Archive for the 'projects' Category


Of Synergy and cross-over cables

The last few months have been very eventful. I finished writing my thesis, did my thesis defense, graduated, moved, and started my new job.  I’m getting close to the end of my second week in the new position and during that time I’ve been gradually getting my office set up the way I want it.

My main work computer is a Windows 7 PC but I also have a Mac Mini that I use for cross-platform testing and other various activities.  I have two monitors attached to my PC and one connected to my Mac.  Since I have two computers but I only want to use a single keyboard and mouse, I had two options: using a KVM switch with the V part disconnected (thereby only using the keyboard and mouse) or use Synergy.

I’ve used a KVM switch before without the video switching and it’s incredibly confusing.  I’ve also used a KVM switch with video switching and it’s pretty inconvenient.  So, I decided to use Synergy.  Read on for how I got it all set up.

Continue reading ‘Of Synergy and cross-over cables’


Installing CUPS on Ubuntu 9.04 (jaunty)

In my last post I mentioned that I completed the migration of this blog from the old host machine (called imladris) to This is part of a larger effort to retire that machine altogether. It had been hosting my blog, my photoblog, our family photo gallery, and my wife’s old blog for years. In addition, for the last few months I’ve been running a CUPS server on it so we could easily use our printer from any of our machines (we have 4 computers in the house, not including imladris). However, last night I pulled the plug on imladris. So, if we want to have our printer on the network again, I either need to buy a dedicated print server or I need to install CUPS on a different machine. Fortunately, we have another Linux machine in the apartment: orthanc, which I use as my MythTV machine.

I had installed CUPS on imladris only a few months ago, so the process should still be fresh in my mind. However, imladris ran Ubuntu 6.06 LTS, whereas orthanc runs Ubuntu 9.04. I’m not exactly sure whether 3 years* has made much of a difference but I’m going to try to follow online explanations to get it working. As I work on this, I’m just going to give an account of what I’m doing, where I found instructions, etc. until I get it working. If you’re interested in this, read on. If you’re not, maybe you can find a more entertaining way to spend your time, like playing Canabalt.

Continue reading ‘Installing CUPS on Ubuntu 9.04 (jaunty)’


Camera hook

Since I got my DSLR in 2007 I’ve been trying to work out a good scheme for storing it.  Basically, it resides either on my desk or in my camera bag.  Both of these locations are somewhat problematic.  If it’s on the desk, it gets in the way of things since it doesn’t really have a permanent place assigned to it.  If it’s in the camera bag, I have to dig it out whenever I want to use it, which is usually when one of the kids is doing something cute.  Unfortunately, I often miss shots because of the time it takes me to dig the camera out of the camera bag.

The whole situation was complicated this winter when I got a flash and a flash bracket.  I also got a Gary Fong LightSphere II on Alex‘s recommendation.  This setup produces great quality images but it’s pretty unwieldy.  In addition, the whole thing is very top-heavy and is prone to falling over if it’s set upright.  However, if I lay it down, it takes up a huge amount of desk real estate. Since I want to be ready to take pictures at a moment’s notice, I want to leave the whole thing put together but I couldn’t find a good way to store it all put together.

I’ve considered hanging it on some kind of hook before but I never got around to pursuing that idea until this week.  In designing it I made sure it would be able to handle the considerable weight of the camera, flash, and flash bracket.  I also spent a lot of time making sure that the camera would hang upright.  Finally, I designed in a little locking mechanism so the camera couldn’t be inadvertantly bumped off the hook.  In the photos below, you can see the results of my efforts.



Overall, I’m really pleased with the way it turned out.  As they say, however, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”, so it remains to be seen whether it actually accomplishes the goals I had for it.  For now, though, I’m content to sit and admire my handiwork.


May 2022

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