Archive for Technology

Download DVDs onto my 30GB iPod

Trying to download DVDs onto my 30g iPod? Here’s how I did it.

The official way to do this is to purchase Quicktime Pro from Apple but it doesn’t support all video types (especially not ones that are downloaded off the net–but no one does that…)

However there is some free software out there for you:

A couple notes: you may want to shrink your DVD down to size before putting it on the iPod. A double layer DVD is about 8 GB. The converter naturally removes a large portion of that as it shrinks it down to 320 pixels wide but it can still be big. A decent program for grabbing your movie off your DVD onto your computer (do this before you convert it to an iPod format) is at

Sooo. Step one–Use DVDx to copy your movie off your DVD. Step two–convert the movie into MP4 format using Videora. By the way each of these steps will take some time–the conversion takes almost as much time as watching the video cuz that’s what the computer is doing–watching the movie and recording it in another format.


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Yup, we’re finally ready to show this guy off a little bit. The look and feel of it is not set yet and we’re still finalizing a few features but it’s good enough to show a few people and have some people test it out.

We’re already getting some good feedback.

FYI – If anyone out there is building a website, I have a few suggestions. First, design your code to be as simple and clean as you can get. flies off the server because of it’s slim HTML code and external CSS and Javascript (which are cached on most browsers). Also, it will be easier to maintain down the road.

Check it out at

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wikiCalc goes 1.0

This might make sense to include within Potentially, we could make this available to teams so that they could post and keep track of scores or statistics. This might also be nice for Leagues to use to post standings, statistics or even a schedule. WikiCalc is written in Perl and released under the GPL 2.0 license.

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Web 2.0 Pessimism

Here’s a less glossy look at Web 2.0 for people thinking of getting into it.

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Linux and Ubuntu stuff

I found this very interesting blog (I guess it’s interesting if you’re using a Ubuntu desktop) and I was reading through many of the posts. Here are a few that I’d like to keep track of:

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Project Management Software

As many of you know, I work for SALEient and we sell a product called Conflux. Conflux comes in a couple different flavours (hosted by us at, your own server that you can put in your office or a dedicated server which is a server in our rack space that you have to your self but it’s on the Internet rather than on your network).

As well, many of you know I also do Internet software development through Sloan Consulting. As part of Sloan Consulting, I’ve worked on a lot of different and interesting projects over the past 6 or so years. Throughout my time developing, I’ve been adverse to using Project Management Software. Mainly, people wanted me to use Microsoft Project and I feel this isn’t a good product unless you have a formal project manager willing to make it work. As a result of my aversion, I’ve now finally chosen to write my own project management software for my consulting work. Conflux has a project management module (called Workflows) but I need something a bit more robust and flexible (and besides, a lot of my consulting clients aren’t using Conflux, yet…)

Here are the major premises of this software.

  1. It should be web-based and easy to use. I like the Basecamp model but I like a bit more information than they allow. As well, if I build it myself, I’ll be able to make changes. I’ve been working with the Python (programming language) Django Framework for the past year or so and I really enjoy it. It’s a great way to build web-based software.
  2. It should do what it is supposed to do and nothing more. I’m not trying to build a million features or move my accounting process onto the web. I just need to track and manage my projects. A project is a lot more than a simple to do list and it’s a lot more than a fancy gantt chart. My software should track what I’m doing and what I’ve done on a project and it should give me some insight into what I can do better. It also should help me communicate about my status to my clients. Lastly, people are people–we shouldn’t call them “resources.”
  3. It should be based on proven practices. Joel On Software has a great breakdown of how to painlessly schedule software development. I’m going to incorporate these ideas. Zel Nadal has some good ideas about why a project management database is a good idea. These ideas are going in as well. Also, this past summer, I worked with the Alberta Department of Agriculture (AAFRD) to scan the types of project management they’re currently using and to work with the Project Management support unit to recommend a more unified solution. It was a tough project to pull off but after many hours of interviews I got through a lot of people. Also, we eventually realized that a government department in Ontario was a leader in this field and we chose to piggy-back on what they are leading the way on. The Ontario Template and the wisdom within are also incorporated here. Lastly, the Getting Real book by 37 Signals has some more wisdom to incorporate.

Well, here goes. I’ll keep you posted. I’m hoping to complete this project in less than 25 hours.

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Graphic Design Resources

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What do people look at when they visit your site?

Here’s an article about how people’s eyes move over the page.

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Home Media Centre

This is what I’m setting up:
Okay, so I’m not going to do this like other people. Here’s the plan:

I’ve got a 27″ LCD TV in our living room. LCD’s are nice because they use less power, take up less space and have a great picture. Not quite as bright as a plasma other TV’s but the other benefits make up for it for our home.

I’ve got a Yamaha DVD Player/Amp and 5+1 speaker system. Very nice and great theatre sound.

Now, I want the digital media player to work for me. I’ve got a hard drive filled with all my MP3s and a bunch of DVDs and other movies. I’d like to play them. I’ve decided to use one of my PC’s (a very cool Shuttle system) and get it set up with KnoppMyth (a linux distribution that will make a computer into a PVR, personal video recorder). For now, I don’t have a TV card in the Shuttle so I can’t do any of the PVR stuff but KnoppMyth also works pretty well as a Media Player. I’ll pop my hard drive in it and voila, I’ve got a media centre.

So here’s the cool stuff. First have you seen the Zen Shuttle? Looks good. And it’s very quiet. Because the power supply is out side the box, like a laptop, it doesn’t need a big fan making a lot of noise so the little quiet fan inside doesn’t have to work hard and doesn’t make much noise.

Zen Shuttle

Next, KnoppMyth is Linux. I can hook it up to the home network, allow it to share folders on other computers, or use it to download more goodies.

It’s going to take a bit of work to put it together but should be well worth it.

Here’s an article on setting this up:,1558,1814975,00.asp

For the ultimate media server:

What is this Jinzora thing?

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Free Outlook Spam Filter

Here is a pretty good Outlook plugin spam filter. This was found by Jesse.

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