Laser Graffiti

We see graffiti everywhere….on the streets, fences, in busses and subways.  Normally, you’d ignore it as an everyday eyesore and just continue on your day.  But, what would you say to graffiti on a slightly grander scale?  Such as…an entire building side?  That’s just something you can’t ignore!  And so the creators of the Graffiti Research Lab have demonstrated their skill with their GRL L.A.S.E.R. Tagging System mounted in a Hymermobil (a small mobile home).  This system includes two large solid state lasers coded to use building sides as a canvas, and a custom build laser pointer as a stylus.

GRL L.A.S.E.R. Tagging System 

Watch the video in the above link for a demonstration!

Top 10 Linux commands for Newbies

Well now, this was timely. I was just lamenting the fact that I am a Linux newbie the other day when I posted the KDE/GNOME comparo. Now along comes this article right up my alley from It’s the top commands that every newbie Linux user should know to start being effective or to start doing some damage.

Check it out.

Unless of course you’re not a newbie, in which case maybe you can tell me which distribution to check out. I installed VMWare Player the other day on the new Vista box and I’m thinking I may try to mount Ubuntu since it appears to be getting most of the press lately and may be the ‘next big thing’.

FCC Ends Morse Code Testing for Ham Radio

A new Amateur Radio Service regime now is in place. The requirement to demonstrate Morse code proficiency to gain HF privileges were removed from the FCC’s Part 97 rules 3 days ago at 12:01 AM Eastern Time. At the same time, about 200,000 Technician licensees without Morse code exam credit acquired HF privileges equivalent to those available to Novice licensees.

Removal of the Morse requirement is a landmark in Amateur Radio history. Until 1991, when a code examination was dropped from the requirements to obtain a Technician ticket, all prospective radio amateurs had to pass a Morse test. Once the new rules are in place, Amateur Radio license applicants no longer will have to demonstrate Morse code proficiency at any level to gain access to the HF bands.

You can read more at the American Radio Relay League’s news page.

New International Radiation Symbol

New Radiation Symbol




Radiation Trefoil

People are being injured or killed each year because they don’t recognize or understand the existing trefoil symbol.

So in 2001 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) decided to investigate possible new signs and symbols as a supplement to the existing symbol. They took the best of the possible new symbols to children internationally as some of their test subjects and interviewed them on which symbols or colors they recognized and what it meant to them.

For instance, people recognized the color red as meaning ‘warning’ or ‘danger’. Quite a few kids thought the existing trefoil symbol represented an airplane’s propeller.

The intended message of the symbol is “You are in danger, Stop! And run away”. This new sign will likely be placed in an area to warn you if you’ve gained low level access to the lead shielding of a radioactive device and are just one step away from being irradiated should you dismantle the device. The existing trefoil symbol will probably remain as a high level indicator of radiation.

More details:

Turning Off Registration Requirements at Geeknews

One of these days I need to discuss the history of this domain name, what i’ve been able to glean since I started carrying the torch last year. In any case, this domain name has been around a while and gets hammered by spam. This includes comment spam.

To keep a handle on it, I required a user to be registered in order to leave comments to posts, i hated having to do that but it dropped the noise to a bearable level.

Welp, i added the Spam Karma 2 plug-in recently and it appears to pick up a vast majority of the comment spam so today I’m turning off the registration requirement as a test for at least a few weeks. Sorry for the hassle earlier if you were turned off from commenting due to the reg requirement.

Give Your Smartphone That Vista Look And Feel

Vista Look on WM

JGUI has developed a new theme for your Windows Mobile phone that provides the Vista look and feel on your homescreen. But it appears to be much more than just a skin, it includes animation on the screen and comes with Settings Dialogs so you’re not having to hack the registry or XML offline to effect changes.

The UI contains a sidebar with gadgets (see the pic below) that can remain on the screen if you want or can disappear to free up screen real estate as you maneuver the D-Pad to other applets. Some of the gadgets are animated like the analog clock or the local weather forecast. To further adopt the Vista look, it’s using the full OS’ “pearl” as your start button as well. Pearl

More details:

Vista WM screenshot

KDE vs. GNOME, What Will I Miss And Where


I found this through OSNEWs today, it’s a comparison of the KDE and GNOME environments from the viewpoint of a ‘GNOME guy’. While I’m pretty much a Linux newbie, my preference has also been GNOME, the look ‘n feel and usability has always been just a bit more appealing to me.

Here’s a snippet:

A current mania is to exile yourself for a certain period of time into the rival desktop environment, to see how bad (or not) you would feel: a KDE fan would use GNOME, while a GNOME guy would use KDE.

I have undertaken the challenge myself, and it wasn’t bad at all. I have used KDE in the past, albeit without very much enthusiasm. Ubuntu 4.10 converted me to GNOME, once for all, so I was very upset when Slackware dropped the support for GNOME.

GNOME is not the heaven on earth, so that my almost religious love for it looked bizarre. The complete rebuttal of KDE too. I wanted to feel how is to only have KDE while having GNOME habits and idiosyncrasies.

The article is fairly balanced and in-depth at about 6 pages long, pointing out specific differences and pluses/minuses for each environment.



Tired of reading about yesterday’s catastrophies today?  Fear not, we here at Geeknews live to serve you the latest in up-to-the-minute “incidents of interest” via Havaria Emergency and Disaster Information Services in Budapest, Hungary.  Utilizing a realtime worldwide information sharing network, the National Association of Radio-Distress Signalling and Infocommunications feeds its gathered data and is displayed via an assortment of interactive icons displayed on a satellite map of the world.  All you have to do is click on an icon of interest and detailed information on the incident is given, such as type of disaster, location, casualties, agency reports and a satellite image of the affected area.

Morbid perhaps?  Human nature draws us to disasters whether it be driving by and oogling a car wreck, or watching the news about a sinkhole in Guatemala.  Or perhaps its just comforting to some that these things are happening somewhere else than their home…

Mindless Gaming

We all do it.  Sometimes it’s necessary to cut ties with the outside world and just let our mind sail off into another dimension while participating in some brainless activity.  Well, here’s your opportunity with Attractors, a fun and addictive simple flash game.  Drag the dots around to adjust your attraction zones, and you can adjust the position and tilt angle of the deflection plates.


It’s tons of fun to create all sorts of particles flying all over the place!  There’s even a water version 😉

The Mysterious Origins of a Windows Desktop Image

Autumn Wallpaper

Here’s a great read from Nick Tosches, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair.

The wallpaper on Nick’s WinXP desktop was the classic ‘Autumn’ seen above, and it was a welcome scene when we returned home each time from his travels around the world including the hurried pace and fast lifestyle while away covering world events.

This story is about Nick’s absolute obsession for a year trying to track down the photographer and location of this photograph. The level of difficulty in finding information on the mysterious origins of the photo and the number of people involved in the effort makes for an interesting story. Here’s a snippet –

Every member of Team Autumn begins as I did, confident that finding the location pictured will be a quick and simple matter. As the months pass, many of my volunteers, rather than admit defeat, resort to the exculpatory “maybe it’s a computer-generated picture” premise and retreat to their real lives.

Some have tried to console me: “Hell, it’s probably next to a toxic-waste dump.” My buddy Bruce suggests there’s a sinister element: “It could be like Blow-Up. Something bad could be happening at the end of the path. Maybe that’s why they won’t tell you anything.”

But—toxic waste, dead bodies—I don’t care. Autumn awaits me. Somewhere. Yeah. Over the rainbow. Yeah. And I’ll find it yet.

Read on…

XP on 8 MHz Pentium w/ 20MB Ram

Slashdot is reporting:

The guys over at managed to get their Windows XP Professional running on a very minimal box: an Intel Pentium clocked down to 8 MHz with 20 MB of RAM. (The installer won’t work with less than 64 MB, but after installing you can remove memory.) The link has plenty of pictures of their progress in achieving this dubious milestone. They deserve a Golden Hourglass award for ‘extreme waste of time.’ What obscure hardware configurations have you managed to get Windows running on?”

One of the funnier comments to this /. post was:

I for one welcome our new masochists overloards

Click over to the link above in the /. post, they’ve got tons of pics of the machine and screenshots of the XP image.

New Nanofilter, 50 Atoms Thick, Sorts Individual Molecules

The latest issue of Nature announces the details of a membrane developed by the University of Rochester that opens new design possibilities for better dialysis, fuel cells and neuro-stem cell cultivation.

At more than 4,000 times thinner than a human hair, this 15 nanometer membrane is very similar to the slices of silicone seen in every-day microprocessor manufacturing plants.

Read the details here.

Nanofilter array

[Found on]

New Taskman Hotness on Vista

OK, it’s not really Taskman, but sort of related. Task Manager is one of the admin’s or power user’s favorite tools. In Vista’s Taskman you can see from this pic below there are two easily discernible differences.

One difference is the ‘Services’ tab. In Windows XP you had all the other tabs, and the ‘Processes’ tab was probably your favorite, now your time will likely be split between Processes which contains most of the info you were looking for before, and the Services tab shows all services on the box, the parent group it’s a part of, the current state (Running, Stopped) and the process ID number. In Services, if you bring up the context menu for a service you can try to stop it, or you can ‘Go to Process’ which will take you to the owning process for this service in the Processes tab. Cool.

OK, that was one difference, here’s the second. See the button below ‘Resource Monitor’? Click it (ok, if you’re running Vista, go click it :smile:), this launches the Resource Monitor tool you can see farther below…

Task Manager

The Resource Monitor tool is new in Vista. It’s also known by the more cumbersome ‘Reliability and Performance Monitor”. This is the tool you wished you had in the box for XP or Win2k3, it’s like a poor man’s Perfmon with realtime data but no logging capability that I can find in it.

Besides launching it from Taskman you can also get to it:

  • From the ‘computer’ context menu under ‘Manage’
  • You can go to “Start – system tools – Reliability and Performance”
  • Or from a CMD window you can type ‘perfmon /res

This tool can track and allow you to monitor all activities for CPU, Disk, Network & Memory.

Under CPU, not only do you get the typical ‘PID’, process, # threads, but also see ‘Average CPU’ usage.

For Disk, you can view read and write in B/Min, IO Priority and Response Time.

For Network you can view the net address a process is connected to or using and the Send/Rec/Total B/min.

Lastly, Memory shows process/PID, Hard Faults/min, Commit/Working Set/Shareable/Private memory usage.

Resource Mon1

Upgrade Your Car to a Recreational Tank.


Feeling like your SUV blends into the crowd? In need of something to transport your groceries by day and a mobile party or arsenal by night? Meet the Badonkadonk, a one-of-a-kind “armored land cruiser/recreational tank”.

To look at it, one might think it’s a hovercraft, but in fact it runs on four off-road wheels, concealed by a unique industrial-strength rubberized flexible skirt that shields and protects the wheels to within an inch of the ground, while still allowing for enough flex to give clearance over bumpy and uneven terrain.

It looks like something out of Mad Max.


What’s the Deal With Adobe Reader on Vista?

I built out a new PC last weekend and promptly installed Vista Ultimate. The next night I needed Adobe Reader so i started making my way to to get the latest version. As i was loading their site I thought back to the RC build and the trouble i had installing Reader then, you had to hack it in because of several problems with its installer.

Lo and behold, Reader has the same problem with this Vista RTM build. What the heck? It’s not like Longhorn/Vista hasn’t been available for ISVs to actually *test* on at some point in the last couple of years and be prepared! What gives? 😡

So I had to hack the sucker in again.
What I wound up doing was run the installer up to the point where the MSI failed. Before acknowledging the error and allowing it to rollback the setup, i quickly drilled down to the user folder: ‘C:\Users\Andy\AppData\LocalLow\Netopsystems\temp‘ , copied out the Adobe temp folder to the desktop, then acknowledged the error so it could clean up and remove the temp files in original temp folder path above.

Then i ran the MSI within the copied version of the Adobe folder now on my desktop and this time the installation worked fine. 🙂

Ah well, at least it had a happy ending and we have Reader goodness on the box now. It turned out that the installer couldn’t handle UAC being turned off on the box afterall.