July 2006

During the last years I’ve always used the console-based MP3c zu convert audio cds into mp3 files. Today I decided to give GNOME sound juicer a try. Encoding settings are stored system wide in “sound profiles”, but unfortunately GNOME by default does not have a profile for encoding mp3 files.

A short google search revealed the web page of Jacob who has a good explanation on how to add an mp3 profile to GNOME: From a console run “gnome-audio-profile-properties” and click the “New..” button. Name the new profile with something like “MP3 CD Quality” and click OK. Then select the new profile and click on “Edit”. Now for the GStreamer pipeline you enter:

audio/x-raw-int,rate=44100,channels=2 ! lame name=enc

and set the file extension to “mp3″. Then save the new profile and start up sound juicer. If the track names are not automatically recognized you can enter the album and title information. You might also want to check the preferences to see where and how sound juicer will generate the output files.

Finally click on “Extract” to start the ripping.

Since yesterday I’m a proud owner of a t-mobile sidekick II (also know as Danger Hiptop). I used to work with the previous model some years ago and was quite happy with it, so the second model was a logical choice.

Now I didn’t want to forward all my mails to the sidekick or fetch them via pop or imap (imap support on the sidekick is crap - it treats imap like pop and just fetches all mails, not syncing). A webmail client with pda interface was a logical choice and hastymail is such a solution: hastymail needs a simple webserver with php, ssl and imap support enabled and will then act as an imap client with web interface. Mobile clients like blackberry, sidekick etc. are automagically detected and get a simple small interface. It looked like the perfect solution and was installed in a matter of minutes.

Unfortunately logging in didn’t work at all from the sidekick. Each login attempt was answered with the message “There was a problem with your login, please try again”. From a regular pc everything worked fine. An indepth look at the code brought a solution: for security reasons hastymail will identify the user with a combination of his ip-address and his user-agent. That’s a great idea unless you are accessing the web via a proxy-server pool - like all sidekick users do. If you can afford a slight security trade-off you can modify hastymail so that only the user-agent matters for identification:

In “lib/session.php” change line 151 to look like this:


And change line 360 as follows:

$_SESSION[’user_id’] != $_SERVER[’HTTP_USER_AGENT’]) {

This should do the trick and hastymail will now work fine from the sidekick.

Yahoo and Microsoft have just announced that in the near future their messenger networks will be connected. Yahoo and MSN Messenger users will then be able to see the online status of buddies in both networks. Great move, I like the idea - though using open standards would be even better ;)

Just dicovered this at Google Video, don’t miss: What Old People Do For Fun

On some of my websites I use phpAdsNew to deliver and tracks ads. Unfortunately tracking of clicks doesn’t work for most html ads and with all kinds of interactive ads, flash ads and contextual advertising there is not much left where click-tracking works out of the box. But sometimes these html-codes contain not only a javascript-tag but some more code with the target url that is called when the ad is clicked or the form filled out. phpAdsNew offers an automatic way to change ads to enable tracking, unfortunately this works only for normal links, not for forms and javascript code.

In all other cases you can try to enhance the code yourself by adding “{targeturl:http://realtarget.com}” to the html code. PAN will automatically replace this with a tracking-redirect to the real code. That way you can track clicks on your html ads!