Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Nerd Food: Flash won't beat me

One of those days. For the last day or so, I've been trying to watch a financial video from one of my favourite gurus-that-predicts-everything-before-it-happens Peter Schiff (thanks Fuzz!) and a Google talk with Boehm (of the c++ garbage collector fame). I had thought Miro was going to save the day on all things flash, and to be honest it has been quite useful in the past; I've managed to search for a bunch of talks and then download them for later consumption. This killer feature is entirely under-appreciated in Europe, where bandwidth is plentiful, but once you get to Africa - with its sporadic-but-expensive Internet connections - it really comes to its own.

However, of late I've found Miro's search to behave weirdly. Links in YouTube which I can clearly validate don't show up on the search results; or when they do, I get a "file does not exist error" at the download stage. And I don't seem to be able to feed it a straight YouTube URL either. Extremely annoying. So after much searching it suddenly occurred to me that I could literally play the whole video while doing other stuff and then copy it from the browser cache! Not particularly efficient, but great as a last resort measure. This was done, but then I found out that the cached files have the weirdest names in the whole world and no extensions:

[marco@perlis Cache]$ cd /home/marco/.mozilla/firefox/ft6kqpe4.default/Cache
[marco@perlis Cache]$ ls | head
total 57200
-rw------- 1 marco marco 63548 2010-01-05 12:07 00723220d01
-rw------- 1 marco marco 75884 2010-01-05 12:34 047E9A92d01
-rw------- 1 marco marco 72071 2010-01-05 12:14 04D19A3Dd01
-rw------- 1 marco marco 36826 2009-12-27 15:55 050CF10Ad01
-rw------- 1 marco marco 30346 2010-01-05 11:42 05FF9B13d01
-rw------- 1 marco marco 30487 2010-01-05 11:59 0A86946Ad01
-rw------- 1 marco marco 48362 2010-01-05 13:45 0C9499D4d01
-rw------- 1 marco marco 37458 2010-01-05 11:46 10E28E0Ed01
-rw------- 1 marco marco 38169 2010-01-05 12:00 12C78C2Bd01

Great for a cache but not so for humans. Bummer. Some googling later I found a chap which pointed out a way of figuring out which files are which, windows style. That got my neurons firing:

[marco@perlis Cache]$ A="*"; for a in $A; do file $a; done | grep -i video
76568185d01: Macromedia Flash Video
806EBA02d01: Macromedia Flash Video
82C84C55d01: Macromedia Flash Video

Sorted. A few cp's later and the cache was stored safe and sound! All hail the command line...

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