Commons.TV (What is aprigliano doing?)

A while back, I posted my immediate thoughts on TVU and how I was going to run it through a packet filter to take a closer look as to what is going on behind the scenes. Well, from what I could tell there was nothing bad going on. TVU is good and not evil. Then I noticed that they have they put out broadcasting software for the public to use. Oh? O.K. I took a look at it. It is very beta, but they are working on it and it semes pretty stable (well, the part that transmits the stream is stable, the video view crashes on me – don’t care – it does not interrupt the stream and I’m not watching the video.)

O.K. here is the point of all this. I’ve started a new TVU Channel called “Commons.TV” – channel 60752. I scour the web look for creative commons licensed material then post it. And since I make no money, that is a lot of material. You would be surprised as to what is out there and how good it can be. And I hope you are surprised.

If you would like to watch, either download the TVU application (Windows only) or go to this page on Viidoo (again Windows only, grrrr) and type in channel 60752 and give it a whirl.

The website Commons.TV is up and as soon as I get over some technical hurtles then I am going to give the site the attention it deserves.

Turn on, tune in and copyleft.

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Inane Bug #3 – Apple Software Update

A while back, circa September of aught six, our Macs had a bug. Here it was. You see, by default, Macs set you up as an administrator when you are the only user on a box. The problem with this is that your permissions get passed down to the software you run, meaning, if you are an administrator, your software can now do what administrators do. The fix – stop being an administrator. Cool? Yes. Easy enough. Derek explains how. Derek’s cool. We are all cool, babies.

Now, the inane bug. When you stop being an administrator, the system fails to inform you of new software updates being available. It is kind of annoying to find out that a cool new version of iTunes has been available (with the immensely NOT useful FULL SCREEN “coverflow” ) and you do not have the latest iTunes because Software Update did not tell you.

I have personally verified the bug on three separate systems with the administrator fix: a PPC Mac Mini, a PPC G5 iMac, and my Intel Dual Core Mac Mini. The fact that my personal verification is, well, mine, consult your physician, your milage may vary.

Now it is not a major bug, but it is just a little backwards. Ubuntu 6.10 (which I am using now) will tell anyone legally logged in that there are software updates available, then ask for an administrator password when you choose to install the software update. OS X makes the assumption that since you are not an administrator, there is no point in checking, therefore does not bother to tell you about the updates.

Fix: you have to manually check for updates or (and I do not recommend this) become an administrator again.

I do not recommend running with your butt out as administrator. I like not running as admin because any bit of software that wants to install extensions to the system folder now has to ask for permissions whether the installer likes it or not. And if I am feeling really surly, I say “No.”

There is no Oscar the Grouch for OS X

For some reason I am constantly getting hits for searches like “oscar the grouch trash can application mac” and “oscar OS X trashcan.” I know they are for a little app on Mac O.S. 7 that used to have Oscar the Grouch come out of the Mac Trash Can and sing “I love trash.”

I am sorry to break it to you but, as far as I can tell, nobody has written one for OS X. Sorry.

In this forum thread (which might as well be a rumor of a rumor) states that its programmer will not do it because the lawyers will come after him. Eh… could be true.

So, again, I am sorry. And, yes, Oscar was the bomb. He is from whom I picked up all my anti-social tendencies.

Video link for RSS feeds

Inane Bug #2 (and a fix) -The ViewSonic WAPBR-100

I am not in the habit of “bricking”(“breaking” meets “brick”) equipment – unless the piece of equipment has driven me completely mad. Say hello to the ViewSonic WAPBR-100 802.11g access point. Absolute trash. This piece of “hardware” has been driving me crazy for about a year and a half now. Normally it takes me about 2 hours of constant play to eventually finagle this gadget to work properly. It does not behave as expected, improperly reads the MAC address of wireless routers and after so many months of working O.K., it tends to forget itself and stops working at all. I then have to go though the whole setup process again – a complete waste of time.

Out of my frustration, I googled around and found a wonderful forum post on DD-WRT.com by “cpresco” who, from what it looks like, took the risk of bricking this little beast and turning it into a functional, well behaving bit of wi-fi joy.

Thank you cpresco.

The steps are simple:

1. Go grab the The Linksys Firmware and uncompress it. It is the WAP54G v2.0 Firmware Release v3.04. You need to go to the Linksys site and hunt it down.

2. Reset the the access point (hold the small black button in the back down for a couple of seconds.)

3. Login (http://192.168.1.2 was my default. Yours may be different. Default password is “admin”)

4. Browse to http://192.168.1.2/fw-conf.asp and on this simple form, set “Firmware Header” to “disable” then click Apply. Wait. Then click “Go Home.”

5. Click the Administration tab, Click “firmware update” and point it to the “LinksysWAP54G_3.04.trx” file that you uncompressed. And Wait. DO NOT do anything. If you do you will have a high-tech paperweight with antenna. Just wait. The lights will flash for about a minute or two.

6. Your little box’s new ip address is http://192.168.1.245, password is “admin.”

7. Set it up accordingly. You will probably find that this time you can get it working in about 10 minutes.

Note – the new firmware does not use the “WLAN” LED on the front of the device. I do not care. It just freaking works.

UPDATE: Read here about my attempt with DD-WRT and this bugger.

The Retrobits Podcast

I was recently getting my geek on by hunting for podcasts that have something to do with the Commodore 64. It is a big web and I thought my chances were good. I found one. A good one. And is not just about the C64. I came upon The Retrobits Podcast.

Earl Evans has tasked himself with making a podcast about some of the most geeky material that geekdom has to offer: old computers and software, and somehow creates a podcast that wraps up a tremendous amount of information in to an approachable and interesting form. If you have ever owned or used a computer from before 1990 and still get a warm fuzzy feeling when thinking about that experience – this is a great podcast. And many of items he mentions are actionable D.I.Y. starting points that you can take to the next level on your own. I like that.

I sent him an email on some recent posts of mine and he kindly mentioned them on his podcast and the accompanying show notes. It was quite unexpected. Thanks, Mr. Evans.

If you weep at the end of Accidental Empires, do give it a listen.

Commodore 129

Q: What do you get when you mix some random classical music midi file (Bach’s Invention No. 13) with GarageBand and a geek with an hour to spare.

A. A lawsuit? We’ll see.
B. Some noise.
C. A tribute to the Commodore 128 I had when I was 12 years old.
D. All of the above.

Listen and find out.

Commodore 129.mp3

It is licensed Creative Commons “Do whatever the hell you like, including make cash, with attribution, you commie.”

And this is the ad that inspired this “quest.” It is for the Commodore 64 which the Commodore 128 could emulate.