I am the ghost of groovymother.com. Woooooo!

This is an old page from Rod Begbie's blog.

It only exists in an attempt to prevent linkrot. No new content will be added to this site, and links and images are liable to be broken. Check out begbie.com to find where I'm posting stuff these days.

Entries for week beginning July 2, 2006

July 8, 2006

Holux GPSlim (GR-236) Review

Tom Coates’s ravings about this Bluetooth GPS receiver got me all excited, so I’ve ordered one for myself. $90 is a pretty good deal, since I have a cellphone, PDA and laptop that will all work with it.

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Get Your Priorities Right: A rationalist crusader does the math on global warming.

I’ve been impressed with Bjorn Lomborg since reading an article he wrote in The Economist on the Kyoto agreement five years ago. Here, he argues that, while global warming is a problem, it should be a fantastically low priority for funding compared to AIDS or Malaria.

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July 7, 2006

YouTube - Nobody's Watching Part 1

Breaking-the-third-wall-tastic sitcom pilot co-created by Bill Lawrence (creator of Scrubs). (Quick summary: Two sitcom-obsessed guys live on a sitcom set, and try to create their perfect sitcom) The WB turned it down last year, but since being posted to YouTube and gathering some acclaim, NBC are considering resurrecting it.

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July 6, 2006

Hooked on FONics

Out of idle curiousity, I signed up for a cheapy wireless router from FON.

For those not familiar, this is a startup, funded by Google and Skype, that's attempting to create a worldwide pay-for WiFi network out of a mish-mash of broadband connections. You sign up for an account with them, pay $3, and get 24 hours access to any wireless router on their network.

People running the routers and sharing their network connections have a choice: Sign up as a "Linus", make no money from sharing your connection, but have free access to the whole FON network, or sign up as a "Bill" and get 50% of FON's charges from people using your router.

To bootstrap their network, they have an offer of a wireless router for $5. Five bucks (plus another eight for shipping) netted me a Linksys WRT54GS, which retails for $70 normally. It came preloaded with their firmware, which is based on the excellent, excellent OpenWRT Linux distribution for Linksys routers, and the ChilliSpot wireless portal to stop freeloaders.

Of course, handing out cheap routers gets you a little way, but it doesn't create a terribly useful network. In my neck of the woods, there are plenty of FON access points, but they're all just in random residential areas dotted around the city, not in any place where you'd actually want to sit and surf. And residential areas such as this are already chock-full of open unprotected WiFi access points. I can see three from where I'm sat now (not counting my own).

The hobbyists like me who go "Cheap router that runs Linux? Cheers!", register it online (fulfilling all obligations for the price point), then wipe it and install OpenWRT from scratch will eat through their reported $21M, while the coffee shops and airports continue to sign with T-Mobile, Wandering Wifi, etc.

So if you want a dirt-cheap linux-running WiFi router, then this is an excellent deal. And once FON inevitably goes titsup, you can keep it next to your CueCat in your personal Museum of Free Hardware from Poorly-Thought-Out but Well-Funded Startups.

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ODF Add-in for Word 2007

Microsoft-funded open-source plugin for MS Word 2007 which allows the opening (but not yet saving) of documents in OpenOffice’s Open Document Format.

WSJ.com - Free, Legal and Ignored

College kids snub “free” DRMed not-playable-on-Macs-or-iPods lots-of-strings-attached music. Well, duh.

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Music For Kids Who Can't Read Good: The Evolution of "Crazy"

An MP3 of the obscure instrumental that “Crazy” is based on. It’s originally from the soundtrack to a spaghetti western!

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July 5, 2006

Gliffy.com - Create and share diagrams online

Free online Visio-a-like. Includes flowchart, network diagram, roomplan and UI templates, which, let’s face it, should be enough for about 90% of Visio users.

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July 4, 2006


Simple perl encrypted-backup-to-Amazon-S3 tool.

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The Tao of Mac - The Unswitch Saga: Get The T-Shirt

“I nearly switched to Ubuntu when Mark did…” hee.

Bristol Stool Scale - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

At the time of writing, this has 202 up-votes on Reddit. Hooray for democratized media.

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PhillRyu.com - The Top Ten Most Beautiful OS X Apps

A smattering of free/shareware OSX apps with to-die-for UIs.

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Guides: New Super Mario Bros. Guide

Now that I’ve “completed” New Super Mario Bros, I need a walkthrough to get me to the two hidden worlds that I skipped.

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July 3, 2006

Richard Feynman and The Connection Machine

Great article about Feynman’s work on parallel computing in the mid-80s.

nLite - Deployment Tool for Unattended Windows

nLite’s hit 1.0. If you reinstall Windows with any frequency, it’s a lifesaver, allowing you to slipstream an install containing all Windows Updates, plus your favourite settings, tweaks, and apps.

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My Book Premium Edition 500 GB Hard Drives

500Gb External USB/Firewire drive, with a nifty ambient capacity gauge on the front.

July 2, 2006



A (year-and-a-half) belated first wedding anniversary gift from our smashing chum, Cheryl: A signed Garry Trudeau print of Mike & JJ from Doonesbury.

Hopefully, our marriage will turn out happier than theirs!

freedb.org - Goodbye to freedb after 6 successful years

freedb looks doomed. Two of the three project maintainers have left, and the third is threatening to shut it down and sell the domain.

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About This Site

This is an archive of groovmother.com, the old blog run by Rod Begbie — A Scottish geek who lives in San Francisco, CA.

I'm the co-founder of Sōsh, your handy-dandy guide for things to do in San Francisco this weekend.