Getting Audex to rip into Ogg Vorbis

Audex is a really nice (KDE) application to rip Audio CDs. It can lookup the CD information (so most of the time you don't have to type all the tracktitles yourself), it also tries to fetch the correct cover (and succeeds most of the time) and has very flexible configuration settings. Sadly, the version in the Ubuntu (currently 0.72b1) repositories has a few problems when you want to encode your songs in Vorbis. Here is an overview of the problems I had and how I hacked my way around them (without recompiling Audex), so I can use Audex to rip my CDs to Ogg Vorbis.

The most important problem is that Audex simply doesn't detect the Ogg Vorbis encoder. As documented in this Debian bug report Audex passes an incorrect parameter to oggenc to detect the version. While it should pass -V (uppercase V) it passes -v (lowercase v). To 'fix' (read: hack) this I took the following steps:

  • First check that your have the Ogg Vorbis encoder (oggenc …

My vim configuration on Github

Ever since I started using Vim as my preferred text editor I have been keeping my configuration under source control. At first I kept my config for all the various applications + some useful scripts in one Git repository. But after I had given a (very) short presentation at work, I started to think about splitting of my vim-configuration into a separate repository. I have already learned a lot of useful tricks and settings about vim by studying other peoples vimrc-files, so I feel like it's only fair to also put mine out in the wild.

So first I did a little Git magic to split of my vim subdirectory into a separate Git repository, without losing any of the history. The answer on how to do this can be found on StackOverflow: Detach subdirectory into separate Git repository.

Then I created a repository on Github and pushed my entire vim configuration. Feel free to explore it and use pieces from it. (Or use it in it's entirety, but I don't …

Redefining functions in Javascript

A few days ago I wanted to know how easy it is to redefine a function in Javascript which is already defined. I know that doing something similar in Ruby is rather easy and I had the feeling that it would be possible in Javascript as well.

After some googling and testing I came up with the following test document (which is perfectly valid HTML5 btw!):

<!DOCTYPE html>
<script type="text/javascript">
  function foobar() {

  oldfoobar = foobar;

  foobar = function() {
    window.alert('hello overwritten');


I'm not sure if this is the 'javascript-way' of doing things, but it works. First I defined the function foobar(), which simply shows a 'hello' alertbox. Then I redefined that same method to first display another alert, and then call the original function, which will still show the 'hello' alertbox.

While the example is not very useful, this technique could be useful to redefine a method of some framework to attach custom logic (such as logging) without having to … version 3 is here

Today I'm happy to launch the new version of my weblog. (Oh and also the rest of the website, although some content still needs to be updated.) This is version 3 of the weblog, not counting my very first weblog at Although it's only been 1.5 year since I switched from Nucleus CMS to Wordpress, I once again switched over to another CMS: Drupal. Not because I was unhappy with Wordpress (it's a really nice system), but Drupal gives me a lot more flexibility. Flexibility which I needed to implement some new ideas I had for this version of the weblog and my website in general.

I have always maintained a few different sites, running on a plethora of applications. I had my photo website (, which ran on ZenPhoto; I had with the activity stream, running on Gregarius with some self-hacked ruby code to write the final stream; Then I had my cv-site (, which was mainly just static html …

Dell Latitude E6510, screen and touchpad

When we got our new laptops at work (Dell Latitude E6510) we had some various problems while installing our preferred Linux distros on it.

The first problem which we all had was trying to get the screen to work. I could get it to work by booting with the following kernel params xforcevesa nomodeset (I also removed the default quiet splash). Now I just run with only nomodeset, which works without problems for me, but without 3D. Jan has compiled a patched kernel for Ubuntu with 3D support but with less colors.

Then the second problem: scrolling with the touchpad didn't work. To fix this I ran the following commands:

cd /tmp/
sudo apt-get build-dep --no-install-recommends linux-image-$(uname -r)
apt-get source linux-image-$(uname -r)
cd linux-2.6.35/drivers/input/mouse/
patch -p0 < /tmp/patch-dell-e6510 
make -C /lib/modules/`uname -r`/build M=`pwd` psmouse.ko
sudo rmmod psmouse
sudo cp psmouse.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/input/mouse/
sudo modprobe psmouse …

Reisverslag Guatemala 2010

Nadat we vorig jaar een kijkje hadden genomen in India en Nepal wilden we nu wel eens meer richting Amerika trekken. Ook wilden we eens een groepreis proberen. We hadden in India gemerkt dat we toch wel tijd verloren aan het zoeken naar de juiste plekken en we toch niet overal zo direct onze draai vonden.

We hadden al van verschillende mensen vele positieve dingen gehoord over Djoser en zij bieden sinds dit jaar een 17-daagse rondreis door Guatemala aan. Ons eerste plan was Mexico, maar als we het aanbod bekeken leek Guatemala ons aantrekkelijker omdat het zowel echte Maya-cultuur heeft, maar ook jungle en mooie natuur, zodat het, zo hoopten we, een gevarrieerde reis zou worden. En dat werd het ook!

Hieronder het verslag van onze reis naar Guatemala (en een klein stukje Honduras), die we deden in oktober 2010. Onze groep bestond uit 5 Belgen en 5 Nederlanders (waarvan eigenlijk 1 iemand van Spanje kwam) als je de reisbegeleidster meerekende. Het verslag is geen doorlopend verhaal, eerder een …

Upgraded to Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick)

Today we saw the release of Ubuntu 10.10, codenamed Maverick Meerkat. Because I had some time today I immediately decided to upgrade my laptop. As usual the upgrade succeeded without too much trouble. Clicking a few buttons, letting the computer work for about an hour, reboot, and you are pretty much done.

Except for the few small things which break during upgrade. Out of experience from upgrading previous versions I know there are always a few small things you will have to fix. So here are the steps I did after the upgrade:

  • The installer disables all your extra PPA's, so when the upgrade has finished I re-enabled those and ran sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade again.
  • I quickly discovered that Guake didn't use my nice UTF-8 prompt anymore. This turns out to be a bug in VTE. The TERM variable isn't set correctly when launching Guake, so it acts as a dumb terminal. To fix this I changed the method of launching Guake in my startup script …

VIM: working with "light-projects"

While VIM certainly isn't an IDE, there are a lot of plugins in existence to make it more IDE-like. Although I have been working a lot inside IDE's the past few years, I don't really need all those fancy IDE features (and the bloat that comes with it). That's one of the many things I like so much about Vim, I can just add the features I need to the editor. So while there are certainly at least a few plugins to work with projects inside Vim, I came up with my own system for working with "projects" (call them "light-projects" if you wish). One small note: For the moment this method suits my needs, but since I'm only using Vim for about two months as my main editor, this might change obviously.

Basically, my solutions is based on an autocommand for every 'project' and the command-t plugin. Oh, and sessions as well. The autocommand detects when a file is read (or created) inside the project-directory. In this case, it …

Using your Bash and Vim config on multiple computers

Not long after I switched to Linux I started modifying my .bashrc file. In a .bashrc file you can set options for Bash, add aliases, configure your Bash prompt etc. When I decided to start using Vim as my main editor a few weeks ago, I also started tinkering with the .vimrc file. The .vimrc file is, similar to the .bashrc file, the place-to-be to configure Vim.

Obviously I wanted to share all these config-files between my work machine and my personal computer. That is why I set up a Git repository on my Dreamhost webspace. With most of your important config-files in a Git repository you can easily share your config between multiple computers and you get a history of your modifications as a free bonus.

Because I want to keep it clear which files are in the Git repo and which files are not, I just created a directory in my homedirectory called 'scripts' (so at ~/scripts/). Everything in that directory is in Git, everything outside the directory …

Learning Vim

When I started working on my first PHP project at Inuits I had to decide which editor or IDE to use. Obviously while I was still working in the .NET-world I used Visual Studio, just as almost everybody else. However I also used jEdit at home for PHP, Ruby etc. I always felt that learning a general purpose editor, and learning it very well, is more interesting than learning an IDE for one specific platform (VS.NET in this case).

One of my new colleagues recommended me to use NetBeans for PHP development, so I had a look at it. While I'm sure it has a lot to offer, it just didn't feel like the tool I wanted to use. Obviously I had also installed jEdit. While I have always loved jEdit, somehow I wasn't convinced anymore. I also had a look at gEdit, which certainly has potential if you install some extra plugins and configure it, but compared to other editors and IDE's it seems to be rather limited …