Missing EIT in Mythtv 0.22 (Welho, Helsinki)

I just upgraded my HTPC from some old Ubuntu to Debian Lenny, mostly to get the newest 0.22 version of MythTV. The installation was pretty straightforward except that the channel scanning didn’t work. For this I had to use the scan program to get a channels.conf file to import into MythTV. After that all was fine. Except that I didn’t have any EIT data. And that annoying problem has now been bugging me for over two weeks and hundreds of browsed MythTV forum pages and HOWTOs. Until I today found a solution.

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Filed under Geek speak, Linux

Rails: interning empty string

This is one of those errors in Rails that just make you go WTF!? The amount of debug information is minimal, and the row that supposedly is the culprit is syntactically correct. Even Google doesn’t really help. I gather that this error can occur in several different contexts and caused by different things, so I’m not trying to provide an all purpose solution to this. The case I’m going to show you is probably quite rare, but it happened to us at work today. I never figured out exactly why Rails chokes in this situation, but I found a way to reproduce the problem and also a solution. The main characters in this drama are the respond_to and render methods, and the main villain is a mysterious invisible parameter.

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Filed under Geek speak, Ruby on Rails

Getting iTunes Genius into MPD

I just wrote my first ever AppleScript to solve a problem I’ve had for some time. As I’ve mentioned several times before, I use the MPD music player on my HTPC to play music through my amplifier while controlling playback using my laptop or mobile phone. This works like a charm and I’ve been really satisfied with this setup — until I fell in love with iTunes’ Genius function.

I use iTunes on my MacBook and mainly at work, either listening through my headphones or streaming music to the office speakers using our AirPort Extreme. As my library is rather diverse, I like to use Genius to get an ad hoc playlist of similar songs to avoid the “shuffle all, press next until a good song comes along” selection method. Needless to say, Genius has worked fabulously. However, when I come home and start playing music through MPD, I’m back to the shuffle all hell since I can’t be bothered creating playlists manually.

So this got me thinking: Is there any way I can use iTunes Genius together with MPD? The answer is yes, and the tool I used is AppleScript.

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Filed under AppleScript, Geek speak, Linux, Mac

Gili T – Last days of the year and on the island

Hangover. Major hangover. The local vodka we had last night was either too impure or too plenty, or both. It’s the first day of the new year and our last day on Gili Trawangan. Today’s activities are kept to a minimum, we need to eat and Outi wanted to do some tanning on the beach. And since we’re leaving early in the morning on the 2nd, we need to make all preparations today. But that’s already more than our (or especially Fredrik’s) physical condition allows.

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Gili T – Going Round and Round and Round

As we mentioned before, there are no motorized vehicles on the Gili Islands, the only means of transportation are your own two feet, bicycles and cidomo (the horse-drawn carts). We tried out the cidomos yesterday on Gili Meno, but the horses didn’t seem to enjoy their position, so today we decided to rent a couple of old bikes (24h for 80.000 rupiah / 6 euros) and make a sight-seeing tour around the island.

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Gili Meno – Turtles and a leaking sack

Life here on the Gilis is easy. You get up, get breakfast served to either one of your balconies, go to diving school or out snorkeling, take a nap before dinner, go out to one of Trawangan’s many excellent restaurants, have a few beers and watch the sun set behind the island’s only ”mountain”. There’s really not much you can do on an island not much bigger than the Suomenlinna sea fortress outside of Helsinki. The sea is everywhere and that’s what offers the most activities.

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Gili T – In the Depth of the Deep Blue Sea

The day had come. We retired early yesterday to have time for a good night’s sleep before the early wake-up and banana pancaces with mixed fruit juice on the ”breakfast balcony”. With satisfied stomachs and skin smelling of sun lotion, we packed our backpack and headed for school, scuba diving school. At the time of writing, the first day of our PADI Open Water Diving course has been successfully executed, earning us a couple of beers and some quality time with the laptop. And we can’t wait to go back to school tomorrow.

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