Tuesday, October 27, 2009

iPhone Picture

I thought I would post a picture from my iPhone just to see how it turned out. This is a picture I took at the Wiedikon train station in Z├╝rich on my way home from work tonight. When it is dark, the windows in this bridge over the station have a rather eerie look to them.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A post from the iPhone

I downloaded an app that allows writing posts on Blogger from my iPhone. So far it seems okay. The name of the program is BlogPressLite. Quite a few reviewers did not like the program as it requires a Blogger.com account. That is not a problem for me, however. One nice feature is that it seems that you can edit offline and then upload to the web.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

More music server stuff.

So, after awhile of living in Switzerland, I decided it'd be nice to be able to access my music over the network. To do this, I'd have to rip all my CDs, what I brought to Switzerland and have in some nice storage cases, though they do take up a bit of space.

I thought it'd be nice to have some sort of server to store the music. At first I thought a PC would be good, but they were to expensive and too loud. At some point I stumbled upon the Linksys NSLU2. This is a great little device with a 266mhz processor and 32mb of memory. It draws something like 3 watts of power when not connected to the USB drives that one can connect to it. It runs Linux as an OS, and as the source was available, people figured out how to modify and replace the OS. When I think back, this little machine is several times the machine that the VAX 11/780 we had in college. It has no fan, and is absolutely quiet. I found a fanless external disk drive that was also fairly quiet and that was my hardware configuration.

The next thing I needed was a way to serve the music to iTunes. The answer was what was called mt-daapd at that point, and is now called the firefly media server. Firefly does a great job of serving up to iTunes. The only big drawback is that you don't get coverflow. But, if you just want to fire up iTunes and play random music, this is a good way to do it.

This was a great solution for a bit, but my little G4 iBook didn't have that much power, and so I started thinking about another way to listen to music....

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Music over the net.

One thing you miss incredibly when you're living in a country other than your own is the radio that you had in your country. I suppose there are some interesting Swiss radio stations. And, actually I rather like Radio Swiss Jazz, but one channel isn't really enough. Sure, there's World Radio Switzerland as well, but the music they play on the station is stuff I just can't stand, even though I like the content. There was also the English Show in Basel, but they had the same problem.

After awhile I decided it would be good to check out the options on the Internet. At first there were a few stations on iTunes. It's still a pretty good option. Stations like those of RadioIO are pretty decent, even if they're all music and no news. Of course for news there's always the option of listening to NPR, which I can get over iTunes, various network players and even my cable TV box. However, I still end up watching CNN or Swiss TV for most of my broadcast news these days, even if it's just for the background noise.

But, the listening to of music on a computer isn't always a great experience. It's okay to use iTunes at work with some headphones, but at home I want to just kick back and listen. I'd also like to listen to something played over some nice speakers and not have to deal with the headphones. So it was gadget time! :-)

The first thing I'd actually tried was iTunes with a Airport Express. I bought my first AX before leaving from the US. I was using it as a extension wireless router at first. It worked quite nicely for this. I also tried using it with my iTunes collection, then on my little G3 iBook. The iBook didn't have enough room to store my entire collection, which I wanted encoded as a lossless collection, but it did play some stuff nicely. It was fun to play with for a bit but I ended up deciding I needed to use the disk space on my iBook and so ended up going back to just using my five disc changers. However, in Switzerland, I no longer had my five disc changers....

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I had a recent business trip to San Francisco. Work was nice enough to let me travel via Seattle, so I was able to spend a week there.

The reason for traveling to San Francisco was Apple's World-Wide Developer Conference. Obviously, I can't say too much about it that hasn't already been covered much better in places like The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Engadget or Slashdot. I did find the conference pretty interesting though. And I managed to learn all sorts of new things. What I didn't do, is to wander around San Francisco much. Apple manages to keep you pretty busy. About all I had time for outside of the conference was a quick trip to Borders books and one night I saw Star Trek.

When the conference was over, I headed up to Seattle for the next week. I hung out with family and friends, but with just a week I was pretty limited in what to do. I did manage to get a short kayaking trip in up near Bellingham.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Back to posting

It's been awhile. I've been busy. Mostly busy working.

The job is quite interesting. I'm working while speaking pretty much nothing but German. It's not so easy, the German part, but it keeps me on my toes, and I'm never bored.

I won't say too much about the job on the blog. However, it gives me the chance to look at and evaluate technology. I find this pretty cool. And...where appropriate I might even comment on a few thinks. Expect me to say stuff about things like my iPhone for instance.

I've also been playing around with Facebook, which I find cool for the most part. However, it's not a good platform for more than short snippets of information. That's better to do with blogging. But I do like the way I can post pictures. The stupid games are sometimes fun as well. Still, it's Facebook is easy for the most part, and my friends all can reply with ease.
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