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Showing posts from December, 2005

Splunk - sort through your system logs

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Have a linux box? Try to keep it secure? Try to stay on top of events, breaches and failures? Yes...? You need Splunk.
Splunk organizes your system logs, lets you discover relationships and search for anything you'd like using an easy web interface. Very cool! If you add nagios to this and perhaps a bit of cacti, you'd be in serious business! (y)

Out of Africa

Finally! They're back! arjen and Isabel are back from their 60+ day traveling through Africa... can't wait for the photos! :)

Winter Blizzard

Well, winter's arrived... finally! Check the doppler weather radar over at Teleweer. It's all snow. We were warned by weather forecasts in the UK, so we knew what was coming. Still, I wish all those who *had* to travel today the best of luck out there!
/me pads you on the backs

nemo 33 - deepest indoor pool

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Just browsed again to the site of Belgium's pride and joy: nemo 33. It's a 33 meter (100 feet!) deep indoor, sweet water pool. With it, you could get almost all PADI dive licenses and never leave the comfort of 26+ (celsius) degree warm, crystal clear water.

Convert MS Access into XML

I was looking for a way to access an MS Access database under Linux... well, OpenOffice may do this soon but for now you'll have to live with XMLFox.
XMLFox is a tool to convert MDB files (and other data) into valid XML. It runs under Windows and you'll need .NET framework and the MDAC libraries, but then you can create an XSD and export the data into valid, well-formed XML data. Excellent! Very valuable if you need to convert MSSQL, MS Access or Oracle tables into XML because you want to manually edit it or (better!) store the data in MySQL or another open source database! Just thought I'd share it with you.

Weekly Volcanic Activity Report

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Last year around this time, we were all stunned by images from the tsunami that hit major parts of Asia. A year later, not much changed there are as efforts needed are enormous.
However, forget tsunamis for christmas! What about a vulcano in your backyard for the holidays! The USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report lists vulcanoes that have erupted or showed other activitiy in the last week, month or whatever you pick. The list is impressive and recent eruptions are in populated areas of Mexico (gorgeous red sunsets there for some time to come!), Guatamala and... Mount St Helens!

LG AN110 wall-based projector

Sometimes it's good to know other people think like you! It makes you feel less abnormal, absurd or ridiculous (in any order)...
LG made the ideal beamer aka projector: the LG AN110. Designed to be hung up on the wall instead of the ceiling, it's perfect for rooms where you simply cannot hang something as "ugly as a beamer" in plain sight for everyone to see... :) It's good someone's listening to these women! ;) Now if next they'll listen to the men again and price this baby at anything less than €1000 instead of the current street price of €2499 I'll be even happier...

Martin 2.0

As I was walking through Den Haag, trying to remember what the brand was of Martin's super fast, nuclear fusion-powered rechargable battery loader, I called him.
"Not now, Chris!", he said. "OK, no problem.", I said. And then I began wondering... 24, 25, 26... It could be that he... Would he... Nah he wouldn't! But he did! He answered the phone while his daughter Tyka was coming into the world! I guess he was either terribly shaken or I'm very important! ;) Congratulations, Martin and Femke! :hug:

Amino - AmiNET110

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I get to play with an Amino - AmiNET110 over Christmas. W00t! It's cool, very slick and I have no clue whatsoever what it does! LOL :D But it has a coax-in, coax-out, TV tuner, composite video in, SPDIF out or digital audio and Dolby Digital decoder. :drool:
Best of all, the whole thing fits in my Jeans' back pocket :respect:

update: left it in the office :frusty:

Blender 2.40 Released

Google's Summer of Code has certainly helped out Blender!
Thanks to their support and the hard work of the coders they supported Blender has fluid dynamics simulation done by Nils Thuerey, a powerful inverse kinematics system done by Brecht Van Lommel, and much improved boolean tools done by Marc Freixas. The animation system got a complete rewrite by Ton Roosendaal, as well as other major improvements like flive UV unwrapping LSCM, and a Modifier stack system.
Now they release Blender 2.40!

Santa IM Worm Hits AOL, MSN and Yahoo

Beware of a worm that's travelling through MSN and Y! Instant Messaging network... "The IM.GiftCom.All worm attempts to dupe IM users into thinking an acquaintance has sent them a link to a harmless Santa Claus file." So be careful when you get holiday greetings from friends. :) Kinda funny!

World's smallest mp3 player

The brand-new Apple iPod Flea holds one mp3 song and plays it over and over... ;)

Postproductie Weblog

My friend Werner, also a talented photographer - like Petra - has made a new website. He scratched Mambo due to overwhelming spam and abuse and installed a fresh Pivot blog. :) Cool (y)

Basecamp: Project collaboration, management and task software

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Do you regularly work together with people from different places? People keep coming to and dropping out from your project? Want to globally manage tasks, to-dos, milestones nd deadlines? Need to post messages to project members, schedule chat sessions or teleconferences and maybe share files among project members? Checkout Basecamp.
Basecamp is free, web-based project scheduler. Nothing fancy, you won't get Pert charts or resource-based scheduling and so on. It's not online MS Project. But it will let you organize your projects and logically group all its members in a meaningfull way, very easily and over the web. Update it anywhere you are. Communicate with team members and assign who does what and by when. The RSS feed (so cool!) let's easily track if there are any changes, so you know when to check the website nd when not, saving countless hours!
If you are working on a marketing flyer, folder, TV ad, open source software project, with outsoured programmers in India or…

Streamripper

Need to rip an mp3 stream? Radio broadcast or whatever? Don't wanna pay for it? Use StreamRipper. It'll create .cue files, lt's you choose if you want individual files or one big one and more. And it's free and open source. Groovy!

AJAX and Backbase

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Just found a framework for working with AJAX, built by people in Amsterdam: BackBase. Supposed to be good and solid. Check them out!

One Billion Internet Users

It seems we've achieved a major milestone: One Billion Internet Users. Cool! I used to keep track of this for business plans and so on. Back in 1999/2000, I remember I had 500 million. :)

TrustedReviews - Sony NW-A1000

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While in the US, I was checking new mp3 players. Prices were slightly better ($ instead €) and my old iRiver mp3man died on me. Too much sand in the player (beach and electronics don't mix well). I am looking for a harddisk-based player, 2-5 GB and it must support Ogg Vorbis. That way I can squeeze on more music. The interface is also important. It must import playlists and let me store them anywhere, not just the root.
I has looking at an iPod Nano 2GB, iRiver U10 1GB or the new Sony walkmans NW-A1000 6GB and NW-A3000 20GB. The Nano's are slick, tiny and sound great. But it's Apple... Hmm dunno. The U10 has a cool OLED touchscreen, no buttons, but I couldn't test it. It was gone. :( The Sony's are cool and very trendy but they're huge! Compared to a Nano they are just not right. Especially the A3000 is more like Palm PDA's size. Too big. You do get 20GB however, so it may be worth it. For me it was too much and too big. I also learned on Google that Sony h…

Is there an echo in here

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<Musket> is there an echo in here?
<ManOfStuff> an echo in here?
<FessyBugger> in here?
<Kajifox> here?

ROFLMAO! IRC is brilliant when used properly! (y) Way cool!

RAYMONDWONG.COM

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Raymond Wong, aka Firefox, is a site by a friend from my time in Pittsburgh. He is a friend and former Zet, just like me. :) Cool! Just learned through good ol' 'zm' that he had a site and wrote a book. :respect:

Revolutionary new CMOS chip for digicams

DPReview reports: "Two professors at the University of Rochester in New York have designed a prototype CMOS chip that uses a fraction of the energy used today, captures better images and can run for years on a single battery."
Read the possible applications and technicals details at DPReview. Very cool and very interesting!

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb)

A few days in the US and I've seen the following movies:
* March of the Penguin (8/10)
* Wallace and Grommit (7/10)
* Bad News Bears (4/10)
* The Island (8/10)
* Charly and the Chocolate Factory (seeing it on the flight back)
* Transporter 2
Ahhhh, it feels great! Note to self: SEE MORE MOVIES, you schmuck! Anyone wanna join me? :)

Netcraft: Hostway Most Reliable Hoster in November

Looking for a provider for your web site? Don't forget to check out Netcraft's Hosting Provider tests. Your cheap all-in host may be offline more than you'll think. Better pay a bit more and tay online 100% than be all happy and cheerful only to find your site's inacessible. And while you're at it, sign up for WatchMouse.com's free site monitoring service. It'll mail you when your site has been for more than 3 hours... very handy!

How Much RAM Do You Really Need?

The age old question new PC uyers ask me is "How much RAM do I need?" I always say that Windows needs twice the minimum amount they claim. And each new generation needs more than the previous (same goes for Office). That being said, 1 GB of fast RAM these days should be enough for Joe Average at home, doing nothing more than a bit of word processing, Email, web surfing, etc. Or is it...?
Tom's Hardware asked himself the same question. They have spent days comparing starting-up PC with anywhere from 512MB upto 2GB and with various processors. The results will surprise you! If you're like me, you'll weed through the report. if you're in hurry, you an skip to the results. ;) And know that RAM is cheap these days.

HP dumps Blu-Ray and hops over to HD-DVD

HP is doing a technology dance too. It used to side with Dell for Blu-Ray, the next generation DVD format. Now it seems that licence cost for Blu-Ray will amount to $30 per PC and HP believes that's too much. I tend to agree... however...
They're dumping Blu-Ray over $30 because HD-DVD support will be supported by Microsoft inside Vista (winXP's sucessor). That's kidding yourself because you'll pay a part for Vista too, it's just not that visible. Blu-Ray also uses Java for the interactive part (menus and the like). So Sun, HP's archrival, may be a bit too much in control for HP's taste... Politics, politics, politics...

Google buying into AOL?

I'm in Atlanta airport, killing some time. Signed up for WiFi access to check mail, surf and blog. ;)
This was all over the news here: Google seems to want to buy AOL. AOL is not doing very well and needs a stakeholder. A good one will lift up its spirits (read stock prices). Google needs to fend off Microsoft and Yahoo and both have access providers working for them. So it seems to make sense... We'll see!

Senseo in the US

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How surprised I was to see the Senseo in the Philips office here in Milpitas. Weird, kinda of a flash from home. So out of place.
But I was all happy about the chance for real coffee...! How sad I was to find only "mild roast" around. I always use 2 extra strength pads to make one coffee and "mild roast" is still mild, US ground and roasted, so it's dark tea water. :puke: Oh well, I'll be off into town tonight to do some shopping and hopefully a Starbucks. Thank god for franchizes!

Extreme Macro Photography on a budget

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My friend Moosy sent me this blog about extreme macro photography without the normal cost associated with that. The author uses some glue, a Dremel saw, a can of Pringles (!), a body cap and a cheap 50mm f/1.8 lens (€30-50) to build himself a super cheap macro lens. Check out the story and his results! Impressive!
The author also shows how to make your own cheap flash diffusor or photo lamp using a simple mag-lite.

San Jose

Greetings from San Jose! I'm staying in the Crown Plaza and must say that it's one of the best, friendly, service-oriented hotels I have ever stayed in! Recommended! My rooms is huge and costs $120 per night. Which is normal I guess. Breakfast was very good too, but the coffee... *sigh* they must do something about that! ;) Where's Starbucks when you need one?

Fuck me, I'm famous!

Friend of mine writes documentation for the KDE project. He asked if he could use a photo I took. Sure I said, just mention my name... LOL

Clarkson University Engineer Outwits High-Tech Fingerprint Fraud

Fingerprint scanners are, 9 out of 10 times, easily fooled using Play-Doh™, an artificial, child-safe form of clay that can be manipulated into various forms. Using the Play-Doh researchers at Clarkson University create a fingerprint of someone else and use it to identify thenselves with. The system mistakenly accepts the imprint on the play-doh for the real finger... Doh!
""Digits from cadavers and fake fingers molded from plastic, or even something as simple as Play-Doh or gelatin, can potentially be misread as authentic."

Clarkson University Engineer Outwits High-Tech Fingerprint Fraud

Fingerprint scanners are 9 out of 10 times easily fooled using Play-doh, an artificial, child-safe form of klay that can be manipulated into vaeious forms.

Mastering Ajax

You've heard of Ajax, right? The football (aka soccer) club from Amsterdam. However, finally geeks and nerds in Holland can also join the conversation because AJAX has arrived! So cool! :nerd:
AJAX, or Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, is the latest cool web application technique that ties the user's web front-end to the data back-end. Instead of using boring statics pages, AJAX let's you make cool interactive pages like Google Maps, overlaying your trucks' GPS location onto it and using the mouseOver trigger to display driver's information, hours logged and more. It's not rocket science nor a dramatic killer app. It is just a cool technique to allow you to do the things you want more effectively and efficiently. And now, an expert at IBM has published a newbie's (noobs) introdution course to Master AJAX.

The Software-RAID HOWTO: Hardware issues

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Petra complained today that her disks were overflowing (read: I really must get the backup system operational!). So I dove into Linux, RAID and LVM once more... Minor set back... :(
I knew I had to had erase my previously made cool 733GB LVM storage setup. You first have to create RAID partitions on the hard disks you want to use. Then you need to create a RAID configuration using these hard disks and only then do you create data partitions that users write data onto. However the Linux Documentation Project (TLDP) noted explicitely that you should not use both an IDE Master and Slave device from the same bus in your RAID setup! If the Master device fails, the entire bus will likely fail, causing your RAID setup to fail because suddenly two disks simultaneously fail. That is the one thing a RAID system cannot handle. So what now...?
The TLDP advises you to buy a hardware IDE RAID controller. They are only $80... well Tweakers' Pricewatch showed me that recommended Linux compatible…

The future of HTML: WHAT?

"HTML isn't a very good language for making Web pages. However, it has been a very good language for making the Web. HTML's ease of learning and the view source capability for browsers has bootstrapped the Web's popularity in an amazing way. "
But there's more to come... AJAX, XHTML 2.0 (psych!) and the WHATWG method. Read many more details at IBM.

G.992.5 - ADSL modems

I know you are probably never gonna need this, but if you do, it'll be critical. :) So just to prepare for that situation I blog this:
ITU G.992.1) describes Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) Transceivers on a metallic twisted pair that allows high-speed data transmission between the Central Office (ATU-C) and the customer end remote terminal (ATU-R).
Then there is G.992.5 (PDF) which specifies ADSL2+ stuff. I told you, you'd never need it... ;) (But I will!)

Luijksgestel

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Travelling finally caught up with me. Getting up at 6am every morning is not the worst part, but sitting in the train for 2 hours after an already looong day is just too much. Thankfully, through a friend from the KIVI Kring Den Haag, who's son has a bungelow near Eindhoven, I can rent the place until Christmas and save myself 4 hours of commuting back and forth. Pffew. Now I miss my girlfriend, of course. It's not that bad, but not having her around feels a bit empty... Oh well, no such thing as a free lunch I suppose.
I did get to sleep in until 7am this morning and made it to work by 8am. Just as I normally do. So that's good. Now if I could install satellite TV in the place and add a 4Mb DSL line, I'd be a happy camper... Literally! :)

Tivo announces Internet services on Series2 DVR

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Funny that when you work on some topic you start noticing all kinds of other news you'd normally never even register! Now that I'm working with IPTV stuff, I saw that Tivo has announced Internet services. Using the Tivo, you can access news, Yahoo Photos, Weather and Traffic information on your TV.
I also found out that they're doing it using Java and there's a Tivo Developers Kit on SourceForge.

Roxette singer free of cancer

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Recently, I heard a remake of the Roxette song "Listen to your heart" on the radio and remember that they were about to go on tour when she was diagnozed with cancer. The tour was cancelled, etc. etc. But since then I had't heard anything. So I just did some digging (heard another song on the radio) and found out: Roxette singer Marie Fredriksson was declared free of cancer this year, on my birthday! LOL Cool! She is no longer receiving medication and will probably get back to work. But for now, she's ok and taking it easy... (y) Good to hear!
I always liked Roxette and they had a big hit on the day I graduated from Pitt (April 28th 1990). Good memories! :D

Vulcanoes: Kilauea reveals lava waterfall

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Lots of Mother Nature's revenge this week! Earthquake in Kenia. Three vulcano eruptions with Mount Etna too. But the best one has to be lava waterfall at Kilauea in Hawaiï. 44 acres (roughly 10 hectare) slowly collapsed into the ocean. The rip broke open the wall of lava and fresh lava flowed into the sea from a height of 6 feet (1.8m) once more.

AutoPatcher 2000 October 2005

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My sister wants her server upgraded, so I bought some components at Informatique (excellent (web)store, BTW), had them shipped to her. They got there the next day and now I'm collecting downloads for her system on my laptop. I'll be knee-high in old P3@800 parts tomorrow and may not have a fast download link. So I'll abuse my work's one. ;)
She is still running win2k, which is fine for her and doesn't make high demands on her hardware either. Of course, support has stopped for Windows 2000, officially, last June. But they have released a whole slew of critical fixes nonetheless. One thing you *will* need when you (regularly) reinstall Windows machines is AutoPatcher.
AutoPatcher is a collection of all fixes and patches that Microsoft released up to a certain time. They update the mega download about every quarter. So after you install Windows, apply a Service Pack and then apply the AutoPatcher. That will get to up and running safely, before you connect the interne…

Sjoerdski

I also keep checking Sjoerdski's blog but I guess his DSL is still not reactivated. Bummer, man! Hang in there... It's tough, no Net... :hug:

Helping Martin

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Almost forgot... Petra and I went to help Martin and Femke with their new house... Martin made some pictures, and there's one where I show the brand of the can of paint like you see on these home improvement shows... LOL Even includes my cheesy smile! ;)
And I thought *we* had done a lot of construction in our house, last year. But if I was crazy, Martin and Femke border on outrageously insane! MY GOD they did a lot of breaking and entering before (re)construction was started... Wow!

Photography - www.overstekendbeeld.nl

An old friend from college, Marieke, now has a site of her own too: overstekendbeeld. She was always active with (B&W) photography but she seems to have switched as well! I used to talk with her about it, as I was also always dragging my good ol' Ricoh KR5 Super around. *sigh* good old days! She calls herself a freelane photographer. Cool! Good luck, Marieke! Photos look very nice!

Focusing after the shot

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DPReview reports that a student has developed a camera that let's you take photos first, focus later! Isn't that cool!?!
"Ren Ng, graduate student at Stanford University has developed a hand-held plenoptic camera which takes a shot first and allows you to make the decision about focus point in software after the event."
The prototype Contax 645 has an array of 90,000 microlenses mounted in front of the sensor (with a gap between the array and the sensor). These microlenses create a unique image on the sensor surface which includes not only the amount of light deposited at that location, but how much light arrives along each ray. :respect: