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Stinkin' blinkin' flash drive

blinkin' flash drive
blinkin' flash drive
As one of the free swag items that they handed out at the Linux Plumbers Conference, I received an Intel branded 1GB USB flash drive. Unless you are blind, it would have been impossible to notice the BRIGHT red, green and blue blinking LED that was activated any time the device was plugged in. If I was susceptible to epileptic fits, I am sure it would have caused a seizure. Anyway, not being one to tolerate annoying behavior from electronic devices, I decided to fix it. I popped it open at the seam to find that it came apart very nicely, without breaking anything.

Be your own locksmith

After four and a half years, I finally got around to changing the keys to our house. So all you who have a key to our house and figured you could copy it and sell it on eBay for lots of money, you lose. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I probably should have done this within the first week of moving in, but having never owned a house before, it never occurred to me. Fortunately, nobody has broken in and stolen anything, so it was a free lesson.

MythTV + MediaMVP = Time Shifted Television

I have long been slightly jealous of Darren's MythTV setup. I kept telling myself that I have enough other projects (a.k.a. kids) to keep myself busy for the next 18 years. Plus, the VCR and TV have always been fine for our needs and up until about a month ago were working fine. The TV has never really been what I would call a great piece of electronic equipment. A great piece of something. But it was free and I can't argue with that. It still works if not for its slightly discolored screen. The VCR is in the same boat. But it finally did give up the ghost. First it stopped rewinding tapes and then it stopped recording. So I tossed it. But that left us without a way to record Sesame Street. Dun dun dun...

Massive Acidfree updates

After nearly 2 weeks of coding and testing, I am happy to release some major updates in the Acidfree code base. The changes really are very subtle from a user's perspective, but are quite intrusive considering the code size. The code base is about 2500 lines of code and nearly 1000 of those lines were changed. But it was definitely for the better — better video handling, better image manipulation, better mime-type handling.

Please try it out and let me know what you think. Submit bugs and feature requests if something is not right. Submit patches if you want. I want to make sure Acidfree is done The Right Way™, so by all means, take it for a spin and give it feedback.

Rubik's Cubes and Sing-along Sally

I have found that now that I have stopped going to school and have earned all the institutional degrees I will probably ever get (high school, bachelor of science, master of science), my mind tends to get bored if I don't keep learning. Sometimes it is just thinking deep thoughts and other times it is re-learning the deep thoughts that I used to have.

I recently wrote a short script in python (using the scipy libraries) that generates a WAV file of white noise. It starts off by generating a buffer of random noise. Then it passes the data through a lowpass Butterworth filter (which you can set the order and cutoff frequency). After filtering, it writes the data out to a wave file. To reduce transitional blips between frames, I just use the same frame back to back with the samples reversed. If the frame is long enough (more than a couple of seconds), it is difficult to notice any repeating cycles, and if they are that far apart, it is soothing, like ocean waves. I knew that I could do this sort of thing because Dr. Oliphant, my ECEn 380 professor, drilled this stuff into my head so deeply that I will forever have signals and systems running through my head.