Archive for August, 2007

the linksys bug

August 28th, 2007

So on the whole, I’ve been pretty damn pleased with the iPhone. It’s kind of amazing to have full-on email and web everywhere I go. But I’ve noticed one annoying bug that’s been driving me crazy, and I’ve come to call it ‘the Linksys bug’. You contract the Linksys bug like this:

  1. Get tired of the iPhone asking to join wifi networks, and turn that ‘feature’ off.
  2. Now, go into public and try and find an open wifi network.
  3. Without fail, you’ll eventually find an open one with the default name of ‘Linksys’.
  4. Go ahead and hop on the open Linksys network, and perform whatever nefarious wifi task you wanted to do.
  5. Eventually you’ll walk by another ‘Linksys’ network. This one, however, will be locked down with a WEP password and will confuse the heck out of your iPhone, because hey! it thought that the ‘Linksys’ network was open, man. You will not know the password, nor will you be able to tell your iPhone to forget about the damn ‘Linksys’ network. If you walk around a lot, you will be prompted to not know the password five or six times per day.
  6. OPTIONAL: Be amazed at the number of people who use the default, out-of-the-box wifi network name of ‘Linksys’. Have these people no creativity?

You can fix this, though:

  1. Install the iPhone installer.
  2. Use the newly installed to install “Term-vt100”.
  3. (OPTIONAL: Install the BSD subsystem and OpenSSH while you’re there).
  4. Run “Term-vt100” from the main iPhone ‘Springboard’ screen. Input this line and hit return:
    rm ~/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/
  5. Restart your iPhone by holding down the top button. After it reboots, it will have forgetten about all your wireless networks, including the annoying stuck Linksys one.


iPhone camera

August 27th, 2007

More examples here.

Megapixels aside, it turns out the best kind of camera is the one you actually have with you so you can get the shot. The resolution of the iPhone could be better (1600×1200), and fixed-focus is a drag, but the color and detail, slightly skewed blue as it is, is really quite nice, and you can email downscaled photos (640×480, or 480×320, depending on orientation) pretty much as fast as you can take them.

One of the interesting things I’ve noticed is that due to the “portrait” orientation of the phone hardware itself, I’m much more apt to take “tall” photos, versus when I carried a 4:3 Canon Elph I would be more apt to take “landscape” or wide pictures.


polar clock

August 21st, 2007

Cool way to look at time.


how to move tons of data using rsync

August 20th, 2007

So: I bought a new 500 GB NAS from NewEgg to consolidate the 160 GB NAS + 250 GB USB2 drive Frankensteinian setup I’ve been using as a Media Dump — I love the linux-based SimpleShare as a data source for the XBox Media Center, but plugged in external USB drives tend not to want to spin down, generating heat and wasting electricity, so I got a large one to consolidate the big mess into something more manageable, quieter, and hopefully less of an electricity hog.

But here’s the problem — how does one move 400 GB of audio and video around from SMB share to SMB share, anyhow? First I (naively) tried Windows’ “copy” method — this actually got through quite a bit through before dying at a random point, leaving me no clue what was copied and what was left. Then, I tried Mac OS X, which also died midway through the transfer at a seemingly random and unknowable point. So that sucked.

So then I decided to pull out my Cruddy Ubuntu laptop(tm) and try rsync. After I installed the linux smb client:

sudo apt-get install smbfs smbclient

…and figured out how to map my SMB shares to local folders:

mkdir new_media
mkdir old_media
sudo mount -t smbfs // /home/jeff/old_media
sudo mount -t smbfs // /home/jeff/new_media

…all it took was one single command (and about 36 hours!) to move about 400 GB worth of data:

sudo rsync --progress -r /home/jeff/old_media/ /home/jeff/new_media/

I’m sure there’s a better way to do this (and if so, let me know!), but I was pretty psyched at how effectively it worked once everything was in place; rsync even moves things in alphabetical order, versus Mac and Windows, which both appear to copy files using some inscrutable, spindly method based on reasons long forgotten.


fancy menu

August 20th, 2007


I clicked on “Ride an Elephant” and nothing happened, but still, cool code — found via the link farmish


A strange and beautiful thing

August 18th, 2007


A cross between an animation and a video game. Both lovely and surreal. In other words, ideal.

ruin yourself the blood glucose way

August 11th, 2007

Ah. Twinkies.

OK, guys. So, don’t do this:

1. Go into work every day tired and rushed, having skipped breakfast and with some leftovers in a bag for an unappetizing (but nearly free!) lunch.

2. Make sure you don’t eat much, maybe a pile of crackers or something, until your blood sugar drops below your knees and you can no longer think. It will be about 2 by then.

3. Dawdle around the office unable to leave for lunch or do anything of use anymore.

4. Find something in your drawer or lunch bag that is totally inadequate and eat some of it. Feel sort of pointless and grossed out.

5. Drive home in a near stupor for one hour in your car that leaks gas. Use the last of your energy trying not to hit anyone, since you definitely couldn’t afford it.

6. Turn on the TV since you don’t have any oomph left. At like 11 muster the will to open a can of something and drink some juice.

7. Measure your waistline. Three more inches? Wow, how did that happen?

8. Notice you missed Aikido class, but be resigned since you were too tired anyway. Don’t forget to stay up late!

9. Blame the world!

This post made in celebration of my last day of work yesterday. Hooray! No more crappy diet for me! I’m going to be a student! Hey… wait.


August 11th, 2007


Texty is pretty neat — you sign up and you get a little chunk of HTML that you then embed into a page. Then you can edit the content of that page via the Texty webpage interface rather than doofing around with HTML.

Nifty idea, but I’d be nervous about using it for anything serious — what happens if goes away? I’d feel way better if it was something I could host myself.


disabling windows camera dialog

August 7th, 2007


Because I couldn’t find this written down anywhere else: to disable the incredibly annoying Windows camera picture acquisition dialog every time you plug your iPhone into Windows XP:

  1. Go to “Run” in the start bar and type: SERVICES.msc.
  2. In the “Services” box that comes up, click on “Services (local)” then right click on Windows Image Acquisition (WIA).
  3. Select Properties.
  4. Set “Startup Type” to disabled.


wiimote javascript exploits

August 6th, 2007

Opera has thoughtfully provided Javascript examples of how to interact with the Nintendo Wii remote on the (surprisingly capable!) web browser for the Nintendo Wii.


stripe generator

August 4th, 2007

I’m a big fan of things that do one thing and do it well. This site generates stripes.

(found via



August 3rd, 2007

The XRAY bookmarklet is shaping up to be (along with Firebug) one of the most useful web development tools I have. Cool stuff.