Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

17Feb/06Off

Kids On Coffee

I've been awake since five o'clock this morning. Usually I give in to the sleepiness when I get home from work but this afternoon our new teeny tiny mp3 players arrived: from clowns in brown came a pink one for Yoon and, surprise, a black one for me. Yeah, I know, we could've been transported to a Candyland universe of bliss if only we'd squandered three times as much money for ipods (you wanna camel case it, feel free) but I feel a little less fucking stupid buying a similarly equipped piece of hardware that isn't this five minute's razor scooter or whatever. Until a few days ago the idea of buying an mp3 player was one that had never crossed my mind. Well, I guess I could stick with that story since Yoon provided both the impetus for the purchase and the cash necessary to actually complete it. I just supplied the "holy shit, that is really fucking expense" loudmouthism necessary to avoid buying an iAnything.

So, here are some questions that are still unanswered seven hours later:

1. How does one go about changing permissions on a USB mass storage device that both the Gentoo desktop and the Debian unstable laptop recognize as a SCSI device (/dev/sdx and the like) that has to be mounted as a vfat file system. I've explored nearly every legitimate option for tricking the fucker into providing sane ownership to a user that is not root and is not in the root group. Anybody got a clever idea that I've missed? It isn't all that important for me but I'd rather not have Yoon chasing around a moving target in udev and doing things as root in order to just add files to a device that has no other purpose other than to have files added to and subtracted from it periodically. I imagine that ejecting SCSI from the equation would probably simplify this somewhat but I'm starting to get tired as my interest in the subject wanes but still infused with enough cranky energy to verbally smack the shit out of anyone who is stick stupid enough to suggest that one of their beloved little widgets might've just worked. Useful answers will be rewarded with a sincere thank you and every else will be ig-ttacked in ways that I've already explained. Jesus, I feel like I'm channeling jwz or something. Maybe it has something to do with the comparatively soothing drip coffee maker deciding to take temporarily electronic dirt nap in the Land of wind and blinking lights and leaving me with no other form of liquid pacification other than the French press. It produces something closely related to liquid violence so, yeah, I should probably work on getting the other producer of black gold and/or Texas C (yeah, I know the W is from there but I believe that most of his cocaine abuse actually went down in DC) functional as soon as possible.

2. Is there a reason that cheap (read: included) ear buds are comically uneven? I really thought that there was something magically defective with the set that came with my teeny-tiny until I opened the pink one and discovered that those were of similar screwball proportions? Maybe I'm just too old to get it or something like the one pant leg rolled up crazy crazy crazy youth meme that I don't understand?

Help me or I really will spend another thousand words pussy footing around the fact that I just hate consumer electronics. Maybe I'll just stick with the blink tags for all of you who don't know about turning that shit off with the browser.blink_allowed option available to every man, woman, or child fit enough to set its boolean value to something less offensive through the power and the majesty of about:config. I might just Arthur Fonzarelli my head until something bad falls out and/or I become tired or at least less conscious despite all of the damned coffee and its intrinsic wall staring. Anyone who can guess all of the 1980's punk rock references embedded in the murk above needs to get a fucking life and me a Pepsi on their way out.

Prior to the Post-Script
The Gunning-Fog index for this shit is 13.9. If you've ever needed a real concrete reason to ignore this scale and others like it, well, merry christmas.

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  1. 1. I created a custom.rules in my /etc/udev with the line:
    BUS=”usb”, KERNEL=”sd?1″, SYSFS{serial}=”200517400218238411d9fd”, NAME=”%k”, SYMLINK=”cruzer”

    I get the information from the output of “udevinfo -a -p `udevinfo -q path -n $1`”. Plug your device in, note the /dev/sdN number, and run the above on that. Try to use the one of the first stanzas on stdout which has unique info…most devices have a serial number or whatever. Otherwise, use the name of the device. Then modify the SYMLINK value to be whatever you want, and your device will be accessible as /dev/whatever. I use autofs, so I never ran into the permissions problem, but if you have an entry in /etc/fstab, ‘man mount’ has a list of options under the -o argument which may help. Try user(s), and try uid= and gid=. That should work. If not, fell free to email and ask.

    2. I hate this too. With a passion. But, you know, it’s one of the smaller things I worry about. there are bigger fish to fry, and I get tired of smacking these kinds of small fish with my giant frying pan. I just go straight for the big ones. (And one pant leg is rolled up for those who ride bicycles and don’t want their pants caught in the chain. I do it, and I have the scar to point to. But if someone does it, and they don’t ride a bicycle, I whip out my frying pan.)

    Have a nice day!

  2. Ack. Thanks for the advice. I’d forgotten entirely about using fstab for this purpose. I’ll give it a whirl later on tonight and see what happens. The only squirrelly thing about an entry in fstab is that I actually do use the same USB port for the Palm and a couple of other things. The serial number would probably be a big help there. I’m just mounting it with mount -t vfat /dev/sda1 /mnt/mp3 but I also tried mounting it in a directory in home with similar results. You’re right though, I should probably spend more time fiddling with it before relegating the permissions issue to the dust bin.

    The pantleg thing: the bike usage is understandable. I used to messenger way back when. Clothing stuck in the chain is not condusive to making more tags. The application here is more like suburban gangster; one pantleg up when loaded down with a half ton of freshly purchased Ecko or whatever in hopes of channeling Tupac. Riding a bike outfitted like that will get you what you deserve :).

    Thanks for the advice. I really do appreciate it.

  3. Sure, you’re welcome. People who specify USB devices in /etc/fstab and refer to a /dev/sd? are doing it wrong, since in the, ahem, modern day and age, hotplug does it for us. Think of it this way: /dev/sda1 refers to your first SCSI disk, and hotplug lets you turn “first SCSI disk” into “my MP3 Player” or “My Palm Pilot” or whatever. Again, glad to be of help.

  4. This is just speculation, as I own no ear buds, but the purpose of one side being shorter than the other might be to make it possible to have the cord in a more comfortable position. Like if you jog and keep the player strapped to your right arm or if you like to listen through the headphones while you work at your computer and you set the player off to the side the cord might be less likely to hang down and fuck with your typing, pointing, and clicking type activities.

  5. No, that totally makes sense. Now that I’ve actually worn the thing for an entire workday the design makes a lot more sense to me. It also works well for wearing underneath a zippered coat and allowing access to the volume dial on the actual earbud cord. It still looks silly but at least that silliness is for a reason.


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