Friday, December 28, 2007

Handy HTML color tool

I don't know how often I end up needing a tool like this, but thought others might appreciate having a HTML Color Tool.






Place this HTML Color Code tool on your website free

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

You know what would make The Microsoft Surface cooler?

If it was released!

I was reading Hugh's posts and noticed he keeps bringing up The Microsoft Surface which I think is an IT workers wet dream.

I don't develop software much as a general rule, mostly because it negatively affects my health. I don't let go of problems that don't have a simple solution. Most general help desk questions can be answered, and relatively quickly. Once answered, they no longer nag at me and keep me up at night. I would pretty willingly set that aside for the chance to develop on the Microsoft Surface.

So my suggestion to Microsoft is don't play all Apple on us with this one boys, release the damn thing and let us sort it out. Trust me anything that runs on your Vista or XP will have and endless number of kinks (though so many fewer on XP), most of the people that will have to work on this type of project know that. We are ready, and my drool is starting to dry (gadget ADD is kicking in, and I have seen other cool things that could occupy my attention).

Afterthought:
I also am wondering when Microsoft Marketing was going to start eating its own dog food and use MS software(Silverlight) for the product pages? I hate Flash and really really hate Flash 9.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Amen brother, Amen

Gizmodo writer Wilson Rothman bemoaned the degrading CE experience as we move toward the connected home lifestyle. I have to agree with him, I spend my whole day trying to explain why the complexity that Active Directory brings is worth the hassle. Valuable hours of the day are spent trying to untangle complex errors that could be behavior (i.e user error) or transient (something someone else was doing caused their error), keep in mind this is a skill set I make a living with, I don't necessarily feel the need to do this at home.

Vista Media Center, Xbox360, and various other smart devices, routers or wireless ap's running DD-wrt. Switches, unmanaged and some managed, some Gigabit other 10/100. The level of complication in my own household has risen dramatically. While my wife enjoys some benefits of the complexity, at some point it she just throws up her hands in frustration. Such as when she cannot convince the media center to play a DVD. (To her credit, she was the high master VCR programing Queen so it is not for lack of ability.)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Beta Bloglines

I will give you an "A" for effort Bloglines, the beta features mentioned on TC sound nice (the save feature especially), but not quite enough to make me switch back from Google Reader. I have overcome the shortcoming of no save feature by email tags. I setup several filters, and email articles based on content to the correct filter. Not the perfect solution, but the results are searchable in gmail, and makes it relatively easy to forward on when someone asks for some information I have squirreled away about this or that product.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Toshiba You Foul Temptress

In spite of the post title, I do like Toshiba's hardware (it is some what flaky I know), and have worked with a few in my personal/professional life and even still employ a Tecra M1 running Vista Business. It runs Vista poorly I might add, but it seems that all upgrades are destined to suck, while shiny new machines seem to suck less. All that aside and getting back to the point, I am sick and tired of getting bumped to the Tecra at home when It comes time to do some browsing, because my wife insists on having the Viao. Well I found the Laptop that will make it ok:




Toshiba's Dynabook appears to be pretty sexy. The newest revision will be running the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3800 GPU that has been getting good reviews, and I want it.

So if you know someone that can get an english language version for me, that would be great.

Help Needed

If you are concerned about media ownership being concentrated into the hands of the few, then you should take a moment to participate in the following campaign.

http://action.freepress.net/campaign/ownership/8w88ini296m8i66?

The FCC is currently looking to relax the rules governing how many local news agencies one company is allowed to own. This was thrown out before after public outcry, don't let sneaky Kevin get away with it under a President that will look the other way.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thank you Verizon

I realize that I am beginning to sound a bit like a rabid fan boy of Google, but damn it even if the Open Handset Alliance explodes into a million tiny pieces I can only hope that it wakes carriers up to the bizarre fringe that wants to have there choice of phone. Verizon seems to have heard it. And it can only be a good thing, so thanks Verizon.

On a random side note:

WTF Google, Trolltech and OpenMoko have been at this for a while, and don't rely on some crap custom version of Java. They could run a crap custom version of Java, but they aren't building a platform around it. I love you guys and all, but I seriously hope that your Middle language supports a different High Level language at some point, I freaking hate Java.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Facebook for all the hype....sucks

Huh, all the sudden I don't like to read several of my blogs. I must have missed it but somewhere along the line everybody drank some Facebook koolaide and lost their fucking common sense. To the engineers that are leaving Google to join Facebook google is my all day sexy, Facebook gets about 3-10mins a day total of my time. I am logged into my gmail account every second I am near a computer, I check my hotmail and yahoo once per day each and check myspace 3-4 times per day. I normally only go to Facebook if some one sends me a message, otherwise I try hard not to think about it and the oxygen wasted world wide talking about it.

On the other hand I use nearly every service that Google has to offer, Notebook is my savior, Reader was my replacement for bloglines (I haven't looked back nor been disappointed with that switch yet), Maps is likely the only reason I am not dead somewhere after trying to "wing it" on the directions. I blog on Blogger, I use Feedburner, Analytics, Adsense, I encourage every picture taking person I know to use Picasa. I have started using code search to help my sad attempts at coding, and absolutely love Goog-411.

Finally what is not sexy about a company that lest you spend 20% of your time on a personal project. Are you freaking serious?! I only wish that I could find some time to not run around at my job and work on some of the collaboration that my company so desperately needs.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Helio Wireless Here I come

So Helio Wireless went ahead and removed the road block preventing me from switching to their service this January when the old T-slowmobile contract expires here in January, Helio now offers Family Plans.

I am not sure if this was a soft launch or what as I don't recall anyone mentioning it anywhere, but I am excited none the less. For about $20/mo more than I pay now I can have the same minutes and 2 phones with data access. To add data access to both phones would be at least $30 per line per month and it would be the slow speed that T-mobile has to offer.

For that family member that talks too much there is always the $99/mo unlimited package. It won't be included into your family plan, but at least they can yak as long as their lungs and battery hold out with out breaking he bank.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What happened to all the great bloggers I knew?

Three years ago there was some riveting writing going on in the blogosphere Hugh Macleod held my rapt attention for the length of even his longest posts and the Tin Basher made me giggle with his brash and bold writings on business.

So I suppose my point is what gives? 2 posts about The Global Microbrand in a year? And the Tin Basher hasn't said anything... well most anything remotely interesting in weeks. All Hugh talks about is wine, and Micheal well other than I am not entirely partial to the lyrical stylings of his co-workers, Tech Crunch still seems to be on the ball.

What gives?

I figure Hugh has been oversampling his wares, but what did life get in the way guys? Did the blogosphere loose it's innocence with the numerous trust issues that have come to light?

I am not sure what happened, but the good blogs I was reading are drying up (execpt you Engadget don't let the potty mouthed serial posters at Gizmodo get you down.)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Radio Head

Even if you aren't a huge Radio Head fan chances are you have some idea of who they are. For an group of artist that could have just kept riding the gravy train until it dried up I have a lot of respect for their most recent venture.

In Rainbows their new album is for sale online in DRM free MP3. That by itself is pioneering enough but the thing that really shines is the price: Pay what you want! They actually ask you to set the value of the album for yourself; something that scares the living shit out of the recording industry establishment, and Radio Head asked their customers what they thought the labor of an album was worth.

It offers an interesting conundrum, it actually took me a few minutes to decide what I thought was a fair price. It undoubtedly clocked in as a low sale for the recording industry, but with the weak dollar cost me $10 and some change. I didn't really mean to validate Steve Jobs assertion that an album is worth $10, but it felt right for a digital copy with a distribution cost that has to be only like $2 (Transatlantic data transmission costs being what they are).

In all it is another Radio Head album, lots of Tom Yorke wailing; so if that does it for you (it does for me) then you will like the album and feel happy knowing that you got to exercise free market principles for the first time in a long while. For me I haven't seen it work since bartering used to be the norm in Mexico, and that had to be back in the early 90's.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Portable iTunes on a Stick - Partial victory

Well I have some good news for those that are looking for a way to have the nomadic iTunes experience on computers that you don't own. I do have a way to make iTunes portable with out any worry of violating the iTunes Software License Agreement. The bad news is, it only works on Windows XP so far, and you do need to purchase some software from Mojopac.

The Mojopac software offers a virtualization environment that is quite different from Microsoft, VMware, or Xensource. Rather than requiring a piece of software be installed on the host pc, Mojopac is installed on a usb 2.0 drive and leverages the Windows auto play feature to start the virtualization environment. This approach gives the users much less static as they move from pc to pc, and because it is not emulating a full computer should be less resource intensive. Unfortunately in my tests the Mojopac was often sluggish, and required some system tweaking to get acceptable levels of performance on my 8gig PQI flash drive. The drive itself only had an average read speed of 19MB/s compared to the average from a IDE drive average of 63MB/s, so performance was sometimes very sluggish (especially on web browsing).

Weighing in at $49.95 for a single license, or $75 for 2 the software isn't in the cheap sweet spot of $20, so the potential value of a portable Windows XP environment will have to sway you.

When I began writing this series trying to find a way for people with access to a computer to be able to run iTunes and add music to their iPod, even on computers they did not have Administrator privileges on. The solution described here does not do this, it requires Administrator Access.

This is unfortunate, and I plan to follow up with them why it requires admin access.

Either way for $50, you can have a portable iTunes solution on any computer you have administrator access to. While this doesn't completely solve the problem I was trying to address it is a partial victory, iTunes that can be run from a portable drive.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Craft Corner Project Done

Since we have moved in here at 14th Court we have have been trying to decide what to do with the second floor stair landing. The space is really rather large, but not large enough that it can be permanently blocked off. After several months of Julie taking over the living room with her scrapbooking we decided that she was in need of a craft corner.

Well last weekend my Dad and I got to it.



As you can see we found some cabinet doors at Ikea that match the house cabinets closely. Utilizing a butcher block top we created a very workable space for Julie to scapbook.



I ordered more matching handles (even though the less than intelligent Home Depot lady f'd the order up). Julie and I found ourselves a place to hang the mail sorter, and the cabinet on the right is a roll out with both the recycle and garbage.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tmobile data sucks, but damn the family plan is so good

I believe Tmobiles 3g strategy is something like "Hey guys we just bought our 3g spectrum and hope to have it up the 3012". Thats right, I am concerned that Tmobiles head honchos cannot find the collective thought process to get out a 3g network this Millennium(all kidding aside they have a 3g network slated for the end of this year). Oh, and way to go on the whole 1700mhz spectrum there fellas. Way to make your 3g phones not work with anyone else(vice versa really being the big miff here). I have been with Tmobile for about 3 years now and not once have I used a Tmobile phone.

I am currently running an unlocked Audiovox SMT5600, and though my windows mobile 2003 device is long in tooth, it still beats the SDA and in my opinion has a more appealing form factor than any of the Windows mobiles that Tmobile manages to puke out. Dash, MDA, and the wing can all take a leap. My current plan is to jump ship to Helio. The announcement of the Fin was all it took (my wife only likes flip phones). My one and only lament is the completely missing family plan options from Helio. I realize that as an MNVO they have limited ability to be too innovative with their service plans, but damn it the service plans is about the only thing Tmobile does right, so I would hope that others would emulate.

Oh and someone hire Zeta back, best spokes model ever.


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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Damn, the iPhone may actually be cheap

As a person that adamantly resents of all things Mac, I was deeply saddened to see the one windows mobile coming to market that is comparable(superior on almost every detail) to the iPhone is $300 more. The HTC Advantage available now, carried its own lesser amount of hype, and carries the laptop price of $899. For a phone. Seriously.

Many Analists[sic] decried the iPhone as expensive at $599 (apples to apples here people I know there is a cheaper one, put the HTC smokes that one just warm up the bowl). Feature for feature, the only things that iPhone has that the HTC Advantage does not is the auto-rotate, and some gesture based browsing. (I think, there is less press for this phone, and I'm lazy).

The HTC does have expandable storage(anathema to Mister Jobs), and HSDPA. Seriously Jobs and Co, I realize that you choose to forgo 3g because the battery life on your toy already sucks, but taint much mobile on GPRS. Its more like slomble[sic], just ask a Tmobile customer.

So listen, the HTC Advantage is a really nice phone with 8gb on board, the nice WM6, expandable via MiniSD, a real Keyboard, 3G, a normal headphone jack and last but not least an SDK. None of this web 2.0 bs Steve gave developers. All for the cost of a laptop, or even the Everun UMPC.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Helium is improving

For the past few months I have noticed more and more Helium ads around the net (especially on small blogs). The idea and market position is relatively simple, pay users for content they produce. If it gets pageviews and clicks on adverts the article has value(I am sure a healthy portion of it goes to Helium), but not much if any different than the blogging phenomenon.

Make content
get views
get click throughs
Profit

Relatively straight forward, and in theory with a large content trove, and high CPM (because of high traffic) content on Helium has the potential to make the authors a little money. The benefit to authors is they don't have to wait the obligatory 6mos to get picked up by Google's spiders, and the work to get started creating content is much lower than getting hosting, installing blogging engine, registering domain names, and then producing content (or using blogger what ever floats your boat).

The problem with the business model is the same as Squidoo's model, spam. Last time that I looked over at Helium, the content was mostly mediocre. It seems that time (and maybe some editors?) has turned that around, at least on the section front pages. From the 30 or so articles that I browsed on the sections main pages there where some thoughtful and well written articles. Almost all written in the casual voice, readable, and telling personal stories, or offering advice.

None of what I found was so compelling I might have paid for it, even if it only cost as much as a newspaper, but the opinion section for topical items in the news was as interesting to me as most letters to the editor in the Seattle Times so they where at least coherent, and not vile. I plan on writing something, just to see if it sticks and will report back with experiences.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Xbox 360, meh?

For the geeks on the internet the entrance of Microsoft to the console arena a few years ago was a blessing and a curse. It challenged Sony to get off their collective ass, and gave Nintendo continued reason to innovate (well hello Wii, wanna stop by my place later for some multi-player?). In all Microsoft was the grown up coming to the cool kids party, sure they had lots of money and bought you beer(Halo) to make you think they where cool deep down you knew they wanted to use you(for money you sicko), and you where using them to have a good time. On the whole during the last console round this I-wanna-use-you-while-you-use-me relationship worked but I was in college and roommates/dorm mates made Halo(and MarioKart64)better it was social and fun. I never got into the XboxLive and doubt I would enjoy it for the same reason I don't enjoy WoW, yelling at people is more fun when your spittle has the potential to contact them.

Where does this leave the Xbox360 for me? Well I am married, and my wife was never any good at FPS game play, or really anything that isn't frogger. Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo all have identified that gaming is increasingly social, each attacking that value proposition from a different angle. Microsoft in typical Redmond fashion aims to suck every dollar they can from that potential revenue hole with the large and looming Xbox Live infrastructure and content delivery platform. They want to own the living room with your Xbox as the portal. From the ecosystem perspective, I see how this could be a successful endeavor if only I didn't feel so shackled by it. I am not only on board the Media Center bus, I also drink most of the koolaid they hand out, and yet I resist the urge to buy a 360. It would fit nicely in my home theater setup, is one of the cheapest HD-DVD players the market, has lots of games that let me shoot and destroy things, and once that movie content distribution system thing gets worked out beats having to go get someone else's Set Top Box.

Still I resist. I don't have a great set of reasons for it, but I do have a few.

  • I don't actually have all that much time to devote to gaming any more, it is an excessively antisocial (yes talking to strangers you meet on Xbox live still counts as anti-social) hobby

  • I own a home and projects to improve that take precedent over entertainment

  • Married, and want to stay that way

In order of toys I want Everun, Neo1973, 42-52" LCD, a Core2 Duo or Quadro pc (I'm easy) , then a Wii, then Xbox360. Sure the 360 is on my list, but it is like $6000 dollars down the list.

If Microsoft wants to climb my list they could do a few things

  • Make the internal drive HD-DVD

  • Fix the reliability issues (few people like having to RMA things)

  • Make it cheaper (this should be a no brainer)





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Friday, July 20, 2007

Media center woes again

If you read my blog, you likely know that I am a little bit of a media center fan. I might even be called fanatical, in my support of the product line that really inspired in me a feeling of hope for the greater Microsoft universe. In 2004 is was bad enough that no one should have used it, but in 2005 and after the update roll up 2 later I thought that Microsoft might have gotten their groove back. Though divergent specialized sku's for products likely caused a few headaches internally I was a fan of having a support team that was focusing on making the Media Center a fantastic must have product, so naturally I was leery when I heard that MCE functions had been rolled into Vista proper. I have been running MCE2005 on several different hardware platforms for the last couple of years and feel that I have a firm grasp on the potential, and short comings of MCE but my most recent (re)install because of a failed hard drive has been far from worry free. I have managed to damage my install discs and was using a XP SP2 disk to give the installer any of the files that it was having trouble reading from my Media Center Disks. The moral of the story is that this was not a good idea, and the machine is very unstable. It records flawlessly, but frequently hangs during playback of recorded and live TV. Restarts were required basically every 8 hours of watched TV.

My setup is on a Gateway 901 Home Theater PC, with a All-In-Wonder 2006 special edition 256mb agp TV tuner/video card and a Hauppauge 500 dual tuner. This special setup required some registry hacking to get working (2 analogue tuners are the official limit) but is well with in the capacity of this 3.2ghz Pentium 4 machine especially with the 1.5gb of ram I have installed. Finally the whole bit is run off of a 500gb Maxtor with 16mb cache. Certainly there are better boxes out there, but this should be a more than adequate Media center setup. It is very sad that my setup is unstable, so maybe I will either follow this Instructable or pull a torrent of iso's, maybe even look into Vista. Whichever way I go something needs to be done to fix this situation before the other members of the household take it upon themselves to kill me for breaking the TV.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What is your value in the work place

The value of IT is hard to quantify sometimes because of the way we identify, and fix problems. Much of my works begins with questions posed by the users I support.

From cutting login times from over 5 minutes to less than 1, or improving the performance of a SQL server (more ram, and turning off hyper-threading) or just improving the queries being used. These are small improvements, but if all you do all day then drops in the bucket should add up.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Social sites, Finding the ties

Since joining Pownce I have noticed that by design it limits some of the anit-social social behavior. With fewer pictures, and the ability to have your posts only shown to friends I feel like the stalking you see and hear about on Myspace that disturbs me so much is slightly limited. However the annoying trying to have everyone under the sun as a friend habit is not. This guy is already at in on Pownce.

In mildly related news Techcrunch reminded us that Myspace is still number one in the social site standings, and traffic is growing. First off, they certainly have achieved the tipping point so it is very unlikely that they will die anytime soon, even with a significant mis-step they are likely to continue to have strong traffic volume. The whole phenomenon is rather interesting on the micro-scale in that fundamentally the site is driven by personal connection. Users still love this, and the people that haven't created profiles yet that are coming to the site and starting into the community are still grabbed the way that many users where when Myspace started to get hot.

There is something profound about whole personal connection, especially the opportunity to reconnect. For instance I am going to a wedding this September for two people that knew each other in High School and lost track. Both had changed, and they reconnected on Myspace. That is some of the magic that will make those to strong supporters of Myspace, and I am sure they are not the first or the last to find romance. This type of reconnection used to happen through the community process that has virtually disappeared in the physical world. Friend of Friends meeting years later and finding love is neither new nor germane to the online world.

The downswing of these sites it is does require situational/information awareness in social interactions. Certainly this is not different than the physical community interactions in my opinion, so image control translates to the virtual world. The main difference is the reach, individuals knowing about your indiscretions vs indiscretions posted in a searchable and open to any eyes that go looking for it.

In spite of the inherent dangers of reach and overexposure the use and utilization of social networks is continuing to grow, and could be the key to rebuilding the community that news media bemoans as dying. The internet at large can still be about community, that I have a Name and choose to use a pseudonym doesn't prevent individuals from building trust in my moniker any more if I used a real name and that is something you can hang a hat on, maybe a coat too.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

No one is talking about the NEO1973?

One of the O'Riley editors griped that no one was talking about the NEO1973 being on sale now.

First off to say that no one is talking about the Neo1973 is a slight mis-characterization and not in tune with reality.

Examles:
Gizmodo
Gizmodo Again
Engadget
Digg
Mobile Technews
Tux News
O'Rielly
Cellphone Beat
Netscape

Sure this level of coverage is nothing compared to the iPhone hype, but these are different markets. Apple wants any schmuck with money and the Developer release of OpenMoko's Neo1973 is looking for hackers to prep the phone for phase 2. Michael Lauer reminded everyone of this: until the release for general consumption happens in October, thanks for your interest, but sit on your cash unless you are a developer.

Tags: OpenMoko, Neo1973, Anti-iPhone, iPhone, Hype

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pownce and pwned by Techcruch

Not even out of private beta and I find Pownce on Techcrunch.

Not that I should be surprised, but TC beat my thoughts to the punch, though mine was longer (length != quality), and it looks like my thoughts fell well within the bell curve of the TC readers. I do see opportunities for them as im and other ilk that we stitch together our social fabric together with suck. I just figure it will be an exclusive party for a while (with me on the outside) so unless you reside in San Fran, or know these people( or are on the Internet A list) don't expect to get invited to the party any time soon.

Interesting side note, anyone else notice how all of these services and sites focused on "social medium" start out elitist? Orkut anyone?



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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Culver and Rose collaboration

Leah Culver, Kevin Rose and a few other interesting Californians with software aspirations you may have heard of have quietly (not so quiet considering the crowd of Kevin watchers out there) launched their combined effort Pownce.

First Reaction


Looking over the screen shots already up, I think that a comprable set of applications would be Campfire and Backpack from 37 Signals. The focus is on personal use, with a social networking slant. In the San Fran area I expect that this will be all the rage for a few months, and then when it opens up to the general public the original crowd will move on just like Flickr before it.

Thoughts on viability


I like the idea, and love that it is all built on the fabric of other services. S3 as long been interesting to me, and I have wondered how long until products other than storage related services would come to use it. The project is a veritable alphabet soup that is sure to please the geek elite and with the Likes of Kevin and Daniel Burka of Digg, and Revision3 there is actually quite a lot of business savvy in the group, and more than enough web 2.0 street cred to pull Leah up among the luminaries of the San Francisco software/culture center driving many of the current acquisition fodder for the web heavies.

This does in many ways remind me of IM with persistence, and should commandeer one or all of the IM clients out there and incorporate it/them. With all the web based every-IM-client-under-the-sun clones out there such as meebo or ebuddy, I have to assume that this is a somewhat "known" variable that would be a logical addition. If they plan on living on Advert dollars the longer they can keep my eyes on their application the better for them, and an all in one im/fileshare/social application is better than twitter desktop+file sharing.

Second Thoughts and Hesitations



As much as I like the idea of the seamless sharing of items from the desktop there is definitely some inertia about having to create a new circle of people. Most perspective users already have facebook/myspace/ profiles and these are by and large islands of friends. Because Pownce will require an application install on every computer to keep the experience seamless this could be a stumbling block. Currently I run 2-12 hours on any of 12 computers. Yeah I know my situation is excessive and I am a whiner, but for a compelling application, I am looking for something to help me stitch together my fragmented little world of friend communication. IM really in my mind is a must, and some form of either friend import from Myspace or Facebook would be a major bonus.

My final though, that is in no means a detraction but more of a open ended question for Pownce to answer in the long term: "With the similarities to so many products that already have the jump on you in terms of first mover advantage what makes you compelling?"

Twitter gives us status (though flakey), flickr lets us share photos, Myspace/Facebook let us keep up to date on friends comings and goings(reunion.com for the older set) with IM and personal blogs/sites for the rest. If you can stitch all that together the application and the fabric you built it on could really grab the long tail, if not you could be a local celebrity to a small group of San Franciscans.


-Convictus



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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Is Opensolaris worth being excited about?

I don't know, but the demonstrations of ZFS I've seen so far make this very exciting to me. I have been looking for a way to create a (relatively) low cost iSCSI target. iSCSI in my experience is low cost, and flexible for single computers that need more storage than you can cram in the confines of their box. In case you haven't guessed this does relate to the Media Center that consumes my life.


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Google Solar Panel Project should be a gadget

Google recently launched a page that allows you tor track the success of their solar initiative. I do like the stats counter on the page, but cannot be troubled to visit this page with any kind of frequency. I would like to see this info in the form of an iGoogle gadget. This is the type of info best condensed to a small badge or xml file that can be shown wherever.

So how bout it Google? Solar Panel Project gadget for iGoogle?

I suppose that I could build it myself, following the handy dandy api Google so thoughtfully provided.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Overwhelmed by my own Success

Right the pace of my posting seems to be lagging, so I thought some light should be shed.

I specked, researched, bid, pitched and am now in the process of purchasing a large wireless system to cover the nearly 300,000 sqft facility I currently work in. Because this is a government agency (sort of) we have lots of rules, and I had to present this to 3 directors and then to our President (we are structured like a corporation even thought we are technically Government). All of this has sort of eaten up my life, and is going to continue to eat up my life as this will put me squarely in the position of project manager. The time frame for execution on this is about 3 months, and is mostly waiting on a blessing from our auditor.

Fun times ahead for this little boy, and then we start talking about the toys to use this wireless network. UMPC’s here I come.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Are Sys Admins Bad?

On the list of things to annoy me in a given day, I found this little gem buried deep in my Slashdot.org backlog of unread articles. With such a slanted question I was not surprised to see every response I expected from the snarky Bastard Operator from Hell references (really read it for some insight into how system ops were regarded). Dilbert references to upper management phb's, and a more elusive reference to lusers (mix user and loser and you get luser).

There are instances for brilliant users and dumb Admins, and the reverse as well. In the end categorically dismissing a group of people based on your limited interaction with a small subset of them makes little sense. Sys Admins are no different. Some went to college some learned in the trenches, and either could be a moron. Deal with people as you find them, and assume less. Stereotypes help those with weak minds cope with the complexity of life, but most everything is in flux and most people are trying their best. Here are some reasons that your Sys Admin may be Harried.

Because we are a cost center in most if not all businesses, our sucesses and cost savings are undervalued by default. Either way it was going to cost money in the minds of the Accounting/Finance group so the fact that you busted ass to design an elegant solution that beat other options by half or better does not stop their urge to make you trim "fat" off your projects.

Our biggest accomplishments are invisible. When we discover a bug, and fix it before anyone notices we are heroes only to ourselves. If a user discovers a bug and we fix it, the response it "finally". That is little incentive from our perspective to fix your problems. Fixing things, anything is undervalued. Everyone expects things to work by default, never assuming that flexibility in software comes with fragility.

Finally, there is often one or two of us to 100 or more of you. Those are slim odds, in terms of being able to address everyone simultaneously. This puts us in the position of making choices of what is important and what is not. Sometimes we choose wrong, but other times your problem is really yourself and we don't have the heart to tell you.

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

New Media Center Setup

For the last 9 months I have been running a Gateway 901. I didn't buy it new (thank you craigslist.org), and have upgraded it to MCE 2005 and had a Maxtor 500gb drive in it. To up the number of tuners I added an ATI All-In-Wonder 2006 edition as well as a Hauppauge 500MCE dual tuner. Since MCE only supports 2 tuners out of the box, I followed this guide courtesy of The Green Button, a must if you are a Media Center Enthusiast. Finally I loaded it up with 1.5gb of PC2700 ram and let the recordings begin.

Unfortunately the Maxtor drive was not up to the task, and gave up the ghost after 8 months of service. I have since replaced it with a Hitachi Deskstar 500gb model. At first I was concerned that this drive would never be able to keep up as it had a lower cache, and noticeably stuttered several times the first several days during live TV playback. If it is recording 2 shows and you want to watch a third I have found that it is better to record that show and watch the recording rather than trying to watch it live. Other than that, the Hitachi has performed well and I am waiting on my RMA for the Maxtor. I think that the amount of TV my wife records is the reason for the Maxtor crapping out. At times we had upwards of 30 unwatched shows on the Media Center.

To combat disk failure, I am thinking of setting up a multi-spindle OpenSolaris iSCSI target. This is a little overboard for most homes, but gives me a chance to work more with iSCSI and help prevent unscheduled TV outages. If you haven't heard of ZFS, you owe it to yourself to watch this.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

New Drool Worthy Computer: Surface

The video says it way better than words




Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Gizmodo Making fun of audio books

Gizmodo ran a story about some audio books from the iTunes store not working, taking a long swipe at the users of such technology as lazy.

I for one utilize audio books, (not from iTunes) because I find myself on a computer 8-14 hours a day, so by the end of the day when I crave some intellectual stimulation my eyes aren't up to the task.

In college I knew several people that were able to complete their course work mainly with the help of audio books to help them overcome near debilitating dyslexia, and still others that suffer motion sickness and are completely unable to read in a moving vehicle.

Just because you have the time, and good physical health to read Mr. Matt Buchanan seems little reason to me to belittle others without your good fortune.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Technorati Filtering the Ticker?

Technorati relaunches yesterday then flinches as the deluge of naughtiness fills the ticker. As noted here by Binary Bonsai. I clicked and before the outage there where many a porn related topic filling the ticker, and I noted with a small amount of glee that it had to make some investor somewhere cringe.

Micheal noted on Techcrunch that there was a "Scheduled maintenance" I will note that the worst that I have seen since is Tranny.



That's my theory, anyone else got a better one?

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Spam Myspace Profiles getting spammed

This profile on myspace wants to be my friend.


Ava



I decided to look at the profile before hitting the deny button, you never know I might know someone named Ava :).


For a sick bit of humor read the comments that she has gotten. I think that this profile started out legit, and was either hijacked or she is trying to make some of those dollars her slutty friends said could be made with myspace. If she shows up on Cam with her we will know that it was the latter.



I have noticed that one upside to Facebook is that no one that I don't know has ever contacted me. Period.

Google Reader update

Dear Google Reader Devs,

I love the work you guys have been doing lately, this reader is much better than that Bloglines reader I left behind a few months ago. That said I have a gripe. The inline email function that you added that is far superior to the old popup on has an unfortunate feature regression that needs to be addressed:


I cannot tab to the send button and hit space to send like the old email to function.


This is very unfortunate. In your free time if you could take care of that, this little love affair of ours will be right back on track.




Convictus

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Web Design is Funny

I was watching MochaCity's Rundown, and noticed that the promo pictures on the right where somewhat dismembered.




The other part is just a head.


Too funny, we tear apart photo's and stitch them back together with a table of all things.

Take a Look

A table background, a severed head, and dismembered body. Awesome, all in the name of good style. This is probably over his head(sic), but I wonder if B-ezy knows how the web dev's chopped him up?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A La Carte Pricing Cable

In November of 2005 the FCC submitted a report that the market would bear A La Carte Pricing, Senator McCain even indicated that this looked like a good choice for customers. What happened to this initiative? It seems to me that most of the whining about "cost to implement" could be handily taken care of by the Cable Card initiative if they would quit drag-assing on that. I get the feeling that the Cable operators are hoping if the implement Cable cards poorly enough no one will want one, and thus fulfilling their own prophecy (or personal wish).

I live in a household with 3 adults and utilize a grad total of 10 channels. 10! this puts me well below the threshold that the FCC and the Senate identified as 17-20 being the break-even. If I could pay half as much, you bet I want that.

Alternatel7y the state sponsored monopoly could admit it makes money on the "introductory rate" subscribers ($33/mo on Comcast Seattle) and just make that the base rate. I probably would be happy to stay at that rate, it doesn't offend me.

Anyone know what happened to this? I cannot find any current news on it.


links:
Cnet
Multichannel
Wired

Monday, May 21, 2007

iTunes on a stick follow up

---Updated---
9/14/07
I have succeded partially in this little adventure. Results here.

/--Update--
Based on the amount of traffic the iTunes on a Stick post gets, I am going to assume that there are few people that have an interest in this type of a product, so I decided to research a little further. Behold the EULA, and most of the way down you will find something that pretty much shots this projects main intentions down.

Except as and only to the extent expressly permitted in this License or by applicable law, you may not copy, decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, modify, or create derivative works of the Apple Software or any part thereof.


I read that as don't make derivative works from our stuff. ouch! On to plan B find a very light weight Virtual machine and Standalone VM Player on one of those big ass 64gb usb drives.

Dated 01/11/07 and is from the iTunes installer for ver. 7.1.1.5

ENGLISH

APPLE INC.
SOFTWARE LICENSE AGREEMENT FOR iTUNES

PLEASE READ THIS SOFTWARE LICENSE AGREEMENT (”LICENSE”) CAREFULLY BEFORE USING THE APPLE SOFTWARE. BY USING THE APPLE SOFTWARE, YOU ARE AGREEING TO BE BOUND BY THE TERMS OF THIS LICENSE. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO THE TERMS OF THIS LICENSE, DO NOT USE THE SOFTWARE. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO THE TERMS OF THE LICENSE, YOU MAY RETURN THE APPLE SOFTWARE TO THE PLACE WHERE YOU OBTAINED IT FOR A REFUND. IF THE APPLE SOFTWARE WAS ACCESSED ELECTRONICALLY, CLICK “DISAGREE/DECLINE”. FOR APPLE SOFTWARE INCLUDED WITH YOUR PURCHASE OF HARDWARE, YOU MUST RETURN THE ENTIRE HARDWARE/SOFTWARE PACKAGE IN ORDER TO OBTAIN A REFUND.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This software may be used to reproduce materials. It is licensed to you only for reproduction of non-copyrighted materials, materials in which you own the copyright, or materials you are authorized or legally permitted to reproduce. This software may also be used for remote access to music files for listening between computers. Remote access of copyrighted music is only provided for lawful personal use or as otherwise legally permitted. If you are uncertain about your right to copy or permit access to any material you should contact your legal advisor.

1. General. The software, documentation and any fonts accompanying this License whether on disk, in read only memory, on any other media or in any other form (collectively the “Apple Software”) are licensed, not sold, to you by Apple Inc. (”Apple”) for use only under the terms of this License, and Apple reserves all rights not expressly granted to you. The rights granted herein are limited to Apple’s and its licensors’ intellectual property rights in the Apple Software and do not include any other patents or intellectual property rights. You own the media on which the Apple Software is recorded but Apple and/or Apple’s licensor(s) retain ownership of the Apple Software itself. The terms of this License will govern any software upgrades provided by Apple that replace and/or supplement the original Apple Software product, unless such upgrade is accompanied by a separate license in which case the terms of that license will govern.

2. Permitted License Uses and Restrictions. This License allows you to install and use the Apple Software. The Apple Software may be used to reproduce materials so long as such use is limited to reproduction of non-copyrighted materials, materials in which you own the copyright, or materials you are authorized or legally permitted to reproduce. You may not make the Apple Software available over a network where it could be used by multiple computers at the same time. You may make one copy of the Apple Software in machine-readable form for backup purposes only; provided that the backup copy must include all copyright or other proprietary notices contained on the original. Except as and only to the extent expressly permitted in this License or by applicable law, you may not copy, decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, modify, or create derivative works of the Apple Software or any part thereof. THE APPLE SOFTWARE IS NOT INTENDED FOR USE IN THE OPERATION OF NUCLEAR FACILITIES, AIRCRAFT NAVIGATION OR COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS, LIFE SUPPORT MACHINES OR OTHER EQUIPMENT IN WHICH THE FAILURE OF THE APPLE SOFTWARE COULD LEAD TO DEATH, PERSONAL INJURY, OR SEVERE PHYSICAL OR ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE.

3. Transfer. You may not rent, lease, lend or sublicense the Apple Software. You may, however, make a one-time permanent transfer of all of your license rights to the Apple Software to another party, provided that: (a) the transfer must include all of the Apple Software, including all its component parts, original media, printed materials and this License; (b) you do not retain any copies of the Apple Software, full or partial, including copies stored on a computer or other storage device; and (c) the party receiving the Apple Software reads and agrees to accept the terms and conditions of this License.

4. Consent to Use of Data. You agree that Apple and its subsidiaries may collect and use technical and related information, including but not limited to technical information about your computer, system and application software, and peripherals, that is gathered periodically to facilitate the provision of software updates, product support and other services to you (if any) related to the Apple Software and to verify compliance with the terms of this License. Apple may use this information, as long as it is in a form that does not personally identify you, to improve our products or to provide services or technologies to you.

5. iTunes Store and other Services. This software enables access to Apple’s iTunes Store which offers downloads of music for sale and other services (collectively and individually, “Services”). Use of the Services requires Internet access and use of certain Services requires you to accept additional terms of service which will be presented to you before you can use such Services.

By using this software in connection with an iTunes Store account, you agree to the latest iTunes Store Terms of Service, which you may access and review from the home page of the iTunes Store.

You understand that by using any of the Services, you may encounter content that may be deemed offensive, indecent, or objectionable, which content may or may not be identified as having explicit language. Nevertheless, you agree to use the Services at your sole risk and that Apple shall have no liability to you for content that may be found to be offensive, indecent, or objectionable. Content types (including genres, sub-genres and Podcast categories and sub-categories and the like) and descriptions are provided for convenience, and you acknowledge and agree that Apple does not guarantee their accuracy.

Certain Services may include materials from third parties or links to certain third party web sites. You acknowledge and agree that Apple is not responsible for examining or evaluating the content or accuracy of any such third-party material or web sites. Apple does not warrant or endorse and does not assume and will not have any liability or responsibility for any third-party materials or web sites, or for any other materials, products, or services of third parties. Links to other web sites are provided solely as a convenience to you. You agree that you will not use any third-party materials in a manner that would infringe or violate the rights of any other party, and that Apple is not in any way responsible for any such use by you.

You agree that the Services, including but not limited to graphics, audio clips, and editorial content, contain proprietary information and material that is owned by Apple and/or its licensors, and is protected by applicable intellectual property and other laws, including but not limited to copyright, and that you will not use such proprietary information or materials in any way whatsoever except for permitted use of the Services. No portion of the Services may be reproduced in any form or by any means. You agree not to modify, rent, lease, loan, sell, distribute, or create derivative works based on the Services, in any manner, and you shall not exploit the Services in any unauthorized way whatsoever, including but not limited to, by trespass or burdening network capacity.

Apple and its licensors reserve the right to change, suspend, remove, or disable access to any Services at any time without notice. In no event will Apple be liable for the removal of or disabling of access to any such Services. Apple may also impose limits on the use of or access to certain Services, in any case and without notice or liability.

6. Termination. This License is effective until terminated. Your rights under this License will terminate automatically without notice from Apple if you fail to comply with any term(s) of this License. Upon the termination of this License, you shall cease all use of the Apple Software and destroy all copies, full or partial, of the Apple Software.

7. Limited Warranty on Media. Apple warrants the media on which the Apple Software is recorded and delivered by Apple to be free from defects in materials and workmanship under normal use for a period of ninety (90) days from the date of original retail purchase. Your exclusive remedy under this Section shall be, at Apple’s option, a refund of the purchase price of the product containing the Apple Software or replacement of the Apple Software which is returned to Apple or an Apple authorized representative with a copy of the receipt. THIS LIMITED WARRANTY AND ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES ON THE MEDIA INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, OF SATISFACTORY QUALITY, AND OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, ARE LIMITED IN DURATION TO NINETY (90) DAYS FROM THE DATE OF ORIGINAL RETAIL PURCHASE. SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW LIMITATIONS ON HOW LONG AN IMPLIED WARRANTY LASTS, SO THE ABOVE LIMITATION MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU. THE LIMITED WARRANTY SET FORTH HEREIN IS THE ONLY WARRANTY MADE TO YOU AND IS PROVIDED IN LIEU OF ANY OTHER WARRANTIES (IF ANY) CREATED BY ANY DOCUMENTATION OR PACKAGING. THIS LIMITED WARRANTY GIVES YOU SPECIFIC LEGAL RIGHTS, AND YOU MAY ALSO HAVE OTHER RIGHTS WHICH VARY BY JURISDICTION.

8. Disclaimer of Warranties. YOU EXPRESSLY ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT USE OF THE APPLE SOFTWARE (AS DEFINED ABOVE) AND SERVICES (AS DEFINED BELOW) IS AT YOUR SOLE RISK AND THAT THE ENTIRE RISK AS TO SATISFACTORY QUALITY, PERFORMANCE, ACCURACY AND EFFORT IS WITH YOU. EXCEPT FOR THE LIMITED WARRANTY ON MEDIA SET FORTH ABOVE AND TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW, THE APPLE SOFTWARE AND SERVICES ARE PROVIDED “AS IS”, WITH ALL FAULTS AND WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, AND APPLE AND APPLE’S LICENSORS (COLLECTIVELY REFERRED TO AS “APPLE” FOR THE PURPOSES OF SECTIONS 8 AND 9) HEREBY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES AND CONDITIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE APPLE SOFTWARE AND SERVICES, EITHER EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR STATUTORY, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES AND/OR CONDITIONS OF MERCHANTABILITY, OF SATISFACTORY QUALITY, OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, OF ACCURACY, OF QUIET ENJOYMENT, AND NON-INFRINGEMENT OF THIRD PARTY RIGHTS. APPLE DOES NOT WARRANT AGAINST INTERFERENCE WITH YOUR ENJOYMENT OF THE APPLE SOFTWARE OR SERVICES, THAT THE FUNCTIONS CONTAINED IN THE APPLE SOFTWARE OR SERVICES WILL MEET YOUR REQUIREMENTS, THAT THE OPERATION OF THE APPLE SOFTWARE OR SERVICES WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR-FREE, OR THAT DEFECTS IN THE APPLE SOFTWARE OR SERVICES WILL BE CORRECTED. NO ORAL OR WRITTEN INFORMATION OR ADVICE GIVEN BY APPLE OR AN APPLE AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE SHALL CREATE A WARRANTY. SHOULD THE APPLE SOFTWARE OR SERVICES PROVE DEFECTIVE, YOU ASSUME THE ENTIRE COST OF ALL NECESSARY SERVICING, REPAIR OR CORRECTION. SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OF IMPLIED WARRANTIES OR LIMITATIONS ON APPLICABLE STATUTORY RIGHTS OF A CONSUMER, SO THE ABOVE EXCLUSION AND LIMITATIONS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.

9. Limitation of Liability. TO THE EXTENT NOT PROHIBITED BY LAW, IN NO EVENT SHALL APPLE BE LIABLE FOR PERSONAL INJURY, OR ANY INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, INDIRECT OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES WHATSOEVER, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF PROFITS, LOSS OF DATA, BUSINESS INTERRUPTION OR ANY OTHER COMMERCIAL DAMAGES OR LOSSES, ARISING OUT OF OR RELATED TO YOUR USE OR INABILITY TO USE THE APPLE SOFTWARE OR SERVICES, HOWEVER CAUSED, REGARDLESS OF THE THEORY OF LIABILITY (CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE) AND EVEN IF APPLE HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE LIMITATION OF LIABILITY FOR PERSONAL INJURY, OR OF INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, SO THIS LIMITATION MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU. In no event shall Apple’s total liability to you for all damages (other than as may be required by applicable law in cases involving personal injury) exceed the amount of fifty dollars ($50.00). The foregoing limitations will apply even if the above stated remedy fails of its essential purpose.

10. Export Control. You may not use or otherwise export or reexport the Apple Software except as authorized by United States law and the laws of the jurisdiction in which the Apple Software was obtained. In particular, but without limitation, the Apple Software may not be exported or re-exported (a) into any U.S. embargoed countries or (b) to anyone on the U.S. Treasury Department’s list of Specially Designated Nationals or the U.S. Department of Commerce Denied Person’s List or Entity List. By using the Apple Software, you represent and warrant that you are not located in any such country or on any such list. You also agree that you will not use these products for any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, the development, design, manufacture or production of missiles, or nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

11. Government End Users. The Apple Software and related documentation are “Commercial Items”, as that term is defined at 48 C.F.R. §2.101, consisting of “Commercial Computer Software” and “Commercial Computer Software Documentation”, as such terms are used in 48 C.F.R. §12.212 or 48 C.F.R. §227.7202, as applicable. Consistent with 48 C.F.R. §12.212 or 48 C.F.R. §227.7202-1through 227.7202-4, as applicable, the Commercial Computer Software and Commercial Computer Software Documentation are being licensed to U.S. Government end users (a) only as Commercial Items and (b) with only those rights as are granted to all other end users pursuant to the terms and conditions herein. Unpublished-rights reserved under the copyright laws of the United States.

12. Controlling Law and Severability. This License will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of California, as applied to agreements entered into and to be performed entirely within California between California residents. This License shall not be governed by the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, the application of which is expressly excluded. If for any reason a court of competent jurisdiction finds any provision, or portion thereof, to be unenforceable, the remainder of this License shall continue in full force and effect.

13. Complete Agreement; Governing Language. This License constitutes the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the use of the Apple Software licensed hereunder and supersedes all prior or contemporaneous understandings regarding such subject matter, with the exception of any additional terms and conditions you are required to accept if you choose to use Apple’s online store which will govern your use of such store and any Services you purchase through that store. No amendment to or modification of this License will be binding unless in writing and signed by Apple. Any translation of this License is done for local requirements and in the event of a dispute between the English and any non-English versions, the English version of this License shall govern.

14. Third Party Software and Service Terms and Conditions.
A. Gracenote CDDB Terms of Use. This application contains software from Gracenote, Inc. of Berkeley, California (”Gracenote”). The software from Gracenote (the “Gracenote CDDB Client”) enables this application to do online disc identification and obtain music-related information, including name, artist, track, and title information (”Gracenote Data”) from online servers (”Gracenote CDDB Servers”) and to perform other functions. You may use Gracenote Data only by means of the intended End User functions of this application software.

You agree that you will use Gracenote Data, the Gracenote CDDB Client, and Gracenote CDDB Servers for your own personal non-commercial use only. You agree not to assign, copy, transfer or transmit the Gracenote CDDB Client or any Gracenote Data to any third party. YOU AGREE NOT TO USE OR EXPLOIT GRACENOTE DATA, THE GRACENOTE CDDB CLIENT, OR GRACENOTE CDDB SERVERS, EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY PERMITTED HEREIN.

You agree that your non-exclusive license to use the Gracenote Data, the Gracenote CDDB Client, and Gracenote CDDB Servers will terminate if you violate these restrictions. If your license terminates, you agree to cease any and all use of the Gracenote Data, the Gracenote CDDB Client, and Gracenote CDDB Servers. Gracenote reserves all rights in Gracenote Data, the Gracenote CDDB Client, and the Gracenote CDDB Servers, including all ownership rights. Under no circumstances will Gracenote become liable for any payment to you for any information that you provide. You agree that CDDB, Inc. may enforce its rights under this Agreement against you directly in its own name.

The Gracenote CDDB Service uses a unique identifier to track queries for statistical purposes. The purpose of a randomly assigned numeric identifier is to allow the Gracenote CDDB service to count queries without knowing anything about who you are. For more information, see the web page for the Gracenote Privacy Policy for the Gracenote CDDB Service.

The Gracenote CDDB Client and each item of Gracenote Data are licensed to you “AS IS”. Gracenote makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, regarding the accuracy of any Gracenote Data from in the Gracenote CDDB Servers. Gracenote reserves the right to delete data from the Gracenote CDDB Servers or to change data categories for any cause that Gracenote deems sufficient. No warranty is made that the Gracenote CDDB Client or Gracenote CDDB Servers are error-free or that functioning of Gracenote CDDB Client or Gracenote CDDB Servers will be uninterrupted. Gracenote is not obligated to provide you with any new enhanced or additional data types or categories that Gracenote may choose to provide in the future and is free to discontinue its online services at any time.

GRACENOTE DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, TITLE, AND NON-INFRINGEMENT. Gracenote does not warrant the results that will be obtained by your use of the Gracenote CDDB Client or any Gracenote CDDB Server. IN NO CASE WILL GRACENOTE BE LIABLE FOR ANY CONSEQUENTIAL OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES OR FOR ANY LOST PROFITS OR LOST REVENUES.

B. Kerbango Tuning Service Terms and Conditions.
Terms of Service. By using 3Com Corporation’s (”3Com”) Kerbango tuning service, (”Kerbango Tuning Service”) you agree to be bound by the following terms and conditions (the “TOS”):

3Com Links. The sites displayed as search results or linked to by the Kerbango Tuning Service are owned and operated by individuals and/or companies over whom 3Com exercises no control. 3Com assumes no responsibility for the content of any site included in any search results or otherwise linked to by the Kerbango Tuning Service.

Personal Use Only. The Kerbango Tuning Service is made available for your personal, non-commercial use only. Use of the Kerbango Tuning Service to sell a product or service, or to increase traffic to your Web site for commercial reasons, such as advertising sales is expressly forbidden. You may not take the results from a Kerbango search and reformat and display them, or mirror the 3Com’s Kerbango home page or results pages on your Web site, or send automated queries to Kerbango’s system without express permission from 3Com.

If you wish to make commercial use of the Kerbango Tuning Service you must enter into an agreement with 3Com to do so. Please contact sales@kerbango.com for more information.

Changes In Terms and Conditions and Kerbango Tuning Service. 3Com may modify or terminate its services from time to time, for any reason, and without notice, including the right to terminate with or without notice, without liability to you, any other user or any third party. 3Com reserves the right to modify the TOS from time to time without notice.

Disclaimer of Warranties. 3Com disclaims any and all responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, completeness, legality, reliability, or operability or availability of information or material displayed in the Kerbango Tuning Service results. 3Com disclaims any responsibility for the deletion, failure to store, misdelivery, or untimely delivery of any information or material. 3Com disclaims any responsibility for any harm resulting from downloading or accessing any information or material on the Internet through the Kerbango Tuning Service.

THE KERBANGO TUNING SERVICE IS PROVIDED “AS IS”, WITH NO WARRANTIES WHATSOEVER. 3COM EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW ALL EXPRESS, IMPLIED, AND STATUTORY WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, AND NON-INFRINGEMENT OF PROPRIETARY RIGHTS. 3COM DISCLAIMS ANY WARRANTIES REGARDING THE SECURITY, RELIABILITY, TIMELINESS, AND PERFORMANCE OF THE KERBANGO TUNING SERVICE. 3COM DISCLAIMS ANY WARRANTIES FOR ANY INFORMATION OR ADVICE OBTAINED THROUGH THE KERBANGO TUNING SERVICE. 3COM DISCLAIMS ANY WARRANTIES FOR SERVICES OR GOODS RECEIVED THROUGH OR ADVERTISED ON THE KERBANGO TUNING SERVICE OR RECEIVED THROUGH ANY LINKS PROVIDED BY THE KERBANGO TUNING SERVICE, AS WELL AS FOR ANY INFORMATION OR ADVICE RECEIVED THROUGH ANY LINKS PROVIDED IN THE KERBANGO TUNING SERVICE.

YOU UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT YOU DOWNLOAD OR OTHERWISE OBTAIN MATERIAL OR DATA THROUGH THE USE OF THE KERBANGO TUNING SERVICE AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION AND RISK AND THAT YOU WILL BE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGES TO YOUR COMPUTER SYSTEM OR LOSS OF DATA THAT RESULTS IN THE DOWNLOAD OF SUCH MATERIAL OR DATA.

SOME STATES OR OTHER JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OF IMPLIED WARRANTIES, SO THE ABOVE EXCLUSIONS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU. YOU MAY ALSO HAVE OTHER RIGHTS THAT VARY FROM STATE TO STATE AND JURISDICTION TO JURISDICTION.

Limitation of Liability. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHALL 3COM BE LIABLE TO ANY USER ON ACCOUNT OF THAT USER’S USE OR MISUSE OF OR RELIANCE ON THE KERBANGO TUNING SERVICE ARISING FROM ANY CLAIM RELATING TO THIS LICENSE OR THE SUBJECT MATTER HEREOF. SUCH LIMITATION OF LIABILITY SHALL APPLY TO PREVENT RECOVERY OF DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, AND PUNITIVE DAMAGES WHETHER SUCH CLAIM IS BASED ON WARRANTY, CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE), OR OTHERWISE (EVEN IF 3COM HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES). SUCH LIMITATION OF LIABILITY SHALL APPLY WHETHER THE DAMAGES ARISE FROM USE OR MISUSE OF AND RELIANCE ON THE KERBANGO TUNING SERVICE, FROM INABILITY TO USE THE KERBANGO TUNING SERVICE, OR FROM THE INTERRUPTION, SUSPENSION, OR TERMINATION OF THE KERBANGO TUNING SERVICE (INCLUDING SUCH DAMAGES INCURRED BY THIRD PARTIES). THIS LIMITATION SHALL ALSO APPLY WITH RESPECT TO DAMAGES INCURRED BY REASON OF OTHER SERVICES OR GOODS RECEIVED THROUGH OR ADVERTISED ON THE KERBANGO TUNING SERVICE OR RECEIVED THROUGH ANY LINKS PROVIDED IN THE KERBANGO TUNING SERVICE, AS WELL AS BY REASON OF ANY INFORMATION OR ADVICE RECEIVED THROUGH OR ADVERTISED ON THE KERBANGO TUNING SERVICE OR RECEIVED THROUGH ANY LINKS PROVIDED IN THE KERBANGO TUNING SERVICE. THIS LIMITATION SHALL ALSO APPLY, WITHOUT LIMITATION, TO THE COSTS OF PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES, LOST PROFITS, OR LOST DATA. SUCH LIMITATION SHALL FURTHER APPLY WITH RESPECT TO THE PERFORMANCE OR NON-PERFORMANCE OF THE KERBANGO TUNING SERVICE OR ANY INFORMATION OR MERCHANDISE THAT APPEARS ON, OR IS LINKED OR RELATED IN ANY WAY TO, THE KERBANGO TUNING SERVICE. SUCH LIMITATION SHALL APPLY NOTWITHSTANDING ANY FAILURE OF ESSENTIAL PURPOSE OF ANY LIMITED REMEDY AND TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.

SOME STATES OR OTHER JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OR LIMITATION OF LIABILITY FOR INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, SO THE ABOVE LIMITATIONS AND EXCLUSIONS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.

Without limiting the foregoing, under no circumstances shall 3Com be held liable for any delay or failure in performance resulting directly or indirectly from acts of nature, forces, or causes beyond its reasonable control, including, without limitation, Internet failures, computer equipment failures, telecommunication equipment failures, other equipment failures, electrical power failures, strikes, labor disputes, riots, insurrections, civil disturbances, shortages of labor or materials, fires, floods, storms, explosions, acts of God, war, governmental actions, orders of domestic or foreign courts or tribunals, non-performance of third parties, or loss of or fluctuations in heat, light, or air conditioning.

Miscellaneous Provisions. These TOS will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of California, without giving effect to its conflict of laws provisions or your actual state or country of residence. If for any reason a court of competent jurisdiction finds any provision or portion of the TOS to be unenforceable, the remainder of the TOS will continue in full force and effect.

These TOS constitute the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the subject matter hereof and supersedes and replaces all prior or contemporaneous understandings or agreements, written or oral, regarding such subject matter. Any waiver of any provision of the TOS will be effective only if in writing and signed by 3Com.

EA0367
Rev 01/11/07

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

De-skilled in America

Normally in the morning I don't care for listening to radio talk shows, in particular I don't care for my local station that has Syndicated Adam Carola and Danny Bonaduce. Today, for whatever reason I had my radio stuck on that 107.7 and was grabbed by the content of discussion. Adam was talking about the lack of training for the group of children that will not go to college. Speaking of the lack of automotive and shop classes in High Schools. I think that though he makes it for a different reason than I, his point is a good one. It is important to know how to do things. Sure you may pay someone else to do many of them, but knowing how to perform tasks is important.

More and more I find myself regretting the decision by my Father to not teach me his craft. My Father works in construction, and has for his whole life. He has been a manager of construction supply store and a salesman of Cabinets, but this all revolves around the construction industry. In particular he has worked in and around the construction of homes. I hardly have the skills to level a picture, and he sells, designs and installs cabinets. He can build from raw lumber things that I would spend thousands of dollars on. He chose to never share with me these skills instead I went to college.

Sure I have a career in "building and maintaining" computers and networks, but I am nearly useless with a hammer and saw. I never intend to make a living with these skills, but I do wish that I knew how to laminate a counter top, or install some trim or maybe fix a poorly hung door.

These are life skills I don't have. I also wish I had been forced to learn to sew; at least well enough to hem a pair of pants or replace a button. When these things come up I end up paying someone else to do it, or following the "Google is your friend" mantra of the hacker community, but what is missing from this equation is the mentor.

So far in this life, I have made a digital picture frame and a patio.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Scoundrel Patriots

Find it as you may, I feel that the political discourse of the US at this point is best epitomized by the following quote.

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
Samuel Johnson

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Modern Day Warrior

I found this courtesy of Break.com. Having had to read so many accounts of the warriors of WWI and WWII as part of the curriculum of my High School and College I am glad to see modern warriors expressing in there own language the life that they are leading.






The War In Iraq: A Soldiers Perspective - Brought to you by Break.com Video Search

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Recyling Compactor with style: The ecopod



If you are like most people that grew up in the 90's then you probably have heard of recycling. Whats more you probably think that it is not only a noble goal, but one of the best ways that we can help save the planet. Often times the burden of recycling can be a little heavy, especially when you find yourself in small living environments.

The Ecopod recycling center, not to be confused with the Ecopod coffin, is an attractive way to help store your recycling without sacrificing on looks. The Ecopod can crush plastic and aluminum containers and keep up to fifty of them in a plastic container that slides out for easy transfer to a curbside recycling bin.

I believe that even for something designed by BMW $328 is a tad steep, but if I had the cash to blow I would totally have one or 2 of these. You can find them at Williams Sanoma or ecopod.org

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The world isn't all sunshine and lollipops

Not to be more depressing than I normally am, but a series of events this last year have have made me really open to quotes like this one:

Indeed, history is nothing more than a tableau of crimes and misfortunes.
Voltaire (1694 - 1778)

None of the various misfortunes that led me to this post are my own, but it still is sad to see. A friend of ours was recently diagnosed with cancer at the age of 23. Another family that was friend of our family growing up has been hit with several blows lately. First their youngest son died unexpectedly of a heart condition, he hadn't yet graduated high school. More recently the Mother and Father where hit by a drunk driver on while on a motorcycle trip in Mexico; the Father was killed and the Mother may not make it. They have two surviving daughters that I swam with all through my childhood, and I cannot imagine their grief.

In our own family the girlfriend of my brother is struggling with illness, and a family that feels very cold next to our own. Finally and slightly more distantly a friend far off who left the Northwest after much struggle to make it here lost most everything in a fire that destroyed her condo.

Mind you I know that other have it worse, but it still makes my heart sad. If I'm not smiling I have looking for a reason to smile the last few months, but keep coming up short.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Patio Project

When my wife and I first bought our home we always thought we would do something in the back. It was rather smallish for having a BBQ, and way too small for having any patio furniture. So with little trepidation we began our adventure of making a patio to extend the concrete slab to a more fun sized patio area.



For thost that have visited the house you know that we do not have direct access to our backyard from anywhere but through the house. Thankfully I have forced labor that has a positive outlook, she even smiled while we worked.



After clearing out about six inches of dirt around the patio in nearly 4.5 feet in most directions we found some treasures, and then began to grade and fill with gravel.





After the about 2.5 inches of gravel we put down 1.5 inches of sand and started laying bricks. I originally sketched this out on graphpaper and used a scale of .5 bricks per square and for some reason came up with a pattern that required nearly 30 cut bricks. Being much better in the spacial world I noticed that if I started from the other side and shifted out 1/2 a brick there would only need to be 10 total cut bricks.



And now the Goddess layer of bricks.





With the brick laying done, it was up to me to cut some bricks and make the fashion statement of the week.



Finished the patio looks fantastic, and in need of furniture.



Friday, April 27, 2007

So far 9/11 isn't your best selling point Giuliani

In my wanderings of the web I found this little snippet of Joy

If one of them gets elected, it sounds to me like we're going on the defense, he said. We've got a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. We're going to wave the white flag there. We're going to try to cut back on the Patriot Act. We're going to cut back on electronic surveillance. We're going to cut back on interrogation. We're going to cut back, cut back, cut back, and we'll be back in our pre-September 11 mentality of being on defense.

source: Washington Post


The comments of Mr. Giuliani are deplorable. I think that he, as would anyone, would have been caught looking just as hard as his constituent GW Bush was on the eve of 9/11. To insinuate that a political party as a whole is inept enough to allow another terrorist on the scale of 9/11 truly for me symbolizes all that has gone wrong with the American political system. I believe that you did an excellent job dealing with the aftermath of that tragedy, and deserve to be remembered for those hours of struggle, and calm you gave the nation. I do have to protest your parading it out, and pointing to yourself in such a gross manner. Don't languish an otherwise laudable record for temporary gain, it doesn't befit the office you left, and certainly doesn't trumpet your excellence for the job which you are applying.




For some backlash and interesting points Main St. USA has a excellent clip from Keith Olbermann that really drives home what I am saying. I do however, think that Keith could have kept the focus on Rudy's track record, and left Bush out of it. GW has his own track record to square with, no need to force it onto other republicans as well.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Identity Theft isn't Funny

Identity Theft isn’t funny, and I am sure that my bank has their best interests in mind so read this with the bemusement that I am living it with.

I called last night to see why I pay 16+% on my credit card after being a loyal customer of 6 years and in good credit standing. They offered to reduce my rate, but I had to get a new card. a Platinum card.

“Wow, Moving to the big time” I think and say “Sure that sounds reasonable.”

Well it turns out that may not be the case, I opened the account several years ago, and before I really had credit so My parents name is also on the account. The primary contact is my parents home phone number as I, have been semi transient until recently (read college student and renter). The contact number would not normally be a problem except my parents moved nearly 8 months ago; they moved and got a new telephone number. Since my bank account isn’t an account they use, neither of us really thought to update that part of the contact info. I having also recently moved (3 months ago) hadn’t quite gotten to the updating my contact info. So they had a disconnected telephone number and an address that I don’t live at anymore for contact info.

Naturally when I called and got the new card they asked my address, and because I was able to answer all the questions, they put in a temporary change of address, issued the new card and started to transfer me to the “change of address department” because only certain phone bank workers can do that.

It isn’t the most comforting thing in the world to hear “That’s strange” out of a bank help line person when you are trying to update your contact info and get a better rate on your Credit Card….

“Strange how?” I say

“Well it looks like opening the new Platinum Card automatically canceled your current card” she says.

At this point I am beginning to wonder if this has any hope of working out as anything but trouble; but the nice lady assured me that we had everything in order and I would receive my a priority shipment of my new cards. With that I was transferred and updated my address for the whole account (not just the Credit Card as I had before).

Today, I got a call from my mother saying she was contacted very early in the morning (East Coast vs. West Coast is a bitch) because they thought that my card had been fraudulently changed. Apparently they tried to call the old contact number, and it being disconnected set off some panic. Thankfully my Parents Name is semi-unique, and listed in the phone book.

I had not told her about my address change shenanigans, so she was more than a little confused about the call, and in her groggy state could have quite easily doomed me to having no credit card for weeks. She managed to convince them to send the cards, and I hope to see them soon.

The moral of this story is, update your accounts promptly (like my wife did) and you won’t have trouble like this.

Monday, April 09, 2007

How is eBay the only show in town?

Tell your friends, and family don't use these clowns.

Found this one on Gizmodo.com and cannot say that I am surprised. The last several times that I have tried to find anything on that catch all of garbage I was overwhelmed with how few actual products where being sold, most of what is being sold is either freely available from the manufactures site, or "services"/"information" related to making money or getting rich quickly.

From the article that Giz linked the author assumed that the person that purchased the laptop was high, but I think this comment nailed it:

"Maybe not the same in this case but something similar happened to me recently. I put $800 worth of hardware up for sale on eBay and someone bid $5000. They then insisted that they had put the money in my PayPal account, even emailed me receipts etc but PayPal showed nothing. They kept insisting that I ship the stuff they said they bought. In the end it turned out to be a scam with a stolen account. Ever since that I've had a ton of email insisting that payment has been sent for all sorts of stuff I never put up for sale. In the end I closed my eBay account.

Posted by: Graham Heyes"



eBay is definitely circling the toilet, but I will had it to PayPal's support staff. It took less time for them to answer the phone and route my call to the correct department, and even resolve my issue than it did to write this post.

It isn't slowing down the number of phishing scams, or other issues that PayPal has, but at least when you call someone answered the phone (even if you really had to look for that support number.)

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