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HOWTO: Make your own SC-Card

This post is made all the more hard by the presence of a typically-aloof pet cat who is surprisingly friendly for some reason.

To make your own SC-Card, you will need:

  • Digital copies of both of the Short Circuit movies
  • An SD-card that’ll hold them both
  • SD-card reader, if you don’t have one already
  • Optional: A Sharpie, or something to draw on the SD-card*

To get started, watch both of the Short Circuit movies in a single sitting, or if you’re like me: watch Short Circuit 2 a few times. This will get you in the mood for the rest of the project.

Step 1.

Attach the SD-card to your computer, and if needed, format the device.

Step 2.

Watch Short Circuit 2, one more time. Try and learn the songs. Ignore the Toronto landmarks.

Step 3.

Copy all of the Short Circuit movies to your SD-card.

Step 4.

Eject and remove the SD-card from your computer.

Step 5.

With your Sharpie or marker pen, modify the SD-card logo on your card to match the official SC-card logo:

You’re done. Pop this bad-boy in your wallet, and you’ll be able to produce and watch the Short Circuit movies anywhere.

* Not really optional.

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Early mornings

Today, for some unknown reason, I woke up at 4:53am and am unable to go back to sleep. I feel tired, but not too tired and I have decided to force myself to get up.

First task for the day, clear off my desk, get a bigger monitor and set up some semblance of a working area. Normally, I work from my ThinkPad X201 exclusively, loving its perfect keyboard and tiny tiny screen. Today, I have my ThinkPad attached to a rather large monitor. 1900×1200 according to ‘xrandr‘, which is significantly bigger already, as I can have the copy of GNU Emacs I’m writing this in, as well as a terminal telling me the resolution of my screen open at the same time. I suppose this is what progress looks like.

For my sins, I am forced to use the only external USB keyboard and mouse I have. They are the exact kind of keyboard and mouse I don’t much care for, the cheap $5 versions you get when you buy a new computer. These came with the slimline Dell machine I use for an HTPC, and as such are very slimline indeed. I am however able to type quite nicely on this keyboard, but the mouse and indeed all mice, leave something to be desired versus the little red nubby thing on my ThinkPad.

There are many fringe benefits to working in this manner — a nice external USB hard disk with a decent capacity makes me yearn for the days of affordable SSD drives with a large capacity. Once you go to SSD, you can never, ever go back it seems.

This has not been a good week for me and computers. In the last three days, one of the speakers on my laptop has blown, I lost my entire GRUB configuration when doing a routine upgrade and Libre.fm was down (hard) for a day, due to leap-seconds. Pausing for slightly more than a leap-second to consider the implications of such things, I have to look up the Wikipedia article on leap-seconds to figure out what they are, before blaming myself (indirectly) and my fellow British people who invented time back in the 1930s.

‘Fixing’ the speaker just means I’ll wear headphones more than I already do. This lets me take advantage of being able to listen to the same seven Buzzcocks, Joy Division and Smiths songs I like to listen to lately when I’m writing, at any time of day. 7:25am, for example.

As it turns out, I knew more about GRUB2 than I thought. I was able to boot my computer back to a GUI by simply typing:

set root=(hd0,0)
linux /boot/vmlinux-3.0.0.21-generic root=/dev/sda1
initrd /boot/initrd-3.0.0.21-generic
boot

I was going to make a joke here about how easy free software is to use. In reality, fixing that under Windows or OS X would probably be even more complicated.

Feeling good about myself, I successfully upgrade two servers on opposite ends of the world to Debian Wheezy. They both reboot successfully. I take note of the fact I need to back up the 267Gb of information on one of them and continue writing.

I’ve been reading ‘Hackers — Heroes of the Computer Revolution’ on my smartphone on the bus/subway. FBreader on my phone is actually preferable to either of my eInk devices, and not just because I’ve lost the free-ish one, and misplaced my Kindle — well, partly because of that I guess. The reality is I don’t really lose my phone anywhere near as often or for as long. Anyway, the book has really sparked my interest. So much so that I intend to hit up the TMRC at MIT on Wednesday. I stop to think that if I get into model trains, I will finally hit full-blown nerd, as if painting plastic dwarves wasn’t already firmly planting me in that camp. I think it’s also the first time I’ve actually really enjoyed reading an ebook — so thanks O’Reilly for supporting the Day Against DRM.

Anyway, I should get back to whatever I was going to do. Maybe getting up early will work out for me. I want to do more work on my TV pilot script today.

Rob suggests I publish my blog post when I wake up. “Shut up”, I tell him, before realizing I failed to hit the Publish button in WordPress after all, writing this additional line, and swallowing another mouthful of ‘Code Red’ Mountain Dew.

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MBTA and signs

Historically, the MBTA has had a tough time keeping signs up to date — all over Boston and the rest of the MBTA, you will find signs referring to long-closed and never existing stations, along with references to stations that have changed their names long ago.

Two years and 284 days ago, the MBTA announced a ‘New Maps Initiative’ where all of the old maps (some dating back to the 1960s) would be taken down, and replaced with new ones. Initial signs (npi) of this program’s effectiveness were good — several stations did get new maps, and the maps on buses and trains were quickly updated. New signs were installed in Green Line stations, no longer pointing to the demise of the E-line (more on that in a bit) and things looked to be going well.

Then, nothing.

As far as I can tell, new maps have stopped. Many stations on the Red and Orange lines now have blank maps where once was an out-dated map. Even the MBTA’s new effort to sell you an MBTA-map on anything they can print onto (a kind of quasi-CafePress style effort — in association with a local and very lovely maps shop) produces wrong-maps on things, and the whole talk of “New Maps” seems to have dried up.

Yesterday, I was rather surprised to find that in preparation for today’s fare increase (the first one since I’ve lived in Boston, also the first time I’ve had to buy a subway pass since I’ve lived in Boston) that the MBTA has managed to get signs in more than one language, talking about the fare increase into every station I visited. This, coupled with the news that the MBTA is finally intending to make some much-needed money by selling—or appending—the names of businesses and organizations to the station names, gives me some hope that we’ll eventually get cleaner, and modernized stations. The recent improvements to State on the Orange and Blue lines shows what can be done with some money. Coincidentally, State was for a short while known as “State/Citizens Bank” — an ill-fated relationship between business and the MBTA to clean up the station.

Today is also the first day without several services, including Jamaica Plain’s own 48, 37/38 and weekend service on the E-line. Considering the sheer number of services that leave Forest Hills, including countless buses and Orange and Commuter Rail trains, the MBTA is seemingly increasingly less concerned with how to actually get people who live *in* JP around the place. Once again, we’re told that the 39 bus is going to get improvements.

My suggestion: a Silver Line, replacing the E line (almost) entirely.

Eventually, Somerville is going to get a whole bunch of Green Line stations and trains, with two branches going to different parts of Somerville. I assume one of these will extend the E line and the other might be known as the F line. My suggestion would be (heavily assuming they’re not going to bring the E line back to Arborway any time soon) to run a Silver Line bus from Lechmere to Forest Hills. It could run on the E line track for the most part, and would be no more of a burden than the 39 bus is right now. It could even run from Prudential if they couldn’t figure out the Lechmere-Park Street and Park-Prudential mechanics.

In return, we’d get nice bus shelters with digital displays of wait times, and perhaps some semblance of normality in transportation in JP.

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Saus

Here’s a place that could use a veggie Patty or sausage.

Error: Invalid Map Provider
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Libre.fm

As you may have seen, both Last.fm and LinkedIn have had a number of passwords compromised. As a precaution, ALL Libre.fm user passwords have been reset to a random, secure password. We know this is annoying, but a number of Libre.fm users will have used the same password on one or more of these sites, and so we request that you reset your password to continue using the site. And don’t worry, your music player will cache your listens, so nothing is lost! As ever, you can send me your direct feedback and requests for support to Matt Lee, founder of Libre.fm —mattl@cnuk.org, or visit #libre.fm on irc.freenode.net. Thank you, and thanks for your support of Libre.fm

Libre.fm actively supports the creation of music by independent artists.

Error: Invalid Map Provider
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Fenway!

image

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Like a nightclub in the morning, you’re the bitter end…

Seems appropriate that the first Google Alert I got since Libre.fm moved was John Cooper Clarke’s poem, Twat.

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The Libre.fm move went well…

The site now moved to California. Thanks to Ward, Mike and Clint for their help, and for our patient users and all the developers who added support to their apps for Libre.fm and other GNU FM sites.

  • The site is now live — at http://libre.fm/ — no more alpha, although that URL will continue to work forever. Cool URIs don’t change and all.
  • We’re using nginx + squid — a set up copied from www.fsf.org — so I feel we’re in good hands.
  • We’re pretty snappy right now.

A few problems outstanding:

  • Nginx doesn’t handle URIs with + signs in them as spaces when doing rewrites — we need to figure that mess out.
  • The caching is a bit simplistic right now — we ought to have a way for multi-languages to exist and be cached.

A few broken links here and there, we’re fixing those. The site had been on the same (one) server in the UK since 2009, thanks to Bytemark. Now we’re on two (and soon three) servers in California thanks to Paul and Fransisco over at ISC. Special thanks to Brewster Kahle for getting us in there.

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Some new things…

Started doing trivia at a couple places now with my friend Charity. Our website is TriviaBoston.com — we’re good.

Went wardriving around Boston — plan to do more of that.

Finally, here’s a video of cats carrying fish.

 

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Moving Libre.fm

On Sunday, Libre.fm will be moved to its new servers in California.

A few things I hope to get out of the move:

  • Better response times (I plan to use nginx and squid, vs Apache)
  • Increased active users — we have a lot of passive users (people sending their scrobbles to us) but less active people on the website, partly cause its so damned slow at times.