Monday, November 22, 2004

Half Life 2 - Silver Edition

Well I bit the bullet and picked up Half Life 2. I had been holding off but got bored yesterday and thought what the heck. I went with the silver edition because I figured most of the add-ons will only be available for silver customers (since CS:Source and DOD:Source are only included in the silver edition). The graphics are awesome and the gameplay has been very smooth. The only issue I have encountered thus far is the stuttering sound which valve is currently "investigating".

Looking forward to some great HL2 mods! Here's a shot of the files unlocking:

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Philips DVP624

philips dvp624
I'm in the market for a new DVD player and stumbled across the dvp624 by Philips. I have had several Philips products in the past and have had great luck with all of them. The player supports DivX 3.11, 4.x and 5.x (which I will probably use a lot), picture cd with mp3 music playback (hmm, might be cool) and progressive scan (which my tv does not support). I checked out for some reviews of this player but came up short. I guess no one has bothered to post a review yet so I may wait until some more info is available on the dvp624. Who knows, by that time I may even pick up a progressive scan tv and new surround sound system :).

Monday, September 27, 2004

fta satellite receiver

A buddy of mine can get great deals on FTA (free to air) satellite receivers and I have been thinking about picking one up. I have done some research and narrowed it down two receivers, the Pansat 2005A and the Fortec Lifetime Ultra:

Pansat 2500A

pansat 2500a

Smart Search from 1 to 45 Msps

(about 20 minutes per satellite)

Multi-function on-screen user interface.

(256 colors, picture-in-graphic, favorite lists, sorting, parental locks, 7 day EPG, Multi-Language)

Built in PAL-NTSC conversion.

Stores up to 3000 channels and 60 satellites


Easy satellite locator screen with bargraph & audio beeps

Manual PID scan, Network Scan, Multi-sat scan

Diseqc 1.2 & 1.3 control including diseqc positionner control capability.

Polarizer control for mechanical polarity tuning.

S-Video output for optimal video reproduction on S-Video TV sets.

Dolby Digital (AC3) coaxial output.

Hardware power on/off switch for added security.

RS232 port for software updates.

Front panel display.

UHF remote control port for UHF remote control kit (optional).

Loop through IF port for multiple receiver hookup.

Fortec Lifetime Ultra

fortec lifetime ultra

EPG (Electronic Program Guide) - 7 days of program information

Fully compliant with MPEG-2 Digital & DVB broadcasting

950~2150 MHz input Frequency (IF loop throughput)

Variable input Symbol Rate (1.5~45 Msps)

Multi-language OSD (On-screen Display)

Automatic PAL/NTSC Conversion

Fast Channel Change

Flexible reception of SCPC & MCPA from C/Ku band Satellites

Timer Function (Automatic On/Off Setting Function)

256-Colors (Graphic Use Interface)

P-I-G (Picture-in-Graphic) On-screen Display

Powerful Channel Editing Function

  -Sorting: Alphabetic, Satellite, FTA/Scramble, Parental Lock,

   TP Order

  -Move, Delete, Edit Favorites

  -Parental Lock, Channel Rename, Channel Skip

Manual PID/Satellite & TP/Network Scan

Simultaneous Scan of 4 Satellites

USALS Compatible

Capable Of Setting the Frequency for SMATV Systems

Upgrade through RS-232C (STB to STB, PC to STB)

The pansat receiver definitely seems to be the popular of the two although the fortec seems to be gaining ground. Considering I already have two satellite dishes on my house maybe I don't need another one. A fta receiver would be fun to play with though. So many toys, so little time...

BTW, eBay has great deals on Fortec and Pansat fta receivers.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Pocket PC Breakout - Free

If you happen to own a Pocket PC and are looking for a time waster then you should check out Cubicle Chaos! It is completely free for download and is fun to boot. Basically it is a breakout style game for Pocket PC.

A brief description:

Clear out all of the cubicles without losing the bouncing ball. Your desk acts as a paddle that slides across the bottom of the screen. This Break Out style game can be played as a one or two player turn-based game. Use the desk to keep the ball in play and try to aim it at the cubicles. Once all the cubicles have been removed then the level is over. This game available only for color devices.

Sunday, September 5, 2004

HL2 preload part 2

I just noticed the second part of the Half Life 2 preload is almost complete. This portion of the preload appears to be the sounds - the file name is base source shared sounds.gcf and it weighs in at 972MB! Add base source shared materials.gcf (1.01GB - from the first part of the preload) and you get a total of 1.96GB. I just checked my Doom3 folder and it totals 1.57GB.

Something of note, the newest version of GCFScape will allow you to see what is inside these files. The files are encrypted so there isn't much you can do with them at this point...

So I now have almost 2 gigs of useless files on my hard drive but I should be able to play Half Life 2 shortly after it is released and before it is available in stores ;).

Here's another Gmail invite.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Vocal Trance Mixes

For some good vocal trance mixes check out Generation Trance. Here you can download mixes by DJ GT and Project C. I personally like Project C but they are both worth a listen! If you do not want to download the mixes but would like to hear them they are played frequently on Digitally Imported (which is a great streaming radio station).

Saturday, August 28, 2004

HL2 preload complete!

Well I was finally able to start downloading the Half Life 2 preload on Steam last night. It actually came down a lot faster then I thought it would and has completed. Now I just have to wait until it goes gold so I can start playing it :). For anyone who cares the filename is base source shared materials.gcf and its size is 1,068,909KB.

Doom3 is keeping me occupied for the time being but I really can't wait for the Half Life 2 multiplayer mods. So many good modifications have came for the original Half Life. A couple that I still play are Team Fortress Classic and Natural Selection.

Oh yeah, here's another Gmail invite

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Even more gmail invites

Well as I stated here, free gmail invite, yesterday I received a gmail invite after a long dry spell. This was quickly used up as expected.. Anyhow, I was surprised to find 6 more invites today! Google must be ready for another swarm of beta testers to try and work any remaining kinks out before going live with gmail. I'm feeling generous again today so here are three invites:

I will post the remaining 3 over the next few days. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Free gmail invite

Well it's been awhile since my gmail account has received any invites but I got one today. I asked around and it seems everyone I know already has one so I decided to post it up here. This is first come, first serve and at this point is the only invite I have. If I happen to receive any more they will most likely end up here. If you miss this invite check back and I may have another one available. Here's the signup link

Congratulations to whoever gets in, I am sure you will be pleased with gmail.

Please do not email me requesting an invite! I will post more as I receive them.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Which OS Are You?

Want to find out what operating system you would be based on your personality? This short quiz will tell you! I ended up being Debian Linux:

You are Debian Linux. People have difficulty getting to know you.  Once you finally open your shell they're apt to love you.
Which OS are You?

Although this describes me perfectly I was hooked on Slackware when I used to toy around with Linux.

Sunday, August 22, 2004


For all you Windows users I can confirm that the uxtheme patcher from WindowsX will patch Windows XP SP2 RTM successfully. For those of you who do not know what uxtheme is here is a short explanation. uxtheme.dll resides in c:\windows\system32 and provides the interface for loading Windows theme files (known as Visual Styles). The standard Microsoft version will only allow for signed visual styles to be loaded. This is not ideal as there are many free visual styles available but are not signed because Microsoft does not allow us to sign our own. A great resource for visual styles is available at the Neowin Forums.

Friday, August 20, 2004

SEO Experiment

This is completely off topic but has to be posted in the name of science. mcdar, someone at the Digital Point forums, has requested help with his sleeping bags experiment. Being curious myself I decided to join in on the fun and can not wait to see what the results are. Stay tuned, if things get interesting I will provide an update.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Blogger SEO tips

I thought I publish a couple of blogger SEO tricks I have come up with, they may help you out. I have just recently made these changes to my blog and have not been able to gauge the results yet but I believe only good can come of this.

1. You must publish your blog via FTP or SFTP to a PHP enabled server. Sorry ASP users, no support at this time.

2. You must add the following to your .htaccess file
AddHandler application/x-httpd-php .htm

AddHandler application/x-httpd-php .html
If you are already using .php extensions for your files you will not need to do this. Also if you are using extensions other than .html and .htm you will have to add them to the .htaccess file as well. .htaccess file configuration is outside of the scope of this posting but Google has plenty of information.

You are still reading so I assume you qualify for the two requirements so let's get started.

Optimizing the title text

The first tip is to optimize the title text of your posts. This is accomplished by removing your blog's name from the title.

In the Blogger interface select Template. This will allow you to edit your current template. Once in this Template screen search for the line that reads <title><$BlogPageTitle$></title>. <$BlogPageTitle> is a Blogger variable that outputs "Your Blog Title" on the main page or "Your Blog Title: Your Post Title" on a post page. This is fine for the main page but a post page would be better just containing the title of the post. This is accomplished by replacing:


with (The below is one line of text):

<title><?php echo str_replace('<$BlogTitle$>: ','','<$BlogPageTitle$>'); ?></title>

With this chage complete, save your template and republish your blog. One drawback with this replacement is that your archive pages will now have a title containing only the time period for which the archive is for. I may post a workaround for this shortly.

Adding meta keywords

The next tip is adding keywords to your posts. Most if not all Blogger templates do not offer keywords. Adding keywords is very similar to replacing the title text as illustrated in the first tip.

Again, log into Blogger and edit your template. This time locate the line that contains <$BlogMetaData$>. Create a new line below this tag and paste the following code (The below is one line of text):

<meta name="keywords" content="<?php echo str_replace('<$BlogTitle$>: ','','<$BlogPageTitle$>'); ?>" />

This will add your blog title as a keyword to your main page, your post titles as keywords to your post pages and, unfortunately, add the archive dates as keywords to your archive pages.

That's it for now please leave a comment if you find this useful.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Windows XP SP2 Developers

Now that Microsoft has released Windows XP SP2 it is time to make sure your applications work. Microsoft has a Windows XP Service Pack 2 - Security Information for Developers page up to help with this process. This page has resources to ensure your website will work with SP2, information on the new security features and a whitepaper overview of the features in SP2. They also have a Windows XP Service Pack 2 Resources for IT Professionals for the more advanced developer / PC user. A webcast will be available here tomorrow, August 11th 2004, at 10AM Pacific time to discuss the August security bulletins as well as a detailed overview of SP2. They will also be answering questions regarding download and deployment of SP2. Be sure to check it out!

Thursday, August 5, 2004

PocketPC Trojan Horse

pocket pc
Well it has finally happened, a trojan horse has been detected in PDAs running Microsoft's PocketPC operating system. An article has surfaced on The Register: Trojan horse stalks PocketPC | The Register. Only a small amount of PocketPC's have been infected. This comes just shy of a month after the First Pocket PC Virus Surfaces surfaced which was a "proof of concept" and not released into the wild. A quote from which lists the virus as Backdoor.WinCE.Brador.a:

Brador identifies the IP address of the infected handheld and sends it to the virus coder to inform him that the handheld is connected to the Internet and that the backdoor is active. Brador then opens port 2989 and awaits further orders.

The backdoor responds to the following commands:

d - lists the directory contents

f - closes the session

g - uploads a file

m - displays MessageBox

p - downloads a file

r - executes the specified command

And to think we all thought our personal data was safer on a PDA. For the time being I believe it is but who knows what the future holds?

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Upgrade your Axim to WM2003SE with a Toshiba ROM?

pocket pc

Apparently someone made a post on the Dell forums stating that they upgraded their Axim X3i to Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition by using the Toshiba upgrade ROM. I did not get to see the post myself as it was quickly deleted by I cannot see this working myself. For one thing the wireless chipset in the dell unit is completely different. I am sure there are many other components that are different between the two units.

It *may* be possible to somehow decompress the ROM, insert the Dell specific software and the recompress the ROM. This would probably not work unless the files used to replace the software were from an X30 image (it runs WM2003SE). Needless to say this is a lot of work and would most likely end up leaving your handheld in a useless state. Some progress has been made in the area of X3i ROM flashing and it is possible to restore your ROM from a flash card even if the current ROM image is corrupt and also provided the boatloader does not get overwritten.

I have to admit, this has got my interest. I have even downloaded the Toshiba ROM and will no doubt be loading it up in a hex editor tomorrow...

Tuesday, July 27, 2004 PDA Review: Dell Axim X30 High has a great review of Dell's Axim X30 "High". Bottom line:

The Dell Axim X30 is a screaming machine, and I have to applaud Dell for being the first out of the gate with a device running WM2003 Second Edition that is extremely well priced. You really cannot complain about Pocket PC devices being out of a reasonable price range with the Low model starting at only $199 and when for $150 more you get dual wireless, double the processor speed, and double the memory capacity. The X30 High is a winner, and should do quite well in today's market while requiring HP to think about its pricing scheme.
Kind of makes me wish I didn't buy the X3i, landscape orientation looks so sweet!

The full review can be found here: PDA Review: Dell Axim X30 High

Monday, July 26, 2004


Well Mydoom.M (as F-Secure calls it) got into our network at work today. Panic ensued only to have us come back to reality and realize it was not as bad as we thought. I believe Google's quick response helped greatly. The virus obtained the infected computers email address(es) and proceeded to search google with the domain name. With the results of the Google search, the virus then spread to all of the email addresses it found.. Pretty ingenious if you ask me but harmfully none the less. The virus also enables a backdoor on port 1034/TCP. Thank god for firewalls..

Saturday, July 24, 2004

New site

I've been hard at work on a new site which I hope to launch shortly. The weather this week was just too great to miss so I'm a little behind track. If you're bored check out my employers site: Barrett Corporation. I'm off to the lake, more updates soon!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Dell Announces Bluetooth GPS and Keyboard

Been busy but there is some cool news from Dell:



ROUND ROCK, Texas, July 21, 2004— Dell today introduced two new accessories for the Dell Axim™ X30 handheld computer that help customers stay on course and in contact - the Dell GPS navigation system ($249) and the Dell executive keyboard ($99), both with Bluetooth® wireless technology.

Using the Axim X30 equipped with integrated Bluetooth, delivery drivers, road warriors, commuters and students can take advantage of the easy wireless connectivity to find the quickest routes, remain productive and stay in touch.

The Dell GPS system easily transforms the Dell handheld into a wireless navigation system with voice-prompted, turn-by-turn directions and graphic instructions. Featuring NAVTEQ maps of North America, the Dell GPS navigation system also describes one-way streets, turn restrictions and speed limits as well as convenient points of interest such as area ATMs, gas stations, parking facilities and restaurants.

The Dell Axim executive keyboard is a full-size QWERTY keyboard and is optimized for serious use of text-based applications such as taking notes or answering e-mail while connected to a WiFi network. When not in use, the portable keyboard folds into a compact package about the size of a passport wallet. The innovative Stowaway™ keyboard also comes with a detachable stand to hold the Axim X30, allowing either landscape or portrait orientation.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

First Pocket PC Virus Surfaces

BitDefender AntiVirus - Data Security, AntiVirus Software, Free Protection claims to have been provided the very first virus on the Windows CE platform for evaluation. The virus, called WinCE.Dust.A by the security firm, infects all the PE (ARM executable) files stored in the root directory of the device. It then asks the user:
Dear User, am I allowed to spread?
The virus has not been released into the wild and was created as a "proof of concept" - that virii and malicious programs can be created for Pocket PC systems. The creators also authored the Cabis virus for the Symbian OS.

At this point Microsoft does not provide updates for Pocket PC - It is up to the OEM to provide updates to the end users. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Most likely many anti virus/firewall/etc programs will start to crop up in the near future.

Friday, July 16, 2004


Work on my site is coming along slowly - I haven't had much time to devote to it lately. Another rainy day, I think we have had maybe 5 days above 80 degrees this summer. Hopefully the good weather will come towards the end of summer..

I see blogger now has a new interface that features a WYGIWYS interface. It has support for colors, fonts, etc.. all the usual formatting options an editor would have. I just wish they would incorporate Gmail's spell checker...

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Windows XP SP2 RC2

I installed Windows XP SP2 RC2 on one of my computers today. Basically all I can see is that it is one huge security update. It also includes 'Security Center' which gives users quick access to existing security features such as the Windows XP Firewall and turning Automatic updates on and off. The security center also has a Virus Protection section which somehow can manage various different anti virus programs. I also noticed was a wireless network configuration wizard. I haven't had much time to play with it yet but from what I can see there isn't much of interest to the power user. The security enhancements are defiantly good for the average user who knows nothing of firewalls and windows update.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004


Got bored so I am searching for some images to spruce this place up a bit. I have found three so far but I only really like one of them (the Pocket Pc one) so I am still on the hunt. If anyone is interested on how I get them to appear in my posts leave a comment. It's a pretty crude template hack right now but I haven't thought of another way to do it yet. BTW, all the images are from stock.xchng. I should be working on my site but I don't seem to have the ambition this week...

Saturday, July 10, 2004

2004 Software Pocket PC Awards

Time is running out for the fourth annual Pocket PC Best Software Awards. All new software / revisions released before July 31st are eligible. The time line is as follows:

May – July:

Nominations determined

Judges Selected

Judges chose which categories they will vote

July 19-31: Nominations made public for discussion.

July 31:

Nominations closed

Last date a software version is eligible

Aug 1-7: Handango provides judges with download instructions

August: Judges evaluate, comment and vote

September 20: Finalists announced

October 26: Winners announced at the San Francisco, CTIA conference,, and at this Web site. Winners and finalists also announced at in the December/January Pocket PC magazine.

The 2003 winners are available at the link above, best of luck to all of the contestants!

Friday, July 9, 2004

Slow Day

I setup Digital Points new ad sharing system here today. I have yet to setup any ads of my own but plan to do so very soon. I expect the results of this ad network to be very good as this system should draw a lot of webmasters and best of all it is free!

A new template for my blog is in the works which will match my main site ( I hope to have both up tomorrow provided I have enough time to complete them.

Check out this great Online Color Schemer. It works very well for finding 'harmonious' colors. Read their tutorial here to find out how this tool can help you discoverer color schemes to use when designing web sites.

My Gmail account is still working great, 75 messages and only using 1% of my quota! It is one of the best web based interfaces I have used. 100% of my personal email is now going to this account.. Definitely a great product.

Thursday, July 8, 2004

free banner exchange program

A free banner exchange program for vBulletin 3.x, Movable Type, Blogger, PHP, and ASP users has been created by Digital Point Solutions. This is a very interesting program with an endless amount of potential. The ad network is by far the best free banner exchange program I have come across. Some info from the FAQ:

What is this?

The ad network is a network of site owners that offer ad space to the network. In return, the ads they define are displayed across the entire network.

How much does this cost?

100% free.

What types of ads can be served?

Currently the system can serve 468x60 graphic banners, 468x60 text based banners or a simple text based ad. For the text banners, you can control the background color of the banner.

Are there any unacceptable ads?

Gambling, adult, political and pharmaceutical related ads will not be accepted for the ad network. All ads are reviewed before they become live on the network.

You can signup by clicking here and begin serving free banner ads right away! This is just one of many free web tools provided by Digital Point. You can check out the rest of these tools here: Digital Point Solutions Free Web Tools.

New Web Host

Well I finally got around to switching from my free host to Dathorn. I wanted to have everything in order before I launched my site to avoid any possible issues with search engines. My DNS seems to have propagated.. so far so good.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004 And Updates - The main site is coming along nicely. I have finally decided on a color scheme and layout. Once I get the logo working right the site will be launched. Except to find some of my Pocket PC tools shortly.

Axim x3i Linux - Downloaded the sources today but have not yet had a chance to look at them. I believe I have the required steps to configure my Linux box to compile the libraries so I should be able to take a stab at this soon.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Gmail update

Having used Gmail for a few days now I have decided to switch all of my accounts at message forums, online stores, etc to it. It is just too slick, hotmail on steroids if you will. I have not received any invites as of yet but I have many friends already in line for one. I have showed a few of them and they cannot believe how slick the interface is.

Linux on a Dell Axim x3i PDA

In early to late May there was a lot of activy in the area of getting Linux working on a Dell Axim x3i. There hasn't been any progress that I can find since May so I may try to get this project rolling again. With few enhancements coming from WM2003SE I believe that other options must be explored... Stay tuned..

For anyone who is interested the existing info can be found here, here and here. I should not that there is already a port for the Dell Axim x5

Canadian Federal Election

The Federal election in Canada was held yesterday. Many people did not vote this year which is sad.. I believe the figures were 84% of registered voters in the voted in the last Federal election and only 64% voted in this one. The Liberals managed to get in with a minority - the first time Canada has had a minority government in almost 25 years. The coming months should be interesting to say the least.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Beta

Microsoft has released Visual Studio 2005 Beta 1 to the public. You can grab it here. I can see myself looking at .net a lot closer in the days to come.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004


Well I managed to obtain a gmail invite for myself and a couple of friends. Very interesting interface to say the least.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Pocket PC Development Tools

I downloaded the PocketPC development tools from Microsoft today and installed everything without a hitch. The API is almost identical to the win32api.. time to get cracking. Also an good resource for Dell Axim owners is Aximsite, check it out if you have a Dell PDA.