Code Junkie


In the last year, I’ve spent a bit of time learning and building with Python. So much so, that I’ve actually written a fully fleshed out application for work that makes short work of what used to take a long time manually. I’ve been finding every excuse to write Python code. Video download/processing? Sure. Rewriting my Jarvis to use both Applescript and Python, why not? I’m getting there though. (more details here: https://drwalker.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/jarvis/)

Python is really a fun language to write with. I’ll post some more project information as time goes by.

Adding on to backup bash scripts


So, ages ago, I wrote up a couple of bash scripts that automated the backup process on a server. It’s all text based, so you’d have to be logged into a terminal or be ssh’d into the box.

Today, I got to thinking, I should give it a pretty web gui that makes the process easier and functions through a web gui.

It’s still really early in the through process, but I’m intrigued by the project and will start working on it soon.

Original Post: http://www.merval.org/2012/03/bash-scripts/

Github: https://github.com/merval/BackupScripts

Apple Wireless Keyboard [Review]


I bought this keyboard on Christmas Day 2013, off Amazon. It was delivered on January 2nd. Considering the Holidays, that’s pretty good. So, first thing I noticed with this keyboard is the size. It’s literally the same keyboard you get with a Macbook or Macbook Pro. I actually lined it up with my Macbook keyboard and it’s exactly the same.

The keyboard doesn’t weigh much either, Apple says it weighs in at 8 ounces. All of the weight is from the batteries (two AA batteries). But it very, very light. It also has these skid guards on the bottom of it, I’m not sure if they are suppose to prevent you from pushing it around when typing, but it doesn’t really do much other than keep the bottom of the keyboard from rubbing the desk.

Usability

With the keyboard only coming in at 12.8 x 1.4 x 7.3 inches in size, it’s pretty compact, and I have giant hands. I first came across this keyboard while working on a computer for a family friend. At first, I was taken back by how small the keyboard really is and how big my hands were compared to it. I had a bit of a hard time trying to figure out how to make my fingers work on such a small keyboard. But once I got the hang of it, it actually felt pretty nice.

The idea of taking a keyboard from a Macbook and making it into a bluetooth keyboard is pretty ingenious. The only thing I miss from the old Windows keyboard I used prior to this, is the 10 key.

This keyboard has all the buttons the Macbooks have, including controls for iTunes and screen brightness (need to have a compatible monitor).

The best part about this keyboard is that when I got it, I put batteries in and started using it. That was on January 2nd. Today is May 28th, and I just switched out the batteries. I use the computer, A LOT. So for the batteries to last nearly five months, is staggering. Well done Apple.

Cons

I’ve been ranting and raving about this keyboard for long enough… Now for the things that bug me.

I don’t use Caps Lock very often so, I didn’t catch this right away, but the button doesn’t seem to notice it’s being pressed, I sometimes have to press it two or three times before the light kicks on showing Caps Lock is one.

When I type, I don’t think of myself as one of those people who is smacking the keyboard as hard as they can. But with this keyboard, for some reason, as I type it makes this vibration sound, as if the alignment is off, just a hair. The area below the spacebar tends to have a little room that bounces off my desk as I type and makes this terrible sound. But, I usually have headphones on and don’t hear it.

I would love to be able to sync the keyboard with multiple devices, and have the power button act as switch between devices, but instead, I have to either completely disconnect the bluetooth on one device or have the device forget the keyboard to switch to another one.

 

All in all, I have really enjoyed this keyboard. The nice part is, where I work, we use Windows 7 and going from this keyboard to a Windows keyboard, isn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be. Seeing as with OS X you have several keyboard shortcuts that don’t mesh up with Windows keyboards. But on a subconscious level, because the keyboards are so different, when I sit down at my desk at work, I don’t even miss a beat.

So, with the few cons I have, I’m giving this keyboard a 9.6 out of 10 stars.

 

The case of the MacBook LCD issue.


So, My wife’s uncle gave me a Macbook of his that worked, but the LCD panel was not working, or so I thought. I proceeded to do a full tear down on it, attempting to locate the problem, having found what I thought the issue was, a pinched display cable (which turned out to be incorrect). I took the macbook to the Apple store to see if they could assist, granted the macbook wasn’t in one piece anymore. The Apple rep explained, because I had taken the whole laptop apart, they were unable to service it and suggested I take the computer to the MacStore. Which I happily did, in hopes they would solve my problem.

We arrived at the MacStore and explained my problem. Which was that when you opened the macbook the screen would light up briefly but then turn off again once opened past at 15 degree angle. They agreed to do a diagnoses on the computer for me. A day or so later, the tech calls me and explains the LCD panel is faulty and the clutch cover was broken and needed to be replaced. All told, repairs would be over $400 dollars. I declined the repair and brought the computer home. Having been told the LCD panel was bad and the bezel (the part that goes around the panel covering the screws) was broken in half, I opted to buy a whole LCD assembly, for only $85 on ebay. I got the assembly but quickly realized the inverter cable was wrong, so without a thought, I swapped out the cable for the one on the other LCD panel. Got everything screwed together and was just about done when I decided, before I lock it all down, I had better do a test run to ensure I haven’t forgotten any cables.

I plugged in the power and hit the switch. The screen didn’t light up. I double and triple checked all my connection, ensuring everything was correct, I thought, “I wonder what will happen if I close the lid to a 15 degree angle..”. Son-of-a-bitch! The thing lights up at a 15 degree angle. How the hell could I have TWO faulty LCD panels that only work at 15 degrees? Then I investigated further. I had swapped out the inverter cable when I first got this assembly, so I started inspecting the cable, and I’ll be damned, there is a small cut in the cable and one of the wires were separated.

So, out of curiosity I started moving the cable around. Before I knew it, I had found the sweet spot, the LCD panel was completely light up and I could see everything! The LCD wasn’t BAD, the little cable was faulty. Now the MacStore had charged me $49 for the diagnostic, which after I had discovered the faulty cable, I called them and asked for a full refund of my money because their tech didn’t catch the cable issue. They provided me in-store credit. Which works out nicely, my Wife found an iPad Mini case there that she really liked.

So to wrap this whole thing up, I went on ebay and found a guy selling the exact cable I need, for $10 ($12 after shipping).

This was my second time opening this particular Macbook model, my wife and I actually have this exact macbook model (Only it’s the white model and this one is the black one) and I had opened the case up awhile back to clean out some dust and more recently replace the isight camera.

I’m actually starting to become quite comfortable cracking these macbooks open and fixing problems. The only thing I really need to get my hands on is a magnetic screw organizer. Macbooks have an insane amount of screws. And most of them are tiny and very easy to lose.

So, anyway. Hopefully by Monday or Tuesday I’ll have my inverter cable and a fully functional Macbook! (it works now but only through an external Monitor.)

When I got the macbook it had 4GB of RAM. I decided to divvy up the RAM between both macbooks and gave swapped one of the sticks in each, bringing both to 3GB. I’m hoping to upgrade my macbook to a 1TB HD. 🙂 It may be a mid-2007 macbook, but I’m gonna milk every ounce of possible out of this puppy!

Thanks for reading!

Catch ya next time!

– Dan

Open Source, Why it’s good for business.


There has been a lot of buzz recently about Windows XP’s End of Life next year, and a lot of people think of Hackers when they think of, or hear about Linux. What a lot of people fail to understand is, not all hackers are bad, the primary definition of a hacker is, “An enthusiastic and skillful computer programmer or user.”

Most hackers are people who take something and use it in a manner it wasn’t intended, or build their own version of something. This is where open source comes in, the theory behind open source is free information for all. Which is essentially what the “bad” hackers are doing, taking information and making it free to the public. But the difference is, one is perfectly legal and the other is not. Can you guess which is which?

So, What is Open Source? It’s free software/hardware that you are free to use and modify however you wish, and you can redistribute it after you’ve made your changes. Almost all versions of Linux are Open Source, there are a few out there that are Enterprise and really all you’re paying for there is the support and the name, it’s kinda like buying a pair of Nike’s, they are like every other pair of shoes, except there is a brand name attached to them.

Without giving you a crazy long history of Linux, Prior to October 5th 1991, Linux didn’t exist, Linus Torvalds wrote the original Linux kernel and still to this day, any additions must have his final say. Prior to that there was Unix which is a closed source operating system that only a few companies have the ability to modify, which is why Linus created the Linux Kernel, to provide a free open source system that anybody can modify. Since it’s inception in 1991 Linux has grown like a wildfire. More than 90% of today’s 500 fastest supercomputers run some variant of Linux, including the 10 fastest.

Why is Linux and Open Source such a good thing? Imagine that you create something, that to you is awesome and works great, but then someone else see’s where it can be improved and made even better. Now imagine that happening with thousands of volunteers all at once, across several different versions of what you created. That is what Open Source is, and it’s so great because it provides not only multiple options for people, but what you created is constantly getting better. All at no cost to you.

Which is why Open Source is so great for business, when you buy a computer with Windows or Mac on it, you get updates and security patches but when the next version comes out, you have to fork over whatever amount of money their asking for that version. Unless of course you use Linux, then it’s absolutely Free.

So every time a new upgrade comes out for your version of Linux, you can upgrade and not pay a dime for the operating system. Thanks for thousands of volunteers who tirelessly fix issues and add new features.

Did You Know!?
Linux is a leading operating system on servers and other big iron systems such as mainframe computers and supercomputers?

So, the next time you have a computer that is a little old and doesn’t run Windows or Mac as well anymore, instead of tossing it out, either donate it, or put Linux on it and give some new life to that old machine!