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Viewing by Category: Other / Main
April 7, 2009

I found a helpful command today to help me search through many different file in linux. I have a bunch of log files and want to find a certain occurrence of an error.

for i in `find ./`; do grep -H "string to search" $i; done

September 8, 2008

Utah State Senator and Ogden City Police Chief blogs about Spatialkey and the power of bringing together relevant data sets from multiple places. Here is a small sampling of Chief Griener's posting.

"Not just any map - it's a combination map of satellite images, street map, and my geographically assigned patrol beat map in layers. The company (Universal Mind) has made it so user friendly that I can literally research and plot over 400,000 calls for service in the last 5 years in about 30 seconds. The system is web based so quickly analyzing What-Ifs can be accomplished anytime, anywhere, on any computer with an air card. You can begin to see how this would be valuable to me and my law enforcement team."

SpatialKey Law Enforcement continues to evolve and improve to provide cutting edge technology to the Law Enforcement community. It is exciting to be a part of great team with so much potential. Keep an eye on the SpatialKey blog for other important news around SpatialKey in general.


The most recent issue of ComputerWorld magazine features a cover story called "Can Web 2.0 Save B.I.?" that features a case study on SpatialKey. In the article they interview Chief Jon Greiner of the Ogden Police Department in Utah. Ogden is the first installation of the enterprise version of SpatialKey Law Enforcement Dashboard (see the press release), and Universal Mind has been working closely with the Ogden PD to use the SpatialKey platform to develop what we think is a game-changing crime mapping product.

Yes that is our application on the cover. Check out the online version of the article on ComputerWorlds' website

September 2, 2008

If you have been working with computers very long you have probably experienced that sinking feeling when you realize that you have a dead hard drive without a recent backup of your important files. Well this happened to me this weekend with my blog and I did have a backup but it was from April 2007. I can't explain how mad I was at myself because I had just thought about running a backup earlier in the week before the server failed. While I have not been blogging much recently I had posted several entries since April of last year and I couldn't think of a way to get them back. Then I realized that nearly every HTML page on the internet is cached by Google, it is amazing when you think about it. I started searching on google for specific blog entry IDs, here is an example "site:bpurcell.org 1101". This brought up the specific link, then I opened the cached version and saved each entry to disk. This not only included the content of the blog entry but also the comments. Luckily I have been storing my images on flickr recently so I did not have to go searching for my images. It took a while to pull together the entries but after a few hours I had it rebuilt. I still need to add the comments but at least I have the site back up and running, along with a better backup strategy for the future!

September 1, 2008

Something has really been annoying me with Firefox 3 where it would open a new tab for pop up windows. It was particular annoying when I was using a Content Management System that normally opens an HTML editor in a popup window and resize the popup window to a particular size. Instead of opening a new window the HTML editor would open in a new tab and resize the browser so that after I was done with the HTML editor I had to resize the browser back to its original size. I searched in the configuration for Firefox but the only configuration change is to change the behavior so that new links open in a new window and not a new tab, there was nothing about changing the behavior for pop ups.

With a little searching around Google I found a solution that solves the problem. The first step is to enter about:config into the address window to enter the advanced configuration panel. In the filter enter browser.link.open_newwindow.

The original setting for "browser.link.open_newwindow" is set to 3, set this value to 2 close the browser and reopen it. Now Firefox will open popup windows normally. I found the tip here.

Last year we purchased the Safety First Kidtrax Corvette for my son from Toys R Us. After having it only a few months the battery stopped holding a charge and it would run down after a few minutes. I went to Toys R Us to find a replacement battery and they did not have them, they couldn't even order them. ? I started looking on the internet and found that the Safety First batterys are almost $90 with shipping which I found a bit ridiculous. I decided to try and find an aftermarket battery and found one that is normally used in UPS's.

Here is the set of steps and the battery to get you up and running






A large majority of my summer has been spent working in the backyard on a large project. It started in April and although I have more to do I am going to attempt to enjoy the rest of the summer and get back to work in late August. It all started last year after I started building the deck You can see the entire process from start to finish. http://www.bpurcell.org/viewcontent.cfm?contentID=148

October 11, 2006

Cnet has an article on quick dowload, easy to install, small memory footprint applications. With large, overbloated applications being the norm these days it is nice to see a few of these out there.


User contributed small applications


April 25, 2006
I have had some issues with my server lately (disk failure). I lost my database for a while and was finally able to get it back tonight. I should be back to blogging again soon.

December 19, 2005

I have been having server problems over the last few days and finally today I was able to move to another server without the issue. Let me know if you find any issues with the site. I have been laid up for the last week after undergoing surgery to remove my appendix so I haven't been able to keep up with the site. It was not a pleasant week although I did finally get to sleep a lot. I was in a lot of pain though so it was not my idea of a good time.

November 22, 2005
I stumbled across this interesting page that provides a timeline for the history of the internet. I found some interesting entries in the page. One such entry is from Jan 29 1992 when Minix creator Andy Tanenbaum posted the infamous LINUX is obsolete newsgroup posting along with the response from Linux Torvalds. This page is worth a quick history lesson.

November 21, 2005

Nearly everyone I know uses google search services to find things on the web. Many of us "tech geeks" use the adservice, image search, google desktop or gmail but I bet you didn't know about the many other services. I stumbled across this site and found the many services that google offers.

November 17, 2005

Has anyone seen or tried this before? This post claims that defragging your Ipod hard drive actually improves its performance. I guess it actually makes sense, any hard drive over time starts to get a little out of whack. It is probably more of a problem on the larger drives where a user is shifting music around a lot. May even be more worthwhile on the video ipod where you a swapping out content a lot.

September 26, 2005

If you have a GMail account more than likely you have lots of space to spare. I ran into a utility that allows you to mount your GMail account as a hard drive in windows.

GMail Drive is a Shell Namespace Extension that creates a virtual filesystem around your Google GMail account, allowing you to use GMail as a storage medium. GMail Drive creates a virtual filesystem on top of your Google GMail account and enables you to save and retrieve files stored on your GMail account directly from inside Windows Explorer.

GMail Drive literally adds a new drive to your computer under the My Computer folder, where you can create new folders, copy and drag'n'drop files to. The e-mail appears in your normal Inbox folder, and the file is attached as an e-mail attachment. GMail Drive periodically checks your mail account (using the GMail search function) to see if new files have arrived and to rebuild the directory structures. Because the GMail files will clutter up your Inbox folder, you may wish to create a filter in GMail to automatically move the files (prefixed with the GMAILFS letters) to your archived mail folder.

You can download the utility here.

July 6, 2005

In case you are wondering why I haven't posted anything recently I have been on sabbatical. I have barely touched the computer lately but instead have been working on my house. I have remodeled several rooms on the first floor. I started by gutting them down to the studs and went from there. It has been a pretty major undertaking. I have snuck some golf in from time to time as well but will be back at the end of July. I will post pictures of the remodel soon.

May 14, 2005

I normally don't post jokes, but I found these quotes quite interesting.

1. "Computers, in the future, may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."
-- Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949.

2. "I think there is a world market for, maybe, five computers."
-- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.

3. "I have traveled the length and breadth of this country, and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year."
-- The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall,

4. "But what is it good for?"
-- Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

5. "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
-- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp.,1977.

6. "This 'telephone' has too! many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is, inherently, of no value."
-- Western Union internal memo, 1876.

7. "The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?"
-- David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s

8. "The concept is interesting and well-formed. But, in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible."
-- A Yale Univ. management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service.( Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)

9. "Who wants to hear actors talk?"
-- H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927

10. "I'm just glad it will be Clark Gable who is falling on his face and not Gary Cooper."
-- Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in "Gone With The Wind! ".

11. "A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market resea rch reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make."
-- Response to Debbi Fields' idea of starting Mrs. Fields' Cookies.

12. "We don't like their sound and guitar music is on the way out."
-- Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962

13. "You want to have consistent and uniform muscle development across all of your muscles? It can't be done. It's just a fact of life. You just have to accept inconsistent muscle development as an unalterable condition of weight training."
-- Response to Arthur Jones, who solved the "unsolvable" problem by inventing Nautilus.

14. "Stocks have reached what looks like a, permanently, high plateau."
-- Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929

15." Airplanes are interesting toys, but of no military value."
-- Marecha Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.

16. "Louis Pasteur'! s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction."
-- Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872

17. "The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon."
-- Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria, 1873.

and finally.......

18. "64K ought to be enough memory for anybody."
-- Bill Gates, 1981


July 18, 2004

I am a big fan of the iTunes program and I download all my music through iTunes. I also own an iPod but I found it frustrating I could not listen to the music with our in dash MP3 players that we have in our cars.  I purchase the music but without the iPod the songs are useless if you want to take it with you. A few searches on the internet turned up partial solutions but I thought I would share the entire solution with you. This process only works if you are the actual owner of the song and have it authorized through iTunes. I am in no way promoting piracy, I bought the songs legally from iTunes.

The process involves two pieces of software to handle the decoding. First you will use "hymn" to turn the m4p (protected) file into a m4a that you can play anywhere. Then you will use dbPowerAMP to convert the m4a into an mp3 file.

1. Download hymn http://www.hymn-project.org/ To make the instructions as simple as possible download hymn and unzip it to the C:\hymn directory. Hymn is a command line tool for windows that is pretty easy to use. There is a GUI available for the MAC.

2. Copy the mp4 files you want to convert to C:\hymn (if you understand windows you can just add c:\hymn to your path, if not don't worry and continue).
open a MS dos command prompt window start>>accessories>>command prompt

3. Run hymn on each of the files you are converting
C:/> cd hymn
C:/> hymn thenameofthefileiwantoconvert.m4p

You will need to do this for every file you want to convert or put multiple files in the command line

C:/> hymn filetoconvert1.m4p filetoconvert1.m4p

The m4a files will be created in the same directory. You can use the hymn command line options if you want to send them to another directory.
You are now ready to convert the m4a files to mp3 files. In order to do this you will need a converter. I use the dpPowerAmp converter.

4. Download dbPowerAMP
http://www.dbpoweramp.com you will also need to the m4p codec

5. Download m4p codec (download the decoder)

6. From there you can just highlight the m4a files in windows explorer. Right click with the mouse and select the "Convert To" option. Choose the quality and the folder you want to store the mp3's in and click "Convert".

The end product is a mp3 file that you can play anywhere. It is a bit of extra work, but you could possibly automate the process further. It is worth noting that the m4a file still has the original purchasers information in the file. Do not pass these files around to your friends. If they end up on the internet you could be prosecuted for piracy.

July 7, 2004

I recently acquired an iPod mini and love it. I am researching the best approach for getting the signal to my FM radio. There are two options and I am still weighing which one is best.

FM Modulator - needs to plug into your antenna therefore you have to pull the deck out of the dash. Not a major problem but it makes it less portable and it is not an option if I want to take the iPod in a rental car with me. It provides the best signal though with no interference

FM Transmitter - There are a few options in this area and the Transmitter is the most flexible but can be susceptible to interference. I am looking at the Belkin TuneCast II.

Any thoughts on the best options or experience with either option feel free to comment.

January 7, 2004

I have always found search engines interesting and based on some of the statistics I collect from referring pages I wrote some code that displays the latest referrals from the google search engine. I also like to see where my pages rank and what topics are most viewed on my site. I collect the data by using the cgi.HTTP_REFERER variable and storing it in a db. I parse out the google querystring using a UDF called GetGoogleKeywords from http://www.cflib.org.

You can view the realtime google keyword searches on this page.

October 15, 2003

The fact is that the Cubs lost game 6 last night after blowing a 3 run lead in the 8th inning.  You can blame it on the fan in left field that interfered with Alou or you can blame it on the curse. Either way we Cub fans have to bond together tonight and believe that the Cubs can pull game 7 out. 

I enjoyed this quote from ESPN "And if you insist on getting all grand-unified-theory about things, try thinking about this: There are untold numbers of Cubs fans in allegiance with you. Your hope is their hope, your faith is their faith. This is a powerful thing. The Marlins bring the outsider's edge, the chip on the shoulder element, but the Cubs bring generations and leagues, they bring the sort of deep-seated wishing and waiting that can, even after a night like last night, flood the fish out of Wrigley. Believe, dammit."


September 10, 2003

Baby boy Purcell arrived yesterday morning at 6:33am healthy and happy.  He weighed in at 6lbs 11oz and 19inches.  It will probably be a while before I get back to blogging :-)

June 30, 2003

June 27th 2003 was the first day to sign up for the Federal Trade Commission's "National Do Not Call Registry." Starting Oct. 1, most telemarketers must avoid phoning people on the list, or face fines of up to $11,000 per call.

It's free to get onto the list, and you can register online at http://donotcall.gov.  Those in states west of the Mississippi River can register by calling 1-888-382-1222 toll-free. On July 7, phone registration will be open nationwide. If you do sign up by phone, be sure to call from the number you want registered.

June 29, 2003
Ever wonder if something is true or an urban legend? You can find about any legend on this website http://www.snopes.com/

May 28, 2003
StrangeBanana: Hit "Refresh". Do it again. Each time the stylesheets randomly change. For a whole page it can look kind of garish, but perhaps certain elements in a page can benefit from a new appearance at each visit...?

May 6, 2003
I found an interesting Photo site http://www.photosig.com.  I am interested in amatuer photgraphy in the future so this may be an interesting start.

April 30, 2003

The outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Hong Kong has forced the closure of all learning institutions. Teachers and school administrators needed a quick and easy alternative to classroom learning that would keep students up to date in a safe environment. See how Hong Kong Baptist University took on the challenge of rapidly creating a rich online learning application that would allow simultaneous teacher-student interaction by using Macromedia Flash Communication Server MX. 

Strange bedfellows? AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo are teaming up to fight spam. Considering that they represent some of the largest consumer ISPs on the planet, that's a good thing. Most spam appears to be targeted at consumers, not business people. If it becomes harder to send spam to AOL and MSN customers, for example, that might be discouraging to at least some spammers.

More than anything, though, it's a great first step. The computer industry has got to come together to fight the spam scourge.

For more information:

  • AOL, Microsoft, And Yahoo Launch Anti-Spam Alliance - InternetWeek
  • Microsoft Press Release
  • April 29, 2003
    I found a site that is pretty interesting http://capescience.capeclear.com/ it is a webservices community.  I am playing with some of the webservices they provide.  I will post my code and findings.

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