Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog: The Soundtrack - Now on Amazon!

If you use the Amazon MP3 Downloader, you can now get the soundtrack to Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog in MP3 format.

The iTunes version is in "iTunes Plus" which is an unprotected AAC file. The versions from Amazon are MP3. Most devices will play either, but if you don't use iTunes, this would be the way to go.

I believe the only way to get a download of the video is still iTunes, although you can still watch it online at Hulu.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Evil League of Evil is Taking Applications!

The rumors are true! The Evil League of Evil is now accepting video applications.

This means that you, yes, YOU could get your evil mug included in the upcoming Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog DVD.

I'll give you a second to calm down...

Just post a video application for The League and send them a link.
You have until October 11th, so get that camcorder rolling!

Check out the competition on YouTube.

They picked up the evilleagueofevil.com domain and posted the rules:

Aspirants to new heights of Evil should submit a video application that meets the terms below.

  • It should be no more than three minutes in length.
  • There should be little to no swearing.
  • Dialogue, logos, and music must be original.
  • Songs are not required (singing is a bonus).
  • You must be evil -- it's a plus to have a name.
  • Your video application should be posted to YouTube or Vimeo.
  • Email us a link to the video, with your contact information.
  • October 11 is the last day to submit.

A little fan art of the ELoE's application office:

BTW, I believe "homines non boni seriose" translates to "Seriously Not Good Guys" or something to that effect.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Am I a Car Commercial?

Over the years, I've noticed that the music for car commercials can be found on my playlist.
Sure, not too surprising when it's Fat Boy Slim or Bootsy Collins. I started thinking this might be something seriously unusual when Bif Naked got a car commercial.
This summer, there was a huge TV campaign for a car that used a Garage Band soundtrack. I know it was Garage Band because I did a commercial a few years back featuring some of the same riffs.

This weekend, I saw a spot that had what sounded like a Capsule tune as the soundtrack. Capsule カプセル? That oh-so-tasty J-Pop that's been camped at the top of my play list all summer?

Maybe I should offer my taste-making services to Madison Ave...
Of course, this only applies to automobile commercials. Apple manages to finds tunes that aren't on my playlist.

Saw the whole commercial finally. (Workload is preventing much TV lately...)
I was wrong - not Capsule. Daft Punk "technologic."
Should have recognized it even from the little I heard, but stylistically pretty similar.

But still... Daft Punk in a car commercial?

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

BBedit 9

I finally got around to upgrading my BBedit.
Had to go look up the price, because BBedit updates are one of those "automatic" purchases.
$30 + tax.
For those unfamiliar with BBedit, it's the premier programming text-editor for the Macintosh.
Most development tools on the Mac have support for BBedit even if they have their own text editors.

Some of my favorite items from the What's New page:

  • There is a new command on the Window menu: Show Scratchpad
The Scratchpad window’s purpose is to be a space where you can manipulate text by performing transforms, manual edits, or batches of copy/paste.

It is ideal for quickly beating text from one source into submission before pasting it elsewhere.

The Scratchpad window automatically saves its content and state, eliminating those pesky “Save Untitled 237?” warnings when closing a window, or quitting BBEdit.

The Scratchpad is also available from BBEdit’s dock menu.

Finally, there is a new item on BBEdit’s Services menu: Append Selection to Scratchpad. This command will take the selected text, and place it at the end of the scratchpad, attempting to preserve any selection that was previously present. The Scratchpad window does NOT need to be open to use this command. Any text appended in this fashion will be present the next time the window is opened.
  • When running on Mac OS X 10.5 or later, the “Colors” command is available on the Windows -> Palettes menu. This command shows and hides the system color panel.
  • There’s a new option in the “Insert Folder Listing” dialog: “Show invisible items”. If turned on, the generated listing will include invisible files/folders and the contents of packages.
  • Significant update to the JavaScript module. Better support for Prototype-style object definitions, more consistent throughout.
  • If you have a .Mac/MobileMe account, you can use it to keep your Application Support folder synchronized across machines. The preference to control sync frequency is located in the “Application” preference pane.
  • BBEdit now includes a set of clippings for quickly inserting and completing PHP functions. Thanks to Ted Stresen-Reuter for his generous contribution.
  • Added “Collapse Enclosing Fold” to the View menu; this command will collapse the auto-generated fold that most closely surrounds the current insertion point (or start of the selection range).
  • Ponies.
  • Text completion!

After using it for a day, I am pleased as usual with a Barebone product upgrade.
The Scratchpad is an obvious thing. I always leave an "untitled" window open for just this sort of thing with auto-save turned on. Now it's built in. Nice.

The PHP autocomplete popped up a few times. Seems nice, I'll have to see how much it actually gets used.

I was worried the new streamlined search modeless diaglog would not feel natural. (I hate it in WordPad.) But it didn't modify my regular search habits at all. And it seems faster/simpler to use.

I haven't found the promised ponies though...

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The New I35W Bridge

After slightly more than a year since the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge running into downtown Minneapolis, the new bridge has opened.
The work of the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the various contractors and vendors involved in keeping traffic moving in the Twin Cities after the bridge collapse was nothing short of brilliant.
In the days following the disaster, roads were rerouted, lanes widened, traffic flow reversed, and all kind of clever techniques employed to minimize the effects on the traffic system.

It's not too often that one gets to sing the praises of government agencies, so I think it's important to point out when things go well.
In addition to all the work in the traffic system, the bridge itself was completed over three months ahead of schedule.

I hope everyone already knows about the amazing events of the day of the bridge collapse and the efforts of everyone in response to the disaster. It was the luckiest accident ever: right in front of many emergency services people who were able to be on-site in minutes.

Check out MN-DOT's construction photos.

Photo 1 was taken from my car using a GorillaPod to hang the camera from the rear-view mirror.
Photo 2 copyright 2008 Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

THE Halloween Event in Los Angeles - Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Charity Screening

I'm not in the habit of just republishing press releases, but how fun will this be?
Two of the best things on the web on one night. Live sing-a-long with the good Doctor.
Not sure I can justify a trip to LA just for this... But maybe....
I DID go to San Francisco for the ILM Halloween party, so I have established a precedent.
If they can get any of the cast or writers to attend, I think I'll have to go!

Whedonopolis presents the Halloween Night screening of Dr. Horrible and The Guild.

Where: Regency Fairfax Theatres

7907 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90048
When: All Hallows Eve (October 31) - 9:00 pm
Tickets: $15 (reserve online HERE starting Sept 24th)

There will be drawings and prizes and special appearances. All proceeds to benefit PATH Ventures, an affordable housing community corporation.

Sing along to the special Open Caption digital version of the web masterpiece. No buffering pauses guaranteed.

Come as your favorite villain, hero, sidekick, henchmen or hammer. Goggles welcome!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Our Gal, Felicia Day: House & Blizzcon

The Guild, Dr. Horrible, MMO nerd, Twitterholic...

News from the twitterstream:

Top of the Blizzcon news:
Cast of The Guild Live at BlizzCon

The cast of the popular web series The Guild will be making a live appearance at this year's BlizzCon, participating in a discussion panel and chatting with attendees about all aspects of the show. They'll also be giving folks a first-ever sneak preview of their upcoming second season.

The Guild is an independent web-based sitcom that depicts the real-life adventures of a group of online gamers. It's written for gamers, about gamers, and by a gamer, and has won several prestigious awards for Best Web Series. If you’re not yet familiar with The Guild -- or just want to get to know its members better -- head over to www.watchtheguild.com to catch all 10 episodes of Season 1 right now.
Felicia will appear on the Fox series House:
yes I will be on House, episode 2, Sept 23rd! Exciting to be cut into the preview, for once my Mom is impresssed LOL.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Eject the Optical Drive on Using a Non-Apple Keyboard

I spilled Mountain Dew into my Apple USB keyboard. No harmful effects besides a dead space-bar. Of course, that's enough...

So I'm using my wonderful Kinesis Keyboard full-time now.
But for some reason, even in Mac mode, the eject key isn't working.
A bit of digging found the answer over at TidBITS: Apple has provided a menu option to eject one or more optical drives, you just need to enable it.

From the Finder, just go to /System/Library/CoreServices/Menu Extras/ and open Eject.menu. Poof! The eject menu item you see at the top of this post is enabled.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Linksys (Cisco) WRT310N Wireless-N Gigabit Router

During the last big electrical storm, one of the ports on my Linksys BEFSR41 Etherfast Cable/DSL Router died. Since that's the router at the center of the "office" zone of my home network, that was an issue...

I figured it was time to retire the Linksys WAP11 wifi access point as well, so I picked up a Linksys WRT310N Wireless-N Gigabit Router to kill two birds with one stone.

I must say, we were off to a rocky start. When I get a new router, I pull out the manual and study up the night before installation so I can plan cable and network routing. No actual manual in the box. Just a CD-ROM and a sheet saying "run the CD-ROM."

So this morning, I give it a shot: stick the "wizard" CD in my drive... Grind... spit... nothing.

Check the packaging: "Minimum Requirements: Windows XP or Vista."
No Mac/Linux Love.
Geez people...

Reconfigure my workstation for DHCP, and pull up the interface at it the default address of
Success! I can access with the old standby default "admin" password.

Change the config to static IP and... boom! Interrupted network connection.
I fiddled around with assorted settings on the computer end of things, but just couldn't get past it. No information online about this issue. (I assume most people are running DHCP upstream)

So, in an act of desperation, I boot up a (Mac) laptop, and try again from there.
Everything works fine.

I spent an extra hour getting this device set up.
But I must say, so far the actual performance has been outstanding. The wifi connection has been screaming fast and rock-solid. MUCH better range than the old Access Point. The DMZ routing has been working fine, and I was able to replicate my old network configuration.

Overall, I'm very happy with the purchase. Mac users need to be aware that the CD is a coaster for them. If you're familiar with previous Linksys consumer routers, then this one should be easy to set up.

I don't know if the configuration issue was mac-related (I'm assuming not), but if you plan to get one of these and configure it using the web interface, make sure you have a wifi-enabled computer with IE6+ or Firefox on it.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

phpBB3 user database integration

One of my tasks this week was to hook up an already installed and configured phpBB to a site with it's own user database.

Fearing the worst from my previous phpBB2 experiences, I was pleasantly suprised to see that phpBB has an actual exposed API for this! :)

The "integration" still consists of mirroring user informaiton from your primary database into the phpBB database, but at least it's straightforward. In this case, I just wrapped the existing create_user() call with a new function to write to both systems:

function create_SITENAME_user($username, $password, $email, $initialthing) {
$group_id=2; // 'REGISTERED'
$user_style=5; // what all the regular users use
// get some functions from phpBB3
define('IN_PHPBB', true);
$phpbb_root_path = '../forum/'; // change this to phpBB3 dir
$phpEx = substr(strrchr(__FILE__, '.'), 1);
include($phpbb_root_path . 'common.' . $phpEx);

$user_record = array(
'username' => $username,
'user_password' => phpbb_hash($password),
'user_email' => $email,
'group_id' => $group_id,
'user_timezone' => 0,
'user_dst' => 1,
'user_lang' => 'en',
'user_type' => 0,
'user_actkey' => '',
'user_dateformat' => 'D M d, Y g:i a',
'user_style' => $user_style,
'user_regdate' => time(),

$phpbb_user_id = user_add($user_record); // add the user to the phpBB system

// need to figure out a way to handle phpBB errors...

// Now call the main API
$r=create_user($username, $password, $email, $initialthing)()
return $r;

I'll create some housekeeping functions to keep things in sync later.

The pertinent functions are:

user_get_id_name() // converts userIDs to usernames and visa-versa
void user_get_id_name (array &$user_id_ary, array &$username_ary, [mixed $user_type = false])

* array &$user_id_ary: The user ids to check or empty if usernames used
* array &$username_ary: The usernames to check or empty if user ids used
* mixed $user_type: Array of user types to check, false if not restricting by user type


user_delete () //Remove User
void user_delete ( $mode, $user_id, [ $post_username = false])

* $mode
* $user_id
* $post_username
where mode = 'remove' in all the examples I've seen

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog: The Soundtrack

Nathan Fillion was on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson last night, promoting Dr. Horrible and its new soundtrack on iTunes.
Yup - the soundtrack hit iTunes yesterday.

Listening to the show on the iPod Touch kills the batteries because the video screen stays on.
Now I can listen in the car without killing the iPod's batteries.

* update *
The soundtrack comes in the iTunes Plus format. So that's a good thing. No burn limit, and playable on non-iPods.
Just tested: You can listen over shared iTunes without entering a password.
Pretty sure my share limit will get hit in the office today.

Nice and clean recordings without any of the Foley or sound effects. This is a good thing for most of the songs, but I feel "Slipping" (Dr. Horrible's theme at the denouement) really needs the punctuation of the Death Ray blasts.

Overall, glad to pony up the $10.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

This is News?

Was working most of the day yesterday, but I walked by a TV showing CNN. Apparently CNN was showing nothing but reporters standing in path of Gustav. In the few seconds I watched, a reporter was watching a dog to see which way it would run. Some sort of inane commentary about how animals have instincts that would keep them out of dangerous weather.

I immediately turned the TV off and went back to work.

I was hoping that The Daily Show or some other comedic outlet would find that clip and humiliate CNN, but then I realized that's what all the 24-hour news stations were doing.

Don't devote more air to a story just because it's important. If you run out of actual news, change stories!

On a related note: Apparently all the reporters that had swarmed into St. Paul for the Republican National Convention grabbed their hip-waders and headed south.

I feel sorry for the Republicans -- the big dance got rained out.

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