TWiT gets it wrong – monitors

April 17th, 2009
Dell 2408WFP
The Dell 2408WFP

I couldn’t believe my ears on the recent
This Week in Tech
podcast when Leo and the gang trumpeted Apple’s monitor lineup.
There was much grousing about the quality of other LCD monitors.

Almost everyone i know has a Dell monitor because they are excellent quality and much less expensive.
Now they aren’t cheap — you get what you pay for in that respect — but they are loads less expensive than Apple’s.
We’re talking ones like
the Dell 2408WFP,
which costs $700 — hmm, it’s on sale for $600 at the moment.

On TWiT they talked about other monitors that cost $200-$300. Well duh!
If you buy cheap monitors you get what you pay for.
The only story there is that Apple doesn’t sell cheap monitors.
But if you compare apples to apples, as it were, you would see that the story changes.
Nobody in their right mind would buy an overpriced, underpowered Apple monitor, plain and simple.

Wow, this is almost an ad for the Dell monitor.
But hey, Iain, Jeff, John and I all have them.
So that’s a pretty resounding endorsement.

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mininova introduces “user icons” to help prevent spam

April 14th, 2009

Today’s mininova results have a new graphical element in them:

mininova screenshot
mininova screenshot showing new user icons (click for larger image)

These icons allow users to quickly discern when a torrent that claims to be from a well-known group (e.g. eztv) is not actually from that group.
These “spam torrents” can appear when new shows come out or are anticipated to come out, and clog up the internet with useless data, wasting both ISP bandwidth and everyone’s time.


Mac: use a Windows ATi Radeon 4870 in your Mac Pro

March 16th, 2009

The price for Windows 4870 cards is substantially lower than Apple’s.
The Canada Apple Store currently
lists one for $420,
whereas
Canada Computers has one for $210.
In
this MacRumors forum thread
people are discussing how to do this and what the pitfalls are.

Basically, download and flash the ROM from
RapidShare.

One person said:

I just tried it on my Sapphire HD4870 (the 1st gen one, based on
ATI’s ref design).

I flashed using freedos and the following command line:
atiflash.exe -p -fs -fp 0 4870.rom
note: -fs and -fp are used to ignore SSID and P/N mismatches

And it works!

EFI driver is initialized correctly, (I don’t have the leaked MacOSX
drivers for this card, so I can’t tell if this one works too), and
bootcamp stil works (currently writing from GNU/Linux on my 2006 Mac
Pro).

Only problem is : only one output is active, no dual-head, it seems
(at least using ATI’s linux driver)

I should note that doing this seems to make the analog output (SVGA) not work. DVI is fine, though one person reported the “top” port as only going up to 1024×768.

Be careful out there. Read the thread for info on which cards work, and what possible side effects there are.

YMMV.

Reid


hard drive prices

March 13th, 2009

Bought a new hard drive today; a 1½ terabyte drive for $160.
Thats only 10?¢ per gigabyte!

Scott showed me
a site
that says the first hard drive was $10,000 per megabyte!
So over 50 years, the price of hard drive storage has dropped by a factor of a BILLION.

At this rate, by the year 2059, the lowest cost of storage should drop from the current cost of $100,000,000 per exabyte to 10¢.


podcast

March 12th, 2009

I’d like to record a podcast with one or more other interested individuals, using some sort of software that allows both a multi-party voice chat, *and* records each person’s audio locally in a high-qality format suitable for remixing in post.

I think I remember such software being mentioned somewhere, but I’m not sure where.

Any volunteers? … Bueller?


Mac OS X command-line of the day

March 6th, 2009

sudo xattr -d com.apple.quarantine *

This removes the “This file was downloaded, are you sure…” warning when dealing with downloaded files.

There are attributes other than com.apple.quarantine, such as:

  • com.apple.ResourceFork
  • com.apple.FinderInfo
  • com.apple.diskimages.recentcksum
  • com.apple.metadata:kMDItemWhereFroms
  • com.macromates.caret

I like that last one.
I guess it’s how TextMate
remembers its position in a text file.

If you want to see what extended attributes your files have, you can either use “xattr -l filename” or just “ls -l@“.


Git – it’s just that simple

February 9th, 2009

sudo port install git-core +doc +gitweb +svn +bash_completion

The above is my command-line command of the day.
I’ve been doing some research over the weekend, reading up on all the current source control systems
(for which, by the way, there is no consistent acronym. The closest I can find now is DVCS – Distributed Version Control System)
and have come to the conclusion that:

  1. The developer behind Shoes is one intensively creative fucker
  2. Git is as good as it gets

The kicker came when I found the script git-p4, which allows me to use Perforce at work in conjunction with all of git’s way-cool features!

What are these features you ask? Well, if you’ve ever heard of SVK, you will love git. Because git does what SVK does natively. And SVK is known to be like a castle on shifting sand in terms of stability. Git is rock-solid.

For the uninitiated (which would be most of you), SVK lets you check out code from a Subversion (svn) repository, and then do local-only checkins and checkouts. Then once you are happy with your changes (perhaps after 20 revisions, all tracked locally by SVK), you can “push” your changes to the main svn repo.

In the same way, git lets you “pull” changes from a central repo, do many modifcations, checking them in to git each time, and do a final “push” back to the central repo. Indeed, the concepts of “central” and “non-central” repos is not embedded into git. The central repo is only central by convention. All repos are equally “central”.


Rogers 3G Internet USB Dongle

November 24th, 2008

My Mom lives on Wolfe Island.
She has no access to DSL (her phone lines are low quality) or cable.
Until recently, we had been considering getting her Rogers’ WiMax solution, which would have given her ~2Mbps for about $50/month.

When we called to order it over the weekend, however, the sales agent told us about the USB thingee internet solution.
I’d seen ads, and assumed it was simply WiMax on a USB dongle, which would be inappropriate for my Mom, since the inside-antenna WiMax solution wouldn’t work for her (poor signal).
We were going to go for the higher-startup-cost, outdoor antenna solution.

But no, as it turns out this USB thingee uses the 3G network for internet.
This is good news since I noticed that my iPhone was getting 5 bars at my Mom’s place.

It turns out the USB dongle has a SIM card in it.
Interesting!
So if I one could get their hands on a USB dongle, it might be possible to move an iPhone SIM into it and plug it in to the USB port on a laptop for unfettered internet with a 6 GB/month cap!

Update: apparently Rogers is calling it the Rocket.


New WD Passport Drive .. with **FireWire 800**

November 11th, 2008
WD Passport Studio
WD Passport Studio

Woo, there’s a new WD Passport drive (the drives we use at gaming on Friday nights), and not only is this one bigger (500 GB), but it also sports a FireWire 800 port.
It’s called the
Passport Studio.


WDTV
WD Media Player

Also new from Western Digital is
an HD Media Player.
[buy.com link]

Alas, Costco Canada
doesn’t seem to have
any of this new WD stuff yet.


Mac OS X command-line gotcha: path_helper

November 4th, 2008

Ran into an issue where my terminals were coming up **really** slowly.
It ended up being a line in the script /usr/libexec/path_helper.

It turns out Apple has set up a whole process for modifying users’ PATHs by adding text files in /etc/paths.d, which is really a good idea, since install/uninstall scripts can just add/remove text files instead of mucking around with users’ login scripts.
For some reason it was taking about 30 seconds to execute this line of bash:


[[ /Users/t_ellir/bin/Darwin:/Users/t_ellir/bin/Darwin-i386:/Users/t_ellir/bin/noarch:/Users/t_ellir/bin/osx-rae:/opt/local/bin:/opt/local/sbin:/bin:/sbin:/usr/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/X11R6/bin:/usr/lib:/Developer/Tools:/usr/X11/bin:/Applications/ccollab_client:/Users/t_ellir/mudbox/dev/bin/macos:/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/Current/bin:/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.4/bin:/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/Current/bin:/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.4/bin = *(*:)/usr/local/bin*(:*) ]]

But it had no problem zipping through other directories, e.g.:


[[ /Users/t_ellir/bin/Darwin:/Users/t_ellir/bin/Darwin-i386:/Users/t_ellir/bin/noarch:/Users/t_ellir/bin/osx-rae:/opt/local/bin:/opt/local/sbin:/bin:/sbin:/usr/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/X11R6/bin:/usr/lib:/Developer/Tools:/usr/X11/bin:/Applications/ccollab_client:/Users/t_ellir/mudbox/dev/bin/macos:/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/Current/bin:/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.4/bin:/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/Current/bin:/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.4/bin = *(*:)/usr/sbin*(:*) ]]

so it has something specifically to do with it being /usr/local/bin.
I didn’t have that directory so I created it, but that didn’t help.
I finally kludged around it by removing the directory and then patching the script to test for the existence of the directory before trying the test:

--- path_helper 2008-11-04 11:54:18.000000000 -0500
+++ /usr/libexec/path_helper    2008-11-04 11:54:47.000000000 -0500
@@ -15,6 +15,7 @@
        for f in "$DIR" "$DIR".d/* ; do
          if [ -f "$f" ]; then
                for p in $(< "$f") ; do
+                       [ ! -d "${p}" ] && continue
                        [[ "$NEWPATH" = *(*:)${p}*(:*) ]] && continue
                        [ ! -z "$NEWPATH" ] && SEP=":"
                        NEWPATH="${NEWPATH}${SEP}${p}"

Props to
kilala.nl
for having a blog post about this.