LegRoom E-Mail Access Temporarily Unavailable

Submitted by jbreland on Sat, 11/14/2009 - 00:19

Beginning at about midnight on Friday night / Saturday morning (11/14), I'm taking down the LegRoom.net e-mail server for some maintenance and upgrades. In the process I'm going to be copying mail to a new location, so I don't want any new mail coming in during that process as it may get dropped.

Once the upgrade is complete and the new configuration is properly tested, I'll bring the mail server back up. This should be done by Saturday afternoon. I'll post an update here once it's complete.

Update 11/14 04:00: E-mail is back up.

Major Website Upgrade

Submitted by jbreland on Sun, 11/08/2009 - 23:26

I just (mostly) finished a major upgrade of the LegRoom.net website backend (Drupal, for those who are curious). Although the site should look and feel the same, I had to make some pretty substantial changes to complete the upgrade. As a result, some parts of the site may not look the same, some functionality may be different or missing, etc. Please notify me ASAP if you find any problems. Some examples:

  • Glitches or general ugliness in the web site layout (I had to upgrade the theme as well, which has had only very limited testing)
  • Broken links
  • Missing components/pages (eg., webmail, dailystrips, etc.)
  • Permissions problems / Access Denied errors on certain pages (again, webmail, dailystrips, etc.)
  • Problems with dailystrips - this is the first (and so far only) personal module that I've converted. I think everything's working properly, but please let me know if you find any issues so I can address them as I port the other modules
    • As an added bonus, I also updated the definition for Penny Arcade, so that should now (finally) be working again

The following issues are currently known:

  • bookmarks, metasearch, ssh, sysinfo, and wishlist modules are missing - these all need to be upgraded, and the SSH and sysinfo modules probably won't make a return at all
  • Web site glitches and general ugliness - I know that there are a number of issues with the theme as things stand currently. It'll take me a while to find and work out all the kinks again. However, please still report any issues you find, as it may be something I haven't noticed.

GMail No Longer Accepted for Forum Registration

Submitted by jbreland on Fri, 10/30/2009 - 11:24

Due to the ever-growing number of spam posts on my forum from GMail accounts, I've had to disable the ability to use GMail addresses when registering for a new account on this site. If you're a (legitimate) GMail user trying to register for this site, I'm afraid you'll need to use an alternate e-mail address from now on. Existing accounts are not affected.

I apologize for the inconvenience.

Update 11/03/2009:
Apparently this was affecting existing accounts. I was just notified of this problem and removed the block. I'll need to find another way to address this. If you were having trouble logging in recently and received the error message, "The name username is registered using a reserved e-mail address and therefore could not be logged in," you should now be able to login again. Again, I apologize for the inconvenience.

Convert to FLAC 2.1.1 Released

Submitted by jbreland on Mon, 10/05/2009 - 00:03

I just pushed out an updated Convert to FLAC release to fix a bug involving spaces in filenames. Again. In my defense, though, the root cause is completely different this time, and was limited to only APE or TTA input files (it was due to an odd way I had to deal with output redirection on some of the conversion commands). I've renamed my test files to include spaces, so hopefully this shouldn't happen again. Twice is definitely enough.

For more information:
Convert to FLAC home page and downloads
Convert to FLAC ChangeLog

Feedback and Support

Convert to FLAC 2.1 Released

Submitted by jbreland on Sun, 09/27/2009 - 23:39

I just uploaded a new version of Convert to FLAC. Aside from a handful of bug fixes and other miscellaneous improvements, the big new features in this release are:

  • Support for converting multiple files concurrently (see the -t option)
  • Support for using ffmpeg as an alternative decoder (see the note about this on the convtoflac page for details and caveats)
  • Support for optionally sending input files to your "trash" after completion (as opposed to leaving or deleting them); this relies on trash-cli

The concurrency support is really the main driver for this release. If you have a dual- or quad-core system, you should upgrade to 2.1 ASAP. This sucker really flies now. :-)

For more information:
Convert to FLAC home page and downloads
Convert to FLAC ChangeLog

Feedback and Support

Miscellaneous Scripts Section Added to Site

Submitted by jbreland on Mon, 08/24/2009 - 02:11

I justed added a section for miscellaneous script section to my Software page. These are various scripts that I've written over the years for my own use, but I'd like to share them with others that may be able to benefit from them. Please note, however, that unlike the other applications I've released on my site (UniExtract, Convert to FLAC, etc.), these scripts are much less polished and robust. Please keep this in mind and review source code running any of them.

Right now there are only a handful of scripts there, but there are plenty of more that I'd like to add when I get the time (some require a little more cleanup than others).

To review and download the scripts:
Miscellaneous Scripts

Feedback and Support

Small Convert to FLAC Update

Submitted by jbreland on Mon, 08/24/2009 - 01:02

In the 2.0 update for Convert to FLAC I added support for converting from Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) files. Part of the process of converting formats involves copying existing tags and metadata wherever possible, and in order to do this with ALAC files I use a separate utility called mp4info. This utility originally came from the MPEG4IP project, but unfortunately that project now seems to be defunct. As a result, I've switched over to the libmp4v2 project, which is still active and provides its own mp4info utility.

Unfortunately, the output from the two versions of mp4info is slightly different. As a result, I had to modify Convert to FLAC to support the new syntax. This change will only affect you if you're trying to convert ALAC files to FLAC. If that's the case, please note the following:

  • You must use the libmp4v2 version of mp4info with convtoflac 2.0.2 and newer
  • If you cannot, or do not want to, switch away from MPEG4IP, you must continue to use convtoflac 2.0.1
  • convtoflac offers no error checking for this beyond verifying that the mp4info binary exists; if you do not follow the advice above, your files will be transcoded, but any metadata will be lost

Sorry for the inconvenience. To download the new version:
Convert to FLAC home page and downloads
Convert to FLAC ChangeLog

Feedback and Support

Bash (Shell) Aliases and Functions

Submitted by jbreland on Tue, 08/18/2009 - 19:14

I started using Linux 10 years ago this month (actually, my very first Linux install would've been around 10 years ago today, though I'm not sure of the exact date). Throughout all those years, I've compiled a number of useful Bash functions and aliases that I use on a daily basis to save me time and help get things done. I figure that some of these would be useful to others as well, so I'm posting a list of them here, along with commentary where appropriate.

For those of you that either don't know what I'm talking about, or just aren't very familiar familiar with this topic, Bash stands for the "Bourne-again shell", and is the standard command line interface for Linux. There are plenty of other shells available, but Bash is the most common and is the default on most Linux distributions. Bash aliases and functions allow you to defined shortcuts for longer or more complicated commands.

Bash aliases are used for substituting a long/complicated string for a much shorter one that you type on the command line. As a simple example, consider the following alias that is defined by default on most distributions:

alias ls='ls --color'

This simply means that anytime you use the command ls, bash will automatically substitute ls --color for you. So, if you entered the command ls /home, bash will treat this as ls --color /home.

Bash functions provide the same essential concept, but allow for allow for much more complicated functionality through the use of shell scripting. Here's an example of a function:

function l() { locate "$1" | grep --color "$1"; }

This defines a function named l that will:

  1. Pass the supplied argument (search term) to the locate command, then
  2. pipe the output to the grep command to highlight the matched results

So, if you entered the command l filename, bash would actually run locate "filename" | grep --color "filename", This will search for all files on your computer named "filename", then use grep to highlight the word "filename" in the results. These are two fairly simple examples of aliases and functions, but when used frequently they can lead to significant time savings.

I'm including a full list of my personal aliases and functions below. Note: Some of these commands are rather obscure, but I'm including them anyway just for reference. At the very least, it may inspire similar shortcuts that make sense for you.

To use any of these, simply add them to your ~/.bashrc file.

# Aliases

# Show filetype colors and predictable date/timestamps
alias ls="ls --color=auto --time-style=long-iso"

# Highlight matched pattern
alias grep='grep --color'

# Common shortcuts and typos
alias c=clear
alias x=startx
alias m=mutt
alias svi='sudo vim'
alias ci='vim'
alias reboot='sudo /sbin/reboot'
alias halt='sudo /sbin/halt'

# Clear and lock console (non-X) terminal
alias lock="clear && vlock -c"

# If in a directory containing a symlink in the path, change to the "real" path
alias rd='cd "`pwd -P`"'

# Useful utility for sending files to trash from command line instead of
#   permanently deleting with rm - see http://code.google.com/p/trash-cli/
alias tp='trash-put'

# Generic shortcut for switching to root user depending on system
#alias root='su -'
#alias root='sudo -i'
alias root='sudo bash -l'

# Compile kernel, install modules, display kernel version and current date
#   useful for building custom kernels; version and date are for the filename
alias kernbuild='make -j3 && make modules_install && ls -ld ../linux && date'

# Shortcut for downloading a torrent file on the command line
alias bt='aria2c --max-upload-limit=10K --seed-time=60 --listen-port=8900-8909'

# Only show button events for xev
alias xevs="xev | grep 'keycode\|button'"

# Launch dosbox with a preset configuration for Daggerfall
alias daggerfall='dosbox -conf ~/.dosbox.conf.daggerfall'

# Functions

# Search Gentoo package database (portage) using eix
#   $1 = search term (package name)
function s() { eix -Fc "$1"; }     # Search all available; show summary
function sd() { eix -FsSc "$1"; }  # Search all available w/ desc.; show summary
function se() { eix -F "^$1\$"; }  # Search exact available; show details
function si() { eix -FIc "$1"; }   # Search installed; show summary

# Search Debian package database (apt) using dpkg
#   $1 = search term (package name)
#function s() { apt-cache search "$1" | grep -i "$1"; }  # search all available

# Search Arch package database using pacman
#   $1 = search term (package name
#function s() {
#    echo -e "$(pacman -Ss "$@" | sed \
#        -e 's#^core/.*#\\033[1;31m&\\033[0;37m#g' \
#        -e 's#^extra/.*#\\033[0;32m&\\033[0;37m#g' \
#        -e 's#^community/.*#\\033[1;35m&\\033[0;37m#g' \
#        -e 's#^.*/.* [0-9].*#\\033[0;36m&\\033[0;37m#g' ) \
#        \033[0m"

# Mount/unmount CIFS shares; pseudo-replacement for smbmount
#   $1 = remote share name in form of //server/share
#   $2 = local mount point
function cifsmount() { sudo mount -t cifs -o username=${USER},uid=${UID},gid=${GROUPS} $1 $2; }
function cifsumount() { sudo umount $1; }

# Generate a random password
#   $1 = number of characters; defaults to 32
#   $2 = include special characters; 1 = yes, 0 = no; defaults to 1
function randpass() {
    if [ "$2" == "0" ]; then
        cat /dev/urandom | tr -cd '[:alnum:]' | head -c ${1:-32}
        cat /dev/urandom | tr -cd '[:graph:]' | head -c ${1:-32}

# Display text of ODF document in terminal
#   $1 = ODF file
function o3() { unzip -p "$1" content.xml | o3totxt | utf8tolatin1; }

# Search all files on system using locate database
#   $1 = search term (file name)
function li() { locate -i "$1" | grep -i --color "$1"; }  # case-insensitive
function l() { locate "$1" | grep --color "$1"; }         # case-sensitive

# View latest installable portage ebuild for specified package
#   $1 = package name
function eview() {
    FILE=$(equery which $1)
    if [ -f "$FILE" ]; then
        view $FILE

# View portage changelog for specified package
#   $1 = package name
function echange() {
    PACKAGE="$(eix -e --only-names $1)"
    if [ "$PACKAGE" != "" ]; then
        view /usr/portage/$PACKAGE/ChangeLog

# Displays metadata for specified media file
#   $1 = media file name
function i() {
    EXT=`echo "${1##*.}" | sed 's/\(.*\)/\L\1/'`
    if [ "$EXT" == "mp3" ]; then
        id3v2 -l "$1"
        mp3gain -s c "$1"
    elif [ "$EXT" == "flac" ]; then
        metaflac --list --block-type=STREAMINFO,VORBIS_COMMENT "$1"
        echo "ERROR: Not a supported file type."

# Sets custom Catalog Number ID3 tag for all MP3 files in current directory
#   $1 = catalog number
function cn() { for i in *.mp3; do id3v2 --TXXX "Catalog Number":"$1" "$i"; done; }

Convert to FLAC Updated (again)

Submitted by jbreland on Thu, 05/14/2009 - 22:46

I just pushed out an important bugfix release for Convert to FLAC. When testing the new multiple input file support, I apparently never bothered testing it on files with spaces in their names. Oops. Version 2.0.1 fixes this oversight.

Relevant links below. If you've already upgraded to v2.0, please download this new version ASAP. Sorry for the inconvenience.

For more information:
Convert to FLAC home page and downloads
Convert to FLAC ChangeLog

Feedback and Support

Convert to FLAC and apeinfo Updated

Submitted by jbreland on Thu, 05/14/2009 - 03:15

I just posted updates for apeinfo and Convert to FLAC, which is the first update in quite some time for both of them.

The apeinfo update was mostly to address compatibility issues. It's been updated to properly support GCC 4.x (which almost all Linux distributions ship with today), and I've also included a 64-bit binary for those of you running 64-bit Linux distributions. The older 32-bit still works fine if you'd prefer to use it, but using it on a 64-bit distro will require installation of 32-bit compatibility libraries.

Convert to FLAC received a much more significant update, and has been bumped up to version 2.0 as a result. The highlights include the ability to accept and process multiple input files, support for Apple Lossless (ALAC) and True Audio (TTA) input files, dynamic path setting for "helper" binaries (so you no longer need to edit paths in the script), and a rather import bug fix to ensure that both the decode and encode steps in the transcoding process are completed successfully. Anyone using Convert to FLAC is strongly encouraged to update to this new version.

For more information:
apeinfo home page and downloads
apeinfo ChangeLog

Convert to FLAC home page and downloads
Convert to FLAC ChangeLog

Feedback and Support