Mark Grealish

Cats and wizardry.



The world’s greatest software MP3 player

MOC, Music on Console, has been my MP3 player of choice for the last seven or eight years, almost since its first alpha release. It is light, flexible, easy to use, extensible (through shell scripts and pipes), and offers a search feature is the real winner for me. Don’t want to look at it? No […]

New Dropbox hack: Automatic screenshot upload and URL

Everybody takes a desktop screenshot at some point. For whatever reason. In the true spirit of computer geeks I spent two three hours writing and testing a shell script that will take a screenshot of your Linux desktop, upload the screenshot to the Internet via Dropbox and pop the URL into your clipboard for instant […]

Screenie version 2.0: Now with URL shortening

#!/bin/bash check_dependencies() { # Takes screenshot. dep[1]="scrot" # Parses the URL. dep[2]="curl" # Preferred method to store files. dep[3]="dropbox" # Copies content to the clipboard. dep[4]="xclip" for n in $(seq ${#dep[@]}); do command -v ${dep[$n]} > /dev/null 2>&1 if [ $? == 1 ]; then echo "ERROR: Command '${dep[$n]}' not found" dep_missing=1 fi done if […]

Freaking. Awesome.

Screenie version 3.0: Coming to you soon with integrated Twitter posting, just to be obnoxious. :)

I dreamed a dream…

I was back in Las Vegas for one day and desperately looking for my two kids. It wasn’t fun.

I can has develop film

Last night I had my first hands-on experience with developing my own film at the surprisingly gentle hands of Sinead Williamson. Load roll, add developer, tumble, fix, rinse, and dry: That’s it. Considering the arcane language used by regular film photographers on Internet forums and in guides I was expecting…expecting what, exactly? Bunsen burners, frightful […]

Dublin weekend

Weekend: Over. Mark: Tired and stinky. Thought-provoking moments: Several. I spent Sunday and Monday in Dublin with the wonderful Sinead Williamson to learn the basic black and white film development under the experienced hand of a woman who regularly shoots with near-infrared film and lives to tell about it. Ostensibly, the overnight trip was supposed […]

HOWTO: Stream your music library to your iPod with MPD (part 1/2)

What I Want Since I bought my (replacement) iPod in May I’ve become curious about the possibility of streaming music from my laptop over the network and into my iPod. Apple doesn’t natively permit this function to occur with shared iTunes libraries – but neither do they discourage people from writing their own apps. There’s […]

Spaceman Grealish

I could probably fill a whole book on spacing out if I put my mind to it…assuming that I didn’t get distracted by Oh. Hi. I can’t remember the last time I really felt entirely awake, alert and refreshed. I go to sleep tired and wake up feeling hungover – headache, sore neck, dizziness, disorientation […]

So what do I find on today’s schedule, but…


I had a file renaming problem, where I wanted to remove the spaces from about a thousand files and folders for easier batch handling (I want to convert my ebook science fiction collection into .epub for reading on my iPod). The solution turned out to be: for file n *; do mv "$file" "`echo $file […]


(Spoken to the tune of “Choo choo choo choo”.) Must blog blog blog blog, blog blog blog blog, blog blog blog blog. It is very amusing, sort of ridiculous and definitely humbling that I have to blog about blogging so as to focus my attention on blogging. So right now I have a few blog […]

Regrettable 2am post

What the hell do you write in the birthday card of a beautiful little girl whose life you walked out on eight months ago, besides “sorry”?

Stupid plotholes

If this tumblelog had categories, I’d file this under Verbal Diarrhoea. Big dumb logical and scientific plotholes in a film, television series or book insanely bug the crap out of me. When something happens for the sake of drama, rather than some even quasi-plausible reason, it feels like the author/writer/producer is saying, “well ain’t you […]

Hail Mary

I’m going to get yelled at for the first photograph. My mum has this almost-magical ability to flinch, scowl and project distaste when she comes into the field of a view of a camera. Doesn’t matter none if you’re using a fisheye or 50 metres down the down the road peeping through a long telephoto. […]


Each and every time I’ve chanced to say this around a computer I’ve had amusingly educational an experience. Tonight’s? I left my laptop unbootable. Literally. I deleted GRUB. I do it twice a year. No oops. Usually. Tonight I have no handy Linux ISO on a pendrive ready to boot from. Whoops.

[solved] Oops, part 2

Sooo. I deleted my GRUB configuration last night, while I was trying to install BURG. BURG, or Brand-new Universal loadeR from Grub is just pure eye-candy for your Linux system, plain and simple…. …and Mark takes to Teh Shiniez like Zombie Cat takes to ice cream. I have no idea what I did, in hindsight. […]

HOWTO: Stream your music library to your iPod with MPD (part 2/2)

To begin: In part 1 of this guide, I laid down the basic groundwork to enable audio streaming from your Linux installation and onto your iDevice. While I was able to get both MPD and Icecast functioning and communicating with relatively little trouble, I ran into a brick wall as I tried the final, trivial […]

The state of the Mark

In that vein I’m going to confess that one of the most frustratingly repetitive phenomena is the mutual need for us to self-censor our lives because we turn the details into ammunition for later fights. We both self-censor our whole lives when we talk to one another. It sucks. It stinks. It is a hundred […]

Ubuntu versus Gentoo

Gentoo, while an excellent learning tool, is really intended for the kind of user who want to custom-craft a mercury-weighted and laser-guided titanium hammer that strikes with deadly accuracy while travelling at half the speed of sound. Ubuntu is more general. While less focused, certainly less fine and less sturdy, it is nevertheless a reliable […]


Hmm. A third part to my two-part HOWTO is looking likely. Things I have discovered: MPoD directly connects to MPD over a local network, bypassing Icecast entirely. MPoD is temperamental. I can currently access a a file list, but I cannot control playback via it. This changes at random intervals. Sooo. I feel kinda cheated. […]

And now for something completely different…

#!/usr/bin/python print "Hello world!" /drumroll [mark][~] # ./ Hello world!

10 perks of being unemployed:

Beard. Sick? No need to call in. Tailor your schedule to your circadian rhythms. Wearing pajamas at 3pm on a Monday. Getting enough sleep. Having the time to write a blog. Experimenting with Linux. Catching up on three years of reading. Having dinner at 1am and then sitting down to work. Saying ‘goodnight’ to your […]

Useful tip: Replace gnome-screenshot with screenie

I stumbled onto this, today: How To: Replace ScreenCapture with KSnapshot. I was pleased to discover that this little tip works just as well with my own screenie and gnome-screenshot, if you are working in Gnome: [root][mark] # cd /usr/bin/ <br /> [root][bin] # mv gnome-screenshot gnome-screenshot.old <br /> [root][bin] # ln -s /usr/local/bin/screenie gnome-screenshot

Oh yeah

Dear Mr. Mark Grealish Your booking request has been successful. Kind regards, NCI.

Hmm. Remote wiping?

Disclaimer: This post is mostly idle speculation, dear reader(s). Actual experimentation with any script whose sole, explicit function is to variously delete files or zero write a hard disk should only be undertaken in a controlled sandbox. I came across Prey this morning in an OMG! Ubuntu! news post, although I haven’t yet tried it […]

091 Labs

<plug> A huge shoutout to Mike for putting me onto 091 Labs. </plug> 091 Labs are a just-founded Galway City-based hackerspace, a hackerspace being an area where like-minded geeks can get together and do like-minded things. As I blearily look around me I see two Linux geeks off to my left and another uhm, three […]


I have to apolgize for the quality. I had a problem with how the program, webcam, handled the final image; it would offset the image by 30-50%, and in the end the only real solution I could come up with was to forcibly crop the image. I can’t give you any real why for the […]

Timelapse, part 2 of 1

Inspired by yesterday’s timelapse experiments at 091 Labs, I bought a cheap little PC Line webcam from Currys today (tenner for 1.3mp isn’t bad) and experimented some more with webcam. The results have been: I’ve eliminated the need for a external script to manage the capture operation. A simple webcam & dumps the process into […]

Purdy and I timelapse

Timelapse (part 3 of 1). My sister’s dog and I.

Webcam wind-up

My concentration is like a paper-thin spun-crystal vase: The slightest quake, quiver, nudge, upset or gust of wind and it is shattered into a million pieces. The easiest way to keep my concentration is to mentally empty my head out, Zen-like, and just write. Close the Facebook. Gag the Twits. Stop talking Pidgin willy-nilly. Preempt […]

Open Office

I seem to have picked up a very small following of Linux users, so I’m going to throw out a quick question: Why does Open Office handle rendering of the Microsoft DOC format so badly? Why does it stink so badly at what is such a touted core feature of the suite: Interoperability with Microsoft […]

This counts as photography

Kinda. I mean. It is a webcam still. Maybe more of videography? Having two blogs and trying to keep their content separate and unique sometimes leaves me at a very strong risk of neglecting one or another blog (caveat: I maintain the capability to immediately and seamlessly merge one blog into another, should I see […]

Another round of webcam

Shut up. Shut. Up. I’m happy with the time-lapse solution, and its control mechanism. What I want to do now something slightly different: Single images. On my webserver. Right now I have a system that puts up a new capture every ~10 seconds or so on as webcam1-current.jpg, along with a semi-permanent Dropbox-hosted archive. […]


Woke at 2pm feeling like wrung-out tea towel soaked in shit. Read (finished The Ringworld Engineers by Larry Niven) until 3pm and change. Showered. Had breakfastdinner at 4pm. Ella arrived, 5pm. Took Ella for a long walk. Dropped in on 091 Labs, where I fixed the webcam. Came home. Hung washing on line. Helped mum […]

10 things that Dune has taught me:

The spice must flow. Fear is the mind-killer. The sleeper shall awake. Every person has a place, and every place has a person. That which submits, rules. The first step in evading a trap is to know where it is. Where there is spice, there are worms. Walk without rhythm, and it won’t attract the […]

Light-tagging at 091 Labs

Thank you Uisin for the infodump: Certainly! We were testing out software developed by the Graffiti Research Lab, a New York art group that works to enhance street-art with open-source technologies. One of their projects is called L.A.S.E.R. Tag, which involves using a projector, laser pointer and tracking software to draw/paint with light on the […]

Garrett’s first steps

5 (more) things that Dune has taught me

The Bene Gesserit have an axiom, mantra, saying, parable, fable, saying, or mnemonic for everything. Everything (NSFW: Cartoon boobs). The single most valuable (a decagram will buy you a house on Tupile!) substance in the known universe is a spice that will prolong your life indefinitely, allow you to pierce the veil of time and […]

Caira’s fourth birthday

Photographs by Jackie Taylor.

Infrared ho!

I dismantled my frighteningly-expensive 15 euro webcam, and found that it is highly sensitive down into the near infrared range. I taped a spare R72 infrared filter on the front and got some surprisingly clear and usable images/video. My next step is to look at the fun and creative things I can do with a […]

This was my fun night :D

The noise, the noise, the noise

It sucks. When I was in the absolute throes of depression, all was nicely silent up on top. Now that I’m coming out on the other side, the noise has returned. The noise is this buzz of a thousand ideas and thoughts that runs ever onward in the back of my head and functions as […]

/bin/bashing is a link-shortening service run by one Inc. of New York city. I’m sure you’ve all used one such service by now. You have a big link, such as my last Google search: Now, while all the cool-kid websites use dynamic pages that spit out lengthy, solid, robust (and dynamic) URLs such […]

Bollicks it

I’m going to learn me some Ruby. I have a few projects in mind that involve web access, but pure Bash falls flat. It simply isn’t suitable.


I’m not a slavish fan of graphic novels, but somehow every single comic that I enjoy turns out to be a product of Warren Eliis’ genius. I’m an accidental fanboi. Tonight I finally finished reading Planetary, at the end of its epically sporadic ten eleven year run. Planetary is the superhero comic for people who […]

Write your own Google web app in under five minutes

The most lay description I can give to a Google Chrome web app is that of a pinned tab which has a little bit more screen space than normal by way of removing the tool bar: It is one step between a regular pinned tab and a standalone full-screen app (Tools-> Create application shortcuts...). In […]

8bit Collective

Link: 8bit Collective 8-bit music – squeeeeeeeeeeeee!

A sobering case of apologitis

To kick off with Other News, the memorial book for the sadly-missed Danny O’Brien became available for preview and purchase on Blurb courtesy of the hard work of Simon and Sinead. Editors and contributors: Fantastic work. You have all outdone yourselves. I mean it. You can find the book here: I somehow slept until […]


I have absolutely nothing against the Windows family of operating systems. I (firstly) bow down to our proprietary overlords and their estimated 90% desktop markets share. You don’t get there without having done something right. I am (secondly) utterly pragmatic about my choice of platform, within reason. My favourite tools – Pidgin, Google Chrome and […]

It was, for the record:

[mark][Screenlapse] # mencoder -ovc copy -oac mp3lame -audiofile basket_case.mp3 -mf w=1024:h=600:fps=20:type=jpg 'mf://@files.txt' -o screenlapse.avi This also worked perfectly well to get a YouTube video: [mark][Screenlapse] # mencoder -ovc x264 -oac mp3lame -audiofile basket_case.mp3 -mf w=1024:h=600:fps=20:type=jpg 'mf://@files.txt' -o screenlapse.avi

Ungimping the Gimp #1

So I’m two days into using The Gimp v2.7.1. instead of Photoshop. Eh. It handles just fine. The Gimp’s tools and features are complete to me, as a Photoshop user (mostly-I cannot figure out, for the life of me, how I can change brush hardness on the fly short of changing brush. Anyone?). I can […]

My top 10 reasons for getting out of bed in the morning

My children: Caira and Garrett. Lexapro – the discerning depressee’s antidepressant of choice. Kittens and cats and lolcats and webcomic cats. Linux. Photography. High-brow entertainment: The Order of the Stick and Spacetrawler. My The beard. Addictive flash games. Addictive iPod games. Laconic quips.

HOWTO: Time-lapse capture your Linux desktop

OR: Playing with my scrot I’ve been playing with my scrot relentlessly for the past two or three days. Literally non-stop for hours a time. I’ve even been making videos and then putting those videos on YouTube. /innuendo Scrot – SCReen shOT – is a FOSS screen capture utility that cleaves to the old Unix […]