks like it is stripping part of my html.  One of the things that it is stripping is my Google Adsense javascript.

I have blocked access from clients with this referrer, and from the host that is doing the caching itself (

Update:  It looks like the site that had a cache of my content has been made inaccessible from the outside, and access are redirected to this page.  I found something interesting on that page:

Because the bots do not 'spider' your website (ie. they do not recursively grab pages) they do not check robots.txt before scanning. The ability to regularly scan the submitted page is essential for the upkeep of the Blogwise database and we require this action to avoid delisting blogs unnecessarily.

So if I wanted to prevent the indexing from their spider, I wouldn't be able to use the standard robots.txt mechanism.  This seems wrong.

Update #2:  Sven from Blogwise added a comment describing that this is the Blogwise cache.  It is not intended to be a public cache.  I will be removing the blocks that I added before.

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"Today's Destinations" on Navi

This weekend, I noticed something interesting while we drove to Squaw Valley and back.  I wanted to enter all of the places that we were going into the navigation unit, so we wouldn't need to add them again later.  Also this would allow the navigation unit to calculate the best route between all of the destinations.

After I entered five destinations, I was not able to add amy more.  It looks like this limit is in the software itself.  Maybe it is too expensive to calculate the best route between more destinations, but this limit seems pretty arbitrary.

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Poor implementation of a web terminal

This weekend, I received a page that one of my servers was down.  I was on the way to the wedding, so I thought that I would deal with it after getting back to the condo from the wedding.

When we got to high camp at Squaw Valley, I noticed that there was a web terminal in the building where the cable car drops you off.  Even though the directions on the terminal said you had it enter money, I decided to see what happened if I didn't.

When I entered the url, the web page for the site fully loaded, and then after it finished, it went to their home page.  It appears that the web proxy might be modifying the http response headers to include a redirect to their web page.

It seems like this would be better if the proxy redirected the dns traffic. Or it could have just redirected traffic on certain ports.

Condo in Squaw Valley

This weekend we went to Squaw Valley for a wedding.  We decided to stay in a condo a couple of miles away, instead of in the complex itself.  The condo was very nice.  It was in a building that appeared to be 20 years old, but the unit itself was newly renovated.

If you are interested in a place to stay in Squaw Valley, I would recommend this place.  You can find rental information here.

The only problem that we had with this place was that it wasn't "child-proofed".  I think that next time we go, we would bring outlet covers, and a child lock for the front door.

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Culligan installed

A few weeks ago, we noticed that our clothes weren't getting clean.  We thought that this could be cause because of hard water. So we called Culligan.

When they came out they stated the the water quality varies in Santa Clara County, depending on how much water they get from ground water vs. surface water.  He also tested our water and said it was a 13.5, while normal is 8.  (He could be making up these number, and we would have no way to verify these numbers)

Saturday, August 6, 2005

Upgraded to Tiger

I finally upgraded to Mac OS X 10.4.  I bought the box from Other World Computing, which had it for $99.  Here are the steps that I following for the installation:

  1. I booted my laptop with the 10.4 DVD

  2. Plugged in an external firewire drive

  3. From the Utilities menu, selected Disk Utitiles

  4. Restored the internal drive to the external firewire drive

  5. Erased the internal drive

  6. Installed the software on the internal drive

  7. When it finished, and rebooted, restored the data from the external drive

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

shower head

Hiwt-204 Fan EIt seems like a lot of the new house construction or remodeling includes bathroom upgrades.  One that contractors are advertising a lot is showers that have multiple shower-heads mounted on the wall.

I Want That! showcased a shower head that has some of the same functionality, but it seems that it can be installed in an existing shower.  The Grohe Freehander shower-head, has to shower heads that rotate 360°.  Also the whole arm rotates so that the shower heads can be positioned above or in front of you.

This shower-head starts at $395.

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Harmony 880 Remote

6614Today, the Harmony 880 remote that we ordered arrived.  I haven't had a chance to set it up, but it is an amazing looking remote.  Even the base looks great.  When it is plugged in, there is a blue led in the center of the base to let you know where to put the remote, even when it it dark.  Also, the bottom of the base has a couple grooves that let you direct the power cord.

Tomorrow, I will configure it, and will write more about it then.

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dead bolt

Hiwt-205 Deadbolt EWe like watching I Want That! on HGTV.  Tonight they showed a pretty cool deadbolt.  The Tuner deadbolt makes it easy to lock the door from the outside.  When you leave the door, all you need to do is turn the ring around the deadbolt to lock the door.  You will need a key to unlock the door.

My wife mentioned that she would like to get one.  I know that this would make it easier to lock the house, when chasing after the kids on the way out the door.  The lock is available on line for $45.

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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...