Tech, Toys, and Tidbits


I’ve decided to spend my tax return on a pair of new media systems and a projector. Here’s what I’m looking at so far: Projector: Epson 705HD.

  • It’s a nice inexpensive projector that has been getting rave reviews.  It will be perfect for our living room.

Media Server: For the living room – running the projector

  • Mythbuntu front and back ends
  • Will also run rtorrent, rtgui, file services, and the MPD music server.
  • Core i3 530 @ 2.93GHZ
  • 2gb DDR3 1600 RAM
  • Gigabyte GA-H57M-USB3 micro atx motherboard.  It is tiny and has HDMI output from the i3 AND raid5 onboard.  Shwing!
  • 4 x Seagate Barracuda LP 5900.12 1.5 TB drives in a RAID 5 for a total of 4.5 TB of storage
  • nMEDIAPC Red Wood HTPC 8000 ATX Media Center Case (simply beautiful!)
  • Should use ~100 watts total power.

Media Client: For the bedroom – running a 22” monitor (eventually replaced with a 37” TV)

  • Mythbuntu front-end only
  • Zotac IONITX F-E – Dual core Atom/NVidia ION platform
  • 2 GB DDR2 800 RAM
  • Whatever 2.5” drive I have laying around.  Probably a 40 or 80gb from a broken laptop I have laying around.
  • Antec ISK 300-65 case.  About the size of an old-school external CD drive.
  • Should use ~25 watts total power.

I’ll document the build as I progress – I should be starting in about 3 weeks.  🙂 The machines that these are replacing are currently VERY dated and I expect I’ll end up almost eliminating ambient noise in the living room, and should reduce our power usage to about 1/4.  Woo-hoo!!!

CyrilLD over at XDA found the serial console header on the GW620! It’s the 5 contacts in a row underneath the SIM card. The center one is the TX pin. This is a 3.3v serial port, so you’ll need a level converter of some sort to connect it directly to a PC’s serial port, but most USB-Serial adapters already operate at 3.3v so they should work fine.

I’m now trying to build a kernel (based on the default LG sources) that will output to that port during boot. If I can get boot messages on that serial port, then I should be able to duplicate the settings on the 2.6.29 kernel and hopefully get enough info to figure out where it’s crashing. Finger’s crossed!


Ok. So, I finished bringing the LG mods in to the 2.6.29 kernel and the beasty still won’t boot. it just sits there taunting me with a “Booting linux” prompt.

No error message, no console activity, no nothing. Just nothing.



Worse, another hacker on XDA tried the same thing with the CodeAura tree (the one it looks like the orig LG code is based on) and he’s getting the same result.

Baffling. I gotta step away from this for a day or two or I may go nutty.

Ok – nuttier. 😉

Gonna play some Torchlight.

To quote King Crimson: “Frustration will be my epitaph.”


Sooo I’m trying to port the changes that LG made to the kernel (that let it run on the GW620 hardware) and it is being a serious pain in the arse.

We need kernel 2.6.29 in order to fully run Android 2.0. So, a porting I will go! Gah! I started by trying to use diff to merge the changes automatically in to the newer kernel. I tried a few different approaches, and they all failed badly. Either there were 100s of merge errors, or the code was uncompilable spaghetti at the end of the merge, or a combination of the two.

I’m now trying to bring just the required hardware drivers in to a stock 2.6.29 source tree, and even that is giving me an insane amount of grief. Arg!

Arg Arg Arg Arg.


Edit: I have the video driver folded in to the new kernel now. Kernel still won’t boot though. There’s a few more Eve specific drivers I need to incorporate.

I got married on Feb 27th to my lovely wife Pixy. A few weeks before the wedding we took a wedding band workshop at Devil’s Workshop to make each other’s bands. It was absolutely amazing! The instructor was friendly, patient, and very encouraging. She made sure we were all comfortable with what we were doing, and was an excellent teacher.

The workshop was quite comfortable and cozy, with enough space and tools for 2 couples to work on their creations.


We started with 2 little bars of gold


And after some bending


and some soldering


and some hammering, we ended up with a pair of rough rings.


After that, it was all down to grinding, sanding, and polishing


before we had the rings finished.


If any of you are planning to get married, I’d highly recommend taking this workshop. The results are beautiful, and you end up with rings that are far more meaningful than something store-bought.

In fact, we had such a good time, that we’re thinking of going back for a silversmithing class… I, for one, would love some rock-climbing themed tie clip and cufflinks. 🙂

I now have the first stage of my new computer. I’m still using some cast off/borrowed components that need to be upgraded/replaced, but at a state where I can boot it up and play! Wow is it ever fast! I can’t wait to see what it’ll be like in a few months when I’ve finished souping it up. Mostly, what I need to upgrade is the ram and hard drive. Planning on getting 4 gigs of ddr2-800 which should be way more than enough RAM, and a pair of striped Baracuda 500gig drives. That’ll give me a full terabyte of storage at ~170mb/s speeds.

Right now I just have a Core 2 Duo E6300. It’s the cheapest of Intel’s dual core offerings, but it’s VERY temporary. The motherboard it’s plugged in to is top of the line, and was the most expensive part. When the quad core chips come down to about $500 I’ll grab one of those to replace the E6300.

Oh, and lastly, here’s a pic of me over at Fishy’s, all dressed up for a client appreciation gala. It was a night of shmoozing with the clients at The Old Mill. The food was divine, the band was incredible, and the booze was flowing a little too freely.

So, I met with a personal trainer as part of my Y membership over the weekend…
I’ve never worked out in a gym before, so I had absolutely no idea which machines to use, and how to use them. My trainer was most excellent! He actually designed a work out schedule for me, and then walked me thru each day of the schedule making sure I was comfy with each machine/exersize. I’ve started with a 2 day/week schedule. After a month or three I may add on a third day, but I’m hoping 2 will be enough.

It was kinda funny… As we were going thru the machines, I was REALLY able to tell which parts of my bod I use, and which I don’t… e.g. My legs are strong from cycling, but my chest is sooo weak! For my arms I was fine if I was pulling down, since I still have some climbing muscle, but pushing up was haaard. I suspect it’ll be quite interesting feeling my bod get more balanced as I work out…

I’ve also been thinking of taking a full body pic of myself each week… Might be interesting to watch my body change shape, but I’m not sure I could maintain that level of vanity for very long, lol.

Planning on going Tues and Fri(or weekend) for now, which means I get to go back tonight. Looking forward to it, but I must remember to put some good tunes, and perhaps a new audiobook on my ipod before I go.

That’s it for my boring post… Happy Tuesday folks!

Yup. Just joined the Y. Decided I need to start taking better care of my carcass than I have been. Oh, and Fishy to joined too! We’ve both been talking about it for a while, but we finally got off our asses today. Hopefully the combination of mutual peer pressure and wanting to get value for our money will keep us both going at least 2 times a week. 🙂

After the Y was done taking my pic and making my pass, I went out to buy some new gym shoes, cuz all my runners are old and nasty. Ended up spending twice what I expected, but that’s just because I bought a spanky new set of workout clothes… All high tech ‘n stuff. The shirt is soooo soft! It’s almost massless too! I’m going to have a hard time not just wearing it around the house!

Oh, and as part of my sign up package I get a session with a personal trainer tomorrow. Hopefully they’ll be able to put together a work out plan for me. I’ve never gone to a gym regularly before, so I have no bloody clue what to do, lol! Usually I get all my exercise outside, but that doesn’t seem to be happening much these days…

For the record, the sales guy at Running Room was great! Not only was he zero-pressure (never once asking me “If I wanted fries with that”) but he actually recognized the make/model of the shoes was wearing and immediately fetched 2 pairs of a similar type/style in my size. Even with the last minute outfit, I was in and out of the store in about 6 mins. I got exactly what I wanted and more. One of the most pleasant shopping experiences I’ve had in recent memory!

So a few co-workers and I went out on the town last night… Started at a place called Einstein’s, and ended up at the Silver Dollar.

It’s been a looong time since I’ve been that drunk, and wow did I ever need it! Got completely plashtered! So smashed, in fact, that I ordered AND enjoyed some deep fried pickles. Believe it.

The Silver Dollar had a live bluegrass band, and holy crap they were amazing! Kept the place swinging till well after midnight! Apperent;y, they’re there every wed

This morning, however, I’m paying the price. No headache, but I feel queasy and slightly dizzy. Ah well, small price to pay I suppose…

I got a raise! Woohoo! Also sounds like my new role is going to be interesting once I transition in to it! Looks like I'll become the interface between the sales guys (the company owners) and the tech team for projects and new accounts. I'll have to gain a deep understanding of the client infrastucture, design the technical aspects of the project, and divy it out to the staff. I'll still get to keep my hands nice and dirty, but the work will be a lot more fun that fixing users printing problems!

I'm sitting here on Fishy's couch, and I'm in wifi range of my network… He's just moved in directly across the hall from me. He was unsure about where he was moving to, but at the last minute this apt came up and he grabbed it! W00t! It's gonna be fun having him so close! Today I ran a network cable across the hall (up in the ceiling, all invisible like) between our apts so we can share internet, and more importantly – be on the same network so we can see each others media shares! 🙂 Fun fun!

Work is going really well… Got a mini promotion last week, and the owner has blown sunshine up my arse a few times now – even told me I'd be getting a big raise when my probation is up. They've hired 3 more new folks in the past 2 weeks, and (according to our manager) I'm the best of the batch. Yay to me!

The waking up every morning has become easier now that I'm used to it, though I'm definitely noticing the lack of free time I have now. Ah well, I'm also noticing the radical increase in income, so I can't complain too loudly!

Hope all's well with all of you!

I knew it was gonna be hard doing a full time gig, and sure enough…it is!
After 2 weeks, I'm ready for a holiday, lol!
Still, ALL our clients are non profit. United Way, Foster Parents play, Aids 2006 Conference, Canadian Cancer Society, etc. Kick ass! Seriously beats the shit out of having IBM send me to a bank to fix their network… The people I get sent to work with are folks I'd want to help anyway! Woot!
So, though I am tired, I'm also quite pleased with life. 🙂

Just getting ready for a family picnic today… The whole fam damily on my Dad's side is gathering at my aunts farm. Probably be about 50-60 folks there, most of whom I haven't seen in 5 years. Should be a riot, and I'm sure I'll have some interesting stories afterwards. 🙂

Bought myself a new router. Very exciting! Linksys WRT54GL. The L at the end is for Linux! Installed linux on it, and now I've turned my router into the cheapest little workstation you've ever seen! Can run a command prompt, and I'm thinking about installing a web server on it just to see it work!

That's about it… Running out the door now. More later!

Been too long since I've updated, but holy crap have I been a busy lil beaver!

One of my clients moved. FunFunFun! They didn't move very far, but the new place had zero infrastructure, so we had to run net cable, install jacks at one end and the patch panel at the other. The electricians who pulled the cable thru the walls for us didn't label either end, so figuring out which cables went to which desk was a real pain in the ass. Hours of tracing cable. Still, I got it built and made a few months living in the process.

Oh, and the guy who moved the phone system? He was drunk the whooooole time. Not just tipsy, or inebriated, but slurring & staggering drunk. It's a miracle that he got the system up and running. Poor Claire checked in on him at one point and he was walking around in circles unable to decide which problem to work on first. She had to tell him 1 thing to fix, then come back in 45 mins to give him the next thing. Had to ride his ass the whole time. Shoulda seen her laugh when his invoice came, lol!

Also just did something crazy… I was approaching a local outsourcing company about doing some overflow contract work with them, and they wouldn't let me leave until I'd agreed to work for them. The work sounds like great fun, the pay is excellent, and the company seems to good to be true… They do a lot of free work for charities and non-profit companies, have no interest in going public, pay well, have great benefits, and they're even giving me a company metropass ( local transit pass, for you non-Torontonians ) to get to and from clients! It's a full time gig (eek!!) but they're letting me take days when I need to service my other clients!

It's been a looooong time since I worked m-f. I'm a little freaked out at the prospect, but the thought of not having to deal with all the billing, selling, etc, is balancing me out some. Plus, if I keep my cost-of-living about where it is now I'll be able to save up a large wadge of cash in a small wadge of time! W00t to that! Guess that means I'm selling out, lol, but fuck it!

I've also been thinking a lot about going back to school. Becoming Dr Zac. Not medical doctor, though. Doctor of astrophysics, or cosmology, or something like that… Space baby! Space! So, my thinking right now is any money I save will pay for an edu in a few years, but I may just snap… you know… buy a sailboat and go to Peru or something. 🙂

My apt is still a disaster area. Comically enough, even though I've made multiple months of living in the past few weeks I'm currently flat broke. I think I have $4 in the bank, and maybe $10 in my wallet, so… No cash to get picture hangers, shower curtains, etc… But the cheques are in the mail, and I'm a patient fella. 🙂

Took a Lovely Lady over to the island on Friday for walks on the beach. Spent a lot of time sitting on the rocks quietly listening to waves, and walked all over the place while talking. Was a thoroughly enjoyable day. Even ran in to (and ate with) Tim & Val & Gwynn & Claire & Zeke when we stopped for dinner. Gwynn demanded I come sit with them, and I just can't say no to a 5 year old! Lovely Lady took it all in stride tho, and didn't mind chowing with a bunch of folks she'd never met. In fact, I think she may want to move there, lol!

Think I'm going alone over to the island again tomorrow for a round of golf… The past few times I've played has been with people who were new to the game, and I'd like to play a round with some people who're better than me. Should give me some inspiration, and keep my ego in check. :p

Ummmm…. What else? Nothing. Hope all's well with all of you. 🙂