Reuse it:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Reuses-for-legacy-computers/

http://www.instructables.com/id/Reuses-for-legacy-computers-II/

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Put that old PPC Mac back to work.

Does Apple no longer want to support your good old Apple Macintosh? The machine is still good, but it pretty much sits in the corner?  Well if you are open to new options, you can out that old system back to work with more up to date software than the old OS/X. Enter Mint PPC which is a linux distribution. Linux is a cousin to the BSD operating system that OS/X is based on. You can get native BSD for the ppc mac also.  Very user friendly, though you might have to learn at least a little bit new. You can even update the desktop so it looks like the traditional desktop. Had some old Macs myself that have since gone to a better place. I ran Ubuntu and Debian Llinux on G3’s quite well. In fact, you can get what is known as a live cd and try Linux without even installing it. Check it out!

My former old imac running ubuntu:

For more information see:
http://mintppc.org/
http://www.debian.org/ports/powerpc/
https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Architectures/PowerPC
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PowerPC

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What? You can not run a computer in your browser. Actually you can now the virtual machines have advanced so much that instead of the output of the virtual machine just going to a window on your computer, it can be re-directed to a web browser.  So if you have software for your older obsolete machines, you can in a lot of cases still run that software. This is especially important for those old games you still can not put down.  One the web based machines we like to run is the good old Commodore 64.

So when the better half wants you to move onto new equipment, just let her know you need a web server for biz reasons. She does not have to know. Older computers are nice, but it would be even nicer if you could run multple operating systems and be able to get to them from anywhere. Done. There are now several emulators that can run pc software such as linux, bsd, and some of the proprietary operating systems.  A good example would be say at a kiosk where you obviously can not run your software. Just log into the web browser and point it towards your web server. Or you might be at a friends who only runs proprietary software, but you want to run Linux. Again, just get to your web browser.
You can even play with a command line linux broswer at: http://bellard.org/jslinux/. This is great for teachers as they can expose students to the command line for linux compared to a mswindows command line without having to install or host linux.
There are even some emulators that run on Java. You can find this on at: http://jpc.sourceforge.net/home_home.html. These are also great for schools to let students test other operating systems without having to install the software on machines. The only caveat is the disk space required for each student to be using their own disk image.

Anyway that is just a thumb nail of what you can do. As the descendants of Paladin might say: Have computer, will network……

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How hosting companies rake in the dough.

It seems amazing how hosting companies can have sites so cheap sometimes.  Now knowing what goes on behind the scenes, you might think you have a whole computer just for your web site. It could be that way for more premium site rates. Amazon and all the major sites do two things. What they do is two fold. They use one set of hardware to set up what is known as virtual machines. Once computer can emulate one or more additional machines. You do not have to purchase additional hardware to have another computer.Almost like getting a computer for free.

The second thing they can do is have what is known as virtual hosts. That is you can run many websites with only one computer. So every time a hosting company signs up someone to use their equipment for having a web site, it is almost like free money as it does not cost them any additional money to host your site. (Unless their equipment is at full capacity). For example, we love to have virtual web hosting. You can set up websites for special purposes and be at their own special web address. For example, we are running all the following sites all on an old Intel Pentium II computer (on a private network).

Amazing is it not. What a cost savings and ROI (Return on investment). Meetdageeks site shown does not run on that server.  We just made a backup of the site to run locally. Before some web host wants to charge you and arm and a leg to host your site, ask them what you are really getting for your money.
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    Radar maps gone retro.


Once in a while I sort of come up with a neat idea. At least it is to me. Just because you have an old system, does not mean you can not teach it new tricks. Done a lot of page scraping to get weather details, but it would be nice to use radar screens from the command line. So details in this case are not so necessary. The overall view of the weather to see what kinds of weather fronts are approching is.Here we go. We need to collect some historical data (i.e. radar screens). You can get these from the radar.weather.gov using the 3 letter designation for the area you are interested in. For example, I beleive the Dallas Fort Worth area is supposed to be FWS. You do not have to collect data just for your area. Collect data for several areas and get an overview of the weather all around.You need to collect data. Cron is the perfect tool for the job. We need to create a batch file that will collect the pictures using cron. You will need to find the three letter designation of your area. You can get that from the national weather service. Note we put d.sh in the bin directory because it is in the executable directory path.d.sh:

Code:
DAY=$(date +"%m%d%y%H%M%S")
# picfn="pic$DAY.png"
# echo $picfn
wget http://radar.weather.gov/ridge/Thumbs/FWS.png -O fws$DAY.png

*/1 * * * * /home/eddie/bin/d.sh

We will set it to grab a picture once a minute. AT most once a hour is fine unless you know you have inclement weather coming. Set the collection at 1 per minute for our example. That will fill up a hard drive quickly so be careful.

$ chmod +x d.sh

$ crontab -e to add d.sh to your cronfile.

You should be collecting radar images once you have that set up. We are beginning to collect a few pictures. Now we need to convert the picture(s) to a text file.

Convert.sh:

Code:
for g  in fws*.png
do
echo $g
img2txt -W 80 -f utf8 img2txt -W  80 -H 25 utf8 $g > $g.txt
done

Note: We used img2txt -W 80 -f utf8 img2txt -W 160 -H 60 utf8 $g > $g.txt

$ chmod +x convert.sh

$ ./convert.sh

You see the file names to be converted on the screen as they are processed. Then you should be able to to list the generated text.files.

$ ls fws*.txt

We could examine each txt file to see what the weather was at the moment, but that is time consuming. Better to have sort of a page flipping to see how the weather was over time. So far so good. Now we need to create a batch file to show the animation. This is also a good start to a text based slide show.

show.sh:

Code:
for g  in fws*.txt
do
tput cup 0 0
 cat $g
done

$ chmod +x show.sh

$ ./show.sh

Watch the show. If there is not much weather change or you have only collected a few frames, you not see the whiz boom you might want to. Definitely try it when a storm is coming your way (if it is safe to do so!!)

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Record your command line keystrokes::
bash | tee filename
$ bash | tee recordfile.txt
Convert avi to gif: make stills:
$ mplayer -vo png
$ convert *.png animation.gif
Replace space in file names with underscore:
$ :for file in *; do echo mv “${file}” “${file// /_}”; done
Coin toss (heads or tails):
$ [[ $(( $RANDOM % 2 )) == 0 ]] && echo heads || echo tails
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CFS and etc.
Good day.
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