Friday, May 30, 2008


And were back. So much for a weekly column. Maybe the second time around. Anyway, let's get on to things I think are awesome, and therefore, are in fact, awesome.

A solar powered world would be amazing. Maybe in 20 years? Yes we can! CNN had a nifty little article about big solar collectors that would float in a geosynchronous orbit and beam energy back to the earth via electromagnetic waves. A Pentagon report reported that, "A single kilometer-wide band of geosynchronous Earth orbit experiences enough solar flux in one year to nearly equal the amount of energy contained within all known recoverable conventional oil reserves on Earth today."

Well then, why don't we do it? Apparently the billion-dollar-plus price tag is seen as too expensive, in addition to the fact that NASA has yet to produce an easier way to getting up into space. I wonder if the 500 billion we've dumped into the Iraq conflict could have footed the bill.

Fox News to show clip of E.T.

I always had a thing against Fox News, although I rarely could put my finger on it. Maybe it was their incessant spewing of right wing garbage while claiming themselves to be a more "legitimate" news agency. Well, they've proved their worthiness once again with this little number.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Augustinian Volunteers: A Desire to Serve

The following is a talk I gave at one of the St. Rita Novena masses about the Augustinian Volunteer program. Enjoy reading and please let encourage anyone you know to a year of service:

The Augustinian Volunteers have sites in Bronx, New York, Chicago, Illinois, Lawrence, MA, which is outside of Boston, and San Diego, CA. Two international sites in Peru and South Africa. Our headquarters is in Philadelphia, PA in the Augustinian Province of St. Thomas of Villanova.

As Augustinian Volunteers we are no different than any other volunteer program with the service we perform. We serve others in various sites including schools as teachers, teacher's aids, campus ministers, coaches, mentors, after school programs, in youth ministry, social services (such as serving in soup kitchens, homeless shelters, delivering food, teaching English as a Second Language, working in immigration centers) and various other locations.

If you were to ask us for the reasons why we decided to volunteer, we would say reasons like giving back, or to serve others, or to learn more about ourselves, or that we had this desire to serve for a year. All reasons which reveal the truth about being Christian. As Pope Benedict says, "Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction." It is in the interactions we have this year that we become able to better understand and to know ourselves. Whether its helping a 13 year old mother pay for school, teaching a student how to solve a problem, being with a student who just lost a parent, or teaching the fundamentals of a sport, we come to recognize who we are as Christians.

What makes the Augustinian Volunteer program so unique is its spirit in the Augustinian tradition. A tradition built upon the practice of living in community. Together, the six of us live in a house in the south side of Chicago. There we share in each other's faith, hope, affections, ideals, feelings, thoughts, activities, responsibilities, failures, and praises. Together we live with the foundation of one mind and one heart intent upon God in all that we do. Furthermore, our community is supported by the Augustinian Community here at the St. Rita monastery. Together with the Augustinian community, the volunteer community, and the respective work sites, it is hoped that as the volunteer helps the lives of others that their lives may be enriched as well.

We all can truly agree that although there has been many challenges and obstacles that have come into our lives this year, it has been the experiences with each other and sharing in the lives of each other that has allowed us to conquer individual and communal challenges.

The Augustinian Volunteers accept men and women between the ages of 21 and 29 years of age with a college degree or equivalent work experience. Volunteers should be committed to a Christian lifestyle, have the ability to live with others in a community-like settings and possess a desire to serve others. A desire which reflects St. Augustine's own restlessness to know God.

If you or someone you know has a desire to serve others in a powerful and rewarding way, please encourage them to learn more about the possibility of volunteering for a year with the Augustinian Volunteers. Some people say that volunteering is taking a year off from your life and the real world. Well there is nothing more real about the experiences we have had this year and to come to know who we really are. So please encourage young people you know to look into the Augustinian Volunteers. In tonight's bulletin there is a website address for more information and how to apply. Myself and the other volunteers will be available after mass tonight if you would like to talk to any of us about our experiences. Thank you, and may God continue to bless the Augustinians, both religious and lay people in the work they do.

To learn more about the Augustinian Volunteers please visit

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


While I am a fan of Ubuntu, this blog has been a little technical as of late. To break this Linux how-to streak, and being that I am a hater, here's a list of things that have been pissing me off lately:

1. Girls with Big Sunglasses

Big Sunglasses are like a false advertisement, they usually hide some weird face shit like stinkeye. They can make a chick look super hot, but take them off and some blackmagic makes them gross...shitsweak.

2. Little White Chicks in Big SUVs

Little White Chicks (LWCs) are generally not all there. They might be paying attention for the 0.2 seconds they're not drinking their Mocha Iced Frappacino from Starbucks or texting their BFF Jill, but for the most part they are unaware of their surroundings. So I ask, why in the hell would anyone sell the most dangerous type of vehicle to the most unaware type of person. Although I guess throwing a dull knife into a room full of emo kids is a worse idea, depending on how you look at it.

3. Keeping Up With the Kardashians

I'll save you some time. Kim Kardashian has a big ass and talks too much. The End.

4. This: Gross!


Well enjoy. Migga out.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Batch Convert FLV to MP3

Many times on youtube I find concert videos or acoustic shows that I want to keep for later. Using the Firefox plugin VideoDownloader, I can download these videos as flv files but these flv's are not as portable as mp3. So I searched for a way to convert flv to mp3 and found help on the Ubuntu forums.

After looking at the script and looking at my flv files, I noticed that it would be very inefficient to do each file individually. Therefore, I modified the script to convert a whole folder of flv's. I will show the whole script itself and how to run it, but first lets install some programs that we need in order to convert the flv's.

sudo apt-get install ecasound mpg123 lame ffmpeg

The script itself is the following:
# FLV to MP3


for vid in *.flv
ffmpeg -i $vid -f mp3 -vn -acodec copy /tmp/temp.mp3
ecasound -i /tmp/temp.mp3 -etf:8 -o ${vid/.flv}.mp3
rm -f /tmp/temp.mp3

exit 0

I save my scripts in a ~/scripts and don't forget to make the script executable.
chmod u+x

Run as follows:
user@home:/scripts~$ ./flv2mp3

Let's take a closer look at the code.

FLV_FILE is the location of the flv video files that we want to be converted. In the next line, the directory is changed to the location of the videos.

Next, we will look through the files in that directory, only using the .flv files. Notice:
for vid in *.flv
Next we will convert the video to mono audio and create a temporary mp3 called temp.mp3
ffmpeg -i $vid -f mp3 -vn -acodec copy /tmp/temp.mp3
Since the audio by default is mono, we will then convert it to stereo, output it into the current directory, and save it as an mp3, while keeping the basename. The file is renamed by ${vid/.flv}.mp3
ecasound -i /tmp/temp.mp3 -etf:8 -o ${vid/.flv}.mp3
rm -f /tmp/temp.mp3
That is pretty much it. Any comments or ways to make it better, please let me know.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Setting up Broadcom B43 Wireless with Ubuntu 8.04

After installing 8.04, I never had a chance to test wireless until now. I was always plugged the ethernet in under my desk. I notice one time at home that Fn-F2 was not enabling my wireless radio. I checked hardware drivers in System->Administration->Hardware Drivers. My Broadcom B43 wireless driver was in use but no enabled. When I clicked enable, it would install drivers and prompt for a restart. After a restart, it was again unchecked as enabled.

I looked on the ubuntu forums and google to see if anyone else was having problems. I found this tutorial but the last step was causing me trouble so I decided to modify it for you.

First, you can find out what Wireless Card you have by typing
Mine is:
Broadcom Corporation BCM4309 802.11a/b/g (rev 03)
I like to keep everything I download to install in a properly named "Installs" folder

So lets begin. This will allow us to build the driver

sudo apt-get install build-essential
Now make the Installs directory and download b43-fwcutter which will allow us to extract firmware for Broadcom driver
sudo mkdir ~/Installs
cd Installs

Now we are going to extract and compile
tar xjf b43-fwcutter-011.tar.bz2
cd b43-fwcutter-011
export FIRMWARE_INSTALL_DIR="/lib/firmware"

Now we are ready for the firmware and to properly install it.
tar xjf broadcom-wl-
sudo b43-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware broadcom-wl-
The output should look something like this:
This file is recognised as:
ID : FW11
filename : wl_apsta.o
version : 351.126
MD5 : 9207bc565c2fc9fa1591f6c7911d3fc0
Extracting b43/ucode4.fw
Extracting b43/ucode5.fw
Extracting b43/ucode11.fw
Extracting b43/ucode13.fw
Extracting b43/pcm4.fw
Extracting b43/pcm5.fw
Extracting b43/b0g0initvals4.fw
Extracting b43/b0g0bsinitvals4.fw
Extracting b43/a0g0initvals4.fw
Extracting b43/a0g0bsinitvals4.fw
Extracting b43/b0g0initvals5.fw
Extracting b43/b0g0bsinitvals5.fw
Extracting b43/a0g0initvals5.fw
Extracting b43/a0g1initvals5.fw
Extracting b43/a0g0bsinitvals5.fw
Extracting b43/a0g1bsinitvals5.fw
Extracting b43/lp0initvals13.fw
Extracting b43/lp0bsinitvals13.fw
Extracting b43/b0g0initvals13.fw
Extracting b43/b0g0bsinitvals13.fw
Extracting b43/a0g1initvals13.fw
Extracting b43/a0g1bsinitvals13.fw
After that, restart the computer and your radio should be working. Make sure, that in the BIOS, the wireless device is set to on/fn-f2. You can load BIOS by tapping F2 while the computer is turning on.