Thursday, March 12th, 2009

I’d like to record a podcast with one or more other interested individuals, using some sort of software that allows both a multi-party voice chat, *and* records each person’s audio locally in a high-qality format suitable for remixing in post.

I think I remember such software being mentioned somewhere, but I’m not sure where.

Any volunteers? … Bueller?

Git – it’s just that simple

Monday, February 9th, 2009

sudo port install git-core +doc +gitweb +svn +bash_completion

The above is my command-line command of the day.
I’ve been doing some research over the weekend, reading up on all the current source control systems
(for which, by the way, there is no consistent acronym. The closest I can find now is DVCS – Distributed Version Control System)
and have come to the conclusion that:

  1. The developer behind Shoes is one intensively creative fucker
  2. Git is as good as it gets

The kicker came when I found the script git-p4, which allows me to use Perforce at work in conjunction with all of git’s way-cool features!

What are these features you ask? Well, if you’ve ever heard of SVK, you will love git. Because git does what SVK does natively. And SVK is known to be like a castle on shifting sand in terms of stability. Git is rock-solid.

For the uninitiated (which would be most of you), SVK lets you check out code from a Subversion (svn) repository, and then do local-only checkins and checkouts. Then once you are happy with your changes (perhaps after 20 revisions, all tracked locally by SVK), you can “push” your changes to the main svn repo.

In the same way, git lets you “pull” changes from a central repo, do many modifcations, checking them in to git each time, and do a final “push” back to the central repo. Indeed, the concepts of “central” and “non-central” repos is not embedded into git. The central repo is only central by convention. All repos are equally “central”.

Mac OS X command-line gotcha: path_helper

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

Ran into an issue where my terminals were coming up **really** slowly.
It ended up being a line in the script /usr/libexec/path_helper.

It turns out Apple has set up a whole process for modifying users’ PATHs by adding text files in /etc/paths.d, which is really a good idea, since install/uninstall scripts can just add/remove text files instead of mucking around with users’ login scripts.
For some reason it was taking about 30 seconds to execute this line of bash:

[[ /Users/t_ellir/bin/Darwin:/Users/t_ellir/bin/Darwin-i386:/Users/t_ellir/bin/noarch:/Users/t_ellir/bin/osx-rae:/opt/local/bin:/opt/local/sbin:/bin:/sbin:/usr/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/X11R6/bin:/usr/lib:/Developer/Tools:/usr/X11/bin:/Applications/ccollab_client:/Users/t_ellir/mudbox/dev/bin/macos:/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/Current/bin:/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.4/bin:/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/Current/bin:/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.4/bin = *(*:)/usr/local/bin*(:*) ]]

But it had no problem zipping through other directories, e.g.:

[[ /Users/t_ellir/bin/Darwin:/Users/t_ellir/bin/Darwin-i386:/Users/t_ellir/bin/noarch:/Users/t_ellir/bin/osx-rae:/opt/local/bin:/opt/local/sbin:/bin:/sbin:/usr/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/X11R6/bin:/usr/lib:/Developer/Tools:/usr/X11/bin:/Applications/ccollab_client:/Users/t_ellir/mudbox/dev/bin/macos:/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/Current/bin:/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.4/bin:/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/Current/bin:/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.4/bin = *(*:)/usr/sbin*(:*) ]]

so it has something specifically to do with it being /usr/local/bin.
I didn’t have that directory so I created it, but that didn’t help.
I finally kludged around it by removing the directory and then patching the script to test for the existence of the directory before trying the test:

--- path_helper 2008-11-04 11:54:18.000000000 -0500
+++ /usr/libexec/path_helper    2008-11-04 11:54:47.000000000 -0500
@@ -15,6 +15,7 @@
        for f in "$DIR" "$DIR".d/* ; do
          if [ -f "$f" ]; then
                for p in $(< "$f") ; do
+                       [ ! -d "${p}" ] && continue
                        [[ "$NEWPATH" = *(*:)${p}*(:*) ]] && continue
                        [ ! -z "$NEWPATH" ] && SEP=":"

Props to
for having a blog post about this.

Uploading video

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Luisa shot some video of her parents making some wine with a grape press and wanted them uploaded. So I went through a few iterations of encoding+uploading to see what worked best.

Pre-encoding files means you only upload about 1/10th as much, saving tons of time.

I used ffmpegX to encode and eventually found that just using H.264 mp4 encoding at the original size worked best, giving me the much-coveted “Watch in high quality” option on YouTube.
I’m uploading the videos to my YouTube account now,
and then I’ll upload them to my Vimeo account,
which shows them at much higher resolution.

Making Wine 2 from Reid on Vimeo

Qik on the (jailbroken) iPhone

Friday, August 15th, 2008

So they seem to have worked out the kinks with the beta Qik client for the iPhone.
Actually, the kinks were in their website’s handling of iPhone-originated video.

In any case, you can go to qik.com/rae
and see my short masterpieces.
Plus, if I happen to be recording at that moment, you can watch it live!
Ooooh, ahhh.

I will embed the video I just took at work for your edification and amusement. :-)

Jailbreaking an iPhone

Monday, August 11th, 2008

This is just a note about living with a jailbroken iPhone. I think I’ll update it over time.

Current jailbreak tool is PwnageTool_2.0.2.tbz,
which works with the first iPhone 2.0 update, 2.0.1.

If you find you can’t use WiFi after jailbreaking, try:

  1. removing your WiFi network and adding it back again
  2. use BossPrefs to “repair user dir permissions”

Interesting apps for jailbroken phones include:

manually installed; it was pulled from the App store
NES emulator
play tons of old games!
Quake 1
Lets you tweak lots of stuff, including jailbreak-specific things like “SSH Server” on/off

How to install a *.app file

cribbed from MacRumors forums.

Using an SFTP application (I use Cyberduck), drag the NetShare.app folder from the desktop into the iPhone’s /Applications folder.

Open a terminal window, and open an SSH session with the iPhone:

$ ssh root@

(replace the IP address above with your iPhone’s IP Wi-Fi address.) The default root login password is “alpine”.

Next, go to the NetShare.app folder:

# cd /Applications/NetShare.app

and change the access file mask of the main application file:

# chmod 755 NetShare

Reboot (or re-spring if you know how) your iPhone.

You’re done!

My Installed Apps

Here are links to my 9 app screens:

Fun, eh?

Trying out “Disqus” for comments

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Let me know what you think of the new comment system.
I’ve installed if for all zero-comment posts (which includes all new posts), so old posts with comments still have the old WordPress commenting system.

This may involve you having to create a Disqus account, but the idea is that you can use that account across blogs.
I am also setting up Disqus on
my blog
so you only have to create your account once for both places.

Leo Laporte has also set up his blog to use it.
Maybe it will spread everywhere.

The idea is that your comments belong to you, and Disqus makes it easier to follow people, as opposed to blogs.

Buzzword – competitor to Google Docs word processing

Monday, May 12th, 2008

Adobe launched a preview version of Buzzword,
which uses
Adobe Air to edit documents.


  • documents are on web server – so you can edit them anywhere
  • very slick UI
  • sharing sends a unique URL to the sharee
  • looks like it supports collaborative editing. Maybe two editors can see each other’s edits in realtime?


  • documents are on web server – so you don’t “own” them
  • can’t save to PDF .. on an acrobat.com domain!!!
  • UI is obtuse – instead of a simple tooltips UI, clicking on “radio button” options looks
    like a completely different action. e.g. sorting documents by date vs alphabetical order
  • password is forced to have non-alphabetical component
  • manipulating documents is difficult – single-clicking on a document’s name opens it rather than selecting it. You must click the icon next to the document’s name to select it. Renaming requires selecting “Rename” from a drop-down menu.

twhirl – twitter client

Monday, April 14th, 2008


Ran across
today because
bought them, and my good friend
is a Seesmic dev.
(Hi Bear!)

It’s an
Adobe Air
app, which is both good and bad (Air is not open, but there are Linux and Mac versions),
and seems to be the Twitter-client-du-jour.

I always do twitter-via-IM, so I’m not sure what benefits this would bring me.
Perhaps Twitter IMs are a bit too interrupting, although I’ve mitigated that somewhat by setting a custom sound for twitters, by which I know I don’t have to pay attention to the IM window that has popped up.

What do other people use to Twitter? IM? Twitter-specific clients?
If I was all blog-centric, I would put up a poll, but all I have are the comments below, so please add one!

Automatic archives

Monday, March 24th, 2008

In my web browser I set my history to the max # of days. I wish you could just set it to “infinite”.
That’s what databases are good for!
Well, I guess you should archive every now and again.

I manually archive things like mail at the end of the year as it is.
But I can still access all the (casual) bookmarks I’ve ever made back to June 2003!
Having that many bookmarks broke Foxmarks such that I couldn’t use it until late last year.

Every month I create a new
strftime("%Y-%m %b")
bookmark folder (e.g. 2008-03 March)
in which to store casual bookmarks.
Ditto for download folders, which are always strftime("~/download/%Y-%m-%B")
(e.g. ~/download/2008-03-Mar),
although I may switch from ~/download to ~/Downloads since both ubuntu and Mac OS X use that folder name.

I’ve thought of writing a Firefox plugin to manage all these month-specific setups.
I should also write an Azureus plugin that does the same thing.
Both could be really, really low level so you could just use strftime format strings in any preference folder/file name.

Download folder: %Y-%m %b

That would be sweet..