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Dreamhost Migration
neodux : by Tommy - October 8th 2008, 09:25PM
Special thanks to g4m8i7 for making me aware of a cool deal Dreamhost has going on. Dreamhost is migrating their servers to newer, more efficient, "greener" servers - I dunno, they said it, not me. In the migration they need volunteers to migrate over to the new servers. Of course they are aware there may be small glitches in the transfer, but I can't foresee them being anything major. Because I took the bait and decided to switch, they're giving me free unlimited* bandwidth and storage for life!

So, I'm sure most of you won't care if there are a few hiccups along the way. I'll try to get them fixed ASAP, but I figure the benefit is worth the risk of problems.

Also, they do have signup deals for those of you wanting to also get on board.

tags: neodux webhost

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Freelance Work
programming : by Tommy - September 24th 2008, 11:33AM
I had no idea. Well, I guess I had never looked. I found Freelance-projects and elance this morning, after being told by friends. They're connection points for posting freelance software jobs and finding freelance programmers to do it. It's definately an international thing (quite a few are from asia) so the pricing can become very competitive.

I just missed a simple "PHP/MySQL export to Excel" job by a few minutes. The bidding was already closed. So if you have any online tech skills and figure you have some free time, pick a fun project and pick up some extra cash.

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USB CueCat
hardware : by Tommy - September 18th 2008, 10:51PM
Years and years ago, Radio Shack launched their CueCat scanner technology. I won't go into the history of this terrible business plan, but needless to say the idea took off like a lead balloon. You can get the brief history of the failed device on wikipedia. Sometime later, probably around 2002 or 2003 I purchased a PS/2 model of the fabled barcode scanner, a scanner that I still have. I never really used it though.

Recently I purchased a USB model of the CueCat. I had no idea USB models were ever available, but I found plenty of online sources selling them. I bought mine from mavin.com. I just got it in the mail this afternoon and was able to "declaw" the cuecat in about a minute. The process of declawing is simple enough and, in short, it allows the cuecat to output only the barcode information in plain text (versus an obfuscated and "proprietary" format). After declawing I can now use the cat to scan any barcode. I hope to use it for cataloging any books I own, as well as selling used textbooks online after each semester.

Grendel sez: Neat, but otherwise useless, I've learned that Google will take UPC numbers and link to various UPC databases to tell you about the item you just scanned. Interesting.

update: 10/30 - Apparently the patent for :Cuecat was still outstanding until recently.

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New Motherboard Time
hardware : by Tommy - August 21st 2008, 11:29PM
BREAKING NEWS: My "slammin' setup" from 2 years ago has finally burned out the chipset fan on the motherboard. I gotta say, I've been extremely pleased with it since I bought it. Now, unexpectedly, it's time for an upgrade. Really, all I need is a new fan for the old motherboard, but a new motherboard and CPU wouldn't hurt.

Since I've been out of the hardware scene for a while, I'll open up discussion on what's hot now. Remember, I'm not a fan of "bleeding edge", I'm looking for best bang for the buck.

Update: Ok, so I didn't go the performance route, but I think I got a modest computer setup. Maintaining about the same performance before the motherboard went out. I found a deal on a dual-core AMD Athlon X2 Brisbane for $30 shipped, so I decided to bump up the CPU a tad. I went cheap on the motherboard because, frankly, I don't need a whole lot. I settled on the Asus M2N-MX. Because my old RAM wouldn't work on new boards, I got 2Gb of OCZ DDR1066. The machine is functioning again, all systems are go and I'm back online at my regularly scheduled times. Thanks for all of the suggestions. I'll prob be ready to upgrade this "value" setup in a year or so.
(total spent: ~$130)

( Comments : 9 | Full article )

Wii : Homebrew
games : by Tommy - August 20th 2008, 09:34PM
After reading about the Homebrew Channel for a modified Wii, I was intrigued. In the past I've run linux on a Playstation, soldered modchips into countless Xbox consoles and had quite a blast adding and updating various scripts for the Xbox. I wondered what the Wii could be capable of.

At present there are only a handful of "homebrew" apps you can use on a Wii, but this didn't stop me. The future for Wii homebrew looks bright and it looked so easy I just had to give it a try. I visited the Homebrew Channel homepage which is literally a one-stop shop for modifying a Wii console. All you need is a spare SD card (I used a 2Gb card) and a copy of Zelda: Twilight Princess (I had a free rental credit). In almost no time at all I had the Homebrew Channel (HBC) installed and was quickly accessing homebrew apps.

A video of the Twilight Hack is here and the Homebrew Channel is here.

Currently the most promising app is ScummVM. Many of the supported games I haven't played and those that I have played, I haven't touched in at least 10 years. They were truly groundbreaking titles for the PC gaming industry. Full Throttle, Loom, Day of the Tentacle, Monkey Island - the big ones. Now, I can continue to play the point-click interface with the Wii controller. Perhaps an official re-release is in order for some old LucasArts games.

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