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Recording streaming sound with vsound   31 Dec 04
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Vsound - a Virtual Audio Loopback Cable

This program allows you to record the output of any standard OSS program (one that uses /dev/dsp for sound) without having to modify or recompile the program. It uses the same idea as the esddsp wrapper from the Enlightened Sound Daemon (in fact, vsound is based on esddsp). That is, it preloads a library that intercepts calls to open /dev/dsp, and instead returns a handle to a normal file. It also intercepts ioctl’s on that file handle and logs them, to help convert the audio data from its raw form. Vsound then uses sox to convert the raw data to the desired file format.

The upshoot of this is that instead of playing sound to the sound card in your computer, the data is recorded to a file. This is similar to if you connected a loopback cable to the line in and line out jacks on your sound card, but no DA or AD conversions take place, so quality is not lost.

One use of vsound is to help convert real audio files to some other format. Since the real audio format is proprietary, and all we have is a player, we can use the vsound to create a wave file like so:

 vsound -t -f /data/dvdburn/LL2/s2.wav  realplay rtsp://

DE: LaTeX vs XSL-FO   24 Dec 04
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Wir haben eine kurze Zusammenfassung geschrieben.

Ruby 1.8.2 preview 4 available   23 Dec 04
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Ruby 1.8.2 preview 4 is available from
  md5sum: 2f53d4dc4b24e37799143645772aabd0

  The final 1.8.2 will be out on December 25th (JST), unless any
  critical bugs will be found.

Postmodern programming   22 Dec 04
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Mathieu Bouchard emailt me this: First, I found this interesting (and wild) paper about Postmodern Programming:

Apparently, this has been believed by many as a hoax, and so has been linked to the famous Alan Sokal hoax (the paper "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity").

However I think it’s more like: a serious article written in a tongue-in-cheek style and talking about an unusual topic.

Other authors i know who are writing about postmodern programming, are Larry Wall (Perl) and Richard Gabriel (new online book "Patterns of Software"). These days I am attempting to read the latter.

Richard Gabriel’s work on software patterns, and for that matter, all the work on software patterns for the last decade, has been tremendously influenced by a book supposedly on Architecture (!!!), by Christopher Alexander, called "The Timeless Way of Building".

Both C.Alexander and R.P.Gabriel spend a lot of time on an elusive concept they call "Quality", which I immediately connected to Robert Pirsig’s "Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" (1976), a classic I finally read this year. The connection between the two is quite large (Pirsig’s book even more revolves around that "Quality" thing). It has to do with attempting to define the undefinable, in particular, those aspects of a thing that make it good and/or beautiful but that, trying to approach them from a formal standpoint, slip through our fingers.

There are a bunch of other interesting aspects (IMHO) in all of those texts.

Team room   22 Dec 04
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William Pietri put some nice pics and text online.

Working Effectively With Legacy Code   20 Dec 04
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Interesting article by Michael Feathers. Michael also wrote a book about the same subject.

GNU/Linux Desktop Survival Guide   18 Dec 04
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Good free book.

Webcam to watch penguins :-)   18 Dec 04
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Ubuntu - nice Linux distro based on debian   18 Dec 04
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Their solgan: "Ubuntu" is an ancient African word, meaning "humanity to others". Ubuntu also means "I am what I am because of who we all are". The Ubuntu Linux distribution brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the software world.


It comes with Gnome 2.8 and a 2.6 Kernel. The overall install was amazingly simple. Download it.

DE: Bildblog: Notizen ueber eine grosse deutsche Boulevardzeitung   11 Dec 04
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Bildblog ist ein Watchblog.

Was heute in der "Bild"-Zeitung steht, steht morgen ueberall. Vielleicht sollte man sich also mal genauer anschauen, was sie schreibt. Die kleinen Merkwuerdigkeiten und das grosse Schlimme.



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