Sunday, February 25, 2007


I have been looking at some webcam software for Mac OS X.  There are a few features that I was looking for:

  • Capture video when motion is detected.

  • Be able to email pictures when motion is detected

  • Ability to log in to see current video from remote location.

I tried several other programs, but none of them worked well.  Then I tried the free trial of SecuritySpy, and really liked it.  It can be configured for simultaneous webcams and network cameras.  It also has a built in web server to server the current video, and see the video and pictures that had been captured in the past.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Linksys firmware upgrades with tftp

I have been having problems upgrading our Linksys BEFSX41 to the latest version of the firmware.  While in the process of flashing the new version of the software, the web page refreshes to a missing page.  Once that happens, the web interface of the router doesn't respond.  This happens with Firefox and Safari on the Mac, and with Firefox and Internet Explorer on Windows

The instructions on this page worked perfectly.  The command line tftp tool on Mac OS X upgraded the router seamlessly.  I used the instructions were the password is specified on the command line.  (There is a space between the end of the file name and "octet".)


La Fonera-1FON was having a special promotion for their one year anniversary, where they were giving away free Fonera routers, so I decided to sign up for one.  I have been intrigued with the the Fon "movement", where you create an open WiFi network to share your broadband connection.  Those who share their broadband, can get free wireless access any any other Fon wireless network.  I see the sharing of your broadband connection as similar to leaving your bittorrent client running after a download finishes.  These types of sharing  create a sense of community

I am not sure how sustainable their business model is.  Fon is relying on people putting these routers on their broadband connection.  Some ISPs are OK with sharing broadband connections, like SpeakEasy.  And other ISPs are partnering with Fon, like British Telecom.  Most other ISPs do not allow this type of sharing.  This could potentially cause your broadband connection to be terminated, if the ISP finds out.

opendiff/FileMerge for svn

The Mac OS X developer tools includes FileMerge, which is a pretty nice file comparison tool.  When I wrote the subversion diff wrapper script, I wanted to be able to use FileMerge as the diff tool, but I wasn't able to get it to work.

I didn't realize that opendiff was a provided command line tool that allow this to work.  Out of the box, when I configure the wrapper script to use opendiff, one instance of FileMerge is opened for every file that has been modified.

This hint on macosxhints, describes a way to have opendiff wait for a diff to be closed before the next file comparision is started.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Half price .Mac Family Pack

I got an email from stating that they are selling a .Mac family pack for half the price that Apple does, until Feburary 26th.

Dotmac Family Deal

Sunday, February 18, 2007

smcFanControl 2.0

A new version of smcFanControl has been released.  The 2.0 version includes:

  1. Minimal UI - doesn't appear in the dock, but shows up as a menu item (displaying temperature and fan rpm)

  2. Automatic adjustment for being powered or using battery

  3. Multiple setting that can be selected on the fly.

I have updated the version running on the Mac mini, and have now installed it on my Mac Book Pro.  The concerns that I had previously, where the fan was always too loud, are now not a problem, as I can have different settings for different situations.

Friday, February 16, 2007

iMage Webcam

ImageI wanted to get a web cam that would work with Mac OS X, without any additional drivers.  Apple recommends using the iSight or other DV cameras for use with their video tools.  I didn't want to buy a iSight, as I don't think it is worth the money.

The iMage webcam is  USB web cam that works with Mac OS X, without any additional drivers.  The quality is very good, and it works seamlessly with iChatAV, Skype and other web cam software.

Linksys BEFSX41

My wife bought me a Linksys BEFSX41 router for my birthday. Our old Linksys WRT54GS was starting to fail.  The wireless on that router stopped working, and periodically the router needed to be rebooted to keep access to our broad band connection.

The main reason that I wanted the BEFSX41 was for the VPN endpoint.  I have been forwarding ssh connections to a computer inside our network.  Then I forward the connections through this computer to other computers on the internal network.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

That's My Boy!

Our 4 year old son has been taking a computer class at his school.  We got this note from his teacher after he finished the first session of classes.

Our last computer class for the term is next week. He is amazing! He is so focused when he is doing the mission. He needs little direction and just goes. We have add-on programs for the students who finish ahead of the rest. I've seen Morgan finish before the 2nd graders and go further in the add-ons then the rest of the class. You have one adorable and bright son there!

Notifications in Google Calendar

I have been having a hard time getting notifications working in Google Calendar.  I have configured my account with my cell phone number so I could receive sms notifications before the start of the meetings.  None of this has been working.  But this afternoon, I received a text message before one of my appointments.

I found out what the problem is.  This Google Help Center page states that Google only sends notifications for, for primary calendar.

It will be nice when they support notifications on all calendars.  I use several calendars to keep my various events organized.  Once this feature is added, I will not need to use iSync to sync the calendars to my phone to get notifications to work.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Status of Caltrain rss feed

It looks like Caltrain has started blocking the script that I was using to generate the rss feed of the Caltrain news.  (It looks like the blocking started to happen about a week after someone from Samtrans started subscribing to the feed) 

It also doesn't appear that they are planning on creating their own feed.  This seems pretty short sighted, as this is a pretty useful way to disseminate their information.

So if you are subscribed to this feed, I don't know how reliable it will be.  (I will try and keep it up as long as possible.)

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Spanning Sync (Re)opening Public Beta

The public beta for Spanning Sync has reopened.  With Spanning Sync, you can synchronize your iCal with your Google Calendar accounts.

Now that I have tried it out, I am impressed with how well it works.  I was easily able to synchronize a calendar in my Google Calendar account with a calendar in iCal.  In fact, this was a Google Apps for Your Domain account, so there doesn't appear to be any problem working with these, as opposed to a regular Google Calendar account.

Saturday, February 3, 2007


VoompcThe VoomPC looks like a computer that I would love to install in my car, when ever I have the time and money.  It has a 1.5GHz x86 processor, USB 2.0, FireWire Ethernet, PCMCIA and CardBus ports.  In addition, it has VGA and S-Video outputs.

If I were to install something like this, this is what I would include

  1. VoomPC, running Linux

  2. EVDO CardBus card for network access

  3. USB GPS receiver

  4. Google Earth Plus for displaying current position (It doesn't apper that Google earth will do turn-by-turn directions.)

  5. 4" - 7" touch screen custom mounted into dash.

  6. USB XM radio receiver

[via Gizmodo]