diego's weblog

there and back again

Monthly Archives: September 2007


Quote of the day: “It is better to be wrong than to be vague.” — Freeman Dyson

let’s go north!

Northwest Passage now open. On the plus side, you can now travel by sea between Europe and Asia. I sense tourism opportunities. Who said climate change was all bad?

apple tv & itunes tip: updating movie and tv show metadata

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t have cable anymore — just AppleTV — and as a result I’ve also organized my digital library much better to have access to it in remote mode (through the iTunes on the MacPro).

One of the problems of iTunes video importing is the information on the files. iTunes uses pretty much the same set of fields for music and videos, which is kind of insane, and especially insane in the case of TV shows. So instead of having a field for the Season of a show, aTV has to use the “Album” field, in a particular format (“24, Season 3”) to be recognized.

Not great.

What’s even zanier is that if you happen to take a particular DVD collection you have for a TV show and rip it to see on aTV, and then import it into iTunes, the episodes show up… in the Movies section. Ok, so that’s the default. Now suppose you save the files (pristine aTV-friendly-encoded MP4s) somewhere else and want to reimport them into iTunes… all the metadata is kept, as it should… except for the “TV Show” setting which reverts back to movie.

Frustrating to say the least. πŸ™‚

To fix this there’s some options. There’s Parsley is Atomically Delicious which will do the job, but the tool I use the most is Set Video Kind of Selected from Doug’s Applescripts (who also has a bunch of other useful stuff). This works great, although it seemed to create a tendency to crash iTunes when running in the middle of an aTV sync, but I’ll blame iTunes for that one. πŸ™‚


no passwords

Simple Authentication for the Web (PDF), a small paper that describes an interesting concept: passwordless-logins.

rainbow hash

Rainbow Hash Cracking. Your passwords are safe on Windows… not!


The problem(s) with OpenID. I can’t add much to it, other than this: I agree.

code beauty

Interesting argument on Beautiful Code — if perhaps a bit too pessimistic. πŸ™‚

ruby on os x: some useful links

So I’ve been using whatever free time I have to play a bit more with Ruby and Rails. Here’s some links that I’ve found useful for OS X:

  • Fink. Not Ruby-related, but definitely one of the first things I install in a new Mac. Another thing you probably want to install is MySQL (I have that running separately under Linux already), particularly since the GUI Tools for it have become pretty decent, across all platforms.
  • Netbeans 6. Currently still in beta (at Milestone 10) Netbeans is really the simplest way to play around with Ruby. It includes RubyGems integration — but beware: since it’s actually running JRuby, rather than Ruby, some things will not work and some gems may not be downloadable. To get started, though, it’s an option that’s hard to beat. Unless you’re a TextMate fiend, that is (hey, don’t get me wrong, I love TextMate, but it’s hard to beat an integrated debugger :)). Check out this Netbeans 6 RoR tutorial for more.
  • Ruby One-click Installer for OS X. Now, back in the “Pure Ruby” world, Ruby comes of course preinstalled in OS X but there are some things that aren’t in there by default and others that are outdated — the Ruby One-click Installer for OS X takes care of that. For a bare-bones getting started guide for Rails though, this one from the Apple Developer Connection fits quite well I think.
  • Locomotive. I confess I haven’t tried it (prefer to stick to the command line, just to understand all the rough edges better, or use Netbeans for trying out JRuby) but Locomotive definitely looks like a simple solution for getting Rails running on a Mac quickly.
  • Hpricot. Now, one of the first things I wanted to try out in some depth was HTML parsing. Ruby has REXML (example), but no default HTML parsing I could find. Hpricot seemed to fit the bill. I’m sure there are others out there, but from what I could tell Hpricot is fairly good and stable. Adding JSON to that is also pretty straightforward with the json gem.
  • …and to finish it off, another list: Rui, at The Tao of Mac has a good set of Ruby-related links. Check the dates — some of them are a bit stale.

And that’s it for now! πŸ™‚

if ipods could talk…

I’ve obviously gone off the deep end. We await anxiously until my brain decides to resume duties…

APL is write only

Conway’s Game of Life in one line of APL. This is why APL is often called a “write-only language.”

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