64-bit is the new 32-bit (AMD64 Ubuntu Install)

June 8, 2008 · Posted in I'm such a geek, Tech - Software · Comments Off on 64-bit is the new 32-bit (AMD64 Ubuntu Install) 

Never one to be satisfied with a boring working OS, I decided that since 32-bit Ubuntu “just worked” I would attempt to install 64-bit Ubuntu. Installation and hardware recognition went just as smoothly as with 32-bit Ubuntu. And my first impression of 64-bit Ubuntu is that is appears to be a little “snappier” than 32-bit but both blow away XP. After installation of the OS and application of updates everything seemed just as smooth as before with the 32-bit version including the restricted ATI driver. I then proceeded to again follow:

Things that seems to be a little different:

– Sun will not create a 64-bit Java browser plugin until Java 7 (sometime in 2008) so you will need to use the GCJ plugin (Iced Tea) for java applets, although there may be compatibility issues with some sites. Alternatively you can install 32-bit Firefox and all the 32-bit plugins you want. There will also be a subsequent Java 6 plugin to follow sometime in early 2009(See bug fix)

– If you are one to install w32codecs, they are not available by that name, you need to use: non-free-codecs

– There doesn’t appear to be a 64-bit Shockwave plugin although Adobe flash seems to work without issue.

– Again although Acrobat does install, the acrobat plug-in does not seems to be available for 64-bit Firefox. Of course, this is not earth shattering by any stretch of the imagination.

– (Is anyone else detecting a pattern concerning 64-bit Closed Source plugins for linux?)

Well, that’s it for now. I will attempt the wine & Oblivion install in 64-bit and let you know what happens.

Ubuntu – it just works

June 4, 2008 · Posted in I'm such a geek, Tech - Software · Comments Off on Ubuntu – it just works 

Well I finally blew away and reinstalled Ubuntu from scratch and I am now a much happier camper. I had done an upgrade from 7.10 -> 8.04 alpha -> 8.04 final release and my video driver was not in a happy place (could not use the restricted driver at all and any attempt to enable it resulted in debugging pain). Today I burned the Ubuntu ISO onto a disc and installed over my Ubuntu partition. The install went relatively quickly and hassle free.

And best of all everything just plain works! Huzzah!

I then proceeded to follow this guide for getting some of the non-default features:

I’ve heard of some relatively recent good developments on the Wine & Oblivion front so that may be an exercise left for the near future. (And if that exercise messes up the OS, I at least know its pretty quick and easy to get back to a stable system)

A ghost in the machine – IE password cache no worky

April 30, 2008 · Posted in Tech - Software · Comments Off on A ghost in the machine – IE password cache no worky 

Every couple of months Windows XP decides that it does not want to remember passwords anymore in IE (which is the same mechanism some 3rd party apps like gmail notifier use to remember passwords). So I’m writing this more as a reminder to myself as well as a help to anyone who may stumble on this in a search. In order to get that feature working again you have to edit the registry, and in specific you need to get to the subkey:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings

And set the DWORD for:


You set it to 1 if you need password caching disabled for some reason.


Google gets all Amazony

April 8, 2008 · Posted in Tech - Software · Comments Off on Google gets all Amazony 

Well last night Google announced “Google App Engine”, it’s essentially Google’s answer to Amazon’s web services. Pricing hasn’t been announced at this time, or at least that I could find. If you are interested in testing it out you can sign up for the waiting list here.

Right now the only API language supported is Python, but the platform is supposed to be language agnostic and should be supporting other languages in the near future. TechCrunch has put together a quick app and has details on working with the API up on their site right now and you can find that here:

The SDK and docs are all available here:

I am on the waiting list. Should be interesting to see how these two services stack up against each other.

I am also wondering since several startups are using Amazon Web services for their applications, and theoretically others will also soon be using Google AppEngine, I wonder how long before they just start running optical fiber between their respective datacenters and house a large portion of the “internet” between them. I also wonder if an AppEngine or AWS version of WordPress, or the like, is in the cards in the not-so-distant future.

I like Crayons …

February 29, 2008 · Posted in I'm such a geek, Tech - Software · Comments Off on I like Crayons … 

When I grow up I want to be able to play this game, actually, I want it now:

Here is a link to the game’s site, unfortunately it is still under development:

Bulk Chemicals, Pre-paid phone cards, Food & More

January 26, 2008 · Posted in Misc, Tech - Hardware, Tech - Software · Comments Off on Bulk Chemicals, Pre-paid phone cards, Food & More 

The title really hasn’t got much to do with this post except that I saw this on a “market” on the way to the hotel I’m currently staying at for a business trip in Jamaica. This one of those “etc” posts so I figure it would be a good title since there will be a little everything.

I usually end up running through lots of benchmarks and reviews when I do a computer upgrade but I think “Yougamers” (Futuremark) might have put together a nice page for these endeavors. They essentially have a page that lists hardware in order of CPUMarks per dollar and 3DMarks per $ so that will be a definite help in future upgrade. The list is updated twice a day and you can find it:

Need to help a far away friend or family member with their computer on the weekend? Then Fog Creek software (Of “Joel on Software” blog fame) has you covered as they have opened up their Copilot service for free use on the weekends. Haven’t had a chance to try it yet but probably will soon. Here is a link to that post:

Like Pizza? Here is a list of various regional U.S. pizza styles:

Like OSX but not the price of the hardware to run it on. Purely for educational purposes lifehacker has put together a walkthrough on how to get OSX running non-sanctioned hardware:

Here is a list of the top 100 motivational blog posts as put together by Laura Milligan of Bootstrapper:
And once you’re motivated, here’s a list from the same site of 50 resources to help de-clutter your life:

Like to dual boot but don’t want to re-partition your hard drive well the Wubi installer might be something for you. It lets you install ubuntu onto your current OS file system (linux, windows, OSX under development) as a virtual hard disk not to be confused with a virtual machine ala qemu or vmware:

The Library of Congress is sharing lots of their pictures on the Library of Congress Flickr tagging project so take a look and help tag:
LOC Flickr FAQ

That’s it for now….

Ubuntu & Citicards.com

October 27, 2007 · Posted in Tech - Software · Comments Off on Ubuntu & Citicards.com 

Well my windows install started to act up again so I decided to free up some space on a partition and try out the latest Ubuntu that everyone seems to be going ga-ga over. I do have to say that I was was very pleasantly suprised at how easy the desktop just worked, as it’s been a while since I’ve used linux as a non-server …

I did find one thing that was annoying, but it wasn’t Ubuntu’s fault. If you have a citicard and login to manage your account online with firefox on linux for some reason the web page loads and then immediately disappears. After googling this it appears that that the problem stems from some kind of anomaly between the flash on the site and the Adobe flash player for linux. Some site suggest disabling and re-enabling javascript after you login but what I found that worked is if you use the Adblock plugin and create filters for:


After that you will immediately be in business. By the way if you run into this problem, please send them a note in the “Contact Us” section so that they may actually fix this sometime in the near future or maybe look into officially supporting linux.

Good Luck!

Etc: October 14

October 14, 2007 · Posted in Tech - Software, Writing & Reading · 1 Comment 

So I’ve been doing at alot of traveling and running about and the site has gotten a little neglected. But here are a few things to keep you guys entertained:

Flight Aware:
Ever want to really know where your flight is, not the airline’s “update” but the actual real location of the plane (6 minutes delayed). Try Flight Aware:

Ever want some “Cool Software“, well Intel has decided that they want to apply the Digg model to software apps. Go take a look:

For you intellectual reader types, if you’ve ever needed to track down a book, magazine article, journal, music, etc … You can now search all your local (participating) libraries from the comfort of your own home using WorldCat. Type in the search and it will show you the nearest library that has the resource. The site is: http://www.worldcat.org/
And here is a direct link to their browser extension page:

While I’m talking about readers, Discworld is a series of books I have heard much about but never had a chance to read any of the series. But I stumbled upon a guide on how the 30+ book interrelate and a loosely coupled reading order (at the very least it’s literally a nice big picture) if I ever get a chance. Check out the guide here:

I’m not sure how they get away with this but here is a MickyDees video game which I am pretty sure is not sanctioned by the actual corporation. Ever want to run the empire:
(Actually I guess this is that whole satire use of trademarks thing … although I’m not a lawyer. )

And finally if you have ever wanted to make one of those still picture talking image things, similar to what Conan does on his talk show … at least I think it’s Conan’s show… Blabberize is here to fill that need for you. Go ahead and make one, you know you want to:

A Great Bioshock review

September 9, 2007 · Posted in I'm such a geek, Tech - Software · Comments Off on A Great Bioshock review 

I have not bought Bioshock yet as I need to find some time to play as well as perform a computer upgrade in order to play it. But I hope to get to it “soon”. But in the meantime I really enjoyed this review of it which I am blatantly borrowing the linkage from a friend’s blog.


Digging through the Linux Kernel

August 15, 2007 · Posted in Tech - Software · Comments Off on Digging through the Linux Kernel 

So I stumbled on two things today that might be goods for folks wanting to delve into the Linux kernel for education or development.

The first is the Interactive Linux Kernel Map. This provides some detail on the layout of the kernel and the interaction between various parts.

The second is the Linux Weather Forecast. This gives you a better insight on the status and progress of features going into the kernel. For example, if the lead developer of the feature is MIA, the feature is probably not going into the kernel in the near term.

Hope this helps your kernel habit!

Google reads too – a first look!

August 14, 2007 · Posted in Tech - Software · Comments Off on Google reads too – a first look! 

Well hopefully I don’t start sounding like a Google sycophant but I want to recommend YAGP (Yet Another Google Product) for you to try out. And this time it’s Google Reader… I will say that I tried Bloglines about a year ago and wasn’t as impressed as I am with this but haven’t tried it recently to see if there have been improvements.

I’ve been using the Sage Add-on for Firefox and it works great. But I’ve been wanting a couple of things that it doesn’t seem to provide.

1. Syncing of read items between all of my computers. – Having it on a central server handles this.

2. Off-line capability for taking it with me on long flights. – Google Gears allows for the reader to cache the latest 2000 entries locally.

Setting is up was pretty easy. I exported an OPML file with all of my feeds from Sage and imported it into Google reader. Google Reader uses tags to create “folders” and each feed can have multiple tags (although there doesn’t seem to be a way to “nest” folders as you can in Sage).

Like Gmail you can “star” particular rss entries for easier lookup later. I didn’t think I needed this until I actually tried it and figured out it does make for a nice feature. And in particular it will probably make it alot easier for me to find things that I mean to “blog” about later.

One other feature that I haven’t really messed with is called “Trends”. It provides all kinds of statistical information on what feeds you read and how many articles you have shared, or starred, etc. I know this is part of the scary “Google knows too much” vibe but it is kind of cool that they provide this info to you as well as to themselves but I have yet figure out how this will be useful to me …

There are also a handful of other feature which you can read about on the site itself but so far I am liking it and give it a thumbs up for first impressions. If you’ve got a better solution … please let me know!

Essential Firefox Add-Ons

August 7, 2007 · Posted in Tech - Software · Comments Off on Essential Firefox Add-Ons 

A blog-less friend of mine put together this list of his favorite Firefox add-ons and thought it would be a good complement to my “Essential Windows Software” post from last year. I am posting it here as a good little bit of useful info with his permission. Now I need to go try these out.


1-ClickWeather (5-day forecast as a toolbar with extended info as tooltips and regional radar button)

Adblock Plus (blocks ads, auto-updates, works very well)
Works well with its internal subscription links, recommends avoiding “filterset G” from the Firefox addon pages.
Ad database subscriptions I use are:
—EasyList (USA)
—EasyElement (works with next item – Element Hiding Helper)
—ABP Tracking Filter

Adblock Plus: Element Hiding Helper (an add-on to an add-on! I can’t tell if it helps, but at least it doesn’t crash)

ColorfulTabs (randomly colored tabs, or colors derived from hashing the URL)

CookieSafe (better control than normal built-in cookie options)

Download Statusbar (download-o-meters as a little status bar. Nifty!)

FireFTP (good little FTP client for the Firefox Tools menu)

Fission (Safari-style progress bar along the address bar. Looks nice but you have to fix the color.)

FoxLingo (translates all languages to all others through various sites… seems to work about as well as babelfish)

Resurrect Pages (finds archived versions of dead web pages — works very well!)

SafeCache (keep sites from checking for other sites’ cached info – paranoia is good!)

Shazou (WHOIS info with popup map)

Spamavert.com (generate temp email addresses and lets you send back email verification)

Stumble Upon (nice Find-A-Cool-Site thing, can share a toolbar with 1-click weather)

Video Downloader (lets you save vids from YouTube, Google Video, etc)

Time flies

May 25, 2007 · Posted in Misc, Politics, Tech - Software · Comments Off on Time flies 

Well I’ve been out of the country, busy, and sick so ye olde blog here has not been getting much attention.

Here are a couple of shiny things I have come across though.

A fair(y) use tale – A fair-use copyright primer made mostly out of disney clips:

As Yoda would say – “Begun the Microsoft-Linux Fud wars have” :
You can find the latest here on Infoworld. For the long drawn out discussion concerning the current MS vs Open Source issues and their mutually assured destruction if one would litigate after the other please check out groklaw or perhaps slashdot.

APC interview with the CEO of Mozilla on the future of Firefox.

Teaching kids in grammar school how to program using scratch, a language developed by MIT for kids.

And what my wife and I have to look forward to when we take the little one to the happiest place on earth. (very funny)


Etc : March 1 – 18

March 18, 2007 · Posted in I'm such a geek, Misc, Tech - Hardware, Tech - Software · Comments Off on Etc : March 1 – 18 

Babies take a lot of time … so here is a reader’s digest version of a post:

If you have an old Xbox lying around collecting dust, you may want to take a look here at an interesting project you can undertake relatively painlessly:
How to Go from Xbox to Xbox Media Center in 30 minutes

Pigeons appear to be relatively immune to avian flu and do not appear to spread it :
Avian flu virus H5N1 and pigeons: the facts
The Invincible, Flu-Immune Pigeon

Linux it’s not just for dual boot systems anymore:
30 days with Linux

I have never really gotten into myspace, or classmates.com, etc but I do have to say that I am really liking LinkedIn.com as a “professional” networking site. Check it out.

Dell Ideastorm

February 23, 2007 · Posted in Tech - Hardware, Tech - Software · Comments Off on Dell Ideastorm 

Michael Dell opened a new website : www.dellideastorm.com

It’s a place for folks to give ideas and feedback to Dell. The ideas are voted on, and those with more votes get more attention from the Dell folks. The highest voted ideas don’t necessarily get implemented but they do get the most attention from the Dell execs.

I even submitted an idea. You can find it at:

If you’ve got a few minutes, sign up and vote for some ideas … voting for my idea would be especially cool.

Network interface mystery

November 27, 2006 · Posted in I'm such a geek, Tech - Software · Comments Off on Network interface mystery 

I did something yesterday I hadn’t done in a while, I rebooted my Gentoo Linux box. I use it for samba shares/backups, DNS & DHCP (using dnsmasq), and it also does a good job of protein folding in its spare time(Foldingathome). I have also been extremely good about keeping the system up to date using the portage package manager. After the reboot though, my poor little box was isolated from the network and it made no sense. The routing was correct, the link lights were lit on my two network cards. I have two because one is used to talk to the rest of the network through my router and the other plugs into my Vonage IAD (Integrated Access Device for those of you not into telecom voip lingo) for maintenance of that box, if needed. So everything looks correct, and I am driving myself somewhat insane resetting the router, re-verifying everything but still no love … I’ve been using this static IP setup since sometime in 2004 and if this box isn’t talking to the network everything goes to a bad place since no dns & dhcp are available. Looking online I found little (once I got a computer talking to the internet by bypassing things). So here is the punchline … apparently the latest and greatest version of udev initializes my ethernet cards in a different order, so my former eth0 is now eth1 and vice versa. After changing some config files around to use the eth0 interface instead of eth1 all is now well (after the fact though, I do realize I could have just swapped the cables in the network cards to achieve the same effect).

If you have this problem sometime in the future, I hope this helps.

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