Well, I decided about a month ago that the old Treo 650 was getting old and needed a little refresh, I generally keep my PDAs for about 3 years before upgrading, and that’s about how long it’s been. Unfortunately, there wasn’t really anything compelling to upgrade to. None of the new Treo’s out provide much improvement over my current 650 on GSM networks. The iPhone is cool and all, but the lack of third party apps and no 3G network, really doesn’t make it a compelling upgrade to my old 650 (I can do already do just about everything the iPhone can do, just not in as cool a way). With no sight of the Linux based palms and a 3G iPhone or Blackberry, wasn’t sure what to do.

Well, decided for now I’d just do a minor upgrade when I found a real good deal on a used but practically new Treo 680. It gives me a slightly smaller and lighter form factor, no antenna stub, more onboard ram, and better bluetooth than the Treo 650. Minor improvements, but enough hopefully to hold out till Palm, Apple, or Blackberry put out something compelling.

Oh and for the record, I’m not very impressed with any of the Windows or Symbian based smartphones out currently. The few Symbian phones that look cool are only available overseas and lack the US frequencies I need.

So I have a little more breathing room to wait for the smartphone of my dreams, and keep dreaming…

I added the Fedora 7 install page to the collection. There wasn’t that much to it, I just added some tweaks from previous write ups and new things I’ve found. The base install works perfectly fine, but I like these changes which seem to make the laptop a little more affective. I still wish I could figure out why you have to suspend to ram at least once before the screen brightness keys work and the mode selector will work.

You can find it here.

Well, I finally got MythTV all setup and running how I would like. Thanks in part to the work of Jarod Wilson’s Fedora Myth(tv)ology and the MythTV.org Wiki I’ve installed all the software and configured everything to work with my hardware. I’ve also converted over to the new TV listings supply from Schedules Direct since Zap2It labs is closing the end of this month.

Here are the specs of my MythTV Box:

  • Fedora Core 6 (may migrate to CentOS 5)
  • AMD Athlon 64 x2 3800 CPU
  • 2 GB DDR Ram (512MB x 4)
  • 2x Seagate 400GB SATA 300 HD in Raid 1 (will migrate to Raid 0 soon)
  • nVidia 6150 Chipset motherboard with built in HD scaling component video out
  • MCE USB IR sensor
  • Hauppauge PVR-500 Dual Analog Tuner (NTSC)
  • Silicondust HDHomeRun Dual High Definition Tuner (ATSC/QAM)
  • NMediaPC HTPC 200 Case
  • Logitech Harmony 880 Remote (makes it all easy to run).

LiveTV and programmed listing recording works perfectly. I have about 360GB of space dedicated to Media storage. I’ve found that even Analog TV takes a lot of storage space (about 1GB per 30 minutes) to get good quality video that scales well to the 1920x1080i resolution I’m running on my HD TV. I’ll probably play with the analog recording settings more to try and find the optimal quality to still create nice images, but right now the picture of analog TV looks better through MythTV than it does with the TV’s built in Analog tuners. My only complaint is fast action shots show a little tearing/pixeling, but that’s more an artifact of 1080i than the MythTV. Wish the TV accepted 1080p or even 720p, but it’s an older Toshiba CRT HDTV that only does 1080i, 480p, and 480i. Still, the picture is beautiful!

One small non-tech related post. Mid August, our son was born and joined our small happy family of Mother, Father, and Muirna (our dog). He was a healthy 9 lbs 4oz and mother and child are doing well. Very busy learning how to fit our lives into our son’s schedule, but all very happy.

Oh, and yes, I have learned that sleep is optional.

Well, today is a good day not to live or work in Germany if you make your living with technology.  Today Germany officially makes it illegal to use or develop security tools which could at all be used as “hacking tools” regardless of actual use or intent.  That means you can’t create or use a tool to scan your own network for errors in security that you made.  So you’ll just have to wait until some Black Hat hacker breaks into your network to learn of your mistakes.  Man is this a stupid law..

Germany enacts “anti-hacker” law

Well, LinuxWorld San Francisco Expo and Conference wrapped up this week. I was the Security Track Chair (Part of the Program Committee) and hope that people found the talks helpful and full of quality tech info. Unfortunately I missed out on attending this year, as I’m currently on baby watch (waiting for our first child to make his debut into the world). Looking forward to getting some feedback and finding out how things went.

LinuxWorld Expo San Francisco 2007

Excellent news for the Linux community, Judge Dale Kimball ruled late yesterday that SCO does not own the Unix and Unixware copyrights, that in fact Novell owns the copyright. This seriously guts SCO’s lawsuits with IBM, RedHat, AutoZone, and the Linux world in general. After having failed to provide any examples of code in Linux that infringed, then changing their case to a contract dispute with IBM over copyright, they have now been told they don’t even own that copyright. Doesn’t look good for SCO, hopefully this is the end of their FUD (why do I doubt that 🙁 ).

Judge rules Novell owns Unix copyrights.

Wrote another article about Grids.  This one is about migrating from WS-RF to WS-RT.  It covers some of the general issues and components of each standard you’ll have to focus on and provides links to more detailed information for implementing your solution.  I had some experience with WS-RF and this article helped me learn more about WS-RT myself.  Hope it help others as well!

Migrating from WSRF to WSRT 

Well, looks like I won’t have to lug my heavy MacBook Pro 15″ to work anymore. I work with computers a lot, and it’s generally helpful to have a laptop with me on my commute in and out of work. It’s also nice to have a laptop at work in case I need to do some emergency work outside of the office. It’s also nice to be able to have a full size laptop at home to sit on the couch and catch up on tech news, newsgroups, mailing lists and chat with my friends who are scattered around the world.

I have two laptops, my old good friend the Sharp MM20 ultralight I bought new 3 years ago, and a nice MacBook Pro issued to me by work. Though I love the Sharp, it has a small screen and limited power for relaxing and playing on the net at home, hence I use the MacBook at home. I love the MacBook (Core Duo 2Ghz, 2GB RAM, 160GB HD), but the thing weights a ton (though it’s not much heavier than the smaller 13″ MacBooks) and is not much fun to lug around in a bag on my commute in and out of work. Ok, you might say that I should just leave the MacBook at home, catch is I need some of the admin tools and gui provide by the MacBook to manage Apple specific resources at work. So for the past year I’ve lugged the MacBook into work every day. It’s nice having the power, but it’s just too heavy (why did Apple not develop a 12″ MacBook Pro? The 13″ is just not a replacement for that).

Well, things have changed. My work replacement cycle computer has arrived and I now have a Mac Pro desktop at work. A nice one at that: Two Dual Core 2Ghz Xeon Chips, 4GB of Ram, Two GeForce cards for dual 1600×1200 displays, and a 250GB HD). Coupled with VMWare Fusion and it’s a great workstation for my needs. I can easily manage Mac and Linux resources from one machine, do development work, testing work, and I’ve got my trusty command line when I need it.

So out of retirement comes my old Sharp MM20 laptop (1Ghz Transmetta Efficeon CPU, 512MB RAM, 20GB HD, Ati Radeon Graphics 16MB Ram, 10.4″ LCD). It’s not a screamer but it’s very light, think 1.9lbs! That’s with the normal battery! Barely even feel it in my bag. I decided it was time that I see what Fedora 7 had to offer. All my personal machines currently have Fedora Core 6 installed and since I was bringing this back to active service I wiped it and started fresh with Fedora 7. The install went smooth (I’ll do a write up later) and, with some minor tweaks, looks and runs well. Now this laptop doesn’t have incredible 3D acceleration ability, but I couldn’t help giving the “Enhanced Desktop” ie compiz a try. Wow, it’s perfect. That is what this little laptop need to make it more effective. Though it’s not perfectly smooth on transitions, I think it’s smoother than without compiz enabled. Also, the small screen isn’t as limited with access to the mac expose like affects. A quick mouse pointer to the upright corner brings a collage of all open windows, allowing easy and quick selection and navigation. With a refreshed standard battery, this should be a great travel companion as I commute or walk around work outside of office. Not to mention, even though it is three years old, people are amazed at how small, light, and slick looking the Sharp is. Too bad they don’t make them like they used to.

The latest version of Pidgin (used to be gaim) was released. I haven’t found any nice rpm’s for Fedora Core 6 yet (that would install) so I went ahead and made my own. No warranty whatsoever on anything about them. They work on my FC6 box, and that’s about all I know.

The rpm files are here.

UPDATE: Ok as many are well aware of Fedora Core has now switched over to Pidgin and the pidgin group now has a YUM repo setup and working for Fedora. So my rpm’s aren’t needed, just go to pidgin.im and use their YUM repo.

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