Charter Communications seems to be pulling some sort of crap with their DNS servers. While working on a new project our friend Billy Hoffman, discovered that Charter was reporting absolutely every domain as resolving. They do offer a solution by providing an opt-out cookie, which isn’t useful at all if you’re not using a web browser… and I’m guessing most of Charter’s subscribers aren’t looking for a bastardized version of the net. We’ve seen recently that messing with DNS like this can actually open up new security holes.
XBMC (formerly Xbox Media Center) has always been a popular choice for retiring an original Xbox. Maybe people install it for lack of something better to do or maybe it’s the pride in having better media support than the 360. The XBMC team has found another device that has a pretty weak television experience, the Mac. Lifehacker took the latest XBMC for OSX beta build for a run now that it supports remote controls. It seems like a much more functional than Apple’s built in Front Row. There are a few things that don’t quite work yet, which you can find in the FAQ. We’re definitely going to try this on our old Mac mini… once we upgrade it to Leopard, which is an unfortunate caveat that might prevent people from running XBMC on legacy hardware. There is no Apple TV support planned because of limited horsepower and the hacking hurdles that might be required. If you’re interested in repurposing your old Xbox with XBMC, check out Lifehacker’s install guide.
In order to tell his home automation system that he’s home, [Jim] mounted a RF transmitter in each of his cars. When the car is on, the transmitter is powered up. The house picks up the transmitter signal when the car arrives or departs. With that information, he was able to set up some stateful rules that can be activated when people arrive or depart. Some people prefer to use APRS and read vehicle location from the transmitted GPS coordinates, but this is a bit cheaper and doesn’t transmit your position to the entire world all the time. The useful range is about 100 feet, so this can work even if you have to park in the street.