I saw a Segway in person for the first time in my life today.  A guy was riding it and he was flying.  He went from the sidewalk down the little ramp to the street and across an intersection without slowing down at all.  It was pretty funny but also looked really fun and cool.

And it looks like Adelphia has relented a little on their upload cap.  As long as I’ve been a customer of their cable internet service, it’s been capped at 256 kilobits/sec (32 kiloBytes/sec), which is pretty pitiful.  But for the past few weeks I’ve noticed (in disbelief) that my tx-meter showed I was transmitting at around 100KB/s.  Today I transferred a 350MB file and sure enough, it took 57 minutes for an average of 102KB/s.

This is good news since I tend to transfer files a lot, and whenever I’m at work I have a VNC window viewing my home desktop, and I’m also often streaming music from my home system to listen at work.  At the old 32KB/s the music skipped a lot and the remote desktop window was really slow.

Update 20050517: either there’s a problem with my connection, or they changed their minds about this.  My connection is now limited to 50KB/s upload -- still better than the old 32, but only by about 50%, whereas the old new speed of 100KB/s was a 200% improvement.  Hrmph.

Posted by Anthony on 4 replies

2004 Computer

In case you haven’t seen one, this is what a computer might look like in the year 2004.

The best part is the steering wheel ( :

Posted by Anthony on 4 replies

Removing Redeye from Photos

I don’t often see red-eye when I take pictures of people, because I generally keep the camera flash disabled and instead adjust the aperture & shutter speed to make the subject bright enough.  And because I rarely have to deal with red-eye, when I do encounter it I always just manually remove it (using Gimp of course).

But if you have to fix the redeye in multiple photos, doing it manually is a big pain.  So tonight I googled and found a sweet Gimp script that automates the redeye removal process, making it quick and easy.  (That page first describes the long, manual way to do it, then at the bottom provides the script to automate the whole process.  The script at the bottom is what you want -- just follow the instructions that say to download it to your ~/.gimp/scripts/ directory, and then it’ll appear in Gimp on the Script-Fu menu under Selection -> Red Eye.)

Kim has a few really cute photos from this weekend; here’s one that I removed the redeye from.  This is the super laser-beam death-ray eyes version:

posted image

And here’s the fixed version:

posted image

(show full-size image viewer)

Posted by Anthony on 6 replies

Credit Card Security

Shouldn’t all credit cards have PINs?  So that even if a card gets lost or stolen, a thief can’t use it?

Posted by Anthony on 2 replies

Eponym Update

I recently added a couple of cool features to Eponym.  In addition to supporting DynDNS.org hostnames, it now supports your own domain names through ZoneEdit.com’s dynamic DNS service.  So now you can use Eponym to help run yourdomain.com on your home computer, instead of having to use yoursubdomain.dyndns.org (though that is still supported too).

Secondly, it will now send you an email whenever your IP address changes, and whenever there’s a problem updating your hostname(s).

If you’re running any kind of server on your home system and you’d like a static hostname (whether you.dyndns.org or yourowndomain.com) to go with it, check out Eponym.

Posted by Anthony on 2 replies

Speaking of Reasons to Hate Windows...

The thing that most frustrates me about Windows is its lack of command-line remote administration.  You can hack it in via OpenSSH for Windows but it’s far from perfect -- you can’t use any interactive commands because of problems with STDIN/STDOUT mapping, which cuts out a pretty large swath of the programs you’d like to run.  And it lacks tab-completion as well as command history; pressing the Up key actually makes the cursor move up on the screen.

Even if it worked perfectly, Microsoft makes some things impossible via command line.  For example, I recently discovered that you can use Scheduled Tasks (in the Control Panel) to run a program at boot without having it attached to a window.  That’s awesome for background programs that you’d like to keep running all the time but that you don’t really want cluttering up your taskbar because they take no user input (like Eponym).  But there’s no equivalent command-line way to access the Scheduled Tasks functionality.  There’s "at" but it can’t schedule an event at boot nor multiple times per day.  There’s "schtasks" which actually IS equivalent to Scheduled Tasks in the Control Panel, but it’s not included in XP Home.

The unxutils package improves the situation drastically, giving you lots of the most handy Unix tools like grep and wget.  And of course you can use VNC to do remote administration via the full Windows GUI.  But that’s inconvenient because most internet links are slow, and because you often can’t or don’t want to take over a system that someone else might be using just to do a task that should only require the command-line anyway.

I say that MS should take after Apple: admit that the only thing going for their OS is its nice looks and ease-of-GUI-use, and then get to work building that on top of a REAL OS with nice internals (i.e. Linux or BSD).

And also, Superunknown is still a really good album.

Posted by Anthony on 7 replies

Belkin Technical Support is Neither

[Note: this is the record of my attempts to get Belkin to fix a massive flaw in the design of their "routers."  The bottom line is that they refused to even acknowledge the flaw, and the result is that computers on the LAN side of a Belkin router can’t access servers on the LAN using the router’s public IP address or hostname.  Because of this, and Belkin’s refusal to acknowledge, let alone fix, the problem, I must strongly discourage anyone from purchasing a Belkin router.]

I can’t stand tech support.  It wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t all thoroughly clueless, but they are.



I just bought an F5D72304 router, and I’m having a problem with it.

I’ve got a few computers on the LAN-side of the router that are running services (http, ssh, etc).  From any computer on the internet outside of my LAN, I can access those services without problems.  But any computer inside my F5D72304’s LAN cannot access those services, whether on other systems in the LAN or on itself, through my public IP address.  If I use the computers’ LAN IPs then it works OK, but not if I use the public IP.

Let me use some numbers to make it more clear:

My public IP is x.y.1.194
Belkin router’s private LAN IP is
Computer lanbox-1 is IP
Computer lanbox-2 is IP
Computer lanbox-2 is running http on port 89
Computer remotebox is elsewhere on the internet

These connections work OK:

  remotebox -> x.y.1.194:89 (http over external IP)
  lanbox-1 -> (http over internal IP)
  lanbox-2 -> (http over internal IP)

But these connections do NOT work:

  lanbox-1 -> x.y.1.194:89 (http over external IP)
  lanbox-2 -> x.y.1.194:89 (http over external IP)

I’ve tried putting lanbox-2 (my http server) in the DMZ, but that didn’t change anything.  I’ve tried different ports than 89, still no success. I’ve looked around the router config but didn’t see anything that would fix this.  I have another router (an older D-Link model) configured exactly the same as the new Belkin (i.e. LAN is 172.19.5.* and forwarding port 89 to and it doesn’t have this problem.

Please help!

Anthony DiSante


Hi Anthony,

Thank you for contacting Belkin Technical Support.

We understand that you are not able to access the services with the Wan IP from your network.

Anthony, There is a feature called NAT is present in the router. If you are trying to acess the router setup page from the external computer.  When the router see the WAN IP from the external network then it can perform natting that is it will change the public IP address of the external network computer in to  the prvate IP address range, which helps you to view the services. But with in the intenal network natting is not possible since the internal network already has the private IP address. That is why you are not able to use the wan IP to view the services in internal network.

Hope this information helps.


[some person]
Belkin Technical Support.



Thanks for your reply.

If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the behavior I am experiencing is the correct behavior?  You are saying that it’s correct that I cannot access services on my LAN from a system on my LAN using the public IP address?

If so, then that is a flaw in the design of your router.  I have used a half-dozen routers from various manufacturers and none of them exhibit this behavior.  When I use the router’s firewall to forward port X to box-2 on the LAN, that means "when a packet arrives at the WAN interface for port X, pass it through to box-2 on the LAN interface."  The source of the packet is irrelevant; all the router needs to know is that it arrived at the external interface, and that I’ve configured a firewall rule that explains how to handle that situation.

This is definitely worthy of a firmware upgrade, but in the meantime I’ll have to remove the F5D72304 from my network and put my old D-Link router in its place.

-Anthony DiSante


Hi Anthony,

Thank you for contacting Belkin Technical Support.

Anthony, we understand that you are not able to access services in your LAN using WAN IP address.

Belkin routers are enabled with NAT feature. This will not allow you to access the services locally by using the WAN IP address.

When you are trying to access the services from your LAN using the WAN IP address, the request goes upto the router then redirect the request internally in your LAN. The resolution happens in the router itself, hence the request doesnot go the internet and redirect to the router since it is a NAT enabled router.

The same thing happens with all the routers with NAT feature.

We hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you require any further assistance. We’ll be glad to help you.


[a different person]
Belkin Technical Support



> Belkin routers are enabled with NAT feature.

So is every router I’ve ever used.  NAT is the whole point of using a router in a home network, since it allows you to have multiple computers on a private network connected to the public internet, with the router translating the addresses.  This feature is not unique to Belkin routers.

> This will not allow you to access the
> services locally by using the WAN IP
> address. ... The same thing happens with
> all the routers with NAT feature.

That is simply not true.  Every router I’ve ever used has allowed me to access services on my LAN via the WAN IP.  I have two other routers right next to me that I’ve been testing to make sure of it -- the Belkin is the only one that exhibits this error.

-Anthony DiSante

Me, again:


> the request goes upto the router then
> redirect the request internally in your
> LAN.  The resolution happens in the router
> itself, hence the request doesnot go the
> internet and redirect to the router

That’s exactly the problem.  When a packet arrives at the WAN interface, it DOES "go [to] the internet" because the WAN IP is an internet IP.  So the router should treat it like any other packet arriving at the WAN interface; it doesn’t matter where the packet came from (LAN or remote system), what matters is that I sent it to the WAN interface.

-Anthony DiSante

ARGH.  How can you work tech support for a company’s router products and NOT KNOW WHAT A ROUTER IS SUPPOSED TO DO?

And it REALLY bugs me how a different person replies to the email every time when you email a company’s tech support.  Each successive person ostensibly reads the earlier conversation, but then just says the exact same thing.  That makes me so mad.  I emailed Dell a couple months ago, asking if I could get a laptop without Windows installed, and therefore without having to pay the $200 Microsoft tax. There were about ten -- TEN -- exchanges where I said "why is it Dell’s policy to force a particular operating system on the customer?" and the Dell rep said "it is Dell’s policy to force Windows XP on the customer" (essentially).  Each time it was a different person, each time I asked "WHY??!?", and each time the response just restated the fact that it IS the case without addressing WHY.

And as if ALL THAT weren’t enough, the tech support responses are always replete with typos and misspellings.

Posted by Anthony on 13 replies


Posted by Rolly on 1 reply


Every day I hate Apple a little more.  (I know... and you thought I already hated them as much as possible.)

Why do I have to pay $300 for an adapter to use an Apple LCD on a VGA video card?  Why does the nohup command fail to log output if I run it in the background?  Why does the entire system lock up if I use any part of the GUI while fscking a partition?

Posted by Anthony on 6 replies


epifagus:/Users/fgpbackup/backups root# ps -lax|grep rsync
su: ps: command not found
su: /usr/bin/grep: Too many open files in system

Thanks, Mac OS X.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Some Random Stuff

I’m not obsessive about cleanliness or neatness in general, but when it comes to anything that I’m going to ingest, eat off of, or which will TOUCH any such thing (i.e. people’s hands who are preparing things I will eat), I definitely am obsessive about cleanliness.  However I wasn’t always this way, and as a kid, I put a coin in my mouth at least one time.  I have no idea why, really.  But for some reason I distinctly remember the taste and feeling of it even now.  I also have no idea why that is, nor why I thought of it while driving yesterday.

My little sister IMed me this the other day, about our cat CJ:

Maria: hi
Maria: there was a spider on the ceiling and mom wacked it on the floor and CJ batted it around for a while untill it stopped movin (it wasn’t dead, it was just scared) and then he licked it up. a live spider!!!
Maria: eeeeeeeeeeeew!

"A live spider!!!"  That cracks me up  : )

In other news that isn’t funny or random, I fixed a problem on Kim’s notebook yesterday, for which she sent it back to HP twice and they did nothing but wipe the hard drive and leave the problem intact.  The problem was that it would sporadically just shut down for no reason at all, and then refuse to turn back on.  They apparently couldn’t identify the cause of problem, which is strange because it’s a common problem with notebook computers.  It stems from the fact that over time, as the receptacle for the power plug gets jostled and worn, the solder joints connecting it to the motherboard start to weaken and break.  It gets to the point that if you turn the power plug a certain way, it works fine, but bump it just a tad, and it breaks the contact.  Eventually, if it goes long enough without being repaired, there is no contact at all unless you press/hold the plug to one side, or up or down or something, and when you let go, it loses the contact immediately.

We disassembled the whole thing, which with notebooks is always a little tricky, and then I re-soldered the 3 connections for the power jack.  But upon re-assembling and testing, it was no different.  Which was pretty frustrating because the disassembly and re-assembly is quite a process -- not that it’s hard, but it’s sort of tedious because there are so many screws and different pieces which aren’t standard at all from one notebook to the next.  But I ended up doing it 3 times so by now I’m pretty good at it :)

The second time, I removed the jack completely and just soldered two wires directly into the motherboard.  This didn’t work either.  My last resort was to try maybe soldering the top of the board, too; instead of just soldering the pins when they come through the bottom, I now put some on the top too.  This was tough because there’s so little space and so many components right around the jack, in addition to the fact that the jack itself is tall and there isn’t much room to get the tip of the iron into the space around it.  I replaced the crusty old tip on my soldering iron with a nice pointy new one, soldered the tops of the pins, and that fixed the problem.

I’m pretty excited that it finally worked, because the only other source of power is the battery, which charges in the laptop through this power connection.  So basically the computer would be trash, even though the rest of the system is mostly fine, and it’s decently spec’d too -- 700MHz PIII, 384MB memory, 40gig drive, etc.  So I was really glad to be able to save the poor lappy; it’d be such a shame to have to get rid of it over something like this.

Posted by Anthony on 7 replies

Random Fun Fact Because It's 4am And I Can't Sleep

When you want to visit a website, you type its address into a web browser and press the Enter key.  OK, so you knew that.  But less well-known is the fact that for nearly every website, you don’t need to type the "www" at the front of a site’s address.  (And of course, you never need to type the http:// because your web-browser will add that automatically.)

Whether the www-rule is true depends on how the owner of a given website has configured the server.  But for nearly all websites, "www.foo.com" is just a shortcut to "foo.com" or vice-versa; either way, there is only one website there, it’s just got two addresses.

For example, visit hp.com.  If you look quickly, you’ll notice that the address you just typed has been automatically changed to www.hp.com.  The same is true for microsoft.com.  My website, on the other hand, automatically changes www.nodivisions.com to just nodivisions.com.  Then some sites like dell.com don’t do any auto-redirection like that; both dell.com and www.dell.com are allowed by the server.  In all these cases, each site has only one set of webpages; the pages just happen to be accessible through two different addresses, foo.com and www.foo.com.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Fun with Google

I’d like to wish a warm welcome to all my visitors looking for:

my lcd has 1 red dot how do i get rid of it
Posted by Anthony on 2 replies

Good Times, Good Tunes, Good Buds

Cool things are happening.

I got a Nextel cell phone a few weeks ago (the i95cl), at a super discount because my company has a contract with Nextel.  The phone is awesome.  But the coolest thing is the direct-connect feature (aka "walkie-talkie").  This always seemed cool to me, but I never fully comprehended the power of its awesomeness until I actually used it.  It’s easily the most fun thing of all time.  It’s like their advertisements say... life is better when you’ve got the phone with a built-in walkie-talkie.  So if you don’t have a cell phone, or if you do have a cell phone, you should get a Nextel phone ASAP.

Cool thing #2: people are sending me photos.  Photos of themselves, which is awesome... it’s nice to actually be able to see the people you correspond with online.  And photos of helicopters that they work on at crazy army-base Avionics labs.  That is unstoppable.  So, if you ever have the inclination to contact me, and I reply and say "hey, thanks for writing, what’s up?", feel free to send a photo, of yourself or something else that’s neato.

I am in love with The Postal Service.  You will be too, once you listen to them.  It was really hard to pick a song of the week from the album "Give Up" which I just bought, because there isn’t a sub-fantastic song on it.  But I settled on "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight."  So go listen to it.

Which brings me to cool thing #more: one of my neighbors/friends just opened a record store below my brother’s skate shop in my town.  How these kids are able to just open their own businesses like this is quite mind-boggling to me.  I am so impressed.  But anyway, that’s where I got "Give Up," just last night, on their first day of business.

And finally cool thing #awesome: a friend sent me a link last night to a webpage about state mottos, and it’s hilarious.  Here are a few:

It Is: We Dare Defend Our Rights
It Should Be: At Least We’re Not Mississippi

It Is: Nothing Without Providence
It Should Be: Too Wimpy to Cross the Mountains So We Stopped Here

It Is: State Sovereignty, National Union
It Should Be: Please Don’t Pronounce the "S"

It Is: United We stand, Divided We Fall
It Should Be: Five Million People; Fifteen Last Names

It Is: I Direct
It Should Be: We’re Really Cold, But We Have Cheap Lobster

It Is: By Valor and Arms
It Should Be: Come and Feel Better About Your Own State

South Dakota
It Is: Under God the People Rule
It Should Be: Closer Than North Dakota

Go see ’em all here.

Posted by Anthony on reply
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