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If you’re familiar with RIM’s products, by now you might have heard something about linking your BB to the not-so-stellar 7″ device that is the PlayBook. I’m talking about the BlackBerry Bridge App, I mentioned its features before, but I’m trying to put that all behind me. All the disappointment’s been too much to bear. I wanted to think it was great and useful, but then I realized how cumbersome it is to have a device so inadequate you need a BlackBerry to *add functionality.

Anyway, one of my yearnings for Trinity is a shiny new wireless keyboard, with back-lit keys, and a solar-powered recharging feature. They’re coming to market (not back-lit), but I don’t see them coming down to my price range soon. It occurred to me when fiddling around with Bridge that there’s actually a fully-fledged keyboard and mouse buried in the sub-menus and key combinations. The Windows Start Menu key, Ctrl, Alt, F1 to F12, it’s all in there. It uses a bluetooth connection to link to the PlayBook… and Trinity has bluetooth… See where I’m going with this? What if… I could use Bridge to control Trinity? I mean bluetooth keyboards and mice have existed for some time now. Surely it couldn’t be that simple? Read the rest of this entry »

Success! After a month of trial and error (and more error), I’ve finally found a way to reliably turn on Trinity over the internet. Wake-on-LAN—you know, that feature where your computer’s onboard ethernet adapter listens to the internet for a magic packet of data telling it to wake up your computer. Why do I want to do this? I want to access Trinity on the go and on command via LogMeIn, without running her 24/7. That wouldn’t be very green now would it? I was really close after reading a guide on lifehacker, but somehow I couldn’t crack it. I could only achieve my goal from within my own wireless network at home, not very useful when I cross the pond. It seems after a period of about thirty minutes, dormant devices disappear from the router’s ARP cache, making it invisible to magic packet bursts sent from the outside of your home network (or so I’ve read). The solution? I needed better tools.

The stock Linksys firmware of my WRT54GS2 is ok, but it lacks several advanced features, mainly WOL. TomatoUSB is free*, open source firmware, written by third parties giving you greater control of your router’s settings and capabilities. I’ve heard good things about DD-WRT, it seems to reign in popularity, but TomatoUSB is a bit simpler to install so—yea, I went with TomatoUSB. The great thing about it is there’s a WOL feature built right into the interface. Simply log into the router, click the “WOL” heading, find your machine, and click on it to wake it up. Easy peasy. It seems the trick to doing this from outside your network is setting up remote access to your router. Doing so requires knowing your external IP address, the one given to you by your ISP [You can check it at whatsmyip.org]. The other problem with that is, sometimes they change it without telling you, and if you’re not at home to spot the address change you’ll be essentially locked out. No matter, that problem has been solved.

Want to know how to do this for yourself? Read the rest of this entry »

Apologies for the hiatus. Did some traveling, cut the hobby budget. While away, my experiment to control Trinity from afar failed as I couldn’t get her to wake up using Wake-on-LAN (WOL). It’s proving to be a bit trickier than I thought and I think I may need a better router. Anyhoo, a few projects floating around in the ether:  Read the rest of this entry »

Soon after successfully getting Trinity up and running I was already thinking of ways to improve her. One of the things bugging me were those two front facing USB ports.
Plugging-in my keyboard and wireless mouse left me with no open ports up front for say, a quick external hard drive transfer. I noticed that the motherboard had an extra internal USB header and thought adding more ports should be a snap. While I was at it, I could throw in an SD card reader for off-loading my camera or phone. There was one problem: How would I implement it? Most SD card readers on the market come in the form of USB dongles or 3.5″ bay devices designed to fit inside the case. I was already using the one 3.5″ bay I had for the hard drive and I really hate dongles. This needed to be built-in. Read the rest of this entry »

I have to say, in all my years of conflict with Apple, the designer/technophile in me feels a connection to their hardware. Just look at any of iFixit’s teardowns of late, and you can see how chaos is brought to order. No it’s not the products I have a problem with, just the company’s stance on certain things, and the way they slant information to the not so savvy in order to benefit their public appeal. I also grew to hate fanboy-ism, which… seems to be an Apple thing. (Seriously get a life)

Growing up, my biggest Apple repellent was incompatibility. It really wasn’t a choice. It just so happened that I was born into a world/region that used Windows. So naturally, that’s what I got used to. And being that most of the world used Windows, it kind of made the case for the Mac a little weak. The Macs I got exposed to in my youth didn’t have enough for me. They were cute, but not very useful, so I went on about my days mostly ignoring them. How ironic that a platform whose biggest detractor was a lack of applications, would one day be the world leader in mobile “apps”. Kudos. Read the rest of this entry »

I sort of did it before with Silvia; triple booting Ubuntu 10.04, the original Windows XP installation that came with her, and Windows 7 Enterprise just for the heck of it all on one drive. GRUB handled the selection process on startup, and after tweaking the countdown timer I was pleased with it. Doing something similar with a hackintosh on the first try was an ambitious idea (if I do say so myself), but I wanted one machine to rule them all.

I suspected that getting three of today’s major platforms to play nice together on one drive was going to be a serious headache. It would probably be much simpler to use a separate hard drive for each OS, but that would be rather boring wouldn’t it? Plus I only had one drive and, with the recent flooding in Thailand, purchasing another one was kind of out of the budget. Tony put up a guide on dual booting, but adding Ubuntu was a big question mark. Once again, lifehacker proved itself to be an invaluable resource. Read the rest of this entry »

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