Logitech Squeezebox receiver with flashing red light

squeezebox_red.jpgGot a Logitech squeezebox receiver the other day and after plugging it in to my switch, I assumed it would just acquire an IP (using DHCP) and just start working.
After 2 hours of changing network cables, restarting various network devices and a little bit of cursing I retreated to Google for some help.
Turns out that the Squeezebox receiver is not to be used on its own. It is to be used together with a controller and the controller is required for initial configuration.
The only reason Squeezebox receivers are sold on their own is for people that want additional receivers for their rooms.
In my case I knew there are mobile applications that can control the music playing or that one can even connect to the web interface of the Squeezebox Server.
The controller is twice the price of a receiver and being the cheapskate I am I didn’t want to fork out extra money just to configure my receiver.
Two options:
1) Borrow a controller from a friend
2) Use Net::UDAP to find your SqueezeBox receiver on the network and to configure it
Net::UDAP is a Perl module so if you are not familiar with Perl programming just download the following executable:
UDAP command shell
For a wired configuration (not WiFi), you can use the below command sequence:

conf 1
set interface=1

Followed by:

conf 1
set squeezecenter_address=[ip address of your computer running squeeze server]

For a wireless configuration use instead:

conf 1
set interface=0 lan_ip_mode=0 lan_gateway= lan_network_address= lan_subnet_mask= primary_dns= wireless_SSID=3Com wireless_wep_on=1 wireless_keylen=1 wireless_mode=0 wireless_region_id=14 wireless_wep_key_0=[WEP key] wireless_channel=11 squeezecenter_address=[ip address of your computer running squeeze server]

You will obviously have to be connected to the receiver via a network cable to be able to configure it.
Type help or fields to list all device fields along with some documentation of the values they can take.
Check out the Net::UDP project page for more information and don’t forget to donate if this solves your problem!

Batalha Animal – Do you love animals?

foto_ines_3.jpgDo you love animals and are you thinking about a different way to make a difference?
Do you feel disgusted, angry and heartbroken to see a suffering animal?
Would you rather want to make a difference and truly help out?
This is a remarkable story of an ordinary working mother that all by herself changed the fate of over 150 dogs left to die. This during 16 years of love, dedication and hard work.
If nothing else, it will at least warm your heart to hear it.
Very different from the reality in the UK, abandoned animals in the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil are numberless. They are living in the most deprived conditions and are suffering from chronic (but often preventable) diseases and starvation.
Most of the abandoned animals are at first perfectly healthy but it is just a matter of time before they are victims of cruelty, disease or fatal accidents in the mad traffic.
For these unfortunate (hairy) souls, there is little to nothing available in the governmental system that could help them. Instead they rely solely on the pity of animal loving individuals.
That is a bit how Ines Sanches, an ordinary working mother of 55 years, started on her path of helping suffering animals in the city.
Living in a busy part of Sao Paulo, she was walking home one evening when a shrieking sound made her head turn: a passing car had hit a young dog with full force. She rushed to the scene, only to hear from the dog owner himself that he had no means to help the poor animal, and that he was going to leave it there to die.
Appalled by the cruelty and disregard, Ines did not think clearly and took the injured dog home. This despite her own busy life full of problems and lack of funds and space.
She named the badly injured dog Madona and against all odds, with time and proper care, Madona made a remarkable recovery. Little did Ines know, that that event would change her life forever.
Madona turned out to be a fantastic companion to all the family. Lifting up the spirits of the household when they most needed it. She turned their lives around with her gaiety, contentment and recognition that in a way, Ines had saved her life.
From that moment on, Ines realized that she simply could not turn her back on the agony of the animals abandoned or injured in the streets of Sao Paulo and despite her own difficulties, she decided to do something about it.
Ines started by taking the suffering animals into her own house, nurturing them, caring for their wounds and diseases and then putting them up for adoption.
Quickly Ines realised that she needed a bigger site to accommodate the dogs while they were getting well enough to be ready for adoption.
16 years has now elapsed since Madona had been left to die on the road and today Ines and a team of volunteers care for 150 dogs collected from the streets of the city in a purposed build kennel, funded solely by the charity of friends, family and passionate dog lovers.
Although this may seem basic compared to the UK initiatives such as the Dog’s Trust, Battersea Dogs Home and the RSPCA, I can’t stress enough how major this is for the cruel reality of Brazil.
Ines’ initiative stands out for the longevity and professionalism. Her dedication to the project has overcome many difficulties in the last decade and despite the total lack of sustainable funding by the government, she has managed to secure a loving home and a much brighter future for the animals she has rescued.
As a fellow Brazilian dog lover, it makes me terribly proud to see what Ines has build up over the years. Facing the related financial challenges is very unique.
I know that many of you already have a continuous commitment to various charities which is maybe why I dare to ask if you can honour this amazing initiative with a donation. After all we are talking about changing the dark fate of suffering animals in one of the most violent and ruthless towns in South America (yes, my home town).
David has created this post to enable non-Brazilian residents to make a donation via paypal. We will collect all donations received and forward them to the Batalha Animal latest appeal (translated on the page) with a note from all of you.

If you have donated then thank you so much for helping, please feel free to share the story with other dog lovers you may know. We truly appreciate it!
If you are not able to donate than thank you for reading this far and please mention a word about Batalha Animal to your friends next time you have the chance.
Batalha Animal cares today for 150 dogs in a beautiful site with 5000 square meters. Batalha Animal has a live website with photos where they keep the interested parties and patrons informed on the use of the resources and on the development of the pets they care for.
For more info, lots of pictures, news and developments, here is the link to their local website:

Who owns photos when uploaded to Facebook

facebook-and-photo-copyright.pngThere is discussion currently going on regarding who owns photos uploaded to Facebook.
One would assume that the user who uploaded the photos to Facebook would retain all rights associated with the photographs but the Facebook Terms of Use suggest otherwise.
A relevant quote from the Facebook Terms of Use:

By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose, commercial, advertising, or otherwise, on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sub licenses of the foregoing.

Maybe Facebook is simply protecting itself to be able to display the users images in all kinds of ways but I think the terms are way too restrictive.
However other photo sharing services on the Internet get by with much less assertion over the users content.
If you are worried about this issue and would like to share photos with your friends on Facebook without giving them away to Facebook then the best way is to store the photos somewhere else and use various methods to make them available in Facebook.
You have several options depending on where and how your photos are hosted.
If you have your photos on Flickr, the MyFlickr application is very handy. It shows a selection of your photos on your profile page and when you update your photos on Flickr it posts updates to your news feed so that your friends are notified about it.
One can argue that Flickr (soon to possibly be owned my Microsoft 🙁 ) is another 3rd party that will hold your photos but their TOS are much less restrictive and they support Creative Commons license which is a great way to spread your photos while retaining some rights
Gallery2 is a popular software to host your photos on your own server. The Gallery2 Embed is a Facebook application that embeds a selection of your photos in your profile. If a visitor clicks on the photo, she is then taken to your own website with your photos.
One thing missing with “Gallery2 Embed” is that it doesn’t publish updates in your newsfeed when you upload photos so your friends are not made aware of any updates. I have grand plans to write my own Gallery2 Facebook application that will support updates in your newsfeed but lack of time is very prominent at the moment.
Some other popular photo hosting sites and the Facebook apps for them:
Picasa: Picasa Gallery Slideshows
.Mac: .Mac Web Gallery
DeviantArt: My deviantART
Photobucket: Photo Wall
SmugMug: My Photos from SmugMug
Good luck and make sure to remain the copyright holder of YOUR photos!

London mayoral debate on LBC

Earlier today the LBC Radio hosted a debate with the three major London mayor candidates.
Labour candidate Ken Livingstone, Conservative candidate Boris Johnson and Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick joined Nick Ferrari in the studio to face questions from Nick and from the public.
London crime is on top of many Londoner’s lists of things that need to be taken care of by a new mayor.
Ken claims that statistics show how crime has declined (by a few percentage points) over the last 3 years.
Brian mentioned that telephone polls, which he believes are better indicators, showed no perceived reduction in crime. Instead he suspects that less people report crime thus lowering the crime statistics.
Boris told how he is shocked by the “28% increase of muggings of teenagers” and proclaimed that he will put more people (officers) on the streets.
The rowdy and sometimes violent behaviour on buses was brought up to which Brian Paddick argued that “the driver should get out of the cab and speak to the aggressors”.
Nick was then wondering whether the driver would get assaulted and that maybe we should hire some of the Chinese bodyguards we have seen along the Olympic torch as bus drivers?
Brian Paddick still believed that “somebody has to do something about it”.
The London bombings of July 2005 were brought up and Mr Livingstone
was the first to comment on it. Mr Livingstone handled the situation well back in 2005 by addressing the city with a speech of defiance. In his words the bombings had been “an act by a group of criminal men”.
Ken then attacked Boris Johnson by claiming that Mr Johnson blamed the bombings on Islam.
Boris refuted forcefully by proclaiming that Islam “is a religion of peace” and that he has Muslim ancestors (“his great grandfather knew the Quran by heart”).
All in all it seemed like a cheap shot by Mr Livingstone at mudslinging.
Ken’s private life was brought up. A reporter was wondering whether “his relationship with London is same as his relationships to his out of relationship children”. Ken kept insisting that his private life is of no one’s business.
When asked about Lee Jasper, Ken stated that he “would employ Lee Jasper again if he was cleared of all allegations” to which Boris strongly opposed because he “wants a change and believes that the mayor should have full accountability” for the spending of the tax payer’s money.
Regarding London transport Boris wants to offer alternatives and to improve public transport.
Brian Paddick wants to improve the state of the motorways leading into London.
“Bendy buses” are a hot topic among London drivers and Boris Johnson has promised to “scrape them and replace them with an alternative design buses that cost the same”.
There is still no design on the table however and Mr Johnson was not quite sure of the cost of a bendy bus when first asked.
On the topic of London congestion charge Ken promised that the current level £8 and the future higher level of £25 would not be increased. The income from the congestion charge would go towards “cycling super highways”.
Boris promised to scrap the proposed £25 higher level congestion charge, to remove the West Kensington extension and allow paying on account (no more c-charge late fees).
Further Boris wants to improve the state of London streets to allow for “smoother traffic”.
Finally the candidates were asked why the public should vote for them.
Brian Paddick promised a real change and strong leadership. He continued that he has 30 years of experience as a police officer, understands communities and finally he vowed to improve public transport.
Ken proclaimed to have done many improvements in the last 8 years but that he can do much more. He has won £4 billion from the government to spend on London with which he “can build 30,000 houses for rent” among other things. Mr Livingstone will press ahead with the £25 charge on (what he calls) “gas guzzling” vehicles.
What was my impression of the London mayoral debate?
Ken Livingstone doesn’t seem to listen to the public and is not honest enough. The c-charge is his main politics tool with which he will continue taxing and punishing the London motorists.
Most people voting on Brian Paddick will probably be voting for him to sort out the state of London crime but his previous spat with Ian Blair may complicate things.
Boris in my opinion is the strongest candidate for a change in London. His arguments for crime, businesses, education and transport are very reasonable.
Whoever is your favourite candidate please make sure you are registered to vote and then vote on the 1st of May.
I would recommend you to go for Boris Johnson as your first choice and Brian Paddick as your second choice but ultimately it is up you… just make sure you vote.
P.S. Rather “The grass is greener on the other side” than “Better the devil you know”

April Fool’s Day 2008

Google launches Project Virgle together with Virgin.

Project Virgle, the first permanent human colony on Mars.

All featured videos on YouTubeUK and YouTube Australia lead to Rick Astley-Never Gonna Give You Up. You have been RICKROLLED!
TechCrunch is acquiring the venerable teen magazine and Web site Tiger Beat, will rename it CrunchKids.
Venture capitalists fight back against a website (TheFunded.com) that allows anonymous ratings of VCs by creating their own review site called TheUnFunded.com.
The Pirate Bay is moving their operations to the desert of Sinai in Egypt due to the new copyright legislation in the European Union.
A pre-air episode 9 of the TV show Lost. The episode is leaked from a DVD screener.

Virgin Media takes fight to illegal downloaders

Virgin Media will cooperate with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) in a pilot to track down users downloading illegally:

“The BPI has teams of technicians to trace illegal music downloading to individual accounts. It will hand these account numbers over to Virgin Media, which will match them to names and addresses.”

You might think that there will be an exodus of users from Virgin Media to other ISPs and that this will hurt Virgin Media but I doubt that.
You see, there are many ISPs in the UK that are offering an “unlimited” service for an ever decreasing monthly fee.
Users that use P2P often use the most of the ISP’s bandwidth so this pact with BPI is a great excuse for Virgin Media to dump those costly users.
In addition if they manage to switch the downloads from public internet to a Usenet server inside their network they avoid most bandwidth charges and capacity problems.
It’s a win/win for Virgin Media (and lose/lose for their customers)!

20 minutes or so about why Lessig is 4Barack

There is no question that there is a need for change in Washington D.C. but the need is for a fundamental change; a change at the core.
“A change in the power of money or corruption in how Washington DC runs… Edwards/Obama have [clearly demonstrated] their support for this strong version of change… their target is a fundamental reform of the system.”
Professor Lawrence Lessig has some very strong arguments why Barack Obama should be the next president of the United States of America and why you should vote for him.

There is also a transcript of the Lawrence Lessig “20 minutes or so about why I am 4Barack” speech.

True instant push email on your mobile phone using Gmail

mobile email pushToday I thought that I would check out the state of SMTP and IMAP services of my favourite email service provider Gmail.
I wanted to use Gmail on my mobile phone and I was pleasantly surprised.
Because Gmail supports the IMAP standard, items that are read and or deleted on the mobile phone are correctly marked as read/deleted on the Gmail account as well.
This is very convenient if you are accessing your Gmail account from more than one client (mobile phone, browser, Outlook, Thunderbird and similar).
Gmail also provides an SMTP server which is used to send emails from your client and it will appear to the recipient as if the email was sent directly from Gmail.
All sent and received emails are further encrypted (SSL) which is something that local ISPs often neglect to provide.
The best feature however is that the Gmail IMAP server supports “push” email which together with a mobile phone that supports this feature gives an optimal email experience.
Blackberry users are used to this optimal experience but they (or their companies) are paying dearly to RIM or their mobile operator to have his luxury. With Gmail the service is free (standard data transfer charges apply of course).
Typically I get notified 10-20 seconds after the email has been sent. In fact the mobile phone is notified earlier than the Gmail Notifier running on my PC.
This is much more convenient than the old fashioned way of polling the server every 15 minutes to see whether any emails had arrived during the last 15 minutes.
Now how to set it all up? Enter the following settings on your phone. Every phone is different so I cannot give you step-by-step instructions but leave a comment if something is not working and I will try and help you.

Email address: Your full Gmail email address including @gmail.com
Connection Type: IMAP4
Incoming server: imap.gmail.com
User name: Your full Gmail email address including @gmail.com
Password: Your password
Outgoing server: smtp.gmail.com
Check interval: Off
Push email: On
Encryption incoming server: SSL
Encryption outgoing server: SSL
Outgoing username: Your full Gmail email address including @gmail.com
Outgoing password: Your password
Incoming port: 993
Outgoing port: 465

Bear in mind the whether or not push email will work for you is dependant on what kind of phone you are using, what mobile network you are on and how you connect to GPRS.
Your phone must support encrypted (SSL) IMAP4 and push email to start with. If you want to send email from your mobile it has to further support authenticated and encrypted (SSL) SMTP.
Your mobile network should not block any ports and I suspect your mobile device has to have an IP assigned to it; being behind NAT may not work.
Likewise you should use a GPRS connection which is connected directly to the Internet and not a “wap” GPRS connection.
I was successful in getting Gmail push email working on my SonyEricsson K800i on the UK Vodafone network using the GPRS APN “Internet”.
I would be very curious to hear whether any Apple iPhone or Windows Mobile smartphone users are able to use the Gmail push email!
Photo credit: soldierant

KB941644 and Event ID 4226 patch

The latest critical Windows update from Microsoft (KB941644) is a fix to TCP/IP to prevent possible remote code execution.
The Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-001 explains that there are two reported vulnerabilities in TCP/IP and that an attacker could take complete control of an affected system and install programs and view data.
The bad news is that the critical update will replace your TCPIP.SYS and thus reset the amount of half-open connections back to 10.
The good news is that the LlvLord patch will work on this new version of TCPIP.SYS and you can yet again increase the half-open connections (I recommend a value of 100-500).
Read more about the limited half-open connections and how it can slow down your network applications (especially BitTorrent).

Canoa Quebrada, Brazil

Canoa QuebradaA friend and his wife are travelling in the North East of Brazil and it was a too good of an opportunity to miss out on… especially since we barely see each other while both living in London.
A rough itinerary had been decided on as meeting up in Fortaleza, taking a bus to Canoa Quebrada, stay there for a few days, continue with overnight bus to Natal and finally by local bus to Praia da Pipa.
Stay there a few days and then sadly part; me heading back to Natal to catch a flight back to Sao Paulo and my friends continuing for another 2 weeks and a packed schedule.
It was an early start (5 am) and as the plane was taking off from Sao Paulo I realised that I had left the camera battery charging back home. That was quite devastating as I was expecting the beaches, architecture and people in North East Brazil to make for some stunning photography.
Instead I would be lugging on a very expensive paper weight for the entire trip. Oh well, the old trusty 3.2 MP SonyEricsson K800i would have to do.
At the airport in Fortaleza I headed for the tourist information with faint hopes of being able to locate a Nikon D200 battery (and charger). After all, Fortaleza is a 3 million city.
I was met by a drunk person sporting a massive cowboy hat with silver stars all around and pushed down into his face.
He was calling himself the ambassador of North East Brazil and was very keen on helping me out.
The man started calling a few shops and not giving them a rest until they at least gave him another number to try. His reasoning was that I had travelled all the way from Switzerland (confusing Sweden and Switzerland is quite common here in Brazil) to take photos of beautiful Brazil and the shop staff was preventing me from this by not summoning a replacement battery.
After 2 hours somebody knew somebody who knew a guy who imported electronics on the side (unofficially?). Unfortunately the price for the battery and charger were close to what I had paid for the return flight so I had to politely decline… and bid farewell to my drunk and cowboy hat wearing ambassador.
My friends had arrived and we opted for a swift taxi to the bus station where we were able to locate the next bus to Canoa Quebrada. We even had time to get some Brazilian refreshments and catch up on old times.
The bus to Aracati took around 3 hours and costed R$13. Then it was a further 30 minutes to Canoa Quebrada for a cost of R$2.
It was late afternoon when we arrived and we decided to visit a few pousadas (guest houses) to check prices and the level of “comfiness”.
In hindsight it would have been smarter to leave one person behind with the luggage but instead we were walking up and down the streets with all of our possessions to the amusement of the locals.
In the end we decide on Oasis do Rei where they were charging R$45 for a simple room with a ventilator and R$95 for a spacious double with aircon and balcony. Lovely breakfast included as always in Brazilian pousadas.
Most of the beaches in Canoa Quebrada are backed by pink steep cliffs and you will find very little vegetation. This makes for a unique beach experience that Canoa is famous for.
Everything in the village revolves around a single street (the broadway) and you can count all the restaurants and bars on three hands.
The Cavern quickly became our favourite evening caipirinha spot and the newly opened (15 days old) churrascaria Canoa Mix was great value at R$18.50 and free grappa after dinner.
The plan was to continue to Natal and Praia da Pipa by a 6 hour overnight bus leaving at 1 am.
We mentioned this to the staff at our pousada the night before the trip and they immediately asked whether we had booked and purchased the tickets as the process is quite formal.
Of course we hadn’t but it was shortly after 6 pm and the local office of the bus company was supposed to close at 7 pm. We made a dash for it only to find out the office had already closed and the only way to purchase a ticket was to grab a taxi to the nearby town Aracati as the office there might be open until 8:30.
A taxi was arranged and it took us quickly to Aracati. The price of the bus ticket was a steep R$60 and none of us had the cash on us so we tried to pay with a card… but apparently with the wrong card.
This office had chosen Visa as the sole credit card provider and we had all but Visa in our wallets.
There were one or two ATM machines in Aracati that we were told might accept foreign cards so the taxi driver took us there. We thought our luck had changed because another traveller managed to get money out of the ATM but we were once again denied success as the money in the ATM ran out when next person tried to take out money.
Another dash to the second ATM in town and there finally we were able to get our hands on some dosh to pay for the tickets to Natal.
After this roller coaster of emotions I was very pleased to cool down with a few capetas once back in Canoa.
Had I known what the bus trip ahead of us would be like I wouldn’t have celebrated quite yet but let’s leave that story for next time!