Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Some Long Overdue Pictures

The as usual loveley Katie

That's enough

The Olive Tree

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The news from Lake Bellyditch

The cats are doing fine: Jacques is obsessed with the birdhouse as a 'Koolmees' couple are moving in, they might decide otherwise when they realize they will be under constant observation and risk. Jacques managed to catch and eat two or three last year.

Found a nice olive tree here at the local market, my Mediterranean balcony is coming along: a fig tree, a grapevine, a 'laurier' tree and now an olive tree. Pictures will also beposted as soon as I can install my photo download software again on my laptop (Canon has a 75 MB update downloadable but not a complete uptodate version.

Pestered by a backpain that came up this week, lots of lying down/not moving.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

How to fold a tshirt

Hardware that died this week (or nearly)

Have been having various hardware issues this week
1) Laptop was getting very slow, found out the dvd drive was not working anymore but luckily enough discovered that there was a partition with a clean image, only by accident I discovered that there was a simple way of restoring that image while booting, backed up everything important. Pressed F9 during boot, 20 minutes later had a clean Windows XP, now installed with MUCH less software, nice and fast again, and plenty of disk space.

2) Also looked at my old old epia mini itx motherboard, would not boot: first casualty: power supply, luckily I had a spare 150 watt one, up and running again.

3) Looked at a pc that I used as storage for a while, started it up, second casualty another power supply. Decided to mount the disks on my main linux machine,through some nifty hardware device, a USB thingy that lets you attach any hard disk (SATA/IDE) quickly. One disk was completely unreadable (could have been used with LVM) but this one only had a backup of my mp3 collection, the other one could be read and found some important files back.

The other disk is now added to the Epia motherboard. I installed freenas on a 128Mb Compact Flash card, for which I had a converter to be able to attach it to an IDE interface so it is used as a harddisk, freenas runs happily from it, although it takes 3 minutes to boot.

I plugged in a SATA card so the 2 SATA disks can be used again and I can have a good backup of my music and other important files.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

lapmods: part 2 software

Basically the only software that needs to run on both lapmod is a webbrowser and an audio player wich can be controlled remotely, either http or another protocol.

So far I found Foobar2000+ a plugin (control_server I believe), Winamp with httpq plugin and VLC (Videolan client) for playing audio. My music is stored on a server but played through a laptop (Compaq M300) attached to my stereo. To control sound level, going to the next track, pause etc I use a web interface so that I can control it from any computer, together with Prism (Prism Mozilla, but also as a plug in for Firefox 3) I can make it look like a standalone app.
Music is played inthe following way:
a) a small playlist (put on repeat) contains a call to the webserver asking for a new song.
b) The script streams a track that has not been played.
c) a web interface gives me convenient browsing through genres/artists/albums and I can also select albums to play. (The web interface can also search for appropriate covers, and I am working on getting more info and correct track information. This is a work in progress, it still has rough edges.


No picture this time. I am trying to mod two laptops (thank you Vincent), 1 is a 233 MHz Toshiba (I think 92Mb memory) and the other one a 330 MHz/128Mb) Kind of disconnect the screen and stick it on the back of the laptop, but then nicely in a box.
1 should end up in the kitchen allowing me to play music there,the other near/on the dinner table as a remote control for my music.

I installed XP Fundamentals, a light verion of XP, (a copy I found lying around). I first tried it on the harddisks and later on a 2gb Compactflash card. Due to the age of the harddisks XP is very noisy (lots of swapping) and too slow when using the CF.

So I thought I also try DSL, Damn Small Linux, this runs fine on the 233Mhz one with the Flash Card but it only recognizes (and can use) the wireless card that is in the other (XP lite). The XP Lite however does not recognize the other Card when it is plugged in, It does get recognized in other laptops (a complete reinstall of XP might be the only option left).