Friday, June 30, 2006

Prober E319

E319-Car-Pc-946The Prober E319 is a cool Car PC.  It has built-in 6.5" monitor, GPS receiver, 20GB drive, 128MB RAM and A 400Mhz CPU.  It also does the normal radio stuff with an AM/FM radio, and DVD drive.

I would love them to add:

  1. Make this "XM Ready", and support "Connect and Play" XM Tuners with the USB ports

  2. Change the screen to not require the stylus, but be a touch screen

  3. Be able to support an iPod control protocol with a usb port

  4. Built-in bluetooth to be a hands-free headset for a cell phone

  5. Integrated wifi to allow syncing with music content when parked in garage.

  6. USB 2.0 for faster transfers

  7. Larger hard drive

[via Gizmodo]

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Thursday, June 29, 2006


At work, we use Skype is used to communicate amongst ourselves.  I mainly use AIM, but I finally got around to installing Skype.

Now I have contacts on Google Talk, AIM and Skype.  I am hoping that someone will integrate these into a client.  Maybe Apple will do this, with the rumored iChat update that will include voice calling.

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Sound of html

The MAKE: Blog has a post on the World's Largest Band page.  This site will generate a midi file based on an html page.

Here is the mp3 file for the main page here.

 (I really like the drum beat)

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

music on Amazon S3

I mentioned ways to share music between multiple computers, so I did an experiment to see how storing music on Amazon's S3, with JungleDisk.  I copied a bunch of music on to the disk, and then added the tracks to iTunes.  When those tracks were played back, there was a significant delay before playback.

When an file is accessed from S3, with JungleDisk, the whole file is downloaded to a local cache, before the file is returned to the caller.  It should be possible to still use Amazon's S3 for this purpose, but the client on the computer would need to not do any caching.  It should be possible to pass the file descriptor directly from the http client to the file system.

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Mac OS X security hole

The Alastair's Place has a post mentioning a security hole in Mac OS X, where is is possible for an arbitrary application to get the admin password.  Once this happens, it would be possible for it to execute arbitrary code.  This hole allows any application to present the Admin Authentication dialog and make it look like it is coming from a trusted application.

Alastair reported this to Apple in 2003, but Apple hasn't responded.  I am not sure what they can do, since any application can make a dialog appear like an authentication dialog, even without using the standard system call.

Unfortunately, I don't see a way to easily determine if an application is using this trick.  It looks like the process name that is displayed in top and ps is the value from argv[0].

[via The Apple Blog]

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converting hex to binary

I can never remember the syntax to convert numbers between various bases with bc, and end up looking at the man page. 

Here is an example of using bc to convert a hex number to binary.

bash$ bc
bc 1.06
Copyright 1991-1994, 1997, 1998, 2000 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This is free software with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.
For details type `warranty'.


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Monday, June 26, 2006

virtual file systems for music

I have written a couple of pretty convoluted scripts to manage audio tracks across our computers (script 1, script 2).  This is not really how I would like to manage my music.

What I want to be able to do is store music on any one of our computers, and access it from every compuer.  Ideally the path to access a track would be the same on all computers.  When a track is added to on one computer, it would automatically be added to all of the others.

In some ways what I am looking for is a distributed file system like Coda.  This would allow music to reside on some server, but be accessible by a bunch of other server.  Coda also allows disconnected operation.  (But I don't think that this works well with large media files, as each disconnected computer would need to keep a cache of all of the content.)

AudioManage is a windows application that lets you do this as well.  It creates a virtual file system where you can drag your media files.  The files system then contains the meta information for the tracks, as well as the reference to the actual file themselves.  This allows you to create views into your music, that cross multiple file systems.  When you actually want to access the contents of the files, then Windows follows the file systems reference for the contents.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

remote AppleScript helper

While I was in the process of writing the scripts to copy tracks on to and off of my laptop, I noticed that there didn't seem to be a way to programmatically choose a remote application from an AppleScript.

But then I saw the Remote Management Scripts have a library script that takes care of this for you.  With this script, you modify it with the ip address or Bonjour name of the remote and local name, and the user name and password for each.

This library would make it a lot easier to run my scripts.  I am unsure about actually including it, as I don't know what licensing terms the scripts are distributed with.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Add missing tracks to local iTunes

I have been getting bored with the music selection that I have on my iPod.  Since my laptop only has a subset of our total music collection, the iPod only has music from this set.

I wanted to make sure that the iTunes Library on my laptop had access to all of the music on the Mac mini, so I wrote the following script.  What it does is:

  • Iterates through the iTunes library on the Mac mini

  • For each track that is a MP3 of unprotected AAC file, checks with the local iTunes to see if a track with the same title, artist, and album exists

  • If no track exists, it adds a link to the remote file mounted via afp.

This script is not is not optimized, but it works.  And I am only planning on letting it run once.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

reveal hidden window

Every once in a while, on my Windows XP computer, a window opens up completely off the screen.  I can maximize the window, but when the window is maximized, it can't be moved.  These steps work for me to restore access to this "hidden" window.

  1. Right click on the icon in the Taskbar

  2. Select move

  3. Use arrow keys to move the window into view

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Monday, June 19, 2006

simple network rack

This is such a simple idea, for keeping small network electronics organized.

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1Passwd revisited

A while ago, I wrote about 1Passwd.  This is a password manager and form filler for Mac OS X.  One of the authors posted some comments about some of my concerns that I wrote about.  He explained the reason for the Safari extension and why a seperate keychain is used.

I reinstalled 1Passwd and gave it another try, and I really like it.  I find the form filling part pretty useful.  In fact, I paid the registration fee.

Unfortunately, there are times that I am not using a mac, and I wanted to make sure that Google Browser Sync would still work.  1Passwd has no problem working with Google Browser Sync.  Even with 1Passwd installed, passwords still get stored in Firefox's password manager. This is what Google Browser Sync uses for syncing.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

effective spam?

I received this email today.  I can't believe that they are selling a "Effective Marketing Compaigns"

From: [email protected]
Subject: Business Solutions: Effective Email Marketing Campaigns
Date: June 13, 2006 12:10:23 PM PDT
To: [email protected]
Reply-To: [email protected]
To view this mail in a browser, copy
ms=MjI2ODE0S0&r=NDA0NDAxOTkwS0&j=NjMxNzE3MzES1&mt=1 into your browser.

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Monday, June 12, 2006


ReadynascomboWe are running out of storage on our Mac mini.  With all of our music, videos and photos, we only have 15 GB available on the 120 GB drive.  I was thinking could get a larger drive, like this Toshiba 200GB 2.5-in laptop drive, but that would only add another 80GB.

Another option is a network attached storage device.  Slim Devices has teamed with Infrant Technologies to for a bundle with a 1 Tb Network attached storage device with 2 Squeezeboxes.  I think that a terabyte would be enough storage for a while.

[via Engadget]

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Friday, June 9, 2006

Octavia HDMI/Digital Audio Switch

Hdmi Switch 4Porttoslink-B1

In March we bought the Octavia 2 port HDMI switch.  Octavia has come out with an HDMI switch that also switches Toslink and coax digital audio.  The prices start at $279.

[via HD Beat]

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Thursday, June 8, 2006

Websites as graph.

Websites as graphs is a website with a Java applet will generate a graph of a website.  It looks at the tags in the html and creates the graph.

I think that it would be cool if this script actually followed links, to build a graph of the whole site.

Here is the map of this the root page of this site:

Website Graph

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Google Browser Sync

The people at Google have been pretty busy.  The day after they came out with the Google Video Player for Mac, they have come out with Google Browser Sync.  This is very similar to the Foxmarks and Bookmarks Synchronizer extension.  Both of these will allow you to keep your bookmarks on a ftp or WebDAV server.  (Foxmarks also offers to host the bookmarks as well.)

Google Browser Sync stores the bookmarks on their servers.  The setup was a lot easier than either of the other bookmark synchronizers.  In addition, Google Browser Sync allows you to specify which data, if any, you want encrypted before being sent off your machine.

This extension has pushed me over the edge, and I am switching back to Firefox.  The only think that is really lacking is good integration with the Keychain.  If I get motivated enough, I may checkout the Firefox source and modify it to use the Keychain as the password storage mechanism.

[via Google Blog]

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006


The main reason that I switched from Firefox to Camino was because I didn't like that Firefox uses it's own password database.  This seemed like a waste, since Mac OS X's keychain provides a system wide mechanism to store passwords.  This would allow a stored password to be used by different passwords applications.

Since Firefox gets the security fixes faster then Camino, I really want to switch back to Firefox.  I was actually thinking of writing an extension that would hook into Firefox password code, and store the password in the Keychain.

I saw this post, that describes 1Passwd, a new extension for Firefox and Safari, that will store passwords in the keychain, and will auto fill in forms with this information.  (I don't know why this is necessary for Safari, since Safari already stores in the keychain.)


One of the people who works at Panic has a post that goes into pretty good detail about the FTP, FTPS and SFTP protocols.

[via TUAW]

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Monday, June 5, 2006

Annoyance in Smart Mailboxes

I wanted to find out how many non-spam messages were marked as spam by DSPAM, before I increase the DSPAM score.  I thought that a Smart Mailbox would be the best way to see the list of the messages.  The problem problem is that it is not possible to create a Smart Mailbox based from an arbitrary header.

It is possible to create a filter to copy the messages to a new mailbox from any header, but that mailbox is not automatically updated when messages are added or deleted from the main mailboxes.

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email spam leaking though

Recently I have seen a trickle of email spam that have been getting though my spam filters.  These messages are relatively small plain text messages.

From:   [email protected]
Subject: Lets keep in touch
Date: June 5, 2006 2:31:05 PM PDT
To:   [email protected]
Cc:   [email protected]
Reply-To:   [email protected]
Chance informed me that u were looking for a place to get ur stuff. the place then for sure. is avoid injured
willing at work become to what and being

The Bayesian filter is the seeing this as 50% likely to be spam, while DSPAM is correctly marking this as spam

X-Spam-Status: No, hits=2.963 tagged_above=-99 required=4.9 tests=BAYES_50, DSPAM_SPAM, URIBL_JP_SURBL

Maybe, I will increase the score associated with DSPAM, or find a rule on the SpamAssassin Rules Emporium that will catch these.

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Sunday, June 4, 2006

Maxell Digital Ear Buds for iPod

I lost one of the rubber ear pieces from the he sony ear buds that I mentioned a while ago.  This is the second pair that this happened to.  I was really frustrated, so I decided just to go to Walgreens and pick up a pair of ear bud that were there.

The best ones that I saw there, were the Maxell Digital Ear Buds.  They looked reasonable enough, so I picked up a pair.  The next day when I was going to work on the train, I tried them out.  They sound HORRIBLE!!!  The sound that these earbud make completely is completely muffled.

I thought that I could deal with these, but after two days, I went to Fry's and bought a pair of Sony MDR-EX71SL earbuds.  These sound so much better.

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Saturday, June 3, 2006

Problem with Harmony

Tonight I updated our Harmony remote to change some key configuration.  After the configuration was installed on the remote the screen displayed the following message

Go to Website to update settings

It took awhile, but I finally figured out what was happening.  I had configured the Harmony Remote application to "Watch download folder".  The problem was that the application saw the file as soon as the Firefox created the file, but before the download finished.  So the Harmony application sent a partial file to the remote. 

Once I turned off that setting and updated the settings again, the remote is working fine.

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Thursday, June 1, 2006


I was looking at the recent checkins that were going into the LifeType tree, and I saw that a coComment plugin was added.  I was curious about what this plugin did, and what coComment is.

coComment is an interesting site.  It's purpose is to be a single place where you can keep track of all of the comments that you have posted to various blogs.  It displays these comments in "Conversations", where you can see the thread of comments.  You can also tag your comments, to help you organize them.

Fixed comments

I just realized that comments were not working on this blog, if you had specified an email address.  LifeType has a feature that validates email address specified in comments.  When an email address is specified, it looks up the mx record for the domain, and attempts to connect to that server on port 25, and check if the server will accept mail for that email address.

The problem was that GoDaddy doesn't support outgoing connections on port 25.  This is not a bug deal for me, as I have all of my outgoing mail going through one of my other servers on a different port.  I had to change the LifeType configurations so the comments would work again.

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