Monthly Archives: February 2006


I spent much of this weekend configuring amaroK, a music player/organizer recommended to me by Rob.

Here’s a screenshot (crummily scaled ‘cuz I’m lazy – click for less scaling):


The thing that triggered all this is that I was sick and tired of the way gkrellmms kept crashing while I played Internet radio stations, and would take out both xmms and gkrellm in the process. I decided I wasn’t going to take it anymore, and since just the other day Rob was crowing about amaroK, I figured I’d try that.

amaroK gives you a good way to search for your music, but only if the ID3 tags are correct. It offers a way to look up track info on MusicBrainz, but I found that only worked about 25% of the time for me, so it wasn’t that big a help. Manually updating so many tracks is what took me so long in setting this up (I keep finding other tracks that have wrong info, so I suppose I’m still not done). Actually, amaroK offers a comparatively nice way to update track info, especially for song genre, which in turn makes my pod! more useful. As you can see in the screenshot above, amaroK can also download album covers, which is nice eye candy (though not particularly useful). Unfortunately, it seems to get this wrong about 10% of the time, and I end up listening to Bat Boy and seeing Beauty and the Beast (I’m not even joking, there). Still, for the times that it works, it’s pretty.

As amaroK scripts (what you and I might call plugins) seem to only work never, I found no love with the provided alarm script. As I use my mp3 player to wke me up in the morning, this was rather important; so I compensated with perl:


use strict;

$ENV{DISPLAY} = ":0.0";

# dcop command
my $dcop = "/usr/bin/dcop";
# amaroK binary
my $amarok = "/usr/bin/amarok";
# aumix binary
my $aumix = "/usr/bin/aumix";
# volume to play at
my $vol = '39';

my $debug = 0;

# first; ensure that amarok is running, if it isn't running, run it
my $testPlaying = `$dcop amarok player isPlaying`;
if (($? > 0) || ($testPlaying =~ /call failed/) || ($testPlaying =~ /^Error/)) { # not running
	($debug > 0) and print "amaroK not running; starting\n";
	`$amarok &`;
elsif ($testPlaying =~ /true/) { # running, but already playing
	($debug > 0) and print "amaroK already playing; exiting\n";
	exit 0;

($debug > 0) and print "amaroK not playing\n";

# ensure that the volume is at a reasonable level
`$aumix -v$vol`;

# select random music to play
`$dcop amarok playlist clearPlaylist`;
`$dcop amarok playlist repopulate`;
#`$dcop amarok playlist shufflePlaylist`;

# if we're going too fast, amaroK will try to play before the playlist is 
# populated
sleep 2;

# start playing!
`$dcop amarok player play`;

exit 0;

and cron:

# alarm clock
# for work, every weekday
0 7 * * mon-fri /home/tekniklr/mystuff/programs/ >/dev/null 2>&1
# for the other odd days when I have to get up
#0 10 * * sat /home/tekniklr/mystuff/programs/ >/dev/null 2>&1

So far, I like amaroK okay, but it has some problems (besides the ones I mentioned earlier). For one, when I first used it, it crashed every 10 minutes. I fixed that by using the gstreamer output engine instead of xine, and by ensuring that the databse was SQLite instead of MySQL. For two, it’s kinda slow to decide to actually stop playing. For three, though it has a nice freedesktop compliant tray icon, it doesn’t actually hide when you minimize it in Fluxbox, unless you right click on the icon and minimize it from there (that one’s probably not the amaroK people’s problem, admittedly). And for four, whenever you are messing around in any other tab, it will jump you back to the ‘Current’ tab whenever a new song starts, which is really distracting (and possibly dangerous).

As it’s still young software, I’m hoping it grows out of this stuff in the future. Until then, it’s still kinda fun (and using cron as an alarm makes me 1337), and at least I’ve finally given a good portion of my music correct ID3 tags.

The Quick and Painless ENNEAGRAM Test

I swiped this from Erin. I think it’s rather accurate in terms of my personality, but I wonder how inaccurate it really is for anyone else :)

happicow and Peter can probably better attest to the veracity of this.

And just for the record (see comic, below), I do shop at X-mart (but we call it Target, here). I’m consistently surprised by just how much cool stuff they have (though I admit the thrift store is oftentimes cooler!) Though I have to admit, out of all the people I know, if anyone were to have a velvet-lined toolbox, it would be me.

the Romantic
Test finished!
you chose BY – your Enneagram type is FOUR.

“I am unique”

Romantics have sensitive feelings and are warm and perceptive.

How to Get Along with Me

  • Give me plenty of compliments. They mean a lot to me.
  • Be a supportive friend or partner. Help me to learn to love and value myself.
  • Respect me for my special gifts of intuition and vision.
  • Though I don’t always want to be cheered up when I’m feeling melancholy, I sometimes like to have someone lighten me up a little.
  • Don’t tell me I’m too sensitive or that I’m overreacting!

What I Like About Being a Four

  • my ability to find meaning in life and to experience feeling at a deep level
  • my ability to establish warm connections with people
  • admiring what is noble, truthful, and beautiful in life
  • my creativity, intuition, and sense of humor
  • being unique and being seen as unique by others
  • having aesthetic sensibilities
  • being able to easily pick up the feelings of people around me

What’s Hard About Being a Four

  • experiencing dark moods of emptiness and despair
  • feelings of self-hatred and shame; believing I don’t deserve to be loved
  • feeling guilty when I disappoint people
  • feeling hurt or attacked when someone misundertands me
  • expecting too much from myself and life
  • fearing being abandoned
  • obsessing over resentments
  • longing for what I don’t have

Fours as Children Often

  • have active imaginations: play creatively alone or organize playmates in original games
  • are very sensitive
  • feel that they don’t fit in
  • believe they are missing something that other people have
  • attach themselves to idealized teachers, heroes, artists, etc.
  • become antiauthoritarian or rebellious when criticized or not understood
  • feel lonely or abandoned (perhaps as a result of a death or their parents’ divorce)

Fours as Parents

  • help their children become who they really are
  • support their children’s creativity and originality
  • are good at helping their children get in touch with their feelings
  • are sometimes overly critical or overly protective
  • are usually very good with children if not too self-absorbed

Renee Baron & Elizabeth Wagele

The Enneagram Made Easy
Discover the 9 Types of People
HarperSanFrancisco, 1994, 161 pages

You are not completely happy with the result?!
You chose BY

Would you rather have chosen:

  • AY (EIGHT)
  • CY (SIX)
  • BX (NINE)
  • BZ (FIVE)
  • My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

    free online dating free online dating
    You scored higher than 28% on ABC
    free online dating free online dating
    You scored higher than 45% on XYZ

    Link: The Quick and Painless ENNEAGRAM Test written by felk on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

    A dream

    Last night, I had a dream.

    In this dream, I went to a museum with some friends, some of whom actually exist. In this museum, they had at least two hippopotamuses. Each one was the size of a T-rex. One of them was lying down, with it’s butt pointed at the walkway. It farted on me, even though I tried to dive out of the way (I saw it coming). I couldn’t successfully dodge, and was suddenly caught in a 40mph stiff breeze, which didn’t smell in the slightest, but was still gross. Also, cold (?).

    My dream guide contains neither hippopotomuses or flatulence, but on museums it has this to say:

    To dream of a museum, denotes that you will pass through many and varied scenes in striving for what appears your rightful position [sic]. You will acquire useful knowledge, which will stand you in better light than if you had pursued the usual course of learning. If the museum is distasteful you will have many causes for vexation.

    I think the butt-tornado qualifies as distasteful, so I can only assume that all of this refers to (if anything) me learning Witango at my new job, which I started last week. I find Witango about as pleasant as large aquatic mammal methane, so it all ties together.

    Yeah, I bet you wondered how/when I would mention the career change. I hope I found a suitably unpredictable way in which to do it! And that’s all you get, except the note that dispite working with proprietary languages like Witango and Coldfusion, it’s still better (and more interesting/logical) than biology.

    Wicked Faire, and Snowpocalypse ’06!

    This weekend happicow and I went back to NJ, despite the looming threat of Snowpocalypse, for the Wicked Renaissance Faire. The faire was pretty cool, and the snow wasn’t all that bad (sure, there was a lot of it in the end, but it didn’t start really coming down until we were already back from the faire, and wasn’t nearly the cataclysm the media wished you to think it was).

    Anyway, the faire was like most other renaissance faires… only indoors, and a bit darker. Green and purple hair were much more common at this faire, as you may well imagine :) As it was indoors, it reminded me quite a bit of most of the anime conventions I’ve been to in the past, which is a good thing (trust me). The highlight was seeing Voltaire, who was really impressive in concert, and really friendly with all his fans afterwards, joking with them, signing CDs and comics, and posing for pictures. He even started tickling me when I was posing for a photo with him, which made me laugh more for the fact that Voltaire was trying to tickle me than for the fact that it actually tickled (we proved this a bit later in a semi-scientific [okay, not at all scientific] experiment). Anyway, here’s a picture of me getting tickled by Voltaire:

    Voltaire and I

    and here are the rest of the pictures from the faire. There’s not many, ‘cuz I rarely remember to take pictures these days (until I saw some greyhounds, and thought of Beth, anyway). Just to show how unphotogenic I am, there are two other pictures of me in the pile, in one, I’m all blurry, and in the other, I’m blinking.

    Oh, and I also took pictures of the snow the next day (Sunday). As I said before, most of the snow wasn’t that impressive </spoiled Ithacan>, but the media feeding frenzy before, during and afterwards both shocked and awed.

    snowy skull tree

    Chrono Trigger Remake

    I really wish I knew more old school gamers.

    Apparently, there’s a petition (print, not online) to get Square/Enix to make a remake of Chrono Trigger, one of the best games ever. Probably because Squeenix is really into making remakes recently, they are giving this project their full support, with a goal of 20,000 signatures.

    So, yeah print this up and get everyone you know to sign it. Even if they don’t know what a Chrono Trigger is, get them to sign it anyway. Give them free candy or something (send me a bill for the free candy).

    If you want something to whet your appetite, check out the trailer for a fan-made remake (which, once squeenix got wind of, they promptly squished).

    Last Day

    And no, I’m not glowing yet (I still have nearly four years left!).

    Today was my last day at SGN. I think I got everything that was likely to be gotten into order into order, and have wiped the hard drive on miinips1, which is now my ex-laptop. We went out to Sangam’s for Indian buffet on Cornell’s dime, and I left a pile of text files and a few sheets of legal paper with notes on them for my replacement. I’ll probably have to volunteer some more effort to the cause over the next week or so, ‘cuz the project I was working on yesterday won’t be tested by people other than me until this weekend.

    Later, I went over to my new place of employment for a party; where I found out that my purple hair is actually more popular with them than I had, in my wildest dreams, hoped. Apparently, the purple hair implied creativity, which they were looking for :) They just may not want to introduce me to some of the more conservative clients at a first meeting…

    After that I spent some time buying cool stuff at Target (I’m always surprised at just how much cool stuff they carry), buying other stuff at Greenstar (like Boo-opoly!), and realizing my keys had been locked in the apartment, where I was not (I borrowed happicow‘s), before going to Nokturna at The Haunt with Rob. Surprisingly (?) he really dug it, and at the end of the night ended up inheriting a small pile of my black makeup (eyeliner, lipstick, nail polish [I had extras]), wanting to get his eyebrow pierced (apparently that’s not new), and wanting to buy big black stompin’ boots.

    Yeah, I am a bad influence. But I make the world a better place (for some definition of better which basically equates to ‘more interesting and anti-establishment’)! >;-)

    End of an era

    To-morrow is my last day at SGN. Because of this, I’m working pretty hard to get one final project to a mostly working state before I leave. For instance, to-nite, I stayed at the office until 23:30. Considering I arrived at the office a bit after 10:00, that’s a long time!

    Anyway, there’s a 09:15 meeting tomorrow morning. I suppose it doesn’t concern me, really, but I should probably try to go anyway.


    I really hope that whomever they get to replace me can work out the code in the aforementioned project, because if they can’t and all this work was wasted (i.e., they toss it and start from scratch, as that would be easier than deciphering my chicken-scratch comments), all my effort would have been for naught.