misterx: (misterx chromeball tech)
I am noticing how quickly my position of "webmaster" becomes superfluous when there is no electricity or network. I think i need to expand the definition of webmaster to include hunter/gatherer duties. Or perhaps primitive toolmaking. "And this is Vaughn... he keeps our websites running, and oversees flintknapping pool. He also tends the raspberries."

I mean, I need to have *something* to do when the Luddites take over.

*twiddles thumbs, waits for power*

Posted via LjBeetle
misterx: (Default)

Sony introduces a bot that knows when it's a good photo, and takes it for you. Robocamera!

What shall I do now? Stamp collecting? Hmm.
misterx: (blah blah blah)
Why, if you go to Amazon and enter Amazon.com in the search field (early morning error, don't ask), does it offer this as the first result?

Buy new$19.95 $17.99
11 Used & new from $8.83
Get it by Thursday, Jun 11 if you order in the next 8 hours and choose one-day shipping.
Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping.
3.6 out of 5 stars (12)

This is on a browser that is not logged in and cookies cleared, so I don't think it's me. What do you get?
misterx: (Default)
I moved my site again, to an even faster server than last time. Nice side benefit of working for an internet company.

A weird thing happened though, my google gadgets quit working when viewed on my iGoogle homepage. What was baffling me is that before making the site live I checked that both my cron job was working correctly to generate the updates, and that the generated files were happy and accessible. Example of happy and accessible file: http://www.vaughnsphotoart.com/googlegadgets/random-landscape-photo.html

The error was an odd one too, a 403 access forbidden. Yet I could view the files just fine, outside of the igoogle page, which meant some combination of Google's handling of the link and my new server made it barf. Google links directly to the file, but they append all kinds of parameters to the url:

I separated out params one by one, and tracked it down to this one as the problem: parent=http://www.google.com

Spent about an hour trying to write an .htaccess RewriteRule that would remedy it, maybe encode the slashes and color or something, and then realized it was never even getting to my rule. Why? I went through server logs and eventually figured out that the new server is running the EasyApache ModSecurity module, and ModSecurity is taking offense to the "=http://www.google.com", thinking it is an injection attack.

So, I had to learn how to write rules for ModSecurity, and eventually wrote one to allow the google gadget requests to go through.

Ah, what fun.
misterx: (Default)
Ok, I've been trying to find a Security contact at T-mobile, or really, any human who can help. Here are my support options:

If you’ve got questions about your phone, plan, services, or bill—we’re here for you. We offer a variety of ways to get in touch.
It’s the fastest, easiest way to get your questions answered. Browse online support, change your plan, pay your bill, and manage your account, anytime you like.
Ask questions and get help from other T-Mobile customers in our Community Forums.
Find a T-Mobile store near you using our store locator. We’ll even give you driving directions.
Chat live with one of our specialists. If all agents are busy, you can even send us an e-mail instead of waiting.
Get in touch, free of charge: Just dial 611 from your T-Mobile phone or call 1-877-453-1304. Customer Care representatives are available from 3 a.m. to 10 p.m. PST, 7 days a week. Automated account help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Send your questions and comments to T-Mobile Customer Relations, P.O. Box 37380, Albuquerque, NM 87176-7380.

Please don’t send payments to this address. You can pay your bill online, by phone at 1-877-453-1304, or if you prefer to make a payment in person, find a payment center near you.

Ok, #1 doesn't even count, it's stuff like "how do I push buttons" and "my phone is making a ringing sound, what do I do?"

#2 ...  I'll get to that.

#3 I called the store, rather than drive down. They don't have a clue who to contact. They told me to call customer support.

#4 Instant Chat help:

#5   I called customer support. After determining that she had no appropriate contacts, she told me to go to the "Contact Us" section and email. I read to her the options available under "Contact Us". She went and looked herself. "That's strange, usually we have a way to contact us."  I couldn't help but laugh at that point. As in, I spit coffee on my screen a bit when she said it. "No, no you don't. It's always like this."  She couldn't get me anyone to talk to, nor an email address of anyone in the web or security departments, and apparently her supervisor couldn't be bothered to even get on the line when someone reports a security issue.  To her credit, rather than leave me empty-handed, she gave me the email address of the CEO. Mind you, I've tried discussing security with CEO's before, and it either results in (1) legal theats or (2) inaction, or action that takes months. So while I appreciate her effort, I have my doubts it would help. I will email the guy as a last resort though.

#6   "Write us a letter"? Are you kidding me?  Where are the fucking email addresses people???

Ok, so having exhausted my other support options, I figure I'll follow their suggestions and post to the forums. Nothing like posting to a bunch of users "Hi, I can probably steal your password" to get some attention. So that's what I'm doing.

EDIT: a forum mod was kind enough to respond. Wish me luck.

misterx: (Default)
The city of Morgan Hill, CA, lost internet, ATM network, cell service, landline telephone service, 911 service, private networks, the hospital network, fire and burglar alarms, and critical infrastructure monitoring in a matter of moments. How? Four manholes were opened, and eight fiber cables were cut.

They don't know who did it, or why.


This one gives me chills. I suspect it's a test run.
misterx: (Default)
Linux computers measure time since the "epoch", which started midnight January 1, 1970.

Today, at 30 seconds past 6:31pm EST, Unix/POSIX time will measure 1234567890 seconds since the epoch !

So put on your propeller party hats folks. :)

Watch the countdown here:

Slashdot article:
misterx: (Default)
You can get them at Walmart for about $25.

I'm kind of a flashlight geek, so when I ran across this little gem I just had to share.

It's rated at 115 Lumens, quite bright. It takes 2AA batteries, probably the most common battery on earth. It's built like a tank, it's good looking, and did I mention it's bright? Melanie says it looks like a lightsaber. She's right.

For a long time the flashlight to have in your pocket was a 2aa Minimag. No longer. There are much brighter lights out there. One such brighter light is the new 3 Watt LED 2AA Minimag. I didn't like that it was longer than a regular minimag, but it was considerably brighter so I let it go. Well, this Coleman is quite a bit brighter than the LED Minimag. See pictures below.

This light surpasses the "police/military flashlights" that sell for 5x the price, from brands such as Streamlight, Fenix, or Surefire. And many of them are not even this bright. Take a look at the lumen ratings, and the prices:
The one tradeoff you are making is in Runtime... the Coleman will last about 5 hours on a pair of AA's. The highend lights have runtimes almost double that, but then they are using more expensive batteries, such as CR123A (camera battery) or similar. What I love about this Coleman is that it uses the ubiquitous AA battery to pump out a ton of light, for an excellent price.

BTW, no affiliate program here or anything. I just think it's a great flashlight, and wanted to tell my friends. Go get one. :)

...just don't blame me if you start turning into a flashlight geek too.


Jun. 18th, 2008 04:11 pm
misterx: (Default)
If anybody feels like diagnosing why the menu is going in back of the mid-page graphic instead of in front of it, I'd be most appreciative. Fails in IE7, works in Firefox 2 & 3. I'm sick of looking at it. Z-index for menu is higher than z-index of graphic. It should be in front then?!? http://www.iw8.org/index.php?page=t-shirts I'm usually not this stupid with CSS.
misterx: (Default)
I thought I knew how to set this up, but I keep getting an error.

Protocol: XMPP
username: misterx
domain: livejournal.com
resource: Home
password: ********

This doesn't work, I get:
"misterx@livejournal.com/Home disconnected. Read error."

I also tried the above, plus added:
Connect Server: livejournal.com
on the advanced tab, and that didn't work either, same error.

Anyone else having problems?

misterx: (red x)
While I realize you meant well, backing up the shared drives on the file server TO the file server doesn't make much sense. Actually, the effect snowballs, and the server rapidly runs out of diskspace. And as my automated backups of the file server run, you fill up the backup server too. You get bonus points for automating all this destruction though... well done. -Vaughn
misterx: (Default)
Here is the dilemma that has been bothering me. I've got this computer sitting here, attached to a wireless lan. And I've got my Nintendo Wii over there, with it's wireless connectivity, hooked to the TV. I figure there should be some way to send video from my PC to the Wii, so any video I have HERE I can watch THERE. The reason for this desire is simple. There is a couch, coffee table, and companionship over there. From past experience, it is notoriously difficult to convince the wife to stand over my shoulder while I sit at my desk so we can watch a movie together on the PC.

So I've been looking at various options for getting the video from hither to yon. I figured my best chance was to find a way to use the Internet Channel on the Wii to play FLV format video (since the Opera browser has flash video support, albeit outdated). And while this is true, it is far from convenient to encode all your videos to this format and then fight to transfer them over there. It occurred to me that surely someone else was thinking of this. I started searching for software, and found several possibilities, none of which seemed that promising:
  • Wii Video 9 - http://www.redkawa.com/videoconverters/wiivideo9/ - You have to convert your videos using this application to a format the Wii can support. Then you copy the videos to an SD card, which you plug into the wii. This sucks for several reasons. 1. Do you know how long it will take to convert a feature length film? 2. I don't want to have multiple copies of all my videos around, just to copy one or two to a media card. 3. Copying large files to an SD card takes longer than I want to wait. 4. Inelegant.
  • Wii Media Center X - also by Red Kawa, but stalled in development and never made it past alpha.
  • VLC Media Player - http://www.videolan.org/vlc/ - Can supposedly stream in Flash video format, but you have to download and compile a special version, and reports are mixed as to if it actually works. Just for the record though, VLC is a great media player, I use it instead of Windows Media Player every chance I get.
  • Various services like Winamp Remote or Orb http://www.orb.com/orb/ that offer the ability to stream media from your home computer to anywhere the internet reaches. But I don't want to stream it to the ends of the earth, I only want to get it to my TV. Having an audio/video stream go out over the internet to get to the other side of my living room is a waste of bandwidth, and seems very likely to cause performance issues.
  • And various other optimistically named "Media Center" type softwares, none of which actually can handle the "video" part of "media" yet.
Well, this eve I stumbled upon a fairly elegant solution... TVersityhttp://tversity.com/ ; And having tried it, I find myself saying "Why doesn't everybody know about this?"

Setup was simple enough. I downloaded and ran the installer. When it offered to install codecs, I let it. Starting the application, the first thing I noticed is the interface is very simple... there are screenshots here: http://tversity.com/screenshots/

Simply add media to the media library to make it available. I started adding folders one by one, but found a nice shortcut... the app supports drag and drop. So open a windows explorer window, do a multi select, and drop it in. A black spinny thing on the right indicates the media database is being updated. Let it finish.

You'll need to know your computer's IP address. Find your local ip address by opening a command window on windows and typing "ipconfig". Write down the IP address.

Now it's a simple matter of browsing to your computer using the Wii.  Lets say you found your IP address was .  Open up the internet channel, and enter the www address as follows: ; and hit OK.

If all goes well, you should be connected to the media interface being served off your computer. Use the wii remote to click around. Clicking on a file will play it. TaDAAAA!

Success! Is it DVD quality? Probably not. Over our wireless connection, there was a bit of framerate degradation in action sequences, but otherwise video and sound quality was pretty good. Certainly acceptable for streamed video. No doubt a wired lan connection would fare better, and having a fast computer helps. I may decide the framerate thing annoys me at some point, and run a proper video/audio out cable, but for now I'm quite pleased.

This also means I can let Lorelei watch movies in her room on her PC, without having to transfer 800mb files around. The stream starts playing instantly.

All was not roses and glory though... in the process of getting this working I ran into two pitfalls, which I want to share.

One: when I ran the server, Windows firewall strangely permitted the wrong exe to have access. The firewall made an exception for "TVersity.exe", but that isn't the actual .exe of the streaming server. I had to manually browse for "MediaServer.exe" in the /Program Files/Tversity/Media Server/ folder and add it.

Two: I made the mistake of doing a Ctrl-Alt-Del and killing the TVersity.exe process when it was in the middle of updating the media library (I got impatient). This screws things up. Don't do it. Upon restarting, I could no longer get files to add to the Media Library. I had uninstall, delete the old database files, and reinstall to get it going again. In retrospect I suspect it was just the db_lock file (or some such filename) that was the culprit, but I had already uninstalled the app by the time I found it.

Well, there ya go. Enjoy playing with your Wii.  ;)
misterx: (Default)
At work, I have been tasked with evaluating webmail clients, to find one that works well and supports HTML signatures.

I came upon one called socket mail, and it seemed decent, so I wanted to the kick the tires. I sent the following email:


Is there a live demo site where I can try the software? I am interested in seeing the usability, and in testing HTML signature support for the signature product we sell.

Thank you-


I got the following response back.


I clicked it. Wow, what a lot of pinky girly stuff. And I can choose from different email address domains, such as:

@ILuvDiapies.com ??!

...I am now continuing somewhat more reluctantly.

Yeah... this is starting to feel... not right.

Then I got to the adverts at the bottom, and yes folks, it's an email site catering specifically to sissy and diaper fetishists.

Ok. *Totally* not my scene, but if it floats someone elses boat, more power to them. I'm fine with that. But who in flaming hell would send this as a demo site to a prospective corporate client????? So I wrote them back, and simply inquired:

Are you serious?

He writes me back.

It is a client site. At the moment we don't have a demo - so I'm referring you to a client site. The content may not be the most amazing thing (or ironically tasteful) but it is one of the client sites that has over 40,000 members and would be a perfect demo site (anyhow).

Ya'know dude, it's great they have so many members and everything, but sending a prospective buyer to a website for diaper fetishists?... well, it just isn't professional. Or sane. In fact, if any marketing ploy ever sang "They're coming to take me away, ha ha!", it would be this one. Maybe you should send me to the website of your second biggest customer instead huh? Unless... maybe that's even worse.

misterx: (Default)
Went to log into a site, and the Captcha text came up as my initials.

eh crud.

Dec. 3rd, 2007 11:18 am
misterx: (Default)
It's Monday, and the office coffee machine decided to quit working. It lights up, but no hot happens.

Monday mourning indeed.

In other news, the doomcat cometh. I think this image captures the visceral nature of the doom fear.


Oct. 23rd, 2007 08:50 pm
misterx: (Default)
STUPID mp3 crashing, lightroom interface corrupting, video buffer overflowing, magically rebooting, mysteriously at night turning on-ing, non saving when saying its saving, command ignoring, file losing, share confusing, human confounding, anger creating !@#$%^&* computer!

Ha! I format thee!

(back in a while)
misterx: (Default)
Yeah, so at work we've been paying GoToMeeting for an account so we could do training and tech support. GoToMeeting let us see the users screen, or show them our screen, and manipulate their mouse and keyboard. It was good stuff, but getting people to download the software, enter the meeting pin, etc, was a bit much at times. Not to mention it wasn't branded for us, and we were directing people to an external website. And of course it cost money.

So I made us our own version, based on some free software called PCHelpware. I made a customized dialog, with my text and our branding on it. The user just downloads it and runs it, and it connects to one of our systems. It's very easy for the customers, they love it. No more us having to talk them through series of dialog boxes.

I like it so much I decided to make a version for myself here at home. Now, if I need to help my mom and dad, or anyone else for that matter, I can just have them download the program from my website, and it connects to my system here at home.

Of course, being mine, I was free to "brand" it how I wanted:


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