Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Backing up purchased music

I have manually burned CDs of the music that we have purchased on the iTunes Music Store, but I wanted another backup, so I looked to Backup 3 to do this.  Backup has a "QuickPick" that is supposed to allow you to easily backup all purchased music.  This doesn't work for me.

I have moved my iTunes Music library out of my home directory.  I did this originally when I was using FileVault, as encrypting all of my music took too long.  But even though I am not using FileVault, I still like having the music outside of my home directory, as every user on my laptop can access regardless who is logged in.

Presto Digital Delivery Service

About a week ago, Presto Services Inc. announced their Digital Delivery Service.  There are two parts to this.

  1. A photo printer that has a phone jack.  The printer will dial a service and download and print pictures that are waiting in a queue.

  2. A online service where photos can be sent to be printed by the device.  Also other device maintence can be performed on the web site.  (i.e. Checking the paper and ink quantity in the printer.)

This is intended to be used when the person who has the device doesn't have broadband access, or where the person doesn't want to manually receive an email containing the photos and print them out.

I personally am not interested in this for myself, but I could see buying one for family members that don't have a computer.  For example, we like sending photos to my Dad, and now we print them out and have them sent to him.  With this device, essentially from my computer, I can "print" the photos directly to his house.

[via Digital Experience Podcast]

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Monday, May 29, 2006

htaccess tools

The atmaspheric | endervors' page on, has a couple of links to pages that have some good information on htaccess files.

The first is a cheat sheet on various directives that can be used in the htaccess files.  (I have a hard time remembering all of the directives.)

The second is a htaccess generator

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Google's cache as a service

I have been working on this blog for over two years, and I know that there are many links that are dead.  This may be because the host is not available, or the file on the the web server was moved/removed.

I was thinking that Google's cache could help solve the problems of the dead links.  This could be useful in one of two ways:

  1. A web server could have the page that is displayed on 404 errors, have a link to the url in Google's cache.

  2. On the host with the outgoing links, setup a process that walks all of the outgoing links, and when a 404 error is returned, replace the url with the url from Google's cache.

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

follow up on retractable iPod cable

A while ago, I got a retractable iPod cable made by Macsense.  I mentioned that I thought that the moving part would make it more likely to break than the regular USB cable.

The cable has recently stopped being able to be only partially expanded.  It remains expanded if I stretch it out completely.

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Jonathan Coulton in iTunes

I really enjoy Jonathon Coulton's music.  I just saw that a couple of his albums are on the iTunes Music store.

He also hosts a podcast for Popular Science magazine

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Thursday, May 25, 2006


Cm 03-SmI saw this post on the Home Theater blog about Wiretracks.  Wiretracks are mounting brackets for crown moulding, which also allows you to conceal wires behind the moulding.

I am going to order a set of these.  When we moved into our house, I mounted the surround speakers near the ceiling, but the wires are not concealed.  This will finish the work that is needed in this room.

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Friday, May 19, 2006

3D puzzles

The Make Magazine Podcast has an interview with Lee Krasnow, a puzzle maker that makes amazing 3 dimensional puzzles.  These are some of the coolest puzzles that I have seen.

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FeedPass is a site, similar to FeedBurner were you can promote your rss feed.  The page that is presented for your feed, has many subscription options, like subscribing by email or web based aggregators.  Here the page for my feed.

The one feature that is different than FeedBurner, is that you can use your AdSense id to monetize your content. This is also the feature that is a little controversial.  It is possible to submit any rss feed and attempt to earn revenue, even if is not your content.

I would be upset if someone else attempted to make money from my content.  That is why I am using the Non-Commercial Creative Commons license on this blog.

[via The Social Software Weblog]

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

bash_history tips

This post describes some tips for the history in bash

[via Geek News Central podcast]

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Album Art Widget

The Album Art Widget is a pretty cool widget.  It will display the artwork from the currently playing track in iTunes. The coolest thing that it does it that if you don't have the artwork for the track, it will download it from any one of several sites, and can add the artwork back to iTunes for either the playing track or all tracks from that album.

I do kind of wish this were a standalone application, so I wouldn't need to launch the Dashboard to use it

[via TUAW]

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Cars podcast on iPod

Earlier this month I noticed that the format of the videos on the Cars podcast weren't playable by the iPod.  It looks like that the videos posted this week are now playable on the iPod.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Copying tracks to remote iTunes

We really enjoy having the Mac Mini in our entertainment center to play music and videos with FrontRow.  There was is one problem with our setup.  I only purchase, or rip music on my laptop.  When I want to add music to the Mac Mini's iTunes, I need to mount the laptop's drive on the mac mini, and then manually add the tracks to iTunes, with VNC or with the bluetooth keyboard

I decided to write an applescript to automate this.  So with the applescript posted below, I am able to sit on my laptop, and "send" tracks to the Mac Mini.

Here are the steps that are needed for setup:

EV-DO and E815

In February, Verizon started allowing some cell phones to be used as broadband modems.  Unfortunately, they are not officially supporting the Motorola E815 for this. 

I tried the steps that I mentioned before to see if they increased the speed for all devices, even unofficially.  The download and upload speeds that I am seeing now is 112kbs/62kbs, which is faster than I saw when I first tried.  Though it does appear that Verizon is capping the speed, as there have been other users of the speed test tool that have had faster reported speed.

Speed Report Text

Speed Report Graph

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

DNS hosting

During my current transition to my new host, I decided to not host my own dns server anymore.  I really didn't have a major benefit from hosting it myself.  Since I was concerned about  redundancy, I setup a secondary dns service with

But now, I have decided just to use the dns service provided by GoDaddy, and I will rely on them to provide the redundancy.

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Camera phone picture frame

Img 1 PpvParrot has introduced a new digital picture frame that can accept images from camera phones, through bluetooth. 

When I first saw this picture, I assumed that you could send the images via text messages, with image attachments.  This would be a neat way to send photos to family, with a lot easier setup than the IP based picture frames (eStarling, CEIVA).

[via Gizmodo]

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I saw this post on BackupMyBlog.  This is is a service that will backup data from you blog, so you can have redundant backups just in case the host becomes unavailable.  If you want to use this service, you install a php script. It works by dumping the contents of your mysql database.

If you use this, make sure that you are careful of a couple of things.

  1. Make sure that the user that you specify a mysql user that only has read-only access to the databases used by the blog. Update:  The user will need write access to restore a backup

  2. Often blog software store the passwords used to log in in the database.  You should probably make sure that this doesn't get backed up.  (You can do this by making sure that the mysql user doesn't have access to the table that stores the passwords.)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

New Host

I previously mentioned that I was changing hosting providers for one of my servers.  I decided to go with GoDaddy, and so far I am pretty pleased.  The day after, I signed up I got a call on my cell phone asking if had any questions.  In addition, I needed to talk to someone there, and my call was answered very quickly, even though the calls were off hour.

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subversion diff wrapper

I am working on some projects that use subversion as their source control tool.  I don't mind the command line tool to check things in and out, but I don't like using diff as my coparison tool.  Subversion does allow an external diff tool to be used, but the way that the tool is called is not like the standard "command <file1> <file2>

So I created a wrapper script, based upon this script, that will allow you to use any diff program when you do "svn diff"

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Aftermarket XM with traffic data

AlpinenavOver a year ago, XM announced their NavTraffic system, and it was included in the Acura RL.  Alpine just released an aftermarket headunit that integrates XMs feed into their navigation system.  The HCE-100XM connects to one of their navigation units, and provides traffic data.  With this data travel can be routed around traffic congestion automatically.

I personally would not buy one of these for my self, as I don't like how the after market headunits have screens that pop out of the dash.  What I would by is a replacement Navigation control unit that would replace the one that came with our Odyssey.  With this I would still want to be able to use the builtin touchscreen display.

[via Autoblog]

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USB Support in Windows

Admittedly, I am mainly a Mac OS X user, but I do have several Windows machines.  Every once in a while I see how something is implemented poorly in Windows that just works in Mac OS X. 

For example, it appears that when Windows recognizes a USB device, it only recognizes when it is connected to the particular USB port.  As soon as you connect it to a different port, Windows thinks that it is a never before seen device.

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CARS Podcast

CarsvideopodcastI saw this post that mentioned that Pixar has a video podcast that goes over different areas of the production of Cars.  I though that this would be interesting to see, so I added it to iTunes.  Today, I noticed that the video files were not appearing on my iPod.  It appears that when Pixar created the videos, that they are not using MPEG 4, but another QuickTime format.

I would think that a company, as closely related to Apple as Pixar is, would want these things to be available on iPods, without conversion.

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Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Share your OPML

Dave Winer started Share Your OPML as a place for people to share the opml files.  One cool feature is that once you upload your opml file, you can see other people that have similar subscription lists.  Here is my shared feed.

[via TechCrunch]

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Another bluetooth headunit

1Here is another headunit that has integrated bluetooth.  The Pioneer DEH-P810 appears to support the hands-free bluetooth profile.  In addition, if you have an audio source that has bluetooth, the audio can be streamed to the headunit.

I don't know if this will be have iPod controls, or be able to control satellite radio.  If it did these things, and it is made available in the US, I would run out and buy one.

[via Engadget]

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Monday, May 8, 2006

Changing host

Yesterday, the host that most of my sites are on was down unexpectedly, for over 12 hours.  This is last straw for me with Tektonic, and over the next couple of days, I will be switching to a different hosting provider.

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Tag Cloud

This post on on Tag Clouds, mentions ZoomClouds.  ZoomClouds will read your rss feed, and generate a tagcloud for your site.  This inspired me to get the tagcloud plugin working for LifeType 1.1.  So I have installed this on the left hand side of this site.  I may play with it a little bit to get it to look like I want.

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Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Link spammer

An interview with a blog comment spammer has been posted.  It appears that link spammers use open relay proxies to spam, and not zombie PCs.  And because of this, they feel that they are better than email spammers.

I know, that I hate when my sites are hit with a flurry of link spams.  All of the spam messages are blocked, so that isn't the problem.  The problem that I have is with the server load needed to handle all of these request.

But now that I have collected a list of the ip addresses that the spam comments are coming from, I am going to submit them to the open relay blacklist sites.

[via Hawk Wings]

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