Category Archives: Tips

Burning Video DVDs with K3b in Linux

K3b LogoLast weekend it was finally time to sort out the mess of data on my computer. First task was to free up some space to move, and burning a few of the ripped DVDs would help a lot. I’ve managed before in linux, using the command line, but this time I wanted a GUI.

Low and behold, recent versions of K3b actually allow this, it was only a few months ago that I was foiled.

It’s nice when things (finally) just work!

Pet Peeve: Date Formats!

There is nothing that annoys me more than the variety of different ways different countries write their dates!

The main problem affecting me occurs with Australian/UK and US formats, there is often no way to tell which is which. Most well designs APIs avoid them both, and sensibly order elements year-month-day, but many people decide dates are simple and reimplement it themselves, fools. The PHP date functions expect things to be ordered in the American way, and blindly produce errors for the unwary programmer.

Java solved the problem by adding layers of confusion. If you want to use dates in Java in a particular format, you need to learn about dates, and then date formaters, and then locales, and then cross your fingers and hope for the best.

Beware the evil dates!

Most Effective Five Dollar Upgrade Ever

I finally got around to replacing the broken IDE cable in my computer last night. It had been limping along with an old UDMA33 cable, and now has a proper UDMA100 cable.

Before:

damo@omad:~$ sudo hdparm -t /dev/hdc /dev/hdd
/dev/hdc:  Timing buffered disk reads:   86 MB in  3.07 seconds =  28.05 MB/sec
/dev/hdd:  Timing buffered disk reads:   86 MB in  3.06 seconds =  28.14 MB/sec

After:

damo@omad:~$ sudo hdparm -t /dev/hdc /dev/hdd
/dev/hdc: Timing buffered disk reads:  172 MB in  3.01 seconds =  57.15 MB/sec
/dev/hdd: Timing buffered disk reads:  170 MB in  3.02 seconds =  56.23 MB/sec

Now my media drives are running approximately twice as fast. I should have done it months ago!

Drenched Shoes

Brisbane has been fairly wet the last few days, and I’ve been having a fun time riding my bike around in it. My favourite thing is the wonderful reflections off the ground at night.

One problem however, is wet shoes. Ideally I should find waterproof shoes or covers, but I’m no-where near that sensible.
The best technique for drying wet shoes (unless you have a fancy clothes drier with a shoe rack), is to place them upside down up at the back of the fridge. Warm dry air rises there, and your shoes will be ready to go the next morning.