Grep Through Files Recursively

by Ron on January 26, 2011

Need to find a string nestled somewhere in a ton of subdirectories? First cd to the lowest common denominator, then run:

grep -lir “something” *

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Nexus One Car Dock [Mini Review]

by Ron on April 23, 2010

The Nexus One Car Dock is well constructed and sturdy. It communicates with your phone via Bluetooth.

It works ok, but there is one show-stopper in my book. NO LINE LEVEL AUDIO OUT port. If you want to connect it to your car stereo and listen to audio, you have two options:

  1. Bluetooth (which most cars don’t have yet… plus wouldn’t be able to pair with a headset for calls)
  2. The headphone jack (1/8″ Mini) on top of phone.

That means, when you get in your vehicle, you must cradle the phone then plug in your cable to the top of the phone, adjust the volume up (since it’s not line level). To get out of car, unplug the headphone cable, and uncradle the phone. I know, I know… this is not a “problem” experienced in developing countries. But COME ON Google… for $55 I should be able to drop the phone in the cradle, turn on my car stereo and drive.

Worth noting; when charging, the phone gets pretty warm. Not so hot you can’t hold it, but much warmer than my iPhone ever got.

More to come… these are just my initial thoughts.

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Nexus One Desktop Dock [Mini Review]

by Ron on April 19, 2010

The desktop dock is sturdy and attractive. Comes with an extra power cord (so you can use the one from the phone elsewhere) and an audio out cable (1/8 -> RCA).

When you cradle the Nexus One, it launches the “clock” app which shows time, date, weather, next alarm (if set) battery charge level and a row of icons at the bottom for Alarms, Gallery, Music and Home. After about 10 minutes, the screen goes black and the time, date and next alarm are shown in dull green (suitable for beside the bed).

Charge time from a completely drained battery takes about three hours when plugged into the wall.

My only complaint with the desktop cradle is the bottom lip that holds the phone from sliding out. It should be 1-2 millimeters taller. Sometimes if you press the screen near the top (like pulling down the info pane), it causes the phone to “pop” out of the cradle onto the desk.

Nexus One (Android) Gripes

by Ron on April 19, 2010

Email Icons Don’t Show Unread Email Count
Unlike the iPhone, my Nexus One does not show the number of unread messages on the mailbox icon.

Screen Sensor Misalignment
About once a week, I have to restart my Nexus One because the screen sensor is misaligned. (Pressing an “R” yields a “D”, for example.)

Battery Life Sucks
The screen (which is very nice) sucks a ton of battery juice. With moderate use, I have to charge it twice a day.

Battery Gets Pretty Warm
When charging, the batter gets pretty warm. Not a huge deal, but I never experienced that with my iPhone.

No Hard Switch for Silent (on the N1)
Without a physical switch for “silent” (like the iPhone) you must set each app to “mute.” Example… say you’re bored silly during a presentation and whip out your phone to play a quick game. The ringer is set to mute, the media volume is set to mute, but the game you launch ignores all that… it happily starts singing all its startup sounds. BUSTED.

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Pogo Plug Read Only After Power Cycle?

by Ron on December 5, 2009

Don’t forget to remount in rw mode:

mount -o rw,remount /

Also, cron needs to be started:

/opt/etc/init.d/S10cron

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Think Tank StreetWalker HardDrive Review

by Ron on August 23, 2009

After outgrowing my Kata 467 and LowePro Fastpack 250, I started looking around for a replacement bag that could hold all my photo gear plus my Macbook Pro laptop.


I considered a couple of options, but decided on the Think Tank StreetWalker HardDrive. (Buy it on Amazon.com)

Summary
After several months of use, I can highly recommend it. It holds all my gear comfortably (see sidebar for details) and provides great protection.

Weight
The bag itself weighs around 4 lbs without gear. Add all your stuff and it gets really heavy. Thankfully, the straps are well padded and sturdy. When loaded up, the bag alters your center of gravity significantly so you’ll find yourself leaning forward to compensate. It’s obviously not a flaw of the bag… just something to consider.

Comfort
This is a pretty comfortable bag… maybe not the best ever, but definitely NOT uncomfortable. It’s such a capacious bag, I have a tendency to overload it. The center channel (the light gray area below) is recessed so air can circulate.

Laptop Compartment
Like the Kata and LowePro, the Streetwalker easily holds my 15″ Macbook Pro. The zippers do touch the laptop as it goes in and out, but I haven’t noticed any scratches in several months of use.

Camera Compartment
Make no mistake… this is a camera bag that happens to provide a place for your laptop. Its main purpose is to transport camera gear. The zippers are heavy duty and the construction material is very durable. The interior dividers are thinner than other bags, but I have found them to be more than adequate to protect my equipment. It’s not a “quick unzip and grab your camera” bag… it’s best to lay the bag horizontally before unzipping.

Think Tank StreetWalker HardDrive

Camera Grip Expander
If you have a camera with a grip attached, you can adjust a “hinge” so it fits better. The down side is you take up some of the laptop compartment in doing so. I think a 17″ laptop would have trouble fitting in the same bag as a camera with a grip.

Pro SLR Body Hinge

D300 with grip turned on side. It can also hold a camera “vertically” so the hot shoe faces up, but the hinge must be dropped lower.

Laptop compartment with hinge slightly extended.

Waist Belt
Unlike the Kata and LowePro, the Streetwalker HardDrive provides a nice place to hide the waist belt when not in use.

Size Compared to LowePro Fastpack 250
These two bags aren’t really competitors, but I thought it might provide a point of reference.

ThinkTank Streetwalker HardDrive on left, Lowepro Fastpack 250 on right.

The Streetwalker HD (left) is a little thicker at the base.

The top of the LowePro 250 (foreground) is tapered and not as rigid so it tends to collapse. You can see the Streetwalker HD maintains its shape regardless of the contents.

Divider Thickness
I had seen some complaints about the thickness of the partition dividers. Below, you can see the ThinkTank divider on top, and the thicker LowePro divider below it. After several months of use, I have NO complaints about the thinner dividers. They do a fine job protecting my gear.

Pockets
The Streetwalker HardDrive has lots of pockets. Some are useful to me, others aren’t. Your mileage will vary. Here are a few highlights.

The shoulder straps have stretchy material that holds an Iphone or iPod nicely, but if you lay the bag horizontally, whatever is in the pocket is pressed against the surface.

The stretchy side pockets will accommodate a mid-size flash unit.

The top front pocket is not padded and is best for items less than 1″ deep. The bottom front pocket (not shown) allows for smaller, thicker items and has a padded front for protection.

Like this review? Support the site… buy your Think Tank Streetwalker HD from Amazon.com.

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Elgato Turbo.264 HD - My Thoughts

by Ron on June 29, 2009

I recently had the opportunity to try out the Elgato Turbo.264 HD encoder/accelerator.

The device does what it claims… it transcodes most any type of video file and produces an H.264 file formatted for your device (iPhone, iPod, AppleTV, BeyondTV, etc.). The processing time is (more or less) equal to the length of the video. e.g. A 60 minute video takes around 60 minutes to transcode.

My only complaint is that it uses 100% of my machine’s CPU while processing. I recall seeing a blurb about this somewhere in the documentation, but I thought it said it used “some” of the CPU. On my Macbook Pro 2.16Ghz, it spiked out the entire time. Obviously, that causes the internal fan to kick into overdrive, generating a good bit of noise.

The older non-HD version did NOT use the host CPU, so the transcode time was longer. But on a laptop I would gladly sacrifice the longer time in lieu of the fan noise. On a desktop, it would be a non-issue for me. A perfect solution would be to have a setting in the software that allowed you to choose how much of the CPU was used.

Some folks in various forums have complained about (and demonstrated) very dark videos from the device, but none of my tests were dark.

Overall, it’s a neat gadget. My only complaint is the CPU issue.

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Create Multipart Zip Files In Linux

by Ron on May 12, 2009

Need to transfer a really large file but are worried that it will fail before completing?

Create a multi-part file using the split command, then join it on the remote server after it transfers. Example: Start with a zipped file (somefile.zip), then run…

split -b 10m somefile.zip someprefix-

That will take somefile.zip, chop it into 10MB pieces and name them “someprefix-aa, someprefix-ab, etc.” Run “man split” for all the options:

split -b number[ k|m ] [-a suffixlength] [filename [prefix] ]

If your file will be split into more than 52 pieces, you’ll need to change the number of suffix length. The default is 2 (a-z, twice).

After transferring the pieces to the remote server, re-assemble them with cat…

cat someprefix-aa someprefix-ab ... > somefile.zip

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Having problems getting iSCSI LUNs to appear in ESXi after enabling a second VMkernel switch on a separate subnet? Make sure you disable/re-enable the ESXi iSCSI Initiator AFTER adding the new vSwitch on the isolated network. I think iSCSI discovery only occurs on the Vswitches enabled at the time the initiator is enabled. Here is my scenario:

I recently setup an MD3000i SAN to connect to our VMware ESXi hosts via iSCSI on our internal LAN. My test server only has two NICs, but I only enabled eth0 with an IP of and left eth1 unused. I enabled iSCSI on the host, set send targets, config’d host access, created host-to-virt disk map, etc. and rescanned HBA. The test worked fine. After scan completed, I was able to see the LUNs in ESXi.

Next, I wanted to enable eth1 and move the iSCSI traffic off to dedicated, isolated, switches.

So I physically moved the MD iSCSI cables to 2 standalone switches, edited the MD Host Ports, setting them back to the defaults (192.168.130.x & 131.x). I left the two MD management ports in the LAN.

I enabled ESXi eth1 as VMkernel and set to IP in same range as one of the segments (192.168.130.103).

On ESXi, I removed the old send targets and entered the new IPs (192.168.130.101 & 102).

Rebooted everything for good measure. Rescanned HBA, but the LUNS did NOT show up in ESXi.

The solution? After enabling the VMKernel switch on the different subnet, disable ESXi iSCSI Initiator and reboot (maybe not needed, but I find ESXi likes a reboot for many things). When it returns (5+ minutes for mine), ENABLE the ESXi iSCSI Initiator and rescan HBA. I think iSCSI discovery only occurs on the Vswitches enabled at the time the initiator is enabled.

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I’m NOT a brand snob. I’ve owned both Sigma and Tamron lenses, and typically pick the product with the best performance/price ratio. As an advanced amateur, I use my equipment a good bit. But if a photo component fails, my family is not going starve.

So when I decided to buy a grip for my new D300, I started by looking at the Nikon MB-D10 plus any major contenders; mainly, the Phottix BP-D300. That didn’t last long… most folks agree it is a significant step down from the Nikon, so I quickly ruled it out.

I thought my search was over, so I started price shopping for the MB-D10. As usual, Amazon seemed to have the best deal. In fact, at one point, their price was $233 with free shipping (at time of writing, it has increased to $249). My finger was on the buy button… then I decided to look around the web just one more time.

During my final trip to the forums I found a rather lengthy thread on the Nikon form at dpreview.com.

That got me interested in the Chinese knockoffs sold by LINK delight. The price was a lot lower. Depending on the package, as low as $67 + $20 for international shipping. The reviews are good and I thought I found a winner.

THEN, on page 245 (ok, it just seemed that way… more like page 5), someone mentioned that Adorama sold the same thing for $79 with FREE shipping. The transit time would be a lot less and I liked the idea of buying from a US company in case of returns, so I bought it. Turns out, it’s the same exact product. On the box, the brand is “Meike.” Part numbers MK-D300 & ZE-NBG300. Adorama calls it “Flashpoint Professional Battery Grip for the Nikon D300/D700.”

I’ve only had it a couple of days, but so far it’s great! All the buttons work as expected and the fit is nice. It is all plastic, so it’s not as durable or “solid” as the Nikon, but at 1/3rd the price, what do you expect?

I’ll update this post if I have any problems. But so far, I highly recommend it.

Update 1: I’ve been UNABLE to get my camera to shoot at 8FPS using rechargeable NiMH batteries.

Update 2: I guess the batteries were not 100% fully charged. I had charged them a day or two prior to testing. After doing a full charge and testing right away, the Info screen shows 8fps.

You can buy this from:

Comes with two trays. Obviously, the battery is not included.

This is everything in the box (plus a “manual”).

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