Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ready for the holidays

My desktop on the PC is ready for the holidays:

Christmas Desktop 2006

Here's where I got this desktop image:

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cheap, Good Computer Speakers?

My 9 year old Altec Lansing computer speakers finally took a shit on me. (Best $72 I ever spent!) I need a new set of speakers with a woofer.

Any suggestions? Altec Lansings were the cat's ass back in 1997, but I've paid no attention since.

Preferably under $100. Super preferably in the $50-ish range.

XP Remote Desktop via Mac OS X

How trippy:

XP Remote Desktop on Mac OS X

That's a picture of me on my MacBook Pro, running Windows XP via the Microsoft Remote Desktop Client over a Hamachi VPN.


It's quite snappy for standard file browsing. I was even able to log into Ultima Online and get around the game. Granted, I won't be fighting any monsters, as it's a bit laggy in gaming, but it's definitely responsive enough to do little things - like access files and email them to myself!

Hamachi is pretty damn cool. It claims to be a zero-configuration VPN, and it pretty much is. Well, Hamachi is in fact zero config. It's Windows that isn't zero config. I had to do some registry editing to get Hamachi to run as a service under XP, in case I need to reboot that machine remotely. Other than that, piece of cake.

The OS X version of the Hamachi GUI (HamachiX) is still prerelease beta software, but it worked fine for me.

Here are the resources I consulted to get everything running:
Cyberonica - Hamachi How-To
Hamachi Forums - Remote Desktop

If I weren't so sleepy, I'd write up a how-to, since I had to sort of put things together piece-meal from various sources (though the Cyberonica article is the most cohesive one I found).

Hopefully, I can get my Hamachi VPN working at work too, so I can access files on my home PC while at work. Suhweet!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Faxing through Vonage

I've got Vonage VoIP phone service (love it). Occasionally, I need to send a fax (maybe 2 or 3 times a year). It's not often enough to sign up for the dedicated Vonage fax line or one of those fax-through-email services, but often enough that I don't want to be paying a buck a page at Kinko's.

I've read horror stories about people having trouble faxing through Vonage (since VoIP lines are not meant for faxing, or even standard modem communication, for that matter).

I was able to get things working on this end using my US Robotics 56K fax modem and the Windows XP fax service (built-in to XP). I had to crank the baud rate on my modem down to 9600 (and I've read of people going even lower). Also, I dialed the *99 prefix to guarantee the highest quality call through Vonage.

I'm on page 7 of an 11 page document, and it's sending just fine so far...

(Note: It would not send at 56K or before I dialed *99. It kept dying with a "fatal error").

Update: Success! 11 pages sent successfully.

The TiVo modem is also still dialing fine, since I hooked it up to a wireless modem jack.

Friday, November 03, 2006

MS to allow Vista reinstalls... duh

Ever get the feeling that companies make up this shit just to get people talking? There's no way Microsoft intended to limit Vista to TWO installs (ie. there's no way they didn't think of this issue with non-OEM systems themselves... that's just silly).

From Slashdot:

Claus Valca writes "I just spotted over on the Windows Vista Team Blog the news that the Windows Vista retail licensing terms are being revised. Looks like PC home-brew system builders have been let back into the Vista party!" From the article: "Our intention behind the original terms was genuinely geared toward combating piracy; however, it's become clear to us that those original terms were perceived as adversely affecting an important group of customers: PC and hardware enthusiasts. You who comprise the enthusiast market are vital to us for several reasons, not least of all because of the support you've provided us throughout the development of Windows Vista. We respect the time and expense you go to in customizing, building and rebuilding your hardware and we heard you that the previous terms were seen as an impediment to that -- it's for that reason we've made this change."