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OK Monster Cables


Where do I sign up?

Yesterday I installed Ubuntu to dual boot with Windows on my HTPC. The idea is that it should boot into Linux by default, and I'll have a "reboot into Windows" button which will do a one-time Windows boot if I really want to run one of my 3 Windows games.

Mainly the machine is used for XBMC and MAME. XBMC works great in Ubuntu now, and with KDE I can tweak the sizes of every font everywhere in the UI, which was one of my big issues with Windows.

My main problem was with MAME and my joystick being all jumpy. For instance, in Ms. Pacman, it would stick "up", so that if you want to go in a different direction, you had to hold the stick the entire time. Games were pretty un-playable.

This only seemed to affect the left stick on my Logitech Dual Action gamepad, and it was driving me nuts. If I used the right hand stick, it seemed to work just fine.

I spent a few hours tweaking dead zones and such, which did work as advertised, but which did not solve the sticking issue. I booted into Windows, since I hadn't really noticed the problem there and wanted to check all my settings against my Windows MAME settings. What I found was that the problem was there, but it was more subtle so I didn't notice it.

So I unplugged my controller from the USB extension cable I was using (did I not mention that, did I not mention that I'm using J. Random USB Extension cable? Oh yeah, slipped my mind...), and plugged straight into the machine.




I found a shorter extension cable, which doesn't really work for me overall, but which does not have the problem.

Now I think the real solution is to have a powered USB hub screwed to the bottom of my coffee table, and plug joysticks into that (and phones, and tablets, and...and...and...) and then run that back to the PC. Seems like the best way.

What a massive pain in the balls for some 30 year old video games.

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Updated Music Collection Browser


Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - The Weeping Song

I've made some much needed updates to my Music Collection Browser, and thought I'd mention it. It now does a case-insensitive sort of artist names, while ignoring leading special characters ( "'",":","(", etc), as well as throwing away leading "The"s for sorting. This was a big deal to me since it annoyed me every time I had to scroll through 50 The Whoevers to get the band I want.

I also fixed the compilations piece, so linked that back in. I just settled for big ugly links for soundtracks/compilations and individual artists at the top of whichever page is loaded. It sucks but there's really not much of a better way to go.

Now I just have to re-tag a few albums and artists to make things consistent, since some artists have both a "The" and "non-The" variant in the list, but at least now they're right next to each other.

Also, I want to vent about Gracenote. Fucking Gracenote. That is all. ... For many artists who have lots of featured guests, it appends all the "feat. whoever"s to the Artist tag. That is wrong. It should be appended, preferably in parentheses, to the song title itself. It's the only way to maintain a reasonable collection.

Of course, iTunes is stupid enough to create different artist folders based on this idiocy, so now I have 15 Bootsy Collins directories on the FS.

The goal list for this project, after 24 hours, now stands at:

  • iTunes XML files
  • Case Insensitivity for sorting
  • Throw away non-alpha/num leading characters to build the list ('Til Tuesday, :wumpscut:, (Cevin) Key, though it would break !!! if we owned any, or else it would just show up first, where 'Til Tuesday is now, which is fine)
  • Throw away leading "The"s for sorting, but only one, so as not to break The The, or Thes One
  • Better handling of compilations
  • Searching
  • Port to PHP?
  • Here's where I justify not crossing the rest of the items off my list:

    (1) I've barely bothered to look at iTunes XML files because every time I open one and try to make sense of it, I end up weeping to myself. I think what it's going to end up being is me taking my iTunes DB and munging into either sqlite3 (probably) or MySQL (unlikely), in a stripped down version of the same form that Amarok built its sqlite3 databases. I can't help but think that all the searches I run against the DB would be slow as hell if I was searching an unindexed XML file every time I do anything. So now I just need to write a perl script to parse the iTunes XML database file and puke out SQLite3 in a schema my site already handles.

    (2) I don't personally care much about searching. The point of this tool is so that when I'm in a record store or otherwise away from my computers I have quick access to an accurate copy of my CD collection, so I don't purchase dupe CDs or whatever. Or if someone asks me if I've heard of some band I can pull it up. Also, helpful links to YouTube, Wikipedia and Amazon searches for each artist. That's pretty useful really. Searching is irrelevant. The only place it would really be handy is if I send the page to someone else and they want to quickly find an artist or song, to which I say "Suck it up and scroll".

    (3) I was thinking of porting it to PHP just because I've written like, 6 lines of PHP and figured I should know it. This thing could stay Perl until Unix time rolls over and I wouldn't care at all.

    xrayspx's picture

    A week with the Asus EB1006

    Just bought an Asus EB-1006, and wanted to post how it works rather than send one email to half a dozen folks. I got it working pretty well with XP for HD movies and MAME, here's what I did:

    xrayspx's picture

    Dear Internet Advertisers

    [music | Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - All Tomorrows Parties]

    This week both Ars Technica and Fark, both of whom get decent traffic, have basically begged users not to use ad blockers. I think people would be less likely to use ad block if your ads didn't kill our browsers, below are some examples.

    Find LDAP groups with obsolete users

    OpenLDAP has a nice "feature" that allows for group members to continue to exist, even if the user does not exist any more. Really handy! Problem is, if you, say, have a user in the "Domain Admins" group, and you delete that account, and then some normal user comes along with the same username, they will end up with unexpected elevated privileges.

    So I created a script that I run weekly that finds group members that no longer exist, and sends me a report. It also tells me which groups are empty.

    This relies on my toolbox... Find it here.

    Using some of our new tools

    Ok... Now that we have our toolbox Let's do something with it. Today we'll look at a simple solution to an everyday problem. Resetting a password.

    Part 4: Wrapping up the foundations

    Just to wrap up, and in case you are lazy like me, give you a whole file worth of subroutines. It's my toolbox and I'm giving it to you. I put this in a secure location and just call it from my other scripts. This makes the code much shorter in my other scripts, nearly auto-commenting, and avoids bugs because if it works in one, it will work in others.

    NOTE: This uses the foundations in parts 1, 2 and 3. You can find them here: Part 1 Part 2 Part3


    Part 3: The SubRoutines

    Now for the tools. There's a lot here, but in further articles you will see how this can be useful. I'll go through each tool with what it does, how to call it, and then the code itself.

    NOTE: This uses the foundations in parts 1 and 2. You can find them here: Part 1 Part 2


    Part 2: Some Standard declarations and personalizing for your site

    More foundational work. This stuff will configure for your site, and the routines that follow will regularly rely on them.

    First, let's declare our modules:

    use strict;
    use Net::LDAP;
    use Authen::SASL;
    use IO::Socket::SSL;
    use Digest::SHA qw/sha1_base64/;
    use Mail::Sendmail;
    use Crypt::SmbHash;
    use CGI;
    use CGI qw/:standard/;



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