Posts Tagged ‘utility’


November 9th, 2008 1 comment

Lately people have been asking me about this application:

It’s called “Launchy” and it is essentially a quick key-press launcher. For some reason, many people do not seem to know about this free app. I’ve been using it for about 1.5 years now and I have to say it’s great. It’s light weight, can do a quick wikipedia search or launch a url, and even has a built in calc plugin, in addition to launching apps and folders. With all the programming applications and games on my computers, I cannot afford to browse about in the Start Menu. I’d pretty much say, this is an essential app for any computer.

In fact, the latest version also works on linux systems, and I’ve installed it on my Ubuntu setup. Gnome users may argue that Alt+F2 already exists. However, it’s still a little different in terms of speed and use.

Tip: For generating the screenshot above, I simply used the key-combination of Alt+Prnt Scrn. For some reason, many users do not know of this trick. It saves you quite a bit of time and fustration from cropping your images manually. I have used this many times for writing professional walkthroughs and documentation for research.

Download Stanford SCPD streams (wmv streams)

November 7th, 2008 49 comments

Since I am currently attending Stanford, and I once searched the intraweb for a solution for downloading wmv streams, but couldn’t find anything specific, I’ll post my solution here.

Normally, SCPD requires you to login and then you watch the videos streamed using some wmv player. However, should you want to rewind or seek through a stream, this will prove to be impossible. Many commercial wmv recorders are not free, and simply play the video to download it. My solution is similar to this, but it is FREE (as in beer).

What you need:

  1. Mencoder (An encoder that comes along with Mplayer) If you use windows, you should get the command-line non-gui download from the website since it will come with mencoder. Otherwise it will not.
  2. Optional: Firefox + Greasemonkey for extracting the video URL if you’re lazy like me.
  3. Optional: Python for executing mencoder and for converting http:// links to mms:// links.

To download from SCPD (or other unprotected wmv streams), simply execute the following at a command prompt:

mencoder mms://stream.wmv -ovc copy -oac copy -o output.avi
  1. Replace mms://stream.wmv is simply the url with “http:” replace with “mms:”
  2. Replace output.avi with the output file name. Extensions should govern the format that it spits out.

It will throw a bunch of text to the screen, and you simply leave the window open (or minimized) and wait for it to finish. However, since it’s free, I commonly download several streams at the same time, so when they are done I will have several streams downloaded instead of just one.

Download: Greasemonkey script for SCPD (gets links automatically when you view an SCPD video) (Updated 9/29/09)

If you are lazy like me, and don’t want to change the http://url to mms://url I’ve provided an mencoder script that, given an http url, will fill out the commandline and execute it for you. (Note: Many mac and linux users will have python already installed on their machines.)


./stripSCPD http://url

Download: Python SCPD script

import subprocess,sys
def strip(url):
    newurl = "mms"+url[url.find(":"):]
    print newurl
    vidname = url[url.rfind("/")+1:url.rfind("?")]
    print "mencoder %s -ovc copy -oac copy -o %s.avi" % (newurl,vidname)
    subprocess.Popen(["mencoder", newurl, "-ovc","copy","-oac","copy","-o", ("%s.avi" % (vidname,))])
if __name__=="__main__":

Update (11/09/08):

I’ve just tried everything again in windows, and it seems to work. Note, for some reason mplayer doesn’t have the necessary codecs by default in the downloadable zip file. However, VLC, media player classic and Windows media Player seem to be able to seek. However only media player classic can increase the audio speed (in case you want to watch a stream 1.5 times fast and be able to comprehend what someone is saying even if they seem to be on helium!).


November 3rd, 2008 4 comments

This is a greasemonkey script for firefox (not sure if it works with other browsers since it uses GM_openinTab). Simply put it can generate RSS feeds for old xanga entries, should you want to download them for archiving purposes for a diary perhaps, or should you want to migrate to another blogging framework. It took me around 2 hours in the wee hours of 4-6am in the morning to write.

I was trying to figure out why people were so into wordpress. It is pretty neat! Using WordPress’s rss import feature, I have demonstrated that I can import my old xanga entries for free and painlessly.

Install Greasemonkey script: Xanga2rss


  • Handles Titles
  • Handles Dates
  • Handles Post content fairly well.


  1. Get Firefox, Greasemonkey Firefox-Addon (If you don’t have them both).
  2. Install using the above link.
  3. Visit a xanga blog, and look for the “Generate XML” link on the bottom of the page near the prev,next navigation links. This will open a new tab with the RSS 2.0 feed which an assortment of blogs (including wordpress) can read and import.
  4. For ease, I suggest you grab repagination, or antipagination depending on which firefox you have. Then right-click the “next” link, and goto repaginate, where you can combine shotgun amounts of pages into the current page. Go back to the first (actually never tried the other “Generate XML” links) “Generate XML” links and the resulting tab will hold all the posts.


  1. I would like to very much figure out whether or not it would be possible to import comments via rss.


November 3rd, 2008 No comments

A program to find the shortest walking path by road, hills, or shortcut through the Berkeley Campus. Includes cool tracking and zooming picture and GUI interface. CoWritten and planned with Tony Wu. We did this over the winter break in 2004.

Download: Binary and Source