Thursday, 17 July 2008


So, I played around a bit with some open source CAD tools, but no dice. So, on the advice of my Dad, I decided to try Google's Sketchup . . . Great decision.
So, here are a few preliminary sketches I've quickly drafted.

Monday, 14 July 2008

My Mame coffee table.

Inspired by the Mamebook Cocktail and greatly helped along by the fact that I have more free time than I know what to do with, I have decided to build my own MAME coffee table. The project is going to emphasise the use of free or open source materials. E.G. CAD drawings will be done using an open source package once i decide which one to use, and as many of the components will be "sourced" in such a way that they won't cost me anything!

So, enough of the introduction, let me fill you in on the status of the project currently.

I have :
- Hansol H550 monitor (currently being fixed)
- Old PIII Computer begging to be ripped apart and used inside the table
- Lots of time
- A good idea of how I want it to look

Luckily I have aquired the monitor and computer, potentially the most expensive parts of the build.

My objective now is to design the table in a suitable open source cad package and get a good idea of all the dimensions, I will post any design files along with any other computer based resources so if your interested feel free to edit my designs if you fancy building something.

If you're interested in the project and how its progressing then feel free to shoot me an email: davidbeckingsale [at] gmail [dot] com

I will also be updating this blog as and when new developments are made.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

My distro of choice: Gentoo

Let me start off by saying why i first came to use gentoo - I was lingering in the IRC channel ,and there was some talk of live cd. Being quite inquisitve, I went and found the iso, before downloading it. It was prominently mentioned that it was based on gentoo, and thus, our relationship began.

It took me a long time to finally get round to installing gentoo, worrying about dual-booting and partitioning, but when I wiped my laptop, I decided I had nothing to lose. So a few hours later, I had downloaded the 2006.1 live CD and had it installed.

The first thing that hit was all the new things, and of course this would be the same in any distro. If you like learning, install linux! This made things difficult for me at first and took many hours to finally get my wireless working. But the satisfaction when I acheived it made it all worthwhile.

This brings me to what I like most about gentoo. It is most definetly an "expert" distro, and I am forever making mistakes. (I'm probably on my 4th install now) The best thing is when you fix what was broken, it is definetly the most satisfying thing I have done sat in front of the computer ;-)

I'm not going to bore you rambling on about how it optimizes things to your system and all the benefits of compiling every package yourself. The one point I do want to make is that you decide how things are. If you dont have mp3 support its because you left it out. Not because someone decided you might not need it. I like having that responsibility, even though it makes some things take 4 times longer than they might on a binary distro.

Portage is a great package management tool and makes it very easy to grab software. and with overlays, even bleeding edge software isn't out of reach. Compiz-fusion is now in the standard tree and the last time I installed it went without a hitch atall.

I hope I've given a bit of an insight into why gentoo is the distro for me, and maybe inspired you to check it out for yourself. If you have any first experience of distros you would like to share, then please feel free to comment away.

Until next time,



If you're interested, the hackthissite Live CD can still be got here
The gentoo homepage is here, and another great resource is the unofficial gentoo-wiki

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Tech Stories on Digg

I thought I'd start things off by introducing myself, I'm David, I'm almost 18, and hopefully will be studying CompSci in a few months.

This first post is just my thoughts on an article I read on a few hours ago. The article is "The Decline and Fall of Tech on Digg" and you can find it here. 

Really the article just consists of a few graphs which back up what I guess a number of people must have been feeling for a while now. There has been a huge drop in the quality and quantity of tech stories on digg. When I first found digg, probably a little more than a year ago, I had just started using linux and as such was devouring any article giving linux hints, and there used to be more than enough to keep me occupied for many hours. However these days I'm barely on digg for more than 20 minutes due to the drop in stories that really interest me.

The article says that the drop is due to the larger number of mainstream users frequenting digg, which is fair enough, and if it was just the front page suffering from a lack of tech stories I wouldn't be too worried, however, sifting through the Technology section, there are still very few articles of the quality i was used to.

So... I would like to propose a solution. "Tech" users must be far more ruthless and do as much as they can to improve the quality and number of tech stories on digg. Bury any stories you find that barely pass as tech, or are pointless reposts of old articles. However, I think the most important thing to do is to find, or write, articles
and content that will appeal to like-minded users and make digg a much better place for "techies" to spend their time.