Need A Cheap, Great Wireless Router?
Posted in Advice, Tech
Afternoon watch, 4 bells (2:15 pm)

I work in IT, and I use two of these at home. Buy yourself a TP-Link WR-841N for $19.99 and flash the DD-WRT firmware on it. You'll need to do some serious reading through their documentation, but once you are done you have a router with features from hardware ten times the price. I personally set up WDS (wireless roaming) and it's incredibly cool to have for $40 and some of my precious time.

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MySQL 3.x to 5.x Conversion
Posted in Advice
First dog watch, 1 bell (4:46 pm)

I had to take a backup from an old MySQL 3.23 server and restore it to a newer server. You may notice that if you try, you get a bunch of errors. Try the following script:

iconv -f latin1 -t utf-8 < backup.sql | sed 's/TYPE=/ENGINE=/g' | sed 's/^---/-- -/g' | sed 's/timestamp(14)/timestamp/g' > outfile.sql

After pushing my old backup through this, I was able to restore the data and run queries against it just fine.

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Netgear ProSafe GS108
Posted in Advice, Reviews, Tech
Forenoon watch, 3 bells (9:47 am)

My boss bought a Netgear ProSafe GS108 gigabit network switch to use around the house, but had a lot of trouble with it. As it turns out, the device has a firmware bug that does not allow DHCP packets! I'm not sure about other broadcast protocols, but if you need DHCP, don't use this switch.

Update: Well it seems like this was a bit premature. It appeared that there was a DHCP issue, but the real problem turned out to be a Cisco 2960 switch behind the GS108 that had the specific port configured to "Desktop" mode. A change to "Switch" mode fixed the problem, so if you have an issue like this, check your other hardware!

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Crazy Idea #12
Posted in Advice
Forenoon watch, 4 bells (10:27 am)

Got a pet you don't want anymore? Annoying cat or dog that just won't behave?

Wrap it up and give it away at a white elephant exchange party. Imagine everyone's face when they open that package…

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Losing Steam
First dog watch, 1 bell (4:56 pm)

This has been an exhausting week. Computer troubles galore, there must be something in the air. The past two days I've woken up with a sore throat, possibly due to all the stress I've been under.

Last night a change I was ultimately responsible for broke our software for about three hours. The change wasn't my fault, but I still should have caught it. A #define directive was renamed in our main code branch and integrated to my "utilities" directory. When I recompiled the server-side code, there was a problem which should have clued me in to the bigger problem hiding behind it.

Anyway, there were a lot of failures in processes along the way. I think the biggest problem is that nobody knows the "whole picture" of this project.

But we learned a good lesson, and the impact (from a bigger perspective) wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been.

On top of all this, we've had computers crash. One, on Monday, just stopped working. The motherboard, power supply, CPU, and hard drives were all dead. We basically had to replace the whole thing. Another video card (just this morning) literally blew up. Three of the capacitors just exploded in the case! A UPS had a melt-down and blew the power supply out of another machine at one of our remote locations.

I tell you, there is something in the air. Back up your data if you don't already. Really, go do it right now.

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Vacuum Haircut
Posted in Advice
Afternoon watch, 6 bells (3:16 pm)

Just in case I'm in time to warn you: when you get married you will probably be required to remove disturbingly large amounts of hair from your vacuum cleaner. Nobody told me about this.

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Qt Programming
Posted in Advice
Forenoon watch, 7 bells (11:32 am)

I love Qt. I've been working on some applications for the past few weeks and I just had to say what a great API they've designed. If you need to create a GUI, or build a graphical program from the ground up, I can't recommend it enough.

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Online Translation Software
Posted in Advice
Forenoon watch, 7 bells (11:56 am)

Good: When translating your native language into another, might I suggest at least running the results back in to your language as a sanity check?
Better: Have someone else that knows a little more about the language than you take a look at it.
Best: Don't take jobs that you know nothing about.

By the way, the English should have said cafeteria, or even restaurant. Visit for tons of funny pictures like this.

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If You Drive Different…
Posted in Advice
Forenoon watch, 6 bells (11:29 am)

…than normal when you see a police car, you should change the way you drive.

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Posted in Advice
Morning watch, 8 bells (8:14 am)

The Ides of March.

Oh, and guitar hero hand. I played for five hours yesterday and my hand is sore. I'll have some serious kungfu action grip when I beat this game though…

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Open Letter to Jim Butcher
Posted in Advice, Books
Forenoon watch, 4 bells (10:02 am)

I just finished reading Grave Peril, book three of The Dresden Files.

It's spelled dais, not dias.

That word must have appeared 20 times in this book, and every instance was spelled wrong. This third book is the first one I've run across of yours that had spelling errors, and this wasn't the only one. Get a better editor, or get a better spellchecker dude.

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First Snow
Posted in Advice
First dog watch, 2 bells (5:01 pm)

We got our first real snow last night. Along with it, most of the people in this area forgot how to drive.

Or perhaps they never knew how to in the first place…

Drive slower, people! You are not immune to ice because you have 4 wheel drive or snowtires.

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Bad Search Terms
Posted in Advice
First dog watch, 2 bells (5:16 pm)

Don't try to search for auction on the internet—you probably won't find what you're looking for.

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Tailgate Caution
Posted in Advice
Forenoon watch, 4 bells (10:17 am)

I just want to make a public announcement here. If you want to tailgate me when I'm going over the speed limit and faster than the flow of traffic, I will become your worst nightmare.

On my way to work a lady in a blue SUV was tailgating me—to the point where I couldn't see her headlights behind me, she was way too close. I was doing around 52 in a 45 mph zone. She started doing this after we were both stopped at a red light. Since she didn't back off, I slowed down until the ripped around to pass me, then I began pacing the car in front of her. She ended up moving back behind me because she had to be in that lane shortly (at least that's what I figure). Anyway, I stuck her good, and would do so again in a heartbeat. This is where I get the most joy out of driving.

So to reiterate, don't be an ass to me, and I won't ruin your day.

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New Feature
Posted in Advice
First dog watch, 3 bells (5:30 pm)

I added Gravatars a couple minutes ago. It was real easy. If you have one, it will show up when you leave a comment. If you don't have one, you should register your Gravatar today.

For those of you more technically minded, a md5 sum of your email address is used to generate a request for an image to Gravatar's server. You register a picture with your email address on their server and it can be used globally. At least as globally as Gravatar is used, anyway. It's a neat idea, really.

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