Turn a Smartphone into a Webcam


Alas, I can’t personally justify to myself the need for a smartphone, but if I could, I would totally take advantage of this SmartCam project. You install a server on your machine and then extract the client on your smarphone and voila! you have your very own portable webcam.

I could see this coming in handy for video bloggers or anyone wanting to run video on the fly. This sort of thing is going to become more and more mainstream over time as smartphones like the iPhone fall into the hands of the common consumer.

Xming and Linux Programs on your Windows PC

As a computer science major, I spend a fair amount of time in the Science Center on Linux machines working on homework and projects. With the semester wearing on, the trek over there and the time spent in the lab have become more and more of an annoyance.

Solutions for my laziness? I could go through the trouble of setting up Linux on my machine, duel boot or otherwise, or I could use an SSH or VNC connection to log in remotely to the lab machines. Better though, is a program I just came across called Xming.

Xming is one of a number programs available that allow a windows machine to accept and display X11 window forwarding from a Linux machine.

Here’s how it’s done:

  • Download and install Xming server
  • Install the following font packages (without which programs like emacs have compatibility issues)
  • Run Putty to connect to the Linux machine (check the “Enable X11 forwarding” under the left menu system SSH -> X11)

And with that, you’re done! Any windowed linux programs you open from the shell will be natively displayed on your windows machine. Other options such as Cygwin offer some of the same capabilities.

Sure beats the hell out of trekking across campus…

Xbox Media Center

Lifehacker: Turn Your Xbox into a Killer Media Center

This article is really a sweet tutorial for how to turn your (probably) neglected Xbox into a networked media center capable of running video, music, and additional applications off of its own hard drive or those of any PC on your network.

I look at this and see essentially an Apple TV with more user control. Well, perhaps my Xbox will be experiencing an overhaul over the weekend…

Oh Man Apple…


With the most recent set of apple announcements came a new line of iPods and an updated price on the iPhone. The iPod nano got a makeover, shaped now to handle movies with a wider screen and more square design. The iPod Classic got a slightly sleeker design and a price cut.

Most exciting, however, is the release of the new iPod Touch. Design is almost identical to the iPhone and for all practical purposes, it can be considered the same device, minus the phone capability.

I wondered for quite some time about the incredible publicity of the iPhone when it was only really practical for a small portion of the population, and only targeted to the elite few with cash to burn and serious connectivity needs. And yet, kids, seniors, and the average citizen from every walk of life heard about it and knew what it was and what it could do.

Now, it’s all clear. The iPhone is not something the average person should care about. But it’s brother, the iPod Touch, most definitely is.

So many have failed trying to make a smart phone or palm device for the masses, but with this bold move, it is obvious that apple thinks it can succeed where others have failed. The iPhone hype gave people the dream of a device so beautiful, and the iPod Touch gave them a way to grasp that dream and move into the same plane of sophistication as those elite enough to own the iPhone itself.

Wow, apple. I’m impressed.

Now, financial analysts are screaming about the ‘disastrous’ $200 price cut so soon after the iPhone’s initial release. Yes, its price was initially way too high, but that price point placed it upon a pedestal, barely attainable, that fueled hype and intrigue. Jobs is giving a $100 store credit to those early adopters who were “cheated” by this price drop.

Apple will sell plenty of the iPod Touch to make up for the small bit of negative spin in the air now. Give it a month and no one will remember these stories of apple’s faux pas, and apple will be slowly taking over the portable device market, corner by corner.

SQL Server Migration

So I just want to say for the record, if you’re ever moving sql databases, use a migration and synchronization tool.

I tried shutting down the servers and copying data over. I tried using sql queries to do it. But no matter how careful you are, something will get corrupted, some constraints or dependencies will get lost. I used a free time-limited but fully-featured version of Red Gate SQL Professional Tools which made the process incredibly smooth and safe to do.

Oh, the things I wish I’d known before I began this endeavor.