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Month: December 2007

How to fix PEAR installation of XML_RSS / XML_Tree invalid package.xml file problem

How to fix PEAR installation of XML_RSS / XML_Tree invalid package.xml file problem

As part of getting an upgraded server set up and transferring sites from the older server, I had to re-install PEAR XML_RSS. One of its dependencies is XML_Tree.

Normally, this command should have worked with no problems:

pear install XML_RSS

It downloaded XML_RSS just fine, but then choked on XML_Tree, which was a required dependency.

Initial output:

# pear install XML_RSS
Did not download dependencies: pear/XML_Tree, use --alldeps or --onlyreqdeps to download automatically
pear/XML_RSS requires package "pear/XML_Tree"
No valid packages found
install failed

My next try was to specify installing XML_Tree:

# pear install XML_Tree
WARNING: "pear/XML_Tree" is deprecated in favor of "pear/XML_Serializer"
downloading XML_Tree-1.1.tgz ...
Starting to download XML_Tree-1.1.tgz (4,826 bytes)
.....done: 4,826 bytes
XML error: not well-formed (invalid token) at line 10
Download of "pear/XML_Tree" succeeded, but it is not a valid package archive
Error: cannot download "pear/XML_Tree"
Download failed
install failed

After some troubleshooting, here is how I fixed this problem:

  1. Change directory into the PEAR download cache directory: cd /tmp/pear/cache/
  2. Clear out all the old cache files: pear clear-cache
  3. You should see the downloaded file: XML_Tree-1.1.tgz
  4. Extract the files: tar xvfz XML_Tree-1.1.tgz
  5. Now edit the extracted package.xml file: vi package.xml
  6. Go to line 10 and change the ö to an o. This is the character that is causing the XML validation of the package file to fail. Next, save the file (ESC :wq)
  7. Next, remove the old .tgz file: rm -rf XML_Tree-1.1.tgz
  8. We’re going to recreate the package: tar cfv - package.xml XML_Tree-1.1/ | gzip > XML_Tree-1.1.tgz
  9. Next, we’re going to install this package and not use the network: pear install -O XML_Tree-1.1.tgz

XML_Tree is now installed. You should now be able to continue installing XML_RSS normally.

Walking through snowy Tower Grove Park in St. Louis, MO at night

Walking through snowy Tower Grove Park in St. Louis, MO at night

Early morning dog walk in Tower Grove Park. At 15º F it was pretty chilly, but I bundled up pretty well and was warm the whole time.

A good trick I figured out for taking long exposure pictures in the snow is to take a glove, put it on the snow and rest the camera on it. This protects the camera from direct contact with the snow and also gives a handy solid base to get a steady shot.

Some more good shots:

Ice crystals on top of a dumpster in an alley on my way home

Walking through snowy Tower Grove Park in St. Louis, MO at night

Walking through snowy Tower Grove Park in St. Louis, MO at night - Christmas Lights

Walking through snowy Tower Grove Park in St. Louis, MO at night

Suiting up before the walk:

Getting ready for our walk tonight

Selling 12″ Powerbook G4 keyboard for parts [SOLD!]

Selling 12″ Powerbook G4 keyboard for parts [SOLD!]

Powerbook keyboard parts

We just replaced Kristin’s laptop’s keyboard since the up, down, right shift and enter keys don’t work anymore.

I listed the keyboard on eBay, so go there and bid on it if you’re interested in it for the parts.

Thanks!

Check out the eBay Listing: Apple 12″ PowerBook G4 Keyboard Keys (Full Set) NR!

My audience participation entry in the Chicago Cut & Paste event (vote for me please)

My audience participation entry in the Chicago Cut & Paste event (vote for me please)

This was my entry in the audience participation contest, where we had 15 minutes to design a graphic that best conveyed the concept of "Survival of the Fittest".

Click here to vote for my entry (#16) if you’d like (you’ll have to enter your email address to complete the vote).

Thanks!

Google Chart API is very cool

Google Chart API is very cool

Gabriel Serafini 2007

Google’s new Charts API is very cool. I am interested to see how we might possibly use that with Collabofit to do additional charting.

Here’s the code used to generate that graph above:

http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?
cht=lc
&chs=500x300
&chd=s:GabrielSerafini2007
&chtt='Gabriel%20Serafini%202007'%20Using%20the%20New%20Google%20Charts%20API
&chxt=x,y
&chxl=0:|1976|1986|1996|2007|1:||Cool||Amazing||Awesome

Very simple, clean, elegant and neat.

How to sync audio and video for DVD playback using your remote speakers, AirPort Express, Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil and VLC

How to sync audio and video for DVD playback using your remote speakers, AirPort Express, Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil and VLC

Apple AirPort Express

I’ve been enjoying using my Apple AirPort Express to stream music from my laptop to our living room speakers using iTunes. The other evening I wanted to watch a DVD and use the good speakers to get the best sound, but you can’t do that without using a helper program.

Rogue Amoeba's Airfoil

I found a program that lets you route any audio signals to your AirPort Express — it’s called Airfoil (free to try out, $25 to purchase) and is made by Rogue Amoeba. It’s very simple to install and run. When I tried playing a DVD, though, the audio didn’t synch properly with the video.

This is the solution I found to fix the audio synchronization problem using VLC to play back the DVD and by adjusting the preferences and using VLC’s ability to buffer audio and adjust the synchronization settings.

How to increase audio buffering amount in VLC for DVD playback

  1. Open preferences in VLC
  2. Click on Advanced tab on bottom of screen
  3. Select Input/Codecs
  4. Select Access Modules
  5. Select DVD with menus [Note: to make this same adjustment when you are playing back regular files as opposed to DVDs, simply select File instead of DVD with menus and continue with the rest of the instructions]
  6. Change the default value (300 milliseconds) to 6000. This will increase the amount of audio data buffering to 6 seconds, which should be enough to synchronize the audio playback.
  7. Click Save to activate your changes (you may need to quit VLC to ensure the settings become active).
  8. Re-open the DVD using VLC and click Play.
  9. Click the “f” key repeatedly to adjust the amount of audio synchronization offset. It adjusts the audio offset downwards by 50 millisecond increments. I had to set mine to around -4900 milliseconds to correctly match the audio with the video output on my system. Press the “g” key to increase the offset in the other direction. Watch the actor’s lips and adjust the offset until it matches perfectly.
  10. Enjoy listening to your DVD audio through your speakers, streamed wirelessly!

Hacking the Gibson

Download VLC (Free Open Source video player)

Download Airfoil