Finding Hardware That Doesn’t Suck

I’m sure I’m not the first one to have this complaint, but I really wish there was a list somewhere of the Best (x) that Just Works under GNU/Linux, where (x) is a device or card. Right now, I just want a good analog video capture card (for editing and converting VHS home videos to DVD). I keep coming across webpages that say, “I’ve gotten this to work under kernel 2.2…”

I’d just like for every hardware buying experience to not be a four or five hour expedition. Just tell me what I want, and I’ll find just choose the lowest price from pricewatch and call it a day.

And, hey, while I’m complaining: does anyone have any idea why tcextract locks up vim for several seconds at a time even when run at nice 19?

Update: I should clarify if anyone actually wants to answer my video capture question that it is for a laptop, so it either needs to be a USB2, Firewire, or PCMCIA device.


Free software hack discovery of the day: Blinkflash, the unofficial winkflash commandline client.

Competition in the web-based photo printing business is heating up, and Winkflash is the best priced I’ve found so far. With an introductory coupon code, 4×6 prints are only 6 cents each; and normally they are 12 cents each, with $0.99 flat rate shipping. We just made our first order, so we’ll see how the quality is, but these days most of these services seem to provide comparable results.

The main problem is that the two bulk upload systems winkflash provides—a Java applet and an Internet Explorer “drag and drop” control—don’t work under GNU/Linux. So you’re stuck uploading photos one by one with a web form.

Enter Blinkflash—now you can upload your photos right from the command line, with Unix-ish efficiency. Blinkflash just submits the photos to the web form upload system, but it saves an awful lot of time.

Hopefully Winkflash doesn’t mind this program—it can only generate more revenue for them. I suppose they might have trademark concerns, but I don’t think that is fatal.

I think I’ll package it for Debian and make a few tweaks. For one thing, it only works with the UK version of Winkflash, but that can be fixed with an extra command line switch. Also, you have to enter your username and password on the command line—there should be a way to store that in a .rc file. But it’s in fairly legible python (isn’t all python code legible?), so I think I should be able to take care of these things quickly.

At the Beach

Yesterday was the most beautiful beach day this summer. The air was just around 80 degrees, and the ocean was almost bath temperature. A couple of weeks ago I was at this same beach and my feet went numb after about 30 seconds in the water. I didn’t know the ocean could change so quickly!

Here I am, looking like a bit of a goof, on the beach. That pink circle at the bottom is my 3 month old daughter’s hat.

I should mention that this is a self portrait.