Monday, January 28, 2008

Gears of Flight without the war.

The FlightGear flight simulator project is an open-source, multi-platform, cooperative flight simulator development project. This is too good to be true. If you are serious about your flight simulation you might want Microsoft's flight simulatorX on Vista with DirectX 10. If you just want to try a flght sim to find out its the most boring game ever you can try this program. When I say most boring I failed to mention train simulations. If you like planes and flying you don't have to play a high speed and stress battle sim to have a good time. This is a great place to start.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Who Knew?

GameTap has lots of games that are free to play with an expiration date of Dec 31. That is Dec 31, 2008 by the way. They change up the games available weekly and these aren't demos, these are the full blown games.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A reason Netflix is number one

You can't beat Vince Cat. He has superior reflexes and can see in the dark. He may be the ultimate preditor. You should consider relaxing while watching a good movie or TV series. Netflix makes its easy anytime at no extra charge.

As part of your current Netflix subscription, you have the option to watch some movies and TV episodes from the Netflix library instantly on your PC at no additional charge. Now, we've made it unlimited!

So watch instantly on your PC when you want, and as often as you want. Select from our separate, smaller library of over 6,000 familiar movies and TV episodes available to watch instantly.

These movies are DVD quality blown up on my big screen. With this option available you can dump cable and get more media choices than you really need. If you need a media PC consider my budget PC of the month from NewEgg in a micro ATX case.

Nice cygwin help file.

Cygwin is a Linux-like environment for Windows

The only good reason I can find to run cygwin is to create server running SSH on a Windows XP machine for free.

Its also a great environment to learn more about Linux or Unix administration without having to run a dual boot. You can play around with X11 port forwarding and basically get a more powerful version of Exceed or ReflectionX. I had another article on Xming with putty which is much simpler to setup and use.

Nice help file.

I have a misc info page at: info page.rtf

Monday, January 21, 2008

More Reason to Hate Western Digital

Western Digital, the new data police.

Western Digital's 1TB MyBook external hard drives won't share media files over network connections. Beyond the fact that Western Digital drives have a higher reported failure rate than other drives now they now prevent you from accessing media file formats across a network. These would be the very files people want to access over a network.

Western Digital assumes that you're a criminal. MP3, DivX, AVI, WMV and Quicktime files are copy-protected formats if they choose to be.
The list of banned file types includes more than thirty extensions.

I hope they made a big investment in this technology. The next thing will likely be sending a list of files back to the RIAA for investigation. Also I find it interesting that WD has no respect for artists, photographers, writers, and programmers. Apparently the only content worth protecting is the likely the most worthless content in terms of its value to society.

Here a site with possible work around if you didn't know better and bought a Western Digital drive. Look for a tutorial on installing Samba as an option.

Are You a Control Freak, You will Be

Remote Infrared Control 1.0.4

This is a nice application because you can adapt a Windows Media remote to handle PC control when not using media center. You don't have to have a IR port built in to take advantage of this. Try using IR that comes with TV tuner cards or old remote PC keyboards, etc.

If you have an IR (Infrared) port in your computer, you can use RIControl to control your applications using an ordinary remote control from a TV or stereo. IRControl is completely configurable (even contains its own scripting language), and with the integrated Artificial Intelligence, you can teach the program what the remote control buttons are. This means that the program does not have to have the buttons programmed inside it, but you can use any remote control you want!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Why does it have to be so hard? Or does it?

Windows Vista’s hard disk imaging utility, Complete PC Backup, allows users to create an image file that contains the complete contents and structure of a hard disk.

I have tried free utilities such as drive image XML but I never seem to get a working bootable image written back in Windows XP. Norton Ghost works real well and is a bit pricey. It's probably worth it just for the time savings. So what other options do we have?

If you have a Seagate or Maxtor hard drive, you can get a free OEM version of Acronis True Image. Seagate makes available a tool for migrating your files from an older Seagate or Maxtor hard disk to a new one. You can also use the tool as backup utilities simply by downloading either the Seagate DiscWizard or Maxtor MaxBlast software.

After you complete your XP build and apply all patches, updates, and drivers as well as any software you always install (not including games), you need to make a disk image. The games put too much data on your hard drive which prevents you from storing your disk image to DVD.

In a previous but not so obvious article I mention CloneMaxx:

Data can be copied from hard drives in high speed mode with speeds up to 3.3 GB per minute.

I saw a post: "SATA drives are not supported...damn!"
I'm not sure if this is true. It may be the motherboard manufacturer. Another option would be to get a SATA to ATA converter which run about $12. I'm not sure if at that point you are better off buying Norton Ghost or Acronis True Image. Your best bet would be to buy a Seagate or Maxtor Drive to begin with.


Professional hard disk cloning HDClone 3.2 Copy. Backup. Rescue.

Free Edition

The Free Edition of HDClone offers all necessary abilities to copy a entire hard disk onto another, larger hard disk. This can be utilized to migrate an existing installation to a new hard disk as well as for data rescue. The Free Edition is real freeware without obligation to buy and is intended for the short-term usage at no costs. But in case of more frequent usage, we recommend using one of the higher editions since they offer higher performance in the first line but also support a wider range of hardware as well as additional options which are optimized for regular or professional usage. HDClone Free Edition supports IDE/ATA
and SATA/eSATA hard disks and is able to copy up to 300 MB/min.

Notice this says larger disk. What the hell. Well what if we partition our current drive to be a bit smaller. (more headaches)

So if you don't have a Maxtor or Seagate then it is worth the few extra dollars to get the real deal.

Acronis True Image 9.0 CD
UPC: 625904487506 Mnfg. Part No: PCO48750MB Manufacturer: Acronis Packaging: CD w/ Key Platform: Windows Availability: Out of Stock Product ID #: 9530
Regular price: $29.95Sale price: $9.95

Two things to comment on:
1.) The home edition doesn't support dynamic disks.

This is bad if you like to make a software raid which I always do. The good news here is the way I build my PC. I use 2 drives of equal size.
I partition 25% for the OS on one drive, a 25% partition on the other drive for important data. Then I partition the rest to be used in a software raid. The software raid is done with the Windows XP disk manager. You set both disks to dynamic then create a striped array with the remaining 2 partitions. If you create your OS image before you start the dynamic process you can restore it as a non dynamic and complete the same process after you get your OS up and running again.

2.) The home edition lets you exclude folders which would mean you could do a backup anytime avoiding those huge game directories.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bells and Wistles, How about KNOBS and more KNOBS

I love knobs, big knobs, little knobs, knobs of all shapes and sizes. Who can resist? Maybe you can't twist, push, or pull on these knobs but they can be fun none the less and there are lots of them.

As use may have noticed WavePad has a mixer plugin feature for an extra $49.
You can effectively mix audio tracks in many movie editing applications. Here is a easier way to master digital audio. Worst case you can record a song for your special someone and mix in the band. This could be a great way to mix up podcasts as well. Many times live feeds have variable audio levels when you have remote guests. If you record each as a separate track you can mix it later and get professional results.

KRISTAL Audio Engine
  • 16 audio tracks
  • 32 Bit floating point audio engine
  • 44.1 to 192 kHz sample rate*
  • Downmix to 16/24/32 Bit audio files
  • 3-band parametric EQ &
  • 2 VST insert slots per channel
  • 3 VST master effect slots
  • ASIO low latency audio driver support
  • 4 KRISTAL Plug-In slots
  • Load/Save KRISTAL project files
  • Supported file formats: WAVE, AIFF, FLAC, OGG Vorbis
The following Plug-Ins are included in the KRISTAL package:


  • the sequencer Plug-In for KRISTAL
  • multichannel harddisk recording via ASIO/MME
  • ASIO input monitoring
  • audio clip arrangement
  • audio clip fade-in/fade-out/crossfade
  • unlimited undo/redo
  • AES31 Export
  • connect your mic/guitar and play
  • thru KRISTAL using VST effects in realtime
KRISTAL Effects Plug-Ins
  • KristalMultiDelay
  • KristalChorus
  • KristalReverb
  • Kristalizer

Ride The Wave Like PRO

WavePad is a serious audio editor for people not so serious about spending money. They offer a pro version designed for professional use, imagine that.

I use to copy my audio books on tape to CD using Nero Wave editor. The process is quite simple and the editing features allows you to run multiple streams together or create page breaks for easier navigation. WavePad is a few branches higher in the geek tree compared to NERO. Its also free where the NERO wave editor can cost extra depending on the version you have.

One nice feature is being able to modify the volume to be able to hear weak or poor recordings.

WavePad sound editing software includes a recorder that supports autotrim and voice activated recording. Tools include spectral analysis (FFT), tone generation and speech synthesis. WavePad’s easy to use interface will get you started running. Player includes Scrub/Cue control for precise editing.

Effects include, Amplify, Normalize, Equaliser, Envelope, Reverb, Echo, Reverse, Noise Reduction, Sample Rate Conversion and more.

  • Sound editing functions include cut, copy, paste, delete, insert, silence, autotrim and more.
  • Audio effects include, amplify, normalize, equaliser, envelope, reverb, echo, reverse, sample rate conversion and more.
  • Supports a number of file formats including wav (multiple codecs), mp3, vox, gsm, real audio, au, aif, flac, ogg and many more.
  • Batch processing supports up to 32000 files allowing you to apply effects and/or convert your files as a single function.
  • Tools include spectral analysis (FFT) and speech synthesis (text-to-speech).
  • Recorder supports autotrim and voice activated recording and more.
  • Audio restoration features including noise reduction and click pop removal.
  • Supports sample rates from 6000 to 96000Hz, stereo or mono, 8, 16, 24 or 32 bits.
  • Includes its own CD ripper with 'ultrafast 'rip mode and cddb music database lookup.
  • Works directly with MixPad multi-track audio mixing software.
  • Links directly to the Express Burn CD Recorder to burn your sound files to CD.
  • Easy to use interface will get you started editing in just minutes.

Typical Editing Applications
  • Software audio editing for studios and professional journalists.
  • Edit sound files to broadcast over the internet with the BroadWave Streaming Audio Server
  • Normalizing the level of audio files during mastering before buring to CD.
  • Editing mp3 files for your iPod, PSP or other portable device.
  • As a music editor (includes ringtones creator formats).
  • Music editing and recording to produce mp3 files.
  • Voice editing for multimedia productions.

System Requirements
  • Windows 95/NT4/98/2000/Me/XP/2003/Vista or later;
  • Mac OS X 10.2 or later; or,
  • To run under Linux use WINE.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

What You Don't Know Can't Hurt You

If you own a AMD Dual Core or 64bit processor you might not be getting the most out of it.

Main Update Link,,30_182_871_9706,00.html


AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual Core Processor Driver Version for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 (x86 and x64) - Allows the system to automatically adjust the CPU speed, voltage and power combination to match the instantaneous user performance need. This package is a user friendly localized software installation of the driver designed for end-users. This driver supports AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual Core processors and supports future quad-core upgrades on Windows XP SP2 and Windows Server 2003 SP2 x86 and x64 Editions

AMD Dual-Core Optimizer for timing by directly using the - The AMD Dual-Core Optimizer can help improve some PC gaming video performance by compensating for those applications that bypass the Windows APIRDTSC (Read Time Stamp Counter) instruction. Applications that rely on RDTSC do not benefit from the logic in the operating system to properly account for the affect of power management mechanisms on the rate at which a processor core's Time Stamp Counter (TSC) is incremented. The AMD Dual-Core Optimizer helps to correct the resulting video performance effects or other incorrect timing effects that these applications may experience on dual-core processor systems, by periodically adjusting the core time-stamp-counters, so that they are synchronized.


AMD Athlon™ 64/FX Cpufreq Driver for Linux 2.10.00 - Allows the system to automatically adjust the CPU frequency, voltage and power combination that match the instantaneous user performance need. Supports all AMD Turion™ 64 Mobile Technology, AMDOpteron™ Processors, and Athlon™ 64 Processors released through 2007. Provides support for AMD PowerNow!™ technology and, where appropriate, AMD’s Cool-n-Quiet™ technology for Linux systems. Works with all kernels, version 2.6.10 or later. Requires the ondemand kernel module or the cpufreq-1.20, cpuspeed-1.20.1, or powersaved-0.8.19 or later user programs to support SMP and multi-core systems. This driver is already included in the 2.6.18 or later kernels and does not need to be downloaded again.

Its best to visit the main update link to find the latest download for your CPU

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Government offers $40 DTV converter coupons

Starting Feb. 18, 2009, anyone who does not own a digital tuner TV set and still gets their programming via over-the-air antennas will no longer receive a signal. As of Jan. 1, 2008, you can apply for US government issued $40 discount coupons to purchase digital converter boxes.

CNN article about the switch to digital and the coupons:

US government page with link to on-line coupon application form:

File Sharing Made Easy

This is a simple no hassle file sharing service. You upload the file and send the link to the person that needs the download. That simple.

A private place for storing and sharing photos, video, audio, notes, docs, etc. Each is accessible only to those whom you tell exactly where to look.

No signup and no 'account'. We don't even ask for your email. Create as many drops as you want, and access each at:

Useful for:

  • privately sharing pictures & video
  • transferring files to yourself
  • sharing documents with co-workers
  • creating 'instant' collaboration space
  • posting your resume privately
  • and more!

Not Too Rich for My Blood

I was trying to convert wmv to avi for a video contest my kids were trying to enter. I was unable to find a free program that could make this happen without crashing or butchering my video. Here is a free solution. The pay for versions have a direct from DVD conversion option. I haven't used this feature so you may want to stick with Intervideo and DVDXCopy XPRESS
which I have recommended in the past.

This is a free video format conversion utility with a feature rich interface. I have posted about other utilities that do what this can do and more. This interface has a much more commercial look and feel.

Any Video Converter is a professional video converter which can convert video files from various formats with fast converting speed and excellent video quality . It can convert almost all video formats including DivX, XviD, MOV, rm, rmvb, MPEG, VOB, DVD, WMV, AVI to MPEG-4 movie format for iPod/PSP or other portable video device, MP4 player or smart phone. It also supports any user defined video file formats as the output. It has an unmatchable speed and high quality. Any Video Converter makes it easy for anyone to enjoy the any format video with your iPod, PSP, mobile phone or MP4 player.

Hamsters Eat Their Young

FileHamster provides real-time backup and archiving of your files while you work. It enables you to monitor specific files on your hard drive and automatically create incremental backups whenever those files are modified. It also enables you to store notes about the changes that have been made, allowing you to quickly locate a specific revision or provide a detailed account of the work you've done on a project.

It has many features, but is very easy to use and does not require any technical expertise - just point it to the directory or file you want to monitor/backup and it will do the rest.

  • Designed for Artists
  • Real-time Backup
  • Plugin Support
  • Simple Interface
  • IT'S FREE!!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Penny Wise Pound Wise

Have you ever moved a large book collection?
These are free audio books read by volunteers. There are over 1000 titles available.

"No two people read the same book."
Edmund Wilson


LibriVox provides free audiobooks from the public domain.
OGG and MP3 formated audio books .... FREE

LibriVox Books Podcast

Bundys on Joost ... I'm almost happy

What's Joost?
It's video – more than 20,000 shows, with more added daily.
It's online – all you need is a broadband internet connection.
And it's free. So what are you waiting for?

Peg: Al, I want sex.
Al: Well, so do I. But I don't see the need to bring you into it.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Bite the Hand That Feeds You

RIAA Goes After Personal Use

When I was a kid my father had me go to a church event where they burned music because it was evil. For the first time I think he was right.

Jeffrey Howell of Scottsdale, Ariz., created a collection of about 2,000 MP3 recordings on his computer, the RIAA says that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to convert the songs to a different format and store them on his PC.

First of all how did the RIAA find out he had these recordings. If it was part of a warrant to to determine if he was file sharing then the warrant was violated when they invaded his privacy.

Keep buying RIAA music and the only label you will have is that of criminal.
Its time we bite back.
Support the EFF.ORG

Not for the Mentally Challenged

Over 1000 free audio books and video downloads

For the Geek

Gettysburg Address
Speech by Gandhi

I Have a Dream
by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Extraordinary Leadership
by Robin Sharma

The Mercury Theatre on the Air
by Orson Welles

The Road Less Traveled
by Robert Frost

Self Reliance
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Law of Attraction and Relationships
by Pramod Uday

Extra Tips for The FG to Maximizing Your Money
by Peter Bielagus

Answering the Question: What is Enlightenment?
by Immanuel Kant

You will never know unless you listen.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Same Old Story, Whole New Audiance

OLD Time Radio on a High Tech Budget

I recently saw a CD collection of old time radio shows at a price that would have me eating cat food when I retire. So I decided to search the internet for some free resources. It was like digging up buried treasure.

Remember when humor required creativity and imagination? Before the age of the Monster HD TVs and ipod nanos there was OTR (old time radio). I am providing a list of links to websites hosting OTR broadcasts in mostly MP3 formats.

These were the days of the great story tellers when an entire cast of voice actors and sound men attempted to control your imagination. Next time you take that family road trip put on some old time radio and let your kids experience and enjoy comedy, creativity, and story telling the way their grandparents did. My sons loved the Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury Sci Fi.

Radio Days
Wisconsin Public Radio
Old Time Radio - Free OTR Show Downloads
Flick Lives
Shep Archives


Old Time Radio Rides Again!
Radio Memories
Vintage Radio
botar’s old time radio

Is it Legal? In short YES.

why most OTR shows are not copyrighted

We can learn a lot from Uncle Buck

Nutrition has Just Gone High Tech

This website is designed to allow you to select the products you eat and compare that to the activity you engage in. The food intake section has a listing of commercial and generic products that you select. Then you choose a serving size and number of servings. It will output the complete nutritional information for the food you consume.

You compare this to a just as extensive listing of physical activity to get daily totals.

The site has this description:

MyPyramid Tracker is an online dietary and physical activity assessment tool that provides information on your diet quality, physical activity status, related nutrition messages, and links to nutrient and physical activity information.

The Food Calories/Energy Balance feature automatically calculates your energy balance by subtracting the energy you expend from physical activity from your food calories/energy intake. Use of this tool helps you better understand your energy balance status and enhances the link between good nutrition and regular physical activity.

Keep track of your energy balance history and view it up to one year. MyPyramid Tracker translates the principles of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and other nutrition standards developed by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. Click here for a NEW tutorial on MyPyramid Tracker.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Record any Sweet Jumps

Oregon Scientific
ATC2K Waterproof Action Cam

When your part of the action you need a camera that can be too.

So your kids break everything you buy them? Here is a low priced Digital Video Recorder that was designed for that sports star trying to capture that perfect moment. They say a picture is worth 1000 words. Well the videos your kids bring home with this camera will leave you speechless and leave them grounded.

Look at the arms on that guy... they are like cannons!

We can't all be pros. Likewise this camera wasn't designed for professional use.

It has low 640 x 480 resolution. However its perfect for space saving when recording to a SD card.

You can capture that football game or dance recital but the videos your kids bring home will be about who they are and how they live. These are not just memories lost, but memories you never had a chance to capture. For $130 it comes with a 2gb SD card so it will make the right gift for a teen who has just about everything else.

Full-function, hands-free, digital recording
Waterproof up to 3 meters and shock-resistant for extreme conditions
Mounts easily on helmets, handlebars, and other sports equipment
640 x 480 VGA resolution at 30 frames per second
USB and RCA cables included for easy playback on PC or TV (NTSC)
SD card expansion up to 2GB – onboard memory is 32MB
Operates with 2 AA batteries, not included
Dimensions: 4.25L x 1.75D x 2.25H (in.)

GeekGirl Show 40 product review

Burn Baby Burn


I needed a quick and simple CD/DVD burning software that is of course free. CDBurnerXP gets the job done without all the bells and whistles to trip you up.

CDBurnerXP is a free application to burn CDs and DVDs, including Blu-Ray and HD-DVDs. It also includes the feature to burn and create ISOs, as well as a multilanguage interface. Everyone, even companies, can use it for free. It does not include adware or similar malicious components.

Are you into world domination or do you simply need to burn an image (ISO):

How about a free burner with a bit more power:

ImgBurn is a lightweight CD / DVD / HD DVD / Blu-ray burning application that everyone should have in their toolkit!

It has several 'Modes', each one for performing a different task:

  • Read - Read a disc to an image file
  • Build - Create an image file from files on your computer or network - or you can write the files directly to a disc
  • Write - Write an image file to a disc
  • Verify - Check a disc is 100% readable. Optionally, you can also have ImgBurn compare it against a given image file to ensure the actual data is correct
  • Discovery - Put your drive / media to the test! Used in combination with DVDInfoPro, you can check the quality of the burns your drive is producing