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Why I Love Android

October 16th, 2012

It is open.  You are given simple tools to manage your device how you want, straight from Google.  There are no back door hacks, no monkeying around.  You get to use your device how you want it.  That is what makes Android so powerful; its open nature and ability to do what you want.

The inspiration of this post… tonight I decided to flash the latest point release from Google with out waiting for the OTA update (hey, I’m impatient).

I downloaded the rom, extracted the boot and system partition images, and flashed them straight to my phone using fastboot.

Continue reading: Why I Love Android »

Forcing sendmail to use a different port for outgoing mail

June 26th, 2012

In the world of Linux (specifically CentOS 5 in this case) sendmail is a very useful utility.  It is what allows linux to send email to regular ole mail servers.  But, if you’re reading this, you likely know that.

Typically sendmail uses standard SMTP port 25 to do its business.  In most cases, this works fine as is, but more and more now I am seeing ISP’s block port 25 and leave the customer with no recourse (coughAT&Tcough).  This makes it particularly difficult for sendmail to do its thing since it is supposed to work on port 25.

The simplest solution is to reconfigure sendmail to send out on a port other than 25.  The only catch-22 here is that the mail server must accept mail on that port as well.  Now, I’ve already set that up using iptables with a simple REDIRECT function and tested to make sure my CentOS box can communicate to it on that port using telnet, so I’m not going to get in to that, as anyone can forward a port).

Continue reading: Forcing sendmail to use a different port for outgoing mail »

Microsoft Surface Tablet

June 18th, 2012

Microsoft hyped the hell out of their conference today, and while I was initially uninterested, I must say they have my interest now.  Microsoft has unveiled a Windows RT and Windows Pro tablet, called Microsoft Surface.  I’m not too interested in the RT (unless the price is right), but having full blown Windows Pro in a tablet form, packing Ivy Bridge… now THAT is something to be excited about.  I had recently been eyeing HP’s new Spectre XT Ultrabook, but with the news of the Microsoft Surface, I’m going to put those plans on hold until pricing details are announced on the Ivy Bridge surface.  A full blown Windows machine in Tablet form; two words… YES PLEASE!

I don’t have much else to say, but I wanted to express my excitement for what looks like could be a very powerful Tablet.

Tricky php.ini settings

April 19th, 2012

There are several ways PHP settings can be adjusted.  The 2 most common are in the Apache config file, or usually, the php.ini file.

Typically you can use phpinfo(); to get the php settings.  This is extremely useful as it also shows EXACTLY which php.ini file is being used to pull its configuration from.

I recently ran in to a particularly frustrating situation trying to adjust the settings.  I had already grep’ed throughall the Apache config files and knew there were no php configuration settings hidden in there.  So, I knew it was pulling its config from the php file.  In the past it has been a simple matter to adjust the value in the ini file and then reload Apache (this causes php to reload).  Well, this time it wasn’t working.  No matter how many times I killed Apache’s processes and restarted it, it was STILL pulling the old values.

I was really about to lose my mind when I ran the phpinfo via the php cli, and it showed my new correct values!  Arggg!!!

After a shamefully long amount of time trying to figure this out, I FINALLY found the solution.  Well, unbeknownst to me, this server was using something call php-fpm.  Php-fpm is a FastCGI Process Manager, which is an alternative to PHP FastCGI (which if was being used would have also hung me up).  This basically spawns php in a separate service to allow it to work faster.  Well, since php is basically its own process, you have to restart the php-fpm service to get Apache’s PHP to reload the config file!

[root@myserver php53]# /etc/init.d/php-fpm restart
Gracefully shutting down php-fpm . done
Starting php-fpm done

And bam, I finally got the new settings to load!  Note, if you’re using the standard FastCGI module you’d use php-fastcgi restart instead.

I feel silly for not knowing about this php-fpm process before… but I’m used to Apache just calling php directly itself.  This was a set up I had not dealt with before, so it was time for me to learn something new.

Happy PHP’ing folks!

Why can’t Winamp stay on top?!

February 19th, 2012

Seriously, this pisses me off to no end.  Winamp has had this problem for years.  I have the option set:

 

After a couple songs:

 

I love Winamp as an audio player, I really do.  But it drives me crazy when I go to pause the music or skip to the next track, and Winamp is not where it is supposed to be, and end up having to minimize my 3,847 windows to find it.

 

Fix 7’s Taskbar Right Clicking

January 15th, 2012

Something that has bugged me for a long time in Windows 7 is how the taskbar right-click functionality was changed.  Since Windows 95, when you right clicked on an item in the taskbar, you were presented with a menu to Restore, Minimize, Maximize, Close, and with some programs, some nifty custom options (like PuTTY’s custom menu, which since I use it  a lot, is the main source of my gripes here).

But, for some reason in Windows 7, Microsoft decided to do away with all of that and change what the right click does.  Right clicking now brings up Windows 7’s jump lists.  A feature that is absolutely worthless to a good 95% of the programs that run on Windows.  It was so incredibly frustrating to me to right click on running program and not be presenting with a useful menu, and right clicking on the program name in the jump list presenting you with an equally worthless menu.  Even more frustrating was there is an alternate way to access jumplists, by clicking and dragging up, they didn’t have to change the right click functionality!  The final straw was when they (as usual) gave you no setting to change this option back to the classic right click menu.  Now, I realize you can hold the Shift key and right click on a taskbar item to get the classic menu, but I want that to be the default function, not something that his hidden behind the shift key.

Well, as you may have guessed, I have a fix for this.  A little free program called 7 Taskbar Tweaker.  This program will let you change the right click function back to the classic menu (and a slew of other tweaks)!  And even more so, if you do use jump lists for something, you can still access them by the other method of clicking and dragging up like I mentioned above.  The only slight downside is that the program must run in the system tray for the changes to remain in effect as it actually has to inject a dll and hook in to the explorer process since there are no registry options for the tweaks it applies.  Fortunately, the memory footprint is fairly small, clocking in at only around 2mb of ram used, so it’s not going to have an adverse effect on systems, even those with only a couple gigs of ram.

So, you can change this:

 

Back in to something useful:

Photo Project 52. A Year of Photos

January 8th, 2012

What a wild last year it has been.  From planning a destination wedding, to getting married, to the honeymoon, and the reception, then Vegas.  It was an extremely busy year, and possibly the best one I’ve ever had.  I can’t believe the photo project is over already, but here we are.

My original goal of this photo project was to basically force myself to get out, shoot pictures, and learn more about my camera.  I feel like I was pretty successful in that regard.  I definitely learned a lot, but I also have so much more to learn.  I had a great time taking all the pictures, and while I love most of them, there are certainly those I wish I could re-do.  However, just because my project is “done” doesn’t mean I’m going to stop shooting.  I still plan on taking a lot of pictures, and hopefully posting some to this blog.  Looking forward to 2012, I also hope to write some more computer-related articles again.  I hardly wrote any last year because I was pretty busy with the weekly photo project and everything else that was going on, so hopefully I can get some of those thrown back in the mix as well.

Keep an eye out towards the end of the month, some friends and I are goin on a Bald Eagle trip, so I’ll hopefully have some cool shots from that I will post.

What will 2012 hold?

Here are all of my Photo Project 52 photos, in one gallery.  Hope you enjoy them!

Photo Project 52. Week 52 – Decay

January 1st, 2012

Here we are, the final week of my year long photo project.  I decided to get out to a place that sort of kicked off this whole project, a year ago, almost to the day.  When I was still considering whether I was going to do the photo project or not, I went out to find an old drive-in theater.  I wasn’t sure where it was, and in my adventures that day I never found it.  Earlier this year I happened to drive by it and stored in the ole noggin where it was located.

On the West edge of Carlinville Illinois there sits an old dilapidated drive-in theater.  This is the Diane Drive-In (some sites referred to it as the Diana Drive-In, but most of them call it the Diane Drive-In so that is what I’m going with).

It opened in 1952, and could hold 300 cars at the time.  It was known for its bright neon lights and large ornate screen.  The theater enjoyed a fairly long success.  In 1978 the original screen caught fire, and was replaced with a smaller less elaborate screen.  The Diane Drive-In shut its gates in 1981, as did many drive-in’s around this time.

Much of it sits intact to this day.  Most of the screen is still standing, as well as the ticket booth and the concession building.  I could have actually entered the concession building, but I was by myself and didn’t quite feel comfortable doing that.

This shot is taken from inside the ticket booth, looking out toward the screen the where cars would have once parked.  You can even see some of the old neon tubes hanging down from the roof of the ticket booth.  It must have been a pretty neat looking place back in its prime.

Bonus:  While I wouldn’t normally post the rest of the photos I took during an outing, I’m going to make an exception for this place.  There seem to be a lot of people interested in old Drive-In’s out there, and I’d hate to deprive them of seeing the rest of the photos of this place.  You can see the rest of them over here at my Picasa web album.

“Decay”

grunge

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