AmerikaRyan Z says:
America We Stand As One [Quicktime]
Corey says:
hehehe. I saw this the other day… it is my favorite song
Ryan Z says:
it is quite remarkable


I just wanted to make sure everyone has seen this. Sortof like a modern day Tommy Seebach’s Apache.




analog devices

I would love to start a business developing, marketing, reselling, and investing in analog devices for computers.

My brother Kevin had one of these and I had to go and copy him immediately and get my own.

Griffin Technology’s PowerMate. Powermate_bIt is a programmable controller with rotate and click (or click and rotate) only.

It is sturdy, heavy and glows. How cool.

I’ve already touted the benefits of multiple monitors and the advantages of less task-switching and this is a great extension of that concept. If you are like me and listen to music at work, you are constantly pausing, removing headphones, answering the phone or speaking to whoever walks up. Even though I had a dedicated spot for my music (now iTunes mini), I’d still have to drag my mouse over there and precisely hit the pause button. Now I just reach over and pound this device and it pauses for me. Same for volume. Whenever a song comes on way too loud I can swing the knob around and save my ears from damage.

Plus, computers have never had good “controls” for things like volume. Remember the old CD players for computers that had round volume knobs and you’d have to circle your mouse around it to turn it up or down? Having a real knob makes so much more sense.

Just to round out my product review, you can program the controller to be application specific too if you like and make it do whatever you want — zoom in photoshop for instance. But I like mine to be singularly purposed. Pause, Play, Volume Up, Volume Down, Previous Track (click and turn), Next Track.

But I’ve been thinking about this space for years. I have a brand spanking new Cisco 7940 Series corporate provided IP Phone on my desk. IP as in Internet Protocol, so how come I can’t open Outlook 2003, click on a contact’s name and hit a button on the handset to dial? It is physically connected to the same switch as my computer, but knows nothing about it. Annoying to be so close, yet so far to having this stuff integrated in a useful way. A SIP based phone that was 10% soft and 90% hard/real would be better.

Another idea I’ve been sitting on. I would like a key-fob, perhaps as part of a two factor authentications that would work via bluetooth and sense my presence in IM (and other attention necessary applications). And I’d like most of my IM friends to do the same. IM would be more useful if I could really tell if somebody is there or just got up to leave, but hasn’t hit the 5 or 10 minute timeout on “away”. I should be able to stand up from my desk and walk away with my computer remembering to: 1) lock the screen so nobody comes up and reads what I had on my screen 2) pause the music, video whatever 3) set my IM to “away” 4) start indexing for my desktop search tool, Copernic 5) start forwarding copies of any emails marked urgent to my mobile device, currently an Audiovox SMT 5600.

All of this is completely technically achievable today without inventing anything, it just needs integrating.


windows server 2003 workstation

WinserverAs I noted in my downtime post, I’m running some seriously old hardware for serving up this site, as well as other sites and Exchange email. My friend Keith builds great machines and I’ve picked up a new workstation from him, ~6 months old. 3.4 Ghz P4 on an Intel mobo and super-quiet. This will allow me to bump my previous workstation — another Keith built box — down the line to run the server duties.

Step 1) Build up new machine for workstation duties, including software and settings.

  • Added RAM to total 2 GB PC 3200 from Kingston
  • Added two 10,000 rpm SATA Raptor drives — they spin quietly, but make a good SCSI style racket when being accessed that I don’t mind much.
  • I needed to be able to run the console at home, but enable a remote desktop session to run simultaneously. There are hacks out there for doing this on XP, multiple RD sessions were part of early SP2 builds, but they took it out in the final build. The hack is basically to take the termsrv.dll from the pre-release SP2 build and load it along with some registry changes. I got this working in a dummy Virtual PC image, but it threw some errors and seemed especially risky when combined with the fact the machine needs to be on a domain.
  • I decided to go with Windows 2003 Server (thanks MSDN Universal subscription) for the workstation. I followed half of the advice on this “convert your Windows Server 2003 to a workstation!” page. Using their methods you can get XP style themes working, DirectX, all the goodies. However, the challenge doesn’t end there. I had to get special versions of some drivers and products as well as trick others into installing. Needed a server version of Diskeeper. My preferred corporate Etrust antivirus software worked fine, but many desktop ones don’t. Needed to install Intellimouse 5.0 for the side-scrolling mouse even though mine is only vertical (just disable horizontal scroll). The big hint here is to right click the installer of a program that gives you a “requires windows xp” and choose compatibility mode for XP. My M-Audio Delta DIO audio card needed that trick. I had to track down specialized versions of TweakUI and the ever-useful XP Image Resizer. Link to hacked Image Resizer 
  • I’m really happy with the way it turned out.

Step 2) Convert old workstation to Virtual PC image.

  • I will follow up with how I’m doing this. In progress..

Step 3) Reconfigure old workstation as new server

  • Install RAM to 1.5 GB total.
  • Reconfigure SATA Raid 0 (stripe) as Raid 1 (mirror)
  • Install VMWare or MS Virtual Server 2005

Step 4) Migrate Virtual Servers to new hardware

Step 5) Decommission old server hardware. Give to Goodwill?



Bag_mainMy sister forwarded me this solar backback with a “Worthy of citing on your blog”. The thing that makes it post-worthy is that they seem to have loads and loads of adapters for all kinds of cell phones & gadgets which signals that these kinds of things are really starting to crack into the meat of the bell curve and aren’t just for uber HUD-eyeglasses wearing geek types.

Engadget also had a writeup on solar lockers (looks like a dog-house) for electric bikes and whatnot. Gizmodo has the new Yamaha “Cheap Electric Motorcycle” to fit inside presumably.

Personally, I’d like to see some more innovation on standardizing adapters, batteries and chargers. My overpriced airline power adapter has like 15 laptop adapters that I carry with me and when I assured my Mac carrying airplane seat neighbor that they could borrow my power adapter, I was presuming too much — I didn’t have a powerbook model in the bunch.


grammer [er grammar] check loves the ’80s

I was replying to an email regarding my earlier Oregon Trail post just now in Outlook 2003 using Word 2003 as my editor, natch.

Oregon grammer

When you ask for the grammar check suggestion — the green squiggle — it tells you trail ought to be Trail.  Are all classic video games in the proper noun database? What about Lode Runner? << some research done by me >> Ok, it appears that the actual Oregon Trail history sites use the capitalization as well. But still I really thought that Broderbund had entries in the dictionary for a minute or two there.


cheers or natural born killers

Harrelson2Although it takes way too much of my time than it should I read Talking Points Memo every day.

There’s a big hubbub about a senator that said something inappropriate on the floor of the senate — obliquely inferring that judges getting murdered had it coming. One of the follow up posts had this:

Sen. John Cornyn’s hometown is San Antonio, Texas. And San Antonio is a city with some tragic experience with violence against judges.

On May 29th, 1979, a killer-for-hire, Charles Voyde Harrelson murdered Federal District Judge John Wood Jr.

In the words of a New York Times article (11/20/1982) that appeared three years later during Harrelson’s trial, he hid “in ambush outside the judge’s apartment [and] used a high-powered rifle to shoot Judge Wood in return for a $250,000 payment from a drug dealer [Jamiel Chagra] who was facing trial before the judge.”

(ed.note: Note of thanks to TPM Reader JW. And for those of you who are addicted to trivia, yes, Harrelson is the father of actor Woody Harrelson.)

Bold is mine! Did you guys know that Woody Harrelson’s father was a killer for hire? His IMDB page even goes one further with this juicy bit:

His father, Charles, in addition to being a convicted felon, is believed to be one of “the hobos” taken away from the area known as “the grassy knoll” right after the shooting of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963.