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How to clean up your Music library mess...aka: I just joined "Play Ogg"!

What do you do when your entire music library is infested with wma files, incorrectly tagged and renamed, sorted all wrong and just one big mess? You admit it was your own fault for not sticking to one single standard for naming and organizing, for letting Windows Media Player try to do the work for you, and not trying first to understand formats and codecs and licenses. Then you get rid of your wma files (DELETED) and re-rip, re-download, re-tag and re-encode until your entire library is ogg, uniformly named, sorted and tagged correctly. This is the 17000 file mess I am cleaning up right now, and I decided I should join the PlayOgg movement for some inner support. Henceforth, I will be displaying this or similar on my site. Ogg is a great multimedia format that is simply the one solution that will work for everything I need as a format, and as a piece of nicely licensed and supported free and open source goodness. It's widespread implementation would be just an awesome thing. The only reason I have not moved on this yet, is the knowledge that doing so would force me to do so much tedious work on my music library...well, I'm over it (Trying hard not to slam wma to compare it to ogg) and I am now taking the correct steps. Read below the break for some useful tips to get the job done.

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Open Source and Copyleft in a Copyright, Closed Source World.

What does online community mean to you?

Jono Bacon, the Ubuntu community organizer, is working on a new project The Art of Community. This new project revolves around the creation of, and discussion of a book, which Jono is releasing under that same title, and licensing with a Creative Commons Liscence. The main marketing strategy seems to be a "get the word out" campaign, utilizing the already thriving Ubuntu community, and other online networks. Creating a community around projects in order to attract a fan-base, especially a project about community, is a particularly novel concept, and just seems to make sense. Mr. Bacon has a history of standing up to make a buzz about free software, and copy-left, his recently released Severed Fifth album is a great example of this. His implementation of "Street Teams", composed of music enthusiasts, and supporters of the work in general, is a great example of how community can replace traditional marketing. Here we have a relatively high profile individual, capable of attracting a certain level of attention, releasing work created with open source software under a Creative Commons license, and hopefully inspiring other people to do the same.

It's not just that getting the word out about F/OSS is difficult in a closed source economy, but combating the negative attention from stories like this one is an ongoing uphill battle. In light of this, to show people that it is possible, easy, and rewarding to embark on the path of open source publishing is a great thing in my world. People would benefit to grasp the energizing fact that the open source world is a very ENABLING reality, it creates opportunity to function simply by the virtue of its own existence.

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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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Migration Season

Soooooo I migrated servers over the last few days. I got me a fairly inexpensive box, threw Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex on it, and migrated all of my assets over to it. There should not have been any down time, the actual switch over should have taken about 2 seconds even though the process ended up taking about 16 hours longer than I thought it would. Why did I do this? a few reasons:

1) Experience! I am always trying to tinker in new ways on my Linux system(s)/networks. I enjoy the growth of knowledge in gaining experience, and it's pretty darn satisfying in the end! I have never migrated servers, so that was interesting, and also I wanted more experience with a headless installation (I was hosting on my desktop machine before).

2) An excuse to install Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex. It was recently released, and now I have at least one instance of it running. I wanted to be able to install it to my desktop as well, but while it was hosting my site, I could not do that; now I can.

3) The ability to tinker on my desktop hardware. Now I can tinker away with some noise-reduction techniques I have been reading about, I can do things like reboot without killing my hosted site/services. This also means I plan on doing some Drupal testing/module porting and getting my name active in the drupal community, yippie!

4) Share the load! Yes, now my desktop is just a tiny bit less stressed out. That's a nice warm fuzzy feeling.

Performance note: there seems to be some issue with my new Gallery2 installation, please be patient while I iron out some bugs.

So in keeping with the spirit of documentation, and documenting everything major I do here, I'll be posting my notes. The series of steps I took will be posted in one or more posts detailing the harrowing journey.

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New Site Feature!! Comment Notify!

Just a quick note to commemorate the addition of a nifty new feature from the module Comment Notify. Now you can receive email notifications when someone adds a comment to a post that you have commented on...and the best parts: 1. You don't need an account to sign up for these notifications, 2. you can remain anonymous, and 3. you can unsubscribe at any time.

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"OMG! Help!" or "How to Regain Access to Your Ubuntu Computer Once You Have Lost Your User Name and Password!"

So, have you ever lost a password? Ever forgot your user name after coming up with something pretty nifty that is so unique you could never possibly forget it? Ever bought a used computer off Craigslist with Ubuntu installed and forgot to ask the user name and password? Yeah, well rather than going through the headache of reinstalling the entire operating system and loosing all of your data, here is an easy 3 step procedure you can use for Ubuntu password recovery!

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Anti-SPAM! or How I secured NousEssence

SPAM! Why should I have to worry about spam, right? This is a pretty low traffic site (sigh) and who's going to spam on me? I had a post a bit ago about passing a spam right of passage and enabling a bit of security to get around it. Well, the spam dude was not done with me yet! No sir, I kept getting hit, kept having traffic eaten by spam-spewing robo-jerks, and it was getting pretty tiring having to isolate every ip, and then ban them one...at...a...time. So, I overhauled my security and thought I would actually spell out here exactly how I set it up...
 

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PSPP - Open Source Statistics (Moving Towards an Open Educational Experience)

Anybody out there who has ever had to analyze any statistical data in any serious way or take a class on stats has been introduced to the mighty SPSS , or Statistical Package for the Social Sciences in long form. This is software which was designed for, is standardized by, and expected for your use by the scientific community at large for statistical data analysis. It is required for use at many universities at both the undergraduate (poor college kid) level and the graduate (even poorer college young adult) level, and is not cheap in any way.

There is, however, a slightly crippled down version of the software offered to students, which is quite a bit cheaper than it's "full" version counterpart, and can typically be found for about $80 or $90. This can be a serious crunch to the hungry students budget, at least it is for mine. So I looked, and I found the wonderful PSPP, a very functional free and open source alternative for SPSS. It is good to see that the good people over at the Free Software Foundation understand that scientific knowledge should be free and open, and that educational tools should be as well. (Knowledge cannot be licensed out, nor can it be owned...ever.)

I have to pay for school, and then the wildly overpriced books (that the authors make very little on, despite the high price), and then again a piece of closed source software (the actual opposite to the ideal of the sharing of knowledge) as well. The educational experience needs to be based on the basic principal that knowledge is beyond ownership, that it is the right and requirement of every individual in a functioning society to have free and open access to the accumulated wisdom of the human race, and that any restriction of that based off of social or economic standing is simply saying that the poor of wallet are not worthy of this knowledge, that only the opulent or affluent are worthy or capable of doing anything worthwhile with this knowledge (to humanities benefit) in any way. This is not the case, we know this on an intuitive level, yet we cling to forced payment for knowledge, culture, paying for and restricting the use of basic scientific tools, and the tools used to manage knowledge and information. This seems backwards to me in the most fundamental way.

So, we have the organizations like the Free Software Foundation promoting and creating free and open software, like PSPP, and the good folks over at Creative Commons fighting for, developing and promoting the use of a sane copyright culture, and the good people at FreeCulture.org - Students For For Free Culture and on and on. Please pay attention to, and support these movements, they are the flagships of sanity in an insane copyright and knowledge-restriction based culture.

Now...back to PSPP...Briefly, it works very well, handling SPSS's native .sav files, and it does all you need to do for your familiar SPSS data analysis. It can be installed in Linux (I am currently running it on my Ubuntu machines, even on the tiny EeePc), on MacOS, and on Windows (from what I gather, anyway). One limitation I have found, it doesn't seem to put out the nice graphs that the latest SPSS version does, but it spits out all of the information you need quite nicely none the less. It also requires a little bit more to get installed, so...if you are running Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron, and would like a nice SPSS replacement WITH A GRAPHICAL INTERFACE, then read on. If you want command line only, just install through apt or synaptic.

EDIT: PSPP with front end has been included in the Ubuntu Software Center since 12.04, and is currently on version 0.7.9 (under Ubuntu 14.04), whereas the GNU repository is currently showing version 0.8.5 as the latest.

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Ubuntu 8.04 - Hardy Heron (with Netbook remix) on the EeePC 701 4G Surf (with touch screen)

So, as promised, here are the steps I took to get Ubuntu 8.04 - hardy Heron installed on my Asus EeePc 701 4G Surf. I will include BOTH the steps I took and, when applicable, popular alternate steps available. Also, I will include the steps required to get the "Kiddshop touchscreen (from Kiddshopp on ebay) working.

This is not a definitive How-To, it is just what I did, what I found to work. I encourage anyone who finds better ways, or finds a glaring mistake in to PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!!
The contents of this post are pretty long, so use the "read more" link to go to the instructions.
That said...Here we go!

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Touchscreen, Ubuntu, The EeePC, and me...

Tonight I write from a stance of (near) total victory. This post is to mark the fact that I have accomplished installing and 'properly' configuring Ubuntu 8.04, code named Hardy Heron, on my EeePC with a fully functional, self installed touchscreen. I am using the Ubuntu "Netbook Remix", and it ROCKS the Touchscreen!!

Next, to install internal bluetooth and GPS (and hopefully a nice 16G usbflash!). These potenitial future mods are the reason for the "near" in "near victory".

I plan on writing up the steps I took, and comparing them against some of the (terrible) info out there after the 4th, which is today. Please check back for more!

Yay me.

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Almost sold out...

Well, I almost did it. As a matter of fact, I did do it, for a little bit...I sold out.

One of the reasons I made this site was to stay away from using any 3rd party hosted services. I wanted to be able to host my own site, with my own blog, calendar, forums, picture gallery, and anything else (the promise of a podcast or webcast, a streaming radio station...all sorts of things sound like fun, right?).

Something nice about having it all right here, on my own server, my own connection, my own installation.

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Progress...for the record (or "what makes ClearVision Community posible")

Ok, so here is a list of all of the things I have up, in order:

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Give credit where credit is due! Without the free services and packages provided by these guys and gals, I would not have my little corner on the net, not to mention the countless (and sometimes thankless) howto's, forum posts and irc chats that have been there to help me out along the way!

Long live open source!

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Brighter Light

Well, a few posts back there I had the pure pleasure of blogging about not being able to return to school next semester due to some clerical issue blah blah blah. Well, I am happy to say that I found a way around this little blunder, and what I took to be cause for major alarm turned out to be nothing but the equivalent of...say, a very minor alarm? Yes, a very minor alarm indeed. One simple form filled out and all wounds were instantly healed. Looks like I'll be back in there in a few weeks, but only 6 credit hours, time to make some money! Do read on...

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Cool package for music lovers!!!

Hello people, just thought i would mention a cool little package: aMpache!!! Rocks like Fred Flintstone! Easy to set up, efficient, skinnable, and just plain cool., great for setting up an internet radio station stream, or just personal/office access to your media database. I tried out obsidian music (web front end for amarok) and had no success with that at all.

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update

So, I have spent the last few weeks NOT working on this project, I ran into a whole mess of headaches with the whole mail thing, so everything got put to the side, to let my forehead heal after banging against walls. so, no mail for now, but it's still in the works. Looking at other alternatives...not to closely, tho, since school has my attention, also.

I did find a temporary solution to the Donation page issue, but I'm still not very happy with the result, as a matter of fact, I really want to re-theme the entire site, make it totally my own, so 'tis gonna be a long while before I totally set it to rest.

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