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Any who, I mentioned that the handbrake package is extremely outdated in the official Arch repos.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 I emailed James Rayner about the outdated package, so hopefully we'll see an update in due time.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.