Accellerated screen capture

I've been on the lookout for an accellerated screen capture on Linux for a while but to no avail... If you know of an accellerated screen capture application (eg one I could use to capture Compiz effects smoothly @ 20fps) please let me know.

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DBA

DBA: Drivers before Activation.

I'll have to remember that next time I install XP, as after installing the Intel and JMicron RAID/SATA controller drivers Windows thought I had "major hardware changes" and required me to reactivate my machine... At which point it said I had reached the maximum number of activations (which really was only one, half an hour before, to be precise) so I had to call Microsoft to get that sorted out.

I wish I could opt out of all this genuine activation.

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Something new every day...

This one's my fault for skipping through the Python docs, but I recently found __getattr__ which is incredibly useful. One of those nifty features I missed from PHP when programming Python was the $$name variables, where I could name a variable based on the content of another or retrieve variables from the string (name) stored in another variable. __getattr__ does just this, and even better - You can call functions or methods with it too!

So here's my tip of the day: Both Python and __getattr__ are awesome Laughing

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NexStar3 eSATA+USB2.0 Enclosure

I recently bought a Vantec NexStar3 eSATA+USB2.0 enclosure plus a Western Digital 500GB SATA2 drive to go inside it. The enclosure and the drive are great, but when I put the two together I was having some really, really annoying problems.

My BIOS detected the drive fine, AHCI or IDE mode, and could bootup into Linux (I tried with Fedora, Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS). It's detected in the OS too, but not usable:

Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: ata7.00: exception Emask 0x10 SAct 0xff SErr 0x780100 action 0x2
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: ata7.00: irq_stat 0x08000000
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: ata7.00: cmd 60/20:00:af:96:bc/00:00:05:00:00/40 tag 0 cdb 0x0 data 16384 in
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel:          res 40/00:3c:e5:70:cc/00:00:1e:00:00/40 Emask 0x10 (ATA bus error)
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: ata7.00: cmd 60/80:08:d0:86:cc/00:00:05:00:00/40 tag 1 cdb 0x0 data 65536 in
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel:          res 40/00:3c:e5:70:cc/00:00:1e:00:00/40 Emask 0x10 (ATA bus error)
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: ata7.00: cmd 60/7f:10:50:87:cc/00:00:05:00:00/40 tag 2 cdb 0x0 data 65024 in
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel:          res 40/00:3c:e5:70:cc/00:00:1e:00:00/40 Emask 0x10 (ATA bus error)
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: ata7.00: cmd 60/08:18:e7:87:cc/00:00:05:00:00/40 tag 3 cdb 0x0 data 4096 in
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel:          res 40/00:3c:e5:70:cc/00:00:1e:00:00/40 Emask 0x10 (ATA bus error)
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: ata7.00: cmd 60/07:20:66:7b:4c/00:00:12:00:00/40 tag 4 cdb 0x0 data 3584 in
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel:          res 40/00:3c:e5:70:cc/00:00:1e:00:00/40 Emask 0x10 (ATA bus error)
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: ata7.00: cmd 60/02:28:e3:70:cc/00:00:1e:00:00/40 tag 5 cdb 0x0 data 1024 in
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel:          res 40/00:3c:e5:70:cc/00:00:1e:00:00/40 Emask 0x10 (ATA bus error)
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: ata7.00: cmd 60/07:30:79:b1:d4/00:00:01:00:00/40 tag 6 cdb 0x0 data 3584 in
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel:          res 40/00:3c:e5:70:cc/00:00:1e:00:00/40 Emask 0x10 (ATA bus error)
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: ata7.00: cmd 60/06:38:e5:70:cc/00:00:1e:00:00/40 tag 7 cdb 0x0 data 3072 in
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel:          res 40/00:3c:e5:70:cc/00:00:1e:00:00/40 Emask 0x10 (ATA bus error)
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: ata7: soft resetting port
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: ata7: SATA link up 3.0 Gbps (SStatus 123 SControl 300)
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: ata7.00: configured for UDMA/133
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: ata7: EH complete
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] 976773168 512-byte hardware sectors (500108 MB)
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Write cache: enabled, read cache: enabled, doesn't support DPO or FUA
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: scsi 6:0:0:0: Direct-Access     DMI      WD1600BB-00GUC0  3.52 PQ: 0 ANSI: 0
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: sd 6:0:0:0: [sdc] 312581808 512-byte hardware sectors (160042 MB)
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: sd 6:0:0:0: [sdc] Write Protect is off
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: sd 6:0:0:0: [sdc] Assuming drive cache: write through
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: sd 6:0:0:0: [sdc] 312581808 512-byte hardware sectors (160042 MB)
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: sd 6:0:0:0: [sdc] Write Protect is off
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: sd 6:0:0:0: [sdc] Assuming drive cache: write through
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel:  sdc: sdc1 sdc2 < sdc5 sdc6 > sdc3
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: sd 6:0:0:0: [sdc] Attached SCSI disk
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: sd 6:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg3 type 0
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: NET: Registered protocol family 10
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: lo: Disabled Privacy Extensions
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: floppy0: no floppy controllers found
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: No dock devices found.
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: device-mapper: ioctl: 4.11.0-ioctl (2006-10-12) initialised: dm-devel@redhat.com
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: device-mapper: multipath: version 1.0.5 loaded
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: EXT3 FS on sda1, internal journal
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: ata7.00: exception Emask 0x10 SAct 0x2 SErr 0x580100 action 0x2
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: ata7.00: irq_stat 0x08000000
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: ata7.00: cmd 60/80:08:27:97:bc/00:00:05:00:00/40 tag 1 cdb 0x0 data 65536 in
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel:          res 40/00:0c:27:97:bc/00:00:05:00:00/40 Emask 0x10 (ATA bus error)
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: ata7: soft resetting port
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: ata7: SATA link up 3.0 Gbps (SStatus 123 SControl 300)
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: ata7.00: configured for UDMA/133
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: ata7: EH complete
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] 976773168 512-byte hardware sectors (500108 MB)
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
Aug 15 23:32:56 LinuxBox kernel: sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Write cache: enabled, read cache: enabled, doesn't support DPO or FUA

After tons of messages like that and a few minutes, a "soft reset" and "EH complete" would occur and only then would a tiny bit of data get through. Right after that the link froze up again with tons of errors.

So I googled, changed ports, changed wires, used different eSATA wires, nothing changed. I tried the drive internally and it's perfectly fine, it operated at full 3.0Gbps - SATA II speed. After hours of searching I learned this:

  • The ICH8 SATA controller on the GA-965P-S3 (rev 1.0) doesn't actually support AHCI. Later revisions of the ICH8, for example the ones on the GA-965P-S3 rev 3.3, do though. /me grumbles...
  • The one time the drive did work without the link failing was when it was reset enough times and auto-negotiated the link down to 1.5Gbps - Perhaps electrical interference was the problem.
  • All SATA II Western Digital drives have a manual override for the SATA link speed using the jumpers: putting a jumper on the second column of pins will limit the drive to 1.5Gbps (regular SATA speed)

As you can probably guess, the first point is just a major annoyance and the last two solved the problem. My drive now boots up with a 1.5Gbps link, so no need to let it fail for a while before using it. As for the enclosure, it's a great buy for it's value - I got it for $40 CAD. It features SATA connectors inside and as mentioned above can be plugged in via USB or eSATA. Vantec even supplies you with an eSATA cable and an SATA --> eSATA bracket!

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It's been a while...

It's been a while since I blogged, I've been pretty busy... But anyways, I went to see the Family Guy Live! show last month, it was really funny. If they come by next year and you're a Family Guy fan, make sure to go and see it - It's well worth it!

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fwbackups 1.43.1

fwbackups 1.43.1 is done... It includes a new "follow links" backup option, fixes several bugs present in 1.43.0 and also has a full set of documentation installed to /usr/share/gnome/help/fwbackups.

Sorry for the inconvienience, but it turns out automatic backups in 1.43.0 doesn't work at all so if you're using automatic backup, it is a good idea to update to 1.43.1.

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Gazette and CTV interview!

Last May (the week of the 21st) I was interviewed by the Gazette by surprise - one of my clients had sent a letter to the Gazette and they wanted to interview me about Diffingo and the free support/software I offer. Then the same day that the article was published CTV asked for and interview as well! If you'd like to have a look, here is the article and the CTV interview:

Gazette article (PNG image, 5.8MB)
CTV Interview (QuickTime/MP4 movie, 3.3MB)

Need QuickTime? Get it here.

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Exams, here I come

I'm heading for my exams the next three weeks, so I'm not going to be around as much on fedoraforum, IRC and for programming... I'm working on feature requests for fwbackups RC3, so hopefully that will be out in July when I have time to work on it again. Anyways the good news is I did my lab exam today and it was fairly easy.

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firewing1.com, info

firewing1.com and firewing1.info should redirect here now...

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Audio, Video, Pitch!

I did something random but rather amusing this weekend:

  1. Take your favorite video, it doesn't matter what.
  2. Use Avidemux2, a great video editor to export just the audio as a WAV. To do this, select WAV PCM as your audio codec and then select Audio > Save from the menu.
  3. Open the resulting .wav in Audacity and use the Change Pitch filter on the entire file.
  4. TIP: -30% sound like low-pitch and +35% sounds more high-pitch.
  5. Export your Audacity project as a .wav PCM file.
  6. Now, return to Avidemux and select Audio > Main Track. Choose External PCM from the dropdown and now locate your saved WAV from Audacity.
  7. Change the audio codec to FFmpg MP2, 128kbps.
  8. Change the video codec to DVD(lavc) and make sure the Container is 'MPEG PS+AV'
  9. Save your new video and laugh

It usually takes a while to encode, and the quality won't probably be great... But it's still pretty funny. Some of my mpeg's didn't work, for that I had to play to fiddle with the framerate & filters among other things for an hour or two before they turned out right.

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