February 29, 2008

Developer library

After trying to find a solution to a problem we were having with a neighbor, my wife moved my office into my son's room and moved our son into the office/dining room. She also took the opportunity to clean up my desk, through away old papers, and dig up my books. I was happy to find the books I've been reading or finished reading. Mom recently sent me a care package with a few of my favorite books. I've taken the time to rebuild my library in my new office.
Here are a few of the books I've kept in my collection through the years:

  • Flash MX 2004 from the source.

  • Code Complete

  • Head first (or head start?) Design Patterns

  • JavaScript (O'Reilly)

  • Foundations in .NET C# edition MCAD book

  • ASP.NET Web development MCAD book


  • PHP professional application development

  • Various DVDs videos in Flash

  • Various DVDs videos in Final Cut Pro Express

I've also got a few language books: Chinese and French language books. I'm really looking forward to learning French and some conversational mandarin.

I've found the Code Complete to be the best and longest book I've read in a long time. And there is a lot of useful information to help improve my code as a developer. Hopefully, one day, I'll write my own book on some programming language that I really like. Maybe in a few years. Maybe when life at home gets easier.

Posted by yardie at 2:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 18, 2008

OpenVPN on TAP

I've been using OpenVPN at work for a while now. One of the things I was curious about was the difference between TAP and TUN connections. By default OpenVPN uses the TUN. The release notes said something about compatibility in other operating systems and I saw a nice split of Windows and PC users so I decided compatibility was the more important. But the cost was the performance of the system. I'm not sure on the network level what the difference between a TAP and TUN connection. I know a tun uses single port. and a type creates a virtual device that uses a tunnel. But I decided to switch our internal VPN to TAP.
What a difference that makes. Using TAP we can browse other computers on the VPN as if they were on a localhost. And the speed of file copies went up a little bit. Browsing the server improved dramatically.

So if you are using OpenVPN and are on a primarily windows environment I would suggest using TAP in the server and client configs. The steps are

  1. open client config.ovpn in your favorite text editor.

  2. change dev tun to dev tap

  3. open the server config.ovpn in your favorite text editor

  4. change dev tun to dev tap

  5. change the server IP and subnet to: server or whatever your iprange will be

  6. restart all server and client openvpn daemons

  7. breathe the fresh air of having local network speed on boxes far away


Posted by yardie at 11:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 7, 2008

Locked in

Most of the posts on this blog comes from my problematic laptop. Recently on slashdot.org there was the announcement of the 5.0 release of Truecrypt. For a long time I've been looking for a solution to secure my files and my laptop. There has been other programs that create encrypted partitions or encrypted disk images. On windows this encrypts some of your data but rarely most of it. And for these there was no solution to secure your Local folder, where the meat of your information is (outlook.pst, thunderbird, firefox, etc). But the great thing about Truecrypt is it can do the filesystem level encryption on a running system partition. No need to boot up into a seperate system or CD and run an encryption script. In fact it makes securing your system so easy (and for laptop users, not having to swap drives around is a godsend) that there is no reason that it shouldn't be included with every computer sold. I've been using it for less that 24 hours and there hasn't been any visible performance hit (generally 5%) or lost files, or unrecoverable boots.

Posted by yardie at 10:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 5, 2008

SO is that what it was

After weeks of screwing around with this laptop and thinking I was having a software problem. I blew away my windows partition. Twice. Installed Ubuntu and then Fedora Core Linux. I was still out of a fully functional laptop. I even went as far booting various LiveCDs and scanning the hardware and hard drive for errors. But this problem would still persist. The keyboard and mouse would lockup after a few minutes and be unrecoverable. Well now I'm back on Windows Vista...Basic. After using Business for a few weeks late last year I was hardly getting anything done. Click and wait was the operation of the day. Basic is supposed to be the lighter brethren of all things Vista. And frankly it's marginally better. Lots of features have been dropped in the name of making you pay more for the slightly better and resource intensive Premium. Turns out the same thing did happen. But after poking around on the internet I found other people who had the same problem.

Turns out there is a bug in Acer laptops. A bug where when the battery goes kaput it manages to lock the keyboard and causes hellish amount of problems. All this from a fooking battery? I should really slap the taste out of the engineers mouth that managed to let this slip by. I should also slap the design team for integrating the rubber standoffs into the battery. In my case I can't use it and I can't through it away unless I also enjoy trying to work on a three legged square table. You see the battery holds the ass end of the laptop up. And there you have it. The worlds largest manufacturer of portable PCs couldn't bother to think what would happen if someone tried to use the PC without the battery in the by. In other words "Get a Mac".

Posted by yardie at 11:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack