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kacked.com



Network Television

Well, I had planned to work on my site today. My brother woke me at 12:30 p.m. to see if I wanted to go to lunch. Sounded pretty good so he treated me to chinese food at the Woodlands and afterwards we went down to Frys and got the gear to setup another Myth TV.

I spent the rest of the day setting up his new PVR. Got it working ok after several problems. Good learning experience. At least, that's the positive way to look at it, heh. The sound on his box is hosed. I made the mistake of using the "on board sound", which has no range as far as volume control and is noisy. There were several other problems encountered along the way, like the computer wouldn't boot knoppix until I used the nousb cheatcode. Apparently too the pci slot next to the agp slot doesn't work real good if there is an agp video card installed. Now that I think about it I maybe read something about this being the way that agp works.

One cool thing about my brother having a PVR is that I will be able to watch television over the home network here without having to have a computer dedicated to just TV. He's bigger into television that I am anyway, although I could see it starting to take off with me. I don't want to miss Sealab if I can help it, and of course Charlie Rose. Futurama is cool too. But it's the odd obscure thing that I'll be watching mostly.

Using a PVR for your television viewing is easy to get used to. Once I started using it I wondered how I was able to do without it (mostly by just not watching tv at all.) But now he's got a PVR and I have disassembled mine. I'll still try and maintain a meager diet of time shifted fare but it will all be coming to me over cat 5...


More Redesign

Working again on my site. Nothing to show for it yet. Nothing I want anybody to see anyway, but it's coming along nicely. Made some buttons which I was reasonably happy with (that's my home button in the "on state") but then realized it was too old school of an approach. Redoing it using css, and should be able to wrap that up tomorrow.

When the buttons go up they'll all link to the different features in their non-integrated states and then I can go through a bit at a time and make it all look like one site. That's the plan anyway... Let's see what happens.

Still shooting for something like this


Computer Mediated Television

Been experimenting the past several days with Myth TV --software for creating your own PVR (personal video recorder? programmable?)

Anyway, I'm really impressed with the results --I have the thing running full time. It's setup to record a number of television shows that look interesting. Guess I'll see how interesting. I was watching Letterman with it earlier tonight. When the commercials came on I was able to instantly bypass them just by pressing z on the keyboard.

Yeah, I know you can do this with a Tivo or Replaytv. But this software is free and open source. As a result I would expect the features and usability to at least keep pace with the commercial version of digital vcr's.

Can't quite get a handle on how stoked I am about this new toy. It's been a while since I have gotten this excited about something like this. Guess it comes from feeling like I'm finally in control of what and how I get exposed to television (of course I'm not, but maybe more so...) This has always been very important to me. I'm used to dealing with it by just trying to avoid television. Now I can choose what I want to watch and when. It's still sinking in. I'm sure I'll have a lot more to say about this.

Oh yeah --thanks to cesman for creating knoppmyth (and of course to the creator/s of myth tv.)


Do As I Say

An interesting article at the New York Times about filesharing. I don't have a lot to say about this in particular (since I don't use things like Kazaa or whatever.) I'm more interested in the underlying issues of "intellectual property" and copyright. That sort of stuff.

There are a couple of telling quotes in the article (is it ok to cut and paste this in here?):

As their favorite musicians recombine digital samples to create new music, downloaders recombine digital songs in new contexts.

"I don't think they think of it as copying music," said Joe Levy, deputy managing editor of Rolling Stone. "It's a very individual experience for them. They want the songs they want in the order they want. Then it becomes not the new Mary J. Blige album, but their own mix. It's a much more individual package of music. Kids view it as an interactive and creative act."

Having it "your way" IS the american way. When are the record companies going to realize that their business model no longer works with the way that consumers want to listen to music? At least Apple gets it now (finally someone gets it...) What do they say at Burger King? "have it your way?" The american consumer has come to expect that they WILL have it their way. The record industry should be cashing in on this rather than sueing their customers.

Later there's a bit where a record exec is caught stealing intellectual property (doh!): ...discussing his research with an executive at a media organization that has been very aggressive about trying to discourage file-sharing. When Mr. Bernoff asked the executive how he had gotten the report, which Forrester sells for $895, the man hesitated.

"They got a copy from one of the studios," Mr. Bernoff said. "Here is an organization that's saying that stealing hurts the little people, and they took our intellectual property and they shuttled it around like a text file."

New York Times: Beyond File-Sharing, a Nation of Copiers


Kacked Redesigned

Going through this redesign thing with my web site. It started when I realized that I had been messing around with different things on my server. Stuff like a comics site, chatroom, photo gallery. I mean, I been doing this for a while now. Everytime I had set something like that up, I always seemed to do it as a separate web site. It occurred to me the other day that they were really just different manifestations of kacked behavior.

Time to fold them all up in one. I figure the best way to go about coming up with a new design for the site is to lay it out using something like Gimp. It's just easier to change it around until I get something that appeals to me. So, I did that and ended up with something that tickles me, but there are still a few problems with it. I can't quite put my finger on them all. Best to let the deep part of my mind wrestle with it for a bit. Who knows maybe I'll just shine the whole thing on...

Here's the lastest Gimp mockup

Everything is a place holder --it's just a mockup right? Something to give me an idea of the space and how the elements relate to one another. The logo will probably be smaller (and have a little more polish to it), the smart remark on the right will probably be different or something else entirely. The image bar was cribbed from somewhere --it's just temporary as well. I found it when I went to a well know public domain archive. I was going to get a bunch of free images and mock up something like that but then they had already done the work for me. So I just snagged it, it's only temporary.

The elements in the menu bar might look better if they were distributed evenly across the window. I can play with that when it's html rather than a graphic. The idea is that the color/tint of the page and color/tint of the image bar will change depending on what part of the site you are in. While somehow retaining the same major theme.

It occurs to me know as I'm looking at this again that the essense of the redesign is just going to be one of those image slice javascript rollover thingies that I can do using Fireworks. The whole thing can include a new kacked logo, menu and everything. Hmm...


Rolling My Own Webmail

Oh man. Tired. Caught some head cold thing from my brother. After this post I think I'll jump in bed and watch a movie.

Installed a bunch of stuff on my openbsd box. Later I'll write a detailed account of what I did (and why), not so much for you as for when and if I need to reinstall it again. Took a while to figure out. Let's see... here's what I installed:

The hardest part was getting my brain wrapped around the authentication part of courier-imap. It doesn't seem to want to work as flexibly on openbsd as it does on some other *NIX systems. Of course this has been my experience generally with openbsd --everything seems a little tougher to setup than on Linux. Worth it though if I have to worry about security problems less and it's fun to learn a new OS. Something more industrial server oriented.

It's all working and I think I got a handle on setting up virtual webmail accounts. Next up, some kind of spam and anti virus filtering. I don't know how seriously I can take this webmail thing though since I'm not convinced that the power or my internet access may go down at any minute. Things are kind of unstable recently (or should I say more unstable) since my roommate lost his job. Hope it works out for him.

Oh yeah. Did I mention that I need to learn how to do some kind of backup on this openbsd box? Too much cool stuff here to lose it all due to the hard drive blowing out or a lightning strike. That's a pretty serious threat out in I'm starting to learn. Backup... backup... backup... maybe if I keep repeating this I'll actually do something about it. O.K., yeah, movie time!


The Return of Kacked Comics

Got my comics site moved over from my brother's hosting space. It's running now off the machine here in my room. The pages seem to download faster than my weblog does. Guess this means my weblog is processor throttled --since it's generating the site dynamically each time it's visited. To fix this I'm either going to upgrade the processor of the machine or start generating static pages for the site. Maybe both. I like the idea of using old clunker machines for headless web servers. What else are you going to do with old slow-ass machines...

Thanks again to my brother for turning me on to it. I setup a chatroom server goody on it for his site. I figured it was the least I could do since he gave me the machine. hehe.

It occurs to me now as I am setting this up that it's really not a separate site. Just part of kacked. I'll have to redesign (design... as if there really is a design now) the site and just fold it in.

Anyway, for now just check out my comics. I'll be putting a link on the site here (somewhere) but for now just use the one below. And I'll try and put up a new one each day.

Kacked Comics
Kacked Chatroom


Speaking of Competition

Came across another interview with Klaus (the man behind Knoppix), and since I agree with what he says and he puts it so well, I'm posting a link to it and excerpting some juicy quotes:

"In my opinion, the GNU software suite, together with the Linux kernel, have become THE most flexible and usable operating system and application software available for a vast variety of hardware platforms..."

"...It may be just my environment, but I do see GNU/Linux as THE mainstream operating system..."

"...if someone uses Windows... and is happy with it, agrees with the contracts and license policies and can afford the price, I see no reason why he should consider a change..."

"...I don't think that speaking of a "competition" is useful. Every OS and application has its advantages and disadvantages. Some may find KDE more easy to use than the Windows environment, others may disagree. People should have a choice, and the possibility to decide on their own, that's my opinion..."

PCTechtalk: I never had a Windows PC



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