Monday, March 05, 2007

I am so happy with my new camera.

I almost went with the comperable Nikon, it felt better in my hand, but in the end, I went with the canon. Price was definitely a factor here, and since this camera was available at for less than $500 without a lens, I couldn’t pass it up. I already have a lens that would work and is better than the kit lens that would come with the camera anyway, so I just decided to get it.

The nikon was nice when I went to a bricks and mortar store to check them out, but it has a serious flaw. The auto-focus motor is in the lens on the Nikon, meaning if you want to buy a lens in the future, they will be more expensive. It’s also only 6 MP, which I know doesn’t mean all that much, but it is a difference. I’m also familiar and comfortable with Canon cameras.

Check back for more pics, or you can check out my flickr page!

canon DSLR

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

apple tv still not available!

I'm still waiting for this to come out.

Apple TV at »

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

apple TV delayed!

Apple TV (which I plan on buying) has been delayed. Now the update time is listed as Mid-March, changed from February.

Come on Apple! I've got a $200 comp usa gift card burning a hole in my pocket! Let me buy some stuff!

You might wonder why I'm buying an untested $300 gadget from a very expensive DRM-laden company like apple.

1. I'm expecting the apple TV to have a very high WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor)

2. I've wanted a myth TV or similar application to hook up to the TV/Sterio for a long time now (I even set up a myth tv once, but it failed the wife test)

3. As soon as it's hooked up, I plan on bumping my netflix subscription from 4 at a time to 2 at a time, and spending the leftover money on content from iTunes, saving me money.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

How can I make an application start at login/start up on Windows XP?

A friend asked me this today, so I thought I would share.

How can I make an application start at login/start up on Windows XP?

Simple, right click on whatever you want to run at startup. Choose create shortcut or send shortcut to desktop (whatever option it gives you). Drag that shortcut on top of the start menu, but don't let it go. Wait for the start menu to open, then drag on top of all programs, wait for your list of programs to open, then drag it to the startup folder.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Install FTP Server

It's been awhile since I've done anything (don't ask), but today I'm going to install the ftp server.
I've got two reasons for this:
1. FTP is a cool little internet protocol that nobody really thinks about much anymore,
2. it will require me to think about security, port forwarding, and connectivity early, and
3. it will make things easier when I'm designing the site, or if i want to make changes at work, etc

First, since it's been a week, I'm going to manually check for any updates using synaptic:
System - administration - synaptic
hit reload and then mark all upgrades (this goes and checks the repositories for newer versions of the programs you already have)
When you hit apply twice, you will download and install all available upgrades.

To install proftpd, just search for it and mark it for installation. A warning will pop up telling you to install a few other programs, just go ahead and install them too. Proftpd will not work without them.
We are also going to install gproftpd while we are at it so we can use it to configure proftpd.
After you start to install these two programs, a dialog will come up and ask if you want to run proftpd as standalone or inetd. Standalone means just what it says, but inetd is something very interesting:
inetd means InterNET Daemon, and what it does is listen for requests for each program, and start them only when they are needed. Otherwise, if you have a computer running the apache webserver, proftpd, and SSH, all three programs (and others) would all be running at the same time. inetd runs by itself and just calls the others when they are needed.

Before we get started adding users and groups, lets decide where we want to store our ftp files.
Lets make a new folder under /home
cd /home
sudo mkdir FTP-shared
CD stands for Change Directory
SUDO gets us temporary privledges beyod what we normally have as a regular user
MKDIR stands for MaKe DIRectory

First, we need to set up a new user:
lets go to system - administration - users and groups

Second, lets add a group called ftpgroup by going to manage groups and adding it

third, lets hit add user.
In the new window, we have some options let's use these for the sake of argument:
Username: idiot
real name: idiot
type in a password for idiot and then again to confirm
under the user privledges tab, make sure nothing is checked
under the advanced tab, make sure the home directory is /home/ftp-shared
lets set the shell to something non-existent like /bin/false, and
lets set the main group to ftpgroup


Sunday, January 07, 2007

SAMBA! Part 2, adding shares

This is the second part of the instructions for setting up samba (SMB) windows file sharing on Ubuntu Linux. You can go here for the first part, where we added samba and turned it on.

More instructions can be found here.
Open the terminal, and type this in:
sudo cp /etc/samba/smb.conf /etc/samba/smb.conf_backup
English translation:
sudo = temporarily give me more user privileges
cp = copy 1 file to another file (in this case, we are copying smb.conf to
so we can revert to the old settings if we need to).

If you did it right, the terminal will not give you any response.
If you want to check it, you can go to /etc/samba/ and make sure the two
files are there.

Now, we want to actually edit the smb.conf file:
gksudo gedit /etc/samba/smb.conf
This is one of the most surprising things about Linux, and I think it's
very telling. In windows, it's kind of every man for themselves -
each software company does things their own way, whichever way is
most cost effective for them.
In Linux, there are some fundamental conventions that programmers follow.
Usually, but not always, there is a small file that gives you tons
of features and minuscule control over every aspect of a program.
It is a simple text file that usually has a .conf extension.
Programmers could trust you to edit the source yourself, since most
programs are open source, but then you would have to redo all your
work every time you upgraded. It's simple, elegant, and very common.
Combined with man, .conf files are one of my favorite thigs about linux.

Find the "workgroup = MSHOME" line under global, and
change MSHOME to whatever the name of your workgroup is.

Find the "; security = user" line under Authentication, and change it to this:
" security = user
username map = /etc/samba/smbusers"
The semi-colon comments out the line so it doesn't work.
We want username authentication to work, and we also want to
map usernames to the smbusers file.

We need to make three changes in the share definitions section:

uncomment the
"[homes] comment = home directories browseable = no" lines
uncomment the "valid users = %s" line
Find "writeable = no" in the Share Definitions section,
and change it to yes.

save your changes, close smb.conf, and type
"sudo testparm" in the terminal.
Sudo testparm will test smb.conf and make sure everything is correct.

If you don't have any errors, you can restart samba with a
"sudo /etc/init.d/samba restart"
init.d is a text file that holds initialization and termination
files for many programs.
The above command basically asks the init daemon to stop and start
samba for you.

A daemon is a unix term for a program that runs unattended.

If you want to change the name that appears in your workgroup for
your new fileserver, open back up the smb.conf file and look
for the "server string" line. Change that line to whatever
you want. %s is the name of the computer you used during install.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Convert WMA files to mp3 in 3 easy steps using iTunes!

A friend of mine asked me how to do this today, and I figured I'd share.

Convert WMA files to mp3 in 3 easy steps using iTunes!

I'm not in front of my computer right now (I'm at work, and they frown on iTunes), but if I remember correctly, this is how you do it:

1. Import the song like you normally do
you can go to file - add folder/file to library
This will add the file to your iTunes library as a WMA file, which iTunes handles just fine as long as it doesn't have any DRM (Digital Rights Management) on it. If it does have DRM, it will tell you or it will just fail to import it. If it's got DRM, then it is copyrighted, and I can't help you. I will also remind you that using any of the programs readily available on the Internet by searching google for something like "remove DRM WMA" is both illegal and immoral. It is also a violation of the DMCA, punishable by a prison term of up to 5 years and a fine of up to $500,000 per violation. Every time you make a copy of a song the terrorists win.

2. The default file format in iTunes to convert everything to is ACC. Since we want to change the WMA file to mp3, this is how we do it:
Go to advanced - importing
Change "import using" to mp3 (I usually use the higher quality - 192 kbps option here)

3. Go to your library and find the song you want to convert. Right click on it and select convert.

You will now have two copies of the song, the WMA version and the mp3. If you want to delete the WMA completely, I would listen to the mp3 first to make sure there were no errors.

Someone just pointed out to me that parts of this post are no longer accurate!
Now, if you have iTunes set to import using the mp3 filter, it will automatically ask you to convert a WMA file when you start to import it.

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