psst.. this blog is on hiatus.

How to play AAC and M4P files without iTunes

iTunes is a piece of shit. I hate it. It’s slow, it’s a RAM hog, and its constant self-updating is both annoying and destructive (as noted by Dennis Kennedy). Of course, this is to say nothing of my disdain for the iPod.

But I do own an iPod, and I did use iTunes to rip my CD collection, so I’d been using iTunes to play the AAC and M4P files–until now.

My favorite little Winamp replacement, Quintessential Player, has a plugin for playing AAC/M4P files. Get it from RareWares. Then you needn’t use Microsoft’s abominable resource hog (Windows Media Player) or Apple’s abominable resource hog (iTunes). You get to use a fast, skinnable little player, and you feel extra special nerdy cool while you do it.

Mounting an ISO as a drive: no need to burn a CD/DVD

I picked up a useful bit of information this morning. Did you know that you don’t have to burn an ISO image to CD/DVD to access its files? Instead, you can mount the image as a local drive. This is handy because (a) you don’t have to wait to burn the image, (b) you don’t have to waste a DVD/CD, and (c) it’s faster because the files are accessed off the hard drive, not the CD/DVD drive.

Since more and more apps are downloadable as ISOs, I think this will be useful.

Moving from Blogger to WordPress: Best Practices

I recently moved a friend’s medium-size blog from Blogger to hosted WordPress (on DreamHost, not WordPress.com), and I thought I’d share a few tips for making the transition smooth.

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Hacking MySpace: Block ads, disable custom layouts

MySpace is a terrible, terrible website. It’s kind of an embarassment to mankind that it’s gotten so popular, seeing as it’s one of the most unintuive, poorly designed sites on the web.

That said, lots and lots of people are on it, so maybe you can’t avoid it. (I try but I fail.) If you can’t avoid it, at least make it usable. Here’s what I do.

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Migrating and redirecting RSS feeds to FeedBurner

FeedBurner is a superb service. I’ve recently consolidated my feeds and migrated all of them to FeedBurner, allowing me to reap all of the benefits of this excellent service.

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9 backreferences, 1 Perl script, and 301 redirection

My recent move from underscores to hyphens in filenames has caused me a couple of unexpected headaches, but it’s also taught me some interesting things about Apache’s mod_rewrite. I’ve been buried in .htaccess for hours lately, playing detective to strange behavior on my site. My most recent discovery involves the limitations of Apache’s implementation of regular expressions in mod_rewrite. I think the developers were trying to prevent wannabes like me from screwing up their own sites and consuming server resources, but it’s caused me some frustration.

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A (hopefully) seamless migration from underscores to hyphens

I’ve become a little too interested in SEO of late, and I learned that hyphens are preferred by Google to underscores. (By the way, many people erroneously label hyphens as dashes; they are two distinct things.)

It seems that Google actually indexes a URL containing sample_phrase as the text jumbled together, or samplephrase. Therefore, for a searcher to find these terms in the URL of your page, he would have to search for the exact text: “sample phrase”. However, with hyphenated URLs (sample-phase), Google properly parses out each individual word, allowing a user searching for sample or phrase to hit that page.

So, with that in mind, I decided to make some changes ’round here to page names. And create a lot of work for myself on a Sunday afternoon.
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