This would allow me to go through my feed list faster. (I hope I wouldn't add additional feeds.)
Sunday, December 31, 2006
I just tried GlowWorm FW Lite. This is an application that has the sam functionality. When installed, you are notified of any outgoing network connections. You then can accept or deny the connection, and then same this setting.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
I recieved the an email yesterday (included below) stating the Fedora Legacy is in the process of shutting down. As of now, they are not maintaining distributions for Fedora Core 4 and earlier.
Fedora Legacy provided a centralized place where updates were distributed, even after the OS wasn't officially supported through Red Hat.
Now that this Fedora Legacy is going away, hopefully some other project will fill the space, or maybe I will switch to an OS with support. I really don't want to managed all patches and upgrades manually.
The code that YouTube specifies to be used to embed videos into html pages, is not valid in the XHTML 1.0 spec. The tag has been deprecated in XHTML 1.0. This page describes valid XHTML 1.0 code to embed YouTube videos.
I have been using the Motorola E815 for a little over a year, and I have been pretty happy with it. Recently there have been some annoyances, and some things that I haven't be able to do with it. For example,
- The E815 can not run the Gmail for mobile application or any other Java application
- The built-in browser doesn't retain cookies across power cycle, so you have to re-enter usernames and passwords for web sites.
So now when I am ready for a new cell phone, these are the features that I want:
- Java capable
- Full Bluetooth support, including file transfer profile
- Web client, with persistent cookies.
- Full iSync support over Bluetooth
- Camera with lens cover to protect against pocket lint.
- Voice dialing capable.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
I have been playing with Comcast's "On Demand" feature on the Motorola DVR cable box in our bedroom a little bit, and have realized that this will change my behavior. We used to have some series recordings of kids programs.
Now, I can cancel these recordings, since most of these shows are available on "On Demand". With this change, the DVR's disk space will not be "wasted" with programs that I don't watch.
I needed to setup my Harmony remote to be able to control both the TiVo Series3 and the DIRECTV HD DVR. I thought that there was a setting in in the Harmony interface, but I couldn't find it. Here is the way that I was able to get this to work:
- Configure the remotes and TiVo for seperate remote addresses.
- In the Harmony remote application, click on the Settings for one of the TiVos.
- Select the "Confirm infrared commands" option.
- Follow the instructructions.
- Do the same for the other.
In early 2004, I was looking for a solution of reducing spam email or our domain. We had been using SpamAsassin, but we didn't have a food soluton for training the bayesian database.
Then I found Maia Mailguard. This is a extension of amavisd-new. When mail is received it is run though spam an virus filters. The mail is quarantined or released based on each users settings. There is a nice web interface for users to mark items as spam, that were missed, or release items that were incorrectly marked as spam.
I installed this on my server, and it really worked for our mail. It worked so well, that I decided to make this available to other people. That is when I started MailBarricade. I mentioned this to my friends, and posted some ads with AdWords. Some friends and some small companies signed up.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Today, I noticed another problem with the Series3. About half of the recordings were "partial" with duration of 0:00. It turns out that only one of the two CableCards were activated. So all of the recordings from digital cable channels, on that tuner, were failing.
The TiVo should have been able to identify this problem after setup. The TiVo could have process where it tunes to every channel on both tuners. Then it could verify that the content on both tuners is the same.
With the Series3 installed, we now have two ways to easily listen to podcasts on our main system. We can either use FrontRow on the Mac mini, or use the podcasting application on the TiVo Series3. There are good and bad things with both of these solutions.
The podcasting application has a small directory of audio podcasts. The ones you want to have easy access to, you can mark them as favorites. For the podcasts that aren't listed, you can, tediously, enter the urls of the rss feed with the remote. Playing back works by essentially streaming the audio file.
It appears that OpenID is gaining prominence. OpenID is a decentralized identity system that can be used for authentication for various sites. When you want to authenticate your identity, you enter a url for a page that you control. This page contains will contain link tags with the location of the OpenID server where authentication happens.
This solution seems to work pretty well. Unfortunately, it setting up an OpenID identify is a little complicated. If you are not on system that natively supports OpenID, you will need to either configure a server your self, or use one of the OpenID identity services.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Since my body has forced me to stop drinking soda, the information on this page doesn't bother me that much. But I never realized the affects of cola on the body. But drinking soda, is probably the reason that I can't do it any more.
There is a new update to the Harmony Remote software. When the software first started up, a dialog appeared with options to install the update or quit. Every time that I installed the update, the software would crash. I eventually found out that the problem was that the Harmony Remote software was not unpacking the update itself, but using the configured helper application. (The Unarchiver). Once I deleted this app, the update worked correctly.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
This morning two Comcast technicians came over to look at the problem that we were having with the new cable video install. It turns out the problem was that when we had our cable modem installed, the installer put a filter on our line. This was causing the CableCards and the Motorola DVR to not be able to get the channel list.
Once the filter was removed, everything worked.
Monday, December 18, 2006
When season 10 of South Park started, I purchased the Season Pass from the iTunes Store. Then when Comedy Central resumed South Park from its mid season break, the Season Pass didn't resume. Then when I looked at the entry in the iTunes Music Store, it listed a new 10B season South Park. I didn't feel like paying for this new season, especially since I thought I originally payed for the whole season.
Last week, I got this email from Apple. It seems that a lot of people were upset, so they gave the 10B season to anyone who purchased 10A. I think that this is a great for public relations.
Now that we are using Google Apps for Your Domain for our email, I have been looking at all of the little tools that are available for the various Google products. I tried the Gmail Dashboard Widget, but I wasn't able to get it to work with the email for our domain, even though it works with my gmail account.
g4me is a third party Dashboard widget that will display new mail for an account in your domain.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
The size of the long double data type is 16 bytes in the version of gcc in Mac OS X 10.4. Unfortunately printf in the version of libc, included in the OS, only includes support for printing 64 bit long doubles. So if you want to print the value of a 128 bit long double, the output will not be as precise as the data itself.
I am trying to figure out a different way to print this data.
About a week ago, our TiVo Series3 was delivered, and yesterday the Comcast installer came to install the two CableCards, and a DVR. The installation time was supposed to be between 12 and 4. At 3, the installed called and wanted directions. I asked him if he had the CableCards, and he said that he didn't have any in the truck. He said that he could install the DVR and schedule another appointment for the CableCards, or he could come back after 5. I said that he should come after 5.
When he eventually came, he did bring both CableCards and the DVR. The installation was pretty quick. When he left, the DVR had video, but had no program guide. He said that it would begin to appear in 30 - 45 minutes. The Series3 was left "Acquiring Channel Information". The Series3 was supposed to acquire this info in 30 minutes as well.
Saturday, December 9, 2006
This is a pretty funny performance of the Charlie Brown Christmas Special performed by the cast of Scrubs.
[via TV Squad]
Friday, December 8, 2006
I have been playing SOCOM Combined Assault for about a month now, and I really like the game. Here are some of thoughts and other things that I have noticed:
- The briefing rooms for cooperative and "classic" games are in seperate lists
- If you use your SOCOM 3 username and password, it pulls over your online Clan information.
- The cooperative games can only have up to 4 people in it.
- The progressive video output looks better than it did in SOCOM 3
- The new "classic" maps are pretty fun.
- In the cooperative games, one of the items that you can add to your pack is a MedPack. This you can use to heal yoursel, or one of your teammates.
- In the cooperative games, you don't need to push-to-talk. This applies to the game and in the waiting room.
Saturday, December 2, 2006
The Alpine iDA-X001 is one of the best looking single-DIN headunits that integrates iPod controls. Not only does the text of the currently playing track appear on the unit, but also the album art is displayed. It looks like the iPod menus could also be displayed on the small LCD, so selecting tracks would be pretty easy.
If this head unit has video and audio out, I would want to get one of them for our van. This would allow the head unit to control the iPod to select a video, and have the video and audio routed to an external monitor in the back.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
iTunes Catalog is an application that will let you manage your iTunes library. You can get album art for tracks, and have them added to iTunes. You can also search for lyrics, or purchase tracks from various stores.
The main feature that is really interesting is the ability to publish your library to the web. iTunes Catalog generates some php that will generate a representation of your library. iTunes Catalog supports publishing though Mac OS X's built-in web server, or an external host. Here is my published catalog.
I didn't try it myself, but I think that if you host the published site on your mac, you might be able to play your whole library from anywhere you have network access to your computer.
[via The Apple Blog]
With this tip, if you send a mail through the Gmail web interface, it will appear in your sent folder in Apple Mail, when you next check mail. Built into the POP/SMTP interface, it already works the other way around. When you send a message through Gmail's SMTP server, the message is automatically added to your sent folder.
The only addition to the script was to add the condition:
- Account <gmail account name>
[via atmaspheric bookmarks]
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Version 0.9.2 of the Democracy has been released. I have been using iTunes to download my video podcasts, but I decided try Democracy.
This application makes if very easy to subscribed to video podcasts. There is an integrated guide of video podcasts, in a easy to navigate way . (Very similar to the iTunes podcast directory.) Downloads can happen at a higher speed, as th video player has built-in bottorrent support.
Goombah looks at the contents of your iTunes library, and generates a list of similar music, and a list of other people who use Goombah with similar tastes. From these lists, you have the ability do purchase the tracks from iTunes.
Goobah also displays "Goobah's Free Music". This this is a collection of free music. Goombah uses bittorrent for the downloads, so they should be pretty fast.
Google has released some updates to Google Reader. The main thing that this update includes is some new options when subscribing to new feeds. Also you can now create folders directly from "Feed actions..." menu.
Unfortunately, the two problems, that I have had aren't fixed:
- There are still problems unsubscribing to feeds generated by Google Reader.
- Emailing posts from within Google Reader loose all formatting.
[via Download Squad]
Sunday, November 26, 2006
[via Sifry's Alerts]
Thursday, November 23, 2006
I just saw this post that describes a bunch of Firefox extensions. It mentions, and I installed Googlepedia. This is a pretty cool extension. When you do a search in Google, it will load a relevant Wikipedia article in the background, and it will appear on the right side of the search results page.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
This is a cool looking alarm clock. The WidgetStation is an alarm clock that has two lcd screens. It can display calendars and rss feeds. For audio, it will play internet radio stations but not AM and FM stations.
I think that this could be a great product if it had an iPod dock, where the iPod can be used as an audio or video source, where the video could be played through on the lcd screen.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Unfortunately, only Google has a mechanism to send notifications of sitemap updates. Yahoo and MSN don't have similar mechanisms. Once I see those other search engines add similar mechanism, I will update the plugin.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Last week, when OpenDNS introduced OpenDNS Accounts, they added support for preferences for users with dynamic ip addresses. This is accomplished by a dynamic dns client, that is configured with your account credentials. When the client notices an ip address change, it will notify OpenDNS the your dns preferences will apply to the new ip address.
Now OpenDNS is looking for developers to create new dynamic dns clients that are compatible with their service. There are two requirements:
- SSL support for https updates
- Allows the user to change the update url.
The other thing that I would love to see in this client is the ability to update multiple dynamic dns services. I want to send updates to OpenDNS and DynDNS at the same time.
I got a call from AT&T offering a pretty good deal for 6 mbs DSL, so I decided to try them out. We got the package a few days ago, and I installed it last night.
After I installed it, I tested the speed, and dslreports.com, and I only got about 1.4 mbs of download speed. I then tried moving the dsl modem to the closet where the cable mode is. I couldn't get dsl signal there at all, even though there is dial tone.
I got frustrated, and just reinstalled the cable modem. Then out of curiosity, I ran the speed test, and these are the results that I got:
I saw these result on my laptop connected to the cable modem through 802.11g. It is possible, that I was directly connected the results could have been better
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
It has been over two weeks since I switched our mail to Google Apps, and things have been working pretty well. The only problem that we have encountered, is that more spam has been getting through. Previously, I had SpamAssassin with bayesian filter configured to scan our mail. With enough training, we got it working well.
One thing that I would love to see in Google Apps for your Domain, is the ability to import a SpamAssassin bayesian tokens database. This would allow the spam filter to be tuned for a particular domain, as soon as it is switched to Google Apps.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
just moved a mailing list that I was running on mailman over to
Google Groups. There is one feature that I would love to see:
I would love the ability to import the archives of the mailman
mailing list, so that the members of the group only has to search in
one location to find an old post.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
This page has a pretty cool iSight hack. It displays a little window with video from your iSight camera (essentially video of you.)
This is not really a security hole, as the video is local, and doesn't leave your computer.
[via Jonathan Coulton's Blog]
Thursday, November 9, 2006
Since we have all of our music on our Mac mini, and the mini is not in a really accessible location, it is a hassle to synchronize our content to our iPods. Right now, the Mac mini makes the volume that contains the music available through afp. Each of our laptops mount the Mac mini drive, an the iTunes library access the content directly from the mounted volume.
The wiDock looks like something that could make this a lot easier. In addition to being an iPod dock that has audio and video out, it also has built-in 802.11b/g and an ethernet port. If you use the included software, you can sync iTunes with an iPod over a network. This would allow us to keep the dock in our office, but still synchronize the iTunes library on the Mac mini in the living room.
Wednesday, November 8, 2006
Last night, I watched Hacking Democracy. This movie documents, in several ways, how Diebold voting machines can be "hacked" in order to change the results of an election.
I think the US government should require a open and transparent audit of all electronic voting machines. Ideally, the software running on these machines would be required to be open source, so there would be complete transperancy to the code, but that is unlikely to happen
Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Last week, my MacBook Pro, and me, fell down the stairs. The computer is fine (and I am as well), but It made me want to get some additional protection for the computer. I bought the clear SeeThru Hard Case for the MacBook Pro. This case snaps over the laptop, while still allowing you to open and close, and have access to all of the ports.
I noticed a strange thing last week. After the time change for Daylight Saving time, the internal time on this blog was off. When I entered a new post via xmlrpc, the resulting post would appear an hour in the future.
After some investigation, I realized that the date php command was returning the local time, but with the time zone offset that corresponds to before the time change. Once I restarted apache, the offset got reported correctly.
My company uses Blue Shield as our health insurance provider. I have been pretty unimpressed with them so far, especially compared to Great West, which we used at TiVo. The latest annoyance occurred this week.
You can access both processed and pending claims on the Blue Shield web site. I noticed that only a small subset of our claims were appearing. I sent them an email, and this was in their response:
We must be in compliance with privacy laws therefore you are only able to view your claims status on-line.
Each member of your family will need to register separately with a different username, password and their birthday in order to view their claim status.
So they want us to create an account for every one in the family, for privacy purpaces. The funny thing is that when they send the paper confirmations for each claim, they are all addressed to me, and not to each individual.
Do bloggers have a responsibility to archive the content of posts that are linked to, so when the post becomes unreachable the information is still available?
I linked to a forum post that described how to fix a problem where your iTunes library file became locked. I didn't post the actual steps, as I didn't get permission from the author. Then at some point later, the thread was removed from the forums at ipodlounge. For a while it was available in Google Cache, but then it disappeared. Now when people find my post from search engines, they can't find the instructions.
Sunday, November 5, 2006
Now this is a device that I would love on my desk at work, if it ships. The Ambient Clock is a clock that, in addition to displaying the time, also your schedule. The clock would retrieve your schedule from Google Calendar, though Ambient's wireless network.
The really interesting thing is how it displays your schedule. It shows the blocks for scheduled appointment around the circumference of the clock. In addition it displays travel time to meetings as little dots running up to the appointment block. (The travel time is calculated using Google Maps.)
When no appointments are close the clock glows a calm blue color. This changes to a yellow shade, within 10 minutes to the event. When an event is in progress, the clock is in a shade of orange.
Friday, November 3, 2006
Currently if you want to access a calendar with both Google Calendar and iCal, you can only share the calendar one way. So if you want to make modifications in both places, you need to create two calendars. One in iCal, and subscribe to it in Google Calendar. Create other in Google Calendar and subscribe to it in iCal.
It looks like Spanning Sync will make this integration even better. With Spanning Sync you can modify the calendars in either place, and have the changes reflected in the other.
It is not available yet, but will be entering a private beta next week, with a public beta after that.
I have seen a bunch of posts that mention the D'Vinci Forgiato Radurra wheels. These are clear polycarbonate wheels that cost about $2000 each. One problem, besides the gaudiness, is how these wheels will affect the cooling of brakes. Maybe using these wheels require ceramic brakes.
SiteChecker is a Firefox extension that notifies you when attempt to navigate to a phishing site. SiteChecker uses the PhishTank data file. I know that Firefox 2.0 has phishing detection built in, but the extra check can't hurt.
Update: Here is the new location for the extension.
[via PhishTank Blog]
It has been a few days since I have switched most of my domains, that I actually care about receiving email for, to Google Apps for Your Domain. I really like this service. The setup was was very easy. I actually like the fact that you can set up the user accounts and aliases even before you switch the mx records. This allows you to test everything before putting in production.
In this post, I mentioned that I was only going to use fetchmail to collect the mail for my account. I ended up using it for a few more accounts. One of them is where I have my logs forwarded to for the servers that I maintain. Since on want one account to check for these logs. The other is an account that we use KidzMail for our kids to use. KidzMail only supports unencrypted POP3 and SMTP, which is not supported by Gmail.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
I just saw a PandoraMan mentioned on VersionTracker. This has the same main functionality as PandoraBoy, that I mentioned earlier. Unfortunately, it is missing some of the nice features that PandoraBoy has, like Growl notifications and global hotkeys.
In this post, I mentioned that I wished that the lack of IMAP support was preventing me from switching to Google Apps for Your Domain. Last night, I was thinking about this, and I relalized that I already have an IMAP server. I just need to get the mail to the server.
Fetchmail can be used to deliver mail from pop servers to other servers. This page has a script that can be used to start fetchmail when the computer starts. This page describes the how to setup fetchmail to check Gmail through fetchmail.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Last night I went around the house setting the time on the clocks, that don't automatically adjust, back an hour. I remember that every clock had to be adjusted manually. Then in college, I bought an VCR that automatically adjusted itself. At that time, Mac OS didn't automatically adjust for Daylight Saving Time. So, I wrote the Set Daylight appe to adjust the time. This was pretty easy to do, since the rules for the dates that the time adjustment occurred, were static. This was added to Mac OS 8, so it wasn't necessary anymore.
But now most electronics include support to automatically adjust for Daylight Saving Time. For example, TiVos, Mac OS X, Windows and Linux PCs, and PDAs will automatically adjust. Now that the days that Daylight Saving Time is changing, all of these devices have to be update in order for the time to be correct.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
I have had several Stuffit archives that The Unarchiver has unpacked to empty directories. On my last post about The Unarchiver, Nathaniel Nutter commented that there are problems with resource forks, and suggested BOMArchiver. I couldn't find a place to download it, so I just re-downloaded Stuffit Expander 11.
There are fewer and fewer things that use Stuffit (especially since Mac OS X has built-in support for disk images and zip archives.) Mac OS X developers should really stop using Stuffit for their distributions.
Google Reader Notifier is a small application that lists the unread posts in the Mac OS X menu bar. This works pretty well, but there are some things that I would change:
- Have a preference screen that lets you enter your Google username and password. (Currently it uses the cookie stored in Safari, when you log in with that browser.)
- Display the unread posts in submenus for each feed.
[via Hawk Wings]
Saturday, October 21, 2006
I have been using Tangerine for a couple of days, and I like it. I really like the interface for displaying playlists. Playlists are displayed as a horizontal list of album artwork. When you select a track, a popup appears with the track information. Tangerine also has the ability to upgrade itself (which all applications should do)
The main benefit of Tangerine is to generate playlists of similar music. I wanted to create a playlist that I could listen to walking to and from the train.
I use Dashboard widgets several times a day. The only annoyance is that the first time activating the Dashboard after logging in takes a long time to load all of the widgets. Until the widgets load, the computer is pretty much unusable.
Dashboard KickStart is an application that solves this problem. When you login or wake from sleep, the application quickly opens and closes the dashboard. This means that all of the widgets will have been initializes when you want to use them
Friday, October 20, 2006
iAlertU is a neat little application that may help to secure your MacBook or MacBook Pro. When enabled, it uses the sudden motion sensor to detect movement. When movement is detected, the an alarm is sounded, and a picture of the person moving the computer is taken. (Assuming that the are in front of the computer.)
There are some things that I would love to see fixed in iAlertU
- Have the alarm played through the speakers, even when headphones are plugged in.
- Have iAlertU startup, even before users login. This will allow the alarm to continue even after a hard reboot.
- Have an iAlertU screen saver, that automatically arms when the screen saver enables.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
I have previously mentioned smart playlists that can be used to get a better selection of music. (1, 2) The one problem is that these are mainly based off the user ratings for tracks. It is pretty hard to just listen to just one type/mood from your favorite music.
Tangerine looks like it solves this problem. When you first launch it starts scanning through your iTunes library to calculate the beats per minute and the Beat Intensity for each track. (There is an option to save this information back to iTunes.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I had to work late tonight, and I was IM'ing with my wife. I wanted to initiate a Video chat, and iChat failed to establish the connection. The error message stated "Chat ended with error -8", which probably means that there is a NAT problem.
This is a real problem for iChat. When attempting an audio or video session, or a file transfer session iChat attempts a direct connection between the computers. This is a problem when both computer are behind firewalls that use NAT. By default, firewalls will reject any incoming connections, so when either computer attempts a connection with the other computer, the connection will fail.
Now that I am trying to use our NAS for backups and to keep our content. I tried both 802.11g wireless and powerline networking to connect the Mac mini and the NAS. Unforunately, I never got more than 5Mbs for sustained transfer rate. I decided that running ethernet around the house is the best way to get a high sustained transfer rate.
The builder of our house did some strange things with the structured wiring. They installed 3 RG6 cables to every room (so you can have both satellite and cable), but they only installed one Cat5e to every phone jack. I know that it is not ideal, but I decide to run ethernet on two of the pairs of the Cat5 cable, while the phone line uses one.
This page describes how to pair an Apple Remote to your computer. Without doing this, watching something on the Mac mini, through FrontRow caused FrontRow to open on my MacBook Pro. I actually disabled the IR receiver, until I saw this page.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
smcFanControl is a little application that lets you set the minimum speed of the internal fans, when the temperature sensor indicates that the fans should come on. This should allow the computer to run cooler. smcFanControl works on MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and Intel Mac minis.
I am not running this on my laptop, as I would rather have the fan spin slower, to keep it quiet, but I am running this on out Mac mini, to keep it cooler in the entertainment center.
[via Slashdot: Apple]
Friday, October 13, 2006
Google Apps was mentioned on episode 207 of The Geek News Central podcast. I wanted to check out how well it would work for my domains. I currently have a server hosted that filters all of my spam and virus messages. Switching to Google Apps could potentially alleviate me from having to maintain his server.
I switched one of my domains over there, and the transition went very smoothly. I am not going to switch my main domains over there for a couple of reasons:
Thursday, October 12, 2006
We bought the iHome iH5 to replace the clock. This is an AM/FM clock radio with an iPod dock. This allows you to set your alarm to play any the radio or your music from your iPod.
There are some interesting features:
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Out of curiosity, I wanted to see what would happen if I plugged our TV into our cable line. We don't get our television through cable, since we have DIRECTV, but we do use a Comcast cable modem. I was really interested to see if any HD channels were accessible this way.
When I connected the cable, and had the TV scan for channels, over 100 channels were found. Many of these were HD channels. Here are some of the interesting things that I noticed:
- The Over-The-Air SD and HD channels were present.
- Many of the basic channels were also available
- Many cable HD channels were available (ESPN HD)
- All FM radio stations were present in Audio only channels
A while ago I mentioned some features that every iPod dock should have. The iPod integration that the 2007 Audi S8 will have is pretty amazing. The iPod gets placed into a tray, and the tray get inserted into the dash. And the iPod menus appear on the navigation screen.
Today I noticed a problem in the rss feed generated by the script that I wrote. An invalid character (character code 0x93) was included in the feed. The problem was that the page stated that the character set was iso-8859-1, even though there are characters in the cp1250 character set.
Here is the updated script. I also had to apply the patch described on this page that allows the RSS module handle multiple byte characters
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
I am used to writing html documents, but now it seems that everything is done with wikis. So I needed to figure out how to convert html documents to use wiki markup.
The HTML::WikiConverter perl module makes this conversion very easy. This simple program outputs text with wiki tags from an html file:
my $wc = new HTML::WikiConverter( dialect => 'MoinMoin' );
# Or fetch it from a file
print $wc->html2wiki( file => "file.html" );
Monday, October 9, 2006
Now that I have been using Google Reader exclusively, I have noticed that other people have also made the transition (1, 2). (I have just noticed that there is a Refresh link below the list of the subscriptions.)
Someone pointed out a problem with the rss that was being generated from the script that I wrote to create the Caltrain rss feed. The problem was that iso-8859-1 characters were being included the rss feed, when the feed stated that it was utf-8 encoded.
The fix was to just convert the characters to utf-8 before parsing. (The character encodeing should really be determined from the document, instead of hard coding iso-8859-1.)
The problem where my G4 PowerBook wouldn't start up, continued to happen. Then the computer just started freezing. When I tried to boot it back up, it wouldn't start back up. So we decided to get a new MacBook Pro. I drove to the Apple Store and picked it up.
Setting up went smoother than I expected. I removed the hard drive from the PowerBook, and put it in a firewire enclosure. Then when I ran the setup process, I used the import data from mounted drive, and after several hours, the installation was finished. All of my settings and applications had been copied over. (Thank you J.S.)
Thursday, October 5, 2006
The problem, with the Linksys PSUS4 losing it's configuration when power is lost, has been bothering me. I didn't like having to reset the router manually every time this happens. I decided to try out the the Remote Printer Access on the Airport Extreme.
I used an usb extension cable to extend the cable from the printer to the Airport Extreme, the printer automatically appeared in Printer Setup Utility, via Bonjour.
Tuesday, October 3, 2006
This is pretty cool. Google has made it possible to embed Google Widgets into web pages. So now you can easilly add automatically updating content to a static web page. Here the Bejewled widget:
I am still not sure how these will be used, except for the novelty factor.
[via Download Squad]
Monday, October 2, 2006
This post describes a way to protect a web site against the slashdot/digg effect. Essentially it redirects all request that come from one of the sites that can cause large spikes in traffic to the proxy at nyud.net.
This tip doesn't work if you use the Bad Behavior plugin. When this plugin is installed, all requests that come through this proxy get rejected with a 403 status code.
The scare with my laptop mad me want to get better with our backup situation. So I decided to get a Network Attached Storage drive for this. Also a Newtork Attached would allow us to store media off of the small Mac mini hard drive.
I got the D-Link DSM-G600, as it stated that it was compatible with Mac OS X, and a a 400Gb drive. The instalation was a breeze. Just insert the drive, and boot it up. Then you determine what ip address it was assigned, and then use a web browser to go to that ip address. The resulting page had a button to format the drive. Once that had finished, everything else was pretty self explanatory.
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Now that I have been using Google Reader exclusively for a little while, I have noticed some things that I think should be added:
- When emailing a post, from Google Reader, the whole html should be included in the email, and not just the text with the tags stripped out.
- In the "next≫" bookmarklet, it would be good to open the destination page in a frame. This would allow you to still "Add star" or "Share" the post. Currently, the post gets marked "read" automatically, and if you normally only view unread posts, it is hard to "star" one of these viewed posts.
- When using the "subscribe..." bookmarklet to subscribe to a feed on the current page, Google Reader marks all of the posts as read. This is different behavior than when just copying the rss url into Google ReadeAutor.
- Dynamic groupings. It would be great to create grouping of posts from the feeds that you have subscribed to that have specified keywords. You can do something similar with Google Blog Search, but you can't limit it to the feeds that you have subscribed to.
I just watched the documentuary, "Wait 'Till Next Year: The Saga of the Chicago Cubs" on HBO. It brought back so many memories of my childhood.
- Watching or listening to the game on WGN channel 9 or WGN radio.
- Listening to Harry Carry announce the games and lead the 7th inning strech. (No one can sing Take Me Out To The Ball Game like Harry Carry.)
- Seeing the ivy at Wrigley Field on warm summer days
I really want to be able to take our kids to Wrigley Field to see a game.
Friday, September 29, 2006
With the changes that Google has made to Google Reader, I think that I can use Google reader as my main news aggregator. The thing that mainly tipped the scales for me is the performance improvements. Now it is usable on my laptop, without making Firefox use a lot of the CPU.
There are some other features that I like:
- The built-in flash player to play podcasts.
- The ability to select a feed, and only show posts from that feed.
- The ability to mark posts as "starred" on either the web browser, or a mobile device.
- The bookmarklet that let you easily subscribe to a feed in a web page In Google Reader
- The bookmarklet that lets you open a browser window to the next unread post, even when you are not currently on a Google Reader page..
I had a little scare this evening. At work, I ran Software Update to install Mac OS 10.4.8. When it finished, I clicked on the Shutdown button. When I got home, I attempted to boot my PowerBook. The computer didn't play the chime, and the screen didn't turn on. This continued even after plugging in external power and removing and inserting the battery.
I went to the Apple Store to see how much it would be to fix it. I though that the problem was with the motherboard. I wanted to find out if fixing the PowerBook would be more than getting the 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro (wouldn't that be a shame).
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Amazon has made it very easy to create a personalized store. This allows you to promote products from Amazon, and potentially get some revenue from thess. Anyone with an Amazon Associates account can create an aStore.
It was very easy to create my store, but there are some things that I think that they should add:
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
ecto, for a while, has had the ability to add Technorati tags to posts. This results in a chunk of html being added to the posts, within the <!-- technorati tags start --> <!-- technorati tags end --> tags.
This worked fine for me for a while, as the tags got added to the end of the post. But things didn't work right when I switched to posting with the MovableType api. ecto adds the tags at the end of the first part of the post, before the text in the mt_text_more field. This causes the tag to appear on the bottom when displayed on the main page, but smack in the middle of the post, when the whole post is displayed.
I mentioned previously that I have tried Google Reader and NewsGator for web based news aggregators. Since when I am on my computer, I use a desktop aggregator, my main use for the web base aggregators is for use on my cell phone.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Mail.app doesn't support the IDLE IMAP command. This means that Mail.app needs to initiate a connection to check to see if there are new unread messages. The IDLE command allows the IMAP client to leave a imap connection open, and the server will notify the client when a new message arrives.
The IMAP IDLE plugin enables this functionality in Mail.app. This has worked pretty well for me. I have noticed one problem:
- The plugin attempts connections to accounts that have been Inactivated.
[via Hawk Wings]
I have noticed some strange behavior with accessing rss feeds with NetNewsWire. When my wife mentioned that she posted a new article on her blog, the post didn't show up in NetNewsWire, even after refreshing.
I found out what the problem is. Synchronizing with NewsGator is causing the problem. Not only is the read/unread status, but when synchronizing is enabled, all rss feed requests are proxied through NewsGator, and it looks like the feeds are only refreshed once an hour.
The iSkin eVo3 iPod cover that I bought for the 30Gb iPod doesn't fit on my 80Gb iPod, so I went to Fry's to look for a new case. I ended up getting the Contour Design iSee video iPod Hard case. This is a clear plastic case that snugly holds the iPod. There is a hole in the front for the click wheel.
This doesn't gather lint as the iSkin case does. Also, the headphone doesn't have a tendency to slip out, as it idid with the iSkin. The only concern that I have about this case, is that it doesn't cover the click wheel, so there iPod could start to show some wear there.
Here is a tip for training your SpamAssassin bayesian database
Make sure you decrypt the body of the email before sending it to SpamAssassin to learn the tokens.
When I upgraded to the latest version of Maia Mailguard, I forgot to add the decryption key to /etc/maia.conf. This caused the encrypted data to be sent to SpamAssassin. This was causing SpamAssassin to get a lot more false positives.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
This post on the WierdTechNewsHub mentions the GridPoint Protect. This is a device that connects to the main circuit breaker and stores electricity when rates are low, and then it supplements utility power when rates are high. This will also work as a backup during blackouts.
Supposedly, this will save 10%-15% off your electric bill. The version of the GridPoint Protect that is meant for home installation is $10,000, so it might take a while to recoup the initial cost.
Since we have been looking at different iPod docks recently, I have been disappointed with most of the products in this category. I think that Apple should add some requirements for manufacturers who want to make docks for the iPod.
- All docks need to pass through all of the outputs from the iPod. For example, it should be possible to have video output from every dock that is meant to support the iPods with video.
- All docks with at least a 3 line LCDs are required to show all text based list screens from the iPod and user should be able to interact with the menus. This would allow the easy to read display of the dock to be use, and the dock can be put away.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
I finally got around to doing a MovableType implementation, that I have mentioned before, for LifeType. I have posted the diff here. Hopefully, I will check this in soon.
Update: I have checked this change in and have created a plugin to enable it.
One of the problems with using the Mac mini for listening to music, with FrontRow is that the TV has to be on. This can be pretty disctracting for the kids, since they keep watching the album art change. Also for just listening to music in the kitchen, the music has to be a little too loud.
Now that we have a second iPod, I wanted to find a iPod dock for us to be able to listen to music in the kitchen. The iHome IH36W looked like the best option for us. The iHome is an radio with an iPod dock, meant to be mounted under a kitchen cabinet. (The docking feature is pretty neat. The iPod goes into a tray, and then the tray closes back into radio.)
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
I was having a problem installing the XML::Parser perl module on Mac OS X. The problem is because fink installs the expat library in /sw/lib, where the configuration script is not expecting it. Also, if the configure script doesn't find it, the user is not promted for the correct location.
This page describes the fix.
# perl -MCPAN -e'look XML::Parser'
# perl Makefile.PL EXPATLIBPATH=/sw/lib EXPATINCPATH=/sw/include
# make; make test; make install
The first command downloads and expands the package and opens a shell in the expanded directory.
RSS seems to be a mechanism that is enabling many types of device to have access to structured data. This is especially good for mobile phone, where the browser can render the information in a form that is readable on a small screen.
One example of this is the Caltrain news updates. When I am waiting at the train station, I want an easy way to check the status of the trains. Caltrain has a web page that displays this information, but they don't have an rss feed.
I wrote a script that parses the html an creates an rss feed. This is based on the example given on this page. Here is the resulting rss feed. (This will be up as long as Caltrain doesn't ask me to take it down.) There are two things that I want to fix with script:
- Not cause the post to be seen as unread when the it runs again.
- Add a summary of the body to the rss feed.
Just like you can blog from within digg and flickr, it looks like you can blog from within Google Video. Unfortunately it looks like Google Video only supports hosted blog services like Blogger, LiveJournal, MySpace, and TypePad.
It would be great if Google supported the standard protocols like MovableType, metaWeblog or Atom. (I am surprised that they don't support Atom, since Google uses the Atom standard for many of their products.)
Sunday, September 17, 2006
A new public beta of Xtorrent has been released. This looks like a very interesting bittorrent client for Mac OS X. It has some interesting features:
- integrated torrent search engine
- iTunes integration
- folder monitoring and automatic .torrent downloading
There has been a lot of talk about the iTV announcement in the past week since the announcement. I am not that impresses with it. The functionaly is not any more than FrontRow running on a Mac mini. Also price is not really a factor when compared to a Mac Mini, since there has to be a Mac running somewhere in the house anyway. The one thing that the iTV has over the Mac mini, is that it can be silent. There shouldn't be a need to have a fan in it at all.
There are a few things that I think would make the iTV worth the money.
- Be able to "stream" a mounted DVD. - You could insert a DVD into the mac that is not attached to the TV, and this mac would make the DVD volume available over the network. Then the iTV would be able to play the video content from the shared DVD.
- Play purchased content from Apple. I believe that when Steve Jobs talked about how long a iTunes Store purchaced movie would take to download, he gave the example for a user who had a 6Mbs download speed. If Apple is assuming broadband speeds of this rate, I think that:
- Every song and video that you purchase from the iTunes Store should me made available on your iDisk.
- When you want to view your content, the iTV could access it directly from your iDisk.
This would mean that you don't need to leave a Mac running when ever you want to view you content.
- License Sling Media's playback technology - This would allow the iTV to play content from any video source attached to a Slingbox
[Picture via flickr]
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
[via PVR Wire]
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
I just discovered an annoying behavior in iTunes 7 when attempting to sync a iPod game to an iPod. After downloading the game, when you sync your iPod you will see a messages with text similar to:
Some of the games in your iTunes library, including the game "Vortex", were not copied to the iPod "Paul's Vide iPod" because you are not authorized to play them on this computer.
Since I used to work at TiVo, I am pretty partial to the TiVo service and interface. Since it seems like DIRECTV is phasing out support for TiVo DVRs, the TiVo Series3 looks like a very good option. I still have a Series1 that has lifetime service that I can transfer to the Series3. Here are the pro and cons for switching:
There is a lot of talk about whether .Mac is still relevant and a lot of people are not going to renew. There is even a viral feedback petition to Apple. Our .Mac membership doesn't expire until March. I am not sure if we will renew it. Some of the features we don't use, while others we do:
- Mail/Keychain Sync - Is use this to synchronize my mail settings, keychain between different macs
- HomePage - This is a very easy way to create a web pages, especially to share movies. (Google Page Creator may be a reasonable replacement)
- iDisk - I only use iDisk for storing videos for iDisk. We could just as easily use our web server with the WebDAV module.
- Backup - This is an easy way to have automatic offsite incremental backups. (I think that this alone may justify the membership)
- Bookmark Sync - Since I use Firefox, Google Browser Sync is use to synchronize bookmarks. One reason that this is better that .Mac is that it works cross platform.
- .Mac mail - Gmail is a better implementation of webmail and POP based mail.
- Secure iChat - This is not that useful, as it you can only send encrypted messages to other .Mac users
- s/mime email - Unfortunately most people are not able to verify signatures or encrypt/decrypt messages.
- iWeb - So far HomePage has worked for us, so I haven't even launched the program.
- Groups - If we needed to use this, we could use Google Groups.
- iCards - I believe that you don't need to be a .Mac member to send an iCard.
- Online iCal - Google Calendar implements online calendars better than .Mac
Apple released iTunes 7 today. I noticed some interesting things about the new features
- Gapless Playback - This is intended to mark series of tracks that should be played back without gaps, such as live albums or classical pieces. The problem is that it appears that it has to open each track to make this determination. This can be very slow when the tracks are on remote servers, and there doesn't seem to be an option to turn this off
- Get Album Artwork - This is one feature that I am glad to see built in to iTunes. I had been using the Album Art Widget to get album art into iTunes. It is interesting how they implemented this. It looks like iTunes send the list of albums that are missing artwork to Apple. I tried this on the Mac mini, which had not been set up with the iTunes Store, and getting Album Artwork required me to log into the iTunes Store. I am assuming that the way that this works is that the album artwork will be downloaded at some point later, since they don't appear to be adding the at the time the menu item is selected.
I wanted to enter our kids' school calendars into a calendar program I can access the calendar at work and at home. Also this gives us the ability to have access to the calendars from either of our computers. I decided to enter the calendar into Google Calendar, and it went very smoothly. I noticed one thing that I would love to see in Google Calendar.
Google Calendar can export a calendar to iCal through an ics file. Unfortunately the ics file does not include the alarms for events. This means that iCal, or any devices that sync through iSync, will not alert you for events. Google Calendar has event notification with SMS messages, but these notifications can cost money, as often there is a charge for receiving text messages.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Sometimes when I get bored with the music in my iTunes library, I listen to some stations on Pandora's web site. Even though they have an minimal interface on the web page, the web browser has to remain open to listen to music.
I just saw this post that mentions PandoraBoy. This is a Mac OS X application that lets you listen to your Pandora stations. I believe that this is just a web browser that will presents a web page with two frames. One has the Pandora player, the other has ads for music from Amazon.
As you can see from the previous post, you can post directly to your blog from within flickr. flickr supports many of the standard blogging packages, as well as software supporting Atom, Blogger or metaWeblog APIs.
flickr's implementation of metaWeblog is a lot better than digg's, where flickr actually makes the API calls to get the list of blogs from the blogging software, where digg didn't. Unfortunatelly, when posting from within flickr, there doesn't seem to be a way to select a category for the post.
This page has a list of Mac OS X Menu Bar applications. (Mirror, if the page is still being dugg.) Those who have seen my computer, know that I have a lot of installed Menu Bar applications that I use to tell the status of my computer.
This morning I couldn't connect to one of my servers. I started to feel some panic, while I submitted a support ticket. Before I got a response, I figured out what the problem was.
On Friday, I tested XNmap by doing a port scan on this server. I forgot that I had installed portsentry, so the port scan added my ip address to iptables to so all connections are dropped, and to the hosts.deny file so services would reject these connections.
So my tips for the day are pay attention to what you are doing, and think about the unexpected side effects could be. Also, try not to run tests on production machines.