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Forced software upgrades in the land of web-apps

Whenever someone complains about a new version of a bit of software, my general response is "you don't have to upgrade".

For example, complaints about Vista can generally be countered with "Well, Windows XP still works fine.."

Where this argument entirely falls down is when an upgrade is forced, but there is pretty uncommon (online portions of video-games, instant messaging applications)..

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Relaunch of the nullnetwork imagepaste

After taking significant time to be lazy & forgotful I have reconfigured the apache to run the nullnetwork image paste tool again (available at http://imagepaste.nullnetwork.net/). All are free to contribute to the gallery.

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Installing the link layer topology discovery (LLTD) protocol responder on Debian Linux

This post on how to install the LLTD is largely ripped off from http://www.howtoforge.com/installing-the-lltd-protocol-responder-for-linux-on-debian-lenny and made a bit more direct for those that just want to make it work and not pay attention to what you're doing! Like me!

So let's dive right in.

mkdir lltd
cd lltd
wget http://download.microsoft.com/download/b/8/e/b8eee444-f8d5-4b8b-aa3d-2f19bf19ac72/Rally-LLTD-PortingKit.exe
unzip Rally-LLTD-PortingKit.exe
sudo apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r` build-essential

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irssi, figlet, greatness

/alias figlet /exec - -o echo $0-| figlet -w 60 | awk -F% 'function randint(n){return int(33+n * rand())} {printf("x03%s%sn",randint(12),$1)}'

Combining the joys of shell scripting, figlet, irssi colour escape codes and two different kind of escape sequences, you can achieve the following...

Awe Inspiring Figletification

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Save the plastic trees

There was a post on Lifehacker entitled "Five Best Sites to Stream TV". Useful. I'm always looking for a "legal" alternative to torrenting TV shows. DVD's are okay, but considering you can fit thousands of episodes on a harddrive about the size of a single DVD, it seems like there should be a better solution, one that doesn't involve quite so many slices of plastic sitting on a shelve..

Oh. Importantly, I live in a country that isn't America (currently Australia).. Lets see how "best" these are for us damned Foreigners..

Hulu.

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You, sir, have crossed the line.

I didn't really mind when The Escapist added the adverts at the end of the Zero Punctuation videos. It was pretty unobtrusive, and advertised their own content. Fine.

Then "Yahtzee" changed the intro away from using appropriate, fair-use, copyrighted music, to a flashy-random-ZP-graphic title sequence. That annoyed me because I really liked the intro/outro songs (I can't think of Bioshock without thinking of The Beatles - Octopuses Garden..), and the new music/graphics are completely unfitting, and kind of boring..

Then there was adverts for Zero Punctuation at the end of Zero Punctuation. That was just stupid.

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MySQL fun

SELECT count(DISTINCT postkey) as post_count, membername FROM members, posts where members.memberid = posts.postauthorid GROUP BY membername ORDER BY post_count DESC

Posting that query is mostly for archival purposes. Basically this.. fun little query counts the number of unique posts by each user, from a MySQL database.

The posts table has postkey (the unique identifier) and postauthorid, the members table has a membersid column (relates to postauthorid) and membersname (the human-readable member's name).

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Installing Python 2.6/3.0 without breaking stuff

Pretty simple to do, but regardless here is a copy-and-paste'able set of commands that should work on OS X/Linux (if you have the Apple Developer Tools installed, or the build-essential package on Ubuntu):

cd /tmp/
curl -O http://www.python.org/ftp/python/2.6/Python-2.6b3.tgz
gunzip Python-2.6b3.tgz
tar -xf Python-2.6b3.tar
cd Python-2.6b3/
./configure --prefix=/usr/local/python2.6
# lots of lines ending in "... yes" hopefully
make
# will take a while, no errors
sudo make install
# enter your password, as it requires root access to put files in /usr/local/
# lots of stuff flies by..
sudo ln -s /usr/local/python2.6/bin/python2.6 /usr/local/bin/python2.6
sudo ln -s /usr/local/python2.6/bin/2to3 /usr/local/bin/2to3
# this puts python2.6 into your $PATH</pre class='code'>

That will install python2.6 into /usr/local/python2.6/ and symlink the commands python2.6 and 2to3 into /usr/local/bin/

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Exporting MRS-1608 recordings to .WAV

While this isn't exactly the normal sort of NF article, this took me hours to work out.

I have a bunch of gigs recorded on an Zoom MRS-1608 recording desk. Until recently to capture/edit the recordings, I recorded the master-output via a Line-in connector on an iMac (into Soundtrack Pro). This worked fine, but all the levels were set on the desk, and mixed-down to a stereo output, which means to change the levels, you have to capture the song again. And there is no way of adding effects to specific channels and so on..

The solution should have been simple - Zoom have an application called "Audio File Manager", an extremely buggy and broken application that (should) take the recordings via USB, or a CD and convert each track to a .WAV or .AIFF file (which can then be edited in any audio application)

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Microsofts open source push

Microsoft is now a major sponsor of the Apache Software Foundation and is putting its protocols and formats into a royalty-free license, all part of a larger open-source push.

Big things are happening with Microsoft lately. As an Open Source developer by nature I can say that I was a little shocked when they first opened their Microsoft Office document format specifications (which I was sad enough to read!). There are various news stories where Microsoft is becoming more open. I like it. I like it a lot.

As to why they are doing it, the only reason I can see is that they are taking a beating in the the computer industry with competitors like Apple, IBM, Mozilla and Google all peaking at their profits. Not to mention the European computer laws on monopolistic behaviour. They need to form alliances and change market opinion about them if they want to remain unchallenged.

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