The PS3 Controller and Ubuntu

I found that one thing I’ve always wanted to do with a media center is run some sweet emulators for some classic gaming action whenever I felt like it. One of the big problems is input. You can’t really play SNES or NES games on a wireless keyboard or IR remote can you? Well no, of course not, it just wouldn’t feel like a game then. I was going through a box in my brother’s room looking for a cable when I saw a PS3 Sixaxis controller. Apparently he had no use for it anymore since he got a Dualshock so I thought “Hey, this thing is bluetooth, what better way to play some classic games than with a real controller?” It turns out that the process is pretty simple.
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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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