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Apr 30, 2009

Playing games like Fatal Frame IV on your Wii

Using the Wii Homebrew channel and USB Loader 1.4.

What this will help you do is Mount your ISO files to your thumb drive or SD card and play the games without having to burn them to a DVD. The Wii can be really picky about loading up backup DVD's sometimes.

First thing you will need to do is install the Wii Homebrew Channel. For that Here is a good walkthrough.

After you got the channel installed, download my Homebrew pack and extract it into your SD card overwriting everything. (They can be found at MakeMeASammich.net)

Then reload your Homebrew channel and load the SD/USB Loader from the Homebrew channel.

For installation make sure to choose the Network or Internet option. You will need to have your Wii connected to the internet to use this option but it'll install all updated files that and I've had a lot less issues with it.

Now run the WBFS GUI TOOL V2 to mount your game ISO to your USB drive, Thumbdrive or SDHC card. Oh also before you can mount your ISO’s you’ll have to format it. So make sure to clear it off and back up anything you have on the removable media before you format it.

For the Files you need can be found at MakeMeaSammich.net that is my tech file site. It’ll prob always be a little run down but oh well. If you guys want a more in depth walkthrough about getting a specific game or something to work just throw us a line and we’ll hook you up.

As always, Sammich or Die. Mr. EpicFail

Apr 29, 2009

We Didn’t Start The Flame War - ROFLMFAO

WOW! I just finished catching up on Digg Reel on my Tivo, and they showcased one of the funniest video’s I have ever seen my entire life! Well, one of the funniest online videos I have ever seen my entire life.

What makes it so funny? It pokes fun at the comments you see every day on sites like Digg. You know, flaming comments from internet tough guys!

This video is called, “We Didn’t Start The Flame War” from the folks over at CollegeHumor.com. I posted the version from Youtube though because it fits better here. Enjoy!

That video isn’t the only way you have to enjoy that song. Oh hells no! You can download the MP3 here: (WDSTFW MP3)

Excuse me while I go change my pants. I laughed so hard I pissed myself! (Just kidding! Great, now you guys are going to flame my comment section!)

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Apr 28, 2009

Create HD Videos in Windows Movie Maker For Windows XP

As you all know, I like to dabble in video making. Well, if you have seen a Bauer-Power episode or two you would. Or perhaps you have dropped by my random video site. Anyhoo, long story short, I like videos!
For Christmas (Actually, a little after Christmas) my wife let me buy an el cheapo HD video camera. It was pretty cool, and would shoot videos in 1280x720 resolution in .mov format. The problem I had though, was that I like to edit all my movies in Windows Movie Maker. I just feel that for a free video editor, it can do quite a bit. So what’s the problem? Well, my computer at home was running Windows XP, and the Movie Maker that is installed on Windows XP doesn’t handle HD format. Windows Vista Ultimate does, but not Windows XP Professional.

Well I happened upon a couple of plugin’s that will allow you to output your Movie Maker files in HD WMV format!

I have packaged them all up in a convenient ZIP Package here:
(WMM HD DOWNLOAD)
The resolutions available in the package are:Movie Maker HD
  • 1280x720
  • 1440x1080
  • 1920x1080
  • 960x720
To use them, make sure Movie Maker is not running, then copy the *.prx files from my zip file to:
C:\program files\Movie Maker\shared\profiles
Now don’t get too excited. There are some requirements to use these resolutions.
  • Windows Movie Maker 2 for Windows XP
  • High End GPU
  • Windows Media 9 or Later
  • 1GB of RAM or more
If your PC meets these requirements you are good to go!
Please note that if your camera doesn’t shoot in HD, you can still output in the higher resolutions, however it will not magically make your video “High Definition.” Crappy quality video in will produce crappy video out.
Now that you found out about this, I am sure all of you will start editing your HD movies in Movie Maker now right? Of course you will!
I’m curious to know what software you normally use to edit your HD videos if it isn’t Movie Maker. Let me hear your favorites in the comments!
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Apr 27, 2009

Contest! Win A Free Geeky T-Shirt!

CONTEST CLOSED!


It has been a really long time since I have offered any kind of contest. Actually, I don’t do the contest thing too often because it is often times hard to measure. That is until I participated in a contest put on by @scottbourne on Twitter where he was giving away a free DroboPro. I of course didn’t win, but he did give me an idea on how to run this contest.

Entry for this contest couldn’t be easier! All you have to do is follow me on Twitter, and Retweet about this contest. Simple right? Actually, I will make it even easier for you. Just click the links below:

Follow Me On Twitter

Retweet about this contest!

You have to do BOTH to enter!

The T-Shirts will be from the Bauer-Power Gear store of course! Here are some fine examples of the T-Shirts you could win. Of course the winner will get to choose which shirt they want.

esxi

Google

HardDrive

reboot

linux

For a full selection of T-Shirts click here: (Bauer-Power T-Shirts)

The winner will be announced on Friday, May 29th via Twitter at 2:00PM Pacific time! If you want an extra entry for better chances to win, subscribe to my RSS Feed, take a screen shot of it in your RSS reader, upload the picture somewhere and post a link to it online in the comments along with your Twitter username!

I will enter all my Twitter followers that have retweeted about the contest into an Excel spread sheet (Those of you subscribing to RSS will get an additional entry), then I will use a random number generator to pick the winner! Once a winner has been picked, I will announce it via Twitter!

Tell all your friends!

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Apr 24, 2009

Bauer-Power Episode 7 - (Sorry in Advance)

Alright, I know it has been a really, really long time since Sundance and I got together to do a video episode of Bauer-Power. A lot has happened since the last episode. For one, my wife and I just had a baby boy on the 30th of last month. You and I both know how irritable a pregnant lady can be... Well, some of you know that.

Also, I wasn't happy with the low end HD Camera I was using so I took it back. Then I had the damnedest time trying to find one I actually liked. I finally found one in the Canon FS100. It isn't HD, but at least it has a friggin' mic input which most digital cam corders don't have now.

Also, in the past few episodes Sundance and I got a little carried away trying to do chroma keying, and recording sound separately. It became an editing nightmare to do the chroma keying, then turn around and re-dub in the audio later. It would take me two or three FULL days to get all the editing done for the little bit of crap....err.... high quality video we finally produced.

Anyway, enough about that. I suppose you are wondering why I apologize in the title. Well, like I mentioned above, I took back my HD camera and don't have a camera, so Sundance and I decided to try out filming an entire episode using nothing more than a $77 Logitech web cam. The actual web cam is a Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000. I have to tell you, and you will see, that this camera is great for Skype, but lousy for IPTV shows. The sound barely follows out lips, we are blury when we move, and the resolution rather sucks. Besides that, everything else is great!

Anyway, in the episode we talk about a number of things we have been working on, played with, or have noticed. These things range from Ubuntu 9.04's release yesterday, to Openfire Jabber servers, to WII Homebrew hacks and other stuff. Without further ado, here is episode 7:




All our old episodes can be viewed on our Veoh channel here : (Bauer-Power on Veoh)

Going forward though, all new episodes will be available on our Blip.tv channel here:
http://video.Bauer-Power.net
The reason for the change is Veoh now requires everyone to install the Veoh player in order to watch full episodes. Any video's embedded on other sites only show 5 minute clips. That really doesn't jive with what we use it for, so we made the switch to Blip.tv. I posted a video explanation here as well.

Anyway, back to the video... I know what you are saying, "Don't be so hard on yourselves, it was actually pretty friggin' awesome." To that I say, thanks, but I know you are just flattering us :-P

So what did you like about this episode? What didn't you like? Is there some stuff in particular you would like to see, or hear about in these episodes? We really want your feedback in the comments.

P.S. Next episode, we will use a REAL camera. I promise!


Apr 23, 2009

Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) Releases Today

Ah yes! It is that time of year again when we all get a refresh of that Ubuntu goodness. Twice a year those geniuses at Canonical drop a can of pure bad-ass smack down upon us and give us a new release of the most kick-ass FREE operating system ever. Have I ever mentioned that I like Ubuntu?

Anyway, yes, today is the day for Ubuntu version 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) to be released! Like always, you can download it from the Ubuntu website at www.Ubuntu.com. For you KDE lovers, you can get the 9.04 version of Kubuntu at www.Kubuntu.org as always. Finally for you XFCE guys Xubuntu can be downloaded from www.xubuntu.org.

So what is new in this version? Here are some bulleted items from the Ubuntu website:

  • GNOME 2.26Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackelope
  • X.Org server 1.6
  • Wacom tablet hotplugging
  • New style for notifications
  • Boot performance
  • Linux kernel 2.6.28
  • Ext4 filesystem support
  • Cloud computing
  • Turn-key mail servers
For a description of all the new features go here: (Ubuntu 9.04 features)
So I guess we all know what this really means right? Yup, now I have to get to work on Version 9.04 of Bauer-Puntu! Keep an eye out for that!

Also, I am still giving out Free Powered By Ubuntu stickers! Please keep your self addresses stamped envelopes coming!

Have you been playing with the release candidates at all? What features do you really like/dislike? Do you even notice a big difference? Share your experiences with us in the comments!

Apr 22, 2009

Looking For Free Cloud Computing? Look No Further!

The new "buzz word" of the internet is "Cloud Computing." It is everywhere! Even the latest version of Ubuntu (Check back here tomorrow) is offering features for cloud computing. You just can't get away from it! So what is cloud computing? Basically, cloud computing is virtual computing services that are hosted on the internet. Cloud computing can range from web site hosting, to hosted Microsoft Exchange services, online backup solutions, to virtual hosted servers just to name a few.

Well tonight I asked myself if there was any place one could get free cloud computing. I know Amazon is offering cloud computing with their EC2 product, but it isn't free. True it isn't terribly expensive either, but it isn't free. Another name in the cloud computer market is GoGrid, but once again it isn't free. Both of those servers let you pay-as-you go and let you create on-the-fly instances of both Windows servers and Linux servers. Like I said before though.... IT ISN'T FREE!

Good news for you though! I have found a free cloud computing service! The service is called iCloud. True, you do get what you pay for. In this case, you don't get "server" services. You can't, for instance, set up an on-the-fly web server or anything like that. Also, you don't get any say in what type of operating system you get. You get the iCloud OS (Based on Linux) and that is it. Also, you don't get the option of installing more applications.

That being said, this service is still pretty cool. You get 3GB of "cloud" storage (There is that buzz word again) for your important documents which you can access anywhere there is an internet connection with a web browser. You also get a full suite of office applications, web browser (Yes, another way around Websense), instant messenger, RSS feed reader, and some other basic computing applications that you might find on a standard desktop.

All of these things can be accessed through your virtual (virtualization is another buzz word) desktop located at http://os.icloud.com. To sign up for the service, just visit iCloud.com and register for your free account and away you go!


In the end, this service wasn't really what I was looking for. Although I do see some value in it, I am really looking for something a little more robust. If you know of a free service similar to Amazon ECS or GoGrid I would love to hear about it in the comments!


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Apr 21, 2009

Another Example of Poor Service From Acer

After last week’s post about my problem with Acer, and their lousy customer service I decided to seek out some other like-minded individuals with similar Acer horror stories. I honestly think that it is important to spread the word about companies like this to help protect the unknowing out there.

This lady bought an Acer laptop, and one year later it started making a ghastly grinding noise. She sent it back to Acer, and they reportedly fixed some random stuff and sent it back to her. When she got it the grinding noise was still there. She sent it back two more times with no results from Acer, and finally the warranty ran out on it.

Here is her video from Youtube:

Now I got a lot of flack from various people who barely read my last article, and obviously don’t understand the importance of customer service, and support. That is certainly a quality that is lacking in our modern culture.

I wanted to share this video so everyone can plainly see what a piece of crap product Acer makes, and just how bad their customer service and support really is.

Apr 20, 2009

Free Secure Instant Messaging For Your Business!

The company I work for has a no instant messaging policy. More precisely, the policy says we are not allowed to use outside instant messaging services like AIM, MSN, GTalk etc. That makes sense right? I mean there is a very real security concern with using public messaging services for business use.

It turns out that our Finance department has been begging and pleading my boss for the use of IM for collaboration between their team, but he has been holding them at bay because of our IM policy. That is until I saw a recent episode of Hak5. In Episode 508, Matt Lestock introduced everyone to Openfire created by Ignite Realtime which according to their site is:

…a real time collaboration (RTC) server licensed under the Open Source GPL. It uses the only widely adopted open protocol for instant messaging, XMPP (also called Jabber). Openfire is incredibly easy to setup and administer, but offers rock-solid security and performance.

Here is the segment of Matt Lestock talking about Openfire on Hak5:

You can catch the full episode here: (Hak5 Episode 508)

As you can see with the video it is really easy to setup. In the video, Matt uses the embedded database. I played with that myself, and I have to say it sucks! I set mine up with MySQL and it runs much better. Also, he set his up on CentOS without Active Directory support. I on the other hand set mine up on 64 bit Ubuntu 9.04 with LDAP support so my company’s users can all login without me having to setup 300 or so user accounts!

Installation is incredibly easy in Ubuntu 9.04. Especially if you are installing it with a brand new installation of Ubuntu server, which is what I did because you need to have Ubuntu setup as a LAMP server. As many of you already know, you can select the option of setting up a LAMP server in Ubuntu server at install time by simply checking the box (See below).

ScreenHunter_02 Apr. 15 13.18

Here is what I what I did after I was done with installing Ubuntu:

  1. Install phpmyadmin for easy MySQL administration

    sudo apt-get install libapache2-mod-auth-mysql php5-mysql phpmyadmin
  2. Edit the php.ini file to make sure it works correctly with MySQL

    sudo nano /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini

    Add the following line to the end: extension=mysql.so
  3. Restart Apache

    sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
  4. Install Java

    sudo apt-get install sun-java6-bin
  5. Create your MySQL database

    Browse to http://servername/phpmyadmin

    Login with root and the password you configured during the MySQL installation

    On the main page, locate Privileges and scroll down to Add a new User

    Use the following on the New User screen:
    Username = Enter a username, I used 'openfire'
    Host = From the drop down menu, select localhost
    Password = Enter a password, retype your password

    Under the Database for user section of that page, click on the radio button for Create database with same name and grant all privileges.

    At the bottom of the page, click on the Go button.
  6. Download Openfire

    wget http://www.igniterealtime.org/downloadServlet?filename=openfire/openfire_3.6.3_all.deb
  7. Install Openfire

    sudo dpkg -i openfire_3.6.3_all.deb

Bam! Now all you have to do is browse to http://servername:9090 and run the setup wizard like Matt Lestock does in the video, with the exception of selecting the MySQL database part. For that you just have to enter the database name, and the database user info that we setup in step 5. Easy!

Now that this puppy is all setup, we people can stop wasting space on the mail servers with lengthy email chains. They can collaborate easier, even across the country, you name it! Also, chat sessions are secure over TLS encryption. Not to mention you can add custom filters to prevent leaks of sensitive information.

One thing it also has the ability to do, which we have not implemented is the option to use it as a IM gateway to talk with other IM services on the internet. That might be fun to do for personal use, but I am not comfortable with that in the office.

If you want to try it out, community support is available on the Openfire website here: (Openfire support)

Happy collaborating!

Apr 17, 2009

Transfer Files Between Windows and Linux Machines With Ease and Security

This post may not necessarily be news worthy for a lot of you out there. This tool has been around for a really, really long time. Well, at least 9 years. In internet time, that is almost an eternity. Still, for some of you this may just be the tool you are looking for.

There comes a time or two when you have to transfer files between a Windows host and a Linux host. Now, you can always setup SMB shares on each other, but that isn't always the most secure way to go. Not to mention you are leaving services running for something you may not always use.

This tool, allows you transfer files between Windows and Linux machines over a secure SSH connection. What pray tell is this tool you may be asking? Why it is none other than WinSCP (Windows Secure CoPy).

Here is a description from Wikipedia about WinSCP:

WinSCP (Windows Secure CoPy) is an open source SFTP and FTP client for Microsoft Windows. Its main function is secure file transfer between a local and a remote computer. Beyond this, WinSCP offers basic file manager and file synchronization functionality. For secure transfers, it uses Secure Shell (SSH) and supports the SCP protocol in addition to SFTP.


Besides that WinSCP can also be scripted for automated file transfers and backups. For more information about scripting with WinSCP, visit the Scripting/Automation page at the WinSCP website here: (Scripting WinSCP)

How many of you out there already use WinSCP? What other cool features did I leave out? Let us know all the cool shiznite you can do with it in the comments!

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Apr 16, 2009

I Will NEVER buy another Acer computer again!

I am a little miffed as I write this, so forgive me if I go off on an occasional tangent. You see, I purchased an Acer Aspire M5100 desktop last year through Geeks.com. It seemed like a pretty good deal, and I needed a new desktop quickly. Geeks was offering it for a little over $500.

A few months after purchasing it my wife and I noticed that the fans on it were getting louder and louder. It turns out that their fans easily collect a lot of dust. No big deal right? Just clean out the dust and it quiets down for a month or so. Annoying yes, but not a deal breaker at this point.

Well, about two weeks ago I pulled the the case open to clean out the dusty fans again because the noise was getting unbearable. After the routing cleaning I tried to power on the machine, and it wouldn’t. Oops! It looks like I may have shorted out something. I mean this thing was a brick. it would not even go into POST. I checked online, and sure enough, I had another month or two on the warranty.

I went to the Acer Website, and tried to find a phone number to call to get the motherboard RMA’d. After looking around their site for an hour or so (exaggeration), I could not find a phone number. I did however find their online support area, and reported my problem. After filling out their forms describing my issue, all they said was to ship it to their repair center in Texas.

Acer Sucks Of course, they couldn’t give me a return shipping label could they? Hell no, I had to pay for the shipping myself! That is the first WTF moment I had with their support.

Since I was going to have to blindly ship the thing back, I wanted to make sure I had a backup of my wife’s important files since it was her PC. I didn’t have a SATA to USB adapter, but my buddy Sundance did, so I took the drive out and gave it to him to burn my wife’s settings to DVD before I sent it out.

After Sundance burned my wife’s stuff, I put the drive back in and shipped it off. About a week later it arrived in Texas. I got an email saying they were shipping it back. About an hour or so AFTER that I got another email saying they just received it. That is the second WTF moment.

Curious, I emailed their support team (Note: I still couldn’t find a God forsaken support phone number on their site). I wanted to know if they had actually made any repairs since I got the return notice so quickly, and BEFORE I got the receipt notice. They said the following:

Paul, I understand that you would like to know what are the repairs had been done on the system.


According to the serial number provided our database shows that, the Depot repair had Replace hard drive,reloaded software,tested all components.

That is the third WTF moment! Replaced the hard drive, and reloaded all the software? Why the hell would they do that? The computer wouldn’t POST! It is NOT a hard drive problem you friggin’ idiots!

Besides, even if it was, why in the name of all things holy wouldn’t you friggin’ call me to tell me that you have to replace the hard drive? That way I can ask you to back it up, or send the hard drive back so I can back it up? Nope, no call, just replace the drive and away we go!

When I got the computer back it came with a piece of paper attached. FINALLY a mother fuckin’ phone number!

For those looking for a phone number for Acer support it is 1.800.816.2237

[EDIT]: I actually found the number on their site. Is is rather hidden, but it is available here: (Acer Contact Us)

So I called their support to find out why they had to replace the hard drive. They told me that the motherboard appeared okay, but after running diagnostics it appears that hard drive failure was imminent.

So once again I find myself asking, “Okay, that is nice and all, but why wouldn’t they call me and let me know that?” No answer!

WTF At least I had that backup Sundance made right? Well, not exactly. It turns out that Sundance’s DVD burner was on its way out, and the burn was bad. All is not lost though. Like any good "tech guy" I have multiple backups in various forms. Pictures on the web, email settings synced with smart phones, etc.

Still though, it would have been nice to have been warned that they were going to replace the drive BEFORE they replaced it and blew away all of my stuff. I mean, now I have to re-download all of my BitTorrents!

After this episode, I think this will be my last purchase from Acer. I just can’t do business with a company that doesn’t have their customer’s best interest at heart.

Their customer support is closed as I write this. I will try calling them tomorrow to see if their is a snowball’s chance in hell that they still have my old hard drive, and if so if there is any way I can get it back.

Have any of you had bad experiences with Acer? Care to share your experiences/frustrations? Hit me up in the comments!

[EDIT 4/17/09] - Wow, I never expected this to go front page of Digg! It appears that the Digg users don't agree. I guess I should clarify my bottom line opinion then.

It doesn't necessarily bother me that they replaced my drive. What bothers me is the lack of communication and customer service from Acer.

When reporting the problem to them they did no remote troubleshooting with me, they simply told me to ship it back. When they told me to ship it back they did not warn me of the possibility of wiping/replacing the drive. When they got the machine, they did not email me, or call me to let me know that they found a problem with the drive requiring it to be replaced.

Now, as the article said, I knew in the back of my mind that there was a possibility of this. That is why Sundance and I tried to get one last backup before sending it back. However, the AVERAGE USER wouldn't know that, and once again it speaks to the importance of good communication.

I have worked with various PC manufacturers and their support. A couple of them have been HP and Dell. Both of which are very good at communication, and letting you know UP FRONT before they do stuff.

It all comes down to communication and customer service. Both of which Acer lacks.

I had to turn on moderation of the comments due to some pretty outraged Digg users. Unfortunately the few ruin it for the many. I promise to get your comments moderated quickly, so please keep them coming if you have something intelligent to add to the discussions.

Apr 15, 2009

Free Instant Messenger Encryption

A few months back I wrote about how I was switching to Digsby as my IM client. Well, a few weeks ago I decided to go back to Pidgin for my IM client of choice. Digsby was good, but it often slowed my machine down. Pidgin just runs lighter and I like it.

I got to playing with encryption again, and messing with PGP for email after my dad asked me about encrypting email. I was talking with Sundance about it, and Sundance jokingly said that we needed to set up encryption for our IM conversations. That got me searching Google for something we could use for encrypting our IM conversations as well as something that was free! In one single search I found my tool!

My tool happens to be a simple plugin for Pidgin called Pidgin-Encryption! Like everything about Pidgin, the Pidgin-Encryption plugin is 100% open source and free!

Here are some of the plug-in’s features from their website:

  • pidgin Automatically creates a public/private key pair for you upon loading the plugin
  • Automatically transmits your public key to other users.
  • Supports 512 - 4096 bit keys.
  • Saves keys of known users, and warns you if their public key has changed.
  • Embeds all encryption and keys inside HTML, so if the other user doesn't have the plugin, they will get a little message telling them about the plugin, and won't get a screen full of garbage.
  • Stores keys in human readable files in your .gaim/.pidgin directory, in case you ever need to copy/edit them by hand. Which you really shouldn't have to do.
  • Automatically recognizes if you are chatting with someone who has the plugin- see the Preferences dialog.
  • Available for the Windows version of Pidgin.
  • Modular and extensible. If you want to define a different type of encryption, you can use this plugin as a wrapper to take care of transporting the encrypted binary over the IM pipe.

The cool thing about it in my opinion is that since you are using it with Pidgin, you can have encrypted chat on any IM network as long as the person you are chatting with also uses Pidgin for their IM client. You can use MSN, AOL, Yahoo, GTalk, etc! It doesn’t matter!

Sundance and I have been using it for a few weeks now, and we like it. Everything is seamless including the key generation, and requesting each others public keys. Everything is done behind the scenes so we don’t have to think about it.

Another cool thing is that since Pidgin is available in all flavors of Operating systems including Linux, and Mac, this plug in is available too!

Know of another way to encrypt IM traffic? Do you use Pidgin-Encryption? Like it? Dislike it? Let me know in the comments!

Apr 14, 2009

Conficker Eye Chart to tell if you are infected by the Conficker worm.

Yes this is another post on the Conficker worm. Just because it’s payload hasn’t been felt it doesn’t mean that the worm isn’t lurking around people’s computers. The Conficker worm disables access to a bunch of sites that would enable you to download security updates or patches. We linked to the Conficker Microsoft patches last week. But if you didn’t grab the updates or at least verify that you have them – this post is for you…

Can you see all six icons below?












If you can see all six icons chances are you are not infected.

But that is still no reason not to run the Conficker scanner on your machine. eEye is providing a free scanner to look for venerable, patched or infected machines. Grab it here:

ConfickerScanner.html

image-thumb1

So are you protected or not? Let’s hear the results in the comments.

_theProtectedAdmin_

[Via AskTheAdmin]

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Apr 13, 2009

How To Lose A Geek In 10 Seconds

My buddy Sundance (aka Mr. Epic Fail) sent this to me in an email today, and I immediately thought it would be best to post this on the blog.

It comes from The Joy of Tech and shows you crazy geek chasing girls out there how easy it is to lose your geek in about 10 seconds.

For your viewing pleasure, I have reposted this cartoon for you here on Bauer-Power! Enjoy!

Joy_of_tech

You can catch all of the crazy geeky humor of The Joy of Tech at www.JoyofTech.com!

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Apr 10, 2009

Netflix User? Are you Getting Your Money's Worth?

Have you ever been curious about your movie rental statistics? Maybe you want to see how much each rental is costing you on average? Maybe you want to compare your movie watching with others? Who knows? Whatever your reasons, I have a site for you!

Well, let me rephrase that. If you are a Netflix user, I have a site for you! This site allows you to track your rental stats and see if you are getting your money's worth out of Netflix!

This site is called Feedflix, and like most things we talk about on Bauer-Power, it is absolutely free!

With Feedflix you can:

  • See how much each rental is costing you
  • Sign up for gentle email reminders when you've kept a title for too long
  • Track how many movies you are watching and compare yourself with others
  • Share your Netflix Queue and Reviews with anybody (even if they aren't Netflix members)

Not to mention all of this is done behind the scenes with no effort at all. All your stats are automatically updated with your Netflix account!

Pretty cool right? Know of something like this for us lonely Blockbuster users? Let me know in the comments.

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Apr 9, 2009

Ubuntu n00b? Here's A Free Ubuntu Pocket Guide!

A lot of you out there subscribe to Bauer-Power because you are fellow Ubuntu users, and like hearing about cool Ubuntu tips, tricks, and other geeky Linux goodness. Many of you are Linux n00bs, and that is okay. You have to start somewhere right?

For those of you just dipping your big toes into the big Linuxy pond of Ubuntu there are lots of cool, free resources available online to help you learn the ways of Ubuntu. Just like Bauer-Power, there are other groups that strive to help out Linux n00bs.

One such guy went above and beyond in my opinion. A man by the name of Keir Thomas wrote a pocket guide for Ubuntu, and made it freely available for download online! The book is called "Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference."

Here is a direct download link: (UPG&R Download)

For those of you who prefer not to download PDF's, and would rather just purchase a book, the book is also available to purchase for the nominal price of $11.99 here: (Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference Purchase)

Seriously though, how cool is that? How many free manuals are there for Windows? I may be wrong, but there probably aren't any (If there are let me know in the comments). Know of any other free linux manuals for say, Gentoo, Fedora, Suse etc? Let us know in the comments!


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Apr 8, 2009

Is Your ISP Throttling Down Your BitTorrent Traffic?

If there is one thing I hate it is ISP's telling me what I can and can't do online! WTF? Who the hell do they think they are? What ever happened to net neutrality? I pay for something, and I expect a certain level of service with that. That service better not include restricting whatever it is I want to do with said service.

Well, a lot of ISP's think that it is their job to police your network traffic. That includes limiting your bandwidth while downloading BitTorrents, using P2P networks etc. Once again, to that I say WTF!?!?

A group called Glastnost feels the same way, and in an effort to fight back they are offering a free online test to see if your ISP is limiting your BitTorrent downloads. Here is a description from their page:

Certain ISPs have been shown to rate limit or block BitTorrent traffic sent by their customers. While there are multiple reports of this on the web, only a few ISPs have admitted that they manipulate BitTorrent traffic. And, to date, it is hard for users without networking expertise to gain evidence about the behavior of their ISP.

This test suite creates a BitTorrent-like transfer between your machine and our server, and determines whether or not your ISP is limiting such traffic. This is a first step towards making traffic manipulation by ISPs more transparent to their customers.



I just did ran the test and lucky for me there were no indications that my ISP was manipulating my traffic at all (Whew). That doesn't mean yours isn't. Comcast has been all over the news for doing this. If you are a Comcast user, you may want to run this test, and if they are throttling you, you may want to switch to a different service.

I want to know what your ISP's are up to. Let me know in the comments if your ISP is throttling you down, and also let me know which company you are with. I am curious to see which companies we should stay away from.


Apr 7, 2009

Can You Control Your Car With an iPod?

I subscribe to a lot of IPTV shows through my Tivo. I love them! They are so informative, and you learn about things you wouldn’t otherwise have heard of through standard media channels. I suppose that is why you all visit me on Bauer-Power right?

Tonight I was watching one of those IPTV shows (GeekBrief.tv) and they mentioned a guy who hooked up a Linux powered operating system to his Mazda RX-8, and can now control many aspects of his car with his mutha friggin’ iPhone!

Here are some of the features of his geeky car mod:350px-4-conferencetalk

  • OBD-II interface
  • 3G mobile broadband
  • Ignition manager
  • Wifi
  • GPS
  • RFID reader
  • iPod Touch / iPhone / 3G cellphone control

Check out the video from this geeked out RX-8’s owner:

 

You can read more details about this geeky RX-8 project here: (Jon’s RX-8 Project)

If you want to try doing something cool like this with your ride, check out the Wiki over at GeekMyRide.org for more projects like this one, and how to get started on geeking out your ride!

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Apr 6, 2009

Creating Simple Animated GIF Images Using The Gimp

Yesterday I was hanging out with my downstairs neighbor when we got to talking about the movie Tropic Thunder, and of course the conversation turned to Tom Cruise's awesome dance at the end of the movie. You know the dance, where his character, Les Grossman, busts a move or two to some Ludacris.

I decided I had to rip that dance seen so I could make an animated GIF of it. On Windows, I usually use Beneton Movie Gif, but I had to do it using my Bauer-Puntu laptop. What program will make animated GIF images on Linux? The Gimp of course! Actually, The Gimp can do it in Windows too, but that is neither here nor there...

Anyway, creating animated GIFs in The Gimp is pretty easy, just do the following:

  1. Get the images you want to animate in a single folder for easy importing.
  2. Open The Gimp
  3. Click File > Open As Layers then browse to the folder where your images are located.
  4. Select the first picture, then press CNTRL+A to select them all, then click OK.
  5. The pictures will all open as layers.
  6. Click Filters > Animation > Optimize for GIF to save space
  7. Now click File > Save As and save it as a gif, then export it as animation.
  8. You will be prompted to set the timing at this point, select whatever you think is appropriate
  9. BAM! You are done!


NOTE: If you want a different timing for a particular frame, you will need to change Miliseconds number in the layer name to whatever number you want. For example, if you you will have to change your layer from "File_Name.jpg (100ms)" to "File_Name.jpg (500ms)".

Here is my Tropic Thunder animated Gif:

Tom Cruise Tropic Thunder Dance
(Best Viewed in Firefox)


I love me some animated GIFs! I want to see what you have created! Post me some links to your animated GIF work in the comments!



Apr 3, 2009

Yet Another Defrag Utility!

Here at Bauer-Power we believe in keeping machines running at peak performance. At the forefront of peak performance, in Windows anyway, is keeping your hard drive defragmented. Think about a fragmented hard drive like your desk at work. When everything is nice, neat, and in the right place it is easy to find what you are looking for right? When your desk is messy, with random junk scattered around it makes things harder to find.

The same goes with hard drives. When your hard drive is heavily fragmented, it is like that messy desk. It takes a few extra seconds to find all of the missing parts to each file you want to work with. When everything is nicely defragmented. Everything is put away in nice orderly blocks, and it takes less time to find everything the computer needs to run.

We have recommended a few defraggers in the past. Namely Dirms, JKDefrag, and Defraggler. So what's one more right? I heard about this new one on Tekzilla. It is called Smart Defrag. Here is a brief description from IObit, the makers of Smart Defrag:

Disk fragmentation is generally main cause of slow and unstable computer performance. Smart Defrag helps defragment your hard drive most efficiently. Smart Defrag not only defragments computer deeply but optimizes disk performance. With 'install it and forget it' feature, Smart Defrag works automatically and quietly in the background on your PC, keeping your hard disk running at its speediest. Smart Defrag is completely free for home, organization, and business.




Smart Defrag works on all versions of Windows including all server editions. This is good news, because keeping your servers running smoothly is just as, if not more important than keeping your workstations running smoothly. Also, server disk defragmenters can be expensive. Why not save a few extra bucks with this and put it to better use.... like upgrading RAM ;-P

What defragmenters do you use? Do you tend to stick to the built in defrag utility? Would you trust a free defrag utility on production servers? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments.

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Apr 1, 2009

Using Technology To Inform Friends and Family of a New Baby

Hello everyone out there on the interweb! I come to you today with some really fantastic news! I became a father once again on Monday March 30th at 4:40pm Pacific to a healthy baby boy!

If you have been following me on Twitter, you probably noticed that I was able to keep everyone I knew up-to-date with almost play-by-play up to the minute reporting using all of my social network accounts. I was also able to do that at the same time!

Some of you out there may be familiar with this awesome service already, but if not let me enlighten you! I signed up for a Ping.fm account a while back, but never really started using it until recently. I didn’t start really using it until I realized that plenty of Twitter clients have Ping.fm built in!

The client I mainly use now days is Twhirl, and yes it has Ping.fm functionality built in. “So What?” you are probably asking. Well, now all I have to do is send my normal update to Twitter using Twhirl, and now my Facebook and MySpace statuses are updated as well! Bam! A literal one stop shop!

So back to my baby boy (Brayden Bauer), during my wife’s entire labor process I was able to keep friends and family up-to-date via Twitter, or whatever social network they preferred (Mostly Facebook). I did it from the hospital by emailing Ping.fm from my Blackberry.

Also, Ping.fm lets you email in Pictures similar to Twitpic, with the exception that all of your social networks will get the links to your pictures, not just your Twitter followers!

Speaking of pictures, here are some from Monday, and Tuesday:

whole gang

Left to Right: Paul, Brayden, Mary, Anne

Momma and Brayden

Momma (Mary) and Brayden

brayden

Brayden’s Close-Up

momma-babies

My Beautiful Family: Kayla, Mary and Brayden

You can still read the play by play action on my Twitter page here: (Paul’s Twitter)

What social networking services do you like to use to get the word out? Know of any that do the same, or better than Ping.fm? Let me know in the comments!

Get Mozy Online Backup!

I have written about Mozy in the past. I decided to start using it right after my run-in with Acer tech support. It is just a good idea to keep your stuff backed up. Not only to separate storage, but also off site. I mean, what would happen if your house burned down today? Not only would your computer be toast, but your external hard drive could be severely damaged as well. You shouldn’t take that chance because our entire lives are on our computers!

Now you can support Bauer-Power, and get a little peace of mind. For only $4.95 per month, Mozy offers you unlimited cloud storage to back up your important data. Try it free by clicking on the ad below:

Mozy Remote Backup.  Free.Automatic.Secure.

 

Tell your friends! http://mozy.bauer-power.net



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