Norton Anti-Virus is a Scam

A co-worker recently asked me if he should re-new his subscription to his anti-virus software. Here's my opinion:

Norton antivirus software is a rip-off. It's primary goal is identical to that of the TSA: to make you think you're secure. Not that it doesn't work, it's just that there are other products that are free and in many tests outperform Norton. AVG is an extremely popular, proven, and free antivirus tool I'd recommend using.

Access makes babies cry

access icon © Kathleen Taylor (

You have to love Roomba

Setup the Roomba in my new apartment. It works wonders. The apartment is all carpeted so constant, regularly scheduled cleaning is a must. With the scheduling feature I have the Roomba set to run bi-weekly. On his first run he picked up more dirt than I care to admit. You'd think with my incredibly powerful Dyson my carpets would be impeccable. Of course, the Dyson only cleans my carpets when I choose to use it. And so far that hasn't been often.

Economic Downturn? Start Your Business Now!

An economic downturn is a great time to start that business you've been thinkg of. Jason Calacanis, who made his fortunes with Weblogs Inc., started his company after the Dot Com bubble burst. One of the reasons to start a business now is that a lot of the competition dries up. The VCs pull back and funding gets tighter. Even tech marketing genius Seth Godin agrees.

Bypassing Corporate Bureaucracy To Use SVN

the best google result for "svn"What do you do when your company is too bureaucratic to give it's developers access to any kind of version control whatsoever? You roll your own. Well, not exactly. I'm not about to re-write my own in house version control system. But when I'm prevented from using TortoiseSVN, I go the old command line route. TortoiseSVN is a nice graphical frontend to SVN. It embeds itself in Explorer's context menu.

Not Clever Enough for the Geeks of Voyager?


The star ship Voyager has 257 rooms according to the Emergency Medical Hologram. You'd think the writers could've accomodated us Computer Scientists and made it 255. Of course, then Captain Janeway's quarters would have to be room 0. Can't have a non-zero based room assignment now can we? Otherwise we'd end up with made up IPs like CSI uses.


Christmas comes early for this geek: New ZoneMinder server parts

As you know from seeing my projects page, I've been working on building a ZoneMinder server. ZoneMinder is the software that manages the recording of multiple security cameras, streams live video over the internet, and provides all sort of analysis and other goodies. It's a robust, mature application.

Camera Setup

  • 1 usb webcam, 10 FPS, 320x240
  • 2 analog B&W cameras, 15 FPS, 640x480
  • 1 analog B&W camera, 30 FPS, 640x480

System Specs

  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 3.16 GHz LGA 775 Wolfdale 1333MHz FSB
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte EP35C-DS3R LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX
  • Video Card: Cheapest name brand (Asus) PCIx x16 video card you can buy. Hey, it's a server.
  • RAM: 2x 2GB DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500)
  • Power Supply: Thermaltake 750W ATX12V / EPS12V. This is a monster of a power supply.
  • UPS: APC 1500 VA 750 Watt battery backup
  • Video Encoder: Hauppauge ImpactVCB Video Capture Card 558 PCI
  • Video Encoder: BlueCherry PV-149 - 4 port video capture card (120FPS)
  • A single 80 GB 7200 RPM hard drive for the operating system and a few fans
  • Mid-size ATX case

Total Cost = $1110

New Search Engine Indexes Me As a Cross Dresser

Some of Google's former employees recently left to start their own search engine, It not only purports to have indexed tens of millions more web pages, but has a more interesting way of presenting search results. The layout is supposed to be more of a magazine style layout, with text blocks directly answering users' queries. This is different from Google's approach of putting their search effort into the quality of their index.

How end users dream up database designs (poorly)

End users tend to think of database design as a direct one-to-one mapping of their spreadsheet designs. So when you need to design a database for someone, they submit their existing Excel solution. You, the clever DBA that you are, begin mentally dividing out tables, normalizing, finding keys, etc.

Meanwhile, the user keeps talking about your database as if it were this one table, congruent with his Excel spreadsheet.

Digg and Other Traffic Spikes

Sooooo... last night I decided to submit to Digg again. I also went on some random blogs, etc. and spammed some comment sections with links to a new site I'm starting. I think the graph speaks for itself.


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