I like to call it the CLiTT

Right now I have my Xbox 360 and PC networked together, with the PC’s dial-up connection shared. It allows me to connect to Xbox Live so I can download patches and gamerpics, and upload my achievements. I’ve attempted to use it for downloading small arcade games and other DLC, but the connection keeps dropping out. If I want anything bigger than 10MB, I have to take my 360 over to my sister’s house.

Once, I thought I was being clever by just taking my hard drive over there instead of my whole 360. I slapped the hard drive on Matt’s console and downloaded a few songs for Rock Band. When I put the drive back on my 360, the songs didn’t show up. Turns out that the content contains DRM that links it to the console that was used to download it. The only way I can play it on my console is if I’m online and logged into my Xbox Live account, which means I’d have the phone line tied up the whole time.

Lucky for me, Microsoft just released a content license transfer tool. Now, you can associate all the content you’ve downloaded under your GamerTag with one console. However, you’re only allowed to use it once per year.

Crack that WEP

I’ve been messing around with my wireless router lately, flashing it with DD-WRT, and doing some research on wireless networks in general. I’ve always used WPA encryption on my router because I knew it was more secure than WEP. What I didn’t realize is just how vulnerable WEP is.

Most of the packets transferred between a client and AP contain an initialization vector (IV). By capturing enough of these IVs, it is possible to crack WEP encryption in a matter of minutes. Being in the IT “bidness”, I had to try this out to myself.

I could set up WEP on my router and attempt to crack it myself, but there are several WEP encrypted APs in my neighborhood just asking to be cracked. Using Aircrack-ng, I was able to obtain my neighbor’s key in about five minutes. Again, I’m only doing this out of professional curiosity.

A man without a browser.

Approximatley every four years I’ve changed web browsers. When my family first go the internet back in 1996, we used Netscape Navigator because that’s what our ISP supplied us with. Sometime duing my first year of college, I made the switch to Internet Explorer. I think Eric may have talked me into it. I jumped ship once again when Firefox started gaining popularity.

Two weeks ago, Firefox began crashing on me. I was forced to use Internet Explorer. I don’t hate IE. I have to use it at work, and I’ve grown to like it. And IE7Pro adds some nice features. But I still prefer Firefox. I decided to give Firefox 3 Beta 3 a shot, but some of the changes they’ve made are annoying. Hopefully the final product won’t be so disappointing.

Last week I started using Opera, and it is quickly becoming my browser of choice. The last time I tried Opera (not counting the Internet Channel on my Wii), you either had to buy it or use an ad-supported version. Now it’s totally free, thanks to Google. Opera is light and fast, everything I liked about Firefox in the early days. It isn’t without its problems though. Most notably is a lack of support for Yahoo Mail Beta.

Right now I’m using all three browsers equally. The decision on which browser gets me through to 2012 is up in the air at this point.

Random Eats

Many moons ago we were faced with a common problem, choosing a place to eat. I’m not sure who’s idea it was, but someone suggested we needed a way to select a restaurant at random. So I wrote a little program to do just that. It was initially written to run on my cell phone, then later rewritten for the truckputer. Later, I added support for multiple cities and a second program to ease the creation of lists.

The funny thing is that after all of that work, the program was only used a couple of times.

I’m making the program available for download, along with the source code. Also included are the city files I used for testing. It’s in Java, so you’ll need to install the JRE if you don’t already have it.

I’ve tested it quite a bit, but I’m sure there are still bugs to be found. Keep in mind that this most recent version was created for use on a small touch screen monitor.

Download Random Eats.zip

Zune Fanboy

I’m pretty excited about the new Zune line up coming out next month. I have no plans to upgrade to the 80GB version. At least not right now. Other than more storage, there is really no reason to. Old Zunes can be upgraded to the new firmware, which will finally add wireless syncing. And any new accessories will be backwards compatible.

The Zune Marketplace will also receive an overhaul. The new launch will add 1 million DRM-free tracks and eventually TV shows.

You’ll notice that none of the new models come in brown. It wasn’t a very popular color. I actually prefer my brown Zune to the others. If you want a great deal on the old brown, Buy.com currently has them for $99.

Pull out your Wii and jacket.

I walked past the living room in the dark last night and it was illuminated in blue light. The slot on my Wii was glowing to notify me of a new message.

Nintendo is offering free remote jackets to Wii owners. I didn’t bother when they were giving out the thicker remote straps, but I immediately went online and ordered these.

Patent Art

While perusing the interweb last night I somehow wound up at the U.S. Patent Office. I was playing around with the search feature, but finding a particular patent isn’t straightforward unless you actually know the patent number. So I grabbed the first thing I could think of that I knew would have a patent number stamped on it, a PEZ dispenser. From there I was able to use references to previous patents and the names of inventors to trace back to the earliest PEZ patent. After a while I was able to find the patents for all kinds of stuff like LEGOs, an Atari joystick, and the yo-yo. I was unable to find a patent for the Castle Grayskull playset, but I did find one for the trap door inside of it. If you click on the “Images” link you can see scanned copies of the original documents. If you need a TIFF plug-in for your browser, I recommend AlternaTIFF.

I amassed quite a collection of various patents, from fishing lures to pinball machines. Finding some of this stuff required a little research on my part. A few Google search results led me to eBay auctions where people are selling patent documents that they printed on their home printer. Some aren’t even selling printed copies, just the digital files. If only the buyers knew that they could get these documents for free.

Seeing those auctions did give me the idea to print and frame some of these patents.