Thursday, May 04, 2006

How To Set And Get A Bool Property in C#. Not!

I have just found the "The Daily WTF" via this post:

Outsourced Property Value

As a programmer I see this type of code every so often and it really does make me wonder what was going through the programmers mind.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Remote Backups Onto Amazon S3

It looks like Amazon have come up with the first sensibly priced remote storage service. They have called it S3. It is 15 cents per gig. per month, and a 20 cent per gig charge for transfer into or out of the storage. The nice thing about this is that you charged for exactly the amount of storage you are using and not in preset big chunks that other services have. Also other services are only reasonably priced for very small amounts of data, usually measured in single digit gigabytes.

It will be interesting to see what the API is like. They are talking about REST and SOAP, but I would like to be able to rsync to it also.

I found this comment on /. interesting...
When Amazon lets me pay for the storage, and have other registered users pay the bandwidth charges (plus my profit) to access my content, then they'll have an interesting business. Unless Google beats them to it.
It would indeed be an interesting business model, although thinking about what data ordinary people would like to share, photos, movies & music, it would seem that these are already covered with flickr, google video/youtube and our media, which are all free.

Friday, March 10, 2006

When The Internet Was Four Nodes

I have just stumbled across these early maps of ARPANET. On the December 1969 map there are just four nodes; SRI, UTAH, UCSB & UCLA. It is quite fascinating to see the early growth.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Bonjour And Printers On Windows

We recently retired our old kitchen computer which was acting as a print server for our HP LaserJet 3300. The 3300 was attached to the network via a JetDirect box. On the, now retired, PC I had installed all the software that came with the printer and print server and then shared out the printer so that other PCs on the network could print to it. When it came to setting up my wifes iBook to use the printer, nothing could be simpler, I told it to look for printers, it found the printer and knew what it make and model it was.

Today, with our new kitchen PC installed, printing from the other PC's in the house stopped working. I thought about installing all the HP software again on the new kitchen PC, but did I really want to bog down the machine as a print server and have a load of useless tray icons kicking around doing nothing. At this point I remembered that Apple released Bonjour (nee Rendezvous) for Windows so I thought I would give it a try.

Well, after the download ( Google for "apple bonjour windows download" to find it) and install, it was like being on a Mac. It found our network printer, it knew what make and model it was, and then setup a default printer. Much quicker than installing all the HP software, and no reboots required. I have installed it on the other PC's in the house, highly recomended.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

How Caffeine Works

A great little video on how caffeine works, and why you want another cup every two hours.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Projected keyboards and projected displays.

I got chance to have a longish play with an I-Tech Bluetooth virtual keyboard recently and I am quite suprised on just how useable it is. The only issue is that even though it can talk to your PDA/phone wirelessly, you still need to be able to see the PDA/phone display so you can't leave them in your pocket.
But then I came across Light Blue Optics and their matchbox sized projector. Combine the keyboard and the display into one small box and you wouldn't have to take your PDA/phone or laptop out.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Licking my iPod

I find that wearing gloves makes it difficult to use my 3rd generation iPod as quite often my dry gloves would not register with iPod touch sensitive buttons. So on these cold winter mornings I have taken to using my tongue to operate the skip to next track button. I tried using my nose but I found it more difficult to select the button!

Convergence gone wrong?

Combining two functions into a single device can be usefull. But I feel that the joining of a mouse and voip phone into a single device is not combination that would prove usefull. The Sony VN-CX1 does this very thing, and I am left wondering what you do if you need to use your mouse while on the phone.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Those annoying Windows Vista Permit/Deny dialogs.

It would seem that with the current build (5270) of Windows Vista just about every operation you do (think basic things like starting the Task Manager) result in a Permit / Deny dialog asking you if you want to preceed. As a local administrator on the machine these prompts are just a pain in the behind. The solution is to change a setting in the Local Security Policy.
More details are here: which is an annoying frames based site so you have to follow the Security link on the left hand side and then the "What is User Account Protection" link. This is a direct link, which looses you the frame based navigation.

Monday, January 16, 2006

I really should read manuals...

At the weekend I purchased a new Freeview STB, it was the highly rated Sony VTX-D800U. I did my usual trick of taking everything, except the manual, out of the box and plugging in all the cables into their approriate sockets.

Everything just worked and I never needed to refer to the manual. The only thing that didn't work was the volume control on the remote. My previous Freeview STB's have had a volume control built into them so I haven't needed the TV remote, and I was annoyed because it would mean that I would have to keep my TV remote around so that I could change the volume.

I assumed that the remote changed volume on Sony TV's but we have a Philips TV, so frustrated I headed off to the web to search for a simple universal remote that could operate both my TV and STB. During my search I stumbled onto a forum where I found a thread that mentioned being able to change the remote so that it operated other makes of TV.

So finally I got the manual out of the box and found the page on changing the remote to operate our Philips TV. I promise to try a read, or even just glance, through manuals a little more often in the future.

Friday, June 24, 2005

IIS Rewrite

I finally found the magic combination of words for google to lead me to this rewrite engine for IIS. For a while now I have wanted to have an equivalent to the Apache configuration line:

Alias /wibble /scripts/wibble.php

which allows me to hide php scripts inside URL’s that look like directory structures.

The isapi_rewrite version is:

RewriteRule /wibble(.*) /scripts/wibble.php$1

The install .msi was quick and simple, and you can edit the config file and the changes are immediate without having to restart IIS.

Finally the lite version (usable on a single site) is free and the full version (usable on virtual hosts) is just $69.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Simple email

I have just setup a server that needs to forward all mail to a relay host. This sort of setup should be easy using the default sendmail configuration files on FreeBSD, but after battling for a while with .mc files I decided to see if there was anything else out there. I found some relay only MTA’s and after trying out FreeBSD ports of nullmailer and esmtp, I found ssmtp which does everything I need. It installed in less than a minute. I had it configured a minute later, and unlike the other two I was able to redirect root emails to my user account so as not to annoy the local sys-admin because after all this a UNIX box hiding in a Windows environment.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Mowing the lawn

After finishing the first mow of the garden this year, I decided that the mower engine needed a service. So with model numbers in hand it was off to the Briggs & Stratton web site to find service guides. It couldn’t have been easier and a couple of minutes later I had PDF’s to print out.

Isn’t it great when companies get it, because I can’t remember the number of company web sites I have been to that offer no user information at all.

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