Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Law Firm Premiere: Watch Kelly

My friend Christa just sent this in:
Hi Friends!

Just wanted to invite you all to watch the premiere of
a new reality TV show called The Law Firm.

Why you might ask? Well, my friend Kelly is one of
the lawyers on the show. Here is a link to the

The first show is tomorrow nite, Thurs 7/28 at 9 PM on

Hope you can tune in!

*looks at Oakley* ... GO BRUINS !@!@ BAHAHAHA.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


originally uploaded by chrisholland.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

AVP 2005 Hermosa Beach Open Pics

I'm slowly but surely adding more AVP 2005 Hermosa Beach Open pics ... The Flickr tags are acting weird so this link might not be showing everything. Just go to the the main photostream to see more. I just bought one of the last 3 "beach club" tickets for tomorrow's Women events: They'll start at 10am, the final game for Women will be at 1:30pm. I attended the Men's final today and took some pics. I'm hoping to capture the Women's final on Video.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

SoCal Energy Alerts

This just in:

ISO declared Southern CA Region STAGE 2 Electrical Emergency for
07/21/2005 14:32 through 07/21/2005 23:59

The information in this email distributed by the Governor's Office of Emergency Services from the California Independent System Operator. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of this email, mistakes can occur. The State of California neither warrants the accuracy of the information, nor the timeliness of delivery. If the information you need is sensitive or urgent, please check the web site or other sources directly.

If you no longer want to receive notifications from My California, please update your profile at Please do not reply to this message.


AVP in Hermosa Beach

In case you didn't already know, the AVP will be passing through Hermosa Beach this Thursday through Sunday.

I'll try and snap some good pictures with the old Sony DSC-P50 and videos with the PV-GS120. Pictures will likely go to Flickr. Videos will likely go to google video.

My goal is to eventually park my car street-side and not go anywhere all week-end.

Rumors are ... TriZilla and CheyZilla will be joining the festivities!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

DBT-120 Bluetooth Firmware Updater

If you just bought a D-Link DBT-120 Bluetooth USB adapter for your Mac, intending to pair it with a bluetooth headset, you might have run into an unpleasant surprise when launching the "Setup a Bluetooth Device ..." Utility in the form of the following message:
Headsets are not supported on your bluetooth hardware dbt 120
Fear not! Just apply the Mac OS X Bluetooth Firmware updater 1.2. Then relaunch the bluetooth setup assistant. You'll notice that "headset" is now an option. It wasn't prior to the update.

I'm on my merry way to test out Brandy's new hs810

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Meet PhoneGnome

This is frickin' beautiful. The ultimate traditional long-distance-carrier killer? (Sprint, AT&T, etc.)

As always, Om Malik gets the scoop: EarthLink co-founder David Beckemeyer has just released his very own masterpiece: PhoneGnome.

You might remember my lamenting on the lack of competition among long-distance phone service providers ($2 per month PLUS 7 cents per minute??? F-THAT), where this service is the one tied to your phone line. There is a myriad of "calling card services" that offer very competitive national and international rates, but those, until now, required calling a 1 800 number, punching-in an account ID, and PIN. If you're lucky to have a smart mobile phone you could program that in. But cell phone reception is often spotty in many homes.

Jump forward to the advent of the SIP protocol, and calling card companies who offer SIP interfaces to their services, such as, which i covered in this article. The key was to make it easy to "call long-distance from home". The article was outlining steps to use your computer with free software to do that. I do again wish to emphasize the cool-factor of using a hands-free headset to converse.

Forget about owning a computer and running software. How about an all-in-one device that does it all for you, into which you can plug your existing phone. Though I do not yet own one, i believe this is what PhoneGnome aims to achieve: As a U.S. residential phone customer, it is already granted that you can make unlimited phone calls to "local numbers" as part of your monthly phone fee. Many people (i'm one of them) are uncomfortable disabling phone service altogether as phone service will always still work during power outages, and 911 is still more effective and reliable. PhoneGnome will pass all local calls through to your normal phone line. You'll also keep receiving calls to your normal phone number, the same way you use to.

Now, when you dial a long-distance number, PhoneGnome will send the call through your broadband connectivity to one of a myriad of potential long distance service providers you may have configured, at rates that are truly competitive, i'm talking 5 cents a minute to talk to my GrandMa in Paris, 2 cents a minute to talk to Brandy's parents in Texas, with no monthly fees. I'm willing to bet, i'd be able to configure my account into PhoneGnome, the same way i configured it into my SIP client.

It's kind-of a bummer i'm only reading about PhoneGnome tonight, after I've already ordered an extra hs810 for Brandy's iBook. Then again, it will still give her the hands-free freedom to make calls. She can take her laptop anywhere about the house, upstairs or downstairs. The PhoneGnome kinda needs to be tied to one phone jack, and one LAN port. But it'd be much nicer to allow house guests to make long distance calls, rather than handing them a computer and a headset.

Uhm. I'd say the days of traditional long-distance carriers are numbered. And more specifically, the days of recurring monthly fees to make long-distance calls are numbered.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Using SIP: A Few Reasons

Below is a recap of a few journal entries outlining a few reasons why i believe one might be compelled to make use of SIP:

1) A layman's introduction to SIP
2) Interoperability
3) Gizmo is cool
4) Phone 2.0

The fourth one "Phone 2.0" shows how I'm able to use the same account to place calling card calls over a traditional 1 800 number programmed into my cell phone, on-top of using my computer to make calls through the exact same account, over SIP this time. In neither case, do i ever have to type-in my calling-card information: On the cell phone, it's programmed-in, it sends the tones for me. On the computer, it's baked-in the SIP authentication credentials.

Here's a little bit of Math:

- my Sprint "Simple 7" long distance service costs me $2/month and calls cost me 7 cents per minute anytime. I still can't call France using this long distance service, without paying out my ears.

- lets me make calls for 3 cents a minute anywhere in the U.S., anytime, with no recurring fees. Calling France is about 6 cents a minute.

- Gizmo Project lets me make calls for under 2 cents a minute anywhere in the U.S., anytime, with no recurring fees. Calling France is about 5 cents a minute.

The only reason why I stuck with long distance service until now was because of the past inconvenience of using cheaper services. Now that i call through the computer for cheaper and more conveniently, Sprint is about to go bye-bye, as soon as the dbt-120 and the hs810 arrive here for Brandy's iBook.

So recap, to reach cheap communications Nirvana, i'm looking for:

1) a good global traditional calling card account, that lets me use worldwide toll-free numbers to make calls, through traditional phone.
2) the same account needs to be tied to a SIP interface, so i can leverage it to make calls from any SIP-enabled computer, or device. Such "device" might for example be a hybrid SIP/GSM/3G phone, an ATA, an asterisk box.
3) the same account would ideally also provide me with an easy-to-remember/use SIP address: so people may call me for free.
4) the same account would allow me to purchase a phone number in the area code I want, which i might advertise as my "mobile" or "global" phone number. This number would be tied to the incoming SIP interface defined in 3).

that'd all be a pretty good start. What i have so far is pretty good. In all cases you've gotta distinguish services that have recurring costs associated with them, such as Vonage, and services that let you "pay as you go" by putting money into an account, where "per minute rates" make more sense to me, as they really reflect what I'm paying.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Last Few Weeks Fun

Beyond doing and writing about my typical share of nerdy stuff, i've actually been up to some not-too-nerdy-things in the last few weeks:

- I planted nails in wood! Watched Brandy paint wood. Brandy redid the backyard very nicely!

- Brandy's Brother's came over with his Fiancee and his 2 boys! We grilled meat!

- I hosted a Bachelor Party. Ate meat.

- Got sunburned. tanned. ran 5 miles.

- Ate more meat. I rode a bull. Did silly drunk things. Climbed on my roof to watch invisible fireworks (sober! that was another day). Played with TMaxx. Broke TMaxx. Repaired TMaxx.

- had birthday fun at Lindy Groove.

- tanned some more. ran 5 miles.

How Flickr Was Built

They like PHP. mostly. cool.

Happy Bastille Day!

About 215 years ago today, it kinda sucked to be a French King.

Allons enfants de la patrieeeeeeuuuhh
le jour de gloire est arrive' ....
contre nous de la tyrannie ....
l'etandard sanglant est leve' (bis) ...

... and all that ...

Heh. I remember 1989 and the crazy sh1t Jean-Paul Goude had put together.

Mad shouts to Oakz :D

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Firefox 1.0.5 Released - Important Security Fixes

Firefox 1.0.5 is out for all platforms.

Release notes for version 1.0.5 indicate stability improvements and important security fixes.

If you wish to promote Firefox in a somewhat creative, rebellious way, you might consider this.

Ma Bell's Internet

David Beckemeyer, in answer to Jeff Pulver's Call to Arms to protect the Internet's openness and interoperability, recalls the dark ages of AT&T-owned phone system and devices, and draws interesting analogies to plans seemingly developed by telco and cable companies.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Out with the WICK

... in with something people will actually look forward to work with.

i had the sneaking feeling it was a matter of time before the real skill would come out of the woodwork to throw me in the deepest pits of irrelevance :)

Blingo Invite

Join Blingo Friends with Me

Blingo is a new search engine that gives away prizes every day
like Sony PlayStation Portables, Apple iPods, Visa gift cards,
a year of free movies at Blockbuster Online, and more.

By joining Blingo Friends you can invite your friends to use
Blingo, and when one of them wins a prize you win the same prize.
That means if one of your friends wins an iPod, you win one too.

Your Blingo Invite.

Chris Holland and Blingo

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Don't Click on the Blue E - Slashdot Book Review

Firefox is good for you. The Blue E is bad for you. As always, if you see it on slashdot, you know it's true.

... despite the fact that the team behind the blue E did invent XmlHttpRequest. Then again, nobody's arguing the Blue E is bad for "Ajax developers".

So my point is ... err ... i actually don't have a point. Sensical ranting is highly overrated anyway.

Crazy Idea for C and Java Gurus

update: An anonymous reader points me to Apache James and ApacheDS. Very cool!

I've been mulling this idea in my head for quite a few years now, and i'm pretty sure there are a bazillion people out there who've been mulling over the same idea for far longer, and likely have implemented it in many places, but since i'm too lazy/busy to google for it, i figured i'd just ask here, so people can educate me.

Many Unix daemons that run Internet services such as named/bind, smtpd/sendmail, etc, have for years been implemented and run in C. It makes sense, C is very fast, native to Unix and Linux. Many security issues over the years have been found and, thanks to the open-source process, plugged very fast. Some of those security issues have typically been "remote buffer overflow" exploits, allowing malicious attackers to gain access to those servers and compromise them at very low levels, often undetected.

Flash forward to Java and its virtual machine. Would it be conceivably decent to build Java implementations of most popular Unix daemons out there? I'm not looking to start a whole "Java is slower than C" flamewar here. I'm merely considering the fact that if a service runs from the Java Virtual Machine ... the worst that could be done against said service, might be crash the Virtual Machine it runs from, leaving the host machine un-compromised. There's a Java VM for just about anything that has a CPU out there, so deployment should be fairly trivial. Apache Tomcat is a successful example, used on many production systems to serve HTTP requests. So that covers your typical port 80. What about SMTP/25? POP/110? Hell, let's be crazy here, SMBD/135-139's been cracked *MANY* times.

While I understand such Java implementations would not be the kind of thing people would jump on to deploy on production systems, they might make for interesting "science projects"/case studies for industrious developers, and would help further test the limits of Java.

While the use of GCC on your platform of choice makes most daemons implemented in C pretty darned cross-platform, Java would obviously push this portability even further ... use the same .jar file ... maybe hack some cross-platform happiness into startup scripts (a-la, bickity-bam you're done? Things might get hairy when a daemon needs to access OS-specific features, such as local User information/permissions, likely making it harder to implement simple "drop-in" replacements, and instead requiring some re-architecture of host systems such as moving to LDAP-based user management, etc ... which might be a serious deterrent Eeek.

I'll try and scour sourceforge for such projects. If I'm simply crazy/clueless, please do say so in comments >:D

Wikipedia: London Explosions

Wikipedia is doing a fine job of covering this most tragic event.

Joi Ito Coverage

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Municipal Networks, the Great Equalizer

Joi Ito's post on Municipal WiFi Networks brings-up good points about benefits they can bring to many communities.

I totally believe Hermosa Beach is one such community. We've got no debt. We've got the money, the means, motivation from constituents. For reasons that are beyond me, two council members have kept this project at a deadlock since its original roll-out a year-ago. For an investment totalling under $200,000 since the project's inception, we could have had near-ubiquitous WiFi-powered broadband, with ongoing costs entirely subsidized by unobtrusive advertisement from local businesses, keeping usage free to end-users, with plenty of opportunities to further monetize the system by selling power-features to end-users such as routable static IP addresses. The plans we had in place were backing our Internet link by a fiber backbone, allowing the city to keep buying more DS3 circuits as usage would increase. The city has a roughly 2-mile radius, with about 10,000 Homes and 19,000 residents.

To put things in perspective, we're about to complete a very nice "Pier Renovation Project" that has cost the city upward of $6 Million.

Are we screwing the pooch? I believe we are. Eric Black, from LA Unplugged, had scored us a bid for roughly $100,000 worth of free WiFi equipment, we missed the offer window, now if look to do this again, the project will go from $146,000 to $246,000. Still a steal, all things considered.

Gizmo Project Wishlist

The Gizmo Project is actually quite cool

Friday, July 01, 2005

Gizmo Project: Free Calls with SIP

See also A Brief Introduction to SIP.
See also Gizmo Project Wish List.

Dan just pointed me to the Gizmo Project, yet another player in the SIP field of Voice Communications over the open SIP protocol I keep raving-on about.

Other major players have also been: Free World Dial-Up: a long-time pioneer in the field. actually powers the Gizmo Project, has been around for a while too.
EarthLink Free Online Calling (which i use): launched in late 2004, opened for free to everybody 2 months ago.

The Gizmo Project appears to be a re-branding of's original offering, with possibly the most polished SIP Software for Mac OS X around.

While the Gizmo project ostensibly advertises that Gizmo users can chat for free with other Gizmo users to encourage people to sign-up for their service, since it's built on the SIP protocol, the first thing I did was to plug my EarthLink SIP address into the input field: It worked! The key here is that with true SIP providers, any SIP user can talk to any other SIP user by simply using the person's full SIP address:

After some digging around, I found out that any SIP user can call a Gizmo Project user as such: (in my case,
or (in my case,

Conversely, any SIP user can all any EarthLink Free Online Calling user as such: (in my case,
or (in my case,

It's kinda wild: I've got SJPhone, a plain SIP software configured for EarthLink SIP and the Gizmo Project SIP software, running at the same time on Mac OS X. Both of them are configured to use my Motorola HS810 headset for sound input/output. And I'm able to ... call ... myself ... hah hah.

Aren't interoperability and open standards loads of fun? I'm having fun! Are YOU having fun?

29 years

here's to another year elapsed since reluctantly crawling out of the womb.

If anybody out there cares to make my day, they'll give me a ring at after 2pm pacific time and/or leave a message if i'm not picking-up, to say "happy birthday". If you don't already have SIP running on your computer, you could follow these instructions. If you wish to learn some mostly-non-nerdy basics about SIP, you might consider this article.

SIP is cool. It's open. It's free. It works. It's also now usable. If you have a computer with some kind of microphone, some headphones laying around to avoid feedback loops, broadband connectivity, you're good to go, right now, you can send and receive calls from anybody, to anybody.

Skype is fun, and likely the most user-friendly way to make free online calls, but it's a closed platform, a closed protocol. Skype is to real-time communications what Compuserve was to messaging in the early 90's: a closed ecosystem. Consumers need to get excited about SIP to encourage developers to build better SIP software and infrastructures.

I'm working on Mom and Dad right now.