Archive for the 'Computers' Category


Zeroday Ascii #??? CRBS Nfo File

I’m not a huge fan of inversing (ctrl+i) the colors in photoshop to obtain the “notepad mode” (black text on white background) I achieved here, but I’m unsure how to do it otherwise. Pablodraw offers “notepad mode” to draw in, but not the option to save in high resolution. Acidview saves to png, but only in DOS mode (white on black). Hence, this kinda crappy conversion. It was a quick piece anyway, but I’m happy with how it turned out.


New Ascii: pLAN9 Mp3 NFO File

Well, it’s been awhile that’s for sure. I’ve been busy finishing up my degree and working my ass off being awesome. Here’s a new masterpiece. Enjoy, it’s a big-un.


Terabytes + solid state drives = THE ULTIMATE HTPC

Except not for me. Yet.

But surprisingly, this weekend, in the middle of being sick and babysitting a sick niece and a sick wife, I managed to get the three one terabyte drives I recently received formatted and sort of installed in my machine. The plan, and one must always have a plan, is to eventually backup my DVD collection (which is obviously huge) from physical copies in boxes to manageable .iso files on these drives. Then plug those badboys into my HTPC, and enjoy the world of tomorrow today. Relaxing on my couch (futon from the dumpster) with my ill-street-blues Harmony remote (totally worth the money) and wireless keyboard, surfing through the hundreds of thousands of hours of bonus features these dual layer DVDs have to offer.

The benefits?

1.) Once on hard drive, I can clear up about 20 cubic feet of storage space in my office’s closet, moving these archaic physical packages to the garage.

2. Easier access. Everything will be alphabetized on the drives, which is theoretically possible with hard copies. Anyone who’s had a substantial collection of media, be it games, music cds, vinyl, or dvds knows this is easier said than done. Things get put in the wrong cases, cases get put in the wrong spots, and eventually chaos rears its ugly minotaur-like head and eats the world in a dark cloud.

3. It’s totally bad-ass. I figure each DVD will take ~4.35 gigabyte. Divided by 0. Approaching infinite. Something like 200 full DVDs on a drive (albeit probably re-encoded for space concerns). Talk about a nerdversation piece at any geek party.

But the downsides…

1.) Talk about an enormous investment of time. Ripping, encoding dual layer discs to single layer sizes, rarring and creating parity files for data integrity, yada yada. Could take untold years. By that time HD-Graph technology will be here, and we’ll all be the zombie slaves of Venutians.

2.) I will kill at least one DVD-RW drive in this process. At least.

3.) I will want a 1:1 backup of each. Because that’s how I am. And that’s ridiculous.

So we’ll see. At the rate I’m going the drives might just end up sitting on my desk until these nifty new solid state drives (which a buddy has, and loves for his OS drive) eventually hit reasonable sizes, and the cycle of hoarding begins anew.

Also: I really need to buy some IDE to SATA power converters. Quite a few…

Eating: oatmeal, eggs. Coffee!


Twittering and twhirling

Prelude: Tonight’s definitely “one of those nights”. Everything’s broken at work. I feel like I haven’t woken up yet even though I’m an energy drink and half a venti coffee deep. It’s almost 3am, my night’s close to half over. My eyelids are still covered in crust.

Body: At the recommendation of some friends, I’ve joined up to Twitter, and it seems pretty cool. It’s kind of like IRC, kind of like a message board, but not really like either. Mostly, it’s reminding me how out of the loop I am on these things. Five years ago, I would have been King Internet up on this twitter nonsense. Now, I’m just limping along. But whatever, if you’re interested in seeing my updates about getting coffee, scratching myself, or aborted haikus, check me out on Twitter. Codename: Asciigod.

I’ve also installed the Twhirl application. Again this is at the recommendation of friends. It’s sitting there idling on my home PC while I write this at work. What magic will it produce? Not sure.

Now I really need to figure out some useful apps for Twitter, like Rememberthemilk and that blood sugar twitter thing Steve showed me. However, I don’t have free SMS on my phones. Hrm. I’ve been thinking of upgrading to an iphone or something, but I’m not sure what kind of plans they offer, and how expensive they may be. Guess it may be time to find out.

Other than all of this, I’m feeling completely “soggy”. I really need another shower and a shave to help wake up, but it doesn’t look like that’s  in the cards for tonight. Too much to do at work.


Managing my RSS feeds: the Bloglines bloat

It seems like it’s been months, years even, of agonizing toil and self-flagellation (school) since I last checked my RSS reader, Bloglines. In reality, it had only been about a month, yet this tentacled beast that captures my RSS feeds had begun to resemble an oldschool political cartoon. You know the kind. Black and white, detailed, giant octopus wrapping its many squirming arms around Abe Lincoln, a bear that represents the Soviet Union, a mass of railroad tracks, and freed, voting slaves – all while gnashing its cute little beak around the ghost of Benjamin Franklin. Shit’s bananas, out of control, cream pie (ew?).

I’m a procrastinator at heart, and there’s a point of imagined critical mass when I view something like this as a nightmare. The very idea of opening the bloglines website just to look at all those feeds, crawling like worms, upset my stomach.

But I faced my fears today, and cleaned up that shit. Does that make me a hero? Probably. Am I asking for a reward? Only financial.

So I hope to be back to checking people’s blogs, and trying to find more “personal” type blogs; I axed a few of the bigger ones. Sorry if you missed my awesome input. Every superhero needs some quiet time in his Fortress of Solitude.

L O L </ridiculousness>

Also, I kicked the living crap out of four tests this week. Take that scantron!

P.S. Ghostroach spotted at an Atlantic City casino.


Capturing online lectures to mp3 format

Taking college courses online is great. You’re not tied to an inflexible lecture schedule. There’s less commuting. As busy, working adults, my wife and I can tailor our schedules around careers and family. With lectures and course content being online it’s easy to pick up where we left off, studying how and when we want.

In some instances though, those same advantages can prove to be drawbacks. Lectures often last upwards of two hours. Often the course material available online is thorough to the point of excess, and even though – in the olden days – one could theoretically spend hours a week reading low-tech, printed course material or researching periodicals and reference material at the library, I don’t think it was a common problem. When you’re faced with all this immediately available information on a course website it can be overwhelming. A week’s worth of work can turn into many hours spent online fostering neurotic, completist urges. Reading a text book is straightforward. Cruising a course website can be a meandering, branching time sink.

With that in mind, I’ve been searching for a way to record my course lectures into a more portable format. They are presented in some form of (I assume proprietary) web browsing tool and there’s no download option to be found.

Originally, I wanted to use Audacity, a pretty serviceable open-sourced sound editing suite. According to some dox I’d read, recording sounds this way should have been easy. In the line-in mixer, I’d have an option to record directly from my sound drivers. Nope. Failing this, there should be some options in my Control Panel’s (Vista) Sound area that I could enable. Couldn’t find anything and was way too lazy to download device drivers to properly patch up my system. Last option? Run a cord from the line-out to the microphone input on my sound card and record this way. This had me picturing explosions, plus if I was too lazy to install drivers, there’s no way I intended on dig through boxes of cords and wires to find the appropriate cord.

My search led me to Freecorder, a free browser based recording toolbar. “What the hell?” you say. “Exactly.”

Turns out it works fabulously. A simple download and install (Internet Explorer or Firefox only. Opera users like me are left wallowing in our k-radedness) loads the toolbar in the browser. The recording options are fairly robust: you can choose a wide variety of mp3 bitrates, or export as .wav file. So far there’s been no hiccup, and the only drawback I can find is that the program splits the mp3 into bite-sized chunks after its recorded. Perhaps this is a function of me recording off of a website that changes “slides” every couple of minutes as a new topic is covered, perhaps it’s a setting to be changed, or perhaps it’s a feature saved for the “Professional”, paid for version of the software. Regardless, it’s not that big of a deal to me, especially considering the ease of use.

Another thing that’s great is it appears to not save any periods of silence. For instance, I’ll start an hour long lecture and go do something else. If I forget to turn it off, I haven’t noticed it filling up my hard drives with hours of silent data. As someone who has ran into this problem converting analog cassette tapes to .wav format, this is a nice trick to discover.

Couple that with the aforementioned ease of use, and Freecorder is a pretty tight little score that I bet a lot of people could get a lot of use out of. Now my wife and I can load this to our mp3 players and listen on the go, giving ourselves more time to focus on the important things in life, like our new Pornographic Mp3’s for the Blind production company.

Thanks Freecorder!


I Have No Mouth, But I Must Yelp

File under: Old News

There’s a friend of mine who lives in California and can keep up on the latest Karaoke happenings and restaurants with Yelp. I kind of imagine that in certain places (major metropolitan areas mostly), Yelp probably has a pretty active community. I envision people cruising in convertibles, checking their iPhones for the latest reports on what’s hip, hot and happening. Not so much here. Still, it’s a pretty good idea even if it has been done before in other forums. Unfortunately their doesn’t seem to be a universally popular tool of this kind on the internet. Yet.

Regardless, I’ve started posting some reviews for places in my area. Hopefully some people will find them useful and appreciate it. Later, I’ll have to do some digging around to see what people recommend in my area. A cursory exploration has suggested restaurants are popular here. And that’s about it.

So, I’ve updated my blogroll a little, and focused more on personal friend’s sites and myself. Goodbye Get Rich Slowly, I outgrew your training wheels.

Check out my Yelp profile here.