Monday, February 27, 2006


Prod Image JuiceI bought the TuneJuice to allow me to watch more than 2 hours of video on my iPod.  The TuneJuice allows you to connect a 9 volt batter to an iPod to extend the playback time.

One interesting thing is that the internal iPod battery is not charged with the TuneJuice.  When the TuneJuice is connected, the battery indicator on the iPod just shows that there is more charge. 

Since the internal batter is not charged, I wonder if the iPod Dock connector has separate pins for external battery packs than for battery chargers.

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Torx screwdriver

I finally got around to getting a torx screwdriver to tighten the hinge on my PowerBook.  This was the same problem that was fixed at the Apple Store last October.

I find it pretty interesting that none of the tool sets that we have at home had a torx screwdriver, and that Home Depot only had one in the whole store.  This especially since most computers use torx screws.  Maybe there would have a better selection if I had gone to a store like Fry's Electronics.

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Podcast list

An appleScript has been posted on the Paint the Tiger blog that prints out the list of podcasts that are in iTunes.  This is a lot nicer than looking at an opml file. 

One thing that I would love to add is to have the html have link to the podcast itself in the generated html.  Unfortunately, this url is not made available from iTunes AppleScript dictionary.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

iSkin eVo3

B000Csh44K.01-A25O5Lwh2Xjc62. Sclzzzzzzz This week, the iSkin eVo3 iPod cover was delivered.  I really like this product.  The eVo3 covers the whole iPod, including the click wheel, with a rubber-like material.  Then there is a clear hard plastic cover for the screen.  This plastic cover allows viewing of the larger screen of the latest iPod.

The only negative of this cover is that since this covers all of the iPod, it is not that easy to move the hold switch.

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Friday, February 24, 2006

Viral VW GTI Ads

Very similar to BMW's film series and Alpine's Mute movie, VW has released some GTI ads on YouTube. 

I find this type of marketing pretty interesting.

[via atmaspheric | endeavors]

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Google Widgets

Google has release three Mac OS X Dashboard Widgets.  I have installed the Gmail and Search History widget.

[via Google Blog]

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Encrypted AIM without .Mac

A while ago, I mentioned that it would be nice to make the encryption that is available in AIM for .Mac customers compatible with other AIM accounts.  The Off-the-Record Messaging program provides a proxy that enables this.  This proxy essentially provides all of the key management and the encryption support needed. 

Unfortunately, it is not really integrated well with iChat or Proteus.  You need to use the proxy to accept the public encryption keys from the people that you are chatting with.  There is a plugin for gaim, and there is built-in support in Adium X, so the interface should be better in those applications.

[via macosxhints]

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250 hp V6 in Nissan Sentra

VqspecvNow this is cool.  Someone fit the V6 engine from the Maxima, 350Z, and G35 into a B15 Sentra.  They are making a bolt in kit available for $4,500.  In addition, they are going to make it available for the B13 and B14 Sentra as well.

Maybe if I really want to increase the performance of our car, this is a very interesting option.

[via Autoblog]

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infrequently played podcasts

I just noticed that a lot of the podcasts that I have listed in iTunes had not been downloading new shows.  Also each of these had a exclamation point icon next to them.  At first, I though that this was because the rss feeds were not being parsed by iTunes.  When I clicked on the icon, I saw this message


It looks like iTunes stops downloading podcasts if you don't listen to the shows.  I assume that Apple did this to prevent podcasts from filling up the disk.  This is fine, except it stops downloading them even if you manually delete the old files.  I think that they should change this to only stop downloading the new podcasts shows have not been listened to or have not been deleted.

In addition to that, iTunes should notify you that it stopped downloading podcasts.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Downloadable content for SOCOM 3

Next month, Sony is going to make some new content available for SOCOM 3.  This will include new maps for online play.  The map pack will be $5.99.

I assume that this will use the online account, that was required to be created, when registering the for the online SOCOM component. 

One interesting thing that I didn't realize is that SOCOM 3 can use any USB Mass Storage device for storing this downloaded content.  I wonder if Sony will allow USB thumb drives to be used instead of their memory cards.


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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Listen to your network traffic

Sound of Traffic is a pretty cool little application that "visualizes" the traffic on your network ports as audio sounds. The resulting sounds are pretty interesting. When my computer was not doing much heavy traffic, it sounded very similar to whale sounds.

Here is a mp3 with a sample of what this sounded like on my laptop.

[via macosxhints]

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disable recursion in Bind

I just noticed that my dns server was being used as a caching dns server for some random host.  In my log files, I was seeing ANY queries for  When I looked at the cache, this was for some encoded data.

Using the documentation on this page, I was able to fix this problem.  The way that I fixed this was to add the following to the options section:

// version statement for security to avoid
// hacking known weaknesses

version "get lost";

// optional - disables all transfers -
// slaves allowed in zone clauses

allow-transfer {"none";};

// optional - disable all recursive queries

allow-recursion {"none";};

recursion no;

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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Updated blogtimes plugin

Since I moved this server to a different timezone, just noticed that the representation of the time for each of the posts does not take into account the time zone offset.

I have a fix for the blogtimes plugin in my tree, and will be checking it in soon.

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Friday, February 17, 2006

Video of Streetdeck

CNet has posted a video of the Streetdeck software running.  This software looks pretty cool.  I really like the gestural interface.

[via Autoblog]

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AHT HDTV media player

Aht P2PodThe P2POD looks like an interesting media player.  It downloads or streams content over the internet to this box.  It uses a P2P network to allow faster downloads and reduce the cost for the content providers.

It looks like this box is going to be $150, and it will be available in the 3rd quarter of 2006.  I don't know what type of content will be available for it.  I don't know if there will be a price for each piece of content downloaded.

[via Gizmodo]

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Bluetooth for car audio

Cybt100UI though that I had found a solution to allow me to integrate my cell phone with a car head unit.  The Panasonic CY-BT100U is a handsfree kit for Panasonic head units. When a call is received, it automatically mutes the audio and shows the CallerID on the display of the head unit.  Then you press the button on the dash to answer the phone call.

One thing that I don't like about it is that you can not make calls with the car kit.  Also you can't make calls with the phone when it is paired with the car kit.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

New Bluetooth Hands-Free profile

A new version of the Bluetooth Hands-Free Profile, and the Phone Book Access Profile haven been announced.  These are supposed to improtve phonebook and dialing handling for car Bluetooth.

I wonder when car head units will support these profiles.  Also I assume that cell phones would have to support these profiles.

[via Wi-Fi Network News]

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Camino 1.0

About a week ago, I accidentally deleted all of the passwords that were stored in Firefox.  So I have been manually reentering the passwords for each of the sites that I visit.  If Firefox used the Keychain, this would be less of a hassle as the passwords would just be stored there.

Camino is a Gecko based web browser, that has a lot of the support for the Mac OS X features.  It integrates with the Keychain, Address Book and Spotlight.

The one potential downside is that it doesn't support the collection of Firefox extensions.  This is not really an issue since it has built-in support for blocking ads and popups.

I am now running Camino browser as my default.

[via The Apple Blog]

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iTunes Statistics

iTunes Statistician is yet another tool to visualize an iTunes library.  This is yet another visualization tool like iTunes Signature Maker or OGMT.

Here are my statistics:

Monday, February 13, 2006

iPod thoughts

I have been using the iPod for about a month and I do like it, but there are things that I would change:

  1. When a podcast track ends, the iPod goes back to the main menu.  This is annoying when you are playing a podcast of short content.  (Like Uwe Hermann's Music Podcast)

  2. Video podcasts should not appear in the Audio podcast section.  (How many people want to listen to the audio of a video podcast?)

  3. Better support in iTunes for libraries larger than the size of the iPod.  (By default, iTunes will pick a subset of the music for you, but you would have to manually update it.)  This page describes a good smart playlist for handling this, but it talk about weighting the randomizer with rating information

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script to filter tracks by location

When I added all of the tracks from our server to my iTunes library, I had a lot of duplicate tracks.  On my laptop, I had the protected AAC files, and the server has the mp3 format versions.

First I used iTunes "Show Duplicate Tracks" menu item to display all of the duplicate tracks.  Then I selected all of the tracks and created a playlist with those.  Then I ran this script which puts all of the duplicate tracks that are located on the server into a new playlist.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Copy remote music to iPod

I keep most of my music on our server, for a couple of reasons. 

  1. I don't want to use up the 70GB of disk space on my laptop for all of this music.

  2. I want the music to be available to be played when my laptop is either asleep or not in the house.

But now that I have been using an iPod, I now want this music to be able to be copied to it. 

Friday, February 10, 2006

Audio over power lines

Marantzzc4001Marantz will be coming out with the Marantz ZR6001 and ZC4001.  This AV receiver can be configured for a second zone of audio.  But instead of using an RCA cable to send the audio signals, it can use the electrical wiring with DAvED (Digital Audio via Electrical Distribution).  Up to six clients can be connected.

I wonder how well this works.  Will it work across the multiple phases of most homes electrical systems?  How does this handle interference on the power lines?

[via Engadget]

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It looks like Slim Devices is updating the SlimServer software to integrate with Pandora's music recommendation service.  Pandora's service allows you to enter a name of an artist, and it will create a "radio station" of music that is related to that artist.  The new software will automatically make that radio station available for your Squeezebox.

I went to Pandora's web site, and tried their flash version of their service.  I liked the recommendations.  I don't have a Squeezebox, but I would like to listen to these stations in iTunes or on my iPod.


Mp3Car6788The StreetDeck looks like a very easy way to get a computer into a car.  The StreetDeck is a 1.5 GHz PC with 512MB of RAM, running Windows XP Home. It comes with a built-in GPS receiver.  Optionally, you can connector a FM or XM tuner.  You can also connect this to the car CPU through a OBD-II connector.

The StreetDeck Trunk Mount Bundle includes the CPU and a 7 inch motorized touch screen monitor.  The bundle is $1699 at

[via Gizmodo]

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Wednesday, February 8, 2006


I downloaded MediaCentral, and I was pretty impressed.  MediaCentral essentially has the same functionality as FrontRow, but has some additional features.

  1. It will automatically display video files in your home directory.

  2. Integrates with the eyeTV devices to display live TV

  3. Shows listings of IPTV shows.

  4. Supports various remote controls.

The interface is pretty intuitive.  It doesn't have the sound effects like FrontRow does, but it does run pretty well on my G4 laptop, and not just the new iMac and the Mac Book Brow.

[via PVR Wire]

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Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Pay for email?

I heard about AOL and Yahoo's plans to charge for email delivery today on the Digital Experience Podcast.  It appears that AOL and Yahoo will charge email senders if they want to guarantee that the message will get to the recipient.  If the sender doesn't pay, the email may be stopped by the spam filter, have the attachments stripped, or have the urls removed.

I wonder how successful this will be.  If I were an AOL or Yahoo customer, I would be upset if mail that is destined for me is not delivered.  Also as a sender, I am not going to pay to send email.  This is the same way I feel about challenge-response spam filters; I will not respond to a email challenge.

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Monday, February 6, 2006

Verizon and EV-DO

Verizon is now allowing customers to use their cellphones a broadband modem.  They are supporting this on the LG VX9800 and VX8100 and the Motorola RAZR V3c and E815.

Officially Verizon is only supporting this when connecting to the phone with USB.  I haven't tried the Bluetooth connection since this change, so I don't know what the speed would be.  I will try it out when I get a chance.

[via Engadget]

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Product rebates

I always thought that companies like using rebates because more people would buy the products.  But in addition to that, I am sure that only about 50% of people actually fill out the rebate forms, so the company doesn't have to pay out a rebate for each person that buys the product.

DIRECTV had a rebate when I got the HD DIRECTV DVR.  I haven't gotten around to filling it out.  Most companies will just let the rebate expire.  But DIRECTV has sent me two letters reminding me about the rebate, and actually included the rebate form again. 

I wonder if DIRECTV got in trouble with not fulfilling rebates in the past.

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Thursday, February 2, 2006

Funny Engineer and Manager Joke

This joke is pretty funny, but scary how true it is.

bwshare apache module

Today, the server that is running this blog was running out of memory.  The problem was there was a subnet range that was hitting different urls on this blog in a rapid succession.  I had apache configured so that it was was allowing 150 child threads.  This with them memory requirements of LifeType, the box was running out of memory.

After I fixed the apache configuration, I also setup iptables to block requests from that range.  In addition, I installed the bwshare apache module.  This module will automatically change the response to to a html warning message, which will not require the php script to be run.

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more Speakeasy VoIP thoughts

We have been using Speakeasy VoIP for about a week now.  And I have been pretty impressed.  There are some interesting things that I have noticed.

  1. The voice that speaks the time that a voicemail is received is reporting the time in EST, even though we are in the Pacific time zone.  (Speakeasy is also located in PST, so I assume that who ever is providing their VoIP service is located in the eastern time zone.)

  2. Even though they are using the same Motorola VT1000 that Vonage uses, they have disabled the internal web server, and the NAT gateway.  It appears that they don't want customers to mess with the devices options, or even connect a computer to the LAN port.

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Birthdays in iCal

A while ago, I ran the Add Birthday to iCal AppleScript to get the birthdays that are listed in my Address Book into a Calendar in iCal.  I just discovered that this has been added to iCal itself.

Birthdays In Ical

There is a new option labeled "Show Birthdays calendar".  When this is selected a new calendar is created with all of the birthdays from your Address Book.  You can even share this calendar so other people can have access to this.

I am guessing that this was added in 10.4.

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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...