xine, Matrox and audiobooks

One thing I’ve been trying to do some cleanup of my stuff lately, as I have a lot of things I don’t use anymore and I thus have to get rid of. This especially consists of older hardware, stuff I haven’t used in years, if I ever use it at all (some stuff is just stuff I got, used computers that were on their road to the trash, from which I usually took a few things).

To try getting rid of this stuff I’ve been trying eBay for the first time in my life. I was able to sell away an old nVidia video card and the infamous Pokémon Sapphire game in Italian; the money I got will start the “new box found” which I have to prepare as I need to replace Enterprise (I’m considering the idea of an 8-core Xeon box, so that it can continue serving me for the years to come, even if I need to spend more for it right now). Rebuilding FFmpeg, xine-lib and xine-ui many times a day to improve the situation is a very time-consuming job.

Most of what I’ve been trying to sell now is very stupid stuff, like old soundcards and network cards that only do 10Mbps, so I have no refrain from trying to sell it. One thing I’m not sure on what to do. It’s an old Matrox video card, I think a Mystique PCI. Not really a good videocard, not like I need it at all. But there’s one thing that it can be useful for: testing DirectFB/SyncFB in xine.

I didn’t even know of having it, I recovered it from a very old piece of junk, but I tested it once and I know it does work. I could be testing those outputs too, which at the moment I’m sure are mostly unmaintained in xine, especially the 1.2 branch.

But to do that, I need a computer where to put it (I don’t know if it ever works on AMD64), and I need time to pour on that. So here is the question: does anybody want me to take a look after SyncFB/DirectFB in xine? If there is somebody, then I’ll consider it and as soon as I’m done with my current jobs (mid-February, early March) I’ll see to put the card to use.

If I don’t hear from anyone in, say, a few months, I’ll likely just try to sell the card away. Please say so if you want DirectFB/SyncFB support. An appreciation token is also well appreciated and might actually move this up in my priority list, but not really needed ;)

Talking about audiobooks, I found myself having trouble to sleep again, lately, so I’m using podcasts to sleep. It’s actually nice, especially since BBC seems to have quite a few interesting podcasts (yeah I listen to them in English, it actually makes me feel better to listen to stuff in English rather than Italian before sleeping). Unfortunately the podcasts are never much long, and that is a bit of a problem as often one podcast is not enough to make me sleep.

I’ve been re-listening to “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe”, which I bought from the iTunes Store while I was in the hospital, and which I never was able to complete actually (I wasn’t able to listen to the third part), and that also is nice. I don’t have the force to read in bed lately, as I tend to get to sleep very very late, when I should be sleeping already for a while, and audiobooks are useful for that. Of course, now I don’t have the urgency I had in the hospital, so I can avoid buying them from the DRM-encumbered iTunes Store, and I was looking at the CD versions on Amazon, the whole Hitchhiker’s series looks nice.

Has anybody been listening to audiobooks? I would very much like some suggestion on what to look for and what to look out for. I seen that BBC is full of audiobooks (they seem to have a different company for those), but I’d like some opinions about their quality, especially I’d like them not to be abridged versions.

On the wishlist I put, beside the Hitchhiker’s boxset, The Pelican Brief (by John Grisham, I like his books, and I didn’t see the movie) and The Hobbit (I loved the book, but I read it only in Italian, an audiobook might be a good way to begin an English Tolkien experience). Other suggestions will be appreciated, maybe I’ll do an order for those before next month, as I really need something to help me sleeping.

New year’s resolutions

So the new year is near, and this time I want to make some resolutions I’ll try to live up to.

The first is to start detaching from things, from objects. I have one big problem, I have difficulty detaching from objects because they remind me of something, even when the things are completely useless and just take up my space (and I don’t have much space). I attach myself too much even to shipment cardboard boxes for stuff I received or bought, and this becomes a problem on the long run. I also have to keep most boxes of the stuff I buy because of the warranty requiring me to keep the original boxes for at least two years (more if the warranty is extended).

I already tried putting an old soundcard on eBay, but the result was unsuccessful (not even a single offer), now I tried an old motherboard, who knows, maybe I can get rid of some stuff, and “stash away” some money. Unfortunately most of what I have here is probably crap for the average ebay user, so I doubt it would end up sold… I have a few old keyboards, some old video cards, and stuff like that. I’ll try to see if I can make something out of them, otherwise will probably either throw them away or put them up available for free for anybody (beside shipping costs).

The second resolution is the most important one, this year I have to take my driving license, and a car. I can’t be stuck in the nothingness where I live forever, I need a car, and I need to get a daily job, at least temporarily, to pay the car. I’m lucky with this, I have an electronic shop at ten minutes from my house (by car) and I know they change personell quite often, with some luck I should be able to push myself to do six months were just to pay for the car.

I’m finishing what I had left floating around me in Gentoo in the next few days so I can spend more time on working during the new year, as I really need to get some money saved, even if after my hospitalisation that is difficult. Trying to get away from 2007, I also spent basically all the money I have, buying stuff for me and gifts for my friends, this way I can start anew with the new year.

On a Gentooish note, today I created three new packages, one in the main tree and two in my overlay. The first is libasyncns by Lennart, I always put it back into my TODO list to add one day as it’s an optional dependency for PulseAudio; the arch teams now hate me because I’m asking them to re-keyword PulseAudio once again… Lennart you always use bleeding edge stuff, don’t you? :) First it was libatomic_ops (which I had to add to portage), then PolicyKit (which luckily enough steev added to portage about at the same time as I needed it), and now asyncns, which was there from the start, but I skipped up to now :P

The other two packages are Emacs modes; I updated nxhtml-mode (this time a different Lennart ;) ), now it actually works fine for me even on Gentoo, with indentation not throwing up annoying messages to me anymore. But it has a new dependency, app-emacs/cgi+ (new package), which in turn depends on app-emacs/cgi (also new) and app-emacs/httpd. Certainly nxhtml-mode is not one of the most self-contained packages in Gentoo (actually it’s completely self-contained if you download and install it manually, but as usual in Gentoo we prefer using separate packages if they are available).

And nxhtml-mode actually spawned its share of new packages as dependencies, which is not entirely bad as it allows Gentoo’s Emacs support to improve :D