Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

FlasKMPEG is a great little app

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

I’m finally getting around to processing and posting some video clips to some of our websites. Recently we copied all of our VHS tapes to DVDs, so I can now rip video clips from a DVD instead of a VHS tape, as we’ve done in the past. It had been a few years since I’d done much video processing, and I couldn’t really remember the old reliable apps, so I had to go looking for programs again. I wanted something quick, but powerful, and needed certain features, such as ripping only specific clips from a DVD. After trying several programs and being frustrated with awful interfaces, crippled shareware and missing features, I remembered the program FlasKMPEG.

It’s not the cleanest looking program in the world, and some of the interface is arcane, but it does pretty much everything I wanted. It knows how to handle a DVD, allows for selecting a specific clip’s start and end points down to each individual frame, provides for cropping and adjusting the video frame, and gives more control over the output codecs than I know what to do with. There are a few interface additions that would come in handy, but with the last software update in 2002, I’m not holding out for much. It’s open source, however that means little if no one wants to work on it anymore. All things considered, FlasKMPEG is a very powerful app that will be useful for years to come.

Vim Tips page added

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

I started using Vim as my primary editor a few months ago and have been keeping a list of tips and tricks on a private wiki. Since most of the listings are gleaned from other websites, I figured I’d make the list public so that someday someone might find something useful. Check out the Vim Tips page.

Bloglines is old and busted. Gregarius is the new hotness.

Monday, May 8th, 2006

I installed Gregarius tonight and successfully set it up to replace Bloglines. The install is public and at

A few minor things were more difficult than they probably should have been, and there were (and still are) problems with a couple feeds, but overall it was a smooth transfer. I reordered some feeds and changed things around from my previous setup but didn’t alter the order too much.

I really like how in Gregarius you have to mark specific items or feeds as read, otherwise it leaves them unread. This means that if you glance at something, but then move on to something else, it doesn’t get marked as read (a wonderful Bloglines “feature” that I won’t miss). Also, you can control how many feed items appear on a “page”, so if you don’t want to be hit with 100+ unread items all at once you don’t have to.

There’s a few UI additions or changes I’d make, but I’m not sure how much time I want to devote to tweaking this, as I’m very happy with the default.

Resizable Textarea extension for Firefox

Monday, April 10th, 2006

Resizable Textarea 0.1b – It’s a small and unobtrusive extension for Firefox, but when you need it, it’s great. Hover over the bottom or right edges of a textarea to get the cursor change signaling you can drag the edges (or corner). The rest of the page resizes to fit accordingly.
It was a bit hard to find a recent version, but Jeremy Zawodny updated it for Firefox 1.5 and has it available for download.

Fun with online calendars and WebDAV

Monday, March 6th, 2006

For about a year now I’ve been running my own personal online calendar using iCal files on my web space and accessing them with Mozilla Sunbird and WebDAV. It’s not the most elegant solution, but it was working, and there’s not much in the way of alternatives (save for web-based shared calendars). Well, somewhere along the way, one of my iCal files (the big, important one) got corrupted. I’m not sure if Sunbird was in the middle of a file write when my wireless connection went out, or if it didn’t survive the temporary move when I setup WordPress. At any rate, the file was incomplete, with over half of it missing (of course, the half I was missing was the newest half). Since Sunbird keeps a local copy of each calendar file on the local computer, I was hoping to resurrect the file with an older version that was more complete, but each of the local ones had been overwritten already since the remote, “master” file was different.

After a few days of not making any progress on this, I remembered that I had seen something at some point about accessing backups of my files on DreamHost (awhile back they started making snapshot backups). I was able to pull an old file from a 2-week old backup. The next trick was to replace the corrupted file with the complete one. Since the remote iCal file is essentially the “master”, it wasn’t enough to replace a copy of the file on the local machine, open Sunbird, and try to get it to overwrite the remote file. It wouldn’t take, and I’d be back with an incomplete file. So I had to overwrite the bad file on the server. But since the directory is enabled as WebDAV, I can’t copy and move files like normal. I had to disable WebDAV on the directory, wait a few minutes, then copy over the new file, turn WebDAV back on, wait a few minutes, and then hope everything works. Luckily, it did, and I haven’t had any more problems.

Also, I managed to download Sunbird 0.3a1, when I was trying to get Sunbird to work with my corrupt file. I knew most changes in 0.3 so far have been on the backend, but there has been some nice UI cleanup already. So far it seems stable enough for everyday use, but hopefully the full release of 0.3 isn’t far behind.

Signed up on

Thursday, March 2nd, 2006

I finally figured I’d give a try.

I installed the cubeScrobbler 0.2.17 plugin for musikCube, but so far haven’t had luck getting it to connect to anything. I’m not sure if the servers are acting up or if there are issues with the plugin (something is broken according to a post on the musikCube forums).