Another source for free music!

Well since the start of the new school year I have been very busy with all of my school work and projects etc... hence the lack of posting here. But there is one thing that I have been dealing with lately that I thought I should post about. Students at PSU seem to be being targeted by the RIAA lately and we have had waaaay more than ever getting notices from them. Here is my message to those people: You do not need to download music!!!
There are plenty of places to get free music very easily without actually downloading it! This is great especially since you get the new stuff all the time without having to track it down and try it out first. I had written a post earlier about Pandora and I still love it but it seems to be a bit limited in the content it provides. It is almost like it is trying to hard to provide you music it thinks you will like. So let me introduce you to my new favorite music source. I'll admit that I was a bit leary at first but after about 3 seconds I was convinced to try it. (Thanks Peter!) So far I like it, I'm hearing music that I have never heard before that I like. It has all kinds of cool features but you should really just go check it out for yourself. So go ahead and point google at It's better than serving time for downloading music illegally 🙂

The Art of the Iced Coffee

Having worked all through high school at a very popular coffee establishment, which shall remain nameless, I have honed my iced coffee making skill to well exceed the standards of the establishment. Many of my customers were very satisfied and some even asked that I specifically made their regular cup for them. Their was no real secret to making it other than melting the sugar with hot coffee before adding the milk, ice and warm coffee. Of course I can't take full credit for this technique. It was taught to me by my sister who had also worked at the same store for years before I had. But the real trick is to keep the coffee moving. Swirl the hot coffee and sugar in the cup as much as you can before adding the other ingredients.

But being away from home at school as forced me to have to find other places to get good coffee. Not really a problem for me thankfully because I'm really not picky about I drink. I found a great little shop down town, the Cafe Monte Alto. Very good coffee with a totally different flavor than the arabica beans I'm used to. But they had their own trick to making iced coffee that I never would have thought of. Making the ice cubes out of coffee! This very simple trick makes for a very tasty and full flavored cup all the way to the end. Even hours later when traditional water cubes would have melted and badly diluted the cup.

Don't take my word for it, try it out yourself! Brew a pot and let it sit (not on a warmer!) until it comes down to room temperature. Then pour it into ice cube trays. Use them in your next cup and I'm certain you will love it. 🙂

Sweet new face for XP

After test driving Vista on my trusty Latitude C640 for a couple days, I got a little attached to the dark color scheme that I had setup. When I booted back up into XP, olive didn't look so appealing anymore. Then today, I stumbled across this site:Royale Noir: secret XP theme uncovered I don't even remember how I found it or what I was looking for in the first place. But needless to say, this theme looks really sweet. It even matches with the black theme in Office 2007 very well. Check it out! (click for full-sized)
Mini Shot, Click for full-sized

SSH across all of PSU and beyond!

I've been working on some projects that require running perl script from a UNIX command shell. This is pretty easy when I'm working in my apartment on my mac, but otherwise I'm stuck with having to ssh into one of the other servers on campus. Often times they are preoccupied with other people's projects and they run slow because of it. What's my solution? Pump ssh through a different port so that I can log on to my G4 from anywhere, on campus or off. I also wanted the ability to have the server function normally. ie: listen on port 22 as well as 5900.

Here's how to do it with Mac OS 10.4.8:

1. Either sudo -s to switch to root or sudo all of the commands in the following steps.
2. Edit /etc/services to include the following: (I put this right under the existing ssh port)
ssh2 5900/udp
ssh2 5900/tcp

3. Duplicate /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ssh.plist using the following command:
cp /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ssh.plist /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ssh2.plist

4. Edit the new ssh2.plist file changing the SockServiceName lines to read:

5. Also change the Label string:

6. Reboot your computer and you're all done!

It's not over yet!

Yesterday while walking to class my iPod locked-up. When I reset it things looked ok until I tried to play a song. Then it locked up again. Ok, so I assume that the hard drive had crashed and that I would need to spend at the very least $160 for another Toshiba hard drive of questionable quality. The most unnerving thing was that while I was in the iPod's diagnostic menu, the status of the hard drive showed that it had 25 hours of running tie logged. I was not a happy camper.

Then I stumbled across this article: Lowendmac iPod Drive Failure
There he talks about how the connector on the logic board comes loose and causes the same symptoms as a crashed hard drive.

Being the cheap guy I am 😉 It took me all of 2 seconds to decide to open my iPod and have a look around. After all I've been out of warranty since last March anyways. It turns out that the connector on the logic board wasn't the problem. It was the one on the drive.
It was just hanging off enough to confuse the system and it's thin strip of tape had come completely off. A little high-temperature electrical tape and things were back to normal again! And it didn't cost me a thing!! 😀
iPod happy again!

Looking for music?

Lately I have been trying to expand my music library in various different ways. Much what I listen to is rock, but I love it all. I've taken a liking to the newgrass genre recently. It is a modern form of the older bluegrass with slightly different instrumentation. There is something about the banjo, violin, and guitars that gets me going.

It took me a while to finally figure out what bands I liked though. Since the only radio station that I've ever heard bluegrass on is WGBH 86.7 FM out of Boston, I can't listen to it at school simply because I'm too far away. My brother showed me a sweet website,, you tell it a song or a band that you like and it makes an online radio station just for you that plays music that sounds like what you put in it. As a result I've been finding all kinds of new music that I would have never knew of otherwise.

Computer Security

In these days people tend to have lots and lots of passwords. Though things like Mac OS X's keychain and KDE's wallet system are great ways to keep track of these things, have you ever considered the other part of computer security? Your hardware. So it's great that you have the 64 character password but what do you do when your entire computer gets stolen? Mac OS X has a great system called FileVault that encrypts your entire home directory and to my knowledge there is no way to hack it. But that just isn't enough for me.

After watching a few episodes of the Discovery Channel's "It Takes a Thief" I realized how valuable my computer is to me. Not even considering the possibility of identity theft, computers are expensive and some of us are even too cheap to buy the school apartment insurance. Instead I recommend just using a good lock and cable to secure your machines. Whether laptop or desktop they are equally easy to steal.

A New Beginning!

Or well actually it's just a regular beginning really. Welcome to Matt's World. As things here evolve you'll find all kinds of interesting things. But for now it is going to be a little empty. Keep checking back though because I plan to update frequently! 🙂