Friday, March 30, 2012

HELP WITH KINDLE (Reader Comment)

Kindle keyboard model frozen. Tree screen won't turn off after resetting, recharging and even removing battery. Amazon Kindle Support offered replacement at 1/2 the price.(warranty expired). I still suspect it might be a software fixable problem. Am I wrong?

Please leave comments for Ernesto, or email the geeks with comments.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Amazon working on next version(s) of the Kindle Fire

Toms hardware has some information indicating Amazon is working on a new version (or two) of the kindle fire. Amazon Caught Buying Parts for Kindle Fire Sequel

With the newest version of the iPad out, Apple is still the leader of the pack. reviews it here: Pixel-pumping prowess: Ars reviews the third-generation iPad It bumps the screen resolution to 2048x1536, 264 pixels per inch (ppi). To support the new higher resolution screen, the battery in the new iPad had to double in capacity. According to apple it is 42.5 watt hours. iPad Technical Specs

The iPad 2 is really attractive now that Apple has cut the price by $100. It is still arguably better than any other tablet except the new iPad....

Garage sale! has a tremendous amount of free software. One area they excel at is with web  server based software.  A web server is a perfect use for an old machine. In fact, I still have an old pII based box that runs our private web server. All the screenshots are from that system. Probably will have to update to a pIII soon.

In any case I found this great piece of software that is easier to install than most desktop applications. It should work on any system with a W/M/Lamp based server. It is a POS or short for point of sale software. This is great for a garage sale or a charity event where you need to sort of act like a small business. Most everything in it is point and click once you have it set up. One thing I like about it is, you can access it with an Ipad, Android, or any tablet that has a built in web browser. That gives you and anyone working with you to have the freedom to move around at your sale and not be stuck behind a register.

Using a program called phpmyadmin makes it real easy to set up the database or file cabinet for the program.  All point and click. This program is also open source. We already have a few file cabinets set up as you can see. You will also need to change software file permissions and then edit a file with the information you set up in phpmyadmin.

Once you have the program set up you can go directly to the web page and do some additional set up as add employees, products to be sold and etc.

I think the install of the program was no more than ten minutes. Installing the data in the program took a while longer.  Anyway check out and see what other goodies they have for you.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Two homemade laptop accessories.

Just a couple of quickies you might be interested in.

The one coat hanger laptop stand:

Laptop lamp:

Note: Turning on the faucet is fatal.....

Oh goodness, how could I forget the Ipad stand:

The stand can also be used with the PCpad.

An Android tablet is coming soon!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bash your web server for system info.

A while back I wanted a way to find information about a remote machine without per se logging in. Also did not want to use some fancy or expensive software to do it. Thinking about the machine, what could I use. Ah! Apache2 web server/cgi-bin and bash. That's the ticket. This project could be very easily adapted for OS/X also. MSWindows machines might be more of a project. May experiment on an MSXP machine to see what can be done. Already done home automation with MSXP ( and Linux ( which is what had me thinking about doing this to begin with. Remotely control hardware. so why not do the server also. You remember the good old oesrvr1.

Did not need that fancy of a page but, I could link to the tools page from the main page. The page in it's current form looks like this:

So all you really have to do is to click on an option add the additional information if needed and click submit.  You could click on "Memory info" and press submit. You will get the current memory usage. Great for determining a decision for a memory upgrade. Always adding new commands. One caveat though. This was done on a private server not accessible from the net. You definitely would want additional security on a live system. Even a non-techie manager should be able to handle this.

This little project can also be used to teach the results of certain bash commands in the classroom without getting all tied up in the typing of the commands.  More information at:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Computing hints.

Just a few ideas I have come up with.

Guess which of the two parts an esteemed ITT graduate said was the ram (random access memory). He did not get the job.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

25 Degrees Celsius. Doesn't seem even cold to me.

Lately I have noticed that websites and certain newspapers are using degrees Celsius instead of the usual degrees in Fahrenheit. Actually 25 degrees Celsius is 77 degrees for what we are used to. Whew...... Now that makes sense. Another area to consider is baking or cooking. Most recipes call for 350 degrees for most recipes. Now if you have an oven that is measured in Celsius and you used the Fahrenheit values your food will burn and there even might be a house fire. 350 degrees Celsius is 662 degrees in Fahrenheit.  In Celsius 0 degrees is freezing and 100 degrees is boiling. In Fahrenheit 32 degrees is freezing and 212 degrees is boiling.

What I want to do is to get two birds with one stone. Not only give a web page that will do the conversion, but expose you to some Javascript. Once you have saved the file, you can easily load it into your web browser without having to use a web server.

Now here is the code: ([code] and [/code] should not be copied or typed in.)
<h2>Temperature conversion</h2>
(Enter a value and then press the = for the temperature you want to convert)
<script type="text/javascript">
function temp (form) {
  form.fahrenheit.value = form.celsius.value*1.8+32;
function temp1 (form) {
 form.celsius1.value = (form.fahrenheit1.value-32)/1.8;

<div align="center"><center><p><input type="text" size="15" name="celsius"> <strong>Degrees Celsius</strong> <input type="button" value=" = " onclick="temp(this.form)"> <input type="text" size="15" name="fahrenheit"> <strong>Degrees Fahrenheit</strong> </p>
<center> --------------- or ------------------</center>
<div align="center"><center><p><input type="text" size="15" name="fahrenheit1"> <strong>Degrees Fahrenheit</strong> <input type="button" value=" = " onclick="temp1(this.form)"> <input
type="text" size="15" name="celsius1"> <strong>Degrees Celsius</strong> </p> </center></div>

Have fun!
Note: advanced users will do a page scrape of the temperature and convert it so nothing has to be typed in.


Command line:

Temperature conversion from Centigrade to Fahrenheit.

Centigrade: 25 Fahrenheit: 77

Centigrade to Fahrenheitt in bash.

echo "Temperature conversion from Centigrade to Fahrenheit."
read -p "Enter degrees in Centigrade: " c
let f=$((($c*9/5) + 32))
echo "Temperature in Fahrenheit is: $f"

Fahrenheit to Centigrade code in bash.

echo "Temperature conversion from Fahrenheit to Centigrade."
read -p "Enter degrees in Fahrenheit: " f
let c=$((($f - 32) *5/9))
echo "Temperature in Centigrade is: $c"

Friday, March 9, 2012

Do your own home automation.

"It ain't dead till we say it's dead." Typical movie quote, but it is a reality that should be a good maxim.  The parallel port printer per say is not used any more, but who says we can not still use the technology in some new way.  Came across this article about using old hp Jet directs as home automation controllers. Supposedly you can get them on ebay for around ten dollars. Though you might have to add ten or twenty dollars in parts, it is still a bargain compared to the hundreds of dollars you have to spend with equipment from a company like Insteon. There are tons of articles where you can get information about using the Jet Directs for home automation.  The one that started it all off was probably from Doktor Andy. Later it was expanded on from this article: Print server power control hack. I am even working on one of my own. Have another article about interfacing the parallel port add-ons. See: External device control (i.e. coffee machine).

Friday, March 2, 2012

McGuyver monitor.

Always looking for new ways to reuse equipment to increase return on investment aka ROI. Here is a little project we did with a dvd player to turn it into a computer monitor.

So now my dvd player is not just an entertainment device, but a very useful computer tool.  More information at: