Archive for April, 2008

Pharmacists 5

Tonight I installed dnsmasq as a caching DNS forwarder on our home network (under a VM, no less). Additionally, I changed our primary DNS servers to those hosted by OpenDNS. To double-check that things were working, I figured I’d whip up a quick script to make a bunch of DNS requests and give an average time. First round, I faced the OpenDNS server against Cox’s own. I’d never really benchmarked the Cox DNS servers, so this was quite enlightening:

andrew@ubuntu-server-vm:~$ php ./dns_bench.php
Average response time: 27.53
andrew@ubuntu-server-vm:~$ php ./dns_bench.php
Average response time: 158.58

This only serves to strengthen my belief that all cable ISPs are run by pharmacists.

To satisfy morbid curiosity, here are the results against the local dnsmasq daemon:

andrew@ubuntu-server-vm:~$ php ./dns_bench.php
Average response time: 0.21

That’s only about, oh, a 755x improvement. Hopefully that’ll sufficiently speed things up.

Even in Vegas… 2

flower, originally uploaded by imarealgeek.

…we get springtime. I was supposed to be on the lookout for shots for the latest Slacker topic (a weekly photo group started by some friends at work), but had to do some research first on how well the E410 would deal with the reverse-lens macro trick, since my current photo idea requires it.

Unfortunately, this was a bit of a backfire, as I was trying to convince Mindy that we should head out to watch the sunset. Upon seeing this she commented, “See, you don’t even need to leave your own backyard!”

Well, there’s always tomorrow’s sunrise.

Outside the Box 3

Not long ago, Canon announced the newest offering in their Digital Rebel lineup, the Rebel XSi. Despite both being aimed at the consumer market, it’s predecessor, the Rebel XTi, has been extremely popular with the so-called “prosumers”, as it’s inherited much of its technology from Canon’s upper echelon of cameras without inheriting their prices.

Consequently, I was disappointed to discover that the XSi had forsaken CompactFlash — currently the de facto standard in all serious DSLRs — for the smaller (both in physical dimension and capacity), slower SD cards. Is there some hidden advantage to SD that Canon is privy to (did they really need the marginal amount of extra space to pack in LiveView?), or is Canon perhaps trying to steer the prosumer market towards their double-digit D line? Or maybe it’s a bid to lure the consumers already using SD cards in their point & shoot digitals into a camera with a heftier price tag.

Either way, I find it unfortunate — looks like the Rebel party may have ended for the prosumer.

How… 1

How do people get talking slots at conferences with a subject “to be determined”? When I submitted my talk, I had to fill out an entire assortion of bios, contact info, and an abstract. What does their abstract say?

I am a l337 PHP h4x0r. Let me talk.

Who wouldn’t give him an hour?

Perhaps I’m just frustrated because it took me like 4 tries to finally get a talk accepted. I’m sure — like just about everything else in the world of business — it’s all politics.

MoGo the Renegades 0

Interestingly, MoGo‘s online commercial shows their Bluetooth mouse being used on an airplane… Isn’t that illegal or something?

Dunes of Death Valley 1

Dunes 4, originally uploaded by imarealgeek.

I said I’d go back to Rhyolite, and go back I did. This time we grabbed a hotel room in Beatty, NV, about 20 miles outside of the park (and just a few from Rhyolite). I hit Rhyolite for the sunrise (disappointing at best, due to the mountains surrounding the ghost town), and then headed out to the dunes. Afterwards, we made our way Southward through the park before heading home. Sometimes I really love living in the Southwest.

My Laptop Has a Death Wish 1

‘I think my laptop is trying to commit suicide. This is the one — you might remember — that just emerged from a two month coma. We’d all started to lose hope, but it somehow managed to pull through.

Today, however, has been a bit like Final Destination. First, I accidentally left it in a closed car and partially in direct sunlight. Later, while trying to swap it’s memory stick, I accidentally spilled my coffee onto the couch it was lying on. Luckily, it was upside down. That night, Jonathan was walking by the coffee table I’d left it on, and tripped over the cord, pulling it crashing onto the floor. Good thing it was built with a hinge that would allow the screen to open 180 degrees, ’cause that’s how it was sprawled on the tile when I found it.

I guess I’d better enjoy this while I’ve got it; who knows how long it will last.

Represent! 5

I just learned that I’ll be presenting at the 2008 installment of the DC PHP Conference (in Washington DC, oddly enough). I’m excited about the prospect.

The Luxor 2

The Luxor, originally uploaded by imarealgeek.

I had a heck of a time deciding between the mountains and the strip for this morning, but the actual sunrise was a bit of a bust due to some low clouds (go me for lamenting that I’d pay for some weather), so I don’t think I missed anything. Here I tried my hand at a bit of exposure blending to avoid losing the face of the obelisk in complete shadow due to the bright clouds behind it.

Back from the dead! 1

A bit over a month ago, my trusty old 12″ laptop went dead. Just out of the blue. I think I’d booted up the Ubuntu live CD, then I shut down, and then the laptop did nothing. If I plugged the power cord in, I’d get a charging light, but pressing the power button resulted in absolutely zilch.

Scouting around Google, this appeared to be a semi-common problem with my specific model, and the best guess was that it was somehow related to some ACPI bug in the BIOS that resulted in some weird state in the CMOS (enough acronyms for you?). Some people reported success after holding the power button down. No luck here.

The only other options were:

  1. Cutting the CMOS battery off the motherboard
  2. Leaving the main battery out until the CMOS battery died

Not wanting to harm my laptop, I opted for the latter. And so my laptop sat. Every few days, I’d pop the battery in and give the power button a go, but it was the always the same disappointing void. I began to seriously doubt that the laptop would ever recover.

Until tonight. I popped the battery in like normal and hit the button. And there was a little blue light.

How you say… w00t.

So here’s some hope for you Averatec 2370 owners with inexplicably dead machines on your hands: give them a rest without their batteries. It just might change your world.

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