Archive for the ‘Geek’ Category

SEO’s should be “Googlable”

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

Are you satisfied?

Or did you really want the full screen version ;)
That was easy.

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I’m #1 in Google. No Googlebombs here.

Friday, January 26th, 2007

Ok, so maybe ‘Joel Tanner’ isn’t the most searched for phrase, but for someone that spends a lot of time on SEO it’s pretty damn exciting to get their own name up in lights. Now normally this wouldn’t be a big deal for an SEO…
But I accomplished this without using any black hat, or even grey hat, methods of SEO. I’ve moved this site from being on the 4th page of resutls, to link #1, for the search ‘Joel Tanner‘ on Google. Let’s see how long it sticks…

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AES 256bit Encrypted DVDs (and HDs)

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

Using Dekart’s PrivateDisk I’ve started encrypting all of the DVDs I burn with backup data (and contain information I wouldn’t want anyone else to have access to). The process is pretty simple, and Dekart has a tutorial. The process does take more time, than burning a DVD regularly, and especially if you’ll be writing multiple disks as you will need to create duplicates of *.dpd encrypted image file, as well as copy the backup data into it, and finally burn it all to DVD. Using PrivateDisk and your favourite burning software (Nero), all you need to do is this:

  1. Create a virtual encrypted disk (dpd file) with 4400mb (if you’re using single layer DVDs) named dvd.dpd
    • Choose a password that contains a combination of lowercase and
      uppercase letters, and digits. The encryption will take around 4000
      years (using current technology) to break via brute force.
  2. Fill the image with your files
  3. Open up your DVD burning app:
    • Take into consideration that an ISO DVD can’t have a single file larger
      than 2GB, so you’ll want to use the UDF format when you create your DVD.
  4. Copy the encrypted dvd.dpd image to the DVD root
  5. Copy all of the files from “c:\Program Files\Dekart\Private Disk\” to the DVD root
  6. Copy versnum.dll and dkar.dll from “c:\Windows\system32\” to the DVD root
  7. Create a text file named autorun.inf, that contains:
    Open=PrvDisk.exe /minimize /path:dvd.dpd
  8. Copy autorun.inf to the DVD root
  9. Burn it!

I also encrypt ‘chunks’ of my HDs to store the more sensitive data such as ‘My Documents’ and I fully encrypt backup HDs, internal or external. PrivateDisk doesn’t seem cause any loss of performance, if you’re wondering. Obviously, with regard to HDs, you need not go beyond step 2.

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Weird Al Gets a Weird Deal

Thursday, June 15th, 2006

Apparently some recording artists, such as Wierd Al, are getting a raw deal when it comes to digital music downloads. Digital Music Weblog points out that Weird Al is most likely making 85% less income when people purchase his tracks online, as opposed to purchasing a physical CD (which includes the cd, liner notes, and jewel case). I’m sure Wierd Al is only one of many getting a wierd deal.

In a world with online distribution, on-the-fly kiosk cd creation, and the ability to produce and master an audio and video on a home computer (PC or Mac), you’ve gotta start wondering when already popular artists are going to wise up and take production and distribution into their own hands. Beyond that, they could join together and form organizations which would handle these operations as well for lesser known artists. While some record labels are slowwwwwly getting a clue and hiring folks like Ethan Kaplan to improve their use of technology, they are still dinosaurs and will continue to fight extinction until their very last breath.

In some ways, it would be interesting to see the results of online piracy expanding to a bone crushing weight. What would happen when the record labels go under? As well, what is the breaking point at which that would happen? Would artists emerge with production and distribution models of their own? I highly doubt that music will cease to exist on earth simply because an outdated industry, which has been around for less than 100 years, vanishes.

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Picasa Web Albums to Out Flickr Flickr?

Wednesday, June 14th, 2006

Googles got something Flickr doesn’t: Picasa, the photo management software. And now they’re introducing Picasa Web Albums. They’ve sold me and I don’t even have my account yet. If you actually haven’t seen this yet, take a look at one of their example albums for Maui. The one hang-up I see is that presently you can’t display images hosted on Google’s servers on any other site. Maybe this is only a restriction during the ‘Test’ phase?

Technorati Tags: Google, Picasa, Picasa Web Albums, Flickr

Google Desktop, is it everything it’s cracked up to be, or just on crack?

Wednesday, June 14th, 2006

That’s right. I said ’server’. Although Google Desktop is really intended for a single user I use in a more robust environment. At any given time, at work, we need to have 20,000+ PDF documents accessible and searchable, both my file name and content, by all of our staff and from two different offices. Of course, the ideal way to do it is on the cheap… don’t spend the money on hardware or expensive search appliances (ie. Google Mini), instead hack something together using existing products and force it to work even if you waste tons of valuable time on it. Ok, that’s not my ideal way, it’s my employers.

Up until last week, this didn’t seem to be a problem. I had setup a Dell server with Windows XP Pro, Google Desktop, and the DNKA plugin for GDS which allows the Google Desktop engine to act as a web server and accept traffic from IPs other than localhost. Perfect. We had around 17,000 documents indexed… but all of the sudden it started missing/skipping files during it’s regular index (hence the difference between 20k+ and 17k).

I should point out now that I was using a previous version of GDS and DNKA from late 2005 (which is when I set this up).

I’ve heard/read instances of other people having problems with GDS’ index cache where it’s become corrupted and just stops indexing new files. I followed some of  the the tips to deleting everything in “Documents and Settings\**username**\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Google Desktop Search” and then restarting GDS to allow it to completely re-index everything, however this did NOT work. I repeated this step numerous times only to find that each time GDS was producing different, and chaotic, search and indexing results. No rhyme or reason, no pattern, but each time it would somehow ‘choose’ different files to index, or not. Google Desktop was on crack. Maybe it couldn’t handle that many files in one directory structure (with sub-folders), or maybe it couldn’t cope with the speed of which the files were being copied onto the server. Who knows.

In the older version it appeared to me that it would try to process as much as it could at once, and then would choke; causing the unfortunate error of not indexing all of the files properly. I gave up on trying to get it to work, and
updated DNKA and GDS to their current versions, and so far it appears
that it’s going to yield positive results. The current version of GDS seems to be indexing much more steadily than it did previously, spreading it’s workload out over a greater amount of time and using MUCH less system resources at any given time.

Also, it’s important to mention that the files are being copied over from one machine to another using Microsoft’s SyncToy. If this works, as planned, I’ll then try the same test but using ‘robocopy’ from the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools. (If this MS synctoy developers happen to read this; try emulating the functions of robocopy for SyncToy as most people using SyncToy are likely power users anyway and can deal with the more robust set of options that robocopy offers.)

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Planet RIAA

Tuesday, June 13th, 2006

Mitch Bainwol, CEO of the RIAA is muttering non-sense just like the MPAA did when it claimed it sank The Pirate Bay last month. In this article he claims that “we believe digital downloads have emerged into a growing, thriving business, and file-trading is flat” and that file sharing is “contained”. Pretty funny if you ask me. From my observations, and conversations with even the most non-tech people, file sharing has become even more widespread and publically acceptable than it was a year ago, two years ago, etc. I believe TPB tripled its members/usage after the ’sinking’ incident.

A note to the RIAA and MPAA;
Adding press, good or bad, to anything only makes it more well known. If you want to ‘contain’ file sharing you’re going to need to drop prices and your stupid constricting DRM models. Enthusiats/hackers/coders/pirates will always be two steps ahead of you.

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My Firefox Extensions

Tuesday, June 13th, 2006

As promised, here are the current Firefox extensions that I have enabled. Yes, I know, I have A LOT. I’m a sync and customization addict and Firefox has done nothing to discourage this. Let me know if you find this list useful, or have any suggestions I may be interested in.


  1. Performancing

Browser Enhancments

  1. Auto Copy
  2. Bookmarks Scrollbar
  3. Cache View
  4. Clear Fields
  5. Copy as HTML Link
  6. Copy Plain Text
  7. Crash Recovery
  8. Cute Menus – Crystal SVG
  9. Download Manager Tweak
  10. Down Them All
  11. Firefox Extension Backup Extension (FEBE)
  12. gTranslate
  13. IE Tab
  14. Internote
  15. Map This
  16. Minimize To Tray
  17. New Tab Homepage
  18. PDF Download
  19. Search Engine Ordering
  20. Search Plugin Hacks
  21. Tab X
  22. Universal Print
  23. Update Notifier

Google Suite

  1. Firefox Google Bookmarks
  2. GCal Quick Tab
  3. Gmail Manager
  4. Google Browser Sync
  5. Google Calendar Notifier
  6. Google Calendar Quick Add
  7. Google Notebook
  8. Google Send to Phone
  9. Google Toolbar for Firefox

Social Bookmarking

  2. post


  1. Forecastfox

Web Design

  1. ColorZilla
  2. CSSViewer
  3. Html Validator
  4. MeasureIt
  5. User Agent Switcher
  6. Web Developer

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It’s About Time

Monday, June 12th, 2006

I’ve been stuck in the stone age by my own choice, and I’ve been using a Nokia 3650 while I’ve been there. The phone has treated me well, although I’m on the 3rd one, but it’s just a heavy brick and most importantly lacks the features I really need.

My requirements for a new phone were as follows:

  1. Windows Mobile 5
  2. Stylus
  3. ‘Keyboard’
  4. Large screen
  5. Camera
  6. Bluetooth
  7. Easy to sync with Outlook, locally and remotely
  8. IMAP support
  9. Ability to install/use a SSH client
  10. Ability to install/use a Citrix Presentation Server client
  11. Ability to install/use a Terminal Services/Remote Desktop client
  12. and most importantly… EDGE or EV-DO

The primary objective is to be able to access servers, both personal and work related, regardless of where I am without having to run and find a computer with Internet access. Secondary is Email, Web, and IM.

I’ve been on the prowl for well over a year to find the right solution, and I’ve had friends go through several phones that I considered, but they all seemed to switch to another within a short amount of time, which didnt really give me a great impression of any of them. So I just sat right. I’ve been a T-Mobile customer since 2002 and I have an insane rate plan and options and although I considered switching to Verizon or Sprint (for EV-DO) I just couldn’t get the same kind of pricing I’m used to. I held out hope that T-Mobile would eventually offer a phone that met my requirements. They FINALLY came through. On Saturday, after visiting the local T-Mobile store, I ordered the T-Mobile MDA (w/Windows Mobile 5) made by HTC. It should arrive this week, so I’ll follow-up with my review soon after.

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Dirt Segway’ing

Friday, November 11th, 2005

Segway Concept Centaur

I’ve always thought Segways have been cool, and loved riding one (although incredibly briefly) at Disney World, but this new ‘Concept Centaur’ really looks like fun. 20mph. I want one. Segway… you tease… produce this thing! There are some more great pictures over at Popular Science, enjoy.

Night and Day

Saturday, February 5th, 2005

Music: U2 – Night and Day (Live from MusiCares 2003)

gMail. I started forwarding all of my email to my gmail account just to make it easier to access mail while I’m in the process of moving. Well, I get such an intense volume of mail that it seems it triggered a huge increase in the number of gmail invites I have (49 left as of now)… so if anyone out there needs/wants one, please leave a comment w/your email address and I’ll see what I can do for you. In other matters, I spent a good portion of today recording a much sought after U2 performance from MusiCares 2003. The three tracks Bono performed were That’s Life, Night and Day, and The Hands That Built America, all of which are incredible to hear that man croon out live. Sinatra’s That’s Life by Bono is very similar in sound to Two Shots of Happy, One Shot of Sad, which happens to be one of my favorite U2 songs. In other news, I’ve had to report some asshole for what I believe to be trying to defraud people on and PayPal.. in general, I think this problem is getting much worse. People suck. Prove me otherwise.

Minisize Me

Thursday, February 3rd, 2005

Music: Radiohead – Talk Show Host

I’ve wanted a small lil ‘mini’ digital camera for awhile now, something I could put in my pocket and have with me w/o the hassle of a ‘normal’ size camera. A few nights ago when I was out for dinner for Aaron’s birthday Jaclyn had gotten a new camera. She was snapping away, the photos on the 2 inch LCD looked great, and it looked very easy to use. I immediately began questioning her on the price, information, make, model, etc – you’d almost have thought I was seeking out a murder suspect the way I was interrogating her. The Canon Digital Elph SD200 was in my sites now, and after pricing it out later that night as well as reading all the reviews and documentation I could find, as well as looking at sample photos, I decided this was going to be an impulse buy. Ship it to me 2nd day I told Amazon, and today it appeared on my doorstep. Already charged it up, changed some of the settings to my liking, and read a good portion of the manual… not to mention I’ve taken some test shots which I’ve been please with. I’ll be toting this lil Elph around with me from now on. Should be fun as Anne will be here soon, then off to Vegas, and then of course… _the move_.

Fly Me to the Moon

Monday, January 31st, 2005

Music: Count Basie/Frank Sinatra – Fly Me to the Moon

I swear I could be moving to the moon. The sad part is, if it was an emergency to move, I’d be completely SOL. When it comes to sorting and packing my motivation is really come and go. Today I got some pricing on shipping my car, which seemed fairly reasonable, copied a bundle of old CD-Roms and floppy disks (you read that right!) to a harddrive and trashed all the disks (actually, they are still ‘waiting’ to go in the garbage), sorted some paperwork, ALMOST had U2 GA tickets for Boston3 but it didn’t quite work out (did I mention I hate TicketBastard, bought a 100 pack of DVD-Rs from Amazon via my store at for $30 after rebate w/free shipping, and… drumroll please… took a shower and got dressed for the day at 5pm…. just in time to go to dinner for Aaron’s birthday at T.G.I. Friday’s at The BLOCK at ORANGE. Oh, I also helped one of Allan’s friends with his pokey computer… ‘phone support’ was the prefered method as I was to lazy to actually want to go fix a Windows98 POS even for a couple hours of pay. Hopefully dinner will be good, and the company too.

Out With the Old

Sunday, January 30th, 2005

Music: Various Artists – Beach Sequence

Today was a proud day… I had a brilliant idea, a great plan, and it all came together by 3:15pm. In my efforts to pack for the move I’m needing/having to get rid of a lot of ‘junk’ that I’ve been saving, namely 6 old computers (the oldest dating back to 1994!), 2 color printers, 1 dotmatrix printer, and my first HP flatbed SCSI scanner. Took all the harddrives out, then went to the local edition of Craig’s List, posted an ad:

FREE: I’ve got 5 old computers and 5 old monitors that I need to get rid of. All are in working condition, although I’ve removed the hard drives.

Each computer ranges from a 486 to Pentium 2’s (maybe a P3, not sure). Some of the computers have additional NICs, Tuner cards, cd writers, etc. Great for someone learning about computers, or someone wanting to use them as routers, etc. If you want only one, you’re out of luck – the whole lot comes as a package deal – Its free. I’ve also got a flatbed scsi HP scanner, a couple of color inkjets, and a okidata microline printer that I’ll toss in too if you want them.
Please contact me immediately if you’re interested. I’m moving and HAVE to part with these quickly!

30 minutes later I got the first of several emails from people responding to the ad. 10 minutes later I had arranged who was the lucky ‘buyer’ and a time for the pick-up. Praise that site, I’ve neglected it since I moved back from San Francisco.


Friday, December 3rd, 2004

Mmm. Perhaps not Miami, but close – Ft Lauderdale. I’ve been here since Wednesday evening, on business and visiting friends. At this point it looks like I may indeed have a serious job offer/opportunity to create something I’ve been dreaming of for years, and a dream left unfullfilled by the defunct Musicfans. Moving to south Florida isn’t exactly close to home, is quite different, but I suppose would be a new adventure in life… not to mention, a great opportunity (as I mentioned). How life so quickly changes, twists, and turns is truly not only interesting… but odd. Someone recently gave me some amazingly wise advice, ‘Jump in the river, and see where it takes you… you never know what shore you’ll land on, or what opportunities it may bring’. So many things to think about, to figure out, but for now I’m just riding the river and will deal with everything as it comes. Challenge, change, and risk are things I’ve been looking for lately. I think they may have found me.

Miracle Drug

Sunday, November 28th, 2004

Music: Enya – Tempus Vernum

I have a new Dell server I’ve been slowly working on. Of course, I picked it up from Dell while they had an error on their site for an incredibly low price, and while it came with the bare bones… it’s anything but that now. As of tonight: Dell PowerEdge 400SC,2.8GHZ/512K Cache, P4, 800FSB, 1.12GB RAM, 660GB, CD-ROM, DVD DualLayer Writer, Windows Media Center. While I still need to upgrade the video card and add-in a tuner/PVR card, I’ve appropriately named the machine ‘Miracle Drug’. All my machines, networked attached devices, etc are all named after something relating to U2. Dorky, I know, but it works.