April 2003 Archives

[burn baby burn] Apple made a reasonable DRM (digital rights management) system for their music store. You can copy to as many iPods you want to buy from them and up to three macs. And more importantly you can burn a cd for your car or old style stereo or your friend. Then you can of course also reimport the cd with a bit of a quality loss.

Despite all that, I am sure it won't take long before someone cracks the system. Any guesses on how long?

Will whoever cracks it be able to make something so protected AACs can just be changed to unprotected or will it be a crack to Quicktime/iTunes or something else?

Will it be before or after iTunes for Windows come out?

Macrumors has a bit more details on AAC.

Oh, and if you haven't tried the new iTunes: The biggest change is that the icon is now green. And it seems like it might support HTTP Range requests for HTTP streams; at least it doesn't disable the playhead slider when playing certain streams. Something to look into ...

Update: It's cracked. Sorta. It turns out that there are several applications that'll convert your protected AAC files to .AIFF files with no hassle. That requires you to recompress them with quality loss. A real crack would allow you to keep the files in AAC format but use them unrestricted.

perl5 bug tracking

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I spend the last hour and a half following up on old Perl5 bugs. I'm not quite sure how many I went through (20?), but it didn't help on the graph at all.

No patches required, just go through the bugs and ask the original submitter for more information or to re when it's relevant and mark them in RT with the relevant versions of perl. Depending on the bug I would leave it "open", mark it "stalled" or "resolved".

If you are able, please sign up and help out.

Bluetooth fun


We are driving home on the freeway by the ocean, phone in the window, syncing my email in Mail.app. Bluetooth is so fun. Viridiana thinks I am a geek.

Update: Uuuh, online with iChat and Jabber too.

Okay, so you already knew that. I just have to vent for a second.

We were transferring the perl.org domain to OpenSRS from Network Solutions. The admin contact for the domain approved the transfer within a few hours; leaving us to wait "up to a week" for the original registrar to approve it too. Of course those #@$%@# scum at network solutions wait a week and then reject the transfer for no particular reason. The message is that we need to contact them to find out why. Great!

I hope NetSol have improved on their previous record of not replying to email and not picking up the phone. The domain expires in about 6 weeks. It would be just like them to wait until it's close enough that we'll have to pay them for another year. Grrrh.

Update: To my amazement I did get a reply from NetSol within 24 hours and so far they are either not completely evil or concealing their malintent very well. Maybe they have cleaned up their act, but have so much bad karma from the past following them that noone will believe them for the next 30 years? If only the same could happen to lying elected officials.

Lilja 4-ever


[Lilja 4-ever poster]I had written a semi long review of Lilja 4-ever by Lukas Moodysson when Camino decided to crash. Grrh. That should teach me to avoid the distributors flash infested website.

The movie opens with Lilja battered and on the run to loud Rammstein music, and that's about the most hopeful that happens in the whole movie. It's the most painful movie you'll see in a while, but also one of the best. Go and see it, it will only play for a short time. (Until Thursday at the Nuart Theatre here in Los Angeles). It plays in New York also and will play in Seattle soon.

Now read James Berardinelli's review or the L.A. Times review.

If after reading the reviews you are thinking "hey, I don't have to see that. I don't have the energy. I want to be entertained; not moved. I don't want to remember, just have fun for a couple of hours" - or maybe you don't think it's such a good choice for a first date movie (you would be right about that). Then go and see Bend it like Beckham which is just nice happy cute plain fun.

If you are up for it, I really recommend Lilya 4-ever (showtimes).

perl.org moved colocation

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The perl.org servers (and the box hosting askbjoernhansen.com) moved from a Citysearch rack to our very own cabinet at ix2 (generously provided by them) today. The new connection is from Internap and given to us by them and Ticketmaster. So if you noticed some services being down this afternoon; that was why.

All DNS (except maybe the jabber server) should have propergated and the old entries expired long ago. It had been more than six months since the last reboot, so of course Robert and I also had to track down a few things here and there not starting properly. Be sure to email me if you notice any issues.

A nice thing is that my DSL at home is hooked up to Internap too, so I am ridiculously close network wise:

[ask@x1 ~]$ /usr/sbin/traceroute -q 1 one
traceroute to one.develooper.com (, 30 hops max, 38 byte packets
 1  border1.fe5-47.ticketmp-1.ext1.lax.pnap.net (  0.420 ms
 2  border12.fe2-0-bbnet2.lax.pnap.net (  0.778 ms
 3  fe2-0.spk-1-lax.speakeasy.net (  1.209 ms
 4  one (  11.478 ms

Not much room for routing problems there.

Safari with Tabs released

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Apple released a new Safari public beta today. With tabs and speed improvements. The tabs are a bit slicker than they were in the leaked beta versions, so go and get it already.

The la variation over the Apple Tablet rumor is a 15" tablet with no battery. That seems pretty weird.

Computer game for real geeks: Russian roulette for your Unix box.

[ $[$RANDOM % 6] = 0 ] && rm -rf /

[Nokia Phone with Kitty]This is hilarious. Purring Kitty - The Purring Kitty transforms Nokia mobile phones into discrete, vibrating massagers.. I'd rather not think of exactly how it's used and, well, the state of the phone after use.

Walsh, the 25-year-old co-founder of what he described as a "pretty well-known" mobile-phone game publisher, which he didn't want associated with the Purring Kitty spinoff, conducted most of his market research at his pub.

"The reaction has been pretty good," Walsh said. "There's a clear 50/50 split. Half the girls know immediately what it's about. The other half look at the kitty and say, 'Aw, that's cute, but why is it vibrating?' Then the penny drops."

(via Wired).

france liberty vandalized On KCRW's New Ground the two Norwegians from Röyksopp where in the studio with Chris Douridas. It was awesome. I need to order their new album Melody A.M.. BBC reviewed it. What does Röyksopp mean? Smoke soup is the only thing I can think of? They said it had multiple meanings. What are they?

New daily read: This Modern World. Dan Perkins won one of the Robert F. Kenedy Journalism Awards. “This Modern World” by Dan Perkins (alias “Tom Tomorrow”) showcases multilayered satirical commentary on economic inequality in the United States, as well as the inaction of the politicians who have the power to change it. Perkins’ body of work also addresses subjects such as access to health care and the gradual erosion of civil liberties in today’s post-9/11 world.

Rubber bullets really hurts.

What is Victorias Secret? (via John Engler)

Barbara Bush (wife of the former president) on watching television:
why should we hear about body bags and deaths and how many, what day it's going to happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Oh, I mean, it's, not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that? And watch him suffer."

War crimes in Afganistan. US forces were on the scene when possibly more than 1,000 prisoners were killed. [...] The POWs got stuffed into sealed cargo containers for days with no water. In the desert. Many of them suffocated. The rest got burried in mass graves with the dead.

One Rule for Them - Guantanamo versus Geneva: Five PoWs are mistreated in Iraq and the US cries foul. What about Guantanamo Bay?
This being so, Rumsfeld had better watch his back. For this enthusiastic convert to the cause of legal warfare is, as head of the defence department, responsible for a series of crimes sufficient, were he ever to be tried, to put him away for the rest of his natural life.

His prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, in Cuba, where 641 men (nine of whom are British citizens) are held, breaches no fewer than 15 articles of the third convention. The US government broke the first of these (article 13) as soon as the prisoners arrived, by displaying them, just as the Iraqis have done, on television. In this case, however, they were not encouraged to address the cameras. They were kneeling on the ground, hands tied behind their backs, wearing blacked-out goggles and earphones. In breach of article 18, they had been stripped of their own clothes and deprived of their possessions. They were then interned in a penitentiary (against article 22), where they were denied proper mess facilities (26), canteens (28), religious premises (34), opportunities for physical exercise (38), access to the text of the convention (41), freedom to write to their families (70 and 71) and parcels of food and books (72).
(via jwz)

Is there any decent imapd that supports mailbox spools? I want to access my mail via imap, but I am not ready to convert 100% to Maildirs. Too many mailboxes with too many thousand mails on a slow FreeBSD box.

I tried uw-imap-2002. What a pile of @#$%@#$. Just check the way you configure it to not use your ~home as the the mail directory. (Wanting to change that is apparently a "non-standard" thing).

      If your system is non-standard, virtually everything that you are
 likely to want to modify can be found in the source file
      Example 1: suppose your mailer delivers mail to file ".mailbox"
 in the user's home directory instead of the default UNIX mail spool
 directory.  You will want to change routine sysinbox(), changing the
 line that reads:
     sprintf (tmp,"%s/%s",MAILSPOOL,myusername ());
 to be:
     sprintf (tmp,"%s/.mailbox",myhomedir ());
 static char *mailsubdir = NIL;	/* mail subdirectory name */
  to be:
 static char *mailsubdir = "mail";/* mail subdirectory name */
What is this 1993?!

FreeBSD ports doesn't seem to have an easy option to set this, so I went through the hassle of making a new patch with my "configuration", plugging it into files/ etc etc. Of course the newly compiled imapd just ignored it and continued to use /home/user/ as the mail directory with a .bashrc showing up as a mailbox. Brilliant. (Yes, the patch did apply).

So, what am I to do? courier-imap is Maildir only (but otherwise ok, I've used it before). Cyrus is so badly documented that I barely even know where to start. In particular then it's entirely non-obvious if cyrus requires it own funky format storage or if it can use a standard mail store of some kind.

Hmpfr. Seems like I'm off to upgrading the mail server and using Maildirs; that'll be much better anyway.

Final Cut Pro 4

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[Final Cut Pro 4 box] Apple announced FCP 4 today. I want it.

LiveType looks like all too much fun. Much improved audio support via integration with Logic Platinum (separate application). It also has some funky feature for making cheesy soundtracks. And for us geeks there's an XML format for defining sequences, cuts and clips. They have also added Compressor, a Cleaner like program to batch encode quicktime files. And Cinema Tools that used to be a $1000 extra will come with FCP4.

Oooh, and RT Extreme. More Real Time effects; some can even be shown on a broadcast monitor via FireWire.

Aja announced Aja Io - FireWire 800 based 10-bit uncompressed SD interface. Very spiffy. No more PCI cards for doing SD video and when the small harddrives gets fast enough you can do SD on a Powerbook.

Final Cut Pro 4 will not be available until June. Cry!

Jim enjoyed Signs. I couldn't bear the predictability and how it was talking down to the viewer by again and again hammering in the moral points about loss and regaining of faith. Hello, we got it already! Well done craftmanship? Yes. Interesting and exciting? Not at all.

raising victor vargas poster Viridiana and I saw Raising Victor Vargas (trailer) this Thursday. It was much better than I had hoped. I really enjoyed it. It's a very honest, intimate, entertaining story. No particular plot, just a great narrative. You will like it too. Afterwards the director and three of the cast was there to take questions, which is always fun.

For some reason it has a really awful IMDb rating, but the reviewers rightly loves it. In Salon, Stephanie Zacharek writes "Sometimes even big movies feel small and puny minutes after you've left the theater. But, small as it is, "Raising Victor Vargas" feels even more expansive after the fact. You get the sense that in making it, Sollett didn't waste a scrap. Talent, time, film stock, natural lighting, you name it: He made the most of everything he had, and he passes the savings along to us. We get to leave the theater holding onto something."
Elvis Mitchell in NYT "Raising Victor Vargas is a true find, a picture with a vital daffiness that's all its own, rather that a film that lives on the leavings of other movies."

It will open on April 18th here and in July in France according to IMDb's release date list.

We saw it with KCRW's monthly "Matt's Movies". Give them $50 a year and you can get two tickets for the monthly screening. If you are in Los Angeles and like movies you should consider it.

random.org provides "true random numbers" via web forms, CORPA and REST (http). The Danish TV station TV2 is (was?) using the random.org service for an online game. People use their service for all sorts of weird stuff.

And something completely different. Apple posted developer notes for my PowerMac. The two USB ports have separate "root hubs", but all three FireWire ports (2x400 and the 800 port) are sharing the same FireWire bus. Does that mean that a saturated 800Mbit port degrades the performance of the 400Mbit ports?

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

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