Monday, February 13, 2006

Sceptre X20G LCD Burnout

I bought a Sceptre X20G NagaII LCD screen in August. It was a great deal; only $430, Composite video in, VGA in, DVI in, Audio hub, USB hub. It almost seemed too good to be true, and it was.

The reason why there seem to be so few bad reviews of this screen seems to be due to who it is being sold by. I bought mine from uBid, however, I noticed that it was also for sale from TigerDirect. There are several complaints on the internet that TigerDirect does not publish bad reviews for products. I know this from personal experience as I myself attempted to publish a bad review for the Sceptre X20G there.

The problems started before the screen even arrived. The first time I turned it on it would power down after a random amount of time between 5 minutes and a fraction of a second. Clearly a defective LCD screen. I had to pay shipping to send the screen back to Sceptre in California and they sent me a replacement.

The replacement was great, although I noticed that the back of the screen seemed a little hot. This new screen lasted from September 2005 until February 2006, a mere 4 months, and then it sucombed to the same problem as the original screen. Now I'm waiting for my third screen to arrive in the hope that I'll be able to make it last longer that 4 months by directing a desk fan to help dissipate the heat from the back of the screen.

My advice; if it seems too good to be true then it usually is. If I could do it all again I would have paid $200 extra and bought a 20 inch Viewsonic instead.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Diskless xBox

It's been 7 loooong days but I have finally got my xBox to boot Gentoo Linux as a diskless thin client using Etherboot. The only problem which remains is that there's a problem with my kernel which means that interrupt 1 is being allocated to something and causes the USB initialization to fail. I don't think that this problem should be too difficult to solve, since it has been done before in the past, and I'm just hoping that one of the xbox linux kernel hackers points me in the right direction so that I can fix it.

I'm planning on using the xBox as a dual booting regular xBox games console and also as a mythTV frontend.

Have you installed mythfrontend on an xBox?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Current Reading List

Currently I'm reading "Programming with POSIX Threads" by David Butenhof. I have had the book for a few years and, as is often the case, had previously merely referenced small sections of the book for solving pThreads problems. I decided that I really needed to read this book from cover to cover to more fully understand the subject matter.

Do you know of any good technical books which you'd recommend?

Saturday, August 13, 2005

GIMP Animated GIF

I was just wondering if there was a good animated GIF generation tool for Linux, particularly Gnome, and thought that there was a possibility that GIMP may provide a means to animate GIF images. Sure enough, GIMP does allow you to create animated GIF images through its multi layer capabilities.

As long as you adhere to open file standards I have found that, over the past 3 years, I've had less trouble with all our home PCs running Linux that I had during the decade previous to that when they were running MS Windows. If you want an application you just search the gentoo repository and download it for free, then periodically you run a one line command to upgrade all the applications on your PC in one, system wide, upgrade. It's so easy. I can't imagine ever running any closed source applications, on our home PCs at least, ever again. The only applications which are problematic are Firefox plugins for Java and Macromedia Flash since they're not Free Open Source Software but still essential for interaction with a few web sites.

I can't understand why anyone uses Flash since it would be entirely possible to accomplish the same effects using Javascript and animated GIF images and the content download would be only slightly larger, even less so if the web server compressed the content on the fly. Perhaps I'm just becomming too spoiled by broadband.

Why do firms marry themselves to closed standards?

Spiky Flip Flops

My wife bought me some of those spiky flip flops which are supposed to massage the soles of your feet. They are fantastic. The coolest thing is that after you've been wearing and walking around in them for a while, if you take them off then the carpet feels like you're walking on air.

I wonder if you could use the same technique for other things. Perhaps if you have a headache you could wear an incredibly uncomfortable hat for ten minutes so that when you take it off you find that the pain of the headache has been completely removed.

What do you think, should I start making a prototype?

Friday, August 12, 2005

Started Studying Ruby

I've started learning Ruby today, my copy of "Agile Web Development With Rails" arrived yesterday and it really is amazing. I don't think I'll ever write another line of PHP. I only hope that the mod_ruby Apache module continues to develop so that Ruby web applications may be able to execute using the minimum of web server resources. I'm still working 9-5 in C++ but I should be able to learn RoR at home.

Very exciting!

I even had a couple of people ask me how they could go about learning Ruby and subsequently Ruby on Rails. My answer is here at Ben's Questions and Answers.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

XBox still broken

well, the xBox is still broken. I got it second hand for $50 and it worked fine for about 6 months and then died. I thought that it may have been the power supply so ordered a new, refurbished, one but it didn't solve the problem. I was getting 3.3V on the power switch pins so I decided to order a new motherboard. I was planning on upgrading the xBox RAM to 128MB anyway so it seemed to all be working out for the best.

The only problem is, and note that I said "seemed" above, that it's been a coupl of weeks and no motherboard has arrived. They are out of stock but they haven't bothered to respond to my emails asking for a status. I'm a bit annoyed, but unfortunately they are the only option that I have found other than buying another xBox off ebay and modding it myself. You have to solder the RAM chips onto the board though so I'm not sure if that's going to be within my soldering skills. I guess I'll just wait... once the xbox 360 comes out the old xbox, classic perhaps, will probably go down to a price of $99 so time is on my side if I don't get too impatient.

Have you ever done any surface mount chip soldering?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

So Tired...

I just finished some work which I had to complete before tomorrow morning and I'm totally exhausted. I only got 6 hours of sleep last night and I'm going to have to do some catching up over then coming days.

Evelyn now knows what you mean when you say "Where's your..." and she understands where her tummy is, her tongue, her ears, her mouth, her feet, her toes, her knees, her nose, and her eyes. I can't understand any of her babbling yet, however, Ellen is convinced that she said "More Cracker" at dinner time and "One More" at story time. It's amazing how she's progressing. It all seems to have happened suddenly, one week she's a baby and the next she's a little person.

When did your child start talking?