It’s like putting together Ikea furniture

That’s what setting up an ical remote calendar feels like. Mozilla Sunbird and Thunderbird (with the Lightning plugin) are supposed to “publish to a remote server via FTP” when you hit the “publish calendar” button. Unfortunatly for those of us in the real word, it doesn’t work like that. Not only does it not work, but there are no instructions on how to make it work. So, I start poking around the server and the calendar application, wondering what the hell I’m suppose to do. I finally figured it out, but only after giving myself a migraine in the process. In case you’re wondering, here’s how…

-Download and install Sunbird, or Thunderbird and the Lightning plugin.
-Start either program and make a new blank calendar. For this example, we’ll call ours “Work Schedule”.
-Right click on the calendar and select “export”.
-Save you calendar as an *ics file. Remember not to use uppercase letters or spaces.
-Open up an FTP client of your choosing and connect to wherever you’re going to be remotely storing your calendar.
-Upload your blank calendar, in this case named simply “work.ics” to a safe directory ABOVE your web directory (above www)
-CHMOD the calendar file to 777 and close your FTP client.
-Open Sunbird/TB again and select File -> Subscribe to remote calendar.
-For the location, put in “”
-If all goes well, you should be subscribed to a readable/writeable blank remote calendar.

Also, you can now safely delete the default “Home” calendar now that you have a second one. Both programs require at least one calendar by default. Try it out, add a few items and see how it goes. As of the latest version of SB/TB, the changes to your calendar should be uploaded/updated automatically. If you have multiple users updating the same calendar, it would be wise to right click the calendar and select “refresh calendar” before making any changes.

Matt out.

Blue Light in the Corner

It’s unfortunatly been raining and really nasty outside here in the big H for the better part of two days now. That’s put a bit of a hurt on my case painting. It has however, motivated me to actually assemble the components of the computer itself. They’re all resting quietly in my case, snug in their new homes, happy and working together quite nicely. The installation was a breeze. The new socket AM2 stuff is really quite easy to assemble. My only problem is that the motherboard only has 1 IDE chain. I have 4 IDE devices. For those of you who haven’t built a PC in a while (or ever… you crazy Mac people), you can only have 2 IDE devices per chain. So, I’ve ordered an IDE to SATA converter widget from NewEgg which should solve my troubles until I upgrade the optical drives. The hard drives will probably just stay on their IDE chain until I trade them out for newer, larger drives by years end. At the moment I have 1 hard drive and 1 DVD drive hooked up just for the sake of installing Windows. A process that, while relatively error free, should be 150 times easier.

I’ll never quite understand why I have to patch, restart, install a service pack, restart, patch, restart, service pack again, restart a few dozen more times and finally validate, patch, validate, install and lastly restart. What the fuck? Slipstream people. Slipstream. Get this into your troubled little West coast brains… I want to “update” my copy of Windows ONCE! Roll all those updates and patches and whatnot into one mega package. Work out your fucking problems with dlls, restarting processes and services so that I don’t have to restart 40 friggin times! If you need to, make it into a big pre-OS install package, I don’t care. Have it run at bootup so that no processes are getting in it’s way. I have a copy of SP2 on a disk and even that required updating before I could use it, as well as updating after I installed it. I want to walk away from the machine, and when I come back a few hours later, it’s happy and ready to go. Is that really too much to ask? Oh… and I don’t want you to sneak any “we’re trying to protect you by running this obvious spyware program in the background” bullshit in there either. I want a list of stuff you’re going to install and then all I hit is “go” and it’s done.

And I don’t want to hear any “If you used a mac, you wouldn’t have to patch” bullcrap either. While that may be true in the short term, you won’t catch me shelling out every other year for a “new operating system”. Sorry, but 10.whatever is not “new”. It’s a patch. A patch you’re paying for. Unless it goes to 11 and it makes candy poop out of the CD tray, it’s still just an upgrade.

I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I had a long day. I had to get up a 5am to get to a shoot on time. I’m a little cranky. I need a nap.

Seriously though. I want an operating system that doesn’t suck. I think, after 30+  years of computer innovation, we’re fucking owed that much. I don’t care what camp you’re in, there’s things that suck about both operating systems.


Anyway, Windows is behaving for the time being. Drivers are being installed as we speak. With any luck, some sort of game might actually be playable in the next day or so. I’ve got the deepest need to dive into Team Fortress.

If it’s ever proper painting weather again, I’ll get back to my case. Until then, this skeleton looking, barebones, loud as hell case full of fresh and tasty parts will be keeping me company.

Matt out… someone get me a drink…


Couple of quick photos for you guys. First, the sides, primed, taped off and ready to be painted.

Next, a test coat of paint on the top section of the front bezel. Just a first coat so it’s not that smooth, much more painting left to do, but you can see what color it’ll turn out to be.

Last, a quick picture of the Bondo in progress. I figure it’ll take another weeks worth of layers and sanding until I get it to where I want it. This is more of the “structural”  level. All that original case showing through will be covered in wire grilling.

King of the Bondo People

I don’t really know how auto body shops actually fabricate new bumpers or how “body kits” are made, but after this week, I’m fairly secure in the knowledge that if the need arose, I could totally pimp out your Civic. After giving up on buying a new case, I did a complete and total 360 and decided not only to simply paint me old case but to completely overhaul/mod it, top to bottom.

What started with the idea to put some new paint on the case has spiraled dangerously close to crazy land. My latest brain child is to recreate and pay homage to the awesome Shelby Cobra Mustang. My inspiration comes from some of the photos of the 2008 special edition, more specifically, the front end.

I’ve taken the lower half of the front of my case and built up the equivalant of a body kit using modeling clay, wire mesh and Bondo. I’ve crafted it as close to the style of the Mustang as I can, with a thin sloped “lip” along the top, a thicker lower half with a bar across the middle and a deeper more inset grill on the lower portion. I’m applying the last layers of Bondo tonight and will start the sanding process to make sure all the angles are smooth. Then I’ll finish priming it along with the other front panel and the sides.

Tomorrow I’ll start in on the actual paint. Since I’m not a big fan of silver, I’m making the entire case metallic blue with a thin double racing strip, probably in silver. I haven’t decided if it’ll be strait vertical up the front as in the picture, or horizontal along the sides of the case, much in the same way the detailing on the actual car is done. We’ll see.

In part news, I ordered a not-so-smoking GeForce 8400GS, which will be here tomorrow, courtasy of the Egg. It’s only a stop gap for the time being. Compared to my current card however, it should still be more powerful, as well as DirectX 10 compliant. Not that I’ll be running Vista any time soon, but still, should the need arise, it’s nice to have.

We’ll see how the new parts shake out once I get it all together this weekend. I’ve got a horrible urge to play the Orange Box, mostly Team Fortress, and that’s an urge that simply can’t be denied.

Matt out.

Beige is the new Neon

Well, I’m back from Fry’s having decided against a new case. I came close to picking up two different cases, both mid-towers without power supplies, but the construction of them was just too flimsy. I wanted a nice and simple Antec case, nothing fancy, but apparently Antec doesn’t sell cases to retail chains without power supplies and even the lowest base model case was $90. That’s a bit too much to spend on a case with a power supply I simply don’t need. Not to mention that anything cheaper than $90 looked like it was designed by a color blind, creatively impaired 12 year old. “Dude, check it out, my case has fins, a front design that makes no sense AND blue neon!” I think not. What happened to the simple beige box?

At least it wasn’t a wasted trip. I did manage to find an ATX power switch I can use to test the system without a case.

So, I guess I’m going back to my original plan of painting my existing case. I stopped off at an auto parts store on the way home and got some Bondo, sandpaper and metallic blue paint. I’ve got some primer, clear coat and rubbing compound already from the last case I did. I think I’m getting quite good at painting these things. I’ve almost perfected the glossy, mirror finish.

What I plan to do next is benchmark my current system with a battery of tests so I’ll have something to compare it to once my build is complete. I’ll test this system, the new system with temporary graphics card (which will mostly compare CPU scores) and then again later with my final and more permanent card. Should be interesting from a testing stand point. So, that’s what I’ll be doing for the next few hours. After that I’ll make a quick post with the data (mostly so I don’t lose it), then I’ll start disassembling this rig and so I can start the sanding process. Hopefully by next weekend I’ll be back up and running with a newly painted case.