OGG Vorbis vs. MP3

I just ripped some of my CD’s to MP3, but I was just curious what OGG would do for me. I had never actually compared the two encoding formats, side-by-side, but today, I was simply stunned.

A song compressed with MP3 (VBR 128Kbps Normal Quality) was around 5.1 – 5.8 MB. It sounded good, but ‘clearly’ inferior to the actual CD Quality sound.

The OGG rip (VBR 128Kbps), on the other hand knocked my socks off! It was around 3.0 – 3.1 MB and sounded ‘nearly’ as good as the original CD!

I hesitated, at first, to rip them all to MP3, in case I wanted to share them (!gasp!) with others. However, now that I can see a 17% – 20% compression gain using OGG over MP3, I no longer feel that way. I wholeheartedly endorse the use of OGG Vorbis for ALL compressed lossy compression.

Most [good] audio/multimedia players already support OGG (except, MS programs, obviously!) so you should have no problem listening to them.

If you have a portable media player (PMP) without native OGG support there are two options

  1. Contact the manuafaturer and demand (request?) that they support OGG in future versions of their players
  2. Ask them to create a firmware update to include OGG support on currently supported players
  3. Install Rockbox: a Linux-based GNU open-source free software suite which allows many major PMP’s to play a huge variety of free and proprietary (i.e. non-free, patented, or otherwise ‘encumbered’) formats, such as OGG. It also allows you to play wide variety of video formats, as well. It included a bunch of interesting features such as backlight dimming, battery-saving features, audio enhancement features, and plenty of games (plays DOOM too!)

UTF-8 characters in FreeNAS with rsync and cygwin and Windows

I’ve been having some problems with charsets (character sets) when using FreeNAS, rsync, deltacopy, and cygwin.

The filenames on a Windows box are either in UTF-8 or ISO-8859-1 (Latin1). The FreeNAS uses rsync to backup the files on the windows box, and saves them to a RAID array. I wasn’t sure if it was rsync, or FreeNAS causing the problem, but all characters with more than 7 significant bits (8 or more) were being “escaped” such as \#303 instead of Ñ.

I found the solution by using the “-8” flag in rsync. Also, I overwrote the cygwin.dll file supplied by DeltaCopy with a UTF-8-modified cygwin.dll, restarted DeltaCopy, and the filenames appeared correctly and in UTF-8 (instead of ISO8859-1).

As always, remember to BACKUP before journeying on with this! Good Luck!

openSUSE 11.2 Disappointing

I must say I found openSUSE 11.2 to be a major disappointment. I’ve come to expect better, much better, from Novell. If it weren’t for the stability issues with KDE and relatively poor netbook support this distribution would have been a keeper for me. There really is a lot to like. Perhaps the results will be different for people with different hardware. For me, though, openSUSE 11.2 just doesn’t compare favorably to the other major distributions and I can’t recommend it at this time.

Continue reading

Googleblog homing in on security

As part of National Cyber-security Awareness Month, Googleblog posts some important tips regarding password security.

Creating a new password is often one of the first recommendations you hear when trouble occurs. Even a great password can’t keep you from being scammed, but setting one that’s memorable for you and that’s hard for others to guess is a smart security practice since weak passwords can be easily guessed. Below are a few common problems we’ve seen in the past and suggestions for making your passwords stronger. — Choosing a smart password.

Subscribe to the New issue of BSD Magazine TODAY!

bsdmag

New BSD magazine, available in stores or online at bsdmag.org

How new issue includes:

  • Installing FreeBSD 7.1 with Enhanced Security Jails…
  • Getting a GNOME Desktop on FreeBSD…
  • Packaging Software for OpenBSD – part 2…
  • A Jabber Data Transfer Component…
  • Building a FreeBSD Wireless Router…
  • CPU Scaling on FreeBSD Unix…
  • LDAP Authentication on OpenBSD Boxes…
  • FreeBSD and Snort Intrusion Detection System…
  • Building an Embedded Video Web Server with NetBSD…
  • FreeBSD Tips…
  • Maintaining System Configuration Files Using Subsversion…
  • Q&A about Dtrace…

The most important news in tech in a long, long, time!

In an historic move, Microsoft Monday submitted driver source code for inclusion in the Linux kernel under a GPLv2 license.

The code consists of four drivers that are part of a technology called Linux Device Driver for Virtualization. The drivers, once added to the Linux kernel, will provide the hooks for any distribution of Linux to run on Windows Server 2008 and its Hyper-V hypervisor technology. Microsoft will provide ongoing maintenance of the code.

Linux backers hailed the submission as validation of the Linux development model and the Linux GPLv2 licensing.

Microsoft said the move will foster more open source on Windows and help the vendor offer a consistent set of virtualization, management and administrative tools to support mixed virtualized infrastructure.

Kroah-Hartman said Microsoft’s submission was routine. “They abided by every single rule and letter of what we require to submit code. If I was to refuse this code it would be wrong,” he said.

Sam Ramji, who runs the Open Source Software Lab for Microsoft and is the company’s director of open source technology strategy, called the Linux kernel submission the company’s most important Linux/open source commitment ever. Continue reading

Call around the world for free with iCall

Since I don’t have an iPhone, and I don’t use windows, I’m not quite sure what to make of free long distance phone calls with iCall. If you want to download it, install it, and use it, let me know how it functions. Or if you already have experience with it, give me a little feedback. Is it worth it? How is the call quality? Do they spam you? Is it really ‘free’? What restrictions does it have? Does it cut off your calls after 30 mins?

How can this be free?
iCall uses Voice Over IP (VoIP) technology which utilizes your existing Internet connection (cable, DSL, wireless, or dial-up) and your PC to plug you directly in to the regular telephone network. Stick it to the man – you already pay for your Internet connection, and the Internet is changing everything!

Crackers infiltrate US Army Servers

army-logo

The hacks are troubling in that they appear to have rendered useless supposedly sophisticated Defense Department tools and procedures designed to prevent such breaches. The department and its branches spend millions of dollars each year on pricey security and antivirus software and employ legions of experts to deploy and manage the tools.

[…]

Equally troubling is the fact that the hacks appear to have originated outside the United States. Turkey is known to harbor significant elements of the al-Qaida network. It was not clear if “m0sted” has links to the terrorist group.

Idiot newspaper.

Microsoft charges full commercial prices to non-for-profit

Paula Carleton, CIO of the not-for-profit Baptist Community Services, told Computerworld she is investigating how to move its 850 Windows desktops to open source following Microsoft’s decision to force it to a full commercial licence.

Every dollar we are forced to spend on software is a dollar less spent on the charitable services like homeless and crisis care that we deliver,” Carleton said, adding that it is a public benevolent organization according to the tax office. Read more…