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Amazon Music Downloader and Shell Script

Well I’ve been away from this site for a long time and this is not exactly my planned first post back, but I created something I found useful today so I decided to share it.

Recently I’ve been purchasing my music from Amazon. Running a linux environment at home, downloading music from the big names can be quite painful. However, Amazon has done a great job to address this. It is fairly simple but I wanted to go just a little farther with the help of clamz and a simple script. clamz is a downloader program for the Amazon music store. It works great, but I’m always forgetful when it comes to what actually to place in the command when trying to run it.

Here’s my shell script. It’s pretty basic as my shell script skills are not well developed, but hey, it works.

# Date:       2011-12-10
# Author:     Benjamin Trice
# Reference:  http://heroinc.org/?p=2428

echo "************************************";
echo "* Start Amazon Music Download v1.0 *";
echo "************************************";

echo "What directory should be used to store the downloaded music files?"
echo "";

if [ -d "$MUSICDIR" ]; then echo "Directory exists."
else mkdir $MUSICDIR;
echo $MUSICDIR " directory created.";

echo "What directory contains the .amz file provided by Amazon?"
echo "";

clamz -d $MUSICDIR $AMAZONDIR/*.amz

echo "";
echo "END SCRIPT";

As you can see, all it does is utilize the clamz script with some additional friendly user input to download the files. Like I said, I’m lazy and forgetful at times and this just makes it easier for me. For those not knowing how to use the script, follow the following steps:

  1. Download and install clamz via the link at the top of this page. Follow its instructions for installing it. Your current linux distribution might already package it so try your repository if you are not comfortable with the clamz instructions.
  2. Save my shell script with a file name of “startAmazon”. You can change the name if you want.
  3. From the terminal window type the following command:
    chmod a+x startAmazon

    If you changed the file name, then the command will need to be changed as well. This command will make the file executable.

  4. Perform the following command in order to be able to call the script from any directory.
    sudo cp startAmazon /usr/bin/

That’s it. Now you can run “startAmazon” from any directory when you are ready to download your music quickly and easily. I doubt I’ll make any updates to this script unless there are changes to clamz. Enjoy!

Posted under Linux

My Android Apps

I keep getting asked what apps do I enjoy on my HTC Droid Eris. Well, I guess the best way to do that is just use AppBrain.

Anyone have some other cool suggestions of apps to download?

Note: For those interested, do not buy the HTC Droid Eris if you are looking at getting an Android phone. I honestly love it, but HTC and Verizon do not so it has stopped receiving the latest Android updates and is discontinued by Big Red. If you are looking to get an Android, go after one of the flagship phones so that you can be certain to receive the latest updates for at least a year.

Posted under Games, Heroes, Internet, Linux, Movies, Music, Sports | Tagged as , , ,

Who’s Your PollDaddy…

…or at least I think how I was able to vote multiple times for a Polldaddy, erm, poll.

Quick backstory, a friend of mine was recently in a contest that required a community to vote on the best. Most votes wins the contest. Therefore, of course we wanted to vote as many times as possible but the contest was using Polldaddy which allowed only a single vote per day. That’s no fun and I assumed there had to be some other way.

My first step was to see how votes were being blocked. I cleared the cache and cookies.  Well that didn’t work as that would have been just too easy for anyone to do.  Therefore, I began to assume it was IP based as that’s probably the best way to ensure a single vote for users, but it also prevents say a house of roommates for voting.  It’s a single vote per household and not the more accurate single vote per person per day.

I setup to research the tools that I would need and came up with the following:

  • polipo – Polipo is a small web proxy to funnel my requests through.  This was my first time using it.
  • iMacro for Firefox – This is an easy tool for scripting tasks within a browser.  I’ve used in the past to vote daily in contests where I’m too lazy to navigate to the site myself.
  • Firefox – If I’m using iMacro for Firefox, then I have to use Firefox.
  • Torbutton for Firefox – This is another Firefox extension that I had not used before.  It allows a browser to use Tor for online anonymity.
  • wmctrl – This is a command line tool for interacting with X Window Manager.  You’ll see how this is used in my bash script below.
  • Bash – I am using linux and not the best programmer so I just used what was available to me.  Please no jokes about my terrible scripts.  Everyone’s learning here.

Now that I have the tools, I need to write two scripts.  The first script is the iMacro which is really easy to do.  The second script is the one to integrate the various components.

Upon installing iMacro, open the command window for it within Firefox.  It should open by default after installation.  You will find a record button.  Once pressed, anything you do in the browser will be recorded for playback or “automated browsing.”  Here’s my script for polldaddy:

URL GOTO=http://polldaddy.com/poll/[INSERT POLL ID NUMBER HERE]

Now that the simple script is out of the way, its on to the more “difficult” one because my real scripting skills are beginner at best. But armed with the internet, one can do almost anything.  I needed the bash script to do the following:

  1. Start Polipo
  2. Start Firefox
  3. Initiate the iMacro script I wrote above
  4. Close Firefox correctly instead of just killing the process
  5. Kill the Polipo task

Well, here’s what I did with comments to state what each line is doing:


echo "#####################################";
echo "###     VoteOnPolldaddy Script   ###";
echo "##   created by Benjamin Trice   ###";
echo "###         July 06, 2010        ###";
echo "####################################";

#echo "Clear cahce for polipo";
#gnome-terminal -e "polipo -x";
#echo "Sleep for 2 seconds";
#sleep 2;
echo "Start Polipo";
gnome-terminal -e polipo;
echo "Sleep for 10 seconds";
sleep 10;
echo "Start Firefox";
gnome-terminal -e "firefox http://www.google.com";
echo "Sleep for 5 seconds"
sleep 5;
echo "Start Firefox with iMacro"
gnome-terminal -e "firefox http://run.imacros.net/?m=[INSERT IMACRO NAME].iim";
echo "Sleep for 75 seconds"
sleep 75;
echo "Close Firefox correctly"
wmctrl -c firefox;
sleep 5;
wmctrl -c firefox;
sleep 5;
pkill -f polipo;
echo "END SCRIPT";

Here’s a few extra notes about setup.

  • Not sure if it helps or not, but go into Firefox and set the preferences to clear the cookies and cache when Firefox is closed.  This option is why I had to use wmctrl to properly shutdown Firefox.  Killing the process, in my limited testing, seemed to not clear the cache and cookies properly.
  • Setting up Polipo with Tor and Firefox is simple.  The Tor Project even has a great guide for that.
  • Setup a cronjob or other automated task launcher to run the bash script every 10 minutes or so.  I ended up using kalarm (yes, in Ubuntu) as my cronjob didn’t seem to run and I was getting aggravated at this point and went the lazy GUI route.  I did have some issues with the script not starting properly, but I attributed that to kAlarm and not the script itself.

Now before any potential readers who care about this subject start attacking me, I know this solution isn’t perfect nor does it vote an infinite number of times.  It seemed to be limited by the IP addresses that Tor masked me as and as Polldaddy learns what anonymous IPs exist they will begin to block them.  My original goal was to figure out how to vote an infinite number of times in a day.  That goal failed but I was able to at least get the 5+ votes in a day that Polldaddy was blocking for myself and roommates.

Anyone have a better solution?

Posted under Internet, Linux | Tagged as , ,

Ubuntu Setup Script

With the recent release of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx), I found the need to help my transition to the new version of Linux that I currently use at home (desktop and netbook). I have become quite comfortable at making certain transitional changes upon upgrading, but why do I need to spend the time to fix a manual step that I can automate?

The script was initially created to make two changes:

  1. The location bar in the file explorer is defaulted to graphic based, instead of my personal comfort of text based
  2. Ubuntu 10.04’s movement of the minimize, maximize, and close buttons to the left of the window as opposed to the right

The script, found here (right click, save as), simply runs two simple commands within a terminal. However, why type these commands (each on a single line) in when you can just run the script? Like I said, I’m lazy.

Command 1: Move Window Buttons To Right

gconftool-2 --set "/apps/metacity/general/button_layout" --type string 
Command 2: Change Window Location Bar To Text, Not Images

gconftool-2 --set "/apps/nautilus/preferences/always_use_location_entry" 
  --type bool "True"

Hopefully I will update the script later to include a few of the following features:

  • Import a synaptic package list of applications and install them
  • Modify the splash screen background image
  • Copy a backed up Home folder
  • Create separate script to be run before moving to the latest version of Ubuntu to backup the installed applications, bookmarks, and home folders

If anyone wants to help out or have suggestions, let me know.

I’ll try to give a full review of Ubuntu once I spend more time with the OS, but as of right now, its AMAZING. Purple suits me much more than the old brown did.

Posted under Linux | Tagged as , ,

Podcasting The Commute

Now that I have settled into my new city and been placed on a new project at work, it is time to deal with the commute.  Please understand that this commute is by no means terrible even if it is about an hour and forty minutes each way (morning and afternoon).  The trip is a straight shot based on the MUNI (if it is running correctly that day) and BART.  I am able to have a internet connection for about 90-95% of the trip so if I need to do work I have that option.  Some may say the BART is terrible, but I am provided an easy laugh twice a day as I read the “Committed to Excellence” Oakland Raiders sign that rests on the stadium.

However, there are those days where I don’t need to do any work and I can just sit back and enjoy the ride.  Now my sister will tell me that I should pick up a book to read.  Well I have picked up a book, which is just a book I started while at the beach this summer but never finished.  It’s just that I can’t force myself to read along this trip because I’m very picky about my reading spots.  That and I’m of the generation who doesn’t know what reading is.  We won’t laugh about that in the future, but we can laugh now.

Anyway, I decided to get back into listening to podcasts on my Creative Zen Vision W, or the Betamax player as it is known on my project team.  I have been away from podcasting in general for several years so I wasn’t sure what was still out there or what new good ones were available.  Here’s a quick list of the ones I have found that I have enjoyed so far.

Podcast Name Description
DiggNation DiggNation is pretty much where my world of podcasting started out. DiggNation, hosted by Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht, discusses the week’s top stories from the social news site, Digg.com. I truly enjoy the way the two hosts play off of each other and the topics can range from tech, news, sports, etc. It is usually a random assortment of “news” selected by those that post to Digg. I have listened to this podcast since it was first started as just audio. Now with video, so much more is added to the experience.
NPR 7AM News I’m not a huge fan of the news, mainly because it is usually so depressing and only certain stories are stressed in the political realm. NPR’s 7AM news report provides me a fast and effective update for the day’s news stories. The report is offered in the audio clarity that only NPR can offer and usually is not much longer than 5 minutes in length. Perfect for a quick update.
PTI Pardon The Interruption has become my true DVR pleasure. Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser are always entertaining and provide a quick shot of all the latest sports news. I love watching this show daily but I ran into an issue recently where I didn’t have time to watch the show each day. Thanks to the podcast, I don’t miss a beat. The audio only version of the show is not as good as the real thing but it is as close as you are going to get if you just don’t have the time to sit in front of a TV to enjoy. This one is not a push (Wilbon’s trademark).
If DiggNation was my first podcast, then This Week In Tech is my tied first. A weekly discussion of the week’s tech stories is hosted by Leo Laporte. This is truely a geek’s show but I still find my chance ot laugh and enjoy another dose of tech talk.
This Week In Google Provided by the same group that produces This Week In Tech and Security Now, TWIG (as it is known) follows the top stories related to Google or cloud computing. I’ve only had a chance to enjoy a single episode, but I did find it interesting enough to give it another shot. I’m just wondering if too much Leo Laporte in one week is good for me.
Security Now! Not long after I was listening to TWIT and DiggNation while in college, Security Now! began. I gave it a listen a few times in order to find out more within the security industry (might need this for work), but I just haven’t been able to consistently enjoy it. That basically means I’ll drop it soon, but for those that are concerned with their computer security, then give the show a chance. The show does find itself able to explain even the high level security issues so that normal users can understand them and how they could be affected.
AppJudgement DiggNation was the first of many shows to come for the Revision3 online network. For those familiar with the days of TechTV, you’ll notice many old faces. AppJudgement provides a simple review of applications or “apps” for smartphones. These reviews are for both iPhone and Android phones. Since I’m close to purchasing a smartphone (NOT AN IPHONE), I thought it’d be a great idea to begin finding some apps that I’d find useful. The show runs between 5-10 minutes so it is easy to get in, learn, and get out.
The Totally Rad Show With my enjoyment of Alex Albrecht from DiggNation (that’s too many plugs for that show), I thought I would try his second Revision3 show, The Totally Rad Show. TRS discusses movies, video games, and comic books. I tried a single episode and enjoyed it but not sure if I will continue thanks to a few of the other shows below.
CO-OP Need a review of current and future video games? Well, CO-OP is a well produced show that does just that. My introduction to the show was an older episode that discussed Uncharted 2 and Super Mario Bros. Wii since I had just played both of them recently. My time to spend playing games is not what it used to be but I might follow this show every now and then if I’m looking to find a new game to try.
InstMsgs InstMsgs had the most interesting concept in that they dramatize all things web. From instant messages to craigslist ads, they do it all. I first heard of this show from the first podcast listed above (I can’t name it again or I might have to start paying fees) and thought “Why not?” Well I jumped on for episode 8(Mad Men?) and that’s about as far as I’m going to get. The show was good and interesting but I don’t know if it is enough for me to keep going with it. Those who find lolcats funny might want to try episode 10.
iFanboy A podcast about comics? I’m so there! The discussion is sporadic in the episode (I’m only one in as of posting), but that’s the only way to describe comic book stories. Finding new comics, diving deeper into stories, or providing interviews, this is a great stop to keep up or find out more about the world of comics.
The Linux Outlaws Since moving to Linux, I wanted a chance to learn more on a more consistent basis. When I found Linux Outlaws, I thought that a podcast could be the perfect place if it was done correctly. Well I’m only one show in (Simple Doesn’t Equal Shit) and I have a few thoughts. First, I will not continue with this one if the running time is around 2 hours for each show. I need shows that are an hour or under to truly enjoy a show during the commute. Two hours is just way too much for me. Second, the content is there in this one. They discuss different flavors/distros, new application updates, and news within the Linux world. As long as the time is shortened for future episodes, I’ll continue listening along.

Anyone have any others I should try? I am interested in checking out others that are not only tech based but I do like what I like.

Posted under Games, Heroes, Internet, Linux, Movies, Sports | Tagged as , ,

A Minty Fresh Jackalope

It seems like many moons ago I was writing about my latest foray into the world of Linux thanks to my new netbook toy.  Before that I attempted to chronicle my journey into learning about the free OS.  I guess then that it is time for an update on my progress.

After enjoying Mandriva for well over a year, I decided it was time for a change.  Still fighting off that which is popular, I chose to go with Linux Mint.  Built on top of Ubuntu but with a flare for elegance, it seemed like a great choice.  It’s been about a month since the move to Mint and I’d say my reaction has been mixed thus far.

Linux Mint does offer certain areas of improvement over Mandriva, mainly the user base for help.  I can use either the Ubuntu crowd or Mint specific users.  I’ve also noticed better performance in my VirtualBox from when it was run on Mandriva.  However, I’ve also run into the normal “this didn’t work out of the box” items that plague many new installations, such as issues with the video driver that prevent me from utilizing the accelerated graphics card functions.  I certainly don’t need the cool visual affects, but they were always nice to have within Mandriva.  I’m certain I can get them working if I take the time to update with the correct driver, but so far I haven’t really taken the time.  It also seems that I’m learning to like Gnome or not even notice a true difference with KDE. Gasp!  Don’t tell the geeks or I’ll be thrown out, if I haven’t been already.

I’ve also noticed an annoying item related to my use of Pidgin.  It seems that when my computer is left alone for a period of time, Pidgin always seems to hog my resources when I try to use it again.  I’ve googled it but didn’t find many results.  I even tried to post to a forum, but you know you have to reply to those.  Oops.

With the OS change, requires a few application changes.  Not many mind you.  The biggest and most important change for me is the media manager application.  Previously with Mandriva I was using Amarok.  Amarok is still to this day the best music software I have used but I’m not liking the new path it is heading with the major changes made for version 2.  It was my all inclusive software (music, tagging, media transfer to Creative Zen).  Linux Mint came with RhythmBox oob, but it fell short.  I then tried Songbird (still not understanding the need to combine the media manager with a browser).  So No luck there either.  Now it seems I’m using a mixture of Banshee and Listen.  These are great for listening to my tunes but not so much for transferring files to my Creative Zen.  I’ve tried using Gnomad 2 for transferring files, but my artwork is lost and that’s a kill switch for me.

Now that’s the desktop.  On to the netbook.

Since my netbook post, I’ve been using eebuntu netbook remix, which was based on Ubuntu 8.10.  It was slick and really tried to utiize the smaller netbook screen and give you ease of navigation.  I loved it and thought I’d keep it forever, but updates put an end to that.  When I tried to upgrade to the 9.04, I saw an exterme performance drop in the graphical department.  At this point, I realized that I was not really using the netbook remix as it was intended and decided to change by installing Ubuntu 9.04 without the netbook remix addon.

Well, I must say that I’m impressed.  Everything I need has worked OOB with Ubuntu (wifi works, yay).  I’ve spent the past day or two customizing it to my somewhat liking.  As you can see, I still need to remove the wonderful gnome footprint start button icon.  Maybe I can get Will to make me a simple Black Adam lightining icon in reference to my netbook’s name (blackatom).

With the Hydoxygen iconse, a customized Dust theme, and the AWN dock bar (I found this one to be less process intensive than the Gnome-Do Docky theme), I think I’m ready to go enjoy my netbook again. I might even come to like Ubuntu enough to put in on my desktop.  Apple lovers, please don’t begin to tell me my desktop is very similar to Apple’s setup.  Similarities just mean that something is working for a larger population.

I also tried a live boot of Moblin, which was impressive but confusing.  Here’s hoping they can continue to improve it.

Posted under Linux

My Netbook

There’s a new member of my computer family. The new bundle of joy arrived on Wednesday afternoon and has amazed all of those that have seen it in person.  That’s right peeps.  I’m the proud owner of a netbook.


My original intent was not to get a netbook, but to possibly purchase a new mp3 player.  However, most of the ones I found were not better than my current Creative Zen Vision W.  I wanted my new player to be able to play music and videos as well as provide the basic ability to surf the web.  After looking at my options, it seemed that a netbook could produce the same results.  Therefore, I purchased the ASUS Eee PC. For those unable to click the previous link, here are the basic stats on it.

  • 40GB Solid State Drive (No moving parts and less weight)
  • 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 Processor
  • 2 GB RAM (I upgraded during the purchase and installed myself)
  • 6 Cell Battery (long life)
  • Linux (Xandros or Debian variant)

Now before we go any farther, this technological wonder needs a name.  For those that are truly unfortunate to know me, understand that I name my pieces of tech based on, what else, but super heroes (Inventory =>  Old Desktop: Lantern1, Old Laptop: Gray Ghost, New Desktop: Black Panther/Lantern, Media Hard Drive: Cerebro).  The netbook’s name is so perfect that I love to share it.  Based on the color and processor mentioned above, I dub thee Black Atom. It is a combination name based on both Black Adam and The Atom. Bring on the geek jokes.

For those living in fear of Linux because you heard it is “difficult,” then this netbook is perfect for you.  Out of the box and fully charged, Black Atom runs like a charm.  It comes with all of the necessary software already installed and configured for your daily use, such as a browser (Firefox), Office Suite (StarOffice), Music Player (Amarok), Instant Messenger (Pidgin and Skype with web cam ability), Photo Organizer (Picasa) and Video Player (Kaffeine).  The interface is trimmed to not pose as a full desktop.  Some people may hate that, but I think for those non-techies it is perfect for what a netbook is used to do and it gives those techies the perfect ability to make the needed changes through back channels.

ASUS Netbook Interface

Now on to tweaking Black Atom to my liking (opening the Linux up more for my use, adding my music, installing extra software, etc.). I will leave you with a quick video I made of the machine starting up (notice the speed that comes with a solid state drive) and walking through the interface.

For future reference, here are a few great links that are helping me make Black Atom into the machine I want it to be.

Posted under Internet, Linux, Other

Linux Pot Luck v2.0

I’m still doing the Linux thing at home and will be doing it in a mobile way soon (more to come later), but I figured I’d park my latest information concerning Linux for those interested as well as my own personal journal of my linux journey (A Penguin And Me Lives!). At least this way if I screw it all up in the future, I’ll remember what to go back and do.

  • Databases – Due to work at my job and other online related work, I’ve come to join the simplest most powerful tool I know, the database. In my eyes a database should be created for anything and everything. It can be as disposable as a piece of paper but as powerful as the information contained within it. It holds my music habits as well as posts for this site. At work if I get frustrated by the more powerful Excel commands, I’ll offer to throw everything into a quick database to run queries against. I’m lazy and don’t feel like giving more of my mind to Microsoft at the moment.

    Overall, I’ve found that the best GUI tool available, for me at least, is DBVisualizer. It works on Windows for those interested and is free. Yay, free. Most repositories should have it available for quick install. I did encounter an issue when trying to start the program initially after the install. It would fail every time. Thanks to the internet, yet again, I found that I needed to modify the “my.cnf” file and comment out the “skip-networking” line. With that simple change, I was up and running with ease.

  • Application List – From the beginning of my work installing Linux at home, I’ve kept a application list document that helps me keep track of what I use daily and what I need to install to keep everything running smoothly. This application list is not distro specific.

    I’ll continue to update it as I go for those, other than me, who are interested.

  • Amarok Scripts – In a previous post, I mentioned writing a simple script to turn Amarok into my own personal alarm clock. Maybe I should have saved time and performed more research because someone built it before me and a billion times better. I feel so small now. WeekAlarm has a better interface than my script (mine had none) and the configuration parameters make it much easier to setup and control.

    I even found a good Amarok script that works with my IM client, Pidgin (see below).

  • Pidgin Plugins – There are many different IM clients available (Google Talk, Skype, MSN, Yahoo, etc.) and I’m certain many people have accounts on all of them. Having 4 applications open that perform the same task is just annoying in my eyes. That’s why I use Pidgin. Not only does it work across multiple clients, but it is extensible in the same way that FireFox and Amarok are, via scripts or plugins. As mentioned above, I have a Pidgin plugin, called MusicTracker, that will update my IM status with whatever is currently playing from Amarok. Since music is huge to me, this is kind of nice and easy for me to share. However, the best plugin for Pidgin is one that comes by default. This plugin, Text Replacement, is my biggest tool in my ultimate goal of scripting my life away. Out of the box, it helps with the general everyday corrections that one commonly needs while sending messages online. By adding on top of that, you can basically turn four letter word into a complete sentence that you type 20 times a day. As an example, I use Pidgin at work and have the following text replacement scenarios setup (Text:What To Replace Text With).

    ATL:Atlanta, SFO:San Francisco, LAX:Los Angeles, FWD:Forward, FWDD:Forwarded, PLS:Please,HA3:Ha ha ha.

    I usually add a few more each day because I can’t stand typing all of these out every time. It may be my OCD taking over but I’d say it helps to speed up my typing.

Oh yeah, for those also interested, Waldo has been found.

Posted under Linux

Scripting My Life

One of the great abilities of being a computer dork with limited programming training is the knowledge that one can make his/her life even better if he/she can script away the repetitive tasks of the day. In a previous post, I talked about the iMacro plugin for FireFox. Well, I’ve taken my life a step further by trying to create a few homemade scripts via BASH.

Before people start to respond, yes I know I am a dork. I realize that working on building scripts like these on a Saturday is not someone else’s idea of fun, but I enjoyed it and that’s all that matters.

  • Open Terminal Here As Root – This script was sparked due to my dislike for having to navigate to specific folders via the command line.  Most linux/computer users will say I’m lazy and I’d have to agree with them.  I have a similar function on my work Windows environment thanks to the Microsoft Power Toys and I’ve always found it to be quite helpful and much faster for certain tasks.  I was planning to build this script for Linux (hoping it wouldn’t be too difficult to create), but someone had already beaten me to it and posted it on kde-look.org.  After downloading the file, I placed it in my home/$user/.kde/share/apps/konqueror/servicemenus in order for me to run the script through my system explorer (Konqueror).
  • Get Team Trivia Answer – As many of you may know, I quite frequently go to trivia with friends.  In Atlanta, there are many Team Trivia locations.  At these locations one question’s answer is always printed in advance on the team website.  Many times we forget to look at the answer.  This script uses several basic utilities to check the site, see if today has an answer, and if does, then the answer should be emailed to me.  For not knowing much about bash scripting, this one took me longer than I wanted it to take.  Part of the issue was this was the first script I wrote and I had to setup sendmail on my system to work with Gmail.  As I write this, the script has just run and according to my email, today’s trivia Answer is McJob.
  • Amarok Alarm Clock – Often times I enjoy waking up to Amarok playing music.  However, I often have forgotten to reset the volume level so that my music isn’t turned up to 11 and I have to jump out of bed due to the noise.  I’d rather wake up gradually.  The Amarok Alarm Clock script starts amarok and then gradually increases the volume until it is at 100%.  I even haded an extra check to turn off amarok after 15 minutes at full power.  My roommate has often times complained that I forget to turn off amarok when I leave for the weekend or I am away for week due to work.  This was very simple and easy to build thanks to Amarok’s wonderful API.
  • URPMI Unlock – URPMI is the command-line package management tool used by the Mandriva Linux distribution. There have been a few times when I try to update/download new packages for my system that I receive an error stating that urpmi is currently locked.  This script, which I did not build and found on a forum, will unlock urpmi.  It’s as simple as that.

To automate these scripts to run each day, I use kAlarm which I mentioned in a previous post.  The same funcationality could be performed as a cron job, but like I said above, I’m lazy.

Posted under Linux

Linux Pot Luck v1.0

It’s been quite a while since I have posted anything concerning my computer and with the new purchase I made a few weeks ago, maybe I should share a pot luck of computer related news.

  • After two years of threatening, I finally broke down and purchased a new computer. I was mainly looking for something that was better than my old Dell, which by this point is about 6 years old. The new machine, dubbed Black Panther, is running Mandriva Spring 2008 and is turning out much better than I had hoped it would.
  • The new computer was minus a few extra PCI slots so I had to purchase a new wireless device. I went with the Linksys Compact Wireless – G USB Adapter. I had read on a forum before purchasing that it worked well with Linux distrobutions. The forum was right and the Compact G worked out of the box with Mandriva.
  • With the new install, I was missing many commercial and non-commercial components that I would need to return my new machine to the way I had my old Linux desktop setup. One of the key items was the libdvdcss library which allows me to burn the DVDs I have purchased in order to watch my movies on the road. Of course, with libdvdcss, I would need transcode so that K3B could correctly rip and encode the files. I think I might be getting better at this search online for linux answers thing.
  • Compiz Fusion running on a faster system is simply a must. It provides the great visuals that all of those Mac fanboys rave about. I personally love the cube and ring effects. The beauty of it all is that it is FREE!!!!
  • Once my system was up and running I wanted to setup Amarok with MySQL instead of SQLite since I had heard of the amazing speed one would gain with the change. However, when I tried to install MySQL via the RPM in Mandriva I encountered a problem every time. It seemed my root MySQL account was already given a default password and I didn’t know it. I tried numerous installs but received the same issue. After a few searches, I came to discover that the MySQL RPM for release candidate 2008.1 release candidate 1 contained an issue if the computer was labeled “localhost”. I read up on the bug and followed the wonderful instructions of one Oden Eriksson and my problem was solved rather quickly. First stop MySQL and Amarok, next stop MythTV.
  • I found a great website when I was searching for how to record my desktop. The website has many web videos that show you how to do different things. I was even fortunate to see one about asterisk which I was looking to work with at work in a few days.

I think I got a little link happy in this post but I did warn from the start that it was going to be a pot luck of sorts.

Posted under Linux