Ticket to Ride

[img_assist|nid=333|title=Ticket to Ride: Europe|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=256|height=192]
I recently purchased Ticket to Ride: Europe, an excellent board game by Days of Wonder. I've played it four times with 4 players, and twice with 2 players and I'm still not tired of it. The best part about this game is how simple it is to play and that games don't take very long to play either.

Weight Gain During Pregnancy Progress Tracker Spreadsheet

When woman get pregnant they are supposed to gain weight. Not gaining enough weight can cause problems just as gaining too much weight can cause problems. But when you are 4 months pregnant or when you are 7 months pregnant it is hard to know how much you should weigh at that point in your pregnancy. I made a spreadsheet to help my wife know at any point of her pregnancy whether she is underweight or overweight relative to the end target.

Using XML for Code Documentation is Just Plain Wrong

I was just looking at some C# code at work today and it had XML Documentation (like javadoc or python docstrings, only with XML). Who was the idiot that came up with that idea? It's the most insane thing I've ever seen. Let's look at the predecessors to C#'s XML documentation:

Drupal Module Updater

This script will automatically update a drupal module if your drupal source code is stored in a Subversion respository. It first removes all files except for the .svn directories, then extracts the tarball for the new version of the module. Then it runs an svn status command to see which files are new, which files have been removed in the new version, and which files have changed. The difference between this and svn_load_dirs is that renames aren't handled (well svn_load_dirs doesn't really handle them very well either).

Batch JPEG Photo Renamer

I used this script all the time before Picasa finally added this functionality. This script renames a whole bunch of photos, in a directory for example, appending numbers to the end of a base filename according to the EXIF dates stored inside the JPEGs. For example, a directory full of files that looks like this:

IMG_0123.jpg
IMG_0124.jpg
IMG_0127.jpg
IMG_0128.jpg
...
IMG_0248.jpg
IMG_0250.jpg

could be renamed to this:

Camping Photos_001.jpg
Camping Photos_002.jpg
Camping Photos_003.jpg
Camping Photos_004.jpg
...
Camping Photos_112.jpg

Low Disk Space Warning Script

Have you ever experienced a full disk on a server or a desktop? Not fun. This script would normally be run as a cron job and would notify you by email if any drive's free disk space has passed below a certain threshold. The code could be better; I wrote this one a long time ago when I was a bit of a n00b and I was in a rush as well. I might make take a look at it again and see if I can make some improvements.

mp3 Sample Clip Creator With Fade-In/Out

This script will create mp3 sample clips. I created it to automatically create sample mp3 clips for a friend of mine's (Will Stroet) website. You can tweak the length of the clip and the fadeout. Unfortunately it can only create samples that start at the beginning, however, it could be easily modified to start anywhere. It depends on the quelcom library, lame, and mpg123.

How to disable ccmexec.exe

ccmexec.exe was using a lot of CPU and I/O. Disabling the "SMS Agent Host" service gets rid of it.

How To Stop Chrome Thrashing to Disk

Google Chrome will thrash to disk a lot to disk, at least in version 0.2.149.27, build 1583 (the first publically available beta) in Windows XP. It is so bad that my entire computer locks up a bit and becomes unresponsive. Disabling phishing and malware protection seems to stop the thrashing:

init.d Script for Trac on Ubuntu Linux

I modified an nginx init.d script and created an init.d script for trac.d. I run tracd and then forward traffic from trac.davidgrant.ca to trac's port (using nginx) rather than using cgi or fast-cgi. Please let me know if you have any problems with this scripts and I will fix it.

Not Happy With TortoiseSVN

I don't use svn in Windows much but when I do I usually use TortoiseSVN. I haven't been very happy with it lately. With TortoiseSVN installed, Windows Explorer take 5-10 seconds to start and during that time I can't use the task bar because it's a part of explorer.exe. While I like the Explorer integration idea, I'm not sure if I like how everything in Tortoise involves at least a right-click on a folder. Also, sometimes it's nice to see all your working copies in one window, although the working copies may be spread out all over your hard drive.

Cuil Sucks Big Time

I got all excited to try this new Cuil search engine today but was extremely disapointed. The only thing Cuil does well is sucking. The first thing I did was to search for my name to see where on the front page it would show up (on Google I am the first hit). I was a bit surprised when I did not see my home page on the first page, second page, or third page. Maybe my site is not indexed at all. So I decided to search for one of my most popular posts, my Latex Resume Template post. Not only did it not come up but this great resource on LaTeX resume templates was also missing.

Let's look a little deeper and see how shitty Cuil really is. Try searching for "latex resume template" (obviously, remove quotes). The same search for latex resume template on google is orders of magnitude better. It doesn't take very long at all to notice the differences...

Thumbs up to Tomato Firmware, Thumbs Down to X-Wrt

I have an old Linksys WRT-54G v3. I have ran various different firmwares over the years, but performance was never a big deal. I was mainly looking for something that allowed to me to access all of the devices features and a nicer frontend than the one that Linksys provides. At one point I was using different firmwares for QOS when we were sharing our connection with some other people in our building. Anyways, I had been using X-Wrt (white russian) for quite some time. It is basically a nice user-friendly version of OpenWrt.

Make Shared Folders Work in TinyXP as a Guest in VirtualBox

I gave TinyXP Rev 09 a try recently as a guest in VirtualBox. (I do have a legal license for Windows XP, so while that definitely doesn't make downloading TinyXP legal, I feel that morally speaking it's ok).

I wasn't able to browse for shared folders at \\vboxsvr as I expected. It is, however, possible to map these folders to drives using the "net use" command:

net use z: \\vboxsvr\david

That worked perfectly. Have fun!

VirtualBox USB with Windows XP guest in Ubuntu Hardy or Intrepid

[img_assist|nid=366|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=145|height=150]
First of all, USB will not work in VirtualBox if you are using the Open Source Edition (OSE) of VirtualBox. Get the full closed-source edition of VirtualBox from their website. There are many differences between the open-source edition and the closed-source version and one of them is USB.

I finally got USB working with Windows XP running as a guest inside VirtualBox running on a Ubuntu Hardy host. First find out what the group id of the vboxusers group is: