joshu's blog

Awesome Music server = Your existing Ubuntu 8.10 Desktop + Ampache + Rhythmbox, Oh My!

One of the problems we were running into in our home was the distribution of media files, specifically music. My desktop has a nice 300+ Gigs of hdd space on it, so it's fairly easy for me to host all of the music on separate partitions (pretty useful when the smaller systems in the house need to update, or fresh install), but the transferring of files over the lan got tiresome, and my wife likes quite a bit of my music collection, and is really out of room on her laptop. Likewise, my daughter's desktop is in serious need of hdd space, and she has a growing musical "habit". Also, I want my music in places other than the room my desktop is in, other than the apartment my computer is in, and I don't have an mp3 player large enough for all of my files.

The solution was to find a way to host all of the files on my desktop, and to allow access to them in a nice streaming sort of way. I didn't want to just open up lan access to my partitions, I only share out one small folder for samba, and like to keep it that way. So I went out and found me some Ampache! And it was good...Ampache is a PHP based music server that uses a MySql database to store its information. It allows users to browse online music collections, build playlists, stream content to a desktop music player, or even download the tracks. There is quite a bit of flexibility with Ampache, it's theme-able, providing a nice user interface, has album art support and all the bells and whistles you could want. You can add users through the web interface and set access levels, so security is a no-brainer. There's a working demo here to get a feel for how it plays.

I simply installed the "AMP" portion of the LAMP stack on top of my existing Ubuntu desktop installation (this is easily done using the tasksel command from the terminal), installed and told Ampache to catalog all of the files in my music partition, and ran it from there. Then the hits kept on coming, I found a nice plugin for Rhythmbox that connects to the Ampache backend and loads your Ampache catalog right in your music browser! Happy, if you like Rhythmbox. Also, in Amarok2 there is built in support for subscribing to Ampache servers. Neat. So, after enabling the plugin on all of the client computers, all they have to do is fire up Rhythmbox, and they all have seamless access to my entire music collection. They get thier music fix, I look like a wizard!

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Hello Planet Ubuntu Users!

Well, hello there wonderful world of Ubuntu Weblogs! I'm happy to announce that I have taken another step forward in my journey as a growing part of the Ubuntu community! This is my first post to the planet, and thank you gouki for opening the door for me, so allow me the pleasure to introduce myself:

My name is Josh Panter, and you can see some bit of my handiwork at the Ubuntu Forums and on freenode (usually in #ubuntu-us-mi), both under the moniker of alienseer23. I'm on launchpad as josh.p, and am a happy member of the US-MI (Michigan) Loco team. I recently got way too excited to sign the code of conduct and become an "Ubunturo", and I find myself as happy as a clam to promote, advocate and spread the Ubuntu Love as often as I can. As a matter of fact, I'm trying to fit in to my time the organization of a computer recycling/donation program featuring the Ubuntu OS, which I will post more on at a later date.

I have a passion for documentation when the spirit takes me, I enjoy to run my own server and soaking up all the knowledge I can fixing my system after I destroy it, am training a 12 year old future Ubuntu activist, and I am happy to say that I am completely taken back by the amazing community that IS Ubuntu, and the truely great people I keep meeting that makes it up (that's all you people!). In that, I have quite a bit of respect for the Canonically appointed community-guy Jono, and am really looking forward to his forthcoming book: The Art of Community.

Well, that's just a quick bit about me, and I look forward to even more Ubuntu-activision, activism, action-eering and all around general goodness.

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Quake 3 mods gone rogue! - "Smoking Guns" Stand Alone v1.0! (torrent here)

One of my favorite Open source games to play on my Ubuntu box is World of Padman, it's a FPS (first person shooter) that began it's life as a little Quake3 mod, and about a year prior to this post took to the wing as it's own stand alone game. It's easy to install, easy to learn, fun to play, and there's always a host of running servers and new maps and mods. You're a little blue cracked out smurf-like critter shooting your bubble-gum machine-gun, water cannon, and water-balloon bombs (among others) at your opponents. What else could you ask for?

Well, trusting the good judgment of my favorite game development team, I'm going to echo the announcement to the world about yet another Open Source Quake3 mod gone all rogue and stand-alone: Smoking Guns!. It's a wild west ho-down of mayhem and madness that comes directly endorsed by the Pad World crew. Check out this snappy preview

 

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Microblog-purple (Identi.ca/Twitter-Pidgin Integration)

So I had a difficult time trying to understand "Why Twitter", even after I began using it. I like integration. Why have yet another method to stay connected, when we have blogging, social network sites, instant message networks up the wazoo, irc, etc and etc...?

So, I integrated twitter into my Drupal site using the aptly named module Twitter so that every time I post something new, it tweets out. Well this is a nice excuse as to "why use it", but isn't that just another way to do what is basically rss?

I continued on my Twitter adventure by installing a few basic desktop twitter clients, Twitux and gtwitter, but didn't like the idea of running yet another little app to stay abreast of my news, friends and family. Seems like Pidgin does this fine already..OH WAIT!

So what is the point? In my neurotic need to simplify and centralize everything I went out looking and found me some Microblog-purple , aka: mbpurple. This is a great little plugin for Pidgin that integrates Twitter (and beta support for identi.ca and so forth) with my favorite multi-protocol instant-messaging/chat client! Yay! Another reason to play with Twitter. And seeing Twitter in action in the same context of instant messaging and chat protocols suddenly brought Twitter into the whole "sense making" world for me.

It's a simple plugin, you get a new buddy-list category called "Twitter" with a new buddy called "Twitter" who's incoming messages are any tweets that hit your account prepended with the name of the tweeter, and all of your tweets from other clients. You post to Twitter by sending a message through Pidgin. It even has a 140 character counter for you so that you don't post over the limit. Simple!

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Lawrence Lessig on Copyright v1.0 and v1.1

Lawrence Lessig, Stanford Law Professor, former CEO and "founding father" of Creative Commons and former Eff board member stoped by the Colbert Show to talk about his new book on copyright, Remix:Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. A quote from the interview regarding the current copyright climate (the past 10 years or so) in the US:

"Artists have gotten no more money, businesses have not gotten more profit, and our kids have been turned into criminals."

 

Watch the video...

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New Site Feature: Gravatar!

Today finds this site Gravatar enabled. What is Gravatar you ask? From the site: "A gravatar, or globally recognized avatar, is quite simply an avatar image that follows you from blog to blog appearing beside your name when you comment on gravatar enabled sites. Avatars help identify your posts on web forums, so why not on blogs?" So this is a good thing. Keeping identities unified across several different sites can be a tough job, OpenID helps with that with the login (which is why I run an albeit seldom used id server using Clamshell, and here's my OpenID endpoint), and gravatar comes in to help with the image.

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P90X Round three....take two!

So...My first attempt at doing the P90X Doubles routine...failed. This routine adds a CardioX workout to 3 days of the weeks in phase two, and 4 days of the weeks in phase three. This is adding in 2 hours and 15 minutes of workout a week in phase two, and three additional hours a week to phase three. I made it into phase three, second week (week 10 overall) and the holidays hit. Too much running around, really. Too many commitments with time, and a serious loss of will-power. This was the fail. I made the excuse that I have been going strong since April, so why not just take an extra week off? But I still didn't eat like a pig, or gain substantial weight or size, so this is good.

Now, if you look at the spread-sheet attached to this post, then you might see the dates don't add up. If I started in early October, then I should have been almost done by Christmas. Well, here's the other reason I had to press reset: during the middle of the second phase of this round, I had an abscess form under my right arm. Apparently the antiperspirant I was using found a way into my pores, clogged it up, and caused an infection. Sweet. I had a forced open hole in my armpit for a week or two, and then had to let it heal. So, time out for working out. Lesson learned: antiperspirant is product of the devil!

While this is no huge loss, I am a bit bummed out that this has kept me from reaching my weight/size goal for the new year. I wanted to be down to a size 32 waist for certain, and perhaps a size 30 if I could manage it. I am sitting pretty at 34, 215-220 lbs depending on the time of day I weigh myself (I was actually fluxing 10 lbs from morning to afternoon there for a while, is this normal?).

With all of that lost time, I just decided to reset the system and start over. Yes, I am going to do the doubles, again, I'm committed to getting through this. I'm still very, very pleased with the results from my 2 1/2 rounds of p90x so far, and as soon as I get through these doubles I want to try out the P90X Plus! routine, I'm looking forward to that. I also have my eye on a totally other program: Muscle & Fitnes System Home Training program. H'mmm. We'll see, I suppose. I don't think that one is as fine tuned as P90X. In the mean time, I have to get my momentum back, there's a noticeable loss of endurance and energy, so I seriously need to get that back. Yes, i can still get through the workout, but it's just that much more grueling after all of this lost time!

Well, after all of that, and a renewed commitment, looks like all I can do is to do my best, and forget the rest! (Thanks Tony!)

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Flood!

NEAR MISS!

So, here in south-eastern Michigan, on December 27th, just 2 days after Christmas, we have a flood-watch in effect. WTF? It is rainy and all of the snow is melting. All of the ice blocks are diminishing and running off in their little streams towards the rivers and drains. While some may rejoice in this odd, out of season weather by hanging out in their shorts on their new balconies, I think there is some cause for alarm. I mean, it IS Michigan, and it SHOULD be cold and snowy and unpleasant. Every venture out of the house should be a life and death adventure of man vs. wild, pitting our best wooley sweaters against all the fury of the Everlasting Winter of The Gods of The North as it descends upon us for a season testing our mettle and worth. Not this year. Not today.

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What I like and why I like it - sqlitebrowser

Here is the start of a new series on NousEssence: What I like and Why I Like it. It basically works like this: Anything I happen upon that sparks a little light in my eye, or causes a wee spring in me step gets put in here. In time, this will be an additional component to my about me page, which is lacking. This amazing new series is not limited to Technology reviews, but here we start off the new tradition with a happy little application I found sqlitebrowser!!
 

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Equality

A paradox of reason. We know, intuitively, that some people are simply better equipped to perform certain tasks in reality. Stephen Hawking has a mental capacity that certainly makes him better at solving physics problems, while someone like Micheal Jordan's physique has certainly given him a natural head start in the world of sports. If Jordan would have been born with a weak heart, for example, he would not be equally as good as his peers at sports. If Hawking would have been born with, say, an impacted frontal lobe, his advanced thinking process would have been negatively affected at birth. This does not even begin to get in to being born into money or abject poverty.

So what is this "All people created equal" really trying get at, then?

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Labels

People feel they need to categorize things to understand them, to poses them, to not be controlled by them; and to, in turn, be in control themselves. People feel they want to be categorized so that they might belong to something, to fit into a category is to not be alone. Categorization, the act of labeling is a mechanism of limitation, and it becomes a requirement, an obsessive requirement when you look at the differences between things before you look at the likenesses shared among them. If we were to teach ourselves, and in turn one another, that it is right to look at the commonalities we share with people before we distinctualize the differences, we would see a core bond of livingness, of feelingness, of what we refer to as the inherently HUMAN part of our nature as the initial defining characteristic of anyone we meet. We label to combat the perception of isolation.

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The wage gap..."gender" equality not just about women...I'm not talking LGBT

There is one obvious area where the equal pay concept stretches out beyond the male/female paradigm, and that is, of course, the LGBT world. But that conversation, to me, is as easy as saying: wouldn't it be great if we lived in a society where people all got treated fairly regardless of their minority status?

This is about something a bit more interesting, in my opinion, than the complaint that there are people in the world who are biased, bigoted asses. I found a handful of articles on a recent study about sexist attitudes and the wage gap, these articles explain that it is not just women, but also men that support equal pay and women in the work force, that receive less pay than men that lead households that support the so-called traditional gender roles in regards to out-of-the-home work.

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