Recently in tech Category

I'm Baaack

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My server is finally back online - yay! It was having some serious hard drive and/or memory errors, so I'm using a nice "new" hand me down server. I moved from FreeBSD 6 to Arch Linux and think I have everything (or everything I need, anyway), back up and running. Hope to get some more posts up soon.

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Twisted Wires

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This is why I desperately need a wireless headphone that has a mic:

How I Work

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One of my frequent stops these days on the blog circuit is LifeHacker.com. Lots of cool things to do, both at the keyboard and in life. Recently, a couple of questions about How I Work were put to a number of productivity experts and their own staff, and I thought I'd give the questions a try

What desktop software do you use every day?

  • GNU Emacs : I'd say I spend probably 75% of the time in this text editor. Although that barely scratches the surface of what Emacs can do. I've been using it since it first came out, all those years ago, and I'd be lost without it. It gives me a common "desktop" on which to work, and works across many different platforms.
  • Firefox : My browser of choice. I probably spend 10% or more of my time in this web browser, both for work and for play.
  • Thunderbird : for years I used the Mozilla suite, but found it was getting creaky around the edges. Thunderbird gives me the same email client, only modernized and sleek. It has very powerful filters for carefully filing away the hundreds of emails messages I get every day.
  • Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0 : There isn't much "visual" about it, and I think it is a ten year old development platform, and basically I hate it, but it is the industry standard, so that's what we use. We are slowly, every so slowly, making our way over to Visual Studio 2005, but who knows when that effort will begin in earnest. My favorite Windows development platform for personal projects remains Borland's C++Builder, although I haven't moved up to 2006 yet.
  • Cygwin : the Unix compatible commandline environment for Windows. Like Emacs, it keeps me from going crazy as I hop from one platform to another. I use the Bash shell, rxvt terminal and the Cywin/X X server. I still use JPSoftware's 4NT shell. It has taken great care of me for many years, every since the 4Dos days. If you want a real commandline and don't want to bother with the beast that is Cygwin, go for 4NT.
  • PowerPro : Windows utility extraordinaire. I'd be lost without it. I use it mostly for the easy shortcuts it gives me. You can set up your own personal toolbars that can be put almost anywhere. I have one that goes in the title bar of the active window. But there's a million and one things you can do with it, as it has a very powerful scripting engine, adds all kinds of special Windows UI tweaks, notes, virtual desktops, keyboard and mouse macros, you name it. It used to be called Stileto and was one of the few shareware programs I've ever actually used enough to pay for.
  • Perforce : the SCS (Software Control System) we use at work at my prodding. I've been carrying it along to various jobs, and I still have a single user personal copy. It has a wonderful client/server model that works incredibly well for us work-at-home types.
  • Rhapsody : My music player of choice. I was seriously dismayed when they were acquired by Real, who remain, in my book, one of the worst companies out there for installing junk on your computer. I have some computers I'm still trying to erase their remnants from. I use Media Player Classic, an OpenSource program, on those rare occasions when I need to play an RM file.
  • Palm Desktop : Don't really use my Palm much, but I do use the Desktop as my address book and calendar.

What web sites do you use every day?

  • Bloglines : My RSS reader. Easy to use, nice interface and available where ever I am. Perfect.
  • RememberTheMilk : I've started using this site as my "Getting Things Done" list application. It doesn't really have hierarchical items, but other than that I've found it to be easy to use and very flexible. By using Javascript, you get nice keyboard shortcuts (if you turn off the Firefox "search when you begin typing" feature, which I miss).
  • Wikipedia : It is a rare day where I don't end up at the Wikipedia.
  • AllMusic.com : I leave this open to further investigate interesting bands that I hear on the Rhapsody radio stations.

What PDA/personal organizer/system do you use to keep organized?

I have a Palm Treo Color, but I don't use it all that much. Just as a portable address book, really. I spend most of my time at my keyboard, so a portable organize just isn't that important.

Weather

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The big project for this weekend, besides the ongoing interior repainting, was the installation of a new weather station. My wife Gabrielle is a real weather weenie. She used to be one of those that had the Weather Channel running all the time. We had a Weather Monitor ][ for many years, but the rain gauge hasn't worked since we moved, the temp gauge was badly installed and the anemometer seemed to have died.

She's trying to raise a new generation of weather weenies, and Rhiannon in particular seems to be getting the weather bug. So as a sort of early Christmas present, I picked up an Oregon Scientific WMR968 wireless weather station. It includes the 3 basic sensors - temp, wind and rain, all connected to the touch screen base station via wireless technology. I bought it from AmbientWeather.com, a very good site selling lots of different brands, with lots of good info too.

I haven't had all that much luck with wireless technology here. Not sure if it is because of the big antennaes just down the road, other interference or a too-solid house, but wireless computing technology has been a dismal failure, unable to connect two rooms away. So it was with a great deal of trepidation that I installed the sensors and was gratified to find out they connect just fine with the base station.

The software worked out very well, and in includes pieces to add updates to Wunderground.com, as well as to create an entire weather web site with one click. So now you can find out exactly what the weather is here in Paradise, otherwise known as Medford, Massachusetts!

Medford,MA 0155 Local Weather Conditions

Batteries

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As a family with two little kids, we use alot of batteries. I made the move to rechargable Ni-MH batteries a few months ago and it has been working out pretty well. I came across this page that has a nice overview of the types of batteries and reviews of some of the recharging systems. I don�t see mine (the Panasonic), but it has been working out pretty well for me.

Rechargeable Batteries Reviews

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