The cognitive surplus

My brother-in-law is in town and I showed him the following video that I had seen some months back. It is a very, very good talk.

Here is a transcript of most of the talk:
Gin, Television, and Social Surplus

And the author Clay Shirky has written a book called “Here Comes Everybody” which I am reading on my Amazon Kindle.

Script Editor – Basic Version deployed to the server

I cleaned up the look at little.  Here are some screen shots to give you an idea of what it looks like:

Login Screen:


Welcome Screen:


New Script Page:




Script List page:



Script view page:


You can click the pencil icon to edit a line, click the up and down arrows to move the lines, or click the delete button to delete the line (no warning!! on the delete!)

At the bottom, there is a blank line to add a new line:


The record lines page allows for you to record lines that do not have a recording:



The final page shows the Spanish lines in the correct order:



The page uses SOX to combine the waves and LAME to convert them into MP3.  I am not able to get it to work on the server at dreamhost.  I downloaded SOX source, compiled, and it runs…  But when I pass in the wav files to combine them, I get an error: “can’t open file”… ” Could not find data chunk.”  Any ideas?



Script Editor – a look

Here is the look I was thinking about for the HabloHindu script editor (the graphic needs to have the last “i” changed to a “u”.


Today, I added the ability for people to log in, and for the individual lines to be edited.  I have all the pieces figured out.  Now I just need to bring them together, polish it, and test.

Script Editor – Combining the audio files


Combining the recordings has taken a little time to figure out.  But now I can merge them, and convert them to MP3.  Here is a screenshot of the page that produces the script in Spanish (just filter the Spanish lines) and puts links to the combined .Wav and .Mp3




To get this to work, I had to call two command line functions “sox.exe” to combine the wavs  (   together.  and “Lame.exe” to convert it to an MP3 (

I had some trouble with LAME.  It did not like the .Wav in the default format that the Java Sonics ListenUp Java Applet records in, i.e. ADPCM.  It kept saying “unsupported format”.  But it did work with “u8”.  There is some type of distortion in the background though..


I should also point out that I found a really neat looking PHP class to work with wav files called wav edit.  I could not get it to work with the wavs I recorded though.  Here are some screenshots of the sample page and a link to give you and idea of what I’m talking about.

Sample page using my recordings:





using the recordings provided in the .zip


Script Editor – Adding lines and recording audio

Making some good progress today!!!  I have added the ability to create lines for the script, delete lines, move lines up and down, record audio, and the like.  Here are some screenshots: 



The JavaSonic ListenUP applet records things as a .wav.  I will need to join these together.  I found a function to do this:


function joinwavs($wavs){
    $fields = join('/',array( 'H8ChunkID', 'VChunkSize', 'H8Format',
                              'H8Subchunk1ID', 'VSubchunk1Size',
                              'vAudioFormat', 'vNumChannels', 'VSampleRate',
                              'VByteRate', 'vBlockAlign', 'vBitsPerSample' ));
    $data = '';
    foreach($wavs as $wav){
        $fp     = fopen($wav,'rb');
        $header = fread($fp,36);
        $info   = unpack($fields,$header);
        // read optional extra stuff
        if($info['Subchunk1Size'] > 16){
            $header .= fread($fp,($info['Subchunk1Size']-16));
        // read SubChunk2ID
        $header .= fread($fp,4);
        // read Subchunk2Size
        $size  = unpack('vsize',fread($fp, 4));
        $size  = $size['size'];
        // read data
        $data .= fread($fp,$size);
    return $header.pack('V',strlen($data)).$data;

It streams it out to the client.. .I will want to save it to the filesystem and use LAME to convert it into MP3.

This is the next step…  After I am able to join them and convert them, then I will be at the point that I will have all the technical know how to do what I’m trying to do.  Then it will be a matter of cleaning up the design, (in fact redesign (ok.. ok… not much of  design now… just to design it)), make it look pretty, test test test… (I’m going to try to put the 15 scripts we have done so far for HabloHindu in there and see how that works), I need to add some authentication/security to it, then I will upload it and have Sara give it a try to see what she thinks…

Script Editor – First Attempt

I do not know PHP, but it seems very similar to lots of other web scripting languages I have used (NeoScript, ASP, etc.).  With the help of a book, the web, and my past experience, I was able to put the following together in a few hours:

List of scripts page:



“Add script” takes you to this page:


The date is pre-populated as the “max date” + 1 day.

If you clicked on a script title on the first page, then you would be taken to a view that let you change the script:


The code behind all this is not good.  But I just wanted to get through the basics…  Let me put it here for reference:

I called the list page add.php (long story…)

I called the add/edit page addScript.php.

add.php code:

mysql_connect(“localhost”, “nobody”, “not_telling”);

$query = “select id, date, title, notes from script order by date;”;
$results = mysql_query($query)


while ($row = mysql_fetch_array($results))
    echo ‘<tr><td>’;
    echo $row[‘id’];
    echo ‘</td><td>’;
    echo $row[‘date’];
    echo ‘</td><td><a href=”addScript.php?id=’ . $row[‘id’] . ‘”>’;
    echo $row[‘title’];
    echo ‘</a></td><td>’;
    echo $row[‘notes’];
    echo ‘</td></tr>’;


<a href=”addScript.php”>add script</a>


mysql_connect(“localhost”, “nobody”, “not_telling”);


$id = “”;
$date = “”;
$title = “”;
$englishWord = “”;
$spanishWord = “”;
$hindiWord = “”;
$notes = “”;

if($_POST[“date”] != “”){
    if($_POST[“id”] != “”){
        $query = “update script set ”
             . “date = ‘” . $_POST[‘date’] . “‘, ”
             . “Title = ‘” . $_POST[‘title’] . “‘, “
             . “EnglishWord = ‘” . $_POST[‘englishWord’] . “‘, “
             . “SpanishWord = ‘” . $_POST[‘spanishWord’] . “‘, “
             . “HindiWord = ‘” . $_POST[‘hindiWord’] . “‘, “
             . “Notes = ‘” . $_POST[‘notes’] . “‘ “
             . ” where id=” . $_POST[“id”] . “;”;
    $query = “insert into script (date, Title, EnglishWord, SpanishWord, HindiWord, Notes) values (‘”
             . $_POST[‘date’] . “‘, ‘”
             . $_POST[‘title’] . “‘, ‘”
             . $_POST[‘englishWord’] . “‘, ‘”
             . $_POST[‘spanishWord’] . “‘, ‘”
             . $_POST[‘hindiWord’] . “‘, ‘”
             . $_POST[‘notes’] . “‘);”;
    //echo $query;
    header(‘Location: add.php’);
} elseif($_GET[‘id’] != “”)
    $query = “select date, Title, EnglishWord, SpanishWord, HindiWord, Notes from script where id =” . $_GET[“id”];
    $results = mysql_query($query);
    $row = mysql_fetch_array($results);
    $id = $_GET[‘id’];
    $date = $row[‘date’];
    $title = $row[‘Title’];
    $englishWord = $row[‘EnglishWord’];
    $spanishWord = $row[‘SpanishWord’];
    $hindiWord = $row[‘HindiWord’];
    $notes = $row[‘Notes’];
$query = “select adddate( max(date), interval 1 day) as mx_dt from script order by date;”;
$results = mysql_query($query);
$row = mysql_fetch_array($results);
$date = $row[“mx_dt”];
<form method=”post”>
<input type=”hidden” name=”id” value=”<?php echo $id ?>”>
<tr><th>date</th><td><input type=”text” name=”date” value=”<?php
echo $date;
<tr><th>title</th><td><input type=”text” name=”title” value=”<?php echo $title ?>”></td></tr>
<tr><th>English Word</th><td><input type=”text” name=”englishWord” value=”<?php echo $englishWord ?>”></td></tr>
<tr><th>Spanish Word</th><td><input type=”text” name=”spanishWord” value=”<?php echo $spanishWord ?>”></td></tr>
<tr><th>Hindi Word</th><td><input type=”text” name=”hindiWord” value=”<?php echo $hindiWord ?>”></td></tr>
<tr><th>Notes</th><td><input type=”text” name=”notes” value=”<?php echo $notes ?>”></td></tr>
<tr><th></th><td><input type=”submit”></td></tr>




Before moving on, here are the changes I am going to make:

1) Need to have an include file to contain the database connection information

2)  Need to add Model and data access…  Do not need to have SQL intermixed in my HTML page.

3) Need a function that can easily switch from edit to view…

Script Editor – Setting up the dev environment

In order to do programming for LAMP, you have to setup apache webserver, install PHP, setup MySql, and probably a number of other things.  Or you could take the easy route and get from ApacheFriends.


For IDE, I am using the Eclipse version of PHP Development Tools.