Radio Station Visits

So over the next year I’m hoping to visit a number of radio stations (student or otherwise) partly to get an idea of what systems we might one day implement at URN.

Today is the first of these visits to the studios at Nottingham Trent University (Not Fly FM, the studios for the media courses).

I’ll post comments and possibly photos when I get back later on.


Bypassing Mac Firmware Password

So I had a rather embarrassing situation today where I needed to boot my Macbook pro from a usb device but I had forgotten my password. After some background reading I found a very simple solution. From within OS X (I used snow leopard but the procedure should be the same for any Intel based mac) open terminal and run the following command:
sudo nvram -d security-mode
And the password is gone!
I believe it’s also trivial to decode your password from the output of nvram -p

Hiding Files in OS X

Just a quick post which might help anybody who wants to be able to hide files in Finder on their mac.
The chflags command lets you set a hidden flag that prevents a file from appearing in Finder (not the same as prepending the name with a . which is the typical way of hiding files in a unix based system)
This automator service creates a context menu in Finder to hide files easily. To show them again requires Terminal since you clearly can’t click a file you can’t see!
To show files the command is chflags nohidden [FILE]
(or add sudo if needed)
the code is as follows.
on run {input, parameters}
set myfilepath to (last item of input) as text
set command to "sudo chflags hidden \"" & POSIX path of myfilepath & "\""
do shell script command password "MY PASSWORD" with administrator privileges
end run

Code as above in Applescript action
If you don’t want your password saved in plain text in the automator file then simply remove the password “…” part and you will be prompted each time.

EDIT: It is also possible to manually add a Keychain item containing your password and have applescript use that instead. I don’t have the code to hand but if you’re interested then let me know.

Coming Soon…

So over the Easter break from uni I’ve been working on an exciting new project. After looking for a good system to allow a group of people to upload, tag and find photos I decided to write my own*.
So I’ve started work on “Media Asset Manager” which is PHP and MySQL based with a good spattering of jQuery!
There’s plenty of work left to do but for anybody who’s interested there’s some screen shots below.
Let me know if you might be interested in using it.
Screen shot 2011 04 18 at 23 19 50Screen shot 2011 04 18 at 23 20 56

*The closest thing I found was ResourceSpace, it’s really good but just seemed like a clunky workflow for what I wanted to do so I’m aiming for a more intuitive interface and process that allows the user to concentrate on the assets rather than the software

Oddities from the URN Archive

While tidying out old paper work in the URN office in the last few days I came across a draw of papers dating back to 1979 when the station first started. Hidden between the countless instruction manuals and plans of central heating system(?) there are some real gems.

Letter dated 8th Jan 1980 from ‘University of Nottingham Union’ asking the station to ban smoking and drinking in the studio. The response reads as follows
“I do not feel it i necessary to ban smoking or drinking in the studio itself as there is very little equipment in this room that is at risk – nearly all of the valuable stuff i in the control room. In addition to this, we will be inviting guests into the studio on a regular basis, and it wold not seem very hospitable of us if the first thing we asked them to do was to put their cigarettes out!”

A letter sent from URN to university societies and clubs 1981
“Dear Person who’ likely to book discos etc… We will be available for hire for the meagre fee of £70 but what will this measly sum bring you? The biggest disco on campus, great lighting, lots of prizes, about 10 deejays at least, The best in adult entertainment
The kind of adult entertainment that URN may provide concerns and intrigues me in equal parts.

3) Various things that can best be described photographically (or that I can’t be bothered to type up)

Correspondance between URN and Ken of “Ken Wood and the Mixers”
Ken to urnUrn to ken
A mysterious advert from a magazine clipping:
A slight let-down in the prize department:
A stern warning from the engineering department:
As I find more oddities I’ll upload them.
Back to the filing cabinets then…

New Blog

So… A blog.
I’m not sure how often I’ll get round to posting anything here and I’m even less sure if anybody will be interested enough to read it, but there’s only one way to find out.
Hopefully a post with some actual content will go up in the next couple of days