10 Feb 2006

what google thinks of liquidx.net

google sitemaps has this new feature that tells you what the most frequent keywords are on your site. here's a shot of what it says on liquidx.net.

Sitemaps Keywords

so lets break this down a bit. so the words on the left are the ones that i mention most here, and for some reason, none of them are really things i talk about, but instead words that appear in the headers or footers of my page.

on the right are things that pages link to me describe this page as. that makes much more sense.
one interesting thing at the very bottom is "librairie"? what is that?

i really need to switch off the trac wiki so that i don't get so much crap about trac, changesets and navigation. geez! oh yeah, and on the top it says i have some pages that are in japanese language. i have no idea where these pages are .. if someone finds them, please tell me because i need to know!

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09 Feb 2006

upcoming cool things with google maps v2

there are hints of what is to come with google maps by some enterprising hackers and code voyeurs with the beta release of google maps api v2.

1. more zoom. they're putting in better images that you can already see on google maps. the google maps image for sydney and cambridge are much better between version 1 and version 2. right now, any apps that use the version 1 api are using the previous sets of satellite images. version 2 images are the ones you actually see on maps.google.com.

Google Maps Zoom

2. svg support. its right, they're adding svg to presumably draw the polylines that they have traditionally done with some sort of png hack. that is quite interesting as i believe they're going to go the angle of doing even more than just drawing way points by actually marking out buildings as you can see with the siemens alliance that was covered recently.

fun things to come with google maps!

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04 Feb 2006

nokia 6600 camera phone photos metadata

i've got a nokia 6600, and its been annoying me for over a year that there is no EXIF information in the photos themselves, so if i start moving files off the phone once every week, i'll get a bunch of photos with the wrong dates.

i just realised while playing around with exiftool and jhead that actually the original date IS stored in the photos, except that it is in the JPEG comments section rather than in its own EXIF header. so all i really have to do is to run it through a script that takes the date in the comments and run it through exiftool to get the DateTimeOriginal set.


btw, exiftool is a perl library and command line tool that does nearly everything you can think of with metadata in files, not just EXIF but PDF, ID3, ASF, Quicktime, etc. it is pretty incredible the amount of coverage it has got.

the nicest feature it has is that it can strip out certain types of EXIF headers. the reason why EXIF headers are so horrible to edit, add and delete is because of all the pointer craziness it has in the specification. all strings are stored somewhere else in the EXIF header and needs to be pointed to by an offset. so if you edit any part of the EXIF header, you'd probably need to rearrange everything. at least that is what i'm seeing by looking at parts of the source.

Phil Harvey has more ranting about the inner evil workings of EXIF and why it sucks.

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04 Feb 2006

super mario sound effects synthesizer

this is awesome. i was so in love with this that i got out swfextract and put the mario theme song as my ringtone and one of the sound effects as my message tone. that replaces the mac startup sound on my 6600 and the happy tree friends ringtone that i've had forever.


btw, i discovered that the nokia 6600 cannot play 16bit WAV files, but plays 8 bit WAV files fine. not to mention it doesn't play mp3s either without some third part software.

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04 Feb 2006

podcasts i listen to - again

so yesterday i was teased a bit about the amount of podcasts i listen to. i was asked whether it was 10, 15 or 20 podcasts i listen to per week. not quite sure, but i believe it might be more than 20 per week. here's what my itunes podcasts lists looks like


ok, so not all of them are updated daily or weekly. here's a list of podcasts the ones that i really do recommend listening to.
for the observant ones, you'll find that the list is hosted on a weird site called flists.com. it is actually a small project of mine to help me keep track of lists of things. anything from personal lists to fun things like podcasts i listen to or mac apps that i use, for entertainment and educational value. it isn't quite done yet, so i'm not really "launching" it, so to speak. but its one of the many side projects i have to waste my time with.

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04 Feb 2006

google reader - a second look

executive summary: still sucks

intrigued by the alleged quicksilver homage feature they put up according to their blog. i retried google reader again to see whether they had improved and whether i could build some smarter filtering on to their feed reader that i can't do with the current crop of feed readers like netnewswire or newsfire.

they've jazzed it up quite a bit. fancy newsfire like animation when you scroll around feeds -- its quite nice. i like the keyboard shortcuts that are similar to the ones in gmail, but i wish they had more, like "mark all as read" or better support for groups, etc.

i've saved the worst for last. two critical bugs i encountered while using it under safari. 1. couldn't import my OPML subscription list, just hangs there doing nothing. 2. couldn't even add the boing boing rss feed as it again, just hangs there doing nothing. maybe its my browser, but hell, if you're trying to pay homage to quicksilver by doing the sexy pop up bezel thing, at least make it work properly on a mac.

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03 Feb 2006

damn it is cold.

according to dashboard, its snowing, but its too cold to move to the window to check whether it really is. i'll find out tomorrow morning.


i need to explain that screenshot a little. i don't know anyone living in wellington, nz, but the problem is that for some reason, i can't get the right sydney time in the flipclock widget with the combination of crazy daylight saving hacks happening in australia due to the commonwealth games, the closest time i can get is wellington time!

hong kong time is self explanatory, the widget on the bottom is air traffic control, that lists the current wireless network and also other spotted networks, their signal strength and channel number. so there you go, our home wireless network is called intraweb, a little homage to crazy newbie netspeak. nice thing with this widget is it has a database of known MAC addresses and notices it is a linksys router. yes we run WEP here, so you can come around and hack our network if you want. that is because we have a mix of some older PCs that don't support WPA properly. i'd love to switch to WPA in a heartbeat, but i have to wait for my housemates to get rich enough and upgrade to a macbook pro! (haha i wish!)

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03 Feb 2006

hfsplus support under linux

back to some geeky programming on this blog:

i've been recently (ok, in the last 2 hours) i've been looking at the HFS+ support (mac os x default file system) support under linux. the problem is that there is no "common" file system that works on all platforms that doesn't suck.

1. FAT32 doesn't count because it barely supports files over 2G (has that changed recently, because i'm so detached from the windows world that i don't even know.)
2. NTFS has support on windows (obviously), mac (read only) and linux (read/write?) so that is one candidate.
3. Ext2/3 is supported on linux (obviously), there are third party drivers for mac and windows. I never got the mac driver to work well without running fsck over the whole fs every time it is mounted, but that was nearly a year ago.

i have a new 300G usb2 hard drive that i want to be able to use on both my mac and linux. so i can plug it in to either and share it on a network or do quick full backups on my powerbook. so the first thing i did was to format it hfs+, but i'm not quite sure that is a good idea. since i don't really care about windows support, i did some investigation into how well it is supported under linux.

so here's the current state as of 2.6.15, hfsplus is crippled to only mount journalised hfs+ as read only. before that, you could mount it, but if your partition was not cleanly umounted and the journal was not empty, the hfsplus module would ignore it and when you plug it back into a mac, it may or may not corrupt the partition, as apple explains in their technote.

a little diversion, i've been interacting with the new git repository on kernel.org, but it is actually quite a cool system. everyone can maintain their own repository with a list of patches and you can see exactly what patches each branch has applied and get the diff of it to revert on your own branch. for instance, check out the gregkh branch for the hfsplus module compared to the powerpc branch. there are some important bugfixes and even hfsx support. that is the case sensitive hfs+.

so i'm debating whether to mount hfs with --force to enable write, or just give the linux guys some time to either properly add journaling support (hint hint, here's the darwin implementation). or at least follow this guy's (who appears to be the linux-ntfs maintainer and cambridge student) recommendation and set the appropriate journaling version hack that older mac os uses to be able to mount journalising hfs+.

[UPDATE: oh yeah, i forgot to mention, hfsplusutils doesn't work at all on my usb external hard drive., and that the gentoo wiki page on hfsplus was quite informative about porting the bsd/darwin versions of mkfs.hfsplus and fsck.hfsplus. i have yet to try that, it seems a little too risky for my 300G of data at the moment. maybe if i have a spare external, i'll try that.]

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01 Feb 2006

cantonese podcast from cambridge

in one of my more fruitful trawls through itunes' podcast directory, i stumbled across a podcast that was made right in our backyard. half the people on the list of "guests" i know or recognise!


i haven't had time to listen to any of the episodes, but its kinda funny to think that they have anything to say ;) i will actually go and listen when i have some time. god i wish there was some tikibar action in cambridge! they have a content free website here, but i suppose if you want to subscribe, here's the itunes link or rss feed.

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01 Feb 2006

nothing like sitting on a blog post for a couple of hours

sometimes (actually at least once every month) i write a heated personal blog post which i rant on about something or someone that anyone who is not directly attached to me would not understand or even think that i'm a raving mad man roaming the streets of cambridge.

one of these blog posts cropped up earlier this week, except this time i had the presences of mind to save it as a draft in my ever trusty ecto and ponder about it for a couple of days. great thing i did that because otherwise i may have pissed off more than a few people. good news is for your sanity and for the continuing illusion that makes me appear sane, you'll never see that blog post.

the only part of that blog post you'll see is this below:
so, it is chinese new year. this year, it closely followed australia day, which makes two meaningless "holidays" in a month because i'm in cambridge uk. anyway, happy chinese new year to those who are celebrating it.

last year, i wound up in hong kong on chinese new years eve, known as "the 30th", and on chinese new year. i remember that in contrast to christmas in uk where everything closes for two or three days. things only shut down for a couple of hours in hong kong coz people can't wait to make more money!

to me, spending chinese new year in cambridge just means a regular day as usual, just like when australia day rolled around, i didn't even remember it till that night when i was figuring out what day it was from my calendar.

cambridge is still that old boring place, nothing much to do on chinese new year.

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