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February 2007 Archives

February 6, 2007

How to compress video for iPod on Ubuntu

Here are some good resources on how to get Ubuntu to compress videos for the 5G iPod using ffmpeg:

UPDATE: Upon further review, playback of these files is poor on the iPod. They will play for a few seconds and then stop until you seek a few seconds forward. It appears that a format adjustment is in order. I'll update again as soon as I find a solution.

Installing ffmpeg took a combination of this post and this post, which discusses compiling x264 from source.

As it turned out though, I compressed the video with xvid as discussed here.

Here's a quick script to compress all the .avi files in a directory, naming the output files with a .mov extension tacked on the end. It does check to see if the output file exists, so as you add files to the folder and rerun the script, it won't recompress files.

NOTE: I've also clipped out the relevant sections from the articles and placed them into a collection on Clipmarks.com, a new service I'm trying (although unfortunately they appear in reverse order). It seems like a straightforward and potentially useful service based around a pretty nice Firefox extension.

February 13, 2007

Reading list (OPML to HTML converter)

Today I finally gave my RSS Newsreader (NetNewsWire) a much needed cleanup, deleting at least most of the feeds which I haven't touched in months. I've been wanting to develop something simple to help people share their feed lists for awhile, so this cleanup inspired me to at least whip up a quick page to convert the OPML feed list to HTML for posting.

It's pretty self-explanatory once you get the OPML file out of your newsreader. File->Export Subscriptions does the trick in NetNewsWire (other readers should have something similar), and the script should work with either flat OPML or with the group information included, although it's anything but extensively tested.

If there's any interest, maybe I'll whip up a quick site to compile the feed lists from the OPML files. In any case, here's my reading list at the moment:

Dashboard meets Google Analytics

One of the best things about having a blog is obsessively checking your statistics, which for me, currently a Google Analytics user, means opening a browser and logging in just to see the most recent counts for the day. Enter Dashalytics, a nice OSX Dashboard widget that shows a quick summary of your stats at the flick of the wrist. The clean design includes an appropriate amount of info for a quick glance and a link into the full Analytics page should you want to delve deeper.

February 14, 2007

The Future is Open

February 16, 2007


California, rest in peace

February 17, 2007


Tired of burning extra CPU cycles by folding proteins and looking for E.T.? Try climateprediction.net, brought to you on BOINC, the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing and the same platform that backs SETI@Home. From the official site:

What is climateprediction.net?

Climateprediction.net is the largest experiment to try and produce a forecast of the climate in the 21st century. To do this, we need people around the world to give us time on their computers - time when they have their computers switched on, but are not using them to their full capacity.

[read more about the experiment]


Climate change, and our response to it, are issues of global importance, affecting food production, water resources, ecosystems, energy demand, insurance costs and much else. There is a broad scientific consensus that the Earth will probably warm over the coming century; climateprediction.net should, for the first time, tell us what is most likely to happen.

[read more about climate science]

How do I participate?

Windows and Linux users can get started here. Mac OSX users will have to use the beta for now (I've been running it and it seems solid so far). I created an ITP team both for the regular version and the beta. The team names are both ITP and the team IDs are 6006 and 35, respectively.

Here are some captures of the rendered screensaver graphics:

February 19, 2007

Good Morning, Budapest

The top 10 locations of the readers of this blog (since 4/2006):

New York
Los Angeles

February 20, 2007

DigiKey OpenSearch Plugin

I was doing the first of many parts orders from DigiKey, a massive online supplier of electronic components, for the semester, and finally decided to make an OpenSearch plugin for Firefox. This lets you search for DigiKey parts from the search bar in the upper-right corner of OpenSearch compatible browsers. I've only tested this in Firefox, and I'm pretty sure that it won't work in IE7 (surprise!) because IE7 doesn't support POST requests for OpenSearch plugins. Get Firefox.

Install this plugin now or view the XML.

The format for creating these plugins is a very straightforward XML file. You can find the docs on how to create your own on developer.mozilla.org.

NOTE: This plugin is in no way supported by the Digi-Key corporation. Please do not bother them with help requests if it doesn't work properly (probably because you are running IE). Contact the author with any questions or problems - at which time I will probably just tell you to Get Firefox.


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