EricSkiff.com Open Source Everything

22Apr/060

Thurderbird 1.5.0.2




thunderbirdUpdate

Originally uploaded by Glitch010101.

The thunderbird team is rolling out the 1.5.0.2 update via the new patch system right now. I love seeing this little popup!

12Apr/062

Songbird Screenshot




Songbird Screenshot

Originally uploaded by Glitch010101.

If you listen to music on your PC, you've got to give SongBird a try. It's an extremely solid music player, and because it's built on top of Firefox, it's also got a wonderful web browser built in that allows you to flip through tons of music services and other fun stuff while still listening to your tunes.

It complies and runs on Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux. Very cool stuff.

16Feb/060

Dear god I love the random image function

I've moved the site over to wordpress, and I'm almost done moving my photos over to gallery.

What that means for all of you is that this site is updated more frequently because it's easier for me to get it done. It also means that I'm going to be able to pull some cool tricks using the amazing tools and plugins available for both pieces of extablished open source software.

One of those tricks is wordpress + gallery integration. They play very nicely together, and you can see a "random image" pulled from the gallery every time you visit the actual glitchnyc.com, which looks like this:

random image screenshot

I think it's my new favorite feature of the site. It comes up with some awesome shots that I didn't even know I had in there!

4Jan/0610

GlitchCastFriendAdder 1.0 is released

I've just released version 1.0 of the GlitchCastFriendAdder - the Open Source MySpace Friend Adder.

It's a combination friendID scraper and bulk adder for MySpace.

You can find more information here.

3Jan/061

The First Great Coding Binge of 2006

Well, I don't know if it was the fact that I was laid up for a good portion of the past week or just that my brain was rested and ready to churn out something creative, but last night I was struck by inspiration, and couldn't stop coding for hours.

I'll release the results here in the next day or two under the GPL (I'm working out some final bugs right now), but basically I've written an open source myspace friend adder in Perl. At first I was wary of all the steps involved but I've done some web automation before and the WWW::Mechanize library is amazing. It really makes jobs like this easy. I went from concept to working code in about 4 hours.

The script literally logs in as you, goes to the pages you specify in a simple comma separated CSV file, and then adds all of the friend IDs that are on those pages. It's been working amazingly, as there are a lot of great bands that we've played on the GlitchCast. The theory is that if they like the music they're "friends" with, they might also like our show and the other music we feature.

Part of me feels a little grey about the spammy nature of these invites, but I'm not just sending this to users at random, these are people I think genuinely might be interested in our show.

Myspace makes you enter a "captcha" after every few friends you add, so I've added a simple "pause" mechanism to the code, prompting you to go and add a friend by hand so it can continue on it's merry way.

Adding friend 1468183...captcha detected. Go add a friend manually.
Here's the current page:
http://www.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=invite.addfriend_verify&friendID=1468183
Hit enter to continue.

If I had any doubts as to whether this was worth the effort, they've already been put to rest. Four bands have written me just this afternoon, asking to be included in the GlitchCast.

Outstanding.

At the moment, I'm getting hit with the captchas pretty frequently, so I'll have to tweak the "sleep" time between adding friends a bit and see if that helps. I've also got 33 pages of pending friend requests, so that might have me in a higher "penalty bracket" or some such.

It's been fun to play with myspace and hand-craft some of the tools I need. Being that I run on Linux here at home and didn't really want to run this stuff on the work PCs, there were no commercial options available for me anyway.

Once I get this properly cleaned up and released, I'm going to start working on some ways to stay in contact with those on my friends list. It should be fairly easy to modify this script to log in and message those on our friends pages and do things like "thanks for the add" and "Check out the next show, it features Edie Carey" to all the Edie fans that have friended us.

Now, there's a good chance that if you're reading this, you found this page through google looking for a free and open source myspace friend adder. The perl code will be available here soon (either tonight, 2005-01-03, or tomorrow). In the meantime, check out the podcast that got me excited enough to put in all this effort just to promote it: The GlitchCast - bringing great independent and under-appreciated music to the Podsafe Music Network

29Nov/050

SVG Examples for Firefox 1.5

firefox 1.5 about page screenshot

Firefox 1.5 is coming out tonight! The best browser gets even better. (Don’t have it yet? Download it here.) Barring some unforseen last minute bug, version 1.5 RC3 will be the same as the release version, but I do recommend waiting for the final 1.5 unless you like to live on the edge like me.

So what’s new about Firefox 1.5? Most notably there’s now a true patch system for automatic updates that work without having to download the whole installer.

Beyond that, you can now drag and drop tabs to reorder them, CSS 2 and 3 support moves steadily along, and most exciting to me, Firefox now includes SVG image support!

That doesn’t mean much to most non-graphic-designers, so I’ve got a page on GlitchNYC to illustrate how SVG differs from traditional web graphics, and how they can help turn you from doodler to artist. Go get yourself Firefox 1.5 and check it out!

20Nov/050

Hitting the Podcasting Stride

Radio sounds like a broken record. Find something new.

They say that you shouldn't publicize your first 5 podcasts. Well, I was absent the day they taught that rule, and although there's been some mistakes and we've already learned a lot, I think there's some amazing stuff "in the can" as we hit podcast number 6.

Here's the post from GlitchCast 006, which Sara and I recorded saturday. Tune in over at http://www.glitchnyc.com/GlitchCast if you're not listening yet and find out why radio is obsolete.

Sara joins me at "Studio 505" as we review more great podsafe tracks - this time found by listening to some of the other music podcasts such as indiefeed and the amplified podcast.

* Candy Butchers - What to do with Michael
* Nobody's star - Memory of You
* bill - Sound Scientist
* Low country - Lord I want an exit

Not subscribed yet? You can Listen to the show here

If you're new to podcasting, you can subscribe to the show's feed and have it delivered to your computer automatically whenever there's a new episode.

* http://feeds.feedburner.com/GlitchCast

For subscribing to podcasts, I recommend the free and open source (and newly renamed) Juice (formerly iPodder Lemon - they "squeezed the iPodder out of their name, what was left was Juice!"). You can also search for "GlitchCast" in iTunes.

9Nov/050

Linux gets easy drop shadows

Just a quick screenshot to show how drop shadows look in Linux. The eyecandy, ahem, I mean, useful visual cues that Mac OSX and Windows Vista tout are now easy to enable in KDE. I just installed Kubuntu, added a line or two to my xorg.conf, and turned shadows on in the GUI. Very slick.

I've got a little 1ghz computer and a very old ATI card. The screen refresh rate when sliding a window around is a little slow, but tolerable. I'm debating keeping it turned on for good. I like being able to clearly see what's on top of what, and you know what? Drop shadows are just sexy.

To turn the shadows on in Kubuntu after install:

For an ATI card (nvidia's are slightly different)

* Add these lines to your device section:

Option "AllowGLXWithComposite" "true"
Option "backingstore" "true"

* Add this extension section:


Section "Extensions"
Option "Composite" "Enable"
EndSection

* Right click on any titlebar and choose "Change window behavior"
* Set your translucency and shadow options.
* Reboot
* You could just restart X, but I didn't see the change actually happen till a full reboot, since I'm using KDM and killing X just seemed to drop down to KDM.

5Nov/051

Podcasting: Stereo vs Mono – how about a little of both?

This is a comment I left on Colleen's blog for FluffInBrooklyn.com. If you haven't checked it out yet, Colleen puts together a very funny photo-comic every few days featuring a cast of stuffed animals and the occasional cameo by a human or 17.

Colleen and her friend and upstairs neighbor Annie have started "Fluff Radio," a weekly podcast with comedy skits, funny stories, and music. They've got a nice 2 mic setup, so each of them gets their own channel, and appears to be "in that ear." This is both neat, and slightly disorienting to listen to, and they've recently posted a poll as to whether they should go mono. I've got some thoughts on the issue and a technique for getting the "best of both worlds" using audacity, so I figured I'd post it here as well.

Okay - so here's my vote on the podcast stereo vs. mono thing. I actually had to start skipping the fluff radio shows on my iRiver because listening to them in super-stereo makes my eyes water and throws off my balance. I'm constantly wondering what's wrong with one headphone or another.

I don't think the stereo is bad, per se, but what I would suggest is doing some sort of a mix of each track in each ear. For example Annie should be 60% in the left and 40% in the right, and the other way around for you.

Of course, this is slightly tricky to do, but shouldn't be too bad. Here's how I would go about it:

In audacity, copy the stereo track that makes up your and Annie's audio. Paste that to another stereo track, and then split both stereo tracks into it to two "left-right" tracks. Turn the left one to right and the right one to left.

Adjust the volume of BOTH sets of stereo tracks. They'll be added to each other in the final mix, so if they add up to more than 100%, you'll get some clipping (that harsh sound when things are too loud). I suggest bring the new tracks down to -12db and the original down to -6. This gives you mostly the original stereo, but with a bit of the other track in each ear. When you listen, it now sounds like you're a little bit to the right of center, and Annie is a little to the left of center, rather than listening to two people on opposite ends of the room. Much easier on the headphone-listening audience 🙂

Finally, you've got your music guests. If you've got them on another stereo track entirely, awesome. Just leave it be and it'll get down-mixed perfect into the single stereo track generated when you convert to MP3. If you've got the music on the same tracks as your audio, you'll need to split it out from the other tracks so that the music doesn't get mangled by our ghetto stereo down-mixing.

For the example track, I just took a copy of your original audio track and made a third stereo track. I then de-"amplified" all the non-music sections to -48 db (the standard audacity amplify effect only lets you do -24. You can do this twice to "silence" a section. There are other plugins that let you silence sections or amplify to other arbitrary values, but that's another post entirely)

So now I've got three stereo tracks - the original (set to -6 db with the little slider at the left)

The "right and left" swapped tracks, (set to -12 db)

And the music track (untouched except the non-music sections have been silenced)

Export to MP3 and voila. A nicely mixed stereo track that doesn't make eardrums bleed 🙂

Of course, this is all a whole lot of post production, and you might want to just record and go. You can accomplish this same thing by setting your and Annie's mics closer together so that you get some of both voices on each, but listeners can still "hear" where you are in the room.

Here's the final mixed track, so you can listen to what I'm talking about

Happy Recording.

Colleen and Annie in DDR costumes overlayed with DDR graphics

Okay, so while I was waiting for my wonderfully slow home computer to spit out that mp3, I had a little fun with your Dance Dance Revolutionary costume pic. Nice work, by the way. I also like your "super-villain-esque" disclosure about DDR training. Practicing some songs to hustle me? It's on! I'll be practicing with my fingers!

31Oct/050

The creative commons needs your help

The Creative Commons is the group which makes artist and sharing friendly content licenses available for use free of charge. They do all the work of writing up the legalese and making sure the licenses benefit the artist and the public, leaving artists free to slap a CC license on their content and be clear about who can do what with it. For example, all the content that I've created here at GlitchNYC is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA) license.

What that means is that you're free to use any CC-BY-SA content as you see fit (including commercially) as long as you give me attribution, and you release your work under the same license. There are other more and less restrictive licenses available at [CreativeCommons.org](http://www.creativecommons.org), and the Creative Commons movement is truly helping artists make their work more available to anyone who wants to use it, without going through traditional big-media distribution channels like publishing houses and record labels. The clearly stated and easy to licenses also clear up many of the copyright complexities that face media creators today.

If a filmmaker is looking for a song for their nonprofit documentary, but has no budget to work with, where do they go? Today, thanks to the work of the Creative Commons teams, they can [search for Creative Commons licensed songs](http://search.creativecommons.org/) on the web, and rest assured that they are free to use the song in their movie, providing they abide by the restrictions of that particular license, such as "non-commercial," "Attribution," and/or "ShareAlike." The filmmaker might even be inspired to release their film under a Creative Commons license themselves, and keep the creative cycle flowing.

As noted on [BoingBoing](http://www.boingboing.net/2005/10/30/creative_commons_fun.html) today the Creative Commons is asking for small donations from a large number of people to help them achieve nonprofit status in the eyes of the IRS. I've already made my contribution. If you like the work the Creative Commons is doing, contribute the small amount needed now to help them achieve their goal.