Monday, February 16, 2009
Nothing to fear...
Lately I've been having a bit of an itch to try out a tilling WM. I see screenshots of people having a grand old time with awesome or dwm or any of the other (I'm sure many) tiling windows managers. Also the small footprint, noted many times and recently by k.mandla, is pretty appealing, as well.

However I can't convince myself to really install, configure, and then get used to not using my mouse. I realize you can still use the mouse, obviously, but there's something about floating WMs that makes me feel more comfortable when using my computer.

The same goes with Vi/Vim, I suppose. I understand that it's a much more powerful text editor than, say, nano or pico. When being used, though, I feel a bit wary that I might hit the wrong key combo and wipe my entire document. And, if given the opportunity, I'd probably use leafpad over nano any day.

Obviously this is just me being a worry wart; Linux used to make me feel the same way. I felt like at a moments notice I could destroy the entire system.

The feeling of not having full control over where one's data resides is, I'm sure, a common fear. I'm starting to understand how new computer users or inexperienced computer users feel when they first fire up their brand-new machine and don't quite know what exactly is going on at any moment. Heck, some don't even know where their files are logically located on their hard drives.

I'm starting to understand more and more about how computer users (or anyone with information, for that matter) operate. It's all about comfort zones.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
slock, looking into mythbox
For a while I've been looking for an easy/no-hassle way to lock my computer. I realize I could just as easily log out, but I didn't feel like exiting X and all that jazz. Enter slock. This program is wonderful, as is expected from suckless. Type in `slock` and bam, monitor flicks off and your session is locked. Type in your password and bam, monitor flicks back on. Really nice. This one's added to my ever increasing note pile.

Uh oh... speaking of notes...

Google Notebook will no longer be updating its services. Son of a gun. Time to move all of my freakin' notes. I suppose it's time I get them organized... perhaps this is a good thing. I'll probably just end up storing them in a document in Google docs. Perhaps I'll invest in a small wiki of some sort. Who knows.

My next adventure looks more and more like it will be with MythBox. I'm not too big into watching television, aside from a very few choice shows. However, my future roommates may be interested, as well as any visitors. I figure this'll be the opportune moment to check out MythBox for the good of my friends. Besides, would I be a geek if I didn't try to weave Linux into every facet of my life as possible?

A bit off topic, but I've been doing CrossFit workouts as part of my exercise regiment. If you were interested in the HIIT stuff I did a while ago, give the CrossFit website a look-see.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Repost: Handbrake. Also, ext4?
Bah. I deleted my post from yesterday in regards to Handbrake. The long and short of it is that Handbrake is an extremely useful tool if you're planning on ripping/backing up your DVD collection. I was successfully able to rip one of my DVDs, but then deleted the rip once I tested it was successful. The LAST thing I need is someone from the MPAA or whatever knocking down my door for backing up my own DVD collection. Yes, it's still a "legal gray area," but I'm not taking chances here.

Any who, I mentioned that the handbrake package is extremely outdated in the official Arch repos. If you don't believe me, check it for yourself. According to the Handbrake guys in IRC, 0.9.1 is more than a year old. In fact, they've made some major improvements since then, including a fully functional gtk gui (not a frontend to their CLI tool) and presets (also very useful). I emailed James Rayner about the outdated package, so hopefully we'll see an update in due time.

Also, I just read an article about ext4. If the diagram pictured is factual, then WOW. Ext4 more than doubles ext3's write times in the benchmark pictured. Be warned, though: some of the commenters seem a bit skeptical as to the legitimacy of the test, commenting on the fact that they were performed on Solid-State drives. However if all tests were run on the same drive, then what's the big deal? I guess it's one of those things that you'll have to time for yourself. Literally. With like, a stopwatch and stuff.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Things I haven't and should have done, Things I did instead, etc.
Remember when I promised I'd work on my Ubuntu newbie meta-guide and possibly create an Arch newbie meta-guide? That didn't happen all break. Instead a good deal of time was spent working to pay college debt. My free time was spent mostly on playing Mother 3 (thanks to this translation team), researching stuff about handbrake, and getting printing to work nicely through VirtualBox. Right now I'm battling with ogm to see if I can play the rip I made of one of my DVDs. I really hope I didn't just waste 4 hours ripping/encoding...

I'm very pleased with the performance of Arch on my mother's desktop. I set her up with slim as a login manager, Openbox as a window manager, and fbpanel as a, well, panel. And, to tell the truth, that's pretty much the bulk of her system. Things run very smoothly except for when you run VirtualBox; I set VirtualBox so that it would consume around half of the system's RAM, so running Firefox while the virtual machine is running is pretty much an impossibility. Other than that, everything is running nicely. We'll see in a few months if everything is running just as smoothly.

I also gifted her my old 17 inch LCD monitor. She had bought it for me in the first place, so I felt it appropriate that she ended up using it.

Another accomplishment was fixing my broken AUR packages. I also added a new one to the family for webcamstudio. Happy day! I can't wait to see how that program progresses.

The next project I have will be to upload my screenshots that I've been neglecting to share with everyone. Some are pretty cool, while others are a bit obnoxious(ly bright). The one I'm using now for my laptop is pretty much directly gleaned from the boxlook screenshot that I found for the Openbox theme "Alone Again". I thought it was fitting for the season.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
VirtualBox and Seamless Integration and Other Stuff
Right now I'm going to take a moment to applaud Sun. Their program VirtualBox is extremely cool in a nerdy-me way. With it, I was able to get my mother's printer working without having to jump through partitioning hoops. The only downside is that the machine itself can be sluggish when running apps in both the virtual machine and the Linux machine itself. Basically one shouldn't get their hopes up for running Firefox in the original Linux machine while the virtual machine is running.

Admittedly, I had to do a little song-and-dance to get the finalized setup. First I had to get the printer working. I had to follow the steps found in this post to get the usb device to actually work within the virtual machine. Basically this remounts the usb filesystem with specific permissions so that VirtualBox can access it. The details are a little foggy to me, but those are the basics. Then, as usual, the wiki came in handy with sharing a folder between the two machines.

I've also make a new PKGBUILD for webcamstudio. This nifty little program will create a fake webcam and allow you to use images, video, or even you desktop as the feed. This comes in handy if you wish to show your desktop over skype or some other webcam sharing software or website.

Before I messed with the PKGBUILD for webcamstudio, I made one for vloopback, but it had already been created. Always be sure to check that something hasn't already been done before you dump too much time into doing it. However, I must admit I learned quite a bit, in particular about depmod. Interested reading material.