Ubuntu: sharing music with iTunes

  1. sudo aptitude install mt-daapd
  2. Edit /etc/mt-daapd.conf so that mp3_dir = [your music directory]. (Also any other configuration changes you might want to make; the file is well-commented.)
  3. sudo /etc/init.d/mt-daapd restart

Really this would work on any Debian-derived distro… but I’ve only tried it on Ubuntu.

Update: It looks like mt-daapd puts an admin interface on http://localhost:3689/ (with the default password being ‘mt-daapd’), which you can use to configure things like the location of your music. So you might not even need to do any config file editing…

Disadvantages to a Hollywood office

Yesterday when leaving work I stepped out the back door of our building and almost blundered through someone filming a scene for something.

The back doors of our building had been made over into a hospital entrance, and someone who was the very embodiment of The Wise Old Bum was dispensing advice to people in scrubs, while some sort of faux-homeless band played on the bridge crossing the alley to the parking garage.

Weird.

Switch

I’ve been running Ubuntu on my home computer for a week and a half now. That’s right, I’ve joined the “A-list blogger circle-jerk”. For certain values of “A”. Specifically, the value “F”.

I’ve mostly found alternatives for all the programs I used. The only area where I’m not quite satisfied is a music player; I used foobar2000 on Windows, and I haven’t found one to match it yet. (I’ve settled on Quod Libet at the moment, though its UI is a bit lacking.)

WoW works, but I seem to be paying a ~10fps tax for running it under Wine. It’s a pain, but it’s still playable.

I still have XP on a partition, but I haven’t yet run into anything I need to boot into it for. This is a promising development.

I’m looking forward to Hardy Heron’s release. It’ll come with the newer nvidia drivers, which apparently improve performance. This will be appreciated, as I’ve been unimpressed by canvas in Linux-Firefox so far.

Topsy turvy

A bug report for maphilight lead to me becoming aware of a fascinating quirk in IE. A quirk in which IE holds to published standards with fanatical zeal, contrary to everything one might have come to expect, and far in excess of Firefox/Opera/Safari.

When you use the .innerHTML property to add an element to the DOM, IE will fire an “unknown runtime error” if that element is incorrectly nested. So trying to place a

inside a

(as was the case in the bug report) will error very unhelpfully.

Surprising behavior.

Anyway, this led to the release of maphilight 1.1.1. (Which also includes an official minified version of the file, for convenience’s sake.)

del.icio.us widget

I couldn’t find a WordPress widget that produced output similar to del.icio.us’s linkrolls script. (You can just put their script into a Text widget, but its output doesn’t always mesh well with WordPress themes – it hardcodes h2s, and so forth.)

The Automattic example widget came close, but was a bit lacking on the customization front.

del.icio.us for WordPress also came close, but I disagree with having your server fetch the RSS feed, instead of using the perfectly good JSON API.

So I took the Automattic widget, hacked some extra features into it, made it configurable, and you can now see it in my sidebar. Well, footer currently. It’s a theme thing.

If you want it yourself, here’s the link: del.icio.us plus

Edit on 2008-03-27: This is now in the wordpress.org plugins repository.
Edit on 2008-04-16: Version 1.1 released, granting multiple widget instances.

Creating an image map from SVG

I was asked how I made the map in my examples earlier.

I wrote a small script to do it. (The script is quite limited – I only made it complete enough to handle the SVG files I was using. Others might break it. Also, it requires pyparsing… and hoo-boy is that slow.)

Example!

Wikipedia is good for this, and has provided me with the example file I’ll use, a map of the USA. If you have some GIS data already, I believe that ArcGIS 9.2 has native SVG support, or it looks like you can convert ESRI shapefiles with shp2svg.

My example file is filled with all sort of crud that isn’t a definition of state boundaries, though, so I need to get just that. Perusing it (in a text editor or a SVG editor like Inkscape) reveals that all the state borders are in a group named “States”. Helpful!

So I run my script: svg2imagemap.py Map_of_USA_with_state_names.svg 960 593 States

(The “960 593” is the size of the image I’m creating from the SVG file.)

This creates an html file named [svg name].html, so Map_of_USA_with_state_names.html. It only contains the area tags, so I dump them into an image map in a page set up like the one in the other examples…

And we get: A map of the USA.

Just to disclaim again: That script is unlikely to be immediately useful for any particular SVG image. You would almost certainly need to tweak it significantly to make it work for your purposes. But it’s a good start, at least.

One last time: I make no guarantee of this script working on an arbitrary SVG file. At best it’s an example of an approach to take. If you use it, expect to have to debug how it interacts with your particular file.