My interest in technology stems from computer gaming. I am and always will be, a PC Gamer. Trying to play multiplayer games brought me networking experience, new games required better and faster computer components, and so I learned out of necessity what it took to battle the demons of hell. While I was around, I got into AOL, website design, and programming as well. My first crappy job at the KSU airport brought me money to build my own computer from scratch, which is still the computer I use today. Even though every single part has been replaced at some time, its soul lives on.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Re: 2016 Macbook Pro

12:27:42 PM Eclipse: Apple’s response to Microsoft coming up in about 30 minutes
12:28:13 PM Eclipse: Oh you guys made a touch sensitive iMac studio?  well we….took away the esc key
12:28:40 PM Krhainos: Surface Studio still has full-size USB ports, an ethernet port, and a headphone jack.  Sad!
12:29:24 PM Krhainos: the new Apple Studio has two lightning connectors for all your connectivity needs
12:30:19 PM Krhainos: the new Lightning Hub adds an additional 4 ports!
12:32:07 PM Eclipse: cant wait to buy that
12:32:13 PM Krhainos: Esc is probably one of the few things that’s probably still easy to find on the touch-strip without looking
12:32:19 PM Krhainos: just mash the upper-left hand corner
12:32:27 PM Krhainos: good luck finding like F6 or something though
12:32:41 PM Eclipse: i haven’t found f6 in years
12:33:06 PM Eclipse: although i don’t do jack shit with function keys except brightness and volume anymore
12:33:19 PM Krhainos: yeah OS X has pretty much evolved F-keys out of the OS
12:33:27 PM Krhainos: so it makes sense to get rid of them
12:33:33 PM Krhainos: only nerds use f-keys extensively
12:34:43 PM Eclipse: there’s a movie in there somewhere
12:36:04 PM Krhainos: and it makes extensive use of
12:37:22 PM Krhainos: so this search engine cold-called me at work trying to get us to buy ads on their shitty search engine
12:37:29 PM Krhainos:
12:37:45 PM Krhainos: and i want them to call back so i can tell them how shitty it is
12:37:50 PM Eclipse: lol
12:38:03 PM Krhainos: its like they saw coverflow and were like “lets make this a search engine”
12:38:03 PM Eclipse: oh man that red circle is catchy
12:38:43 PM Eclipse: i like how it’s slow and javascript heavy
12:38:55 PM Krhainos: they called us saying they increased the number of clicks to our website by 60%
12:39:16 PM Krhainos: and i’m like .. how do you know what 60% is if you don’t know what we had initially?  did you hack into our Google Analytics account?
12:39:30 PM Eclipse: exactly
12:39:48 PM Krhainos: prtty sure they’re just a scam to sell us fake clicks (they’re the ones clicking)
12:39:55 PM Krhainos: and “keywords” for $500 each
12:40:26 PM Eclipse: I get sooo many fake “expiration” notices for my domains
1:16:23 PM Eclipse: as usual, the first hour of an apple keynote can be safely ignored
1:16:38 PM Krhainos: right haha
1:16:48 PM Krhainos: blah blah blah can we just skip to how to the new hardware
1:16:59 PM Krhainos: unless they’re tlaking about a new Apple TV
1:17:08 PM Eclipse: zomg you can play minecraft on an appletv or something
1:17:15 PM Krhainos: which is about how no one wants to buy one when Fire TV’s are like $30
1:17:40 PM Krhainos: “Today we’re annoucing a new app… and we simply call it TV.”
1:17:41 PM Krhainos: of course
1:17:48 PM Eclipse: If they would allow Kodi I would want one
1:17:58 PM Eclipse: so, TV on AppleTV on my TV
1:18:11 PM Krhainos: just like the iPod app on the iPod
1:18:56 PM Eclipse: oh shit are they going to release an app called Computer
1:26:00 PM Eclipse: “You can now say voice commands such as “watch the Louisville game,” and Siri will know which app has the football game, and start playing it.”  as long as you dont live in fucking louisville
1:26:12 PM Krhainos: haha
1:27:01 PM Eclipse: i actually wanted to buy the NBA app subscription for my father in law, but fucking piece of shit won’t show cleveland games
1:27:27 PM Krhainos: yay market blackouts
1:27:32 PM Eclipse: and setting up a proxy and shit may or may not work and would definitely get broken
1:28:00 PM Krhainos: i read why they do blackouts but forget why exactly
1:28:04 PM Krhainos: because it was all bs anyway
1:28:49 PM Eclipse: basically because local stations would stop paying out the ass to air them
1:29:10 PM Krhainos: yea something like that
1:29:29 PM Eclipse: “lets talk about the mac now, we love it so much that you’re still paying top dollars for shit that’s over a year old”
1:30:28 PM Eclipse: or, if you’re buying a mac pro, over 3 years old
1:30:42 PM Krhainos: is the rubbish bin mac really 3 years old?
1:31:13 PM Eclipse: ok, almost 3 years old
1:31:16 PM Eclipse: dec 19 2013
1:31:24 PM Krhainos: thats still pretty old
1:31:58 PM Krhainos: oh god no
1:31:59 PM Krhainos: quick emojis
1:32:17 PM Krhainos: Millennials have ruined the MacBook Pro
1:33:03 PM Eclipse: pro just means more expensive now
1:33:17 PM Eclipse: why is esc not in the corner
1:33:26 PM Eclipse: now i have to press a fake F1 for esc
1:35:43 PM Krhainos: i wonder if you can move them around
1:36:19 PM Eclipse: why not just make the whole bottom of the laptop a touchpad
1:36:31 PM Krhainos: don’t give them any ideas
1:36:42 PM Eclipse: they’d have nothing to announce next year
1:44:25 PM Eclipse: fucking emoji
1:44:31 PM Eclipse: this must be what getting old feels like
1:44:36 PM Krhainos: hahaha
1:45:32 PM Krhainos: “but how can i use vim with it”?
1:46:22 PM Eclipse: “it shows apps from the app store right in the bar which you can buy and use instead of vim!”
1:50:14 PM Krhainos:
1:50:18 PM Krhainos: there’s a man page button i’m sold
1:50:26 PM Eclipse: lol
1:50:35 PM Eclipse: honestly I am probably going to buy one
1:51:44 PM Eclipse: mine is a late 2012 and Alison’s desktop just died this morning
1:52:36 PM Eclipse: so I will probably order one and give her this machine
1:54:31 PM Krhainos: #DongleLife
1:56:12 PM Eclipse: macbook pros have been donglelife for a long time now
1:56:24 PM Krhainos: thats true
1:56:33 PM Eclipse: just usb instead of usb-c
1:56:49 PM Eclipse: i just need to make sure I can use my cinema displays still
1:57:27 PM Eclipse: ugh now they are talking about the freaking touchbar again
1:57:33 PM Eclipse: we already did this
1:57:45 PM Krhainos: hahaha
1:58:04 PM Krhainos: MacBook Pro more like MacBook Bro
1:58:58 PM Eclipse: i guess they know we need a short break here to google usb-c compatibility
1:59:46 PM Krhainos: Type c connectors are all backwards compatible with the old style port (Type A)
2:02:14 PM Eclipse: this is probably time-filler since the desktops aren’t ready yet
2:08:24 PM Eclipse: usb to single link dvi seems easy enough
2:08:36 PM Eclipse: but I was hoping for better
2:09:00 PM Eclipse: i dont see anything about getting the 30” to work with the usb-c amcbook
2:10:24 PM Krhainos: “Microsoft is bringing touch bar support to Office.” says Schiller to exactly zero applause or audience reaction.
2:10:53 PM Eclipse: obviously they are
2:11:10 PM Eclipse: everyone is pissed they are not releasing new desktops
2:15:35 PM Eclipse: ok finally back to talking about the laptops again
2:16:46 PM Eclipse: let’s hear available today
2:18:02 PM Eclipse: they never do that anymore
2:20:09 PM Eclipse: oh god
2:20:15 PM Krhainos: are you going to be pleb out and buy the touchbad-less version?
2:20:19 PM Krhainos: touchbar*
2:21:19 PM Eclipse: *looks on craigslist*
2:23:19 PM Eclipse: honestly I probably will pleb out
2:24:08 PM Eclipse: RIP 11” Air
2:24:13 PM Krhainos: haha
2:24:28 PM Krhainos: i bought my mom a 13” Air to replace her dying 2008 Mac Mini
2:24:47 PM Eclipse: i loved that machine so much, but once I started Xcode, I just didnt have the screen resolution
2:38:20 PM Eclipse: so if I were to buy new 27-30” displays, which ones are good these days?
2:38:20 PM Krhainos (Autoreply): I’m not here right now
2:56:47 PM Krhainos: LG makes a good display
2:57:04 PM Krhainos: but Dell and HP make good displays too
2:57:49 PM Krhainos: LG makes surprisingly good displays for the price
2:57:56 PM Eclipse: thinking a thunderbolt 3 dock should handle it, but they are like $300
2:57:58 PM Krhainos: i went to best buy to buy the cheapest 21” display i could
2:58:12 PM Krhainos: and that LG monitor i take to lan parties is probably the best monitor i own now
2:58:24 PM Krhainos: too bad its tiny
2:58:40 PM Krhainos: LED backlighting did wonders to LCD technology
3:31:07 PM Eclipse: ugh no minidisplayport really hurts on these new ones
3:31:30 PM Krhainos: heh
3:31:42 PM Krhainos: dongles tho
3:32:30 PM Krhainos: i think mDP and Thunderbolt devices can use simple passive adpaters for TB2 ports
3:33:16 PM Eclipse: the only other mac laptop with usb-c is the 12” macbook so I was trying to google using that with a 30 cinema display
3:33:22 PM Eclipse: but there isn’t much there
3:33:51 PM Eclipse: dvi is old now…and of course I still use VGA back by the switch rack
3:33:54 PM Krhainos: intel and the usb group sort of didn’t do the world any favors by using the same connector that can carry many similar yet incompatible busses across the same connector
3:34:21 PM Eclipse: they did themselves a favor by making us buy new shit
3:34:35 PM Krhainos: the USB Type C connector can carry : DisplayPort, USB 3.1, and PCI Express (aka Thunderbolt)
3:34:48 PM Krhainos: so the macbook only has USB 3.1 on its type c connector
3:34:56 PM Krhainos: while i think on the new mbp, all four are thunderbolt ports
3:35:25 PM Krhainos: you can tell which busses are available on each port with the symbols present next to the port :
3:35:48 PM Krhainos: every port will carry at least USB 2.0
3:36:13 PM Krhainos: that diagram appears to be German lol (USB 2.0 mit DisplayPort!)
3:37:30 PM Krhainos: TB3, not TB2
3:37:38 PM Eclipse: I need to get from the thunderbolt 3 port to at least 1 minidisplay
3:37:42 PM Krhainos: so in the case of the new MacBooks, you have 2 or 4 TB3 ports
3:38:03 PM Krhainos: so you would need a simple/passive TB3 to mDP adapter
3:38:21 PM Krhainos: since TB > DP with USB > DP without USB
3:38:22 PM Eclipse: but then there’s the question of whether it will push dual link dvi
3:38:32 PM Krhainos: all variants of DisplayPort will
3:38:56 PM Krhainos: what display do you have?  DL-DVI Cinema Display?
3:39:28 PM Eclipse: yes, i also have another single link dvi 23” cinema
3:39:30 PM Krhainos: at worst, you might be looking at stacking TB3 -> mDP -> DL-DVI adapters, but i’m sure someone like monoprice might make one that does all of that in one adapter.
3:39:34 PM Eclipse: but i don’t use that much anymore
3:40:42 PM Krhainos: in the case of the macbook that only has usb on usb-c ports, since it doesn’t carry TB or mDP
3:40:58 PM Krhainos: you’re basically looking at a USB video card, and those naturally carry at least a $100 price tag
3:41:11 PM Krhainos: it’s the lowest form of USB C basically
3:41:24 PM Krhainos: where as the mbp has the highest form of it (carries everything you could possible want)
3:42:56 PM Eclipse: macbook says “Native DisplayPort 1.2 video output”, is that just via a usb-c style cable?
3:43:07 PM Krhainos: oh, i stand correctedi
3:43:07 PM Eclipse: like their own dongle
3:43:10 PM Krhainos: it does have DP out then
3:43:19 PM Krhainos: so it’d be the next-level up
3:43:22 PM Krhainos: USB w/ DP
3:43:46 PM Krhainos: in case you’re wondering who would implement Type C w/ USB 2.0 instead of 3.0, it would be like smartphones and chromebooks
3:43:49 PM Krhainos: stuff that plain doesn’t need 3.0
3:44:07 PM Krhainos: but you can safely assume any laptop that has a type c connector to have at least USB 3.0
3:45:31 PM Krhainos: PCI-E (Thunderbolt), and DisplayPort are high speed packetized interfaces (like ethernet)—so thats how they can get multiple things out of one port.
3:45:37 PM Krhainos: its like one small ethernet switch
3:46:16 PM Krhainos: and at 10Gb/s, half of it goes to your display (mDP), and the other half goes to data (USB 3.x or PCIE)
3:46:48 PM Krhainos: all this shit that’s part of the standard, nearly impossible to explain to consumers
3:47:01 PM Krhainos: but fairly important when it comes to purchasing stuff that plugs into these ports
3:48:18 PM Krhainos: i think at max you can attach three 4K displays before you run out of bandwidth
3:48:23 PM Krhainos: on Thunderbolt
3:48:41 PM Krhainos: and since its all bandwidth, maybe like six 1080p displays
3:48:55 PM Krhainos: er wait. four 1080p displays per 4K x 3 = so 12 actually.
3:49:16 PM Krhainos: in other words, enough.
3:52:58 PM Eclipse:
3:53:06 PM Eclipse: that looks like shit but will maybe work
3:53:21 PM Eclipse: i guess they come in not-gold
3:53:32 PM Krhainos: are you thinking of a macbook?
3:54:05 PM Krhainos: that is a neat looking solution for that though
3:54:57 PM Eclipse: no, i dont want a macbook, but the macbook’s limitation of only usb-c port(s) is the same problem I’d face integrating the new 13” mbp
3:58:33 PM Krhainos: gotcha
3:58:35 PM Krhainos: it should work
3:58:40 PM Eclipse: My 30 currently uses one of these:
3:58:51 PM Krhainos: it’‘ll expose the USB ports and the DP function
3:59:03 PM Eclipse: i need to test it and see if the usb is just for power
3:59:15 PM Krhainos: it probably is
3:59:19 PM Eclipse: cause I can plug the usb somewhere else
3:59:30 PM Krhainos: since DP to DVI would require power
3:59:42 PM Krhainos: its also equally possible you plug the USB plug into a iphone charger or something
4:00:03 PM Krhainos: because the cinema display doesn’t have a usb hub does it?
4:00:10 PM Eclipse: it does
4:00:13 PM Krhainos: oh what
4:00:22 PM Krhainos: wonder what voodoo they’re doing across that cable to carry USB then
4:01:03 PM Krhainos: oh wait there’s a usb port from the display too
4:01:05 PM Eclipse: the adapter actually has a usb port on it, which you can plug the display’s usb cable into
4:01:08 PM Krhainos: never mind.  not so mysterious now lol
4:01:20 PM Eclipse: so i assume you dont have to use it
4:01:42 PM Eclipse: though I probably would…so as to get usb ports on the machine
4:03:45 PM Eclipse: that one I linked for the macbook should work though, one of the comments was about the 30” and that it worked
4:03:46 PM Krhainos: the adapter itself needs power
4:03:51 PM Krhainos: so you need to get power into the adapter somehow
4:04:12 PM Krhainos: be it’s just convinient that it gets it from the host machine since thats what also feeds data into the usb ports on the display
4:04:17 PM Eclipse: the single link dvi didn’t need the usb part of the adapter
4:04:50 PM Krhainos: yeah, i think that might be because it gets enough power from the DP port
4:05:10 PM Krhainos: DP doesn’t output a lot of power, dual-link might be more power hungry
4:08:31 PM Krhainos: it might be like back in the day of some of those external usb hard drives that needed two usb ports
4:08:51 PM Eclipse: it is some old shit now
4:09:08 PM Eclipse: only 1680x1050 on the new screen, that is disappointing
4:09:25 PM Eclipse: retina, of course but still
4:09:26 PM Krhainos: the gtx1070 i bought a couple months back has one dvi port and the rest are DP ports
4:09:32 PM Krhainos: had to buy a bunch of adapters
4:10:38 PM Eclipse: ugh the low end only has 2 usbc and the headphone port…lets put them on the same side maybe…..of course not fuck off
4:10:47 PM Krhainos: hahaha
4:10:57 PM Krhainos: usb audio it?
4:11:04 PM Eclipse: more shit to buy
4:49:43 PM Eclipse: i dont know, this release kind of pisses me off
4:50:33 PM Eclipse: $1500 without the touchbar for only 8gb ram/256gb ssd?
4:50:46 PM Eclipse: my 2012 has 8gb of ram
4:50:54 PM Eclipse: and 256
4:51:17 PM Eclipse: less screen res, hard to adapt to my setup
4:52:08 PM Eclipse: maybe I’‘ll just get a new battery for my laptop and get some stuff for alison instead
5:06:02 PM Krhainos: hmm
5:06:09 PM Krhainos: no desktops is a bummer too i guess
5:06:14 PM Krhainos: i was going to say “why not a mac mini”
5:06:21 PM Krhainos: but when was the last mac mini—like 4 years ago?
5:07:36 PM Eclipse: Oct 2014 it looks like
5:09:59 PM Eclipse: I can probably get a decent iMac for less than 500 on craigslist and a new battery will be about 125 and be good with that
5:17:06 PM Krhainos: the new aluminum-glass ones
5:17:06 PM Krhainos: ?
5:17:45 PM Eclipse: looks like the core 2 duo ones are about 500 if they top of the line back in the day
5:17:49 PM Eclipse: i was hoping for i5
5:21:44 PM Krhainos: wondering why no more MagSafe though
5:21:47 PM Krhainos: people loved MagSafe
5:22:11 PM Krhainos: Apple has no problem making their own ports (Lightning)
5:22:16 PM Eclipse: the current fantheory is that now the laptops are too light for magsafe
5:22:16 PM Krhainos: maybe their patent was going to run out
5:22:33 PM Krhainos: hmm
5:22:44 PM Krhainos: weaker magnets
5:22:53 PM Eclipse: then it just falls out
5:23:37 PM Krhainos: dont the MacBook Airs have them?
5:23:41 PM Krhainos: thsoe are pretty light
5:23:51 PM Krhainos: 2.38lb sez wikipedia
5:25:16 PM Eclipse: i don’t know, the airs had special magsafes.  probably lawsuits over fires or something
5:25:25 PM Krhainos: fires
5:25:27 PM Krhainos: pffft
5:25:32 PM Krhainos: samsung made fires normal
5:25:41 PM Krhainos: you should expect fires from consumer electronics
5:26:08 PM Eclipse

: i don’t think the market went for that

Posted by eclipse on 01/14/2017 at 08:34 AM
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Saturday, March 03, 2012

Finally, an update!

Well, it’s certainly been a while, hasn’t it?  Am I even talking to anyone anymore?  My statistics page says 182 days without an update, which means half of a year.  :(  Terribly sorry.  I’ve obviously been busy because when I’m busy, I don’t update.  But I can’t really explain most of my time away.  My Bidding website certainly takes a lot of credit for my virtual disappearance.  It brings in actual money for me each month, so that is where my priority is for now.  I’m also creating a new website, CFI-Wiki that will hopefully mature over time and pick up the slack when the bidding website becomes obsolete (new bidding system in the works at the company).  Also thinking about a similar program that checks our paysheets.  Though the other sites have been using the excuse of “making money” to keep me away from DarkMercury, I like reading through my history and large gaps like this one disappoint me a lot.

So happy new year, and what’s happening with me since Quakecon?  Well Alison and I celebrated our first anniversary in October with a trip to Washington DC.  We went to DC a few times when we started dating to see the pandas at the zoo.  Traveled in our usual style this time though.  Flew into DCA and took the subway to the Grand Hyatt downtown.  The hotel sits right on top of the Metro Center subway station, making travel across the city pretty easy.  Well our hotel experience was not the best, but we were getting by at the employee rate, so I will not complain too much.  Worth the price, I guess.  We spent a lot of time at the Smithsonian museums, and some at the monuments.  I guess there is a Martin Luther King Jr memorial that we missed.  They were also digging up the Reflection Pool, which was a bummer.  But the Smithsonian is always amazing and I could spend the entirety of any DC trip there.  Someday we will get to Puerto Vallarta, I swear!  Also, I don’t know why my camera turns into absolute garbage as soon as the sun starts to set.

Christmas was pretty quiet.  We spent it in Texas by ourselves.  I think we both ended up with the flu.  I missed a lot of work because of it and got invited to the chief pilot’s office, but what can you do.  I’m almost a year in now on the Embraer 145 aircraft.  I noticed I haven’t really made any real post about it.  Maybe I will soon, but the ERJ is a good but boring plane.  It runs more consistently, which is nice.  I get home on time more often.  But there aren’t many good stories.  It hasn’t tried to kill me a single time, which is good but helps contribute to my lack of posts. 

American has declared bankruptcy, which is stopping the upgrades to captain.  I was pretty close, actually.  Besides getting to be the big boss of the airplane and getting to fly it the way I want to, it comes with quite a pay raise that I want.  A few months of captain time looks better on the resume than years and years of FO time.  When people ask me what’s going to happen with the bankruptcy, I don’t have much to tell them.  They are negotiating with the mainline unions right now.  What comes of that will affect whether Eagle grows or shrinks.  I’ve spent too much time at Eagle to give up my seniority by leaving, so I’m just going to stay put and see what happens.  I don’t think the airline will shrink to the point where I get furloughed or anything.  Eagle could end up growing to take over some mainline flying, or we could start competing with other regionals for American flying and shrink.  Until the mainline negotiations finish, I just don’t know yet.  I’m guessing that, like other legacy carriers, the unions will be stripped of their pay and pensions.  This makes the whole pilot gig less appealing in the long run and will hurt the industry.  I tell people I’m not afraid of losing my job, I’m afraid of losing my career.


In the beginning of this year, both Alison and I have gotten new cars.  It was awesome having her car paid off, but it was starting to get up there in years, and I didn’t want to have her break down when I was away on a trip, so we looked into a new car for her.  She wanted a Hyundai Santa Fe, so we found a good used one and traded in the VW Rabbit, plus some cash and got a low payment.  I still need to get a picture of her with it.

On Friday, we went down to the VW dealership to look at a new Jetta for me.  I’ve been going through cars pretty quickly in the last few years, but I really hope this is the one that sticks for a while.  I have good feelings about it.  I had a 2010 Jetta Limited Edition, and just traded it for a similar 2010 Jetta Wolfsburg Edition (WE).  Over time, the 2.5 engine and the transmission on the old Jetta was starting to bother me.  When I accelerated, the engine sounded kind of raspy, and it seemed to run at high RPM.  Was it trying to force me to drive slower for more MPG?  The actual car itself was very nice.  While Alison was looking for her car, we saw a Salsa Red Jetta Wolfsburg in the VW lot.  My cars have always been black or silver, but I was very impressed with the color(s).  That particular one was an automatic, but I started to casually look at other Wolfsburgs. 


A 6-Speed in the right price range finally turned up, looking very cool in the same red color, tinted windows, the rear spoiler lip, and tan interior.  The WE has the better, turbocharged engine and it is quite an improvement over the old one.  The features of the new car are pretty much the same as my last Jetta.  It has the same dashboard and radio, although bluetooth audio finally works!  So it’s really an upgrade of style and engine.  I wrote in the last Jetta post that part of growing up was realizing your priorities and not necessarily needed the fastest car on the road.  So I must be growing younger again, haha.  That’s still true though.  Alison’s Rabbit had a 2.5 engine with the 5 speed, and I loved that setup, even though it was 20HP less than the Jetta.  Had the gearing been set up the same, I would have been happy.  But I was just not enjoying the Jetta’s engine the same way as the Rabbit and I couldn’t see myself owning it until it died.  Well I really like the new car, just hope that the previous owners were nice to it and it will last a long time.

On the computer front, my awesome 8800GT video card finally died after almost 4 years.  I bought an overclocked 560Ti to replace it, and Left 4 Dead 2 looks awesome at 2560x1600 res.  Both cards are made by evga and hopefully this one will last just as long.  I’d like to further replace the cpu/ram/motherboard before Quakecon time, but I’ll save that for a summer project. 

I sold my iPad1 to get some cash for the iPad3, which is coming out soon.  I think I’ll dedicate a separate post for that.  I also spent $25 and bought two G3 iMacs.  The graphite one is pretty decent and I’m going to keep that one.  The indigo one is slower, and scratched up so I’m trying to pawn that off on craigslist and make $20 back.  I remember middle school when the iMac first came out, and I didn’t like it.  I was very anti-Mac back then.  However, it did what it set out to do and changed the industry.  It was able to win me over eventually, so it is an impressive machine.  For $25 (potentially $5), it’s a cool piece of history.  It even runs OSX 10.4 Tiger pretty well.  You can browse the internet, do email, run some pretty recent software, etc.  Not bad for a 15 year old computer.


Hopefully it won’t take me 6 months to do the next one.

Posted by eclipse on 03/03/2012 at 11:51 PM
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Saturday, September 03, 2011

Upcoming Upgrades

Since the last post way back in May, my computer hasn’t changed much.  Back then I added the Razer Mamba mouse and Megaloden Headset.

The mamba has been amazing, like spectacularly good for a wireless mouse.  Its only problem is battery life.  I’ll often leave it on and leave for a 4 day trip at work and come back to find it dead.  It’s not a huge deal since it can easily become a wired mouse by plugging it in.  My only real disappointment is that as soon as I bought it they came out with a new mamba, all stealth-apple style.  I don’t think the new one is vastly different though, it has some fancy lights.  I will try to resist the temptation to buy another one.

The Megaloden headset is alright.  It’s bulky and takes up a lot of room in my suitcase when I took it to DasLAN.  I don’t like the fabric ear covers, compared to my Bose Triports, but the Bose has no microphone.  The mic is alright when I’m at home in a quiet environment, but was almost worthless in the noisy environment of Quakecon.  I’ll probably keep them because the market for them is pretty small.

My only big PC news is that, after 9 years, I’ve finally bought a new case for my computer.  Since high school, I’ve rocked an old school Lian-Li PC-60 or something.  I have pretty high standards for my computers, it turns out.  I wanted a silver case to go along with the Apple Cinema Displays which narrowed me down to about 5% of the total case market.  Go ahead and try to buy a nice looking silver case, I dare you.  You can’t do it anymore.  Your computer these days must be black, which is funny because in the past everything was beige and you could never find any black.  We kinda went past the goal of customization and ended up back where we started.  Anyways, I considered buying a dead Apple PowerMac G5 and gutting and modding it to make a PC from it.  Not only extremely troublesome, it would limit me to one DVD drive and wouldn’t be very upgradable. 

The bar by which I’ve always measured PC cases has been the Maximum PC “Dream Machine” for 2002.  The case is a Cooler Master ATC-110, which went out of production soon after.  I’ve occasionally searched for one, usually to never find one, or find one in bad condition.  However, I recently came across one on ebay in basically flawless condition and so I pulled the trigger and bought it.  I’m pretty excited to get it.  It’s almost a full tower, so it’ll be larger than my current computer, but it doesn’t actually go to LAN Parties anymore.  I have my Macbook Pro for that now, so I don’t have to worry about traveling with it much.  I like the way the door covers the drives, and I have plenty of USB ports on my keyboard and monitors so I don’t need them on the case.  Hopefully I can put up some images when I get the computer built.  It’ll be fun to rebuild the computer, I never get to do that anymore it seems.

I considered buying an i7 setup to make it like a whole new computer, but the Core 2 Duo is still fine.  Maybe next year for Quakecon (or whatever we end up doing).

Posted by eclipse on 09/03/2011 at 05:02 PM
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Most I’ve Ever Typed on an iPad

Since I got the iPad, I’ve known that bluetooth keyboards work with it, but I haven’t ever synced my BT keyboard to it until now.  And I can’t decide if it’s awesome or terrible.  Certainly, the best part about the iPad is that the keyboard is not necessary.  I’ve always figured that if I need to type, I can just use the laptop and if I just want to read, there’s nothing better than the iPad.  Today I had a flight sequence with a short overnight, and I didn’t really want to drag the macbook air through security, but I wanted to do some quick typing for my new bidding program so I brought along the BT keyboard. 

It’s nice to be able to write something like this blog post with the iPad, but some things are very lacking.  For a mouse-less computer, I thought keyboard shortcuts would work better.  Tabbing between fields seems application-specific and other than the address bar, the keyboard is useless for safari web browsing.  No page up/down or search.  I thought my SSH program would work pretty well, but the control buttons don’t work which kind of limits using nano with it.

On the other hand, with cheap bluetooth keyboads these days, it’s not too hard to throw a spare keyboard in the suitcase and when the rare situation comes across that I want to type, I’m no longer limited by touch typing on the screen.  The special apple function keys that adjust brightness and control music actually do work and are pretty nice.  Command keys like cut/copy/paste do work as well, but without a mouse it can take some time to select what you want.

For now, I think the iPad has a way to go to meet the standards of someone used to controlling a computer almost purely by keyboard command.  Maybe iOS 4 or 5 will address it, or maybe like OSX there’s a hidden option to turn on full keyboard commands.  Using a bluetooth keyboard is a nice feature but I’ll stick to the air for now. 

Posted by eclipse on 12/19/2010 at 11:13 PM
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

FreeNAS Update: Rsync and Unison

I've been using FreeNAS since the beginning of April, 2010, and it certainly has met or exceeded my expectations in that time. It still serves its purpose well, however the way I have it set up has changed quite a bit since April. You can find my original post here (FreeNAS Review). I wanted to take the time to describe my first thoughts when creating my NAS file server, and how it has changed into its current form.

My NAS's main purpose is to be a file server and store movies, tv shows, and music to be used mostly by my AppleTV, but also with all computers on my network. I had started in June/July '09 with an external hard disk plugged into my Apple Airport Extreme router. The disk spun 24/7 and eventually became unreadable by September and I was mad. Luckily for me, I still had most of my data backed up on the gaming desktop. But the backup was taking most of my desktop's HDD space and so I wanted it all on its own. For that reason, I bought a Linksys NAS 200 that featured RAID1. I thought a second disk would at least keep my data safe if the disk crashed again. It was waaay too slow for my needs and so I built the FreeNAS server.

RAID1 vs. Rsync

FreeNAS was set up with the same RAID1 as the Linksys and it was much faster, so life was good. But as I talked about it more and more, RAID1 sounded less and less secure. Sure, I was safe from a hard disk failing but there were other things that could delete my collection still, and I'd be SOL. I could accidently type a command wrong and accidently delete the entire /Movies folder with a hit of the enter key, and that would happen on both drives instantly. Or the flash drive containing my FreeNAS config could fail and my software controller would be erased. Without the software controller settings, you can't access a RAID array (at least not easily, like at the user level). So for these reasons I backed up, wiped the RAID array away, and changed to a local rsync service.

Rsync runs once a day in the middle of the night, and basically mirrors the entire Media Drive onto the backup disk. I have until 3:00am to undue any accidental deletions or changes to the filesystem made during the day. If the media disk were to fail, I'd only lose a day's worth of new stuff which is usually a tv show or two. I'd rather re-download two tv shows than 1.5TB of movies and stuff!


In addition to backing up my media, the FreeNAS server acts as a remote location for backing up important files from my other computers, including my macbook pro(music), Gaming PC(Pictures), and Alison's files. The Macs simply use Time Machine to backup their files, and I could use Windows 7 Backup to store my desktop's files. But, I thought it'd be nice to sync my Pictures between the desktop and the laptops. That way, when I go home or do imagework, I always have the latest, up-to-date images on all the machines. Having them on different computers protects them against being lost if a disk dies, and unison can archive deleted files if you want it to which protects against accidental deletion. You can think of unison as two-way Rsync, in that any change you make will be backed up on the server, but if the server data changes, the changes will be sent to your computer as well.
To use Unison in FreeNAS, you only have to enable the service in the webadmin. You'll want SSH enabled as well. Everything else is done from the client computers. Install Unison (, and create a private SSH key so you don't have to type in your SSH password ( Windows users will need to install Cygwin for the unix shell.

Next, create a preferences file on each computer you want to sync files to. Probably looking something like this:

    # Roots of the synchronization
    root = /Users/username/Whatever/
    root = ssh://username@192.168.X.XXX//mnt/Disk/PathTo/Wherever/

    # Paths to synchronize 
    #path = current
    #path = common
    #path = .netscape/bookmarks.html

    ignore = Name {._*,.DS_Store,Thumbs.db}

Obviously, you'll want to change the username, IP address, and path to your own settings. You need to give it two directories to make the same. One local to the computer, and one on the remote disk or network location. "ignore" tells the config to ignore whatever files or regex you want. In my case, it's ignoring those annoying hidden windows and OSX files. You can set it to anything, even entire directories. And there are lots of other options you can do as well. See the User manual for all options (User Manual).

Once the config file is done, save it to the appropriate place.
In OS X, it's ~/Library/Application Support/Unison/batchpref.prf
In Windows (Cygwin), it'll be c:\cygwin\home\username\.unison\batchpref.prf
Linux is probably ~/.unison/batchpref.prf       (I dont have straight up linux, so I don't know for sure)

Now that the preferences are saved, you should be able to run unison from the command line. Type:
unison -ui text -auto -batch batchpref

This tells the computer to run unison, in the text-only user interface, in automatic mode (doesnt ask you what to do in errors), and to use the preference file we just made. From here, you can run it as a cron job in OSX/Linux, or make a .bat file in windows and run it with Task Scheduler. I have it run on windows at startup, and once a day on the macs. You can also run it manually when you want to make sure you're up to date.

Now, I guess websites like dropbox offer similar capability, but you're either limited in filesize or you have to pay for it. Paying isn't a bad idea, since I suppose if my house burned down I'd still lose everything. But I find unison to be a great way to back up and syncronize easily and for free. Especially if your data is the "nice to have" but not the most important memories of your life.

I'll finish the post off with a newer pic of my home network. It's clickable to view it a little bigger. I still have other FreeNAS updates I can write about, but since Rsync and Unison are so closely related, I thought I'd give them their own post.
Posted by eclipse on 11/30/2010 at 11:42 PM
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