Make people sound smarter with MPlayer

One of my favorite features of is that you can play back their videos at 1.4x speed. This lets you listen to an hour long dialog in about 43 minutes and also has the interesting side effect of making people sounds smarter. The player resamples the audio so that the participants don't sound like chipmunks.

Installing a Wave Federation Prototype Server on Gentoo

The instructions on Google's Wave Protocol wiki can be easily applied to Gentoo Linux. It's actually pretty easy to set up your own wave server. This is just a minimalist working implementation of the server, it doesn't have all the features of the server at In particular, you can't connect to it using a web browser as a client. So it's interesting to see how the protocol works, but it doesn't help much if you're trying to figure out how to make the best use of a Google Wave account.

Preparing CentOS in a VM for Oracle install

This guide details how to prepare Centos 5.3 for an Oracle install. I'm running CentOS inside a VM using KVM. Since I'm setting up a test Oracle install because I'm studying for an OCA, my database needs are pretty simple. An Oracle install requires a non-trivial amount of OS prep work, so I'm writing about the experience here.

Converting a virtual machine from VirtualBox to KVM

VirtualBox has been great for me, but I thought I'd give KVM/qemu a try. I'd tried running Bochs around 2003 and it was exciting to see that it actually worked, but the poor performance made it more of a novelty than a useful tool. It's nice to see how far Qemu it's come in this time. It's not only usable but quite handy, with simple CLI management and excellent performance.

OSqsh CLI wrapper for Oracle

I wrote a wrapper for Oracle's sqlplus CLI that uses the Readline library. I was influenced by the excellent Sqsh interface for Sybase (and MS SQL). OSqsh (which I'm pronouncing "Oh-skwish") doesn't really do anything extra so far, except that it makes the command history available using arrow keys thanks to the GNU Readline library. That alone is pretty much the whole point of OSqsh.

Pictures from Celestia

Celestia is an open source program for exploring space. It isn't exactly a game, since there's no particular objective; you just zoom around and look at stuff and maybe learn something about astronomy in the process. You can travel to other galaxies, but it's based on real astronomical data so our own solar system is far more detailed than anything else out there. I'd been playing with it for a while, but I just realized how much better it looks with some of the alternate textures available from the Celestia Motherlode.

Firefox cache in RAM on Linux

A while back, someone put a tip on the Gentoo forums for making Firefox store its cache in RAM rather than on the disk. It's a hack that basically mounts a ramdisk where Firefox stores the user profile. I haven't seen any benchmarks, but it seems like a good idea and I find the performance pretty good. This is especially appealing for netbooks that use flash storage instead of a hard disk.

Math worksheet generator page

I put my math worksheet generator online. I wrote this program to generate printable math worksheets for my son. For now, the options are pretty limited: it either generates addition, subtraction, or multiplication problems. Each page contains sixteen problems. The addition and subtraction problems use numbers from 1 to 999. The multiplication problems are single digit.

If you want to make work for your kids, check it out here:

VirtualBox network access via NAT

VirtualBox has a few options for network access. By default VirtualBox NATs the guest OS out to the network via the host OS, so the guest can reach the internet but outside hosts can't initiate sessions to the guest. One option for running a server from the guest OS is probably to bridge a virtual interface with a physical one. Newer versions of VirtualBox also have the option of configuring port forwarding, which is what I'm going to write about here.

Creating a virtual machine using the VirtualBox CLI

VirtualBox is a very accessible open source virtualazition software platform. When combined with the optional free-as-in-beer guest additions, it makes for some really slick guest/host desktop integration. In my experience it is very stable and the guest machines seem to operate at native or near-native speed. While the underlying platform is excellent, the management tools aren't as advanced as what, say, VMware has to offer.

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