June 14, 2007

Birth of another blog

Now why do I now have another website? Well, because it's midnight, I recently got a Mac and I want to tell the world about it.

Well... ok we actually became a Mac family about a year ago, when my wife got an 20" Intel C2D iMac and of course more recently got myself a little Mac Mini. Previous to that, I used a combination of Linux and Windows... usually Windows for gaming, Linux for everything else.

I've been a Linux guy for a long time. I would say pretty much since I discovered it sometime in 1994 or so I started using it on a regular basis. I still remember recompiling my first kernel, not knowing what the heck I was doing with my first Slackware installation, kernel ver 1.3.x'ish I think it was.... I'm sure I still have the cd's in the original box that it came in somewhere.

So this website really will be just the ramblings of an Linux / Windows gaming converted to OS/X guy...



Safari 3 Beta for Windows Updated

Safari for Windows was just announced a couple of days ago, in what I think is a extremely clever strategic move to get mainstream exposure to the browser. Whats the big deal? I don't use it on my Mac, why would I use it on Windows?

My theory is that Apple doesn't really care if it's takes off on Windows or not, what they do care those is that it takes off on the iPhone, and getting Safari on Windows potentially can get millions of people who otherwise wouldn't give a rats ass about the iPhone take a second look, and maybe see what OS X is all about and ultimately... buy and iPhone and even get the full meal deal switch to OS X altogether.

Oh right, this was supposed to be about the first update to Safari.

Just hours after the initial release of Safari for Windows, several exploits were found and announced, this first update is supposed to address those problems. These types of issues are exactly why this is Beta software and the fact that Apple is addressing the issues so quickly is good to know.


June 22, 2007

YouTube and the iPhone


A week to go and you can see the marketing around the iPhone ramping up more and more, here's the latest iPhone Ad.

I love the fact that Steve Jobs decided to launch the iPhone on Friday at 6pm!

I mean, you see morning store opening launches, midnight launches, but 6pm? Why you might wonder? Well, because he knows that at 6pm every local news station will be doing the evening news and with all the hype around the phone, every news station will be covering wanting to cover the launch. The guy is brilliant.


June 29, 2007

Holy Bajeezus! 1and1 what are you thinking????

Holy cow I can't believe 1and1 my web provider shut off my all my websites and not tell me or their CSR's about it.

Shortly after my last update here, all my websites went down.

Timeline is as follows:

June 26th at around 1or 2pm - I noticed the problem I figured it was nothing, network burps happen all the time... and so I just forgot about it and went about my business

June 26th 10:30pm or so - I noticed my sites were still not working, ok more than a little burp, so I called 1and1 tech support and asked if they knew about this outage. The response I got was it will be back up in about 3 hours, she had to "apply a fix"
June 27th 2:00am or so - More than 3 hours later, everything is still down - I go to bed hoping everything will be fine in the morning.

June 27th 12:00pm - Still nothing, I place another phone call to 1and1 and was told this csr would apply a fix and it will be up in 1 hour. An hour later still nothing.... so I sent an email request through the 1and1 administration site asking for an update.

June 27th 7:00pm - Everything is still down - so I place another phone call as was told by the csr that my problem has be "escalated to a higher level" and I had to just wait.

June 27th 11:05pm - I received the following email:

Thank you for contacting us.

This is in connection to call earlier regarding the downtime of the server, please be informed that I have escalated your case to the appropriate department for further investigation. You will receive an updates from them via email.

We will appreciate your patience on this.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

and of course still nothing is working.

June 28th - 1:52pm - 48 hours after the outage I received this email:

Recently we have noticed that your web site(s) is consuming a disproportionate amount of server resources (including memory and/or cpu time). Because of this, we have had to move your account off of the shared hosting server to an auxilliary server. We now request that you consider purchasing a Managed or other Dedicated Server in order to continue hosting with 1&1 Internet.

The decision to move your account was made by the system administrators in order to improve the quality of service for the rest of our clients on the shared server from which you were previously hosted. The resources consumed by your account threatened the ability of that server to capably operate as as a shared host, so it was required that your account be moved in order to mitigate server load. Though we could move your site back to the original shared hosting server, it is not recommended. Your account activity has demonstrated that your site deserves its own server to better suit its performance needs.

Please visit 1and1.com to review the server products we offer. You will have one (1) month to make a decision and migrate your account over to a 1&1 server or another host provider. You can choose to return your account back to the shared server, provided that you take steps to reduce the load generated by your websites. If the account has to be moved off the shared server system again you will only have the option of purchasing a dedicated server account to continue hosting with 1&1 Internet.

Please reply to this email promptly. Further questions/comments should be directed to admin@1and1.com.

Thank you for your compliance in this matter.


They had taken my site down deliberately but did not inform anyone, especially me since I own them... or their CSR's who would be answering my requests? It's not like they were spending time trying to fix the problem, it was the fact that they took it all down and did not tell anyone about it for 48 hours.... even after numerous requests from me.

The majority of my sites are little sites, that generate relatively low traffic, some are some blogs for friends that I host on their behalf.... what the heck could I have on my sites that could have caused them cpu/memory issues? I've requested they tell me which specifically which site and/or pages was causing them a problem and I will remove it from their servers but have yet to receive an answer.

I mean this is absurd... 48 hours later, they told me they did all this deliberately.

June 29 - 1:00pm - It's now about 72 hours later....my domains are slowing coming back up because of dns propagation I'm not still able to see everything....

I had previously recommended 1and1 to a several people because of their great pricing and decent uptime. They actually got extra business from my recommendations, but after this fiasco I'm not going recommend them at all.... I realize you get what you pay for and my sites will likely eventually all be leaving them.


July 11, 2007

More Apple stock manipulation

First story this Reuters story comes out:

"Chang said a way to follow up the iPhone with a cheaper version would be to convert the Nano into a phone and price it at $300 or lower. The iPhone sells for $500 and $600, depending on storage space.

"We believe that iPod Nano will be converted into a phone because it's probably the only way for Apple to launch a lower end phone without severely cannibalizing iPod Nano," he said noting that the new phone could have "rather limited functionality."

But then shortly after JP Morgan releases several other stories expressing the doubt of this story.

What a load of crap, I wonder how much money this Kevin Chang from JP Morgan and his friends made manipulating the Apple stock price.

This happened when Engadget posted the possibility that the iPhone shipping date was going to be delayed a few weeks back. The stock price went for a roller coast ride until the news was retracted.

Sigh, I can't people can actually do this and get away with it.


July 12, 2007

Why is the iCal date a week off?


My wife asks me a couple of nights ago, why is the iCal icon on her Mac showing date that's a week off? It should be July 10th but it says July 17th?

Well, I didn't know why... so a quick google search resulted in this blog posting.

Basically, if your iCal is open, it shows the current date.... but if your iCal is closed, it would always show July 17... and what's the significance of this date?

Well, it turns out that iCal was launched on July 17, 2002 MacWorld in New York and that's the date that they used for the icon.

It's rather amusing because the person who wrote the blog article happened to have his birthday on July 17 as well and always thought iCal was using his birthdate for the icon to make things more "personal".

Also, here's a script that updates the icon that you can schedule to right every night at midnight, that's if you like to have it show the current date all the time.


September 18, 2007

So what if it's cheap to build

Business Week has an article with some details as to the costs of building some of the iPods.

Big deal, so what if it costs Apple $58 in parts for a 4GB Nano. It's all about the software and the unreproducible experience. That's what you're paying for.


September 22, 2007

Firefox to Camino

My firefox decides that it likes to crash on it's for what appears to be very randomly.

And random it is, I could load a page and start reading a story, and not touch my keyboard and mouse... and 30 sec later, it would crash... while I'm reading... (could be 30 sec, could be 5 min)...argh, .. i mean i'm using to having periodic crashes but it would always be immediately after clicking something.... so because of this behaviour, i can't seem to find a cause and it's quite frustrating.


Time to try another browser, so I've switched to ... I get the benefits of the same rendering engine but with a Cocoa app. I feel right at home already and it's definately speedier.

Let's see if this decision lasts.


October 30, 2007

Jeff Zucker

If this story is real, then holy cow I can't believe how backwards thinking these execs are.

They just don't get it.... just totally stuck in the old way of thinking, wearing blinders... sigh.


November 9, 2007

Add calendar events on the iPod Touch!

You can finally do it? I may actually get one now!


January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!



February 8, 2008

Apple //c unboxing photos

So I'm a few days late on this news, I've been away.

If you haven't seen this yet it's pretty cool.

Photos of an Apple //c just opened!


February 17, 2006

My favourite blog


My favourite blog is Chewy's at the moment.


February 9, 2006

Animal Crossing: Wild World


If you happen to see this and you play Animal Crossing, send me or Yi your friend code and we'll send you ours. We both recently started, great fun!

Added Feb 15: Nintendo has just announced that the DS will finally have a web browser! I mean, it's about time, the dual upper and lower screens make this the perfect portable surfing device.


January 29, 2006

Happy New Year from Twins!


Happy New Year from Twins!


February 25, 2007

Duplicity, encfs, sshfs.... off site storage

So now I have a good RAID 5 NAS device for my storage here, but that's not good enough - what about offsite backups? In the past I've played with a few things, tapes, cd's, dvd's and various other media and moving them offsite to my parent's house. It's works, and has the benefits of a historical archive but the problem is the backups are slow to create, don't seem to work quite well when I tried to automate the creation of the backups, most annoyingly, 4.7 GB on a single DVD isn't enough to store everything.

Then I thought about my hosting account at 1and1 that gives me 250GB of storage... DUH? Off site storage that I'm already paying for! Since I already mirror everything I have stored at 1and1 locally here which I update every night with rsync.... why I don't I do the same thing in the other direction... it's so obvious! Why did I think of this earlier!

I just need to put all my data that I want to be backed up in a folder (where it pretty much already is) and rsync it in the other direction over to my 1and1 account, essentially a simple 5 sec rsync command. The problem is that I have sensitive information that i don't want to be sitting wide open on untrusted machine somewhere.

So I did a bit of research and discovered duplicity, this a very cool idea... basically takes your data, and encrypts it on the fly and uploads it to an outside ftp, or scp (via ssh) machine. After the first run, it will do incremental updates only. Perfect!

However, as I played with this, I realized 45GB for an initial full backup will take a few weeks with my cruddy cable modem upload speeds, and if it dies (which it did once) then there was no resume. This is clearly a problem.... you cannot rely on a home cable connection to give you that kind of reliability, at least in this neck of the woods.... so back to researching other alternatives.

Next i discover something very cool, sshfs and encfs. sshfs mounts a remote filesystem locally over ssh, encfs provides an encrypted filesystem.... A simple apt-get install enfs and apt-get install sshfs got me both in a few seconds. They are 2 separate utilities, HOWEVER if you first setup a sshfs mount, and then create an encfs directory over the sshfs mount, you end up with what essentially is an filesystem on a remote machine that stores the data encrypted... perfect exactly what I need... of course, you can then run rsync to move your data over to!

Because this creates an encrypted copy of your data stored on a remote machine that can be updated with rsync, it has no problems with resumes and is smart enough to only transfer changed files after the initial transfer is done!

I ran into a problem while trying to create the encfs over the sshfs, I suspect it's a permission problem prevents me from writing to the encfs mount and I didn't want to spend time debugging, so I ended up instead just building a local encfs filesystem where I moved all the data I wanted to be backed up into. Now I schedule rsync to copy the encrypted directory over to the remote machine, and this gives me same identical net result.

It's not quite as elegant as my original plan, but it works the same way... in fact i'm actually able to use my original method to mount and read the remote directory using encfs over sshfs, just can't write to it.....
-Update: "This was easily fixed by updating to a new version of the fuse library, apparently it was a known issue... i tearing my hair out for nothing"...

Anyway, and so I finally have some peace of mind that my data is a little more safer.


December 28, 2006


So I now have all these photos taken and miniDV video shot and collected over the past few years, it's adding up. So far about 25GB in photos and about 80gb of xvid video. I can't lose any of this, for the first time in my life there's data that I actually really really care not to lose. They sit on Yi's mac and on my workstation PC and is backed up on my Debian file server. The problem is my linux file server only has about 225GB of space and is actually composed of 3 separate old drives using LVM. It works great.... but there's a few problems, spacing is starting to run out more scarily if any 1 single drive fails, it's potentially all lost.

So what better time than use my Christmas break to convert my old 3 drive LVM setup into a RAID box.

First thing I had to decide on was hardware or software RAID... and after lots of reading online and putting much thought into it, I decided to go software RAID. The primary reason for this decision was that if a hardware RAID controller dies in a few years, I there could be potential for me be totally screwed if I cannot find a similar or exact RAID controller.

Now the next thing I had to do was decide on the size of the drives. Of course I want to make this as big as possible and it seems like Seagate 320GB Barracuda are priced quite right for me. At about $110 each, I could buy 3 for a RAID5 setup and spend about $375 for a 640GB RAID5 system... (I spent about that much for my original 120MB hardrive in 92 or so).

So next step, I backed up my 120GB or so worth of data on my current file server onto my PC workstation. This took about 10 hours over 100Mbps ethernet. Also did an "apt-get install mdadm" to get the latest RAID utility on my machine.

Next, I yanked out my 3 old drives, and replaced them with the shiny new 320GB drives. It so tempting to RAID0 them together to get close to a TB of usable space but that would make it no better than my old setup in terms of redundancy.

After some dust blowing and closing the case, it was time to boot up my box again.... ran fdisk, partitioned each of the drives with filesystem type "fd" to mark them as raid, you could leave them as the default type "83" as well but I think there's potential for someone to format a drive individually and blow up your RAID if you did that. This was unlikely to happen as it's my own machine but let's do it right.

Now time to build the drive:

mdadm --create --verbose /dev/md0 --chunk=128 --level=5 --raid-devices=3 /dev/hdb1 /dev/hdc1 /dev/hdd1

and then:

mdadm --detail --scan /dev/md0

and save the contents to /etc/mdadm/mdadm.conf so that next time mdadm will see the drives upon bootup. The array immediately started to build in the background.... this i found out eventually will take 2 days... but the cool thing is that you can start using it immediately.

So, now it's time to format my new 640GB /dev/md0

It seems that you have to becareful how you choose to format your RAID partitions, at least when using ext3... didn't look into other filesystems.

mkfs.ext3 -b 4096 -R stride=32 /dev/md0

the stride parameter needs to be your raid chunk size/block size.. which in my case I chose a chunk size of 128/4=32 - Apparently if you don't you run into some horrible performance issues. /Shrug.

This took less than hour to complete and of course then I started to copying my old files back over, which took another 15 hours, probably because the raid was still building and everything was kind of slow while this was happening.

Anyway, the end result when I run:

mdadm --detail /dev/md

Version : 00.90.03
Creation Time : Mon Dec 25 12:46:24 2006
Raid Level : raid5
Array Size : 624928256 (595.98 GiB 639.93 GB)
Device Size : 312464128 (297.99 GiB 319.96 GB)
Raid Devices : 3
Total Devices : 3
Preferred Minor : 0
Persistence : Superblock is persistent

Update Time : Thu Dec 27 21:48:35 2006
State : clean
Active Devices : 3
Working Devices : 3
Failed Devices : 0
Spare Devices : 0

Layout : left-symmetric
Chunk Size : 128K

UUID : 925b55ab:9a16cff7:7eeacd7b:931f8f9f
Events : 0.64744

Number Major Minor RaidDevice State
0 3 65 0 active sync /dev/hdb1
1 22 1 1 active sync /dev/hdc1
2 22 65 2 active sync /dev/hdd1

Now I have 640GB of space that I can play with and hopefully not worry if something goes wrong with a drive.


September 12, 2006

Mythtv 0.20

So I admit I heard about the Mythtv 0.20 release not from their official mailing list or website but instead from this slashdot article. Oh well, I guess i should get back on the mythtv mailing list.

We've been running a cvs version from around 0.18 (cira oct 2004) and haven't bother to update since everything was working so nicely.

But this announcement caught my eye as it now has a built-in dvd player and as well built-in burn to dvd archiving. Previously playing dvd's would require launching xine, and burning to dvd required a strange series of scripts.... not a big deal once we got it setup then, but now it's all built in and included altogether with a nice consistent interface....among other new features, fixes and optimizations.

So yesterday I was preparing for the worst and to not have TV for a few days but it was simply extract the tarball and ./configure ; make ; make install. Repeat with the mythplugins file... restarting mythbackend - watched on the console as it updated the database schema and then continue normally afterwards.... restarted mythfrontend and it just worked. No hitches, no problems... smoothest mythtv upgrade ever, the way it should work.

As stated before, mythtv simply RAWKS. I don't know how you can watch tv without it.


September 8, 2006

w00t! DD-WRT runs on my WRT54GL

So this router has been around (in older revs) for a while now, and being the Linux nerd I am, I've always wanted to pick one up but never *really* had a need for one... at least until now.

Long story short, my VOIP ATA crashes when I use it as my primary gateway because it simply sucks at dealing with lots of traffic, so I've had to request more than 1 ip address from my ISP and use 1 for the ATA and the other for my old router. This works and is very stable but sound quality sucks because there's no QoS.

This gave me an excuse to finally get this router and boy is it COOL.

I installed the latest stable DD-WRT firmware without any hitches. The latest version has some really cool features including multiple SSID's with separate encryption methods for each network, how cool is that for a $50 router? Not to mention ssh to a shell on the router.

This is by far the coolest router on the market, lots of fun, I can't believe I waited so long to get one. My inlaws will now get my old d-link 624 or whatever it was.


August 29, 2006

Ipod Surgery

Just finished replacing the battery on my old 3rd gen Ipod. Took about 10 min, 8 of which was trying to open the darn thing without breaking it. Photoset is posted on Flickr.

This will be going into my ipod.

It is a 850mAh replacement battery that will be replacing the original 630 mAh one.

My old 3rd generation Ipod battery won't run for more than an hour or so now... even if you charge it all day.... so off to the Apple Store I went yesterday and bought a Sonnettech replacement battery... came with a cd with an instructional video and a plastic tool to open the ipod.

Trying to open it up is the hardest part, they explain it fairly well, but it's still something you have to kinda feel for yourself... after doing it once, actually not too difficult.

Cover lifted, revealing the hard drive with the blue plastic gooey bumper thingy.

The blue stuff probably saved my data few times.

Yeah yeah yeah so it's only 15GB, but it's plenty for me.

With the hard drive out now, the new battery is ready to go in.

In goes the new one. Looks like a perfect fit to me.

Lastly, replaced the hard drive... this part was a little tricky as the ribbon cable connector basically just sits on top of ipod board and is very easy to misalign.

After the drive was put in, I closed it up and ... WHEW! It booted up again.

Now it's charging away!


August 16, 2006

DOA Live Action Movie


This was just sent to me. Looks like another shameless attempt to exploit hot women in skimpy clothing with some teasing scenes of near nudity...

....OMG I can't believe they waited so long to make this, nor can I believe that I can't watch to watch it... drool... =P

Trailer can be seen at http://www.doa.film.de/ or download it here.


August 9, 2006

CIA / 3web / Cybersurf Customer Service SUCKS

My Review of CIA / 3web / Cybersurf


What others have to say about CIA / 3web / Cybersurf

So I have a friend that was on 3web and said the internet service was fine, since it's really just Shaw, so I decided to try it since I was on Shaw anyway, and since I didn't have a land line, I may as well switch to them since it's the same price.

Here's a timeline of events:

May 28, 2006 - submitted my order for the service online, i was a Shaw internet only subscriber at the time. Since I own a cable modem only, i just need the voice terminal for the phone service.

June 6, 2006 - Recieved an email telling me my application was recieved.

June 29, 2006 - Got an email telling me my service is now active - this is just over 1 month from my original sign up date. I have not recieved a voice terminal at this point yet. I call they tell me they are back ordered, I should receive in a week.

Approximately July 6, July 13, July 20... basically I call every 7 days asking about my voice terminal, each time they tell me it's coming next week. I was getting pretty mad at this point, as they are charging me full price ($39) for internet and phone, when I could be paying them $29 for internet only, it's only $10 difference but still.. I should be recieving the service I'm currently paying for.

Technically, they advertise on their website http://www.cia.com that it's free internet if I order a phone line for $39 a month, I technically shouldn't need to pay anything since I still don't have a phone line.

July 26, 2006 - FINALLY recieved my voice terminal, however no UPS was included as per the instructions they send out.. I sent them an email notifying them and they tell me it will be shipped at a future date, no eta.

So all in all, it took 2 months to get my service setup, and I already had cable internet service previously with Shaw. The phone service seems decent, there seems to be a "blip" of noise at the beginning of calls but it's so quick it's not really a bother, most probably won't even notice it.

My main problem now is that it doesn't work! My phone terminal keeps crashing, my guess is because it can't deal with the amount of traffic I use. This takes down my whole internet connection, it's been happening about 2 to 3 times a day since I setup the voice terminal.

My guess is if I can get the voice terminal working behind the router, it may prevent this problem from occuring, but I am so far unable to do so as reported by others... I've tried dmz, portforwarding and even changing the mac address on my internet facing port to the same as my VT.

I started to do some googling to see if I could find a way to fix this problem and found that other have requested a 2nd ip address for the voice terminal to fix this. I call and talked to a tech and they confirm the same thing, so they put in request for a 2nd ip address now and hopefully that will work for me.

[Aug 5th Update]

It's now Aug 5th, I still do not have a working phone. I requested an 2nd ip address for phone terminal, it's been 8 days, still no response... I called earlier and I was told it would be at least another 3 days minimum because it's a long weekend. The person said they will call me. It's now been Well over 2 months since the beginning, and I still have no working phone service... at least not when I'm using the computers.

This may as well be called highspeed dialup, as I can't use the phone and the computers at the same time (at least with any reliabllity). Customer service with this company is extremely poor, you sure get what you pay for.

[Aug 9th Update]

I was told I would receive a call back, nothing today. No response to 2 emails I've sent them over a week ago now. Getting sick and tired of this, submitting a complaint to their local BBB.

[Aug 11 Update]

I called them again asking about my IP address, the tech i spoke with told me it was up and to try it out. I hung up and tested it. They did not provision my cable modem for 2 ip addresses. I tried multiple devices not just my router and ATA, but other devices, laptop and desktops.... I was not able to get more than 1 ip simulatenously. I used tcpdump to watch the traffic on the segment, and concluded I was only given 1 address. Either they don't know what they are doing or he flat out lied to me.

[Aug 14]
I called them back a day later after my weekend of of testing, and again after a 35 min way, I finally got a hold of someone who went through a bunch of useless tests which involved rebooting laptops, a router and ATA all in various orders and various configurations with my hub. Although some of his tests were valid and I did them on the phone with him while he did his tests from his side, I knew it was pointless. In the end he said he would request another IP address from Shaw

[Aug 16]

I missed a call on my cell phone but recieved a voicemail from cia, a rep told me that I now have been given a 3rd IP address. Strangely enough I recieved my UPS today... all this shortly after my BBB complaint. I seems you need to call the BBB in order to get things done with this company.

I tested my equipment, sure enough I can request 2 ip addresses from their dhcp servers now. Not a 3rd one like they said I've been assigned.

So this appears to be the end of my setup procedures with this company. I only put up with this because I don't have a need for a land line, I've never had one, only our cell phones. If i had a need for a landline or for reliable service, I would NOT recommend this company. If you don't really care how long it takes to get setup and want a cheap phone/internet combo package, then cia i supppose is for you.


June 22, 2006

Where the hell is Matt

This is an amazing video.

You just have to watch it, and if you are wondering wtf, then read a bit about the story behind it..

I get all warm and fuzzy inside when I watch this video.


May 26, 2006

Fruit Monkey

It's a monkey in a tux! ...made with a pineapple body and banana's for arms. Now how can you not take a photo of that!

Taken at a fruit / veggie carving demo aboard the Saphire Princess last week on our cruise.


May 5, 2006

80 people with blue shirts and khaki's at Best Buy

Ok this is this story although long, is the funniest thing I've read in a long time.

Basically 80 or so folks dressed in blue shirts and khaki pants, walked into a Best Buy and just stood around. Some helped customers when approached, everyone denied knowing why everyone else was there... Brilliant! Wish I was there to see it.


April 20, 2006

Netgear Skype Wi-Fi phone


Wow, this looks pretty promising, I may consider getting one since pretty much everywhere I'm usually at has wi-fi....

Skype rocks.

More photos and info here


March 3, 2006

Caught in the Act

My sister sent me this photo of Jeffrey molesting her teddy bear.


April 4, 2008

LaLa on Flickr

I love Tiki Bar TV, it's a wonderfully produced video podcast and it's produced in Vancouver to boot!

This photo is about a week old now, I'd post this earlier but forgot.

Very yummy photo of Lala on Flickr.

Make sure you click the video, it's even better!


November 27, 2007

Canon Canada Service Center in Calgary SUCKS

In early October, we sent our Digital Rebel in for repairs, the trigger button was broken... the "press halfway" on the button was basically not working. Since we've had it for over 3 years, the warranty was obviously expired. We had to pay them $214 for this repair.

I sent in the camera with the kit lens, basically because I couldn't find the plastic cover... The camera came back, but with 2 new problems.

#1) The filter on the lens was broken
#2) A speck of dust is inside somewhere in the LCD screen

We called them explaining this.. the CSR responded saying they'll take care of it all.. a new filter and clean the LCD screen... we just have to ship it back to them.

Another 10 days or so later, we got the camera back... no new filter, and the speck is still there....

I called them explaining what happened.... and was told to AGAIN ship it back and they'll take care of it.

I just received the camera today... over a month later now. And as you can see from the photos above which I just took earlier tonight, that the speck of dust is still there... and I don't have a new filter. It looks like I'm going have to ship the camera in for a 4th time now.

I called them today but it was past 2pm PST and the call centre was closed.

Am I frustrated? You bet.... tomorrow I'm going to let them HAVE IT.


June 1, 2007

The Great Circle

Grant's Great Circle Calculator
(Image above from wikipedia)

So Yi sends me and a few friends this wikipedia article about the Great Circle that her co-workers had to work with to build an application to do that calculation and how it gave her a headache to look at.

I looked at it and started at it a bit and figured that deriving it would be impossible with my current state of math awareness (not like I could do it in the past heheh) but implementing it (given the formula above) now would be trivial.... so I did and sent her and my friends the link to a webpage.

It originally accepted 5 values, lat/longs values for two locations and the radius of the sphere defaulting to 6372.795 which is the radius of the Earth.... and it worked!! Yay proof of concept....

The next day her and my friends started goofing around with my calculator by calculating the distances from their homes to various other places such as work... grandparents homes etc.... but it was a bit of a pain because they needed to obtain the lat/long values from another source and then input them into my calculator...

Then someone mentioned something about using google to find the lat longs and then it struck me:


I could just use Google Maps API to geocode the address and use the resulting lat / longs to do the calculation! Having used google maps api before, this would be fairly easy to do....

This resulted in the following webpage:

Grant's Great Circle Calculator Near Release

The in the spirit of annoying internet buzzwords, I decided to bring my little calculator into the world of web 2.0 by ajaxifying it and throwing some pastel colors as well as removing the final "e" in mapper.... this results in the final product:

Grant's Great Circle Mappr

Why did I do this? Well no reason really, I suppose I could throw an ad on it.


May 1, 2007

Processing Key, Media Key and Volume ID found!

As you probably know, it's been all over the news the past day or so. The AACS HDDVD processing key has found, the MPAA is trying to censor all postings of the key but it's pretty much pointless. I could repost it here, but it's pointless you'll find it so easily.

Anyway, what is cooler is how it was done is and it's explained here by the person who did it in the original doom9 thread.

A very interesting read.


April 20, 2007

Bu Pa Bu Pa...


I don't post here for months at a time and I come up with this.

... oh and this.


March 17, 2007

MythTV Project Revisited

So I've been watching TV on my mythbox for a several years now, and I absolutely love it. TV the way I want it, when I want it.

But it's been a few years and my installation needs some updating, i'm running ivtv 0.4.1 drivers and the latest is ivtv 0.10.1, i have 2 drives in ext3 filesystem, I want them LVM'ed together and running xfs... little things that I wish I had done when I first built it are bugging me.... so time for an overhaul.

So this week, I spent my evenings doing a ton of kernel optimizing and recompilations, repartitioned my drives with gparted... lvm'ed the majority of the space into one big XFS filesystem... updated ivtv to 0.10.1 (which required the kernel updates)... brought the pre-sarge "unstable" debian box completely up to date, which meant upgrading nearly every single package on the machine including going from xfree86 to xorg... this broke a tonne of things but I was able to fix them all one at time....Basically a ton of updates and they all have made my pvr way more snappier.

Secondly, finally installed Mythfrontend for OS X on Yi's iMac... and boy holy cow is that cool does ever work great, even watching Live TV works wonderfully over 802.11g.


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