Category Archives: Tech

Treo Resurrection

Well today was a good day. This afternoon my Treo came back from the dead. It bonked on me back in late January or early February; right around the time Lorelei was born. Luckily I had a spare Razr laying around I could swap the SIM card into, or else I would have been without a phone the last five months. But now I spent a bit of time monkeying around with the phone today, and it came back to life. Lord know how long before the speakerphone and volume drop off again, but for now I can enjoy my clunky, old Treo 650 again. Hurrah.

And yes, I still love my Treo 650 too, it’s been a good phone for me. Getting it back is like seeing an old friend again after too long an absence.

Friday Night Geekatron

Sorry, this is probably incredibly boring to most folks, but I just spent a large portion of Friday night monkeying around trying to get my Windows laptop to connect and print to my venerable Apple LaserWriter 4 600. It was not small feat; the LaserWriter only speaks Appletalk; a networking protocol unknown to the Windows machine. The LaserWriter is connected to the home network via a Localtalk to Ethernet bridge, the aging Ethermac iPrint Adapter from long extinct Farallon.

Thanks Mac Os X Hints for pointing me in the right direction. A little bit of editing to smb.conf and printers.conf on my iMac G5, turn on Samba and print sharing, download the Adobe PostScript print driver and voila, I am printing to my LaserWriter, something I have wanted to do for years and never thought possible without installing Dave or some other such Appletalk client.

And now I can go to bed a little geekier, and content in the knowledge that Macs are cool and I can print my boring spreadsheets and emails from the ThinkPad now.

Now That’s Cool

One thing I’ve discovered while feeding the baby in the early morning hours; television sucks at 4:00 am. No surprise there. An endless succession of infomercials and bad reruns populates the cable netherworld at those hours.

Which is why I was pleasantly surprised to discover something that I never really thought about before. Seems like the major networks are putting their programs up on the web these days. And not just clips or highlights – entire episodes are available to watch, commercial free. And some even sport entire seasons and even multiple seasons. I guess it’s time to finally watch Lost. And Heroes. I’m currently working through a show I’d never even heard about until last week. It’s a post apocalyptic show called Jericho, sort of in the vein of The Day After miniseries. A town in Kansas survives a nuclear attack and the troubles that appear afterwards, from disease and fire to out of control armed government contractors (a la Blackwater). I find it amazing the lengths networks will go to in their efforts to keep stuff off Youtube. Hats off to them though, it’s perfect for a geek with broadband and sporadic television watching habits.

Let Me Heap Praise Upon My Phone

I am techno-gadget geek kind of a guy; I’ve got multiple computers, ethernet in my home; wireless hubs and a couple cellphones. Yes a couple cellphones. Long story short; my old phone died last fall (after taking a swim in the Guatali River-Boonie Stomp casuality. I loved that Sanyo 8100) and I needed a phone ASAP since I don’t have a home phone anymore. I grabbed the cheapest phone at IT&E as a replacement. Unfortunately two days before the demise of my Sanyo phone, I had ordered a replacement phone – a Palm Treo 650 off of eBay. So I ended up with two phones. And the coverage for the GSM Treo is terrible non-existant in Yoña, but it has all the features I want and works in town. So at night I forward the Treo to my other phone and talk it up in Yoña.

And what a phone it is, my cheap ass Kyocera K10. It ain’t much to look at, but it works everywhere on Guam. It’s a simple phone, no camera or computer connectivity, but it does have one killer feature that makes it valuable: A built in LED flashlight. I cannot express how useful this flashlight is, I use it all the time. And I’m not the only one, Taliea had the same phone and loved it, my friend Vic had the phone and loved it so much that even after he broke the phone, he still keeps it in his truck to use as a flashlight.

And sorry for the lack of posts – or the lack of anything but stupid link lists. Been quite busy lately.

Swiss Prepared For Nuclear Holocaust

Not only do they make nice watches and tasty chocolate, the Swiss are also pretty darn good and making fallout shelters. Seriously big fallout shelters. One of those weird things you rarely hear about, but apparently Swiss law requires fallout shelters on new homes. And the municipal governments provide mass fallout shelters as well – visions of underground bunkers, full of Swiss morlocks making watches and explosive chocolates for the Mad Max overworld come to mind.

California Eyes High Speed Rail

California officials are eyeing a high speed rail connection between San Francisco and San Diego, using France’s TGV locomotives. Cool idea, but I wouldn’t ride it. I’ve seen how Amtrak operates and I know there would be a catastrophic derailment within a week of that train beginning service.

At least the French now how to operate it. The TGV made a new speed record for railroads today.

Hot Hot Toolbar Action

Okay, I don’t use Internet Explorer very much, I prefer Firefox when I am at work and I must use Windows. But today I downloaded the new Yahoo! Toolbar for Internet Explorer, and it is pretty damn cool. If I used IE all the time, I’d definitely go with that instead of the Google Toolbar. Just saying… They’re both pretty cool. But Firefox kicks ass. Especially with Adblock Plus and the Filterset G – I literally never see a single ad – even those annoying Flash ads that take over the screen. Just never happens. Throw in Fasterfox and Tab Mix Plus – web surfing at it’s finest. And these are just scratching the surface, there are thousands of cool extensions for Firefox like Greasemonkey, Performancing and StumbleUpon.

Bah, I babble. There’s football on right now…

Stirling Solar Power

I mentioned it a couple years ago, but it looks like the initial pilot project for Stirling Energy is about to be authorized by the state of California. Eventually Stirling Energy will operate one of the largest solar power facilities in the country, a 500 MW, 4,500 acre behemoth in the countryside around Victorville, CA. At this stage however, plans are for a pilot project of 40 Stirling solar collectors instead of the projected 20,000 that will dot the landscape.

Stirling engines are cool. I really wish something like this would come to Guam, we get lots of sunshine. And wind too.

More Random Links

Got a few more odds ‘n ends to mention.

  • Game making software – The software is free, but buy the book. And go forth and make a side-scrolling wonder my children.
  • The Book of Sand Hypertext/Puzzle – Yes, the Book of Sand.
  • The Interplanetary Bike Ride – It’s actually in Peoria, but it does promise to visit all the planets.
  • Searching for Sufis – Interesting essay on Sufism.
  • Watching Beirut Die – Chef, author and TV host Anthony Bourdain was in Beirut when the war started. He was filming a special on Beirut’s resurgence and the promise of peace. Oops.
  • Andrei Sakharov’s Prescience – Looks like Sakharov foresaw the internet and blogs by almost two decades.

    Far in the future, more than 50 years from now, I foresee a universal information system (UIS), which will give everyone access at any given moment to the contents of any book that has ever been published or any magazine or any fact. The UIS will have individual miniature-computer terminals, central control points for the flood of information, and communication channels incorporating thousands of artificial communications from satellites, cables, and laser lines. Even the partial realization of the UIS will profoundly affect every person, his leisure activities, and his intellectual and artistic development. Unlike television… the UIS will give each person maximum freedom of choice and will require individual activity. But the true historic role of the UIS will be to break down the barriers to the exchange of information among countries and people.

    This was written in 1974.

  • Imad Moustapha – Speaking of blogs, the Syrian ambassador to the US has a blog.
  • Why I Am Not A Christian – Classic essay by Bertrand Russell, his arguments against religion and God.

Clearing Some Links

Randomly interesting stuff, but it’s time to clear some tabs in my browser.

Three Plus Months Of Declining Page Hits

I switched from Blogger to WordPress a little over three months ago now. And while I am pleased with the switch, it looks like people are losing interest in my little slice of the internet. Page hits are down, markedly down since I switched to the new website and blogging software. A rather precipitous drop in fact.

12 Month's Visits

Oh well. I will continue trudging along. I suppose a large part of that for the past few weeks comes from the continual outages from Dreamhost. Apparently my hosting provider is having severe network snafus, and power outages to boot.

I don’t think I am extraordinarily vain, but it is a little distressing to see the ever increasing readership peak and then plummet. Makes me wonder if I am growing stale. Then I realize most of those hits were just random Google searches and not any sort of regular readership. This new layout does not have the archive links the old page had down the side, which means once something slips off the front page Google can’t follow links to find it anymore and that content is no longer included in the great and all knowing Google Dance. I guess I better look into adding those links back if I am really serious about increasing my page hits.

Random Links

Time for a flurry of random, unrelated links to marginally interesting stuff. Behold the power of the internets!

  • Mapping Medieval Townscapes – An atlas of the towns founded by Edward I between 1277 and 1303. That’s Edward Longshanks, the evil king from Braveheart. Make no mistake, these villages were founded in Wales for the exact purpose that Israel plopped down all those settlements in the West Bank.
  • Nazi aircraft carrier located – A Polish oil exploration outfit has found the wreck of Nazi Germany’s only aircraft carrier, the Graf Zeppelin. The ship never saw action in World War II, and there is some speculation about how it was sunk.
  • Book of Psalms found in Irish bog – A thousand year old copy of the Book of Psalms was discovered by a construction in a peat bog.
  • Virtue Desktops – If you own a Mac, this is worth it’s weight in gold. This gives you four different virtual desktops to play with, just like any other Unix/Linux system. VirtueDesktops is the bee’s knees. I can’t sing it’s praises enough.
  • 86400 Moments – An interesting photo exhibit, documenting a day in Joshua Tree National Park.
  • Apple Support Specifications – Can’t get enough information about current and older Macs? Check out Apple’s support pages with details about every Powerbook, iMac, iBook, iPod, eMac, PowerMac, AirPort, MacBook, Mac Mini or display Apple’s ever made.
  • Mechanical Turk – Looking to make a few bucks doing a mindless job for Amazon? Turns out it is a lot easier for them to pay scads of people a bit of money to identify stuff (pink shoes, jazz records, tabby cats) than to write software to do the same thing. Get in on the action and earn a couple bucks today.
  • Underground Russia – Morlocks
  • Rachel Ray and the food snobs – Just digging through the long tail here folks. I think she looks cute, though maybe a little too perky.
  • Underground Japan – More Morlock technology.
  • Camera phones are ‘obstruction of justice’ – This guy was arrested for taking a picture of cops in a drug bust on his street.
  • Pat Robertson and Senator James Inhofe on the threat of environmentalism – Whoa. That just creeps me out.
  • The Eco-Bubble – Speaking of the environment, maybe it is starting to look like the tech bubble of the nineties. But that ain’t exactly a bad thing.

Ramblings

  1. I won a free tank of gas today! How cool is that? Thanks Hit Radio 100 and 76 gas stations. Saved me $45 this afternoon. I only wish I’d filled it up with the super unleaded.
  2. This is good for a chuckle or two; Yeti@Home. I especially like the bit about “Download Version 1.00 of YETI@Home for: Windows, BeOs, OS2, Linux, Amiga Workbench, Atari ST, Altair, TRS-80, Vectrex, Babbage’s Difference Engine, Palm Pilot, Sega Genesis and Timex Indiglo (sorry, not available for Macintosh).”
  3. I went to see Clerks II yesterday. It was crude, pretty stupid, and gut busting funny. Here’s a review from James Dobson’s Focus on the Family website. It makes me pine for the good old days and the wonderfully succinct movie reviews in the Catholic newspaper we received, Pink Panther – MORTAL SIN, Star Wars – CONDEMNED, The Exorcist – oh yeah, CONDEMNED.
  4. As far as condemned movies go, I watched Corpse Bride a couple nights ago. It was quite enjoyable. Tim Burton is a twisted genius who needs to make more puppet movies.
  5. What is this, a real life Da Vinci Code? The body of one of a powerful member of Opus Dei movement has been found under a bridge in Italy, mutilated and badly beaten. Gianmario Roveraro disappeared two weeks ago after a meeting of his local branch of Opus Dei and was reportedly being held for a €1 million ransom.
  6. Saturday’s paddle was a real Marlin Perkins kind of morning. We paddled north past Two Lover’s and met a pod of dolphins off Tanguisson. They played and swam with us for a half hour as we worked our way northward, and it was magical.
  7. Speaking of the ocean, the large swells made me think again about using all that wave energy to generate electricity. Jeff McIntire-Strasburg over at Sustainablog is thinking along those same lines. Using the ocean to generate power is a tempting idea, but it will require lots more research before anything viable is attempted. The power in those swells though, if we could harness that for our needs.

Farewell To A Faithful Friend

Apple PowerMac G3 MTWell, I am just about to bid farewell to a faithful friend; my trusty Beige PowerMac G3, which I purchased back in 1999, is pretty much dead. I think it was the power outages this week that did it. It just won’t boot up. I hear the power come on, the fan starts blowing on the power supply, but the familiar startup chime never sounds. It will not boot, and I suspect the logic board is fried again. I am not going to attempt a repair this time. Since I bought the iMac G5, the trusty G3 has been relegated to back room status as a file and web server, and not even the primary one – that’s the job of the dual PIII Linux box running Xubuntu. And hey, OS X breathed new life into that tired old box for a few months. It’s just not worth the effort scrounging up parts for that old box.

Like I said, I have successfully resuscitated the G3 before. Back in 2002 I replaced the logic board, power supply and video card, basically replacing most of the guts of the machine. And it worked great for the next four years, so no complaints on that front. It was a trusty G3. Even though it was only 300 Mhz, it still played MP3’s and surfed the net like a champ. It was the first brand new Mac I’d bought since 1990, spending most of the 90’s trolling through eBay for older machines. (Like my Frankenstein Quadra 950; 3 monitors – including a Radius Color Pivot– on that honking beast, plus 3 external SCSI hard drives, external SCSI CDRW, SCSI Zip drive, SCSI flat bed scanner, ImageWriter ][ – which I still have – and a HP DeskWriter. God what a behemoth.)

Apple PowerMac G4 SawtoothAnd now I have a lead on a G4 Sawtooth tower somebody wants to unload. Hell that will run Tiger instead of Jaguar like the G3, and he says it is loaded with RAM and a big hard drive. And as I think anybody can tell, I am a sucker for collecting older computers, and this one sounds like it might actually be useful to me with a big internal hard drive. Say hello to my new file and web server. One era closes, another begins…