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Monday
Jun012009

Here comes showRSS!

showRSS custom TV torrent feeds showRSS custom TV torrent feeds

ShowRSS rises in the in the wake of the sad demise of FeedMyTorrents (due in part to legal troubles). ShowRSS works much the same way as FeedMyTorrents. Where you are given the ability to create combined television show torrent RSS feeds or use any of the pre-existing feeds. These feeds are already pruned for duplicates and have the ability to filter Proper, Repacks, and HD torrents.

Overall showRSS works much better than FeedMyTorrents ever did. Creating a custom feed is simple, and the server response time is much improved! So load up your torrent client and give it a go.

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Wednesday
May202009

MintyBoost 2.0

Here are some photos from my 15 minute weekend project. I figured I better know what I'm doing in preparation for an upcoming session, introduction my younger brother to the world of electronics, solder, and burns.

These photographs are on my flickr stream and are released creative commons.

MintyBoost Parts

MintyBoost Assembled

MintyBoost Complete

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Wednesday
May062009

chmod recursively on directories or files using find

Sometimes its the little things that annoy us so much on the Unix command line. One big question for me was... How to do you differentiate between directories and files when recursively chmod-ing?

The answer is simple. But of course there are different ways to do the same thing.

Using the find command

  find -name '*' -type d -exec chmod 0755 {} \;
NOTE: the -name '*' parameter is used to keep from modifying the present working directory or '.' directory.
  find . -type f -exec chmod 0644 {} \;

Using chmod with capital X

The capital X will cause directories and files that are executable (for user and group) to be set as executable. Other files will not be set as executable.

  chmod -R ug+rX .

Other uses of the find command

Modifying specific file types:

  find -name '*.pdf' -exec chmod 0755 {} \;
NOTE: you can insert any command in after the -exec but before the {} (chmod 0775) such as 'chown'.

My common usage

I often setup new Wordpress installations. I like to get ownership and permission sorted out quickly. I'll use this as my example.

In your Wordpress root directory:

  chown your-username.www-data * -R
  find -name '*' -type d -exec chmod 2750 {} \;
  find . -type f -exec chmod 2640 {} \;
NOTE: the 2750 and 2640 sets a bit so that all directories that are created by the www-data user in my case will have the same permissions and ownership as the the other files. Otherwise the www-data user may create files that are owned by itself and the your-username may not be able to modify them easily.

Now change so that the wp-content/{uploads,plugins,themes} directories are writable to the www-data group. This is so that the web server can upload photos and auto-update plugins/themes.

  cd wp-content
  mkdir uploads
  chown your-username.www-data uploads
  find -name '*' -type d -exec chmod 2770 {} \;
  find . -type f -exec chmod 2660 {} \;
Tuesday
May052009

MinneDemo Event May 7th 2009

Its time for yet another Minne* event. MinneDemo is will have 7 quick demos from software and hardware from individuals and small-startups in the Minneapolis - Saint Paul area. The best part about the event is that there are no PowerPoint slides. Only working products demonstrated before an eager and beer-ed up audience. Best of all, everything is free. Socialize, network, or just drink beer.

Thursday, May 7th

Get ready for another MinneDemo! MinneDemo is the Twin Cities’ premier technology demo and networking event. Come for the demos, stay for the beer and conversation. We will be back at Intermedia Arts, a cool art/performance space in Uptown’s Lyn-Lake neighborhood.
Date: Thursday, May 7th
Time: Demos start at 7pm
Location: Intermedia Arts 2822 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408 (map)
Free Beer & Soda

Since MinneDemo is not at a bar this time, we’re brining in kegs, and it’s all free. Be sure to tip your bartenders. If you need to go all night, there’s tons of bars in the area.

Demos
  1. ShortJournal — an open source developer journal with a REST API (Zach Johnson)
  2. Skimmer — a lifestreaming app created by Fallon and Sierra Bravo that brings together your Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube streams (Chris Wiggins of Fallon and Chris Black of Sierra Bravo)
  3. Zeplay — a kick-ass multi-channel HD instant replay video server for live sports events (John Reilly)
  4. tinyEscrow — Source code escrow for programmers, not for lawyers. (Corey Thompson)
  5. Extendr — one link to rule all links. (Joseph Rueter)
  6. SightWare and SmartWatch — SightWare is an RFID inventory system that integrates with the SmartWatch web application to provide real-time inventory management (Harley Feldman)
  7. Cloudquad — a web-based student information system designed to streamline the daily workflow of school administrators, faculty, parents, and students while connecting the school community through basic tools for social interaction. (Kevin Whinnery)
  8. Pen Manufactory — design your own pen using an online CAD program, then have as many as you want custom manufactured using computer controlled milling equipment. (Joseph Hoover)
  9. Adagogo — hyper-local mobile ad platform created by DoApp (Joe Sriver)
  10. pitchR — control your presentations using your Android phone. (Vladimir Kelman)

Resources

Monday
May042009

Film Review: "Moon" (2009) Duncan Jones

"Moon" (2009) Duncan Jones via cinematical blog Production still from "Moon" (2009) via www.cinematical.com

I was able to catch “Moon” as well as a Q&A with the director the very interesting Duncan Jones at this year's Minneapolis - Saint Paul International Film Fest.

Duncan Jones is an interesting director. Being the son of David Bowie may be the first thing that comes up in conversation about Duncan (aka Zowie Bowie, aka Joey Bowie), but his work definitely stands alone. Through the Q&A he was smart, witty, and willing to discuss all.

This film was great, especially considering it was Duncan Jones' first feature film. The film's budget was around $5-million and filming took a period of about a month. The budget may seem like a lot for a independent film, but considering other independents with a $50-million budget it quickly is dwarfed. Duncan first took this to Sundance Film Festival in order to get a distributor. Which he gladly has found in Sony and is going to be released to theaters May 25th, 2009.

The Synopsis

Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is nearing the end of his contract with Lunar. He's been a faithful employee for 3 long years. His home has been Selene, a moon base where he has spent his days alone, mining Helium 3. The precious gas holds the key to reversing the Earth's energy crisis. Isolated, determined and steadfast, Sam has followed the rulebook obediently and his time on the moon has been enlightening, but uneventful. The solitude has given him time to reflect on the mistakes of his past and work on his raging temper. He does his job mechanically, and spends most of his available time dreaming of his imminent return to Earth, to his wife, young daughter and an early retirement. But 2 weeks shy of his departure from Selene, Sam starts seeing things, hearing things and feeling strange. -- IMDB

The Technical Review

This film is an interesting homage to 70's and 80's sci-fi films past. And maintains that style in terms of set design, effects, and delightfully restrained screen writing. This is not some "Iron Man" special effects driven film. The most notable films referenced are “Alien” (Riley Scott, 1979) and “2001: A Space Odyssey” (Stanley Kubrick, 1968) from which sets, characters, and effects are derived/distilled/borrowed. In terms of story telling I found it very close to "Alien" in its Film Noir, silent suspense which I love.

Duncan wrote this film with Sam Rockwell in mind. Gladly Sam decided to go along for the ride. His acting in this film was great. Being the only actor he WAS the entire film. He played a very psychologically intense character who finds himself going insane after nearing the end of his 3-year solo contract on the moon. [OR IS HE?]

In fact the “Alien” connection is even closer in that the set looks strikingly similar to the main spaceship set of “Alien” (the brightly lit white room of the dining room from the chest burster scene). Duncan didn’t stop with only taking from “Alien”, he also created a robot named Gerdy that plays the same role as Hal in “2001: A Space Odyssey”; for which I waited the whole film to only to find out the one difference in characters is that Gerdy does not try to kill the main character Sam. The tension between the similarities of Hal and Gerdy were played out in a peculiar way in that he was made to seem malevolent.

The cinematography was amazing. At times it felt much like the more static filming in “Alien” where the one camera would film the scene statically mixed with close-up and first-person point-of-view (in this case since Sam is mostly alone the first-person is him looking at his computer screen then the computer screen looking back at him). This mixes with modern filming techniques as computer tracking shots so the camera can follow the same track as many times as needed so that Sam can be filmed in multiples with the same actor.

From the Q&A I gained some unique insight. The film was made with a $5-million budget. He compared it to his advertising work where he had roughly 2/3 that budget for 30-second clip for a popular beer brand. I found this limitation impressive, as the quality of the film did not show any strains due to budget. The 70’s era effects and costumes were done really well in that they did not distract but instead certainly enhanced the overall film. Most of the effects were done on a 30x30-foot sound-stage with minimal digital work (mostly as digital set extension to make the set seem moon sized).

This is Duncan’s first feature movie. He is a very young directory, out of a small film school in London. I enjoyed this film. I view it as an impressive first feature for Duncan Jones. Though if it weren’t for Sam Rockwell’s excellent acting the film could have been an unwatchable disaster. I look forward to a hopefully new feature from Duncan. I will be watching this film again when it comes back to Minneapolis at The Lagoon Theater in the end of June.

Additional Resources