Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mass Tram America

This Article introduces a new proposal for a tram/monorail system. It uses an elevated monorail and old 747 airplane bodies to achieve a small footprint and efficient operation. I am only writing this because after I read the following

"Fixed routes and tracks means that there’s little to no crossing traffic and high speeds can be maintained (estimated at between 100 and 200 miles per hour average speeds)."

The first thing I thought was...I hope it has a large windshield washer tank to get all those dead bugs off the front. :)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Unreal Tournament 3 Demo Torrent

The Unreal Tournament Demo was released today.

I would like to say its awesome, but on my computer it pretty much sucks. :P But thats just because I only get 30fps with it set at minimal detail 640x480.

Anyways heres the torrent
1. If you are using IE go download a real browser (ostensibly Opera)
2. Click the download torrent link on the torrent page.
3. Opera will download the torrent and then the demo for you (should be plenty of peers for the next couple days)
4. Double click the demo installer.
You can handle the rest (Ashley)

Hopefully it runs better on your system than mine.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hosting Dilemna

Me and my programmer have been working on my website. I intend to use a PhpWiki as a data storage structure. Upon installing PhpWiki on my server, it runs a setup script, which places Dba files in the /tmp directory, where they are deleted every week. So the wiki's storage is deleted, great. The help files instruct you to simply copy the Dba files to a directory, then change your config file so the PhpWiki knows where your files are.

None of that is possible with my current host. With my current account there is no access to my /tmp directory, I cant get below my /home/user/ directory. The tech support won't do it for me (how hard is it honestly?).

So I need a new host, possibly one with root access to my files. Privileges like that are mostly (but not necessarily) only available in a VPS (Virtual Private Server).

I've been looking into this hosting thing, and I had decided on "gate" hosting. They have a great package, and furthermore their hosting is run by an "Advanced Cluster", just like Google. I was going to sign up for a $30/month VPS account. I was into the second step of signing up, and just then decided to stay my hand. I Googled Gate hosting, and trying to find anything on any host is nearly impossible. :P So I didn't find much.

Except a blog entry where a guy complained about them, he said they took 5 days to answer a support call. Gate wasn't looking so good...so I started looking elsewhere

Which lead back to http://hosting-review.com/top-10-lists/top-10-vps-hosts.shtml

That's how I got to Gate (they are at the top). So I started exploring the rest of the list. The next on the list is midPhase. Under support they list "True 24/7 phone support - skeptics welcome to call us anytime at 1-866-MIDPHASE to test things out. (and yes, you can do it at 3:15AM on Sunday)" ...So I did :) And I got a human on the other line (possibly a Vulcan but there's no reason to assume that) (incidentally the human's name was Cisco :P) but definitely not a computer.

I asked him if I would have root access and explained the problem with my wiki (yes with VPS, no with a lesser account), but then he asked one of his techs about using a wiki and after a coupla minutes he came back on and said she said I shouldn't be a problem even with the lesser account. And said that she (a female technician?!) had a wiki on her own domain with no problems. I said "great" and got off the line.

I kept thinking about the problem. A little while later I pulled up the help files for PhpWiki and called them back, I wanted to talk to the technician and find out which wiki they had installed. I called sales, and got "Cisco" ("Sysco?") again, what luck. I explained I wanted to talk to the technician about the wiki problem, he told me her name and transfered me. I was finally talking to the technician, I asked her what wiki she was using, (hey she Knows what a wiki is!!(some technicians don't)). She was using mediawiki, the engine that runs www.wikipedia.com, she assured me the setup didn't cause problems.

Then she started to check on something, it ends up the management software included with the lesser account includes a "package" that installs PhpWiki automagically(they've heard of it and included setup files!!), GREAT!!

I then asked about getting Dugg or Slashdotted, she said with the lesser account there would be a "Account Suspended" page and with the VPS account you could at least get at your server even if its overloaded.

You've got to realize at this point, I still am not a client of midPhase. I'm just a random caller and they helped me with all this....at 7pm in the evening...Awesome!

So how does Gate compare?!

I dunno, so I called them as well. I dialed into the support department, I got a person. He immediately asked for my domain name....I told him I was thinking about using Gate and wanted to know about some features. From the first mention of wiki's he had NO IDEA what I was talking about, I mentioned it was the kind of software that runs Wikipedia, this is getting SCARY, again NO IDEA!! I said thank you and hung up. He wasn't able to help me, and apparently neither is Gate. Now, I could get the wiki working under their VPS account, but support has never HEARD of a wiki, that is simply unacceptable. I mean seriously have they heard of the latest search engine, something called Google??! Maybe they should look it up in their Encyclopedia Brittanica, honestly.

Then I asked about getting Dugg or Slashdotted, he'd never heard of those either. So I decided I would put his rock back on top of him and move on.

So I think I will go with midPhase!
Boy that was a hard decision. :P

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Engine out!

I've bought a new car, a 97 Honda Civic. But it needs a new motor, It ends up I've already sold the old motor. So I've spent the last week and a half pulling the motor (an hour here and there). But particularly yesterday, I spent 7hrs working on it.

Anyways the engine is out. :D

Click to enlarge

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Do the Wachowsky Brothers watch Star Trek?!

I just watched an episode of Star Trek Voyager, Episode 39 The Thaw.

This episode begins with finding a planet that had gone through environmental collapse, and its inhabitants developed a stasis system that linked their minds inside of a virtual environment.

Which then developed a frightening clown from their collective fears.

All the same the stasis system and the linked virtual environment is very similar to concepts in The Matrix. :)

Makes you wonder which came first.

Feel free to write more similar references in the comments.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

This is Not Good

Click to enlarge

This is not good at all! (please excuse the scewed, non-screenshot picture) This is an iBook 700, that just got a fresh install of OSX 10.4 and a coupla updates, but something went very wrong.

I've already reinstalled OSX 10.4 and it works again, I wonder what happens/happened when I hit the update button.

Monday, May 28, 2007

X Windows Graphics Drivers problems

Installing the graphics drivers in Linux can be rather tricky, but I recently discovered a way to get out of the command line and into the easier to understand graphical interface. These tips should work for most distributions, but the only one I have done it with is Ubuntu. If your in Debian or Ubuntu and using an ATI or NVIDIA card then Automatix or Envy are definitely the way to go for installing your video drivers. Although envy can also be run in text mode I couldn't get it to work.

I worked on the problem for quite a while and although there is a moderately easy solution I didn't see it anywhere that I looked on the Internet, I don't know if its one of the few remaining "everybody should know that" things in Ubuntu or if everyone else really does use the more complicated methods....

Anyways, here's how to get out of text mode so you can install your drivers. Just change the video driver to vesa!

The easier way to do this (in Ubuntu/Debian) is to type:

ubuntu@ubuntu:~$sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

This command runs the Xorg setup script, the very first question is which video driver the server should use, there should be a Vesa driver in that list, just hit enter once you have it highlighted, then just hit enter for the rest of the options (unless you really want to change something else). Then after the program exits just type:


Of course there is also the good old method of manually editing your Xorg.conf

ubuntu@ubuntu:~$sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Then you need to find the part that looks like:

Section "Device"
Identifier "Videocard0"
Driver "nvidia" ....

Then just change Driver to "vesa" then save the file and:


X should start now, it might be a bit slower and not able to do Beryl, but at least you can use this mode to get Envy or Automatix going and get the proper drivers installed without having to muck about in the CLI. :D

(P.S. if I got anything wrong Please correct me in the comments)

Sunday, May 06, 2007


I was heading home from Spanish Fort and saw this amazing sunset and started to think of a way to get a Good picture of it. I knew it was a ways off so I had to start speeding or miss it. Halfway across the causeway there was a good place, but I JUST BARELY caught it.

Click to enlarge

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Mobius Chess

I am so building one of these! (Eventually)

Click to enlarge

I will use a wood base that will be the anchor point for one (or two) vertical bars, and those will support a flat section of steel bent into the mobius shape and etched with the Chessboard pattern

Then the pieces will have magnetic bottoms...

But maybe glass with strips of steel embedded inside would be better for seeing all your pieces, or just plain glass and suction cup pieces...

So...who's up for a game?

(idea via: Make Blog)

Sunday, April 01, 2007

This one's for Ashley

Hey Ash, my (I think) sole reader (or at least commenter).

One of my favorite bands Mutemath recently released a brilliant video for their song "Typical".

This is for Ashley because tommorow he is moving to Atlanta because God told him to. :)
So to the question "Can I break the Spell of the Typical?..." Ashley can certainly answer "Yes!"..

Good Luck Ashley!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

M.C. Escher

Like alotta geeks M.C. Escher is one of my favorite artists. His paintings play on perspective and twist realities.

This evening after reading the Wikipedia entry on him, I found an excellent gallery of his drawings. So go there and boggle at his amazing abilities.

I was looking for this one in particular (I would put it directly on this page but dont want to infringe copyrights...or something). Somewhere I have a copy of this print, one of the few things I used to display in my room.

Monday, February 19, 2007

More posts coming soon...

I went to Barnes and Noble tonight looking for a book about machining. I didn't find one about that in particular but I did find an excellent and fascinating book.

Mechanisms and Mechanical Devices Sourcebook

Just in case you need to move something. This book details hundreds of mechanical motion linkages, how to model and use them. It's a good reference source for inventive persons like me.

Also, while looking for tips/instructions for a drill press I came across the eFunda (Engineering Fundamentals) site. This contains a trove of information about engineering and designing devices. Really amazing the amount of free information available via the internet.

I will soon be doing a CNC links post.

I am looking seriously into building a Home Built CNC milling machine (in other words it could be 6months to a year or more till I build one :P).

That's all for now, come back in a coupla days when I unveil my latest project.