Category: computer

also: for the internets

If you’re a “weblogger”, or if you prefer, a “blogger”, and especially if you get paid to post things on the “internets”, please take note:

Writing about or pointing out something amusing you saw in the craigslist personal or classified ads is stupid, and you should stop doing it. And if it’s a typographical error that you think is hilarious, please take a leave of absence and think about what you’ve done.

That is all.

grand unifying theory


Godwin’s law: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.


Moore’s law: At our rate of technological development, the complexity of an integrated circuit, with respect to minimum component cost, will double about every 24 months.


At our rate of technological development, the speed at which an online discussion races towards a comparison to Hitler or the Nazis doubles every 24 months.

my apple speculation

Just for the record:

People making guesses about Apple’s Intel strategy have focused on two possibilities for OS X on Intel:

One, that third-party application vendors would have to re-compile their code for the new architecture. Two, that Apple has developed or will develop a reasonably fast PPC emulation layer.

I think there’s a third possibility: that Apple has developed a layer which will, upon the first attempt to execute an incompatible application bundle, dis-assemble, roughly translate, re-assemble, and save the binary for the new architecture. Admittedly, I’m not really qualified to assess how impossible a task this is. Since we’re looking at a pretty constrained set of binaries, compiled for known APIs, and with known toolchains, it seems like writing a really smart disassembler wouldn’t be quite as difficult as writing a really fast emulator.

A fourth possibility: some kind of internet-based distribution mechanism for binaries. Vendors supply Apple with new binaries, or Apple builds new binaries itself, somehow. Since the binary itself makes up such a small chunk of the application bundle, why not a mechanism which checks for a simple hash in an online database, downloads, and updates the relevant bundle?

Just throwing it out there.

a thousand monkeys

Remember my recipe for downloading NPR news in MP3 format? Someone else has picked up that ball and is running with it. Cleverdevil is working on something with a GUI, written in Python for OS X. He’s also using mplayer instead of mimms and vlc. Good luck, fella.

getting the hourly news in mp3 format

Recipe for downloading the five-minute top of the hour news stream from NPR and converting it into mp3 format. Relies upon mimms, vlc, and lame. I had to use mimms because vlc won’t terminate upon reaching the end of an mms stream. I’m using lame’s phone preset, but you may find --preset voice to sound a little better. The hard part was getting VLC to output WAV format audio in faster than realtime. Unfortunately, NPR won’t stream the audio much faster than realtime, so the script takes about five minutes to run.

On OSX, you’ll want the path /Applications/ instead of just vlc.

mimms -o /tmp/news.asf "mms://" 
vlc -I dummy /tmp/news.asf \
  :sout='#transcode{acodec=s16l}:std{access=file,mux=wav,url=/tmp/news.wav}' \
lame -S --preset phone /tmp/news.wav /tmp/news.mp3
rm /tmp/news.wav /tmp/news.asf

Coming soon, an AppleScript that will pause iTunes at or near the top of each hour and play this (or another) mp3.

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