Radio frequency finder

Long ago, I used to have a website which listed the frequencies on which FM radio stations are broadcast from the various radio towers in the Cape Town area. That website died some years ago, but in the past I’ve had a couple of emails enquiring about it. Anyway, I recently discovered FMSCAN, which allows you to select a location anywhere in the world and find out what radio stations you should be able to pick up there, and on what frequencies. So if you need that sort of information, now you know where to get it.

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Ubuntu on an HP Compaq dx2300 Microtower

My new desktop at varsity is, as described in the title, an HP Compaq dx2300 Microtower. First thing I did when I got access to it was, of course, to install Linux - Ubuntu 8.10 in this case. It’s a pretty nice machine (although not particularly high-spec) and pretty much everything worked straight away from install. The graphics card is Intel, so I’m not going to be doing any serious gameplaying (this is a work computer, anyway) but it runs Compiz pretty well. Being a desktop, suspend and hibernate aren’t terribly important, but as it happens they work fine.

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HSDPA modem and custom routing

So, for my Christmas present to myself I got a Huawei E220 HSDPA modem - it’s one of the Vodafone-branded ones, but I reflashed it with the generic firmware. Anyway, it’s an awesome thing to have for a geek like me - I can be connected to the Internet at broadband speeds almost anywhere in the city. It’s particularly useful when I’m on campus, so I can avoid the dog-slow UCT internet connection.

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XRandR – finally, simple monitor configuration for Linux

The most recent Linux distribution releases - Ubuntu 7.10, Fedora 8 and so on - are now shipping with version 1.2 of the XRandR extension for the X server. This allows the user to dynamically change resolutions, refresh rates, and - this is the really impressive thing - switch monitors on and off on the fly. All of this, without ever having to edit xorg.conf, or restart the X server, or reboot. This was one of the major things that the Linux desktop lacked compared to other major operating systems.

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