Archive for January, 2008

TiVo: death and life.

January 30, 2008

Last night, our one remaining TiVo died.  It started rebooting and then quit.  I opened it up and tested the drives.  They worked so it’s the board.  I have another TiVo that I had deactivated so I reformatted the drives for that newer box.  I just called TiVo and they switched the service over for me without any trouble.  So my kids will be very happy tomorrow.  My 5 year old has completely mastered TiVo.  She watches TV entirely differently from a normal human being.  When she sees something funny, she’ll rewind the scene 4 or 5 times before continuing the show.  Crazy.  When the TiVo broke, she brought down the remote and put it on my desk (thinking that the TiVo was entirely self contained in the remote).  Someday, it will be.

I had hacked both of my TiVos with significantly bigger drives.  I felt quite nostalgic as I did it again this evening.  The new/old box sports 2 160 GB drives that were limited to 132 GB in the old box.  Now they are free to be used at full capacity.  This will give me well over 300 hours of programming or I should say give my kids that much.  I’m only going to put a few documentaries on it for downloading to my computer for watching while I walk on the treadmill.

My main DVR for my HDTV is a stupid cable box.  Someday I’ll get a TiVo Series III for that TV too, maybe this summer.  After 4 years of happy TiVoing, why quit now?

Making a 4 Terabyte Server with FreeNAS.

January 27, 2008

I built upon my experience with my first FreeNAS server and created a much more powerful version.  You can see what I did this weekend.  As builds go, it really went well.  It is awesome to have one place for all my data at home, one server to rule them all.

At one point I say, “don’t try this at home.”  What I meant was, don’t stick your hand into a computer that is open and running.  Everyone should try and build one of these servers.

Ultra Hal Assistant and Microsoft Speech Recognition.

January 24, 2008

I’ve been messing around with Microsoft Speech Recognition in conjunction with Ultra Hal Assistant.  At some point in time, talking to your computer will be a great way to get things done.  That point is not now.  I have to give the folks who make Ultra Hal some credit for trying something that is essentially impossible.  However, I grew frustrated with the assistant almost immediately.

You can use Microsoft Speech Recognition to enter voice commands in the text box.  It doesn’t work very well.  I’m also playing with Dragon Dictate right now and that is a usable program.  MSR is nowhere near Dragon Dictate in terms of accuracy.

I abandoned the speech recognition part and just typed in the chat box.  I did get it to launch a program, but the rest of it was just inane computer banter.  I think a person would have to be high to get any enjoyment out of this.  In terms of usefulness, it’s far easier to click icons.  This program is a start, but it’s going to have to get a lot better before I’d try to use it again.

Right now, it’s hard for me to imagine that programs like this will be commonplace anytime soon.  Then again, when windows first came out, I thought it was just a gimmick and that the command line was far more useful.

Building a FreeNAS file server with 4 1 TB drives.

January 21, 2008

 I ordered parts for a new server today.  With my success in building a FreeNAS based box, I’m going to try to build another one using 4 1 TB drives in RAID 5.  If it works, I’ll finally be able to put all my data in one place.  Oh and I also ordered a metric butt-ton of Cat 6 cable to try to help increase the speed of my supposedly gigabit network.  Goodtimes are ahead!  I decided to wait on building a new quadcore flagship machine, perhaps as late as until May.

I’m really scavenging my KVM lately.  One of the 4 boxes went to build my 1st server, now my Ubuntu machine is being sacrificed to build the second server.  Yet another box is going to be moved behind the TV in the basement to act as a videoserver for that.  I’ll only have one box left!

Maybe in May, instead of just building one flagship machine, I’ll build 4 and fill up my KVM with bad-ass processing power!  Muhahahaha!  Skynet will be born in my basement…

Beer Drinking Contest Sponsored by a Mexican Hotel.

January 17, 2008

You couldn’t do this in the U.S.A. because of the liability.

Friday Night Party Line Episode 23

January 12, 2008

This week’s show features David, Scott, Viga and Thaed.  Here are the topics:
1)How much of our behavior comes from other people?  We imitate, we keep up with the Joneses.  How much do we do because other people are doing it?  How much do we do because we are genuinely interested in what other people are doing?    Are we looking for richness in our own lives?  Are we looking for what we should be doing?
2)On some of these house hunter, remodeling shows, you see young people buying half million dollar homes.  Who are these people?  Is this real?  What do they do for a living?  Are these rich, 1st time home buyers the solution to the housing price decline?
3)Zurich Axioms, a 1985 book, was available through Ben’s Bargains for free this week and we discuss.
4)Are memories irrelevant?  If you have a fun time at a beach does it really help your life?  Once you get beyond “don’t touch a hot stove” is memory useful.  If it’s not, then is fun itself only for the moment?
They are going to fix the Hubble.  Is it worth it?
6)What do you think about the fight between Intel and the so called $100 laptop folks?
7)Should we all stop being productive and start playing WoW, I mean, what’s wrong with us?  Penny Arcade is doing it, why shouldn’t we?
8)Are you looking to buy any toys for yourself in the coming months?  If so, what?

Sites where you can find more information about Scott and Viga:

Subscribe via iTunes.

Email Thaed at

Direct download: FNPL_Episode_23.mp3

January 9, 2008

I haven’t written here in a week.  Bizarre.  It doesn’t seem that long at all, but then again, I was out of the country.

Friday Night Party Line returns this Friday with a new show.

Over 40 Gamer is slowly coming around.  I doubt it happens this weekend unless I have a guest on to help.

Other internet projects continue to threaten to materialize, yet none have officially appeared yet.  We’ll see.  I really want to buy a lighting kit to do more video.  Good video, not crappy video.

I’ve got six boxes chasing aliens for SETI right now.  It’s like the good old days again when SETI was fun.

Flickr Pics of the Day.

January 2, 2008

Continuing this thread series, here are my pics for January 1, 2008.  There were some great spaceball pics, but of course I cannot link to those.