Blogger Activist Arrested For Exposing Undercover Cops

Activist and blogger Dan Kellar was arrested on August 25th for exposing undercover cops on his blog. I’m not going to cover the whole store, Tim Groves at Toronto Media Co-op did a fine job of that. RCMP then threatened to arrest anyone who mirrors his site. Thank’s to Google’s cache of the post (original now deleted) I’ve attached a screenshot of his site along with the original image and text.

Read the rest of this post »

Posted on August 31, 2011 at 2:34 pm by admin · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Freedom · Tagged with: , ,

Niche Sites In My Future

Prior to leaving my full time job 2 months ago I planned out where I’d be taking my business. My big goal is to do a startup around something I’m passionate about, something that could be huge. The big problem with doing a startup is cashflow. If you don’t have a large bank you’ll be constantly distracted by money problems. Consulting could pick up the slack but distract from the startup. Instead I decided I’d build some niche sites that could generate mostly passive income, then tackle a big idea.

I had already been working on one site, Supplement Giveaway, for a while. This is not a passive site but is quite niche. With my experience in sweepstakes websites and interest in supplements and bodybuilding, Supplement Giveaway was an obvious idea. I needed something else that was more passive though, something I could setup and put only a fraction of my time into maintaining. When I stumbled on the domain diysupplements.com I had my site. DIY Supplements is a blog / article niche site around bulk supplements. It has articles about creating your own supplement mixes along with industry research. This could easily be expanded into tutorial videos as well.

There are a ton of ways to monetize: advertising, affiliate links, ebooks / guides, and even product drop shipping. To get everything up quickly I started with the obvious choices, AdWords and Amazon affiliate links. For now I’m focusing on getting good content into the site and SEO to bring in traffic. I’ve gotten good at writing for high SERP placement for long tail keywords but wanted to go all out. For the first time I’m trying article marketing, writing articles for backlinks and SEO purposes. So far it seems to be working well. The site’s ranking for my main keyword has gone from non-existant, to 150, to 65, in less than a week with no other backlinks. To start I’m targeting a few main keywords but will expand from there.

My goal is to build a handful of niche sites that can bring in enough money to pay the bills. Once in place I’ll be able to take on a more ambitious project. As I increase my experience in niche sites I want to outsource parts of the process to reduce creation time and create a snowball effect. In the meantime I’m also doing web development consulting, so contact me if you have web development needs.

Posted on March 26, 2011 at 11:40 am by admin · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Goals, My Websites, Web Development

Supplement Giveaway is Finally Launching!

Nearly 3 years after registering the domain, Supplement Giveaway is finally going live with its first giveaway on 1/1/11. It took me over a year to build the site. Not because it was that much work but because I put in small amounts of time here and there. I would go through manic phases where I’d spend 15+ hours a week working on it, then go through a slump where I put in no time.

The site was built from scratch using CakePHP. The design was inspired by a jQuery UI theme. I paid a designer in the Philippines to do the logo. Everything else was done by yours truly. The goal is to have weekly giveaways sponsored by supplement companies and stores. I’ll be funding the prizes myself until I can find some sponsors. Monitization will be done through advertising, affiliate links, and sponsored giveaways. I don’t expect it to earn a ton of money. I’ll be happy if it earns $500-1000 a month.

This is the first in a series of supplement / workout / bodybuilding niche sites. The next will probably be DIY Supplements. There are a bunch of ways that site could go but I’m planning on starting it as a blog about mixing your own supplements and saving money by buying bulk products. I’ll be making how-to videos for it as well.

I’m very interested to see where Supplement Giveaway goes. I can’t afford to give out good prizes without sponsorship / advertising. I’m hoping to get a lot of traction in the first month which will bring in sponsors. On a related note, if you’re interested in sponsoring a giveaway or advertising on the site send me an email, support at supplementgiveaway.com.

Posted on December 31, 2010 at 8:00 pm by admin · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: My Websites

Announcing my new blog, Razor Fast

Long ago I lost interest in The Dan Experiment. The reality is that most personal blogs are pretty boring to read unless you know the person and mine was no exception. I moved on to other projects. My newest project is a less personal blog, Razor Fast. Web performance has become a passion of mine and I want to share that passion with others. The site’s articles will range from beginner to expert with most falling somewhere in between. If you have a website, are a web developer, or are just interested in what I’m up to professionally check it out.

Posted on August 8, 2010 at 8:38 pm by admin · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Uncategorized

Hitachi 50V500 TV Goes Kaput

I thought this only happened to Sony's LCD TVs...

I thought this only happened to Sony's LCD TVs...

I’ve had my Hitachi 50V500 HDTV for about 6 years. A few months ago the red started to ghost. It got worse and worse so yesterday I finally found the service manual and fixed it in the service menu. Unfortunately the LCD is going too as shown by the yellow spider web in the picture. After some searching I found I was pretty lucky. The optical engine in these models is known to be faulty, often dying after 1.5-2 years of use. I have around 6080 hours on mine, including the original bulb, so I got my money’s worth.

Service Manual

The service manual has a lot of in-depth information about the TV and, as was important to me, the service menu. Unfortunately it isn’t the easiest to find. The first hit on google has it as a 14 part RAR file. I’ve uploaded the complete PDF to MediaFire.

You can download the Hitachi 50V500 & 60V500 TV service manual here.

What’s Next?

I really don’t want to spend money on a new TV right now so I’ll keep using this one until it dies completely. When I do break down and drop the money it will be a 50″+ LCD. I’m hoping that won’t be for 6 months to a year so LED back lit LCDs will have come down in price a bit. The contrast ratio on them is fantastic and they use a lot less power than normal LCD TVs.

Posted on October 10, 2009 at 3:51 pm by admin · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Uncategorized · Tagged with: ,

Emulating XMLHttpRequest in node.js

I’ve been following the node.js project for a while. It’s a really cool, lightweight, event-based implementation of server side Javascript using V8. I hadn’t used it at all because it was missing a few key features, mainly binary support. I checked the project status a few days ago and lo and behold, binary support had been added. Now it was getting interesting! I decided to start a project to learn a bit about it. node-XMLHttpRequest (node-XHR): XMLHttpRequest emulation to allow reuse of browser based libraries.

node.js has a http client library included. I implemented XMLHttpRequest using this library but may need to switch to tcp to support additional missing features. One of the biggest missing features in node.js is SSL support, so node-XHR does not support it. There are additional problems with a server side implementation of XHR. In the browser domain and port restrictions apply. The browser knows what server and port the connection uses. With a server side implementation you are not necessarily connected to a server at the start. Short of using variables in a config file there is no way of knowing the local server’s config. You could be running on a non-standard port. Due to these issues it’s important to specify the full URL of the target if it’s anything more than localhost on port 80. I haven’t implemented any cross domain restrictions which means remote connections are allowed.

Here’s the demo code (demo.js) included with the project:

include("/utils.js");
include("XMLHttpRequest.js");

var xhr = new XMLHttpRequest();

xhr.onreadystatechange = function() {
	puts("State: " + this.readyState);

	if (this.readyState == 4) {
		puts("Complete.\nBody length: " + this.responseText.length);
		puts("Body:\n" + this.responseText);
	}
};

xhr.open("GET", "http://driverdan.com");
xhr.send();

Look familiar? It should, the syntax is the same as the standard XMLHttpRequest. It wouldn’t be very useful if it wasn’t.

The project can be viewed at http://github.com/driverdan/node-XMLHttpRequest

Posted on October 4, 2009 at 4:02 pm by admin · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Uncategorized · Tagged with: , ,

Using the Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 in Windows 7 x64

In my quest to go paperless (a topic for another post) I purchased a Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 duplex sheet scanner. All the reviews I read before purchasing it were glowing, raving about how fast it is, how easy it is to use, etc. So I dropped $239.99 at Newegg and was excited when it came 3 days later. That excitement rapidly turned to frustration. Come to find out, the drivers don’t work very well in Windows 7 x64. As a matter of fact, you get the BSOD almost every time you try to scan something. What was I to do?

The first thing I did was hop onto Google and try to figure out if there were newer drivers. I stumbled upon this post about 64-bit drivers. I downloaded the zip, removed the 32-bit drivers that come with the S300, and installed the 64-bit drivers. It made no difference. Push the scan button, near instant BSOD. I went back and read all of the comments. Near the end a few other people had commented that they receive a BSOD in Windows 7 x64 when attempting to scan. At least it wasn’t a problem with my hardware.

The next step was to try virtualization. I already had VirtualBox and Virtual PC installed. I decided to try XP Mode in Virtual PC first (free copy of XP Pro that comes with Windows 7). I installed the 32-bit drivers as before. After a reboot of the virtual machine I opened the USB menu and attached the ScanSnap S300. After the system installed the USB virtualization drivers, along with playing a few connect/disconnect sounds, the “S” icon in the virtual machine turned blue. This was it. Would it work? I pressed the scan button and down the chute the paper went! I had it scan to PDF into a directory on my native drive that I could then import into Evernote for document management.

To sum it all up, Fujitsu has not released working drivers for the ScanSnap series for Windows 7 x64. The steps to get it working are:

  1. Install Virtual PC and the free XP mode image (or use your favorite virtualization environment).
  2. Install the drivers off the CD that accompanied your SnapScan scanner onto the virtual machine, rebooting when prompted.
  3. Connect the scanner. Your native OS will complain about not having drivers. Ignore it.
  4. Go to the USB menu and click on the scanner.
  5. Wait while it installs the proper drivers into your native OS. Eventually the crossed-out ScanSnap icon in the virtual machine should turn blue.
  6. Change the settings to save the files on your native operating system (assuming that’s where you want them).
  7. Scan away!

The downside of this is that you have to boot the virtual machine whenever you want to scan. You may be able to run the ScanSnap tray software in standalone XP mode without having the whole machine open. I haven’t tried it yet. I also found that the virtual machine sometimes tells me the scanner is already attached. I found rebooting the VM or switching USB ports fixes this.

Fujitsu is two steps behind the rest of the industry. This is the only piece of hardware I’ve ever had problems with in a 64-bit environment. How hard would it be for them to release x64 drivers that work in Windows 7?

Posted on September 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm by admin · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Uncategorized · Tagged with: , , , ,

Massive Blog Updates and Tweaks

It seems like every third or fourth post in this blog is about updating the site, but here goes another one. This blog has been long-neglected and it’s time for that to change. Today I upgraded WordPress, the plugins, and the theme to the most recent versions. While I was at it I changed some of the plugins I’m using to improve the site and add new features.

I made a lot of changes to the theme. While I like Grey Matter, I’ve always felt it lacked color. Upgrading to version 3 changed the RSS icon to orange, which was a start. I then added the striped background, a stylized Twitter feed, and a bar across the top with my social media information and links.

Speaking of Twitter and social media, I’ve been trying to expand my presence in the cloud. I’m very active on Twitter and have increased my activity on other social media sites. My goal with these blog updates is to prepare it for more traffic. I’m going to start posting articles at least once a week with subject matter of interest to developers, geeks, and the like.

I have many other things to say, including the announcement of another site launch, but those will follow soon. For now, back to coding…

Posted on August 29, 2009 at 2:37 pm by admin · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Web Development · Tagged with: , , ,

Jetblue Unlimited Travel for a Month – Should I Do It?

Update: I decided to not buy the All You Can Jet (AYCJ) ticket. Having a 9 to 5 job made it not feasible. It would have paid for itself if I did 3 day weekend trips for the month but the cost of hotels, food, and other transportation made it prohibitive. I have more practical uses for the money such as paying down debt. Have fun everyone who bought tickets!

If you haven’t heard, Jetblue is offering unlimited flights for $599 from 9/8 to 10/8. I’m already flying to NYC for a meeting on 9/10 so it wouldn’t cost that much more to get the pass.

So should I go for it? I can may my existing trip into a long weekend (maybe go to Cali?) and travel each weekend for the month.

The other option is to fly constantly for the whole month. It would take a lot of coordination but it’s doable. I could turn it into a charity thing and get sponsored. Ideas?

Posted on August 13, 2009 at 9:19 am by admin · Permalink · One Comment
In: Uncategorized · Tagged with: , ,

Why I Switched Back To Windows From Linux

I’ve been using Windows as my primary operating system for over 20 years, since Windows 2.1x. I’ve used every major release since then plus some exotics like NT for DEC Alpha. But as I get older, more experienced, and more knowledgeable I get more frustrated with Windows. I’ve always loved the command prompt so when I was introduced to the *nix environment about 10 years ago I took to it quickly. I’ve used Linux in the server environment but had limited experience with it as a client OS. Fast forward to a little over a year ago. I began using a Mac at work, running the latest release of OS X. Setting aside the fanboys’ belief that it’s the greatest thing to ever grace a hard drive, I could see real merit in a *nix based client OS. After my experience with OS X and frustration with Vista’s bloat I decided to try Linux on my laptop.

Most of my exposure had been to CentOS. I had installed Ubuntu briefly before my last Windows re-installation and had liked what I saw. I decided to try the latest development release. This was in January of this year so I ended up with an early alpha of Jaunty Jackalope (9.04). I was excited to get it all setup and spent a weekend installing and configuring. I quickly found that early alpha Ubuntu releases are full of bugs. The system was unstable and had many issues. I decided to persevere and just deal with it. With each update the system became more and more stable. But I also found some important problems that remained unfixed. This would play a big part in my return to Windows.

(get ready for the rant)

From day one video playback had problems. Sometimes videos would just stop playing. This did improve as updates were released but never went away. H.264 videos would stop every 10-15 minutes forcing me to skip around to restart playback. I watch a lot of Xvid and x264 encoded files and never had issues in Windows. These problems were player independent and were either video, codec, or sound driver related. Speaking of sound drivers, Pulse Audio sucked from day one and never got much better. It frequently screwed up my audio by either eating resources or freezing. Flash playback was very very poor due to Adobe’s 64 bit version of Flash 10 being full of bugs. I had to kill Flash almost every time I played something. Due to the prevalence of Flash videos on the web this alone would be enough to switch back.

Multi-monitor support for laptops is weak. When at home I connect my laptop to an external LCD for dual displays. On Windows all I have to do is plug in the display and my previous settings are automatically restored. In Linux I’d have to go into the video setup and enable it every time. Panels don’t like adding and removing displays. Every time I connected the 2nd display they would get screwed up and I’d have to fix them. I do this at least 5 days a week so it got annoying very quickly.

I had trouble finding some common Windows software equivalents. I didn’t rip any DVDs for two months because I couldn’t find a decent ripper. The ones I found either wouldn’t work or were a PITA to use. I spent half a day looking for video editing software that would allow me to speed up a clip and dub a song. I couldn’t find anything that worked. Want a good GUI based incremental backup solution? Good luck, I couldn’t find one. There is plenty of non-incremental CLI backup software, none of which did what I wanted.

Right before I switched back to Windows there was a regression in the WiFi drivers. It would drop my connection every minute or two.

(end rant)

That said, Linux has plenty of great features that Windows is sorely lacking. NTFS permissions are horrible to manage. VirtualBox was 5x faster than in Vista. Sleep mode was 10x faster than Vista. The configurability of Linux is far superior. Tight integration with the command prompt is a plus. Folding@Home dual core support is much easier to setup.

Had I wanted to spend hours troubleshooting, hacking, recompiling, and reading I’m sure I could have solved some of my problems. The thing is I don’t want that. I don’t mind installing software from the source, compiling libraries, and editing config files. I don’t want to have to rebuild everything just to make it work though. There is so much software available for Windows that if something doesn’t work there are 5 other good choices. Most of my time is spent in a web browser. The time I spend in the OS shouldn’t be obtrusive.

After testing Windows 7 RC in VirtualBox I was sold. Windows 7 eliminates Vista’s bloat. It’s what Vista should have been. I switched the day Vista 7 Beta was released and haven’t looked back. Sleep mode is now as fast as Ubuntu. VirtualBox is nearly as fast. I can use my favorite programs again. If I stick with non-Apple hardware I’m sure I’ll try Linux again, maybe a different distro running KDE. I found the X environment too rough around the edges for my liking. You’ll never see me running a Windows-based web server and for now you won’t see me running a Linux-based client.

Posted on June 6, 2009 at 10:43 pm by admin · Permalink · 9 Comments
In: Uncategorized · Tagged with: , ,
You're visiting the blog of Daniel DeFelippi. Click here to view my profile site, driverdan.com.