MonthFebruary 2007

synchronize itunes libraries with unison

A few months ago I wrote a python script based on unison for synchronizing the iTunes libraries between my computer and Leslie’s. Although you can’t actually merge changes from both libraries, you can push or pull updates, which works well when one computer is a “master” where changes are made and the other is a “slave” where music is usually just played, but the library isn’t added to. You are able to manually push updates from the slave to the master if you like.

Anyway, I finally got around to commenting it a bit and I present it here for download in case others might find it useful: itunes_sync_0.1.tar.gz

I run it from a cron script hourly right now, which is maybe a bit excessive, but it’s all on the local network, so who cares? A better way of doing things would be to only sync when changes have been made, but I haven’t had time to fancy things up like that yet. I run the script only on OS X boxes, but I’m sure if you’re enterprising enough to get unison running on a windows machine it would work fine there too.

overt update and gallery comments

Today Ali and I completed what has become the biennial server upgrade. We added a pair of 500GB drives that should slake the endless thirst of our users for ever more space to put their photos and email. This was stressful for me, but even more of a pain for Ali who has to drive a couple of hours out to where the server is stuck in a data center. I imagine the thing had gotten pretty lonely sitting there in its little cage for the last two years, and appreciated the visit and TLC. Anyway, things seem to be mostly back to normal now. Let me know if you see any problems.

On a somewhat related note, I fixed gallery up so that you can post comments again. I’m glad I got this taken care of because I get about 20 emails a day from irate gallery browsers who want to chip in their two cents. Ok, not really.

fat dawg is my kind of hippie

One of my new year’s resolutions was to practice my guitar more, and thanks to our spreadsheet that tracks resolution-keeping performance, I’ve actually managed to stick with it. So my guitar has been getting much more of a workout than usual, and so developed an annoying buzz when playing certain notes. These notes come up a lot, so I eventually I decided that it had to be fixed one way or another. I dread this, because most places charge quite a bit for fixing up your guitar (I paid a place in Palo Alto $80 to fix the action on it after I bought it).

So I did some research, and found places offering to fix the setup for $120, and I’d just need to leave it there for 2-3 weeks, etc. I found one sketchy looking webpage that advertised repairs in the $20 range, and so decided to give them a call. Thinking the place must have gone out of business and the webpage was some 1996 remnant, I tried calling with little hope, but a friendly voice answered and told me to bring my guitar by. I did, and after they checked to make sure I’d parked somewhere that my car would be safe from ticketing, they pulled out my guitar, diagnosed and fixed the buzz, and handed it back to me in the space of about 2 minutes. When I asked how much I owed them, they waved me off.

The place itself was amazing… I little house on the corner in residential Berkeley, filled with hundreds and hundreds of guitars. While I talked with one guy about my guitar’s merits, another played some amazing licks on an electric in the corner while the third (who I presume was fat dawg himself) scheduled a jam session/”chance to smoke some fat dubes” with someone who called. Classic Berkeley.

When I got home I did some digging and found the home page for the place, Subway Guitars. It seems these guys made some huge scores of overstock guitar parts in the 60′s and have been building guitars out of the parts for dirt cheap ever since. They call them “proletarian” guitars, and I love the concept. Here’s an excerpt from Fat Do(aw)g’s philosophy of custom guitar construction:

You must ask yourself honestly: Will you be satisfied with what is adequate and functional? Or do you prefer to spend a lot more for super-polished and shiny appointments? If yes, there are many builders who will charge you thousands of dollars for it.

Madison Avenue and Hollywood have sold some of us a value system where our self-esteem is coupled to a superficial, shiny product. You must be honest and ask yourself: is this me?

I certainly am not in the market for a guitar at the moment, but if I ever am I think I know where I’m going to go for something adequate and functional. Guitars for the people, man!

i’m drinking my beer!

Okay, so I’m a bit early. I’ve only waited two weeks where I was supposed two wait four. But damn, it’s actually beer. When I popped off the top, it made that little hiss noise just like it was supposed to. It smelled like hefewiessen. The taste was good… a bit too hoppy, and not as clove-y or fruity as I had hoped, but it was beer! Leslie agreed. It’s thrill for sure that for $25 I can make five gallons of good beer… actual beer. What fun. We’ll see how it tastes when it’s been through it’s full bottle-sitting time.

I’ve settled into my classes for the semester… I’m taking three, which is one more than even I expected. I thought at first I’d stick to one, but Jonathan persuaded me to stick with my theory class by reminding me that it’s actually not necessary to ace every class you take. So I’m planning on a nice B+ and by the end of the semester, I’ll only have one more class to take for the Ph.D.

In other news, three distinct Wii modchips have been announced. Those of you who know of my video gaming proclivities are no doubt aware that all the other consoles in my life (PS2, Xbox, DS) have been mercilessly soldered into submission to deliver me free games, emulators, media centers and whatnot. The potential to do the same to my Wii brings me joy… I can go back and take a look at some of those Gamecube games I never had a chance to buy (the Gamecube avoided my onslaught by such simple physical measures as having mini-DVDs burned backwards), as well as trying out the new Wii gimmicks without throwing down $50/pop. I’ll be sure to document the debasement of my little white beauty.

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