Automated Ripping to FLAC (Linux)

I realized recently that I still had 650GB or so left on my 2TB hard drive in my media center, so I decided that in order to use up some of that space I could rip my CD collection to FLAC. For those who don’t know, FLAC stands for the Free Lossless Audio Codec. It’s basically saying, “Hey, we’re going to copy the music files off the CD at the highest quality possible, and then give it the ability to store metadata”. Normally if you use something such as iTunes to rip your CD’s it compresses it using a lossy codec. I previously ripped my collection at 320kbps M4A, which is absolutely indistinguishable to the human ear compared to a lossless codec that usually has a bit rate of 900kbps or higher. But for the people that know me, it doesn’t matter if it’s indistinguishable, I will make something big and complex just for the fun of it. Besides, imagine if one of my discs were damaged or lost, now I can just go on my computer and convert it to any format I want!
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Take Screenie, Upload to Dropbox

I made this little AppleScript today which I’ve personally found to be very useful. On my Mac I have it so the script is activated by BetterTouchTool when I do a 5 finger tap. It will take a screenshot of a specific area, upload it to Dropbox, and copy a convenient bit.ly link to your clipboard. So here it is for your enjoyment:

set filename to do shell script "date '+date-%Y-%m-%d-time-%H-%M-%S'"
do shell script "screencapture -i ~/Dropbox/Public/Screenshots/" & filename & ".png"
set dropboxurl to "http://dl.dropbox.com/u/[dropbox id]/Screenshots/" & filename & ".png"
set tinyURL to (do shell script "curl --stderr /dev/null "http://bit.ly/api?url=" & dropboxurl & """)
tell application "Finder" to set the clipboard to tinyURL

If you want to use this you have to replace [dropbox id] with your Dropbox ID number. You can usually get this from any link to a shared file, for example my ID of 3759922 can be found in the url https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3759922/Screenshots/date-2010-02-02-time-23-24-48.png

EDIT: @joshbetz came up with a better solution for this tutorial. Go check it out!

Run Boot Camp Within OS X

Recently a friend of mine, Josh Betz, has been trying to get his Boot Camp partition to run as a virtual machine (VM) from OS X. It’s a great idea and I would recommend, but there are a couple of disadvantages. Let’s look at the pros and cons:

Pros

  • Able to access all of your existing files
  • Saves hard drive space by not requiring a virtual disk
  • Allows you to run Windows without restarting your Mac
  • Completely free (I will outline how to do this free with VirtualBox, but VMware can do this natively, but it costs $$$ and we don’t like that!)

Cons

  • Usually pretty slow at booting up
  • Must install Windows 7, and in a certain way (Only Windows 7 is proven to work, I haven’t tried Vista, but if you’re running Vista… well I’m sorry I just won’t help you.)
  • A few hacks need to be applied

Obviously the pros outweigh the cons, but hey, everything has some trade-offs. Anyway, this process isn’t very hard and should take the average Terminal junkie ~5 minutes. Now there are two ways we can go about this…
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Gaming in the Cloud

I’m going to have to start off this post with a little background story. Last night at approximately 8PM I lost all the data that was stored on my MacBook’s hard drive. That’s over 400GB of movies, TV shows, pictures, and music. I also lost the local copies of all of my websites. Lucky enough for me I work on all of my sites live with Coda, therefore nothing was completely lost.

How did I lose this, you ask? Well, on my MacBook Pro I had two partitions, one for Snow Leopard and the other for Windows 7.¬† Yeah yeah I know, an Apple fanboy using Windows, but let me just mention that I use it for the sole purpose of gaming. Anyway, back on topic, I noticed that my Windows partition wasn’t mounting in Snow Leopard any more, so I went to try to diagnose the problem. I went into Windows and set the active partition to the Snow Leopard partition (I deduced this solution from my days of a hackintosher), though this did not work and actually did not let me boot into Snow¬†Leopard OR Windows 7. I didn’t panic because I figured I could pop in the Windows 7 installation disc, open up a command line, and then set the Windows partition as the active partition. Little did I know that trying that would convert the whole drive to MBR, thus making both partitions unbootable and unmountable. I went through and tried to repair either of the partitions just so that I wouldn’t lose anything, but each repair procedure I tried ended in failure.

That’s when I just got pissed and frustrated and just decided to screw both installations and start from scratch. The only thing that I really REALLY wanted to save were my saved games for Oblivion. I was able to pop in the 7 install disc and grab the files off of the partition before I wiped everything. I mean, hey, I spent over 48 hours in that game. Anyway, I got everything reinstalled and kept thinking there had to be a better way to prevent this.

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