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Buying a Cable Box Now Possible 
Sunday, January 5, 2014, 2:05 PM - Computing Technology, Hardware
Posted by Administrator
Samsung just started selling its Smart Media Player, a set top box (STB) that will accept a CableCard from the cable company for $150. Previously these have only been available for purchase for connections to computers, such as a HDHomeRun, not directly to TVs. Cable companies typically charge a small rental fee of $2-5 per month per CableCard. As you can see this can pay for itself in 1-2 years compared to a $10/month (or more) HD STB rental from the cable company. You won't get all the features of the cable box like the guide or on-demand but it functions like a normal TV, pick a channel, the video shows up on the TV. For an infrequently used TV set, this could save a bundle while still getting HD quality.

The Samsung GX-SM530CF Cable Box and Streaming Media Player is available on Amazon and at time of writing is $138.
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Firewall 1 - Chromecast 0 
Wednesday, August 14, 2013, 9:38 PM - Hardware, Software, Security
Posted by Administrator
I unboxed my new Chromecast device yesterday. Setup was fairly straightforward, I entered my Wifi information, only to continually get an error that it "could not connect to the internet." I thought I might have has a Wifi issue, not connecting for some reason, maybe out of range or a DHCP issue. I was finally able to track it down. It turns out that it didn't like my DNS firewall. On my network I have blocked use of all DNS servers besides mine to handle problems like DNS Changer. I saw this traffic:

19:19:10.284578 IP 10.0.3.247.59034 > google-public-dns-a.google.com.domain: 57629+ A? pool.ntp.org. (30)
19:19:10.300858 IP 10.0.3.247.55306 > google-public-dns-a.google.com.domain: 6977+ A? clients3.google.com. (37)
19:19:11.300764 IP 10.0.3.247.48751 > google-public-dns-b.google.com.domain: 6825+ A? clients3.google.com. (37)


Chromecast is hard coded to use Google's Public DNS service and does not use the DNS servers provided by DHCP. Problem solved, but I had to punch a hole in my firewall specifically for Google DNS which is a little annoying.

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New Red Light Cameras in San Diego 
Saturday, January 24, 2009, 2:52 PM - Public Policy, Hardware, Privacy
Posted by Administrator
Since November, the city of San Diego has activated 7 red light cameras. The city's website also has descriptions of which directions are being targeted. Intersections include:

10th Avenue at "A" Street
10th Avenue at "F" Street
Aero Drive at Murphy Canyon Road
Camino Del Rio North at Mission Center Road
Camino De La Reina / Camino Del Rio North at Qualcomm Way
Clairemont Mesa Boulevard at Convoy Street
Cleveland Avenue at Washington Street
Del Mar Heights Road at El Camino Real
Grape Street at North Harbor Drive
Mira Mesa Boulevard at Scranton Road
Mission Bay Drive at Garnet Avenue
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iPod Killer 
Thursday, February 1, 2007, 9:41 PM - Computing Technology, Hardware
What if I told you that I had a device that has no limit on the amount of music that you can listen to? What if I told you that you could listen to the latest sports scores, news, and music instantaneously and in real time. There is no need to download podcasts with your computer. What if I told you that it would run for hundreds of hours before the battery needed to be recharged or replaced? What if I told you that this device cost pennies on the dollar compared to an iPod? This technology exists today and has been around for over 100 years, it is called, radio.
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Slashdot - My account of my own Slashdotting 
Friday, November 7, 2003, 3:00 AM - General, Computing Technology, Hardware
Posted by Administrator
This is a timeline of the events leading up to and following my post to Slashdot. All times Eastern Standard.

Saturday, November 1, 2003


3:36:17 PM I randomly visit www.purdue.edu.

3:44:08 PM I notice an interesting headline about a Sun donation to Purdue. I also see a picture of the Linux cluster, which I had visited in August. I follow the link to the article at the Purdue University News Service.

4:00 PM After reading the article, I start scheming. I think Slashdot would love this in conjunction with my images from the Purdue Machine Room, which have more images of the Linux Cluster. Its too bad my server could never handle all of that traffic with my 128 kbps upload speed via DSL. The "Slashdot Effect" is notorious for crippling websites due to the high amount of traffic. I need a mirror. Why not post them to my webspace at Purdue? Expert can probably handle the load.

4:35 PM Upload of images to expert.ics.purdue.edu begins. I begin work on a PHP page that will automatically display the thumbnails and provide links to larger sizes, including the file size. After completion, I realize that my home directory one level up will redirect to my home page on my server. I predict that my website will see a "Secondary Slashdot Effect" as people will try to visit this URL.

6:03 PM Upload to expert.ics.purdue.edu completes.

6:15 PM I make an anonymous submission to Slashdot.

9:16 PM My article is posted on the Slashdot main page by CowboyNeal.

9:49:00 PM I see my post on Slashdot while computing in the living room in my apartment on my laptop.

9:50 PM I begin sending out e-mails.

10:16 PM My boss Thomas calls me stating, "That's cool as hell." He is featured in a few of the images on my page. Then he requests that I add a page counter.

10:39 PM Tom calls again. We discuss the hit rate, at this point, about 50 per minute. I say, "I hope the expert people don't kick my ass."

11:40:29 PM An e-mail is sent to the Purdue Linux User Group (PLUG) mailing list regarding the article.

Sunday, November 2, 2003



12:30:00 AM Initial traffic graph for my DSL connection. The blue line indicates upload traffic. You can see my upload to expert followed by the "Secondary Slashdot Effect" of my webserver. Usage peaks at 137 kbps and 208 total visits today.


4:00:00 AM Seven hours after posted on Slashdot. Logs on expert show over 403,461 total directory views. 10,272 page hits. 13.35% of total bandwidth moved via the webserver, 12.28 GB moved!

11:15:00 AM Website traffic continues throughout the night and into the morning.


Monday, November 3, 2003


12:15:00 AM Website traffic finally begins to taper off. 588 visits since November 1. Spikes from visits will continue to be seen for days.


4:00:00 AM 748,483 files served out of my directory. 22.79% of traffic moved. 18,685 page hits.

Tuesday, November 4, 2003


12:13 AM I send an e-mail to thank the expert sys admins.

4:00:00 AM 774,305 files served. 19,338 page hits. 21.67 GB served, 24.39% of the total.

Friday, November 7, 2003


4:00:00 AM 782,563 files served. 19,555 page hits. 20.66% of the total bandwidth.
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