Wednesday, December 9, 2009

ROVIO headlight (and laser) mod

One common complaint about the ROVIO is that the built in LED 'headlight' is weak.

I used this guys mod to add a couple of giant Radio Shack LEDs and a LASER.

The wiring diagrams are on the link. I used the two brightest LEDs that RS sells (they are huge...the size of my pinkie). I also threw on a LASER that I pulled out of a flashlight (sold in a muli pack from Home Depot). I used a 100 ohm resistor to drop the voltage a bit...I could have probably used a 70 ohm resistor for the laser.

This is the result...the ROVIO took the pictures in a pitch black room.

The small image doesn't do it justice...but the right bulb is lighting up the wall about 6 feet away...and between the two is the red laser.

This is a capture...I cropped it but thats about all you get from the ROVIO software.

This image was taken with another camera...with the room lights on.

This is the flashlight I gutted.

I didn't want the bulk of putting the entire end of the flashlight on it...but now that I have done this mod, it won't be a big deal to add it if I change my mind.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Latest toy. The ROVIO.

I saw this thing (the ROVIO) in a Skymall catalogue some time ago...I thought it would be cool...I have webcams, and have always wanted to build some kind of mobile webcam...of course accessible by intertubes.

An unfortunate side effect of progress is compatibility. In the olden days we were content with our pre-wifi 1mb wireless devices...running open and naked in the wild...then we got Wifi at its 10mb speeds...still running open and naked. Then someone created WEP...then someone else created WPA...nobody used WPA...because you needed to buy more hardware to support it (or sometimes updated drivers.)

Then WEP was easily everyone went running for WPA...and threw out anything that couldn't run WPA...(soon WPA2 will be the only thing...)

What is the point?

The ROVIO was built to support WEP. So this $300 device quickly became obsolete. Late last fall, early this year they released a WPA firmware, so we can continue to use these devices.

I got mine on ebay for less than $100. But getting it up on my Wifi WPA network took about 7 hours.

For those of you with this device...or who want one, go to this website for a lot of helpful info.

And here is my post on how I finally got WPA on it. A hint is you need password of 25 letters/numbers or less.

Oh if you still don't understand what a ROVIO is, then here is a video...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Solar Powered Web Cam

I have a shed that I mounted a wireless weather station on a couple of years ago. I have always wanted to mount a webcam out there to 'see' the weather. There is a 1000' TV tower that I use to judge how bad the weather is...the less antenna I see, the worse the weather.

The wireless weather station uses 2 AA batteries that last roughly half a year...easy.

However a webcam is going to use MUCH more power than that...I didn't want to run electric out there...with the weather station on a metal pole, I didn't want to add a path for lightening to enter the house...because lets face it, if I am going to go through the effort to run power, I will also run CAT5.

So I thought solar might be nice, I already have a battery in the shed (lawn tractor) I could use the solar panel to charge the battery, and the battery will allow the camera to run day or night, rain or shine.

But how to get the solar panel power to the battery and webcam...well I bought a 15w solar panel that came with a 12v battery charger. I mounted the panel to the shed (60 deg angle for winter sun) and measured 24ish volts. Hooked the panel to the charger and battery and got around 13 volts...and the battery was charging...all is well.

Then I hooked the webcam worked, great picture! It worked for a few days...then stopped. I check everything and find the battery is completely discharged...and charger is showing charged...I unplug the webcam and the charger now starts charging the battery.

So point #1 be careful on what you get for a charger. I am now buying a different charger, that has a tap to put your 12v loads on and will even keep you from discharging the battery too much when the solar isn't there. (SunSaver 6 amp solar SS-6L)

Enough of that...what about the webcam?

Needs to be wireless, 12v, good picture, small...and relatively cheap.

Asante Voyager I Wireless 1.3 Megapixel CMOS Day and Night IP Security Camera

I don't know how long it will last...but it takes great pictures/video.

I will cut to the chase, I did a little cutting on the camera case, mounted it in a box, cut a piece of Lexan for the window and sealed it in place. Ran electric too it and sealed that hole. I don't have an external antenna, the one that came with it is fine. The pictures should explain the rest.

Here is the result, the first picture is straight from the camera, the second one is after my weather software puts a caption on it...yes it is compressed too much, I need to play with the settings.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Windows 7 first thoughts

I replaced Vista on my laptop (the M1330) with Windows 7 a week ago.

I used an upgrade version of Win7 and installed on a new blank HD. I used this procedure from the My Digital Life blog.
Workaround 3: Clean Install and Activate Windows 7 with MediaBootInstall Registry Hack

I won't reproduce it all here...but the summary is you change one registry entry and then activate.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\OOBE change MediaBootInstall from 1 to 0.

So what do I think so far? Well remember I did replace the original HD with a new one (Seagate Momentus 7200.4 ST9500420AS 500GB 7200 RPM 2.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s). So some improvements will be because of that...this isn't a scientific analysis.

Having said that, I ran all the tests on the original HD and never showed any thing unusual or any slower than average speeds.

So, the Vista with the old HD took about 3 to 3.5 minutes to boot to something useful...yes horribly slow...every step along the boot took a lot of time.

Win7 with the new drive boots to...

first sound (welcome screen) 43 sec.
login prompt (I swipe with the fingerprint scanner) 53 sec.
desktop is on internet (wifi) (skype plays login sound) 75 sec.

I don't care who you are...those are resonably fast times. It is fully useable by the time skype logs in.

Other things...quickly comes out of standby. No noticably difference in battery life.

Improvements...under Vista, when browsing my network, it took a couple of minutes to get enough info for me to actually browse...Vista took all that time just to populate the doesn't take HD speed to browse the network.

Win7 pulls up the network devices and populates it with device icons as quickly as XP pulls up computers on the network.

When you reactivated the display after Vista turned it off, it would always come on full bright, no matter where it was set before...Win7 brings it back to the original brightness.

I have the same eyecandy settings that I had on Vista, and on this machine they are smooth and snappy...on VIsta they took a lot of effort it seemed.

Interesting to note, if you have the HD space, Win7 will create a 100meg system partition (like swap in linux?) I think that helps the speed.

So if you hate your Vista install then jump ship and get Win7.

I think I will get another copy and replace my aging XP install on my gaming/editing machine...or at least dual boot?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Kenwood D710 and Nuvi 350 usage.

So last time I showed the settings, this time I show what you get.Along the radios on the bottom row you see a row of labels. ALL of them have to do with APRS.
MSG is a list of inbound and outbound messages.
LIST is a list of other APRS stations...that you have received.
BCON is your radios APRS beacon setting (on or off)
POS is where the radio thinks you are...based on the last GPS input or your manual input.
P.MON monitors the position data your radio is getting/sending.

So if you push MSG, you get this screen.
I blurred out the callsigns to protect the innocent...the EMAIL ones are where I have attempted (and failed) to send out an EMAIL from the radio. the other ones are messages to and from the HT (TH-D7AG) . Note that you can reply or send new messages from this menu.

If you ESC out of that screen and go back to the main radio screen then select-
LIST. you get a listing of about 15 APRS stations the radio has received info from, either via relay or direct.So again I blurred out the callsigns, from here you can send messages also. Note the cursor is on the first entry, If I select this one (using the big knob again) I will get detail, location, info and a direction arrow.

Now to the Nuvi 350 using the GTRANS cable.

When you power the Nuvi up, you get this screen.
If you select Where To?... get this screen, then select My Locations.
You see this...
now select Favorites.

At first this will probably be blank, but as your radio receives APRS info, it will populate this screen realtime.

It will sort the list from closest to furthest, and if I was moving it would show an arrow pointing to the location in addition to the distance.

I usually just leave the display on this page, and it is humorous when you pass by another APRS user going the other way on the interstate...

Or from the main menu you can select View Map.

It again automatically populates the maps with the APRS info. It doesn't matter if you have detail turned on or off, and you can zoom all the way in to 120mi out and still see the info.

Note, the Nuvi stores the info, so a APRS station will show, if it is currently online or not...but it's position will be updated if new info you will have to compare this to the Radio list.

So that covers basic setup and usage. If I learn more, I may add or correct these pages.

Kenwood TM-D710, Garmin Nuvi 350 APRS setup

I guess this is sort of part 2...part one had background and a bunch of links...this part will have a series of photos to set up the radio for part will have some usage info.

You can easily do all the APRS setup just off the control head...but to store in memory your favorite channels; the software is a lifesaver.

As we go through the menus...If I don't list one, then I left it default.

Power it on, and you get your normal display. It doesn't matter which side you set up for APRS, but this one is setup for the A-side. My finger is pointing at the Function button. We will use it to get to the APRS submenu later. To the right of the row of buttons are the volume/squelch/select knobs for the individual side. So my inital step would be to push the left of the two knobs and select side A. (the PTT indicator will move to the left side). I would then push the first button above those two next to the TNC indicator. That will make the left side of the radio show a D and APRS12 (or it might say something else...will will check that in a bit.)

Now when I press the F button, that row of labels changes.
And you see this.Notice the F changed to F OFF.(ha) So you could push the F again and go back to the previous list.
Now when I push the big knob on the left, instead of cycling through the bands, I get a new menu.
Now rotate the big knob on the left until the cursor flashes at APRS. (the camera can't see the cursor, so the scissors will do.) Then push in on the knob to select the APRS submenu.The next menu that pops up will be whatever you had up last. You rotate the big knob to cycle through the submenus (601,602,...etc)
601 is self explanatory...your callsign. I use the suffix -9 after my callsign for "mobile" on this radio, and -7 on my HT to indicate a D7A.
602 is the GPS setup menu.When you first get the radio, the INPUT will probably be NONE. So push in on the big knob again to move the cursor down to the next this case BAUD RATE. Then rotate the big knob until you get to the INPUT line...push the big knob again and the NONE or GPS will flash...rotate the knob again to change that input.
Then rotate again to select OUTPUT, and change that to WAYPOINT.

So understand how to get through the menus, rotate to cycle, push to select...when you are done you can select BACK (using the other radio buttons) to move back one menu or ESC to completely leave the menus. For now, you will want to use BACK as we edit the menus.

Next menu 603.
This one will be different if you don't use a Nuvi and GTRANS cable.. But these settings work properly for my Nuvi 350. You have to change the first two for sure.
For other GPS units, search the web.

Next menu 612.
This is kind of neat. I won't get into the background of the settings...because I don't completely understand it all...but what you need to know is that you set everything on two settings.
WIDE 1-1 select ON
TOTAL HOPS select 2 (you can select 3 if you are in a very remote location, but try 2 first.)
The radio automatically fills in the Path for you.

Next menu is 624.Sound is up to the user...I just wanted to point out the settings. You can turn off the beep when your beacon transmits, you can select when to beep when an APRS message occurs. If it beeps too much for you, then start changing settings.

Next menu 625.
Ok, this bugged me until I could find the menu. The default pop up for APRS info is fullscreen...I didn't like that...because you lose view of the frequencies on both sides.

So I dug through the menus until I found this one. Mine is now set up so that the routine APRS info pops up only in the A-side of the radio (note to self, try to take a picture of that). An actual message from someone to you pops up full you can read it.
You can also chose NONE.


APRS is now setup on your Kenwood to use the Nuvi. I just want to point out one more menu.

Under the AUX at the main menu (one prior to APRS).
From AUX, go to menu 529.

There is nothing to change here. I just want to show that if you have the A-side setup for APRS it will show this INTernal DATA BAND A-BAND
There is another PACKET radio setting that will also show the EXTernal band B-BAND.

That is normal if you set it up like mine.

There you go, a picture is worth a thousand text files. Next up, usage.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

APRS =TM-D710+ Nuvi 350

I don't think you can have too many hobbies.

9/11 and later Katrina reinforced the fact that you need redundant communications systems...just in case...

So after Katrina I pursued getting an Amateur Radio License (Ham)...
...well let me point out that in times of emergency, when there is a real threat of loss of life or property, everyone is authorized to use any frequency band to summon help if unavailable by any other means...
so I gathered radios, but didn't get the license, until now. The test is straight forward if you use any of the many practice tests available...or just memorize the question bank.

What really made me decide to go legit was the advances in APRS equipment and availability.

APRS (according to the FCC test-Automatic Position Reporting System...according to the folks who made it and use it-Automatic Packet Reporting System) is in its simplest terms, a text messaging system. But it is much more than that.

Think of the radios as part of a giant wireless network (maybe 20 miles apart, depending on antenna height, terrain, power output).

The data is sent via a text format over the radio (like a 1200 baud dial up modem)...but the data can be any number of extremely useful things. Like weather. You could set up a weather station at a remote location without internet, and have APRS transmit the weather data.

I am using it to send my vehicle location as I travel.

Now so far I am sure some out there are saying to themselves...but I can already do that with a cellphone and the internet.

True...but this system still works if the cellular, and landline phone systems are down or saturated (9/11), if power is out/internet out, etc(Katrina).

The practical application is for emergency workers to have this system to mark this location, and be able to send text messages to other emergency workers. It allows a command center to know where the assets are and send them info without worrying about a mistake in copying a voice transmission.

In a later post I will give the details of what gets plugged where, and settings etc. There are some guides out there...but none with this exact setup.

I will also show hooking up the TH-D7AG to the Nuvi 350 later.

In the mean time look at

Saturday, September 19, 2009

ASUS P5Q PRO Turbo Motherboard

My main gaming/video editing system...i.e. the fast system with the most ram etc...Had a ASUS P5LD2 Mobo with an Intel 775 CPU...

Well it died...slowly, but still dead. I say slowly, because over a year ago, the PS2 keyboard input failed...the keyboard was fine, but the computer didn't see it. (I might have allowed some tight fitting components to touch).

Since USB worked fine, I just threw in a USB keyboard and pressed on.

Well I was working on it again...and something must have again been jostled. There is a Green LED on most mobos that indicates that power is available from the PSU. They normally either are on or off. Mine was rapidly flashing. Of course nothing in any of the manuals mentions that, but I was able to find an obscure post in the internet that said that it was a power failure of some kind...probably in the +5v range. I tested the PSU, it was fine.

So I pondered if it was time to completely upgrade my system with a new mobo, and new CPU and new ram...or just put my parts on another mobo.

I went the cheap route...So after I get the new mobo I realize that it not only is set up for using a second video card (SLI) it can also take the fastest socket 775 CPUs I can buy...the CPU I have now is the fastest the old dead mobo could use...a 2.6 core 2 duo.

more places to spend money...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Create Vista Sidebar Gadgets

I used this example at the ITWorx Blog.

I have had on my XP Active Desktop 4 small windows containing simple web pages. One displayed some data, one a weather radar loop, and the other two were webcam images from the outside (no windows in the office). It is nice to be able to see what is going out in the real world. changed over to Vista for no good reason...well other than the obvious disasters with the migration...

Of course, Vista doesn't have Active Desktop...but after some research I found that the Vista Sidebar will allow almost the exact same results. I say almost, because I could resize the windows as I needed on XP, but the Sidebar only allows fixed I had to do some trial and error resizing.

The example I used above didn't exactly work out of the box...but it was a good starting point. I ended up locating the Gadgets folder (mine was in C:Program Files/Windows Sidebar) taking a look at a couple of the gadgets in there and editing the linked example to match what is there.

But bottom line, it is simple to convert existing websites to work on the Sidebar.

Monday, June 1, 2009

I allowed the Dell Mini OSX to update software...

Of course it wasn't without a tiny bit of difficulty. But not bad.

Before you do the update, make sure you have a version of DellEFI stored on the Mini before you do the upgrade...really, do it.

So you do the update, and it will reboot barely to a gray garbled screen (because it lost the drivers?)

I found the solution here on the 'sproke blog.

It is easy, so I will post it here.

1. Download the installer, don't use Software Update. Install 10.5.7.
2. Let it reboot.
3. At the boot screen press enter (or any key) to get the boot prompt. It should look like this:
type -x and hit enter
boot: -x
OS X will enter Safe Mode.
4. When in Safe Mode run DellEFI.
5. Reinstall the Mini 9 Extensions and remove custom dsdt.aml file. These are the default options for the DellEFI, take the default.
6. Reboot.
7. At the boot screen use the -x to enter Safe Mode again
8. After in Safe Mode run DellEFI. Install custom dsdt.aml file, which is the default option, take the default.
9. Reboot

Now of course I didn't exactly follow those directions (mine was already broke).

So I booted to safe mode, ran the DellEFI (I used the 1.2a5 found here).

Actually I ran it twice, the first time I selected Custom and checked the remove dsdt.aml.
When it finished, I did not allow it to reboot, and I ran it again. This time the 'create custom dsdt.aml' was already checked. When it finished, I allowed it to reboot and it came up just fine.

OpenVPN and Verizon Westell DSL router

Depending on what you think I mean by the works.

No I am not using OpenVPN on the Verizon router...but I am able to via a WiFi connection through the router.

I are thinking 'well duh, that is what it is for' and you would be right.


My home network has been on the 192.168.1.x address group since forever (sometime in the late 90's). Most of my hardware has static IP addresses to make my life easier when trying to remote administer them (printers, webcams, NASs). So if I wanted to change the network address to a 162 or a 10 it would be a major PITA.

Fast forward to today. I just got Verizon DSL hooked up at my 'satellite work site'. It is $18 a month for the slower than 1mps connection...but that is all I need. With the current deal it comes with their Westell 7500 WiFi router.

I set it up with the defaults, enabled the WPA security, and jointed the internets. Next test was to start up OpenVPN and access my home network.

Well it would log in after a while, but a little bit after that the web access on this end would drop. Skype stayed connected, email still worked, but no HTTP:.

The one person who has read this blog probably can figure out the problem. The default IP address on the router and its network is My home IP address is 192.168.1.x. When OpenVPN logs in, it tunnels my 192.168.1.x laptop IP to a virtual 10.x.x.x and then the router puts it back on the home network and routes that virtual 10.x address to a network address 192.168.1.x.

The conflict is that the computer doesn't know where to look...home network or internet (remember I used port 80 for the VPN).

The fix is shorter than the problem...I simply changed the IP address of the Verizon router...and the DHCP list...and shut the router down, and restarted it.

So let that be a lesson to you...have your home network on some obscure ip address so you don't get conflicts.

But it works great now.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ok, off topic...but neat.

C’√©tait un Rendez-vous by Claude Lelouch.

Most likely you have seen this video, it was titled various things on the video websites...but it seems the videos are now is out on DVD.

The film is shot with one camera mounted to the front of a Mercedes sedan and in 10 minutes goes from one part of Paris to another. The story is that the driver was late to meet his girlfriend. The driver is driving fast, is running red lights, going the wrong way down streets...and the whole thing was done in one shot. Also it was done without any approval or support of city officials...and nobody to stop the regular traffic on the roads.

A making-of documentary...actually the filmaker retraces the steps in another Mercedes.

This Mashup is has the route painted on a Googlemap in time with the video (but I think the video link they are using is broke) matter, the mashup doesn't actually use the video, it just runs in time with it.

Here some math folks calcuate the actual speeds accomplished.

Here is a translation of an interview with Mr Lelouch.

I am impressed by it, I have ordered the DVD, hopefully the quality is way better than the online videos.

Now that I have been to Paris, and seeing the video again I actually recognize part of the path...the next time I go I will try to make my way to the overlook at the end of the film.


So I got a second Dell Mini 9...this one for the wife. I decided (and she agreed) that OSX will be the primary OS on her machine (easy plug and play for her camera for viewing and printing).

Well it arrived in the mail from the Dell refurbished warehouse about 2 days after I ordered it with free shipping.

Unfortunately I was heading out of town that afternoon and couldn't do an OSX install in that short amount of time, so I decided to simply set up the XP Home with the house network so she could do some surfing.

Well I found out to my horror that the install that came on the machine was UNABLE to access my WPA encrypted wifi network. For comparision, Ubunutu immediately logged in, XP Pro immediately logged in, OSX immediately logged in.

I downloaded all the upgrades (took a couple of hours) still no WPA. Reading some forums gave some solutions, but I had run out of time, so it sits there on my desk, in front of the two 22" LCD monitors plugged into an ethernet cable...pathetic.

I could attempt to figure out what the problem is...maybe old drivers...but I don't care, I will put a fresh install of XP Pro on a small partition of the new SSD drive, and OSX on the rest.

Whatever the issue is, the Mini 9 should have shipped with the latest patches and drivers...

OpenVPN tunneling revisited

Well first I used the default standard VPN tunneling was blocked.

Then I tried to use port 443 (SSH) was also blocked.

So finally I set the VPN to port 80 (HTTP)...that one worked! Only drawback is I have a webserver that can only use port 80...well I simply have my router...route a different port to that machine...and that worked fine.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ubuntu is still a challenge

I finally got around to updating my Ubuntu install (8.04) on my desktop (not the mini) I do the "update my version to 8.10"...and needless to say it broke it hard enough that I can only boot in rescue mode to terminal...I am sure it has something to do with the ATI display. But I haven't been able to fix it.

So I used some unused space on the drive and installed 9.04 (cleared out my unused OSX and WinXP partitions). 9.04 installed nicely and even has dual monitor ability...unfortunately there are no ATI drivers with this version, and the default drivers only allow a virtual screensize of 2500 the screen size control limited the size of my 22" screens to 1200x1050 on both...yea, great. Then no matter what I couldn't get one screen to be regular size (1680x1050). So having given up all other options, I installed the ATI driver and completely crashed Ubuntu.

I read some more and found that 8.10 still used the ATI drivers and would run two monitors in mirror mode (which was all I needed for now) in full screen size. So I wiped 9.04 and installed good. Interestingly during the install 8.10 recognized my other linux install and copied over some stuff...9.04 did not recognize any other installs. I then had to copy my ./evolution directory and I instantly had a fully working Evolution email setup (the install had copied all my email address info).

All I had left was VMware...first of all apparently the current version only allows a 30 day free use in workstation...but player is free? I could see the virtual machines directory in the other drive, but I couldn't copy it.

So I had to do a bunch of typing with a 'sudo cp' command...pita but it works.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Some updates

First off...I am still having issues using VPN tunneling when out of town...I will next attempt to use port 80 as the VPN tunnel...and hopefully it won't wreck anything.

But on a positive note...the Dell Mini 9 triple boot works perfectly. And to be honest, as a non Mac user (ever) I just enjoy running OSX. It reminds me of a polished Ubuntu.

I use Ubuntu for a few things, XP for a number of things. But mostly I use OSX, it has the applications I use more often with a nice interface. It is still a pain to change things, but as is, it works beautifully.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Triple boot Dell Mini finale? (part 5)

Odds and ends.

It all works. It all works well, and OSX runs nicely on this little machine.

It took some command line editing to get it all to play nice.

First I had to put grub back on the Ubuntu partition.
-ubuntu$ sudo grub
-grub> find /boot/grub/stage1
-grub> (hd0,3)
-grub> root (hd0,3)
-grub> setup (hd0,3)
-grub> quit

I also took note of where the ubuntu partition was (hd0,3)
I booted a ubuntu live cd (on USB thumbdrive) and using terminal, drilled my way to the grub folder on the ubuntu install
-$ sudo gedit /media/ubuntu/boot/grub/menu.lst
I commented out all my windows links (#)
and copied the top ubuntu link (at the bottom of the list), I pasted the copy above the originals in the file (twice) and made some edits
- the original had (hd0,1) for boot drive...needed to be (hd0,3)
- the original pointed to /dev/sda2...according to gparted it needed to be /dev/sda4
The corrected menu entry with hd0,3 AND sda4 was the correct one...after it sucessfully booted, I commented out the others.

I also had to reedit the windows boot.ini (using msconfig). I previously had 3 setups depending on which drive the OSX bootloader would point originally was is now part3. I made that one the default also.

The only thing left is to make a longer timeout in the OSX menu and perhaps make it visible, rather than having to hit a key first.

that file is on drive/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/

So in all it took a 16gig flashdrive for the inital OSX install, a 8gig flashdrive to make the modified install DVD, an Ubuntu flash drive (gparted and grub etc) and time.

I didn't repeat all the instructions, I just tried to fill in some blanks, and clarify some things. There are some procedures listed that are simply no longer needed with OSX 10.5.6 and the new dellminiboot123 is almost plug and play. (well easier than a linux install 1o years ago)

Dell Mini triple boot success! (part 4)

Lets see, where was I.

So I installed the standard OSX on my 16gb flash drive so that I could create an install disk that would install OSX to a MBR hard drive.
-while I was copying the DVD to the other (8gb) flash drive, (and went to bed) it stopped at 46 minutes to go...but it looked I went for it.

- removed the OSX DVD and the 16gb flash drive. reinstalled the dellminiboot disk and the 8gb flashdrive that I edited (as per linked instructions)...again booted up chose 80 for drive and booted from 8gb flash drive (install dvd)
-this time the installer allowed me to install to my 64gb drive
-I used the disk utility to lable that first partition EFI
-I installed OSX to the second partition
-...time passes...but much quicker than the flash drive install (16gb one)
-I reboot again with only the dellminibood disk in
-osx boots up
-go to the folder in the boot cd (DellMini9Utils) and install the AboutThisMac.pkg and DELLEFI (the instructions say to download the latest...they seemed to be the same to me)
-that file installs stuff into the EFI folder so OSX will boot on its own.
-remove the disk and are there
-also the other partitions were there in the boot menu, XP worked, Ubuntu booted to GRUB>

At least the XP worked right away...I will play a bit with the Ubuntu install to fix grub.

Dell Mini Triple boot continued (part 3)

"When we last saw our hero..."

Up to this point I have,
- installed a Runcore 64gig SSD card on the Mini.
- installed XP pro on it (in a 20 gig partition)
- repartitioned the drive and moved the XP install to the third partition
- added a fourth partition large enough to the Ubuntu that came installed on the Mini
- used rsync to copy the Ubuntu install from the Mini to the Runcore SSD drive via USB cable.
- successfully booted to XP (again)
- mostly successfully reinstalled GRUB (to the Ubuntu partition) and booted Linux.
--mostly successful because when I reboot, it goes back to the XP boot...

As I write this...early in the morning (or late at night). I used the DellMiniBoot123v8.02b1 to allow the actual retail OSX10 DVD to install. Because I am triple booting, I have to 'hack' the OSX install to work with a MBR drive... If I was only installing OSX to a blank drive, I wouldn't need that step. (GUID ?)

So I have been following this post...and therefore I have been...
- boot using dellminiboot123.
- swap disks, hit the ESC key and ENTER to use the default (9f) to boot the install DVD
- once it boots to the install screen and you get to the point where it needs a drive (and it won't use the MBR one...)
- stick in a USB drive (or stick) with more than 8gig to 16gig in size. (I am using a 16gig)
- open the disk manager, select that usb drive, format 'mac os journaled' and select the option of GUID boot record.
- now chose that new drive as your install drive and let it chug away for a few lies as it gets near the end...23 minues is an hour etc. (last 2 minutes took half an hour)
--you will get a warning saying "Install Failed" (because it can't reboot to that drive...yet)
- when that is done reboot using that dellminiboot123 disk again
- make sure that usb drive (stick) with the new install is plugged in...then type in...(80 or 81 or 82...9f is the DVD drive?)...mine was 80.
- when you finally get it to boot off that drive (stick), plug in ANOTHER usb stick (8gig).
- at this point you should have two usb sticks installed (or a drive and a stick...however you do it) and also insert the install DVD again.

I don't want to repeat all the instructions, but that part I had to read a few times to understand what they meant.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dell Mini 9 triple steps (part2)

Because I have to leave for a trip, the treblebooted Dell Mini is on hold for a week...

However I DID move the XP partition and expanded it a bit, created an ext3 partition for Ubuntu, and copied Ubunto over from the original flash drive, and made two hfs+ partitions for the OSX install (the info is all on

With that as the drive, it still boots to XP without any issues.

I will have to install grub on the ext3 partition, but I will wait until I do the OSX install.

Bottom line, is the machine still works like it did before the advanced drive work... stop OSX.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Triple booting the Dell Mini 9 (part 1)

My other project is the Dell Mini 9.

I finally got my 64gig SSD card...I quickly installed XP on it to see how everything ran (it all runs great, and boots up faster than any other computer I own).

Now I decided to (attempt to) triple boot it with OSX, XP, Ubuntu. I am following the info on (or search for dell mini triple).

Because my stubbornness outweighs my lazyness (or vice versa?) I decided to move the XP partition I had to later in the drive (to make installation of the other OSs easier)...I burnt a live cd (GParted on it...there are many choices) and am now moving the 24gig says I only have 10 hours remaining until all the data is moved.

Common sense would say, wipe the drive, reinstall...or ghost the partition and wipe the drive and reimage...

But no...I will waste the 10 hours, it will probably fail, and THEN I will have to wipe the drive and reinstall.

IPcop, OpenVPN and the internets-revisited

Back a few months ago I had sucessfully loaded and ran OpenVPN on my IPcop router, and was able to access my home network securely from where ever I wanted to...

Well it died at some point...I am not sure what combination of things killed it, but essentially I was blocked from using it.

By default (and only choice in the version I installed) the OpenVPN plugin to IPcop sets you up with a UDP port 1194...which is the official universal VPN port apparently. Also apparently the various providers I had been using decided to block either the UDP or the 1194 or both.

I couldn't enable TCP on the version of OpenVPN (ZERINA) I had installed. I decided to put my openvpn connection onto the 443 secure port via I had to reinstall Zerina.

A handy tool I used to remind me of the procedures is this video. A quick little flash thing that walks you through the commands.

Once I deleted the old version of openvpn I had, and installed the new one...and went back and rebuilt certificates, reinstall client data, (set the TCP and 443), etc...(previously documented)

I sucessfully connected (again) via tether through my cellphone to my home network.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sending files from WM cellphone to Ubuntu Mini 9

Nothing to say far the only way I can get files from my WM6.1 smartphone is to beam them via Bluetooth.

This blog has the simple walk through for that.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Diggnation on Late Night Jimmy Fallon

Ok so it is a slow week (month) for me...I have been waiting on the 32GB and 64GB SSD until then I can't mod my Dell Mini9.

I have been watching Diggnation since the first episode...I watched TechTV before that, and the Screensavers before that...Jimmy Fallon was on Diggnation a couple of months ago plugging his new show...but that guy was quick on his feet...I couldn't stop laughing through the episode. So the Diggnation folks were invited on Late Night...

Today's generation doesn' appreciate technology.

Louis CK on Late Night with Conan O'Brian, sums up how today's generation doesn't appreciate modern technology.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Skype on Dell Mini 9.

Just got the Mini9. Wow, it REALLY is small...and touch typing is definitely a challenge (I am typing this on it).

I bought the stripped down Ubuntu version...and separately bought a 2gig ram stick...and a 32gig SDD from Crucial.

Ram stick worked...SDD did not...

Anywho, everything is pre-loaded in the software...except for Skype. You would think that installing skype would be no would be mistaken...

Apparently Dell distributes a specific version of Ubuntu...

Long story is how to install Skype on the Ubuntu version of the Dell Mini 9.

Amazingly, in this thread on the Skype forums is a straight forward answer...I will paste the post here in it's entirety.

Advanced Member
Posts: 78


The problem with forcing the architecture is that it won't compare anywhere in Synaptic, so it's going to be difficult to remove it with Gdebi or apt. However, it is quite possible by typing:

sudo dpkg -r skype

This will completely remove the forced deb package.

I rebuilt the package from Skype for the correct architecture (lpia) so it is much easier to install and uninstall. It works fine. Here's how you can do it yourself:

1. Download the Ubuntu version of Skype
2. Use the Archive manager to uncompress it. Alternatively, right click on the deb package and select "extract here"
3. Rename the uncompressed folder, by changing the ending from i386 to lpia. (the folder should be now named: skype-debian_2.0.0.72-1_lpia)
4. Open the folder
5. There are 3 files. remove the debian-binary file
6. Decompress control.tar.gz. There are tree files in it.
7. Make a folder "DEBIAN" in the main folder, and placed the 3 files you just decompressed inside it.
8. Open one of the files inside DEBIAN, "control". Change the line "Architecture: i386" into "Architecture: lpia"
9. Open the other archive data.tar.gz. There is a folder . inside. Open it (double click). Select both the folders (usr and etc) and select uncompress.
10. Remove the files control.tar.gz and data.tar.gz
11. You should now have your main folder with the following inside:
DEBIAN folder with tree text files in it (conffiles, control, md5sums); a "usr" folder and a "etc" folder.
12. You are now ready to prepare your deb folder.
13. From the command line, go to the folder that contains your main skype folder you just prepared (most likely named: skype-debian_2.0.0.72-1_lpia).
14. type: dpkg --build skype-debian_2.0.0.72-1_lpia
15. Your deb package is ready. Double click on it and follow instruction. After installation it should appear in Synaptic, and from there you can remove it at any time.
16. Enjoy!!!

P.S. This should work for any package with the i386 architecture.

Mon Oct 20 2008, 21:31 is lpia (LPIA) not Ipia. I did exactly those instructions...and it worked immediately, video and audio.

Oh and one more thing...the wife likes this computer...and can easily see herself using I may be buying another one soon.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Nokia N800 Video chat revisited

As seen in our last episode...

Quick summary.
Built in N800 video chat (Internet Call) only works with other N800s.
Skype audio works but no video support.
Gizmo5 sort of works but buggy and with heavy processor load.

Introduce X-Lite. X-Lite is a Software VOIPphone (whatever that means) made by Counterpath. Well it looks like a phone thing I guess. Any who it just happens to correctly talk with the built in N800 Internet Call software pretty well. You install X-Lite on your computer (Windows Linux Mac) put in your SIP number and call the Nokia. Voilà video internet calls.

You do need to aquire a SIP number...I got mine through Voipbuster. You download and run their software to set up an account (I ran it on the Windows7 Beta I have on VMWare). I set up two accounts, one for the Nokia, and one for the desktop. Setting up the accounts on both devices was straight forward.

I made a few calls back and forth, so far the only problem is that I can't get the camera on the desktop to work with X-Lite (my PS3Eye kludge). I may try the Linux version, and a different camera...I am pretty sure I can't run Skype and this sharing the same hardware.

I am getting closer to my threat of Video Internet Calling with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

P.S. I will try this method to install X-Lite on Ubuntu.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dell Mini 9

I bit the bullet...I couldn't pass up on the $50 off deal. I bought the Ubuntu stripped down version...but added the bluetooth ($20) and 1.3Mpxl webcam ($35?) for a shipped price of $270.

I can get 2gig ram from Crucial for $25.

Crucial is advertising a 32GB SSD drive for $75...but they have none in stock.

Altogether it comes out to MUCH cheaper than buying it that way from Dell.

I have decided to install OSX on it. Like these guys...more info on the mini9. Other hacks here.

I decide to do this and not wait for the 10" for a few, I travel out of country quite a bit, and I would probably cry if my M1330 got broke or stolen. Also I keep the M1330 stuffed in my roll-a-board, and the extra large battery sticks out precariously. So it will save space in the bag, and make it easier to pull it out to put in the 'separate tray for xraying'.

Vista and portable electronics.

Vista and portable electronics...the two key ingredients for weeks of pain.

My HTC Touch had been getting flakier and flakier in its connection to my Vista notebook...requiring reboots of both on a regular basis...yet randomly.

Well to turn up the heat in the pain category a bit, I bought a refurbished 40gig iPod (for use in the car...permanently). I made the disastrous mistake of attempting to use it on my Vista machine.

The first plug in popped up the USB device not recognized warning...installing iTunes did not change that a bit...nor did reboots. I was afraid I got a damaged I tried to plug it into my XP desktop...couldn't get iTunes to run on that one.

Then I tried Ubuntu...I think it actually works there, but BANSHEE (linux iPod software) was intermittant...but did access the ipod just fine.

Finally I dug out my old XP laptop (with a twitchy touchpad) installed iTunes, and happily put files on the iPod.

Oh, but back on the Vista machine, my Sprint Touch phone was no longer recognized...I restored the previous windows...etc...eventually (again randomly) it started to connect again...then windows did a HTC USB driver update (from a year ago) and it stopped connecting again.

I decided to put the correct ROM on the Touch (instead of the hacked one I put on a year ago)...we will see what the long term effects of that are.

The moral of the story is hurry up and ship Windows7 so I can dump Vista.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A couple of quick notes...

Kinoma Media Player

I just installed Kinoma (the free version) on my Sprint Touch phone. It is the coolest thing yet!

What it is a media will play all (most?) the media on your has a number of built in plugins to play Youtube videos, Shoutcast radio, etc, etc, and even an ORB plugin.

It is just a much better experience than trying to use WMplayer and IE on the mobile for that kind of thing. It also seems to do a much better job of buffering and streaming video than WMp does.

The ORB plugin does everything on your ORB server except view live TV or have anything to do with recording/program guide/etc. So it will play the media if it is in a share, but that is will still need to log in using IE and WMp to access live TV.

Windows Vista Firewall

A different note is that the built in firewall (run WF.msc to access it) for Vista is a pain. By default it is set to block incoming but allow outgoing. So to be more secure you can set it to block outgoing also. It is also supposed to let you know when it is blocking something...ah but it doesn't.

I have been having trouble accessing certain things on the Windows Update...or trying to install the latest GoogleEarth.

After much wailing an gnashing of teeth (and adding all sorts of rules to allow programs to access the internet through WF) I found that the only way to punch a big enough hole to use WU was to turn the WF back to the default settings...block incoming and allow outgoing.

I never saw a single message that WF was blocking any traffic, nor is there any log/log entry detailing that (even though logging is turned on, and notification is turned on). So more reason to skip Vista, and hope for the best with Win7.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dell 1320c Color Laser Printer and Ubuntu

I just got the Dell 1320c Color Laser from Dell and it comes ready to be plugged into a network.

I didn't plan on getting another color printer...I threw my last one (inkjet) in the trash for constant nozzle would use up a ton of ink trying to clean the jets...and the last time this happened the jets never cleaned. Each set of inks cost about $40 (color and black). I even disassembled it and manually cleaned I got fed up and tossed it.

To fill the void, I upload pictures to the Walgreen's that is about 2 blocks away, and by the time I am ready to leave the house, they are already processed as real photos. Much nicer than the inkjet could do.

So fast forward a few months and the wife suggests that she would be happier, and therefore I would be happier if we had a color printer.

I read the reviews this Dell seemed to be the right balance of price, print quality, cost of refills, ease of changing toner, networkable, etc.

To install on windows machine it is easy, one quick setup file that finds the printer on the network and installs the even lets you change things like IP address.

However on Ubuntu it is not quite as straight forward...but luckily some smart folks found an easy (for linux) is the fixed/clarified version from this forum post.

I got the 1320c to run under Ubuntu, the procedure was following:

Download the Linux driver for the Xerox DocuPrint C525 Printer:

$ unzip

Install ALIEN
$sudo apt-get update
$sudo apt-get install alien

Ubuntu/Debian stuff to convert rpm to something installable:
$ sudo alien -d Fuji_Xerox-DocuPrint_C525_A_AP-1.0-1.i386.rpm

Install the driver:
$ sudo dpkg -i fuji-xerox-docuprint-c525-a-ap_1.0-2_i386.deb

Install the printer (it is detected by cups) and use the installed driver (it is under the FX tab)
Optionally choose install driver manually from the file (it is placed there by the "dpkg -i fuji-..."): /usr/share/cups/model/FujiXerox/en/FX_DocuPrint_C525_A_AP.ppd

In CUPS printer settings under the Optional Components set up the 250 Sheet Tray, along with A4 page size.


[Zbigniew Jerzak]

Now go to Administration->Printing and add printer. The Dell 1320c with the IP address showed in the list. I clicked on it, and chose FORWARD, and pointed it to the location in step 5 (/usr/share/cups/model/FujiXerox/en/FX_DocuPrint_C525_A_AP.ppd).

I tried to print a test page, but the printer showed a paper error...well that is because I skipped step 6. Only I set it to letter size (US) and on the last tab selected AUTO for the tray.

Printed just fine!