Archive for category Hardware

the server was out for a walk

Precisely 30 minutes before the weekend started for the support staff at the server hosting company this server is hosted .. well… it crashed.

So I waited till this morning and after merely seconds and new SATA cables the machine was up and running as if nothing ever happened.

DAMN CABLES!

So – everything should be fine now. Enjoy your stay.

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DIY PMR Gateway

In my case it’s just partly do-it-yourself: Michael and Peter did the cable soldering and I wrote the software that controls the serial interface to the PMR sender/receiver.

My gateway is on PMR channel 5 with no CTCSS configured in the Campus area of the TU-Ilmenau. A gateway is only just a PMR radio connected to a PC which is logged into a Teamspeak server which is connected to several other gateways (citizen radio / PMR / …)

So if you talk within the range of my gateway you’ll be heard in more than 24 areas across germany over PMR and citizen radio.

Capture

One toolset which was particularly useful is the VU-Meter tools. You can use them to monitor your input/output ports and tune them for perfect modulation. You can get them here and they look like this:

vumeter

Since the cable soldering was one piece of craftsmanship a picture of the radio and the cable:

IMG_3316
the computer side of the interface

IMG_3318
the radio side of the interface

If you want to connect from outside the range of the PMR you should go to the homepage of Freies Funknetz and get all the necessary information there.

Source 1: http://www.darkwood.demon.co.uk/PC/meter.html
Source 2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PMR446
Source 3: http://www.freiesfunknetz.de/index.html

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When in need of an engine: built it yourself with Legos!

Someone built himself a (actually not working) modell of a V8 – infact if you click on the related videos in youTube you’ll find working ones… I never knew that this would be possible with lego…

leog-engine[1]

Source: http://hackedgadgets.com/2008/09/29/lego-v8-engine/
Source 2: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8ut5ND3agI

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iMac downgraded to 486

Hmm… maybe something in the current Menu Meters version is wrong:

80486

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the Hyper-V Server 2008 is available… for free…

I virtualization heaven! I am currently using VMWare Server on most of the machines I am doing virtualization on – but the fact that the Microsoft Hypervisor “Hyper-V” is available for free now is really cool:

“Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008, a bare metal hypervisor-based server virtualization product, is now available as a no-cost Web download at http://www.microsoft.com/Hyper-VServer. Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 provides a simplified, reliable and optimized virtualization solution for customers to consolidate Windows or Linux workloads onto a single physical server or to run client operating systems and applications in server-based virtual machines in the data center. Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 allows customers to leverage their existing provisioning, updating, management and support tools, processes and skills.”

hypervsetup1

Source: http://hypervoria.com/

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trying a SONY AVCHD camera…

Today I received a mysterious box with a SONY HDR-SR12E camera in it. I was expecting a camera but not one in HD (1080i) and with a humongous hard disk (120GB).

sony3

Since it’s for several projects I am working on so stay tuned for HD stuff. Thank god there’s soapbox and vimeo.

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We got us an iPod Touch…

After the last update and the fact that I am locked into iTunes (using it for more than 5 years…having rated almost 70% of my huge library…) I decided to buy an iPod at the beginning of this year. Sadly there was only the big and heavy iPod classic that looked promising since the touch was way to expensive.

I thought about things like: Would I need my whole library or would it suffice to have 8/16/32 GB of it? Do I want to have additional applications or just a music player?

After the last update several things came together to a conclusion:

  • There’s not a 160 GB iPod anymore. Since my library is almost that I wouldn’t be able to put my library on a 120 GB classic.
  • The touch is cheaper now
  • mostly I am listening to podcasts, which I do need to by in sync all the time, that means: remaining playtime sync and syncing without manual work

Since my wife doesn’t like the look of the new nano we decided to get the 16 GB Touch.

ipodtouch

It was delivered today and I am hugely impressed with it so far. It’s what I wanted and the way I wanted it. The feature of having my podcasts and audiobooks start/stop positions synced is just fantastic (listening to the first 20 minutes on the go and the rest at home is now possible because the position where I stopped listening on the iPod is synced to the iTunes).

Did I mention that we took the engraving option?

ipodtouchback
Yo Ho!

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CTRL-ALT-DEL cups…

For the real windows geek – use them when you need a soft-reboot or a force-quit from work.

ctrl-alt-del[1]

Source: electricpig

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Dye your life…

Some weeks ago I came across those cool color changing LED lamps made by Philips in a hardware store. It’s a mood light with a remote control – you can even control up to 6 lamps with one remote… Oh I really do think that several of these would be great in the new office or at home.

livingcolors

Source: http://www.lighting.philips.com/microsite/living_colors/

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When did RAID became independent?

Once upon a time I was told about that cool technology that lets you take several hard drives and glue them “together” to a single big volume. This technology was called RAID – Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks – and that it was. It brought us greater levels of reliability and performance – and it was inexpensive compared with other technologies and since hard drive prices are falling for years and storage space is growing along with that it’s getting even cheaper than anything else you could use to store data securely. Some of us even backup to a independent RAID system.

In the beginning of this all there were several hard drive interface technologies used – mainly it was Parallel ATA and SCSI. It was widely accepted that the SCSI drives are specified for 24/7 server usage and were almost everytime faster than their consumer PATA relatives. It was accepted that if you want to build a reliable industry grade RAID you would want to use SCSI drives – the SCSI bus system even had advantages like up to 7 drives per bus compared to just 2 drives with PATA or hot-swap capabilities.

Over the last years it turned out that SATA is the new interface technology that replaces the old SCSI and PATA. There are several server grade SATA drives available now – these drives are getting cheaper, faster and bigger by the minute. So there’s not a real purpose for anything “more server than server-SATA” you might think. Again if you want to build inexpensive and redundant storage arrays there is nothing cheaper than standard or even server SATA drives. They are fast, reliable and huge.

So some years ago the industry presents: the SAS interface. It’s called “Serial Attached SCSI” and is the “new cool thing in hard disk storage”. There are some niche features that may or may not justify the existence of SAS. A fact is that SAS hard drives of the same size and speed are more expensive.

“SATA is marketed as a general-purpose successor to Parallel ATA and is now common in the consumer market, while the more expensive SAS is marketed for critical server applications.(Wikipedia)

It’s getting worse: The industry started to offer fast hard drives (15000 rpm) only for the more expensive SAS interface. The few 15k rpm SATA drives are not slower in any way than their SAS versions – but they are not widely available and all of a sudden the same price like the SAS version.

But back to the definition of RAID:

So over the years the technology made a giant leap forward and all of a sudden you find yourself using very expensive hard drives while glueing them together to giant volumes (it’s now terabytes…petabytes…). While consumer hard drives are available for about a third (at least) the price of the server version of the same drive. It seems that the widely accepted definition of inexpensive is replaced by independence. I do know that there are use cases when you want to use the fastest spinning drive available regardless of the price – but I also think that there could be affordable fast spinning drives if we shouldn’t be bothered to pay the marketing-fee that SAS brings. It’s plain marketing to make new 15k rpm drives only available for SAS and not for SATA. Marketing and nothing more.

As it turns out many industry (marketing) brains (hey, even wikipedia) are switching to a new definition of RAID. It’s now a Redundant Array of Independent Disks – which I think is a definition that could not be worse. It’s not independence we gain with the new definition.

Source 1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID#cite_note-1
Source 2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_Attached_SCSI

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non-circular gears

It just looks cool 🙂 Gears that aren’t exactly circular and still work.

gears[1]

Source: http://zedomax.com/blog/2008/09/10/non-circular-gears/

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It’s dead, Jim

Once again one of my hard disks died today. It refuses to get formated and reports bad blocks… It’s one of my backup drives which is normally stored in a locker and powered on only once every while.

Now it’s dead … I need to order a new one… damn.

damn

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Fixing the bad bad mouse acceleration in Mac OS X

I finally found a fix for the unspeakable mouse acceleration problem I have with MacOS X. It’s just a fact that Apple seems to have no idea how to do the mouse handling. Some people say it’s the mouse acceleration curve that apple got wrong:

“As wonderful as Mac OS X is, it has a grave defect that can have an immediate adverse impact on the computer’s usability: the way it translates mouse motion into pointer movement. For many users, moving the mouse feels unnatural because of the peculiar way that Mac OS X performs that translation. In industry parlance, the translation is called the “mouse acceleration curve.” What is a mouse acceleration curve, and how is its implementation problematic under Mac OS X?”

It’s a problem I can live with but I am not happy. With Panther and Tiger I had a solution called MacMiceCommand. But with Leopard this solution stopped working and until I found this:

“This is a GUI version of Richard Bentley’s MouseFix. (i)MouseFix is a very simple program that will allow you to regain control of the mouse acceleration in Mac OS X. Both this web page and the program copies large parts from MouseFix because he says: “feel free to take the code and wrap a nice interface round it. Be nice and make it free for everyone to use though :-)””

Source 1: mouse acceleration explained
Source 2: http://www.lavacat.com/iMouseFix/

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unboxing surface tables…

These guys got lucky and got themselves two Surface tables:

“Yesterday, we (Amnesia) took delivery of Australia’s first two Microsoft Surface tables. We believe they were the first units to ship outside the US. Not often you get your hands on something no one else has seen, so we thought we’d share the grand opening of the boxes…”

IMG_0059_thumb

Source: AmnesiaBlog

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“Virtualization for Dummies” free eBook is available for download

Thanks to Sun and AMD there’s now a free eBook available for download:

“Virtualization for Dummies – Sun and AMD Special Edition is now available! Published by the same folks who create all the “Dummies” books – this special edition version showcases Sun and AMD virtualization offerings, how they work together, and how they can benefit businesses. Learn about the latest virtualization technologies with this brief and easy-to-read booklet.”

virtualfordum

Source: Virtualization for Dummies Download

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Indlebe Radio Telescope made by students detects (natural) radio signal

“Last week, the Indlebe Radio Telescope, situated on the Steve Biko campus of the Durban University of Technology, successfully detected its first radio source.
The Indlebe Radio Telescope is a transit instrument that operates at the Hydrogen Line frequency of 1420 MHZ and uses a very sensitive radio receiver to detect extraterrestrial radio signals.
Stuart MacPherson, project leader in Electronic Engineering at the university, said he and his students were amazed when they realised the telescope had picked up a signal.
“We had made significant changes to the receiver to increase its sensitivity. When we went in that morning to check the data, we found that it had detected a source,” he said.”

It’s unlikely to be from an unnatural alien source but if you take in account that all the equipment was built by students on the campus of Durban Universit… that is just astonishing.

skyeyes

Source 1: http://www.thirdeyeconcept.com/forums/index.php?page=258
Source 2: http://indlebe.dut.ac.za/

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littleBits – modular electronics that sticks together

It’s like lego for electronic circuits:

“littleBits is an opensource library of discrete electronic components pre-assembled in tiny circuit boards. Just as Legos allow you to create complex structures with very little engineering knowledge, littleBits are simple, intuitive, space-sensitive blocks that make prototyping with sophisticated electronics a matter of snapping small magnets together. With a growing number of available modules, littleBits aims to move electronics from late stages of the design process to its earliest ones, and from the hands of experts, to those of artists, makers and designers.”

Source: http://www.ayahbdeir.com/littleBits/

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Vista Battery Saver tool

Sometimes you’ll need the battery of your notebook last as long as possible – sometimes it’s speed that matters. With Windows Vista you can setup detailed power plans for each situation. But this options are a bit hidden under the surface.

powerplan

For that matter the “Vista Battery Saver” is a tool that helps you to setup the important settings in just one window, with just one click. It even is aware of the power state of your machine – if it’s plugged in or now and so on.

bbb1

It’s a free tool and you can even download it’s sourcecode. Give it a try if you’re on a mobile machine with Vista.

Source: http://www.codeplex.com/vistabattery

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Since we’re writing our own google-scale filesystem… we should …

… build ourselves a case for the test machines with lego duplo blocks… like the founders of google did.

“It’d be hard to believe but yes, Sergey Brin and Larry Page made their first 40GB Google Storage Server with lego casing.”

original-google-storage-server

Source: http://zedomax.com/blog/2008/08/04/original-google-storage-server-made-with-legos/

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your office chair: right out of your race car

If you ever wanted to sit on a real fast office chair… you probably want to consider buying one of these:

rc128-2
built from a Lamborghini Diablo GT chair…

“Race Chairs brand office furniture is the perfect collection for the performance minded or motorsports obsessed individual. Our offerings are unique conversation pieces that give a subtle yet distinctive high tech atmosphere to any room.

Our chairs are made from the authentic high performance seats from exotic racecars such as Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, and Porsche. From our unique connection to the motorsports world, we are able to acquire a unique and everchanging inventory. Our Carbonfiber desks are an industry first and our accessories collection and one-off motorsports memorabilia pieces truly complete the decor while acting as functional pieces in the room.”

It’s not cheap but it has style 🙂

Source: http://www.racechairs.com/default.asp

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self replicating machines

When I thought of self replicating machines I thought of end-of-time scenarios and a robot armies conquering the world and enslaving the human race… it’s not that bad right now but we’re getting to it… sort of 🙂

pc-va

“Adrian Bowyer (left) and Vik Olliver (right) with a parent RepRap machine, made on a conventional rapid prototyper, and the first complete working child RepRap machine, made by the RepRap on the left. The child machine made its first successful grandchild part at 14:00 hours UTC on 29 May 2008 at Bath University in the UK, a few minutes after it was assembled.”

“RepRap is short for Replicating Rapid-prototyper. It is the practical self-copying 3D printer shown on the right – a self-replicating machine. This 3D printer builds the parts up in layers of plastic. This technology already exists, but the cheapest commercial machine would cost you about €30,000. And it isn’t even designed so that it can make itself. So what the RepRap team are doing is to develop and to give away the designs for a much cheaper machine with the novel capability of being able to self-copy (material costs are about €500). That way it’s accessible to small communities in the developing world as well as individuals in the developed world. Following the principles of the Free Software Movement we are distributing the RepRap machine at no cost to everyone under the GNU General Public Licence. So, if you have a RepRap machine, you can make another and give it to a friend… “

Source: http://reprap.org/bin/view/Main/WebHome

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Augmented Reality Game soon available (full source!)

You may have heard about Levelhead – an augmented reality game made by Julian Oliver – if you did not hear about it? No problem:

Augmented reality (AR) is a field of computer research which deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data. At present, most AR research is concerned with the use of live video imagery which is digitally processed and “augmented” by the addition of computer-generated graphics. Advanced research includes the use of motion-tracking data, fiducial marker recognition using machine vision, and the construction of controlled environments containing any number of sensors and actuators.”

So – Augmented reality mixes the reality and the computer graphics and creates a new reality for you. That’s a lot of theoretical…so let’s talk about Levelhead:

It’s a game where you have to move plastic cubes with printed-on patterns in front of a camera – the computer now renders a new world inside of the plastic cubes – when you move the cube, the world inside the cube moves too… it looks like this:

lh_4_med

“levelHead uses a hand-held solid-plastic cube as its only interface. On-screen it appears each face of the cube contains a little room, each of which are logically connected by doors.
In one of these rooms is a character. By tilting the cube the player directs this character from room to room in an effort to find the exit.

Some doors lead nowhere and will send the character back to the room they started in, a trick designed to challenge the player’s spatial memory. Which doors belong to which rooms?

There are three cubes (levels) in total, each of which are connected by a single door. Players have the goal of moving the character from room to room, cube to cube in an attempt to find the final exit door of all three cubes. If this door is found the character will appear to leave the cube, walk across the table surface and vanish.. The game then begins again.
Someone once said levelHead may have something to do with a story from Borges.. For a description of the conceptual basis of this project, see below. “

If you are not amazed now? You should watch this:

The thing is – this cool game and technology will be available at the end of this month as full open-source. I suggest to check Julians site back at the end of the month at last.

Source 1: Augmented Reality @ Wikipedia
Source 2: Levelhead homepage

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what typing 4 words a second sounds like

Okay – the ones who are frequently using a keyboard know that they are getting faster and faster as time goes by – so it’s normal to type fast but FAST is not enough to compete in the national speed-typing contest in the states:

“Who’s the fastest typist in the land? If you’re talking about the Land of Lincoln, it’s arguably Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag, who has won the Illinois court reporters speed contest for the past three years. At last year’s event she transcribed the contest’s blazing dictation—averaging 245 words a minute—with a 99.193 percent accuracy.
That’s about 4 words a second.”

Source: Chicago Tribune speed typing (with video)

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How much memory can you put into one giant x64 machine and actually use it?

The answer is: 2 Terabyte.

“You can see physical memory support licensing differentiation across the server SKUs for all versions of Windows. For example, the 32-bit version of Windows Server 2008 Standard supports only 4GB, while the 32-bit Windows Server 2008 Datacenter supports 64GB. Likewise, the 64-bit Windows Server 2008 Standard supports 32GB and the 64-bit Windows Server 2008 Datacenter can handle a whopping 2TB. There aren’t many 2TB systems out there, but the Windows Server Performance Team knows of a couple, including one they had in their lab at one point. Here’s a screenshot of Task Manager running on that system:”

image_thumb_1

P.S.: Thx boonkerz.

Source: http://blogs.technet.com/markrussinovich/archive/2008/07/21/3092070.aspx

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Hyper-V vs. Virtual Sever 2005 R2 – a “benchmark” using Sharepoint

Michael O’Donovan has a great benchmark-comparison of the brand new Hyper-V and the older Virtual Server 2005 R2:

“I have done a fair amount of SharePoint demos and developement over the past few years, and have always done this on my laptop using Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 or Microsoft Virtual PC, to host and run a SharePoint environment. Last year at Tech-Ed, while I was doing a demo, I had a comment from someone in the audience “Why is SharePoint so slow?” To some degree it makes sense, the specific SharePoint virtual environment which I was using at the time had almost every product known to man installed (the virtual hard drive size was 40GB), as well as being a domain controller and running on a laptop which only had 1GB ram assigned to the virtual machine. However, with the RTM release of Hyper-V (on Windows Server 2008), I wanted to see if performance was better now.”

One graph from his article:

image_2

Guess now – which color is which product?

Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/modonovan/archive/2008/07/09/sharepoint-under-hyper-v-versus-virtual-server-2005-r2.aspx

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How to turn an old notebook into a very stylish Arcade / MAME Cocktail Cabinet

You would need:

  1. an old yet powerful enough notebook to play MAME games
    300px-MAME
    MAME is an emulator application designed to recreate the hardware of arcade game systems in software, with the intent of preserving gaming history and preventing vintage games from being lost or forgotten. The name is an acronym for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator.”
  2. an IKEA RAMVIK sideboard
  3. go to the homepage of the project to get the details how to build it 🙂

IMG_0599_2

Source 1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAME
Source 3: http://www.ikea.com
Source 2: http://mamebook.blogspot.com/

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When you’re in need of a good whiteboard… use Wii controllers + homebrew

Oh yeah. I talked about these kinds of electronic whiteboards for years – and now it seems that there is a cheap and really useful DIY solution created by Johnny Chung Lee(beside several other really useful and astounding DIY jobs)

“Since the Wiimote can track sources of infrared (IR) light, you can track pens that have an IR led in the tip. By pointing a wiimote at a projection screen or LCD display, you can create very low-cost interactive whiteboards or tablet displays. Since the Wiimote can track upto 4 points, up to 4 pens can be used. It also works great with rear-projected displays.”

So you need:

  • a Wiimote
  • a selfmade Infrared-LED Pen that marks the trackable point

So namenlos (his blog) did his version of the Wii whiteboard and made a video of it:


Video: Wii Whiteboard

(due to music the license of this video is CC-BY-NC-SA)

Really impressive isn’t it? And you can do so much more with this Wiimote stuff. – Actually I am planning to get such a Wiimote and a Pen and try it myself.

Source 1: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/projects/wii/
Source 2: http://blog.slash-me.net/archives/268-Wii-Whiteboard.html

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german Citizens’ band radio over the internet…Freies Funknetz!

The internet makes things possible some people dreamt of for years. One of these things is the possibility to stream live-voice-chat over the internet. Many people used the citizens’ band radio – CB radio – for the last decades:

Citizens’ Band radio (CB) is, in many countries, a system of short-distance, simplex[1] radio communications between individuals on a selection of 40 channels within the 27 MHz (11 meter) band. The CB radio service should not be confused with FRS, GMRS, MURS, or amateur (“ham”) radio. Similar personal radio services exist in other countries, with varying requirements for licensing and differing technical standards. In many countries, CB does not require a license and, unlike amateur radio, it may be used for business as well as personal communications.”

For several years now there is a group of people from virtually everywhere in germany who connect their CB radios to the internet – they link their “gateways” together using a software normally used by online gamers called “TeamSpeak”. All you have to do to take a look is to read this short how-to and follow the steps.

Here’s a sneak-peak at the current status of the server:

There’s even a livestream available (but sometimes not working):

Source 1: http://www.freiesfunknetz.com/
Source 2: http://www.goteamspeak.com/

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the ethernet wedding ring… OMG!

Since we already got them this is not an option for us… but maybe for your wedding:

Source:http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=10501732

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What is inside a SD card?

You may – just like me – be curious about the things that might or might not be inside of the plastic housing of a SD card:

IMG_0985

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CHDK – the alternative firmware for many Canon Digital Cameras

“CHDK is a firmware enhancement that operates on a number of Canon Cameras. CHDK gets loaded into your camera’s memory upon bootup (either manually or automatically). It provides additional functionality beyond that currently provided by the native camera firmware.

CHDK is not a permanent firmware upgrade: you decide how it is loaded (manually or automatically) and you can always easily remove it.”

chdk

Main features:

  • Save images in RAW format
  • Ability to run “Scripts” to automate the camera
  • Live histogram (RGB, blended, luminance and for each RGB channel)
  • Zebra mode (blinking highlights and shadows to show over/under exposed areas)
  • An “always on” full range Battery indicator
  • Ability to turn off automatic dark-frame subtraction
  • a higher compression movie mode, and double the maximum video file size
  • exposure times as long as 65 seconds
  • exposure times as little as 1/10,000 of a second
  • ability to use the USB port for a remote trigger input

Additional features:

  • a depth-of-field (DOF)-calculator
  • File browser
  • Text reader
  • Calendar
  • Some fun tools and games

Source: http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK_in_Brief

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How big is the difference between QVGA and VGA PDA displays?

My personal Windows Mobile device I use as my PDA and phone is a QVGA device… I am using it for over 4 years now and I don’t have any cause to buy a new one… and that’s for the most part because if I would buy a new device it would have to be smaller and have a higher screen resolution…(and run all programs I am using right now…) – such a device does not exist…but here’s a comparison available:

“The advantage of a VGA screen is not limited to information it can show. Everything looks way better. Fonts are smoother. Also on QVGA screens, images lose detail. Just look at the diagram above.
VGA screens are better for reading ebooks. I don’t think the text is too small to read, you can zoom in as you wish.
The drawback is, VGA screens consume more power and they make the device slower. At least my x50v is slower. And its battery life is terrible.”

my-qvga-vga-08

Source: http://mobilyazilar.blogspot.com/2007/01/what-is-difference-between-vga-and-qvga.html

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when you think you’re invulnerable by using Amazon services

Oh last year I worked with many different companies that thought that the best thing they could do to increase their availability is to outsource their complete webserver and storage infrastructure to Amazon.

Now last week there was this 2 hour black out of parts of the Amazon S3 infrastructure which should have this “wake up call” effect for most of those hype-believers.

S3 is great for all sorts of applications but you – like in everything IT – really shouldn’t depend on just one service provider.

Source: http://www.amazon.com/gp/browse.html?node=3435361

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we got us a Canon SX100 IS

Since the old PowerShot died we bought a brand spanking new Canon SX100 IS in black…:

canon_powershot_sx100is

  • 10x optical zoom with optical Image Stabilizer
  • 8.0 Megapixels
  • DIGIC III and iSAPS
  • Face Detection Technology with Face Selector button
  • 2.5″ wide-view LCD screen
  • 18 shooting modes and My Colors
  • User-friendly control dial
  • ISO 1600 and optional high-power flash
  • Smooth VGA movies

Hmm… quite a leap forward compared to the old PowerShot A400 – not only the 10x optical zoom but also all the other little things you can play with … great digital camera!

Source: Canon UK

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Nokia, but nice

Recently I could lay my hands on a new piece of hardware – a Nokia N95. Nowadays you can do a lot with those shiny new mobile phones – so much that you’ll never know about everything.

Photo-0070

This is the special “Spiderman 3”- version.

Photo-0071

The interior.

Photo-0072

Handy.

Photo-0074

Now it’s a mobile phone…

Photo-0073

…and now your personal mp3/video/whatever-player.

Photo-0080

E.g. the mentioned “Spiderman”.

Jens Heymann

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"He’s dead Jim"

My beloved Canon PowerShot A400 digital camera just left us. It was a great camera that only served 8764 pictures in it’s too-short life. Bought in March 2005 and now gone forever.

powershot

Source: new camera

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Time for grading up

Now that my ol’ notebook (a Medion MD 41100, Dec. 2003) nearly has reached the biblic age of 4 years I looked around and spent some new parts. OK, that won’t change the mediocre resolution of 1024×768 nor the layout itself like a new notebook.

So first, some new RAM:

before: 512 MB, now 2 GB (two 1GB-Kingston-modules)

kingston-1gb-sodimm-notebook-memory 

Next, a new HD:

before: 40 GB Seagate Momentus 5400, now a WD Scorpio 160 GB 5400

WD1600BEVSretail

And finally, an extern case for the old HD, this time a Trust

9001180_2

One think I have to go now with is the different HD-busy-sound. The Seagate has a hard knocking while the WD swooshes like waves.

Jens Heymann

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uhh… me wants that coffee table…

FeM is in need of one… for more than two years now… maybe this will do the job? It’s bright, nerdy and cat-compatible (needed for keeping certain Mr. S’s out of the office)

Source: http://www.evilmadscientist.com/article.php/tablekits

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WLAN’s Labyrinth

So the Telekom finally managed to bring DSL to my home region. Immediately new stuff was bought to establish a WLAN-network inside the house. When I went home of course I wanted to add my laptop ( a Medion MD 41100, 4 years old) to the net to gain access. But after never having used the WLAN-functions before (yes, there are such people…) no one could know that this would end up in such tremendous trial and error.

The router was a Speedport W 900V and working. It took me about an hour to find the add-new-user-option in the router-menu. After filling in the MAC of my Intel PRO/Wireless LAN 2100 card and creating a new WLAN-connection I was ready to go but nothing happened (yet).

Speedport W 900V

From now I tried several ways to get it done:

1. Get your drivers updated

This was strongly recommended because my card didn’t know the WPA-coding yet, only the older WEP-standard. OK, done. Now I was able to type in some data required by the router. But still no connection.

2. Get your Windows updated

Somewhere I read that there is a support-patch for WPA by Microsoft. Downloaded and installed. Still no access.

3. Use the cards firmware

Intel programmed a software called Intel PROSet for doing some adjustments if needed and adding a new connection which I did. But again without any success.

Here an important thought crossed my mind: Maybe the card is deactivated (The problem had to be clearly somewhere in my laptop because I was using another one for researching in the Internet, so there was a WLAN available and it was working.).

Some clues:

PROSet-configuration (hardware deactivated)

Tray-icon (no network, no connection, transmitter OFF)

Good! So I narrowed down the problem. But how to activate the transmitter?

4. Try the Windows-network-configuration

Many options but nowhere the one I was looking for.

5. Try the firmware

Look above to the PROSet-configuration image: The option to activate the transmitter is simply disabled. Hmm…

6. Try the tray-icon

No, not here.

7. Check your BIOS

Yes, there is a WLAN-entry. But my Phoenix-BIOS has only two modes: card always deactivated on every start or card activated only if activated prior to the system shut-down. So no solution here.

8. Remove the card from your profile

Done and the same as before.

9. Deep-looking in windows

As you know there is a life under the desktop. Typing in %systemroot%\system32\services.msc brought up a nice menu about the systems local services. Here you look for network-connections as follows:

The way to start already has been “automatic”. OK.

10. Look for a hardware-button

Some of you might mention here that this could have happened much earlier: simply looking for an activation-button. And you are right, this button exists. However, pressing it changed nothing.

The solution:

The hardware-button proved to be a good hint. Next I checked the program for controlling the programmable buttons (EzSystem).

Hey, there is an option for WLAN. Activated and one system restart later it was like it was before: the card still deactivated. Then I checked out the directory of this EzSystem-Software.

wbutton.exe –> nothing happened

wirelesscontrol.exe –> peng! WLAN activated and access to the Internet.

Finally it worked. Let’s review it: Obviously you cannot activate WLAN neither through Windows nor the cards firmware; you need a third party’s software. This is (in my opinion) a very weird way.

So I guess that simply some links between components got lost and you have to re-engineer that. A hard task, especially if you have formatted the harddisc right after the purchase, do not knowing anything anymore about the original state and with the support disc hundreds of kilometers away.

Jens Heymann

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Beware of the serial (port) killer

Uhh it seems that someone got hold of a power cord … and did a bad bad thing:

IMG_7858

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When things seem to take forever…

I just started the formating of a 3 Tbyte truecrypt volume which is located on a Promise Vtrak m500i connected via 1 Gbit/s iSCSI…

when_things_seem_to-take_forever

This is some serious big truecrypt volume, isn’t it? (at least today it is…)

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CCCamp 2007 streaming overview…

As ususal here’s the schematic overview of the things behind the curtain:

CCCamp-Drawing

Source: http://www.implementierungsdetail.de/index.php?n=Main.TeamStreaming

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what would you do with a brand new CISCO 6509 ? Right. Have a tea break on it.

Oh well. Just after the 43 thousand Euro pile-of-metal arrived some of our office-technicians just thought: It’s tea time, we got a new toy, would that blend?

So they got the tea set and the digital camera out:

We don’t just think of our new hardware as the core equipment of a enormous network. We think of it… well… in a different way.

Source: http://www.fem.tu-ilmenau.de

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ISWI – ISWISION Radio and FeM DVB-T parts coming together…

There’s something great going to happen this summer. After the great experience we had with the DVB-T TV Station of the Maintech guys at the 23c3 Achim decided that it would be great to have such a DVB-T TV Station for FeM e.V.. He went through the hassle of getting a license and organized the needed hardware. Today one of the important parts arrived… but first a teaser:

Yes! FeM is going to broadcast 24 hours a day from June 2nd to 10th the ISWISION and ISWIradio via DVB-T on channel 23 (490 Mhz). Today the antenna arrived… this thing is humongeous:

Achim wants me to shout out to the partners of this DVB-T FeM e.V. project: Maintech GmbH and SR-Systems. Consider that done.

If you want more information stay tuned on technology-ninja. In the meantime you can read the press feedback:

Forschungsgemeinschaft elektronischer Medien e. V. veranstaltet erstmals Ereignisfernsehen

Anlässlich der traditionellen Internationalen Studentenwoche Ilmenau 2007 (ISWI 2007) wird die Forschungsgemeinschaft elektronische Medien e. V. vom 1. bis 10. Juni erstmals Ereignisfernsehen veranstalten. Im Stadtgebiet von Ilmenau wird das Programm als DVB-T-Signal (Terrestrial Digital Video Broadcasting – digitaler Fernsehempfang über Antenne) ausgestrahlt. Zu sehen sein werden Live-Sendungen aus der Fischerhütte in Ilmenau, Übertragungen von Veranstaltungen sowie eine Sendeschleife mit Veranstaltungshinweisen und Wiederholungen. Zusätzlich wird die DVB-T-Frequenz genutzt, um das Programm vom Ilmenauer Studentenfernsehfunk und von Radio hsf zu verbreiten.” (Press release, Thüringer Landesmedienanstalt)

Source 1: http://www.fem-dvb-t.de/index.html
Source 2: http://www.fem.tu-ilmenau.de/index.php?id=69
Source 3: http://www.maintech.de/
Source 4: http://www.sr-systems.de/
Source 5: http://www.tlm.de/tlm/aktuelles_service/presse/index.php?pm_id=272

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CeBIT-Sensationen

Also was auch immer auf der CeBIT sonst vorgestellt wurde: Für mich war die Sensation (obwohl nicht neu) der biegsame Bleistift. Ich wusste gar nicht, dass es sowas gibt. Und viele andere Leute wohl auch nicht, sonst wäre das Gedränge an dem Stand sicher nicht so groß gewesen.

Jens Heymann

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disecting a blu-ray pickup

Someone put the $80 down and got himself a replacement laser unit of a Playstation 3. And he disassembled it:

Many more interesting pictures and facts after the jump.

Source: http://www.fineartradiography.com/hobbies/lasers/blu-ray/index.html

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take a look at how far virtualisation will go on the next window server operating system

In this demo you will see:

  • Windows Server Virtualization running on Server Core managed from another Windows Server Longhorn box
  • 64-bit hosts and 32-bit hosts and a Linux running on the same server core box
  • An 8-core virtual machine
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager
  • System Center Operations Manager
  • Monitoring the VMs on the Server Core box
  • Fire off a PowerShell script to hot-add another NIC to a SQL VHD Image

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new cameras arrived…

Hurray! We got three brand new Canon XHA1 camcorder

Source: Canon

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USB experiment inferface board

Even I can now control the world outside my computer. With the USB interface board K8055 from Velleman, Belgium, you can access to the board via DLL. It´s easy to use i.g. in VisualBasic Express. (I did so last night – faszinating!) That reminds me on old Commodore Plus/4 times!




I tested it on a Windows XP system, but it also should work on Linux. Now let´s see, what cases I´m going to resolve. 🙂


Manufacturer: http://www.vellemanusa.com/us/enu/product/view/?id=500349


medienfloh

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Failure Trends in a Large Disk Drive Population

“When your server farm is in the hundreds of thousands and you’re using cheap, off-the-shelf hard drives as your primary means of storage, you’ve probably good a pretty damned good data set for looking at the health and failure patterns of hard drives. Google studied a hundred thousand SATA and PATA drives with between 80 and 400GB storage and 5400 to 7200rpm, and while unfortunately they didn’t call out specific brands or models that had high failure rates, they did find a few interesting patterns in failing hard drives.”

Grab the pdf here.

Source: http://216.239.37.132/papers/disk_failures.pdf

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