Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Adding Images To MP3 Files

For those that don't know I dabble in making mashups. Nothing professionally done just using Audacity - cutting and pasting acapellas and instrumentals together. They are completed under the moniker of "Badly Done Mashups" and have their home on HearThis and a blog as well.

Someone got in touch with me and asked why I bother to do a cover for each mashup and yet fail to embed it in the actual MP3 file. They downloaded one of my mashups (Riders On A Black Horse) to their iPod and the cover with Jim Morrison and KT Tunstall never went across with the MP3 file.

I'll admit I never thought about MP3 players so never bothered to embed the cover that went along with the mashup. I loaded one of the mashups into VLC and spent two minutes staring at the default cone. So I decided to see what would be the easiest way of adding the artwork to the MP3 file. I had tried in the past for something else and instead of allowing individual artwork it was the same album cover for all the tracks.

It took a total of 8 seconds on Google to find a program called EasyTAG and it was in the Ubuntu repositories (it is also available for Windows). So I installed it via the command line:

sudo apt-get install easytag

The usual ID3 tags.

You can add multiple images if you want.

And how easy is it to use? Simple. Everything is clearly laid out, and clearly labelled. Now if I release a mashup without artwork it is just because I forgot.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Installing Peppermint OS 5


Peppermint OS is based on the LTS (Long Term Support) version of Ubuntu and as such the latest version (version 5) will presumably be supported until 2019 the same as Ubuntu 14.04 will be.

Why Peppermint OS instead of Ubuntu? No reason really. But Peppermint by default doesn't have the Unity desktop environment instead it uses LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment). Not that there is anything wrong with Unity as such it is just not my cup of tea. There are hundreds of distributions based on Ubuntu LTS. It could have been any one of them. But I gave Peppermint OS a try via Live USB and decided to install it. For more distributions based on Ubuntu see the search at DistroWatch.com.

So how hard is it to install? It isn't hard. It follows the same procedure as Ubuntu pretty much.

  • Download the ISO file (either 32-bit or 64-bit).
  • Use Unetbootin to write the ISO file to a USB thumb drive (I've had varying success with Unetbootin in the past and usually just use the dd command (sudo dd bs=4M if=somedistro.iso of=/dev/sdb). But as the Peppermint OS website recommended it I thought I'd give it a go. And it worked first time).
  • Boot from the USB thumb drive.
  • Select Peppermint Live.
  • Once it has booted to the Peppermint OS desktop; double-click the icon labeled "Install Peppermint 5".

From here it gets hard to explain as everyone will have different choices. Each step is pretty self explanatory so I'll just tell you what I did. If in doubt about any of it read the 'install guide' on the Peppermint OS website.


  • First screen in the installer asks what language you want to use. I chose English.
  • The next screen checks you have at least 4GB of disk space and are connected to the Internet. It also has two check boxes - one asking if you want to download updates while installing and the other asking if you wish to install the MP3 codec. I checked both.
  • The next screen is where the fun begins. It asks how you would like to install Peppermint OS. Options include wiping the drive, encrypted, LVM, or 'Something else'. I chose 'Something else' because I wanted to install to a partition. WARNING: ONLY COMPLETE THIS BIT IF YOU ARE SURE WHAT YOU ARE DOING OTHERWISE YOU MAY LOSE DATA.
  • Because I chose 'Something else' in the previous screen I was presented with a screen showing all the partitions on the hard drive. I chose /dev/sda4 - a 15GB partition, formatted it as ext4, and had the bootloader install to the same partition. WARNING: THERE IS NO TURNING BACK AFTER THIS POINT. IF YOU ARE UNSURE ABOUT ANYTHING AT ALL DO NOT CLICK CONTINUE.
  • As the installation takes place it will ask you to select the time zone, keyboard layout, username, password, hostname, and whether or not you want to login automatically.
  • If you made it here sit back and relax while the installation completes. Total time for install will depend on whether or not you selected to download updates and the MP3 codec and the quality of your internet connection. Mine took about 20 minutes.
  • When it is all finished you will get a pop-up asking if you want to continue testing Peppermint or reboot. The choice is yours.

NOTES

I used the 64-bit version. I installed to /dev/sda4 simply because it was an empty partition. As mentioned this will not suit everyone. I had the bootloader install to /dev/sda4 which really never gets used as I have other versions of Linux (Mint, Crunchbang, and Bodhi) and Mint installed the original bootloader, and Grub Customizer is used to update it.

FINAL WARNING

Altering, resizing, and creating partitions can result in data loss. If you are unsure of anything then don't do it. If you want to learn to do it then try it in a virtual machine such as VirtualBox on your present operating system first. You can't make an omelette without cracking a few eggs is my theory; but some don't backup data and then when the eggs start cracking make scrambled eggs instead. If in any doubt ask questions in the comments and I'll do my best to either answer or point to somewhere that can answer.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Can We Stop Blaming Eve?


Imagine you have just started a job. The manager has given you the express 5-minute tour and told you a few rules. Later, when working with Greg he tells you it is OK to take the rejects home. You don't want to appear greedy so only put a couple in your bag. As you are leaving the manager stops you to ask how your first day went and notices the rejects sticking out of your bag. He accuses you of theft and says he won't call the police but fires you.

Was it your fault? Some may say if you wasn't sure then you should have asked and not just took Greg's word for it. Others may say it was Greg's fault as you didn't know he would lie. A very few may say it is the fault of the manager for not explaining everything.

So what has this imaginary manager, job, and Greg got to do with Eve? God is the manager, Greg is the serpent, and you are Eve.

You want to read the Bible at this point. Well not all of it but the first three chapters of Genesis (You can skip most of the first chapter, and half of the second chapter as well if you want).

Now you have read that (or just carried on reading pretending you did) time to put the events in order.

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat." (Gen 1:27-29, KJV)

"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Gen 2:7, KJV)

"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Gen 2:16-17, KJV)

"And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him." (Gen 2:18-20, KJV)

"And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;  And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." (Gen 2:21-23, KJV)

"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." (Gen 3:1-6, KJV)

If you read the creation story in chapter 1 it says God creates man and woman (Adam and Eve) at the same time and gives them 'every tree'. No mention of not eating any particular tree.

Reading the creation story in chapter 2 it says God created man (Adam), told him about the tree of knowledge, got man (Adam) to name all the animals and then created woman (Eve) from a rib of Adam while he slept. No mention of the tree to the woman (Eve).

It may be presumptuous to think that everything should be mentioned in the Bible but at the same time if it is important to mention that God told Adam about the tree of Knowledge; surely if he had said something similar to Eve it would have been squeezed in to Chapter 2 of Genesis somewhere.

So when Eve tells the serpent that God said if they eat or touch the the fruit of the tree of Knowledge they will die what she really means is that Adam said God said - the first example of hearsay in the history of Christianity.

So should Eve be blamed for the demise of mankind? No. On one hand you have a talking snake saying it is OK to eat the fruit and on the other hand you have Adam saying that God said. If it was such an important rule then maybe the fault lies with God for not saying something to Eve himself. After all he told Adam about the tree, then got him to name the animals, and then created Eve. Adam's mind was elsewhere you cannot be expecting him to remember something about a tree after naming all the animals and then waking up to a wife.

Eve is off the hook because the 'manager' never told her himself. Adam is off the hook because God put too much on his plate at once. The blame for the downfall of mankind lies clearly, and squarely, with God.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

What If ... The Devil Wrote The Bible


It may seem a bit far-fetched since the end of the Bible is all about the demise of the devil and the rise of God, Jesus, and the whole happily ever after version of Paradise. But at the same time it may not be that far fetched.

"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." (2Cor 11:3, KJV)

"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." (Rev 12:9, KJV)

Two Bible verse which basically state that Satan has, or can, deceive the whole world. And what better way to deceive the world than getting them to follow a false god with the Bible?

In 2011 there were 2.18 billion Christians. The population, according to the United Nations, reached 7 billion in October of 2011. This means almost one person in every three was a Christian. Now they may not have all been reading the same Bible but they were reading variations of the Bible. And if Satan wrote that Bible, and its variants were derived from the same material, then Satan has already deceived a third of the population into believing a book he wrote.

Do not forget that the Bible goes pretty easy on punishing Satan.

First as a serpent in the Garden of Eden he is condemned to spend his life upon his belly - "And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:" (Gen 3:14, KJV). Hardly the most severe punishment that a snake can receive.

It stands to reason that Satan must have already been kicked out of Heaven before deceiving Adam and Eve, otherwise he would still be doing God's command. And when he was kicked out of Heaven God was very stern, and certain, in his punishment:

"Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee." (Eze 28:15-18, KJV)

Sounds good but it was just hot air. Because when God calls a meeting in Heaven Satan decides to go along and God doesn't even know:

"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it." (Job 1:6-7, KJV)

So the punishment is banishment from Heaven and spontaneous combustion yet Satan wanders into Heaven whenever he feels like it.

Why is Satan getting an easy ride? Because even though he is writing the Bible to deceive he just cannot bring himself to punish himself too much. And if everyone who proclaims to be a Christian is following a book written by Satan then they would not be following the true God and as such when, or if, any day of judgment comes along all Christians will meet their fate - whatever that may be.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

What If ... God Lied


Well, in short nobody would know. It all comes down to faith. If you have it you believe that God could not lie. If you don't have it then you are open to the possibility that God is a liar.

But he doesn't lead you on with a nice story and then lie. No, God goes straight for the jugular and hits you with the big old lie that the earth, galaxies, everything was created in six days. Who can prove him wrong? Nobody. There was supposedly nobody around until God created them.

And the people he created, Adam and Eve, were trapped like prisoners in the Garden of Eden for at least 67 years. So they knew nothing more than the Garden of Eden. Everything beyond that might have existed or it might not have. They would never know until they got kicked out. And it is God kicking them out that gives the figure of 67 years. God tells Eve he will multiply her pain in childbirth. Now for something to be multiplied it must have been felt before. If Eve had never felt childbirth a multiplication of that pain would be nothing (simply - anything multiplied by zero is still zero).

Back to the 67 years. As Eve had given birth for the pain to be multiplied then she gave birth at least once. Her first birth was twins; Cain and Abel. Although the Bible itself does not give any dates of when people were born there are other sources. The Book Of Jubilees says that Adam was approximately 67 years old when Cain was born. Therefore, it would stand to reason that Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden for at least 67 years.

If Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel know nothing about anything outside of the Garden of Eden then God had at least 67 years to create it.

While we are on the subject of Adam and Eve getting kicked out of the Garden of Eden is it not suspicious that God acted all surprised when he confronted them about eating the fruit? After all he is meant to be all-seeing and all-knowing but a single serpent gets by him to trick Adam and Eve. Surely if he was all-seeing and all-knowing he'd have seen the serpent and known what the serpent planned to do. So why didn't he stop the serpent? Because he wanted to show off the just-finished world to Adam and Eve and he had to have an excuse of why he had never shown it to them before.

Now to Noah. Noah was no explorer. Chances are that he knew nothing other than a few hundred miles around him. God says he is going to flood the whole world. How does Noah know this is true? He doesn't. Noah has never been more than a couple of hundred miles at most from the spot he was born in. It would be like telling a remote African tribe that America is made of cheeseburgers. They have never seen America, or even heard of it, so they would most likely accept it if you told them that. So God tells Noah he is flooding the whole world and Noah has to agree that God is going to. He cannot get on the Internet and check Google Maps to see if the rest of the world is really covered in water; or switch on a TV and see if Anderson Cooper is reporting from somewhere that is flooded. Chances are that Noah, like the remote African tribe, had never thought about there being anything other than what he knew. So if he had not seen it he couldn't say for sure that anything else existed; let alone flooded.

Noah sends out a dove, according to the Bible, to try and find land. The dove comes back without finding land. This does not mean the whole world was flooded. Doves usually only fly in daylight. Which if the Sun rose at 6AM and set at 8PM gives the dove a maximum of 7 hours flying away from the ark (and 7 hours for the return). According to Wikipedia the maximum speed of a dove is 55 miles per hour. This would give a maximum distance of 385 miles. But according to a couple of 'dove websites' the usual average is 150 miles before a dove needs to stop; which means the dove would have only gone 75 miles before turning around to get back to the ark. God only needs to flood a few hundred miles of land to trick Noah. And that is even to say he did that. He could have just flooded a 5 mile radius around the ark, and when Noah releases the dove God turns it around and pretends everything is still flooded.

The creation of mankind and the wiping out of the sinners could just be a lie. Nothing more than false propaganda. Great way to keep people in line. Do as I say or I'll flood the planet like I did before. Yeah, I know God said he wouldn't do it again. But if he lied about the creation and the flood can his word be trusted?

But if God started the Bible lying his ass off then how can anything in the Bible that involves God be considered true? The whole Bible could be one lie after another.

And who is to say that God is the only one to lie? He could have just started the ball rolling. Jesus never walked on water he fell in like the rest of us. But as Moses and God had got away with so many lies the apostles thought they could to. So while Jesus is toweling himself dry Matthew, Mark, and John are rewriting the actual events to look better than they really were.

But it continues further. Armageddon. Some fiery lake all the heathens get thrown in to. Maybe it was just a burning barrel but that wasn't dramatic enough. Throw in some trumpets, angels, and make the barrel a fiery lake.

From beginning to end the Bible could be the historical version of the National Enquirer. Take a small fact and make a headline-grabbing story out of it. And it is all God's fault for starting with a lie.