Linux HowTo's

Bizarre things to do in BASH

Complex and useful BASH one-liners. Here's how to:

  • Sort a file based on line length
  • Determine the longest line in a text file

Believe me, there are some real-world applications where this is required, or else I would not be telling you about it!

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How to make an animated GIF file from images

The best way to display a consecutive sequence of  images in a quick succession is to create an animated GIF. Using an animted GIF instead of a video file means that no video-player plug-ins are required on your browser. Also, many corporate networks have internal network restrictions that prevent video files to pass the firewall, but allow animated GIFs. It is also much easier to embed GIF's in content management systems, such as Joomla, compared to a video file.

Here's how to make an animated GIF from a directory of chronologically-sequenced photos or images using the ImageMagick toolset on Linux.

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How to animate lots of photos into a Video file

If you have hundreds of photos or images that you want to display in quick succession, create a video file using these steps on Linux. The result is slightly lossy, which means that there will be some pixilation, but the resulting file is much smaller than if you were to create an animated GIF. A rule of thumb is that 1000 photos will make a 640x480-pixel AVI file of 4.4MB in size and an 8MB-sized Flash video (.flv) file. Here's how to do it, using some fine open source technology in the form of the LIBAV library:

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What to do with Stupid .ape files

Yet another redundant and badly-supported audio compression file format, Monkey's Audio (hence the .ape extension) exploits the fact that the information streams in two stereo channels are similar. It then only encodes one channel and the difference of the other channel plus a few other tricks, for loss-less compression. This may well be a vaguely clever idea, but useless for mono or multi-channel encoding. Besides, we have FLAC-encoding, which compresses audio (to the same degree as Monkey) in a loss-less way for CD-quality reproduction. More importantly,  it is very well supported.

So, what do we do with this stupid ape-file?

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How to open .daa Files?

Yet another bespoke file format that unsuccessfully attempts to futher the agenda of vendor lock-in: If you are running Windows, you need to purchase PowerISO from poweriso.com , if you are running X86-based Linux flavour, the same people offer a free program to read and write .daa files. Go figure...

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