{December 20, 2007}   security++

I’ve just added kwallet support to the twitter plasmoid. now my password is stored securely, instead of just obscured :) this had the happy side-effect of making it possible to have more than one twitter account, btw – I’m sure there’s some nut out there with multiple twitter-personalities who will someday be glad about this ;)

sorry, no screenshots – it doesn’t actually change the general appearance. although a few minor improvements could be made… hmm.

anyways, the important bit: if you’ve been using the twitter plasmoid, your password will be in .kde/share/config/plasmarc – *not* plasma-appletsrc. once you get this code you’ll want to remove that whole twitter config section there, because it’s unused garbage now.

for future reference, if you end up storing your twitter password in the config intentionally (there’s a confirmation if wallet access fails), the easiest way to switch to kwallet is to just remove the twitter plasmoid and add a fresh one.

I have discovered the secret to understanding plasma: caffeine. ;)
I don’t normally have caffeine – I don’t like addictive things, and most of the stuff it’s in tastes bad to me anyways. I’d only use it when I really needed to stay awake.
well, monday night I decided to have a nice cup of green tea before bed, completely forgetting that tea contains caffeine. I couldn’t sleep until 4am. :(
wednesday afternoon I brought some tea to class (in my brand new leaky thermos) to keep warm. I only drank a little bit this time. when I got back to my computer… things just made sense. I was looking at the icon code, thinking about svg stuff that spstarr was trying to do, and it all seemed so *easy* then. never before has caffeine actually made me feel smarter and not just less sleepy. :)

of course, it faded fast, and I had to go out to a party anyways. alcohol has kinda the opposite effect… now I don’t even trust myeslf to do bug triage – but I can’t go to sleep because the assholes are having a party in hte kitchen again. on a weeknight. I hope they go out to a bar by midnight so I can at least get 6 hours of sleep :P

tomorrow I should have enough free time for code! yay! been looking forward to it all week. probably gonna look into that clock filter thing unless I find something else more useful.

{December 15, 2007}   going all the way

well, I did it. I shut down kde3 today.

I’m now running only kde4, with a handful of kde3 apps. there were a few bumps – something went funny with the systray, and neither knetworkmanager nor klaptop would run in kde4 after that – but a reboot fixed those. now I’m just wondering why amarok (from kde3) won’t start. last time it did this, running it in kde3 for a minute fixed things, but I’d prefer not to load up kde3 again unless I actually need to. :) maybe I should go compile JuK, since I’ve been meaning to have another look at that.

the great news is that running only one X screen appears to have removed all my composite issues. the weird bugs I was seeing have gone away, and X isn’t taking up 60% of the cpu any more. :) in fact, plasma seems to be more of a cpu hog (there’s something about running lots of clocks that makes it do that, it seems). I now have beautiful mostly-smooth composite eyecandy, and I love it. :D
seriously, I spent about 5 minutes obsessing over alt-tab. :)
damn, kde4 is getting awesomer every day.

{December 15, 2007}   angst

I think I’ve got a lot of thinking to do.

people always comment on what a great opportunity it is, being in a foreign country, having the chance to experience new things… I must be doing something wrong, then. I don’t see much in the way of interesting experiences – just cheap malls and boring tourist attractions. I’ve never been much of a tourist, really; as a kid I preferred to read books, and now I prefer to be online or with friends. I guess I was hoping that coming to china would magically cure that somehow. now I find myself stuck in a school taking courses I’m not really interested in and hardly ever leaving campus at all.

I feel bad that I’m not putting much effort into studying chinese while I’m in china. I feel bad that I’m not going out and making friends. I feel bad that I’m not traveling around seeing whatever the things are that I’m supposed to see.

but… I feel like I’m trying to live someone else’s life here. I feel bad about not doing things that I’m “supposed” to do, even though they’re not things I generally enjoy. I keep thinking about all the things I could be doing in vancouver, all the new friends I made there before leaving for china, all the new friends I made when I went back in august. I think about all the other things around the world I’m missing out on – the kde4 release party, a bunch of other fun events, the ACM contest, summer of code, internships (although some of that can always be done later).

I find myself wondering what the hell I’m doing here in china.

I don’t regret *coming* here – it’s certainly been an interesting experience, living in a country where I’m just beginning to learn the language. I have a lot more understanding of the troubles immigrants must have in canada. I feel like I’ve learnt a lot.

I’m just not sure how much longer I want to stay here.

for the dual degree program, I’m supposed to stay another year and a half, completing some reasonable number of credits involving comp sci, chinese stuff, and electives. in chinese, of course. this means trying to focus on both chinese *and* CS at the same time – trying to understand assignments and exams that are written in chinese. is it really such a good idea to try to do both at once, instead of focusing on just one and doing a proper job of it? …or maybe it would be better than just straight chinese courses, since I’m pretty bored of those. not that they’re *easy* – I’m just losing interest. it’s been more than a year, and I don’t normally stick with one thing that long.

one thing I could do is leave after the end of the next semester, in july, and switch to the normal SFU CS program for september. I’d take one semester of CS courses in china, and the credits would transfer (if I passed, of course). I’d have time to get home, meet up with some friends, go off to akademy, then back to vancouver and run around putting my life back together before the start of school.

another possibility is to finish up this semester of chinese courses, stick around for chinese new years, and then go home. I wouldn’t have to attempt CS courses in chinese, and I wouldn’t have to look for an apartment here. however, I’d be returning in the middle of SFU’s spring semester, and taking summer courses would conflict with going to akademy – so I still wouldn’t be back at SFU until september, and I’d have to justify this to my uncle, since he’s kind enough to be paying my bills. :) although perhaps I could try for an internship, or apply for summer of code… or pick something to study on my own and argue that this way I don’t have to pay tuition ;)

of course, even if I did go back early, how much of the stuff I want to do would I actually do? it’s all much easier in theory. in reality, there’s only so much time in a day, and it’s quite easy to let most of that just slip away. I haven’t been too good at time management – I need to work on that. there’s just so much I want to do… and some of it isn’t easy, so it would be quite easy to procrastinate. I tend to expect a lot of myself; recent frustrations with plasma seem to come from trying to tackle a big problem that I think I should be able to understand, and then finding out that it’s really complicated and I can’t understand it with the amount of time I’m able to put in, and then being all upset and unproductive for a few days because of it.

how much of this is really wanting something else, and how much is just looking for excuses to not try any more at learning chinese? it’s true that I’m kinda afraid to try and fail, or to get bad marks. actually, my marks kinda suck already :/ that’s what happens when you don’t study a subject that’s mainly memorization, I guess. if you don’t use it, you lose it. I’m starting to not even want to use it.

the other thing that bugs me, though, is that I’m feeling a bit like I did when I was working. it took me until march, then, to see that I was making myself miserable and get the hell out of there. if that’s what’s happening again, then maybe I should get out. but on the other hand, maybe I can turn it around, maybe life doesn’t have to suck so much. in february we’re supposed to move to zijingang campus, and there are more people there that I might get along with better. but the food will still suck, and I’ll still want to code all day instead of studying.

I guess I’ve got to do some real thinking about what I want to do with the next few years of my life.

{December 12, 2007}   features?

I see a fair number of people getting upset about plasma not having feature X that they really really want. some of them take this a little far, accusing developers of stripping features, making references to gnome, etc.

I just have one question: how can you remove a feature that was never there?

plasma isn’t a port to kde4. it’s entirely new code. this means it started with zero features. ZERO. the developers have been steadily adding to that, but it is going to take time. they’re not stupid people, and they do use kde4 themselves, so they have not simply overlooked such obvious things as the panel not being resizable or movable yet. complaining and using hyperbole (as tempting as it can be sometimes) does nothing but drain developers’ motivation, which will result in features taking *longer* to get done.

this is the downside of scrapping kicker and starting clean. the advantage is that we get a more flexible desktop, one that will become far better than anything that could have been done by extending the old code. it’s going to be a bit painful at first while we’re still implementing features we’ve come to expect from a kde desktop – but it will be worth it. we’re already seeing some pretty awesome ideas that should be relatively easy to do once we’re not so busy with the basics.
there’s other advantages too, but it’s the middle of the night (clubbing on a weeknight? yeah, that’s china). I don’t remember them.

if you’re truly concerned that a feature you need won’t be implemented soon enough for you, then either try to implement it yourself (you never know, it could be fun), or vote for it on those are constructive ways of letting people know what you want. :)

or if you realllllly want to use blog comments to communicate, you could tell me what I should attempt to work on next. I reserve the right to completely ignore all suggestions and do whatever the hell I please, though ;)

{December 9, 2007}   it’s a small world

so I was hanging out in #qt today, trying to get my head around model/view stuff, and I ran into a guy from the DDP cohort 3 (I’m in cohort 2). I had heard there was a SoC student in that group, but didn’t know any more than that. it turns out his SoC project was making Solid ipod-aware. not only is he a linux geek, he’s involved with kde! :) I think that makes him the second kde dev in the lower mainland (counting myself, even though I’m not physically there), and probably the third in BC (unless there are more of you hiding out there).

he’ll be coming to china in may, I suppose. it’ll be nice to have another linux geek around here (assuming I survive that long ;)

oh, and I feel like tossing in a screenshot… is this enough clocks for you, aaron? ;)
appletbrowser with delete

{December 4, 2007}   sigh

when I got home from class today, I asked aaron to find me a nice easy bug to solve – and after committing the fix for that, my motivaton began to return, just as I’d hoped. I started poking at some other bits of code, then settled into trying to figure out why deleted applets were returning on login. almost missed lunch ’cause I was so lost in the code ;)
when I found a hacky quick-fix for that, aaron told me it wasn’t safe, and pointed me towards another part of the code… I spent several hours poking around in there, trying to figure out why things weren’t being deleted when I could see the delete calls in there… and someone else told me that aaron had fixed the problem himself in kdelibs a few days ago (I hadn’t updated, because kdelibs takes aaages on my poor little comp).

my motivation fell right back to zero again. considering this seems to be the general way things go with plasma and me lately, I’m finding myself wondering why I’m still trying :/ plasma just makes me feel so *stupid*. either the problem turns out to be something on my machine, or it’s not a real problem at all, or I’m completely misunderstanding it in some way… I just can’t seem to get it. what the hell changed between SoC 2006 and now? :(

of course, I have other reasons to be depressed right now, so I’m well aware that I’m not in the most rational of moods. it wasn’t long before other people commented on not being able to remove applets (with up-to-date code), so I started to look into it again, after waiting aaages for kdelibs and kdebase. at first it seemed like the behaviour actually got *worse*, and then it was switching back and forth between perfect behaviour and completely refusing to delete stuff – so I cleaned out my .kde entirely, and that seemed to fix it. I’m 90% sure that it really is fixed. can never be quite certain with these darn things.

anyways, by the time I had confirmed that, the day was essentially over. huh. and to top it all off I had to reboot because intel i810 and runnning two x sessions are a risky combinaton – knetworkmanager wouldn’t work for a while after that, and I never did figure out why.
so on the one hand it was fun to spend most of a day buried in code, but on the other hand it was pretty frustrating that the only productive part of it was right at the beginning. I guess I at least understand a bit more of how KConfig works now.

I find myself spending more and more time in kde4 lately. it’s pretty, it’s shiny, it has a twitter plasmoid! :) (my username is chanika, if you’re wondering)
yesterday I discovered that scim now works in konsole, which removes my last reason for using kde3’s konsole. I think I’m almost ready to use kde4 as my main desktop now. really the only things stopping me are that phonon isn’t working properly and stuff is generally too unstable for me. my poor laptop is having enough of its own issues; I don’t have time to deal with text input randomly not working in konq or plasma when I’m trying to do real work. I’m not even going to upgrade to gutsy any time soon. plus, I hate logging out, and I have to do that a lot with kde4 ’cause I’m updating it so often. :) so for now it’s running on another screen – I think as it stabilises, I’ll start running kontact and knetworkmanager as my regular user – but in the kde4 screen – so that I have less and less need to jump to the kde3 desktop. that way I can spend more time in kde4, but have kde3 available to go back to if I need things to Just Work. kinda like dual-booting, really, but without the long switching time. :)

I’m a little lost when it comes to programming, though. I have some ideas about things that need doing, but none have really caught my interest. I always find it hard to start programming again after a break. I need to manage my time better, too… a million little things distract me and suddenly the day is over and I haven’t actually gotten anything *done* :/

stuff has been happening out in the real world, though. saturday I spend almost 6 hours hiking – then had to quit halfway, at lunchtime (not that I actually got to sit and eat, it was just that time of day), when I found out there was a time limit and they’d start closing off the trail if we didn’t go fast enough. o.0 obviously the chinese idea of a hike is somewhat… different. considering I’ve spent most of the last year sitting in class or in my room, it’s kinda surprising I even lasted that long. it was fun, though – while I had trouble with the uphill parts (made worse ’cause I’d forgotten my inhaler) I zoomed down the hills, dodging around the people slowly picking their way down. I think about 90% of the people were going ultra-slow on the downhill. it was really frustrating when there wasn’t any safe way to go around them, but in some areas there were loads of tree branches that could be used to climb down beside the trail. :) at one point I had to wait at the bottom of a hill for 10-15 minutes for the rest of my group to catch up. my knees and ankles weren’t too happy with me, though. walking to the bus stop and from the bus stop back to the dorm wasn’t so fun.

btw, I am writing this post from kde4. :) it’s so nice to not have those wordpress bugs – now I just need to find out why I don’t have java here.

et cetera