Category Archives: General Ramblings

Updated my NASCAR and Weather pages, and it’s June 6th

Just a real quick note to mention that I’ve updated my NASCAR and Weather pages to include some additional links and Twitter resources.

June 6th.. well, not only is today D-Day, it’s also my B-Day. I turn 40 today! ACK! 8-O

The following music video also mentions the date June 6th:

Yeah.. that’s about all I have to say for now LOL. I’m tired. :)

Winamp’s Now Playing Plug-In, URL Streams, and Classic vs Modern Skins

Well, this is going to be one of those posts with a very narrow target audience and will undoubtedly make no sense and confuse others. :)

(Update 12/21/2009: With the release of Winamp 5.57, the Now Playing Plug-In version 2.1.2 I discuss below started to cause Winamp to crash. I found a new plug-in and discuss it here.)

I use Winamp to play my music with: MP3s, MIDI, MOD files, Internet Radio and so on. I also use the Winamp Now Playing Plug-In version 2.1.2 which interfaces with a PHP script on my website to create now-playing images, and a list of the past 10 songs I have listened to. The plug-in is rather old and it’s amazing it even still works with the current version of Winamp. It does seem to exhibit one rather odd and maddening behavior that has taken a while to track down.

The behavior manifests itself when playing a URL playlist stream (which are typically from Shoutcast) such as this one from Club 977 Music: http://www.club977.com/CLUB977HI.pls. When it first starts playing, the Now Playing Plug-in will always see the first song that is played and update the images and lists accordingly; however, it would not always recognize changes in the song title when a new song started playing. This was, of course, annoying. Over time I seemed to notice a pattern and today I tested it out and here are my findings:

  1. If I start Winamp with a classic skin such as Bento Classified or the standard classic skin that comes with Winamp, the plug-in will recognize song title changes as the stream plays. If I then switch to a different classic or modern skin while Winamp is running, it will continue to work.
  2. If I start Winamp with a modern skin (Winamp Modern, Bento, etc.), the plug-in will NOT recognize song title changes as the stream plays, even if I change to a classic skin.

So, the key is to always close Winamp with a classic skin loaded so that it will start with that skin and the Now Playing Plug-in will work. The work-around is simple enough but figuring out what was going on was a bit maddening. If you use this plug-in then, hopefully, you’ll find this useful.

Since Winamp does not provide tech support for 3rd-party plug-ins, I’m not going to bother to find out exactly why it acts this way. At least I now know how to keep it working. :)

To post or not to post? That is the question.

After reading Be Careful What You Post, this got me to thinking about something I’ve thought about fairly often. In the past there have been many things I’ve wanted to say or get off my chest that after thinking about it decided against making a post. The reason being, for good or bad, that anything you post, say in a tweet, or write in an “open” forum is there for all to view potentially. This includes past, current, or possible future employers or someone that knows someone who knows some person, company, or product you talked about. In this age, you know that anyone that is thinking about hiring you, that you currently work with, that you’ve just asked out on a date or whatever, is going to look your name up on Google or some other search engine or social network like MySpace, Facebook, or Twitter to find out what they come across.

Since I’ve been doing a lot of twittering lately (I think that addictive nature of my personality has, at the moment, grabbed a hold of Twitter), I sometimes wonder if people forget that what they say in @replies are completely open for public viewing. I also wonder about how private direct messages really are. I also wonder about the integrity of the authors/creators of all these Twitter clients and Websites that ask for a username and password.

So, I guess, in the end, unless you don’t care who might potentially read what you say and the possible repercussions if they do, well, then don’t post, tweet, or write it. :)

Nothing or everything including the kitchen sink?

As you can tell, I have not said anything on here since July.  A lot of things have happened since then that I could go on about.  So, do I talk about everything in one post or keep it all separate, focused on one topic?  I suppose what I could do is just a brief synopsis of what’s been going on without too much detail and those things that could be detailed out I will do in some other more focused posts… provided I get around to it LOL.  So, in brief what’s been going on:

  1. I’ve started playing EverQuest II during the past few months.  This mostly explains my absence from the blog. :)  I’ve started playing a Warden in the game that has reached level 72 and is also a level 72 tailor. I happen to be on the Befallen server and am currently in the Elysian Storm guild on there.

  2. I have been dealing with this Gout Arthritis stuff in my right foot.. big toe area.  What a pain in the, well, foot. LOL.  After this last flare-up I’ve started taking medicine to help keep my Uric acid levels normal.  Looks like I’ve reached that point in life where you have to start taking some kind of medicine every day. I’m sure being old and over-weight has much to do with it… the body is falling apart.  I really need to exercise but my jacked-up foot is preventing that at the moment.

  3. I have been keeping my WordPress blog and Gallery up to date during this time; however, there were some problems with the latest Gallery upgrade.  In short, after upgrading to version 2.3 of Gallery2, I could no longer log in as admin or any other user.  It would just timeout/lockup.  Thankfully I was eventually able to restore my gallery back to version 2.2.6 and am able to use it fine.  I will hold off upgrading my gallery again until they release version 3.

  4. During my problems with the gallery upgrade, I started to check out the Coppermine Photo Gallery script.  To test it out, I made a gallery for my EverQuest character to hold snapshots and so on.  Not sure if I want to include a link to it yet. The code is much less complicated to deal with and does seem to put less stress on the server.  Customizing the theme also seems much easier and intuitive.  My main problem with it so far has to do with how it handles SEO urls and urls in general.  The links to image pages are not consistent as they are based on the position of the image in the album and not the actual image.  So, if I were to post a link to an image page and then changed the album sorting order or even added new images to the album, that link would all of a sudden point to a different image.  Dumb.  From what I read about the newer version of Coppermine it will correct that and use image IDs instead which will always be the same.

  5. During this time there’s also been an historic presidential election.  As it happens, the candidate I voted for, Barack Obama, won. :) Hopefully he can help improve this economy which has gone down the toilet and change how the rest of the world sees the United States. I don’t even want to think what my 401K is worth now. The positive thing is that I shouldn’t need it for some 20+ years. There’s a lot I could go into but this isn’t the post for it.

  6. I have added to my DVD collection during this time; however, I have not got around to creating DVD pages for them yet. Once I do, I’ll make a posting about them. :)

Well, I guess that’s it for now and will publish this.  The Big 12 Championship game is about to start between the OU Sooners and Missouri and I’ll be watching that.

Why it pays to rent an apartment (fixing a leaky fridge).

The refrigerator in my apartment started leaking on the inside. It would drip from the top of refrigerator portion (freezer is on top) and hit the bottom. I placed a towel on the bottom and kind of let it go for awhile since my fridge is not exactly full of stuff. It had mostly cokes, a gallon of milk, some chip dip, and some other items.

However, after putting a pizza box on the next to bottom shelf and coming back later to a soggy pizza (gross!) I figured it was time to get it fixed. So, while I was at the apartment office paying my rent on my day off, I told them about it. They said no problem and would have someone out there.

A few hours later the maintenance guy arrived and went straight to work. It was rather apparent he knew exactly how to fix it and had done so numerous times. He turned the fridge off, removed the bottom shelf of the freezer and some other panels, and then removed all the ice that had accumulated in the bottom part of the freezer (apparently a grape soda bottle or maybe a grape popsicle melted in there as some of the ice had a purplish appearance). I assisted as I could by mainly aiming my flash light where he was working so he could see better.

After all the ice had been removed, he then brandished a turkey baster, yes, a turkey baster, filled it with warm water and stuck it into a clogged drain hole in the back of the freezer and alternated squeezing and sucking the water back out and repeated this until the warm water had melted all the ice in the line and was able to drain freely. Afterwards, he put the freezer back together. Problem solved! Green with Envy For those curious, it is a GE Hotpoint Model CTX14CYSDRAD.

This episode reminded me again of why it pays to rent an apartment. If something breaks, I don’t have to fix it and I don’t have to pay for it to get fixed or replaced.