Joel Spolsky's turn in Hanselminutes

In the latest Hanselminutes podcast, episode 212, Joel Spolsky (of Stack Overflow) discuss with the host about podcasting. It is very much meta - talking about podcasting. Leo Laporte is mentioned.

Published 2010-04-23. MP3 file (47 min 03 secs. 32 MB).


Converting a SWF file

There is a web page with a Flash video demonstrating Campfire. So what do you do if you don't like neither Flash nor JavaScript for security reasons?

In the source for the page there are some comments about the (default) URL for the video being defined in the file cf_introduction_config.xml. There is indeed a reference to the XML file: http://37assets.s3.amazonaws.com/video/campfirenow/cf_introduction_config.xml.

Downloading this file and inspecting it reveals two URLs:

  1. http://37assets.s3.amazonaws.com/video/campfirenow/cf_introduction.swf
  2. http://37assets.s3.amazonaws.com/video/campfirenow/cf_introduction_PIP.flv

The last file has the file extension normally used for Flash videos, flv. However attempting to download it with Wget results in a 403 error.

The first file, a SWF file (for displaying "animated" vector graphics), can be downloaded, though. It has a length of 9.5 MB. It can be converted to a working MP3 file, so at least it contains audio. I used MediaCoder to get the MP3 file. Could it be played in Gnash and show some animation?

Gnash may be used. From the FAQ, "What operating systems does Gnash run on?" there is this somewhat cryptic statement:

Windows builds are available (compiled against Mingw).

But it is not clear where such builds can be found, if they can be trusted and if they require Mingw to run.

I tried to install Mingw, but it required too much effort. It is not straightforward.

In the end I dragged the SWF file onto Firefox, and it worked! Probably because the plug-in Shockwave Flash was installed. I haven't installed it, and I don't know how it came to be there. Pretty scary. So much for security.



Stack Overflow podcast 87 is out!

After a long hiatus a new Stack Overflow podcast is out! Episode 87.

Direct download MP3 link. 29.1 MB. 1 h 03 min 35 sec.

Interpretor is not a word

I saw interpretor used in a Stack Overflow post. Is it the same as interpreter? Yes, it is. And interpretor is not a word.

I asked at iRosetta and the affirmative answer from Donald Romero was that this word does not exist.

Subsequently I added an entry for interpretor at Wiktionary.

Jump page for Stack Overflow, etc.

I have a jump page for iRosetta, Stack Overflow, Wikipedia, etc.

Of particular notice: iRosetta is a place where you can ask language related question and get very high quality answers. It is based on the same software as Stack Overflow.

Using Firefox without a mouse

It is possible to use Firefox without ever touching the mouse, including opening links. For navigating links on a page the first few letters of a link text can be typed and that link will selected so pressing Enter will open it.

It just requires a few changes to Firefox.

From Firefox: non-Vimperator way to do mouseless browsing?:

  • Set to on: menu Tools/Options/Advanced/tab General/Accessibility/Search for text when I start typing
  • Set option to only go to links; in address bar enter: about:config, followed by Enter. Then: press "I'll be careful, I promise", find the line accessibility.typeaheadfind.linksonly, select it and change the value to True by either hitting Enter or Shift+F10/Toggle (accessibility.typeaheadfind.linksonly is on line 11 when I tried).
  • Turn off case-sensitivity. Set accessibility.typeaheadfind.casesensitive to 0 (same procedure as for accessibility.typeaheadfind.linksonly, see above. When Enter is pressed a dialog box will appear with the current value. Type 0 and press Enter).


Microprocessor for Arduino

The Arduino platform is based on Atmel AVR:

"The Arduino physical computing platform is based on an
ATmega328 microcontroller (ATmega168 or ATmega8 in older
board versions than the Diecimila)"