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Elliott C. Back



Internet & Technology



Updated: 2014-03-27T03:01:56Z

 



Raspberry Pi Setup – First Steps

2014-03-27T03:01:56Z

Change the default password–simply run sudo raspi-config and select the option from the menu Update all your packages: sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade Give your raspberry pi a network name (hostname.local as per raspi-config), using Apple’s zeroconf/bonjour protocol: sudo apt-get install avahi-daemon sudo insserv avahi-daemon Install airplay using shairport (if you want it) Setup […]
  1. Change the default password–simply run sudo raspi-config and select the option from the menu
  2. Update all your packages:
  3. sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get upgrade

  4. Give your raspberry pi a network name (hostname.local as per raspi-config), using Apple’s zeroconf/bonjour protocol:
  5. sudo apt-get install avahi-daemon
    sudo insserv avahi-daemon

  6. Install airplay using shairport (if you want it)
  7. Setup your wifi card using wicd



The 2013 Mac Pro is Cheaper to Build as Windows PC

2014-01-12T04:11:47Z

This should be a non-controversial opinion, but I’ve already received in an informal forum comments like: the Mac is a workstation not a gaming rig. If you try building it, you will end up paying more. For the money and given workloads it’s a good machine. For a workstation, a prebuilt is the way to […]This should be a non-controversial opinion, but I’ve already received in an informal forum comments like: the Mac is a workstation not a gaming rig. If you try building it, you will end up paying more. For the money and given workloads it’s a good machine. For a workstation, a prebuilt is the way to go. For the sake of this argument, we’ll be considering the higher specced 6-core, which retails for a dollar shy of $4,000. It has the following components of interest: Intel Xeon E5-1650 v2 @ 3.50GHz 16GB (4x4GB) of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC 256GB PCIe-based flash storage Dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs with 3GB of GDDR5 VRAM each The “FirePro D500″ is a cheaper version of the D700, which is functionally equivalent to an ATI 7970: The W9000 is for all practical purposes a Radeon HD 7970 when it comes to hardware, but it runs at different clock speeds and has twice as much memory as consumer counterpart. The FirePro W9000 will provide 3.99TFLOPS of single precision and 0.998 TFLOPS of double precision compute precision, unlike the Radeon HD 7970 (also based on Tahiti XT), which offers 3.79TFLOPS of SP and 0.947TFLOPS of DP performance, respectively. The Mac Pro is already running on last generation graphics hardware, so we’ll substitute in the superior ATI R9 280X 3GB. Now is a good time to talk about tradeoffs: 99.999999% of people do not need ECC memory in the Mac Pro (and Fire Pros), unless they are processing banking transactions, or flying a mission outside of the ionosphere. For those that do, they should consider the plenitude of little DRAM buffers in their hard disk controllers, motherboards, USB hosts, etc We’re going to avoid Xeon, because we don’t need ECC. But we can still have hexacores, thanks to the i7-4930K, which actually outperforms the Xeon in the Mac Pro by about 8%. Whatever case we pick won’t be as pretty as Apple’s. Here’s what I come up with: PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks Type Item Price CPU Intel Core i7-4930K 3.4GHz 6-Core Processor $568.98 @ Amazon CPU Cooler Thermaltake Water 3.0 Extreme 99.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler $109.98 @ OutletPC Motherboard Asus Sabertooth X79 ATX LGA2011 Motherboard $314.99 @ Amazon Memory Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $139.99 @ Newegg Memory Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $139.99 @ Newegg Storage Asus ROG 240GB PCI-E Solid State Disk $349.99 @ Newegg Video Card MSI Radeon R9 280X 3GB Video Card (2-Way CrossFire) $339.99 @ B&H Video Card MSI Radeon R9 280X 3GB Video Card (2-Way CrossFire) $339.99 @ B&H Case Fractal Design Define R4 w/Window (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case $122.98 @ Newegg Power Supply SeaSonic Platinum 1000W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply $225.98 @ SuperBiiz Operating System Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) $82.99 @ NCIX US Other CPU / E5-1650 $600.00 Other Kingston 16GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ECC Registered DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Server Memory Model KVR18R13D4/16 $210.00 Other Kingston 16GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ECC Registered DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Server Memory Model KVR18R13D4/16 $210.00 Total Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available. $3755.85 Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-11 23:07 EST-0500 This is a far faster system, with twice the RAM, a faster CPU, much faster GPUs, but without ECC or server-warrantied parts. We also lack the amazingly beautiful case that the Mac Pro comes in. [...]



Outlook 2007 / 2010 HTML/CSS Foreground Background Colors on Span Elements

2013-09-23T22:39:54Z

Say for example you wanted to have a span in an Outlook email (using Word’s terrible HTML renderer) with a unique foreground/background color: Your Text This would be supposed to render as: Your Text, but it actually renders as Your Text. Ironically enough, you can style a table cell with foreground/background colors and all […]

Say for example you wanted to have a span in an Outlook email (using Word’s terrible HTML renderer) with a unique foreground/background color:


Your Text

This would be supposed to render as: Your Text, but it actually renders as Your Text. Ironically enough, you can style a table cell with foreground/background colors and all will be well. To make this work in a span, I emailed myself an Outlook HTML mail composed using their in-client email editor, saved it to HTML, and found the style that works–adding a mso-highlight CSS rule with the background color:


Your Text

For whatever reason, this works…

Update: This works in some cases (if you want a black bg, red text for example) but not others. If the colors are sufficiently OK outlook works fine. I haven’t figured this out 100% yet…




I-751 (Petition to Remove Greencard Conditions) Tips

2013-05-15T01:50:50Z

I recently went through the successful application to remove conditions on residence (I-751) with my wife, and found there were a few things I could have done better with my initial submission. We unfortunately received (and responded to) an RFE (Request for Evidence) due to insufficient documentation for the petition. I had included standard items, […]

I recently went through the successful application to remove conditions on residence (I-751) with my wife, and found there were a few things I could have done better with my initial submission.

We unfortunately received (and responded to) an RFE (Request for Evidence) due to insufficient documentation for the petition. I had included standard items, like the last joint bank statements, marriage certificate, etc, but it wasn’t enough to prove a “bona fide” marriage.

Some tips I’d suggest for anyone looking to file this on their own:

  • Consult a lawyer when preparing your filings. Yes, it will cost you $300-$600, but it can help you prevent mistakes at the onset.
  • Draft up a cover letter detailing each piece of evidence, the time span it covers, across various categories
  • Include any beneficiary information you have
  • Your evidence should span the entire period of marriage–in my RFE I submitted information from just before our marriage date, quarterly, to the present
  • Highlighting the petitioner’s name, spouse’s name, and dates on evidence will help your examiner work the case faster
  • Include a couple affidavits; it’s easy to ask your friends/colleagues to draft one, and helpful.

Note: I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, just my own personal experience.




Is Homebrewing Cheaper than Buying Beer?

2013-01-15T03:09:45Z

My brother bought me a Brew in a Bag (BIAB) grains IPA kit for Christmas, and I had a lot of fun making and fermenting the beer, which I tweaked a little with a fresh mint twist. We have yet to see how well it comes out, as it’s currently sitting on its yeast for […]My brother bought me a Brew in a Bag (BIAB) grains IPA kit for Christmas, and I had a lot of fun making and fermenting the beer, which I tweaked a little with a fresh mint twist. We have yet to see how well it comes out, as it’s currently sitting on its yeast for at least the rest of the week, then priming sugar + bottling, a couple weeks of rest, and finally it will be drinkable. It’s a little one-gallon kit, and my yield is probably hurt by my small stovetop pot. I might only get 10 bottles out of it. Extracting sugars, the hops, and the final fermenting setup I’m wondering now–how much would it cost to buy basic equipment to make a 5-gallon batch? Here’s what you need: 7 gallon Brewing pot Muslin bag 6.5 Gallon Carboy w/Airlock Starsan Hydrometer Bottle Capper Thermometer Autosiphon Tubing I can buy everything except the brewing pot for $90 at our local store, the pot runs $80 but it’s a nice 7.5 gallon size. So far, just investing in basic equipment, we are at $170 in startup costs. Then for a recipe and point of comparison, we’ll look at a Nugget Nectar clone, pricing it retail at $13/6-pack (this is NYC sadly): 6.5 lbs Continental Pils Malt: $18 7.0 lbs Munich Malt: $16 5.0 oz Crystal 120L: $2 1.00 oz 13%aa Nugget 60′: $2 0.50 oz 13%aa Simcoe 30′: $2.5 1.00 oz 16%aa Warrior 20′ $2.5 1.25 oz 16%aa Tomahawk 0′ or hopback: $2.25 1.00 oz 8%aa Palisade 0′ or hopback: $2 1.00 oz 13%aa Simcoe DH: $2.5 1.00 oz 8%aa Palisade DH: $2 Cal-Ale Yeast: $7 The total cost of this recipe is $58.75 or about $60, for 54 bottles of beer. So, about $1.10 per bottle. Whereas, buying 54 bottles in store in NYC costs about $117, or $2.1 a bottle. By making your own beer, you can save a dollar a bottle, and enjoy the process! I’m actually a bit surprised that that malt is that expensive, perhaps there’s a better source? To make back your startup costs of $170 you’ll need to brew at least 2 full five-gallon batches. After that, you’re in profitable territory! And some of the items, such as yeast, or large bulk orders of hops, can be used for multiple sessions, further driving down costs. I wouldn’t be surprised to see under a dollar a bottle if you bought in bulk. Update: I should multiple pricing on the DME by .75 to get the equivalent grains ratio, which would give me $8.5 off the batch, for $50 even or $.93 a bottle, for a savings of $67. If I did all-grains, the price would be another 20% lower. [...]