Tag Archives: linkedin

Printing from the iPad without buying a new printer

Ok, so you’ve got a snazzy new iPad, and would like to print.  Since iOS 4.2, Apple has had AirPrint, which only works with a small set of HP printers.  While yes, it’s super cool to be able to print from the iPad, how much will you really do this?  If it’s enough to warrant buying a new printer, good for you.  If you’re like me, and want to have the ability to do so, but probably will rarely do it.  Read on to find out more. Continue reading Printing from the iPad without buying a new printer

Home Virtualization Project 2.0

Virtualization FunnelYou may remember the Home Virtualization Project from last year.  In that project, I converted my existing server, based on a Shuttle XPC (SP35P2 Pro, to be more precise) from a Linux server running VMware Server 2.0 to a VMware ESXi 3.5 server.  It worked well, but left a few things to be desired, such as..

  1. No RAID
  2. Onboard NIC required significant fiddling to get working under ESXi 3.5u4
  3. No onboard video, so I needed a video card, plus a network card to get going (the real root cause of #1 above).
  4. A bit loud.  The system wasn’t terribly loud, but for something that’s on full-time in the background in my office, it could be distracting at times.

So here we are, it’s a brand-new year, so the big project was an upgrade, inspired by some requirements I found with a project at work.  In the end, the old server was converted into a workstation and now has a happy home.  So what’s the current system?  Another Shuttle XPC.  This time, it’s the SG45H7.  This is a slightly smaller chassis than the already small SP35P2 Pro.  The SP line has space for 2 hard drives up top, above the optical drive that the SG line lacks, resulting in a shorter case.  The SG45H7 is targeted as an HTPC, and includes onboard video with both SVGA and HDMI outputs.  Further, it includes 2 expansion slots, one PCIe x16 and one PCI. Continue reading Home Virtualization Project 2.0

Home Virtualization Project

Virtualization FunnelAs some of you may know, though may or may not actually care, I was previously running my home server on Ubuntu Jaunty x86_64, and ran VMware Server 2.0 on it.  I had VMs for my SSL VPN and some occasionally used VMs for other things.

I was tired of performance that VMware Server offered, along with its baggage.  For instance, the Web UI suffered from frequent crashes, and it was also fairly slow.  Having had great success in the lab at the office with VMware ESXi, I decided that was the way to go.  ESXi 4.0 is still fairly new, and I’ve had some trouble with my SSL VM on it, so I decided to sit that one out for a bit, leaving me with 3.5u4.

Next hurdle – my hardware.  I use a Shuttle XPC for my server.  It’s small, and doesn’t inhale too much power, so I found it to be a good choice as a Linux server, what it’s spent most of its time as.  Unfortunately, as it uses a Marvell Ethernet chipset (the sky2 driver), and that’s not on the VMware HCL, there wasn’t a driver for it.  But then, KernelCrash to the rescue.  The author gives very nice build instructions to get a mod_sky2.0 driver that works on ESXi 3.5u4.  It’s been good enough that I haven’t noticed any problems with performance or functionality.

I did have to give up my Linux software raid, so at the moment, I’m sort of running without a net.  My plan is to add an external RAID box, either connected via eSATA or 1GbE NAS.  Obviously eSATA will perform better, but I’m not yet convinced I’ll see much of a practical performance difference.  I’ll add a new Intel e1000 NIC to the system dedicated to storage if I do that.  Anyone have thoughts on VMware iSCSI vs NFS performance?

Now I’ve got VMs for my SSL VPN, my File/Pri DNS/DHCP/kitchen sink server, a secondary DNS, and a FreeNAS, as well as some assorted client systems to test various things.  All in all, it’s worked very well.

If you want to go straight to ESXi 4.0, KernelCrash has you covered there as well.

Bookmarklet Overdrive


Bookmarklets rock.  They’re great timesavers, and a worthy addition to your browser’s bookmark bar.

So, what’s a bookmarklet?  In short, a bookmark, typically constructed with JavaScript that does a specific task.  For example, emailing some data via your favorite webmail provider, or checking Bugmenot for a login to a site you don’t really want to register for, or generating a shorter URL for a site.  Here are the ones I keep around.  Hopefully you’ll use some of them.  To grab them, mouse over the link and drag to your browser’s bookmark bar.  I recommend you make a folder on your bookmark bar and toss your bookmarklets in that folder (that’s what I do).

Here’s the breakdown of my favorite bookmarklets…

Google Services

Google This: Select some text on a page, click the bookmarlet, blammo – you’ve got a Google search for the selected text.

Google Images: Select some text on a page, click the bookmarlet and you’ve got a Google Image search for the selected text.

GAppMail This: Send the selected text via Google Apps for Your Domain Mail. You’ll need to edit this one to change out yourdomain.com for what your domain name actually is.

Gmail This: Send the selected text via Gmail.

Google Cache: Pull up the Google Cache version of the currently loaded page.

Google Map This: Select an address, get a Google map of it.

Geocode: Get the Latitude & Longitude for the center of a Google map.

Google Translate: Translate the currently loaded page into English

Web Development

Show Divs: Show the <div> areas on the currently loaded page.

ReCSS: Reload CSS for the currently loaded page.

W3C HTML Validator: Run the currently loaded page through the W3C’s HTML Validator.

W3C CSS Validator: Run the currently loaded page’s CSS through the W3C’s CSS Validator.


Acronym Lookup: Lookup an acronym in the Internet Acronym Database

Urban Dictionary Lookup: Lookup a selected word in the Urban Dictionary.

Social Networking

Del.icio.us Linkbacks: Show del.icio.us links to the current page.

Compulsory Login Bypass

BugMeNot: Lookup usernames & passwords for various sites.

URL Shorteners

DiggBar: Uses the new DiggBar for URL shortening.

Cli.gs: Uses the Cli.gs shortening service.

Find Your Honda Radio Code Easily.

[ 2014 Update – Guys, I can’t magically give you your radio code.  Read the blog post.  If the code isn’t where I said, you’ll be going to the dealer to get it sorted out.  Ok? ]

Yesterday, I hopped in my car (a 2005 Honda Civic that I picked up back in 2004), and went to the Wawa about a mile away to pick up a bit of lunch.  The car started fine, drove just fine, and all seemed, well, fine.  That is, until I got in the car to come back home.  The car wouldn’t turn over, no power, no nothing.  Just a very faint clicking noise that lasted about 5 seconds after turning the key off.

Yup, it was a dead battery.  Fortunately, as it was only a mile, I walked home, ate my lunch, then as Heather & the kids had arrived back at home, we hopped in the van to go back over.  I could have avoided this if I’d simply left the jumper cables in my trunk.  For some unknown reason, I took them out and left them in the garage after I’d last used them.

One jump start later, I was able to drive the car back home.  I grabbed the van keys, ran to Pep Boys and grabbed a new battery, as the old one was the original, now nearly 4 years old, and had a dark eye – i.e. It’s Dead Jim.  Swapping out the battery was easy enough, and then I found a new problem.  My radio has the anti-theft feature that requires a 5-digit code to unlock it.  Fortunately, after a bit of googling, I found that if you sit in the driver’s seat, open the glove box and look at the little sticker on the left side of the outer shell of the glove box, you’ll find two numbers.  The one on top is 5 digits.  Guess what?  It’s your radio code.

Wildly convenient for situations like this, but what if my radio were stolen?  Someone smart enough to steal a radio is probably also smart enough to look at a sticker that’s less than a foot away from the radio, right?