Friday, November 21, 2008

Beer Review #8: Total Domination IPA (Ninkasi Brewing Company)

Appearance - Pours a medium orange/amber (its lighter than I expected). A off-white (eggshell?) head that holds well and leaves a decent lacing.

Smell - Very citrisy, with grapefruit notes dominating. Also the smell of hops is very prominant.

Taste - Nice and hoppy upfront (the hops definitely dominate), some acidity and sweetness in the middle (definitely more pronounced malt than I was expecting), and ends on a bitter piney note, coaxing me to take the next drink.

Mouthfeel - Good, strong carbonation that stimulates my taste buds when I roll it around my mouth.

Drinkability - An enjoyable IPA. A little sharper than I want, and not as complex as I may desire, but a solid IPA that I would not be hesitant to recommend (though it doesn't quit live up to its name).


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Download streaming media (mms) on Linux

Give this a try:

mplayer mms://url -dumpstream -dumpfile foo.wmv

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Using wine to run Microsoft Reader

If you run linux and have .lit files then its a problem reading them. Fortunately you can use wine to get Microsoft Reader up and running. There is one extra step to get it working, though. First, download msvcirt.dll from here. Unzip it and place it in ~/.wine/drive_c/windows. Now download Microsoft Reader and install it using wine.

Windows Live Mail (Hotmail) stopped working on Ubuntu Linux

If you can't reply to email on hotmail in Ubuntu, the following tip should help. Its Microsoft, again, trying to be incompatible with non-microsoft products (this is type of reason hardcore computer geeks hate microsoft, bastards) - but there is a way to get it working:

Type "about:config" (without the quotes) in Firefox address bar.
In the "filter" box type: general.useragent.override

If nothing shows up under "Preference Name", then right click the main window (i.e., under preference name) and choose "New" and then "String".

Enter the following preference name: general.useragent.override

For the string value, if your computer is a 32-bit architecture, then use:

Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86; en; rv: Gecko/2008092510 Firefox/3.0.3

(all one line). If it is a 64-bit architecture, use:

Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en; rv: Gecko/2008092510 Firefox/3.0.3

There, that should make it work.

Enabling lame for ffmpeg when converting mpg to flv

Athough more extensive directions can be found here, I had a hard time using it without getting a bunch of errors in the process, so I've set up this up as a guide that worked for me. I'm assuming you are using Intrepid Ubuntu on a 32-bit machine. Make sure you have enabled multiverse, universe, and the various source code repos.

On the command line:

sudo apt-get remove ffmpeg


tar jxvf ffmpeg-export-snapshot.tar.bz2

cd ffmpeg-*/

sudo apt-get install liba52-dev libdts-dev libgsm1-dev libvorbis-dev  libxvidcore4 libxvidcore-dev libdc1394-22-dev libfaac-dev  libmp3lame-dev libx264-dev  libfaad-dev libtheora-dev libsdl1.2-dev

./configure --prefix=/usr/local --disable-debug --enable-shared --enable-gpl --enable-postproc --enable-swscale --enable-pthreads --enable-x11grab --enable-libdc1394 --enable-libfaac --enable-libfaad --enable-libgsm --enable-libmp3lame --enable-libtheora --enable-libvorbis  --enable-libxvid

Assuming everything goes through:


sudo make install

Then finally,

export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/lib/

To test your installation:

ffmpeg -version

Monday, November 10, 2008

Blogging the US Constitution Index


Article I. [The Legislative Branch]
  • Section 1. [Legislature]
  • Section 2. [The House of Representatives]
  • Section 3. [The Senate]
  • Sections 4 & 5. [Elections and Procedural Matter]
  • Section 6. [Compensation]
  • Section 7. [Legislative Process]
  • Section 8. [Powers of Congress]
  • Section 9. [Limitations on Congress]
  • Section 10. [State Powers Given Up to Congress]
Article II. The Executive Branch
  • Section 1. [The President and the Electoral Proces]
  • Sections 2 & 3. [Powers Granted to the President]
  • Section 4. [Impeachment]
Article III. The Judicial Branch
  • Section 1. [Judicial Powers]
  • Section 2. [Trial by Jury]
  • Section 3. [Treason]
Article IV. The Federal Relationship
  • Section 1. [States to Respect Each Others' Acts]
  • Section 2. [State Citizens]
  • Section 3. [U.S Territories and New States]
  • Section 4. [Duties of the U.S. Government Toward the States]
Article V. [Amending the Constitution]

Article VI. [The United States]
  • Section 1. Responsibility for Debts
  • Section 2. Supremacy of Federal Law and Treaties
  • Section 3. Oaths of Office to Support the Constitution
Article VII. Ratification of the Constitution

  • Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression
  • Amendment 2 - Right to bear Arms
  • Amendment 3 - Quartering of soldiers
  • Amendment 4 - Search and Seizure
  • Amendment 5 - Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings
  • Amendment 6 - Right to speedy trial, confrontation of witnesses
  • Amendment 7 - Trial by jury in civil cases
  • Amendment 8 - Cruel and Unusual punishment
  • Amendment 9 - Construction of Constitution
  • Amendment 10 - Powers of the States and People
  • Amendment 11 - Judicial Limits
  • Amendment 12 - Choosing the President, Vice President
  • Amendment 13 - Slavery Abolished
  • Amendment 14 - Citizenship Rights
  • Amendment 15 - Race no bar to vote
  • Amendment 16 - Income Tax authorized
  • Amendment 17 - Senators elected by popular vote
  • Amendment 18 - Liquor abolished
  • Amendment 19 - Women's suffrage
  • Amendment 20 - Presidential, Congressional terms
  • Amendment 21 - Amendment 18 repealed
  • Amendment 22 - Presidential Term Limits
  • Amendment 23 - Presidential vote for District of Columbia
  • Amendment 24 - Poll taxes barred
  • Amendment 25 - Presidential disability and succession
  • Amendment 26 - Voting age set to 18 years
  • Amendment 27 - Congressional pay increases

Friday, November 07, 2008

Virtualizing Mac OS X on Ubuntu Linux

Alright, it doesn't work great and crashes quite a bit, but at least its up and working.

If you want to get it running I'm assuming you have a licensed version of Mac OS X "Tiger" that you have copied to an .iso file.

Here's how to do it:

1. Through Synaptic or apt-get, install: pearpc
2. Next you need to create a virtual partition to install it onto. To create a 3 gig virtual drive, use the following command:

dd if=/dev/zero of=3gigharddisk.img bs=516096 seek=6241 count=0

To creating a 6 gig virtual drive:

dd if=/dev/zero of=6gigharddisk.img bs=516096 seek=12482 count=0

3. Now navigate to /etc/ppc and open ppc.conf in an editor (in root). Here is a stripped down version of my config file:

## PearPC Configuration File

## Start Resolution

ppc_start_resolution = "800x600x15"

## Redraw interval (in ms)

redraw_interval_msec = 20

## Key codes

key_toggle_mouse_grab = "F12"
key_toggle_full_screen = "Alt+Return"

## Loader

prom_bootmethod = "auto"

#prom_bootmethod = "force"
#prom_loadfile = "test/yaboot"
#prom_env_bootpath = "disk"
#prom_env_bootargs = ""
prom_env_machargs = "-v"
#prom_driver_graphic = "video.x"
#page_table_pa = 104857600

## CPU Config

#cpu_pvr = 0x00088302

## Main memory (default 128 MiB)


## IO Devices

## PCI IDE Config

pci_ide0_master_installed = 1
pci_ide0_master_image = "/media/storage2/tmp/3gigharddisk.img"
#pci_ide0_master_type = "hd"
pci_ide0_slave_installed = 1
pci_ide0_slave_image = "/media/storage2/Computer Software and Hardware/OSes/Mac OS X Install DVD/MacOSXInstallDVD.iso"
pci_ide0_slave_type = "cdrom"

## Network

pci_3c90x_installed = 0
pci_3c90x_mac = "de:ad:ca:fe:12:34"
pci_rtl8139_installed = 0
pci_rtl8139_mac = "de:ad:ca:fe:12:35"

## USB

pci_usb_installed = 1


nvram_file = "nvram"

Type: sudo ppc to begin the installation process. When you get to the select a destination drive part of the installation, you need to create a partition and format it using the drive utility in the menu.

Once it finishes installing, reboot and make the following changes to the config file:

ppc_start_resolution = "1024x768x32" # or whatever you prefer

memory_size=0x20000000 #512 MiB, before I changed this it kept freezing and I would have to reboot

pci_ide0_master_installed = 1
pci_ide0_master_image = "/media/storage2/tmp/3gigharddisk.img"
#pci_ide0_master_type = "hd"
#pci_ide0_slave_installed = 1 # there is probably a better way to do this, but this is so it doesn't try to install each time
#pci_ide0_slave_image = "/media/storage2/Computer Software and Hardware/OSes/Mac OS X Install DVD/MacOSXInstallDVD.iso"
#pci_ide0_slave_type = "cdrom"

I still haven't yet gotten it connected to the internet, but as soon as I do I'll post the directions below....

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thinking about buying a Dell laptop

Looking to buy a Dell laptop? Here are some recommendations:
  • Nowadays you want to get at least 2 gigabytes of RAM (I know it sound excessive, but if you are going to be using Vista, you will need it).
  • Avoid celeron processors (the company is not doing that great lately)
So I would probably avoid the low end Inspiron 1525 (the celeron one), the "Intel Pentium Dual Core" version definitely looks better. The XPS series is definitely the best, but only if you need all of the power it offers (but it comes at a price).

Regarding the operating system: I guess you might as well get it with Windows Vista (Dell does offer Linux Ubuntu machines, but they aren't really cheaper). That said, I've totally abandoned Windows for Linux, and don't have any desire or need to go back. Its finally at a place where it is very user friendly and just requires a slight alteration of thinking in certain respects. If you buy one with Vista, you can always try Linux and then go back if you want (but seriously, its at a place where there is no need to).

Here are the positives and negatives of using Linux, starting with the positives:
  • Much more secure: no need for antivirus, adware, or malware - there just aren't viruses out there targeting Linux machines.
  • Uses a lot less system resources: whereas you should probably have 3 gigs of RAM for Vista, 1 gig is sufficient for Linux (though I still recommend getting 2)
  • The software for it is totally and absolutely free, and has to always stay free because of the licensing agreements behind it. This means you literally NEVER have to buy software for it.
  • Its is backed by really big corporations like IBM, Sun Microsystems, and Novell, all of which pour tons of money into it.
  • You pretty much need a reliable internet connection to fully use its functionality
  • Some online services do not support the Linux platform yet, like Netflix (though I think it is in the works).
  • Not fully compatible with Microsoft (but its Microsoft's fault for not giving out the specifications for their software).
  • Not as compatible with mobile devices (but it depend on which mobile devices you have).
  • Some software on Linux just isn't as good as it is on Windows. In particular: audio/video editing, graphic editing, and lack of games.
  • Presently only about 1% of computer users use it, so you are more on your own (though there are lots of online resources)
My bet is that in a year or two, Linux machines will really have a strong foothold in the computer market. Dell started selling Linux machines a year ago, and Linux is now getting really big on smartphones. But all of this isn't really relevant to buying a computer, because I still recommend buying one with Vista.

Holy Shit... She thought what about Africa?

Of course it is Fox News, the the reliability is somewhat in question:

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


My hat's off to you McCain, its been turbulent, but I still admire you.

To the Hannitys, Limbaughs, Savages, and Levins of the world -- fuck you.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Let the Issues be the Issues

A Couple of Useful Repos for a Recently Updated Ubuntu Intrepid System

The Virtualbox 2.0.4 Intrepid Repo is not listed on the download site, but it DOES exist:

deb intrepid non-free

If you want to try OpenOffice 3.0 (which I haven't, though I'm tempted), here is the repo:

deb intrepid main

If you want to try Amarok 2.0 beta 3 (I love the direction it is going!), then you can add the following repo:

deb intrepid main

To use the latest version of Wine, add the following:

deb intrepid main #WineHQ - Ubuntu 8.10 "Intrepid Ibex"

Finally, if you want to try the beta of Songbird (0.7), you can find a link to it here.

Polling trends the past 3 presidential election cycles

Strong reason to be hopeful that the polling trends tell us something useful about who's going to win:

Beer Review Index

Blogging US Political Party Platforms

I've been obsessed with politics lately. But I've never been interested just in the two major parties. I also love to look into 3rd, 4th, and sundry minor parties (like the Boston Tea party!). In this series, I will blog the following party platforms (if I can get around to it):

Major parties
  • Democratic
  • Republican
Major Third parties
  • Constitution
  • Green
  • Libertarian
Smaller parties
  • America First
  • American Independent
  • Boston Tea
  • Centrist
  • Communist
  • Independence
  • Labor
  • Modern Whig
  • Marijuana
  • Objectivist
  • Populist
  • Prohibition
  • Reform
  • Socialism and Liberation
  • Socialist
  • Socialist Equality
  • Socialist Workers
  • Veterans
  • Workers World
Come back to this page for links to each of them!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Take an inside look inside the religious right

Bad politics. Worse theology. This is scary stuff. John Hagee is the guy who John McCain warmed up to for a while until some media scrutiny came to this relationship.

NOTE: I'm someone who loves to read the Bible and debate theology, but watching this drives me fucking crazy.

Here is the link: Vote the Bible, pt1

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Window Politicing Turf War

You know how when one person makes a political statement, someone else in the neighborhood feels like they have to make the opposing one? Well, over the past couple of weeks I've been amused at the exchange occurring in two adjacent neighborhood windows. Last night one of the neighbors (the one on the right) took it to a whole new level.

How much stupidity does it require to think this is helping your cause?

Republican Mayor Sanders Statement on Marriage Equality

Wow. You can tell he really wrestled with the issue and listened the force of his convictions. He's right: embedded in the American way is a tendency towards equality and social justice. Slavery could not withstand this tendency, and neither will other institutionalized forms of discrimination. Certain freedoms were at stake and he could not bring himself to stand up against them. Bravo, mayor.