Category Archives: techie

stupid VMware networking issue

i’m running vmware on my laptop. the laptop has two network interfaces: an ethernet port and a wireless card. i don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that it had two NICs until now, but whatever.

i have installed two VMs on this laptop. one is actually a boot camp partition that is running windows 7. i love the fact that vmware will boot up a boot camp partition and reuse hard drive space to run a VM. this saves me tons of valuable hard drive space on this laptop. i installed a windows partition on this laptop because it also happens to be my primary gaming machine and i needed to make sure that i could natively run games. i don’t play games often, but i like having the option of being able to do so. additionally, there are a handful of apps that only run on windows that i really want access to. there’s just no other way around it, unfortunately.
Continue reading stupid VMware networking issue

mozilla lightning, thunderbird and google calendars

mozilla thunderbird is a pretty good email client. it is a decent replacement to the enterprise-dominant outlook. one of the biggest pet peeves i’ve had with it, though, was its lack of calendar support. mozilla has another open source solution called sunbird, but i didn’t want to run ANOTHER program just for calendaring.

it turns out that there’s an add-on to thunderbird called lightning which brings calendar support into thunderbird. that’s pretty good, but still, no centralized server to keep the calendaring data…and today i discovered this: a google calendar provider for lightning. this will allow you to use google calendar as your server. setup wasn’t completely obvious, but jonny at bfish has a very through walk-though of the setup of the provider and now i have my calendaring all set up. pretty elegant if you ask me, i like it a lot.

dns-323 putty missing characters

for the longest time i had been struggling with putty telnet/ssh’ing into my DNS-323. every so often i would drop characters and so typing anything in the shell on the NAS was a monumental waste of time. i have finally figured out why this is happening. it turns out that the reason why i’m having problems is because i have putty set to send a keepalive null packet to the NAS. whenever putty does this, it drops whatever characters i’m typing. talk about weird, huh?

stupid optional coding conventions

i am a stickler for coding conventions. part of making code readable is to adhere to some set of standard coding conventions. i’ve been using the same set of conventions for a long time now, which means that at least when i look at my own code it looks properly formatted. what pisses me off is when i have to deal with code that has tabs all over the place inconsistently. it’s ugly, it’s awful, and it pisses me off.

i’m working with code where the code is a mess. there are no regular conventions used, it almost looks like people used whitespace on a whim. it’s like writing english sentences and using punctuation whenever you feel like it. now, i know that i never capitalize when i write emails or blog entries, and i’m sure that there are those of you out there where it’s a big pet peeve and it grates on you. fine, i get that. sorry. but at least the meaning of the content is clear. at least, you know, in my head it all makes sense. but i just spent 10 minutes looking at a block of code trying to figure out why something isn’t working when it should be and i finally found out why. it’s because the previous programmer decided that the use of braces and whitespace isn’t very important to them.

in some places code looks like:

if ($variable==true) {
// do this
// and do this
} else {
// do that

in other places code looks like:

if ($variable==true) // do this

and in other places it looks like:

if ($variable==true) {
// do this
} else // do that

and in other places it looks like:

if ($variable==true) { // do this } else { // do this; //do that; //do this too; }

it kills me. i’m glad that i enforced a coding convention when we had multiple programmers here. all of our new code looks beautiful.

i hate reporting

i hate writing reporting code. data handling and manipulation just isn’t fun. i want to create something beautiful, something functional, something useful. and i guess i don’t find reports all that fun.

but i think i have just constructed the longest SQL query i have ever written. there has got to be a simpler way to do what i’m doing. i’m updating some code that was previously written and the code that was written before uses all of these temporary tables and it got all confusing for me. i’m sure that it’s probably easier to join against these temporary tables and views, but i decided to wrap it all in one big query. sure, it spans a couple of databases but it all works.

a 1568 byte query. 24 lines long. one query. sheesh, this is why i hate reporting.

playstation firmware 2.30

with the latest firmware upgrade, i thought i’d give the ps3 another try as my media center. most notably my biggest pet peeve revolves around the ps3 and the way that sony has implemented streaming video. i’ve got the DLNA-certified server set up, so it’s all about the ps3’s ability to play video. i am still getting the dreaded: “This content cannot be played. (80028801)” error.

it seems like it’s just a matter of the ps3 getting better codec support, but so far i’m still disappointed. if you’re going to implement divx playback, get good xvid and codec support! please!

*EDIT* it appears that the ps3 is consistently failing and sending that error whenever i pause the video and then restart it. this is sort of new behavior, i wonder if it has anything to do with the streaming server… *sigh*

d-link dns-323 and transmission torrent client

i’ve been using transmission and clutch for dns-323 for a while now and i’ve set it up and it looks like it is operating correctly, it doesn’t look like it’s working well. i’ve been having huge performance issues where i would peak to my max_download rate, but i don’t seem to be sustaining that rate. on average, i am seeing around 40kB/s transfers instead of what i used to see in mlnet. i really wanted transmission and clutch to work out well because i think the UI is cleaner and prettier, but after a couple of weeks of poor performance, i’ve decided to ditch transmission and go back to mlnet. mlnet is running now and with the same set of torrents is running happily close to my max rate.

windows vista and hard drive space

after installing a fresh copy of windows vista on my laptop, i was met with great shock and chagrin that a clean vista install takes up 15 GB. that can’t possibly be right, i thought to myself, so i started to look at what was going on.

the windows OS looks like it’s about 7GB. 7GB. man, that’s big. my cluttered up XP install on another machine is about 4GB big, so that’s a lot of bloat for vista. i’m willing to forgive it because i’ve always sacrificed speed and features for space when i work on code, but vista feels slower…

anyway, i went on a hunt looking for where the rest of the 8GB went to. program files is only about 350MB. and then i found it, two hidden files that i had forgotten about a long time ago. the swap to disk file and the hibernate file. this is what really hurt me as windows by default will manage these settings for you. the hibernate file is as big as your memory is, and in my case, that’s a 4GB file. the swap disk file is also dependent on memory and there was my missing 8GB. it’s because i have so much RAM that so much hard drive space is consumed.

i turned hibernate off to save myself 4GB. i don’t really use hibernate much, so i think i’ll be ok. so i’m now down to a 13GB lean install of vista. i’ve only given myself 32GB for my vista boot, so i hope that i won’t need anymore space than that.

ps3 and d-link dns-323 nas

the ps3 came today and i eagerly hooked it up to try it out.

frustration upon frustration set in when i couldn’t get the ps3’s HDMI to work. my configuration is a little awkward though. i’m actually feeding the ps3’s HDMI connection to my outlaw receiver which only has DVI inputs. so i am currently using an HDMI => DVI cable for video and a toslink cable for audio. it turns out that the way that the outlaw stacks its video ports over different connection types. that is, the component 2 video input and the DVI input are shared. so if you want to use DVI 2, you cannot use component 2 for anything else. makes sense, i guess….but that means that you are limited in terms of how many component inputs you can use if you use both DVI inputs.

anyhow, i got that mess sorted out and it looks like all is working just fine now. the next problem was that the ps3 does not support samba shares. this means that trying to share a folder over the network (like a windows share) is not possible. instead, what the ps3 does support is a DLNA media server.
Continue reading ps3 and d-link dns-323 nas

more DNS-323…

one of my biggest pet peeves about the DNS-323 hacks is that there doesn’t appear to be any easy way to automate the download of torrents to the mldonkey client. mldonkey works great once you get the torrent file to it, but getting the torrent file to it can be a bit tricky.

sure there’s a web interface to do it, or you can sancho in, but i have grown accustomed to utorrent’s automatic RSS parsing features. what made utorrent’s RSS feed especially cool was that you can tag a show to be downloaded and once the file was downloaded, it won’t try to download the show again, even if you delete the file while the torrent is still in the RSS feed.

mldonkey doesn’t have any out-of-the-box features to do this and adding a torrent to mldonkey from the command-line is harder than you would expect. maybe i haven’t found the command-line way to do it, but i haven’t been able to find it yet.

anyway, i have finally decided to install PHP on the NAS box. this gives me a whole slew of new options. a little scripting magic later (i wish that the version of PHP i got had curl support) , i made an RSS parser, torrent downloader, and telnet client to access mlnet’s admin telnet command line program. all in all, the script seems to be working well after cron’ing it, so i’ve got the same functionality that i had before. yay. now it’s just time to make a list of all the things to download…