Mass converting .bmp to .jpg

I’m largely posting this because I’ve had to do it twice recently and forgot how to do it both times.

The command to convert a whole folder of images from .bmp to .jpg (on Linux, obviously) is:

mogrify -format jpg *.bmp

It’s really that simple, and is actually a lot quicker than I thought it would be. You need ImageMagick installed, but most distros will have that by default anyway.

Trying to catch up on writing about music

Albums I’ve enjoyed over the last couple of months include:

  • The Decemberists – The Hazards of Love
  • Robyn Hitchcock – Goodnight Oslo
  • …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – Century of Self
  • Beruit – March of the Zapotec and Realpeople Holland
  • Chris Difford – The Last Temptation of Chris
  • State Shirt – This is Old (available for free)
  • Nine Inch Nails/Jane’s Addiction/Street Sweeper – NINJA 2009 tour sampler (available for free)
  • Split Seconds – So Sad About it All (available for free)
  • The Hold Steady – Stay Positive (and in fact all their other albums too)
  • British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music?
  • The Dada Weathermen – The Green Waltz (available for free)
  • Morrissey – Years of Refusal
  • ne:o – illoj (available for free)
  • No, Really – Rust (available for free)

I’d love to write about each one at some point, but I never seem to have the time.

A roundup of IRC clients

This is largely a response to a thread on an email list regarding IRC clients. I thought I’d make a list of what I use now, what I’ve used in the past, and what is actually out there.

  • mIRC – the first thing I ever used, and what I know a lot of people still use. It’s user friendly, but quite fast and light. Windows only.
  • Trillian – an IM client that also does IRC. I’ve not used this for many years though. Windows only.
  • Quassel – developed for Linux (KDE4 in particular), but now available for Windows, Mac OS X and several flavours of Linux. I alpha-tested this last year and it’s actually really good for monitoring several channels (on different servers if required) at once.
  • Colloquy – Mac OS X only client that looks pretty, but that didn’t seem that instinctive for my needs.
  • Empathy – Linux only chat client that also does IRC. It’s what I use most of the time, and it seems quite fast without getting in my way.
  • Pidgin – does pretty much what Empathy does, but is also available for Windows and Mac OS X. It’s all a matter of choice really.
  • irssi – text based Linux/Windows client that is lightning fast and great on old computers. It also forces you to learn all the commands. It’s what I use when I’m not using Empathy.
  • Xchat – Another Linux client that has been around ages and that works exactly like mIRC so is great for switchers. I believe it is now available for Windows although I’ve not tried it.
  • Konversation – KDE3 (and now 4 it seems) client for Linux. I used it once around 5 years ago so I’ll say no more than that.
  • Chatzilla – Firefox/Sea Monkey extension. It’s basic, but useable.

There are lots more, but the above list is all the ones I’ve actually used.

Why static websites fail

I think the answer is in the question really. Static websites fail because they are static, and never change unless it is someone’s job or responsibility to change them. So many times I visit a web site related to some project or other that I’m interested in, and feel like I’m probably the first person who has looked at the site for months, despite the fact that I’m fairly sure the project is still active.

That’s why I like WordPress a lot, and why I use it for my website. I’m now at a stage where all my online identities feed into WordPress and present a fairly unified view of what I’ve been doing, what I’m thinking and what I’m listening to. And most of it happens without me having to do a lot.

Yes, this took a while to set up, but most of that was experimentation. I could rebuild everything in about an hour now, and all it would take to make the site look current is the occasional bit of text typed in to one of the two firefox extensions I use for updating everything (ubiquity and deepest sender). I can update things on the fly, publish within seconds, and can also solicit responses from other people. All these make the site look like someone gives a damn, which is half the battle sometimes.

So yes, for all those people who maintain websites that were last updated years ago, it might be time to consider something more dynamic or even removing the site altogether. Especially if you want to attract new people to your project.

Synching with folders outside of /dropbox

This could probably be summed up in a few words (the words being “use symlinks”).

Basically, what I wanted to do was to sync several folders outside my dropbox folder (for various reasons). The solution was to create a shortcut in the folder I wanted to sync, and then moving the link to my dropbox folder.  This can be done of the command line by typing something like:

ln -s /home/folder/to/sync /home/andy/dropbox/synched_folder

This could be used in all sorts of ways, some of which I may blog about over the next couple of weeks.

Why collaboration is a good thing

Over the last week or so there have been a few occasions where I’ve felt like I’ve been banging my head against a brick wall regarding some project or other I’ve been working on. And on each occasion I’ve ended up getting past the brick wall following advice/information from someone else, and on some occasions actually learning something I would never have learned otherwise.

I think the lessons to be learned are as follows:

  • Everyone knows something useful.
  • Someone knows the thing that will eventually make your life easier and allow you to succeed.
  • Talking to people who don’t know the technical intricacies of a project can sometimes help you regain focus.
  • You will never know what you can contribute until you know what needs to be contributed.
  • Sometimes the simple act of being thanked means a whole world more than monetary reward.

I’d also probably add that I like being busy, but that I can live without finding out at what point my capacity to achieve is affected by the length of my to-do list.