Computers, Gadgets and Beyond!

Converting from Google AdSense for Content to the new AdSense Units

March 05, 2008 By: webmaster Category: Website

The old style Google AdSense for Content HTML code had a lot of information about the look and feel of an ad. Half a dozen colour values for background, foreground, links, text etc along with ad size, ad type and of course your ad code and perhaps channel code. Bit of a mess trying to keep track of everything, even with helpful addons like Adsense Manager (which sucks after v2.5). So Google has moved more of the fiddly bits into their AdSense administrative interface and the new thing is called an AdSense Unit. Old style HTML code:

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Ubuntu Hardy upgrade woes

February 20, 2008 By: webmaster Category: Tech Problems, Technology

This week, two showstoppers appeared in the Ubuntu Hardy upgrade system. First one was a botched upgrade of a language package under OpenOffice and the other was a problem related to Python/APT/dpkg.

First one looked like this:

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
You might want to run `apt-get -f install' to correct these.
The following packages have unmet dependencies:
  language-support-writing-en: Depends: openoffice.org-hyphenation-en-us but it is not installed
E: Unmet dependencies. Try using -f.

The easy fix out of this one is to start up System->Administration->Synaptics Package Manager and uninstall “openoffice.org-hyphenation”. This will trigger a removal of about 85 packages including OpenOffice itself. When that is done, use the same Package Manager to install OpenOffice again and in goes the 85 packages again.

The second one looked like this:

Setting up python-apt (0.7.4ubuntu5) ...
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/usr/bin/pycentral", line 1593, in 
  File "/usr/bin/pycentral", line 1587, in main
    rv = action.run(global_options)
  File "/usr/bin/pycentral", line 982, in run
    self.pkg.byte_compile(bc_option, self.options.exclude)
  File "/usr/bin/pycentral", line 624, in byte_compile
    rt.byte_compile(files, bc_option, exclude_regex)
AttributeError: 'NoneType' object has no attribute 'byte_compile'
dpkg: error processing python-apt (--configure):
 subprocess post-installation script returned error exit status 1

This has now been fixed, and a new python-central should be available at the repositories. I hacked my python-apt to bypass this before the official fix was out, but all you should have to do is update/upgrade as normal and everything will be fine.

Dolphin from BoonEx failing after update

February 20, 2008 By: webmaster Category: Tech Problems, Technology

After upgrading to Dolphin 6.0004, Ray 3.1 and Orca there are multiple problems you can experience.

First one is that whenever you enter the forums, you get a popup box saying:

main div is not defined
please name main content container

This is due to bad caching in the application, and you have to remove a few cache files from the server to fix it. From your web server document root, these files are in orca/cachejs/ and groups/orca/cachejs/. Delete all the files that have a file name that looks like junk, i.e. something like e3d43deace3edbc…

Second problem is that they messed up the Ray part of the upgrade so that all widget licenses are invalidated and can’t be reinstated. To fix this you have to download and apply a hotfix. Download the hotfix here. You get a zip file, unzip in document root and it will overwrite a handful of files. After this you have to input all your Ray widget licenses again, but this time it should work.

There are undoubtedly more, but those were the ones I experienced. Note that this is not an endorsement of this product at all, rather the opposite. It’s a complete mess with a non-existing support organisation and a web presence that boggles the mind. It’s spread across half a dozen web sites and I can’t find a single thing there.

Mobile GMail problems

February 20, 2008 By: webmaster Category: Tech Problems, Technology

If you’re hit by the dreaded


after downloading and running the latest GMail mobile application, then try downloading it again and this time answering No to the question about whether to keep old data or not. Fixed the problem for me on my (t)rusty old SE K750i, may do for you as well. The newer v1.1.1 is significantly better than the old v1.0.0 so it’s well worth trying to get it to work.

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Server downtime

January 12, 2008 By: webmaster Category: Technology

Sorry about the downtime in the past couple of days. Life in the ADSL+ world isn’t all roses and the Thomson/Alcatel Speedtouch ST585 modem needs quite a bit of configuration to behave after a factory reset. Unfortunately I had missed out a few entries, so that what you got instead of the normal service was the web pages on the actual modem. All fixed now I hope. 

Picture below is what the University of Maryland IT department had to deal with after being hit by a tornado. Glad my problems weren’t as severe…

Tornado cleanup 

Popcorn Hour NMT (Networked Media Tank) A-100

November 29, 2007 By: webmaster Category: Media Players, Technology

So it arrived. Hong Kong to Norway in little under 72 hours, not too bad except that half of that time was spent on the last 20 kilometers according to the DHL tracking website. I’ll start a review page which I’ll fill with the highlights today and update as I get more mileage out of the player. You’ll find the link in the menu on the right.

The box

As you can see, they didn’t spend a lot on the packaging…  

I’ve got mine (soon)!

November 21, 2007 By: webmaster Category: Media Players, Technology

There is currently quite a frenzy around the new Networked Media Tank from PopcornHour. The first batch was sold out in so short a time that the NMT/PopcornHour community forum flowed over with angry posts. Apparently PopcornHour had been playing it safe and only ordered about 50 units or so in the first batch, not really enough for the thousand or so eager wouldbe customers. So for the next batch it was not a repeat of the "hit refresh at the right time"-shopping experience the initial release had been. Instead they sent out invitations to the people having registered on the site on a first register first dibs basis. I luckily registered quite early (number 200ish) and got my invitation about a week ago. Today they billed my Google Checkout account, which should mean that they’re shipping. So if all goes well, I should have a unit in hand in a week or two and provide you with a review of the unit. Head over to http://www.popcornhour.com or http://www.networkedmediatank.com if you want to see what the commotion is about.

Update: It’s now reached DHL shipping facilities Germany, so should be on my doorstep in a day or two!

The new breed of media players

October 18, 2007 By: webmaster Category: Technology, Video

There is a changing of the guards happening in the standalone media player world. The current batch of players like the Mvix MX-760HD, the TViX HD-M5000, the Mediagate MD 350 HD etc are rapidly becoming obsolete because of a new chip from Sigma Designs. The old players are based around the EM8621, the new ones are based around the SMP8635. There are newish players out which use the EM8623, but find a player with the new chip instead as they’re just being released and you don’t want to end up with yesteryears technology. They have support for H.264/MPEG4, and quite a few HD-formats like Xvid-HD, Divx-HD, and WMV9-HD. Audio support includes Ogg and Flac. In addition to this, the devices will come with a browser and audio/video streaming from the Internet, bittorrent client and even RSS feed support. All highly desirable functions you simply can’t get on the current crop of players. See for example http://www.popcornhour.com/.


No idea how they are as a company nor if their product will live up to expectations, but the technical specifications certainly look impressive. Especially considering the US price of $179. Most likely much more expensive here in europe of course. The tech specs are a bit loose on whether or not the device will support 1080p video or not, possibly just as 720p in and upscaling to 1080p out. Time will tell, as they’ve promised to start taking orders at the end of next week. Note that the image above may or may not be the final look of the thing, as I’ve seen several alternatives. This image is straight from the actual site though, so it might be the final design. Too bad it now looks like a cheap external hard drive enclosure, but for that price you can’t expect too much.


What would root drive?

June 16, 2007 By: webmaster Category: Motor

Your average unix system admin doesn’t earn a lot of money. Those who do would most likely be getting one of these. No idea what ROOT Automobile is or does, but you can’t argue with a ride like that. Hit the picture for the source article with additional photos and some specs.

A Porsche is a Porsche, of course of course. Unless of course... 

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Ever seen Google fail?

June 04, 2007 By: webmaster Category: Technology

First time for me. And I only asked for the main page, didn’t even perform a query. You gotta wonder if this error page was the first thing they designed though, as it has a definite last century feel to it.


Click for full image 


If you want to look at the source, here it is


And, impressively enough, Google Adsense caved on me just a day or two after. What is the world coming to… 🙂



And you can find the source for that  beauty here.


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