Can’t wait for Joost invite? Try TVU. But before you do…

I, like most of the geek world, am waiting patiently for Joost to open up, or for somebody to give me a Joost invite (I am so worth it). But until that happens I have found TVU. But think twice, or three times, before installing it…

What is TVU? It is a P2P app that let you watch live TV on your computer, like Joost. You watch a “channel” while you share the same channel with others who are sharing with you. Simple enough, right? Or are you dizzy wrapping your head around the concept. It is like BitTorrent, except in real time with streaming video.

The problem with it is that TVU is not exactly above board. “Above board” in this case means, basically, it rips live content off of channels like Sci-Fi and Comedy Central and lets you watch it in the comfort of your own computer desk chair. I am pretty sure that no agreements were made with the content providers to allow this content to be broadcast. That on top, TVU is produced by a company I have never heard of, taking us to the world of “let the installer beware.”

I am going to put this baby through the Ethereal and WinPcap paces on a test system to see exactly what it is doing. Stay Tuned to “aprigliano” for the ongoing saga.


Windows 2000 – Best. Windows. Ever… Even still.

I am not one of those fools who gets all misty when reminiscing about old computers and the software they run. Not even close. I remember Windows 3.1 being crappy, enigmatic and unstable, but it was all we had if we did not have the three thousand bucks to drop on a crappy, less enigmatic and unstable Mac – let’s be honest. Windows 95 came along and slowly, but surely got more stable (yet still crashed occasionally). I remember being so proud of the Windows 95 OSR 2 version, which was not for sale in stores without a new computer, that I “borrowed” from my old job and used, and used, and used. I skipped Windows 98 completely at home, but it was a necessary evil at work because I needed ICM (color matching) and Windows NT which was deployed at the work did not have ICM. The greens looked blue and red was a toss up.

Then Windows 2000 came. It had ICM. Red was red.

2000 was good. 2000 was very good. 2000 IS STILL GOOD. I know with Vista being released Win2K is 2 versions old. So the question becomes what can’t Win2K do?

Nothing that matters (as far as I can tell, at least).

Oh, it can’t run Internet Explorer 7 or Office for Vista. It does not have the built in firewall of Windows XP (or the better Service Pack 2 Firewall). No built in anti-virus. End of list. Well… you get Firefox, OpenOffice or something else faster, ZoneAlarm and AVG. Done.

Actually I am hard pressed to find non-Microsoft programs that run on XP that do not run on Win2K. You tell me – what can’t Win2K do?

Because I am not one to only say and not do, I will tell you about places I put Win2K recently and had tremendous success. Under Parallels on Mac OS X, Win2K works wonderfully since Win2K has a smaller memory footprint than Windows XP and an order of magnitude memory footprint smaller than Windows Vista. Also older hardware can sing with Win2K. I have an old Dell Optiplex GX 110 (900ish Mhz) that chugs happily with Win2K (Side-note: the GX-110 Intel based on board video sucks – and you get only 2 PCI slots, for expansion – pity, because it has a great form factor.)

If you can’t use Ubuntu, for what ever reason, I say go Win2K.

So, an eight year old operating system that was done so well, it can compete, and compete well, with more modern OS’s (if you look beyond bells and whistles.)

What’s an old OS to do to get noticed around here?

ISAPI_Rewrite – IIS gets some needed Apache smarts.

So, you develop for Microsoft’s Internet Information Server by default or by choice. (As you can tell I am going down a geeky road – moms and normal people look away…)

At my work, I am constantly having to create a user friendly URLs that somebody can type in and then the server redirects to some inane URL that causes cookies to be written and gets tracked for analysis. If you are web developer, you understand. I was so happy to find ISAPI_Rewrite a while back from Helicon. This gem behaves just like mod_rewrite using regular expressions in Apache for the redirection. I do not have to dump the last 7 years of development for IIS – this is a good thing. And Helicon has a free (as in beer) version that is not site specific, but it hangs over all sites under IIS on the box. I really cannot believe it is free. There is a pay version that allows different configurations for each site on the box – well beyond worth the money if you have a serious business and have any need for this.

They also have a very good “Regular Expression Test Utility” that, if you find regular expressions semi-enigmatic like I do, then this utility will help you nail them down.

Helicon – thank you. Seriously.