Archive for the 'Open source' Category

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Vimeo Downloader 0.1 released

Update (2010-11-13): Vimeo Downloader 0.3 is now available. Among other features, it will now download HD videos by default. Most people will prefer to use the new version (also linked below). But if you prefer to use version 0.1, which defaults to downloading standard definition versions of videos, you can get it here.

Here is Vimeo Downloader, a script I created to download videos from Vimeo:

The script should work on any system with a POSIX shell (such as Ubuntu, Mac OS X, or Windows with MSYS) and wget or curl (wget is in Ubuntu by default and also available for Windows, curl is in Mac OS X by default). To use it, simply run with the ID of the Vimeo video you want to see. For example, the ID of is 2373142. If you have any questions, please leave a comment on this post or contact me directly.

Thanks to Voinage on the XBMC forums for describing how to download videos from Vimeo.

This script is the latest in my attempts to help people depend less on Flash. For more details, see Why I haven’t installed a Flash player. For viewing YouTube videos without Flash, use Free Youtube! by Stephen Paul Weber. Hopefully this script will make it easier to incorporate Vimeo support into something like Free Youtube!.

Update: Free Youtube! now supports Vimeo, thanks to this script. Just install Greasemonkey, then Free Youtube! and you will have Flash-free Vimeo.

StarCraft Power Saver 0.3 released

StarCraft Power Saver has been updated to patch StarCraft 1.15.3 executables. You can find the new version on the StarCraft Power Saver web page. If you have any questions or if you are having trouble with StarCraft Power Saver, please add a comment to this post or contact me directly.

Positive change: Green Party on copyright

Along with their commitment to free and open source software in government, the Green Party of Canada takes an excellent stance on copyright reform. According to a response from Green Party candidate Glenn Hubbers and the Green Party response to the Canadian Conference of the Arts questionnaire, the Green Party will:

  • Remove the Levy on Blank Audio Recording Media and replace it with private copying exemptions;
  • Introduce a formal notice-and-notice mechanism for dealing with copyright infringement online, thereby affirming common carrier status for Internet Service Providers (ISPs);
  • Renounce the Crown Copyright applied to all government produced documents, thereby immediately releasing them into the public domain;

It seems almost coincidental that the Green Party’s stated goals so closely match my own. Let me elaborate on why these reforms are necessary.
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Clarifying the restrictions on DVD playback

A recent article on Slashdot, Canonical Offers Sale of Proprietary Codecs for Ubuntu, opens with the following line:

Playing DVDs on Linux that required proprietary codecs has been a source of much pain.

This statement is misleading. The primary reason that DVDs cannot be played by default under most distributions is CSS. To play a DVD with CSS, you need a licensed player that has a key to unlock the CSS or you need to circumvent the CSS. In both cases, the openness of free software is at odds with the desires of the motion picture industry.
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StarCraft Power Saver 0.2 released

Version 0.2 of StarCraft Power Saver fixes a problem with checking StarCraft executables that made it unable to patch some of them. If you had trouble with version 0.1 please try version 0.2, which is available from the StarCraft Power Saver web page. If you have any questions or concerns about StarCraft Power Saver, feel free to add them as a comment to this post.

Thanks to everyone who added information about their StarCraft executables on my previous post.

StarCraft Power Saver needs your help

StarCraft Power Saver (blog post) currently has trouble patching many people’s StarCraft executables as reported here and here. A likely solution to this is to check a smaller portion of the StarCraft executable to verify that my patch will work with it as suggested by MasterOfChaos. But before I do this, I need to make sure that this smaller portion is indeed the same on all StarCraft executables. That’s where you come in. If you happen to have StarCraft installed, I would really appreciate if you could download EXE Info (main web page), run it on your StarCraft executable, and add a comment to this post with your results.

For example, if you have exe_info.exe in your current directory and StarCraft installed in the default location, run the following in a Command Prompt window:

exe_info "C:Program FilesStarcraftStarCraft.exe"

Then copy (right-click, Mark, highlight, and press Enter) and paste the results into a comment on this post. Please include which language your version of StarCraft uses (ie. English, German, etc.) in your comment.

For more information about EXE Info, check out the EXE Info web page. Feel free to add a comment to this post with any questions you might have. Thanks in advance for contributing to StarCraft Power Saver!

EXE Info 0.1 released

EXE Info 0.1 is now available from the EXE Info web page. EXE Info is a tool that displays information about executable files, including their MD5 checksums and the MD5 checksums of each section of the executable. If you have any questions, comments, bug reports, or feature requests, please add a comment to this post or contact me directly. For more about EXE Info, see the EXE Info web page.

OpenWRT and serial on the Netgear WGT634U

I purchased a pair of Netgear WGT634U wireless routers a couple years ago with the intent of installing a custom operating system and seeing what they could do. Recently I attempted to configure one of them to monitor bandwidth usage for our house. I ran into several issues, which I will outline along with their solutions in hopes that it will save others some time in the future.
Continue reading ‘OpenWRT and serial on the Netgear WGT634U’

Wine refresh rate override feature available

When games run in Wine switch to full screen, Wine chooses the first available refresh rate for the requested resolution by default. This can be problematic because the first refresh rate is often the lowest. For example, Wine may choose 60 Hz when 85 Hz is available for the same resolution because 60 Hz appears first in the list of display modes. On CRTs, 60 Hz is quite flickery so it hurts the eyes after a while.

Why does Wine do this? Because Windows does it, or at least it used to. More recent versions of Windows default to 75 Hz if it’s available and then try other modes if 75 Hz is not available. In any case, a default resolution is selected that the user may want to change. Microsoft added a feature to dxdiag that lets the user specify an override refresh rate which is used instead of the default. This feature is documented in KB315614 (main article), KB230002, and KB217348. However, Wine did not include this feature…until now.

I wrote a patch to implement the above dxdiag functionality, which allows Wine users to specify an override refresh rate. The patch has been implemented in the most recent version of Wine (0.9.58), which is available in the Wine Ubuntu repositories, Debian unstable, and the other usual download locations. Instructions on how to use it are available on the UsefulRegistryKeys wiki page. The key to look for is “ForceRefreshRate” in HKLMSoftwareMicrosoftDirectDraw.

The commit information for the patch, including a diff, is available on the wine-cvs list.

StarCraft Power Saver 0.1 released

I finally decided to do something about StarCraft’s CPU hogging, which, among other things, causes my battery to drain much faster than it should when I’m away from an outlet. The result is StarCraft Power Saver, a tool that patches StarCraft to use less CPU time. For full details, including download links and a summary of the problem, see the StarCraft Power Saver web page. Any public questions or concerns about the tool can be posted as a comment to this blog entry.