Triple Monitors at Work

It kills me a little bit inside every time I boot into Windows at work. Just a little bit. It seems like Microsoft is following Canonical’s lead, by introducing an Ubuntu-like hover bar deal to the taskbar in Windows 7. I won’t bother myself with figuring out who is doing the aping…we’ll just leave it at that.

Anyhow, the first real impressive feature I have found with Windows 7 is seamless handling of multiple monitors.

three monitors on windows 7
+3

Getting triple monitors was *nearly plug and play. A few resolution tweaks and a reordering was all it took.

For what it is worth, that monitor placement is strategic. Suffice to say my view is much, much better now. (shutters)

Output Lull

Not sure where this picture came from exactly…trying to get video working via Cheese on Ubuntu is my best guess.

bad lab
bad lab

It has been sitting on my desktop for a while, ready for something. There it is ^

My new job has kept me busy for the last three weeks. FWIW, RightNow Technologies is a great place to be…check them out by all means. I have been putting together baby furniture like a boss, expect a post on that soon. Had a few gotchas to share. Katie is still doing well, and things are falling into place; we may have a daycare picked out, which will be nice to have in the books. Exciting stuff…ready for this little girl to show up.

Project wise, I’m going either one of two ways. I still have a boat-load of white LEDs to put to use. I am either thinking of banging out a quick Arduino (sorry for the neglect, little guy) project on that front, or trying to do some metering with the IOIO. I thought about doing a quick Ping sensor project for the IOIO as well, but figured that may turn into another multi-month ordeal. Might tackle some LEDs…debugging LEDs is pretty much a binary process. Works or does not work.

Time will tell. But until then.

Satellite Internet Options

Q: What is worse than a dial-up internet connection?
crickets chirping…
crickets chirping…
crickets chirping…
A: Very little?

I don’t know. Dial up is unacceptable. So unacceptable that I would, without a doubt, rather be without a connection than have to poke around with dial up. Some remote places are without the option of a cable connection. Some places even more remote cannot even access DSL. I weep for the poor souls.

Fortunately, there is an option. Look to the stars, my dialing up friends. Chins up…there is always satellite internet, my friends.

Satellite Internet
Satellite-y

Some day, our mobile connections may be able to handle all of our data needs. Until that idea becomes reality, our best bet for remote connections is, by all means, satellite connections. You are likely familiar with Direct TV and Dish Network receivers…this is the same principle. No grid…just power the receiver, and you get your connections from Low-Earth Orbit. LEO and the interwebs; let me sum that up. Yep, just as I suspected: win / win.

Hit that link to find out more. Believe me, dial up internet is barely internet at all. This route is really the only way to go in a pinch. Plus, your friends and family will be amazed by your forward-thinking, futuristic internet connection. Space cadet stuff.

Git er Hub

Making progress on the IOIO marathon project.

GitHub has been chosen as the initial hosting deal. Configured with a little hello world this evening.

git hub linux
commit.

Click on that for some CLI awesome junk. If not, tune back in for the larger effort soon. Android app may follow.

Ubuntu Fast Flash Issue

I was horsing around with the Google+ Hangout function last week. In installing the required Google / Flash plugins via Ubuntu Update Manager, I managed to cripple my system.

I wiped Flash off of my machine, did a fresh install…the whole works. To no avail. The bug (and fix) were strange enough to warrant a write-up.

First, the symptoms were strange. Any Flash video would run super fast…triple speed. While watching Cubs replays in fast forward was sort of amusing, I couldn’t get audio to work either. All media was wonky, including streaming audio. I tried to play an MP3 from my hard drive…playback was nonfunctional. That sort of led me to the solution:

ubuntu audio problem
hmm

I disabled the HDMI audio function, restarted Firefox, and that was that.

Why audio settings would spawn that sort of malfunction is beyond me. I am going to submit a bug report on this guy…too strange to let slip.

Nerdy Weekend

Disclaimer: I have two baseball games in which to play tomorrow. Play well, FWIW.

I am spending my night watching ‘Ask an Engineer.’ Getting my nerd on (well, FWIW.)

ask an engineer
+1 beer (at least)

Support Lady Ada / Adafruit via purchasing the type of stuff you see on swantron.com…she is one of the good guys. Have a nice weekend…

Android Instant Upload to Google(plus)

I created a Google+ account last week, in order to kick the tires a bit. I am going to hold off on a full review until I get some circles going, test the group video chat functions, etc.

I do want to mention one puzzling feature that Google has built into this thing.

Instant upload.

I don’t get it.

google plus instant upload
plus one google plus

This makes for super easy uploading of images to your profile. Android phone…cellular radio connection…there you go. This app will run a cron job to dump your photos to your Google plus profile. The default setting is to allow this when you set up the Google+ Android app, with all new photos dumped to a private (non-shared) folder on your G+ account.

I opened up my settings and let this one rip.

webcam shot to google plus via android
plus one intrusive

It took about 20 seconds for that picture to show up in my private folder. Cool implementation, but pretty impractical.

Issues I have with this:

* Increased data usage. Especially as unlimited plans are goners.
* Battery nukage. One more thing to kill -9.
* Location data. Real time seeding a DB with your lat/long.
* Duplicate media. Primarily for deletions…two is worse than one.
* Neccessary? USB cord…bluetooth…MMS…physical media…email…

Suffice to say, I will have this ‘feature’ disabled. Stay tuned for the full review, and holler if you would like an invite.

Spoofing User Agent Types from the Command line

I’m back on the command line…look out…

ubuntu terminal spoofing user agents
green on black...my favorite

So, I am still poking away at various ways to interface between the bash and various web components. This stuff is still shaking out of my Twitter to CLI to LCD project. I have been using some of the usual suspects (wget, python url libraries, etc) in an effort to find one that is best suited to sniffing and parsing html info. I have found that writing to serial is the most fail-proof means of mashing around data quickly, so that is my inspiration.

Anyhow, I was horsing around with curl on the command line. It turns out, that spoofing user agents is pretty simple to implement.

Take this two-line one liner for instance:

swantron@Dell15:~$ x=10
swantron@Dell15:~$ for (( y=1; y<=x; y++)) ; do curl --user-agent "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.01; Windows NT 5.0)" swantron.com ; done

In a nutshell, this is acting to snag this site ten times, with credentials indicating the machine is running Windows 2000 and MS Internet Explorer 5.1. The success is indicated by my server statistics:

Before:

Windows 2000 IE 5.1
Windows 2000 IE 5.1

After:

IE 5.1 on Windows 2000
IE 5.1 on Windows 2000

Not too bad. I am considering using this as a testing tool for my site. Messing around with PHP and CSS…I can put together a quick regression using some legacy operating systems and browsers to make certain that I can still snag my content. Granted, the example setup may seem like gross overkill, but as those stats indicate, I do see quite a few requests from ancient machines. Makes you wonder..

Anyhow, this layout is in need of some serious testing. If anyone is interested in a copy, drop me a line. Cheers.

Awesome Gadget Blog

As a gadget guy, I am always searching for new tech stuff. Every once in a while, I stumble across a new Gadget Blog that is awe-inspiring. I recently found one that blew my mind, due to some of the inanely cool stuff they dig up.

Like this bad boy…

iphone calculator case
5 functions AND memory...awesome

That iPhone case almost makes me want to get rid of my Droid 2 and snag an iPhone 4. Almost…

Geekalerts.com is where I found that. I have been checking the site out for a while, and they seem to post a handful of awesome entries a day. I have no idea how they keep coming up with this stuff, but it is great. I obviously need to hone my interweb skills, as I would have a hard time finding a few head-scratcher nerd items in a week, let alone in a day. This whole work thing is for the birds. I need more free time. Or, more time to check this site out; they seem to have it figured out.

In addition to the gadgets themselves, these guys do a great job tracking down coupon codes for sweet geeky savings. I ran across an Office Depot coupon that is sort of the catch-all for gadgetry. Office Depot is perhaps a step above gadgetry, since they purvey hardware. Hardwaretry? I am fairly certain that isn’t a word.

Take a look at this Vistaprint coupon for another example. Pretty slick…plus it beats checking out the sites of places you might buy from. Again, the whole time thing.

Anyhow, I am off to check the webs for a Droid old school calculator case. That is too cool.