A couple of things that are sort of about Linux

First and foremost, I have no idea what scrollkeeper is or does, but whatever it’s doing: it’s doing it wrong.

I installed a couple of boxes yesterday that had modest hardware and they each spent several minutes running scrollkeeper-update at the end of the install and then they both got to run it again when I installed updates. And in case you’re unfamiliar, this is a process that consumes all of the CPU it can get. How can anyone find this acceptable?

Actually, I lied. I do know what it’s for and that’s the saddest part. It’s for indexing help documents. I guess since most people don’t like man pages, someone felt the need to write this system-crushing utility to index some help documents I’ll never ever read.

Wait, I’m wrong, that’s not the saddest part. The saddest part is that every distributions packaging of GNOME (I guess, based soley on the things that threaten to be removed if I try to uninstall scrollkeeper) make binary packages depend on this awful piece of software. If you want to use gnome-terminal (or whatever,) you’re stuck with scrollkeeper. What’s wrong with having a gnome-doc package or something?

I could guess about why it’s slow… I see those horrible letters “XML” some of the dependencies, so I could easily point at that, but of course it would only be speculation. While I’m speculating, I’ll go ahead and offer that I can only imagine that were I to use these help documents sans the helpful indexing of scrollkeeper, I’d actually spend less time waiting on my computer than I do with the help of scrollkeeper.

To establish some “cred” before my next amazing feat… er complaint, I’ll inform you that I’ve been using Linux since 1994. I’ve been a professional admin for 8 year or so. To top it off, I think I have a fairly good sense of humor. In fact, on more than one occasion I’ve had friends and even total strangers describe me as “hilarious.”

With that said, I feel fully qualified to say that User Friendly is about as funny as Sinbad which is to say: not. I’ve never laughed. I’ve never smiled. In fact the most positive response I’ve ever had was mild annoyance. I can only imagine that this comic has a following because people feel that they need to laugh to be part of some community that only exists in their own minds.

Linux magazines, hear my prayer. Stop syndicating this crap.

Various civic… uh…

Wouldn’t your life be better if you had audio CD’s of the full soundtrack to The Big Lebowski in your car? Of course it would!

These instructions assume Linux, mplayer and k3b and that you have the Universal edition of the disc. I don’t know the track count for the original Paramount disc.

Insert the disc.

for n in $(seq 1 22); do mplayer -vc null -ao pcm:fast:file=track${n}.wav -vo null dvd://1 -chapter ${n}-${n} ; done

However! For some weird reason, track12.wav will be in French if you do the above!

My solution was:

mplayer -vc null -ao pcm:fast:file=track12.wav -alang en -vo null dvd://1 -chapter 12-12

Since I already had the other ones ripped I just ripped the one track with the language set. You can probably just add -alang en to the first loop and you’ll be fine.

The .wav files will be at 48kHz which is above the RedBook standard of 44.1kHz, so you’ll have to resample them. There’s probably a way to do that while ripping, but I’m too lazy and let k3b do it for me. I’d also suggest you let k3b (or whatever) normalize the tracks because as ripped, they’re very quiet. I used “normalize-audio” before I saw that k3b could do it for me.

You really should do this. You’ll thank me.

Amazing Savants

Even though no one posted that they watch the videos (thanks!) I’m posting these anyway. So screw you!

We’ll start out easy. This one is only 5 minutes and it will blow your mind.

Derek is a musical genius. There are 5 parts to this story, each about 10 minutes. If you start, you won’t stop. It’s astounding.

Daniel Tammet has an amazing brain. He can learn languages to fluency in a week, do insane math. He can recite Pi to 22,500 decimal places. It’s another 5 part series with each part being around 10 minutes.

I almost hesitate to post this one, but it’s a great story too. I hesitate because this is the story that inspired the movie Rain Man. Why does that make me hesitate? Because every one of these stories is worth your time, not just the one that’s the least fearful because of its familiarity.

Don’t watch the first one of each and say “oh that looked interesting, but I need to go watch that movie that looks like it’s going to suck but I’m going to watch it anyway” or “I would have watched those, but I had to listen to another song with the word ‘baby’ in it” or whatever lame excuse you’ll come up with. Watch them all. You’ll be glad you did.

Whatever happened to 100%?

Harken back with me, gentle reader. Harken back to a time when the most you could give was 100%. Remember those days? When the most you could give was the most you could give? Those days are gone now. Now you have to give more than is possible.

While we’re living in the fucking past (3000 years of beautiful tradition,) remember back before every commercial on TV was about auto insurance? DVR’s actually make the insanely high percentage of these commercials even more obvious. The worst ones are the “Now What?” ones where they show a bunch of other people being responsible for huge damage to your car and then ask if you have good insurance. You’ve seen the one where the painters are on the side of a glass building with open paint cans(!) and the harness comes loose and spills paint on your crappy yellow “sports” car and then it gets hit by a firetruck and a giant foot falls out of the sky and smushes it. How is any of that your fault? Who gives a shit what insurance you have? We all know who was at fault here, so what the fuck are you talking about?

Remember when people could say “method” instead of “methodology” ?

Remember when people could say (the correct) “I couldn’t care less!” instead of the meaningless “I could care less!” Oh, could you? Go right ahead! Me, I could not care less than I do right now.

Which brings me to my point. Here’s my point, dude.

Think critically. Think about what you do and say. Do your best to notice your habits and break them. Speaking and acting out of habit keep you in a rut. Oh, and do what your parents did: get a job, sir!

Do what your parents did! Get a job sir!

In case WordPress unhelpfully strips the embed code from my feeds, here’s a link to the video.

The video stands completely on its own, so I’ll just say: go buy the latest Harvey Milk album. It’s great! For a more substantial taste, you can listen to the full track on their website.

Oh and Beck is still derivative crap.

News You Can Lose

Nobody told me there was yet another digital display interface standard. HDMI is so last year I guess. It’s cool that it can do native fiber though!

The Wii has been hacked and someone ported mplayer to it so that it’ll play DVD’s now and do other cool home-brew stuff. Cool. See also.

They’re triple-dipping another Lebowski with a 10th anniversary … DVD(?!?!!). WTF? Why not Bluray? Oh and your site sucks. You’re welcome.

If you know me, you probably know that I LOVE me some Boris. Well Boris are good buddies with this band Sunn O))). One of the Sunn O))) dudes plays a Bean (like me) and I’d heard some of their stuff on Skreemr (beware the popups!) so I thought I’d pick up one of their records. Bzzt. Not so great. Some cool drone stuff, but too much demon-voice (as Ed calls it) for me.

My big project release is inching closer. Don’t forget to breathe!

A while ago I picked up an HP dv2845se (laptop). I’ve had an HP workstation (from the workstation, not desktop line) at work for years and love em. The laptop, however is a piece of crap. They keyboard loses strokes. The trackpad falls asleep randomly. The soundcard is a soundcard in only the most academic sense of the term. It’s completely useless for doing any kind of recording even with a fancy mic hooked to it. The video card over-heats all of the time. The wireless is a bit flakey and was somewhat of a pain to setup in Linux. It’s almost enough to make a guy buy a mac. Ha! I’m kidding of course.

I have to imagine someone makes a decent laptop. I wonder if I’ll be forced to buy a gaming laptop just to get something capable of doing real work.

I keep meaning to do my youtube savant documentaries post, but wonder if folks actually watch the vids I post especially when they’re long-ish. If you do, post a comment! These docs are great!

Audio-surf claims to make a video game from analyzing your music. Seems like a cool idea.

Thanks wordpress for losing a huge chunk of my post!

This and That

I finally got Jose Gonzalez’ new album and it’s mostly great. I was lucky enough to find a couple of completely kickass videos of my two favorite songs on youtube. I embed them here for your pleasure.

Man, I wish I could have Jose come to my house for a personal show! I haven’t been playing as much lately, so my playing/learning The Nest tonight has my right-hand fingers quite sore. I need to get back into it.

I picked up I’m a Lebowski, You’re a Lebowski (the book from the LebowskiFest guys) recently and it’s really a funny and informative companion to the movie.

Another post, another cool TED talk. This time on the intelligence of crows. Who knew?

A tip: Just as seeing someone wearing a visor at a party (male or female) should be your cue to leave; reading or hearing the phrase “quiet desperation” should be your cue to stop reading/watching. Perhaps you never thought of that, but that’s what I’m here for. Sam Rowe: Lifecoach.

More Must-See Videos

If you don’t know Errol Morris, go rent or buy all of the documentaries he’s directed (feel free to skip his non-docs!). I haven’t seen his new film, Standard Operating Procedure but I’m excited to do so. The film is about the events surrounding the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse. I came across a rather lengthy, but oh-so-worth-it online video of Mr Morris at a New Yorker festival discussing the film (linked from this larger piece with other videos at the New Yorker.) Even this film about the film showed me that I’d completely misunderstood the photos and the photographers. I’d bought completely into the coverup. It’s really amazing that the government is so good at twisting things.

On a lighter note, I recently posted about TED. If you missed the post or meant to get back to it later, GET BACK TO IT. They’re all AMAZING. Be sure to add this one to your list. Holy shit, how does he do that? It’s a short video, go watch it!

So we’ll do a disturbing video and then a light video and now another really disturbing video. You may have seen this video on YouTube. I personally find it to be incredibly bizarre and even emotionally scaring. And also, this is a video starring Garfield and Odie. It will destroy you. Please don’t watch it. It’s called 04/25/1979. I warned you. It’s 1.5 minutes.

So now that I’ve destroyed you, I’ll bring you back to life with my current and fairly long standing favorite YouTube video of all. I love this video so much. It’s three minutes thirty-five seconds. I promise that watching this video will improve your day.

If you have time to watch some shitty trailer for some shitty sci-fi film that “looks terrible, but I’ll probably see it anyway” then you have time to watch at least the last three of these videos. Go do it!

Next time on Must-See Videos, I’ll be posting some crazy-amazing videos about savants. Your life now has purpose.

Bash SSH Happiness

So Dennis? (whose name doesn’t appear anywhere on his blog except for in the URL) wrote a cool bash script to create aliases for every host in your ~/.ssh/known_hosts file. I found some bugs/problems so I spiffed it up a bit. As the comments say, you should pipe the output to sort(1). I’ve tried to make the text as small as possible, but it won’t all display. I tested selecting it and even the parts that don’t display end up in my clipboard, so there ya go.

shopt -s extglob
    case $1 in
        ?([-+])+([0-9]) )
            return 0;;
        *) return 1;;

if [[ -d ~/.ssh ]]; then

    # Touch files we expect to exist
    if [[ ! -e ~/.ssh/config ]]; then touch ~/.ssh/config; fi
    if [[ ! -e ~/.ssh/known_hosts ]]; then touch ~/.ssh/known_hosts; fi

    # Parse ~/.ssh/known_hosts and ~/.ssh/config to find hosts
    for x in `sed -e 's/[, ].*//' ~/.ssh/known_hosts; awk '/^Host [^*?]+$/{print $2}' ~/.ssh/config`; do

        # Don’t override commands
        type "${x}" > /dev/null 2>&1 && continue

        # Remove the domainname
        # you don't want IP addresses for aliases, trust me.
        isint $y && continue

        # If it's a short-name, move on
        #[[  "${z}" == 'edu' ||  "${z}" == 'com' || "${z}" == 'net' ]] || continue
        # So the above is commented out because you'd be surprised at how much 
        # you rely on your search path. You should pipe the output of this script to
        # sort and your fqdn's will override your shorts.
        echo alias "${x}"=”ssh $x”

        if [[ "$y" != "$x" ]]; then
            if ! type $y > /dev/null 2>&1; then
            echo     alias $y=”ssh $x”

Dennis also mentions that you might want to add HashKnownHosts no to your ~/.ssh/config file. If you have some hashed keys in your file, you should remove them before running this script. Sadly I couldn’t find any way to programmatically convert a hashed file into a non-hashed file. But to make up for it, here’s a bonus alias!

# removes _exactly what you type_ from ~/.ssh/known_hosts
# meaning 'grapes' gets you the key for 'grapes' vs 'grapes.wrath.com'
alias forget="ssh-keygen -R"

OSCON08 Wrap-up

A few things to wrap up.

  • The Stress on Programmers Slides Man oh man I wish there was a recording of the talk. I looked over the slides and they don’t do the talk justice by themselves as one might expect.
  • Glenn posted some comments that I think have the slides for the XMPP talk I saw.
  • OneLessMac I didn’t buy a sticker, but I love the idea and think it’s great that I’m not the only one.
  • Last.FM I’m notoriously slow to new stuff, so take this with that. I don’t get it. I mean I sorta get the basic concept, but it doesn’t seem all that useful or interesting.
  • I said I was a bad whinger. After further thought, I don’t think that’s true. I think I more often than not try to present a solution to whatever it is I’m unrelentingly complaining about. :)