Will >> Will's blog

purpose: Will Kahn-Greene's blog of Miro, PyBlosxom, Python, GNU/Linux, random content, PyBlosxom, Miro, and other projects mixed in there ad hoc, half-baked, and with a twist of lemon
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Sat, 08 Sep 2007

Status 09/08/2007

I ordered a Seagate Barracuda Ultra ATA/100 drive from Amazon.com the other day and it arrived today. I opened it up to discover it's a PATA drive. However, I thought I ordered an ATA drive and not a PATA drive.... Long story short after an hour of researching and finally calling up a friend who does hardware work, I discovered that "they" renamed ATA to PATA so that it won't be confused with SATA. No one sent me the memo.

I was at Tag's Hardware in Porter Square (Cambridge, MA, USA) to buy Poly-acrylic for some shelves I'm putting up and they're selling decent bookshelves for $20.00. We bought one--it's pretty sturdy and it folds up for moving/storage/whatever. They probably have more left if you're in the area and interested.

I've been working through PyBlosxom stuff. I updated the web-site to use PyBlosxom 2.0-dev (in trunk). We worked through entry caching plans on the mailing list and implemented most of them. We've also been discussing and working through template variable syntax and semantics. I've been adding new unit tests and using tests to help work out the design issues. The testing framework has made it so much easier to do development work.

I've been writing a todo-list-tracking application in Django. I'm hitting a point where it's half-implemented, but I'm thinking I may switch back to Pylons because it's Paste-friendly and easier to deal with.

Bunch more stuff, but it'll be in separate entries.

Sat, 11 Aug 2007

Athlon XP on the side of the road

Last night, S and I were walking to meet some friends at the crepe place when I spotted a black mini-tower with a "free" sign taped to it. I looked at it and it had been hand-built and had case fans with LEDs. I figured that's kind of interesting. So I picked it up and brought it home.

Needless to say we were late to meet the friends. But the next day (today), I took a better look at the machine (i.e. I plugged it in and turned it on). It's an Athlon XP 1800+ with 640 MB of RAM (or something like that). I figure I'll slap one of the half-dozen hard drives I have sitting around in it and use it as a spare build machine or something along those lines. The things you find on the side of the road....

Fri, 20 Apr 2007

Right alt key

I don't use the right alt key much and at some point in time it just stopped working. I thought the key itself was dead, though that was puzzling. Turns out Ubuntu Feisty (and possibly earlier versions--I have no idea) maps the right alt key to a third-level character input key for extended characters.

I bumped into the System \rightarrow Preferences \rightarrow Keyboard panel and also discovered I can very easily switch my caps lock key to a control key. Ahhh... happy emacs pinky....

Thu, 06 Jul 2006

Nokia 770 Internet Tablet 2006

I upgraded my Nokia 770 to Internet Tablet OS 2006 and it's fantastic. It's faster, more responsive, and more stable. Additionally, there's an application manager that downloads from a repository just like Debian which is _hugely_ awesome. The browser is faster, too.

My only issue so far is that I haven't quite got the knack of launching the thumbboard. At some point, I'll look into that.

Well-written review of the 2006 release here.

Tue, 14 Mar 2006

Experiences with the Nokia 770 on vacation

Carrying a Nokia 770 through airport hoo-ha is much easier than carrying a laptop, so that was really nice. I packed a series of pdfs onto it (Programming Languages: Application and Interpretation, Free Culture, Open Source Development with CVS, ...) and read through a good portion of only one of them.

Also, the Nokia 770 comes with two stylii (not sure why), which allowed S and I to play Mahjong together. That was a little comical since there were two of us huddled over this little tiny screen. Still, it was really fun.

I also had WIFI and web-browsing capabilities everywhere I was which was really nice.

Batteries held out pretty well. I went two or three days of medium usage with the light set to low and the WIFI off without any problem. I brought the charger which is pleasantly small and charged the battery at the airport before the return flight home.

It's been helpful at school, too, since I can check my gmail account wherever I am on campus.

I read A 770 is ultra-small and mobile, but not a UMPC over at Internet Tablet Users Blog and they mention a series of issues people are having... but I'm not having any of them. My browser has never crapped out, the device has never hung, I'm not having problems loading any web-sites that I look at (though I don't look at Palm Addict), no problems with memory or speed of the device, ...

I have to admit when I first saw the Origami marketing, I wondered for a bit about whether I should have waited and bought a UMPC, but... the Nokie 770 runs on free software and I can write programs that run on it without having to purchase Microsoft software licenses and that's a big plus for me.

Additionally, I think I'll look for a digital camera that takes the same kind of MMC card my Nokia takes when I'm in the market for a new digital camera. That'd be really neat: take a picture, put the card in my Nokia, email it to people I know--all with devices I put in my pocketses.

Anyhow, happy so far. The only minor issue is that the text for books is so small that it's hard to read if I'm in an airplane going through turbulence.

Thu, 02 Mar 2006

Got my Nokia 770

I've been reading about them for about 6 months now and I've been tossing around whether to get one or not since they started selling. I have a Sharp Zaurus 5600 which I never use and so I figured I'd pine over but never actually buy a Nokia 770.

Then I had a change of heart. I bought one because it's easy to use, small, has a full-blown Linux distribution that takes .deb packaged files, has a great web-browser, is in constant development as an Open Source project, and someone's gone and ported Python to it.

I ordered it on Sunday and it showed up on Wednesday. I've been getting to know it for a little under a day now and I'm really impressed--it both fits my needs and extends my ability to do things very nicely. I'm planning to bring it travelling next week with a load of PDFs on it of things I want to read. Additionally, I've been able to check email which helped me get to a meeting yesterday night after I had forgotten the location.

w00t!

Sat, 12 Nov 2005

movies from Canon Powershot S230 to CD for my DVD player

This is more for my notes. I figured if I post it here, then I've got it written down in a place I can find again some day.

I have a Canon Powershot S230 and it records video in some format that has a .AVI extension and I think it's Motion JPEG or something like that (I have no idea what I'm talking about in terms of video formats/codecs/whatever).

Kino doesn't like the format, though. So I need to use ffmpeg to convert the files to a format that Kino does like:

ffmpeg -i _file_name_ -target ntsc-dv file_name_.dv

Kino seems totally kosher with that. No clue why or how--I figured it out by trial and error.

Then I insert all the .dv files I want in a given "movie" into Kino. After doing some fiddling around, I Export, click on the DV Pipe tab, make sure the frame of: dropdown thingy is set to All, write the file name in, make sure the tool is set to FFMPEG VCD Export and then click on the Export button. That creates a file that's in a format that I can record to a cd as a data file and it plays magically on my Philips DVD player.

Thu, 10 Mar 2005

Dell Inspiron 7000

Back in 1998, I bought a Dell Inspiron 7000 PII 266mhz monstrocity of a laptop which weighs in at over 8 lbs. It's really heavy. It's seen its fair share of action since then: it was toted back and forth between MA and CT while I was doing consulting work; it was abused by an x-girlfriend; it was shipped in a flimsy letter-sized envelope thing via USPS; and then it's been through several moves since I move on average once every 8 months. It's been through a lot.

The case is cracked, the things that latch the lid shut are broken, and the power adapter has been fixed a few times (the last one by Brian who had the right tools to fix it and thus it's been fine since [Thanks, Brian!]). Even so, I powered it up last night, did an apt-get update;apt-get dist-upgrade and it's going fine. Slow, but fine.

So this post is in homage to a laptop I bought back in 1998 that's stuck with me through thin and thick and is still usable even after all these years.

Dell Inspiron 7000 PII 266 mhz circa 1998 laptop, I salute you.

Fri, 25 Feb 2005

External HDD Enclosures

I need an external HDD enclosure so that I can [fill in obvious use cases here]. I have a couple of 3.5" drives that I'm not using, so that eliminates a 2.5" enclosure that can power off USB which is a bit of a shame.

Anyhow, I was looking at these:

I haven't heard anything about any of these companies, though. So that makes it a bit difficult to decide which one to get.

Anyone have any thoughts? Anyone have a HDD enclosure they prefer over these?

Tue, 30 Nov 2004

OpenZaurus 3.5.2 released

The OpenEmbedded/OpenZaurus folks released 3.5.2 today. I flashed with the new image and it's pretty cool, though I don't notice any differences. Mostly I just flashed and pressed a bunch of buttons and then shut it off.

I need to get a case before I really want to bring it around with me. I'm still paranoid that I'm going to break it while using it. I need to get a wireless card or figure out how to sync with the docking station or something similar so I can back up my information.