More HD sound

Proving my point from before that everything wants to be “HD” these days, I read the Zune HD specs that come out recently and in that I found out that it claims to support HD radio. Amusingly enough, it does not claim mp3hd support which probably would’ve made the buzzword bingo crowds go wild. We can always hope for the next model! 🙂

So what is HD radio? The site says:

Instead of sending out one analog signal, stations send out a bundled signal – both analog and digital. Because it is digital, textual data such as traffic, stock info and song titles can be sent out, as well.

From what I understand, pretty much the same way RDS is already done.

The technology is not even new. The site lists news items from 2006 and yet I’ve never heard of it before. They claim FM stations get “CD-quality sound” and (as I find pretty funny) AM stations get “FM-quality sound”. What is “CD-quality” in this context I wonder? I find no mention or details on what exact codecs or bitrates etc they use. Wikipedia’s page to the rescue: it says you get approximately 100-150 kbps of a lossy “proprietary iBiquity HDC codec” which claims to be able to provide “CD quality as low as 64 kbit/s”. Somehow I think that sounds a little too good to be true. According to wikipedia HD radio beats DAB in audio quality.

And to top it all of, the FAQ describes what the HD means:

It does not mean either hybrid digital or high definition, it is simply the branding language for this new technology.

Personally I’ll just rather go IP all the way and stream my music/radio/video over that. I think media or content-specific transfer mediums/concepts of this kind are technologies of the past. For this reason, I don’t think DAB+ will have much of a future either.

Linux on eee s101

I got myself a new toy the other day: an Eee PC S101 with 16GB SSD, an extra 32GB SDHC and 2GB ram.

Asus EEE PC S101There’s already a bazillion instructions on how to install and run Linux on your EEE PCs out there, but they all seemed to miss one (for me) crucial little detail:

In order to boot from the SD card, you need to press Escape when the bios start-up screen shows.

But now: to get the bios screen to show, you need some extra magic: you need to press F2 immediately at start-up to enter the bios setup screen and then you need to disable “boot booster” as otherwise it’ll skip the escape checking entirely!

Using this trick, I’ve now installed easypeasy on it and I’ll dual-boot with XP for a while since it came factory installed with that.

I’ve fallen for the commercials and also subscribed to 3g broadband now (you know the blatant lying “up to 7.2mbit” which never in reality can even come close even if I would be alone sitting on top of a base station) and I warmed up my toy and connection the other day (still running XP then) by working on curl code and made a few commits etc, while sitting on a wooden bench next to the field where my daughter was having her soccer practice.

In fact, SSHing to my primary servers and editing code with emacs or reading email with alpine turned out a much better experience than I anticipated as I’ve read about how terrible the roundtrip times can be over 3g. It actually didn’t feel a lot more different than my regular SSHing from home over wifi.

Open Source Sweden?

I’m fascinated by this Swedish organization who call themselves Open Source Sweden (“Leverantörer av Öppen Programvara i Sverige” in Swedish which means “Suppliers of Open Source Software”)

They claim to be some kind of business organization for companies that work with and within open source in Sweden, and they want to promote open source and help companies work with open source etc. All pretty fine ideas methinks.

So, let’s hypothetically say I am employed and associated with several companies and I basically work exclusively with Open Source software on my job and I work in many open source projects. Why would I make my companies join this organization? Their web page(s) give very few answers to that, and yet they have many members and some of them quite well known in our community.

For this very non-compelling reason to join, they charge ~600USD/year for membership if your company has less than 6 employees “with open source capacity” up to 3100USD/year if you happen to have more than 25 open source capable persons.

The only thing I’ve ever seen from this gang is that they get the honors to speak up on open source subjects in the media and they did issue a press release almost a year ago…

Their site lists 31 member companies (and a bunch of them are clearly in the >25 section). That’s a lot of membership fees every year.

So if anyone reads this. Why would I talk my companies into becoming a member? What can possibly be worth all that money?

curl 7.19.5

I’m happy to say that we’ve just shipped our 111th public release of curl and libcurl: 7.19.5

Notable changes this time include:

  • libcurl now closes all dead connections whenever you attempt to open a new connection
  • libssh2’s version number can now be figured out run-time instead of using the build-time fixed number
  • curl can now upload with resume even when reading from a pipe
  • a build-time configured curl_socklen_t is now used instead of socklen_t

… and there are at least 29 bugs fixed. All this during 75 days since the last release.

Thanks everyone!

Dear Apple Inc

Dear Apple Inc,

As one of the primary authors of libcurl and curl, two parts that are included in every Mac OS X release since years back, I was only wondering if you would consider sponsoring me with a Mac, to make it easier for me to do (lib)curl development, tuning and bug-fixing on/for the Mac?green-apple

I really don’t have any particular income from Macs so I don’t see how I can personally motivate spending some 2000 USD on a Mac only for curl. And to be honest, I can’t think of any other reason to get a Mac either!

I did look around Apple’s web site to find an email adress of someone to send my plea to, but I failed. So I’ll just put it here. I have exactly no hope in actually accomplishing anything with this other than putting some attention on how things are.

This post was triggered by recent libcurl bugs that seem to show up only on Mac!

Getting support to curl

The other day I read this blog post by Stormy Peters, talking about getting people to sponsor or support Open Source projects and she continued to describe the Gnome approach and a bunch of projects that accept donations etc etc.

It made me (not too surprising) think about the situation for our little project cURL. We’re independent of any umbrella organization (GNU, ASF, etc) and we don’t have any vendor or company backing that pays for daily development or maintenance. We don’t have any legal entity or formal organization behind the project. We’re all just a bunch of people on some mailing lists.

We do have occasional companies and vendors who step up and pay individual developers to add features or provide various kinds of support, but they’re all basically single-shot occurrences and nothing that’s done on an ongoing basis.

Or products are used in all Linux distros, by hundreds of companies and so on. We’re a fairly active team, continuously working on bug fixes, tweaks and adding new features.

What can we do to make us more attractive for more support or active sponsoring by some vendor(s)?

Would joining an “umbrella” organization or forming a legal entity make it any more likely to happen?

Isn’t it so, that if the project is mature and good enough already, there’s actually very very little incentive for any company to take it under their wings and rather the market economy makes it a lot more profitable to simply use it as it is and if – at worst – in the end something really hits the fan, you can pay someone at that crisis point to fix up the immediate problem. And then continue like before.

And to be honest, I think we are proving to everyone that it works this way by continuing to deliver rock solid quality software. For no price. Completely open source. Year after year. Darnit, it’s just too fun to stop!


Video: How to build Rockbox

I recorded a 10 minute screencast on how to build Rockbox from SVN (on Linux) just now. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time since I believe a lot of users need to get this shown rather than just a static text describing it. It really is easy and I think my video shows that.


The video is available as:

This recording was done using recordmydesktop. I did resize down my browser and reduce the font size to make it look decent in the smaller window. I consider this shot a bit of a test on how it works, and what I can do with it.

The web shop timeout mystery

Another one of the things in the modern world I’ve not yet understood:

why on earth do some web-based shops timeout your shopping and automatically clear you “shopping cart” if you just leave it around for a few hours/days? Why why why? What harm does it do them if I don’t hurry on to purchase?

I love being able to press ‘buy’ on lots of stuff (that then are added to the “cart”) and then ponder a few days if I want more stuff, if I selected the right models, alter a few things and similar. So when they time-out on me like this, it’s like a blow in the face and I need to start over again. It’s simply crazy that I have to backup my list of things to buy just in case they’ll flush me before I’m done!

Yes, I’m aware that some sites offer “save lists” etc if you’re registered and logged in and all, but I don’t want to have to do that.

I can imagine that at times things run out of stock or they even change the prices of merchandise that’s in my cart, but they could still solve that in other ways than just clearing everything.

Adding known hosts support

… to libcurl and libssh2!

I’m about to start this little mini adventure, so if you’re one of the guys out there who’s been looking forward to be able to do even more (Open)SSH-like things with curl and libcurl when we use SCP and SFTP then consider this a little notification to start listening!

This will require improvements and changes in both projects, and funnily enough I’m already involved knee-deep in both so that shouldn’t cause any problems. I do however greatly appreciate feedback and reviews of my pending implementation proposals! I want this done in a way that benefits many and that isn’t too likely to break at least within the nearest future.

Ok, enough of that. Stand by for posts to the mailing lists. I’ll start off with the libcurl one which will thus be a slightly higher level API for all this. I’ll update this blog post later on to feature direct links to my proposals. Please consider posting responses to the suggestions to the appropriate mailing list!

The libcurl proposal

The first mail to libssh2-devel

Top Free Software persoject 2009?!

As two years before this, FSCONS is again looking for nominees for The Nordic Free Software Award 2009.

If you know any fine persons or projects you think are fitting and are from “the Nordic countries“, head over to that web page and submit!

And btw, this year’s FSCONS is set for November 13-15 although their site is still pitch black. I hope to be able to go there this year. Perhaps even do a talk about something!

Update: the word ‘persoject’ is not a mistake, even though it looks weird and wasn’t explained in this post. It was just a word I made up last year when I blogged about this award, and I re-used it now without thinking much about it… I won’t do it again. I promise! 😉