Recently in Tech Category

So, many years ago when this site started, I needed a Dynamic DNS provider, and after some searching I decided to go with Sitelutions.com, and they continue to be an excellent provider of this service. Unfortunately, some months back they changed their policy on how low of a TTL (Time To Live) value could be set, this value controls when previously looked up data expires, and much be looked up again in order to stay current. I was in the process of upgrading my router, and as a result picked up a new IP address, and after encountering an issue had to switch back to my old router, using my old IP address. Unfortunately, I couldn't set a low enough TTL value via Sitelutions to keep up with these changes, and my site was effectively offline on the new router.

Some renewed searching led me to DNSexit.com, another free provider of this service, and they not only allow low TTL values (as low as 2 minutes), but actually encourage this for dynamic IPs.

They also provide Domain Name registration, hosting, and a variety of other services. I strongly recommend them.

Some time in the past, during an upgrade to the MySQL software here, I somehow missed a step and didn't upgrade privileges properly, and after upgrading to PHP 5.3, have now finally gotten the dreaded 'mysqlnd cannot connect to MySQL 4.1+ using old authentication' error when launching phpmyadmin. A lot of googling failed to identify an easy fix, but did yield a few clues.

Some time back, MySQL expanded the 'user' table of the 'mysql' database to allow for longer password hashes. But it seems that new hashes weren't generated, and the shorter hashes were still in place for those old user accounts So, ultimately, the fix was simple, just reset the passwords for the old user accounts, using the same passwords, which would update the hash to the new longer version.

If in doubt, the following MySQL commands will show the critical fields:

mysql> use mysql
mysql> select host, user, password from user;

This will show the above fields, the shorter password hashes are 16 bytes long, the newer version is 41 bytes in length. All you need to do is update any of the shorter ones and you're done!

In my prior posting, I set up a script to handle the syncing of my iTunes library between my home system and the carputer. The script works fine, but executing it via the Terminal is a pain. With OS X, it is possible to rename a shell script with an extension of .command, which will allow it to be double clickable in the Finder, but this unfortunately will cause Terminal to launch, show the output, and then leave the Terminal window open when the script finishes. There are a few hacks to get around this, but the most common solution I've found is to instead call the shell script via AppleScript. As usual, this has caused a few additional headaches...

There are a number of front ends used for Mac based carputers, unfortunately most of them are either abandoned projects, lacking in features or polish, or otherwise not quite exactly what I wanted. My main objective was simply to use this as a big, fancy iPod, my old click-wheel iPod just isn't quite cutting it anymore in the car. Something that used cover flow would be ideal, easy to navigate, clean interface, in short, what I was looking for was basically already part of the Mac OS, Front Row.

My main issue with Front Row, though, was that my plan was to use a touchscreen interface for the carputer, and Front Row did not allow for such use, it used keyboard input only, or the Apple IR remote, which is basically a remote keyboard, mouse or similar inputs aren't used. What I wanted, ideally, would have been some way to remap the touchscreen input, so that I could touch the top or bottom of the display for up/down arrows, left/right sides for left/right, etc. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to come up with any software that would let me capture inputs this way, so I was back to square one.

A number of folks had recommended the Griffin PowerMate for controlling Front Row, but I wasn't terribly happy with that solution either. At this point, my plan is to use a Logitech Precision Gamepad to control the action, and the USB Overdrive software to remap the controls for what I need.

After some testing, I found that I really only need four keystrokes, up, down, return, and escape to do all I need done in Front Row. My plan for phase two of this project is to disassemble the gamepad, remove the d-pad portion of the controller (lots of soldering and hacking there) and fabricate a new housing for this that would be placed at the steering wheel for easy access, that is, unless some better idea comes along.

So, with the controlling part done, the next thing I needed done in software was a way to keep my tunes in sync with my home system. Time to start coding...

Back in April, I started work on a Carputer project for my new car, a 2006 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V. After some planning, purchasing of parts, testing of software, etc, I'm just about ready to begin a rough install this week as a proof of concept. Basically this will involve placing the key parts where they need to go, but the cables will be exposed and everything can be quickly removed. I've got a road trip coming up next week, so this is a perfect time for a good test.

The software was the trickiest part lately, I had to set up some custom scripts to do the iTunes library syncing with my home desktop, and coming up with a convenient way to control Front Row was also a challenge. I'll post a series of articles on the various pieces of the project.

Got the kids a pair of Nintendo DS Lites, and after a few days, they got around to playing with the WiFi that's built into them. And of course, they didn't work with my wireless setup. Fortunately, the fix was relatively straightforward (eventually).

A new version of the IEEE 1394 Standard has been approved, promising Firewire, also known as IEEE 1394 and i.Link, speeds as high as 3.2Gbit/sec, up from the current standard of 800Mbit/sec.

Likely uses for such blazing speeds will be with storage media, DV camcorders could benefit, but even these have been slow to adopt the older 800Mbit standard, though this may now drive some manufacturers to upgrade to faster offerings.

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