Of all the strange things

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Here is a site that predicts the date you’re going to die.  Of course, it assumes you don’t get hit by a car, sucked up by a tornado, swallowed in the ground by an earthquake, seized by an incurable genetic disease, or any of the other myriad of things that could separate you from your soul.  After all, our ending was written before the beginning.

Still, The Death Clock, as it is aptly named, is an amusing distraction, and they provide nice health tips to help you take better care of your decaying body.

Independent News

posted in: Technology, Uncategorized | 2

Tired of the same US government spoonfed “news” from Fox News, CNN, Newsweek, and most other mainstream media?
Amy Goodman of Democracy Now
Here is my personal list of independent news sources:

Democracy Now
Black Agenda Report
The Nation
Common Dreams

These are, I’m sure, just a few of the great ones out there. Feel free to comment and add to the list. I try to avoid pro-Democrat news sources just as much as the pro-Republican ones. I just want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

“The Planet” is holding my domain hostage

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My domain name, lanterntorch.org, was originally registered under the now defunct EV1.net.  They merged with The Planet.  I carelessly allowed my domain to expire, but with any other registrar, fixing such a mistake is simple.  Registrars hold onto a domain for quite some time after it has expired, giving the owner time to re-register.  That prevents domain-snatching companies from slurping up the mistakenly expired domains.

The Planet still has the domain listed under my name, but when I try to login to their registration site, it takes me to a search page.  I contacted them for help, and the support supervisor, Aamir Abdullah (it’s really a shame if he’s Muslim), said (and I quote), “the fact that you were redirected disturbs me.”

Yeah, buddy, I’d say so.  But here’s what disturbs me: He went on to say, “Would you like to renew? The cost is $106.49.”

What the flip!  It seems The Planet has found a new way to make money.  They’re running their own little extortion ring.  Yes, that is disturbing, brother Aamir.  This is the company that owns my server, so they might very well shut it down tonight.  Nevertheless, I did my part.  I sent the world fair warning to stay away from a company trying to make some extra change exploiting people.

Easy Printer Networking with KDE

posted in: Free Software, Technology | 1

For the longest time, I’ve always had to go through many steps to setup network printing (both in my Windows and my early Linux days). Sharing standard usb printers across a network mixed with Linux and Mac machines can be a pain in the samba.

Fortunately, KDE has an easy two-step solution that should work for any machines that can pickup CUPS shared network printers. This should only be used on a network where you don’t mind ANYONE on that network printing to your printer.

Open KDE Control Center (kcontrol).

Click Administration mode and enter your root password

Click “Printer Server”

Check “Access printers on the local network” and “Share printers on the local network.”

Close Control Center.

On the other computers in your house or office, any printers attached to the first computer should automatically see your printers and allow you to print to them. If, for some reason, they do not, simply open kcontrol and make sure “Access printers on the local network” is checked.

For Macs, you might need to search for the printer and add it.

For MS Windows, as far as I know, you will probably need samba running in order to see the networked printers, but perhaps someone who actually has Windows can either confirm or deny this for me.

That’s all there is to it. Easy printer networking!

We’re one step closer to KDE4

posted in: Free Software, Technology | 0

KDE logo with Konqi, official mascotKDE 4.0-alpha2 features considerable enhancements of Plasma, the KDE 4 desktop shell.

July 4, 2007 (The INTERNET). The KDE Community is happy to announce the immediate availability of the second alpha release of the K Desktop Environment. This release comes straight out of Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland where aKademy is currently taking place. Hundreds of KDE hackers are working like crazy to hunt down bugs, complete features for KDE 4.0 and sit together developing and finishing new and exciting applications for the new major version of the leading Free Desktop.

You can download/watch aKademy videos here.

Full story

Video Podcasts

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Attack of the showAs some of you already know, I don’t watch television, but I do watch an occasional (albeit brief) video podcast.

We also have an HTPC, so content is streamed to our living room (i.e. not at my desk on the computer) Here are a few of the ones that my wife and I watch regularly:

I know it sounds like a lot, but all of this combined is probably less than an hour of viewing per week. It beats sitting through hours of TV for a tidbit of content and a ton of commercials. This is a great way to get video news about things I like.

Since I don’t usually watch the podcasts on my computer, I just use Akregator to check them, along with all of the alternative news sites (I don’t read any mainstream press) and blogs that I read daily.

No iPhone for Me

posted in: Technology, Uncategorized | 1

Anti-iPhoneBefore anyone asks, no I did not get an iPhone, nor do I plan to. The telephone, since its inception, is the most intrusive device in existence. If I want to talk to you, I’ll contact you myself. Even email is not as intrusive. I can answer my email whenever I want. With a phone, people expect to be able to contact you wherever you are, whenever they want.

I do have a mobile phone…a cheap one, just so my wife can contact me wherever I am, whenever she wants. That is her right, not yours.

As for the other features on the iPhone, well, my computer can do more on a bigger screen. And of course, the software on my computer is free and open source.

Now, just for the heck of it, I hereby initiate the anti-iPhone movement.

Everywhere I go, I see the same

posted in: Technology | 0

…model. As a web developer, I’ve noticed that, although many web sites appear to have happy customers brilliantly displayed on their sites using their products, most of those “customers” are actually stock photo images from sites that sell such photos.

Most of these photos are attractive, happy women holding laptops or other electronic devices. I only wonder, when a web developer may only pay $5 for a hires photo of a model to use as part an advertisement for a site that could make thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, how much did the model make?

In the case of the cover on my book, the woman selling the photo was the woman in the photo. Perhaps that is the wisest course of action.

Back to Freevo

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OK, so I spoke too soon. MythTV just didn’t work well for us. It ran too slowly on our admittedly old HTPC system (old hardware in a new case). Also, the slowness just made it unbearable to configure. With Freevo, there is not really a graphical setup. You have to edit a python configuration file, but it’s just one file. With MythTV, there was an endless number of menus to slowly navigate through, test, fail, re-navigate, and continue that until things worked. Tedious! To top it all off, it never played DVDs smoothly, while they play fine with Freevo on the same box. I think Myth just hogged too much RAM.

I might have been willing to work with MythTV to get the problems ironed out, but my wife wasn’t trying to hear it. So, before the day was over yesterday, Freevo had returned.

There are also new Freevo packages for Ubuntu Feisty, and everything is working much better. Once there is actually a distribution of Freevo (which will be coming in the form of the new Geexbox), I think it will be marketable to the general public.