Monthly Archives: April 2008

blu-ray cartoons

Okay, now this is something I wasn’t expecting. Warner Bros. is releasing season one of Justice League on Blu-ray. Wow.

I’d been planning on *eventually* getting a Blu-ray player anyway, but I’ve been pretty indifferent about the decision, or when. Actually, the real thing that’s holding me back right now is that I can’t natively rip them on Linux right now (play back, yes, but that’s an entirely different matter). There’s no way I’m firing up my Windows box just to get some 1080p goodness on my harddrive. I’m a sucker for automation.

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Filed under Entertainment, Hardware, Multimedia

pimp my mythvideo: navigation patch

Even though I can’t code in C++, or anything more hardcore than bash (and even that’s pretty sketchy), with a push in the right direction from a noble soul in #mythtv, I managed to mangle a patch together for MythVideo that fixes some annoyances that I’ve had for a very long time. They are:

  • Filenames won’t display underscores, but folders would
  • Getting rid of the “cover image” screen in the gallery
  • No page up, page down support with your remote

The patch is here, which should apply cleanly to media-plugins/mythvideo-0.20.2_p15087. Or you could just try and use my overlay directly. If you look at what I’ve changed, it should be really simple to make the same changes to the most recent version for SVN, since I don’t think the file has changed much between releases. Creating patches is also not my favorite thing to do, and in fact actually took me longer to create the actual diff and apply it correctly then it did to hack the code.

Here’s a complete list of what I changed, if you don’t want to go digging around the code and determining what’s happened for yourself:

First, the issue of page up / page down. Sure it’s nice that you can do that with a keyboard, but if you are using a remote, it’s painful scrolling when you have a lot of folders to look through. I remapped 1 and 7 to emulate Home and End, and 3 and 9 to emulate Page Up and Page Down.

Second, for the display of folder names, if it has an underscore in the title, that is replaced with a space. This is consistent with the naming scheme for the actual files.

Third, and always most annoying to me, is that I got rid of the information screen that displays all the metadata about a movie after you select it in gallery mode. I always thought that was pretty useless, because I already know what I want to watch, and didn’t like having to hit enter twice to start playback. There was a shortcut already, you could just hit the Play button and it would skip the screen, but I think this is more effective and natural.

Finally, I disabled the Menu, Filter and Info options by commenting them out, for the only reason that I never used them and sometimes they would pop up when I was debugging stuff with mplayer and my remote.

Needless to say, I’m much happier now with my user experience, since MythVideo is all I’m using right now. I have a really low tolerance for small tweaks that bug me, and I’m glad I finally got these taken care of. Besides, it’s forced me to start learning some C++ (again) so I don’t have to keep relying on people to help me get started.

Now I can go back to watching Roger Ramjet and Knight Rider in navigation harmony. It’s great. :)

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Filed under Gentoo, MythTV

classic cartoon covers

In my neverending quest to completely pimp out my MythVideo gallery display, I’ve started taking screenshots of the title screens as the gallery view for individual shows.  For the cartoons, they are really gorgeous stuff, especially the older ones when animation really rocked.

So, I started setting up a page to display the covers.  Right now there’s not much, since I don’t have very many titles ripped on my box right now.  Also, the snapshots are really small because I’m displaying them on my TV and so I don’t really need a large size.  I’ll probably go back and resnap them for a proper web display.

Okay, I’m really tired, so here’s the link with the full description.  Enjoy.

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Filed under Entertainment

alsa-driver-1.0.16

I’ve finally gotten around to bumping alsa-driver in the tree.  This is the first time I’ve done it all by myself, and really, about the only thing I’ve ever done for ALSA on Gentoo since joining the herd probably a year ago.

While the bump isn’t so much an interesting story, what probably could use some clarification is the status of the package itself.  First of all, it’s unsupported.  Mostly.  That is, I’m the only one who is maintaining this package, and it’s mostly out of a sense of obligation and the fact that I use it now and then.  But if you have problems with it, there’s not gonna be much I can do.  It’s completely unsupported by the alsa herd, as the official recommendation is to use the in kernel drivers.

Anyway, I’ll fix whatever I can, but if you have a bug, assign it to me (beandog@gentoo.org) and not alsa-bugs.

As far as changes go, you can see what’s new in this release from the alsa project homepage.

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cutting back

I had to go to the hospital again this week for problems with my stomach, I was throwing up on and off for about 4 hours on Monday night before finally going in to get an IV to get some fluids back in my system. I’m feeling a little better now, I’m able to get up and move around, but still can’t eat anything more exciting than toast. Oh, and it really hurts to laugh.

I’m convinced that a large reason for my stomach problems has been stress and anxiety.  Most of the problems have been financial in nature, since I haven’t gotten paid for a lot of contract work I’ve done, and I wasn’t really expecting that to happen.  Aside from that, though, I’m stretching myself too thin with lots of commitments, and I need to start cutting back.

Gentoo is the major committment I’m spending way too much time on right now, I think.  I enjoy working on it a lot, but I’ve got my finger in too many pies right now to keep it balanced and productive.  I’m gonna start cutting off stuff that I’m taking care of, and retreat back to a few areas of maintainership, of stuff that I’m really interested in.  There’s some things I’m taking care of just because no one else will, and while I’ll do my best to clean them up on the way out, I can’t take care of everything I want to forever.  I’ve been thinking about phasing back my workload for a long time now, and the change will be gradual, over a couple of months.

What I’d really like to work on more is get my own religious projects working, like going back to working on nephi.org.  Some of the projects on there I’ve been putting off for literally years.

All in all, what I need the most though is to find some balance and learn to relax.  It is extremely hard for me to to stop and sit still for more than a few minutes, as I’m constantly hyperactive and won’t be satisfied unless I’m engaged in doing something appealing.For the most part, it’s fulfilling because you can accomplish a lot, but it can create a lot of anxiety and pressure when you commit to a lot of things and then can’t keep up, which has been what’s happened with me.

Anyway, while poking around the apartment this week I’ve been playing with my whole TV setup, and especially with Myth.  I came up with this cool method and script last night to create snapshots for my shows in MythVideo.  I’ll have to post details once I get some time.

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Filed under General

bank security

I saw this post on The Daily WTF about bank security, and how horrible it is, and it reminds me how common it is that people will present you information before verifying anything yourself asking you if it’s correct.  In fact, I remember that happening on the phone changing one of my accounts for something the other day.  I can’t remember who it was, but they read off all my personal info (name, billing address) asking me if that was correct.

Anyway, the post reminds me of some lax bank security issues I’ve run into myself lately.  First of all, my credit union’s website is horrible, in that they pitch this great thing where they don’t send out paper statements in the mail anymore, telling you instead to check them online.  That would be nice and all, except for the fact the their website won’t freaking let you search farther back than three months at a time.

So, since I didn’t have my statement, and I never got a tax form from one of my companies I worked for last year, I needed some past statements.  I go into the local branch, and ask the teller to print out some statements for last year, and all she asks me for is my account number.  Granted, there’s nothing really interesting on my personal statements (aside from a lot of stuff I buy on Amazon.com), but it was a little scary how she handed it over without ever verifying anything.

The second thing is that the credit union website, along with other banking websites I’ve seen, when you sign on, they have this layer of “extra security” which in reality is just another question/answer challenge that you’ve setup.  Something like, “What’s your mother’s maiden name” or stuff like that.  Anyway, my credit union has this feature that instead of asking you that question, has a checkbox on the same page that says “add extra security, for this computer only!”  Well, I figured one day I’d try it out.  I assumed it would want to install some ActiveX control or something stupid like that, so I’d need Windows and Internet Explorer to use it.  Since I was using Seamonkey and Linux, I never bothered trying.  But one day, I checked it just to see what would happen, and it’s never asked me for that middle question since.  Which means its either setting a cookie or recording my IP address.  The thing that strikes me odd though is this — wouldn’t asking less questions be less secure, instead of more?  I actually felt more comfortable about someone getting in before adding that “extra security,” but now all they would need is just my password and access from my computer.

I’m starting to build the perception more and more that the best way to guard my private data and financial information is to see that it is given to as few parties as possible.  You have to realize that anytime you make a charge with your credit card, that company now has it archived, which means if their security gets breached, your data is at risk.  It’s gotten me thinking a lot more about not only if I want to do business with someone, but how.

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Filed under Computers