Countdown to Palm Pre

 
I’m dying for this thing to come out. I’m even more hopeful that I’ll get my hands on it come release day.
 
 
 


 
 
Countdown to Pre-Day

Restreaming ASF to MP3 Via Icecast and VLC

Say you have an internet radio stream that you like to listen to. You like to actually get up from your computer once in a while and go outside, so you want to play it on your iPhone/Blackberry/G1/Treo/Centro/Pre/Whatever as you’re out and about. But wait! Due to poor decision making by your beloved stream provider, your favorite stream is only in Microsoft’s poorly-supported ASF streaming format. There’s no MP3 or OGG options! Many if not all of the phones I just mentioned may/will not play these streams, at least not natively. MP3 on the other hand, is ubiquitous (though, given, not truly as free as OGG). One option you may have, if you run your own Linux server, is to download the ASF stream, re-encode it to MP3, and re-stream it via your own Icecast server. Icecast is easy enough to set up, however information on setting up the VLC portion of this workaround online seems a little slim online, so I thought I’d make a post simplifying the setup.

First off, check to make sure your VLC has “Shout” Shoutcast/Icecast output support:

vlc --list | grep access_output_shout

You should see the following in the output:

access_output_shout IceCAST output

If not, you may need to either re-install with a version of VLC that supports shout output, or recompile it with shout support.

Then run the following command, altering the items in bold for your purposes (all on one line):

cvlc "http://classicalstream2.publicradio.org/classical" ':sout=#transcode{acodec=mp3,ab=192,channels=2}:duplicate{dst=std{access=shout,mux=raw,dst=source:YOURPASSWORD@your.icecast.server.com:8000/mpr.mp3}}' --sout-shout-mp3 --sout-shout-name="MPR MP3 Restream" --sout-shout-description="Restreaming of MPR" --sout-shout-url="http://minnesota.publicradio.org" --sout-shout-genre="Liberal Tripe" --loop

Assuming you have already properly set up your Icecast server, you should now have a mountpoint running the stream you have just created.

Note that VLC seems to have problems parsing some ASX playlist files. You may need to download the ASX file with wget to investigate what the actual stream URL is. For example, the stream above came from “http://minnesota.publicradio.org/tools/play/streams/classical.asx”, which had these contents:

<ASX version="3.0">
   <ABSTRACT>The Windows Media Stream for MPR's Classical Music Service</ABSTRACT>
   <TITLE>MPR Classical Windows Stream</TITLE>
   <AUTHOR>Minnesota Public Radio</AUTHOR>
   <COPYRIGHT>2009 Minnesota Public Radio</COPYRIGHT>
   <MOREINFO HREF = "http://minnesota.publicradio.org" />
   <ENTRY>
      <TITLE>MPR Classical Windows Stream Underwriter</TITLE>
      <COPYRIGHT>2009 Minnesota Public Radio</COPYRIGHT>
      <REF HREF="http://ondemand2.publicradio.org/ondemand/joinnow.wma"/>
      <BANNER HREF="http://www.publicradio.org/applications/underwriters/images/prepend/content/joinnow.gif">
          <MOREINFO HREF = "https://contribute.publicradio.org/"></MOREINFO>
      </BANNER>
   </ENTRY>
   <ENTRY>
      <TITLE>MPR Classical Windows Stream</TITLE>
      <COPYRIGHT>2009 Minnesota Public Radio</COPYRIGHT>
      <REF HREF="http://classicalstream2.publicradio.org/classical"/>
      <BANNER HREF="http://www.publicradio.org/applications/underwriters/images/prepend/content/joinnow.gif">
          <MOREINFO HREF = "https://contribute.publicradio.org/"></MOREINFO>
      </BANNER>
   </ENTRY>
</ASX>

As you can see, the first item in the playlist is NPR’s obligatory call (**cough** commercial **cough**) for donations (http://ondemand2.publicradio.org/ondemand/joinnow.wma). The second is your actual stream URL (http://classicalstream2.publicradio.org/classical). You’ll want to use the stream URL in your VLC command.

Also, I have seen cases where VLC pukes on some ASF streams. Though I haven’t confirmed this, it appears to be a bug with downsampling/resampling (http://mailman.videolan.org/pipermail/vlc-devel/2009-February/056823.html). In these cases, you may need to look that the 1.0.0 prerelease versions, which may not be available on your distro release (Fedora, for example, doesn’t have it until 11). Good luck!

UPDATE 10/27/09: It would appear that the precompiled RPMs offered on the VLC site for 1.0 or higher do not contain support for shout output. Not a big deal. Just download the source RPM (e.g., from http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/development/source/SRPMS/) install the sources (rpm -Uvh vlc-1.0.3-0.1_rc.fc12.src.rpm), and edit the vlc.spec file (usually found in ~/rpmbuild/SPECS/). Look for a line that says “–enable-realrtsp \” and add a line below it that says “–enable-shout \”. Save and close the file, then run “rpmbuild -ba vlc.spec”. After it recompiles, install the updated RPMs (cd ~/rpmbuild/RPMS/x86_64/ ; yum –nogpgcheck reinstall vlc-core-1.0.3-0.1_rc.fc11.x86_64.rpm vlc-1.0.3-0.1_rc.fc11.x86_64.rpm). Make sure to alter the above paths to reflect your architecture, Fedora release, and vlc version.

Palm Pre Release Date Hinted?

Could this be a hint at the release date for the Palm Pre?

http://blog.palm.com/palm/2009/04/sprints-new-pre-portal-news-videos-tweetsand-doughnuts.html

I’m taking a shot at yes. Here’s why it makes sense to me:

– Why else would you put up a countdown to zero (Doughnut, btw) to such an obscure holiday?
– As has been restated by Palm and Sprint repeatedly, the date falls in the first half of the year (albeit late).
– It’s a few weeks after the start of the just-announced Sprint vacation freeze
– It’s the weekend before WWDC, potentially stealing the iPhone 3.0 / next-gen iPhone thunder.

Now, my only skepticism of the date is how close it lands to WWDC. Either the Pre will be a massive hit, and the buzz will be loud enough going into the following week to drown out the potential iPhone announcement, OR the Pre buzz quickly loses steam following launch, drowned out by the well-established Apple fanboy crowd. The potential for loss on this toss of the dice is pretty great.

That’s why I’m making one additional prediction: Palm drops another bomb on release day. Probably some yet-unseen killer app that the iPhone doesn’t have. I’m guessing something that exploits the multitasking capabilities, and furthermore, can’t be done via push. Palm needs something more just after the release to keep the unique multitasking abilities of the Pre in the front of people’s minds right through the iPhone announcement.

If I’m right, you can say you heard it here first.

Update 5/20/2009: So close.

Obama Defines “Change”.

“Change”

http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/04/07/1330229

Not that I have a problem with this policy. I just think it’s funny how the mass of Obama supporters assumed that this was what “Change” meant. In reality, the only Change in store is more government control over you.

Palm Pre Goodness

I’ve been drooling over this device since it was announced in January. Now that ads are actually starting to show up, the only thing left to see is a release date.

UPDATE: Adding new commercial clips as they come out.

PROC Machine Chk processor sensor transitioned to non-recoverable

Just making a quick post to help out any Googler’s out there looking for the solution to this problem. I had a Dell SC1425 pizza box server with an error/alarm light on it’s face recently. The alarm showed up when the server had been rebooted after a full lockup. I downloaded the Dell DSET utility and ran a report, which found this error:

PROC Machine Chk processor sensor transitioned to non-recoverable

Basically this means that the mainboard detected that the processor stopped responding (i.e., locked up), which of course we already knew.

To get rid of the alarm light, just run DSET again and tell it to clear the log. After you do so, your server lights should once again be a calming, cool blue.

Resolving a Persistent spoolsv.exe Error/Crash

Today I was troubleshooting a couple of network printers. One of them, I believed, had an incompatibility with “Standard TCP/IP” printing, via RAW communications. I tired other printer port options, including the HP TCP/IP port. I found out later on that the printer itself (a multifunction copier actually) did not have printing capability enabled. In the process of installing a printer driver later in the day, I ran into this error:

The instruction at “0x00000000” referenced memory at “0x00000000”. The memory could not be “written”.

The error wouldn’t go away. Reboots did nothing. Clearing out all registry references of the printers and drivers that I had been troubleshooting did nothing. Deleting my printer drivers folder only made things worse (as you’ll read later) Even a reverting to an earlier System Restore point failed. Finally, after finding tidbits of information online here and there, nothing with a complete solution, I tried removing this key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Monitors\HP Standard TCP IP port

I then restarted “Print Spooler” in the Services control panel (services.msc), and my Printer control panel finally displayed properly, without crash. Unfortunately for me, I then had to delete all my printers, as I had deleted all of my printer drivers and none of the installed printers were functional.

So if you run into this error, try deleting the key above before attempting anything else.

Obama Yuks It Up Over the Collapsing Economy

Now, I’m no fan of the American auto industry either, but for much different reasons than Obama. Obama sees the auto industry as a whole as evil greedy capitalist pollution profiteers, and clearly takes joy in overseeing their demise. He sees the collapse of the American auto industry as a success of his ideals.

I, on the other hand, dislike what the American automobile makers have allowed to have happen to their once prosperous industry. One has to ask the question: Why are the foreign owned, yet locally manufactured, automobiles doing just fine in today’s economy, yet the American manufacturers are struggling? The answer: Unions. The successful auto makers never bowed to union pressure. Foreign companies realized the hazard of giving up control of their own companies to socialist union thugs, pushing unsustainable pension plans and benefits. If the American auto industry had the spine to kick them out years ago, they’d be much better off now.

MuchTall.com: In With WordPress, Out With PHPNuke

I’m finally taking the plunge into WordPress. I’ve moved all of the accounts (minus passwords), categories, stories, and comments over from the old PHPNuke site. I have yet to pretty up the theme, but I just couldn’t wait any longer. PHPNuke was just too difficult to maintain, and worse, was prone to spamming from bot-created accounts.

More changes to come.