New Books

I am back in Vienna and enjoying my DSL-line, ISDN is so 1990s.
On the train I read two books, which I got from my sisters for Christmas, Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” and Paul Auster’s “The New York Triology”. The Da Vinci Code is very thrilling but i didn’t like the authors style of mixing facts and fiction.
Paul Auster’s book is well written and one of the saddest books i read.

I am in .de now

Yesterday night I traveled to Bad Segeberg. I managed to connect my ibook to the Internet by installing Sygate on the Windows PC of my parents, so I can use the ISDN card.
Weather is rainy and stormy. Every year I feel more like an alien in my former home town. And it looks like i forgot how to say “Moin”.

FreeBSD 5.3 in the press II

The heise publishing company restored their reputation. After the “not so good” article in the c’t magzine, the january issue of the iX magazine contains a FreeBSD 5.3 and OpenBSD 3.6 article by Lukas Grunwald. It is available online (but in german). Although parts are a breathless accumulation of catchwords, the author mentions the new features and wrote about his personal expierience.
He complained about the incomplete mirrors at the time of writing, that the ext3 journal was destroyed, when he mounted his linux partition with mount_ext2 and that the RNG sometimes slows down booting, because it needs more entropy. He also mentions that SMPng is not yet as good as SMP in Linux 2.6.
But his summary is positive, “FreeBSD is easy to install”, “FreeBSD can be considered as a Linux alternative”.
Unfortunately the new c’t issue contains only one letter to the editor by Oliver Fromme, which contains a daemon vs. devil comment and a pointer to Lehmann’s FreeBSD edtion.

Buying CDs

I wrote about the closed Virgin Megastore in October. A few weeks later the newspapers informed the world that the austrian branch of the Virgin Megastore has become insolvent.
Since I needed some x-mas presents, today i entered the embassy of the dark side aka as “Geiz ist geil”. The atmosphere is really uncomfortable (especially four days before x-mas it was very crowded), but obviously somebody told them about the Virgins closure, as the Electronic Music departement is now more than three times as large than half a year ago. The classical music departement is still a joke, and someone please tell them the difference between EBM and “Gothic”.
But luckily I found a few CDs that fit into my current mood (in the “World Music” departement, that’s the proof that I am now official old).
Now I just need an Audioscrobbler extension for my CD-Player.

Dear Simon,

Today someone called “Simon” (or similar) called my gf and asked her for my emailaddress. This is very mysterious, because I don’t know any Simon in Austria, and usually i don’t give people my girlfriends telephone number. Of course my girlfriend gave him the wrong (old) emailaddress.
So Simon if you really want to reach me, use Google to find out my real emailadress :-).

Mysterious Freezes

Yesterday both of my EPIA routers running FreeBSD 5-STABLE freezed. After I rebooted them i updated the world because a lot of bugs have been fixed in the last month, but today the Firewall EPIA freezed again 🙁
Both times I was not at home, so i don’t know if something mysterious happend. My other Systems didn’t crash, so it can’t be a powerfailure, and heating problems are very unlikely as there are -3�C outside and around 18�C inside.
I have now built a debug kernel on the firewall and additional disabled SACK TCP and the MPsafe network subsystem.
I hope this increases the stability, that i don’t have to reenable the old gateway running FreeBSD 4-STABLE (which btw last week hit the 300 days uptime mark) for the chrismas holidays.
If you have any other ideas how to increase stability, please let me know.

My first record

Miss Understood wrote about her first record, and i tried to remember which was the first one i bought with my pocket money. I remember my first LP, which was Billy Joel’s “Stormfront” in 1989 but i can’t remember my first single. (Well, a nice first single would have been Nirvana’s “Smells like teen spirit” but it was released 3 years too late.)
My first music MC was IIRC OMD – “Sugar Tax” 1991. My first CD was Dire Straits – “On the night”, 1993 played on my Mitsumi 1xCD-ROM drive. Allthough my first mp3 appeared on my harddisk most likely after 1998 i have no idea what that might have been.

Now playing …

I have a working now-playing script for irssi.
This sounds trivial, since now-playing scripts are available for nearly every MP3 player – IRC client combination, but nearly all of them assume that you use IRC from the same machine that plays your music.
Luckily Tobias ‘camel69’ Wulff wrote amarok_ssh which connects to the host amarok runs on via ssh and queries amarok via dcop. Limitations: You can only run one KDE session per user.
Because my irssi is running in a screen i needed to tweak my ssh-agent screen interaction as described here.

21:20  * arved is listening to Evanescence - Hello

..and i still haven’t solved my PL/SQL university assignments 🙁

Hackers & Painters

I have just finished Paul Graham‘s book “Hackers & Paintainers”. It is a collection of essays he wrote, some of them are available on his website. The subtitle of the book is “Big Ideas from the computer age”, which made me wonder if it was his choice or O’Reilly’s, as it sounds a bit arrogant for just a success story of a dotcomer.
At school i never liked essays, because I often wondered, what the author’s point is. This time was an exception and i really like some of the ideas Paul Graham expressed, although i disagree with him on several topics.
And of course I was also impressed that the author mentioned FreeBSD several times in the book (although not as often as Lisp :-). and Next Generation Media players

I tried to use and audioscrobbler in September but failed.
After reading Rob’s entry about I tried again to get it working and this time I succeeded. Now I just need to find a way to integrate the audioscrobbler RDF feed into my page. (Unfortunately they are using the description tag instead of the title tag, so py-rssfetch does not produce good looking output).. When it works, the “Now playing!” has the latest songs from my playlist. (The CGI is a bit slow, because it is fetching the RSS feeds live, which takes quite a while over my slow ADSL line)
I added the XMMS/BMP scrobbler plugin yesterday to the FreeBSD ports, it still crashes sometimes. The other audioscrobbler-aware Mediaplayer is amarok from CVS and rumours are GNOME rhythmbox also has a plugin, but i never tried that one. works best with good ID3 tags, but unfortunately libmusicbrainz, which automagically fixes your tags, is broken on FreeBSD 5.x, so I have to handedit my ID3 tags.
Next to scrobbler and musicbrainz i discovered another killer feature in amarok. It is able to grab the Cover Images from amazon and Lyrics from a Lyrics website. So Digital Music finally catches up with CD-booklets from the 1990s.
BTW, To become my favorite mediaplayer, amarok just needs to become much more stable (it crashes so horribly that gdb gives up too) and it needs a better UI, especially the KDE sidebar tab widget ist just intuitive.
I have isolated one in the Tag Editor, hopefully Scott Wheeler will find the real fix soon.