Category Archives: Website News

Website news and announcements.

Nicaragua Trip

Our first excursion during Costa Rica vacation was to go abroad. We went to Nicaragua. Nicaragua is a poor country that has to buy its energy from Costa Rica, a big friend of Venezuela and has two old colonial towns: Granada and León. León unfortunately is way far north, so we did not go there, but we did go to Granada. However, before exploring human history we went to see natural one – Masaya Volcano.

20081202-10265890

Masaya Volcano is active, where by active I mean it still breathes. Sulfur dioxide fumes are coming out non-stop right from the depth of the crater. To see it in all its beauty you have to climb 107 steps that will lead you to the cross.

20081202-10291801

There at the top fumes are quite noticeable and some people feel they need to urgently run down, but I felt quite fine..

The second stop was a small town of Masaya. Otherwise boring place is famous by having a big souvenirs market, where people in blue attack you by offering their service to lead you to lowest price shop… we have escaped them and bought all the stuff we wanted at bargain prices.

20081202-12151401

Granada city was the last stop of the trip. A home style lunch at one of the hotels was followed by a forty minute carriage ride with frequent stops to see most interesting sights.

20081202-13561900

Right from the start of our trip we have asked to stay in Granada City longer than required by the schedule (thanks for the tip Irina and Dan) and after the carriage ride we walked quiet streets surrounding the main square.

20081202-15161400

Soon thereafter we were back on the bus heading into unknown – drive back to Costa Rica with lazy Costa Rican customs officers on our way. But just before we left we had a chance to see real WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction).

20081202-15394101

You can see the rest of the pictures from the trip on my Nicaragua Flickr Set. More photos from our Costa Rica vacations are coming shortly. It took a me whole week to process these photos and a bit of hacking of Gpisync that I use to geotag my photos to allow saving Unicode names.

The Pinnacle of Evolution

Yes, we are having a baby – Baby Boy!

Until today we were waiting for the confirmation of the successful initialization of a new thread in our family line. Now that we know, we want to share the news with everyone.

It took a bit of precise planning and we now believe that he will be born at the beginning of May 2009. Our beautiful boy will be our best third anniversary gift to each other. My wife and me are eagerly waiting for him to take a breath of fresh spring air into his tiny lungs and start enjoying his life from day one.

Best Flickr photo Uploader for Gnome/Linux

I was struggling to find an application that would be as simple as Flickr native Uploadr but would provide me with an option to change permissions before pictures are uploaded. Finally I’ve found Ross Burton‘s Postr – GNOME Flickr Uploader.

Ubuntu 8.04 already comes with package called “postr“, however it is a very outdated version 0.9 from more then a year ago and did not have the features I wanted. Current version is 12.2 and it has a much improved feature set. It definitely belongs to Ubuntu backports, but as always with Ubuntu you will have to wait until the next stable release Ubuntu 8.10 (codename Intrepid Ibex).

For now you will unfortunately have to install it manually from console

tar zxvf postr-0.12.2.tar.gz
cd postr-0.12.2/
sudo python setup.py install

A bonus is that this program is written in my favorite Python.

Tomorrow, March 31, 2008 from 8 to 9 PM my blog will be shut

It is just a small statement to support Earth Hour. It is my statement to let governments and people governed by them know that we need to start “thinking Green”. We need to stop waisting our natural resources and use best available technologies to generate our energy. But on a personal level we can also help by recycling, using power efficient products, encourage producers of currently more expensive “green” products by buying only “green”.

Blogs like mine don’t help to solve the problem, they actually make it more acute. Unfortunately, it is a pleasure to have some services available at all times and it is difficult to part from them. But at least we can switch off devices that are not used. For example, even if power supply is just plugged to a power outlet, most probably in this idle mode it sucks a watt or two while the device is completely shut. Even a power supply of your computer can be made more efficient, you just have to ask your supplier of choice be it Dell or Apple. You can use efficient CPUs, like the 45W AMD Athlon 64 X2 or upcoming Intel Atom. You can recycle your old CRT screen and get a small power efficient LCD, or even better buy a lightweight portable laptop and use it as your only computer.

Show them we want to be “Green”.

OpenOffice 2.4 is available

Great news, according to this overview OpenOfffice.org 2.4 will be contain some nice evolutionary improvements. In fact, OpenOffice.org 2.4 is already available on all major mirrors. My favorite Canadian mirror at University of Sherbrooke already hosts it for almost instant download. Unfortunately it does not look like Ubuntu 8.04 will have it bundled, the last Alpha 6 I’ve tried had 2.3.1…

Waiting for OpenOffice.org 3.0 for OSX (Native)… Give it to me, give it to me….

VPC-CG9 – New cool MPEG4/AVC (H264) camcorder from Sanyo

I was pleasantly surprised this morning to find out that Sanyo has announced a new camcorder – VPC-CG9.
VPC-CG9
The cool thing about this device is that it should cost only $279.99 MSRP, meaning places like Amazon will probably get it in low $200. Will be desperately waiting for reviews with samples to check that they are playable on my Playstation 3. If they are – the device is definitely on my “Wish List” :) Even though HD camcorders are already all around they are still quite costly and adequate storage is too expensive, though the best two HD camcorders, in my own opinion, Canon Vixia HF10 and Panasonic HDC-SD9 are getting down in street price monthly.

P.S. The link to the camcorder though still unpublished by Sanyo was easy to figure out since just had to find out what was the latest product and add one more to the index.

AMD Athlon X2 4850e – The Mistery CPU

It has been almost three weeks as AMD has announced the new chipset – 780G and a new power efficient CPU – X2 4850e. Motherboards are available for a couple of weeks already and are quite cheap. I’ve put my eye on this combo as my new server rig (with ASUS M3A78-EMH motherboard that features 6 SATA2 ports – feature that should be standard these days, but it is not). 4850e should be approximately as fast as 4800+ but only at 45W. Great? Isn’t it? But the CPU is nowhere to be found. Is this a paper launch again? Too frustrating…

All I want is a power efficient rig to run Ubuntu 8.04 Server LTS.

April 6, 2008 Update: What a disaster. I want to get AMD CPU first time in a VERY VERY long time and I can’t do it ANYWHERE on the internet one month after it has been announced. I totally miss the point of announcing it at all… It seems Dell is using it already in its business line, but nowhere else. If only there was any Intel based 6 SATA port motherboard I would have dumped AMD idea altogether. Then AMD complains that it can’t occupy its fabs enough… Now I know: it is because CPUs are not available at all, nobody can buy them to require any manufacturing at all. If only there was a cheap G33 based 6 SATA port motherboard except the expensive Supermicro board…..

New Home Phone Number

My home phone number starting today it has changed. I don’t want to publish it right here on publicly accessible blog, but if you e-mail me, I will immediately let you know.

So what did happen? Since 2004 I was a happy customer of FCI Broadband (Futureway Communications) a GTA’s local communications company. Last June I’ve got a happy letter from Rogers telling me that FCI Broadband is no more, they have bought it. But they claimed that I shall not worry – nothing is changing. Though I knew that “nothing is changing” is not for long, Rogers, like any other monopoly closes competing businesses fast, so that they do not compete with their main offerings. Fast forward to January 15th, 2008 and I got a letter from Rogers this time telling me that I have to switch to their “uber-cool” Rogers Home Phone (basically VoIP phone over cable) and I have to do it within next month or my phone is no more. I knew that this was the time to say “Good Bye” to Rogers. Now I have a VoIP phone from Netfone.ca. All features, free unlimited local calling, etc all for 9.95 + GST (no PST as they are in BC) (and you can transfer your existing phone number if it is in the area of their land-line switch – mine was not).

Voice quality seems to be fine, but now I have flexibility to call from anywhere, where there is a free WiFi using my Nokia N800 and its build-in SIP phone (I’ve tried and it works like charm).

Abandon monopolistic Bell and Rogers, switch to VoIP, there are a few choices in Canada.
http://www.netfone.ca/ (they are my current VoIP provider)
http://www.unlimitel.ca/ (they have an ugly website, but I’ve read they are quite good)
http://www.vbuzzer.com/ (very cheap and very popular in GTA)
http://www.gizmoproject.com/ (international, biggest Skype competitor, but Skype does not offer SkypeIn in Canada, otherwise they would have been my choice)
http://www.primustel.ca/ (a friend of mine is there, like it a lot, but it costs twice as Netfone.ca)

You can also order VoIP from Bell or Rogers, but then you will have to pay same old $40+ CDN + Taxes)

Btw, netfone.ca for GTA is routed through https://www.voipportal.ca/ so it might be the same quality as other providers that use this network.

One more thing.

Right now you can get a FREE 416 VoIP number for Life from http://www.freephoneline.ca only about 300 out of 5000 numbers are left. I’ve got mine, they have a Java based Soft Phone and you need to use computer to call, but hey it is FREE!

HD War is Over – Official

Great news came just as I was thinking going home (from work).

The news is that Warner has joined Blu-Ray exclusive club. All of sudden my grief about not being able to buy HD-DVD player during the boxing day is gone. HD-DVD is dead, long live Blu-Ray. Now 70% of all movies will be released in Blu-Ray format exclusively. This will eventually lead to the HD-DVD camp studios to abandon that exclusive camp and join Blu-Ray group since nobody will have players for their HD-DVD stuff, except a few hundred thousand early adopters.Too bad so many folks spent their hard earned $$ on HD-DVD equipment…

Get PS3 for $369 from Dell while you still can! What a great device it is…