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VanDragt.com

Thought on privacy, tech and media.

Recognising Ogg Vorbis streams in WinAmp

I’m working on a side project where I am broadcasting an OGG Vorbis stream using Icecast. Google Chrome played the stream, and so did VLC, but WinAmp was unable to. It connected to the stream with an HTTP 200 status but could not interpret it.

As it turns out WinAmp requires the mount point to have a file extension for it to detect the stream correctly, so updating the mount point to stream.ogg instead of stream in the icecast configuration did the job.

Understanding the adaptive Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch is redefining gaming by adapting to the players environment. Unfortunately, it is widely misunderstood. It provides fun when used alone, with others, or with other Switch owners; in the living room, on the bus, at a desk. It an adaptive console, not a portable one. Any game that can be played like this is going to be a liberating experience, being optimised for how we live and can be played whenever we feel like.

So far, it seems the Nintendo Switch is widely misunderstood, even by game developers, reviewers and gamers alike. This is not surprising because Nintendo attempts to achieve something that no other gaming device has ever tried: gaming anywhere.

The moment everything fell in place for me was when I stopped thinking about Nintendo Switch as a portable console, but as an adaptive console.This explains why it does not become loads more powerful when docked, because that would favour playing on the TV over all the other ways. Nintendo has gone through amazing lengths to let you play together with other Switch owners even without a WiFi network, because it wants gaming everywhere.

A game that is not fun on the TV or playing with others on the same switch is limiting the switch experience and I think we will see a lot of games that are compromised in some way as game developers are getting to grips with the platforms adaptability.

The Switch is a careful balance between offline and online play, individual versus group play, and a study about where gaming can fit in our lives.

Banning the “Ban Crypto” Agenda

Cory Doctorow over at BoingBoing.net writes:

Theresa May says there should be no “means of communication” which “we cannot read” — and no doubt many in her party will agree with her, politically. But if they understood the technology, they would be shocked to their boots.

Perhaps we should no longer assume that politicians ‘do not understand the internet’ and assume they are asking for changes in the full understanding that they don’t achieve the goal for which they’re introduced.

As long as the situation that’s being created is more favourable for them than the current one it’s a net benefit.

Short-term politics is the biggest threat to UK society at the moment and the current government is particularly good at it.

Generating Atom feeds from your Lektor site

After quickstarting a Lektor site, a next obvious thing to do is to add a feed to the site’s blog. Fortunately, Lektor has a growing ecosystem of plugins, one of them creates atom feeds.

Installation of lektor-atom

The plugin to install is lektor-atom, and is installed via the terminal:

lektor add plugin lektor-atom
lektor build

This adds a reference to the myproject.lektorproject file with the plugin and installs the plugin into the lektor pipeline.

Configure a feed

However, notice that after building the site no feed is generated! This is because no feeds have been setup yet.

Create a configs/atom.ini containing the following lines (full documentation)

[blog]
name = My Blog feed
source_path = /blog
item_model = blog-post
url_path = /blog/feed.xml

Change the url_path to suit your preferences. Trying to build now would result in an error: E blog/feed.xml (RuntimeError: To use absolute URLs you need to configure the URL in the project config.)

To resolve the build process myproject.lektorproject must be updated with two lines within the project section to indicate the site’s live URL and an absolute URL style:

[project]
name = My Project
url_style = absolute
url = https://myproject.com

[packages]
lektor-atom = 0.2

The site can then build and the resulting feed can be accesssed from https://myproject.com/blog/feed.xml.

Vladimir Trump

Watching Trump’s presser, I had a feeling I’d seen it all before?—?while covering Vladimir Putin’s annual news conferences.

Source: A message to my doomed colleagues in the American media – Medium

Microsoft continous war on privacy

New controls are arguably an improvement, but data collection remains mandatory for most.

Source: Windows 10 Creators Update to rejig privacy settings in a move unlikely to please anyone | Ars Technica UK

After a while  Fusion Drives stop being fast when accessing files not recently modified as they are backed by 5400rpm drives.

You too can improve Firefox

Google Chrome is too dominating, this is not good for the web. So I’m switching back to Firefox, but it can be pretty ugly by default in places.

I like to apply the following tweaks to make it pretty again:

Increase the Address Bar font size

Edit userChrome.css to make style changes to the Firefox UI. My Profile is located at %appdata%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\<Gibberish>, use the previous link to find the location on your system. Inside your profile create a chrome folder and inside that create a userChrome.css. Add the following line:

#urlbar { font-size: 13px; }

The possibilities are endless but this does the trick for me. Restart Firefox after saving the file.

Remove unwanted buttons and the searchbox

Right click on any of the toolbar buttons > Customize... to bring up the Customize Firefox screen. Remove unused buttons and the search box (search via the address bar instead) by dragging them to the Additional Tools and Features panel —  or the hamburger menu panel to access them with a click.

Make the tabs square again

Firefox tabs have this rounded look to them, which I find displeasing: install the Squared Australis Tabs addon to add square corners instead.

Hide the menu bar

Did you know you can access the menu bar by pressing the Alt key on your keyboard? The menu bar is visible by default but it is not frequently accessed, so press Alt+V or bring up the View menu bar menu and untick the Menu Bar and optionally the Bookmark Toolbar items.

Hide bookmark toolbar item names

You can blank out the Name of a bookmark to have it display just the icon in the toolbar, which tidies up those frequently accessed sites.

Life on Earth is Dying

I would quote part of this article but you should just click the title and read all of it.

Just Walk Out technology

Amazon Go, shopping without checkouts:

Amazon Go is a new kind of store with no checkout required. We created the world’s most advanced shopping technology so you never have to wait in line. With our Just Walk Out Shopping experience, simply use the Amazon Go app to enter the store, take the products you want, and go!

With the amount of recorded prior art they will find it difficult to pantent the Just Walk Out technology  😉