whatznew

Catching the Raspberry Pi Fever

I was recently asked by someone what interesting things I had done with a Raspberry Pi. I remember a day when I could have rambled off a full list of experience, cautions and advice based on my own tinkering. I was usually the first to play with new tech or, when I wasn’t, was very often the first to exploit it to do interesting and meaningful things within the scope of my job. My peers and I would tinker and share in ways that have been popularized by the Maker movement in recent years…and it was fun. But alas, I could answer only with a, “No, I haven’t really had time…but I’ve been following it for a while and it looks cool”. Continue reading

Rockin’ Out Wirelessly with Bluetooth

A while back I did extensive research (even for me) on desktop speakers, and found amazing quality at a price that was still affordable in the Studiophile AV40 kit from M-Audio. Great for a multimedia production machine, or any other place where you need really good sound…if you can be tethered. So, worked great for a desktop, but as I began to want to use these awesome speakers with my laptop, I just found them annoying. Great sound…but unless I was willing to do something unseemly with wires across the room, there was no way to enjoy them with music from my laptop while lounging on the couch. A Bluetooth epiphany followed by several Google searches highlighted some interesting options…the first of which I’ve tried was the Rocketfish Bluetooth Music Receiver (RF-BTR212).
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Wittz End Radio Live(ish)

I made a vague reference to Icecast and Internet radio broadcasting in my last post. I’m mostly just playing around with one of my oldest, and favorite hobbies…you know, in all my spare time. As part of testing, I have dug-up my old “WET Pod Foo” podcasts from 2006 and am broadcasting them in a continuous loop now. There is only about 8.5 hours of pre-recorded content in these old podcasts, but it is better content (in my opinion) than the old test pattern loop we used at the college radio station in the early 90s during hours of non-operation.

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Linode On-Demand Server to Replace My Dedicated Hosted Server

As we finally got our web hosting clients migrated to using cloud services for communication (read: Google Apps) and more flexible publishing environments for web hosting (read: WordPress), I was left with a decent monthly expense for a Linux box that only served to scratch my itch for occasional tinkering. Even I can admit that this would have been a poor use of funds had I allowed it to go on for too long, so I backed-up the server, and closed a ServerBeach account that had been active since 2004.

Being responsible felt good, but I still had that nagging desire to play at the command-line on occasion…and a real need from time-to-time to do something I only know how to do with thinking with my Linux brain. Whatever would I do? In looking at my hosted options, I considered Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, and several others. At the end of the day, I settled on Linode, with offerings that were affordable, reliable, flexible, and very fast.

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The “Perfect” Look-and-Feel with a WordPress.com Hosted Premium Theme

As part of my work to update the website look-and-feel, close off some old server infrastructure, and reduce service provider costs, I moved wittzend.com to WordPress.com as its new platform. I had used WordPress as a blogging platform on-and-off for years (most recently, for the now defunct “WET Pod Foo” podcast), but always on my own servers; the old “download-install-maintain” bit. The one downside to self-hosting, having to keep up with a seemingly endless stream of security updates, is handled automatically for you if you allow WordPress.com to host the instance. Since this is a hosting arrangement Witt’z End Technologies has been encouraging others to look at when building new sites, it seemed appropriate to use the opportunity of consolidation to follow that advice for this site. Along the way, I found some issues that required creative work-arounds to get the exact look-and-feel I wanted from a theme…without having command-line access to edit the core files directly.

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Changing of the Guard: Xoom No More

Smart Phones have become so big in our lives. Like everyone else, I have become dependent on my little, red Droid RAZR for all manner of communication, but there are still some things that require a bigger screen…watching movies, working with presentations (when the laptop isn’t near), and reading Kindle books. To fill the utility chasm between the versatility of my mobile and the power of my laptop, a tablet is a perfect choice. Up until this month, I used a Motorola Xoom as my tablet of choice, but no more. There’s a new sheriff in town.

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Happy 1234567890!

If you care about such things, something significant just happened. The internal time on your computer, measured in number of seconds elapsed since 00:00:00 UTC January 1, 1970 (not counting leap seconds), read 1234567890. Likely only your computer and geeks around the world noticed or care, but thought it was worthy of a blog post.