Technology related

My web calendar should be working again. I stopped using it because it broke, but I just updated to v1.2.5 and it's letting me add events again. It's mainly for family/friends - contact me if you need the login.

A new lip-reading app for the iPhone will help deaf people communicate. The app, "iSee uTalk" will allow deaf people who are able to lip read see the mouth and lips of a caller as they speak. A development version of iSee uTalk, expected to be released later this year, will also include mouth-to-text technology to render text for deaf people who are unable to lip-read on their own.

The new lip-to-text technology is intended to replace aging TTY technology on cell phones, which gives the deaf and hard of hearing a text-based system for communicating over phone lines among themselves or with hearing individuals. "The problem is that TTY systems are expensive and bulky. Our App aims to solve both problems," said Derrick Crawford, head developer for iSee uTalk.

Currently, the TTY unit resembles a laptop computer with a keyboard, a display screen and a modem. The user types his message, and the letters are converted into electrical signals that travel over the phone line. The new lip-reading technology utilizes the touch screen itself, eliminating the bulk that TTY systems currently require. The caller merely needs to mash their iPhone against their face while speaking, and the touch sensitive screen will interpret the movements and render an image or text for the deaf person to see. The entire system will be available as an app available for download from the Apple app store.

No disrespect at all intended towards deaf individuals. This is merely a rip at the iPad and the cult-like following for any Apple product no matter how absurd. Some information directly taken from:

I have upgraded the core of this site to Drupal 6.x. The previous version 5.x was old and quickly nearing the end of its support. Most functionality has been restored and even a few minor issues corrected.

I'm not going to be upgrading my site for a while yet. Right now, I'm hating everything Drupal too much to be spending much time on it. There's a critical bug with duplicate menu items that's a year old? Really?!? And then I couldn't revert back because the cPanel restore script wouldn't restore its own database backup.. so I wasn't sure what I was going to do.. but thankfully at least phpMyAdmin works like it's supposed to. I'm sure there's an official reason for why this critical bug still hasn't been fixed, but all I know is right now my site works with Drupal 5. Why bother fixing what isn't broken?

I installed a fresh Gallery 2.3 and manually moved my old content from Gallery 2.2.5. View counts have been reset, but the database is no longer corrupt. This should let me finish the California Trip album and some other stuff. You can visit it here:

This update was also needed for Drupal 6 integration, which isn't stable yet (it's one of the last requirements before upgrading my site to Drupal 6). I'm going to hold off on enabling my older Drupal 5 integration until I know it works with the newest Gallery, so some of the links won't work until then.

1) I uploaded a lot of my California trip pictures. You can view them here:

Unfortunately its database is corrupt so a lot of pictures won't show. I decided the easiest way to fix it is to start over once Gallery 2.3 is released, so you'll have to wait a while. There's a number of reasons, but I won't bore you with details.

2) I had upgraded Cyrix with two 750 GB hard drives (RAID-1) with the intention of putting its two 500 GB drives in my computer. My existing drives were a disaster waiting to happen as they dated back to 2000 and I had no backups..

Anyway I just replaced the three IDE drives in my computer with one of the SATA drives. The other 500 GB drive is in an external enclosure I bought for $21 after rebates. This has several advantages:
a) My old drives combined were still smaller than 500, so I have more space.
b) My system is much quieter (two of the old drives were noisy)
c) My boot time is cut in half. Half. Stupid Grub.
d) There's less heat, and it uses less power (one drive instead of three = ~20W)
e) The disaster-waiting-to-happen has been averted - I have backups!
f) The SATA 1 port is a dedicated 150 MB/s link to the Northbridge - no longer do my three hard drives share the limited 133 MB/s PCI bandwidth with my 100 mbps full duplex network connection to Cyrix. This might improve performance under heavy load..
g) The drives themselves support SATA 2, so they are forward compatible with a newer Core 2 MB upgrade if I go that route (I considered this when I originally bought them for Cyrix)

Short version.. I updated my contact form to include an anonymous feedback mode that doesn't ask for your name/email:

Long version.. sardonic Facebook commentary. Read more if you want.

For those who didn't know, I went on a road trip in California last December. We took many pictures which I still mean to post (this doesn't count!!), so here's one I was just working on (ps my picture to the right on the home page was taken in Death Valley as part of this trip):


The problem was that my friend accidentally covered part of it. This was disappointing because it was the best version available, so here's the procedure I used to fix it.
(click the picture or keep reading to see the fixed version)

I love how something can be critically wrong with my website.. since June 7'th.. and no one notices. An update to the access control module hid all the content.. however the website likes me, so gave me full access and I never realized it was down. Apparently neither did anyone else. Anyway it's fixed now.

You might recall that I restored my web mail form a few months ago. Unfortunately, even though it's a custom script used only on one other website, spammers will stop at nothing to ruin every communication feature on the Internet. The guy managing ACM's website added a CAPTCHA to theirs, so I thought it would be a good idea to do the same to mine after getting a few unwanted emails. Check it out:

It looks the same as the CAPTCHA used elsewhere on this site. Registered users won't see it because there's no need. I also enhanced the email confirmation page so you can't keep refreshing it to send multiple emails. It gives the same confirmation, but with a notice that the email was already sent. Hopefully these changes will prevent further abuse.

In other changes, I recently took over 1 KB off the main style sheet for this site. You shouldn't notice any speed changes, but it's more efficient and easier to maintain.

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