Subtitle to Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Want to sing along with the Blurred Lines video?

1.  Download a copy of the video; I use Download Helper plugin for Firefox.
2. Copy and paste the text below into a regular text file.  Save it as the same name as your video file, but change the extension from .txt to .ass  (Advanced SubStation - subtitle file). That's it.  Open the video with something like VLC media player.
Note: You can edit the text file to make simple changes, or use something free like Aegisub (better) or Jubler to edit the sub files.


Mac - Batch Rename Files

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Apple Mac OSX 10.6
How to Batch Rename Files
With a Right-Mouse-Click

Quick Answer:
Here's the file you want to download:

Drop it into your Services Folder [user/Library/Services]
Start using it by selecting the files you want to rename, then
1. Right-Clicking (or control-click) and choosing Services > Batch Rename.
2. or in the Finder Drop-Menu, choose Services > Batch Rename.

You can edit the file above in Automator, or create your own such as I did.  I made two Batch Rename services.  One for renaming photos and one for renaming music.

Mac is able to do such things with the built in Automator.  It Automates tasks - usually tasks that people do repetitively can be Automated to be performed with the click of one button.  In this case, I want to rename many files all at once.  Why would one need to rename so many files at once?  Well, for me, I have a couple reasons:

1.  I just downloaded 200 photos from my digital camera over to my computer.  They are all named such as this:  DSC0009876.jpg, DSC0009877.jpg...

2. I just copied a whole bunch of random photos of sunflowers off of the net for a study on sunflowers and they all have various names such as:  sunflower_007.jpg, sunny-day-flower.jpg, garden-009.jpg...

But, I want them to look more like this:
Summer Holiday - Banff National Park - 001 - (2010-08-30).jpg
Summer Holiday - Banff National Park - 002 - (2010-08-31).jpg
Summer Holiday - Banff National Park - 003 - (2010-09-01).jpg
Summer Holiday - Banff National Park - 004 - (2010-09-02).jpg


Wouldn't it be nice to be able to just highlight the files, right-click, choose Batch Rename Photos, select a few parameters, and presto?  Sure, if you want to add some details of the file, you'll have to do that manually, but that's easy, such as this:

Summer Holiday - Banff National Park - 003 - Swimming In Lake Louise (2010-09-01).jpg

An automated task in Automator is called a "Workflow".  I know I know, so much bloody jargon with computers.  Stay with me.  There are different types of Workflows you can create:

  • Workflow - just an automated task that will open Automator, and you run it with Automator
  • Workflow Application - will create a separate application that will run your automated task, that way you can have it sitting in your app dock or on your desktop for frequent use.
  • Workflow Service - will add your automated task you created with Automator to the Services Folder [user/Library/Services] and this will make it available to you as a right-click-choice or in your Finder Window Drop-Menu under Finder > File > Services.
....and there are a few others too, but you get the idea.

Making a Workflow automated task is as simple as dragging the actions from the Actions Library on the left over to your blank workspace on the right.

Just download the file (at the top of this post), open it (will open automatically in Automator), and have a look.  Each Action is represented as a box.  Really simple and easy to understand.  You can change it and fool around with it to see how it works (and that I haven't inserted any unwanted Automated Tasks in there such as Format Disk) and customize it for yourself, if need be, because that's exactly what I did to create this file - I fooled around with someone else's to suit my own needs.

Make your own:

  1. Open Automator
  2. Open a New file
  3. Choose a template for your workflow: choose "Service"
  4. Drag Actions from the left pane to the right where is says "drag actions or files here"
  5. Actions > Files & Folders > Get Folder Contents
  6. Drag the "Get Folder Contents over to the right pane
  7. Then do the same for: Get Specified Finder Items, Sort Finder Items, Make Finder Item Names Sequential, Add Text to Finder Item Names, Add Text To Finder Item Names, Add Date or Time to Finder Item Names, Add Text to Finder Item Names
  8. All in that order.
  9. At the very top choose Services receives selected "files and folders" in "Finder"
  10. this is what it should look like:
(Click for Larger Image)
(Click for Larger Image)

    10. Now go to each window and format everything the way you see it in the above picture.
    11. Once you are done, save it as "Batch Rename Photos.workflow"
    12.  Move or copy the file into your [home] > Library > Services folder.
    13.  And that's it.  You may have to restart your computer or restart finder (force quit) and now you can select a number of photo files you have, right-click > Services > Batch Rename Photos.

Batch Rename Music Files:

Okay, now that you did that, it's really easy to make one for renaming music files:

(Click for Larger Image)


Terra Spider Shoes 608115 Review

It's very difficult to find a decent pair of word footwear these days.  I've tried many different styles and brands over the years and few, if any, make the cut.  Usually the first thing to go is the stitching on the sides at the ball of the foot.  Then it cracks and soon there's a hole.  Every pair I've owned have had this problem and from there it's an assortment of different aspects of wear, tear, and generally falling apart.  This pair of Terra Spiders have held up surprisingly well over the last year.  One thing I hate about most shoemakers is that when you find something you like and go back to get another pair, they've discontinued it.  Rather than improving on the footwear they have and making them better year after year, they instead focus on making a continuing array of new styles.  Good idea for trendy fashion attire, but not for work footwear.  When it comes to work, we want reliability, durability, and comfort -- we care not for style.

This is what one year of wear looks like
(click for larger picture)

These Terra Spider work shoes have lasted me one year; almost exactly one year, from July 30, 2012 to my new pair August 04, 2013.  Although, I would have purchased them a few weeks earlier if I had the time.

In the first week of wearing these the stitching under the ankle bone was really hurting me.  I cut two small pieces of carpet to put in there to keep it away from my ankle which I finally removed after the the break-in period, which was between 1 to 2 weeks.  With my new pair, I'm keeping the laces loose for the break-in period so that the stitching isn't touching my ankle.

(click for larger picture)

The first thing to wear out were the yellow coverings on the insoles.  It really didn't take very long for them to start peeling off at the heel and toe.  I became very annoyed at the feeling that there was something in my show when it was merely the material folding back, so I just peeled them right off.  Surprisingly, it was a much better insole that way.  The yellow top layer holds dirt and water and by taking it off the insole became resistant to dirt and water.  If any dirt got int here, I'd simply dump it out and put my show back on.  Also, I like the non-texture of the plain insole because my socks didn't cling to it but had the freedom to slide around a bit therefore reducing any rubbing between the bottoms of my feet and my socks.  I recommend smooth texture-free insoles.  I think I will peel the top layer off even before they start to peel on my new pair.

No cracking; stitching in excellent shape
(click for larger picture)

The reason I purchased these in the first place was because I needed a light flexible safety shoe as I do a variety of tasks, many of which require bending down repeatedly and most safety work footwear is neither light nor flexible at all.  I tried many hiking style safety boots and after awhile they become quite flexible, but fall apart easily.  These Terra Spiders need no break-in period for flexibility; they are flexible and comfortable and bend easily upon purchase.  Look at that, you can hardly tell where the shoe bends as the stitching is still in place and there are no holes or cracks; it really held up well in this regard; I've had other Terra footwear in the past and none have done well in this regard before: peeling, cracking, soles separating from the upper, etc. are all typical of every boot/shoe I've tried (even non-work footwear).

(click for larger picture)

I also purchased these because I was looking for metal-free footwear.  Where I live, it gets cold and wet in the winter for a good many months and I actually got frostbite on my toes due to my steel-toed footwear.  Metal-Free footwear is not only much lighter, more flexible, but also much warmer.

These shoes do not have sole puncture protection.  In the past I was dubious about metal-free shanks (that prevents nails and such from penetrating through the sole of the shoe) as I've used metal shanks in the past and had to give them up due to my Frankenstein Walk and the very poor flexibility, but this new stuff actually works.  I've stepped on some nails etc. using shoes with metal-free-shanks and nothing went through.   It would be a simple addition to this shoe.

(click for larger picture)

The first thing of actual significance to actually wear out were the soles.  You can see the heel and toe of one shoe has much greater wear than the other.  I can explain the large chunk missing from the toe area.  It started as a very small piece that was missing due to my stepping on a raised nail-head; when I lifted my food, it popped a little chunk out about the size of 1cm-squared.  It seems that this missing initial piece allowed greater wear to occur in that area.  Or perhaps I just pivot etc. more on that foot.  I think if I didn't lose that initial piece, I could have worn these for another couple months, maybe, but as you can see, similar wear is happening on the other foot and the heel area is almost worn through as well.  The soles are very comfortable and flexible and this may by a trade-off when looking at more durable soles.  I was surprised to see that the parts of the sole that fold up onto the sides of the upper didn't peel off or anything; especially where the shoe bends at the ball of the foot.

(click for larger picture)

The toe-kick rubber started peeling off about a month before I got my new pair, but nothing some PL Premium couldn't fix.  The year-old ones pretty much look the same as the new ones, minus the dirt.

Overall, a very good shoe.  It has a 6 month warranty by Terra, and a 100 day warranty from the store I purchased them at.

Reasons to buy:

  • durable
  • light
  • warm (metal free)
  • flexible
  • comfortable

Areas of improvement needed:

  • smooth insole
  • metal free shank (sole puncture protection)
  • Made In Canada
  • more durable sole (unless hiders flexibility/comfort)
  • animal product free

I also hate when shoes are marketed as being "Water Resistant" or "Water Proof" when all they do it spray on some water-repellent that washes off in the first rain.  Stop that - they're not water resistant or water proof unless they are rubber boots.

It would be nice if companies made shoes that were 'resolable'.  I have a great pair of Redwing shoes, and they are 'resolable'.  They are made as work shoes, but I use them casually and 9 years later, I'm still using them (and I abuse the hell out of them).  I'd love to see that same quality in the Terra shoe, and I'd also love to see the Terra show Made In Canada as I bought that pair of Redwing shoes specifically because they were Made In the U.S.A. (most of their shoes are not made in the U.S.A. now, only a select few).  I remember when Terra boots were made in Canada; I wonder if they also have a selection that still are.


James Drake Mitchell

Sunday, January 20, 2013

If the following bits of information is familiar to you, please contact me.

James Drake Mitchell
Jane Denise Evans
Nanaimo British Columbia, Canada
Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England, U.K.
December 02, 1972
Vancouver, BC

VLC - AutoPlay Audio Music CD - iMac OSX Applescript

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I do not use iTunes, nor do I have any desire to do so.  I do, however, enjoy using VideoLAN's VLC Media Player, but with my current OSX 10.6.8 operating system, my VLC Media Player doesn't have the option upon instillation to make it the default media player.  I have no idea why.All I know is that whenever I insert a Music CD into my drive VLC will not play the disc.

It may be different for you, I don't know.  But, if I open my System Preferences > Hardware > CDs & DVDs > "When you insert a music CD:" and change this option from "Open QuickTime" to "", it will not play.  I must choose the option to "Ignore" then manually open VLC and choose to Open Disc.  Even then it will not play properly as it will try to play the CD at the exact same time as trying to populate the VLC Playlist with the contents of the CD, therefore the music stammers and stalls at the two operations fight over control of the disc drive.

What solved this was to open the Audio CD disc folder, select all of the audio files, and drag them to the VLC PlayList, and play them from there (drag-dropping them to the player interface would also cause a fight over the drive by as described above).  This works, but the tracks are out of order 1, 10, 11, 12, 2, 3 ... 9. Very annoying to someone who likes to listen to an album in order.

So, here's the solution.  Open your AppleScript Editor (system app) and paste this into the window:

on music CD appeared d
    tell application "VLC"
        OpenURL "/Volumes/Audio CD"
        delay 1
        set numberOfFiles to count of "/Volumes/Audio CD"
        delay (numberOfFiles * 1)
    end tell
end music CD appeared

Save the file as a Script file, suggested name "VLC Autoplay CD.scpt", put it somewhere on your computer.  Maybe in HD > Library > Scripts or MyComputer > Library > Scripts.  Now, simply go to your "When you insert a music CD:" preference and choose "Run Script" and select your "VLC Autoplay CD.scpt" file.  That's it.  The next time you insert an Audio Music CD, it should play automatically with VLC.

The above script assumes that you are using an iMac desktop computer, you have VLC Media Player already installed, and that your Audio CD drive  is indeed located at the "file:///Volumes/Audio CD" directory or "/Volumes/Audio CD".  If you are using a laptop or an external drive etc. it may be in a different location.  I'm sure there's a way to have that drive path automatically detected by the script, but I haven't the time nor the motive to figure it out as the above is simple works for me and is easy for others to edit for their own needs.

If you have any useful changes or additions to this script, let me know, make a comment.

Update:  hm, seems that this only works if the playlist is clear to start with.  If there are other items in the playlist, it will start playing the last item to be played, such as a movie you watched before trying to listen to this music CD.  So, I updated the scripts like this to quit VLC (which clears the playlist) then restart it:

on music CD appeared d
    tell application "VLC"
        delay 2
        OpenURL "/Volumes/Audio CD"
        delay 1
        set numberOfFiles to count of "/Volumes/Audio CD"
        delay (numberOfFiles * 1)
    end tell
end music CD appeared


Laser Turntable

Friday, July 8, 2011

I really love analogue sound when listening to music.  Sure, digital music is very convenient and practice ompared to current methods of storing analogue sound, and most music is just not worth listening to on a quality anything above that found in the typical portable player or car stereo.  But, for that music which you deem to be worthy of multiple listening, deep thought, and emotion it would seem analogue sound (that is, the sound which we hear with our own ears) would be most pleasing to listen to.

For many reasons records have great quality of sound; the little continuously swirling groove in the record is filled with bumps created by the vibrations of sound; not a computers interpretation of sound into digital then reinterpreted back out into speakers.  Trying to convert a sound wave into a digital format has proved to be difficult since a sound is a resonation [sic] caused by a physical disturbance such as something hit.  That amount of information in that 'hit' is massive as a resonance can conceivably go on for ever such as, when a bell is rung, when does the ringing stop?  It seems to fad and fade into oblivion beyond the capability of human hearing.  Or do we still hear it, but merely do not recognize due to other overlapping sounds?  Why not cut out all of the sounds below and above the range of human hearing?  This has been done, but somehow people can tell something is different; something is missing.  Often people describe this missing 'something' to be a lack of warmth or purity, or dare I say, soul.

The little 'bumps' in a record's groove are little 'hits'.  Each bump is a wave, and when that wave is amplified and pushed out through speakers, the wave hits the air, unchanging from it's smaller form, only bigger now, then through the air and onto our ear drum; onto our body; resonating through our whole body and soul.

The digital representation of these waves are cut off at the top and bottom, thus the resonance is lost.  The wave will reach a certain peak, and that's it, it cannot continue further.

Well, this is the way I see it.  I see sound waves as I do any other form of energy, as a resonation that affects everything around it.  Yes, similar in mind to the so-called Butterfly Effect.

Unfortunately, using the traditional record player where a needle physically sits in the groove of the record getting 'hit' by the bumps as they pass-by underneath has some detractions in the form of physical wear, static electricity build-up, foreign particles in the groove, and so forth.

Wouldn't it be great to be able to encase a record in-between two pieces of glass or clear vinyl and read the bumps on the grooves with a laser instead, as is done with a laser disc (CD, DVD, etc.)?  Well, a small company in Japan decided to take that idea to it's first step, that is, a record player that uses lasers rather than a needle to play the music.

The company is called Edison Laser Player, now shortened to ELP as their product is now called Edison Laser Turntable.

In the two-sided V-shaped groove of a record, there are two separate recordings, one on each side of the groove; one for the left channel and one for the right to create stereo sound.  Two lasers, one for each side of the groove are used to accomplish this same feat.

I couldn't help but note from the ELP company's website that, "1991 Sold the Laser Turntable to the first overseas customer, the Canadian Library."  Good on Canada!

Another problem found with traditional record players that is eliminated with this laser player is the needle picking up sounds from beyond the record, such as taps or bumps on the table, floor, and even sound coming from the speakers if they are nearby (essentially, feedback) - I have all of these problems plus static build up clicks and pops on dry summer days.  I remember reading the story of one person who was walking across the room when his footsteps were amplified by the turntable and such was the deep reverberation of the sound that it blew out his speakers.  Apparently, no more with the laser turntable.

Official Website:
Photos By: Kell

Create Mac OSX Folder Icon

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Okay, on your computer you have icons which are little picture representations of things.  In this discussion I will talk about those little pictures that look like Folders.  Here's a plain default folder icon for mac next to the Library folder icon:

Okay, so here what most people do not realize; each icon is an icon set.  That is, there are 5 different images in each icon.  Why?  Because you can choose adjust your icon size.  Some like them big, some like them small, plus, as screen sizes get bigger an resolutions get better, you need larger better quality icon files.  When you are looking through a large list of files, it's usually easier to view your files like this, and can click on the arrows so see a drop-down of the files inside:

See the little icons.  These are the 16x16 pixel size icons, the smallest.  The blue folder above, is the medium sized 128x128.

Can you see a discrepancy between the folders?  If you're like me, you've spotted it right away.

Lets take this folder and scale it down to 16x16.  Compare it to the "E-books" folder above.

When you scale images down, they lose a lot of their detail.  Take this default "Library" folder for example in the 128x128 icon size:

Do you see the difference between the 128 size and the 16 above?  Let's shrink it.  See the loss in detail if you merely shrink it?  What on earth is that blot on that little folder?  See, I decided to use another folder icon for my "Games" folder.  Can you make it out above?  It looks like this when it's larger:

See, someone used one of the many icon maker programs on the internet to copy and paste their icon image, and all that happens is that the original image is auto-shrunk/scaled into the smaller sizes, and thus, detail is lost.  But the people that make the Mac computer software create different images for the smaller icons in order to keep them clearer at smaller sizes such as the 16x16 library folder icon:

See the difference?  The system folder (left) is now outlined in dark blue, squared off into a rectangle, the columns are not 3 rather than 4, no more dot in the triangle, and so forth.  Let's enlarge it so see how it has been simplified:

So, I thought it would be neat to make my own folder icons.  It's pretty simple.  Make an image in a png image format with a transparent background in a 512x512 size (current largest size used on computers) and copy and paste it, or use img2icons or other software.

I got one of those folder icon making applications (Icon Composer can be found for free on your Mac install disc) and wanted to be like the professionals and make a different image for the 32x32 and 16x16 sizes.

There they are.  Not perfect, but looks good enough compared to a faded fuzzy looking little rectangle made with the auto-shrink.  Using Icon Composer I save it.  It saves the file as an .icns file.  So, each of the different sizes I've saved in the file.  Okay, now to apply it to my games folder.  Hm.  How do I do that?  I search the net.  Nobody seems to know how to do it.  They DO know how to extract the images from an .icns file and copy and paste an image to a folder icon, but, that merely auto-shrinks.  I want to do it the way the system folders do it -- different images for different sizes.

Normally you would use img2icns or similar program apply their image to the folder, but that only works when you are using ONE image file and want to auto-shrink it to the smaller sizes.  Sometimes this works fine depending on what you want, but not for this instance.  I want my folders to look the same as the system folders.  I tried various programs, they all auto-shrink.

This is where I'm stuck.  [jump to end for solution]. And, I just noticed something else.  There is an additional 16x16 image for many folders. If you drag and drop an icon onto your sidebar if you use if often... have a look:

Games folder icon auto-shrunk

Games folder icon with custom-16x16-icon

See, the Desktop, Pictures, and Music folders have additional full-colour 16x16 icons for the sidebar!  How do I do that??!! But I digress!

Here's a good explanation of why all these different sizes are needed:

Getting closer to an answer?:

I found an old program that does the trick: Iconographer.
Just open your .icns file, then choose Save Into File, and select the folder who's icon you want to replace (and choose to correct the masks).  Works!  Buuuut, the largest it supports is 128x128.  But, I never view my folders at 512x512 - that's huge, why would I need the to be that huge?

Okay, that will do for the moment until I find a (free) solution.

So, I was told that CandyBar is an icon making app that will apply .icns files to folders etc.  I tried it.  It does.  But, it is a paid program with a free trial period. 

Nonetheless, I used it, and it works with a drag and drop method.  The program is pretty 'busy' looking and not quite at user friendly as it would seem for such a small and simple program.  I had to watch a video tutorial to find out how to do it.

When making my 16x16 sized icon, the result was not coming out as I'd like it to, that is, looking like a regular system file.  I found that using a default 16x16 folder png file as a background had too much visible degradation or resolution loss at such a small size.  With the larger icons, such is not as noticeable.  So, I re-drew the icon of the default 16x16 file folder.

The image on the right is the original png with vector circles drawn on top.  Once exported as a png and thus rasterized (changed to pixles, yet again) the circles look a bit more blurred and melded together into each other and the border.  I re-drew it in a vector with a 1px drop shadow at the bottom (10% of black), adjusted the mouth opening and spacing.  You can preview your raster (in Illustrator) without exporting it by applying the Effect - Rasterize, which can then be turned on and off in the Appearance Window pane, which will allow you to adjust your spacing, colours, etc. so they look as they should and not blended together or too light/dark, etc.  My pac man is more oval, the mouth more beaked, the dots more squished into ovals as well.

Okay, just one more question now, "How do I create my own SideBar Icon?


Iconographer (free oldware):
Works, but  maximum icon size: 128px

CandyBar: PaidWare (free trial):
Maximum size: 512.  Not very intuitive.

Icon Composer: OSX system app (free):  found on install disc or:
Creates .icns files from your icon art you created in a drawing program, or photo, etc.

Img2Icons app (free): takes any image, drag and drop onto any folder or app to change icon.
One image is used to auto-create all of the icon sizes. Easy to use.

pic2icon, icon2png, icns2icon, icon2icns, icon2ico (all free):
All are limited to maximum 128x128.

I had the simple solution all along!!!! for applying the icns file to a folder.
**IconDroplet** (free):
It was not working when I first tried it, but I noticed the "IconDroplet for Tiger (10.4)" folder, and used the alternative app found in there, and it works! I wrongly assumed that it was meant for the pre-10.6 OSX, but realized that the program had not been updated in awhile and was meant to be used for 10.4+.

Drag and drop your .icns file onto the doc icon, and it will create an .app on your desktop using the same files and name of your .icns file.  Super simple.  You can now do the old Get Info, select icon at Top-Left, Cmd-Copy, and select the destination icon in the same way, in the Get Info window, and Cmd-Paste.  It will Copy-Paste the entire icon set, with each custom size.  Other programs do not copy-paste the entire icon set.