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  1. OpenOffice.Org Mouse - Has to be a Joke, right?

    brian on 2009.11.07 at 01:08 am

    If this isn’t a joke about open-source design, I don’t know what it is.

    OpenOffice Mouse

    Is this like Apple’s Magic Mouse?

    It’s almost the complete opposite of Apple’s approach with their new mouse. The Magic Mouse has one giant button that can do 10 things, we have 18 small buttons that can each do two or more things. And a scroll wheel. And a joystick. And 512k of memory.

    There’s a reason Apple is the most successful consumer goods company in the world, and why your company has the tasteful name “WarMouse”.

    How do I hold the mouse?

    We have found the most effective way is to rest your first three fingers on the mouse with your thumb on the joystick. Your index finger controls the first two vertical rows, your middle finger utilizes the two middle ones and the scroll wheel, and your ring finger the last two rows.

    If you need a FAQ about how to hold a mouse with 18 small buttons, and a scroll wheel and a joystick… then perhaps it’s not the most ideal device for an appendage with only five digits.

    Seriously, someone tell me this is a joke.

    Posted in: Design · Hardware

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  2. How Many MacBooks?

    brian on 2009.04.05 at 07:07 pm

    Andy Ihnatko is a wonderfully talented tech columnist for MacWorld, the Chicago Sun-Times and others. If you only read two Mac/Tech columnists make it Ihnatko and Gruber.
    However, “How many MacBooks?” was uncharacteristic for Andy. It was an excellent troubleshooting piece wrapped in some tales of woe about machines Andy has owned over the years. This is the quote that prodded me to write this blog post:

    Apple has a reputation for screwy hardware

    Wha…?

    This is an absolutely ridiculous statement. Now, having been published in MacWorld, perhaps the epicenter of Mac fanboydom, they came out of the woodwork with their list of every Apple product they’ve ever owned and how none of them have ever needed a reboot. That is to be expected. I feel I can be a little more objective (pauses to listen for the peanut gallery snickering).

    (Read on for my objective analysis…)

    Read More

    Posted in: Apple · Hardware · Technology

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  3. Considering a Flip? Check this First

    brian on 2008.12.10 at 01:03 am

    Buying a Flip? check out Beau Colburn’s comparison of the Flip Ultra vs the Flip Mino HD

    You may have seen me complain about this on Twitter, (Beau and I went to high school together) but in reality, this post is a seriously useful resource for anyone considering getting one of those lovely Flip cameras.

    Posted in: Hardware · Media · Technology

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  4. Gotta Get a Drobo

    brian on 2008.07.08 at 11:24 pm

    Have you heard about the Drobo ? I’ve thought it was a wonderful idea for a long time: A little box in which you place however many hard drives you have, in whatever capacity they may be, and Drobo treats them like a RAID 1 & 5 simultaneously.

    If anyone out there isn’t geeky enough to know a RAID allows you to store data in multiple places in case of drive failure. The group of disks acts as if it’s one simple drive on your computer.

    This is a Drobo

    However, RAIDs have their drawbacks. The main one being maintenance. Set up is a bear and recovery from a disk failure is tough. Your disks need to be matched in capacity. Drobo claims to have fixed all this. Drive fail? All your data is still available. Two disks may even be able to fail and you could still be up and running. Drobo filled up? Eject your smallest disk and insert a larger one. Drobo will rearrange. Ejecting is super easy. An array of lights tell you disk status and capacity status.

    Very cool. And until today, I wouldn’t want one because it was USB 2.0 only. I’m no fan of USB.

    Today, Drobo heard me and released a new version with both USB 2.0 and Firewire 800. Nice. Wish granted.

    Except I don’t have $500 for an empty one. Maybe some day soon.

    Posted in: Hardware · Technology

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  5. Oh, headphones

    brian on 2007.12.27 at 04:55 pm

    Today I received this from a friend,

    Hi, Brian. I have a set of headphones that is supposed to block outside noise, but they’re not working as well as I had hoped. Is there a brand you recommend? I don’t want to blow out my ears on the subway by increasing the volume of my iPod. Thanks for any advice.

    Well, I do have some experience riding the train and subway with headphones and an iPod. I was able to reduce the volume of my iPod by about 15% by using in-ear headphones. There are lots of choices, so here’s the volume I incoherently sent her:

    Read More

    Posted in: Hardware · Music · Technology

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  6. iPhone Accessorizing

    brian on 2007.10.31 at 03:20 am

    Tonight, I headed north to the closest AppleStore to work, and picked up an Apple iPhone Bluetooth Headset.

    The headset is miniscule. A little shorter than my thumb, and about a third of the circumference. It is so light as to be very losable. If it’s in your pocket, and not pressing against you, you won’t know it’s in there. The shape of the speaker is very similar to that of the iPod head phones. That’s a bad shape to me, as those headphones hurt a nub of cartilage in my ear after about 20 minutes of use.

    I mentioned this observation to the fine young salesman, who responded, “I know it looks that way, but it fits surprisingly well.” I had other plans to hack the fit (more on this later), but he encouraged me to try it stock.

    I have to say, when I got it home, I was very surprised: although it didn’t feel like much, the headset didn’t touch my ear-nub, and was surprisingly stable in my ear. I wasn’t nervous walking around with it. I am nervous my dog might swallow this thing, though… did I mention it’s tiny?

    The package includes an iPhone dock equipped with a headset slot for charging. This dock has a permanently attached cable, unlike the one that comes with the iPhone, which is removable for solo use. The headset also ships with a “travel charger cable” which is a 30pin connector with an extra wide profile that accommodates charging the headset along with the iPhone.

    I mentioned “hacking” the iPhone BT headset for fit. I have a history of hacking Apple headphones. I have an old pair of the Apple In-ear headphones. They are of marginally better audio quality when compared to the stock ‘phones, but they add to that by significantly reducing outside noise. They do this by fitting into your ear-canal like an ear plug. Their greatest attribute is their small size. The worst attribute is the grey rubber (silicone, no doubt) ear pieces (of varying sizes) that come with them. These pieces are supremely comfortable, but after five minutes, would consistently work their ways out of my ear canal, which would kill the sound, and they would flop right out of my ear.

    I knew that this was my best solution for the iPod, so I got to hacking. I needed to block out external sound because I could enjoy listening in noisy environments more (public transit, practicing the drums) while turning the volume lower since these block sound well.

    I found that’s Sony’s in-ear pieces had a different shape. Sony’s were round, while Apple’s had a slight tear-drop shape to theirs. Sony’s happened to fit the Apple ‘phones, so on they went – and have given me 3 years of trouble-free, snug fit, and low volume listening.

    This inspired me not to give up on the Apple headset. (I wanted the second dock, brain-free pairing and compatibility [works with the Mac, too!] and the minimalist, nigh invisible design.

    I found that Jabra, a bluetooth headset makers in their own right, sells a >$5 kit of headset covers that includes small, medium and large (for right and left ear) pieces that fit the contours and folds of your ear. I read a positive review, found that Radio Shack sold them, and knew I had to give it a shot. These fit great. I started jumping around and rolling my head, then headbanging Metallica-style, and the headset didn’t budge. Brilliant!

    I highly recommend these, based on the five minutes I’ve had them in my ear. Tomorrow, I plan to wear the headset on my commute both ways to see how the fit sustains over the long term.

    Lastly, tonight I also got a case to protect the iPhone. I found an Agent 18 hard shell that snaps together snuggly and is made of recycled plastic! The downside is that I didn’t realize that there was a color choice, and picked the only one on the shelf – “Natural.” It looks as if I turn off the lights, it’ll glow. What was I thinking? I found out later, online, that it comes in black as well. I’m sure I’ll be returning it now. But otherwise, seems like a solid way to add a little safety, and a touch more grip to your iPhone, without bulk or much noticeable weight.

    Agent 18 Eco iPhone Shield Case

    Posted in: Apple · Hardware

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  7. Three Tips for New Podcasters

    brian on 2007.09.25 at 09:46 pm

    This October will be my first anniversary in podcasting. I’ve learned a lot in that time, and still have plenty to learn I’m sure. Podcasting is still a young endeavor, but I’m happy find more and more quality podcasts daily. I’m happy to see so many new faces in the game. But, there’s a learning curve in podcasting. I offer this post as assistance to those who are just getting started. These are the things I’ve found most valuable about getting good audio fidelity, which is so important, in my opinion, to keeping listeners.

    Bonus Tip #–1 – If there’s a PodCamp near you, regardless of your experience, go to it! They’re phenomenally useful! What a great place to start.

    Bonus Tip #0 – buy a Mac. Don’t think you like Macs? Hear me out. The software the comes inside makes podcasting significantly easier. GarageBand is a great piece of entry-level software that no other piece of podcasting software matches when it comes to ease of use, and cheap power. If you use a PC, Audacity will probably be your free weapon of choice, and it’s powerful, but damn hard to use. However, Mac or PC, if you need a application to split stereo tracks into two separate files, Audacity is the only app I know which does this. Apple’s cheapest Mac is the Mac mini which is plenty powerful enough to do everything you need. As with any type of editing (video, audio, photo) more RAM is always better. An iMac or MacBook would also make awesome podcast rigs. Plug a USB mic in, like the Blue Snowball, or the dreamy Røde Podcaster, and you’re set for instant one-track recording.

    Tip #1 – learn how to speak into a microphone. Sounds stupid, but what you may not realize is that there’s technique here, that varies from mic to mic! Many microphones need to be address from only a couple inches away. Your mic should include documentation on how to “address” it, and there is a sweet spot. Also not all mics make all voices sound great. You may have to experiment. May I suggested not speaking directly into the mic, straight on, Instead, address it at a 30-45 degree angle. This is to reduce “plosives” the big bangs and pops of various consonants like “B” and “P.” If you’re blowing your air past the mic instead of directly into it, you can greatly reduce these without buying mic accessories. Oh, and don’t tap or bump the table your mic is on!

    Many more tips after the jump, read more!

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    Posted in: Apple · Hardware · Media · Podcasting · Software · Technology · Web

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  8. Consumer Electronics Wishlist (Canon PowerShot G9, Sony Ericsson K850)

    jake on 2007.08.21 at 11:18 pm

    This week’s announcement of the Canon PowerShot G9 made the man-toy section of my brain go into high alert. It also made me recall the recent announcement of the Sony Ericsson K850. Two new products I may not need but I definitely want.

    Canon PowerShot G9 The PowerShot G9 could hypothetically be the perfect piece to fit into my camera gap. It can be almost impossible to lug even a smaller SLR around to take quick, simple pictures. And the G9 has the features on paper to fit my needs. The feature that worries me the most involves the RAW support. I love RAW too much to do without it, it’s why I have avoided point-and-shoot cameras in the past. I dealt with the poor RAW capabilities of the Nikon 8800 my dad owns. It is not fun when you have to wait seconds between shots and you miss something. If the reviews in a few months rebut this issue (and I stumble upon $500) the G9 will find a happy home with me.

    Sony Ericsson K850 My W810i is not that old and still more powerful than a lot of phones on the market (ahem, 2 megapixel camera). I’m not really in the market for a new phone. But the K850 is what would happen if my phone started hitting the gym. It even adds onto the quad-band capabilities of my phone. Here’s a list of some of the bonuses I’m drooling over.

    • 5 megapixel camera
    • GSM 850 / GSM 900 / GSM 1800 / GSM 1900 / WCDMA 850 / WCDMA 1900 / WCDMA 2100
    • Expanded Bluetooth capabilities
    • Music formats: AAC, AAC+, eACC+, MP3, MP4, M4A, 3GP, WAV, WMA

    And here’s a full comparison on Phonescoop. Too bad it’ll probably also be around $500 when it hits for an unlocked version.

    Guess I’ll just add them to “the list” then.

    Posted in: Hardware · Technology

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  9. Tivoli Internet Radio

    brian on 2007.08.14 at 02:42 am

    We’ve been considering purchasing a Tivoli Model One table radio for our kitchen for a couple months now. We often listen to NPR in the morning as we get ready and I eat breakfast in the kitchen next to an old clock radio that we keep there. Amanda will often pop it on in the afternoon when she comes home from work, while she’s going through the mail or cleaning or what have you. We’ve been thinking that it would be a nice upgrade for us.

    Tivoli's Classy Model One Table Radio

    If you’re uninitiated, the Tivoli table radio is a famous little radio in the home electronics world. It’s intentionally quirky and of unusually high quality – both marks of its creator, Henry Kloss. The model one is Tivoli’s most popular product1 and is simply a mono (one speaker) AM/FM tuner. But it’s one speaker is rich, it’s hand-made quality, hardwood body encloses one of the world’s finest analog tuning circuits (MESFET), with an weighted analog dial for precisely tuning stations.

    The product sparked a renaissance in table radios, including the Bose Wave Radio and the Boston Acoustics Receptor. (Cool note: these are all Boston area companies)

    We were just about to purchase one when they announced a new version, one that incorporates Internet Radio via WiFi!

    Read more to find out the whole scoop!

    Read More

    Posted in: Apple · Hardware · Linux · Media · Music · Technology

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  10. OLPC May Sell Retail

    brian on 2007.01.13 at 03:26 am

    The One Laptop Per Child (aka the $100 laptop) initiative is looking at ways to possibly sell the inexpensive XO device to the general public, says a story from the BBC.

    XO - the OLPC computer

    One idea is that someone who buys one retail would actually buy two, with one being sent to the developing world.

    I would like to go on record as saying Sign me up. I would gladly pay \$200 or \$300 for one of these devices if they would send one to a kid who could benefit.

    Posted in: Hardware · Technology

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  11. Mobile Podcast Recording Hardware

    brian on 2006.09.27 at 10:41 pm

    Some Hot Recorders for Those Cool Podcasts

    Read it before the New York Times locks it behind it’s for-pay firewall forever. I saved a PDF of the print version for my later reference.

    Mobile Recorders for Podcasts (courtesy of NYT)

    FWIW, there’s were tons of the M-Audio MicroTrack device they mention in the article, at PodCamp Boston 1.

    Posted in: Hardware · Media

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  12. Verizon vs. Cingular Part IV: GSM Triumphant

    jake on 2006.08.18 at 06:46 pm

    Sony Ericsson W810iThe Sony Ericsson W810i has been purchased. Cingular is now collecting my money. Nothing significantly negative has changed.

    The phone is easily the best I’ve ever owned. It’s great that I can synchronize it with Apple’s iSync. Thus Bluetooth is more functional (And I originally thought my low cost headset was the problem, now I see it was the LG phone and Verizon’s proprietary software… though more likely the software). I’m enjoying the interface too. SE did a pretty good job on the software. And easily copying mp3’s to be used as ringtones is a lot nicer than paying $1.99 or whatever Verizon is currently charging.

    Back of Sony Ericsson W810iThe camera is only a slight step up on paper but in reality the pictures come out a lot better. Maybe it will even get me to take more random pictures.

    My reception doesn’t seem to have diminished. I can’t imagine problems in most of the locations I frequent.

    For the actual purchase I went through Cellhut to get the best price. I gently sobbed when I noticed a couple weeks later that Amazon had the phone for about the same price. Amazon is defintely a guilty pleasure (I even have an Amazon Prime account).

    As a bonus I’m now totally ready to go to the other side of the world. Of course we haven’t figured out the little details… like what body of land I’m going to… or how we’re going to get around… (Mainland Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand) but I can rest easy knowing my cell phone is just a sim card away from working.

    Posted in: Hardware · Technology

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  13. Wireless carriers make my head spin. Verizon vs. Cingular Part III

    jake on 2006.06.28 at 01:12 pm

    Last year I opted for a one-year contract with Verizon so that I could reevaluate my choices quicker. I received a call a couple days ago from Verizon to resign my contract. I queried and luckily I have till August to actually make a decision.

    But now Cingular’s parent company has to go off and screw consumers over again. (from Digg.) Is it really in my best interest to move to a new carrier who could sell my information because they’re feeling especially evil that day? I’m not one-hundred percent comfortable with T-Mobile in my area so I might have to make a lesser-of-two-evils decision.

    Sony Ericsson w810iMy new phone of the day is the Sony Ericsson w810i. Along with quad-band and an upgrade to the camera it also sports all the things I liked about the k750i. Including the high price to buy it unlocked.

    Perhaps I will run a test with T-Mobile to see how well their coverage works in my area. But if that doesn’t work sufficiently I’ll be debating forever in my head whether I should move to new big, crappy company or stay with my old big, crappy company.

    Too bad I can’t just keep it simple… I can get the Ask A Ninja ringtone for either phone, so that doesn’t help. Or just base it on the w810i functioning when I visit Australia.

    And at least if I do switch to Cingular, my new email address ****@*****.*** [email withheld to prevent people like AT&T from acquiring it] will let them know how I feel about them.

    Posted in: Hardware · Technology

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  14. He said it.

    brian on 2005.12.24 at 01:33 am

    These two blog entries make me nearly tear my hair out.

    {Minor update: I agree with Kottke, there is still good in him…}

    Winer: The user interface on iTunes is awful. It’s the worst piece of crap I’ve ever used…I buy the CDs and scan em in… [explains he lost some music] What did I do wrong? I swear, I have no idea, and I’m a professional software designer. What about the poor schnook who is just a user?

    Take a quick look at his blog, then look around the web for screen shots of Frontier or his OPML… and he thinks iTunes has bad interface? I’d say their interfaces are from the stone age, but that would be an insult to the tools developed then. But wait it gets better…

    What’s better than iTunes/iPod? Why, his Archos.

    Winer: Let’s say I bought an audiobook, it comes on eight CDs, I rip it into eight folders, write a script to name the files 001.mp3, 002.mp3, 003.mp3, etc. From there, if I copy the files to the Archos, it does the right thing when I start playing the first file, it goes to the second, then to the third.

    But the iPod can’t be made to care what the filename is, so it plays them in the order of the ID3 info, which is almost completely random because the ripper has no idea that the eight CDs are actually one big document… So the Archos wins (emph. mine)

    Oh. My. God. I cannot barely refrain from profanity. This expert in software development thinks writing a goddamn script is easier than using iTunes? Are you f*n kidding me? OMFG. It’s simple. You rip it in iTunes, Select all the tracks your ripped, you click Get Info, you give them all the same title (album name) and author (artist). Then close the window, deselect all, then click Get Info on each and make a track number. 1, 2, 3. Move the music to your iPod. Now simply select the album on the iPod and press play… it magically plays in track order. Call it a miracle.

    But, no the Archos is better. That’s why the sweet, seventy year old grandmother today I spoke with today came in with her Archos explaining she takes that ten pound brick with her every where. And when she’s home she listens to it in her Archos speaker system. Yup, that’s right. Oh wait, that was an iPod. The same one “professional software designer” Dave Winer cannot operate. But forgive her. She may have been sweet, but she’s just “poor schnook who is just a user”

    Minor update #2: I might have gone off the deep end in retrospect, but, damn that was cathartic.

    Posted in: Apple · Hardware · Software · Technology

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  15. More on the $100 Laptop

    brian on 2005.11.21 at 05:57 pm

    If you’ve been following the One Laptop per Child initiative as I have been, then you maybe interested in this 8 minute video interview with one of the engineers on the project, from the machine’s unveiling at a recent UN conference in Tunisia. (via )

    I continue to be fascinated with this project.

    They also suggest that some of the companies contracting to build the units may make a commercially available version for purchase by the general public, for perhaps $200.

    Why is this interesting to me, someone with access to dramatically faster and technically advanced computers? It’s the network, as Sun might say. The units, even when powered off, continue to act as WiFi mesh network nodes. Only one or two of the machines need to have a connection to the outside internet for all of them to.

    If this happened in your neighborhood, you would have a peppy and robust shadow internet, even when the power goes out. Imagine the implications for public safety in times of inclement weather and other emergencies. A whole neighborhood or city could keep up to date, with out everyone requiring a generator.

    Oh, the possibilities…

    Posted in: Hardware · Technology

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  16. Computer Woes

    jake on 2005.09.30 at 10:53 pm

    Well it looks like I’m going to be finally upgrading my desktop. The last major upgrade took place a little before construction of this site. I still have a little bit of troubleshooting to do but it’s not looking good. Unless I can diagnose it and just replace a particular component it’s more logical to start saving up and buying new parts.

    It all started with a wheezing fan in the case attached to the motherboard. Along with the junky stock power supply and old case fans it sounded like it was going to take off and phone in traffic reports.

    A few clicks later I had a new PSU coming on a Fedex truck. And a few more and a new cooler for my northbridge chipset was also on its way. All my worries were over.

    Of course it’s never that easy. After I put my new parts in my computer beeped at me. It has a lot of nerve sometimes. According to the Abit KT7/KT7-RAID FAQ she was trying to tell me there was something wrong with her memory. Anyone remember me say anything about RAM? That’s because I didn’t.

    I tried putting everything back the way it was with no luck. And I tried playing with which slot the RAM was in. No success.

    So if I can dig up an extra stick of RAM that I know works (though I thought the two in my system were fine) then I’ll do a little more debugging. But assuming it isn’t anything easily corrected I’ll just start picking up some new components and start from scratch. Always exciting to build a new computer.

    Posted in: Hardware

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  17. Get Your Own iBook

    brian on 2005.08.16 at 09:55 pm

    If you didn’t hear about this this weekend, apparently people are willing to urinate on themselves and beat others with folding chairs in order to get an four-year-old used iBook from the Henrico Country, VA School System.

    In more peaceful news, I helped my future sister-in-law and two dear friends into new iBooks this weekend. Both seem very happy with them as well.

    Posted in: Apple · Hardware

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  18. Zen Micro, Searching, Javascript

    jake on 2005.06.27 at 06:36 pm

    Just a new link list.

    • Black Creative Zen MicroCreative Zen Micro — Thank God my little brother doesn’t read these pages, at least I don’t think he does. In any event, he choose the Zen Micro over an iPod mini (just barely) so I ordered one from ZipZoomFly and spent a little time loading CD’s into it for him. Now he has a bunch of good albums and it gives me a chance to play with it ;).
    • I’m not sure what to do about searching around here. Currently we just use Google. Which isn’t too bad since Google loves us. Or at least we like to think so. I’m also looking into just using Full-Text Search like Textpattern does. Another possibility is using The Search Engine Project.
    • Thankfully Javascript is making a comeback as a method for embelishing web sites (From Tom) like Gmail and Basecamp. The nicest part of these developments is separating the Javascript from the html code. Just like CSS from a few years ago we can clean out a little more of the soup in our code.

    Posted in: Hardware · Standards · Web

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  19. Holiday Update

    brian on 2004.12.28 at 03:33 pm

    Of course, posting traditionally lapses during the holidays. Mine thus far are going well, aside from having to sprint to southern New Jersey for a 24 hour visit before rushing back to work to deal with the 26th of December mobs. My back hasn’t yet recovered, and that’s partially due to the foot of snow dropped on us on the 27th.

    Recently, I’ve been playing with a few new acquisitions. I picked up an iSight camera , which I’ve temporarily deployed as a webcam in my front window. It’s running EvoCam from Amanda’s iBook, so when she returns from Connecticut after her extended stay, I imagine she’ll want to use it again. So be it noted, this link will break , rather it will still be there, but not updated as it is currently, starting by probably tomorrow. I’ll find another solution. BTW – you must refresh that image manually, since I’ve written no code for auto-refresh. It gets a new image every five minutes. They’re hardly ever anything interesting, and I apologize for the screen.

    Elsewhere, I have a new base-model G5 tower for our home server, and this is the first post from the new machine. I set it up just today, and I first wiped the drive and reinstalled the OS to make sure I have the bare minimum install (no extraneous foreign languages I’ll never use, for example) taking up the least space.

    I am currently backing up my life from my main PowerBook, via Target Disk Mode which is a fabulous invention. Recently, my PowerBook has been chirping and occasionally a clack can be heard as well. This worries me, thus, I have started the tower’s first purpose: backup vehicle. Soon, I will be adding a second SATA drive to the unit to improve upon the base storage (80GB), and some extra RAM as well. These will help me accomodate the second purpose of the tower: home media server, which will begin with hosting all of our iTunes and iPhoto needs. The third planned purpose is as in-house web server, and that’ll be the last thing I set up. I’ll likely start simple by adding controls for PHP, a little MySQL, and then probably in simple implementation of Instiki and lastly an install of TextPattern .

    More updates when time permits, but for now I’m off to work.

    Posted in: Apple · Cool Info · Hardware · Software · Technology · Web

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  20. Mount iMac

    jake on 2004.09.02 at 07:24 pm

    iMac VESA mount adapterWell I am surprised that Brian hasn't said anything about the new iMac yet. I originally had to let it sink in before I made any comments. Then yesterday I realized that the functionality of the new iMac is diminshed. It may be faster, but it's tied down to that stand similar to the new displays. This was reinforced by a fellow employee who explained how his kids love moving the monitor around on their older machine almost just for fun, but also for function when showing something to mommy and daddy.

    I thought, it would be great if you could stick it on a wall, use a wireless keyboard/mouse and save even more desk space. Plus it could be a pretty hot picture frame when not in use. ;)

    What was Apple thinking?!?

    But today I discovered that, even though it adds to the price, you can get a VESA compatible mounting bracket at the Apple Store to stick the thing either on a wall or an articulating arm, also like the new Cinema Displays. Awesome! Too bad I can't just blow money on stuff like this.

    What does everyone else think of the new design?

    From: MacMinute

    Posted in: Apple · Hardware

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  21. Tips to help your wireless

    jake on 2004.04.14 at 01:16 am

    PCWorld ran an article to help troubleshoot and improve wireless performance.

    Posted in: Hardware · Software

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  22. One Less Car

    brian on 2004.04.06 at 03:21 am

    Lemond Poprad Cyclocross BicycleThanks to the afore posted development, I will be adapting my commute to work. I have ordered a Lemond Poprad cyclocross bike from the fine people at Wheelworks. It's built and ready for me to pick up (hopefully Wednesday night). Then when weather and scheduling permits, I will be riding the two-to-three miles from Brookline to Cambridge.

    "Wait!" You say, "Boston is awful to drive in, the roads are nuts. Would that make cycling there suicidal?" Well, you might be right. Heck the former CEO of a local bicycle company once told me during an interview that I would be nuts to commute on bike in the city. During that interview, one of his employees called in to say she had broken her leg in a bike commute accident (no car involved, just a rainy day and a wet, slippery expansion joint).

    However, I happen to be lucky. 80% of my commute would be on the bicycling paths of the MDC's Charles River Reservation. I would be segregated from auto traffic, while paralleling the raceway-like Soldiers Field Drive.

    I can't wait to to start. I hope to trim my current commute (by the "T" that's light rail / subway for non-Bostonians) by half. Currently, I need to plan for a one hour commute to deal with the fluctuations in the schedules. Strike that. They don't even have a schedule. I think 30 minutes should be attainable with little sweat.

    For those who are interested, I plan on wear cycling garb, and bringing clothes in my courier bag. Luckily, attire at work is jeans, a company t-shirt and of course, custom shoes. I leave the shoes at work in a locker.
    I already have the iPod case for the cycling bag (which will be listened to in only one ear).

    I'll keep everyone updated on my attempt to shake up my commute, subdue pollution, undermine the funding of terrorism via oil sales, reduce road congestion, rail-car congestion, reintroduce exercise to my life and damnit, have some fun.

    Posted in: Hardware · Politics · Sports

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  23. Monday Morning Tabs

    jake on 2004.03.29 at 12:23 pm

    Just some clean up before I get to work...

    Action needed now on Xbox pirates - Umm... yeah, so let's mess with consumers just like the music industry.

    "The impact on Xbox will be significant. VUG is currently exploring methods used by the music industry to prevent or disrupt casual 'piracy'."

    Cause everyone just loooooves the music industry right now. This will not stop piracy, going after casual pirates should be done through education, not restricting them. I could definitely rant a little more here...

    Report: Orbach may leave 'Law & Order' - Oh crap... He's pretty much my favorite character...

    Samsung HT-DB390 Bluetooth Surround Sound Speaker - This is pretty sweet. I like the idea, though I already have a nice Harmon Kardon receiver so I probably wouldn't shell out extra money. But I'd love to see it be able to receive signals over Bluetooth too. I would love to just turn on iTunes and listen to music without connecting any wires between my Powerbook and the receiver.

    Posted in: Hardware · Rant · Technology

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  24. Diamonds are for everyone

    jake on 2003.08.13 at 07:13 pm

    Wired Magazine has a long article this month about new man made diamonds. Two different technologies have emerged recently where machines are used to fabricate diamonds. Diamonds are currently being monopolized by De Beers. They own a high percentage of the world's natural diamonds.

    Along with creating diamonds to be used in jewelry there are many reasons to happy in the semiconductor business. Especially for Apollo Diamond, which was started with that end result in mind. A diamond can be heated well beyond current silicon chips.

    I was not planning on buying my future wife a diamond a while ago. I figured she could handle something else, considering De Beers isn't exactly the type of company I would like to put money into. Now, especially considering I don't plan on getting married any time soon, I have an alternative to that plan. If she really wants a diamond I can just get a man made one and be promoting technology instead of a monopoly.

    "It is not a symbol of eternal love if it is something that was created last week."

    Well I beg to differ, I'd say it's not a symbol of eternal love if there's a stockpile in a warehouse that's collecting dust. Or if it is a blood diamond. I don't plan on giving De Beers any of my money.

    Posted in: Hardware · Science · Technology

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  25. Dense fog settling in

    jake on 2003.08.08 at 07:45 pm

    Two fog stories, completely unrelated, that are pretty cool.

    The first one is about a camera technology that removes fog from film. Dubbed Dmist, the technology "can be plugged straight into a normal video camera."

    The device works by taking out the light scattered by water particles so the picture can be recovered in colour, as if it were being shot on a clear day.

    Professor Nigel Allinson, from UMIST, said it had potential for airports - where fog can shut down operations, costing thousands of pounds in delays.

    The second reminds me of one of the shows in DisneyLand/World where they project images onto a mist of water. In this case a thin film of "dry" fog is projected onto.

    The basic components of the screen are a laminar, non-turbulent airflow, and a thin fog screen (or any particles) injected into and inside a laminar flow. Created this way, the fog screen is an internal part of the laminar airflow, and remains thin, crisp, and protected from turbulence. When the screen is formed, images can be either rear- or front-projected onto it. The screen can be translucent (as in the images below) or fully opaque. Our current fog screen prototype already proves the operating principle with excellent results. The quality, size, and other features of the screen will be enhanced in the coming weeks.

    The Walk-thru Fog Screen

    Posted in: Hardware · Science · Technology

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  26. Biostar has released a SFF PC

    jake on 2003.08.08 at 07:22 pm

    I'm surprised this flew under my radar considering all the tech sites I go to regularly, not to mention Anandtech and Blues News didn't have any coverage that I remember. Biostar released a SFF PC line recently that leaps to the front of the pack with Shuttle. There are four configurations, two based on AMD processors, and two based on Intel processors.

    The one I'm most interested in is based on the Nforce2 chipset. It not only comes with basically everything my Shuttle has, it also provides a roomier case design, and SATA. Beautiful! This machine just jumped to the head of the pack for me, especially beause it's close in price to the Shuttle.

    Reviews:

    Posted in: Hardware

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  27. Sanyo moving toward more OLED production

    jake on 2003.07.03 at 04:22 pm

    Sanyo will be moving production of 60% of panels to OLED from LCD by the Spring of 2004.

    DigiTimes [from Anandtech]

    Posted in: Hardware · Technology

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  28. Bluetooth locates small children in zoo

    jake on 2003.06.30 at 11:56 pm

    The Aalborg Zoo in Denmark is beginning to use a new technology to keep track of little ones. Using Bluetooth they have built a wireless network that keeps track of the "pods" attached to the child's clothing. Luckily they plan on implementing a wristband that will sound an alarm when removed.

    This is a new idea that I see taking hold in many zoos and theme parks around the world. Imagine a little Mickey themed bracelet that keeps track of children in the Magic Kingdom. If it was included with the ticket or like $5 bucks a day I'd more than likely use it.

    Now I just need to find some kids...

    c|net news.com [from Gizmodo]

    Posted in: Hardware · Technology

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  29. Sony pushing OLEDs

    jake on 2003.06.17 at 03:59 pm

    This is from last week, but it's one of the technologies I've been following. Sony is pushing to use OLED displays in many of their small devices. I just can't wait till the technology goes from small devices to more large monitors.

    news.com

    Posted in: Hardware

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  30. epaper making headway

    jake on 2003.05.09 at 12:31 pm

    Wired and MsNBC both have an article that stemmed from nature.com. The article showcases a flexible screen from E-Ink. It's fairly small and only does black and white. But it's a nice step forward.

    I mostly liked the electronic paper use in Minority Report, which I saw last week, for newspapers. I'm more interested in taking the ebook I've been reading mobile without printing it. And not on a tiny pda screen thanks, give me A4 or paperback size and that'll make me happy.

    Posted in: Hardware · Technology

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  31. 3D Crystal Ball

    jake on 2003.04.30 at 07:02 pm

    Gizmodo has a link to an article about the 3D wonder. It is basically a monitor where a 3D image is displayed within a sphere. And it's under $40k not including installation.

    The monitor consists of a transparent volumous bulb in which a high-speed spinning "plate" revolves, displaying images from pixel points on its surface. This requires the ability to flip between images at extremely high rates of speed (especially at the outter edge), and requires massive bandwidth.

    Homepage of manufacturer.

    Posted in: Hardware · Technology

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  32. Variant method to cool computers

    jake on 2003.04.16 at 06:44 pm

    Some researchers at Purdue University have discovered a way to effectively use liquid cooling without a pump.

    As liquid flows through the channels, it is heated by the chip and begins to boil, producing bubbles of vapor. Because the buoyant vapor bubbles are lighter than the liquid, they rise to the top of the tube, where they are cooled by a fan and condensed back into a liquid. The cool liquid then flows into the parallel tube and descends, creating a self-sustaining flow that eventually re-enters the microchannel plate and starts all over again.

    Tiny bubbles are key to liquid-cooled system for future computers

    Posted in: Hardware · Technology

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  33. Build your own TiVo

    jake on 2003.04.16 at 02:32 pm

    Gizmodo has a link to an article at ExtremeTech anout building a media PC with linux. It's part one of a three part series. I will post when those go up too. It describes with detail building a small PC to broadcast; mp3's, pictures, and movies. It also includes a TiVo style interface which allows you to record live TV.

    I have been interested in building a machine like this for a couple months now. I don't have the dispensable cash to do it, but I plan on using a Shuttle SN41G2 to make mine. It'll run me a little more in the cost department, but would be smaller and has many integrated features.

    The software being used in the article is Freevo. Upon reading through the discussionwww.shuttle forums base on the article, I came across some more information. MythTV is an alternative to Freevo. Also TitanTV stores free program guides.

    Posted in: Hardware · Linux · Software · Technology

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  34. 802.11n? Too bad it's a few years off.

    jake on 2003.04.14 at 07:35 pm

    Gizmodo has a link to an article from 802.11 Planet. This article states that, based on an interview, a big jump in speed for Wi-Fi is being developed.

    The High Throughput Group is trying to deal with some of these issues. "We're talking true throughput here," says Kerry. "We've had proposals running at 108 Mbit/s and on up to 320 Mbit/s."

    Posted in: Hardware · Technology

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  35. Turn original Nintendo Entertainment System into a PC

    jake on 2003.04.07 at 06:34 pm

    If you go to Nintendo PC you can learn how to gut your NES and put in PC parts. All this for under $500.

    I for one love old Nintendo games. I can't get enough of them. But, like so many others, my Nintendo started flaking out on me. I'd have to blow into the games, then blow into the Nintendo, then try the game. 90% of the time, I'd get a flashing blue screen and I would need to try again. Well, I'd had enough of that, and decided it was time to do something different with my Nintendo.

    I decided to put a computer inside my old Nintendo case. I could run emulators, play games with my regular Nintendo game pad, all on my TV. Of course, this was quite a stretch, but I made it happen.

    Posted in: Hardware

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  36. Nintendo apparently has bad timing

    jake on 2003.04.07 at 06:21 pm

    CNET reports today that Nintendo is claiming to fall short of expectations in revenue.

    Yesterday Neowin pointed out an article on GameCube Europe that states Zelda is driving up GameCube sales.

    Both articles point out the new GameBoy SP is selling well too.

    Considering Zelda was released recently it could be safe to say that future sales will be good. Even if the last fiscal year wasn't as good as expected.

    Posted in: Hardware

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  37. Nvidia and Dolby present audio validation program

    jake on 2003.04.01 at 01:11 pm

    To add to all the great features my Shuttle XPC includes, now it has one of three (currently) nForce2 based motherboards that meets this new standard.

    Press Release

    Posted in: Hardware

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  38. More mini PC stuff...

    jake on 2003.04.01 at 12:52 pm

    TweakTown has a review of my Shuttle beauty. They gave it a 10 out of 10. For the most part I agree, only I think they should add in Serial ATA suport. That's about all I would need to make it a 10 in my book.

    Iwill has a new mini PC (also) too, which is reviewed over at Hardware Analysis. This unit is cheaper, but it is also a lot less powerful. The Shuttle can handle a lot more with its intergrated parts than the Iwill. Which more than makes up for the P4 3GHz in the Iwill. But that's just my opinion... ;)

    Posted in: Hardware

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  39. MSI releases small form factor pc

    jake on 2003.03.31 at 02:11 pm

    Maybe I'm a bit too into these things... ;)

    Other companies are starting to compete with Shuttle's dominance in the market for SFF computers.

    MSITM has released the MEGA pc. The first model is a P4 based barebones unit.

    It adds some nice features, the front panel sports an LCM display. This displays things like the MP3 information of a file you're playing. In the plus versions there is also a TV tuner card and a 6-in-1 Card Reader.

    I'm waiting to buy another one of these SFF PCs for things like this. Adding features and dropping prices would be great for this market. I really want to build a DVR with one of these babies. :)

    Press release (from Gizmodo)

    Posted in: Hardware

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  40. Nvidia updates software for Linux video drivers

    jake on 2003.03.31 at 01:32 pm

    cNet is reporting that Nvidia has new software that works with Linux to update video drivers.

    The new installation software detects relevant details about the system its running on and automatically installs the correct drivers. The goal is to make it as easy to keep a Linux installation up to date as a Windows-based PC, Fear said.

    This is great news for me, so far it works with only a few major brands including Mandrake, which is what I use on one of my machines at home. This machine is a Shuttle SN41G2.. Now I just need for the them to implement it for nForce2 also. Just to get the network and sound up I needed to play with a bunch of stuff after I installed Mandrake 9.0. It could have been a lot easier. ;)

    Update - Bjorn3D has some thoughts on this subject. (article)

    Posted in: Hardware · Linux

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  41. I've heard of a TV in the bathroom, but this is ridiculous.

    jake on 2003.03.06 at 06:46 pm

    I noticed over at Gizmodo a nice little jacuzzi. Called La Scala it sports a media center. Personally I've been avoiding technology to an extent at home. But if I can get one of these in my apt I might actually use it.

    Posted in: Technology · Design · Hardware

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  42. Sony shows off mini file server.

    jake on 2003.02.07 at 12:10 pm

    kinda like an iPod, only a server.

    What a busy morning it seems to be. I actually might have two successive posts. How weird is that.

    Sony is showing off a new product on their Japanese web site. Called the FSV-PGX1, it's a wireless file server. And it's very small. It runs Linux and can support around 250 useres at once. It enables basic file sharing, and anyone in the vicinity can load up music from it.

    This sounds like a pretty nifty idea. I'd love to have something do this in my apt. I just set up a wireless network recently, and although file sharing isn't 100%, this would make me work on it, hopefully keeping security up.

    Here's a link to the Japanese website, pushed through Altavista's Babelfish translator. FSV-PGX1

    Posted in: Technology · Hardware

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