Posts

Showing posts from November, 2005

WiFi is in da house

Image
Well, it's finally true: I'm WiFied! :)
My old DSL router died a few weeks ago. I wanted to buy a replacement but Holland had done that about 5 minutes before me. Shops were all out, so I ordered a Speedtouch 585 from a webshop. Got it a bit late :(, but worse, it also turned to out to be broke. So I sent it back, got a new one and set it up yesterday. Tonight, I switched on WiFi with WPA security. Now I just need to find a good place to put it, because I was sitting 3m from the damn base station and my connection dropped away every 5 minutes... Grrr
You *must* really use WPA, BTW, WEP encryption can be cracked in under 10 minutes these days. So if you have personal stuff on the network, use WPA. If not, don't bother with security at all! Let it roam!

Jailkit - chroot jail utilities

If you run a Linux server and it has public access, meaning anyone out there can get to it, you better protect it. Although Linux is regarded more than Windows, a properly configured server is always than a default one. :)
Linux uses a procedure known as "chroot", where the program runs with special limited priviliges inside a "jail". Should the process be hacked through some yet unknown security flaw, the risk is limited as the proces that was hacked only has access to what you decided. For instance, a web or mail server can't do anything but server web pages or Email.
The Jailkit is a set of utilities to make setting this up a lot easier. Best of all, it also works with Fedora 4 and OpenSuSE 10. So it's within reach of home users wanting to set up a more secure home environment as well as use the Linux server for useful services... like collecting all your Email for you, mp3 server, file vault or a bzflag server. ;)

What's New With IE, Firefox, Opera

The browser war has ended, right. Everyone's using MSIE, as bad as that may be. Or not. You never know what might be possible until you try another browser. But if you don't want to install new versions or mess with bèta versions, read PC Worlds latest Browser Test With IE, Firefox, Opera. IE 7 bèta, Firefox 1.5 èta and Opera 9 Preview 1... take your pick!

Internet Guide to Freighter Travel

Image
How about going to Kenia? Bahamas? Tahiti? New Zeeland...? For free!?! Sure you can! Just check out the Internet Guide to Freighter Travel. You'll find out all there is to know about working and living on a ship that goes where you want to go. Learn about who to approach, where to stay, where not and what life on board is all about. :) Cool! It's still on my wishlist...

Sinterklaas

Image
Spent the weekend in Assen, at Mleen's place. Took forever to get there, on friday, but I made it. It was nice. I slept until 2pm, went down, had coffee and called in to the ENIAC reunion in Enschede. There was no way I was gonna make it on time. :( Snow was terrible down there and by the time I'd be there, the reunion would be over. So Machiel gave me off! Yeah! So I relaxed some more and watched some DVDs... Brother Bear, Fantastic Four and some drama with Meg Ryan :Z busy weekend! ;)

Winterstorms move Europe into dark ages

After a major storm moved down over England and into Holland/Germany, it now seems the storm(s) have caused drastic snowfall and strong winds in all of Europe. We had 850km of traffic piled up on Friday evening. Many people got stuck on the highways for hours and couldn't go forward nor backward. Police, Red Cross and Army handed out blankets and water. Many had to spend the night in their cars too.
So when people strarted taking the trains after work, an accident caused Utrecht Central, the backbone and pivot of *all* railroad tracks here in Holland caused chaos on the trains too. Trains were backup leading to Utrecht. All go-arounds also got backup as more and more accidents occured near major train stations and short trips suddenly took *hours*, literally. I went from Eindhoven to Assen. It normally takes 2,5 hours. This time it took me 10 hours! I left at 5pm (17:00) and arrived at 230am (02:30). UNBELIEVABLE!
But Europe had major snow troubles. (Article in Dutch, though).

Which CPU does what and for how much?

Tom's Hardware Guide has updated their Mother of All CPU Charts With Dual Cores! How do theyh compare to each other? Are they worth the money? How many bang for the buck do you get? And what's with these dual-core thingies anyway...?
As Slashdot said: grab an extra large coffee mug, fill'r up and read away. There's 60-odd CPUs to compare. Take you pick(s).

Sony brings LocationFree Television In Tokyo

This is cool!
In Toyko, you can watch LocationFree TV! Add the Sony LF-PK1 to your laptop or a PSP and watch streaming TV anywhere there's net access! That's the way of the future, with WiFi available in many public places.

Long summer, brief fall, winter's started

Image
Well, we all knew it couldn't last. Mid november temps of 20 degrees are nice but not normal, to say the least. So while the rest of the Earth seemed to be blasted by Mother Nature, we appeared to be Mother's Favorites and enjoyed splendid weather... until now!
Mom's always right, so she blasted us with 110 km/hr winds, rain from every possible direction mixed with hail, snow and sand. Holy cow! Going to the train at 6 in the morning is bad enough. I really didn't have to be blown backwards and sideways!!! LOL Wasn't so funny this morning, though. Dutch news site nu.nl has a little picture book of photos from around Holland of the storm... A high of 1 degree is expected this weekend. Check Dutch doppler radar.

Latin Sayings

In need for profound wisedom?
Check these Latin sayings to sound inmensly intellectual, all of a sudden. ;) The translations are in Dutch, so fairly useless for greater commonwealth of this world. LOL :D

Gaming can deadly... seriously

In the latest saga over online gaming addiction in China, the parents of a 13-year-old Tianjin boy are suing the makers of World of Warcraft, blaming the game for the death of their son, according to the Chinese news agency Xinhua. Read more on RedHerring.

Alienware m7700 laptop - all you'll ever need

Image
Alienware, case modders galore, have made the kill-them-all laptop!
The Alienware m7700. It's got a dual-core AMD 64 X2, 17" wide-screen LCD, nVidia Quadro FX video card and supports 2 hard disks with RAID, if you choose to do so! W00t! And all that for only $2000! That's €1500! It's a steal so cheap... ;) Gimme gimme gimme!

The Anatomy of LVM

Well... I seem to have my Tower of Power setup now... pffew!
It's very exciting. I'm a little hesitant still, dunno for sure it works as advertized as I - we - haven't used it extensively yet. But I now have my server setup as file server with NFS and SAMBA (for Windows file sharing).
I have 4 hard disks: one old Quantum 8 GB ATA33 disk used as boot and root drive (for Debian). Then I have 3 identical Hitachi 250GB ATA100 disks for storage. I divided my boot drive into:
- 512 MB swap /dev/hda1
- 2048 MB reiserfs /dev/hda2 as /home
- 6000 MB reiserfs /dev/hda3 as /
Should my hard disk crash and wipe data, it'll be the partition table and/or the swap file. Both of these, I can recover easily. I've formatted the 3 big drives as LVM2. In Linux you set them to type 0x8e, then it won't ask you anymore questions. :) I then installed Webmin, as I want to remotely admin the server and not *have* use ssh nor the command line. Once I had Webmin installed and configured (this t…

New cool project at work

Well, looks like I have that job I told you about. On Monday we'll talk final details. RealOpen IT is hiring me off to work on XHTML content for embedded Linux with a browser running in everyday household audio/video electronic appliances. It could be very cool. Hope all goes well. Big downside is that I'll work in Eindhoven and have 4 hours of travelling everyday. :'( So I'll make 60 hour weeks until January 20th. :( I'm negotiating extra leave days or salary. Because it's insane to do for a longer period of time... And I'll need the rest once the project is over.
/me keeps fingers crossed

Roku PhotoBridge HDTV, WiFi, MythTV and freedom from wires

Image
Just ICQed with Jelte and he told me about the Roku PhotoBridge...
It's basically a digital media viewer or player. No harddisk, just a card reader, WiFi, Ethernet and decoders. So zero (!) dB noise! It can play MPEG2/MPEG4/mp3 files over the network. Or make a slideshow of your digital storage cards, like SD or Compact Flash. Best of all, it outputs HDTV standard. So it'll really utilize your widescreen LCD/plasma TV instead of sampling those 6 Mpx photos down to what's displayed on TV. ;)
But wait! There's more! It gets more interesting... Now add your server into the picture. That's where you store all your mp3, photos and ripped/copied movies. You could add a TV card to the server, feed it your local coax TV cable and watch TV on the PC (your server). You could then add MythTV to your server to get free EPG (Electronic Programming Guide) info off the Net, record your favorite shows from cable to your HD and play or stream them to the Roku in the livingroom which …

DokuWiki

Image
Sometimes you have the need to write some form of documentation or manual for a project or product you're working on, but you don't really know what to write or who'll write it or what. However, during the course of the project you'd like to capture pieces of documentation, ideas, nice-to-know information, plans, bug, work-arounds and so on. You can use any wordprocessor to do this, of course. But what about sharing the document with co-workers? Simultaneously? Are they all in the same office? Same floor? Same building? City? Not very likely, right?
For that problem, Wiki's were invented. A Wiki is basically a program that runs from your web server, like an extension or a web appliation, and it allows everyone who registers to add/edit/delete any object from the Wiki. Don't worry, there's a CVS system that allows you to roll back everything you had, in case someone messes it up or deletes things in an angry mood. Wikipedia is the prime example of what's …

Photos from Armin Only!

Image
Finally! I had forgotten about them, almost... so now I have my photos from Armin Only! online!
There are not really good. There was too much smoke for the flash and slow sync be any good. I upped the ISO to 400, but sadly the IXUS 55 has quite a bit of noise. :( Oh well... On a small scale they still manage to look nicely and I had a blast. So the photos bring back a good feeling! :)

BZFlag

Image
This may sound really silly to you, but after playing hardcore FPS games again last weekend, I'm just aching for a computer game again. A bit of good old, clean fun with people and some shooting, laughing and sneaking up on them. LOL
So I challenged my colleagues to a couple of games of BZFlag. And I have to admit: it's damn easy and soo much fun! And addictive!!! You get the hang of it in less than 5 seconds. But you can also get technical with it (physics, flags with special abilities, etc.)
So I'll keep you posted on progress. I just noticed that we're using an old version and today we tweaked the config file a bit more... Keep you posted!

uClinux

Image
I may soon do a very cool project for a consumer electronics manufacturer. Internet content on household appliances. I'd be involved in XHTML/CSS stuff for browsers running on uClinux... so I'm reading up on my embedded books... The boxes will use a Sigma 8620 chip for media codecs, FYI.
/me grabs a copy, a bags of chips, coke and settles in a comfy chair

Microsoft Software to Require 64-bits

New software from Microsoft may soon*require* that you have a 64 bit processor aka CPU. No, that does *not* include a Pentium 4! Let alone anything before that. In other words, everyone on the planet needs to upgrade and buy new CPUs... at least, because a new CPU almost always means a new motherboard, which means new memory and a new chipset. 64 bits CPUs are the Intel Xeon and Itanium or AMD Athlon64 and X2 chips.
The good news is that the move is mainly geared towards the server side. So Joe Smoo will not be affected, yet. However, all computer departments out there will have to switch. MS Exchange 12 will be among the first to require a 64 bit platform. It is scheduled to appear early 2007... ka-tching

All My Movies & AnyDVD

For people who download a lot of movies of the Net, it's getting more and more difficult to keep track of all of them. Luckily someone had the same problem and made All My Movies to solve the problem.
All My Movies scans your storage for all the movies it can find (avi, mpeg, mov, divx, vcd, dvd, etc.), it checks for information about the movie like unique codes or comments, runs over to imdb.com to fetch movie information and so on, and packs the whole thing into its database. So it's basically like CDDB and ID3 tags for mp3 files but for movies... B)
And for those of you who watch lots of DVDs with different region codes and protection schemes and so on... you may want to check out AnyDVD. It sits in the background while you play a DVD, but it decrypts any protection the DVD may have as well as present it as a region free DVD. So you don't have to worry about any settings whatsoever. neat huh?!

Sony rootkit DRM: how many infected titles?

If you're wondering how many Sony CD contains the potential DRM-inspired spyware aka rootkit aka security leak... the Register reports at least 47 titles that can potentially open up your PC to the world... microsoft's anti-spyware kit even detects it now. Hehehe, a marketing bobo will surely pay for this!

Digital Photography Review: Canon EOS 5D Review

Digital Photography Review has posted an in-depth review of the Canon EOS 5D. :drool:

Jazz at Scallywags

Still recuperating from Armin, Petra and I went into town to get some new shirts for Petra. Afterwards, we decided to stop by Scallywags the Restaurant and see Richard again. He was just back from Beirut and we tought w'd check up with him.
When we came in, it was as if we hadn't been away at all. The place is great, the atmosphere cozy and warm (when the heater works peoperly ;-) and the people always friendly. Best of all, it was a jazz night! We always fall with our noses in the butter. :-) So we cancelled other plans and ideas, nested deep in the comfy high chairs, poured ourselves another wine (membership has it's perks!) and waited what the night would bring. The Braber Trio was outstanding! Excellent smooth jazz, great musicians! The music was so good that you only noticed when they were *not* playing. :) Cool! At 11pm we hauled outselves home, bushed, beat and tired. But man, what a nice weekend we've had! :D

Armin Only

Image
:yawn: We went to Armin Only yesterday and enjoyed an 8 hour show by Armin van Buuren. He's #2 DJ of the world and it shows! What a show! Holy Moly! We had a super blast of a time. Great place (Ahoy) , great people.
Thanks to my friends Martin and Edgar, Astrid and Petra who made it a night to remember. Can't wait for the DVD!!!

I love XS4ALL ADSL

Just a casual login on my DSL modem/router... and what do I see...?

Line Status Enabled
Bandwidth Up/Down (Kbit/sec) 512 / 3072
Uptime 7d 02:42

My XS4ALL subscription has been upgraded and my DSL speed has *doubled*! :shock: :bounce: :party:
/me jumps around the house, happy like a little kid that just got a toy

Goodbye Debian, Helllooo Ubuntu

Image
Being the impatient and after talking to my good old friend Herokiller last night during an after hours hardcore gaming night (Call of Duty2), I decided to give Ubuntu 5.10 a spin. It's Debian-based but more completely configured out-of-the-box and even his diehard Linux colleagues have been won over by the soft brown tones of this outstanding Linux disto.
And I must say: wow! It's a joy to work with, a breeze to enhance and expand because it's still Debian (and has apt-get) and comes without the normal post-installation woes that pure Debian has: edit sources.list, apt-get updates, extra packages, reboot, tweak, configure, etc. Ubuntu rocks! Highly recommended if you want to switch over from Windows!

When you don't use web standards

Disney UK has redesigned their website. However, instead of taking advantage of new technology and web standards, they have gone back into the dark ages and site (running on IIS) has many problems. And they're using a CMS, for crying out loud (WebSiteStory). So bad is the result, that WaSP have written an open angry letter to encourage them to do something about it.

First Trojan using Sony DRM spotted

You may or may not have heard about the security hole Sony's DRM software install in your PC. If not, please read this next article!
the Register reports that the First Trojan using Sony DRM was spotted. "Sony-BMG's rootkit DRM technology masks files whose filenames start with "$sys$". A newly-discovered variant of of the Breplibot Trojan takes advantage of this to drop the file "$sys$drv.exe" in the Windows system directory."

New robot has 20,000 brain cells

Image
"Researchers at the Neurosciences Institute (NSI) in La Jolla, California have developed 'Darwin VII' a trashcan-shaped robot that has just 20,000 brain cells. The infant crawls across a floor strewn with blocks, grabbing and tasting as it goes, its malleable mind impressionable and hungry to learn. It is already adapting, discovering that the striped blocks are yummy and the spotted ones taste bad, the report said.
Its exploration is driven by instincts: an interest in bright objects, a predilection for tasting things, and an innate notion of what tastes good."
Coool! Man I think I'll persue a PhD in A.I. after all...! This stuff is REALLY getting interesting. B)

LinuxWorld 2005 over

Image
Pfff, LinuxWorld 2005 in the Netherlands is over. Why is it that no matter how well you prepare yourself, conventions like this always seem to completely drain you of energy?
All went well and the second day was much better than the first. We got lots of press and exposure and some nice leads. So in the end it was all worth it.
We had the world's first fault-tolerant hardware server from Stratus running RedHat. It ran an old 2.4 kernel, sadly, but it ran all unmodified software I threw at it! We won a prize for most pre-signups for our whole company! Cool! B) I'll get a demo system to play with around January 2006. Excellent! And I showed SugarCRM off to many astonished people. I saw a great thin client solution from Sun (surprise, surprise!): SunRay, and I was very impressed. You may sacrifice some flexibility but you gain a zero-maintenance desktop in the process! B) I have my pictures online.

LinuxWorld 2005

I'll be out of the office for two days, to be at the LinuxWorld 2005 in Utrecht.

I Like You!

Having a bad day...? Autumn Blues got you down? Nothing going right...? (Shut up, James (Taylor)!) Go to this page: I Like You and you'll feel better.
:hug:

Printing your own OLED display

Image
Cambridge Display Technology (CDT) has succeeded in printing (compared to printing a page using your own inkjet printer) an OLED display with 1280x768 pixels (widescreen). This is cool for two reasons. One, printing a display is significantly cheaper than previous techinques, so the screen will cost less. Two, an OLED screen is capable of working without backlit so it'll use far less energy than normal LCD or TFT screens.

Manly weekend

Image
It was a manly weekend. First, we got up early to finish the last chores around the house with the help of Petra's parents. I hated it, absolutely no energy, but it had to be done. Then it is good to have some help around who just keep working, despite your whining, and force you to accept defeat and help them in turn. :)
On Sunday afternoon, finally, it was time to unpack my goodies from Informatique: an MSI K8T Neo2-F V2 mobo, 512 MB RAM, three (!) 250 GB Hitachi harddisks and mounting brackets, and get busy with my good old Tower of Power and a Debian Sarge netinstall CD. I emptied the big tower except for the 8GB Quantum Fireball SE drive to boot from, put the three 250 GB hard disks in the 5.25" slots, hooked it all up to the mobo and installed Debian over the net. So cool to see it churning along. ;) Then, I paritioned the boot drive with a 512 MB swap partition, a 2 GB /home partition and a 5.9 GB root partition. The three drive were defined as LVM partitions, but not …

No ID's at all

No ID's at all
Another blog of a friend of mine... Welcome AJ! (y)

OMNIFI - Car mp3 player with WiFi

Image
The great thing about mp3 in your car is that it's like an endless CD changer. The bad part is, though, that no matter how much you compress audio, the disc will be full at some point. So a hard disk based player is better, since 40, 60 or 80 GB is much *much* larger. However, you need to get the device, hook it up to your PC and transfer audio until you have everything. Wouldn't it be nice to update a harddisk-based mp3 car audio player without the need to remove it from your car?
You can! With the OMNIFI DMP1! It's a 20 GB harddisk in a casing that you mount anywhere in your car. It has a receiver and a WiFi connection to your home network. Install it in your car, power it up, close your car, go to your PC, find the DMP1's drive and copy the audio. Easy as pie! Piece of cake! (y) And I bet, if you're clever, you can open it up and put in a bigger hard disk. Coz 20 GB is for newbies just starting their CD collection. :)

10 Mpx CCD for compact cameras

Image
Sharp announced a new 10 megapixel CCD sensor for consumer digital cameras. The 7.17 mm by 5.31 mm sensor will deliver images with a resolution of 3766 by 2801 pixels. This may not be so great, though. Current small CCDs design already have a lot of static noise at resolutions higer than 8 Mpx. Cramming that may pixels onto a small surface it asking for problems. So it may just be market pressure.

Details on the Nikon D200 leaked

Today Nikon introduces a new DSLR: the D200...
Heise Online reported very detailed technical specs, yesterday. It offers 10 Mpx resolution, a burst speed of 5 frames per second, 11 auto focus points, USB 2.0, WiFi and GPS support (what for?) a 2.5" screen and an MSRP (Manufactuer Suggested Retail Price) of $1849... Read the detailed hands-on over at DPReview.

NASA has a plan for asteroid deflection

Image
NASA monitors about 6000 objects flying in various orbits arnoud the Earth. Some small, space garbage, some bigger, defunct sattelites. They have just added a 400 m asteroid to the list, expected to fly by the Earth at 10,000 miles or so in 2029. That's in 25 years. Should it miss us the first time around, it may return 7 years later and slam into the Earth after all... Scary huh!?! It's serious, however, deadly serious.
If I remember correctly from watching Discovery channel... Should an object larger than 1 m collide with Earth, we'll get a serious winter for about a year or so. Food will be in short supply. If the object is larger than 10 m, Earth weather will be affected for 2-3 years. Is it > 100 m, you can kiss the Earth goodbye! 1 Billion people will die on impact and 2-3 billion more in the years to come until all the dust has settled. Read more on the Register.

Apple sells a million videos through iTunes

Apple said it has sold a million videos through iTunes in 20 days, since it started offering the service to coincide with the release of the video iPod. They began selling about 2,000 music videos and episodes of ABC's "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" for $1.99 (1.12 pounds) on October 12. The Video iPod is a new generation of Apple's iPod digital music player that can play video on its 2.5-inch color screen.