Showing posts with label General. Show all posts


A good day

Posted on Sunday, 4 July 2010

Today has been about creating, not consuming. Apart from half-watching Primal Fear with Rike, I have spent the day fixing bugs in Terminator and playing with the Akai Synthstation app on my iPad. I suspect I'm not going to be ruling the clubs anytime soon, and the UI is pretty dreadful for composing music, but it has a good library of sounds and synth mangling knobs :)
I even filmed myself playing some of the parts and edited them together into a little music video, but it's really very poor ;)
Rike's going to be out for most of tomorrow, so I have to decide between doing more of what I've been doing today, playing PS3 games or going out myself. Tricky!


More PS3 video stuff

Posted on Saturday, 9 June 2007

I came across a python script called vepp, which aims to be a simple way of transcoding files for portable media devices. Why not also use it for very unportable media devices such as the PS3? :)

Initially I've just added a target for fairly high bitrate 720p H.264/AVC, 1080 and MPG-SP targets still to come.

If you want to track my development version, you can do so via Launchpad. You will need to use bzr thus: bzr branch

You'll need a capable version of ffmpeg, as discussed previously. Output files will be written to the current directory (I'm looking at adapting the current behaviour to be able to automatically direct the output to either attached media that is PS3 compatible (CF/SD/MS/USB) or sending it straight to a directory you are sharing via UPnP (far more useful than ferrying things about with SD cards!)

Here is my current patch against vepp:

=== modified file '' (properties changed)
--- 2007-06-09 01:01:48 +0000
+++ 2007-06-09 03:12:21 +0000
@@ -4,8 +4,8 @@
from math import sqrt

# defaults
-remove = True
-target = 'psp-oe'
+remove = False
+target = 'ps3-avc-720p'
vbr = True
audio = None

@@ -85,6 +85,22 @@
'qmax': 24,
'channels': (2, 1),
+ 'ps3-avc-720p': { # Only tested with firmware 1.80
+ 'maxx': 1280,
+ 'maxy': 720,
+ 'stepx': 8, # FIXME: lower?
+ 'stepy': 8, # FIXME: lower?
+ 'pixels': 1280 * 720,
+ 'namedfiles': True,
+ 'thumb': False, # FIXME: Can this be True?
+ 'ext': "mp4",
+ 'video': ["-vcodec", "h264", "-f", "mp4", "-bufsize", "14000k", "-maxrate", "14000k", "-coder", "1", "-level", "31", "-r", "24000/1001", "-g", "300"],
+ 'audio': ["-acodec", "aac", "-ab", "160k"],
+ 'bitrate': lambda x,y: "3072000",
+ 'qscale': 18,
+ 'qmax': 24,
+ 'channels': (2, 1),
+ },
's60': {
'maxx': 352,
'maxy': 288,

It would be nice to be able to push content to the PS3 from a LAN, but I have no idea how they could do it sanely. Maybe I can push files via Bluetooth.

Of course, if the rumours are true, this is going to all be immaterial shortly...


Farm ore punny

Posted on Friday, 11 May 2007

< koudelkat> He's such a boar
< Ng> koudelkat: bee quiet, that's a terribull pun ;)
<@lilyj> Ng: No need to be piggish
< Ng> pathetick ;)
< koudelkat> I can't bear this any more :'(
<@lilyj> Now you've got koudelka cowed
< cdavies> lemur alone, he's had enough.
* koudelkat eyes lily's sheeply curves
<@lilyj> koudelkat: stop being so catty
< koudelkat> I'm no pussy!
<@lilyj> true, you're definitely not henpecked
< koudelkat> Don't egg me on.
< koudelkat> Ok, we've milked this quite enough
<@lilyj> Chicken
< koudelkat> :'(
< cdavies> koudelkat: I don't think you've been gibbon enough credit.
< koudelkat> then I shall crow in delight over the recognition
< koudelkat> I don't mean to worm my way in though
< cdavies> civet you've done now? You can your puns.
<@lilyj> ok, time to stop monkeying around
< koudelkat> yeah, it's not cricket
< cdavies> let me stick my proboscis in to this conversation.
<@lilyj> cdavies: OK, but just what is it giraffe-ter?
< koudelkat> lilyj: nothing at all, he's lion
< cdavies> lilyj: I can see you're a shrew-d operator.
<@lilyj> cdavies: No need to fawn
< cdavies> lilyj: yes, deer.
< koudelkat> you guys are doeps
<@lilyj> don't be a dik dik
<@lilyj> which is my favortie animal name, btw
< cdavies> marmoset I shouldn't talk to strangers.
<@lilyj> cdavies: I was expecting "marmoset there'd be days like these."
< koudelkat> she toad me the same thing!
<@lilyj> cdavies: it would have rammed the pun home
< cdavies> If I can't think up a good pun soon, I may have to fall back on a meer cat joke.
<@lilyj> but ewe missed it
< koudelkat> what an ass!
< koudelkat> he should have mule'd it over more.
<@lilyj> cdavies: If you had responded to "he's lion" with "he's not lion, he's a meerkat" you could have even gotten a rimshot
< cdavies> I didn't want to hog the glory.
< koudelkat> I'm sure one of us would have swined about it
< koudelkat> But we've no need to ham i tup
<@lilyj> probably not. we're too busy putting on hares
< koudelkat> and steaking our own claims
<@lilyj> steering each other in wrong directions
< cdavies> owl come right out and say it, this coversation makes me want to shriek and run out to the barn.
<@lilyj> a rather mousey response
< koudelkat> we do hawk bad puns :(
<@lilyj> It's getting harder to ferret them out, though
< cdavies> maybe it's time to clam up then.
<@lilyj> cdavies: I think you're just being shellfish
<@zytta> lilyj: it's good to see that you still have elephantitis
< koudelkat> lilyj: you'd better krill him!
< cdavies> don't mount him though, he's been known to humpback.
< koudelkat> cdavies: not if she starts whaling on you
< cdavies> yeah, squid pro quo for putting up with your puns.
< koudelkat> cdavies: you're a sucker for them
<@lilyj> he wolfs them down
<@lilyj> damn, this conversation is just beastly
< koudelkat> it has a tendency to dragon though...
<@lilyj> maybe we could sire a new one
<@lilyj> if everyone is done horsing around, that is...
< koudelkat> you're such a cheetah
<@lilyj> you're going to have have to pony up an explanation for that accusation
< koudelkat> that wasnt stipulated in the rider agreement
<@lilyj> don't try to jockey around the subject
<@lilyj> Your telling of tails gives me paws
< koudelkat> lilyj: mare-ry me?
<@lilyj> koudelkat: am I the gorilla your dreams?
< koudelkat> lilyj: i'm homoerectus for your man though :'(
<@lilyj> salamander of taste, I suppose
< koudelkat> I'm actually newt-ral on the subject..
<@lilyj> I gnu you would be
< Ng> after all this punnery there's going to have to be some lion down
< koudelkat> yeah, they've got no sole now
< Ng> oh my cod this is getting bat ;)
<@lilyj> I can't be herring this correctly
< koudelkat> We should really put lox on our mouths
< Ng> lilyj: there there deer, it'll be ok
<@lilyj> now Ng is fawning over me
<@lilyj> salmon should stop us
< Ng> noo! wevil got to keep going! ;)
< Ng> frogging and country
<@lilyj> Ng: I thought bad puns were your bugbear
< koudelkat> Ng: Flea while you still can!
<@lilyj> Fly away
<@lilyj> before the bull gets any thicker
< Ng> eel brb ;)
< cdavies> and with that, he's herring off in to the night.
< koudelkat> i'm just gonna tuna you guys out
< koudelkat> I dont want us to get into a roe about this.
<@lilyj> Ng: We'll whlek-ome you back with open arms
<@lilyj> whelk-ome
< koudelkat> lilyj: he's such an urchin
<@lilyj> cdavies: Yeah, he left us to flounder about on our own
< cdavies> always musseling in on our punnage.
< koudelkat> he crabs all the good ones :'(
< cdavies> he's sole'd out.
<@lilyj> what a rat
< koudelkat> to another orca-stra.
< cdavies> what a cheap skate.
< koudelkat> let's make him walk the plankton
<@lilyj> he'd just fish himself out
<@lilyj> but i suppose we could just gopher it and see what happens
< koudelkat> that's what he went to school for
< cdavies> I swear, he's one of the pod people.
< koudelkat> can't trust men of that elk
< cdavies> you moose love punnani bad.
< koudelkat> well, i do love critter-us
< cdavies> Oh well, I can't just yak on. Must work.
<@lilyj> that pun will hound me for days
< koudelkat> i'm gonna be feline it for days
<@lilyj> I might even bitch about it
< koudelkat> I've haddock with you guys, I'm gonna work.
<@lilyj> koudelkat: OK, simian the morning and we'll continue
< koudelkat> lilyj: I hope we can include frogging in the agenda, I've been bad.
< cdavies> we wouldn't have to frog you, if only you'd toad the line.
< koudelkat> lilyj: Meat you in the morning, then.
< Ng> cdavies: he always weasels his way out of such things
< cdavies> Ng: Oh, I didn't know, I'm newt to this.
<@lilyj> cdavies: that' stoat-ally untrue
< koudelkat> we just spent an hour on delicious puns
< koudelkat> i didn't even notice
<@lilyj> it was our dogged determination that got us through
< cdavies> that and years of squirrelling away puns.
<@lilyj> But we were finally able to come out of our shells
<@lilyj> fur what it's worth
< cdavies> and that the audience didn't let fruit fly.
< Ng> I'm impressed, I thought it'd die out quickly, but you all kept beavering away
<@lilyj> cdavies: They're just gnat like that
<@lilyj> of course, sometimes they can bee waspish
< koudelkat> I canter do this anymore. :(
<@lilyj> koudelkat: no need to get your gallop
< Ng> koudelkat: come bacteria tomorrow
< Ng> and your salvation shall be found virus
< cdavies> you shouldn't ape jesus.
<+kif> +r
< Ng> cdavies: he won't be back until the raptor ;)
<+kif> woah, this has been going on for ages
< Ng> kif: I'll bison time while you catch up ;)
< Ng> then you can yak with us! ;)
<@lilyj> sow you say...
* kif just bees quiet
< cdavies> kif: I you don't think of puns, you ruminant for the rest of us.
< cdavies> and that gets my goat.
<@lilyj> besides, it probably won't beetle tomorrow sometime that we decide to stop
< koudelkat> i'm horny
<+kif> lilyj: but you've ewe-sed mouse-t of the possibilities already!
<@lilyj> kif: Don't be a tit :D
< Ng> kif: so start robin other peoples' ;)
< cdavies> that'd just be cuckoo
< koudelkat> lilyj: she just squeeked by
<@lilyj> yeah, don't just try to badger us into quitting
* kif admits to being out-foxed ):
< Ng> lilyj: we could surely take a little fowl play? ;)
<+kif> i prefer it when you guys just paste rood lynx (;
<@lilyj> like lynx from hornet?
< koudelkat> kif: that's our of sty-le
<@lilyj> a crime against hu-manatee
< Ng> our ewe-nun is good though, you get days off for good bee hive here
<@lilyj> well, bugger that for a lark
< Ng> lilyj: don't get antsey
< cdavies> termite be cake later
<@lilyj> Ng: Yes, mallard
* koudelkat ducks the bad puns
< Ng> koudelkat: don't have a cow, man
< koudelkat> Ng: well stop with insect-uous relationships with lilyj
< Ng> koudelkat: cheeky monkey!
< koudelkat> butt of course :D
<+kif> ok, you're boar-ing me now
<@lilyj> I think he's just aping you now
* kif wonders owl this end?
< koudelkat> kif: we'll probably all flock to the icecream place
< Ng> koudelkat: well flamingo then!
<@lilyj> kif: WHenever we're out of puns to panda to the masses
<+kif> oh deer ):
< learath> Panda Style!
<@lilyj> don't listen to him, he's just raven
* kif leaves you guys to rabbit on
< cdavies> alls whelk that ends whelk, I say.
<@lilyj> cdavies: I don't swallow that
< cdavies> lilyj: I cow-tow to your superiour wisdom
<@lilyj> ooo, mushroomtwo. i bet he sable to pun with us
<@lilyj> at least, he mite be
2007-05-10 17:38:07-!- mushroomtwo [] has quit [Remote closed the connection]
<@lilyj> aww, heron away
<@lilyj> Ibex he'll be back
< cdavies> people just flamingo-ing away away like that gets my goat.
< cdavies> It's like they're coming the raw prawn.
<@lilyj> I just turn the other chick
< cdavies> it just gets to me, I fillet deep in my heart.
<@lilyj> Dingo let off some steam
<@lilyj> no use letting it make you bittern callous
< Ng> damn, you two are pun animals
<@lilyj> bullocks
< cdavies> I've just got the gift of the crab.
<@lilyj> I shouldp robalby go to lunch. I'm getting a bit peckish
< cdavies> Ng: I think it's your tern.
< cdavies> Once bittern, twice shy I suppose.
<+kif> yous guys are genus
< cdavies> guillemot hold it against you.
< cdavies> but I suppose it could become auk-ward.
<@lilyj> kif: enough of your barbs
<@lilyj> gar-na go wolf something down
< cdavies> if you're cooking, make sure not the char anything.
<@lilyj> howver, albino catfish. I can't abide catfish
<+kif> stop tigress-ing!
< cdavies> lilyj: I trout they're edible.
<+kif> of horse they are
< cdavies> maybe I'll cook some for you, salmon-chanted evening!
< Ng> I hope someone is logging this for later reproduction as a short story ;)
<@lilyj> A Big Fish story? or a Fairy Tail?
< Ng> lilyj: definitely a shaggy dog story
< Ng> cdavies: you should cook up some rat-atouille and chick peas ;)
<@lilyj> toad in the hole
<@lilyj> great, now I want ratatouille and I Don't know of any place that sells it
<+kif> maybe you could get mouse-cerpone instead?
< Ng> ooh, I have tara-mouse-lata at home
<@lilyj> moose-aka
<@lilyj> baabaa ganoush
* Ng had bull-ognese last night
<+kif> haha, terribull!
< Ng> yeah, it was
< Ng> stupid ready meals ;)
<+kif> m-eels?
<@lilyj> maybe I'll get some hum-mouse
<@lilyj> with a side of PETA...mmmm vegans


Music stuff

Posted on Monday, 18 December 2006

I picked up the latest Hybrid album recently, called I Choose Noise. It's outstanding, if you are a fan of Hybrid you will definitely like it. If not, go and listen to them on or something and then go buy the albums!

In the process of faffing around again with music libraries and ripping CDs and rhythmbox I found myself quite irritated that I couldn't control my music from my laptop (which I use more than my desktop these days), so I installed Music Player Daemon (mpd) and then a gnome client for it on my laptop. It rocks! The client UI could use some love, but it's fully capable of playing music, which is what I wanted :)


yay for linux devices

Posted on Friday, 8 December 2006

BusyBox v1.00 (2006.11.07-01:40+0000) Built-in shell (ash)
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.

_______ ________ __
| |.-----.-----.-----.| | | |.----.| |_
| - || _ | -__| || | | || _|| _|
|_______|| __|_____|__|__||________||__| |____|
|__| W I R E L E S S F R E E D O M
WHITE RUSSIAN (RC6) -------------------------------
* 2 oz Vodka Mix the Vodka and Kahlua together
* 1 oz Kahlua over ice, then float the cream or
* 1/2oz cream milk on the top.

Hurray! Embedded Linux rocks.

It's just something of a shame that I didn't actually mean to buy this particular model of LinkSys wireless thingy. Never mind, I'm sure I'll find a use for it :)


All your pixels are belong to me!

Posted on Wednesday, 6 December 2006

It's always kinda annoyed me when applications waste space with lots of menu bars and toolbars and stuff, when they could be using the space to show me useful stuff, or just be smaller.
I appreciate that lots of people don't want information as densely packed as I do, but that's clearly not going to stop me trying. Up until now it's not been enough of an issue to do anything about, because I've had at least one big monitor for quite some time now.
However, since I recently got a very portable laptop which only does 1024x768, my mind has been mulling over ways to save as much screen space as possible.
With that in mind, I've collapsed down as much stuff as I can and present two screenshots, firstly of my firefox workspace and secondly of my thunderbird one. All the gnome stuff I care about is packed into one little toolbar at the top and since I always run these apps with the windows maximised, I use devilspie to strip the window borders. My main workspace just has four terminals at the maximum sizes they can be (which works out at about 82x29 with small fonts).

Finally, as a challenge, can anyone suggest ways to save even more screen space?


Big Chill

Posted on Tuesday, 8 August 2006

Over the weekend I was at Eastnor Castle with a bunch of friends for The Big Chill, a fantastic little music festival that happens every August. It's nice and small (I reckon about 30,000 people) and very friendly, with lots of very cool bands playing (mostly ones I haven't heard of, which is nice).
I expect some pictures will appear sooner or later, but in the mean time, sucks to be all of you that didn't go! ;)


Ubuntu Dapper 6.06 LTS on an IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad x40

Note: This post is a work-in-progress, I will probably come back to this and change/update/rewrite it at will

I picked up a ThinkPad x40 recently to use with Dapper and I thought I'd chuck up a few notes from my experience thus far. I deliberately chose the ThinkPad because of the reputation of IBM's laptops and especially that they use very good hardware and it has to be said that on a modern distro, especially one that aims to work well with laptops, almost every bit of hardware works straight away after install. I would seriously recommend ThinkWiki to anyone attempting ThinkPad/Linux shenanigans - they have a huge amount of information about the various bits of hardware, installation guides, tips and a bunch more, all nicely tagged so you can tell which bits are relevant to the machine you own.

First off I'll run through some of the key steps of installation.

1. Before doing anything else, I used the IBM tools in the pre-installed Windows XP to produce restore images and burn them to disc (one CD, one DVD). This is mostly a precaution in case I either have some insurmountable problem with Linux on the machine, or if I ever come to sell it and the buyer wants their licenced copy of Windows.

2. After that I did a pretty much default install of Ubuntu. If you want to, you can set the BIOS to disable protection for the "hidden" IBM recovery partition, then use the whole disk in the Ubuntu installer. I chose to leave it there, but I may reclaim it at some point in the future. I read on a few pages/forums that suspending seems to be more reliable if you add acpi_sleep=s3_bios to the kernel command line, which is easy to do in Ubuntu. Edit /boot/grub/menu.lst (you can use gksudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst if you don't know otherwise) and place the above acpi_sleep option on the end of the kopt= line and running sudo update-grub.

3. With the install done I set about installing a few bits and pieces to make the laptop more useful - things like Network Manager (so it's trivially easy to join wired/wireless networks from the desktop), various Bluetooth tools (install gnome-bluetooth and you get most of the bits you need), Java (sun-java5-plugin), mplayer, a few other multimedia libraries including Real Player (available, along with Opera, in the Add/Remove tool (see the Applications menu) if you enable the commercial repository).

4. Start testing things - graphics work fine, wireless works fine with the madwifi driver (although there is some possibility that there is a kernel crashing bug in the version Dapper offers, see LaunchPad bug 37773), wired ethernet is great, keyboard keys mostly seem to work (volume controls work by default, which is a nice touch).

5. Configure it. The first thing I did was disable the Sound Server Daemon in Gnome (called Esound, or esd) because I really dislike it. I then stripped out all the interfaces from /etc/network/interfaces other than lo so that Network Manager will take responsibility.

6. Tweak things. Mplayer always works better if you add an entry to /etc/sysctl.conf that says dev/rtc/max-user-freq=1024 and the ThinkPad's wireless activity LED can be enabled with dev/ath0/softled=1. I fiddled with the settings in the Power Management options in Preferences, but these are personal choices, so I won't bother listing them. One thing I would recommend is setting it to only show an icon when it is charging or discharging - if you're on AC and the battery is full you don't really need an icon, so you get a few extra pixels of panel space (and because the screen is small I'd recommend ditching the lower panel and moving its applets to the top). On the subject of applets and screen estate, you can replace the "Applications Places System" menus with a single "Main Menu" applet, which shows an ubuntu logo on the panel - click on it and you get the Applications menu, with Places and System tacked onto it. Gnome's sensors applet can read the information provided by the ibm-acpi driver, so you can monitor the temperature of various bits of hardware and fan speeds. Also of some interest is the CPU Frequency Scaling applet (which shows you how much Linux is throttling your CPU when its idle). One final Gnome panel tip is that if you make it 25 pixels tall instead of the default 24, larger windows will get their window manager icons shown in the Workspace switcher applet. A trivial little detail, but it's kinda handy if (like me) you tend to run things fullscreen on their own workspace.


New job

Posted on Tuesday, 8 November 2005

After almost 28 years (bar some short spells here and there) I am leaving Brighton, because despite being a fantastic city, the jobs market for IT (especially Linux) really sucks here. The city depends on tourism, there's no space or reason for very much technology. I am therefore abandoning the insurance industry for the advertising industry, and Brighton for London; The job is similar, but with more headroom.
My current mission is finding a sweet house with a bunch of cool, interesting people to dampen the shock of moving, since I don't think I can commit my life and finances to an hour and a half commute a day if I stay here ;)


Cascade of images

Posted on Friday, 26 August 2005

I've been up to things again and finally got around to putting the pictures up.

Jazz Cafe PicnicTo kick things off we have a gallery of photos from the Jazz Cafe Picnic at Marble Hill in Twickenham (London). It can be found here.

Science MuseumOn Tuesday I went to London to meet up with adie and we wandered around the Science Museum, saw a 3D IMAX movie and looked round an exhibition of costumes/props from the Hitchhiker's Guide movie. The gallery is here.

Finally, as a bit of fun, I found myself in some TV footage from Glastonbury (click on the images for larger and fullsize versions):

Me at Glastonbury Me at Glastonbury (captioned)

On the left is the original TV image with us circled, on the right is the same shot, but with us magnified (or rather, the back of our heads magnified)


Mark Thomas

Posted on Tuesday, 19 July 2005

Mark Thomas on stage at Concorde 2I saw Mark Thomas doing a stand-up gig at Concorde 2 in Brighton this evening with Alex, Simon, and Simon and jolly good it was too. The man can certainly express some righteous anger!
It wasn't all political ranting (which was still very funny), there was a good mix of humour, some of which went beyond the pale for some of the audience; Along with some excellent anecdotes from various anarchic protests he has taken part in.

Two thumbs up :)


Half-Life 2: Deathmatch

Posted on Sunday, 12 December 2004

Blimey. This is quite some intense action!
In a way it's more like playing Quake than it is Half Life - it feels even more intense than the original Half Life multiplayer deathmatch at least.
It's no Counterstrike:Source though, I am liking that game even more now, especially what with it running at >50fps (my CPU doing SSE2 seems to make something of a large difference over similarly clocked 32bit Athlons)