New project - Play Smear

I've been working on a new project titled Play Smear. It's a site to play the card game Smear online. You can play against the computer and against other people. The front-end is written in Angular2, and the backend is written in Python.

Check it out, play a few games here:

If you want to see how it's implemented, visit the github page:


I've been getting a few spam comments recently, so I guess it's time to enable the captcha option. I hope it won't be too much of a hindrance for anyone leaving real comments.

LG DR787T in the trash

Update! I have upload the firmware files on FileDen (never used it before, someone suggested it though - thanks Alex!). The firmware can be found at: Happy downloading, and I hope your player has a longer life than mine!

For those following the LG DR787Tsaga, I have recently thrown my unit away. It wouldn't read anything, so I decided to go buy a $30 DVD player (which, by the way, is working wonderfully).

Yes, I still have the firmware files. For those of you who want to try to fix your units and need the files, feel free to send me an email. I am thinking about uploading them to a free hosting site somewhere, but unless the demand increases it just wouldn't be worth the time to set it up. I have set up an account, see the above update for a link!

It amazes me that a DVD player would work one day, and the next day stop working. Why? Poor manufacturing? Bad luck? My dog peed on it without me noticing?

I tried t…

LG DR787T Dark Knight playback issues solved

Update 2:
I have uploaded a copy of the LG firmware files to fileden; they can be downloaded from

I have thrown away my dvd player.

So if you read my last post, you would know that I was having problems playing The Dark Knight DVD on my new (used) LG DR787T DVD Recorder/Player. I would put the disc in and the player wouldn't load. After talking to tech support and hearing that they don't know what is wrong and they can't help me, I decided to try the firmware upgrade that LG had on their support website. It was listed as adding Parental Control capabilities, but I figured maybe they threw in some other fixes as well. Sure enough, after I installed the new firmware, The Dark Knight was playing perfectly!

Here is what to do:
Go to LG's support websiteEnter the model number DR787TNext to "[USA Only] Parental Update for RC797T & DR787T Video Players", download "2_Software Update f…


UPDATE: I found a solution to this problem

So I talk to an LG representative today about my new (new-to-me) LG DR787T DVD recorder. I just got it (for only $20 on ebay, what a steal!) and was going to test it out by watching The Dark Knight. Pop in the disc, and it doesn't work. Won't load. I look around, and it seems other people are having similar issues, so I decide to do my civic duty and let LG know they have a problem to deal with.

: Hello Matt Kokotovich. Welcome to LG Electronics! How may I provide you with excellent service today?
Matt Kokotovich: I have the LG DR787t and it won't play The Dark Knight DVD. Are you aware of this issue and is there a fix being planned?
(long gap here)
Matt Kokotovich: Hello?
Bria: I would like to please place you on a brief hold while I research that for you, will that be alright?
Matt Kokotovich: Sure, thanks
Bria: Hello....yes one moment
Bria: Thank you for holding. Are you playing blu ray or HD in the player?

(I believe I already me…

US Bank flash drive hidden CDROM removal instructions

So recently my girlfriend opened US Bank savings and checking accounts, and as part of the deal received a free flash drive. The representative told her it has some promotional files on it, but they can just be deleted. Not quite.

When I plugged the flash drive in, two drives appeared on my desktop (Ubuntu). One was what I expected, a USB mass storage device. The other was a CDROM drive. I looked at what was on it, and it was just a bunch of promotional files and programs.

Well obviously this cdrom popping up every time you plug in the drive isn't very nice, so I tried to remove it. Reformatting the device didn't work, it just cleared out the USB mass storage device. I ran dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb to zero out the entire drive, in case reformatting somehow missed something. This destroyed the MBR, partition table, everything. But when I plugged the device back in, the CDROM was still alive and kicking.

So this wasn't a hidden partition on the drive, this had to be…

Google Talk Groupchat

Google talk has recently added a groupchat feature to their talk gadget. This allows multiple users to join a common channel, like IRC or a chatroom on AIM. This is a great feature, and I have personally used it a few times now for working on homework assignments with a small group.

However, it is currently only supported (AFAIK) on Google's Flash-based talk gadget. This is alright because of its compatibility with anything that can run flash, but a flash-based client can only do so much. I use Pidgin as my chat client. Formally known as Gaim, this open source program can connect to all major protocols, including the Jabber network, which is what gtalk is on.

So when I heard Google was supporting groupchats, I was eager to see if I would be able to connect to the server using pidgin, like I would be able to on any other Jabber server. Well, unfortunately, that isn't available (yet, I hope). It looked like I would be stuck using the flash client.

However, there is a way to …