SF Kitesurfing Race in SF

August 8th, 2009

More Windows Annoyances Fixed

August 7th, 2009

So every night around midnight, my hard drive goes nuts and my computer slows for a few hours. I then start killing processess in the hopes of tracking it down, but I’ve been uncessfull till tonight. Tonight, I found two new tools to help debug said issues. The first is a monitoring tool that lets you see what your computer’s hard drive is doing. Check this out for information on how to use it.

My problem turned out to be something called system restore that goes through your entire harddrive looking for changed files to make copies of. I think it’s an attempt to replicate some of apple’s time machine technology. Anyhow, I’ve never used it, and it’s been pissing me off every night that I’m on my PC. I then found this post which describes how to modify the task (as well as see what other scheduled tasks you have on your system). By default it runs at Midnight and 30 minutes after you turn on your computer. Lame. I removed the entry for it to run after bootup and changed the daily run to 5AM. I figure that when it starts running, it should be a sign that I should go to bed. The more I learn about windows (vista) the more I want to go to redmond with a big blade and start stabbing developers.


Software , , , ,

Bureaucratic Excesses

August 4th, 2009

I recently ordered 3 cups from a company. They were packaged well, but one of them still broke. I called UPS and they said they were going to send out an inspector to look at the $6 broken cup to file a report. I wonder how much money it costs UPS to send somone out to do an inspection? I can’t imagine it being less than $6.

I also contacted the company I bought it from, and they said that they were going to ship me a replacement. I’m not sure if their reply was a joke, or if they were taking the broken glass situation a bit too seriously — but I just received the package..


Yes, all that packaging for just a single cup. *sigh*

Personal , , ,

Twitter Updates for 2009-08-02

August 2nd, 2009
  • Checking out the new Postbox email application – now supports add-ons like Lightning for calendaring. http://postbox-inc.com #


Replace outlook with better free alternatives, and get it work with over-the-air iPhone synchronization.

July 28th, 2009

[UPDATE: synching contacts, also note that these instructions work with several mobile phones, including Blackberry]

I’ve just designed out outlook from my daily operations and I’m quite excited. I used it as a calendar and to synchronize information with my iPhone. However, I’ve found various technologies which not only replace outlook, but are also better! There are a couple components to this system:

1. I never liked (or used) outlook as a mail client, and given the integration of outlook with the rest of windows, it’s been a pain. I’ve been using thunderbird for years till I found out about postbox. If you like bells and whistles, then it’s for you. It does everything, including downloading images from facebook so you can see the image of the person who sent you the mail. Or you can search your inbox for an attached image only. Play with it, I think it’s great. On the backend, I use an IMAP sever – most all the free web-based email services support this, but I’m using a server on a friend’s box.

2. Go here and add lightning for postbox. It’s a pretty imprssive calenar application that integrates into postbox

3. Configure your calendar to synchronize with google (this assumes you have an account with google, if not, then go set one up). Here the instructions online are misleading. What you want to do go to the calendar view, and on the left under the month calendar is a list of your personal calendars. Right click, and add a networked calendar, then follow the rest of the instructions here.

4.Follow the insturctions here to configure your iPhone to synchronize with google. Make sure you have push turned on.

4.5 Install Zindus and follow instructions to setup synchronization between you gmail contact list and postbox. Follow instructions as if you were using Thunderbird.

5.[Optional] If you must still use outlook calendars as well for some reason, then you can add this applicaiton to synchrnoize gmail and outlook calendars.

If you followed these instructions, then your iPhone’s contacts and calendar will synchronize with google. And your calendar application also synchrnoizes with google. Both these happen bidirectionally, so you can edit your calendar at any location and all calendars will automatically be synchrnoized.Contacts are synchrnoized between the iphone and google, but not anywhere else. I’ll try to figure out a way to get that working as well. The same applies to your contacts in postbox, google, and your phone.

Random , , , , ,

Vista limits networking bandwidth in order to be more lame

July 27th, 2009

I upgraded my network connection to Gigabit Ethernet and ran some tests which revealed that I had NO speed increase going from 100-mbit ethernet to 1000-mbit ethernet – both came in at 8MB/s. My tests involved timing the download of a large file from a linux server sitting next to the switch. I plugged in my Mac laptop, and the file flew across at 50MB/s. I asked one of my networking friends, and he pointed me to this article. It turns out that Vista purposely caps network traffic because there is a chance that the network traffic might make your audio playback skip if you have a really slow computer. I thought it was too stupid to be the culprit, but I tried it out. Sure enough…


Red – before registry tweaks to turn off audio throttlling service

Green – After following instructions in the link

Yellow – Theoretical Maximum

Personal, Software , , ,

gmail is evil – sends mouse movements back to mothership

July 24th, 2009

I was playing around with the Tamper Data plugin for firefox which lets you monitor traffic while loading webpages. I was playing around on gmail and quickly noticed somthing which I thought was a bit disturbing. It seems that gmail monitors where your mouse is and if the gmail window is in focus or not — and constantly is sending state changes back to google. I suppose that by using google, you agree to some level of monitoring for targeted advertising — but monitoring where I mover the mouse and how often I have gmail in the foreground seems a bit totally creapy. All a bit too big brother if you ask me.




Personal , ,

Vista Annoyance: Beep Service!

July 14th, 2009

So I’m having applications of mine beep at random times. Actually, they are both compilers for embedded systems. When I click on a file in IAR and using AVR Studio the computer beeps. It’s really annoying, and it seems to have started on its own as the applications didn’t do that in the past. Well, it seems as if this is a feature. Windows includes a BEEP SERVICE! *grumble* You can find it under the system devices menu if you select view->show all. I turned disabled it and I think that fixed my problem. Whoever came up with that idea needs to be shot till he/she is dead.

UPDATE: this in fact has not solved the beeping problem I experience from using IAR Embedded Workbench. But I am still disabling the beep server.

Electronics , , ,

Video from the BSN2009 talk is online

July 6th, 2009

Seems that the talk I gave at the BSN2009 converence is now online. After watching the video, I think I need to spend more time in the gym. The video is in some windows streaming format, but I’m trying to get a more sane version if it post. For the time being, this link should work..


Electronics, HealthMonitor , , ,

Starting Electrolysis

July 5th, 2009

Setup in action; Old power supply maxed out (~1A @ 6V), bubbles forming and crud appearing…