no additives or preservatives

kacked.com



Playing Chicken

I was thinking tonight about this problem I had cleaning up after cooking. Actually it's an ongoing thing --I like to cook but doing the dishes afterward is difficult at best. I can't remember now what it was I had cooked but I remember well the incident of the pot...

I think it was chicken. I had eaten most of it, having cooked it in a large casserole pan and then leaving it sitting by the sink thinking I would clean it "later". Several weeks later I noticed it was still there. The pan was covered so there was no detectable odor.

You know how it goes (or maybe you don't, and that's why I'm telling you.) Sometimes the things which are not seen grow larger in the mind than they actually are. I toyed with the idea of a summary execution. Wrapped securely with duct tape it might not offend the homeless people who dug through the trash for cans. Perhaps even going to the trouble of fashioning some kind of warning sign which I could firmly attach. But then I kept thinking about the hassle a bachelor has acquiring new housewares.

Several months later... I looked at the pan. The pan looked back. It taunted me. I snapped. Thinking: "I'll be damned if this pan is going to get the better of me", I wrapped an alcohol soaked bandana around my face and pounced. I lifted the lid. The pan fought back, striking me in the face with a noxious green cloud. Instant projectile vomiting. Lucky for me the sink was close by. Bested by a casserole pan. What can I say. I wrapped it up and threw it away.


Avoiding Ads On The Web

I'm posting this more for my benefit than anybody else's. The next time I install my desktop system I might not remember what this stuff is called or where I downloaded it.

I like running my web browsing sessions through an ad filtering proxy. Lately I use privoxy, but I've used Junkbuster before too, which I guess is the precursor. There was an article on Slashdot recently: "Does Adblock Violate A Social Contract?" After reading it I installed the firefox plugins mentioned there and I like how they work --privoxy always has an image it uses to block ads and I don't like the way it looks. With this adblock, they're just gone.


Revising My Code

I'm tickled with myself. Tickled pink. Made some revisions to my lossless2aac script, pushed the changes to the server and the info at the bottom of the page updated automagically. The readme.txt at the bottom of the page is generated from running the script itself on the server. It's the same thing you would see if you ran it like this:

./lossless2aac -help

That way, the script is self-documenting, self-contained and anybody that wants can read the help file without downloading the script. Maybe not as cool as inventing the lightbulb but still kind of cool.

Funny, I only wrote this a couple weeks ago but I had to stare at it a bit before I could grok enough to change it. Reminds me how important it is to write transparent and readable code --the guy revising it later could be me!


All Hail

Woke up to a big hail storm. Over quick, only lasting 20 minutes or so. Biggest hail I've ever seen. I'm not kidding they were half inch across. We thought it was going to break a window.

Dog freaking out, trying to hide under everything, pissing on the floor. Cable tv went down but internet stayed solid. Even the weather has it's priorities.


Timed Recording Of Streaming Audio

I had written a script quite a while back which did this. It was running from cron so I could keep up with some of the radio shows I missed from the El Lay area. Alas... a hard drive crash put an end to that. It also resulted in my loss of the original script --thus prompting my recent investigation of source code management.

Anyway, I rewrote the script. It's now NEW AND IMPROVED. Since I've got an iPod now and not every stream is mp3, I've written it so that it can convert (on the fly) to iPod aac.

If you need to ask how this works or what it's for, it's probably not for you. Nothing to see here folks, move along...

download streamverter


iPod Audio Conversion On Linux

Been experimenting a lot with audio since my brother gave me an iPod shuffle for my birthday (thanks again Dan.) After the ordeal of just getting the thing to work on Linux, I've been trying to find a way to squeeze the highest quality sound onto the thing.

Sniffing around I've found that there are several different losslessly compressed audio formats. As I found losslessly compressed audio files in one format or another I had taken to writing scripts to convert them to aac using the FAAC encoder.

I went through a process of discovery where I would find some files in one format, write a script to convert them, then find files in another format and adapt the script to convert these as well. After doing this several times I decided to just re-write the script one more time. But this time to write it in a modular fashion, putting each type of conversion to wav into it's own subroutine so that I could more easily add other's in the future.

I had a bunch of fancy code that parsed the equivalent of the id3 tags for each of the various formats and then tagged the aac files. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't (sometimes the info wasn't even there.) Since I couldn't get it to work consistently I shitcanned that section of code. Now there's a routine that prompts for the information. Stuff like: artist, album, genre, etc. Track title and number are parsed from the filenames.

The lossless formats I have run across so far are as follows:

Monkey's Audio (.ape)
FLAC (.flac)
Shorten (.shn)
Apple Lossless (.alac)

I'm sure I'll run into others at some point.

To use the script put it somewhere in your path, install the prerequisite software and run it. You have to do a little work up front to put the files into the format it likes. Make them look like this:

01 track title.ape
02 track title.flac
03 track title.shn
04 track title.alac

Usually you wouldn't have them all mixed up in the same folder like this. But if you do it will still work. Provided it's all the same album as the script will be prompting for artist, album name, etc.

download lossless2aac


Darcs -- Source Code Management

Learning how to use darcs to keep track of the scripts I've been working on. This has always been a good idea, I just never got around to doing it. But recently I lost a couple scripts I had written when a hard drive crashed.

Now I'll have a repository on my desktop and one on my web server. The added advantage of this is that other's will [maybe] be able to download and use the code I write.

"The Pragmatic Programmer":

Always Use Source Code Control. ALWAYS. Even if you are a single-person team on a one-week project. Even if it's a "throw-away" prototype. Even if stuff you're working on isn't source code. Make sure that everything is under source code control--documentation, phone number lists, memos to vendors, makefile, build and release procedures, that little shell script that burns the cd master--everything. We routinely use source code control on just about everything we type...


Knoppix Paradigm Shift (unionfs)

New version of knoppix just came out. Usually it's not that big a deal but this is the first one [available as a offical download] that includes unionfs.

The thing that makes this so cool is that unionfs makes it possible to install software and make changes to the file system on the cd. It does this by laying the ram over the top of the cd and keeping track of any changes you make.

This makes using the cd a much more powerful experience --you're not restricted to the software that comes with it. You can pretty much use anything available in debian. Including any custom packages you might have...

Paradigm shift--corny, overused--but that's what it is. I'm curious to see where this will lead.

Kyle Rankin: Knoppix 3.8 and UnionFS. Wow. Just Wow:

"I really think UnionFS is going to take Knoppix to a whole new level of ubiquitous computing. You can truly use the CD just like any other installed CD, and with the prices of usb thumbdrives continuing to drop, you can basically install anything you would like."


Call Of The Wild

Finally read a Jack London book. I'd been carting it around in my pocket for several months, maybe as long as a year. I remember seeing someone on the plane reading it and thinking: "I've got that book in my pocket computer!" (that and a small library), or more likely I was reading something else.

Good book, kind of an airport novel though. A fast read --about the same speed as one of those Maxwell Grant "The Shadow" novels (come to think of it I'll have to try reading one of those again --just for laughes.) One cool thing about it was that the story is told from the perspective of a dog. A dog that gets "sold into slavery". The slavery of pulling a sled in the great white north during the alaskan gold rush.

I liked this quote enough to bookmark it:

"There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive. This ecstasy, this forgetfulness of living, comes to the artist, caught up and out of himself in a sheet of flame; it comes to the soldier, war-mad on a stricken field and refusing quarter; and it came to Buck, leading the pack, sounding the old wolf-cry, straining after the food that was alive and that fled swiftly before him through the moonlight. He was sounding the deeps of his nature, and of the parts of his nature that were deeper than he, going back into the womb of Time. He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars and over the face of dead matter that did not move."


Kacked Podcast?

Been obsessed with all things iPod since my brother gave me a shuffle for my birthday about three weeks back. He seems kind of obsessed with it as well. He's just got a bunch of audio gear --gearing up for the podcast radio show thing.

I've done some experiments with it. I kind of like the idea of a podcast but not sure if I have anything to blather on about (not like I'm doing here for instance.)

Been writing some software for my iPod too. Started out, I was trying to see what I could do just to get the thing working on linux. That took some doing--a couple days worth--but it's licked now. I'll probably summarize that when it gels. But then I started fussing with trying to get the best sound I could out of the thing.

Wrote a script to convert some lossless audio compression format to iPod aac, and then discovered some other lossless compressed audio format (or I guess it was the files I discovered), so redid the script to convert this other new format. Then discovered another and another, each time rewriting the [bash] script. I'm convinced I'll run into another lossless compression format, so I decided to put all the different incarnations of the script into one. And to write it in a modular subroutine type fashion so I can add stuff to it as I come across it.

Right now it does four different types: Shorten, Flac, Apple Lossless (alac), and Monkeyaudio (ape), and can alternatively encode to mp3 rather than aac (or do both at the same time.) I'm cleaning it up and will probably post it here in a few days.

Another one I've got working is the stream timer, recorder, converter script. It basically will record most anything that streams over the internet (video too) and convert it to iPod aac. That will be going up soon too.

Oh yeah, and I'm all setup to begin doing my own podcast. Everything is there. The web server is setup and I've run through how to record, setup a microphone, etc. And I checked out skype today as well. Used it to make an internet phone call to somebody in an office in Pretoria, South Africa. Good audio quality, maybe I'll be able to use that to do some kind of phone interview thing.

And I "hacked" my own web site on April fool's day. Did anyone notice besides the search engines?


The Pope -- Fear and Loathing In The Trenches

Earlier tonight I got to listen to Steve going on about [what in his mind was] a big controversy:

"If the pope dies during the end of the game will they interrupt the game to talk about it?"
"If they do, it's possible that they'll miss the final score and if they don't they'll probably piss off the catholic viewers."

"Either way there's going to be a lot of pissed off people if the pope dies during the end of the game..."

Later I was in the texas equivalent of a 7/11. The indian guy behind the counter asked me how I was doing. I says: "I'm ok and all except for the pope dying", and he says: "oh... he was catholic wasn't he?"



Nullam elementum neque a ante. Vestibulum sed urna hendrerit nibh egestas adipiscing. Ut gravida. Vivamus ut dolor. Mauris molestie elementum magna. Maecenas scelerisque feugiat erat. Sed nec risus. Phasellus eu nunc. Curabitur purus. Ut nonummy. Etiam sit amet mi quis felis suscipit tempus. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Quisque tincidunt ullamcorper massa. Duis elit.

Phasellus viverra dolor. Sed nulla dui, pharetra ut, faucibus ut, tempor sit amet, elit. Sed ut dui. Nunc quam nisl, sodales ut, molestie sit amet, tristique sit amet, pede. Donec ornare massa nec ligula. Morbi eget nunc in lectus vestibulum porttitor. Integer nec mauris mattis nibh elementum facilisis. Praesent wisi. Nullam eros sem, fringilla nec, venenatis non, ultrices nec, turpis. Curabitur et erat id mi auctor pulvinar. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Phasellus tempus, orci congue tincidunt ornare, felis libero tempor lectus, et lobortis eros lacus vitae lacus. Etiam tempus nunc quis wisi. Duis elementum blandit mauris. Etiam malesuada lorem et sem.

Nullam elementum neque a ante. Vestibulum sed urna hendrerit nibh egestas adipiscing. Ut gravida. Vivamus ut dolor. Mauris molestie elementum magna. Maecenas scelerisque feugiat erat. Sed nec risus. Phasellus eu nunc. Curabitur purus. Ut nonummy. Etiam sit amet mi quis felis suscipit tempus. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Quisque tincidunt ullamcorper massa. Duis elit.

Phasellus viverra dolor. Sed nulla dui, pharetra ut, faucibus ut, tempor sit amet, elit. Sed ut dui. Nunc quam nisl, sodales ut, molestie sit amet, tristique sit amet, pede. Donec ornare massa nec ligula. Morbi eget nunc in lectus vestibulum porttitor. Integer nec mauris mattis nibh elementum facilisis. Praesent wisi. Nullam eros sem, fringilla nec, venenatis non, ultrices nec, turpis. Curabitur et erat id mi auctor pulvinar. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Phasellus tempus, orci congue tincidunt ornare, felis libero tempor lectus, et lobortis eros lacus vitae lacus. Etiam tempus nunc quis wisi. Duis elementum blandit mauris. Etiam malesuada lorem et sem.