xkcd.com rocks.

If you haven’t been there before, you must go to xkcd.com, and read all of his comics. Most of them are excellent, some are truly magnificent. Randall really seems to hit the spot, focussing on nerdity, and pointing out how amusingly stupid many of the things we do and say are.

Adobe Lightroom Binder Bug

I’ve found what might be a reproducible bug in Lightroom b4, but I haven’t done enough investigating to pionpoint it exactly. What’s going wrong is if I Export as a Binder, from my Mac, and try to import it on the PC, if it’s more than a certain number of levels of depth of Shoots, the import fails. I don’t know exactly how many levels, or if the problem is with the import or export. But it’s annoying, as I can’t just export the whole library as a binder and then import it into my existing library… instead I have to break it up into segments.

Use veto wisely under samba

I reformatted my file server, and installed OpenSlug on it (much faster than LinkSys firmware, I’ve noticed), and when I was setting up the Samba shares, I thought I’d be a clever bastard, and outsmart the Finder. See, when you access a directory, or copy files using the Finder, and you are copying to a non-HFS disk, it creates a file ._Filename.ext that stores meta-data, the new version of the Resource Fork, for all of you old-school Mac heads. So, I thought, if I use: veto files = /._*/.DS_Store/ then I won’t have any problems with these files littering up the directory structure. But, this won’t work. It doesn’t allow for the creation of these files, which causes the Finder to choke: Removing the veto (I moved it into hide files, which should prevent other clients from seeing them) fixed the problem. For search engines, the text of the dialog box is:

You cannot copy some of these items to the destination because their names are too long or contain invalid characters for the destination. Do you want to skip copying these items and continue copying the other items?

It took me quite a while to figure out why this was happening…


Tennis Australia plays with domain ‘scalper’ - Internet Applications Software

Tennis Australia paid a “hefty fee” to the Sydney-based group, but less than a six-figure sum, said Wood. He would not reveal the group’s identity other than to say they were not sport-related.

Now this astounds me. Getting a .com.au domain name is supposed to be rather strictly enforced. That is, you are not supposed to be able to get one unless you have a registered company with the name you want as the domain. And as I understood it, you couldn’t just get a similar permutation, it had to basically be your company name, and that’s it. So, which domain registrar sold tennis.com.au to someone who isn’t involved in sport? What grounds did they get it on?

90s Flowchart

xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language - By Randall Munroe

PostSecret, Sunday 14th Jan

This one gets a gig because it’s funny. I wonder if they noticed? This one gets a gig because everyone knows it’s true. Except in my case, of course. This one gets a gig because the poster didn’t pay enough postage. This one gets a gig because I’m an apostrophe nazi. Does he mean his friend has multiple wives, as it is written. Or does he really mean friends’ wives. I mean, he could be in Utah. This one gets a gig because we used to do the same thing, years and years ago. Our phone number was one digit different to a Hospital, and we used to have people ringing up at all hours looking for it, so we started answering with “Hello, Northern Community Hospital.” But we never managed to answer like that when it was a phone call for the hospital.

Finding CD Artwork

Since I share my iTunes music, or more specifically, the music files themselves between a variety of clients, I’m not really interested in having iTunes find the artwork for me. This is mainly because the data is stored in the iTunes folder, not the MP3/AAC files themselves. So, I’d rather go through and find the artwork and add it manually. Often, this will be scanning the original CD cover, if it’s in good enough condition. With the inclusion of the artwork view in the iTunes main window, this task is much, much easier. Before, I had to use some crazy AppleScripting to find the tracks missing artwork; now I just have to scroll down until I find the tracks that are missing it. And then hunt around for the CD, or google for it.

NSLU2 busybox issues

I had a bit of an issue with my NSLU2 tonight. I wasn’t able to install coreutils. It was complaining that busybox-links was installed, and it was clashing. However, I didn’t have it installed, and no amount of ipkg remove busybox-links, or ipkg -force-overwrite install coreutils was working. Then I came across Slugging, which shows how to deal with this exact problem: remove the busybox _and _busybox-links stanzas from the file /usr/lib/ipkg/status. Thanks, z0mbi3. Even though I hate l33tsp33k.

New Apple Kit

So, Apple has released a couple of new bits and pieces. I’m not going to mention the Apple iPhone, as it is unlikely to be available where I live, and the other two are a bit more interesting for me. The first one I noticed was the Apple TV. This is an AU$449 device that hooks up to (only widescreen) televisions, and allows you to watch video, view pictures and listen to audio that is stored on your Mac or PC. Which is exactly what I currently use XboxMediaCentre for. However, from a couple of things I’ve read on the Apple website, I won’t be getting one soon. I think it acts like an iPod, and requires syncing. This because that ‘s’ word is mentioned, and because it also talks about ‘up to 8750 songs,’ and since it has a 40GB hard drive, that sounds about how many tracks you could store on it. I don’t store any media on the Xbox - it’s all stored on a seperate media server. Why waste space by having duplicates of large files? It gets even worse if you look at Movies and TV programs. It may stream movies, I do recall seeing that somewhere. Plus, I may have to re-encode some video files, as AppleTV might not play everything, like VLC and XBMC do. The other feature that I think is missing is recording from TV. This makes it a deal-breaker for me. That’s the only functionality I don’t have with XBMC, and is the reason I’m going to consider getting a Mac Mini to replace it. If Apple don’t come up with something better. Admittedly, it looks much nicer than an Xbox, but it won’t play all of my Xbox games, either. Resolution-wise, the Apple TV might be a step ahead of the Xbox. I’m not sure what resolution XBMC can output, it may be 1080i, I’m not sure. (Note: after research, you can output this res with even a standard Xbox, but you need to get a special hi-res cable). • The other product Apple released is somewhat interesting. Airport Extreme. Basically, it’s an 802.11a/b/g/n wireless router. It has a couple of other key features, however. It also has a USB port, but it’s not a device-side port. Instead, it allows Hard Disk drives, Printers and the like to be plugged in. This would mean that the one device could replace (and upgrade!) my router, and my NSLU2 file server. The bonus is that it can easily handle multiple hard drives, unlike the NSLU2, which I’m probably going to have to install a different OS onto to get this functionality. At AU$259, (IIRC: $229 educational), it appears pricey, but replaces a NAS device, Print Server, and a wireless router. And beefs up the speed to 802.11n, which is 10x faster than my current router. Disadvantages of this over my current setup? I currently use my NSLU2 as a torrent client, and this functionality is unlikely to be built into the Airport Extreme! • What’s next? I’m hoping to see what happens when some real users get their hands on these devices. I’d suggest they might be running a cut-down OSX, or perhaps Linux/BSD or something, in which case they should be eminently hackable. For instance, it might be possible to use the AppleTV hardware, plug in an EyeTV, and bingo, PVR. Much cheaper than a Mac Mini, but with all of the desired functionality. And, turn off Syncing of iTunes library, and instead just look for files on a Server, and stream audio as well as video. As for Airport Extreme, it’s likely that this is a less powerful beast, but might provide better performance than my old NSLU2, which chugs along a bit when trying to grab more than one torrent at a time. (Don’t mention that you should queue torrents, this is for low-rate torrents, and the software I use doesn’t queue).

Re-ripping Music Library

I’ve ripped a fair chunk of my CDs to AAC format, using iTunes. I used AAC 128kbps, but since I’ve just bought a new 250GB Hard Drive to use for Movies/Television, I can have the 160GB one used almost solely for Music (and data backups for the various computers on my network). I’m thinking of re-ripping my CDs to 192kbps AAC, which will make the files about 1.5 times their current size. I currently have 43 GB of music, but some of this is downloaded (iTunes Store and Podcasts), so the whole database won’t increase by this much. I’m also going to make some other structural changes. I’m not going to have iTunes manage my music files, just the tags inside of them. That way it will play nicer with a variety of clients. iTunes moves files around when you change the ID3 tags, so another version of iTunes, or Xbmc, or whatever, can’t find them anymore. It might mean the filenames are wrong, but I think every system I use will have a database of the tags, rather than the files themselves. I just hope the various systems update the tags when they have been changed. I’m also going to stop using my Wireless Router as my DHCP/DNS server. I just don’t like the inflexibility that Netgear’s system has in this regard. I want to be able to add static IP addresses, and have the hostnames resolve. Which I know the SpeedTouch modem did using it’s DHCP/DNS setup. And then I can isolate the wireless segment of the network a bit more. Not that that’s too much of an issue using WPA, but you never know…