Category Archives: rant

dual-head xubuntu xfce plus virtualbox xp = my new os

Dual headxubuntuXFCE+VirtualBoxXP

The number one reason for me not to upgrade to a linux os was simple: dual monitor support. I have a wacky setup as well. I have a 15″ warm flat screen CRT Samsung, and a 22″ glorious Acer LCD. 1024X768+1680X1050. I’ll detail my setup at some point, but here’s what went down…

Ubuntu live CD failed to even show up on one monitor. I searched on the internets and was told that KDE had a rough time with dual monitor support. I found out that Xfce handles dual monitors with ease. Discovered that Xubuntu is bundled with Xfce and Firefox and not some wacky Opera or Konquerer deal. After loading the Nvidia drivers automatically after install I configured twinview and was well on my way in one evening. I had heard about Virtual Box – but the pot was made sweeter when I found this post about seamless XP integration with Virtual Box.

Here is the magnificent geek screenshot.
For extra points the folder that’s open under XP is a shared drive, the wallpaper is mandolux, and I’m listening to somafm.com

Oh – Vista AND Windows 7 can suck it. :p

random.hidden.uci.edu.subdomains

hidden.uci.edu.subdomainsSearch engines make webmasters lazy. Why take the time to index all the groups, organizations, and programs at the university, when you can just throw them all up there. I think the liberal use of subdomains makes it a lot harder to find stuff. In a folder hierarchy you can see what’s below. With subdomains it’s all over your head – literally. Just how many are up there?

As Christine is in Graduate School here at UCI, we often need to look up a service, site, number, notice or document pertaining to the: shuttle, class, administrator, help desk, parking. I’ll spend hours trying to figure out if I need to call Housing, ResNet, NACS, or ICS when the cable goes out. Tons of silly acronyms and even more websites on silly subdomains.

The UCI network group [at one time] published sixty or so of them – turns out there are more then 400 uci.edu subdomains. This was one of those side projects that started out like “hmm – I wonder…” and rapidly evolved into several hours of throttling my connection just enough so that every web server on campus wouldn’t report my IP. “shit… That’s a lot more then 60…

My list:
hidden.uci.edu.subdomains

They apparently hand them out like candy. There are no rules for wildcards or leading with www. Sometimes they have both, sometimes only one. How frustrating is it that you have to remember the www on some and not others? Some sites are updated daily, some sites have seen more work in the late 90’s. I’ll bet that a lot of this is unavailable to those outside of the uci.edu domain. A lot of services and hidden extras to be found I’m sure. Enjoy this fascinating list of hidden uci.edu.subdomain goodness. Just finding out that we had a passport office on campus was worth the time.

UPDATE: There was at one time no approval process, but one is in place. It is up to the approved group to setup the DNS to respond to www or not.

OMG-mittromney-WTF?!

Fabulous doublespeak Orwellian quote from someone who just stopped running for office in the US:

And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror. – Mitt Romney

So, if the republicans don’t win the terrorists do?
Oh I see… Did you mean that the terrorists don’t vote republican?
A vote for a some other party is a vote for terrorism? Yes? No?
Let me get this right… Don’t vote for democrats because they ARE terrorists?

Dude… STFU

I’m hoping that no mater where you stand politically that you would never flatly agree to that statement. I believe that this country was founded on people who loaded up on wooden ships and sailed the fuck away from people like Mitt Romney.

*Now back to our regularly scheduled programming – already in progress…

A cheaper NiMH battery for your gear that lasts longer?

Eneloop AA battery for Yaesu FT-60What’s next Kris? – A car that runs on NO GAS? :p *chortle

In the picture we have a standard 1400mAh Yaesu FT-60 battery (FNB-83 on right) that lists for $65, next to an FT-60 AA pack (FBA-25 on left) with 6 Sanyo Eneloop AA’s which total out to $50 and that price is for the 8-pack, so you have 2 more rechargeable AA’s for your walkman. ;) I’m sure you could find the stock battery for cheaper, but even if they were the same price this new Eneloop pack lasts a third longer with 2000mAh of power.

Tech stuff: I numbered the batteries thinking that I may have to take them out and put them back in. This keeps them in the same order in the pack and I won’t mix in other batteries of various age and charge states. You also may notice the small piece of foil wrapped around the negative terminal of battery #6. This is done in order to mimic the factory battery pack. It may be part of its charging circuit, or simply may connect to the external charging pads found on the FNB-83. Either way – I want the FT-60 to recognize this as a rechargeable NiNH battery pack… because… that’s what it is. :| If you look closely, you’ll notice that the stock battery is just 6 AA sized cells sealed in the case. Now – This is actually a somewhat controversial modification that Yaesu won’t warrant, but it means that you can charge your new batteries in the unit. Controversial because if you are a moron – you can try to charge non-NiMH batteries and you will start a fire. A chemical / metal fire. Don’t bother reaching for the ABC class extinguisher. :eek: They also say something about about missing a temperature charging circuit in the AA case (thermistor maybe), but I can’t find one in the FNB-83, so I think this is part of the ‘cover your ass’ portion of their battery charging guide.

The Sanyo Eneloop is finally a good rechargeable battery worthy of your attention and their super flash marketing. I’m done buying ‘rechargeable’ batteries from companies that make the bulk of their money on disposables. I’ve had particularly horrible luck with bunny batteries. We got a charger and 4 of their batteries for Christine’s digital camera. After maybe 5 recharge cycles the battery life was down to 1/5th alkaline AA’s, and I’ll explain how charging them wrong was most of the problem.

Your super speedy rapid fast $9 plug in battery charger is crap. I discovered that keeping your batteries topped up and on the charger until use, is what’s killing them. I learned this too late to save a pile of NiMH Motorola TalkAbout batteries… sorry Earth. It’s A charging BASE. It’s where you keep your TalkAbout when not in use. It’s also plugged in and overcharging your batteries constantly. :mad:

The secret to making rechargeable batteries last? Effort. I know you don’t want an Excel sheet of your battery packs, voltage, and temp – so I’ll make this easy. Charge them up for no longer then 12 hours (overnight) and take them off the charger. I know the little green light comes on. I know the red light stops blinking. Take them off the charger! They’re ready to go! When they die, charge them! Don’t throw them in a drawer. Get them on the charger as soon as you can. After they have been charged up and sat in a drawer for 6 months – you’ll need to charge them again. Although with these new batteries that’s becoming less of an issue.

10 ECHO “Charge for 12 hours and stop.”
20 ECHO “Use Whenever.”
30 IF BATTERY = DEAD THEN 10
40 ELSE GOTO 20
50 END

Summary:
You can buy these off the shelf and they are ready to run.
You can get a better then stock NiMH battery for your gear.
They stay charged and ready for an emergency.
Check out the data.
Check out what the digital camera guys had to say.

Getting holiday media through my disappointing TiVo.

TivoFirst off: Happy New Year people!
Now let’s get down to business.
TiVo, what the hell is up with your downloadable internet content? What the hell is up with the complete lack of applications that take ‘real’ advantage of network media? I spent the holidays longing for random Christmas songs, a podcast from my buddies, and some sort of new entertainment from my Series 2 on those long winter nights. Let’s break it down.

Shared Music: “OMG My TiVo plays MP3’s off my computer!” (BTW that statement would not have been sarcastic 5 years ago… :| ) So you load TiVo ToGo on your PC, share your music, and you’re good to go right? Well, no. Buried 4 menus down is now “[name]’s music”. You can then page up and down through your hundreds of artists to play a song… or a folder… you can shuffle too. All amazing things for three years ago. :p Put like 10,000 songs in that folder and it chokes. Spend your life hitting the channel down button to play an album lucky enough to be under ‘V’ for Various. No sort or play by genre, no album art, no screen info other then a time index and the name of the track. The interface is simple but lacking compared to any cell phone released in 2007.

Shared Video: So I guess that ‘TiVoCast’ falls under this. You probably didn’t even know this option was in there did you. The idea is you can get: “Great, innovative video content that doesn’t fit the traditional format or time constraints of broadcast television.” (*pfft) I think it’s crap – maybe I haven’t spent 2 days sorting through it. I downloaded a handful of programs. Included in that random sample of 22 minutes of video that took 2 hours to download (*sigh) was a piece from GeekBrief TV. It was a somewhat cute girl in a tight Simpson’s Tee, setting up a Gateway PC. Seriously… She said OMGHI2U and proceeded to setup and turn on a new Gateway PC. My brain was like: Advertisement Tee for a movie – CHECK. Ad for a new PC – CHECK. Content = 0. DELETED.

TiVo Podcast App: “Enter the entire URL of the RSS feed for your podcast and I’ll be glad to sorta’ stream it and not let you skip through it, nor pause, nor start from where you left off. Isn’t this AWESOME! Isn’t this way better then right click playing it in WinAmp on your PC? Dude it’s an audio PODCAST on your TV!” /sarcasm

The TiVo is no sling box and even though I could re-formu-i-tunes-ulate my movies to play on my TiVo. It’s not happening automatically. It’s not even happening with some sort of background script. So video content from the web or my network (that I haven’t downloaded from the TiVo in the first place) is zero. “But wait Kris! There’s that One True Media thing that lets me share videos – right?” Yes… For $3.99 a month you get a ‘picture video montage maker.’ I am shocked that the niche for this is big enough to support this company. So if you don’t have kids and you AND your parents don’t have a networked TiVo, you’ll probably skip this one. You’ll have to store your pir8′ted movies and pr0n elsewhere…

Honorable Mention: Galleon TV – If you have already toyed with the HME applications for the TiVo, you have already played with this. The music player is fantastic but I can’t configure the 30 minute time-out to stop… The weather and traffic apps are great but I don’t care about either… Lots of other features that I just didn’t have time to get working before the presents and the drinking. Apparently this application has been out for a WHILE – and in the mean time TiVo has pretty much dropped support / stopped developing for it. :| I’ll be toying with this in 2008.

How did I ever survive the holidays? Well, I took all my ID3 tagged Christmas music in Media Monkey and copied it to a single folder called ‘Christmas.’ Click – Shuffle – Play. Christine created a ‘holiday’ & ‘christmas’ list of shows that got a little out of control. I saw two Rankin & Bass movies I didn’t even know existed and a never ending stream of made for TV Christmas movies starring Kathy Ireland. Plus a handful of badly animated classics. Why did they make “Grandma got run over by a reindeer” INTO a cartoon movie? :eek:

So Cal Fire Perspective

Fire on the I-5 Camp Pendelton
The headlines on the East coast newspapers read something like: ‘California Coast ON FIRE’ & ‘SoCal Burns!’ :| You can imagine the 1.2 million phone calls this generated as opposite coast families call in a panic.

California is a big ass state. ;) If you were in Malibu and drove to the city of San Diego – it’s about 150 miles. That’s a trip from Boston, MA to Bridgeport, CT. Orange County (where 1 major fire is burning) is only 200 square miles smaller then the state of Rhode Island. San Diego County (where several major fires are burning) is 20% smaller then Connecticut. San Bernardino County (I-15 fires and still in ‘So-Cal’) is as large as the states of New Hampshire and Vermont combined. That’s 20,000 square miles, or 12,800,000 acres. The so cal fires are roughly 200,000 acres burned so-far. Yes, that is a lot – but the whole coast is far from ‘ON FIRE!’

Contrary to this argument is the above picture that we took from the I-5 heading down into San Diego on Tuesday night. They shut the highway down shortly after to start a back-burn. Camp Pendleton is just miles of wild desert brush. Because no homes, property, or military personnel were in danger they just let this fire burn itself out. Here it certainly looked as if the coast was on fire. Three miles of it anyway.