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Category: Tech
Friday, July 4th, 2008 @ 11:52 am
Posted By Brent

I decided to learn one of the php web frameworks and thought, "what better way to learn this than to rebuild my site from scratch!"

Anyway, here I am and all. The old posts have been deactivated and commenting will be offline until I can get a handle on the spamming situation. I'm writing as I'm learning, so things should start to get exponentially faster as I get more under my belt with Code Igniter.

If I stay interested.


Category: Tech
Friday, July 13th, 2007 @ 11:31 am
Posted By Brent

Yes, I'm now a H.O.M.O., sort of.

Brenda wanted one so bad and was quite dismayed when I told her that her chances of getting one on launch day were somewhere around the chances of getting a Wii on launch, so she zipped over to Apple.com on D-Day and ordered one. The very next day, while out running errands, she passed by an AT&T store and decided to pop on in to see if they possibly still had any. I apparently overestimated the technological savvy and hunger of the usual Hammond resident, because there were quite a bit of iPhone still to be had. She picked one up right there and brought it home, leaving the decision of what to do with the one that she ordered online up to me.

It's really way too expensive for a freaking phone, let alone two, but laziness prevailed. I thought biting the financial bullet and keeping it was easier than shipping it back or selling it on eBay, so two weeks later I was the proud owner of my very on iPhone.

Now for the part you're probably interested in: it is pretty effing slick. As a phone it's tops. The web browsing on it is hands down the best ever on a handheld, and by that I mean it is actually usable. Until more apps start coming down the pipe, that's about all I'm going to be using it for. Ok, I may take a picture here and there, but the camera is about as good as a camera in a run of the mill cell phone, which is to say it's pretty underwhelming when presented in a package this nice.

Did I mention that one of the ringers you can choose is the sound of a phone ringing? Ah, sweet bliss.

Of course there are complaints:

  • Activation: You activate it with iTunes (which from hereto forth will be referred to as "iHateUsers")
    • You must be using iTunes on WinXP to do this (did I mention I've always said I'm never moving beyond Win2K), luckily my work laptop has XP on it
    • Brenda activated hers on launch weekend, which meant she had to keep it connected to iTunes for THIRTY-SIX (36) hours before the activation went through.
  • There are no games on it. None. This is a grave sin.
  • iTunes.
  • It is an Apple product, so a smaller, better version will be out soon enough.
  • The browser doesn't have flash. YouTube still works because of some deal they struck with google to get the YouTube videos to stream in mp4, but other than that, no flash.
  • iTunes
  • I wanted to get my cell service (from AT&T) that my company provides for me switched over to my iPhone, but alas, you can not use an iPhone on a corporate plan. Yet if you go to www.att.com/wireless, click on Business, then select the link to show you the available phones and devices, the iPhone is conspicuously located at the top of the fucking list. I ended up getting my number transfered back to me and getting a personal account. I hope I can expense it.
  • Not only can you not activate it without WinXP, iTunes won't even recognize it under Win2K.
  • It will not even charge when connected to a Win2K computer.
  • I have, as of yet, not found any porn for it.
  • Did I mention iTunes yet?

I have a few other little complaints, but all in all it comes out on top. The iTunes thing still really bugs me because it such a shitty piece of software. Never in my life have I ever used a piece of software that goes this far out of its way to make it hard for you to do what you want to do. This playlist, video list, picture directory syncing bullshit is just retarded. How about this: I have this simple list on the left side of iTunes: Music, Movies, Pictures, and your iPhone/iPod (or whatever you have plugged in at the moment). On the right you have a list of the media contained in the selected item from the left. You click on "Music." You drag your favorite dance jam, "Holla Back Girl," over to the "iPhone" icon on the left. It copies the song to your iPhone. You are done. Don't ask me why this isn't the paradigm, maybe it made too much "sense."

Well this is turning out to be more of a rant about iTunes than a post about my new iPhone, so I guess I'll just cut it short here before I start publicly plotting the assination of iTunes developers. I'm still not sure if any of the non-Apple iPod management software works for the iPhone. Although, when the apps for it start coming out I'm sure you'll need iTunes to install them, and I doubt that is something easily supported by non-Apple sanctioned channels.


Category: Tech
Wednesday, August 30th, 2006 @ 12:38 pm
Posted By Brent

I've been running Firefox on Linux for quite some time now, and there's been something that's always bugged me. This doesn't happen on the Windows version, so I thought it was just some sort of platform behavior, but I've finally figured it out.

In Firefox, under both Linux and Windows, if you middle mouse click a link it will cause it to open in a new tab[*]. Where the behavior differs is if you accidentally miss the actual link you were aiming for and click in dead space on the page, under Linux this will inexplicably cause Firefox to take whatever is in your clipboard, paste it into the address bar, and then try to access it whether or not it is an actual URL. If it is not a URL, which will be the case 99 times out of 100, it will then take your random clipboard data, do a google search with it and forward you to the first result google returns. Under Windows, if you miss your link on a middle click, it will cause this odd scrolling thing to pop up that makes your mouse movement control scrolling the page, but I don't know how to fix that. I have, however, figured out how to get rid of the Linux issue.

I'm not claiming I'm a genius, as this would take a person who is fairly competent with Firefox a total of five seconds to figure out, I'm just saying it's been bugging me, I figured it out, so I'm throwing it up here to help anyone who's annoyed by this too:

Going to the address "about:config" in Firefox will bring up a page full of configuration settings. If you put the word "middle" in the filter box, your will see a few matches, one of which being "middlemouse.contentLoadURL". Setting this to "false" will make middle mouse click in dead space do exactly what I whant it to do. Nothing.
That is all.

[*] Since the advent of the scrollwheel, middle mouse buttons are pretty few and far between. On most modern mice, the scroll wheel is clickable and has taken over the middle mouse button's job.


Category: Tech
Tuesday, April 11th, 2006 @ 04:26 pm
Posted By xerxes7
Two weeks. Ha.

Where were we? Oh yeah. We were there, and then we were there. Thus leading us HERE. The grand third chapter of my trilogy of what it's like to switch to Linux and never look back. Except that I have kind of looked back. Most people do for varying reasons. We'll get to that in a moment.

First up, why has it taken so long to get this part up? Easy. We got a new computer. I managed a P4-3G with a whole G o' RAM for 5 ben. It's nice actually spending some time with a computer that isn't a good five years old. Everything just works so smoooovely. Of course, a gig will do that when you are using THE DEVIL'S OWN OPERATING SYSTEM THAT IS CALLED WINDOWS XP. Yep. I took it home and didn't strip the bastard off. See, this box was boughten for two reasons.

1. To allow for the playing of games that have been released in the last three years.
2. To allow me to break the living hell out of the old computer and not cause panic when the love of my life needs to do something online and she can't because I was "just trying something".

It'll get Linux installed eventually, there's just no big rush right now.

Something the last few weeks have given me is a fresh perspective on what it is like to use Windows. See, I work on winboxen all day, but I never get to just idly goof around with them. I cure their ills and move along. I've had plenty of time to goof recently, however. And I've learned what I've heard from Mac zealots since forever.

Windows is ugly.

I don't mean in some really obvious way. I mean, it's pleasant enough. I hear that a Mac will just automatically make your eyes weep because of its inherent beauty. Now I'm not going to claim that KDE as I have experienced it is capable of that kind of glory, but I will say that there is an ugliness deep down in Windows that no amount of graphical sheen and polish will fix. It's some kind of intangible thing that I think ties into the root of Windows itself. Kind of an "it's what's on the inside that counts" sort of thing. All I know is that after a day or two on the new computer I was struck by this ugliness thing and I haven't been able to shake it. Thank you, KDE.

So that's my story of returning to Windows. Now to wrap up the migration to Linux.

If I were to give a quick double-tap to my scroll lock key right now I would bring up the other computer. The Linux box. The O to the muthafuckin' G. I would see a screen holding before me a positively dizzying list of things that I can include or not when I compile Gentoo (that's spelled R-I-C-E-R) Linux for the very first time. I mean it. That shit is vertigo-inducing. Every single option begs for my consideration. Is it important for me to include "Patch providing support for content scanning"? I honestly don't know. I don't recall using such a thing before, but maybe I did. Either way, I get to decide now. And if I screw it up? It's cool. There's a whole other computer around that won't be affected. Is it important that I compile the whole damned thing anyway? Certainly not. But I find that I want to. I want to learn more about Linux, and I understand that installing Gentoo will either teach me more about Linux and the almighty command line or it will just scare me back to Kubuntu-land. But either way, I'm willing to toy with this stuff. I'm not just willing, I'm looking forward to it. With Windows, after I learned how to fix a few minor problems and install hardware and such, it just became rather routine. It's kind of fun, don't get me wrong. But I'm looking for something a little more personal, and my time with Linux has taught me that it is most certainly more personal.

Sometimes when I come home from a long day at work, Linux has prepared a delicious meal for me. Linux listens to my problems while rubbing my back. And at the end of it all, Linux takes me to the boudoir... where we fsck.

Windows never did that. Windows facilitated easy installation of games, but it never cared for me. It never asked what my needs were.

So we'll see where this goes. I'm for sure going to finally learn about make, makeinstall, and whatever. I'm going to learn it so hard that it's the only thing I'll be able to think about. I'm going to learn about piping outputs to other commands and all kinds of shit. Hell, maybe a few installs down the line I'll just forgo the gui and go straight up cli. But whatever happens, I don't feel that I'll ever really need or want Windows around except as a backup. There will probably always be some program that we just have to run that won't work well in WINE. And I'm fine with that. But I do look forward to the day that the only reason to switch to the other box will be to check on how something's running over there, not because the other box will be running windows. Or the only reason to reboot will be because the damned thing has locked up on me, not because I need to go into that ugly wasteland of an OS.

But in the meantime, there are n00bs that need pwning in UT2k4 by that woman o'mine and life-altering decisions that I need to make regarding "Patch providing support for content scanning".

The following links should be of some help for anyone looking at making the switch like I did.

Knoppix is the first live distro that we played with. Simply go to the downloads page, download a disc image, burn that to a disc, and reboot your computer with the disc in the drive. This lets you play around with Linux without commiting to anything, as it just runs in RAM. If you do try this out, keep in mind that it is running more slowly than it would normally, since it's constantly having to load things off of your cd. Still, a nice way to stick your toe in the pool.

Kubuntu is the distro of Linux that we used when we actually made the switch. Kubuntu has a look and feel that should be familiar to anyone who is even slightly comfortable with Windows. It is a very easy to use distribution that automates everything. It recognizes most hardware and just all around makes things about as simple as they can be. I highly recommend this.

Gentoo is what I'm starting to play with now. It's not user friendly (by design), but it's supposed to be a very good way to learn about this magical operating system at a nuts & bolts level. This is a good few yards more of rope than you need to hang yourself with.

So, I hope this has been even just a little bit informative to the four or five of you reading this site that have little to no idea of what options you have available to you as far as operating systems go. Feel free to drop questions or concerns in the comments section. I'm down with helping anyone I can who would like to free themselves of Redmond's shackles.


Category: Tech
Monday, March 20th, 2006 @ 03:31 pm
Posted By Brent

Sorry I've been in contact very little for the past few weeks, I've been having some computer problems.

Brenda wanted a new computer, and the one I was currently on was still really viable for things like playing games and so forth, so she came up with the idea of me getting a new one and just passing mine on down to her. Sounded like a good plan to me.

Initially I ordered a dual core AMD64, and wasn't too impressed. The AMD64s are backwards compatible with 32bit OSes, but if you do install a 32bit OS on it, you're pretty much not getting all your money's worth seeming as you paid for a 64 bit processor but it's only processing 32bit code. My plan was to dual boot Windows XP Professional x64 Edition and Ubuntu64. Both of these gave me more headaches than the speed boost would be worth.

I installed Windows X64 and right away noticed that the generic display driver (ie the one it uses before you install your actual driver) was slow as dog ass (windows were slow to update and left momentary artifacts on the screen when you'd move them), and there were these weird, random areas on the screen where text was blurry. My next step, of course, is to download my video driver to correct this, so I go to install my wifi network card driver and find that it just doesn't work. An hour and countless message boards later I find that Netgear doesn't make, and has no intention of making, a Windows x64 compatible driver for my card. Ok, well, my ethernet port seemed to work so I strung a wire across the house to get my driver. Upon downloading and installing my NVidia driver and rebooting, the update and artifacting issues were solved but the weird blurry spots were still there. I tire of fucking with Windows so I move on to the install of my Linux partition.

Pop in Ubuntu 64, run through the install, and have it up and running in no time. Go the Wiki entry on how to upgrade to the latest Firefox and run into a whole mess of side notes about needing to do all kinds of other hairy bullshit if you're running 64 bit. Most of it about Firefox reporting your OS which causes plugins to tell you they're not available for 64 bit platforms. There was a hacky work-around that got you past it, but the aggravation was already starting to build up. Also, the win32codecs that allow you to play things like WMVs and AVIs just weren't available for 64 bit systems.

At this point I had had enough of it and came to the conclusion that if I was this aggravated in the first 2 hours of having the machine, there was very little hope of me ever being satisfied. I realize I could have just installed 32bit XP and Ubuntu, but like I said earlier, any money I would have spent on the processor being 64bit would be wasted. So I sent the fucker back and ordered a Pentium4.

Upon receiving my P4, I whipped Win2k and Ubuntu on it with no problems what so ever. Until, of course, I had used it for about three hours when I all of a sudden rebooted on me out of no where. Back up, couple more hours later, reboot. To make a long story short, I had gotten a bum motherboard and had to send that back and get it replaced. Now I'm finally up and rocking


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