Author Archives: Ron

APRS to SMS Gateway

Did you know you can send/receive messages from APRS to the SMS network? Super easy.

Just compose a message to:


Start the message with @(the destination phone number) (space) (short message). Example, if I want to send the message “test” to phone # 123-456-7890, then the message will be:

@1234567890 test

SMS users can reply, as long as you are still within range of the digi that heard your beacon.

Easy Digi PTT Settings IC-2300

I use an Easy Digi interface between my Icom IC-2300, Direwolf & APRX. Here is my PTT string for my direwolf.conf file for Push To Talk:

DEVICE  plughw:1,0


MODEM 1200

PTT /dev/ttyUSB0 DTR RTS


LOGDIR  /var/log/direwolf/

Nexus One Desktop Dock [Mini Review]

The desktop dock is sturdy and attractive. Comes with an extra power cord (so you can use the one from the phone elsewhere) and an audio out cable (1/8 -> RCA).

When you cradle the Nexus One, it launches the “clock” app which shows time, date, weather, next alarm (if set) battery charge level and a row of icons at the bottom for Alarms, Gallery, Music and Home. After about 10 minutes, the screen goes black and the time, date and next alarm are shown in dull green (suitable for beside the bed).

Charge time from a completely drained battery takes about three hours when plugged into the wall.

My only complaint with the desktop cradle is the bottom lip that holds the phone from sliding out. It should be 1-2 millimeters taller. Sometimes if you press the screen near the top (like pulling down the info pane), it causes the phone to “pop” out of the cradle onto the desk.

Nexus One (Android) Gripes

Email Icons Don’t Show Unread Email Count
Unlike the iPhone, my Nexus One does not show the number of unread messages on the mailbox icon.

Screen Sensor Misalignment
About once a week, I have to restart my Nexus One because the screen sensor is misaligned. (Pressing an “R” yields a “D”, for example.)

Battery Life Sucks
The screen (which is very nice) sucks a ton of battery juice. With moderate use, I have to charge it twice a day.

Battery Gets Pretty Warm
When charging, the batter gets pretty warm. Not a huge deal, but I never experienced that with my iPhone.

No Hard Switch for Silent (on the N1)
Without a physical switch for “silent” (like the iPhone) you must set each app to “mute.” Example… say you’re bored silly during a presentation and whip out your phone to play a quick game. The ringer is set to mute, the media volume is set to mute, but the game you launch ignores all that… it happily starts singing all its startup sounds. BUSTED.

Elgato Turbo.264 HD – My Thoughts

I recently had the opportunity to try out the Elgato Turbo.264 HD encoder/accelerator.

The device does what it claims… it transcodes most any type of video file and produces an H.264 file formatted for your device (iPhone, iPod, AppleTV, BeyondTV, etc.). The processing time is (more or less) equal to the length of the video. e.g. A 60 minute video takes around 60 minutes to transcode.

My only complaint is that it uses 100% of my machine’s CPU while processing. I recall seeing a blurb about this somewhere in the documentation, but I thought it said it used “some” of the CPU. On my Macbook Pro 2.16Ghz, it spiked out the entire time. Obviously, that causes the internal fan to kick into overdrive, generating a good bit of noise.

The older non-HD version did NOT use the host CPU, so the transcode time was longer. But on a laptop I would gladly sacrifice the longer time in lieu of the fan noise. On a desktop, it would be a non-issue for me. A perfect solution would be to have a setting in the software that allowed you to choose how much of the CPU was used.

Some folks in various forums have complained about (and demonstrated) very dark videos from the device, but none of my tests were dark.

Overall, it’s a neat gadget. My only complaint is the CPU issue.

Install CentOS on ESXi from Netinstall ISO

It is SO easy to create a new virtual server from a Netinstall ISO. Downloading the DVD or CD ISOs can take a long time. Netinstall only pulls down the packages you need.

Step one, download the Netinstall ISO from the vendor. I prefer CentOS. (version 5 is only

Upload it to the datastore

Create new Virtual Machine

Choose custom

Name it

Pick your destination datastore

Pick the guest OS ( I use RHEL 5, 32bit)

# Procs, Ram, NICs, LSI Logic SCSI Adapter, HD size, etc.

Finish it out with the defaults.

Right click on the new VM and Edit Settings

Select the CD Drive, check “Connect at power on” change to Datastore ISO file and browse to the Netinstall ISO.

Click on options tab, select boot Options

Check the “Force BIOS Setup”

Click OK, boot the VM and go to console. BIOS will be waiting on you.

Go over to Boot option in Bios and move the CD-ROM Drive to the top of the list.

Exit, save.

CentOS installer will start.

On “Installation Method” screen, choose HTTP.

Web site name:
CentOS directory: /centos-5/5.3/os/i386/

Obviously, your version may be different.

It will start a download of “images/stage2.img” (it may take a while depending on your connection speed…typically around 5 mins on a DSL/Cable Modem).

From there, the process is like any other install.