nullstream weblog - Articles

Getting in sync with SyncToy


June 11, 2006 01:43 AM PST

Using the Google browser sync forced me to do a bunch of house cleaning on my bookmarks. The result of all that labor however is a very organized list that is in sync across all the computers I use. That little spring cleaning victory inspired me to go on and try to tackle an even bigger chore, one that Iíve been putting off for years: syncing all ĎMy Documentsí between my laptop and my desktop.

Iíve been experimenting with a powerToy from Microsoft called SyncToy for about a month now, to sync some folders between machines. Nothing too heavy however, my pictures and some dev files. But I decided to go all out this weekend and turn it loose on the grand daddy of them all; ĎMy Documentsí. After a bit work and re-organizing I now have all my documents in sync and a strategy in place to keep them that way. Read on to see a very long entry on how I did it, and how you can too.

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The Grand Experiment


June 4, 2006 11:44 PM PST

macvspc.jpgI've embarked on an experiment to actually switch people from Mac to PC. The family's aging Bondi-blue iMac running OS 9 was basically unable to run modern software and a decision had to be made. Either a new Intel based Mac could be purchased, or a Shuttle mini-PC would be handed down. Since either would require an OS transition (to OS X or XP), here are my thoughts:

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RSS Golden Hammer


July 9, 2005 11:44 AM PST

RSS Golden HammerAlthough the year is only half over, I hereby announce that RSS has won the Nullstream Golden Hammer of the year award. This goes out to the technology that is the most overhyped, and proclaims to solve every major problem out there. "When you have a golden hammer, everything starts looking like a nail".

Furrygoat's Law mentioned it early on. We've seen a a growing number of RSS related stories over the past few months. Even the announcment of a $100 million VC fund for RSS technologies wasn't quite enough to hand out the award. No, it was this post about Seattle Public Library RSS feeds that kind of sums it up.

On first glance, it doesn't sound like a bad idea. But wait a minute - we already have a great, non-polling way to be notified when a book is available or overdue it's called email. Are you really going to have 20 RSS feeds that you're constantly polling to see when your books are overdue? The Delicious Monster integration is a decent idea, but this is at best just "Web services", and really it's just "the Internets". My Web API for the library app:

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Console Vs. PC Gaming


June 3, 2005 04:00 PM PST

videoCard.gifSlashdot linked to an article on on whether PC gaming will be killed by consoles. Sure you could post your comments on one of those two sites, but we're more rational.

I've previously posted my issues with console gaming, and these focused most on the games and platforms themselves. But something else bothers me about console gaming, and I had to think for a second about what it is. I actually have a fear of what will happen if PC gaming does die. I hope I can explain it so that even if you love consoles, you can see why it might not be great for them to take over PC gaming.

The issue that worries me most about console gaming is control. There are some positive aspects to this - hardware is compatible, games are a certain standard, there's a common online service. But I feel these are outweighed by the many negatives that always come with too much control:

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Google OS / thin clients / hosted apps


March 25, 2005 12:41 AM PST

Every week more stuff about Google building their own OS, yadda yadda yadda. Here is just a sample:

Article on OSNews.
Another one on Cnet
One on Microsoft watch about Ajax killing the smart client
And another blog post just being contrary to those above

I donít really want to speculate about if Google is or is not doing it. Paul canít comment anyway. Iím more interested in discussing if there is a good reason to do it. And if there is, how to do it. And by Ďití Iím talking about a thin client, hosted app model where all of your apps and data sit on some big server farm far away. Oh and by Ďyourí I mean some Ďcommoní user, not uber geeks that live and breath tech all day. Any thoughts? As always Iíve got my own opinions but Iíll hold them back for a bit.

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What are video games turning us into?


February 22, 2005 01:52 PM PST

I bumped into an interesting article on the increase of video gaming in our culture at Its a good read, pretty balanced on the subject. Of course like every article on gaming it makes at least one reference to GTA. I really like the comparison of 'gaming night' to what used to be 'poker night'. Kinda hits home.

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Sin City Movie Trailer


February 22, 2005 01:11 AM PST

John was asking about this, so here's the link to the trailer. I don't know anything about the comic book, but it looks like it has a well known cast and an interesting style; like hellboy meets sky captain meets who framed roger rabbit. Might be a good action flick. If we go see it, we'll add a review.

I totally thought it was a preview for a Duke Nukem movie the first time I saw it.

Sin City

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Frag Dolls in Bellevue?


February 19, 2005 12:29 AM PST

Is it just me, or is this picture taken in downtown Bellevue? It looks like it's taken on the train tracks by BestBuy. I can make out the InfoSpace building and a few others. And the multitude of cranes and gray skies sure fit in the picture. But as far as I can tell from the article, these gals aren't located in Washington. Anyway, I was just reading the site for the articles... More pictures on the click-through.

Frag Dolls


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World on Fire


February 15, 2005 07:57 PM PST

world on fireI normally don't watch MTV, but I came across the best video I've seen in a long time. It's appropriate that I was in Vancouver, CAN since that's where Sarah McLachlan is from. This video shows all the alternate ways she spent the typical costs of a video on projects around the world, and instead spend $15 on the video. I felt bad for thinking "her makeup alone cost more than $15", but the important thing is that she took a song and a ridiculous television station and managed to get people to think about small ways they can help. The real impact isn't just the $150K she gave away - but the mindshare of the people this 3 minute video reached.

You may not ever donate to charity projects and then feel guilty about it when you see this kind of reminder (just like when you sheepishly answer the dentist's question about flossing). But don't feel too guilty about your huge salary or comparitively trivial tech expenditures. The lyric "Fortune in one - that means less for some" is not entirely accurate. The amount of wealth in the world is not fixed. You generate wealth greater than what you are compensated for, this is basic to capitalism. So the work you do on a daily basis IS helping to lift the world up.
It is, right? How?

(This video does require Quicktime to play, which in-turn forces an iTunes download on Windows, but it's worth it.)
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Hacker Tales


January 12, 2005 10:27 PM PST

Saw this article on SecurityFocus. Very interesting/fun reading:
Hacker Penetrates T-Mobile Systems. The article linked from this one about the guy selling Microsoft source code for $20 is pretty interesting too. I wonder how long it would have taken them to find out about the leak if the guy hadn't tried to sell the info? I'm sure there are a lot smarter people with this kind of access that don't.

Lessons to learn: If you hack a computer system, don't try to sell the information. If you have to brag about it, use a new, anonymous account each time, and never, ever, agree to meet up with people through their "proxy server" to prove it. And if you sell the source code to one guy and he "loses it"... Don't do it again. LOL. Just enjoy Paris Hilton's phonecam pics.

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December 18, 2004 04:30 PM PST

So in the process of setting up a new PocketPC I realized that I could not find my install or registration information for old CHM Reader 2.0. CHM files are compiled HTML help files used by various Windows apps etc. Many of Microsofts technical books used to come with the entire book on CD in this format. I have used this program off and on to read CHM files on my PocketPcs in the past. The program was slow and wouldn't handle large CHM files but was the only real solution at the time...

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HP4705 + Betaplayer = Portable Media Madness


December 15, 2004 12:06 AM PST

Ok the HP hx4705 pocketPc isn't exactly cheap, but it has some pretty impressive video specs: 4" True VGA screen powered by an ATI Imageon graphics chip. I decided to try and figure out what this hardware combination could really achieve in the mobile video department...

Now I've tried playing video on my pocketPc's before. It made for a pretty impressive demo on my original Ipaq, and I've done a little bit on my Dell Axim x5, but overall these machines didn't really have the horsepower to do anything fancy. If you wanted to get video to work you needed to encode your sources down to a very low resolution with a low framerate. That was a lot of work for not so impressive results. Boy how things change.

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Automatic SpeechCasting


December 4, 2004 09:34 PM PST

Blogging is big. Thatís probably not accurate, blogging was big before it was called blogging, now itís huge. In many cases blogging allows people to play amateur journalist posting their commentary online for the masses to read. The latest twist in blogging takes it up a notch by allowing you to be your own radio talk show host. This recent phenomena is known as Ďpodcastingí. The short story is you record your precious audio content to MP3, upload it to your site and wrap it in RSS tags. Reader can then use various software to pull down your content and sync it to their Ipods, PocketPCs or other portable devices for listening on the go. It's becoming quite popular. You can read more about it at: You can find a directory of podcasts here: and here:
As interesting as this is, it is not the main focus of this post...

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