Monday, November 12, 2012

Handbrake: No title(s) found.

Your Source may be copy protected, badly mastered or in a format which Handbrake does not support.
Please refer to the Documentation and FAQ (see Help Menu)
Install DVD43 and try Handbrake again.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Encoding ogv files to edit in Adobe Premiere

To convert the Ogg Vorbis/Theora output from RecordMyDesktop to edit in Adobe Premiere (Elements 10 for me) using ffmpeg:
ffmpeg -i out-48.ogv -s 1920x1080 -r pal -b 36M -threads 2 -vcodec dnxhd -acodec libmp3lame
A Windows install of the DNxHD/VC-3 codec can be installed from:

And you should then have a nicely behaving video in Premiere at native settings.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Linux - finding duplicate filenames in subdirectories

There are lots of complicated answers out there, this seems simpler and faster than all of them:
find . -maxdepth 2 -printf "%f\n" | sort | uniq -di
Apparently this will fail if you have file names containing new line characters.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Arch Linux on an Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD

Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD HDD/SSD Swap Mainly in comparison to the UX31E. I moved my installation, so some things I will have had setup from that, and some things may have been setup wrongly.
  • Battery life seems to have been improved greatly by updating to BIOS 211 from 206, and of course turning off the dedicated nVidia graphics card (see bumblebee below). It's predicted at anywhere from four to six hours. The fans go most of the time, so maybe this could be improved.
  • I found that with BIOS 211 (or at least that's when I noticed it) I had to disable "XHCI Pre-Boot" or else any devices not connected at boot would not be recognised when connected, but I don't really know what this does. This appears to be fixed with later BIOSes.
  • Most of the function keys are working, of note:
    • Keyboard backlight keys work with a script posting to /sys/class/leds/asus::kbd_backlight/brightness.
    • Since kernel 3.7.3 screen brightness keys are working out of the box with boot parameter acpi_osi=
  • The keyboard does seem a lot better, however the track pad seems a little loose, it moves a bit on pressing before the click.
  • The touchpad is made by Elantech, and multi-touch response seems better than the Sentelic one on the UX31E. Right-click needs to be configured with the SoftButtonAreas option.
  • I was pleased that there's a full sized HDMI socket, however the cable does get in the way of my mouse. I've ordered a right angled HDMI adapter.
  • The Atheros AR9485 wireless adapter has been replaced by an Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235, which seems faster on my home connection in my bedroom (though I guess that could be down to a better aerial).
  • Bumblebee works with the nVidia drivers, but for me not the nouveau drivers. Note the bbswitch modprobe.d options.
  • The laptop screen still never comes on if I have an HDMI device plugged in at boot :(((
  • If you go looking for it the backlight bleed is quite bad, ie, it's very noticeable on a completely black screen, but in day to day usage I don't notice it.
  • There is a massive disparity in the DPI between the screen and my external monitor. I have not yet found a solution to automatically adjust when a) using both screens simultaneously or b) switching between the two.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Flickr API Authentication Pitfalls

Or Things That I Don't Think Are Clear Enough in the Flickr Documentation, I do accept however that they are (may be) standards documented elsewhere on the net. Examples are in PHP.
  1. Your first request, to request the Request Token token (no, that is not a typo), should be SHA1 hashed using your API Secret (AKA Consumer Secret) followed by an ampersand as the key, since you don't have a Token Secret yet. ie:
     hash_hmac('sha1', $base, "$secret&", true)
  2. Your second request, for an Access Token, should be hashed using your API Secret followed by an ampersand followed by the Token Secret returned in step one as a key. After this step you should start using the Token Secret returned by this step.
  3. The "base string" to be hashed should be the exact query string (including both equal signs and ampersands, alphabetically ordered by name, values url encoded) url encoded. ie, query values should be url encoded twice, leading oauth_callback values to look like:
  4. The hash should be a url encoded base64 encoded binary, not hex as is the PHP default, so you need to include true as the last hash_hmac parameter, ie:
    urlencode(base64_encode(hash_hmac('sha1', $base, "$secret&$tokensecret", true)))
  5. The oauth_nonce is a random eight digit integer, used to make each call unique.

Monday, August 20, 2012

ASUS Not Releasing Zenbook UX32VD In The UK?

There are quite a few reasons why I want to get an ASUS UX32VD. I currently have a UX31E, which I like a lot, but it does have its flaws, the keyboard is especially bad, and the screen is not great. With its IPS, full HD screen and improved keyboard the UX32VD should address these issues, the screen particularly has me drooling, but on top of that it has both dedicated and integrated GPUs and of course an Ivy Bridge processor and still seems a reasonable price (approximately £850). So I contacted ASUS to ask them when the UX32VD would be available in the UK. The reply surprised me, apparently they're not planning to release it in the UK at all. Having said that, several UK sites were selling the machine, so I contacted a couple. One said that they were getting in 20 at the beginning of August, but that 19 of those were already pre-ordered. After a bit of thought I put in my order but missed the last one. Not to worry they told me, they're getting in another 40 at the beginning of September. There, I Fixed ItThrowing caution to the wind I pre-ordered from two online shops. On the 16 and 17 August both shops contacted me to say that the UX32VD would not be available, at all. Maybe the UK market's just too small to worry about, or maybe they're making sure they don't get burned again with old unsold stock, or maybe I'm just not being patient enough.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Giving eBay Negative Feedback

A couple of weeks ago I gave an eBay user negative feedback. It was a little harsh, but I felt fair. The member in question has nearly 600 positive feedbacks, and with my single negative still has 99.8% positive and is still rated as a "Top Seller". Be this as it may, he wasn't pleased. At first he pleaded with me to remove the negative feedback, and I replied with my reasons of giving him the negative feedback. Then he made a small threat, and then he started trying to bribe me, offering me £10 to remove the negative feedback, none of which I responded to. Then, using a different account, he bought something I was selling. At this point I contacted eBay by phone, which was a fairly pleasant and reassuring experience. Having blocked him, and after a week of silence I thought that the situation had been resolved, but no, last night he sent me another email offering me £20. So this morning I called eBay again, mainly to query how a blocked user was able to message me. The man I spoke to said that members who you were already in a transaction with would always be able to message you, but assured me that he took the situation very seriously and that it would be looked into. After putting the phone down I received a transcript of the call. Unfortunately it bore very little resemblance to the conversation that I'd just had. I've no idea why his name is Sandra, and the time is out by at least ten minutes. The seller and item details are correct, so I think it's the right call.
jamiekitson 09:44:02

Sandra Long 09:45:24
Thank you for contacting eBay Live Help, my name is Sandra. How may I help you today?

jamiekitson 09:46:30
Hi i would like to report a seller for forcing me to remove the feedback that i left
That much is true, and fairly close to what I actually remember of the conversation, but from here it gets further and further from the truth and what I actually said.
jamiekitson 09:46:37
can you please help me

Sandra Long 09:47:31
Hello, Jamie.

jamiekitson 09:47:45

Sandra Long 09:48:02
I understand you want to report your seller as they are forcing you to remove the feedback you left. I'll be happy to look into this for you. While I'm reviewing your account, are there any additional concerns you would like me to address for you today?

jamiekitson 09:48:25
that's it

jamiekitson 09:48:32
here;s the info that you need

jamiekitson 09:48:42
Seller: ***********

jamiekitson 09:48:49
Item number: **********

Sandra Long 09:49:42
Don't worry, I will do my best to help you resolve this matter. Please bear with me for a few moments while I investigate this for you.

jamiekitson 09:50:11

jamiekitson 09:50:19

Sandra Long 09:54:20
Thanks for waiting.

jamiekitson 09:54:30

Sandra Long 09:54:36
We want to assure you that we'll take appropriate action if necessary based on our site rules.

Sandra Long 09:54:49
The action we take may include formal warnings, temporary account restrictions and indefinite suspension, depending on the severity of the policy breach. Members who receive a warning or a temporary suspension will be able to continue to trade on eBay.

Sandra Long 09:54:53
As I'm sure you'll understand, member privacy is one of our top priorities, so we won't be able to update you about the results of this investigation

Sandra Long 09:55:13
It will still be your own discretion if you will remove the feedback, Jamie.

jamiekitson 09:55:24

jamiekitson 09:56:07
but this seller is already warn that it is not allowed to harrass an ebayer nor threat them if you cant get what you want right?
I didn't know that, so it's quite unlikely that I would have said it. Especially like that.
jamiekitson 09:56:24
Definitely i wont remove the feedback
Nope, didn't say that.
jamiekitson 09:56:35
so the other buyers will know how bad he is
Didn't say that either.
Sandra Long 09:57:41
Yes, it is your right to leave the appropriate feedback.

jamiekitson 09:57:57

jamiekitson 09:58:22
but what i am trying to say is what kind of warning that you will be sending to this seller?]
Didn't ask that.
jamiekitson 09:58:46
it should be a serious issue because he is trying to tell me that he can come here and break my neck
I definitely didn't say that, and he has never threatened me with violence.
jamiekitson 09:58:53
i already reported this member to local police
Also completely untrue.
Sandra Long 09:59:44
I assure you that we will be taking the appropriate action.

jamiekitson 09:59:49

jamiekitson 09:59:59
Thank you

jamiekitson 10:00:10
that's it

jamiekitson 10:00:11

jamiekitson 10:00:15
have a great day

Sandra Long 10:01:28
It's my pleasure to assist you, will there be anything else I can help you with?

jamiekitson 10:02:46
none so far

jamiekitson 10:02:47

The chat session is being wrapped up.

The chat session has ended.

This chat was on 08/16/2012. All times in the above transcript are in the following time zone: (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time : Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London

So now I am left feeling like I want to contact the eBay member to tell him that I didn't accuse him of these things and take his side against eBay.

UPDATE: After emailing eBay with a couple of my comments above, I received the following reply:
Thanks for emailing us back about this seller. I understand your concern that they are still selling on eBay...

Saturday, June 30, 2012

eBay Rule 1: Don't be a fucking idiot

I recently put a laptop up for sale on the ever more expensive eBay. A few days after the listing had started I received notification from eBay that my listing had been cancelled by them. The reason? I had specified that I would accept cash, but had not specified that buyers should not send cash through the post. What fucking idiots send cash through the post? Apart from it being absolutely bleeding obvious, it is also completely within eBay's power to warn buyers not to post cash themselves, they could put a big warning in bold red type right next to the option. I have now relisted my item with the following warning:

Please note: ebay cancelled my previous auction because I did not specify that cash should not be sent by post, so please remember not to send cash by post. Also, do not play with sharp knives, use matches/lighters near petrol, or jump off cliffs.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Hot Chocolate Reviews

Cafe, Brighton

This place seems to be called "Cafe" is now called Nest. It's on Kensington Gardens, and if it has a proper name then I can't find it. Apart from the name I like it, it's got a relaxed atmosphere that I like and the staff seem to be happy to please, it's one place that I know will do me a real coffee milkshake.

The hot chocolate looked promising, stirring it I found it to be thick and the colour was very dark. Unfortunately that promise lead me to be doubly disappointed as it tasted of nothing bar sugar. I didn't finish it and they might as well have used Cadbury's, it would have tasted better.

If you had blind folded me and spooned it into my mouth I would probably have guessed at custard. I can only imagine that the colour was artificial, and by that I do not mean they necessarily used chemicals, but that it was not from cocoa.


I usually get one of their excellent (and award winning) coffees, but today I saw an almond croisant and hope their hot chocolates might be as good as their coffees. It tasted like a standard milk + cocoa. Slightly bitter for my tastes, but maybe I was supposed to add my own sugar.

Caffe Vergnano 1882

Caffe Vergnano 1882, or Luciano Franchi Caffe Vergnano 1882 to give it its full name, does very intense hot chocolate. A very very intense hot chocolate. It's thick like melted chocolate. It was too intense for me, I could barely finish it.

Konditor & Cook

Originally I only knew K&C for very special cakes, but they do savoury too, from salads to very nice scotch eggs, but I usually go back for the hot chocolate. It's my favourite. It's a slightly thick in a custardy way and chocolaty and a touch bitter with just the right amount of sweetness. I can just about finish a whole one without being sick.

FreeState Coffee

Promising, but way way too sweet.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Addison Lee on Cyclists

I wasn't that surprised to hear recently of Addison Lee head John Griffin's opinions on cyclists, after I had my own run in with one of their drivers in August 2010. At the time I wrote the following complaint, I heard nothing in reply.

I was cycling home on Friday night/Saturday morning and encountered one of your drivers just before 1:30am at the junction of Abbeville Road and Trouville Road. He slowly cut across my path and seemed to stop in the junction. I wasn't particularly bothered and cycled around him onto Trouville Road and then turned into my house. As I was unlocking my front door the same minicab drew up and the driver shouted "Next time I'm going to beat you motherfucker!"

After driving down the street the minicab turned round and I walked out into the street to see what he wanted. He continued to shout at me for not having stopped for him. I explained that it was my right of way but he said that "that doesn't matter". He then drove off and I took a picture of the back of his cab using my mobile phone.

Considering that I was at my front door, ie, he knows where I live, I take his threat very seriously and would like your assurance that he will not come back and "beat me". I would also like to know what measures you are going to take to make sure that he does not threaten someone else who may be less able to defend him/herself than a 30 year old 6 foot male. I do not know how seriously the police will take a single threat of this nature, but considering all the information I have it surely would not take much to trace the driver.

I would describe the driver as 40ish, with lank greasy hair, tanned completion and a fairly thick, possibly Spanish accent.

Looking forward to your reply, Jamie Kitson

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Arch Linux on an Asus Zenbook UX31E

Arch/Linux specific:
  • The most annoying issue is that if I have an HDMI device plugged in at boot, which I usually do at home, then the laptop screen will not come on. Possibly related to issues I have unplugging HDMI.
  • Adding i915.i915_enable_rc6=1 to you kernel boot options can result in considerable cooling and power savings. This Ubuntu article recommends disabling VT-d in the BIOS. Shutdown issues have been fixed in Kernel 3.3-rc6.
  • UEFI: The boot menu seems to be on the last page of the BIOS setup page. This doesn't seem to be automatically populated beyond a single item for each boot partition, presumably booting /efi/boot/bootx64.efi, but you can add your own boot item by manually entering the path. If you always want to boot into grub, and use grub's own boot menu, then copy grub.efi to the above file.
  • The Grub2/Asus UEFI issue seems to have been fixed by 2.00 Beta 2, 21 March 2012.
  • The Sentelic touchpad works out of the box, but to get scrolling etc working use Saaros's patch. Recompiling the kernel with this patch is fairly straight forward if you follow the instructions carefully. I have to say that with the patch, the pad seems less accurate and tapping seems slightly less sensitive (or maybe just slower?), which is a shame.
  • Sleep/suspend to RAM works if you add xhci_hcd, ehci_hcd and uhci_hcd to SUSPEND_MODULES.
  • The function keys (mute, volume, brightness) either work out of the box(!) or carried on working from when I'd set them up for my X220.
  • Brightness adjustments made using the keyboard do not get reflected in /sys/class/brightness, but this is being fixed.
  • Battery life seems pretty amazing, at 5-6 hours, even under Linux.
  • Cheekily Asus advertise the disk capacities as 64G/128G/256G, when, as they are SandForce based drives, they will actually be 60G/120G/240G.
  • The keyboard is not great, to say the least. Some of the keys do not register if you do not press them dead centre, however the trackpad is actually quite good as far as I am concerned.
  • The screen is quite cold/blue. There is a UX31E ICC profile on this review. You can use xcalib to load it in Linux, although it does make the top right hand corner a little green for me, so I am currently using the UX21E version.
  • The audio is excellent, for a laptop. Although the balance is off on mine.
  • Install the ATK/ACPI driver first. This is buried deep in the utilities section of the Asus download page.
  • If your machine wakes immediately after sleeping then you need to install the Power Option utility.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sorry, this program only supports ASUS notebook!

If after reinstalling Windows on an Asus machine you get "Sorry, this program only supports ASUS notebook!" or "This program can only be executed on the ASUS computer!" on trying to install/run drivers/utilities you need to install the ATK/ACPI driver first. This is buried deep in the utilities section of the Asus download page.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Extracting Images from SWF/Flash Websites

The Foragers Wins @ The Sussex Food AwardsMy brother is the head chef at the Foragers Pub in Hove. They recently won an award at the Sussex Food Awards. So far so good, apart from the tiny photo on the awards page and the fact that their pages are written entirely in Flash.

I know that the picture is available bigger, because I can zoom in, both by ctrl+mouse wheeling and using Firefox's zoom and by right clicking and using Adobe's zoom. However Firefox's zoom does not go far enough and I cannot scroll down the page while using Adobe's zoom. So to extracting the image, a simple enough task I thought. Except it's not, because the SWF file referenced by the HTML is virtually empty and once I had located the files they were apparently corrupt.

The best tool I found to get all resources used by an SWF is called SWF Web Vampire and if you need to do this a few times I would recommend buying it, $30 is not a lot of money.

SWF Decompiler, SWF Picture Extractor and the more Linux-y (ie, command line) SWF Tools all looked good, but all reported that the SWF image files I was getting from the website were corrupt. In the end I loaded them in IE and took a screen shot.

Incidentally I feel that the Sussex Food Awards have missed a trick here, if they made their photos easily available, but stamped their logo, and the logo of the company sponsoring the specific award on the image that would surely be a better situation for everyone involved?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

ext4 Driver for Windows 7

I've tried a few ext2/3/4 drivers for Windows and by far the best seems to be Ext2Fsd. The only thing to watch for is that you need to start the service after you install it by going Tools -> Service Management (F7).