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mod_rewrite: URL modification
programming : by Corey - October 2nd 2010, 07:22AM
To say that there is extensive documentation on Apache and its various plugins, including mod_rewrite, is to grossly understate the term. Documentation is voluminous to the point of beginning to wonder if the various authors had a combined total of more than five dates with actual girls in the history of their lives.

Disgruntled, then, was I to discover that on the entirety of the Internet, there was no documentation surrounding what I needed to accomplish. I've since come to realize that this is likely due to the obscurity of the issue or the availability of other commonly known tools to accomplish the task I had before me.

That task: Rewriting and redirecting a URL from my local environment using Apache and mod_rewrite.

Without delving into specifics, I needed to take an HTTP request generated by a page viewed in my browser and direct that request to another location, including a change of domain.

Now, the more seasoned among you may resolve that the very purpose of mod_alias is to perform this task. However, just because I'm a glutton for punishment, in this particular case, I also need to change the value of a query string parameter in the URL having its domain changed. Gaze upon the domain of mod_rewrite, ye mighty, and despair.

While mod_alias is designed to handle the translation of domains, mod_rewrite is designed to handle that and query string parameters (as well as a bunch of other stuff that I have no idea about). Before we can start directing URLs to and fro, we must first setup Apache.

I'll not regale the reader with the riveting tale of that process as it is rather well (and usefully) documented. The mod_rewrite module must be included in httpd.conf and the Apache instance must be configured to run as on port 80. Do be wary of configuring the server value as localhost because sometimes the value does not translate, especially in Windows.

Continue reading...

tags: Apache mod_rewrite URL modification redirection cake pie howto

( Comments : 1 | Full article )

Notes for web developers.
rant : by Corey - February 16th 2010, 09:27AM
Attention website developers:

Have you spent the last six months living on Twinkies and jet fuel grade coffee to turn out your latest abomination creation? Does it incorporate validated syntax? Does it adhere to all of the W3C standards? Is it fully driven by CSS?

If so, that's great. You've worked hard to achieve what countless Geocities authors could only dream of.

However, this does not give you the right nor the justification to resize my browser without asking first. My personal window settings for my browser are just that: personal. Your content, while possibly revolutionary (but probably wholly unexceptional) is not special, and it does nothing to endear me to whatever your website is trying to tell me.

And woe be unto you if you're trying to sell me something. Not only will I never patronize your site again, I will post rants on websites explaining exactly how you should be publicly flogged for forcing your sizing preferences on the rest of us.

Stop being a butthorn and realize that your, "creatives" aren't anything more than some rendered text and a few pictures.



tags: browser resizing stupid jerks

( Comments : 3 | Full article )

Multiple profiles in Firefox.
meat : by Corey - November 11th 2009, 04:55PM
A large part of my job involves testing websites for various things. Most often, I use a series of Firefox add-ons and some other external tools (proxy server, for example) to perform the tasks I need to do.

Regularly, this involves clearing all cookies and personal data from my Firefox profile. I need to ensure cookies are set correctly and it's tough to do that when all of my regular browsing cookies are there too. Moreover, clearing them all when I need to perform testing requires that I then log into each site I go to regularly again. This makes me a sad panda.

I began browsing the Firefox Add-ons site to try and find an extension or other tool that would allow me to switch profiles on the fly so that I could keep my regular Firefox profile, and all the sites thereunto visited, safely tucked away and ready for my usage at my command all the while maintaining a profile that I could mercilessly abuse in the name of testing.

Of course, such a thing does not exist. However, all is not lost. The Mozillazine has an article on profile management that essentially outlines the method by which the built-in profile manager can be accessed.

As noted above, I am a whiny Firefox user. I do not want to be prompted by the profile manager each time I start Firefox. The solution to this is to have a separate Firefox shortcut with the -profilemanager flag set. I store this in with my regular application shortcuts so that it is easily accessible when I need it. Your profile selection is persistent across sessions, meaning that normal Firefox shortcut will open Firefox with the last profile you selected in the profile manager.

This allows for completely separate add-ons, themes, home pages, connection settings, security settings, and toolbar setups.

Continue reading...

tags: Firefox profile switching beef

( Comments : 2 | Full article )

Net Neutrality setbacks.
rant : by Corey - November 5th 2009, 10:24AM
Former presidential candidate Senator John McCain has issued a press release outlining his new bill to prohibit the FCC from issuing binding rules on how the Internet is operated in the United States.

Now, I am a fan of Net Neutrality from a philosophical standpoint. I firmly believe that Internet backbone carriers as well as end user ISPs should not be allowed to implement network practices that limit users based on the amount they pay for service or how much of a service they use.

But, to me, the issue is much broader than basic FCC regulation over the physical network itself. This is a problem for the FTC in how data networks and Internet access is marketed to a strikingly dumb population, and it is an issue for the Justice department to been involved in when companies consort with one another to stifle competition in broadband markets.

Since the early days of 56k V.90 dialup service, ISPs have shouted from the mountain tops that their service offerings were unlimited. Both myself and several of my friends (Bone_Enterprise can attest) took the ISPs to task on this by remaining connected for weeks at a time. Many times, accounts were disabled and we were informed that we were abusing their network. Despondent, we replied that they advertised the service as unlimited. The response was always, "it is unlimited, but you can't use all you want." The incongruity of it all was something that irked us to no end.

As it turns out, what they were advertising is, "unlimited ability to access," and not, "unlimited usage." I believe this is false advertising in sheep's clothing. Regularly the FDA requires pharmaceutical companies to issue new profanely long commercials clarifying their claims about a particular drug and its side effects. Where is this watchdog mentality about the Internet and the trillions of dollars in GDP that it fosters?

The answer is most assuredly money and power.

Continue reading...

tags: internet neutrality mccain noobs

( Comments : 3 | Full article )

Modifying WLAN adapter status.
windows : by Corey - November 2nd 2009, 08:58PM
Today I started a new job after being out of work for nearly five months. As a part of this job, I've been given a laptop and, like most companies these days, there are both wired and wireless access methods available for the company LAN.

While the access points are secured, the laptops issued to everyone utilize the Windows Wireless Zero Configuration Tool in Windows XP to manage access to the access points in the building. Because I am a task bar minimalist, the ever present icon and information dialogues that appear as a result of connection and disconnection to the access points drive me nuts.

Many current laptops have mechanical switches to enable or disable the WiFi adapter, but the model used by my company is considerably older and predates the widespread deployment of this feature. As such, heretofore, I've always gone into the adapter properties and disabled the WiFi adapter and then followed the same method to enable it the next time I needed it. This process takes two or three clicks and while not difficult, can become cumbersome if you find yourself doing it multiple times during the day.

While taking a break from reading the reams of documentation I've been given, I pondered the question of controlling the adapter hardware via batch script. Lo and behold, Microsoft has created a tool for this very purpose.

The tool is called Devcon and is free to use. It is a command line utility that essentially replaces the GUI Device Manager offered in Windows. There is extensive documentation on it but the important information is thus:

To affect change on a hardware device, you must know its device ID. Devcon provides a function for this called hwids:

c:\>devcon hwids "*" > c:\hardware.txt

This will create a list of all hardware devices currently recognized by Windows along with all pertinent details.

Continue reading...

tags: windows batch WLAN WiFi devcon

( Comments : 0 | Full article )

Facebook: it was inevitable.
rant : by Corey - July 20th 2009, 08:20PM
Facebook has exploded in the last twelve months. Leaving MySpace, Orkut, and the rag tag group of other social networking sites in the dust, it has single handedly surmounted the world of telling everyone everything regardless of whether or not they actually wanted to know. Only Twitter is able to stave off the blitzkrieg of Facebook, and then only because stupid people haven't figured out how awful it is.

I joined Facebook a few months ago at the incessant urging of small people from Scandinavia. Upon further inspection, I acquiesced to the request because Facebook looked like MySpace without the dumb. It was friends connected to other friends and there was some writing of stuff back and forth. It had a pretty clean interface and, minus the AJAX fetish that seems to permeate the site, it works pretty well.

Oh my, how wrong I was.

You see, on Facebook lies the concept of applications. These applications are about as varied as they come, but they all share one defining feature: they are all completely stupid.

Share a round of drinks! Send a hug! Give a smile! Take a quiz! Become a fan of crab people! Most of this crap isn't even possible, much less a passing excuse for social interaction. Never in all my life have I been more thankful for the, "block this application" feature than I am with Facebook.

Sure, Facebook is a lot less intrusive than MySpace, and certainly looks less like a drunk monkey vomited all over my computer screen than MySpace, but it is still sheer crap.

In a clean package.

tags: Facebook Apps Lame Pie

( Comments : 2 | Full article )

The real cost of SMS.
hardware : by Corey - December 28th 2008, 10:26PM
Our good friend ltd posted a link to this story in The New York Times concerning how wireless carriers are essentially screwing over the consumer when it comes to the charge for text messages. While that point is more true than any carrier would like you to know, some of the details provided as a basis for this claim are incomplete.

But first, some nomenclature! The technical name for a text message is SMS (Short Message Service). It was designed and originally codified for use with GSM networks and devices during the 1980s. It consists of a short message, usually 160 total ASCII characters or less in length, transmitted between devices.

Another term thrown around is control channel. The control channel represents the very small piece of RF spectrum that is always active and serves as the, "always on" link between your device (usually a phone) and the network. All network information is transmitted over the control channel, including what RF channel to use and at which power setting to operate. Additionally, it is used to transmit paging messages, which is also why the control channel is often called the paging channel. Those page messages include alerts about incoming calls, outgoing calls from your device, incoming call waiting calls, network alerts, and other network/device communications. The other channel is called traffic channel, and is utilized when a call is made (either voice or data).

With that in mind, the central point of most of the articles published about this story is that SMS utilizes the control channel of the network, which does not require a traffic channel connection to be made that takes up valuable spectrum on a particular sector of a cell phone tower.

This point is flawed. Specifically, SMS messages are designed to roll over to the traffic channel any time the control channel is too busy to handle the additional traffic.

Continue reading...

( Comments : 5 | Full article )

As seen in spam.
humor : by Corey - November 14th 2007, 06:45PM
"If your warrior of love is too small, you will lose this war."

Spam is, if anything, just as prevalent as it ever was. However, instead of the random strings of characters, someone is apparently trying to insert some humor into the equation. I received a spam message this morning with the above phrase as the subject.

Effective or not, at least it is slightly more entertaining. Post some of your favorites in the comments.

Update: "Banana Necklace Kitchen Paintbrush Rifle" - I gotta get me one of those!

( Comments : 13 | Full article )

I hate laptop hardware.
rant : by Corey - March 8th 2007, 12:06AM
For years, those of us so afflicted with the ability to fix, repair, or further damage computers have spent a great deal of otherwise valuable time decrying the mind boggling decisions made by OEM computer manufacturers when it comes to case design and usability. Of course, most of this is by design; they want you to pay them when something breaks instead of being able to fix it yourselves. However, in the world of laptops, this was seemingly a necessity and not just the post-defecation thought of an evil and angry design engineer at Compaq.

Wiser men than I have said that only fools do hardware repairs on laptops. In the long run, it just isn't worth it. The way things are designed and laid out to fit all of that junk into a small space does not give way to ease of access. It has always been utterly inexcusable for desktop computers; for laptops it is excused but still unnecessary!

It is possible to engineer a laptop so that the chassis, motherboard, and associated components are able to be removed and replaced/repaired. This idea goes deeper than memory or hard drives: it goes down to individual components like card slots, I/O ports, heat dissipating units, and flux capacitors. In a surprisingly ironic turn of events, one of the most hated companies in terms of desktop case design was also the purveyor of some of the most functional laptop designs on the market. That company: Dell.

As Tommy will attest, when we first met and worked at SFA together, we had a huge bank of laptops from Dell. Both of us had spent time taking them apart and fixing them at various times and for various reasons. It was not the simplest task in the world but it was at least possible.

Continue reading...

( Comments : 0 | Full article )

Windows Home Server (part one)
windows : by Corey - March 7th 2007, 12:00AM
I apparently got into a new program from Microsoft which is beta testing Windows Home Server. They have granted beta users permission to publicly discuss the software but not give it out to anyone. I'm currently downloading the DVD installer package and will be converting my Windows 2003 server into this new operating system.

Early looks into the documentation for it point to the normal client/server relationship between the Server and other Windows-based hosts on your network. Among the interesting features are an actual useful backup tool (single instance storage for the win), media server (instead of shares on every individual host), media streaming, and a host of other odds and ends.

Support exists for Windows XP and Vista flavors only; no 2000 or 2003 and certainly nothing earlier than that. The only downside I can see thus far is that each host must have client software installed in order for the whole mess to work. I would have rather seen something that integrated seamlessly. That being said, Windows Networking is notorious for being slow and unable to correctly count time, among other things. Perhaps this is a move to correct some of those problems; time will certainly tell.

I hope to do a series of updates about my experience with this and turn it into my latest project that, for once, doesn't blow up in my face. I'm quite certain I will experience some issues as my hardware is not terribly robust. It meets/exceeds the minimum requirements but is not ready for running Vista or anything like it. Ahoy matey, thar be geekery ahead!

Editor's Note: This is the first post in what I hope becomes a series that is cross-posted at DownToZero.Org.

( Comments : 3 | Full article )

m0n0wall And You: Die Harder
hardware : by Corey - October 24th 2006, 12:11PM
Recently, the router at the gym where I work out has been going on the fritz. It's a D-Link DI-524 so it stands to reason. As the local technology consultant for the gym, I convinced them to allow me to build a m0n0wall box for them.

The issue is that the gym is a small private studio and they are trying very hard to make it look chic and fashionable. To me, this means that they'd rather not have a honking Dell Optiplex G1 like the unit I built a few months ago. I found a solution over in SA's SH/SC forum: The IBM NetVista N2800 8364 Thin Client.

In the thread, a guy from England discussed how he made his unit work. His site has a good write-up on how to accomplish it, including this image where he outlines what is what inside the case. I picked up an 8364 off eBay for $55 shipped.

Dealing with the two BIOS flavors can be a bit daunting if you're not experienced in editing BIOS settings so if you attempt to do this, please make sure you're not dumb. But even if you are, there is a PWD_RST jumper that will restore everything back to the land of lollypops and bikinis.

The issue I'm having at the moment is one that apparently plagues the Ethernet models of the 8364. During the Linux boot process, the screen becomes garbled and the machine eventually locks. As recommended on the aforementioned page, enabling the on-board Ethernet controller seems to solve this problem.

While that was well and fine, a new problem that is undocumented as far as I can tell has emerged. The keyboard I am using to assign interfaces as well as the LAN IP address is not functioning correctly when attached to the thin client.

Continue reading...

( Comments : 8 | Full article )

Late to the game.
games : by Corey - May 21st 2006, 10:10AM
A couple of weeks ago I ordered an Xbox from a guy on the SA Forums. I paid $80 shipped and felt that this was a good deal considering that new units are still running $180 in stores. After a shipping snafu, I received my Xbox. It was in a box with no padding and had made three trips to and from the east coast. I'm sure that the package had been the game ball in a FedEx corporate soccer tournament. This did not bode well.

And indeed, the DVD drive had ceased to function properly. I found large caches of drives on eBay for $40 shipped. I bit the bullet and bought one from the closest shipper I could find. So now I was at $120 for my v. 1.0 Xbox (made in Hungary!) when for $40 more I could have a brand new one (made in Mexico!). In any event, I realized that Microsoft was attempting to subsidize the odd screw market and invested in three different sizes of Torx screws to secure the case and internal components as well as needlessly making my life more difficult.

I had ordered a set of T10, T15, and T20 Torx screwdrivers from Northern Tool but they would not bee here until a couple of days from now. I found myself at Fry's yesterday and so picked up a 9-in-1 Torx tool that included the correct sizes for the Xbox. I'm still wondering why the Phillips head isn't getting as much love these days. Thankfully the computer hardware industry has kept with Phillips, be it ever so skewed in choice for head size.

I woke up this morning and, after scratching my head for five minutes then finding the two stupid hidden screws, popped the case off. The folks up in Redmond took a page out of Dell's case design with this one.

Continue reading...

( Comments : 12 | Full article )

01:02:03 04/05/06
news : by Corey - April 4th 2006, 07:11PM
Where will you be at 01:02:03 on 04/05/06? Though I could stay up until 1AM my old man complex I've recently developed puts me to bed well before that. I'll be up for the second one, though!

Grendel sez: That's 01:02:03pm for our more dense readers.

( Comments : 11 | Full article )

m0n0wall and you - part tres!
hardware : by Corey - February 12th 2006, 10:32AM
So the system hardware is configured and ready to go. It's now time to install the m0n0wall image onto the CF card. Because my main machine is Windows, I used PhyDiskWrite 0.5.1 to unpack the image and write it to the card. It's a handy command line utility written specifically for Windows users who need to write the m0n0wall generic PC image to a CF card. Do be aware of what disk interface you select to write to when running this application; it displays all logical drives on your system so you could potentially write the image to one of your hard drives. That would be bad, m'kay?

Once the image is written, simply plug the card into the adapter and boot the machine. Upon booting the G1, I noticed that the BIOS revision was A06 and having looked at the Dell site I knew A10 was available. Having already removed the floppy drive from the machine, I was not apt to update it unless it was necessary. As it turns out, it was not.

Fire it up and pray you did everything correctly. Prior to installing the CF to IDE adapter and card I did boot the machine and make BIOS edits. I turned off all interfaces not required for operation and ensured that nothing else was amiss. During the initial boot, you will need to connect the machine to a monitor and have a keyboard connected. If you're running it on a virtual machine or have a serial port you can use HyperTerminal through a console. For me, that was a lot more trouble that in it was worth considering that the G1 has a video card built in.

After the boot process completes, m0n0wall is up and running. You're greeted with a list of options that looks much like this.

Continue reading...

( Comments : 0 | Full article )

m0n0wall and you - part deaux!
hardware : by Corey - February 12th 2006, 09:35AM
After some rather interesting deals with FedEx, I finally received all the parts required to build my m0n0wall system. It should be noted that this was among the easiest projects I've ever undertaken which is remarkable given that m0n0wall requires some intermediate level of networking skill and my last experience with *NIX operating systems left me with nothing other than feelings of general hostility.

I was in a quandary as to what type of system to base the firewall off of. Tommy has a lovely MiniITX board that runs completely solid state when booting off the CF card. The only problem is that those all-in-one systems can run upwards of $180 before memory. The embedded PCs that m0n0wall was designed to operate on also suffer from the same types of cost. I'm in agreement with Tommy that most of it is due to lack of demand. I decided that it would be more cost effective as an enterprising young lad living in one of the most expensive places on earth to acquire some old PC; something on the order of 400MHz of processing power and 128MB of RAM or so (the m0n0wall minimum is 64 for swap space).

I ordered a Dell Optiplex G1 from RetroBox.Com. They specialize in reselling old gear that is surpluses by corporations when they upgrade their technology. For $48 shipped I received a 400MHz slot Celeron with 192MB of PC133 RAM. It was nearly perfect for what I'm trying to do. When I received the unit, I promptly stripped out the 4GB hard drive, generic CD-ROM, floppy drive, and PCI sound card. See pics here.

After cleaning everything out, it was time to install the CF to IDE Adapter I purchased. It takes a standard 40-pin IDE cable but with one exception; it has a pin for the dead pin spot just above the center notch.

Continue reading...

( Comments : 0 | Full article )

m0n0wall and you - part uno!
hardware : by Corey - January 28th 2006, 08:28AM
Consumer networking equipment quality has taken a nosedive in the last 18 to 24 months. Having been working very closely with one consumer networking equipment manufacturer over the last six months, I can honestly say that I don't think I will ever buy a consumer-grade piece of networking gear ever again.

The problems here are two fold and quite obvious; hardware design/quality and software quality. In the hardware realm, quality problems are not a new idea. Part qualification standards are, as far as I can see, non-existent. For example, the KR1 Mobile Router I've been working on had a CMOS battery in it. The battery was reportedly there to keep the time on the router while it was unplugged as this is a mobile product. In testing, I showed that the battery was completely non-functional. As it turns out, it was never designed to operate on a battery so they took it off. Why was the battery placed on the PCB in the first place?

Moreover, software quality and standards have really degraded. In my observation, it is now standard practice to write code, compile it, ensure that the product actually boots up, and ship it. There is no black box testing by a quality organization and no verification that all features are functional. The product is released to the public and then the support complaints roll in. Based on these customer reported issues, firmware fixes are rolled in and a new upgrade build is spun and put up on support sites for users to upgrade themselves. In effect, the customer is the tester. This is quite cost effective because the company doesn't need to pay testers or spend any extra time before getting the product to market. People almost must have some form of networking equipment in this day and age and they continue to purchase it.

Continue reading...

( Comments : 5 | Full article )

Throw off your noobish chains!
neodux : by Corey - June 28th 2005, 10:54AM
Many a moment have been spent by various contributors of this website, namely the great Grendel himself, in fixing errors committed by those who are entirely too silly to learn basic markup tags for links.

The scary thing is that most of you gallant offenders try to compensate for this lack of not being dumb by instituting some veiled attempt at forum delimiting code. No more, says I! Herein will you find the key to all that you desire, or at least something that makes us smack our heads in frustration a tad less.


Item One: The Anchor Tag

The anchor tag is the root basis for creating a link. It says to the browser, "O hay, you remember where I am, being an anchor and all, and you go check out this page that I'm linking." It is because of this that you can click back after clicking a link and the browser knows what page to display.

Item Two: The Hypertext REFerence

The hypertext reference, or href, says to the browser, "Why hello there! This is where we'll be traveling today!" In short, it is the page to which the link points. Combining these two ideas is some markup that looks like the following:

<a href="yourlinkhere.html" target="_blank">

Note: The purpose for the angle brackets, < and >, is to delimit the markup from plain text. They let the browser know what is HTML and what is not. The equal sign and the quotation marks are common ways to identify and specify a variable. In our case, where the link is going.

Item Three: Naming And Closing The Anchor

So, after you've opened the anchor, provided a hypertext reference, and specified where you want the link to go, you need to name the link and close the anchor tag.

Continue reading...

( Comments : 13 | Full article )

A pulp revolution.
rant : by Corey - June 25th 2005, 11:47PM

I was recently contemplating the lack of automatic flushing toilets in only the places where the need to be able to not touch anything is of paramount importance. Or, at least something that had, at a bare minimum, some basis in reality. Upon failing that task rather spectacularly, I reflected upon recent developments in the proliferation of not-from-concentrate orange juice.

Growing up in our house, orange juice was not unlike a fine wine; it was to be celebrated and revered. One would dare not drink it lightly and there would certainly be no consuming of this fine nectar in mass quantities. It comes as no surprise to many that oddities of this sort were hardly odd.

In recent times, orange juice manufacturers seem to have gotten all giddy with themselves. In conjunction with the health craze that has swept the nation and changed a cause into an industry, orange juice has changed from something that both tastes good and is good for you to something that still tastes good and is good for you but is more expensive.

Not-from-concentrate is the catchphrase of the day. And, for some faux added personal value, a certain brand added the word, "Premium." Premium, indeed. I have no facts to back up this generalization, but I believe it is a general belief held by the public at large that something from a, "Mom & Pop" organization has more value than something that is produced by a mega-corporation and are thus willing to pay more for it. Thus is the case with some orange juice companies. They market their product as a local family business so that an unsuspecting and unquestioning public will pay more for their product under the guise that they're getting some sort of value from it.

Now we have things that are infused with calcium, extra vitamins, various minerals otherwise used to build things, and my personal favorite, low acid.

Continue reading...

( Comments : 5 | Full article )

A vile travesty.
rant : by Corey - May 13th 2005, 03:28PM

So it seems that Southern California is a hotbed of activity for new product trials. The FritoLay company (In MSG We Trust) has replaced one of my favorite snack chips off all time with a haughty substitute that surely does not merit the hallowed name of Funyuns.

Funyuns with Wasabi. Mildly amusing Bud Light commercials aside, I have nothing against Wasabi as a thing in its own right. I do, however, take great issue with the violation of mixing this flavor with Funyuns. You see, Funyuns have a great flavor in and of themselves. They didn't need any help!

I found myself searching through the grocery store shelves a couple of weeks ago in an attempt to find a normal bag of Funyuns with which to enjoy while eating sammiches at various intervals throughout that coming week. I found one lone bag, stuffed way in the back, surrounded by these his traitorous brethren. There was much rejoicing.

Today, after my twice weekly walk that only happened once, I decided that it would be nice to stop by a local Stop-N-Rob 7-11 and acquire a, "Big Grab" bag of Funyuns to have with my sammich for lunch. To my horror, this store carried nothing but Funyuns with Wasabi. So I, being the highly adventurous fellow that I am (stop laughing) decided to purchase some because, after all, how bad could it be?

As if falling asleep at my computer desk last night wasn't punishment enough, I had to go off and not give this situation the proper consideration that it required. I opened the bag to a blast of fairly putrid air. However, the chips themselves looked fine. I could discern no major difference. At least until I tasted one.

My first reaction was one of spiked interest; they tasted exactly like they smelled.

Continue reading...

( Comments : 1 | Full article )

Sometimes people are too lazy.
games : by Corey - March 1st 2005, 03:17AM
Sometimes there are things in life that just make you feel better about yourself, even with your shingles and nasty case of spontaneous lactation. This is one of them.

Grendel sez: This has nothing to do with Mackie's post, but here's a neat Japanese game. The point is to create one explosion, and see how many balls will explode along with it. (avg score is 30)

( Comments : 10 | Full article )

CDMA, ya heard?
hardware : by Corey - February 9th 2005, 03:55AM
Due to the extended conversation in the shoutbox, I though I'd give you guys some basic info on wireless phones and the technology they use. For the purposes of this discussion, I will cover national carriers only. If someone wants information on a regional or international carrier, I'll provide you with whatever I have.

We'll start with a technology near and dear to my heart. It's called CDMA which is an acronym for Code Division Multiple Access. It is a method of stacking calls on a cell tower wherein each call is assigned a specific and unique code. In so doing, the tower can handle somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 calls per megahertz. It was developed exclusively by Qualcomm in a lovely building that is next door to my office.

Verizon Wireless and Sprint PCS, ranked second and third respectively in terms of market share, are the two national carriers that employ CDMA currently. Most of their networks are CDMAOne, or 2G services with slower QNC data speeds. Verizon has rolled out a 2.5G network with EV-DO (Evolution, Data Only), sometimes referred to as 1X, that boasts theoretical data speeds of 300 to 500kbps.

In terms of coverage, Verizon's network is currently the largest in the United States. Their plans, however, are somewhat more expensive than other carriers. This is due to the money they spend on their network making it one of the best in the nation. Sprint, on the other hand, ain't too shabby either. Their network is good, but not as good as Verizon. In many areas where Verizon has a strong foothold, such as the northeast and here in Southern California, Sprint's network is a tad shoddy because they have no incentive to upgrade.

And now, we move to a second post for GSM.

( Comments : 23 | Full article )

GSM, holla back!
hardware : by Corey - February 9th 2005, 03:54AM
GSM, you ignorant goof tard. Not really, but I don't care for it much. GSM is an acronym for Global System for Mobile Communication. GSM works off of the older TDMA systems in using timestamps to stack calls on the tower. GSM can stack seven to ten calls per megahertz versus upwards of 30 for CDMA.

GSM is used almost exclusively in Europe making it more of the, "world standard" than CDMA. Many carriers sell, "World Phones" that are tri-band and capable of using the networks here in the States and in Europe. Data speeds on GSM are significantly slower than CDMA, and while new technologies are being developed to bring up the transfer rates, it will never really catch up with CDMA, much less overtake it.

For coverage we look to the number one wireless phone carrier in the United States, Cingular. Cingular recently acquired AT&T, and as their new marketing campaign is screaming, they now have the largest network. What they aren't telling you is that most of AT&T's network is TDMA and does not support GSM. AT&T was starting upgrades but never finished. Their coverage is very, very good. For coverage, their only competition is Verizon. However, CDMA penetrates (lol) buildings much better than GSM.

T-mobile is also a player. Instead of having a zomg huge network, they offer fantastic values in phones and service plans. T-mobile is great if you're in a metropolitan area and never leave.

Just incase anyone is wondering, all of the carriers have coverage maps on their respective websites. Additionally, tons more information about both CDMA and GSM are available from our friends and Google. Feel free to post questions in the shoutbox or in comments and I'll do what I can to answer them. And now I'm going to bed. Mmm. Bed.

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Free SP2 CD
windows : by Corey - October 31st 2004, 11:48AM
Microsoft has always offered copies of security patches and the like on CD for a nominal fee of $6 or so plus shipping. In what I can only perceive as a move to save face after all the problems that were identified pre-SP2, Microsoft is giving SP2 CD's away for free. If you didn't download the Network install or are on a slow connection, this is a great way to get the updates free from Microsoft. Click here to fill out the form. It takes four to six weeks to get the CD, reportedly.

Grendel sez: Yeah, I ordered my CD a while back, and got it in a little shorter than 6 weeks I believe. However, now that so many people have heard of the free CD offer, I'm sure it'll take quite a while.

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New Defiler Pak
news : by Corey - July 29th 2004, 07:04PM
Defiler has released the latest version of his DefilerPak over at his site, http://hellninjacommando.com/defilerpak/. You can access a direct download of the latest pak by clicking here and you can read the documentation on the project by clicking here.

For those of you unfamiliar with DefilerPak, it is a no-frills-attached package of the most commonly used audio and video codec’s needed to watch or listen just about any media encoded in any current standard. The Pak is updated every time there is a significant release of a codec. I've used DefilerPak since version 1.09 and have never had a problem with a codec. Check it out, the power of waffles compels you!

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Just for searching? Hah!
news : by Corey - June 15th 2004, 06:01PM
Shows how much you know. You're probably one of those people who thinks that broccoli has a place in the world, ham radio has something to do with bacon, and that Al "Get The Fudge Out" Sharpton is just a nice guy trying to make a point.

Google, boys and girls. That glorious all-encompassing bastion of webbish goodness. Most people, except for maybe Tr0z (and only then because he has that silly integer in his name), know that Google is the source to search for something on the Internet. There is no other because there needs to be no other. But, dear reader, do you know about the dark side?

And by dark I mean development, of course. There are a host of services that have been rolled out including Froogle, Google Image Search, Google Newsgroup Search, Google News, and AdSense. All of these are great tools for just about any purpose in which you need information.

Newly announced, however, is the ZOMG HUGE Gmail service, boasting one gigabyte of storage space with an encouragement to archive e-mail, instead of deleting it. I sense some Google-ploy™ in how they're handing out user accounts. They're free, but you have to be "invited." If it were me, and I wish that it were, it would be an excellent way for me to count my affect on users. Moreover, since my free accounts were selling for $80 or more a few weeks ago (which are now down to $5 or so, incidentally), I'd know that I've got a good thing going.

And finally, ladies and germs, GoogleGroups. This is not to be confused with the aforementioned groups.google.com, but is an entirely different service. GoogleGroups offers listserves and group management ala Yahoogroups but sans suck.

Continue reading...

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The end of an era.
news : by Corey - May 12th 2004, 05:15PM
Today marks the last day that Señor Grendel and I will be working together. I graduated from college today, and will be moving on. It has been an honor, sir.

My, what saucy lads!

Grendel sez: *tear* Good times have been had. "Oh, I Tea," shall cease to be as fun.
update : yes, people, the "Lyfe" is misspelled as part of the joke. Stop telling me it's misspelled. You have missed the humor train - maybe you can catch it on the next stop.
edit version 3.hoe: Every person who didn't understand, "lyfe" should be shot.

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I am a man.
rant : by Corey - January 10th 2004, 12:14PM
I am. Really. In light of this fact, I am naturally inclined to like manly things, and have somewhat of a distaste for feminine things. While I'm certainly not saying, "MAN GOOD, WOMAN BAD," I'm just noting that there is a difference in preferences based on gender.

That being said, why do all the good paper plates have flowers and other, "pretty" things on them? Sure, the large part of the quality paper plate buying market are mothers who stay at home to raise their children, but what about those of us who happen to be gentlemen of upstanding regard and taste in paper products? Are we doomed to a life of cheap paper plates, or can we group together and lobby companies like Dixie to make us a paper plate that is manly, or at least disabused of all this flowery crap?

The answer, of course, is probably not. But it's a thought, nonetheless. It's things like this that make me want to scream when I hear that women are treated unfairly in the marketplace. Maybe that's true, but you can get paper plates that you like!

Real men buy plastic. - Tim, KD5ING

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A Retreat From Grammar
rant : by Corey - December 11th 2003, 11:13AM
I believe the mind of a human being is fully capable of discovering something, learning how it works, and then figuring out a way to make it better. A valid example of this idea would be bread. A few thousand years ago, some folks discovered that when you mix flour and water together with some yeast, a lovely concoction is created that has texture, taste, and life sustaining energy nutrients. Later, after we figured out how yeast worked in terms of chemistry, we started mass producing the stuff. Finally, in the not so distant past, some people discovered that bread was so much nicer when it came sliced for you, instead of in a large hunk that required two 3/4 ton winches and small flatbed truck to move around.

But this story isn't about bread. No, dear reader, this story is about when people take a good idea and change it into something seemingly better, but is actually detrimental to our society as a whole. Or at least my personal sanity.

I'm talking about grammar. Specifically, the shortening of words that, by any stretch of the rules, cannot be shortened. As an example, I submit the words, "you," "your," and, "you're" being changed to, "u," "ur," and, "ure," respectively. I am simply dumbfounded that this deviation from accepted lexicon has been allowed and, at times, encouraged by the population of the Internet as a whole.

I want to know who in the name of Throckmorton P. Guildersleve III Esq. thought this was a good idea? If you stop and think about it, the usage of these letters in place of actual words makes things harder to read, because your brain must make an extra correlation between the grouping of letters and an actual word. Personally, I absolutely hate deciphering some thirteen year-old's sad attempt at complete sentences.

The average excuse I hear from individuals who actively participate in this blind pillaging of language is that typing properly is too hard or takes too long.

Continue reading...

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