Sec, blogmal!
01 2011



April '18



Fri, 28 Jan 2011

Mplayer interesting options

I like mplayer as a very versatile video player, just the documentation is a bit lacking at times. This is my scratchpad of options I've found useful over the years:

-af scaletempo

To keep the pitch on your video if you play it faster/slower - Very useful to speed up slow lectures/talks and still understand what's being said.

Use [ or ] to increase/decrease video playback speed.

-af volume=20

Increase the volume a bit, useful to boost audio over the standard maximum.

-vm -adapter 2

Play fullscreen on your second video output.

-ao null

Play without audio.

If you know any other interesting options, please share them below..

– Sec

posted at: 16:10 | Category: /tidbits | permanent link to this entry | 0 comments (trackback)

Tue, 25 Jan 2011

Android remote input

As most of you already know, I own an android mobile. Recently I wanted to add an RSS feed URL to my android podcast client, but was annoyed by the fact that I had to copy this long URL by hand. I would rather copy&paste it.

As I have rooted my phone, it had to be possible one way or another. Looking around, I found no usable solutions.

The most general solution would be to simulate keyboard input. Digging around a bit in Linux internals I found a way to inject key-presses via /dev/input/events* so I wrote a little program: btype.c. For those not wanting to compile it themselves, you can download the binary here.

It will accept text on the command-line, or read interactively from stdin.

Writing it was actually more difficult than I expected - I didn't want to hardcode the keyboard scancodes, so I had to read&parse the keymap and keylayout files which is always onerous in C. Also I learned funny ioctl%s to find the correct device in %/dev/input and to switch a tty to single-character input. Last but not least I had to find out how to get an android property value in C. – Hopefully all this made the program more portable to other android devices.

I hope someone finds a good use for it, let me know if you like it,

posted at: 20:04 | Category: /tidbits | permanent link to this entry | 0 comments (trackback)

Mon, 17 Jan 2011

IBM/Watson and the Jeopardy challenge

Dear Interweb, perhaps you can help me answer a question:

As you probably heard already, IBM built software (called Watson) to play Jeopardy – a well known game show :-).

The big showdown will be on Feb 14th where Watson will compete against two former Jeopardy champions. There already was a testing round recently where Watson appears to have won easily, which triggered a lot of articles about this. Most of them discuss the fact that the natural joke/pun filled-language is hard to understand, but I couldn't find anyone answering the most important question: How does Watson get the questions, and with what timing?

I don't think they also tackled audio recognition, so I assume Watson gets the question in text form. But when? The whole question at once, as soon as it is shown? That would put the computer at a enormous advantage, as it can read much faster than any human. – If they'll put a static delay in, there might be cases where Watson hasn't seen the question before a human buzzes in. The only remotely fair thing that I can imagine is delaying each word separately for a short time which would mimic the show host Alex Trebek reading the question out loud.

I think this is pretty important, as the advantage of getting the whole question immediately is pretty big. What do you think?

– Sec

posted at: 12:27 | Category: /misc | permanent link to this entry | 0 comments (trackback)

Sun, 16 Jan 2011

Stylish for Firefox

As regular readers here will know, I'm a big fan of the Greasemonkey extension - It allows the hacker in you to play with pages to your hearts content. Visit to see what people have created with it.

But today I wanted to tell you about Stylish. It presents a nice UI for adding custom URL-based stylesheets. Okay, granted, nothing you couldn't do with Greasemonkey if you wished, but it's really easy and quick to do.

Case in point today: The Android-Developers Blog has an annoying problem. If you visit it while using NoScript, it disables scrolling so you can't read the whole article without enabling JavaScript. – Stylish to the rescue:

@namespace url(;

@-moz-document domain("") {
  html, body {
    overflow: visible !important;

On a related note: If you always wanted to know what exactly !important does in CSS, check here

– Sec

posted at: 13:38 | Category: /tidbits | permanent link to this entry | 0 comments (trackback)

Wed, 12 Jan 2011

Essential Android Apps

|GOOSE| just got a new Android-Phone and asked on his blog about applications.

His comment field is way to small for my list, so I decided to post it here:

Must-Have Applications:

Apps I use regularly

Nice to have

Interesting stuff you should have at least tried

Games (puzzle)

Games (action)

If you have anything to add, please leave a comment.

– Sec

posted at: 00:25 | Category: /misc | permanent link to this entry | 0 comments (trackback)
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