Ex Bibliotheca

The life and times of Zack Weinberg.

Tuesday, 29 October 2002

# 6:50 PM

from the greatest-thing-since-sliced-bread department

Replay Gain is a specification for adjusting the gain on audio tracks encoded in several popular formats (MP3, Vorbis, etc) so that when you play them back they all sound about the same volume. You can average over individual tracks (good for shuffle play) or entire albums (good for listening to several albums in sequence). The MP3 support is not really there yet, but Vorbis players have snapped it up.

This is a thing of beauty. I can now set up background music for a party and not have to touch the volume dial once, even if I put Enya immediately before Rammstein. And it doesn't distort, or suddenly slew the volume a couple seconds into a track, the way the XMMS "volume normalization" plugin did.

# 2:35 PM

knives

A couple weeks ago I bought a sharpening stone, and yesterday I sat down and sharpened all the kitchen knives. This has needed doing for some time. I have not yet achieved daver-sharp, but 'tis only a matter of practice. And chopping vegetables is so much easier even with a mild improvement to the edge.

daver sharp: There's razor sharp, then there's scalpel sharp, there's the kind of sharp a monomolecular whip is, and then... There's daver-sharp. Where the edge of the blade planes down to the ninth dimension and goes away.

From Undocumented Features.

pasta with minimalist sauce

  • ¼ box pasta
  • 2 large mushrooms
  • 2 large green onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Enough hard cheese

Set the pasta on to boil.

Chop up the onions, mushrooms, and garlic. Fry them in olive oil. When they are mostly done, throw in the balsamic vinegar and fry a bit more. Then set them aside on a cutting board so they don't burn while you're waiting for the pasta to be done.

Grate the cheese.

Drain the pasta, mix in the veggies and the cheese. Serves one. Should scale linearly, except you probably don't want to be putting in more than two or three tbsp of vinegar, no matter how big you go.

Compare to the other, rather more elaborate pasta sauce I make.

nifty thing

The Left Foot Living Review is "an irregular journal of style, trend, fashion, and innovation" ... which happens to have fallen through a time warp from several centuries in the future. It'll make you laugh, wince, and occasionally scream "I want one of those."

fun with javascript

You may have noticed the nifty effect of clicking on the hyperlink above ("daver sharp"). This feature is brought to you by the W3C Document Object Model. (If you got the annoying alert box, consider upgrading to Mozilla.) It seems quite appropriate to use it for an UF reference, considering how many fine undocumented features one must be aware of when writing JavaScript to work reliably cross- browser.