MilkDrop visualization database

To this day, Winamp still has some of the most jaw-dropping music visualizations via the MilkDrop plugin. MilkDrop has now been ported to other software and systems but it’s bundled right into Winamp.

I used MilkDrop for some recent projects, I have more projects using it on the way too. But I couldn’t seem to find anything cataloging the massive list of presets.

So I’ve begun one, using YouTube for the videos. Here’s the current playlist:

One Problem

There are well past 1000 great presets for MilkDrop and I couldn’t feasibly create videos for them all manually. Moreover, it was admittedly kinda tough finding a way to record them in the first place.

Solution

So, I used AutoIt to automate the process. Here’s the script I setup for the recording process using MSI Afterburner:

https://gist.github.com/Ugotsta/57b385a44039460159c7

And here’s the script I used to seamlessly loop the videos using MLT.

https://gist.github.com/Ugotsta/3496a2706e71dd46e538

I don’t have the time to go through the details right now. But I’ll gladly follow up with some details should anyone ask.

For now, here’s a link to the site I’ll be using to house the database: http://visualize.ugotsta.com/

It’s just a blog at blogger.com, it’s also kinda hideous right now. But it’s the easiest way to setup a database like this.

Cheers! 🙂

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MilkDrop visualization database

Future of books?

So here’s an interesting attempt at creating the books of the future: https://bubbl.in/

The project focuses on using code for pages. Book authors are provided with a programmer’s editor where they can create the content using standard HTML, CSS and JavaScript. As a coder, I really like the idea and see the potential behind it.

Here’s an example of what’s possible so far: The Solar System by Marvin Danig

It’s free!

It’s tough to beat a free price tag. So competition will likely struggle against this one, especially since authors won’t necessarily have to market their books as the site itself is a sort of storefront.

It’s certainly innovative and has a lot of factors already accounted for to yield interest. There’s also a fair bit of good response from the hackernews community too: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9861740

We’ll see how it goes from here.

Future of books?

Arrows and annotations in Inkscape

Decorating screenshots is very easy these days but it’s not quite as easy to find configurable annotation graphics. Most offer very simple arrows with no outlines or shadows, making them a little tougher to see.

So I’ve created a small annotations file in SVG format using Inkscape, along with a walk through for using it. Here’s the video.

The Downloads

You’ll first want to ensure you’ve installed Inkscape, it’s available for Mac, Linux and Windows, as follows. You’ll then just need the SVG file and a free font available at Google Font directory. Here are the relevant links:

Downloading the File from GitHub

To download the SVG file, simply go to the above url and left-click on the “Raw” button, then select “Save link as …

GitHub - Right-click Raw button and select Save link as

 

Getting started

Open the arrows-and-annotations.svg file you saved above and you should see some nice arrows and other graphics.

You’ll likely want to decorate your own screenshots, so select the background image and press Delete.

Select background graphic and press Delete

Assuming you’ve already got a screenshot you’d like to work with, simply open your file manager then click and drag the file into Inkscape (or go to File -> Import, then select the file).

Drag and drop screenshot into Inkscape

You should see that new screenshot added in Inkscape, likely covering the arrows and other graphics though. Simply press the End key to move it below the other graphics.

Press END key to move screenshot below other graphics

You can then manipulate the arrows and other graphics to annotate the screenshot just the way you need it.

To export your annotated screenshot

You might consider saving your edited screenshot in Inkscape. Or you can go right to exporting the edit. Simply go to the File menu and select “Export PNG Image…“.

You’ll see a new panel displayed with options for the export process. Ensure your screenshot is selected, then ensure the “Selection” tab is also selected in the export panel.

Select screenshot and Selection tab

Give your file a name, then press the Export button.

That’s it!

You should have yourself a nicely annotated screenshot, like the above screenshots, or the one below, for example.

Example annotations

 

The same method can be used to annotate images for use in screencasts as well. Or you can export just the arrows, mouse graphic or others for use in video editing.

Cheers!

Arrows and annotations in Inkscape

Host a blog for free with GitHub and HubPress

For those who don’t know, GitHub is code repositor service that’s totally free for publicly hosted code projects. And they’ve got this service called GitHub Pages where you can host an HTML based website for free. Normally, you’d have to manage content there yourself, by code. But HubPress lets you manage blog posts using a JavaScript-driven admin interface.

Here’s a quick installation video:

HubPress is currently very simple, allowing you to create and edit posts from the interface. It’s open source though, so it’s possible to extend it. The app uses Asciidoctor for editing posts and Handlebars for templating, so it should be able to use existing Handlebars-based themes. I’ll try and cover more details on those through separate videos.

You’ll also find extensive instructions at their repo: https://github.com/HubPress/hubpress.io

 

Have fun with it!

Host a blog for free with GitHub and HubPress