Some recent computer deals

December 23, 2009

With seeing some pretty decent computer deals recently, I decided to post them and share:

eMachines – $189

Build your own: $399

Acer w/ display: $499

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Home-Built HD TV Antenna

November 5, 2009

Some people have recently asked me how I built my TV antenna that I’m using to utilize the free OTA (Over The Air) signals. I did not come up with the plans myself. I could have done the research on the wavelengths, the length of the wire needed, spacing, etc… but I figured that someone more knowledgeable than myself probably already did this research and testing. So, I used Google, and I was right.

This is what I based my antenna on. I modified it to only two levels (4 “V-shaped” sections totaling two levels), rather than the 4 in this how-to.

Here’s the link:  http://uhfhdtvantenna.blogspot.com/2007/01/post-any-questions-or-comments.html


Time Warner Creates a Stir Again!

June 1, 2009

There has been a stir over the past few days, as Time Warner quietly updates their subscriber agreement. We all speculated that their intent was to keep going as planed, regardless of customer feedback. They claim they’re listening, but other articles show otherwise!

So, what is there to do? There is a list of alternatives on stopthecap.com, but few really provide proper competition to Time Warner Cable. We all need to watch stopthecap.com to be sure we’re doing all that we can to combat this attempt!


High latency server

April 20, 2009

My VMWare Server has 2 300GB SATA drives installed, using software RAID. I’ve recently discovered why this system has been rather slow – the jumper on the drives was set to restrict throughput to 1.5Gb/sec. After changing this jumper, and installing updates, the system seemed to behave better, but not always.

After talking to a friend, I’ve learned that IDE (yes, SATA still communicates with IDE) is a really dumb protocol. Meaning… it leaves lots of processing to be done by the host computer in software, rather than handling the data totally on its own. Being that this is a virtual server host, more than one virtual server (VM) is runing on it. Each server is accessing the hard drive for data I/O, creating a queue of work to be pushed to the disks. The host then has to process these changes, and send the commands to the disks.

During one particularly heavy load, I was watching ‘top’, and found the following:

top - 02:01:53 up 13 days, 39 min,  2 users,  load average: 24.65, 20.69, 12.11
Tasks: 110 total,   4 running, 106 sleeping,   0 stopped,   0 zombie
Cpu(s):  3.2%us,  9.0%sy,  0.0%ni,  2.0%id, 84.9%wa,  0.0%hi,  0.9%si,  0.0%st

WOW! I’ve never seen a load average that high! Looking further, even though the CPU is not under a heavy load, we se that 84.9% of the CPU’s time is simply waiting for I/O to complete.

I recently ordered a 3WARE SATA RAID card to install into this machine, and hopefully alleviate this issue. Meanwhile, I wait for this process to complete, before I’m able to access the VMs reliably.


Protest Has Low Turnout

April 18, 2009
Protest Participants in front of Time Warner

Protest Participants in front of Time Warner

Located at the headquarters of Time Warner, the protest went well, but had a low turnout. The protest was scheduled to start at 11:00 AM in Highland park, off of Robinson Drive, then march 1.1 miles to TWC headquarters at 12:00 Noon, after select people spoke. Phillip Dampier, who created stopthecap.com, was interviewed for about 10 minutes by News8/Fox in the process.

Multiple other reporters were there to capture the story, including TWC’s own R-News station! This has me wondering what kind of slant they’ll put on the story. The low turnout was likely due to Sen. Schumer’s announcement at the same location on Friday. This announcement led us to believe that this cap idea was over, the press release 2 hours later led us to believe otherwise. This release was the reason for reinstating the rally, after careful review of the chain of events.

Two videos were taken from my iPhone and broadcasted live to ustream.tv. They were also archived for viewing:

  1. 12:34 PM
  2. 1:02 PM

Massa continues fight against Time Warner

April 17, 2009

It was announced yesterday that Eric J.J. Massa will be “moving forward with the legislation, the Massa Broadband Internet Fairness Act, to ensure that this unfair pricing does not spring up elsewhere.”

We should all join in together to thank him for not loosing sight of the goal, and continuing to fight for us.


Kyocera EOS: First foldable cell phone?

April 16, 2009

Kyocera recently unveiled it’s plans for the EOS foldable cell phone.

Kyocera EOS

Kyocera EOS

Made of polymer and an OLED display, it can be folded like a wallet. It is powered by kinetic energy, meaning it will charge as you walk!

Get more information at their website.