Busy making things: github, links, photos, @mc.

We’re Moving to Kansas!

Posted: October 31st, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Django, Open Source, Projects, Python, Weblogs | 37 Comments »

No really, we’re moving to Kansas. I’ve accepted a position at World Online, the online division of the Lawrence Journal-World. I’ll be working on some award winning sites including LJWorld.com, lawrence.com, KUsports.com using my favorite web framework: Django.

I’m really excited about working with an awesome team of people doing some really cool stuff. And of course I’m completely stoked about working with Django on a daily basis. I’ll talk about what I’m up to when I can but there will be times when I have to keep my lips zipped. I guess now might be a good time to mention that this is my personal weblog and that views/opinions/etc expressed here are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.

Needless to say I’ve been a bit busy with getting up to speed at work and planning the move. I’ve been meaning to write this post for some time now and had to delete a completely out of date post that I had half written while in Lawrence. Blogging will probably be light until things settle out, but in the meantime keep an eye on my del.icio.us links.

Strap in, Toto!


MTV Buys iFilm for $49 Million

Posted: October 15th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Web Services | 1 Comment »

CNet:

The deal could mean a lot more downloadable TV programming for Web users and more online advertising for Viacom. “We’re…excited about the partnership potential with our established brands like MTV, MTV2, MtvU, Comedy Central, SpikeTV and VH1,” an MTV executive said in a statement. Video via the Web got another boost this week when Apple Computer unveiled a new iPod that plays videos. The company also plans to sell TV episodes, music videos and short animation through the iTunes music store.

Effective immediately, iFilm.com will stop showing online movies. To view movies, you will have to tune in to iFilm2.com. I’m kidding of course. This seems like a pretty big deal and on the surface feels like a knee jerk reaction of “buy it before someone else does.” At the same time, CSI reruns on a video iPod would rule. It seems a bit weird for Apple to have started offering music videos for download from the beginning while MTV feels like a bolt-on.

“I heard you on my wireless back in ’52…”


The Dapper Drake

Posted: October 14th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Linux, Open Source | 1 Comment »

Now that Breezy Badger is out the door, I felt the need to find out what Ubuntu Linux 6.04 (the version coming out 6 months from now) had been named. The answer? The Dapper Drake. I’m guessing that the goals for the next release will solidify considerably after UbuntuBelowZero in a week or two.


VirtualRadio

Posted: October 13th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Mobile | 7 Comments »

It boggles my mind that with EDGE and the hottest Series 60 phone available in America (I know that’s not saying much) I can’t stream MP3 or Real Audio out of the box. I’ve really been missing the FM feature that the taco has that the 6682 does not. Have no fear though, for a mere 10 bucks you can get streaming audio on your device with VirtualRadio. I was hoping that I would be able to point it to any mp3 stream I could think of but unless I’m missing something that does not look like an option. There is a pretty good list of channels though, and WBUR and WNYC are among them so I can get my Morning Edition and All Things Considered fix if I leave the taco at home. I’m bummed though because both stations air Marketplace at 6:30pm instead of the 6 o’clock time slot that I’m used to.

I’m bummed about the inability to type in URLs of specific streams if they’re not on the list. I’ve been addicted to WMUC lately for their eclectic mix and local bands. I hear that it doesn’t multitask well (I can’t tell you how much I love playing FIFA to NPR) but it does an impressive job of the streaming thing over EDGE.

I’m probably going to have to find a new set of popport headphones since teh ones that came with the 6682 are pretty dorky (or I’m just not fashionable enough) and I’ve broken the little connector thing that sits behind your neck and places the microphone in a usable spot in front of you.

Are there any other apps out there besides Virgin Radio out there that let you stream mp3 or Real? I would kill for an app that let me point it at any stream I wanted. I’ll try Helix again but I wasn’t impressed last time. I’m pretty sure that the built in RealPlayer should in theory be able to stream, but I’ve tried pointing it at a few streams without luck.


Unleash the Badger!

Posted: October 13th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Linux, Open Source | 5 Comments »

It’s been six months, and without delay, Ubuntu Linux 5.10 (Breezy Badger) is out the door. I’ve been running Breezy for a month or so and aside from a few minor hiccups it’s been treating me quite well.

Ubuntu 5.10 features lots of goodies including Gnome 2.12.1, OpenOffice.Org 2 beta, Linux kernel 2.6.12.6, GCC 4.0.1, Python 2.4.2, and a ton of others. Check out the release announcement for more information and download links.


Nokia E Series

Posted: October 12th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Mobile | 4 Comments »

Nokia E Series

Nokia has announced a new business line of phones called the E series. These are all Series 60 devices (3rd edition based on Symbian 9.1). The E60 (middle) is a classic but small candybar phone. The E70 is a 6800-style device with a folding keypad. I remember saying that a 6800 running Series 60 would be a killer, so let’s hope I was right. The E61 is blackberry/treo-style quad band UMTS phone and a huge gorgeous screen.

These are some jaw-dropping phones. I can’t wait to see these get out the door. These phones are planned for Q1 2006 (which roughly translates to 2H 2006).


Skipping Startup School

Posted: October 11th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Projects, Weblogs | 7 Comments »

I managed to get past the hall monitors and was accepted to Startup School but had to skip it due to scheduling. I’ll be keeping an eye on the blogosphere and the notes that come out of the daylong event. I was particularly interested in attending as a guy who is constantly on the edge but doesn’t always realize it until similar products or services come out a year or two down the road. I did moblogging back in 2002 on my POS WAP-only Sprintphone and have worked on countless other small projects. Every once in awhile I reminisce with Russ about that big new thing that he or I had tinkered with but not got off the ground a year or two ago. I was definitely looking forward to peeking behind the curtain a bit, but hopefully some attendees will be kind enough to write up their experiences.

In other news, you might get an idea of what Aaron and Infogami is up to if you visit the Startup School Wiki


IT Conversations Seeks Python Developers

Posted: October 10th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Open Source, Python, Weblogs | 10 Comments »

Doug Kaye is looking for help in putting together an open source podcast uploader program:

This is an open-source project to create a client-side application for encoding, normalizing and uploading audio files to the Conversations Network content-management system’s FTP server.

See the requirements doc for more information. Can anyone lend a hand?


Mike and Chrissy

Posted: October 8th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Weblogs | 1 Comment »

Away and Married

Congratulations are in order to Mike and Chrissy. Yesterday, as you can see from their away messages above, they got married. I’m so happy for them and I’m so glad that the day went so well. The weather could have been a little nicer, but everything else came together perfectly.

Congrats you two!


Dissapointing Serenity Box Office Figures?

Posted: October 3rd, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Weblogs | 78 Comments »

I was hoping that the box office figures had been estimated low yesterday, but according to Yahoo! Movies, Serenity brought in just about $10M over the weekend. It’s really sad that flightplan kicked its butt at $15M. I didn’t get a chance to see it over the weekend, but it’s definitely on my list. I’m hoping that buzz builds and this coming weekend is even better. I’m not counting it out yet, I’m just a little dissapointed that the hardcore fanbase didn’t manage to bring enough friends along to boost the box office numbers any more.

I can’t help but remember that the spectacular (IMHO) Final Fantasy debuted at $11.4M and took Square down with it. I’ll chip in my $9 as soon as I can, I promise.


Writeboard Backpack Integration

Posted: October 3rd, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Web Services | 409 Comments »

Writeboard went live over the weekend. Solution Watch has a nice review of it. While I was hoping that there might be just a little more to it, I love writing in Textile and I’m really quite gaga over its integration with Backpack.

If you log in to your backpack you should now see a Writeboard tab. You can create new writeboards from there and have them linked to your Backpack account. You can also associate existing Writeboards with your backpack account. While at first this might seem like 37Signals is undercutting themselves (Unlimited Writeboards is one way around Backpack’s free page count), they are really adding a ton of value to their existing product and creating more loyal customers.

If you trust and honor your customers, they will return the favor.

Update: See David Heinemeier Hansson’s comment below, as it clarifies that you can associate two Writeboards with your free Backpack account. That still rocks and makes a ton of sense. Thanks for the clarification and comment!


RedBox: Huge Bang for My Buck

Posted: October 1st, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Weblogs | 5 Comments »

Last night we wanted to kick back and watch a movie at home but didn’t have anything interesting on the shelf. We decided to head up the street to our local McDonald’s which has a redbox kiosk near the front door. We poked around for a minute or two then selected our DVD. I swiped a credit card, filled out a quick form with the touchscreen and a DVD popped out of the slot.

As long as you bring the DVD back by 10pm the next day, it only costs you a buck. Redbox keeps hitting your card a buck a day for 25 days. If you haven’t brought it back by that point, the DVD is yours.

I’ve got to say that the experience was quick and painless and is a heck of a lot of bang for a buck a day. While we don’t watch enough to make a Netflix subscription worthwhile anymore, a buck a day every once in awhile is definitely worth it. I hope that redbox is making money and expands nationwide, because this is addictive!


OpenWRT: Turbocharging My Hunk of Plastic

Posted: October 1st, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Linux | 6 Comments »

Yesterday I installed OpenWRT on a Linksys WRT54GS while evaluating some technology for a potential client. After exploiting an overflow in Ping.asp I had boot_wait set to on and was tftping White Russian RC3 to the box.

A few minutes later the WRT54GS began behaving like a router again and I SSHed in to it. I quickly ran ipkg update and ipkg install NoCatSplash. After that I edited /etc/nocat.conf and the splash page HTML. Finally some NVRAM tweaks (don’t forget nvram commit when you’re done) and a reboot and a cheap hunk of plastic was up to customer spec with a custom splash page including T&C and AUP agreement.

In the process of installing and configuring OpenWRT I was amazed at the quality and depth of the wikified OpenWRT documentation. OpenWRT also works on a wide range of newer hardware including a WRT54GS 2.1 that was purchased a few months ago and a WRT54 3.0 that a friend purchased not long ago. See TableOfHardware for a complete list of compatible hardware.

After such a positive experience yesterday I plopped OpenWRT on my WRT54G at home. It kept most of the settings from the NVRAM, I just had to tweak the SSID and some wireless settings before I could get back online via wi-fi.

If you want to enable SSH from the WAN port, just uncomment two lines in /etc/firewall.user. I’ve also set up my box to update its clock via NTP by using these instructions. It also looks rather trivial to set up cron jobs.

I feel stupid for not installing OpenWRT sooner, as I’ve obviously been missing out on the fun for quite some time. The project has improved an amazing amount since I last looked at it. Now I feel like grabbing newer hardware with more storage space and hacking the crap out of it!

Update: There’s something satisfying about updating your firewall rules via SSH, hupping /etc/init.d/S45firewall and having everything behave as it should.