Archive for the 'Software' Category

What’s up at Apple? Make UI great again!

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

While traveling abroad the other day I needed to save bandwidth and download an SD video of an HD TV series season pass in iTunes. A long search of hidden easter eggs - but I finally found it:

Why do the companies need to change their UI so often, make things more difficult and hide in the least expected corners? Why can this not be simple, context options where one would expect it?

Dell XPS 13 9360 Developer Edition

Monday, April 10th, 2017

Last year Dell was so kind to send me the Intel Skylake based 15″ XPS 9550. As expected Dell recently refreshed the XPS series with the Kaby Lake generation of Intel’s platforms, and I could take a look on the refreshed silicon in the 13″ form factor.

The 13″ edition comes with the same light and sturdy carbon fibre, with a gentle silicone surface. As mentioned in last years post I like it for the thermal and electrical isolation. The same infinity edge display still optimises the size of the case, so that the 13″ display is effectively packed into the size of a conventional 12″ laptop. A really welcome light and compact travel companion.
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tcpdump IPv6

Friday, March 31st, 2017

tcpdump -i eth0 -v ip6

Latest Mac’s build in hardware test

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Historically there was an Apple hardware test that you could boot to check if your Mac’s hardware is all good.

It came to a surprise though, that with newer Macs simply holding the ‘d’ during power on it runs some simple hardware diagnostic, too.

One should probably more often read Apple’s support pages, ..

Recompress PDF 1.0 (aka 17.1)

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

We just released a new application we were working on: re/compress 1.0 (or by our new versioning schema 17.1).

As I mentioned some years ago we have written a new PDF library from scratch for our portable port of OCRKit.

While we always simply wrote PDF ourselves, for reading PDF files we initially used macOS’ PDF framework. Until we ported OCRKit and ExactScan to Windows and Linux, too.

We could have simply find some open source code for that, but we ultimately decided against this. One benefit of knowing your own code is, that you can usually fix issues in a matter of minutes, instead of searching thru other people’s code for days or weeks. Customers are always amazed about our turn around time for bug reports, or on-site support ;-)

In the meantime we know PDFs inside out, and thru our involvement in the TWAIN Working Group even work with the PDF Association on some PDF standards. After having seen so many defect, non standard conforming, or simply not that compressed files in the wild at customers, we though: Why not factor out PDF optimization, recompression and error recovery into an own affordable App and started to work on re/compress.

Re/compress will go thru all the file’s objects, and re-writes them in the most compact and compressed way. If any recovery methods were needed to read defect or broken files, the new file will be written with all this corrections applied for other, regular PDF applications to be abel to read the file, too.

Additionally, for the big space savings, the images can be re-compressed, and optionally down-sampled to really reduce huge files to very lightweight ones for sharing, and mailing.

And best of all: Since we created our own cross-platform UI, re/compress is immediately available for Mac, Windows, and theoretically Linux, too (if you are interested in the later just drop us a note).

re/compress PDF.

TEAC HR Audio Player for iOS

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

This thing, when you buy a Teac HA-P50 for some Hi-Res Audio testing, and the matching iOS app (you know, for hi-res, FLAC and such, …, sigh) produces extremely audible clicks and pops that sounds like buffer under run / overflow / whatever - on a recent iPhone 6s no less.

What the heck are the vendor’s thinking to ship such crap to their premium paying customers?

Funny thing, other apps, such Apple’s own Music.app do not have this clicks and pops, … ???!!!

Judging from the App review an at least one year old problem:

PS: And why the heck do they sell the Teac HA-P50 for US$199 in the states, and for 299€ in Europe?

[self note:@”u-boot”];

Saturday, December 17th, 2016

ah, this bare to the bits uboot CLI, sigh:

mmcinit
ext2ls mmc 0
ext2load mmc 0:1 0×10400000 /uImage; bootm

fsload 0×10400000 boot/uImage
set bootargs ‘console=ttyS0 root=/dev/mtdblock1 rootfstype=jffs2′
bootm

saveenv

Synthesizing audio with sox on Linux

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Recently I spent some time finally finishing my DIY DAC and needed some signal generator for digital AES/EBU, coax / spdif audio to test and evaluate it. Turns out sox is pretty handy for that:

sox -r 48000 -n -t alsa spdif synth sine 1000 # square, triangle, sawtooth

Update:

sox infile.wav outfile-left.wav remix 1
sox infile.wav outfile.wav remix 1,2

If sox can not read your macOS recorded file with:

sox FAIL formats: can’t open input file Recodging.aifc: Unsupported AIFC compression type ‘in24′

You can let it use libsndfile to load the file anyway:

sox -t sndfile Recordings.aifc converted.aif

Update 2:

ffmpeg -i movie.mov -vn -acodec copy out.mp2

Random cloud changes

Friday, October 21st, 2016

For a while I already watched some other business struggling with workflow inefficiency by using cloud services that randomly (like monthly) change some user interface, options etc. and thus waste hours and hours of the time of workers to actually get their work done.

While we protect our data and investment by not using cloud services for anything productive (exception like Google Adwords, …) today we hit a similar issue. I automated invoice generation from our online store PayPal email notifications. Some days ago on October the 15th PayPal deviced out of the blue sky that it would probably be nice if they modernized their email templates.

Well, great for them, no so for our nicely script automated invoice generation. But even for the users:

Before the PayPal notifications where: Content-Type: multipart/alternative; with a Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8 and a Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 and about 20 kB in size.

Unix veterans could still nicely read the text/plain part in pine, mutt or wherever. The new emails did away with the text/plain part, and only send a Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 and the designers even blew that up to now consume a whooping 90kB.

Worst of all as of today they still send us a mix of old a new template based emails. Obviously awesome for some reliable processing, …

So this is what the silicon valley companies call progress? :-/

Update: Most of the size increase is actually mobile optimization CSS. WTF optimization is that? I rather have a smaller, plain text email than a 80kB CSS monster when I’m on the go :-/

Can the tech industry please stop messing with everything and thereby actually making things worse? :-/!

Samplerate: 192000Hz

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

All the FLAC and high bitrate hi-fi testing? Right now I’m listening to a 192000Hz FLAC:

# play *flac

Alanis Morissette - 01. Eight Easy Steps.flac:

File Size: 106M Bit Rate: 4.92M
Encoding: FLAC Info: Purchased from 7digital.com
Channels: 2 @ 24-bit Track: 1 of 10
Samplerate: 192000Hz Album: So-Called Chaos
Replaygain: off Artist: Alanis Morissette
Duration: 00:02:52.37 Title: Eight Easy Steps

In:100% 00:02:52.37 [00:00:00.00] Out:33.1M [ | ] Hd:1.7 Clip:0

on a last-gen Retina MacBook Pro 15″ under (you guessed it from the quote above, right?) (T2) Linux.
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