Radio 4 to mp3

My wife asked me to see if I could get a copy of a BBC Radio 4 program into MP3 for her boss, the program was on the freedom of information act, called A Right to Know, you can listen to it here. The BBC make most of there radio content available under “Listen Again”, where you can stream it using Real Player, so I don’t feel too bad about ripping it.

There are plenty of Windows & MacOS apps to do this kind of thing, but I run Debian Linux, so here’s what I did:

  1. Get the contents of the RAM file, this is usually just a RTSP URL, do a wget or something similar, then pass the rtsp url to mplayer:
  2. mplayer rtsp:// -ao pcm:file=right_to_know.wav -vc dummy -vo null
  3. Now that you have a wav of the show, you really want to convert to something a bit more compact, like mp3:

    lame -m m right_to_know.wav right_to_know.mp3 –tt “Right to Know” –ta “Michael Crick, BBC Radio 4”

    the “-m m” says create a mono MP3, which should be more compact & perfectly adequate for spoken word.

Thanks to

Things I want to do….

..some projects i wish I had more time to work on:

Mobile Phone Bill Parser – I’ve started this, in Perl with CDBI, it’ll load in an O2 downloaded bill, the idea is to have Business/Personal against each number in my address book, so that I can easily prepare an expenses claim, also handle the standard call rates, so that my free minutes don’t get given to my company πŸ™‚ I’ve been getting very disolusioned with CDBI & more interested in Java, so I might try and redo this in Trails…

More details info can be found here:

IPSec with Debian Sarge & Racoon

Some helpful sites to start with:


I’m a regular reader of the Internet Storm Center Handlers Diary, there have been some recent mentions of the DShield project, where you can upload your router/firewall logs to there central monitoring system, so that they can gather stats & produce reports on the ebb & flow of certain attacks and probes. They also a scheme called FightBack: is now helping users to fight back against attackers. We will analyze submitted log reports and pick a number of strong cases to forward them to the ISP from which the attack originated. A copy of the abuse report will be forwarded to the user.

So after reporting an abuse IP to the ISP, they ISP admins can do something about the user, as well as update you with how they responded:

Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2005 16:25:43 -0500

This user has been locked in the trunk of a 1980 Cadillac along with his PC and has been driven up and down a very bumpy road for several hrs and we believe that the problem is now resolved.

Thank you for the report

You can see more of the results from the FightBack here. See, us admin types aren’t all dried up crusty types…

Getting Cisco IOS & Racoon IPSec to play ball..

..ok, none of this is hard, but I get stuck in the odd place, mainly the Cisco router throwing this:

ISAKMP (0:1): Checking IPSec proposal 1
ISAKMP: transform 1, ESP_3DES
ISAKMP: attributes in transform:
ISAKMP: SA life type in seconds
ISAKMP: SA life duration (basic) of 28800
ISAKMP: encaps is 1
ISAKMP: authenticator is HMAC-SHA
ISAKMP: group is 2
validate proposal 0
IPSEC(vaidate_proposal): transform proposal (prot 3, trans 3, hmac_alg 2) not supported
ISAKMP (0:1): atts not acceptable. Next payload is 0
ISAKMP (0:1): phase 2 SA not acceptable!

This is a Cisco 3640 running IOS:
IOS ™ 3600 Software (C3640-IK9S-M), Version 12.2(23a)

I added the following to our exitsing IOS config:

crypto isakmp key somerandomtext address remote-host-ip no-xauth
crypto ipsec transform-set vault esp-3des esp-sha-hmac

crypto map to-vault 10 ipsec-isakmp
set peer remote-host-ip
set transform-set vault
set pfs group2
match address 101

interface Ethernet0/0

crypto map to-dublin-vault

access-list 101 permit ip host this-host-ip host remote-host-ip log

The racoon-tool.conf config looks like this:

# How to control the syslog level
# log: notify
log: debug

# some defaults
verify_identifier: on
nat_traversal: off
hash_algorithm[0]: sha1
authentication_method[0]: pre_shared_key
encryption_algorithm[0]: 3des


# IPSec between belfast-core-external & vault
peers_identifier: address

mode: tunnel
admin_status: enabled
compression: no
encryption_algorithm: 3des
authentication_algorithm: hmac_sha1

3Ware fun

I’m building an offsite digital vault, so that my current employers can stream all our backups to this box which will be based about 100 miles from our current office. Here’s some notes on what will be required to get Debian Sarge up and running on Supermicro H8DAR Opteron mobo with a pair of 3Ware 9000 SATA cards. (we’re using a 16 disk, 3u box from PCI Case, which is a great box, but with hind sight, our mobo suppliers, Boston, do a rather nice 3u 16 disk dual opteron box with 3Ware cards, all for abou 300ukp more that we bought the parts, a much better solution..)

Anyways, getting Debian Sarge on this box might be tricky, so I’ve been doing some reading & prep work:

Pictures paint a thousand words: ClustrMaps

I just spotted a new way of displaying your website hit stats on Corante’s Get Real blog. I soo want one πŸ™‚ I’ve mailed ClustrMaps asking to be added to the’s hoping they succumb!

They succumbed! I’ve just got this great email from Marc @ ClustrMap:

Hi, Simon —

First of all please let me apologize for the delay in replying to you…
we are just catching up on a huge email backlog and I can assure you that our
intention is to respond in the future to any emails within 24 hours at the
most, and more typically within 4.

Secondly, this is to let you know that we’re delighted to invite you onto our
beta test (in case you have not already obtained in invitation from
elsewhere). …