While applying a firmware upgrade to my Linksys WRT54G router today I encountered the following error:

Upgrade are failed!

This is right up there with “All your base are belong to us!”

On the up side, Linksys support was fairly helpful. Despite asking me “Have you tried to check the memory of your computer?” and “Have you tried to change the browser settings?” (those are exact quotes from the live chat) they got me to a download of the firmware that worked.

Overall, for $50 (on Amazon) the Linksys WRT54G router has been a damned solid and easy to configure wireless router with the nice benefit of four wired ports (in addition to the uplink.)
error message, funny, fun, humor, bad translation, bad english, engrish, router, wireless, internet

Ever wonder what the CEO of one of the world’s leading music retailers thinks of Digital Rights Management? Today Steve Jobs of Apple Inc. told us in a message titled “Thoughts on Music” which I hope we will some day look back on as the beginning of the end for DRM.

In the post Jobs clearly presents the current situation (each vendor has their own library of music, protected by their own DRM which will only work on their own software and devices) and offers up three possible futures, the most interesting of which is the third:

The third alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely. Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.

Why would the big four music companies agree to let Apple and others distribute their music without using DRM systems to protect it? The simplest answer is because DRMs haven’t worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy.

If you are interested in DRM or would like to learn more about it and why it’s such a hot topic right now, I highly recommend reading Jobs’ entire post. Remember, Apple is currently ahead in this field and if anything has the most to loose if they lost their brand lock-in.

drm, digital rights management, music, mp3, aac, apple, computer, records

Never Forget!As this was all going down yesterday I thought it a bit of an overreaction that the Massachusetts bomb squad was being dragged out for what was obviously an LED array (even from what little video the news stations had.) Now Sean Stevens and Peter Berdovsky who placed the devices around the city are being charged with placing “hoax devices” and disorderly conduct.

Now lets, just for a moment, review the definition of the word “hoax“. Now, if you read it carefully you’ll notice it starts off “to trick…” The phrase “to trick”, at least to me, implies intent. If you’re paying any attention to the reasons these guys (and folks like them in other US cities) put the devices up and what their purpose was you know already that there was no “trick”.

But anyway, while the press is busy sensationalizing the whole incident, the two men are taking time to learn a bit about hair styles of the ’70s! Really! Click through and watch the video. Bravo to these guys for not feeding the media machine!

Get these guys for graffiti, maybe even trespassing; even disorderly conduct, but they’re not terrorists. Now, Turner Broadcasting and the ad agency they hired that came up with the idea have a bit more to answer for, although the campaign was received quite differently in other cities. If they had any brains at all they’d have walked into Boston today with an apology and a million dollar check.

The MAKE blog (where I stole the image from, hope they don’t mind) continues to have some interesting information on the event.



publicity, graffiti, prank, led, technology, cool

Working from home is great. You’re not a slave to the snack machine whenever you get the munchies, but you are likely to chow down on whatever is in the house when hunger hits, so my working from home advice for the day is to have healthy snacks around no matter how expensive they are.

My current preference is for flavored pretzels. They’re far from the cheapest thing in the store, but anything is better than paying a dollar for a one ounce bag of chips! Buy the healthy snacks that you like, otherwise you’ll always be reaching for those old grease-laden standbys.

home office, office, telework, work, telecommute

A nice chairAbout three months ago I started working as a remote Oracle database consultant, remote meaning I now work from home most weeks. Though I’m still fairly new to telecommuting it’s something that has always interested me.

In the few short months I’ve been working from home I’ve found that I am amazingly productive, but also that there are a few things I couldn’t do it without. Mileage will vary of course, but I wanted to write about some of the things I’ve found most helpful when working from home and one of the most important of these is a really good chair.

I’ve found being comfortable helps me work longer without loosing focus and the office chair is the most essential part of that. Working at the couch works for me for half days, but long stretches lead to neck and upper back problems. I even knew a woman at a previous job who got a pinched nerve from working with her laptop on her couch too much. When I need a change of scenery I’ll move to the couch, but I work at least half of every day from my desk chair.

I found a nice fabric covered Morrill chair at Staples but it’s essential to test-drive your own and choose the best one for you. I tried dozens of chairs before settling on this one.

I’d say plan to spend up to $350 on a good chair. It’s likely you’ll find one for less (mine was on sale for $129, regularly $179) but this is one thing you don’t want to compromise on. Height, padding, back support, arm design and tilt and swivel features should all be considered. If this seems like a lot to spend on a chair, just consider what you’re saving in gas by working from home (in my case no less than $200/month) and you’ll feel better.

You will also probably want to consider some type of floor protection for under your chair. The plastic mats are good on carpet and a version is also available to protect hardwood floors. After seeing recently what only a couple years of office use can do to even industrial carpets I was glad to have picked up a good mat.

I’ll be writing more about working from home in the near future. If you have tips or questions about working from home feel free to leave a comment.

telecommute, telework, home office, office, work

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