Archive for the 'Tech' Category

Oct 28 2008

FYI: Free Codeweavers

Published by under Tech

Being a Linux user (and also a Mac user, BTW), I have a few likeminded people that read my blog. Hopefully they will find this interesting or maybe I’m just increasing my post count cheaply.

Either way, I think a free version of codeweavers is significant and postworthy. And it’s my blog so :P

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Aug 05 2008

Delicious

Published by under Tech

I posted once before about social bookmarking and now is just as good a time as any to revisit it. The site I use, del.icio.us, has recently just jumped their user interface ahead about a dozen years with a new design. Along with that, they implemented a bunch of other updates that aren’t as obvious as their visual updates which they outline in their blog post.

Seriously, if you don’t use social bookmarking, you should really consider it and no better time than now. I like a lot of the changes they have made and other than the easier to navigate interface, the overall speed of the site is really noticeable. You used to really be able to tell when the servers were being taxed before, but it feels quick and smooth now. It’s good that they finally fixed the site to be up to par with their functionality. Kudos to yahoo for fixing an already great service.

If you want to know what I’m tagging, you can find me here.

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Jul 02 2008

Re: I Wanna Rock

Published by under Personal,Tech

I talked before about looking for an mp3/media player that fit my needs. Well, after a great deal of waffling over solutions since I couldn’t find thee perfect solution, it broke down like this. The only device that met my wants (play mp3, aac, ogg and have support for linux) was a cowon video player that happened to support a great deal of file formats. But, as it was intended as more of a video solution, it was larger than I need both in terms of memory (like 30 GB) and physically to support it’s ginormous (for a portable media player, anyway) screen. Along with that was attached a price tag that was a bit more than what I wanted too at around $300 for the smallest of the models.

So I kept looking hoping some perfect solution would pop up. But as life and technology isn’t perfect, nothing did. If I was gonna have to make a file format concession, I figured I might as well make 2, right? I mean, how much more difficult is it to mass convert 400 songs than it is 200 songs? In the end, I decided that bang for the buck right now and still had reasonable user reviews was the Sansa View player. It’s pretty cheap (you can find it for around $120 pretty easily) and had reasonable reviews from users for devices in that price range. Plus it had linux support right?

Ok, so I was a bit off on that point. The previous model SanDisk had out, the Sansa E200 series had well documented good support of linux. For a company with a history of that, I figured it carried through. Well, I was wrong. At least not out of the box. The 2 days of shipping from Amazon gave me time to scurry and find a solution.

The solution didn’t actually turn out to be that bad. As I found out on this blog, the solution wasn’t that bad at all under ubuntu. All it really took was… well nothing. The one package (libmtp) I needed to allow amarok to sync to my newly acquired toy was already installed by default and was the latest stable version too (a problem I’ve had with certain less than typical packages with ubuntu).

Ok, so I got it hooked up, the remaining portion was user issues. First issue I had was an issue where I thought it wasn’t connecting. The connected wheel view popped up on the View spinning around which seemed a good sign to me, and then went to the normal menu view of the device. Was this normal? I didn’t know since I had only had it in my possession a mere hour. Well, it didn’t connect, I couldn’t get amarok to recognize it and worse, I couldn’t get the mpt-detect command to find it either. After many minutes of googling, trying futile tasks and building frustration to something that should be easy, I clicked a few buttons and once again got the spinning connection wheel on the View. Happy, happy, joy, joy – yes, it was finally working. So had I actually been familiar with the device, I anticipate my period of getting it to work would have been close to nil.

Now it seems to just be matter of getting used to using the connection and disconnection options in the device tab in amarok, and I should have little issues from here on out. With it being about 2 years since I’ve been listening to podcasts, I was eager to get to striking up a few of the ones I had enjoyed in the past. In fact, it had been so long, I struggled to even remember a fraction of the shows I used to listen too. It’s almost like starting fresh. Finding new stuff to listen to all over again.

I still haven’t converted my music yet and may do that over the weekend as I’m stuck at the inlaws over the holiday weekend, but for now, I’m just happy to have something I’ve missed back again. It should make the hours at work pass a bit quicker as well.

Rake race update: Apparently due to some confusion, I’m not on the first update for the rake race as I thought the hands I put in on late June 30th were counting to my July totals. But a good change is that it seems they are paying the top 50 players and not 30, so I have an all but certain chance of at least getting something extra.

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Jun 17 2008

Good News and Bad News

Published by under Personal,Poker,Tech

Bad news first:

Apparently everything around me is breaking down as it appears my computer’s fan decided to fail last night and for some reason, computers don’t want to run when they aren’t cooling. Not even 2 weeks after the wife’s had an issue. My availability may be sporadic while I sort this out over the next week.

Good news:

If my sources are right, new episodes of High Stakes Poker should be back on the air shortly. This is good news since it might give me something to do if I don’t fix my computer.

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Jun 09 2008

I Wanna Rock

Published by under Personal,Tech

For a while now, I’ve wanted to get an mp3/media player for myself. The family has an iPod that everyone uses and we even have a receiver hookup for our iPod in the van so we have our whole music library in those all too long trips to the inlaws’ house. That has worked great for us and even though the wife was a bit extravagant when we got it, I think she is glad we did. Even if it does mean hour long stretches of driving only listening to Weird Al songs just to keep the kids happy.

I have wanted something for just myself, though. I really can’t take the iPod since every one likes listening to it and gets used pretty much daily, but I would also like to get back to listening to podcasts like I used to at work or even around the house. Some times I can listen to it on my computer, but I can’t really do that at work for various reasons.

So what keeps me from just going to get one? Well, I have some odd needs wants. My music does not solely consist of mp3s. All the music that was ripped by my wife on her mac, was done so in AAC format. Not a big issue, as there are lots of devices that support that. Second is quite a bit of the content I have ripped on my computer is in ogg format (WTF is ogg?). Some of that music, I don’t even have the disks for anymore. So, I’m at a crossroads of sorts. I have 2 choices for my motley library of audio formats: 1) is I could try feverishly to find a device that supports all of these formats, 2) I could convert them all to formats that are supported by which ever device I pick.

The first option kind of turned up to be a dead end. I could easily find devices that would support 2, but had difficulty finding one for all 3. Why is this more difficult than it seems it should be? I even looked at Rockbox, the open source firmware for mp3 players, as a solution but ran into issues there as well.

Last week, I watched the Linux Journal review of rockbox and I couldn’t help but be reminded about my thoughts with looking at it. You watch the video as he goes through a couple of devices he has available to him, but alas, none of them are supported. At first, I was gonna get a Sansa E280 as they are inexpensive and were on the list of hardware only to find out that the newer ones, aren’t supported. In fact, it seems to be decidedly difficult to find a device that is on the shelf right now that is supported. Rockbox still seems to be cool if you have an older player that want new features on, but isn’t a good solution for those who are looking for a new device. Used isn’t a good option just cause these are cheap enough for me to not care about the $40 I save and considering the wear and battery issues with a used model, I would rather stay away from that route.

The second option, which has the highest probability of happening, does have some drawbacks a well. Mostly the loss of quality as I convert one lossy format to another. It’s probably good enough for what I do, but just the thought of it makes me cringe even if I likely won’t be able to tell the difference most of the time.

The wife is giving me a deadline to come up with a solution though as that is what she wants to do for me for Father’s day. All my waffling and stalling on this are coming to an end and I need to make a decision and live with it.

If you know of a solution, let me know. I need/want the following; at least 8GB of storage (removable is fine); I would prefer it support all 3 formats I have of mp3, AAC and ogg; video would be cool, but not necessary; and it obviously needs to be something that will work with a linux machine. I also want to stay away from multiple function devices as they all have their own drawbacks so no phones or tablet pc type solutions either. Hopefully others are better at finding a solution to this than I was.

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Jun 01 2008

Cake Redux

Published by under Poker,Tech

I’ve been running on solely linux since my computer crashed in late November which means I’ve been playing poker on linux for about 6 months now. The only sites I’ve gotten to work with any amount of consistency was Full Tilt and Poker Stars. Poker Stars actually has run quite well and had little in the way of issues.

The one site that I have only gotten to work intermittently between updates of wine and the software, was cake poker. Cake is arguably the softest site that players from the US can play at other than Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet, but there are plenty of reasons to not play there. And, I have to say, I’ve missed it.

I have continued to test it out when I knew updates were available, but didn’t have much success getting it to both install and run without modification. That is, until recently. With the first RC release of version 1, I was able to both install and run Cake Poker with using nothing but the default version of wine. Unfortunately the one feature that didn’t work, was the ability to log into the site. I was getting an error which I submitted to wine mailing list. While I use wine on a regular basis, I’m pretty much a noob when it comes to the black art of playing the dll dance with wine.

The error I was getting in the terminal was:

err:ole:CoGetClassObject class {88d969c0-f192-11d4-a65f-0040963251e5} not registered
err:ole:create_server class {88d969c0-f192-11d4-a65f-0040963251e5} not registered
err:ole:CoGetClassObject no class object {88d969c0-f192-11d4-a65f-0040963251e5} could be created for context 0x5

Dan Kegel identified the issue and sent the following instructions

A quick search shows that’s associated with msxml, probably msxml4.
Install MSXML4 with
wget http://kegel.com/wine/winetricks
sh winetricks msxml4
Then run the app again.

Low and behold, it worked. I’m once again enjoying the softer play and rakeback. It will be nice to, in the very least, have another choice.

Added bonus? I played some micro stakes to test it out and ended up doubling my buyin in about 10 hands.

This was the big hand.

Hand #1517012323000392: Odesa (6-max) 12323
Seat 1: inso*** (4.85 in chips)
Seat 2: 4 2 1 Dog (11.94 in chips)
Seat 3: kost*** (10.66 in chips)
Seat 8: D.B*** (6.70 in chips)
Seat 10: mass*** (5.20 in chips)
D.B***: posts small blind $0.05
mass***: posts big blind $0.10
Dealt to 4 2 1 Dog [ K♠ 4♦ J♦ A♦ ]
inso***: calls
4 2 1 Dog: calls
kost***: folds
D.B***: raises to $0.50
mass***: folds
inso***: calls
4 2 1 Dog: calls
@@@ F_L_O_P @@@ [ J♠ 2♠ K♣ ]
D.B***: bets $1.60
inso***: calls
4 2 1 Dog: raises to $8
D.B***: is all in 4.6000
inso***: folds
4 2 1 Dog: returns uncalled bet $1.80
4 2 1 Dog: shows K♠ 4♦ J♦ A♦
D.B***: shows Q♥ T♣ 9♦ Q♣
# # # TURN # # # [ 3♣ ]
&&& RIVER &&& [ 5♠ ]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
4 2 1 Dog wins $14.85 with Straight, Five high

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