Tuesday, June 24, 2008

using the JW flash player for our radio streams

Multi-platform support, and the ability to show "Now playing" and "Coming up next" etc on the page where the player is embedded. Actually, the player has to be on an html page which is on the streaming server itself: otherwise the flash security measures will prevent "content from another domain". So, implemented using an iframe on a page on www.radiosai.org , the iframe's src is a page on stream.radiosai.org . The JW player's home page is here.

Friday, June 20, 2008

imported contacts successfully, google docs and gears

As mentioned in my previous post, tried out importing the "Gmail csv" exported by Gmail's contact manager, adding more stuff in exactly the same format, this time it worked. But to do that, had to go through a few hoops.

First, Google Docs did not allow me to just copy-paste from one spreadsheet to another. Had to go through the pain of publishing as csv using the 'More publishing Options' from one spreadsheet, importing it as external data on a new sheet on the destination spreadsheet, then linking the data to another sheet. But once I installed Gears, everything became simple again. I could just highlight cells on one spreadsheet, copy, highlight cells on the other spreadsheet, paste. Gears really adds to the functionality, but maybe the Google folks are leery of publicising its virtues too much due to its privacy issues - not safe to use with a public computer....

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

wonder why gmail contacts regressed

Generally Google products improve over time, but for some reason, the contacts browser in Gmail seems to have regressed very badly. So many features broken in the new version whose only advantage seems to be eye-candy:
  • Search doesn't match for any field other than contact name
  • Does not allow deleting of more than 20 contacts at a time
  • Import is more finicky - csv files which work with old version don't work with new version!
Thank God the Google team have retained the "Older version" link at least! But I hope the GMail team cleans up the contacts mess. Reason for ranting right now is that I'm trying to import a csv file, with field headers Name, Email Address, Phone - but GMail old version insists on making a Notes field and putting Phone: 9999999 there. New version refuses to import at all. Will try making a csv file exactly like the "GMail csv export" which Gmail exports.

google apps user export

There was a migration to google apps for domains over the weekend, and one of the features the admin wanted was an easy way to export list of all users. I didn't find it, he found it himself - the Download user list as CSV link at the bottom of the Email addresses tab.

Friday, June 13, 2008

java vnc viewer's scaling support

Saw on tightvnc site that the java viewer also has scaling support like the Win32 viewer has. Tried to get it working from saiwaves. Copied the class and other files to /usr/share/vnc/classes/
Edited the index.vnc file by adding the scale factor parameter. But adding scaling causes the refresh to break - cursor trails everywhere - and also the auto scaling was not working in spite of using the open new window parameter. Probably because of the old version of vnc server running on saiwaves. So currently better to stick to no scaling on Linux.

manually adding files to the audio search database

Some Musings talks were not accessible by the audio search page since they were not played since early 2007, and a listener requested. So, added them using dummy csv files dated 2007-01-01 and 02, with values entered by hand. Have to remember to
  1. not have a semi-colon or CR-LF after the last entry
  2. fill in the duration in minutes correctly
  3. make sure there are no spaces in the download-filename.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

dharma's AGP slot bad - maybe

Dharma refused to boot a few months back, beeping a lack of display. Tried PCI card, still no go. So snuck in an old ISA VGA card to make it boot. Only 16 colours, but boots. Today tried other AGP cards - Matrox Marvel G400, G200 - no go. Tried the PCI card, still no go. Then tried the PCI card in a different PCI slot + ISA card, booted, saw that the PCI card was listed in device manager. Then tried with PCI alone, booted OK, recognised the Sis 6215 card and loaded the correct driver. So, restored the system to using the PCI Sis card. Maybe the AGP slot has gone bad?

portable DVD / VCD player smoothing issue

MS brought in a portable DVD / VCD player for consultation. It was a circular disk around an inch thick, the size of a DVD, with a 3 inch LCD screen on top. Apparently he was trying out some settings and from then on the video was just coloured blocks. Went through the menu system - while displaying the menu the screen was fine, so it was not directly a display problem. Under video settings or something, found a Smoothing option which had been turned on. Turned it off and voila! The video renders fine. Probably the smoothing doesn't work for VCDs?

Monday, June 09, 2008

problems with flash video

flv files served from media.radiosai.org using the JW FLV media player appeared to be broken - not working from any of the machines at the studio. Then all video sites appeared broken! Including youtube, google videos and all the players listed at Wikipedia. Obviously this was unlikely. Checking the flash version number using this page, found that the videos were working fine in Linux with an earlier version (9.0.xx) of Flash plugin, and also with the latest 9.0.124 version. Maybe the 9.0.115 was the one with the problem. Or maybe not. Also found a post with various workarounds for flash video problems. And running the flashutil from c:\windows\system32\macromed\flash\ followed by a machine restart worked for the studio machines. Manual download and installation might have caused some problem, which this util might have cleaned up.

Edit: After a restart, my firefox again had the same problem. This time, tried the "acceleration toggle" trick - turn hardware acceleration off and then on again, using the settings option available by right-clicking on the video, restarting the browser each time. And it started working again.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

krishna not resolving dns after reboot

Since we seldom reboot, found this one only after a kernel update. Apparently the resolv.conf is being updated by resolvconf independently of what we set in the drakconf interface.
# Dynamic resolv.conf(5) file for glibc resolver(3) generated by resolvconf(8)

We could not just remove resolvconf like this guy did, since drakconf did not allow it. Then PB edited /etc/resolvconf/resolv.conf.d/tail and added
nameserver x.y.z.w
nameserver p.q.r.s
nameserver a.b.c.d
to get it working, with inputs from forums like http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=188551

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

the toshiba laptop finally gets professional help

The poor Toshiba laptop was opened once again, since the power jack became un-soldered and the ribbon cable totally detached. D could only do the power jack - the wifi remained dead, and since the ribbon cable was ripped, no sound to headphone either. Finally, H got it repaired at Chennai, with cards replaced for Rs. 3.5 k and service free since it was a friend.