Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fastest 3G Network?

Verizon sure is wailing on AT&T these days, and AT&T's rebuttal ads featuring Luke Wilson aren't a very convincing response.

Anyway, isn't T-Mobile's 3G network the fastest? I thought they were the first and only 7.2Mbps HSPA rollout. Did AT&T match that? If so, is being tied for fastest still "the fastest?"

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

YouTube Closed Captioning

YouTube has a cool new feature that will try to make closed-captioning available by programmatically transcribing the audio.

If your video has technical jargon, turn on captions! The results may be unintentionally hilarious.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Various Google-Fails When Building Chromium OS

The first step in the Chromium OS build instructions is to run the script make_local_repo.sh. This will build a local repo from which your chroot environment will grab packages. However, this script has a bug where it will not wait for an APT lock. In my case, I was installing another package via apt-get when I ran the script, so it bailed out early when it couldn't get the apt lock, and hosed my repo.

The not-so-helpful error you will get once your local repo is screwed up:
khaki@onion:~/chromium-fake/src/scripts$ ./make_local_repo.sh
Creating repository directory...
Updating chromeos_dev from /home/khaki/chromium-fake/src/package_repo/repo_list_dev.txt...
chroot: cannot run command `reprepro': No such file or directory

It's easy to fix this, just delete the "repo" directory in the Chromium OS root directory (along side "src" and "tools") and then re-run the script.

Also, Google didn't include the full list of prerequisites for running the GClient build tool. If, right after syncing WebKit and WebCore, you get this unhelpful Python traceback error message:

Traceback (most recent call last):
[Snipped here by yours truly.]
File "/home/khakionion/depot_tools/gclient_scm.py", line 195, in _Run
sp = subprocess.Popen(cmd, cwd=cwd, stdout=stdout)
File "/usr/lib/python2.6/subprocess.py", line 621, in __init__
errread, errwrite)
File "/usr/lib/python2.6/subprocess.py", line 1126, in _execute_child
raise child_exception
OSError: [Errno 2] No such file or directory

...Then you don't have Git, which is understandable, because it's not listed in the prerequisites for Chromium or GClient. But, if you're building Chromium OS, you should be calling "gclient sync" with the deps="chromeos,unix" command, making Git a dependency. Easy to miss, because Chromium's instructions don't consider the existence of Chromium OS. If you're using Ubuntu Karmic Koala, a simple "sudo apt-get install git git-core" will fix you up. You don't have to restart anything, just call the same "gclient sync" command you used before, and you'll continue at the first Git command that broke before.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fixing Framework Search Paths

Just ran into an interesting quirk in Xcode that kept me from building device versions of iPhone apps. The resolution was a bit hard to find, so I thought I'd post it up here for posterity. In a nutshell, it is possible to include a framework from a location that shouldn't be used. This will cause Xcode to add the path to that framework in the "Framework Search Paths" in your target's properties. If you include dylibs from a non-kosher location, it will do the same for the "Library Search Paths."

The consequence of this misconfiguration is that Xcode will look in this location when trying to find all its frameworks/libraries. This will give you errors like:
missing required architecture arm in file

I was getting this error message for every single binary blob, all the way up to crt1.o To fix it, simply go to the Library Search Paths and Framework Search Paths, and delete the path to the rogue framework.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

How Did Various Computers Handle The Time Change?

Windows Seven: Uneventful, clock went back one hour.

Mac OS X Snow Leopard: Uneventful, clock went back one hour.

The American Airlines Webservers:
AA.com is currently unavailable. We are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible and apologize for any inconvenience.
The American Express Webservers:
Welcome MICHAEL HERRING , member since 2004.
Due to routine system maintenance, some Cardmembers may experience limited access to their account information at this time. We expect all information to be available by approximately 10:00am (EST) Sunday 11/1/09 and apologize for the inconvenience.
Heckuva job, webmasters.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Xenogears OCRemix Compilation Is Awesome

Not much to say. What could I say, beyond "the always-inspiring video game music remixing community OC Remix has released an incredible compilation of Xenogears music?"

Yes, that's right, the always-inspiring video game music remixing community OC Remix has released an incredible compilation of Xenogears music.

See, I told you that's all I could say. Go. Downloadenzie.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

"Single-Application Mode" in OS X

When someone linked this article to me, the operative phrase "Single Application Mode" made me think someone had just figured out how to use the Mega Zoom SIMBL plugin. How wrong I was.

So apparently back in the olden days of pre-10.0 OS X, clicking a dock icon would hide all other applications. Command-Tab wouldn't, though, so using a combination of these two behaviors achieves the same functionality as Spaces, but faster and easier to modify on-the-fly. Try it yourself:
defaults write com.apple.dock single-app -bool true 
killall Dock
Viola. I have to say, I'm absolutely loving this mode. Too bad it's not exposed in System Preferences.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

"Porting" iPhone Apps to XNA

I had been reading several articles posted on Gizmodo and the like about a certain iPhone game having been ported to the Zune HD (via XNA) in a mere 12 hours. Naturally, this had gotten me excited about the possible existence of a converter or abstraction layer between Apple's libraries and XNA.

Unfortunately, other articles with more detail explain that the game wasn't actually written for the iPhone. It's actually a C#.NET application, running on the iPhone with MonoTouch. This is explained in the post (from the original game dev, no less), but it's still disheartening to see popular blogs continually missing important, technical details and instead garnering page views with catchy headlines.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Carter's Select Salsa

Finally got a jar of Carter's Select Original Salsa. I ran into these guys at the 2009 Austin Hot Sauce Festival, but I hadn't gotten the chance to find their salsa in-store until last night's trip to Spec's.

My aforementioned turkey sausage skillet works great with their Original Salsa. The stuff is chunky, spicy, and generally tastes great. Highly recommended!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hackintosh Skype Issue

Snow Leopard is now running decently on Dell Mini 9 laptops, but on mine I have a weird quirk where my Skype balance is reported as zero. Logging in on another Mac with Snow Leopard (or logging in anywhere else for that matter) shows the proper balance.

Weird, eh? Anyone else see this issue?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Order of the Day: Turkey Salsa Skillet Pitas


Two Butterball Turkey Sausage links, sliced
1 cup sliced bell peppers
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup sliced squash
1/2 cup HEB Central Market Hatch Chile Salsa Roja
Grated, extra-aged cheddar cheese, to taste

The important thing in this dish, what gives it its kick, is the salsa. Look for this brand in particular.

Cook the turkey and vegetables in a skillet on medium heat, mixing the salsa in after a few minutes. Sprinkle in garlic powder, chili powder, and ground pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are cooked to their desired consistency (squishy and nigh-caramelized).

Place delicious turkey-veggie concoction in a dish, and fill pita. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese to taste.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

MSN Soapbox Is No More

Well, MSN has decided to shut down their user-generated video service, Soapbox. Not that I care too much, but it does affect my work on a MySoju plugin for Plex, since many of MySoju's videos were hosted there. So, that means one less plugin I have to maintain. I kinda saw this coming when they announced earlier that it would be placed "on the back burner," and sure enough here it is.

Monday, July 13, 2009

"No Romaja" Userscript for KoreanClass101

I'm a paying member at KoreanClass101.com. It's a pretty good site for learning Korean, save for the unfortunate amount of romanization they use. One of the worst instances is in vocabulary lists, where a romanization sits directly next to the proper Hangul text for a word. A native-english brain prefers the romanization, which discourages learning vocabulary in actual Korean.

If you'd like that Romanization column to disappear, you can try out my userscript. Simply install Greasekit/Greasemonkey (instructions are here for Safari and here for Firefox) then head over to the page for my script and install it!

After that, your vocab lists should change from this:

To this!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

MySoju Plex Plugin Update

Not a lot going on with the MySoju plugin for Plex, but I have added the ability to detect broken episodes, and to see what video site a certain episode is hosted at. Screenshots incoming!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Something Wrong With This Picture

Come on, Apple, shouldn't there be SOMETHING about Cocoa in your Apple-specific dictionary?

Monday, June 15, 2009

A MySoju Plugin for Plex Media Server

It would be awesome if Plex, the Mac media centre software, had support for the CJK drama website MySoju. Fortunately, Plex has a relatively easy plugin architecture, so I've started working on such a feature!

So far, the plugin can browse all dramas, movies, staff picks and rankings. As for actually viewing the videos, if they are hosted on MSN Soapbox, they will work. Over the next week I will be adding support for as many of MySoju's sources as I can. I'm a bit worried about how hard supporting Dailymotion will be, since they're breaking the MySoju site right now. Time will tell.

Anyway, the plugin is progressing nicely, so if you want to see some screenshots, just click the thumbnails below!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Coming Soon: BT's Video Game Theme Song

Electronic musician extraordinaire BT has really been forging ahead with this newfangled Internet thing. From being quite involved on his Twitter account to releasing 12-second preview clips of his upcoming album, dude knows how to keep his fans pumped up. He also made some cool announcements at a Ustream interview he conducted this evening.

Coming soon, the Beatport music store (which has BT's new single available DRM-free) will be offering up a version of said single hacked up and ready for remixing in a contest. The winner will see their remix available for sale on Beatport. Pretty cool.

Of particular interest to me was BT's response to questions about his work with video games. BT has had his music appear in games, the most noteworthy of which (to me) is the playable version of Kimosabe on Harmonix's PS2 title Amplitude. He let slip that he has composed the theme song to an upcoming (but unnamed!) video game, describing it as "big, orchestral" and "dubstep" and more. He followed up by saying:
...being a gamer myself, I've found that a lot of people that support my music and what I do are gamers too, and so I'd like to write a lot more music for video games.
Good to hear, Mr. BT! Please bring-it-up bring-it-up bring-it-up, and thanks for engaging your fans like this!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

That Which Apple Stands to Democratize

Normally, iPhone rumors get a :rolleyes: and a "Bah!" from yours truly, but TUAW has a couple of pretty interesting ones posted that, together, shape an interesting vision of what Apple could do to make the third-gen iPhone stick out from its newly-emboldened competitors.

First off, TUAW has gleaned from possible pre-release AT&T support docs that the new iPhone may be called the iPhone video. Also, some supposed pics of the new iPhone show a front-facing green LED, the Apple standard for an integrated iSight camera.

iPhone possesses a mass-market appeal and mindshare that is rare among its competitors. When the next iPhone launches, customers will be in huge, snaking lines to buy it, the kind of lines that Palm, RIM et cetera only see in dreams. With such an appealing brand, Apple is in a rare position to embrace an as-yet-unpopular technology and make it indispensable.

Imagine if Apple were to market a video-call-capable phone, that mythical telecom product that companies like AT&T, Motorola and Intel have failed to make popular. The hype-machine and HCI prowess that Apple possesses could turn it from a quirky technology that only early-adopting geeks would use into the must-have killer app for the next two or three years.

Enter the Kotaku-posted rumor that the third-gen iPhone will possess a significantly more powerful graphics processor than its predecessors. In the App Store context, this would have the undesirable side-effect of splintering the iPhone platform. But, with greater graphical chops come greater UI possibilities, and a 3- or 4-way video-conference over a cell network would definitely be a new, leading-edge innovation in the American mobile industry.

I have no clue as to the likelihood of such a technology being announced at the Philnote next week...but I have my fingers crossed. We need a novel use of this bandwidth we keep adding to our cell networks, and video calls/conferences would be an amazing step forward for all involved parties.

Saturday, May 02, 2009


The other night, I was playing Street Fighter 4 and got creamed by some guy who was playing as (shock!) Ken Masters. Later, I got a message from him, consisting of one simple assertion:

haha flowchart

What did he mean? Clearly he was insulting me. Am I so bad that he could beat me with simple flowchart-style Ken? Or was I playing too simplistic of a game?

Whatever it was, there's only one flowchart you'll ever need for SF4.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

$60 Games and The Mid-Range

It's amazing how well Twitter keeps my thoughts flowing. Enough to keep me from needing to post here! SO ANYWAY--

I just got done reading Kotaku's review of THQ's new 50 Cent game. The review is relatively positive, commending it for being accessible and (somewhat) replayable. Then comes the recommendation on whether to buy or rent/borrow it:

While it may be hard to recommend Blood On The Sand to gamers who are itching for a more tepid Gears Of War-The Club hybrid—especially since both can be had for less than the price (combined) of the game under review—it's difficult to recommend against playing the game. It's bizarre and capable enough to make the ride fun.

I've always been a critic of the price-of-entry into the world of video games, and this generation's the worst yet. There are many recent releases I'm anxious to try out, but at $60 a pop I'm in no rush to own them. A generation ago, I was making less money than I am now, and still I had no problem shelling out $50 for a new release, and $35-40 recent releases with good reviews were insta-buys.

So, you're a 50 Cent fan with no console. You'll have to buy:
  • A game console (cheapest is 360 Arcade, $200).

  • The game itself ($60).

  • Another game controller for the co-op (360 Wireless costs $50).

Got that? $310 for the latest 50 Cent production. If he made a movie, you'd pay ~$15 to see it with your girlfriend/buddies. (Or you'd pay upwards of around $250 for a Blu-ray player and the movie disc.) If all 40 tracks from the game's OST were released as a 3-disc set, you would reasonably expect to pay at most $40-45 for such a compilation.

Food for thought, IMHO.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

AU Box Shows What Apple Could Do (And Probably Won't)

Check out the simply-named box from AU by KDDI. Connect it to your mobile or fiber-optic Internet connections, and it accesses a slew of AU/KDDI/Internet services, making them available on both your mobile phone and your home entertainment system.

While I was watching the introductory video, I could only think about one thing: How cool would it be if there was an iPhone dock on the Apple TV? Use a 3G or wired connection, download your shows to both components, and never have to connect to iTunes itself.

Unfortunately I have a feeling we're not going to see anything like that anytime soon. If the history of the iPod has told us one thing about Apple's technical design aesthetic, it's that the Mac/PC is the hub from which one manages one's content. Pushing/downloading content to a computer from a more special-purpose device is a special case, one that Apple's products are designed to reduce in occurrence.

After the rescinded approval of the iPhone data-tethering app, the release (finally!) of a phone running Android, and novel mobile applications like AU box, an optimistic geek might be led to believe that there's simply too much pressure on Apple to maintain the iPhone's "closed platform" nature.

It's certainly not impossible, but I wouldn't hold my breath on a sea change in Apple's broad platform strategy. The fact that Apple TV and iPhone both run OS X is a matter of convenience, not a sign that either platform is destined for Mac-level openness. If you want free reign over your Apple device, to make it do precisely what you want, and run the applications you want, Apple's design intentions be damned, you're better off getting a Mac than an iPhone or Apple TV.