Wednesday, January 30, 2008

yet another UNIX goodie: watch(1)

A friend showed me this utility, I liked it, I forget it, I rembered it, but not it's name, I had to ask a friend, and before I forget it again, I just post it here. It's a very nice utility.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

my brand-new EEE-PC

A little late (but better later than never) I got myself an EEE-PC.
First and important thing to do was to tell it to talk to me in english, because I hate it, when computers talk to me in denglish (as this awful modern mixture of german and english is called, and yes, of course, I use it myself in spoken language and I hate it, but at least for written language I insist on avoiding it), so how to modify the default locale? And pls don't you just modifiy /etc/default/locale!

$ sudo update-locale LANG=en_US.UTF-8

I found and, most valuable!!! Really!!! Go to the wiki and make the best of it!!!

I added a few Xandros package repositories, that got listed there.

I found two package managers: synaptic (GUI!!!) and aptitude (ncurses based), obviously you will always have to call them through sudo.

Sometimes you will nevertheless want to install a package on the command line, this is how it looks:

$ sudo apt-get install YOUR_PACKAGE

These were a few of the packages I installed first this way: openssh-server, nxml-mode, rcs.

Actually the init script, that got installed with the openssh-server package is somehow flawed:

$ sudo /etc/init.d/ssh # it crashes and core dumps (almost)

So I have to run this instead for being able to access my EEE from my network:

$ sudo /usr/sbin/sshd

I certainly also installed GNU emacs, but I did so using one of the package managers.

I tried the descriptions for using bluetooth, and it looks like it works, but when I tried to connect to the Internet via bluetooth and one of my UMTS phones as modem, it didn't work. But I successfully connected to the Internet, when I USB-wired that UMTS phone to the EEE.

The EEE-PC seriously comes with an up-to-date and updatable Firefox, and I installed Adblock Plus (and its most important filter subscriptions, so all the obnoxious ads stay away from my screen), Sage (my RSS reader), and GMarks (so I can access Google bookmarks).

Initially the Music Manager refused to play my MP3-s, but I installed a few MP3-related packages through synaptic and everything was fine. Now I can play my MP3-s (that reside on a fat USB disk attached to my Linux NEO box) through my home WLAN, and I overly enjoy it.

Of course I switched to the Full Desktop aka Advanced Mode in the meantime.

I followed the Multiuser mode HOWTO, and now I have to login before X starts up, and user is not the only user any longer.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

my router, my phones, ...

My router is not just a router. To the inside world it lets me also attach phones and esp. also DECT wireless phones. To the outside world it connect also to my SIP (VoIP) account and the telephone network. I registered all my DECT wireless phones to my router, and I got rid of all the wired phones. Just my fax stays connected to my router, so I can send out faxes once in a while. Incoming faxes get converted to PDF by some provider. My current router, that can do all that and much more, is a FRITZ!Box 7270.

Monday, January 21, 2008

"accesskeys" with Firefox

Q: Did you know, how to make use of what gets defined in HTML through the accesskey attribute of the a tag?
A: You have to press some Modifier + the defined accesskey.
All the HTML generated from my DocBook files defines access keys for navigating to the statically previous and next page, the home page, and to climb up the tree.
For the Firefox on openSUSE Linux the Modifier is Alt+Shift,
for the Firefox on OS X Snow Leopard the Modifier is simply Ctrl,
for Google Chrome on OS X Snow Leopard the Modifier is Ctrl+Alt.

Friday, January 18, 2008

my favourite RSS reader: SAGE within Firefox

I remember, I haven't told you yet, how I read my RSS subscriptions. I am using SAGE.
It has an XML based exchange format called OPML, which is actually just a format for listing outlines of books, articles, whatever, and apart from the SAGE aspect: I love to edit OPML in emacs's nxml mode. Let me know, if you are interested in the RELAX NG grammar, that I created for that purpose.
The major advantage of being integrated into a web browser is, that the RSS subscriptions come as a standard live bookmark tree and URLs are opened nicely in web browser tabs. Of course, all the articles you already visited are displayed no longer in bold, so you won't revisit them unknowingly.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

re-factoring, re-organising, ...

O, I enjoyed re-organising my blogs (adding a few details here and there), modifying my computer home directory tree structure, moving a few files from here to there ...

emacs, version control, ...

I doubt it, that any other editor resp. IDE software is able to hold a candle to GNU emacs with its plugged in version control access to subversion, RCS, and CVS. Once again I can just shout out to the world: I love emacs. Where would my productivity be without emacs? I almost never need to use my mouse to do anything within emacs. (Alright, once in a while I use the emacs GUI menu to remind me of the appropriate shortcut ...) My hands can keep, where they can achieve the most: on the keyboard.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Hackers's dictionary aka the Jargon File abandoned

Looks like the Jargon File got abandoned by Eric S. Raymond. It hasn't been updated during the last couple of years. I offered Eric to invest time and energy, but I got no answer back.

Update 2012-12-25:

I once owned a printed copy of this book, but it was one of the many victims of various accidents inside my traveling luggage (and also at home) through the years: water, beer, wine, fruits, …

Pls visit "The Jargon File" resp. "The New Hacker's Dictionary" [link]!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

my latest ruby mp3 utlity

I purchased recently a couple of MP3 CD-s, and some of them did not contain the ID3 tag tracknum, and obviously some software depends on that tag for presenting the pieces in the right order.
I started writing a utility in perl, but the library I made use of was hopelessly outdated and only dealt with IDv1.
My current approach is a utility in ruby making use of the ruby gem mp3info, that this article is linked to.
In the middle of this tiny project I came to a few important conclusions.
This is the most important one: My MP3 files are named just after their track numbers. That makes life incredibly easy, if it comes to weird characters of whatever origin.
How did I copy the MP3 files from the CD-ROM to my hard disk? Coyping under Linux did not work out, as some files on the CD-ROM just did not get listed, presumably because of their weird names. Copying let's say 100 or 200 files from a Windows computer over the network to a Samba server always stalls and breaks somewhere in the middle. So I decided to always start copying under Linux, find out the gaps using a script, and then copy the missing files using the Windows computer.

Friday, January 4, 2008

started reading "Design Patterns in Ruby"

Almost the first thing I did with this book was to create an OPML file (outline a la XML). If you want to use that OPML file, let me know!
I contribute to the book's errata web page, and I get mentioned there.
To be continued.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

what's going wrong in the rails community?

I came across that article by Gregory Brown, reviewing Zed Shaw's article. Sounds like real life: Grown up software developers not liking each others ...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

emacs and subversion

In order to do some subversion work from within emacs, find and load psvn.el, and then start svn-status on an emacs command line. I love it.

my own subversion repositories "out there"

Created my 1st subversion on my web space using the svn+ssh protocol along the lines of the PragProg book. I used this scheme, because I could get started w/o any admin intervention. It also behaves fairly safe.
Alright, something on the background: My web space provider gives me UNIX shell access via ssh.

The svnadmin create ... got executed locally on the machine, where the repository lives, afterwards I followed chapter 5 accessing a repository, section on svn+ssh, you find a free extract of that book here.

Because of the ssh detail there is a tiny obstacle to overcome, until I will be able to share this repository with co-workers.

My ISP employs somebody incredibly helpful to me, and that guy actually managed to run another svnserver, just dedicated to me, fully configurable by myself, on a fixed port. I am overwhelmed.

Q: What do I pay them for that service?
A: They regard it as included in my package.