Thursday, October 23, 2008

Acoustic Design 3311

As all of you probably know, I have kids. 2 of them are currently able to crawl/walk around and unfortunately they don't have the correct understanding of the word no yet. Another problem is they seem to be very fond of technology, music, and they just love to fiddle with my ancient Kenwood KR-2200 receiver and peripherals. They also love to play with my regular sized speakers, I bought a long time ago for a cheap price at Aldi (Medion). Although these speakers were cheap, they sound great and I don't want the kids to break or damage these. So I removed the speakers and replaced them with very small sized speakers that are attached to my old portable radio cassette player (rx-ct800).

As much as I used to love my rx-ct800, the little speakers sounded like crap attached to the KR-2200, so I needed a solution.
I was thinking on buying some cheap JB Systems speakers, since I already own a set of cheap JB Systems TSX speakers. Unfortunately, these sound like crap too.

So I decided to look at second hand stuff on eBay and Kapaza and I found a pair of Acoustic Design 3311 speakers. In fact, I didn't know these were Acoustic 3311's until I removed the covers at the guy's place.

The guy that offered the speakers was selling these for €30. I thought this was a bargain. These speakers where enormous (the kids won't be able to toss these over) and they didn't sound too bad either. I was also going to use these speakers as a temporary solution until the kids have a correct understanding of the word "no" and stop tossing over the speakers.

So I bought them :)

Today, I found myself nothing to do and decided to look for some schematics or more technical details on the speakers I bought. After typing in Acoustic 3311 in google, I found these speakers were part of a large scale scam several years ago (damned, why does this always happen to me). These speakers were sold for prices ranging from $200 to $2000 for a pair.

Anyway, I don't really feel scammed. I didn't buy the speakers from some guys driving around in a white mini van and I didn't pay $200 for them either. They also sound a lot better than the small speakers from my rx-ct800. As I already said this is merely a temporary solution, so in a few years or so, watch out for my Acoustic 3311 speakers on eBay or Kapaza :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Linux: Visit us at the Ubuntu booth on November 23rd @ ICC Gent

Just to let you know, that yours truly and some other Ubuntu enthusiasts will be hosting a booth at the Dipro fair on November 23rd in Ghent on behalf of the Ubuntu Community. I will bring candy :)
Please visit the dipro website if you're not sure how to get there.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Getting pestered by Adium

A few days ago I upgraded my Adium Instant Messenger client on Mac OS X to the latest version. While I was working yesterday, I was being pestered by girls who really wanted me to visit _their_ webcam the whole day :(
I guess I am naive and thought only authorized buddies could sent messages to me. Apparently not. If you want the spam messages to stop, all you have to do is go to the Privacy Settings... in the Adium menu and select Allow only contacts on my contact list.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

I have a new girlfiend, and she looks awesome :)

A few weeks ago, I received a mail with the following subject: Likely, you will be now surprised.

Below is the complete content of this mail:

Hi, how are you? Likely, you will be now surprised. I long thought
before writing you the letter. This morning, I have received love the
Internet dispatch, from the unknown person to me the addressee. In the
given letter, it was spoken about love relations between people. In
the list e-mail addressees, I have seen your address. I long thought
before writing to you. I think, what you as search for serious
relations? I consider, that the given chance for me unique, therefore
I have decided to write to you. I wish to find the present love! I
would like to begin our acquaintance, with the small story about me.
My name is Anahit. Friends me name simply Anahit. To me of 28 years. I
the quiet, young, purposeful girl. Friends say to me, that I cheerful.
I love dialogue. I consider, that dialogue very important component in
our life. I, as well as all women of our country, like to cook food,
to go in for sports. I conduct a healthy way of life. I do not smoke
and I do not take alcohol. I have work which very strongly I love. But
I do not have not enough love. I am assured, that on our planet, there
is a person who can present to me happiness and love! On the Internet
I more recently. I have no wide experience in the Internet
acquaintances. I have seen transfer on the TV, about love in the
Internet and have decided to find the happiness. I consider, that it
is real. I search for the real man who will love, and to respect me. I
consider, that this main thing in relations. I wish to get acquainted
with you more close, by means of e-mail. It will be for us easier

I give you mine e-mail the address:

You can write to me. I with pleasure will answer you. Certainly, I
will send to you many the photos and I hope, that they will like you.
I with impatience will wait your letter to me, with more detailed
story about you. I am assured, that we become good friends and we can
love each other. Yours faithfully, Your new girlfriend, Anahit.

She looks great, doesn't she. These kinds of mails should remind us, the Internet is a dangerous place. The same day I received that mail, there was a documentary on Canvas about people who received mails, just like the one displayed above, and actually responded.

The mails are sent by a Russian organization, trying to steal some money from you. First they send you this generic mail, with a picture attached. When you reply, you will receive several other mails, telling you how in love with you she really is. After that, she will start asking money, e.g. to pay for a trip to come and visit you and have a ball the whole weekend (oh yeah). Sometimes you'll need to pay for her sick mother, father or brother, which is likely going to be a lot more expensive.

Anyway, I hope the few people reading this blog think twice after receiving a mail like that.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Tuxdroid: Exploring the 2.0 beta API and software

Just a quick update on the Tuxdroid / Java story. I followed the wiki page describing the installation for the 2.0 beta software and launched the new control center (which is entirely written in java).

The screenshot above shows this UI and it looks and works awesome. It has a lot more possibilities then the Python based 1.x UI and the attitunes stuff now really works. Attitunes are some kind of scenario's you can _play_, instructing the droid to do and say stuff. If you take a closer look to the screenshot, you can see the "Computer Alert 1 Nl" attitune highlighted. Pressing the play button executes the attitune and makes the droid speak and move.
Using the UI you can also download, install and execute attitunes contributed by other people from the Tux Is Alive website.
Anyway, I've checked out the code and I'm going to take a closer look at it.

Nerdtalk: The Tuxdroid has arrived

Earlier this year I was visiting FOSDEM and together with a colleague I attended a talk about how to design a Linux robot companion. Although I studied electronics a long time ago, resistors, transistors and other electronic components have never really been my cup of tea. That's why I started to work as a Software Engineer, rather then a chip designer, but that's a whole different story.
Anyway, the talk was not that difficult to follow, given my background. Even for people without a hardware background, I think, the talk was not that "nerdy".
In the talk David presented a few Tuxdroids and told the story on how they designed it. The presentation was crystal clear for everyone, so the only question that popped from the audience was "Where the hell can we buy this thing?" (laughter all over the place). ThinkGeek was of course the place to be.
At that time, we, Europeans, could buy stuff rather cheap on ThinkGeek, so a friend of mine decided to place a major order at ThinkGeek.
A few weeks ago, I was paying this friend another visit and the Tuxdroid had arrived.
I would not recommend this Tuxdroid to lesser nerdy people, because buying this will involve uploading new firmware and you need some programming skills to write your own gadgets. These gadgets, e.g. a mail checker, will alert you when a mail comes in. The droid will even read the sender's name and subject aloud. Using Linux is also more or less mandatory, as it is the preferred OS to use with the droid.
Currently there rewriting the API to be able to support Java. Being a Java developer this caught my interest, so when I find some spare time left, I'll be looking into this API.
To be continued ...

Linux: Ubuntu 8.10 is coming

Just a quick post to tell the small amount of people tracking this blog that Ubuntu 8.10 is coming. The first beta's are already released. Gentlemen (or women), start playing :)