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New Bio Page

I've just finished updating my Bio page. It was getting a little outdated.

In this new version, I have included a short version of my bio, as well as a long version (for those who are morbidly curious). But in addition, I have also included a portfolio as well. The tech articles here are the best portfolio for me though, seeing as they show off the various issues and topics I encounter on a regular basis.


Creating new files on OpenLog with Arduino

Sparkfun has made a small electrongic device known as OpenLog. This device takes a micro SD memory card (up to 2 GB), and will automatically create a file on power up and then log anything it sees on a serial input line. Even better, if you hook it up to a computer, you can enter into a command mode and create new files, delete existing files, create directories, etc.

Arduino + GPS = Lessons and Fun

I mentioned some time back that I am starting to learn electronics from a hobbyist stand point. My lessons have continued and I have turned to learning about GPS in particular. My GPS efforts have taken a bit of a winding road, but I am finally getting things stabilized and can blog about the experience and lessons learned. This is a long posting, covering the story so far...

Slow address resolution with Thunderbird

Tonight, I finally decided to fix a problem that has been bugging me. When I would compose an email message, I would see odd delays listing names in the autocomplete routines for addresses. So I would type in "and" and see a long delay (long enough for me to notice and be annoyed), then I would see the "andrew" email address autocompleted and alternate "andrew" emails listed. Then if I hit the down arrow to select another address I would see the same long delay - even though the information is already displayed.

Automatic OpenVPN Connections

I was first introduced to OpenVPN through IPCop OpenVPN has been a great tool for me. It allows quick and easy AND secure connections to remote networks. By using a VPN, I can use my laptop with confidence, even in an un-trusted or dangerous network. (disclaimer, DefCon is a special case - VPN helps, but is no guarantee...)

But I have two "beefs" with OpenVPN.

My flights have fancy have flown away.

My flights have fancy have flown away.
My imagination has withered and died.
My motivation has lost it's motivation.
My world has shrunk to encompass very little.
My faith died long ago.
My trust is shattered and in peices.
My ego is not overly proud of itself.


My beliefs are still strong.
My hope is eternal.
My will lives on.
My daughter makes me smile.

I will last another day.

Arduino, IR Range Finders, and I2C

I've been getting started with electronics for the past while and felt it was time for me to finally blog about the adventures. In particular, tonight I'm blogging about my experience with I2C based Infra Red Range Finders. (devices that can tell how far away something is...)

Discovering PostgreSQL Windowed Functions

Every once in a while we come across a problem that requires a different way of thinking to solve it. I ran into this tonight with what should have been a simple database query. The solution took me in an unexpected direction, but seems to be aligning nicely with the rest of the application.

Javascript Formatting of Phone Numbers and Postal Codes

Search the web for JavaScript scripts to format phone numbers and postal codes, and you'll find lots out there. The problem with most of the ones you find is that they are much more complex than they need to be, and do not handle different entry formats well. For example, entering phone numbers as "5551234" or "(888) 555-1234" requires different approaches. Regular Expressions can make this complexity much simpler, and reduce the amount of code needed.

Ubuntu + VMWare Server 2.x = Unstable?

I've used VMWare Server many times in the past to set up virtual testing or development environments. But since they moved to version 2.0 I keep running into problems. I cannot keep a VMWare server environment running reliably on a Ubuntu system.

Getting VMWare Server running on a Ubuntu system requires a couple of extra steps. But that is supposed to only be for the installation.

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