Monthly Archives: June 2008

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1

Oh my gosh. IE 8 is out, and… it follows the standards. CSS 2.1. Strict XHTML. The whole works.

I’m going to give it a go today if I get a chance to test its claims, but… still… if this is true…

…that means hell finally froze over.

Ripping DVD’s for iPod (and Touch) using MEncoder

It’s pretty simple, really. Just use the right video/audio options and you’re both iPod- and iPod Touch-compatible:


if [[ "$2" == "" ]]; then
	echo "Usage: $0 <inputfile> <outputname>"
	echo "(<outputname> does not need an extension!)"
	exit 1

mencoder $1 -sws 9 -of lavf -lavfopts format=mp4 \
-vf scale=-2:320,dsize=576:320:0,harddup \
-ovc x264 \
-x264encopts bitrate=1381:vbv_maxrate=1500:vbv_bufsize=2000:nocabac:me=umh:trellis=1:level_idc=30:global_header:threads=2:pass=1:turbo \
-oac faac \
-alang en \
-faacopts mpeg=4:object=2:br=160:raw -channels 2 -srate 48000 -o $2.tmp.mp4

if [[ "$?" != "0" ]]; then exit "$EXIT_CODE"; fi

mencoder $1 -sws 9 -of lavf -lavfopts format=mp4 \
-vf scale=-2:320,dsize=576:320:0,harddup \
-ovc x264 \
-x264encopts bitrate=1381:vbv_maxrate=1500:vbv_bufsize=2000:nocabac:me=umh:subq=6:frameref=6:trellis=1:level_idc=30:global_header:threads=2:pass=2 \
-oac faac \
-alang en \
-faacopts mpeg=4:object=2:br=160:raw -channels 2 -srate 48000 -o $2.tmp.mp4

if [[ "$?" != "0" ]]; then exit "$EXIT_CODE"; fi

echo "ATTENTION: Movie is done but iTunes won't recognize it!"
echo "Use NicMP4Box to create an iTunes-compatible movie file!"
# nicmp4box -add $2.tmp.mp4 $2.mp4

I modified this with a 4:3 aspect ratio in mind, but it should scale to 16:4 aspect ratio automatically when given such a DVD. I have yet to test that.

Note the ending lines there. That’s the catch. If you are using Linux, and Linux software to transfer your movies to your iPod, you’re good to go as it is. On the other hand, if you use iTunes, you’ve got a problem. Apparently iTunes refuses to recognize the movies you give it unless “the ‘itunes’ atom is set to the correct value. You can add the atom to the file with nicMP4Box ( ) “. Update: Read the comments for information on how to bypass the nicmp4box requirement in Linux.

Thanks to the folks at the MEncoder usage discussions for the answer!

The deadly Mr. rm

Can you tell the difference? I almost didn’t.

jacob@jacob-gdesktop ~/watch $ ls
$HOME  jacob
jacob@jacob-gdesktop ~/watch $ rm -iR "$HOME"
jacob@jacob-gdesktop ~/watch $ rm -iR '$HOME'

Thank goodness for -i…

The Secret to Backing up Home Folders

Here are the things I do to keep my home folder backups to 2 GB or less:

  • Clear Firefox’s cache. This is a big space hog, and cache is worthless.
  • I filter out “.azureus/torrents/”, a folder of mine, so that any BitTorrent downloads aren’t included in my backups. They usually are demos of games I want to try before I buy, so I never keep them anyway.
  • Any software or data I could care less about or can easily reconfigure I usually filter out as well. This includes:
    • ePSXe: barely used, never keep the games or save data
    • Vendetta: demo, why keep it?
    • Wine: because everything I do with Wine is easily deletable or easily redone
    • Videos I re-encoded for my Palm: would rather re-encode again than back up 1GB+
    • All ISO’s: can redownload
    • VirtualBox: can reinstall the virtual images much easier than backing up and restoring 8+ GB.

Duplicity’s command line for the operation, in all it’s glory, is this:

duplicity $1 -v9
–exclude “/home/jacob/.azureus/torrents/**”
–exclude “/home/jacob/.epsxe”
–exclude “/home/jacob/.vendetta”
–exclude “/home/jacob/.wine”
–exclude “/home/jacob/.feeded/vids”
–exclude “/home/jacob/Documents/Personal/Music”
–exclude “**.iso”
–exclude “/home/jacob/.VirtualBox”
/home/jacob ftp://USER@HOST.EXT/folder/folder

With these settings, my backups take less than 15 minutes a day. If this hasn’t convinced you to start a regular backup, I don’t know what will. (And if you’ve already tried, but find it hard to get into a habit, and don’t like cron because you don’t know of a good time when your computer is on and you’re not using it, try doing your backups before you log in in the morning.)

Firefox 3.0? More like Swiftfox!

Firefox 3 is really what they say it is. Fast, efficient, and with a few new features to boot. Mostly the enhancements are under the hood with the revamped Gecko engine, making XHTML developers like myself uber happy.

The first thing that hit me was the speed. This little guy can really chew them pages up! I browse the GP32X forums, keeping myself up-to-date on the Pandora console, and speeds become an issue when you start opening 8 or more tabs at once. To demonstrate the difference (which is substantial), I’ve done up a little video. It’s nothing fancy, just the two browsers, one run after the other. The screen capture software actually makes my computer appear (and at times act) a little slower, so imagine a 110%-130% (guesstimation) speed increase as you watch this.

Firebug In Gentoo: Fixed!

If you have the Firebug extension installed, and it fails to open no matter what buttons, menu items, or key combinations you push, you probably don’t have the mozdevelop USE flag enabled in Gentoo or Gentoo variants. Took me quite a while to finally figure this out, so I thought I’d share.

Google Calendar + Evolution = One-Way Destination to Fast Calendars

I’m putting more stuff on my calendar now to try and keep my life much more organized. The Pandora will be perfect as a mobile PIM device, amongue other things, allowing me to view and edit my calendar on the go. When I’m sitting in front of my computer, though, it’s hard to work up the momentum to open Firefox and browse over to Google Calendar. Continue reading