Computers

xrayspx's picture

Lattice of Convenience - MP3 Playlists

Music: 

Underworld - Kittens

Hopefully everyone can live in the future someday.

We do a lot with MP3 playlists. I run Airsonic for streaming around the house and in the car, and we have a playlist-based FM transmitter setup, etc. So I have scripts which run every night and generate playlists based on star ratings and other things (GET THE LED OUT ANYONE?).

Previously what I've done is dump the contents of a bunch of Smart Playlists in Clementine to a file and use those files to generate the randomized 200 track daily playlists. The downside to that is that every time I add music or change star ratings, I'd have to refresh these "base" files like some kind of animal. I had base playlists for "3+ stars", "4+ Stars" and "5 Stars", among others.

Today I decided to fix all that. Clementine uses a SQLite3 database, so now I'm just querying it instead, and it seems to be working well. For example, my "5 star" playlist in Clementine results in 10800 or so tracks. The same one built from the DB ends up with a couple hundred more tracks, but is pretty close. I'm not entirely sure what the difference there is just yet, but "close enough". What it looks like to me is I probably need to enable Samba case sensitivity.

The DB records ratings as decimal numbers from 0.0 (Zero stars) through 1.0 (5 Stars). So to build a "4-Star +" playlist, searching for rating >= "0.8", you get ratings like this:

1
1.10000002384186
0.800000011920929
0.800000011920929
0.800000011920929
1.10000002384186
1.10000002384186
0.800000011920929
0.800000011920929
1
1
1
1

! Caveat: Prior to Clementine 1.4.0rc1-533-gf4e70face there was a bug where it was possible to give a song a higher than 5 star rating (higher than 1.0 in the DB) as you can see above, so know that if you have Clementine from the repositories, it's likely you have that bug. For instance in the UI, if you want to show all 5 star songs, use "Rating is Greater Than 4.5 Stars" rather than "Rating is Equal to 5 Stars".

Now I can just have a cron job to copy the master Clementine DB once a day to my server and drop it in next to the playlist generation scripts.

The downside to all this is speed. When using the Clementine-Generated base playlists, I could be sure all the files actually exist on disk. However while Clementine will only show you files that exist in the UI, it doesn't seem to do a very good job of cleaning the database of stale files which no longer exist. So if you move or rename files, the old DB entries stick around unless you purge it completely and start over from scratch. That means I have to test every single file as I add it to the playlist, which takes time. It takes about 5-8 seconds to generate my 200 track 5-Star M3U file.

The 5-Star.sh script is below if you'd like to play along at home:

  


#!/bin/bash

rm /Volumes/Filestore/CDs/playlists/5\ Stars.m3u

i=1

while [ $i -le 200 ]
do
 file=$(sqlite3 ./clementine.db "select filename from songs where rating > "0.9" order by random() limit 1;" | awk -F "file://" '{print $2}')

 ### Clementine data encodes special characters and accent marks and stuff so I'm using
 ### Joel Parker Henderson's urldecode.sh to undo that: https://gist.github.com/cdown/1163649
 
 data=$(urldecode.sh "$file")
 if [ -f "$data" ]
 then
  ### Have to escape leading brackets because grep treated it as a range and would allow duplicates ###
  ### Can't do that in "data" because \[ isn't in the filename so they'll fail ###

  escaped=$(echo "$data" | sed 's/\[/\\[/g')
  #echo "$escaped"

  ### Avoid duplicates
  match=$(grep -i "$escaped" /Volumes/Filestore/CDs/playlists/5\ Stars.m3u)
  if [ -z "$match" ]
  then
   echo "$data" >> /Volumes/Filestore/CDs/playlists/5\ Stars.m3u
   ((i++))
  fi
 fi
done

For the 3+ and 4+ lists, I repeat this main block, but instead each rating dumps into a text file that I randomize into an .m3u at the end. So for the 3-Star + script below, I collect 130 5-star tracks, 45 4-star, and 25 3-star, push them out to a temp file and then cat temp.m3u | sort -R > "./3 Star +.m3u". I could do all this by creating a new table in the database and stuffing tracks into that, but this was faster for me to write and it works well enough:


#!/bin/bash

rm /Volumes/Filestore/CDs/playlists/3\ Stars\ +.m3u

i=1

while [ $i -le 130 ]
do
 file=$(sqlite3 ./clementine.db "select filename from songs where rating > "0.9" order by random() limit 1;" | awk -F "file://" '{print $2}')

 ### Clementine data encodes special characters and accent marks and stuff so I'm using
 ### Joel Parker Henderson's urldecode.sh to undo that: https://gist.github.com/cdown/1163649
 
 data=$(urldecode.sh "$file")
 if [ -f "$data" ]
 then
  ### Have to escape leading brackets because grep treated it as a range and would allow duplicates ###
  ### Can't do that in "data" because \[ isn't in the filename so they'll fail ###

  escaped=$(echo "$data" | sed 's/\[/\\[/g')
  #echo "$escaped"

  ### Avoid duplicates
  match=$(grep -i "$escaped" ./3-star-tmp.m3u)
  if [ -z "$match" ]
  then
   echo "$data" >> ./3-star-tmp.m3u
   ((i++))
  fi
 fi
done

i=1

while [ $i -le 45 ]
do
  file=$(sqlite3 ./clementine.db "select filename from songs where rating >= "0.8" and rating

  ### Clementine data encodes special characters and accent marks and stuff so I'm using
  ### Joel Parker Henderson's urldecode.sh to undo that: https://gist.github.com/cdown/1163649

  data=$(urldecode.sh "$file")
  if [ -f "$data" ]
  then
   ### Have to escape leading brackets because grep treated it as a range and would allow duplicates ###
   ### Can't do that in "data" because \[ isn't in the filename so they'll fail ###

   escaped=$(echo "$data" | sed 's/\[/\\[/g')
   #echo "$escaped"

   ### Avoid duplicates
   match=$(grep -i "$escaped" ./3-star-tmp.m3u)
   if [ -z "$match" ]
   then
    echo "$data" >> ./3-star-tmp.m3u
    ((i++))
   fi
  fi
done

i=1

while [ $i -le 25 ]
do
  file=$(sqlite3 ./clementine.db "select filename from songs where rating >= "0.6" and rating

  ### Clementine data encodes special characters and accent marks and stuff so I'm using
  ### Joel Parker Henderson's urldecode.sh to undo that: https://gist.github.com/cdown/1163649

  data=$(urldecode.sh "$file")
  if [ -f "$data" ]
  then
   ### Have to escape leading brackets because grep treated it as a range and would allow duplicates ###
   ### Can't do that in "data" because \[ isn't in the filename so they'll fail ###

   escaped=$(echo "$data" | sed 's/\[/\\[/g')
   #echo "$escaped"

   ### Avoid duplicates
   match=$(grep -i "$escaped" ./3-star-tmp.m3u)
   if [ -z "$match" ]
   then
    echo "$data" >> ./3-star-tmp.m3u
    ((i++))
   fi
  fi
done

cat ./3-star-tmp.m3u | sort -R > /Volumes/Filestore/CDs/playlists/3\ Stars\ +.m3u

rm ./3-star-tmp.m3u

xrayspx's picture

Caching Password passer

Similar to the RDP Launcher, I occasionally need to grab passwords that I use all the time from KeePassXC to paste into various forms or prompts. Basically anything I use more than once per day, I have defined in this script for quick access. I don't want to be able to remember these, and I also don't want to have to interact with the password manager UI if I'm in a shell.

xrayspx's picture

DVD Ripping

Music: 

The Wipeouters - Ravin' Surf

Another note for myself for later, and boy this is dumb.

RDPLauncher

TL;DR: Here's the Link:
RDPLauncher

I use RDP a lot and had some scripts to let me launch lots of RDP sessions without having to enter my random-generated passwords over and over. I wasn't happy with how I was handling those passwords so I've made it more secure using gpg and KeePassXC. Last night I made it compatible with Windows and MSTSC which will be uploaded here shortly once it's cleaned up a bit.

Basically I'll click a shortcut for whatever host, which runs my launcher. I get prompted for my GPG passphrase, which reads from an encrypted file containing my KeePassXC passphrase, which is then used to retrieve the user password for launching the RDP session.

Gpg-agent uses a cache-TTL to "hold the door open" for 10 minutes by default, so I can launch a bunch of sessions and only type my passphrase once.

Requirements:

- gpg client and running gpg-agent (gpg4win, etc) with a private key set up, etc.
- cygwin if you're running Windows
- KeePassXC (or some other key-store that has a command-line interface
to query the database. In the beginning I was just using the gpg file
with user/password pairs, so that works too)

The tool has a few neat features:

- If run from the command line with no arguments, it will prompt for user/pass/host/domain, good for one-off sessions to machines I won't log into much. That's great since I spend all my time in terminal windows and this stops me having to go back and forth to the mouse and keyboard while entering credentials.

- If launched with -b, it prompts you for information for a one-off connection, but will also build a new shortcut launcher from a template. So like for the first connection to a machine you know you're going to use a lot. (Linux/Mac only)

- Automatically tunnel sessions over ssh. This means I can launch RDP sessions on my Mac and they'll seamlessly proxy through my work laptop to the VPN.

For tunneling, I am taking an arbitrary range of 200 ports and incrementing them based on what's currently listening. If there's already a process listening on port 6201, then try 6202 etc until there's an open one. So I can easily open 20-30 ssh tunneled sessions each with its own ssh process which will close down when the RDP window closes. 200 is "probably overkill", which means it might just be barely enough in the real world.

The launcher shortcut mechanics are a bit different on my Linux and Mac machines so I split the -b script builder piece out based on OS. On Linux, I use KDE/Plasma, and so I generate these as KDE desktop files which look like this:

#!/usr/bin/env xdg-open
[Desktop Entry]
Comment[en_US]=
Comment=
Exec=/home/xrayspx/bin/rdplauncher.sh -h it-host.xrayspx.com -d xdomainx -u xrayspx
GenericName[en_US]=
GenericName=host.xrayspx.com
Icon=remmina
MimeType=
Name[en_US]=
Name=host.xrayspx.com
Path=
StartupNotify=true
Terminal=false
TerminalOptions=
Type=Application
X-DBUS-ServiceName=host.xrayspx.com
X-DBUS-StartupType=
X-KDE-SubstituteUID=false
X-KDE-Username=

On the Mac side, I use shell scripts with the extension .rdp (which conflicts with Microsoft's client, but I don't care since I never use their client anyway). Those just launch using Terminal, so it does pop a terminal for a fraction of a second, but I really don't have a problem with that.

The launcher for that looks like:

#! /bin/bash
rdplauncher.sh -h host.xrayspx.com -d xdomainx -u xrayspx &

If I call it with AppleScript or Automator instead of a bash script as above, none of the password retrieval process works. I think it short circuits and sends the output back to the AppleScript rather than the bash script which ran the command. If I can get that working that would be ideal.

The mechanics on Windows are similar to the Mac method. a .bat file which launches the bash script via Cygwin:

C:\cygwin64\bin\mintty.exe -w hide -e /bin/bash -l -c '/home/user/bin/rdplauncher.sh -h host -u username -d domain'

On Windows at least the Cygwin window it creates is hidden from the user, so that's nice.

xrayspx's picture

TV History Time

Music: 

Mojo Nixon & Jello Biafra - Nostalgia For an Age That Never Existed

So this is super interesting. You know, interesting to me anyway.

I'm compiling another week of vintage TV shows, this time from 1963. It's remarkable how easy it is to get the exact episode of many of these even compared to getting episodes from 1980's shows. I'm making a playlist for each night and mixing in 1963 commercials throughout, should be fun. But first, see if you can spot why this week's playlist may present a particular challenge:

As I started out on Sunday night (TVue is boldly not adhering to the TVGuide dictate that Saturday is the first day of the week), I found that while I could find the episode of whatever show I was looking for, the air date listed in IMDB was for like, several months in the future, in some cases as far as March 1964. What the balls IMDB. So it made it kind of tricky to pin down given episodes.

After the 3rd or so show with this happening, I kind of noticed a pattern. Sunday, November 24, 1963 just doesn't seem to exist. IMDB consistently showed "Nov. 17" and then the next episode aired was 'Dec. 1".

So seriously what the he... Oh. Right. Yikes.

My TVue, from the Boston Advertiser, is listing the TV schedule for the week after the Kennedy assassination. I am building playlists to recreate a week of TV which ... ... never existed.

For the record, this being the 24th, we chose Mister Ed, My Favorite Martian and The Judy Garland Show. I got all the right episodes on those, but I'd have liked to have seen the Ed Sullivan Show, but since that's live I imagine it was just canceled altogether. It was supposed to have a Stiller and Meara sketch, so I just picked one of those sketches from another Ed Sullivan. Growing up with Seinfeld it's just so easy to see "SERENITY NOW!", or "I've got a lot of problems with you people!". Genius.

As in my previous week of vintage TV, if I can't find a thing, I'll go for the nearest I can get. So for instance What's My Line on Sunday, Nov. 24 Instead I opted for the December 1 episode with Colonel Sanders. I don't know what was scheduled for that episode, or indeed if it was ever actually shot.

In addition to the JFK assassination horror, one thing that bums me out about this week is that I don't seem to be able to find any episodes of Grindl with Imogene Coca. I really want to see Aunt Edna, but young ('er, she was still in her '50s).

So here's to building a playlist for a TV Guide week that never happened. Obviously this is going to be oddly similar to 9/11/2001, and ... that's about it really. I can't really think of any other week where the machine of commerce would have simply ground to a halt entirely.

xrayspx's picture

Lots of RDP

Music: 

Annie Lennox - Why?

Do you do lots of RDP? Like lots and lots? I do, and even with password management it's annoying. I tend to use generated passwords for all my normal user, Domain Admin user and obviously Administrator accounts. That means lots of workarounds to deal with those passwords while doing bulk RDP sessions.

A typical use case for me is to RDP to 20 machines at a time, run a thing, wait, and log out. I've always scripted this, but not always in strictly the safest way. Plaintext passwords stored in a script, or read off disk. The philosophy is "if someone can read this script, I've already lost the game anyway", but still it's ugly and sick, and so I fixed it. In my defense, the Red Team never did pop my laptop...

I already use gpg-agent to facilitate unpacking of log files. On my syslog servers I roll logs over hourly, gzip them and then gpg encrypt them to my key. Then I can download a bunch of them, run my logunpack script, enter my passphrase once and since gpg-agent caches that credential for a period of time, decrypt all my files in one go.

What I wanted here was basically a way to have keepassxc.cli "hold the door open" and cache the passphrase like gpg-agent does. So what I've done is to use gpg-agent itself for that purpose. I have a GPG encrypted file containing my KeePass-XC passphrase, and I open it using gpg-agent, so it can be reused until gpg-cache-ttl expires.

I've also always had slightly different copies of this script for use cases of "Fullscreen on my laptop" and "fullscreen on larger displays", so I have a switch here for "resolution" as well. "fs" for fullscreen or "fsbm" for "big monitors". Since I'll never go to my office again, that's pretty much never going to get used. The default for the $res value will remain 1280x960. Reasonable enough.

I also added prompts so that it'll ask for host, domain, user and password if you run the script with no prompts from a shell. So /that/ will be super useful to me when I have to do a one-off connection to some remote host but don't need a whole launcher for it. While I'm at it, I put in the -b switch so that you can have it generate a launcher based on that input. That saves me hand editing a template when I add a new RDP host.

I use Linux, but this should work with minimal-if-any changes on Mac and Windows/Cygwin, both of which can run xfreerdp and gpg-agent. I have a good automated ssh-tunneled RDP setup for my Mac, so I might try using that with this so I can use a 4k display for those "busy RDP days".

Being that I do run Linux, here's how I launch this. KDE desktop files like this:


xrayspx@dummyhost:~/rdps$ cat windowsmachine
#!/usr/bin/env xdg-open
[Desktop Entry]
Comment[en_US]=
Comment=
Exec=/home/xrayspx/bin/rdplauncher.sh -h windowsmachine -d domain -u xrayspx
GenericName[en_US]=
GenericName=windowsmachine
Icon=remmina
MimeType=
Name[en_US]=
Name=windowsmachine
Path=
StartupNotify=true
Terminal=false
TerminalOptions=
Type=Application
X-DBUS-ServiceName=windowsmachine
X-DBUS-StartupType=
X-KDE-SubstituteUID=false
X-KDE-Username=

So anyway, here's the thing: RDPLauncher

xrayspx's picture

Rippin' DVDs

Music: 

Dana Carvey - Choppin' Broccoli

Today in Lattice of Convenience news, here's how to rip DVDs.

I barely understand the mencoder command that is the backbone of this thing, and there are many better ways to do lots of the stuff in this script, in fact I know several of those better ways, and looking at it fresh, I see some redundant stuff that cancels out other stuff. But it runs, and I use it, so here goes.

Ripping DVDs isn't fun, the disk labels are iffy at best, even within a single box set you might go from the Gold Standard "TV Show - S1D1" to "DVD_VIDEO" as a disk label. So it can get kind of ugly. To mitigate that I create an output folder based on the DVD disk label + a timestamp. If you get a run of disks with the same name, at least they're not overwriting each others files because the timestamp will shift. I currently have a dvdrip-output directory with the following DVDs in it:

...
DVD_VIDEO-090720202337
DVD_VIDEO-090820201025
DVD_VIDEO-090820201027
DVD_VIDEO-090820201142
I_LOVE_LUCY_S2_D1-090520202354
I_LOVE_LUCY_S2_D3-090620201047
LUCY_S1D1-090520201043
LUCY_S1D2-090520201043
LUCY_S1D3-090520201359
...

Those are all from the same box set. So that's 3 naming conventions from one series. To be fair I think that while it's the same company producing them they probably came as separate "season" boxes rather than one big set. Still. Come on. Jesus.

Another big gotcha I've hit, again mainly with TV series box sets, a single show might exist on the disk as many as THREE times. Once as a "standalone episode", once as "episode with commentary track" and once as part of a massive concatenated file of all the episodes on that disk. In the case of the commentary track, that audio seems to be separate, so the actual episode rips to exactly the same filesize, the commentary track seems not to be something I have access to, so you just get two identical files at the end.

So as you're ripping, that's going to triple the rip time.

The way I'm trying to fix that is to rip the first 30 seconds of every Title on the disk, then do a SHA sum on those ripped sample files. As a Title rips, when it's done I'll drop its clip checksum into a "rippedchecksums" file. The next TItle starts the first thing it does is check to see if its checksum has already been ripped. If it has, skip it. It seems to catch 100% of repeated Titles, and probably 70% of the "Big Concatenated File" cases will match the sum for Title 1. Saves a shitload of time.

In this case, Title 1 is a standalone episode, and Title 21 is the Big Concatenated File of all the episodes on the disk. Title 21 will be skipped. Since I get about 70 or 80 FPS on my Mac Pro, that probably saved 90 minutes of rip time or so with 3 hours of video on the disk:

763b6035c4bf239b4425fb8f484018387574baca /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/1-sample.avi
59cca1b18759647e13e3e1b6a4facace0520fc06 /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/10-sample.avi
125add4181b9dc6eee57c32c07568765b8e4483b /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/11-sample.avi
4daae35d014032964fe57e70e2cc3450f7dac4e5 /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/12-sample.avi
a942f31a9ee42c5839772f733b2c666195397ad5 /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/13-sample.avi
8c9473a940a9bc685d84e0ac29c66f53efa6667d /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/14-sample.avi
29d2200d8c46ac11417119b4b7179e4b526d99cf /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/15-sample.avi
466860b79bba6d132fcc97d6dc7c0c3a20dd771c /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/16-sample.avi
f4ae11cca0752956c4d6025a8760a260a59fe79b /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/17-sample.avi
00753d529f4bbf4081f647056cf44db7c630c198 /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/18-sample.avi
b7f9c9087fed6b00d22de5033c153f9ffb3cd3b1 /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/19-sample.avi
14efcb6164f1424b894cc28200ab621ec805ecd0 /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/2-sample.avi
6c411c8869f1e6bc9a6ec298ba9b6a5c9eefc9ae /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/20-sample.avi
763b6035c4bf239b4425fb8f484018387574baca /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/21-sample.avi

At the end of it, I still end up with just a directory full of files labeled 1 through whatever.avi. I have to take a few seconds per file to get it to "TV Show - S01E01.avi". But from there FileBot can mass-rename them with episode titles.

So here's the full ugliness. You'll want to adjust all the paths. I should have made variables, but I don't care, I maybe have 3 or 4 ripping trays running at a time on various machines, so I don't mind just changing the paths for each host. Works on OSX and Linux, and probably Windows with Cygwin, but I don't care about Windows so I'm not going to test it.


#! /bin/bash

timestamp=`date +%m%d%Y%H%M`

id=$(drutil status |grep -m1 -o '/dev/disk[0-9]*')

if [ -z "$id" ]; then
echo "No Media Inserted"
else
name=`df | grep "$id" |grep -o /Volumes.* | awk -F "Volumes\/" '{print $2}' | sed 's/ /_/g'`

fi
name=`df | grep "$id" |grep -o /Volumes.* | awk -F "Volumes\/" '{print $2}' | sed 's/ /_/g'`
echo $name
dir="$name-$timestamp"
mkdir /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir

maxtitle=`/Applications/mencoder dvd://100 -o bob | grep "titles on this DVD" | awk '{print $3}'`

for title in {1..100}
do
if [ $title -le $maxtitle ]
then
/Applications/mencoder dvd://$title -alang en -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vhq:vbitrate="1200" -vf scale -zoom -xy 720 -oac mp3lame -lameopts br=128 -endpos 30 -o /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/$title-sample.avi
shasum /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/$title-sample.avi > /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/$title-checksum
touch /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/rippedchecksums.txt
fi
done

cat /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/*checksum >> /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/allchecksums.txt

for title in {1..100}
do
if [ $title -gt $maxtitle ]
then
chmod -R 775 /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir
sleep 3
drutil tray eject
exit 0
fi
sum=`cat /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/$title-checksum | awk '{print $1}'`
match=`grep $sum /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/rippedchecksums.txt`
if [ -z $match ]
then
echo "CURRENTLY RIPPING TITLE #$title"
/Applications/mencoder dvd://$title -alang en -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vhq:vbitrate="1200" -vf scale -zoom -xy 720 -oac mp3lame -lameopts br=128 -o /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/$title.avi
echo $sum >> /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/rippedchecksums.txt
rm /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/$title-checksum
rm /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/$title-sample.avi
fi
done
chmod -R 775 /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir

xrayspx's picture

Hello Woodgrain My Old Friend

Music: 

A couple of weeks ago Natalie bought an Atari 2600 for me as a present. It came with 60 games, two joysticks and paddles, so it was a pretty good deal. She did ask the seller if it worked, and she said it did.

When Natalie got it home, I took the 2600 apart to make sure nothing had leaked all over the place or was otherwise obviously broken or loose and it was SUPER clean, which was encouraging. Just some minor nicotine film everywhere, but it was even dust-free inside. So I hacked together a super crappy cable to convert from the Atari's RCA RF cable to coax to get it hooked up to the TV. Unfortunately it didn't seem to work after all. Natalie was pretty bummed out, but I decided that she'd tried to get me a present, and instead got us a project, and so I convinced her not to bother the seller or leave negative feedback or whatever. After all, as far as the seller knew, the last time she saw it hooked up, it probably did work.




As it was, it did the same thing whether there was a cartridge in or not, just various interference patterns:

The 2600 is like the VW Bug of electronics. There's not that much in there to break, what can break is relatively easy to repair even for rank amateurs like us, and they sold 30 million of them, so there are loads of parts. We'd make it work, and we'd learn A Thing. And if it didn't work at the end, just dip in and grab another console and try again.

To that end, we bought a $5 RCA -> Coax converter, a 2600 re-cap kit, and went way overkill on a swell Hakko solder station to replace the garbage iron I had and hated using. I also grabbed some junk electronics to show Natalie what we're trying to do. We're gonna heat this stuff up, get these components out, get all the old solder out and put new components in. I thought of doing a composite video conversion at the same time, but I kind of wanted to take it one step at a time.

There are only like 5 caps in here to replace, and they also sent a replace voltage regulator. I had previously tested the voltage regulator and it was fine, (near enough) 12V on the input and 5V output, so I opted not to replace it. We split the re-cap duties so both of us could get in some practice on the new soldering iron. It worked great, 0 -> 600 degrees in seconds. We pulled the 3 socketed chips out and hosed the sockets with contact cleaner along with all the switches and the cartridge port.

After that work, I hooked it back up again and....Definite Progress:

A staticky display, but definitely playable. Joysticks work, paddles work (after a hosing out with the brake cleaner). I decided to stop touching anything until the RCA->coax converter showed up, since I was 90% sure the problem was probably that janky as fuck cable I gooped together. Natalie had tracking on it, and they said it was delivered "Today" to our same street address, but 3 towns away. It turns out they'd sent the wrong tracking number, however the correct tracking number showed it as having been delivered a week ago. A quick harried rummage through a week's worth of opened shipping envelopes and we found it. Hooked it up and, yeah, I'd say this is pretty much handled:

I see no point in doing a composite conversion. This is 100x better than any image you'd ever get off of one of these when they were new. If the RF modulator starts to fail, it's always an option later on.

So now the 2600 is in its place along side the arcade cabinet. Of course all of these roms are available in emulation, and I've got an archive of nearly all 2600 games. If we really want to play some serious Fishing Derby, we can do so there. But it's really nice to have a functional 2600 with original games. Natalie is totally enamored with this whole thing and is already stacking up her favorite games. It's totally likely that we'll flip the whole game-time layout and put the arcade cabinet on music video duty while we play Atari on the main TV.

There are still games that don't work, and we often have to switch the console off and on once or twice to get a game to start. Some are also pretty susceptible to any nudge to the console, so we'll probably get it back apart, clean the cartridge port properly, make sure all the contacts are good and re-tin them if they aren't, and see if that helps. But really, this instability is par for the course for 8 year old me. It's part of the charm


--


I have a very close long-time friend who's been trying to mentor me into doing electronics projects since...1988 or so? I never got any good at it. I only ever had one of those garbage un-regulated plug-it-in-and-wait-10-minutes soldering irons that never really got hot enough. I couldn't be bothered at the end of the day. I was too busy playing games to care. I think he was pretty happy to see me tackle even such a simple project and dip our toes in.

At the end of it, his only comment was "Working with electronics takes on a different dimension if you have a scope. Fun to see what is happening in a circuit.".

So I guess we gotta get project-ing.

Fixed Tags:
xrayspx's picture

Music Video Sorting?

Music: 

Teddybears ft. Robyn - Cobra Style

Anyone have any Deep Thoughts about how videos should be categorized? If not, skip it, this is really that boring.

--

Let's say for arguments sake that I'm building a playlist of
videos from 120 minutes (Like say from this comprehensive list right
here.

I've already decided that any band that gets one of their songs on 120 Minutes one time gets all of their songs in this folder. Because I don't want to have 3 different places where I can find songs of one band. It gets unruly. The only exception to this is the "Arcade Pizza" folder. These are songs that ubiquitous on the radio when I was a kid, especially in arcades and pizzerias of the '80s and '90s. For that case I have /videos/Arcade Pizza, as well as /videos/120 Minutes/Arcade Pizza.

Question is, should I only put stuff that appeared on the actual show, or should I put bands that /should/ have been on 120 minutes, but weren't, because MTV could show neither the full name of the band nor the full name of the song involved?

Or what if they're too new, like this video philosophically belongs to 120 Minutes, but it's only a year and a half old:

I think they should go in, but I'm holding off. Teddybears would have been HEAVY ROTATION on 120 minutes if they'd existed then.

Should I kick Evan Dando out because he spoiled my Juliana? These are questions that require fucking answers.

I'm nearing 3000 music vids now, so these things are starting to become problems I have to think about. I need to nip this shit in the bud before I have 20,000 videos and no damn plan at all.

The Bonus Question is: Do I change the name of the Youtube video to fit a rational style, or leave it alone? For instance:

I Was A Teenage Zombie (2016) [heHh9EIlAbw].mp4

Should be renamed to:

The Fleshtones - I Was A Teenage Zombie (2016) [heHh9EIlAbw].mp4

The "[heHh9EIlAbw]" is the only actually important part of that filename anyway, since that's the video ID on Youtube, so it'll be youtube.com?v=heHh9EIlAbw. That is there for pattern matching, so I think that makes it OK to rename shit.

Right?

xrayspx's picture

Setting up NoMachine NX over SSH

Music: 

As an Apple and Linux user, remote screen admin can be a colossal pain in the ass. On the Mac, we have a VNC server by default, but can't specify settings which will improve speed over slow connections, like lowering the color depth. I've tried alternate VNC servers in the past, but they all were painful to set up and still very slow over an SSH tunnel.

Several years ago I set up NoMachine's NX server, which is quite nearly as fast as MS RDP, and it's been working like a dream ever since.

This guide focuses on a Mac client connecting to a Mac server over an SSH tunnel.

Install NoMachine NX on both systems from the DMG. If everything is working, there should be a NoMachine menu in the menu bar on the server and some indicator that listening is enabled. Netstat should show the machine is listening on port 4000:

xrayspxs-iMac:~ xrayspx$ netstat -nat | grep 4000
tcp6 0 0 *.4000 *.* LISTEN
tcp4 0 0 *.4000 *.* LISTEN

With the server listening, on the client machine, set up a new connection. Most of this is totally default except that I un-checked "use UDP for multimedia" and set the target port to 4003:

To connect everything up over ssh, set up the tunnel by ssh'ing to your intermediate server. In my case I have the tunnel listen on port 4003, as shown in the new configuration setup, this is to prevent it overlapping with the NX server on the client machine:

ssh -N -L 4003:10.250.0.98:4000 xrayspx@raspberrypi

Verify the client-side machine is now listening on port 4003:

pro:~ xrayspx$ netstat -nat | grep 4003
tcp4 0 0 127.0.0.1.4003 *.* LISTEN
tcp6 0 0 ::1.4003 *.* LISTEN

Then launch the client connection to that local listening port. This can be done via the NX menu in the menu bar, but I automate all this so that I am just clicking on "NX to Home", and a script wakes up the home machine, builds the tunnel, and opens the connection:

On the Mac, you have to run nxplayer from the NoMachine.app package, on both Ubuntu and Mac, the session ".nxs" files are in ~/Documents/NoMachine:

/Applications/NoMachine.app/Contents/MacOS/nxplayer --session ~/Documents/NoMachine/Connection\ to\ iMac.nxs

The full script I run is more like this:

#! /bin/bash

#ssh into the ssh server and wake up the target system with WoL then hang out 10 seconds for the machine to absolutely be awake
ssh xrayspx@raspberrypi 'wakeimac'

sleep 10

#set up the ssh tunnel with listening port 4003
ssh -N -L 4003:10.250.0.98:4000 xrayspx@raspberrypi &

# I am tracking all the PIDs so I can kill them later, this tended to leave tunnels listening and crap after a session so they need to be killed
sshpid=`jobs -p`
shellpid="$$"

/Applications/NoMachine.app/Contents/MacOS/nxplayer --session ~/Documents/NoMachine/Connection\ to\ iMac.nxs

# On the Mac I can't actually kill the pids, since the nxplayer forks off and the script keeps running. On my Linux client, the nxplayer job holds the script from completing until I quit it. I'm sure there's a better easier way on the Mac.
#kill $sshpid; echo "killed pid $sshpid"
#kill $shellpid

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