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Nook Simple Touch

Posted by Dennis

Sadly B&N has decided to discontinue the Nook Simple Touch and Simple Touch Glow.    It's a shame as for a dedicated e-reader for my needs it was perfect.  Perfect enough I own 7 of them, one for each member of the family and a couple of spares.  The new model is a couple steps backward in my opinion and I'll only be picking one up assuming I absolutely have to.

One of the kids developed an issue where it would only run when plugged in.  The battery appeared to be fine, it would charge and hit 100%.  You could start it off the charger but a few seconds into the home screen it would lock up.  Plug it and it would restart and be fine until you unplugged it where it would run for a few seconds then lock up.

I tried several things, a Erase and Deregister from inside the Nook OS as well as a 8 canceled reboot wipe and re-image.  I even rooted it and tried different launchers.

In the end what worked was pretty simple.  I popped off the power button and used one of those little screwdrivers you get with an eyeglass repair kit to remove the torx screw under it.  The screw was covered with a little 'anti tamper' piece of paper but out of warranty and not working that little paper didn't scare me.   If you're a proper nerd you might have the Torx 5 (or 6) driver for it.  I didn't so I used what I had which worked fine.

You then push the back so it slides about 1/4" the it pulls right off.   The battery is attached to the back and a power cable connects to the system board.   Pop the power cord off of the system board and then press the tiny white button that's on the system board where the power button cover was and hold it for 30 seconds to discharge any lingering power.

Plug the battery back in and the nook should start up.

If you're lucky like me your NOok should be fine at that point.  What you've done, I believe, is cleared the NST and basically told the nook it has a new battery.

Time will tell if this is a permanent fix but it's been working for a few hours now and I'm calling it good until proven otherwise.  So if you're having this problem, don't throw out that Nook just yet, it might be a very simple 5 minute fix and you'll be back to reading in the sunlight and avoiding buying into the 'We'll delete your books any time we like" Amazon dicatorship.

Unlike many other  tablets, ereaders etc, the Nook Simple Touch and Tough Glow are very easy to replace the battery and you can pick up batteries online for between $15 and $30.


Last Night on Earth Online

Posted by Dennis

[Edit:  Due to demand you can find a stripped down copy of the vassal module here.  This has the copyrighted images removed with only some custom images remaining to use as templates for you to determine the size of your own scans of the physical materials.   Unfortunately due to copyright laws you will have to own a physical copy of hte game and scan the items yourself and then drop them into the vassal module.  All the items are set up in the module but you will have to associate your graphics with the cards and tokens and the like in the module.]

Spent the last few days converting Last Night on Earth to a vassal engine game so that I can play it online.   I'd actually started to write a .Net application to let me play online and that would let me put in some basic AI for the Zombies so that a friend and I could play Co-op against them but being Time Impaired I did some quick googling and came across the Vassal Engine system that lets you convert board games into virtual board games.

Vassal is very much just a presentation layer application.   It does it pretty well but it just doesn't have any ability to actually program anything in it.  But it took a couple of hours to get the resources into it and working which is significantly less than writing client/server app from scratch.  You get what you pay for and in this case the cost is time.

Last Night on Earth


Crutchfield Electronics

Posted by Dennis

I just wanted to give a thumbs up to Crutchfield Electronics.  I own a 12 year old Saturn and the radio leaves a little to be desired when it comes to getting input from something other than the OTA or cassettes.

So a friend recommended Crutchfield.  I checked them out and while they don't have the best prices they're competitive and it's a one stop shop.

In my case, I put in the make and model of my car and they gave me a list of stereos that worked.  I selected one and got, for free, the adapter to use the OEM harness, the adapter to use the OEM antannae and a new dash insert to replace the existing insert which is an oddball shape.   Did I mention all that was free...

On top of that I also got free shipping and placing the order on a Monday afternoon I received it Thursday.  I recieved an email when it shipped with U.P.S. tracking number and another email when it was delivered.

When I opened the box I found all the components inside, along with a neatly stapled set of about 10 pages printed front to back which included my invoice, some coupons for discounts, detailed instructions on how to remove the old radio and replace it, and although I didn't buy new speakers, I also got detailed instructions on how to replace all the speakers in the car.  Completely with diagrams.

Installation was simple, I matched the wires from the OEM adapter to the receiver, soldered and shrink-wrapped the connections, pretty standard.    Went out to the car and followed the step by step on how to remove the dash cover, the factory radio then followed the instructions on putting in.  [Disclaimer:  I technicaly didn't need these I've had to disassemble my dash before so I could get access to the gear shift mechanism and the Saturn isn't exactly rocket science to take apart to begin with.]

FYI: You also get free tech support on your installation if you need it.  Did you hear that? FREE...

Turned the key and blammo, I was listening to music.

Anyway, start to finish it was perhaps an hour job, most of that was connecting the wires since I soldered them and shrink wrapped them.  Someone that uses wire nuts or clips could have gone faster.

All in all I'm going to have to give this company a 10 out of 10.   I'm very impressed.

Filed under: Technology No Comments

Applying A Screen Protector

Posted by Dennis

As I browse tech forums I see this a lot, "I applied the cover and there's only one small dust speck! Go me!" or "My cover is filled with bubbles. 🙁 ".

Here's a simple trick that will let you apply the typical screen protector on anything, phone, tablet, laptop etc within reason.

1) Turn on your shower on hot and close the bathroom door.   This is critical to having the best chance to get a first time right dust free cover placement.   The humidity causes the dust particles in the air to fall out rather than float around.

2) While you wait, get a roll of cellophane (scotch type) tape.  Peel off a couple of lengths and make loops out of them sticky side out, big enough that they'll fit over your fingers.

3) Clean your device screen.

4) Get your windex (or the spray bottle it came with), your tape loops, your device and your cover.   Not all screen protectors come with these or need it.

5) Move all that crap to the bathroom which should be nice and steamy by this time.

6) If you're using a liquid then slightly spray your fingers and peel off the sticky side of the cover, spraying it as you go.

7) Spray the screen of your device and then slide the cover onto it, the best option is to get it straight the first time.  Start by laying one edge of the protector along the edge of the screen and then by bowing the protector you can 'walk' a line of contact down the screen.

8) Check for fit and dust.  You can tell dust because if you press on it with a finger it won't go away and if you have sensitive fingers you can actually feel the bump it's making.   Peel back the cover and with a loop of tape on your finger press the tape against the cover and the screen at the location, it's almost always on the cover BTW.   Now roll it back down and the dust should be gone.

9) Use a firm but not excessive force to squeegee the worst of the bubbles from the center out to the edges.  Micro bubbles will clear up on their own over 24 hours typically.

10) Enjoy your protected, bubble and dust free device.

Filed under: Technology No Comments

Nook Simple Touch Recovery

Posted by Dennis

Since there was a bit of bad information out there about recovering Barnes and Nobles Simple Touch eReader I thought I'd share.

I rooted mine and wanted to recover it back to stock.  You can wipe the \data partition by doing 8 interupted starts.  To do that you power it off and then on (hold power and home buttons if it's truly borked up) until it tries to start up.  As soon as you see the starting message, press the home and power buttons simultaneously and hold them down until it restarts again.  Lather, rinse, repeat 7 more times at which point it'll wipe the data partition and your user data.  NOTE:  This does NOT restore to factory.

To do a full recovery, power it down and then power it up right after it starts coming up, press both the left and right lower buttons on the face of the nook touch, hold them down for several seconds during the start up and it'll prompt you for a system wipe.  Press Home twice to confirm you truly want to do that.

Takes a minute or two and then you'll have a clean nook.

Filed under: Technology 21 Comments

Multitouch Driver Windows 7

Posted by Dennis

I was looking for a multi-touch driver to use in Windows and it took some looking obviously enough to get one that worked the way it should be.   One that emulated the touch ability of a typical Windows 7 tablet.

This is for my Multi-Touch Gaming Table experiment.  Speaking of which I do have an update, Deal Extreme takes forever to ship.  It was over a month from the time I placed my order before I received the 48 IR LED security lights.  Both of which worked by the way, I cut the existing plug off and used an old PC power supply (i have a lot of them) to power them.  Just wire the red wire from the lights to a yellow wire from the power supplies main lead (the big mass of wires) or the supplemental power lead (small square plug).  Then wire the black wires to any black wire for a ground.   To get the power supply to turn on short circuit the green wire in the main plug with any back wire. I just clipped and soldered them together.   Unfortunately the lights help but not enough.

I'm thinking I may have to just bite the bullet and get a piece of Endlighten and some strip lighting and deal with the loss of Fiducials.

Anyway, after putting the table on hold for a month waiting for the IR lights I went back to getting it working again using some IR pens I made.  It's not great but it's better than nothing right?

So I found this - The instructions on the site are for getting it working with multiple mice.  I offer the following instructions instead since they're not obvious nor posted anywhere.

Install the driver as posted on the site.   Then run the two console files, the MultietouchDriver.console and the Multitouch.Service.Console.  I DON'T recommend the open Pen and Touch and then checking the show mouse box that is listed on the site, that puts a virtual mouse on the screen.  Not really what we're looking for here.

Then open the MultiTouch-Configuration.WFP app and click TUIO and then the obvious option.  At that point the WFP file crashed on me but it did flip it from MultiMice to TUIO input.

Now close the driver and service consoles and fire up CCV.   Calibrate it as normal and minimize it or whatever.

Now re-run the two console apps above.   The reason you don't want them running when you calibrate CCV is it turns the long press of the calibrate procedures into right mouse clicks and if there happens to be anything on the deskop, a window, icon, whatever it jacks around with you by right mouse clicking it.

With those simple but not obvious steps you should now be able to use touch on your table and control windows.  A double touch is a left mouse click, a long touch is a right mouse click.

I'm having issues with calibration at the moment.  I get steady seeming blobs with the pens, the ID doesn't change but it can take an ass load of attempts to get the calibration to work as each point requires a bunch of attempts to try and get the blue sweep to go all the way around.   Annoying as hell.


Issues with Comment Spam

Posted by Dennis

Just thought this was rather interesting and wanted to share.  This is a screenshot of just Askimet's ability to catch spam which is a long way from 99%.  Installing AVH First Defense Against Spam and setting it up to compare commenter IP's versus known spammers was the only way I could get the spam back under control such that it didn't fill my queues.

Obviously 'something' happened in January, some started using chinese gold farmers or whatever their equivalent is for spamming or they came up with one frack of a good scripting bot system.

Either way, if you're being bombarded by spam and are running a wordpress site then make sure you've got the default Askimet set up and consider installing AVH and getting the API keys to enable the multiple databases it compares again.


Digital Gaming Table 4/13/2011

Posted by Dennis

More progress was made.  You can see pictures of the stages on the DGT page but to sum up, sanded, routed, puttied, sanded, stained, acrylic cut, access hole cut, ventilation holes cut.

I'm going to be using magnets, rare earth magnets to be exact and steel bolts to keep the access door closed rather than hinges and a latch of some kind.  It seems a little niftier.

Right now I'm going to have two inflow fans near the bottom of one side and an outflow fan right above the projector so as the heat rises from it's exhaust it'll hopefully get sucked directly out and the two inflow's should create a positive air pressure in the box, slight though it might be and help create a cool to hot heat loop so that the heat escapes.   If necessary I'll cut a series of 1" holes near the top of the box which should provide enough ventilation to keep things cool.

I still need to cut some access holes for wires in the bottom corners and near the top where it sits above the shelf.

Oh due to the ugliness of the staining I went with a faux finish.  Now I hate faux finishes but I find it less ugly than the splotchy stain soaking.  If you squint hard enough it looks like burled walnut.  But you have to squint.  And use your imagination.

I was thinking for the Mark 2 that I might go with a steam punk look.  Not sure if it's worth it, the 'omfg awesome' factor would get old quickly I think and then you have all these bits and pieces sticking off it that become annoying or get in the way.

I do think for the Mark 2 it'll be a complete design job rather than re-using the existing table which can go back to being a dedicated poker and board gaming table.


Digital Gaming Table 4/12/2011

Posted by Dennis

Got some more work done, added the fourth wall missing from yesterday, added trim work to the base, created the capper, sanded everything with some rough grit to get it semi-smooth.   You'd think I'd of gotten more done today oddly enough after thinking about it.

There are a couple of new images on the dedicated page for the gaming table now.


Gaming Table Going Digital

Posted by Dennis

My gaming table is going to get a digital option.  If you've been a regular visitor over the yeass you've watched it go through a few upgrades, the original, the new table top and then the double decker topper.

Now I've decided to move to the digital age.  I'm going to remove the double decker topper and then the padded poker table insert, even four years ago I was thinking ahead as it's completely removable.  Then I'm going to cut a hole through the underlayment such that I can have a usable digital surface 23x36 or  30" by 48".  For obvious reasons I'll probably go with the bigger one.

I'm getting a very short throw projector, it only needs 1'-11" to do the 30" by 48", add in the 9" of depth and the projector surface only needs to be 33" (+1" for cables etc) from the floor.  I'll need to do some actual measurements as the calculator at ProjectorCentral may or may not be accurate plus there's usability checks.

I've only been thinking about this for roughly 4 years now so it's not a rash decision or one I've taken lightly obviously.  It's a luxury for sure and the ROI is unlikely to ever pay out but I'm in a position where I can do it without sacrificing so it seemed like a good time to go forward with it.

One thing I've seen with ultra short throw's using the various tools is that it's difficult to impossible to add a mirror.  But with a 33" high table I don't know that that's an issue.

My playable surface is around 30", it used to be 33" but I removed 3" of foot to allow the double decker topper to be more usable.   Easy to take it away, hard to add it back.

So what I'll end up with is a box that comes up through the center of the hole and extends above the surface.   I'm going to be making the box out of MDF since I don't really envision this as being a final table.  I'd like to go back to the drawing board on the entire table at which point I'd make it out of wood but for my needs here MDF should suffice.

The geek in me expects to make the table interactive although in all honestly I don't forsee it being used much except as a geekgasm issue.   Rather than going full multi-touch with a DI (preferred by me) IR setup I'll just use a Wiimote and an IR pen that will function as a mouse on the table's surface.  So in theory you could use the pen to actually draw maps on the table.  That should help a lot with forgetting to wipe up the old marker between sessions.

Right now I expect I'll be using MapTools to display maps and for tokens although there are several options these days although a lot of options have gone by the wayside.  But for what I'd need MapTools should work.  The biggest reason to use it is it's free.  And I'm not happy with other options like Fantasy Grounds II (no link, I don't like it that much) which I find the UI to be horrible, I want functional user interfaces not fanciful.  And frankly it's too gd expensive to get a fully engaged group.   D20Pro seems too focused on Dungeons and Dragons and doesn't have full 4E support and you have to have licenses for everyone and I won't be going back to older editions so that leaves that one out.  And others are a worse option in terms of features or costs.

I'll most likely either run two instances of Maptools on my tablet (HP TouchSmart TM2), one GM and one Player, gm on standard monitor and player output to projector.  I could just set up another machine,Laura has an identical tablet and there's enough parts laying around here to build one or two desktops, to drive the projector but I worry about crowding at the table.

I'll be documenting the steps of the conversion from analog here like I do with most of my gaming paraphernalia and if you're interested check back.  I'm adding in a new category, Digital Gaming Table, that'll make it easier to follow as well.

I was just able to successfully pair one of my Wiimotes to my tablet over bluetooth using the native bluetooth driver using Smoothboard and WiimoteConnect.   With Smoothboard I was able to use a cable remote as an IR source (just hold down a button) and get it to move the cursor around, albeit erratically.

If you have any tips, ideas, comments or questions please feel free to let me know.  Especially tips or software advice. 🙂


Nook Color Rooted 1.1.0 Update

Posted by Dennis

If you're into rooting your Nook Color and want the 1.1.0 update you can get a rooted copy of it over on the xda forums.

You will need to have a working root already and have Clockword Mod installed.  If you're already on 1.0.1 stock then you'll need to get downgraded and rooted and then you can proceed.  At least for now, I'm sure autonooter will be out for 1.1.0 eventually.

But Barnes and Noble is pushing the updates out Over The Air and you might end up stock before you know.  I blocked B&N's IP range at my edge router so my Nook can't get to them for the OTA update but you may not have that option.

I followed the minimal instructions and didn't have any problems other than I didn't know at first that the volume up and down keys were used to navigate the recovery mode menu.

It went pretty painlessly and afterwards the only thing I had to do was use the Problems? button in Titanium Backup to install a current version of BusyBox.  Once that was done everything simply worked.

I kept root, the market worked, even You Tube worked without any problems.

YMMV especially if you've got some funky stuff going on your nook but the majority seem to be doing okay with it.   You will need to re-overclock if you're doing that FYI afterwards.

Anyway, if you don't want to wait for an update to AutoNooter then this update is pretty simple and painless.

And remember it's virtually impossible to brick your Nook Color, all you need is a SD card and the proper files from various forum threads and you can easily recover back to stock or root or whatever your personal preference is.  Follow this thread for a easy painless step by step to return your Nook Color to fully stock even if it appears all hope is lost.

Filed under: DIY, Technology No Comments

Nook Color Update

Posted by Dennis

Had to return my Nook Color last night as it was one of the ones exhibiting the sound issue.   The issue is that sound doesn't work after the device goes to sleep and you wake it back up.  You have to power it off/reboot it to get sound back.  As a feature that's just not acceptable.

A quick search revealed lots of people with the problem.  So I called my Barnes and Noble and asked if I could exchange it.  Some people were saying their B&N's had stopped honoring exchanges for this issue as it was a 'known issue' and 'being worked on'.   That sounded like ass to me as I listen to podcasts a lot and didn't want to have bounce it every time I walked away for two minutes to be able to listen again.

Happily my B&N replaced it without any significant issue, it probably helped I had the receipt.  I tested the new one in the store before leaving using Pandora and it was a good one. To test open and power up the Nook there at the store.  A quick test is simply to set it down for 2 minutes while it goes to sleep.  Once the screen has gone dark wake it up with the N button and side the unlock.  If you don't hear a sound then it's a bad on.  You can 'prove' it better if you have to by using Pandora if they give you a hard time about it.

Since the problem persists from 1.0.0 and 1.0.1, Android 2.1 and Android 2.2 and some Nook's have it and some don't, this screams hardware problem to me.  A software update 'might' fix it eventually but it'll be a work around for a bad batch of hardware.  I'd rather have a good one myself.

Android 2.2 Froyo is still not really worth it in terms of using it as a daily driver.  2.1 AutoNootered works just brilliantly.

I've also been able to flash with a custom kernal and boost the performance from 800mhz to 950mhz while saving 15% battery life.  How awesome is that?

Filed under: Life, Modding, Technology 1 Comment

Nook Color

Posted by Dennis

After a lot of consideration I picked up a Nook Color this weekend.  I had it rooted roughly 30 minutes after actually using it for the first time, and 20 of that was to check out the stock OS on the device.

A stock Nook Color is funcitonal if you want it to read books and browse the web (except for Flash).  It's oddly disjointed in usage.  For example Pinch Zoom, the much beloved functionality doesn't work for Books or the Browser but it does work for pictures.  WTH?  It's like the Book, Browser, Pictures, Magazines app writers weren't quite on board with what should be available or what the other guys were doing.   As another example, to read a book in ereader format you touch the sides of the screen to page forward and back.  With a .pdf you drag upwards and downwards.  WTH? again.

For the money a stock Nook Color is worthwhile, if you have the money without impacting important things in life.  It serves okay as a book reader (the e-ink of the Nook and Kindle are better for this in general, things like reading outside, battery life, eye strain).  The inclusion of very functional (except for Flash of course) web browsing, a magazine reader make it 'just' worth the price of admission.

It's only when you Root or take control of the device and put a fully functional copy of Android on it that it really really starts to shine.

Using AutoNooter to root the device is painfully simple.  Your risk of 'bricking' the device is very low and you can restore it to default stock by the simple process of powering it off during the boot process 8 times in a row, this makes the nook think it's broken and it'll restore itself to factory fresh leaving no sign it was ever rooted.

There's also a way to run Android Froyo off a SD memory card and thus you can go stock by simply taking the card out or go 'pro' by putting the card in.  This makes it almost impossible to break the Nook by rooting it.  You'd literally have to drop it on the floor and physically crack it wide open while putting in the SD card for this to go wrong.

So anyway, I got it rooted, this took roughly 60 seconds start to finish, I first tried Froyo on the SD card but it was a laggy, I was on a slow speed SD and I didn't know about having to power of the screen after a reboot to make it not laggy.  I've got a quality Class 10 SD ordered and will revisit that process then.

After rooting using AutoNooter which puts on the Google apps including the oh so important Marketplace I went and installed a better browser Dolphin HD, Angry Birds (why I'm not sure myself), pdf readers, .lit readers, cbr readers, .epub readers, .rtf readers,  I have 1000's of books in various formats and the Nook directly only reads a few of those.  Now I can read all the Walking Dead comics I have in .cbr format without having to manually convert them to pdf's.

I added 'cool' launchers with themes and graphic skins, widgets to forecast the weather for me, winamp to play my music, video players, video streaming players, file server access apps, gmail, google chat, exchange mail, the list goes on.  All freely available, legally, through the Android Marketplace.

I've got it stuffed with game manuals and books so I can refer to them anywhere without having physical copies handy, apps and utilities to make my life easier and in general make it what I really wish my iphone was.  With a 7" screen.  There are 'atmospheric' apps I could use for a little background noise or just use Winamp or Pandora or something else to have a little setting music going on.

Essentially using free, legal software I've turned this little e-reader into a fully functional tablet computer that makes it crazy attractive for the cost.

So I give it 5 thumbs up, assuming I had 5 arms, if you go the extra step and root it.  3 thumbs up stock standard.


Site Refacing

Posted by Dennis

As you can see if you've ever been here before, I've shifted the site theme a bit.  I felt it was time for aun update, I've been using the previous theme for maybe 3 years but the fact of the matter is I simply liked it and don't like most other themes and am way too lazy to design my own.

Functionality hasn't changed any, just the look.


Jailbroken Iphone 3GS TV Out Issue

Posted by Dennis

Just wanted to post this as it took me a bit to find.  If you happen to have a Jailbroken Iphone 3GS (other models may also be affected but it seems to be the 3GS) and its only 3.1.2 or higher or you used limerain or greenpoison (I forget the l33t spelling for those and too lazy to look it up) and JB a 4.x then you've probably broken your TV Out function.

I found this out because I use Air Player to stream videos from my media server while I use my treadmill but as the iphone screen is, let's face it, pretty damn small for video watching especially while running, I picked up a TV to mount in front of the treadmill.  Then found out I couldn't get any video out of the phone. Research lead me down a lot of avenues "3gs not supported, a big lot of bad cables out of china, bad settings, broken updates" before I finally found some valid information.

The root cause appears to be something the Cydia app does called 'stashing' where it moves some files out of the private data area.   Obviously this only affects Jailbroken phones.  If you have a problem and you don't have a jailbroken phone and you're using the overpriced Apple able then you have a different problem.   I should mention also that with iOS 3.1.2 Apple changed the firmware to require an Apple cable only to get working TV Out, there's a chip in the cable that the phone can check.  No chip, no TV output.  When third party cables can be had for 1/5th price, it seems like another typical Apple policy.

The symptons is you get sound out from your iphone AV out (composite and component) cable but the video is blank.  It outputs a video signal but it's blank.

The Resupported4 app available through cydia MAY fix it.  For me it just caused every app that normally does TV out, Photo's iPod to lock the phone requireing a hard reset.  YMMV of course but as it's a pay to play app, I'd avoid it.   I mention it here only because some people said it worked.

What did work perfectly is TVOut2.  This is a free app available through Cydia and not only fixes the TV Out function or replaces it or whatever (it just works which is all I care about) but it can be used to output everything through the TV Out cable which for some unknown but undoubtedly stupid reason Apple doesn't want you doing.

Anyway there you go.


Discerning Visitors

Posted by Dennis

Firefox may not be winning the war for the world but I'm happy to see that it's winning the war among my visitors, at least among those that were able to be deciphered.  From a security standpoint it's mo' betta'.  And if you want even more security IMO you'll switch to Google Chrome.  There's just something about a browser that if one tab dies it doesn't take all the other tabs down with it and if a plugin dies on the tab it doesn't take the tab down with it that I have to like.

My visitor stats for the last couple of months -

April 1 2010 - May 31 2010
Basis:  88795 results from 167829 unique visits of which 79034 unknown/could not be evaluated.

1 Mozilla 30843 34.74%
2 Internet Explorer 25371 28.57%
3 Google Robot 9815 11.05%
4 Safari 7998 9.01%
5 Yahoo Robot 7314 8.24%
6 MSN Robot 4104 4.62%
7 Opera 1814 2.04%
8 Netscape 869 0.98%
9 Ask Jeeves Robot 314 0.35%
10 Alexa Robot 155 0.17%
11 Java 142 0.16%
12 WAP Mobile 36 0.04%
13 Camino 9 0.01%
14 Wget 6 0.01%
15 Konqueror 4 0.00%
16 HTTrack 1 0.00%


Site Code Upgrade

Posted by Dennis

I upgraded to WordPress 2.9.2 this morning or tried to, so if you see any issues with things not working please drop me a note.

It's not easy to upgrade to 2.9.2 on  They're using MySQL 4.0.x and 2.9.2 requires 4.1.2 and better.  But they do give you access to MySQL 5.0.x you just have to migrate your existing database over to it. Manually.

I was able to find some notes on workarounds but they didn't work as well for me due to the size of my database.  I ended up having to create the new database in chunks, not difficult since I'm pretty familiar with SQL (certified by Microsoft even) but annoying.  But eventually I got it all working.  I think.

On the plus side I was able to do a lot of database cleanup, dropping old unused tables and optimizing existing ones so the new database is much cleaner and in theory should be a little faster.  Although it's on different hardware so it's a crapshoot.

I also took the downtime to update the 'captcha' mechanism which seems to generate less obscure, aka hard to get right, human verification checks.  But with 100's to 1000's of script based spam, primarily porn and grey market drugs, in comments a day I'm just not able to have an open comments (non admin approved before it posts) section or an easy to bypass mechanism.

Filed under: Gaming, Technology No Comments

Hackintosh Trials

Posted by Dennis

OSx86Just wanted to pass along some information I gleaned while trying to build a hackintosh with a Dell C521 with an NVidia card.  It took a long time and a lot of rebuilds to get a fully functional device and most of it was trial and error so I thought I'd share.

I ended up trying EVERY distro of 0sx86 out there before I found the right combination of things to get a 10.5.8 working edition.

To sum up - I started with iDeneb 10.5.5 as the base.  This was the ONLY build higher then 10.4 that would even install.  All the rest of them give me the gd "Still waiting for root device" error that's so prevelent.  I tried using external DVD, external HD, etc. to get around this error but to no avail. The Dell BIOS prevents me from changing the drive compatibility settings and the hardware doesn't have an IDE connector which prevented me from trying those options.

So I installed with 10.5.5 using the following patches - AMD Fix,  9.0.2 Speedstep, AppleAzalia sound, the ATA Test (the one that's labled use this if your SATA drive doesn't work), the AppleBMC440 network driver.  This gives me a working 10.5.5 system.

Next up was trying to get a 10.5.7 or 10.5.8 system.  This failed miserably with every distro, iDeneb, Kalyway, XxX, iATKOS, 10.5.6, 10.5.7, 10.5.8 they all failed to even start the install because of the Still waiting for root device.

So tried to upgrade in place.  Again, failure.

Finally I did manage to get it working and this is how -

Get a 10.5.5 install working (as described above).

Start osx86tools and backup the extensions, don't close it!

Run the iDeneb 10.5.8 combo update.  don't restart!

Restore the extensions you just updated.

Now restart.

This worked for me, fully working video, lan, DVD, sound.

I installed the iPhone SDK without any problem and was able to make a quick app and run it in the iphone emulator.

It restarts and shutsdown without hanging as well.

It won't though recognize USB memory sticks without a reboot.  Not a huge deal for me so I'm not going to bother with it right now.

The only thing I haven't as of yet gotten working at all is a Zyxel G-202 usb wireless that I have laying around.  But this is a problematical for everyone from what I hear.

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Blog Technical Stuff

Posted by Dennis

Random ImageI've implemented a Widget Cacher to the site here, that along with WP-Cache significantly reduced the page creation size.  It's typically sub 1 second to create the page now and there's only around 20'ish SQL queries per page hit which is pretty good.

What does this mean?  Nothing much, it's a geek thing but for the end users (you and your brethren) this means the page will load faster.  Of course you still have to pull in all the images which if this is your first time here can be costly.  1&1, my host, recently screwed up something and now my thumbnail generation doesn't work so all the images for the last few posts are resized full size images rather than actual thumbs.  This isn't the first time they've screwed this up.  We'll see how long they take to fix it...

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WordPress Image Fix

Posted by Dennis

If you're using Word Press and are having problems with HTTP or Internal Server Error 500 errors when you upload an image then try putting the below in your .htaccess file in the root of your WordPress install folder.

AddType x-mapp-php5 .php
AddHandler x-mapp-php5 .php

This forces your server to use php 5 rather than defaulting to php 4 when it does the image upload/resize/thumbnail create.