nullstream weblog - August 2005

Time for HDTV?

Home Theater

August 30, 2005 10:09 AM PST


Moving always presents problems. Besides all the normal boring stuff like deciding where to put the furniture, a Geek is also presented with additional dilemmas like where to put the media server, what type of internet access to get, where to setup the home theater and the HTPC, and what type of TV service to use.

Since I've decided to move to an even smaller town than I lived in previously (much higher cow to people ratio), I can no longer get my precious Comcast. Millennium Digital serves my area and they are an 'unknown' entity to me - not to mention much more expensive than Comcast. I have decided to go with DSL this time around since it looks like I'll be able to get more upstream and roughly the same downstream bandwidth for about $20.00 less a month. So ISP decision made, that leaves TV...

Continue reading "Time for HDTV?"...

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Nullstream Links

Nullstream Site

August 27, 2005 10:51 PM PST

Haven't you ever wanted to know what sites those Null boys are linking to? Now you can. We've setup a Nullstream account on that you can view here. This link is also available on the nav bar along with a handy RSS feed for the reader of your choice. Enjoy.

(Disclaimer, I'm only taking credit for links I've prefixed with my name. Most will be full of Geeky content I'm sure. I can't vouch for the other guys).

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Using Gmail to archive ideas

Cool Tech

August 27, 2005 09:50 PM PST

I've been keeping an open 'ideas' file since the early 90s. It originally started as a paper based folder that I would drop varies notes and scraps into. Over the years it evolved to be entirely digital as I can type much faster than I can write. Currently however I find that I'm capturing these ideas on multiple devices and in multiple formats so synchronization has become an issue. My current solution has been to use Gmail as my idea aggregator.

Continue reading "Using Gmail to archive ideas"...

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Google Talk on PocketPC?

Cool Tech

August 26, 2005 10:26 AM PST

Well at least one PocketPC IM client can work with Google Talk. PocketPC thoughts has a post about it here. The client they mention is here. Since it is Jabber based I'm sure there are others.

Now if only they get the VOIP stuff working from mobile devices...

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Would you like to try my Long Horn?

Kult of kewl

August 26, 2005 12:56 AM PST


Continue reading "Would you like to try my Long Horn?"...

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YANR (Yet Another Notepad Replacement)


August 24, 2005 08:59 AM PST

I've been using my old pal Notepad2 as a notepad replacement for quick and dirty code and file editing. Ok not as quick and dirty as using VI, but hey I currently live full time in a Windows world. I was surfing around a few days ago and found another light weight notepad replacement that might just win me over: Notepad++. This one is based on the same editing enging, Scintilla as Notepad2. It also has nearly the same feature set, color syntax highlighting (popular prog languages as well has xml, html blah blah blah), regex search, bookmarks, zoom and is about the same size. Why then would I switch you ask? Well Notepad++ seems to be a more active project and it does Tabs! I like tabs. It will also split screen so I can work on two files at once, or two parts of the same file. I do that often in my full blown editors. I'm going to give it a week or so to see how I like it before making the switch.

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Lost in the noise

Cool Tech

August 24, 2005 12:40 AM PST

MSN Messenger 7.5 is now released. Nobody seems to have noticed. I'm sure there is a bunch of new stuff, but all I've noticed so far is: 1. a new sign in screen. 2. voice clips (short audio clips you can send during an IM session. 3. dynamic / animated chat backgrounds backgrounds. There are some minor UI changes here and there.

Some have complained about the crazy amount of tabs that seem to grow with every version. I've found at least one way to turn them off: Tools, options, security, check "This is a shared computer so don't display my tabs."

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Google Talk


August 23, 2005 10:31 PM PST

Google's answer to Skype.Google Talk. I'm using it now; initial review:

So currently, Skype has more features, but more frustrations. I would imagine Google will catch up. This actually leaves Skype as a good acquisition target from Yahoo or Microsoft. Or InfoSpace, the 0.5% search leader. :-)

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Google Desktop and Sidebar

Cool Tech

August 23, 2005 04:33 PM PST

Anyone check this thing out? I can see why Yahoo ran to buy up Konfabulator now.

Also includes a sidebar that you can write plugins here:

Note the cool clock plugin:

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Quake 3 Souce Code Released


August 20, 2005 10:09 PM PST

As you can read here, the source code to Quake 3 has been released. You might be able to get it directly from here, if the link hasn't been slashdoted (it's only about 5.6 MB).

I think this is fantastic news, since I taught myself how to program by typing games, written in BASIC, into my Timex-Sinclair and tweaking them to see what happens. Games today are far too large to do anything like that, so it's great that id provides a way for people to learn game programming from the real thing.

Earlier today, I compiled the code from the provided Visual Studio project file, and ran it with no problems. You have to have an original copy of the game for all the models and levels, since only the source code was released, but it is super easy to run. Just go the directory with the newly built binary and run this from the command line:

./quake3.exe +set fs_cdpath "C:\Program Files\Quake III Arena"

(assuming you installed the retail game in "C:\Program Files\Quake III Arena").

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Black Dog Linux Device

Cool Tech

August 17, 2005 09:11 AM PST

Realm Systems Black DogSome time ago, I realized that a form of PCs will eventually be as small as the iPod. The Mac Mini is strikingly small for a full PC, and it doesn't seem too far off that it could eventually be in iPod form factor.

So here we have an iPod sized linux machine - the Realm Systems Black Dog, powered and interfaced via USB2. Initially, I was pretty excited. Maybe it's a promising solution to Web cafe security issues. Or maybe it could cause some security risks as a keylogger connected to an internal USB port, revealing its contents only with the proper fingerprint. Maybe its monitoring ability could be used for good with the right software as an external high availability monitor of your server, sending a ctrl-alt-delete to deliver a cleansing reboot. If it had ethernet and could draw power off it, it might make a great sniffer or intrustion detector.

It's a lot like the Intel Personal Server circa 2003. The personal server seemed like a cool idea, but I wonder how this machine is better than a PDA? No screen, bluetooth, Wi-Fi, long term battery. PDAs are instant-on, and this thing has to boot. It has a fingerprint reader, but so do some PDAs now. It doesn't have cellular or a camera like smartphones. No hard drive like an iPod. The cost of $200-$250 seems reasonable, although many PDAs are in this range today. The primary advantage is, I guess, that it runs Linux, and therefore is easy to extend and modify. This is reasonable, although the PocketPC tools and emulator are free and very well documented from Microsoft (and complete with Compact .Net framework).

So what do you guys think of this thing? There has to be some interesting use for it while being tethered to a host PC. At a minimum, it's an alternative to installing Linux on your laptop or PC for development, and to be able to plug this in at any time, and resume into the same line of my vi session months later is interesting. Of course, as Paul will note - Mac OS X provides you with a Unix shell and better than Windows UI...

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August 14, 2005 10:12 PM PST

Paul had occasion to visit during the Blue Angels weekend of Seattle Seafair last weekend.
Blue Angels and Lake Washington.

Continue reading "Seafair"...

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New PocketPlayer

Mobile Tech

August 12, 2005 10:28 AM PST

New PocketPlayer
Conduits has released a new version of my favorite PPC MP3 player, PocketPlayer. You need a 3rd party app like this if you use a microdrive since the MS media player won't buffer complete songs. Version 2.6 adds a bunch of features including DRM'd WMP10 support. Also by adding a a plug-in my HP bluetooth headphone controls will work properly - Yeah!

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Apple Mighty Mouse

Cool Tech

August 2, 2005 09:08 PM PST

Ok, ok. A post on the Apple Mighty Mouse for people to discuss. I'll reserve judgement till I see one in action, but my initial thoughts are:

The mini trackball in the mouse seems a little overkill. It's the same carpal tunnel causing motion as the scroll wheel. Why not a toggle/joystick/nubbin type interface that you just hold down?

I'd have to see how the dual button "sensors" work. When I click left or right mouse button, I don't take fingers off the other button, so hopefully it can tell that I'm pressing harder with one finger than another. Seems like it would be possible.

I like the "squeeze" idea. I'd like to apply that to moving the contents of a window. EG, if I squeeze both sides of the mouse, the pointer turns into a grabby hand and I'm dragging the page around. Similar to the action when you click the wheel to get into scroll page mode, but more intuitive. The new mini-trackball might do this already though. Sounds like Apple is aiming this feature at Exposé - you squeeze the mouse and the desktop overview comes up. This acually might be the new desktop management feature we're all looking for. Look forward to trying it out at the Apple store.

Apple Mighty Mouse

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