Saturday, July 30, 2005

WL-HDD 2.5

The WL-HDD is now up and running. I got a 30GB drive from Hitachi which was thinner than my existing free 4GB drive that had been gathering dust in a drawer for the past couple of years.

I'm VERY happy with the device and was even able to use it at work the other day. One of our servers needed to be backed up and it only had USB1.1 so the ability of the WL-HDD to act as a DHCP server and share itself through Samba was a lifesaver. I tested out the throughput and backed up 3.5GB of data through the WL-HDD's 802.11g WiFi connection the night before and was very happy with the throughput as it took only about 45 minutes (I wasn't timing it so YMMV, I'd say three quarters of an hour as a stab in the dark guess).

Anyway, it's a very nice device. Tiny, silent, good value for money and full of features. Where else can you get a 2.5" external hard drive with USB, 10/100 Ethernet and 802.11g?

To MBA or Not to MBA

I've been trying to decide if I should get an MBA. I'm a Computer Programmer by trade. On the one hand, the MBA is expensive both in terms of time and money while, on the other hand, an MBA may be an expense which I cannot afford not attain given the line of work which I am in.

I'm sure that I could find the time, if I really wanted to, during the next couple of years to achieve an MBA qualification, and that would stand me in good stead for my future career progression. The question really is; "Do I want to?".

I'm generally self taught. I was frustrated during my Computer Science BSc as I felt that I was merely spinning my wheels, as it were, to get a piece of paper while I had been programming for many many years before hand, since it's the family business. With hind sight I could see that the BSc was not intended to teach me how to program computers, rather, it was intended to teach me how to teach myself. I have noticed that this appears not to always be the case with degreee programmes, however, that's a rant for a different day.

Amazon has loads, literally thousands, of books about business. I could easilly discover the required texts for some MBA courses and teach myself the subject matter. Unfortunately this would prevent me from benefitting from a side effect of attending a formal MBA programme, i.e. social networking.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Funniest Blog

This guy has the funniest blog:

RoR? Wow!

Someone at work showed me Ruby on Rails, RoR, the other day. Initially I wasn't all that impressed, sure it was sort of cool but RoR hardly seemed revolutionary.


I just had a chance to watch the various demo movies in detail and I'm amazed. RoR is going to change the world. I've programmed in Perl, C, C++, C#, Pascal, Delphi, VB, PHP, Java, JSP, Modula2, Ada, Scheme, Lisp, Prolog, Postcript and probably others that I don't even recall, however, RoR is nothing but amazing. Using RoR I would be able to reduce my Web application development time by 90 percent.

Have you discovered RoR yet?

Here's the definitive book at Amazon:

Saturday, July 23, 2005


The WL-HDD 2.5" WiFi external hard disk drive NAS contraption is designed for slimline 2.5" hard drives. I thought I'd be able to get by with the really old free drive that I have had for years, however, this is not to be; it's too thick to fit.

Darn. I'm ordering a new drive now, let's see what the best value for money is...


Have you ever been cleaning up dog poop from your back garden and knew that there was some somewhere around a particular location but just couldn't find it until you felt something sqishy under one of your feet?

Well, we have a Great Dane. Yeeeuuugh!

Friday, July 22, 2005


My WL-HDD arrived yesterday, I'm impressed. It's a 2.5" external hard drive NAS with both 10/100 ethernet and 802.11g WiFi. You can get your own one from amazon here.

Stop Numa Numa-ing

I introduced my wife to the numa numa phenomenon last weekend. We played it about 10 times and I thought that that was the end of it. Unfortunately it seems that she's got our 14 month old daughter hooked on it. She, the 14 month old, even does the arm waving.

I'd prefer that she was hooked on the teletubbies, since they have more than a single 2 minute portfolio. However, she IS hooked on the teletubbies and that's not much better. Immediatly upon my walking through the front door after work she points at the TV and starts squealing.

Oh well... it could be worse... she could have the climbing skill of a Chimpanze... what a minute... she does!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

BitTorrent TV

I've been thinking about BitTorrent TV for many months now, on and off, not continously. The critical thing about BitTorrent TV is that it has to reach a critical mass before really good programmes will become available on the format.

The concept of BitTorrent TV is an alternative to the traditional big media controlled airwaves without commercials and routed over the internet using the BitTorrent distributed file sharing tool. Since the distribution methodology uses shared network infrastructure it become very inexpensive to syndicate a show through RSS and subsequently to distribute it through BitTorrent. This reduced cost will offset the reduction in commercial revenue caused by consumers skipping commercials. Rather than overt commercials BitTorrent TV will rely on sponsorship. There will be no need for DRM.

The formats which lend themselves to this lower budget medium are obvious:

Instructional (e.g. cooking, mechanics, schooling)
News (direct from the sources)
Music (as an advertisement for live concerts)
Children's (e.g. story telling, the wiggles, as an advertisment for live shows or merchendise)

Once the BitTorrent format viewer numbers reach a critical mass then drama shows, supported through sponsorship and product placement, would begin to enter the market also.

MythTV already has a BitTorrent plugin so that you can watch your BitTorrent TV shows on your living room TV and listen to your BitTorrent radio shows, AKA podcast shows, on your living room stereo. BitTorrent TV does not mean that you'll be limited to sitting in front of your PC, thanks to mythTV's Torrentocracy plugin.

This is the start of something significant.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

BitTorrent TV - it's coming soon

Coming soon? It's already here. albeit on a low scale. One of the reasons why I decided to pay for extended basic cable TV is the TechTV channel. Since computers are one of my hobbies, as well as being my job, I found TechTV to be very interesting and entertaining. Some time ago G4 merged with TechTV and it went south, fast. G4, as it's now known, became simply a channel about computer games. Not that there's anything wrong with that, however, it's of no interest to me or any of my friends who used to watch TechTV.

Leo and Patrick formed their own pod casting site called The World In Tech, TWIT, and recently Kevin Rose went out on his own with a BitTorrent TV show called Systm available at:

It looks like my prediction of BitTorrent TV is coming true. I need to get moving and put some of my own content out there. I have been trying to imagine the ultimate high value, and low cost, subject matter and I think I have it now; children's storytelling.

I used to make up bedtime stories for my younger brother and sister. They used to think that the stories were great and it took hardly any effort on my part to think up a ten minute story on the fly. I'd even let them choose the characters along the way. This would be perfect for a BitTorrent TV show; it's short duration, little to no advanced preperation, no budget required for production. In short, it's perfect.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Numa Numa

I just showed Ellen the Numa Numa dance swf. She thought it was pretty funny, however, I don't know how we managed to be out of the loop when it hit the news, perhaps we were out of the country. I certainly remember the song being on the radio. Evelyn loved it and started singing along as best a 14 month old can. I've got a long day of lazyness planned so I had better get going...

BTW, I did do my cardio yesterday. I didn't go on the 2 hour road bike ride that I had intended, but I did 10 minutes of intervals on the stationary bike and then walking around the Mall with Ellen and Evelyn for a couple of hours.

Friday, July 15, 2005

First Workout Done

I almost cheated and didn't bother even doing my first workout this morning. My Mother in Law and my Wife's Grandmother had stayed the night and I was running a little late. Luckilly the workout Blog did its job and kept me honest. Here's the details of the workout:

First Arm Workout

The conclusion is that I really would like to get a set of powerblocks, if only they weren't so expensive, and I also need to increase the weight and decrease the reps on the triceps extensions next time.

I had an interesting conversation about cicadas and locusts and discovered that some people believe that they are one and the same creature:

Cicada versus Locust

The DVD burner was delivered yesterday so I hope to try it out this weekend. The goal is to run MythTV on the xBox, however, fate is conspiring against me. The power supply went out on the xBox so I'm waiting for a replacement to arrive, hopefully it will fix the problem otherwise I may have to see if I can find a new xBox on eBay.

Today it's raining, which is a welcome change to the recent 34C humid Texas weather, today it's only 25C. The only problem is that when it rains here it's generally a thunder storm, and the dog is terrified of thunder.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Mowing in Darkness

I managed to mow the lawn last night, mostly in complete darkness. I managed to actually not miss anything, amazingly, and the grass looks very nice. Obviously I couldn't do the edging, however, that's really only and "every other mow" deal.

I have been thinking more about writing a book. I had decided to write a book on Object Oriented design patterns, and I still plan to do so, however, now I'd also like to write a book on Object Oriented software development lifecycles. I'd like to showcase the entire development process of a Free Open Source Software, FOSS, product and cover the various Open Source tools available for each stage of the project lifecycle.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Excercise Lack of Progress

Well, I haven't been exercising, however, I did discover that the office at work does have showering and changing facilities. I've been searching for them for 7 years and finally someone asked the custodian if the rumor was true. Indeed the fabled locker room does exist, so now I have no excuse not to cycle the 8 miles into work.

I also decided that I need to formalise my exercise goals and chart my progress, so I'm going to start another blog for the progress part. As far as the goals go here they are:

1) Be able to perform 100 pushups consecutively at a 1 per second cadence.
Why? Because this is a goal which I have half heartedly strived for for years and to accomplish it would bring me great pride in myself
When? December 13th 2005

2) Bring my resting heart rate down to 50 bpm.
Why? Because I am not happy with my reduced level of fitness as I become more sedantry and how it will effect my ability to provide for my family during the years to come
When? July 13th 2006

The exercise plan will resemble the body for life exercise plan with alternating aerobic and weight training days. I will also add additional VO2 max and Lactate Threshold extension training at least one day per week. I will perform the exercise routine in the morning before work. I will adjust my diet to include more calories, in 40 30 30 ratios, and I'll also include a daily multi-vitamin.

Monday, July 11, 2005

xBox dies

Well, I tried to turn the xBox on last Saturday and silence. Nothing happened. So much for going ahead with the plan to instal Linux on it and use it as a MythTV diskless workstation. After taking the machine to pieces and meticulously testing various components with the volt meter I established that it was well and truely messed up so I ordered a new power supply. I'm quite glad that I found someone selling power supplies since the alternative would have been to buy another xBox.

On the learning Spanish front I'm still trying to finish watching the "Shogun" DVDs, since my plan is to read both the Spanish and English copies of "Shogun" in parallel and Ellen thought that it would be nice for me to be able to become familiar with the story in advance as it's going to take me several years to get through the book at the rate which I'm going. Who knows, by the end of it I may know Spanish and Japanese. I hadn't considered that possibility!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Blog efficiency

I streamlined my blogging process a little more. Ben's Questions and Answers is a Blog that I created where I answer peoples' questions for free. Keeping track of the questions that I have been asked, since they arrive in irregularly spaced waves, is a challenge for my already busy brain. Consequently I started using Yahoo's Notepad this morning and have started a list of unanswered questions. Nothing fancy, but it should do the job.