How to record from Grooveshark

I definitely prefer Grooveshark to Last FM as it seems to have far more music and does not seem to have some of the annoying “features” of Last FM like the fact that a lot of tracks are truncated to 30 seconds in Last FM.    Also Last FM has a lot of “dead” tracks which will not play at all, even for 30 seconds.

Grooveshark is mainly aimed at online usage and you listen to the tracks “live” over the net, which is fine and good, but not so good if you loose your internet connection, say on a 3G signal and you go out of range as the tracks will simply not play any more.

The answer here seems to be to capture the mp3 stream, as it normally gets deleted after each playing.

There seems to be a lot of software that will do this for you, but I don’t really want to have to install special software when there are tools already available which will do the same task.

Another thing to be very cautious about is that some of these tools are “closed source” so by installing them you could be putting your computer at risk if the software has hidden “features” which do extra things you might not want or even be aware of.

Wireshark is a well respected open source network tool so there is no risk in using it.

One of my favorite tools is Wireshark as this will capture just about anything and everything which makes it pretty cool ;-)

What I do is set wireshark to capture and then “play” the track in Grooveshark.    The beauty of grooveshark is that you do not have to wait for the song to finish playing as if you have a fast connection the mp3 stream will be written to the cache in only a few seconds, and there is a nice little progress bar in grooveshark to let you know when this is done.

Once this is done it is time to “save” the live capture as an mp3 file.

To do this you select one of the packets and “follow tcp stream” like this:

You might notice that I have added an extra column of “size” to the capture windows as the packets containing the audio stream generally seem to be 1514 bytes in length.

You then “save” the stream like this:

and save (using the “save as” button) it as a file ending in “.mp3”. You can then play the file without needing a “live” internet connection.

One thing that is not clear is if it is against the terms of service to save a stream. I have read through the lengthy legal document on their website and I could not see any wording that banned the saving of a stream. Most of the restrictions seemed to be aimed at UPLOADING music rather than downloading.

Regaining control of backlight brightness in Xubuntu

Just installed Xubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) on my Sony Vaio Laptop (VGN-FS215Z) and the thing that REALLY started to bug me (besides the pesky tap-to-click function) was that there seemed to be no way to control the backlight brightness!

Gnome-Power-Manager has a brightness slider alright but for some reason the brightness slider makes not a blind bit of difference to the brightness – Stupid or what?

I was just about to give up when I thought there must be some other utility, and it seems there is in the name of kpowersave.

This handy utility not only has a slider that works, it even has other useful functions.

I did note that it does not seem to “autostart” on login, even with the box ticked, so I simply added “kpowersave” to the startup programmes. (Main Xfce menu > Settings > Session and Startup)