Thursday, June 14, 2007

Summer Jobs

Ok, dude you totally must hear this. I was like watching TV last night when this lady called me. She was very vague on the details, but she said to go to an address and that it would be from like 11 AM to 4 PM without explaining what was going on. When I got there they had me wave signs to advertise for a housing development. Apparently I had applied for that job like 4 months ago. They had hired me without telling me, so I apparently have a job now. That and I am getting a summer internship at this place called the Magellan Center at the Xilinx building. I am still volunteering at Longmont United Hospital. Wow, I will have a busy summer.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

98 SE Service Pack and other stuff for 98 SE.

I was messing around with an old copy of Windows 98 SE. I consider 98 SE for it's time to be possibly one of the most inovative OS's MS ever released. It was fast (though most computers that ran it now struggle at running modern software), it included loads of new features such as zip support (if MS Plus was installed), FAT32 support, easier updating, improved stability over 98 first edition, better USB support, and loads of under the hood fixes. Microsoft killed support for the OS back in 2006 (ME was also killed on that date, though 98 and 98 SE were supposed to loose support in 2004 or so, but it still had a huge user base). Never did they release a service pack for 98 SE. While toying with 98 SE I found that there is an Unofficial Service Pack for 98 SE. It is really a set of unofficial bug fixes and stuff that was unofficially back ported to 98 SE, along with tweeks and other neat stuff. This pack is pretty useful if you still use 98 SE (it is not for 98 first edition). Don't install the swap file enhancements unless you have 64 megs of ram or more. I also reccomend making sure you have all the updates MS released for 98 SE. This pack does the following:
Replaces notepad with a better editor
Apples many patches
Enhances USB support (I think it installs generic mass storage drivers)
Allows for you to optionally enhance your swap usage with tweeks
Can install a Windows 2000ish theme to the OS
Can change the shutdown and startup spash screens
A hand full of other things

There are a few other nifty little tools for those that still use 98 SE (and some work on other OS's as well). This page has several backported upgrades and patches for 98, 98 SE, and ME. This page has generic USB mass storage drivers for Windows 98 SE to let you use flash drives. There is also an unofficial daylight savings time fix for 98.

Of course before you do any of this, you should make certain you have all the latest updates from Windows update. Install all the security updates, especially IE 6.0 and all the patches. If you haven't done so, install Windows Media Player 9.0 and the latest DirectX MS offered to 98, as well as the latest .net. After installing, reboot and make sure there aren't any others (some fixes for WMP and DirectX and .net and IE appear after those are updated). Oh and this does take up a noteworthy amount of HDD space.

While 98 SE is still very much an old OS, as the old Monty Python saying goes "he's not quite dead".

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Calculator Again

I have about 50 games on the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition now. It is like a freaking arcade console. The weird thing is I hardly ever play games, only my friends seem to. I mainly just share stuff with them.

Friday, February 16, 2007

I am now officially the King of games

Even though I don't play many games myself, my classmates were amazed at all the games I had on my TI-84 Plus Silver Edition. It was kinda funny.

I wonder if Best Buy will ever call me back on my job app with them. Or perhaps Office Depot will. I need to go by Best Buy to exchange my SanDisk Sansa, it's LCD cracked the other day. A shame really as it was an excellent device. I have a warranty on it, so no worry though.

The other day I tested my Laptop with Knoppix. Surprisingly it seems to see the WiFi card, which is impressive. I might figure out how to get it working.

I plan to do my own custom Knoppix remaster distro. I will add software updates, remove KDE, and Beryl, remove the spare window managers, remove bluetooth, add in a few emulators, remove some development tools, add in some recovery tools (possibly a new version of ClamAV definitions) and possibly some other stuff, Install VLC, install TiLP, install KOffice and Abiword and Gnumeric, install dillo, install aegis, install Real Player, and other goodies. I want a distro that will boot on 64 MB of RAM or less and will run lightweight, and at the same time have lots of software. Most of the "light" distros are too light on software. I want one that has lots of software and a light window manager and low system requirements.


It is really cold and has been snowing recently alot in Colorado. I think Al Gore is an idiot. Colorado is possibly going to break the record for the longest that snow has gone without melting (1 inch or more on the ground on average.). I haven't seen an Inconvenient Truth, but my brother has. He said AL is basically just selfish and egotistical, just talking about himself. It's a shame such as a trashy excuse for a documentary is considered a good movie. How come when Michal Moore or Gore releases a poorly done documentary it is considered great but if any documentary/drama criticizes Clinton it is considered wrong? The Road to 9/11 is much more historically accurate and shows both sides (it criticizes Bush too) while at the same time being more entertaining. It is a shame that Gore may win an Award. What is with these awards? They more or less just reflect the Hollywood liberal agenda. Last year Brokeback Mountain almost won an award, and it did poorly at the box office and made little money until it was nominated and put on a pedestal. Why not judge how good movies are by how much people like them?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Apache

No, not the Indian tribe, I am learning to use the Apache HTTP server. I already learned to use Samba for network file sharing and for use with sharing files between a Linux server and a Windows client. Apache doesn't seem all that hard to use. I am surprised, I though servers were harder than this. I wonder if all the other stuff I plan to study in this Universal High School independent study will end up being easy.

Latin is tough though.

Mac VS. PC

The greatest spinoff ad ever. GAMES!!!

Useful Calculator Stuff

I have been using my TI-84 Plus Silver Edition. It is very useful for such a simple device. The TI-84 Plus Silver Edition has a 16 MHZ Zilog CPU, 24 KB of usable RAM (it has 128 KB but you can only use 24), a USB port for fast transfer and a serial analog port for backwards compatability with the TI-83 series about 1.5 MB of FlashROM (I think it has a little more, but that is taken up by the TI-OS), and It is fully compatable with the TI-83. Despite these weak system specs (it sorta resembles the 1980's era PCs, such as the Commodore 64, Amiga, and Apple II. It is programmable as well. TI calculators have a strange variant of BASIC (TI-BASIC) built in. You can program it. It can also run assembly apps.

There are several cool apps for the TI83/84 series. To install them you either need the TI Connect or a program called TiLP (TI Link Program) if you use Linux, BSD, or would prefer to use TilP's explorer. You also will need a USB cable for the TI-84 or a serial USB cable for the TI-83. You can also get USB and Serial calculator to calculator cables to share files with friends. If you have a TI-83 Plus, TI-83 Plus Silver Edition, TI-84 Plus, or TI-84 Plus Silver Edition (the origional TI-83 lacked flashable ROM.) you can update the OS on your device. Go to 2nd + (mem) and hit about. If you have a TI-83 Plus series it should say you have version 1.19, if you have an 84 it should say 2.41 (this is current as of this post being written). If it doesn't use TI device explorer to update the OS using the updater or download the latest from TI's Calculator website. Updating the OS will clear the RAM, so back up anything you need. The updater might find updates for other stuff too. If your TI came with apps in other languages, bring up the MEM menu I mentioned earlier and hit apps and then go down to the unneeded other language version of an app and hit del. This clears up space. Also if there is stuff you don't need, you can delete it too. It is good to check every few months for OS Updates. Updates add features, improve stability, or improve performance.

If you want to add any apps you can find tons of TI official apps at TI's Website. There are some useful apps for the TI calculators. Many require a copy of MirageOS. Mirage isn't really an OS, it is actually a shell. It provides an API for your TI. Copy Mirage to your flash. You can use the Alpha key while in mirage to change settings (notably you can turn on lower case letters. To use lowercase hit alpha twice. You can find MirageOS software at the Archives. Another must have is Graph3D. Once you run it you can do 3-D graphs by hitting Y= twice. You can find loads of TI software at ticalc a website devoted to the TI calculators.

I would back up your files after your done installing stuff. It is kinda amazing how much fits on a tiny amount of space.

One interesting app to keep an eye on is the USB Driver for the TI-84. The goal is to allow the the TI-84 to plug in USB devices such as a USB mouse, USB keyboard, and flash drives. It is not really stable yet so I would wait for a while before using it. I think the nicest thing would be to be able to copy apps and programs to and from the flash drive.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Portable Powerhouse

I have been toying with USB disk drives and USB software. I have learned that you can fit an amazing amount of software on a USB drive. I don't know if this is something I mentioned already, but your USB drive can do more than carry music and movies. I have 2 flash drives, each 1GB in size. The first was at one point a U3 flash drive meaning it would bring up that obnoxious "launcher" whenever it was inserted. You can get rid of the thing with this executable. It fixes issues you may otherwise have if you dislike the U3 crap.
On my first Flash drive I have a ton of software installed on it. You can get a ton of open source software for your flash drive at the portable apps website. You can get a copy of Open Office, Abiword, VLC, ClamWin, Sunbird, Gimp, Gaim, Thunderbird, Firefox, NVU, Audacity, 7-Zip, FileZilla, and other software such as Sudoku (which I don't have). I also have a copy of bin2iso file converter. Blender Portable to do 3-D graphics. Burrrn is a portable CD burner. CPU-Z can find info about the PC your running software on. It can show things like clock speed. DD is a useful disk imager for Unix. You can store a portable Windows port of it on your flash drive. A Windows port of the super tiny dillo browser can also run portably. DOSBox can emulate a i386 style CPU with DOS and can be run portably. DiskImage can deal with hard disk and disk information. Easy Cleaner can clean up the Windows registry. eMule can also run from USB. A packet filter firewall also can be useful. A lot of the software from floppy office provides some software that is runnable from a floppy or USB drive. Foobar 2000 is a very sophisticated media player. It can play a wide variety of music. Free Commander is like a Windows style version of Norton Commander. Graph Calc can do 3-D graphs for you. Limewire Portable works from USB, but you may have to reset some of the settings each time you use it and the PC it runs from needs Java. MPlayer is a popular movie player. It is one of the most poplar players on the Linux platform, but there is a Windows port. Make sure you download the Codecs too otherwise MPlayer will just use the codecs already on Windows. Notepad ++ is a popular text editor. More powerful than notepad. OperaTor is a portable Tor (and Privoxy) combined with Opera. PearPC is a PowerPC emulator. It is faster than a traditional emulator but it is still somewhat slow. WinAmp portable is a nice portable media player. Qemu is a multiprocessor emulator. RaWrite images floppies. RazorLame and lame can be run from USB. Sysclean can remove viruses and the like. vMac can emulate the old Apple Macs. You will have to look for roms and disk images. WinVICE is a multisystem emulator. It can emulate hardware such as the C64 and if you can find images, you can play old games, or you can program in BASIC. Bart's Stuff Test can probe for general hardware and software problems. CD2ISO can, well do I need to explain it much further? CDmage can also deal with disk images. CWshredder can remove a certain type of malware. Explore2FS can read ext2/3 file systems. Foxit Reader can read PDFs. FreeCrypt can encrypt files scrabling them with a password. Hijack This is a useful diagnostic tool to search for potential software problems. Media Player Classic is a media player. It looks like Windows Media Player 6.4 but it actually is it's own origional player. Notepad 2 is a program similar to notepad with more features. Opera Portable is a portable version of the Opera browser. Process Explorer is a program that explores currently running processes. Rootkit Revealer can find Rootkits that hide within windows. Skype will run from USB. Stinger can scan for viruses from USB. uTorrent will also run from USB. YamiPod can take music off of your iPod or transfer it on. Most of these can easily be installed as is to your USB drive. Some you must install first and copy it from the brogram files directory to your flash drive.

On my other 1 GB Flash Drive, I installed a copy of Knoppix Linux. To install Knoppix to your USB drive, burn the latest Knoppix onto a CD and boot the live CD normally. Then open up Konsole pop in your flash drive and type:
mkbootdev (you may need to type sudo mkbootdev).
Then you follow the menu and have it set up your flashdrive (it will need to be at least 700 MB, and it will be formatted and erased). Then you will be able to boot from the USB drive, but one thing of note is that old PCs may not be able to. Check your BIOS or if your PC at boot up says hit (button) for a menu hit that to pull up a boot menu.

New Blog

For technical reasons, this is the new location of my blog. The old blog can be found here.

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