{August 24, 2008}   n810 n’stuff

we went out for a walk today, and I brought my n810 along. the screen does fairly well in sunlight; i was reading quite easily as i walked along. the pdf software is a bit odd, though; zoom options are limited, the most comfortable size it offers is slightly too wide for non-fullscreen, and fullscreen mode has invisible buttons for changing pages that i kept bumping accidentally.

eventually I remembered that I’d installed camera software, so i tried that out. it’s really meant to be a webcam, not a camera; easy to take a photo of myself, really hard to get anything else. ironically, skype for the n810 doesn’t support video.
anyways, maybe later i’ll figure out how to upload those photos. can’t wait to have a linux computer again so i can get the maemo dev stuff set up.

as for the xo, it’s behaving very strangely. seems to get confused when it tries to hibernate, either the keyboard or the screen or both die. with the n810 doing well outside and having a similar resolution, i’m kinda wondering if i want to keep fighting with that damn thing.

i’m actually writing this on the n810. went out shopping halfway through this post, and now we’re in a pub with free wifi :)

{August 21, 2008}   ireland

so now I’m in ireland, whee. my sister picked me up from the airport tuesday night, and spent three hours driving me back to her house. I was sleeping before we even got there. then I got woken up at 7:30am by my nephew shoving books in my face. :P
I shouldn’t spend too much more time blogging; we need to go out and buy food. good news is that she has a nokia phone, and her charger fits my n810, so I can use it again. yay! pete’s also got a nokia phone, so I might be able to use his charger when I finally get home and not need to buy one at all :) I’m considering buying the usb charger, since it’s nice and small, but it’s fscking $40! damn you nokia and your weird nonstandard gadgets. :P I suppose that is a small fraction of the cost of this nice free n810 :) but it’s gotta suck for the people who *bought* n810’s.
oh, and the xo is charging just fine here (I still have my uk adaptor) but it continues to piss me off. the ctrl-sticking issue is happening too often for it to even be useful for irc. :P

{August 21, 2008}   madrid

madrid is hot. very hot. I’m standing in line in an uncomfortably warm section of the airport, between a perfume shop and a smoking area, hoping to get a window seat on the plane (ryanair doesn’t do assigned seating). boarding time was allegedly ten minutes ago, and the plane is due to leave in half an hour. I’m glad bought water.

I arrived at noon on sunday, feeling pretty awful. I had a few naps, then a good night’s sleep, another nap, and then felt somewhat better. since I’ve lost both my european adaptors, I tried to use one of vadim’sgeneric power supplies to charge my xo, and the battery ight lit up, but it didn’t work. as for the n810, its charger was in my backpack, and it can’t fucking charge over the fucking usb port, so it’s essentially a free brick for now. real smart, nokia.

anyways, it was really nice to finally see vadim in person. we did eventually drag ourselves away from the computer, and went out to see a bit of the city. we found a really nice vegetarian restaurant. :) mmmm, salad. unfortunately we left the directions to it at the table, but I’m sure I could find it again. just outside Banco de Espana station there’s a statue of a chariot, two blocks south on the right there’s a street whose name begins with Z, and a couple blocks down there is the restaurant. iirc it’s called something like Al Natural.

after lunch we went to Retiro park. there was a pond with rowboats! :D whee! I dragged vadim out there and quickly re-learned how to row. I’d forgtten how relaxing rowing is. :)
after that we wandered around the park, completely failing to find a single map of it. I stole vadim’s camera and took some pictures. I’ve really got to get my own one of these days.
btw, I’m very glad I bought water – there was some screwup with catering and there aren’t any snacks or drinks on the plane.
anyways, we eventually found our way out of the park, and after a long hot walk to the station we saw another little park. inside the train station. it was practically tropical; the water they sprayed on the plants made the area cool and humid, quite the opposite of the rest of the train station.

after getting back we spent the evening online again. yay interwebs! as nice as it was to log into a familiar kde3 session on vadim’s laptop, I really miss my own. I miss krunner a hell of a lot, too. I’ll have to try to install it on this windows comp I’m typing on now.

{August 20, 2008}   dear lazyweb

so I guess I really do need to buy a new computer now. and on short notice, too; school starts in a couple of weeks, and I’m not sure what it would be like to not have a computer at school, but I’m pretty sure it would be a PITA, especially with half the classes having the homework online.

I was looking at a toshiba… something. the model number was in one of my notepads. u400 maybe? anyways, I want something relatively small and light, but not as small as the eee. maybe just a little bigger than my old asus m5n. obviously it has to have good linux support; intel drivers preferable. I don’t need the ability to play flashy games, but I need enough power to compile stuff, and I want kwin’s shiny compositing. having a screen that’s not completely unreadable in daylight would be nice, suspend-to-disk should work, volume/brightness/etc keys should work in linux… so, any suggestions?

I guess I’ll have to pick a distro for it, too. I’m leaning towards trying debian again; rpms continue to frustrate me, I’m tired of kubuntu, and I don’t have time for gentoo.

{August 19, 2008}   kdm notes

while I was at akademy, ossi took the time to explain kdm a bit. unfortunately my notes were in my backpack, so I’d better write down what I remember before it goes away. feel free to correct me on anything I may have mis-remembered. :)

kdm has a backend and a frontend. the backend is scary code that handles authentication and such. the frontend is the gui most people see when starting the computer.

the backend is kinda like a very complicated kcheckpass. or more accurately, kcheckpass is a subset of its functionality. apparently PAM authentication has four parts, and kcheckpass only does one of them, whereas kdm needs all four.

the frontend… is really better explained with a diagram.

kdm uses krootimage to draw a pretty background (kinda like plasma’s wallpaper plugins). the actual widgets in the middle (user list, login options, etc) are done by the greeter (like a plasmoid, but not really). the greeter loads a “greeter plugin” that provides the widgets for entering your name and password (I wonder if it’d work as a proxywidget?). I’ve never seen anything other than the default, but apparently there can be other fields there for more complicated authentication setups. there’s a set of authentication plugins for the backend to go with these greeter plugins, iirc.

the neat thing about the greeter plugins (imho anyways) is that they’re also used by the screensaver’s unlock dialog. it just passes the data to kcheckpass for authentication instead. :) hooray for code re-use.

the lock dialog also has user-switching stuff that I’ve never used myself, and I had some notes about that. hmm. the button to switch users brings up a list of existing sessions. you can then switch to one of those or click a ‘new session’ button. that button has a confirmation dialog (apparently some graphics cards don’t like multiple sessions) and then it’ll spawn a new kdm.

I think that’s everything I had written down on kdm. yay! :) now if only I remembered the rest of my notes that well…

another monday, another country. I’m in spain right now visiiting a friend. we’re going to tear ourselves away from the computers soon, but I thought I’d write a quick blog entry first.

the rest of akademy went pretty well. wednesday there were usability talks. I got a bit of code written and was reminded of how much I hate dbus. found a nice little restaurant and had a really good meal – probably the first evening where everything went well. when we came out of the restaurant there was a concert going on. beer and music – what more can you ask for? :)

thursday was the social. I wasn’t feeling so great so I went back to bed after breakfast, then woke up in a panic thinking I would miss the boat. I ended up getting there quite early after all – I need to worry less. :) it was a great boat trip (although in retrospect wearing a dress on a windy boat was not the smartest choice) and afterwards some of went to a nearby city, leuven, for karaoke. that was pretty awesome too, but we didn’t realise that friday was a holiday, so we couldn’t get a train back until 6:30 the next morning. doh. so we slept through half the day and then got to the campus just before they cut off the wifi.

saturday we headed to brussels… shopping was attempted, but I wasn’t really feeling up to it. I really need to take better care of myself next akademy so that I can enjoy things better.

sunday I had to get up at 5am to get myself to the airport. I had to take a taxi, two trains and a bus… everything was going quite smoothly until I woke up on the second train and realised my backpack wasn’t with me. I’d got onto the train thinking I was wearing it when I wasn’t. the conductor called the station and had them search, but it was already gone. :( I went to the police and made a statement (had to leave my email addy instead of my phone # because my phone was in my backpack) and they were nice enough to give me a lift to the airport, but I don’t think I’ll ever see any of that stuff again. :( no more laptop, no more phone, all my notes are gone, my student ID (hope it doesn’t take long to replace that), my usb key, my harmonica, juggling balls, pills… luckily there wasn’t anything vital in there (I made backups somewhat recently) but losing my pills could suck, depending on how long it takes to get them replaced, and losing my laptop really sucks. anything important I wrote down during akademy is gone, too. I lost a couple of commits I hadn’t pushed (so no real soc progress), I can’t hack, I have to wade through email with gmail’s simplisic web filters… it could have been a lot worse, though. it all still feels like a bad dream, and being slightly sick doesn’t help.

oh well. I got lots of sleep last night, so I feel less dead, and I should go enjoy the sunshine now. and buy a new toothbrush.

{August 12, 2008}   soc week 11 / akademy

no code this week; I needed to prepare for akademy, and then get here, and now I’m too sleep deprived to write code (besides, I’m actually attempting to pay attention to the presentations). the good news is, I *want* to write code again. I just have to find a time when I’m both awake enough to think and have some free time. with so much going on… er… I’m not sure when that will be. :)

akademy is fun, although the lack of sleep is making me a bit nutty. [warning: the rest of this post is basically complaints about lack of sleep.] it took a very long time for me to reach mechelen, so I was exhausted when I arrived, and then I didn’t sleep well. doh. staying up for a crazy amount of time unfortunately does not guarantee that I will sleep through the night.

saturday morning I was in the bouncy-hyper phase of sleep deprivation. I was quite literally bouncing around, running up and down stairs, etc… :) but by the afternoon that had worn off. I have vague memories of presentations being interesting, and maybe I’ll write about details later. the very first keynote I particularly liked. I also spent 5 minutes talking myself (about my soc project) – it was my first experience with public speaking, and it went far more smoothly than I had expected. :) KDE people are very supportive and encouraging; thanks guys. maybe next year I’ll actually do a full presentation. :)

the social event afterwards was fun – free beer makes everyone happy. :) unfortunately I didn’t sleep well that night either, so add another few hours of sleep debt, and sunday morning I was a zombie.

sunday.. umm.. there were presentations. I’m sure they were interesting, but I’m not remembering much right now. getting dinner took a while, and being hungry *and* tired is a dangerous combination for the people around me. ;) luckily I did eat, and then went to bed early (meaning before midnight).

but I still had that sleep debt. monday was the e.V meeting. it was loooong (although apparently much shorter than usual). I forgot to bring coffee in after the break, and regretted it. I’m definitely addicted. by the end of the meeting I was barely functioning. ended up having a nap, waking up at 9:30, then searching for a place still serving dinner. luckily we ended up finding somewhere (there were four of us wanting food by then). I think I got enough sleep after that to count as a full night’s sleep, but I still haven’t caught up on all the sleep I missed earlier in the week.

now it’s tuesday. embedded day! whee! we have our n810’s and they’re shiny. unfortunately the usb cable provided does *not* charge them, so I expect double the competition over power outlets. it’s lunchtime, and I’m starting to feel weird again… there are now four things making me irritable: lack of sleep, lack of coffee, lack of food and PMS. somehow I’ve managed to avoid killing anyone… yet. ;) I think I’ll go fix the food issue now (although having the same lunch every day is getting a little bit annoying).

{August 4, 2008}   soc week 10

oh crud, it’s been a week already? :/
I haven’t done much for soc this week. I’ve been getting ready for akademy, fighting with my computer, and trying to get my xo to boot off a usb drive (which is really not going well so far). I’m also feeling a little burnt out.

I did get a bit of code written; I reorganised the toolbox to (hopefully) be less confusing. I also spent time trying to figure out design issues that are bugging me, so when I do start getting code written again it should (hopefully) go smoothly.

I feel like I’m trying to finish a project for school; so much left to do, the deadline is fast approaching, and my motivation just gets lower every day. add to that the stress of preparing to go halfway around the world, and it’s really hard not to get overwhelmed. luckily I’ll be taking a week off after akademy.

obligatory screenshots:
new toolbox, unlocked
new toolbox, locked

[edti] waait a sec, that’s not all I did! I also fixed some zui bugs that were making toobox buttons disappear. so, 4.1.1 will have lots of zui bugfixes. :)

et cetera