Monthly Archives: March 2007

newsfeed tag

I’ve been tagged by Aaron to post my RSS newsfeeds, and here they are, a dump from my Liferea collection.

I’m always looking for good RSS feeds to subscribe to (notice the lack of annoying “news” sites like Digg, Slashdot and Reddit), so if you have any send them my way.  The only one I would really recommend from my list, which nobody else seems to have heard of lately, is Techdirt.

In the meantime, I’m going to tag Scott Morris and Hans Fugal and see if I can get them to do the same.

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Filed under Computers

aquarium visit

Today during lunch, I went down to The Living Planet Aquarium in Sandy. They are building a huge one in Salt Lake at the Gateway, but it won’t be ready for two more years, I think. In the meantime they have a “preview” exhibit, which is basically this really tiny display of a few things. There’s still some cool stuff there, and I bought an annual membership for myself when I went.

I love aquariums, too. They are my favorite attraction to visit. I have a stuffed moray eel from one I went to in Tennessee. The one in Sandy is fun, even though its a little small. I didn’t have much time to look around, but I saw some cool stuff. In one tank they had a giant octopus which was really cool to see. They also had this tank of some beautiful sea anemones, and another of a huge lobster which must have been at least a foot and a half long.

Perhaps the coolest part though was that there is also a touchpool there, with a bunch of sting rays swimming around. You can stick your hand in there and pet them if you like. There was one that was really friendly, and kept swimming up to the side and would actually stick the front of his head out of the water and just flap his sides and kind of bob up and down. It was really funny seeing them so playful.

The thing that really gets to me is just how beautiful these animals are, though. It really gets me thinking about how God designed all these plants and animals not only for our use, but for our enjoyment as well.

I didn’t have as much time as I wanted to poke around all I could, but on my way out I saw they had a little gift shop and a theater showing some videos as well. Which reminds me of a great DVD I have, called Into the Deep. It’s an IMAX movie which I got to see on the big screen a long time ago. If you ever get a chance to see it, don’t miss out. Great stuff.

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libnut

Right after I complained about how I don’t like blogging about bumps in portage, here I am writing another post about that same topic.  Well, this time this one is a package addition, so that doesn’t count, right?  Oh, who am I fooling.

Something I’ve been meaning to mention is that I added a new library to the tree the other day, media-libs/libnut.  NUT is a container format being developed by ffmpeg and mplayer developers.  At least, that’s what the multimedia wiki page says.

And now you know just about as much about as I do.

Actually, NUT is something I see mentioned all over the place, and I was always curious … where’s the code?  Where’s the packages?  Apparently, they’re in subversion.  So the ebuild is just the latest subversion snapshot.

There’s really not much you can do with it.  You can create a NUT file with nutmerge, though the video has to be MPEG4 and the audio MP3.  Watch out for funky errors, too.  It does work fine with MPlayer, too.  There’s no nut use flag on that ebuild, since I didn’t really feel like adding one for one thing, and since the library is in development as well.  But, if you install it, mplayer will automatically detect and add support for it.

Go on, have fun with it.

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Filed under Gentoo, MPlayer, Multimedia

mplayer subversion snapshots

I’m really starting to dislike me writing blog posts about stuff that I bump in portage, and hopefully this will be the last one.  Actually the only reason I’m doing this one is because I want to get the ebuild tested and as many bugs fleshed out as I can.

I started working on an ebuild for an SVN snapshot of MPlayer about a few weeks ago.  Upstream doesn’t do point releases very often, which is fine since they provide daily snapshots and they are pretty stable anyway.  It does make it a little hard on people like me though who are sometimes wanting something a little more recent.

Well, I think the complexity and time it took to put this thing together beat that desire out of me for a while.  MPlayer in itself is a beast, though a lovable wonderful one, and writing an ebuild for it is not the easiest thing in the world.  In fact, this was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to put together.  I have to give a lot of thanks to Lu (lu_zero) who not only gave me the green light to go through with this crazy idea, but mentored me quite a bit on what I was doing wrong and how to fix it.

I really don’t feel like going into details, so I’ll just summarize and say that there’s a new version in the portage tree, and it adds lots of use flags and should fix a lot of bugs.  If you do find problems with the ebuild, please comment about it in this forum post and I’ll try to take a look at it.  I have spent at least a combined total of 20 hours working on this ebuild, and I want it to be nice and clean.  Well, that, and I want to move onto other stuff, too. :)

So, lemme know if you find any problems.  Thanks, guys.

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Filed under Gentoo, MPlayer, Multimedia

no more cookies

About a week ago, I was poking through my browser preferences for some reason or another, and I decided I would try turning off my cookies completely for a change.  I’m not a privacy advocate or paranoid by any means, but I do like to blacklist the obvious ones that are going to advertising sites, just because I hate ads, mostly.

I figured I would have a lot of problems with sites yelling at me for not having cookies enabled, but in fact its been quite the opposite.  I’ve only had one site so far croak on me (Circuit City) even when I modified the permissions manually.  Other than that, since then I’ve only had to allow about five other sites to set cookies as well.  It’s been pretty nice.

I realize that there are other ways of course to track my clicking habits and browser history server side, but at least I made it a little harder for some of them.

My other pet peeve is that so many websites do set cookies.  Why do they need them?  And then there’s the websites that set dozens of them for no apparent reason.  It’s just odd when you think about it.

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Filed under Computers

happy birthday, jerk

Well, today’s my birthday. I bought myself something cool just now. I got the score to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I remember XM Radio played a bunch of tracks from all the Star Trek movie scores once on Cinemagic, and that was the first time I’d gotten a good sampling of them. Really good stuff, so I hope I like it. Usually James Horner’s stuff tends to be kind of the same thing across different albums, and in fact I noticed the other day that this one sounds a lot like the score to Krull. Or there are a lot of borrowed parts, that is.

I also just remembered I’m wearing my Starfleet Academy t-shirt today. I’m such a nerd.  Just call me Ensign Steve. :)

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Filed under General

classic storytime records

I read about this website on Earl Kress’ blog the other day, and I just have to pass it along.

There’s this great website called Kiddie Records Weekly: Classics From the Golden Age which puts up a cover scan and an audio MP3 of old time story records from back in the day. I am in heaven, can I tell you what?

Anyone whose read my blog for more than a few minutes will know that I’m very nostalgic. I loved stories and fairy tales as a kid, and as an adult I appreciate them even more for their quality, simplicity and entertainment. I remember we used to have an old, brown portable Fisher Price record player that we would listen to all kinds of stories on. I’ve recently started to collect some old ones myself, in hopes of recording them to MP3 (similar to how this guy has done it) to preserve the audio. And by “start to collect” I mean I’ve bought one on eBay and my Mom sent me one from home. I haven’t really gotten into it yet, but my DVD collecting is winding down quickly (movies, at least) so it’s time to move onto other stuff.

One thing I absolutely love about these old story books is the artwork. It is just some of the most amazing stuff I have ever seen. I absolutely love it.

I really love listening to audio stories, too. I’ve been hooked on Old Time Radio since I first heard some a long time ago as a teenager, and that’s one of the main reasons I subscribe to XM Radio today, is for their Radio Classics channel that plays it around the clock.

I kinda wish his website had an RSS feed, that would be kind of cool. It might not be hard to set one up with a cron job and a little imagination, though. We’ll see.

Ah, man. This is one of those subjects that I just can’t talk about enough. I’ve really got to get my collection started before too long. There’s a lot of great stuff out there, and I’m glad that someone else is also doing something to see that they are well preserved.

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Filed under Entertainment