nice fish

US Netflix with Chromecast (probably also relevant to other services and display mechanisms)

In a fit of pique last week I bought a Chromecast. Not that this is a review but it works pretty well and has made the process of actually getting a video on the screens (at least of a Netflix persuasion) almost a pleasure!

My only consternation was that I live in the UK, and most content is only available if you live in the US.. or pay one of the many VPN or unblocker services to grant you the full US version of Netflix. If you are viewing it on a browser you can use things like mediahint or hola but again these are mostly black boxes and don't easily work with an appliance like Chromecast.

I found some links suggesting how this should be fixed by remapping the default DNS servers Chromecast uses from Google's to their own (once you have an account with them). However, this isn't the whole story - Chromecast only uses* Google's DNS servers if your DHCP server doesn't tell it otherwise. Once I figured that out, I then set about finding some free US-based DNS servers and then attempting to configure dnsmasq to configure US DNS just for it (and additionally any android clients you may want to use to control it). Dnsmasq isn't the best documented so this took some doing. Based on this stackoverflow snippet, here's what I use:

dhcp-mac=set:usdns,<mac_address_here>
dhcp-option=tag:usdns,option:dns-server,213.5.182.117

If you have a PS3 or other console you can most likely just set one or more of the DNS IPs in their network settings and voilà!

* probably - I haven't tried this
nice fish

A half-formed thought on Globalism

So the news over the past few months has been about (and really these should all be in quotes) austerity, tax avoidance by big corporations, UK taxes that unfairly target the poorest or least able to defend themselves and now the 'middle class squeeze' on children - that those middle class children of relatively affluent parents growing up can expect to have less than their parents: more precisely, £50k debt on leaving uni and huge difficulty buying a property.

It occurred to me that with the rise of globalism, i.e. the ability to ship goods made in one country to another very cheaply, countries and their economies seem to have two choices: tax imports heavily to subsidise their standards of living or face standards of living being equalised throughout the nations you trade with. Clearly we can see that has already been happening as India, China rapidly transform themselves into visions of western commerce.

Of course, this leaves some services and most construction labour needing to be done locally, but as intangible goods increasingly make up more of an economy this makes taxation and the concept of borders tricker.

I begin to wonder how long economies like Denmark can continue to differentiate themselves in the face of globalisation. I think corporations and intangible goods have risen quicker than taxation laws are able to keep up.

As may be obvious to anyone who has actually studied any of this stuff, I am very much a lay person who has not. Any pointers around any of the theories I'm wildly throwing around would be most appreciated :)
mugshot Oct09

Something you all probably already knew that I learned today

It's been a while since I've had inspiration to write here but this deserves a post.

sessifet25 linked me to an article titled Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?. Rather than being the usual trite '10 weird tricks to fix your life' it talks about studies and what was learned around willpower, and it resonated.

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I actually think this work sharing ethic creates a healthy working environment and think this mechanism should be recognised and taught to people. Aside from anything else it would greatly aid communication which tends to be the bane of corporate culture everywhere.

Now tell me who already knew that and whose work allows you to practise this?
nice fish

Awesome Christmas present :D

My mum and sister ganged together and bought me a Raspberry Pi model B! I didn't have a spare 4GB SD card lying around for the root filesystem, so I used a 1GB card I did have spare and hacked it to run root over nfs to my always-on server:

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Yay! Now, to figure out what to do with it...
Ulysses_31

"The arrow of time"

First, let me preface this by stating that I'm just a layperson who is quite interested in this sort of thing. I'm just putting some of my thoughts down as they occur to me without any scientific theory behind it.

Having just watched the first two of four episodes of "The Fabric of the Cosmos", they theorise that the the only reason time has a direction is due to the big bang. They also point out that the universe (i.e. space) appears to be accelerating its expansion, and that this is attributable to a majority of dark energy that is unseen (and unknown and not regularly detectable) throughout the universe.

From the first episode (and stuff I remember from A Brief History of Time and other articles) it would seem to me that if the direction of time ("the arrow of time") was caused by the Big Bang, then much like the fact that space is expanding as a result of the Big Bang, perhaps time is continuing to move forward as a result of the Big Bang? Perhaps the perception of the universe continuing to expand is simply a result of the energy from the big bang spreading out and dissipating, and time itself is slowing down making it appear that the universe is speeding its expansion when in reality it could be receding or even slowing down? This could even be enough to account for the dark matter/energy that scientists feel necessary to invent to account for their observations.

I haven't got to the bottom of the nature of time, space and spacetime so this is probably clearly ridiculous for obvious reasons, but I wanted to note it down as an interesting thought, perhaps one I can later come back to refute when I understand more.
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    curious curious
geek

Double-take

My ISP are upgrading my broadband speed to 120Mbit. I just realised in order to take full advantage of this I'm going to need to replace the 100Mbit network card that currently services the cable modem.. to 1Gbit!

This.. strikes me as somewhat insane.
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    amused amused
Ulysses_31

Windows 7 Home Theatre PC

I've finally got my silent Windows 7 HTPC behaving. It had sat idle for a good while after I thought it couldn't both play 1080p video (stuttering indicating insufficient CPU horsepower) or multi-channel audio (crappy onboard ATI 4250 HDMI). As this took me the best part of 4 hours to research, fix and tune I thought I'd Collapse )
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    accomplished
nice fish

Lexus LS400 for sale

I don't suppose anyone wants to buy my LPG-converted 4.0L V8 Lexus LS400 do they? Cosmetically not great, but it has 9 months tax and MOT, is very reliable.. the front tyres currently deflate a bit but I'm hoping I'll be able to fix that shortly.

I'm selling it because I currently commute 100 miles per day and it's costing me ~£400 per month. If it weren't for that I'd be keeping it...

Make me an offer?
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    hopeful hopeful