Snow? In my state? (Edit: ice lolololol)

Houston gets an onset of cold weather (mid – high 20’s) and a little bit of freezing rain / sleet while I’m at work. While on break I walk around to check out the condition of roads…while most of the surface streets seem fine, our sidewalk at work is coated in a sheet of slick ice, and our Employee of the Month sign is very frosty looking:

Back in the toasty confines of my swampy gator-cubicle, I check the traffic conditions for Houston and this is what I get:

Awesome, just awesome. Thanks to @Snipa_ABlair for the photo.

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mod_pagespeed and WP Super Cache issues

Dreamhost recently showcased their mod_pagespeed “switch” that was made available for all of their hosting customers, so I took a stab at enabling it. Most of my websites run WordPress which already isn’t exactly the quickest CMS so I figured I could use all the help I could get to make the pages load quicker.

One plugin that many WordPress users, myself included, use is called WP Super Cache, which basically caches your website as HTML instead of PHP to minimize processing delays in displaying your website to your visitors.

One option that the plugin gives you, is to gzip compress the HTML to send to the viewers. At this time, it looks like using mod_pagespeed and enabling the “Compress pages so they’re served more quickly to visitors” option in WP Super Cache will break your website. I’m not sure at the moment why this is, but if I have this enabled, both FireFox and Chrome error out when loading websites with a content encoding error, saying the content encoding on my website is incorrect.

On a side note, once that option is turned off, mod_pagespeed works great!

Anyone else having this problem?

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Going from hex to binary in Linux

If you find yourself with a block of \x encoded hex that you need converted back to it’s binary equivalent – in my particular case, an image encoded as a hex block back to it’s native JPEG file, you can use this short code snippit:

cat <input file> | sed -e ‘s/\\x//g’ -e ‘s/”//g’ -e ‘s/^[ \t]*//’ | xxd -p -r – <output file>

Adjust the sed arguments as needed to produce the trimming that you need to feed into xxd – when you pass -p to xxd you instruct it to take input as hexadecimal plaintext, and -r tells xxd to go from the hexadecimal string back it’s binary equivalent.

In this case, I used this to extract the images from the icons.c file for Minidlna.

Thanks to this LinuxJournal article for how to do a reverse hex dump.

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Changing the default resolution of a Logitech webcam

I found myself needing to take some photos with my webcam because it was a simple setup and had excellent image quality when given enough light. However, when using the default webcam application in Windows XP/Vista/7, it will only capture images in 320×240; hugely disappointing when the webcam will do up to 2MP. Enter the DefResCh tool – which I found in this thread on the Logitech developer forums. Of note, you will need to install the Logitech webcam drivers to make this tool work; the default drivers that Windows installs does not work with this tool.

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1Mbit BroadBand Internet Access a Legal Right in Finland

Signs of a culture moving forward, or just frivolous waste of government money? Finland has announced that by next July, 1mbit broandband internet access, which is roughly 20 times quicker than dial up (assuming a generous 50kbps assumption for dial-up) is now a legal human right. While it’s certainly a step towards the future, Finland still plans to blast us away by promising 100mbit internet connections by 2015. With this announcement, Finland joins the ranks of Estonia, France, and Greece where internet access is considered a human right.

[Source: cnet news]

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Wee new dev box

Recently ordered up a pair of Opteron 280‘s to stick in my GT24 – looking forward to having a dev box. Too bad it doesn’t support hardware virtualization – otherwise it’d be an ESX box.

Additionally, here’s a picture of the live network traffic on my box – it is generated with MRTG and cron and shows the rate of network traffic on my internet interface on my home router. You can see it on my “Network Usage Graph” on the right ->

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Conficker Toolage

For those of you paranoid about the talk of the Conficker work poking around the interwebnets, you can scan computers for signs of it very easily now with a beta version of nmap – details here. The best thing about nmap? You can script it so it automatically scans every node on the subnet. Easy!

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Crisis of Credit Explained

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

Came upon a great website the other day that explained the credit crunch very well. The video was done by Jonathan Jarvis – a media designer and animator. His video was done with stunning animation and a great narration that explains the problem with the economy today, and how we got here. Highly recommended video – you can see the video on the website he created to explain it all, here.

The goal of giving form to a complex situation like the credit crisis is to quickly supply the essence of the situation to those unfamiliar and uninitiated. This project was completed as part of my thesis work in theMedia Design Program, a graduate studio at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

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