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Tech Notes (Tag: howto)

RSS, Wuala, and Perpetual Refactoring

Wuala RSS iGoogle screen shot

This article was originaly going to describe how to quickly code an RSS view of a Wuala folder. Unfortunately "feature creep" can wreak havoc on personal projects because, unlike the real world where schedule is paramount, at home I am beholden to nothing other than the desire to get something out there. In this case, I completed the core code over three months ago. The remaining time was spent fiddling, extending and refactoring. By the time I was done I had crept from a simple PHP script, to a mashup of RSS, JSON, JSONP, jQuery, Google feeds, Apache tweaks, and more CSS than I ever want to see again. The result is a fairly stable service that will hopefully not be obsoleted by a Wuala update in the next six months.

RSS is a universal format that allows users and applications to "subscribe" to things that change. Wuala provides a powerful file-sharing ecosystem that is easily accessible through a desktop client. Joining the two would allow users and applications to receive a notification that something has changed in a specific Wuala folder. With this service in place, many new tools and applications are now possible.

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By Jonathan

How To Watch The 2010 Winter Olympics Online

The Olympics are one of a only few events that cause me to rethink my 2006 decision to forego cable and satellite television. Most of the time I can either stream shows (e.g. Hulu or Netflix Watch Instantly) or purchase a single episode or season through iTunes or Amazon Video on Demand. A dedicated Mac Mini connected to my TV makes all of these online choices easy to use.

The trouble started when I wanted to watch a live Olympic event. Since subscribing to and installing Comcast XFINITY for two weeks would have been difficult, my only remaining choice was to find a live streaming source.

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By Jonathan

DVD Ripping

Audrey and I have a diverse movie collection. From Strange Brew (mine) to Roman Holiday (hers), Metropolis (mine) to Groundhog Day (hers). A few years ago I started converting our DVD collection from its physical medium to an electronic format that I could use in multiple environments.

Although the software I used has changed over the years, the process remains the same: copy the MPEG-2 stream from the DVD, remove the copy protection, convert to a newer encoding scheme.

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By Jonathan

© irondojo · 2010 · Jonathan Camp