All posts by Devin

How IPOs work

I found this article about Tesla’s IPO to be very enlightening. It talks about why a company would want go public, and goes into detail on how the IPO process works. I also like how they used Tesla, one of my favorite automotive companies, as an example.

Speaking of which, how about that Model S? (Ever noticed how Model S comes alphabetically before Model T?) I can’t wait to see them on the road in 2012.

Getting Windows XP installation discs for your Dell

If you bought a Dell computer with Windows XP pre-installed, chances are it didn’t come with a Windows XP installation disc.  It didn’t need one, right?  XP cam pre-installed.

Well, as Windows has it, if you use your computer, it slows down.  Call it a system architecture flaw… whatever. Fact is, you need to re-install XP every year or so in order to get maximum performance.  If you don’t care if your computer runs slow.. stop reading.

I have a Dell Windows XP Home computer in my possession right now that needs an overhaul.  Since I don’t have a disk, I went to Dell support to ask them for one.  Here’s the link they gave me over chat:

https://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dellcare/en/backupcd_form

Simply fill out the form and you’ll get your disc in the mail. Really, all you need is the service tag number. No word on how long it will take.  No clue if my contact information will work. I guess we’ll just have to wait.

My advise to those of you who purchased a computer from Dell and didn’t get the operating system installation disk: Go get them now.  Because when your computer needs an overhaul, you won’t want to wait for the disk to ship.

P.S. It’s not too late to migrate to a Mac.  Macs don’t slow down over time, and they all come with an installation disc.

Update: You may need to transfer ownership.

Upgraded to WordPress 3.0

It looks a lot like WordPress 2.9.2, but from what the emails and blog posts are saying, it’s faster, more secure, easier, and more powerful.  My theme worked just fine, and it seems that all my plugins work just fine too.  I did change my theme to the default theme. We’ll see how that lasts.

I was a little concerned at how long it would take me.  A few iterations ago there was an update that required a lot of finagling and admin-like tasks. Since it was a full point upgrade (2.x to 3.x), I was expecting the same.  But, it was as easy as the last minor upgrade (2.9.1 to 2.9.2). It downloaded and upgraded within 10 seconds. That’s what I call service!

I’m looking forward to poking around to see what WordPress 3.0 has to offer.  If I find anything particularly interesting, I’ll post.

How-To: Rototill next to a sidewalk

If you ever find yourself rototilling ground next to a sidewalk, here’s how to get the ground right next to the sidewalk without hitting it with the rototiller tines:

Ground next to a sidewalk that a rototiller can't safely cultivate

First, rototill a row about 4 -6 inches from the sidewalk, then shovel the dirt away from the sidewalk and onto the rototilled row.

After that, rototill over the dirt you just dug away from the sidewalk.  The dirt will naturally fill in next to the sidewalk.  If not, you can rake some dirt closer to the sidewalk.

Second pass
Second pass
Dirt filled in

Last of all, you’ll want to sweep the sidewalk.

Stay tuned for updates on our garden.

How-To: Find tag name in jQuery

jQuery’s .attr() function makes it simple to find every attribute of a tag.  But what about the tag name?

Turns out, it’s just as easy:

this.tagName

update: This is a JavaScript function associated with a click event. You cannot access the tagName from a selector.

update 2: you can get the tag name in a loop like this:

this.nodeName

update 3: Here’s a way to check if the element matches a type. This doesn’t actually return the element type, it is just a way to check if it matches a tag name. This method returns true or false.

$('.selector').is('p')

This will also work inside a click listener method:

$(event.target).is('input')

How To Archive AVCHD Video

If you have purchased a new video camera recently that records to a hard drive or SD card, it probably is recording AVCHD. This is a standard video format that was created for consumer high definition video cameras.

The problem, is that the raw files, designated by the “.MTS” extension, cannot be played by the most popular video players (strike one). So, you have to capture it, which takes a long time (strike two), and takes up about twice the hard drive space (strike three). I hate throwing any video away, as every clip has historical significance that may, someday, mean something to someone.

Here’s what I do:

I make an image (.dmg) of the capture drive (camera or SD card) and store it on an external hard drive. This saves on hard drive space, as I am keeping the smallest and highest quality video file, the original. I mount the image and use VLC to view the “.MTS” files, and if I want to use one to create a DVD, I either use Handbrake to convert the file to an .mp4 using the Regular > Normal preset, or I just capture it into the application from the disk image.

Notes:

  1. The external hard drive can’t be formatted FAT32 if you want to store disk images larger than 4 GB.
  2. It is good to store your video files on multiple hard drives.  I recommend a Western Digital Mirror Edition external hard drive. It writes to two hard drives simultaneously, so you don’t have to keep swapping hard drives.