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Don’t be sloppy with your floppy

I ran across this artifact from a bygone era the other day, and went searching for the story behind it. Surprisingly, I could find no pictures of it, so I decided to record it for posterity. Now future generations will know that terrible computer jokes existed long before facebook, when cavemen had to physically pass the jokes to one another like the very floppy disks the DiskProtek was made to defend.

The only reference to the DiskProtek that I’ve found at all is this trademark registration. It looks like it’s expired and is available for the low price of $159 if you’d like to enter the lucrative Archaic Computer Novelty business.

It hasn’t held up very well, but it’s probably close to 20 years old, so it’s a wonder it isn’t a bag full of dust at this point. Obviously the DiskProtek corporation produced a quality product.

Read on for the text from the back.

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How to crop audio in Audacity

If you search for instructions on cropping in Audacity, you’ll get a lot of people explaining how to do two things that you don’t want to do:

1. Remove a selected section (that is, cutting, the opposite of cropping)
2. Save a selection to a file

If you just want to select a range and remove everything on both sides, neither of those pieces of advice help. The confusion is caused by people answering questions they don’t understand, and the fact that Audacity uses the term “Trim” instead of crop. Of course, if you read an article like this one, you will be even more confused, because he uses the term “Trim” to mean Cut!

Anyhow, all you have to do is select the range you want, then Edit -> Remove Audio -> Trim. Or just hit Ctrl-T.

Update: Newer versions of Audacity moved Trim to Edit -> Remove Special -> Trim Audio.

Loan-Bot update

I’ve updated with a few new features:

  • Printable version of the charts
  • Download the amortization as a spreadsheet (Excel or CSV)
  • Calculate PMI and property tax
  • Reverse calculation (find the house price from the monthly payment)

Win32::InstallShield v0.6

I’ve posted version 0.6 of Win32::InstallShield on CPAN and here. Torsten Werner discovered that the ISM file’s encoding wasn’t obeyed and kindly offered a fix. It will now attempt to detect the encoding from the XML declaration, or allow you to set it manually.

C# MIME Types

Recently, I needed to implement a minimal web server in C#. The .NET HTTP classes worked great, but there’s nothing built in to provide MIME types (other than looking in the registry, which I don’t trust to be complete/consistent). So I extracted the data from the Debian /etc/mime.types file for anything with a file extension and created a simple static class to do lookups for them.

Usage examples:

// do a lookup
String mimeType = MimeType.Get(".jpg");

// the dot is optional
String mimeType = MimeType.Get("jpg");

// non-existent extensions will return the default application/octet-stream type
String mimeType = MimeType.Get(".foo");

// you can also provide an explicit default type
String mimeType = MimeType.Get(".foo", "text/plain");

You can download MimeType.cs or view it in-line below.

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Android SeekBar preference

Attention: This version of the SeekBar is obsolete, check out the new version instead

While working on my Android implementation of the Dislexicon, I realized I would need a SeekBar preference to adjust the text-to-speech speed. I found a couple of SeekBar prefs online, but none of them fit my needs. Specifically, I wanted it to:

  1. Appear on the main preference screen, instead of a separate window accessed via a button
  2. Fill the entire width of the screen
  3. Allow a minimum value other than zero

Here’s what I ended up with, as it appears in Dislexicon:

SeekBar Preference

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