Sunday, December 30, 2007

Redirection Reflection

Being as I'm moving a few appropriate pages from their original location on my home site over to this blog, I'm doing bit of redirection from the original URLs to blogsitedness (TM Reg. :-) ). Frequently seeing redirects when browsing with Lynx, I felt it was time look into the subject. As usual Wikipedia provides a reasonably thorough overview of the subject at

One of the more interesting aspects of the discussion were all the reasons for the practice, much more than my casual expectation. As typical for the Net some are hardcore technical issues, others in various parts of social phenomenon, some are perfectly innocent reasons, others 'suspect'. In short a microcosm of the factors that make up the WWW.

One of the things I gathered from the article, but didn't seem to be explictly spelled out, was that there seem to be three broad groupings of how URL redirection is achieved.

  • HTTP level methods
    • HTTP refresh header
    • HTTP status codes 3xx
    • Server mechanations, like SSS or special Apache directives
  • HTML level methods, primarily 'Refresh Meta tag'
  • Bogus methods, at least someone out there almost certainly considers them "problematic":
    • Manual redirects (Manual? what do we have technology for?)
    • Javascript (a good general purpose WWW whipping boy)
    • (Yet another) abuse of Frames

The first two HTTP methods grabbed my attention because of their flagrant use of the 'Location: ' HTTP header. I was slightly familiar with this from the way YouTube handles their video URLs. (See my usnatch project at (the soon to be redirected):

You can do it yourself recoding/reconfiguring, or have someone else (web host, special redirection sevice) do the deed, but it is an inevitable necessity of the constantly changing nature of the Internet.

Monday, December 24, 2007

'WAVing' Your Videos

A friend asked tonight if I knew how to strip out the audio from videos, for conversion to things like .ogg and .mp3 formats. This is one of those things I remember doing, but not the details, so below is a script for creating a .wav file for each video .avi file in a directory. Just look up the parameters in man mplayer for a detailed explination.



# Script to extract .wav audios from .avi files # 04 Sept. 2007 d.e.l.

USAGE="$0 [-h]"

shopt -q nocasematch # - this seems to be inoperative

# if [[ '-h' = ${1:0:2} ]] # then # echo ${USAGE} # exit # fi

case ${1:0:2} in -h | -H | -? | /h | /H | /? ) echo ${USAGE} exit ;; -- ) case ${1:2:1} in h | H | ? ) echo ${USAGE} exit ;; * ) esac ;; * ) esac

set -o braceexpand ;

aviconvert () {

PATIENT=${1} ; CURED="${1%.avi}.wav" ; echo "Converting: ${PATIENT}" ; #\mplayer -ao pcm:waveheader:fast:file=charley1.wav -vc null -vo null \ # charly.01.avi

nice -20 \ /usr/bin/mplayer \ -ao pcm:waveheader:fast:file=${CURED} \ -vc null -vo null \ ${PATIENT}

return ;


for i in *.avi do

aviconvert ${i} ;

done ; # for

Addenda 30 Dec. 2007

I located this article I'd seen before after a bit of surfing:

which gives what might be considered an intermediate action, conversion to Black and White. Example from the above link:

$mencoder color-video.avi -o black-white-video.avi -vf hue=0:0 -oac copy -ovc lavc

The only problem I noticed was that the final video froze up on playback unless I turned any mplayer.conf video filtering off, but then my computer is somewhat marginal for playing videos to begin with. Besides the Ansel Adams/film noir effect a test on a random video reduced it to 20% of it's original size. I'm unaware of any "LSD/light show" filter that drops the chiaroscuro and spatial forms and keeps the colors. ;-)

Friday, December 21, 2007


This was originally on my personal website starting some time around May/June 2005, announced on the KHC site, . I never linked it to my home page, and so wanted to put it here, and beef it up with some YouTube/web research. With a few minor changes below is the original article:

Before a recent Karl Hess Club meeting, at the Tower Records near by, I noticed that Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger's Streetnoise album had been reissued as a CD, remastering having taken place not too far away in Venice, CA. The most widely heard recording in the USA that Auger participated in is probably the 'heavy' Thelonious Monk meets Mozart harpsichord comping he added to the Yardbirds "For Your Love" single back in the 60's. Driscoll (now Tippetts) most famous for the re-recorded version of Dylan's "This Wheels on Fire" used as the theme song on the "Absolutely Fabulous" TV show.

There's hardly anything to add to the musical reviews at:

I wanted to comment briefly on the political content of the album, which ties it in some with the Karl Hess Club in ways other than geographic chance. "Streetnoise" touches on various topics common in the era it epitomizes, civil rights ("A Word About Colour"), social activism ("Save the Country"), alienation ("Vauxhall to Lambeth Bridge"), but goes on to deal with some things not so frequently dealt with.

The instrumental "Ellis Island" is dedicated to big band leader Don Ellis, who's exploration of rhythm on a larger scale paralleled Augers. Auger, with the title, compares the excitement of what Ellis is showing with that of moving to (and exploring) a new continent (which Mr. Auger eventually did), hinting at the topic of immigration.

Unique in pop music at the time, to my knowledge, (let me know if you know any exceptions!) and otherwise dealt with musicly only by Husa's "Music from Prague", "Czechoslovakia" is protest song about the Soviet invasion of said country.

Many might dismiss "I've Got Life" from the musical Hair as a bubble headed up beat show tune, but along with some of the more blues oriented material on the album, it does celebrate personal/bodily integrity.

I recently heard a talk by Polish poet Adam Zagajewski, in which he attributed a lot of his fascination with jazz to the fact that the central trait of jazz, improvisation, represented the antithesis of totalitarianism, such as he lived under for so long. The album "Streetnoise" overall marked a turning point in interest in jazz. It was recorded at about the same time as Miles Davis's "In a Silent Way" and helped start a trend that would see ex-Auger sidemen like John McLaughlin and Rick Laird, along with some of those wild and crazy guys from Central Europe like Austrian Joe Zawinul and the Czech Jan Hammer bring to fruition. In the early 70's it became cool to listen to jazz again.

In conclusion, the first time I recall seeing the term "Politically Correct" was on the liner notes the "Encore" album Auger and Driscoll (by then Tippett) made a few years after "Streetnoise", their last recordings together. It was not only the first time I saw the phrase, but it was the last time I recall seeing the term and not feeling a sense of nausea at the twisted semantics it has come to represent.

Dallas E. Legan

Addenda, 17 Dec. 2007

Browsing through the "Rough Guide to Bob Dylan", I noticed that it listed Driscoll and Auger's version of "This Wheel's on Fire" as the third best Dylan cover of all time, so I thought a few videos might be in order:

Other video significant to album and artists.

Julie did something far more fatal to her career than overdosing on heroin - she married a jazz musician. One of the links in the original article above spoke of her discovering 'entirely new ways of using the human voice.' Some samples of her work from the last decades, and other links:

Some Brian Auger info:

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Friends of Larry

Me and Charles (C.) occasionally help our friend Larry (L.) with his Linux problems. Larry is blind, and it has been an education in Web and PC accessibility and user interface issues to help him out.

Charles is one of the people who persuaded me to start this blog, and he has been urging Larry to start one also. C. points out, I think justifiably, that it would provide a good way for us to track L.'s problems, his successes, to share his lessons with other people in his situation, to let the IT community at large know the consequences of some of the things they are doing and what they can do to correct the situation.

L. on the other hand is concerned that he'll just come off as a Johnny-one-note complaining about the trend of things, that he's just a PC user who probably can't articulate his problems in a way that someone can figure out a solution to them, and that no one besides his acquaintances are concerned with his problems.

I gave some thought today to all this, and was thinking maybe if we set up his blog so he could just CC: the correspondence he sends to friends about problems, to say blogspot (posting by e-mail), so we could keep an online running tab of issues for him. Then it occurred to me maybe we could set up a mailing list to hit all L.'s friends and the e-mail/blog interface with one e-mail address. Based on my experiences setting up the Cepheid Historicals mailing list, I realized that the posts to Yahoo's groups can be public, accessible to anyone on the net, with out necessarily having to sign on to the site. So why not just skip the blog, and set up a dedicated mailing list, tentatively called "Friends of Larry"? Maybe the long winded editorials of a blog aren't the best medium for L., but instead simply recording the day to day problems he needs help with, will get his message through.
Any opinions out there?

I want to wrap this up with a quote from some of my correspondance with L. and C.:

We should view the Lynx External not just a literal solution to some problems, but also a metaphor for dealing with them - when one tool gets us far enough down the road that it finds and hits a road block, call up another special purpose one, in the UNIX tradition of tools that do one thing extrememly well, and carry on.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Cepheid Historicals

About a month ago, I was e-mailed by the ex-roommate and ex-leader of the Texas A&M Cepheid Variable SF Club, after many years out of touch. I was contacted because of a yearly "Monkeygiving" celebration held by ex-members every year the weekend before Thanksgiving. (Named in honor of an off-campus group residence nicknamed after the famous Kurt Vonnegut short story, "Welcome to the Monkeyhouse") Shortly after, I did a Google search. Perhaps I was using too many search terms, but the only thing that turned up was

A message or two a week was passed with friends from that era in my life and I noticed that we were CCing the e-mail to more than 10 people. I decided this was enough people to justify a mailing list, so I floated the idea today of starting one one on Yahoo. I'd picked Yahoo because of local L.A. LUG friend Charles's recomendation of their services. I'd picked the name Cepheid Historicals so as not to collide with any current activity of the club, and also since it was mainly just so the 'old timers' could keep in touch. I managed to get started on the project a few minutes after one response to my e-mail.

The process was pretty easy, but I do have a complaint that it required skipping out of my preferred Lynx to use Firefox to navigate Yahoo's group starting process. As usual, it took a bit of floundering around to reach this conclusion. This is in contrast to the Google services I use, which as time goes by seem to get more Lynx/text browser friendly, or at least maintain some core functionality that can be accessed without graphical browsers. However, as I knew from joining and posting to Yahoo based groups, opposed to actually starting one, you could still carry out those activities purely by e-mail.

I sent out the announcement of the group to about 15 people, and one person subscribed while I was deciding on my subscription preferences. Two other people have subscribed on the first day, one person from two addresses. One person posted a link to a wiki already set up for ex-members, This spurred me to google again. I don't know if it was using laxer search terms, actually being wide awake or that the 'bots at Google were finally clued into a need to fill, but a wealth a of results turned up. The actual club at TAMU is going stronger than ever, charging semester membership dues, with interest groups working away and Club and AggieCon entries in Wikipedia. I was there, actually just a bystander, for AggieCon No. 2, but there it is in Wikipedia. Must of been for real!