Oct 12

Maglite LED Bulb Upgrade

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Maglite brand 3 Watt LED Flashlight Bulb replacement for Maglite 3C or 3D LED Upgrade module for Maglite 3 C cell or 3 D cell flashlights Model No. SH32DCW6 Package size 6.5 inch x 4.8 inch x 0.5 inch Upgrade your existing 2, 3, and 4 C or D Cell Maglite flashlights to the new MAG LED Technology. The benefits include Intelligent Energy Source Management (patent pending) Extends battery life. Balanced Optics provide a focusing, 3 watt LED, optimized to produce a powerful projecting beam. The Maglite LED Upgrade Modules are available for all 2, 3, and 4 Cell C and D size Maglite flashlights. The kits are cell number/size specific i.e. 2 Cell, 3 Cell, 4 Cell and must be matched to a 2, 3, or 4 Cell Maglite flashlight. Unlike LED retrofits that are not made or approved by Mag, these Upgrade Modules were engineered by Mag and are factory authorized. Their use cannot adversely impact coverage under the Maglite flashlight Limited Lifetime Warranty. Upgrading any C or D size Maglite flashlight, (2, 3, or 4 Cell) is as easy as 1, 2, 3.Step 1Unscrew the Maglite flashlight head assembly. Step 2 Unscrew the retaining collar and remove lamp. Step 3 Insert LED Module and replace retaining collar and head assembly. Maglite LED Upgrades 2D 3D 4D Model Number SH32DCW6 SH33DCW6 SH34DCW6 LED 3 Watt 10,000 hour rated life rated life Energy Management, Balanced Optics, Projecting Beam, Focusing Beam, Batteries Required (3) D size alkaline

Maglite LED Bulb Upgrade

Oct 06

Cat Power – How Can I Tell You?

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Here’s s 30-second cover of a Cat Stevens song that was recorded for a “Diamonds Are Forever” commercial.

Cat Power – How Can I Tell You?

Oct 05

Save YouTube Videos To Your Hard Drive

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YouTube and other video sharing sites provide endless hours of wholesome, time-wasting entertainment. But what if you want to watch movies without the browser? There’s no direct or easy way to download YouTube videos from the site, but thankfully there are ways to make a local copy for personal use. A number of tools exist to save a video for playback on your computer, iPod, iPhone, PSP and even your boring old DVD player.

Using Firefox

The easiest solution if you’re a Firefox user is to install the Download Helper add-on. Download Helper can handle much more than just YouTube — in fact the add-on can grab just about any media file from nearly any source and download it to your machine. There are also a couple of other Firefox plugins, notably Video Downloader, though the latest YouTube site update seems to be interfering with Video Downloader’s ability to grab video for some users.

Using Other Desktop Software

If you’re not a Firefox user, don’t worry, there’s some other options. My Video Downloader is a Windows program that will download movies from YouTube, though it will set you back $30 (there’s a free trial that allows for 10 downloads so you can test it).

Mac users looking to go from YouTube straight over to your video iPod or AppleTV have a couple options. There’s Podtube 2 which will download and convert files from YouTube, Daily Motion and MySpace. PodTube 2 is $5. TubeSock 2.0 offers similar features, though it only handles YouTube videos, and costs $15.

The latest RealPlayer(version 11, a beta release, is $30 and supports Windows XP and Vista only) has the ability to download and burn videos clips from YouTube and other sites like Google Video and MySpace Video. The player will automatically add a “Download” link button to video pages in Firefox and Internet Explorer. Once downloaded, you can use the player to watch the videos or burn them to a DVD.

Although it hasn’t been released yet, there’s also a lot of talk surrounding Tubular, which looks a bit like iTunes applied to YouTube. Look for Tubular to enter the public beta phase later this year.

And finally, the most primitive — but definitely free and working — method is to use SaveTube.com. Just paste in the YouTube URL and SaveTube will find the cached file and give you a download link.

What to Do With Your Downloaded Video

Unless you’re using one of the all-in-one solutions listed above, once you’ve pulled down the Flash FLV file from YouTube or another video sharing site, you’ll need to convert it to another format for viewing in QuickTime (which includes iTunes and AppleTV) or Windows Media Player.

Alternately you can just use an FLV capable media player like the excellent and free VLC (all platforms).

To convert your FLV file on a Mac you can use iSquint, which is free though limited to output in MP4, or through the aforementioned TubeSock. For Windows folks there’s Super, which is free, or Zillatube, which costs $30. Both support a wide range of output options.

Mac and Windows users can also try MPEG Streamclip, though Windows folks will need to download the Windows version of Apple QuickTime, which is also free.

Linux users can turn to ffmpeg(which also works on OS X and Windows). You’ll need a little command line juice, but this conversion script should get you started:

ffmpeg -i myFile.flv -ab 56 -ar 22050 -b 500 -s 320×240 myFile.mpg

And there you have it, now you can watch your YouTube favorites anywhere you’d like in nearly any video format you can name.


Oct 05

DYMO DiscPainter

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Printing on CDs and DVDs can be an arduous task and it usually ends up looking terrible. Correct me if I’m wrong. The software tends to be shoddy and it takes forever to do. Dymo’s DiscPainter CD/DVD printer makes the ordeal fun and easy. You see, it spins from the inside out at about 600 DPI a minute. The demo was impressive and even when prints were set at 600 DPI a minute the quality didn’t really diminish as opposed to printing at 1200 DPI in about three minutes. The DiscPainter hits retailers in October for $279 and that includes a USB 2.0 cable, AC power supply, three inkjet printable discs, and a full-color ink cartridge, which spins out about 100 discs.

DYMO DiscPainter DYMO DiscPainter


Oct 05


Online Comments Off on InselKampf

Inselkampf is a browser based game where you build up your island, research weapons, and send your fleets of ships to raid and pillage other isles! The new .com server was started a few weeks back, so everyone is in the same boat. Best of all, it only takes a few minutes of you time every day.

My Island is located at Sunasia (13:72:23) (BenSun)



Oct 05

Hacker’s project sends media-filled hard drives to troops

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A network engineer going by the hacker handle ‘Deviant Ollam’ has taken it upon himself to send care packages of a different sort to troops serving overseas, with him ditching the usual goods in favor of hard drives filled with movies, music and other content. That’s the basis for his Traveling Terabyte Project, which is apparently still operating on a relatively small scale, although “Ollam” hopes it’ll pick up once he gets a website up and running. The hard drives themselves are packed in an appropriately olive-drab Pelican case, which also includes all the necessary USB cables and international power adapters. As the name of the project suggests, the hard drives aren’t intended to stay in one place forever, with recipients of them encouraged to add their own files before sending ’em on to another location. For their part, the troops that have received the hard drives so far seem to dig the idea, especially considering that high-speed internet is hard to come by in many of the locations they’re stationed.



Oct 05

30 Essential Pieces Of Free (and Open) Software for Windows

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1. Firefox
Replaces Internet Explorer
If you haven’t switched to Firefox for your web browsing needs, do it now. It stops annoying popups and it has tons of amazing plugins that can make surfing the web even better. I could evangelize all day about Firefox, but one thing’s for sure: the first thing I do on any new Windows machine is run Internet Explorer just long enough to download Firefox.

2. Thunderbird
Replaces Microsoft Outlook or Eudora
Thunderbird is an email client that has five big things going for it: it’s free, it’s full featured, it’s lightweight and runs quick, it has an unparalleled spam filter, and it protects you from those ridiculous phishing attacks by clearly indicating which emails send you to a bogus website. If you’re not already using a web-based email solution, Thunderbird should be your client.

3. Sunbird
Replaces Microsoft Outlook’s calendaring functions
Might as well get the Mozilla trifecta out of the way by mentioning Sunbird, which is the Mozilla Foundation’s calendaring program. It’s extremely easy to use (I figured out everything I needed in a minute or two) and easy to share your calendar with others. I consider a calendaring tool to be essential if you’re using a laptop, and this is no different.

4. Abiword
Replaces Microsoft Word
Want a good word processor but find Microsoft Word too expensive? AbiWord is my favorite replacement for Word. It’s lightweight (meaning it runs quickly) and includes pretty much every feature that I use regularly in a word processor, plus it can save files in formats that you can exchange with Word and WordPerfect users, plus open any of their files, too.

OpenOffice logo5. OpenOffice
Replaces Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint
If you want to replace the rest of the Office suite, your best bet is OpenOffice. It includes very nice replacements for Excel and PowerPoint (and workable replacements for Access and other Office elements). In fact, I actually prefer their Excel and PowerPoint replacements to the real thing.

6. ClamWin
Replaces Norton AntiVirus or McAfee
ClamWin is a slick anti-virus software that’s quite easy to manage and is unobtrusive while keep your system free of viruses. That’s pretty much all I want from a package, so why pay money for McAfee to keep bugging me all the time?

Gaim logo7. Gaim
Replaces AIM, Windows Messenger, etc.
This is a very clean instant messaging program that allows you to be on AOL Instant Messenger, Windows (MSN) Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger simultaneously with one program. There are other free packages that do this, but Gaim is stable and clean and simple.

8. BitTorrent
Original but essential
From their website, “BitTorrent is a peer-assisted, digital content delivery platform that provides the fastest, most efficient means of distributing, discovering, and consuming large, high-quality files on the Web. Our mission is simple: to deliver the content that entertains and informs the digital world.” In other words, BitTorrent allows you to download large media files and also use your bandwidth to help others download these files. Search for media files you want and download ‘em.

9. GIMPShop
Replaces Adobe Photoshop
This is a version of the GNU Image Manipulation Program that does a pretty solid job of imitating Adobe Photoshop – a regular user of Photoshop (like me) can adapt to it quite quickly. It’s very richly featured and runs quite well – in fact, I see no reason to ever go back, even if Photoshop were free.

10. Gnucleus
Replaces LimeWire, BearShare, etc.
Sure, LimeWire and BearShare are free, but why not just get the same basic software without all of the spyware? Gnucleus is pretty much identical to those software packages – but without all that extra junk that slows down your computer.

11. VLC Media Player
Replaces Windows Media Player, Quicktime, RealPlayer, etc.
If you get tired of having tons of media players on your computer, get this package that runs pretty much every media type you’ll run across without breaking a sweat.

Juice logo12. Juice
Unique but essential
Juice lets you effortlessly subscribe to podcasts, organize them, and listen to them at your convenience. In conjunction with PodNova, I find it easier to use Juice to organize podcasts than using iTunes itself.

13. Audacity
Unique but essential (for some)
If you’re interested in recording your own podcast (or just want to make your own voice recordings for whatever reason), Audacity and a microphone are pretty much all you need to get the job done. I’m not much for podcasting (let’s just say I don’t have a radio voice), but I use Audacity for other voice recording purposes.

RSSOwl logo14. RSSOwl
Unique but essential
RSSOwl is one of many open source RSS readers. In other words, it enables you to use one program to keep track of the content of a lot of different blogs; if you read a lot of blogs, it’s the only way to keep tabs on all of them without devoting hours jumping from site to site. If you have a laptop, it’s preferable to using sites like Bloglines, but if you’re on a desktop, a web-based feed manager might be better.

15. Filezilla
Replaces WinFTP
Many people occasionally have a need to FTP files to other computers; if you ever have the need to transfer files in such a fashion, FileZilla will do the job slickly and quickly.

16. Keynote
Unique but essential
Keynote is basically designed specifically for the task of taking notes on a laptop. If you ever find yourself in a meeting or a presentation with your laptop open and want to jot down notes and organize them just a bit, Keynote is unquestionably the program for you. It’s not good at quality word processing, but that’s not the point. In my professional work, I find myself using Keynote almost as often as any other utility.

17. MusikCube
Replaces iTunes
If you’re not already committed to downloaded music from the iTunes Music Store, then MusikCube is the best choice available for a music organizer and player. It organizes your mp3s, makes it really easy and really fast to find them, and allows you to make some incredibly clever smart playlists.

18. Handbrake
Unique but essential
Handbrake enables you to stick a DVD in your DVD drive and have the contents of that film stored to your hard drive in a form that can be read by pretty much any media player. I often use it to put a few movies on my laptop for travel purposes, so I don’t have to worry about keeping track of DVDs while on the road.

19. X-Chat 2
Replaces mIRC
X-Chat is a free IRC client. For those unfamiliar with IRC, it’s a place for technical people (and, as my wife loves to point out, nerds) to meet and discuss topics in an open environment. I often find it very useful when piecing through difficult technical issues.

KeePass logo20. KeePass
Unique but essential
KeePass is a program that securely stores and manages the abundance of passwords we all use on a daily basis. I have literally hundreds of usernames and passwords spread out all over the place; KeePass keeps them all for me and keeps them safe.

21. TrueCrypt
Unique but essential
TrueCrypt enables you to convert a memory stick into a strongly encrypted data storage device, meaning that you can store personal data on it without worrying about losing it and having personal information get out and about. I use it to keep some of my most personal data off of my laptop and strongly secured, just in case.

22. PDFCreator
Replaces Adobe Acrobat
PDFCreator creates a virtual printer on your computer that, if you print a document to it from any program, creates a PDF of that document that can be read on any computer with Acrobat Reader on it. After installing PDFCreator, all you have to do is print like normal and out comes a PDF!

23. Freemind
Unique but Essential
Freemind is a “mind mapping” software program. In essence, it enables you to brainstorm and link together ideas quickly, creating “maps” of concepts similar to what you might do on a whiteboard. I find it incredibly useful when putting together ideas for new posts or planning small projects or assembling the backbone of a writing project.

24. NASA Worldwind
Replaces Google Earth
WorldWind is very similar to Google Earth in that it allows you to browse the globe. While it isn’t strong for creating maps (but why not just use Google Maps for that?), it is utterly incredible for viewing three-dimensional landscapes of any place on earth.

25. Notepad2
Replaces Notepad
Notepad2 is a replacement for the traditional Windows Notepad that just adds a few sweet little features: multiple documents; line, word, and character counts; and some highlighting of tags. In fact, I’m using Notepad2 as I draft this post (after using Freemind to organize it).

26. HealthMonitor
Unique but useful
HealthMonitor enables you to keep an eye on the health of your computer. It identifies slowdowns and other system issues quickly and lets you know (for example, it gives a popup if your system memory gets to a certain percentage of fullness, or if your hard drive has only 10 GB free). This can keep you out of trouble and also give you clues to problems your machine might be having.

27. Workrave
Unique but useful
Sometimes late into a writing session, my wrists get sore from too much repetitive movement. Workrave basically jumps in before this happens and locks down the computer for a while, preventing me from working too much and causing repetitive stress injury. Since I’ve started using it, it hasn’t significantly hurt my productivity at all and my wrists are thanking me!

28. GanttPV
Replaces Microsoft Project
If you do any project management (or have a need to dip your toes in the water), GanttPV does a brilliant job of managing the task quickly, easily, and freely. If you need to move to MS Project later, you can export from GanttPV to Project, but once you start digging into GanttPV, you’ll likely have no reason to use Project.

29. GnuCash
Replaces Microsoft Money or Quicken
GnuCash is a slimmed-down version of the bloated Microsoft Money and Quicken packages, but it contains all of the features I want for managing my money. The interfaces are incredibly simple – it functions much like a checkbook ledger on your computer – but there’s a lot of meat hidden throughout the software.

30. True Combat: Elite
Replaces Quake IV, Halo, etc.
After all this downloading, you’re going to need to blow off a little steam, and I’ve yet to find a more enjoyable free game than this one. It’s basically a third person combat game, but the graphics are spectacular and the game is quite engrossing.

If you’ve downloaded and installed all of these, you’ve got access to all the productivity software you’ll likely need, clean and open and best of all free.

Open Source


Oct 05

UC Berkeley Posts Full Lectures to YouTube

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Berkeley is now using YouTube as an important teaching tool. Today marks the first time a university has made full course lecture available via the popular video sharing site. Featuring over 300 hours of videotaped courses initially, officials hope to continue to expand this program.


UC Berkeley

Oct 05

The Children’s Machine

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The laptop is not a cost-reduced version of today’s laptop; we have fundamentally reconsidered personal computer architecture—hardware, software, and display. Unlike any laptop ever built, the laptop:

  • Creates its own mesh network out of the box. Each machine is a full-time wireless router. Children—as well as their teachers and families—in the remotest regions of the globe will be connected both to one another and to the Internet.
  • Features a 7.5-inch, 1200×900-pixel, TFT screen and self-refreshing display with higher resolution (200 DPI) than 95% of the laptops on the market today. Two display modes are available: a transmissive, full-color mode; and a reflective, high-resolution mode that is sunlight readable. Both of these modes consume very little power: the transmissive mode consumes one watt—about one seventh of the average LCD power consumption in a laptop; and the reflective mode consumes a miserly 0.2 watts.
  • Can selectively suspend operation of its CPU, which makes possible further remarkable power savings. The laptop nominally consumes less than two watts—less than one tenth of what a standard laptop consumes—so little that laptop can be recharged by human power. This is a critical advance for the half-billion children who have no access to electricity.

The Children’s Machine

Oct 05

Asus Eee PC 701

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The ASUS Eee PC 701 is an upcoming ultraportable notebook computer with an estimated starting price of $199 USD. It was developed jointly by Intel and ASUSTeK based on Intel’s Classmate PC project but with an aim for the consumer market. Unlike some others in its weight class, notably UMPCs, this computer features the traditional clamshell design, touchpad pointing device, and QWERTY laptop keyboard. Its appeal lies in its combination of portability, low cost, relatively high performance, and familiar ease of use.

Initial availability is scheduled for the end of October 2007, with widespread retail availability later in the year or early next. ASUS has set a conservative global sales target of 200,000 units for the first year, presumably limited by production, that will increase to between 300,000 and 500,000 by March 2008. As such, initial allocation worldwide is expected to be very tight.

Asus Eee PC 701