Reminiscing about making web pages

I taught myself HTML during Xmas break one year while I was in middle school. Since then I’ve always had some sort of website as a hobby.

I was wondering if I could find any of my old stuff online again recently, and brainstorming & research have yielded:

*) Crosswinds — had free hosting, then paid to remove ads maybe, defintely paid for an email address

*) Deep Blue Sea fan page — they provided all the assets, maybe there was a contest or something too. Not a fan of the movie but sharks are cool.

acmecity.com/deepbluesea

I think AcmeCity was similar to Geocites.

*) ~smc.web1000.net during high school, and maybe something else on that host — I think they had multiple domains to choose from. Seems like most sites on there were porn.

*) joshg253.com during college — I have some back ups. I used a credit card and student discount to grab Macromedia Studio MX (or Studio MX 2004?) and Adobe Creative Suite 2.

Then I guess I took a few years off with no site (really? or just some free hosting maybe?) then registered kverke.com in 2007, which I now want to re-purpose for my musical endeavors.

Sideload Android apps on your Amazon Fire TV Stick

I picked up an Amazon Fire TV Stick during the 2-day Prime preorder discount and received it after everyone else bought theirs at Best Buy for the same price.

Overall, it’s a pretty slick device, with a few shortcomings, but it ended up not being super useful at home since I already have a PS3 connected to our one TV that can stream Prime video, Netflix, etc. I figured it’d be awesome when traveling though, provided we actually had decent (or any WiFi) where we end up. However, there is no built-in way to log into e.g. hotel Wi-Fi, but you can sideload Firefox via adb, which I assume you can use that to log in since it’s a working browser, but I haven’t been to a hotel since I installed Firefox on mine.

I also wanted to see if I could get Twilight installed to lessen the blue light in the evenings. It installed and will work, but you can’t adjust the sliders manually, nor set a location automatically or manually. However, you can force the filter on or off, so it can still be useful.

Procedure

The install procedure is the same for either app.

On the Fire TV Stick

  1. Go to Settings -> System -> Developer Options
  2. Turn on ADB debugging and Apps from Unknown Sources
  3. Then under Settings -> System -> About -> Network
  4. Make note of the IP address, e.g. 192.168.1.123

On a computer on the same network as your Fire TV Stick

  1. Download the .APKs you want.
    • Firefox – I just grabbed the latest mobile build from Mozilla’s FTP site at the time, which was Firefox 34
    • Twilight – I just searched for ‘twilight apk’ and ended up grabbing it here.
  2. Install adb
    • (I already had this installed, maybe I’ll fill in steps later)
  3. Open a command window
  4. CD to the folder where you dropped the .APKs
  5. Connect to the IP address from above; e.g.
    • adb connect 192.168.1.123
  6. Install the .APKs on the FireStick; e.g.
    • adb install firefox.apk

Post-install

(back on the FireStick)

  1. Go to Settings -> Applications -> Manage All Installed Applications
  2. Scroll down to your newly installed app, press Ok, Launch application

Some notes on the two apps

Firefox

It’s pretty tedious to use the browser with the included remote, but should suffice for e.g. entering login information on a hotel WiFi access form.

Twilight

Not being able to adjust the bars, and since it won’t get a location automatically, and you can’t set one manually, you basically end up with 2 settings:

At the top, select ether

  • Default, and use Force filter at the bottom to toggle it on & off, or
  • Bed Reading, which is much dimmer and automatically checks Force filter when selected.

Kind of a pain, but may lead to getting to sleep earlier, which may lead to you finally getting that raise you’ve been working on for the past 9 years…

Other thoughts

I don’t see a quicker way to open the apps besides Settings -> Applications -> Manage All Installed Applications -> app -> Launch application, and for Twilight you have to do that and toggle it on & off via its Force filter setting. So, not great, but it works. Basically.

Hello 2015!

Ok, figured it out:

Made a WordPress multisite now, with subdirs under blogs.gundersons.us using EE.

Had some issues at first, trying to run EE after I had already gotten a single WordPress blog up & running, so I took a Snapshot (free right now since they are apparently in beta) and blew it away, started fresh using some excellent initial setup tutorials on Vultr & DigitalOcean, ran the EE setup and it went through with no complaints.

I plan on using the Kverke.com domain for any of my music-related projects.

Hello Vultr!

I spun up a VPS on Vultr over the Holiday Closure (where legally permissible). I was previously using Digital Ocean but Vultr has a Seattle datacenter, which is decidedly closer than the Bay Area.

I imported old blog posts to the new WordPress install, but I’m not really sure how I’m gonna split stuff up on here yet.

Run Trillian from a USB drive

I’ve been using PortableApps and Trillian Pro for years, but there is no official way to run Trillian from a USB stick. So I did some digging a while back and got it working.

Setup
I’m using my Microsoft Account to log into a 64-bit Windows 8 PC, so if you’re using something different the folders below may be slightly different.

I also don’t install any plugins or skins so there may be extra steps involved if you do.

[instructions for a new Portable Trillian installation]
Install Trillian on your PC
Install any plugins, skins, etc. you want.
Set up your accounts

  • copy the “C:Program Files (x86)Trillian” folder to your USB Flash Drive

*optional: rename to TrillianPortable (that’s how I’m going to refer to that particular folder in the rest of this post anyway)
* copy “C:Users[your Windows username]AppDataRoamingTrillianusers” folder into the TrillianPortable folder as well
* modify Trillian.ini:
[General]
Use User Directory=0
Global Directory=usersglobal

Updating

Since then, Trillian has been asking me to update for a while now, so here’s what I finally did 1/16/2014 to successfully update my Portable Trillian install to v5.4 Build 15 Pro:

[Instructions for updating an existing Portable Trillian installation]

  • (optional) RAR’d the TrillianPortable folder and saved it elsewhere as backup
  • delete everything in there except
  • trillian.ini
  • users folder

Download and install the latest version of Trillian on your PC

shut down Trillian

Go to Trillian install dir on PC (e.g. C:Program Files (x86)Trillian)

Copy everything except trillian.ini into TrillianPortable folder on USB drive

launch, enjoy

Notes

When you run Trillian from the USB drive, it /should be/ isolated from the host PC unless you do something like associate the various IM protocols with your Portable Trillian exe

convert FLAC to MP3 using LameXP

I have EAC set up to rip Perfect FLA rips, and then to transcode to MP3 I use an open-source program called LameXP.

Setup

Grab the latest LameXP: http://lamexp.sourceforge.net/
Extract the ZIP to a folder, or run the installer
Agree to
Check for updates or Postpone
click Don’t Show Again at the Nero AAC

Disable sounds

Tools -> Configuration -> Disable Sound Effects
You’re welcome. 🙂

Output Directory tab

check “Save output files to the same location where the input file is located”

Meta Data tab

double-click Position, change to Unspecified (copy from source file)
double-click Comment, clear the field, OK
Note: you will have to clear the Comment field every time you open the program, unless you want the Comment field in your MP3s to say “Encoded with LameXP”. I prefer them to use whatever was in the FLAC.

Compression tab

MP3, VBR, Maximum quality
Gives you “V0” MP3s

Advanced Options tab

LAME Algorithm Quality all the way to the right (Better quality)
Multi-Threading
The default/recommended setting is “Choose the number of threads based on the number of processors”, but the behavior is a little funky:
My laptop has a i5-3210M, with 4 logical processors. LameXP chooses 4 Instances. Makes sense.
My main PC has an i7-970, with 12 logical processors. LameXP chooses 7. WTF?

Use the same profile for multiple Portable Firefox versions

A few weeks ago, the latest version of Firefox was released and it [yet again] killed one of the extensions I rely on. So I uninstalled that one and went to the latest ESR (v24) on my main PC and all was well. I did, however, have to tell some kids to pull their pants up and stay off my lawn.

I use PortableApps extensively at work — I have to flatten my workstations more often than I’d like to admit due mostly to the pre-release updates forced on my domain systems.

It also nice to have easy access to the latest version from each of the release channels (ESR, release, Beta, Aurora, Nightly, and Nightly x64), especially for web designers or to help chase down bugs.

These all end up using their own profiles (which can also be useful) but I wanted them all to use the same profile.

So I did some searching, and it looks like The Internet only wants to do basically the opposite of what I do: they want to be able to have multiple profiles for one version of FirefoxPortable (and one guy wanted he and his wife to use the same profile!?)

Here’s what I did:
* Installed each of the PortableApps versions on my USB flash drive using the “Get more apps…” functionality of PortableApps launcher — you could also go to PortableApps.com and download the installers and do it that way.
* Made sure all FF are closed, even locally installed
* Launch FirefoxPortable — or any Portable one
* Installed extensions, pinned a few tabs, configured some settings, etc.
* Made sure all FF are closed, even locally installed
* Moved the three folders () in P:PortableAppsFirefoxPortableData to the parent folder; i.e. P:PortableAppsFirefoxPortable
* Edited a FirefoxPortable.ini file to reflect the locations of the folders you want to use

[FirefoxPortable]
ProfileDirectory=profile
SettingsDirectory=settings
PluginsDirectory=plugins

So now my directory looks like this (channel, current versions):
P:PortableApps
FirefoxPortable — release, v27
FirefoxPortableAurora — alpha, v29
FirefoxPortableESR — ESR, v24
FirefoxPortableNightly — nightly, v30
FirefoxPortableNightly64 — nightly 64-bit, v30
FirefoxPortableTest — beta, v28

Next is to try similar with Chrome Portable, although I think I can just use the Sync feature on there.

Windows 8.1 Preview

I upgraded my main PC to the preview today to Build 9431.

It took quite a while to complete. I saw a bluescreen for a split second somewhere during the install.

I have a folder called Windows.old on my C: drive that’s ~4.5GB in size.

Problems
I couldn’t unlock my Bitlock’d eSATA backup drive — MS’s FixIt tool didn’t help. I was able to unlock it through Control Panel. My Bitlock’d USB3 flashdrive unlocked like normal, i.e. double-click in My Computer and the box pops up in the top-right corner prompting for password.

Other things
I need to enable thin borders again