Category: IT

I have been looking for an easy and fast way to convert the Ape and FLAC files (aka Monkey’s Audio files) with cue sheets I have to a format that I could use for portable music players. Ok, we all love Ape and FLAC because they boast the best sound quality with lossless or lossy compression, but support for them on portable music players seems hard at this time because of the file size they have and the processing power they need.

The common sense way I have come across on the net is: First, decompress the ape file to wave, any audio convertor should be able to do this. Change the .ape extention to .wav inside the .cue file. Recompress it to MP3, split to individual files (or first split, then compress). But I don’t find this a nice way as the I don’t really want to play with gaps, etc. Ok, Cue Splitter software can remove/add gaps but I prefer to do it naturally.

Or, there are software like Ape Ripper, which can convert your ape files to MP3. But then, it doesn’t allow you to pick a specific encoder, like LAME.

So, what I did was: I first looked for an ape plugin for Nero Burning Rom, and found one here – They have plugins based on the official releases by Monkey’s Audio, FLAC or any other format, so it offers the best quality around. Installed the plugin, and boom! Now, Nero can read and write ape files. Then, I chose Nero’s Image Recorder as the recorder, so I can get a .nrg image file. Just use the Burn Image option and pick the cue file, and it will write it as a .nrg image. Afterwards, I used Daemon Tools (or any other similar software) to mount the .nrg image file so I can rip it with any software I want.

This way, you can use EAC and LAME couple to make your portable music files sound a little better with right settings, or you can directly use the CD rippers of iTunes or SonicStage. Also, your mounted image file will (most probably – all of mine have been found) be found on freedb or Gracenote/CDDB, so you won’t spend extra time with tagging. Depending on the compression settings and your cpu, this should take you a maximum of five minutes to get all these done. DesktopThis website called has received the Silver Award at Le Web 3 ’07 Conference in Paris, and many other awards from other places. I browsed the site out of curiosity and oh my god! offers a virtual computer accessible from your favorite browser (users say that does not really work good on IE performance-wise), click on the image on the left to see. It uses the familiar (resizable!) window metaphor operating system. It includes a web browser that can either directly connect to your sites or by using’s proxy (looks pretty capable). A mail client that you can use to check all your POP3 mail boxes and handle calender/contact needs.

Additionally, it comes with 3 gigs of storage, which is accessible from FTP (just ftp with your username and password, and that’s it) and allows you to share them on the web. A seperate 3 gigs email quota, which is also accessible from POP3/IMAP. What is good is, you are not forced to login to’s virtual computer to check your mails. You can just go to the webmail service to check them and make the web-based software handle all your POP3 mail needs. It works like any other desktop mail client. In other words, ou can make it check any other POP3 mails and all your mails will be at one place accessible anywhere from the internet. Ah, and a fancy email address.

G.ho.stA MP3 player, which can play the files you uploaded to your storage, customizable desktop, instant messaging software. Moreover, you can view and edit your office application files. Youtube, Flickr, feed reader (which is ‘dockable’ on your desktop), a couple of widgets and many more features that I am yet to discover. Ah and, you can use virtual computer in many languages.

Check it out! Highly recommended.

NetvibesI have been a fan of about:blank as my browser homepage. Recently a friend (thanks Emin) told me about netvibes, which has become my main page. The site has the slogan of (re)mix the web. And it does what it says.

You got a lot of websites that allow syndication/feeding (RSS/Atom, etc) but they are a lot in number and it’s hard to keep track of them? And Google Reader or feed reader software does not have enough usability to provide this?

NetvibesNetvibes allows you to keep track of your favorite sites and help you with being updated with them. The customizable main page of the site allows you to add tabs under which you can put as many feeds or widgets. You can view local weather, check your emails (webmails or POP, etc), do web/video/etc search inside this window and so on. Just go check it out and you’ll love it!

Netvibes is the ajaxed Web 2.0 cutie!

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Hakan Demiray‘ın bloguna uzun zamandır bakmıyordum. Biraz önce şöyle bir bakınayım derken yaklaşık on gün önce Türkiye Blog Konferansı ’07 adında bir etkinliğin düzenlendiğini gördüm.

Şimdi haberim olduğundan doğrusu çok da bilgim yok ve bu süreci takip edemedim. Ancak konferans programına bakılınca (ki GFxDizayn’dan Yassaman’ın yorumlarda dediği gibi konferanstan çok bir ‘gün’ gibi) çok da ahım şahım bir şeye benzemiyormuş doğrusu.

Hakan’ın da öngördüğü gibi blogging ve pazarlamayı nasıl birleştiririz konferansı olmuş.  Microsoft Türkiye Genel Müdürü’nün yaptığı açılış konuşması da bunu çok açık gösteriyor zaten. Microsoft’un uygulamalarının tanıtıldığı (tanıtmak çok naif bir ifade oldu) bir etkinlik ayrıca. Konferans sunum görüntülerini buradan izleyebilir kararı kendiniz de verebilirsiniz. Etkinliğe Microsoft sponsor olmuş olabilir ve Microsoft MSN Spaces gibi bir blogging (?) platforumuna da ev sahipliği yapıyor olabilir… Ama bu durumun bazı şeyleri meşru kıldığını hiç sanmıyorum. Bir üniversitede bu etkinliği yaparak akademik olduğu imajı da veriliyor elbet.

Bloglar, new media/Web 2.0 ve fazlası hakkında yazılmış/söylenmiş ve yazılabilecek/söylenebilecek o kadar şey varken, adının aksine bu kadar sığ bir etkinlik nasıl yapılabilir, doğrusu çok şaşırdım.

Sonuç olarak, PR etkinliğidir, geçiniz efen’im, ve bir de internet kültürü yanıtıyla UFAIL!

Conceptronic CHD3Lan Network Harddisk Landrive Case on the standI had getting a landrive in my mind for a while. When I saw a great bargain on a website a few days ago, I couldn’t resist and placed my order to get Conceptronic CHD3Lan. I received the unit today and wanted to share my experience with it. This is not really a review. More like a photo-review, where you can see what’s inside the device and some details you might not be able to find at other places. Feel free to ask though through comments though.

The drive has USB 2.0 and 100 Mbit fast ethernet connectivity and uses 2882 chipset. What makes the drive great is the built-in FTP and Samba server. So, your files are always accessible not only from your network but also anywhere on the net. The drive uses IDE ATA 133 drives, which I had one spare. After I placed and connected the harddisk, I just (not really just, continue to read) plugged the device to my router with the provided network cable, played with the settings.

In the meanwhile, I wanted to upgrade the firmware of the device but had a problem – familiar firmware upgrade failure, which was my bad. I thought I messed up my landrive that I just bought, but then I found a very easy solution to that. See this page for the solution in case you experience the same. You can also check here for additional files, etc by the same guy.

Though I haven’t tested the Landrive (performance, stability, etc) yet, I didn’t like one thing. This thing has a very noisy 3 cm-ish fan, which doesn’t apparently do much. So, I first unplugged the power cable, then decided to remove the fan to increase air intake a little more. I’m not sure how much the board gets hot but I know the harddisk doesn’t need extra cooling. And, after all, it’s winter now and it shouldn’t really be a problem. Anyway, the box is made up of metal (I think aluminnium) and looks pretty neat (at least it’s not ugly). Another thing that’s handy for me is, my router (which is also an ADSL modem, US Robotics 9106) can use a couple of dynamic DNS sites. In other words, I got a hostname to fix my non-static IP that keeps changing each time my DSL connection resets. This helps my files be accessible everytime I need them. As for the web interface, it’s pretty easy to use. You can check the manual on the downloads section of the official page to see the interface.

Here are some pictures:

Back of the device, not “disassembled,” with the stand Ethernet, USB, Power connectors, LEDs, On/Off button and reset button The board and RDC 2882 chipset

IDE and power cables Fan power cable unplugged The Nasty Fan

CybercultureHad this thing in my mind for a while. The title of this post sounds too wide and generic. And the word cyberculture is a lot more than cyberculture jargon or how technology shapes and (re)creates a new (form of) culture. Anyway, however, the sole reason I’m posting this is a quote from a Youtube user’s comment on some video. Unless you are not familiar with internet slang, what that user was doing is trolling. Troll(ing) is, to steal from Wikipedia: “An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who intentionally posts controversial or contrary messages in an on-line community such as an on-line discussion forum with the intention of baiting users into an argumentative response.” Anyway, this Youtube user says:

This is Internet Wonderland. You can say whatever you want about anything even if you don’t make an idea about what you are talking about.

When it comes to Internet, the phrase freedom of speech has more connotations than it does in real life. Let’s think it this way first: Suppose you were to read this post in a book. You had no chance to reply me here. But now, thanks to the internet and interactivity, you can post a reply and say whatever you want (does not mean there’s no censorship on my part tho:) Anyway, this might sound trivial, but the thing is, the fact that you can reply to posts [whether on (video/photo)blogs, portals, forums, etc] is also related to what Roland Barthes calls the death of the author: We no longer have the authorial power that puts a distance between him/herself. Now, everyone’s an author (or, author is an ugly word: rather blogger, forum user, commentator, etc). We can now respond to someone else in seconds after we see the post, we can disagree, flame the poster and so on. Also, on forums, there is no hierarchy of a thread. The most recent post gets to the top, or a recent reply bumps the post to the top. If it’s old, it’s usually only accessable through search (engines). So, on the internet, it doesn’t really matter if you are Lacan or Alper (that’s me!).

Similar with search engines… I don’t know if they changed it yet as it has been criticized because it was a hierarchical way to do so (or even canonical, maybe), but Google (I don’t know how other search engines work) uses Pagerank, which prioritizes the pages that have more links from other pages to show up before all others in search queries. In other words, your little personal homepage does not have a chance against a huge portal. Compare this idea with small newspapers/magazines and big media companies. Another thing is, you can easily (if you got the money) exploit this Pagerank system by paying companies to increase your Pagerank, and boom, your page is at the top with certain keywords. So, it’s seen undemocratic (democracy is overrated anyway).

Copy Control LogoI just ‘remembered’ this band Ultravox and realized I haven’t listened to them for a while now. I have their The Best of Ultravox album and I wanted to rip the CD so I could listen it on my computer and portable music player. But what the heck? It has copy protection.

I am not that respectful to copyrights and all, and I greatly dislike these kind of efforts as they can never make an ultimate copy protection that won’t be cracked at all. There is this wonderful phrase by a ‘crack’ scene, something like “if man made it, man can also crack it.” Additionally, I find these kind of efforts as limiting. Basically, what they do is to have two sessions on the CD (one data and one for audio). Anyways, I tried to use the awesome CD ripper software EAC (ExactAudioCopy) but it kept gaving errors. I tried some other software like Sony Sonicstage, Nero, etc with no success.

However, as I said, you can never make an ultimate copy protection. What you do is to extract the audio data to your harddisk using Isobuster. Then you get the uncompressed audio files in wave format. All you need to do now is to compress them into MP3 or whatever with your favorite encoder. You can also find some detailed explanation here.

WordPress 2.3 has been out for a while and I updated it a few days after the release. Today, I wanted to make a post and realized that there were a couple of changes in WordPress with the new version. So, WordPress now supports tag’ging, and tag clouds. Still lacks a couple of features UltimateTagWarrior has though but UTW isn’t fully functional for 2.3 yet.

From the Import feature found under Manage, you can import UTW tags you have been using so far to your WordPress’ new tag support. You can view a detailed explanation with visuals here. Anyway, in the meanwhile, I also realized WordPress kept giving me an error until I made a theme upgrade – rather a theme that supports 2.3. And found this pretty neat theme named Red Business, which I played around a little.

There are still some glitches on the site at the moment. Like the up ‘about me’ place which needs some text. Also, Extended Live Archives was updated by someone but it there are issues when you want to view the archive page with Internet Explorer (damn browser wars).

Anyway, the site looks neater, doesn’t it?

Ok… I’ve been planning on transferring all my archive on CD’s and DVD’s to my harddisk for easier access and for safety (as those media don’t have much lifespan).

The internal capacity of my computer wasn’t helping so I needed a new hard disk. After some research, I went ahead and bought this external drive.  I came home with the drive, set it up and started transferring files. System hang… Ok, I reset and start again. Another hang. Is something wrong with the drive? So I did a slow format, etc. Again, another Windows freeze.

Then I remembered that there was a new BIOS for my mobo: “Fixed an issue where the system sometimes hangs when copying large files.” This might fix… So I made a backup of my current bios and then on with the update process. The ABIT online BIOS updater software was supposed to clear CMOS. I restarted the computer after update process.

WTF? No signal coming to my screen – computer isn’t booting! “Ok, take it easy…” Cleared CMOS and was able to boot finally. I loaded my previous settings that were saved to BIOS. No luck with the boot again. Recleared CMOS, changed some settings, and reboot.. Ok, everything seems fine.. What the heck? Ah, forgot to reset my RAID0 settings, so going back to BIOS. Uh, won’t boot again (because BIOS updated DMI? settings…).

So I clear CMOS again, unplug all the drives other than the RAID0 ones. Make all settings manually again (damn, that’s a lot of tuning). And it finally boots… And no more hangs while copying hitloads of files to the external drive.

God, I hate so much when the computer creates some stupid problem…

By the way, the drive seems to work fine and has satisfactory performance for a USB drive.

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Wordpress censored in TurkeyLike ten days ago, I learnt that one of the leading free-blogging services was blocked in Turkey. Censoring certain sites in Turkey is not something new: On March 7 2007, in a court case, Turk Telekom (leading DSL provider – well, the monopoly of internet in Turkey) had to ban with the pretext that the site included videos disrespectful to Ataturk – the founder of Turkish Republic. The ban was removed two days later (probably due to all that press/online publishing pressure).

As for the ban, after a few days the ban was lifted. [You can read details of this and comments to it here] However, when I wanted to check again, I saw it is still inaccessable. When it was first banned and it was lifted after, we learnt that the ban was again DNS based (meaning you can avoid it by using non-Turk Telekom DNS’s but the average user won’t know these) and it was a mistake: they wanted to ban but they instead banned the whole site.

Now, I see the ban is still in its place and also a Turkish lawyer (or whatever) sent a letter to WordPress staff.

Well, this is crap!

mumblings on life, literature, computers, media, whining, university life, movies, poetry, music, internet, procrastination, technology, media, horror, gender, blogging, concerts, film studies, wordpress, sexuality, vegetarianism, ideology, i greatly dislike sugar in my coffee, and all other unnecessary crap you would otherwise ignore.