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Portable Music Players & Linux

This article briefly describes some issues with managing portable music players on Linux, particularly the Apple Ipod Shuffle and the Sandisk Clip Jam (it's replacement).

Quod Libet

Quod Libet is absolutely zero help with managing portable music players (with a single exception, the generation of playlist.m3u files). This is a big regret since it has much of what I need in a music manager, including: - Low resource utilization - Relatively fast and stable when indexing large collections - Ability to edit metadata on individual and groups of files - Dark theme Therefore, I have to look outside of QL in order to manage portable music players.

Playlists in Quod Libet

Based on my workflow and media organization in Quod Libet, what I generally do for a playlist is clean up a set of albums/tracks from one or more artists and one or more albums, then create a playlist out of that. This generally means the complete contents of one or more albums organized under one or more artists. This allows me to use the Export as Playlist plugin which generates an *.m3u file with some pathing that needs to be cleaned up.

Sandisk Clip Jam Playlist Lament

My review of the Sandisk Clip Jam is a lament to SCJ Playlists: > Since playlists are important for portable media players, they should have a well-thought-out approach. Unfortunately this is not the case. One has to monkey about with .m3u files and actually edit them by hand. Sad and a bit nuts as well. > > Several issues: > > The namespace is effectively 7 characters, so don't have directories with playlists that might conflict on those first 7 characters. > > There are three "quick" playlists but no way to get them out of the way, so there is always "click, click, click" to get past them since they are the first three. I don't care to make playlists on the go, so please let me make these go away. > > .m3u file needs to have the full path of the location, e.g., Music/Joy Division/Peel Sessions/01 Exercise One.mp3 > > Unlike as stated in the documentation and forums, the music files do not need to be in the same directory as the playlist file, and they can be stacked all in Music with referenced directories and subdirectories underneath. > > CRLF for returns > > Obviously this is a nasty and brutish way of handling playlists, and so various scripting is needed to get things working without a huge amount of ongoing time being wasted. > > Also, the cheap and huge earbuds (unwearable in my medium-sized ears) are really a waste. No one really expects anything good to be bundled, so save the earth a little. > > Overall the device itself is pretty decent, except for the glaring problem noted above.

How to Create and Edit Sandisk Clip Jam *.m3u Playlists

The key is to use a media player/manager to generate the .m3u playlist, and then search/replace to change the paths in the files to match that of the Sandisk Clip Jam, which is generally Music/Artist/Album. Since my audio library has the very same structure, it is not difficult to copy entire albums and artists (with their albums) to the Sandik Clip Jam. As noted above, the playlists need to have the same Music/Artist/Album/Track structure. However, the playlists themselves can repose in the same Music directory. *Note: VLC can also perform the function of generating playlists, though my choice is Quod Libet, using the Export as Playlist plugin which generates an *.m3u file. After creating the playlists and editing them, copying wholesale the directory structure into Music completes the operation. Updates begin in Quod Libet and then a delete/recopy is necessary (akin to Ipod/Itunes operations)

GTKpod for Ipod Audio Management

[GTKpod](creating/editing playlists and ) is one of the last relatively decent and straightforward Ipod (only) managers. Capable of drag-and-drop audio and creating/editing playlists. Installation is available from the Gnome Software Manager and elsewhere.

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Rogue OSX Processes

By rogue I mean those processes which are not beneficial (at least for my configuration). To start with there are those processes which actual communicate over the network.

View Processes on OSX with nettop

nettop

Nettop is a built in process communication display utility, useful, especially with seeing what network interfaces are being used (for example, if requests are tunneled or not when using a vpn).

CIJScannerRegis

Unbelievable that a canon scanner registeration process is always running, especially since I've never owned a Canon scanner, nor installed this software.

sudo rm -rf "/Library/Image Capture/Support/LegacyDeviceDiscoveryHelpers/CIJScannerRegister.app"

AddressBookSourceSync, aka AddressBookSour

launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.AddressBook.SourceSync.plist

To undo, use:

launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.AddressBook.SourceSync.plist

Source: Apple Stackexchange

apsd - Apple push notification

Disable:

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.apsd.plist

Enable:

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.apsd.plist

simbl Agent

See: Apple Stackexchange

rm -rf /Library/Application\ Support/SIMBL

netbiosd

If you don't do file and print sharing or accessing named resources over the local internet, then you don't need NetBIOS

sudo launchctl disable system/netbiosd

kdc

Kerberos 5 server, mostly not needed. Disable:

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.Kerberos.kdc.plist

Enable:

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.Kerberos.kdc.plist

ardagent

Remote desktop agent

sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -deactivate -configure -access -off

calendaragent

Remove:

launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.CalendarAgent.plist

Re-enable:

launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.CalendarAgent.plist
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Apple Battery Woes

Lots of Apple devices suffer from the innovation of Apple Computer, including the iphone/ipod touch and macbooks.

Some reality

First, let's just say that non-replacable batteries certainly are replaceable. I've had the batteries replaced (with new ones) in my 2011 Macbook Air, and two 2012 iphones. This happened in 2016.

Batteries and heat

See also the idiotic approach to OSX cooling

Coconut Battery App for OSX and IOS

Coconut Battery is an OSX app which provides useful battery information in a GUI, and can also display battery information about connected IOS devices.

More Battery Troubleshooting Resources

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New Battery for 5 y/o MacBook Air

Macbook Air Battery It cost me 3,300 THB for a new battery array for my 5 year old MacBook Air (2011). Bought new, the system is not often used on battery, but almost daily as my primary computer. > Why replace a battery in a five year old computer? Just buy new. Sure, it only has 4gb of ram, and that is a problem, but otherwise it is a very effective tool for many tasks.

Great Hardware, Adequate Software

I spend perhaps 50 hours per week. It simply works. Even with the meagre ram, the solidity is palpable. Even at 5 hours a day, 5 days a week, we are talking about 100 hours per month at 1,000 THB = 10 THB per hour for this machine that cost a bit over 53,000 THB new. Let's just say 15 THB as there are other expenses such as mice, cables, etc. > 15 THB/hr ($ 0.50 USD), 200hr/month on average, capital expense over 5 years Sure some part of the time spend on the computer is frustration, maintenance tasks, and the like, but there are no systems that have any less. I've tried and still use such systems (Windows, Linux) and they fall short. The hardware is where the system shines, while the operating system less so.

Magic Com - Magical Apple Repair - Chiang Mai

Magic Com My Mac guy -- Magic Com in Pantip Plaza -- took a while to get the part (about 6 weeks which was fine, as I wanted a replacement as a preemptive measure). It took another 10 minutes to swap out the battery array (4 screws and one connector) and get rid of an amazing amount of dust inside (the system hadn't been opened since birth). Can't say enough good stuff about the service, professional, fast, good prices, with a smile, English and Thai, responds to text messages.

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Idiotic OSX Approach to Cooling

My air conditioner died a few days ago and while it is a bit uncomfortable (I’m in Thailand and it is the hot season, so it gets up to around 34c in the office), it is insufferable to work when a 90 thread kernel process has 90% of the processor. It is really hard to troubleshoot a 90 thread kernel process when it is reporting as a single thread (and can't be killed, or the system dies). Apparently, OSX detects a need to cool the system, the result being some brain-dead engineer devised it so a hot system uses more processor (likely the opposite intended). For the full story, see this and this. The thinking is that as a system heats up, certain parts of a process are spun out into a single kernel task in a bid to cool things down. However, of course that kernel task, since it has a whole bunch of little idiotic things to do, grabs priority and sacks the processor, running the fan batshit crazy, and slowing the heaping mess to a crawl. Thanks Apple for taking three hours of my life suffering through this, and finally getting a fix.

Turn off race conditions in OSX

First, get the model of the device with: > system_profiler -detailLevel mini | grep "Model Identifier:" Next, go into the kext files: > cd /System/Library/Extensions/IOPlatformPluginFamily.kext/ > cd Contents/PlugIns/ACPI_SMC_PlatformPlugin.kext/ > cd Contents/Resources/ Then move the plist for the particular model, e.g., > su mv MacBookAir4_2.plist /Users/jeff/ I should add this to a collection of stupid Apple tricks in the future (that is, the next one I encounter).

El Capitan fix

There is another thing for the El Capitan release.

smcFanControl

The useful app smcFanControl can help set minimum rpm for the fan, as well as display rpm and temperature.

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OSX Internet Sharing

For when your wifi breaks down and all you have is an ethernet port on your DSL, and a Mac Mini. Not so bad, but it does keep the fan running and eat up the processor. Good for short term (ship out the broken wifi router, get replacement).

Limitations of Internet Sharing on OSX

  • Only one Wifi frequency/channel (even though the Mac Mini can do 2.4ghz and 5ghz, one can only choose a single channel to use).
  • 20mhz only recommended, though it is not clear where one would change this in any case, likely hacking the registry. However, it may be that one doesn't want 40mhz, certainly not in a wifi-saturated area (such as most urban places). I can say that ALL my neighbor networks are set to 40mhz, which is ridiculous.

Configuration of Internet Sharing on OSX

  • Turn off old wifi (if using the same network name/password) on all devices
  • Plug in Ethernet to Mac Mini
  • Turn off Wifi
  • Hold down the Option button and click the Wifi button (at top of screen)
    • Select Open Wireless Diagnostics
  • From the Window drop-down menu, select Scan
    • See the other Wifi networks and their channels
    • Repeat the same at the location where connecting devices generally are (e.g., different rooms of a house or office)
    • Gnash teeth and decide on a channel (1, 6, 11, or one of the 5ghz -- 36, 40, etc.)
  • Go to Sharing, Internet Sharing
    • Highlight Internet Sharing, then Wifi, then click on the Wi-Fi Options button
    • Put in the Name, Encryption Type, Password and Channel, click OK
    • Click the Internet Sharing checkbox If a client can't connect, then have them forget the network and re-enter the password.
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OSX Install March 2016

This is info from a new build of OSX in March 2016. Lots of stuff to install and configure. Eventually everything works out.

OSX Configuration

  • Turn on firewall
  • Create new account, set up
  • Delete original account
  • Set up keyboards and languages and shortcut CMD-Space
  • Dock (to right)
  • Turn off Dashboard and Mission Control
  • Set up screensaver
  • Mouse secondary click and tracking speed
  • Finder preferences
  • Install fonts (export/import with fontbook)
  • Copy .ssh certs/keys

Software Installation

Incomplete

  • Configure shell for .sh and get fish shell installed.
  • hmmm
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Simple Video Editing on OSX

I wanted to add an audio track to a video using the YouTube Video Editor. Apparently that is no longer a feature, or perhaps never was. (I seem to remember doing this in the past, but maybe not.) In any case, on OSX it is ridiculously annoying to do this simple task (merge an audio file with a video file). - I either have to pay $14.99 for iMovie for Mac OSX in the App Store. An additional (or stand-alone) version of iMovie on iOS is $4.99. - QuickTime Pro is $29.99, though it is possibly the easiest to use to perform this simple task. Please share in my outrage at this kind of pricing behavior for a company that has $200 billion in cash (90% overseas). One can think of simple ways of dealing with this, say making all software free and moving expenses offshore. Certainly something like QuickTime Pro should be bundled with the operating system. So, we turn to other options. First, of course there is Blender. However that is a bit overkill and quite intimidating. Similar to the intimidation that other tools such as GIMP and Inkscape perform on new users. That said, of course Blender is the future for all of us, so we must become familiar and learn to love the Blend. For some Blender tutorials see Mikeycal on YouTube. That said, there is another option, the very simple AVIDEMUX, a handy cross-platform (Linux, BSD, OSX, Windows), free and open source (GPL) video editing tool. The process is nearly as simple as QuickTime Pro, and more intuitive. - Open video in AVIDEMUX - Select the settings (MPeg4x264, AAC(Faac), MP4 Muxer) - Audio > Select Track > Select audio file - Save As Done. An even easier approach to get a new audio is the settings: - Copy, Copy, Copy - Audio > Select Track > Select audio file - Save As Also AVIDEMUX allows for trimming and joining video files and clips, as well export any given frame as an image. No titling or import of text or images, but this simple tool can help get simple tasks done quickly.

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OSX Applications

Macbook Air > NOTICE: the below was updated on 09-NOV-2014, though still a bit incomplete. Also what is needed is the list of plugins/extensions for the various browsers. Below is meant to help with new OSX installations. However, the list of what is included is out of date. For more recent lists, see: OSX Install - March 2016. > > SECOND NOTICE: I am no longer on OSX/Apple so this is more-or-less of historical interest only.

Configuration and Utilities

  • Asepsis, then once installed run: > find ~ -name .DS_Store -exec /bin/rm -f -- {} ; > killall Finder
  • Air Display for using iPad as a remote/extended monitor This is a somewhat current list of the applications that I run. This is an external reminder when rebuilding a machine, but also helps me think about my tools and workflow. Continue reading OSX Applications