Contrary to folk wisdom about the leopard being unable to change her spots, here in Cat Central we of course heed the fashion, and with the upcoming Winter, an upgrade to Snow Leopard seems very much the order of the day.
Except of course nothing ever goes smoothly.
Here are the notes from the front – unabridged and glossless admittedly not so much to provide an unadultered account but because I'm busy beating the doggone thing into submission. Maybe there is some truth to the whole static spots thing after all …
This plugin lets you run a webcomic in your serendipity (s9y) blog. Originally by Wesley Hwang-Chung, this revised version uses tags rather than categories to identify content, and does away with some code for things that can more elegantly be solved with style sheets (CSS).
Updated from version released earlier today
— theming of navigation be easier / more detailed
— mode where latest comic isn't at top of front-page, but at whatever position it would be if it were a normal article (that is, sorted by time/date). that is, the difference to normal articles would be that only the latest comic is shown (and has a dedicated navigation to reach the older ones). This solves the issue that if the latest comic is older than the latest normal article, it will still "outrank" the normal article, that is, seem newer thanks to it being shown first. This is a problem if a) the comic or comic-entry is large enough so the casual visitor might not see the normal article below it; b) the weblog is run in "mixed" mode with both comics and normal articles; and c) the visitor actually uses a webbrowser rather than a feed-reader.
— only show latest comic + navigation when show entries by tag (iff the tag identifying comics was chosen in the tag-cloud, but not if any other tag that a comic may happen to have was selected — in the latter case, article mode prevails).
— German translation
My new tablet (Wacom Intuos 3 USB — the much larger than it looks A5 variant) has arrived, and I got it to work.
The trick is to throw out the stock kernel modules and use the linuxwacom ones instead. Edit xorg.conf (yast2 doesn't add a pad section for the tablet's expresskeys and the strips), configure the strips and expresskeys using wacomcpl (written to ~/.xinitrc / ~/.xsession), enable the new inputs in GIMP and inskcape (without worrying too much what the funny numbers or the "disabled" buttons mean), set up a good work environment in the GIMP (like you've been meaning to forever — I'm left handed, so all the tools and dialogs go to the left so I can rest my hand while drawing if I want; for me, that's tools, custom colour palette, brushes/fonts/gradients/patterns in the leftmost colum; paths, layers, tool options in the next column, and the rest of the screen estate for the actual image), and you're ready to roll: Then, it's just a matter of learning to draw on a tablet again …
After all those years of trying to make my synthesizers sound like a guitar, I ended up making my guitar sound like a synthesizer.
(Strat knockoff played through Fender amp with overdrive, then souped up in audacity, totally love its speaker sim. Sounds like Carter USM or Armageddon Dildos, I reckon. That said, anything music is still a major pain on Linux; for instance, that's not quite how the riff goes, but play-through doesn't work right so I couldn't hear myself while playing. (For the non-musicians among my readers, playing without a monitor is like painting in the dark.) Also, don't read too much into it, this is just something that happened while jamming, I doubt it's going to be my new sound. But I'm busy explaining a joke, ain't I? Anyway, I'm half-tempted to go out and buy a Mac, as an appliance only, put Cubase or Logic on it (which I keep calling Live for some reason), and have at it.)
It started out pretty simple. And with a real world case, too. I'm debating a new keyboard, as this one starts to act up — I'm sick of wireless, I'm sick of batteries, I'm sick of PS/2-to-USB adapters, and it seems the hardware starts failing me, too. That said, I was very happy with the ergonomic ("split keyboard") Logi — it was good to my wrists, it held up for ten years, and it certainly is one gorgeous keyboard —, and if the SafeType doesn't do the trick for me, I'll be looking to get a variant of the Logi that's not wireless. Anyway, the SafeType is also a split keyboard, but they mean it. It's like hacking a typewriter in two in the middle, and then putting both halves of the keyboard upright so they keyboards aren't horizontal, they're vertical. When you type, your hand are not parallel to your desk, but orthogonal to it. It did wonders for me when I tried the "upright mouse", so I think the keyboard may be beneficial, too. The rub is, you don't have cursor keys that way. So I needed to find a way to put the cursor keys on the main keyboard.
So, I figured (Open-) Solaris and VirtualBox are both owned by Sun now, they should go together splendidly.
I opted for the Sun-offering rather than Nexenta etc. since I intend to test some things in a "Sun environment", that is, make sure things work with the on-board facilities. Otherwise "Sun-kernel and GNU userland" would likely have been my preference.
Now, there are two different offerings, mind. The freely available download of OpenSolaris "Indiana", for a start. At 686 MB, this comes without a compiler, any compiler, it seems, and that means, no Sun compiler and no GNU compiler. It seems nice enough otherwise. However if I wanted to install the Virtual Box additions so I could move the mouse-pointer in and out of the VirtualBox window (or even integrate the Solaris instance's windows with my linux host's), the keyboard went berserk (in the guest only, and in X only), so I had to click Install … to mount the image, and then kill X to cd /media/V*; pkgadd -d *.pkg really quickly. On the upside, it came with some sort of graphical package-manager (which possibly allows you to pull the GNU compiler collection).
Addendum: It seems like the keyboard situation can be avoided by connecting using RDP, see below.
Anyway, I needed the Sun compilers, so I had to opt for the Developer Express something offering (what's with these names?), which in theory requires you to register before download. The good news is, if you're already on the Sun payroll, your normal log-in credentials will do the trick. This image weighs 3.7 GB; the minimum disk requirements are in the region of 8 GB, with 20 GB recommended. It includes the compilers (and auto-tools) of course, but it's not just the other image, plus devel. GNOME looks subtly different, I had no trouble installing the VirtualBox additions, and if there is a graphical package manager I haven't found it so far. But then I haven't looked very hard since so far all I needed was to go to sunfreeware.com (or blastwave, whichever you prefer — blastwave and pkg-get actually handle dependencies, so that's probably what you want, more on that later) to install screen "so the pain will stop." Seriously, that should be their tagline. "Screen. So the pain will stop." But I digress.
Addendum: Since I was only changing config-files at first, I only used vim in the first hour. Yes, you know what's coming. Once you try to do real work, you'll find there is no emacs. No, no xemacs either. So I guess I want to install pkg-get after all. But seriously. A "developer-edition" with no emacs? WTH?? So pkg-get (or pkgadm, but PBA that there is another pkgadm in $PATH!) it is! pkg-get -i xemacs, add /opt/csw/xemacs/bin to PATH, then let the configuring begin!
Radial menus, affectionately called pie menus, are like mouse gestures with cheat sheets. They're good-looking, and for menus that never change, they're incredibly fast, thanks to Fitts' law and muscle memory — you just shove the mouse in the general direction, rather than having to hit an entry only one text-line high, like you do in a traditional ("linear") menu.
This makes pie-menus extremely suitable for browser navigation, and consequently, there are several implementations for Firefox and Mozilla; RadialContext and easyGestures. To keep the number of slices down in each pie so they're easy to hit, both solutions work with multiple pies — easyGestures lets you switch to the "next" menu by mouse-button, while RadialContext's menus are connected — each pie-menu has one or more slices that lead to other pies. This is beautifully thought out, but may leave the beginner bewildered as the menu keeps changing on him if he moves the mouse wrong, leaving him disoriented.
easyGestures is practically safe from these mis-invocations. But since one or many of the pies can have a magic top slice that opens another arc of extra slices, with the ability to freely combine any of the main pies that has a magic slice with any of the three extras, there certainly is potential for confusion there, as well. Add to that the fact that you get extra context-menus for hyperlinks, images, text-fields and text-selections, not to mention that sometimes something is both, for instance an image that is also a hyperlink, and you can easily confuse the living daylights out of yourself.
On top of that, this very powerful tool is organized not so much by logical grouping, like RadialContext is, but by efficiency, you get a menu very confusing to the beginner.
Fortunately, it can be configured relatively freely. Below the fold, we shall try to create a compromise that features a more mnemonic layout, but is still fast, curling up your navigation bar like a kitten so we may turn off the old one, gaining screen estate and speed both.
Did you notice how speech things are always cat content? With LiONS for speech output (TTS, text-to-speech), and sphinx and SpeechLion for speech input (speech recognition)? Couldn't forego that, could I. So let's see how to use speech I/O with linux, with all free components, how to avoid some common pitfalls that are not in the manual, and how to get desktop control, look at where emacs, KDE, beryl, and others come in, the works. It's not for the squeamish though, so here's the linux speech how-to (aka, the parts that aren't in the manual)!
I updated the weblog (but not all of the existing articles yet) to use tags rather than categories. English, German, and French remain as categories (as people are actually using them). Uh, speaking of which, s9y always requires an entry in the "default language" for multi-lingual entries? (If not, tell me how — it's certainly not something that is intuitively obvious at one in the morning, especially if you use the multi-lingual plug-in in conjunction with the multi-version plug-in.) And it uses the browser default language for setting the interface language, but not for selecting the entries? You gotta be kidding me. (And yes, it works here, duh. No need to write a comment. I mean seriously, what did you expect from me?) On a related note, am I the only one who found it much easier to do make the change to tags over in the mysql client, rather than in s9y's UI?
Below the fold: gripes about web-boards, web-shops, Mozilla Thunderbird, and new old plug-ins for the Beryl window-manager.