Poor Man’s hydroponics system

Have you ever tried to enter the world of hydroponics but never did it because you thought that it would be very expensive?

 

Now you don’t have an excuse! I’ve prepared a howto using (almost) the cheapest parts that I could get. This was not meant to grow large plants but small ones will do just fine. In my case I intend  to grow chilli peppers so this kit is great!

And this is what you need:

  • Small flower box including the water plate. It is important that the water plate fits perfectly on top of the flower box (just like a lid).
  • Some plastic cups
  • Air pump
  • Plastic tubing
  • Air Stone diffuser
  • Tools ( Electric driller, hole saw, duct tape, sharp knife, etc)
  • Perlite & Vermiculite (you can use rock wool or any other substrate)

Try to buy a hole saw with the same diameter as the plastic cups that you are going to use (or vice versa). This will make things easier, trust me!

Continue reading

Grab yourself a FREE .me domain!

If you like Thunderbird then this is the chance for you to grab yourself a new domain for FREE!

This is what you have to do:

 

  • Download and install the popular e-mail client Thunderbird.
  • Start the client. On the first screen type in the domain you want to register and select only Gandi.net. Click “Search”:

  • From that list, click on the corresponding button showing 0.00 Eur a year.
  • Follow the instructions to register an account. YOU HAVE TO USE AN AMERICAN ADDRESS OTHERWISE IT WONT BE FREE.
  • Profit! Enjoy your brand new domain. You can now access the control panel and point it to your favourite server.

How to bypass facebook spam filter for domains

So you own a blog (or some other kind of website) and you have been blocked by facebook from posting from that domain? Here goes a simple trick to minimize the impact of such problems:

First of you should contact Facebook and ask them to remove your domain from the spam list. You can do this by email, but I advise you to do it by letter because this way you probably show your motivation and real effort in correcting this issue (at least this is my opinion as I think this make things more personal).

But in the meantime here is what I think you should do:

1º buy a second domain. Since you cannot use the original domain while being blocked you are going to need to use this second domain do fool Facebook (at least until they unblock your original domain).
2º point the new domain to the very same page as the domain blocked by Facebook. Create a new VirtualHost entry and find a way of replacing all ocurrences of the original domain by the new domain name. If you are using Apache and have the mod_substitute enabled you can easily do it by adding the following block of code:


AddOutputFilterByType SUBSTITUTE text/html
Substitute "s|originaldomain\.tld|newdomain.tld|i"

3º create a set of rewrite rules as follows:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} !facebookexternalhit
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !originaldomain.tld
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://originaldomain.tld/$1 [L,R=301]

Add them to your .htaccess file.

You’r all set! All you need to do now is share the links using the new domain name. For example, instead of sharing links this way:

http://originaldomain.tld/breaking-news-cancer-cure-was-found

You should share them like:

http://newdomain.tld/breaking-news-cancer-cure-was-found

And that’s it! You can now keep sharing links on facebook. Here goes a little explanation about what is being done here:

Whenever facebook marks a domain as spam the validation of further links is done using two methods:

1st – The domain is checked against a blacklist. If it is found in a blacklist then the page you are trying to share is blocked.
2nd – If the domain is not in a blacklist than all the links inside the page that you are trying to share are checked against the same blacklist. If they are found then the page is blocked.

All that the first part of this little trick does is to replace all the ocurrences of the original domain by the new domain name whenever someone opens your eebsite using the new domain, and this way, when facebook connects to your website to retrieve the description and thumbnail, it will find a simple blog that has nothing to do with the one marked as spam.
The second part of this trick is used to redirect all of your users to the original domain. Well, not all… all but facebook! (that is what the line “RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} !facebookexternalhit” do) :)

So in the end, every people (except for facebook) that tries to enter your website using the new domain will be automatically redirected to the original domain.

Pixmania e a forma de lidar com os seus erros…

Há empresas e empresas, e no mercado dos gadgets e informática com as margens de lucro cada vez mais esmagadas, as lojas tentem diferenciar-se por um bom serviço aliado ao preço. Isto é o que deveria acontecer na teoria porque na práctica muitas vezes não acontece.

O exemplo mais recente disso aconteceu com a Pixmania. A Pixmania durante algumas horas teve uma máquina fotográfica Sony DSC-WX100 à venda por vinte e poucos euros. Os anúncios constantes de descontos até 90% espalhados pelo site davam alguma credibilidade ainda que existisse sempre a hipótese de ser um erro. Até aqui tudo bem …

Onde realmente se destacou pela negativa foi no que aconteceu a seguir. Primeiro os compradores começaram a ser notificados com uma indicação que a encomenda tinha sido devidamente “validada pelo serviço de atendimento ao cliente” e que se encontrava em espera para ser entregue. Face a estes dados e se ainda havia dúvidas sobre a veracidade desta venda, então começavam a ser dissipadas.

Acontece porém que após algum tempo, resolvem cancelar a encomenda a todos os utilizadores com o seguinte e-mail:

Exmo(a) Sr(a) XXXXXXXXXXXXX,

Efectuou uma encomenda na Pixmania.com e nós agradecemos.

Conforme o seu pedido, informamos que a sua encomenda CCLXXXXXXXXX, assim como o respectivo pagamento foram anulados.

Se escolheu o modo de pagamento online com Cartão de Crédito, não será debitado.

Ficamos à sua disposição para mais informações e esperamos vê-lo em breve no nosso site.

Com os melhores cumprimentos,

felix
James Felix
Responsável Relação Cliente

Um serviço de qualidade já mais teria validado os pedidos. Mas mesmo ignorando esse facto, tinha entrado em contacto com os clientes, pedia desculpa pelo sucedido indicando que se tinha tratado de um erro. Não é o primeiro caso que acontece, e lembro-me de ainda há uns dois ou três anos ter passado pelo mesmo com um LCD na Worten, uma PS2 na FNAC ou até mesmo mais recentemente com as garrafas de alumínio oferecidas pela TMN.

Enviar e-mails aos clientes a dizer que a encomenda foi cancelada a pedido é do mais ridículo que pode haver e demonstra uma má fé em admitir os seus próprios erros.

É a tal diferença de qualidade que pode ser vista nos serviços fornecidos pela Worten, Fnac ou TMN que está em falta de forma gritante por parte da Pixmania.

A Pixmania pode ter pontos a favor mas qualidade de serviço e pós venda não é uma delas.

How to buy Battlefield 3 Premium pack for less than 20€

For the last days I’ve seen a lot of rage against origin ( and they have reasons to IMHO) due to several motives:

 

* 50€ for the premium pack is expensive (I can argue with that).

*  Some of the premium features ( like the queue priority ) are really unfair.

* There is no discount to who already bought the Back to Karkand expansion pack. This means that you have to pay for it again (by paying the full price of the premium pack).

* They are much more worried in lauching extra contents than in fixing all those bugs or even securing a game which is full of cheaters…

 

Fortunately there is a way of getting the premium pack for less that half the price. I’m not telling that you should, but rather you could. Keep in mind that I’m not even sure that this is legal according to Origin’s T&C so you are on your own if you do that.

 

Here is how you should do it:

1º Clear all your browser cookies.

2º Go to this page and search for a brasilian proxy. Configure your browser to use it.

3º Open Origin’s store and search for the premium pack. You should see it with a price tag of 49,99 Brasilian Reais (~19.5€ by today’s exchange rates).

4º Add it to shopping cart and checkout. Login using your account credentials and use a Brasilian address. You can use a friend’s address or any other. Google is your friend…

5º Use your regular credit card to pay for the order.

6º Profit!

 

 

You can now remove the proxy settings from your browser. Wait a few minutes and your profile in Battlelog should now be updated.

 

UPDATE: It seems that EA has updated the Brazillian price and now it costs twice the previous price. Fortunately you can still buy it from the Indian store at about the same price. Just repeat the steps but replace the Brazillian proxy for an Indian proxy.

Ubuntu and XBMC v11 (Eden) and RAR support …

In case you’ve tried to upgrade your XBMC application using the official repositories from “team-xbmc” you may have already noticed that the rar support was disabled. This means that you won’t be able to play movies or open subtitles without extracting it first.

You have two options to fix this issue:

a) You compile the source code and enable the non free features.

b) You use a precompiled version made by someone else.

Fortunately there are good news for those who want option b.  A guy named Nathan runs a repository where you can download XBMC with these features enabled. Just add his repository to your sources list and you are ready to go.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nathan-renniewaldock

apt-get install xbmc

 

You can also manually check out his repository here.

Have fun! :-)

Femtoduino KIT – Who’s interested?

While I was looking for the smallest Arduino available on the market I stumbled on a website from a guy called Fabio Varesano that has developed a tiny one called Femtoduino. Not only he released the schematics, but he also gave the list of components as well as the board. Thanks Fabio!

You can check all the details on the official website: http://www.varesano.net/projects/hardware/Femtoduino

Now I know that snatching a PCB this is the hardest part since they are so small that they are not easy to build at home. So I talked to a local company and I order small batches of 10 PCBs and I can ship them to you for a total cost of 10€ each (including S/H). Ordering all the components from Mouser and assembling it yourself will cost you less than 20€ which is substantially less than the price charged by the website: http://www.femtoduino.com

So, if you are interested, drop me an e-mail (or comment below). Don’t forget that if you really appreciate this project, buy Fabio a beer ( paypal: fvaresano@yahoo.it )

Cheap domains at $2.75. Hurry up!

A few days ago someone asked me if I knew any coupon to buy cheap domain names. Since I don’t recall who asked me I’m going to post here the latest coupon I’ve received in my mailbox.

 

https://www.register.com/promo/domain-to-website-v2.rcmx?trkID=SEM0iO4I3W

 

LIMITED TIME OFFER Use invitation code Reg275ne at check out to receive new .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, and .us domains for only $2.75 when you register for a one year term. Offer valid for new customers only, limited to a total of three domains. Upon expiration, all products will be renewed at the then current price.

 

This offer will expire in one day so I advise you to hurry up!

 

How to effectively block SPAM from ALL ubiquityservers

If you run a blog you are probably one  of the people that is affected by SPAM originating in servers from a company called ubiquityservers. If you google it you will find hundreds of complaints and unfortunately it seems that people at ubiquityservers will always look the other way regarding this issue.

I have searched for all the subnets registered by ubiquityservers and here it is the results. Just open your .htaccess and add this information to it:

 

order deny,allow
deny from 70.32.32.0-70.32.32.255
deny from 69.147.236.0-69.147.236.255
deny from 64.120.2.0-64.120.2.255
deny from 173.208.32.0-173.208.39.255
deny from 64.120.16.0-64.120.19.255
deny from 173.234.12.0-173.234.15.255
deny from 23.19.32.0-23.19.35.255
deny from 173.234.88.0-173.234.89.255
deny from 108.62.56.0-108.62.63.255
deny from 173.234.80.0-173.234.83.255
deny from 23.19.168.0-23.19.171.255
deny from 70.32.34.0-70.32.34.255
deny from 174.34.151.0-174.34.151.255
deny from 174.34.144.0-174.34.145.255
deny from 173.234.180.0-173.234.183.255
deny from 64.120.4.0-64.120.7.255
deny from 173.234.188.0-173.234.188.255
deny from 108.62.192.0-108.62.195.255
deny from 108.62.152.0-108.62.159.255
deny from 23.19.80.0-23.19.83.255
deny from 23.19.84.0-23.19.87.255
deny from 108.62.200.0-108.62.203.255
deny from 108.62.252.0-108.62.255.255
deny from 23.19.124.0-23.19.127.255
deny from 23.19.128.0-23.19.131.255
deny from 23.19.248.0-23.19.251.255
deny from 23.19.184.0-23.19.187.255
deny from 23.19.216.0-23.19.219.255

# Servers @ Nobis (related to UbiquityServers)

deny from 70.32.32.0-70.32.47.255
deny from 67.201.48.0-67.201.49.255
deny from 72.37.145.0-72.37.145.255
deny from 173.208.0.0-173.208.127.255
deny from 69.174.60.0-69.174.63.255
deny from 174.34.128.0-174.34.191.255
deny from 173.234.0.0-173.234.255.255
deny from 108.62.0.0-108.62.255.255
deny from 72.37.224.0-72.37.231.255
deny from 23.19.0.0-23.19.255.255
deny from 72.37.237.0-72.37.237.255
deny from 72.37.218.0-72.37.219.255
deny from 72.37.222.0-72.37.223.255
deny from 72.37.221.0-72.37.221.255
deny from 67.201.0.0-67.201.7.255
deny from 72.37.242.0-72.37.243.255
deny from 67.201.40.0-67.201.40.255
deny from 72.37.246.0-72.37.247.255
deny from 216.6.224.0-216.6.239.255
deny from 72.37.204.0-72.37.204.255
deny from 69.147.224.0-69.147.255.255
deny from 64.120.0.0-64.120.127.255

allow from all

You can check it one by one to confirm, but these are all OK. Say goodby to UbiquitySpam :-)

Ksoap Android stub generator back online

After several months offline I decided to implement the needed changes in order to make it work again with my current ISP.  If this is the first time you see this, I have implemented an online version of  this project.

Just check the link on the top of this website ( http://www.davidgouveia.net/android-ksoap2-stub-generator/ ). All you need to do is input the url of the wsdl that you want to generate the stub.

Have fun :-)