Archive for December, 2005


Since the early 90’s, a select few have participated in annual competitions, pushing the limits of computers and programming. This is known as the demoscene.

An example of this can be found here:

This demo runs from a mere 64k disk file which is basically unbelievable but true.

You can find more at sites like these:


Classic Top Gear

For those of you who have never lived in the UK, you’ve probably never had the opportunity of watching the BBC Top Gear TV programmes. Some would say you’ve not missed much and are better off watching Dallas, but most would say you’ve missed some fine entertainment, including the US who just gave the show a Global Emmy.

Google video comes to the rescue once more with a short clip for your entertainment:

If you enjoy Clarkson’s humour in this episode, check out your local TV guide as episodes do play all over the world.


OGG for iTunes and Quicktime

The guys at have been working hard and have now released a Windows version of the Quicktime 7 OGG plugin. Essential if you enjoy using iTunes but have a library of OGG files.

You can download it here.


More fun

Spotted Google now has a video search engine up.

This one made me smile for some reason, perhaps it was the culmination of watching several other people try to dance too :)

This one took some time but is very good, much more serious:

You could spend all day on here just find nuggets!


The Mac Developer’s GF

This post really made me smile:

There are a lot of truths and experience in there somewhere…


Sony – how to remove glue

Today I finally got annoyed enough about one of my pet hates to ask the source for a solution – CD protective sticker glue.

I hate it! I do the honest thing and buy products and am treated like criminal in that I have layers of wrapping and gunky stickers sealing my CD inside an environmental catastrophe. It often takes me 5 minutes to actually get into a CD case without destroying it, and then I’m left with a ruined product – a case that is completely unsuitable to sit on the shelf due to all the glue spoiling it.

I’ve tried using hot water and soap to remove the glue, but that doesn’t really budge it, it just smudges the glue flat.

I’ve also tried an alchohol based gunk remover, but that destroys the plastic and it all goes white.

Today I finally decided to phone my latest CD supplier – Sony BMG. I have to say that their automated helpline (800-222-7669) is rubbish. They have an automated system called Max whose needs reprogramming. He’s irritating. You try calling with a problem with a CD and you’ll see what I mean.

Eventually I made it to a human who was actually really helpful, although at first we had troubles in identifying the product to be supported. I had to point out that it was something you bought in a shop and had music on it. Comes in a little case with annoying stickers before they grasped that I wasn’t talking about a CD player. I can be real sarcastic at times. Sorry!

Unfortunately there appeared to be no recommended method of removing the glue. I said that the product was damaged by the packaging and if I wanted a customer repair procedure or wanted to return it for repair. I think they thought I was joking at one point but the guy kept his cool and tried to find a solution.

After two pauses on hold, he said to try oil with a swab. Just a little oil. Motor oil I asked? Baby oil he said. Well I didn’t have any baby oil, so I tried some vegetable cooking oil, and after lots of rubbing, sure enough it did the job. Obviously it is worth dismantling the CD case before trying to clean it, otherwise you destroy the paper in it. You also need to wash the case in soap and water to remove the oil. Full immersion appears to work best there.

So there you go, Sony says to use oil to remove the CD case glue, and it really works! Now I can enjoy my CD collection again. It is a pity about the time we have to waste in cleaning up their mess, along with all the enironmental waste generated. Ironically, no protection stops thieves – when will they learn that and stop wasting our time and money and just focus on finding good music?

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amaroK – The Linux iTunes?

A couple of months back I tried to use Linux and my first task that failed with a resounding thud was trying to play my music files. All the default installed players like xmms were a disaster. That’s not to say they’re bad; I’m know that they were amazing in their time, but things have moved on, and my demands were quite straightforward: To play OGG, AAC and MP3 files, but with a graphic equalizer to compensate for my bass box sound system.

On my last attempt I gave up, but not before someone had commented that I should try amaroK. I finally had time to give it a go, and tried a new flavor of Linux too – Ubuntu. I’d recommend trying that if you want a simple Linux, but that’s another story. amaroK. I’m impressed. It installed using the built in package manager, and well, does exactly what I want. Even better than that, it scanned my drive and found all my files, has organized them into albums and provides a really simple but powerful user interface to manage them.

Some neat features are the Lyrics tab, which sucks down the lyrics for the song playing, nice if you like to sing along (cover your ears!) or can’t quite catch the words and want to know what on earth the song is singing about. You also have the media device browser which looks like you can use an iPod with it too. Visualizations, graphic equalizers and the ability to minimize to an icon rounds the program off.

All in all it is amazingly useable, and unlike many Linux programs, amazingly stable. If you need a Linux audio player, look no further.