Are 3D Printed Records The Future?

Monday, June 6, 2016

What's great about 3D printed records, is that we will soon be able to share, print, and listen to analogue audio once the quality of the end product is good enough.

This is how it can work:

Audio is recorded in an analogue format.  This format will take sound-waves and save them in an analogue-digital-format utilizing mathematical vectors.  Yes, just like vectors are used in graphic design.  There will be no audio quality loss or limitation.

Now, imagine if we used an analogue laser player to listen to the record; no wear from a needle on the surface.  These players already exist.  But, any dust on the grooves or damage such as scratches will be amplified up by the laser player just like a needle does.

So, imagine that the record grooves are INSIDE of a transparent record which has a flat top/bottom surface i.e. no worry of dirty grooves, the laser will focus beyond the flat surface.  Just like DVDs or CDs work.

Pretty great, huh?  Also, since lasers can have a much smaller pinpoint than a needle, the grooves in the record can also be made smaller to fit much more music per side of a record.

But, what if we eliminate the need for a record all together?  How?  Well, we are taking analogue audio and saving it in a digital format using mathematical vectors.  All we need is to create a device which can take these vectors and output them in an analogue wave sound, and presto, analogue sound without the physical record or magnetic tapes which are prone to dust, scratches, and other forms of damage.


iTunes App Store No Credit Card

Saturday, May 24, 2014

How to download free apps and OS X updates etc. from the App Store and iTunes without a credit card.

Apple's answer:
Well, it sounds easy enough -- when you sign up for an account, choose "none" as your payment option,
but I already have an apple id from registering my computer.  When I log in, there is no [NONE] option.

So, you have to:
1. add your credit card info, then go back and delete it and supposedly the option of [NONE] will appear (but, they already have your credit card info, do you think that if you delete it that it just disappears?  I don't think so.)

2. create a new account.  But you can't do this with the App, you have to use  Create a new account, put in any fake info you want, and surprise surprise, the [NONE] option is there.  Once you've done that and verified your account with the link that was sent to your alternate email, you can now login to download free stuff through iTunes.  But, what if you want to download OS X updates, those are not listed in iTunes, only the App  So, find the free app you want to download, login with the same info you used with iTunes, and it will say something like, "you can't use that account to download stuff from here, only through iTunes" and it will redirect you to the iTunes version, or whatever that means, and it now works.  Super stupid and convoluted, but if you don't want to give the your credit card info, or you don't even have a credit card, these are hoops they make you jump through.


Add Subtitles to Your Own Video

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Want to add subtitles to your own videos?

In this example of how to do it, we'll use a video found online, Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke.
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 or create your own from scratch.


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 work 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 shoe 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 in the field of home construction and landscaping, 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.

Do these have sole puncture protection (someone commented that they actually do -- well that would explain how I stepped on a nail and it didn't go through).  In the past I was dubious about metal-free shanks (that prevents nails and such from penetrating through the sole of the shoe, but it says nothing on the Terra website nor the box) 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.   Update: the new pair I bought now states that is has a "metal-free composite plate".

(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 without stick-on fabric top layer
  • 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.

Update: Second Pair: 2014 October:  my second pair of these shoes have lasted longer as I didn't step on a nail-head popping a piece of rubber out of the sole.  Although the sole has worn under the large toes on both shoes in the form of crack-shaped holes -- water was seeping in through there (similar to the cracks/holes seen on my right-foot shoe above), but I filled the holes/cracks with PL Premium and that solved that (I also used PL Premium to fill a hole in the bottom of my waterproof boot heel that was letting water in and two winters later, they're still good!!  As with my first pair, the yellow fabric coverings on the insoles started to come off almost right away -- this time I just peeled them both off -- they're useless anyway... when they get wet, it takes longer to dry than without them.  I should add that if you use these shoes in wet conditions, you should make sure to use waterproofing spray regularly -- otherwise, the shoes take a long time to dry.  If I put them in the summer sun, not so long but if there is no sun... then what?  I bought a pair of in-shoe/boot dryers -- I got the maxxdry brand, but that's only because I had no choice of other brands.  Takes about a day to dry these shoes with said dryers when they're soaked.  I imagine that non-leather shoes would dry much more quickly.  The laces wore out after about 6 months, so you might as well buy a pair of sturdy tough laces at the same time as buying these shoes.

Still a good pair of shoes -- just bought a third pair Oct. 2014 and probably won't start wearing them for awhile as the old ones are still hanging in there, longer than last year's pair.

Update: 2014 October: There is a new Terra shoe/boot called that VENOM that is pretty much the same as the SPIDER, but with a few upgrades:

• TERRA FIRMA-FLEX Metal Free composite toe cap and puncture resistant plate
• Removable shock absorbing PU FOOTBED®
• Heel pull-on loop 

2016 October:  Yes, I'm am still continuing to use the Terra Spider shoes.  I now change the laces to hockey laces (Canadian Tire).  Just buy the shortest ones in whatever colour you like, and after you've cut them to length, the ends melt very nicely to be able to form an aglet with your fingers.  Why?  The laces which come with the shoes are too short, not durable enough, and do not stay tied well - for my liking.

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 Music CD

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

VLC - AutoPlay Music CD - iMac OSX Applescript

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