Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

New Nailers!

Monday, March 28th, 2011

I picked up my new Hitachi nailers on Sunday night visiting my parents down in Niagara.

On the way home from work tonight I picked up some 23 gauge pins from Home Depot – the maximum length is 1 3/8″ for this tool. I already had a pack of DA style finishing nails from Canadian Tire. The Mastercraft 35° nails come in a 1000 pack and work even though the tool specifies 34°. Otherwise you’ll have to special order Senco packs of 700 or 4000 – I think crispair has some too.

After dinner I tested out the new nailers – here they are a 23 gauge NP35A pin nailer and a 15 gauge NT65MA4 finishing nailer:

Server Upgrade

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

I was so far behind on my servers OS upgrades that I had to do a destructive dump and load to get it back to the current version on Saturday.
I almost remembered to save everything except for:

  • My current emails – destroyed by a corrupt tar file
  • All my mailman mailing lists – stored in /usr/lib/mailman if anyone else is backing up their server!

Now I just need to remember to upgrade as new versions are released so I won’t have to do all this crazy dump and load unless something major comes along.

Fredora 14: Android SDK

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Started installing the Android SDK on my Fedora laptop.
I’m interested in making improvements to an app that leverages the Environment Canada data sets plus learning about how Android applications are developed.

These are the instructions I’m following to get started:

Smarter Shopping Carts @ Loblaws Superstore

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Tonight I was picking up some groceries on the way home from work at the Superstore on Dundas and Trafalger. On my way in with my green bins a guy was standing with a shopping cart that had a computer with a touch screen mounted on the handle. He showed me how to flip through the current flyer and how to search for products in the store and off I went.

Canon PIXMA MX860 All-In-One Printer

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

I purchased a Canon PIXMA MX860 printer after the holidays during the boxing week sale. I have been looking for a printer/scanner/fax for the house for a while. We’ve lived without one for 3 years but every now and then I want to print or copy a document and it has become annoying enough that I’ve decided to do something about it. A co-worker made fun of me for wanting a fax in this day and age. While I agree with him, every now and then a fax comes in handy – like dealing with realtors.

I was looking for a laser all in one, but the cost of those with wireless network and a fax is north of $400 CAD. Way more than I was comfortable paying for a home office machine.

This device has great reviews – there were a few negatives concerning the print quality but for $100 CAD on sale from Best Buy I can’t see how it gets much better than that.

The big issue I found after unpacking it and loading in the print head and inks is that there is no way to configure the networking of the device from Linux. I had to use the packaged window application to get the device set up on my LAN since I have secured my wireless network. But once the device joined the network I haven’t had any problems printing. I haven’t tried scanning with the Canon drivers (europe location) yet but will up date when I have to figure that out. Sane might already have the drivers set up to go.

For those looking for something to do, you could probably try to sniff the communication of the printer on the USB port. Another thing that would be great is to sniff out the communication of ink levels and other admin tasks between a windows machine and the printer. My install of cups doesn’t seem to handle the feedback.

I haven’t tried the fax, scanner, or media readers yet but the copier and printer work as expected.
I modified our PPD file to do grey scaling by default to save on colour ink. If you want a colour copy you have to change the advanced setting. I can post the change to the PPD file if anyone needs it but you can find them online.

Configure Scanning

Install the snapgearmp rpm.
Edit the file /etc/sane.d/pixma.conf to point to your networked PIXMA MX860 printer.
Check your firewall to make sure 8612 is open in both directions. Or run service iptables stop to disable your firewall for now.
Open Applications -> Graphics -> Simple Scan and it should recognize your scanner.
For more details read the man page man sane-pixma

Yak High Speed Internet

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Our Yak High Speed Internet has been down since August 1st. That’s 11 days of not having a network connection at home.

For most I suppose it may not be that big a deal, but then again. How long do you think you could live without the Internet, email, online banking, working from home (telecommuting)?

The network is fine from our side. The router is ok, we are getting Username denied because Yak moved away from Teksavvy and tried to handle the tech side of being an Internet Service Provider (ISP) on their own. Previously they were a 3rd party reseller of Teksavvy, which resells Bells DSL bandwidth. The transfer over must have dropped lots of customers ID’s on the domain because apparently we are joining a long list of those affected.

As an IT professional I know a bit more about the issues they are talking about and the bits and pieces of facts I can get out of the tech support group. Yak should be ashamed of themselves. 11 days of downtime in a month is ridiculous, it is 1/3 of the month. Even worse, it happened on the long weekend while we were actually home and wanted to use the network.

Yak is legally covered by their Terms of Service (TOS) and doesn’t owe us anything, but if they want to keep us as a customer I am expecting the issue to be resolved shortly and a refund of the entire months service fee, not just refunding the days of the outage.

We may have to look for another company to be our ISP, and take our phone business with us. Right now Teksavvy is leading the pack. At least they were able to provide us with the services we were paying for.

Flu Shot 2008

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Yesterday I got an email from HR here at GE about the employee benefit of bringing in nurses to administer on site flu shots. I have to admit that I have yet to get a flu shot when they have been available ever since University.

Today I read this CBC article titled Canadians urged to get flu shots despite problems.

I think I’ll continue the trend and not get a flu shot again this year. If I was interacting with older people or newborns more often then I might. But I’m not convinced it does more good than bad. I’ll just let nature take it’s course and roll the dice.

This from a complete health care idiot.

Fountain Pen

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

I took a step back from all the convinces of modern day life and bought a fountain pen.

Not that I’m giving up electricity and computing or anything but this pen is somewhere in the middle. It uses a medium nib (the tip part) and ink cartridges instead of filling a well in the body of the pen from an eye drop dispenser. I can buy a well adapter if I ever wanted to use scented ink or blood to “seal a deal” — but I don’t see that happening in the near future.

I did a little research on introductory pens and found a site that recommended a Lamy Al-Star pen as a great starter pen that is rugged for daily use and the ink writes really well on moleskin paper – which is my notebook of choice.

So far I’m happy with it — when I opened the pen and punctured the cartridge I got ink on my fingers. Upgraded

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

I’ve been working on a hardware upgrade for over the holidays. I’ve almost migrated all the things that I use from the old machine to the new.

I’m running a RAID 1 array of hard drives. This allows me to mirror all the data from one hard drive onto the other in case one of them physically fails. I will be able to recover my data from the other and rebuild the array once a new hard drive is inserted.

Lots of software upgrades have taken place and I’m finally running a current Linux operating system again. The hardware is power efficient running a VIA Esther processor at 1500MHz and the CPU runs fanless, but of course the power supply does not. This makes it nice and quiet as well.

RAM has been bumped up to 512 from 128 in the old machine with a massive 80Gig hard drive.

It just shows that you don’t need a huge power sucking work horse to do basic things like web serving, email, and data base work. That is unless you are serving for a site like Digg or Slashdot. I have a feeling that my network pipe would be the bottle neck and not my hardware in case I ever get swamped with traffic. But I haven’t left it to chance either, my firewall ensures that only a trickle gets through and not a tsunami of network traffic.

All that is left to do now is the following services. I’d like to get them finished up before new years eve so I can decommission the old machine to the dumpster for the new year.

  • SVN
  • Trac
  • munin

SQL Injection

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

Good ol’ Bobby Tables. A good giggle from XKCD.