{July 15, 2015}   Pocket hacking 2.0

I’ve done a lot of sewing since my previous “pocket hacking” post. For one thing, I’m actually at a point where I can wear my creations out in public. :) At the end of the last post, I was hoping I’d summarize some of the problems and solutions this time. But, that’s no fun. I’m just going to discuss what I made again.

First off, I did finish that laundry pouch from last time, and it was useful. :) I also made a simple molle belt out of the first thing that was handy (an old jeans leg). For a while that was all I had, as I planned and procrastinated on the next set of pouches, and continued the quest to not have goddamn headaches all the time (which is actually making progress now, yay, but debugging humans is sloooowwww).


Eventually, though, I decided to bite the bullet and just make a wallet pouch, even though I still wasn’t sure what I wanted. I went for a very simple design – heck, I could have used a pencil case, if I had one in the right size and colour – added molle straps, and that was it. It fit the wallet that I was using in my purse, so I didn’t have to move individual cards and such when switching between them. Later I tried to add a bus ticket holder on the back, but it didn’t really work out.


With that done, I procrastinated a bit more on making a new phone pouch, and copmpletely changed plans several times. When I’d had enough of that and decided to try making something, I started with the exact same pattern as the wallet pouch. In fact, for a couple of days I had just that simple pouch, until I got tired of the mess and made a divider to keep my phone separate. I had intended to add some pouches onto the divider, but somehow it didn’t happen that day, and I ended up using an old coin pouch as a “temporary” organizer that turned out to be good enough to keep. :)


Once I had those pouches, I could put my entire purse contents onto my belt. But my outfit didn’t always include a suitable belt, and sometimes a purse is the easiest option, so I made a quick frame to combine the pouches into a purse. It’s just three nylon straps sewn together, with rings to attach a purse strap (the strap is borrowed from another purse, at least for now).


The next step was a proper utility belt, one pretty enough to wear outside. I made it out of green leather, with an adjustable quick-release buckle at the front. I was planning to cut the leather in a nice pattern, but haven’t quite got around to it yet. :)


So that’s what I’ve been wearing this summer. :) It works fairly well, and a friend even asked about me making one for her. :) It’s a good thing that it’s summer, though – absolutely none of this is waterproof. I have started on plans for waterproof covers, but for the moment I’ll have to hide the belt under a jacket if it rains.

I’ve glossed over a lot in this post – I could probably talk for an hour about each photo. Maybe I’ll write another post with details, maybe I won’t.

{January 15, 2012}   parallel text – now with audio!

I’m back to language learning again – Dutch now, of course, so that I can understand my co-workers next time I visit. :) This means lots of reading and listening to dutch, not taking boring grammar courses. :) At this stage, I need the english readily available, and the best way to get that is parallel texts (dutch on the left, english on the right, nicely lined up). There aren’t many parallel texts available to buy, and they’re usually sorta boring books, so one of pete’s polyglot friends created a script that will take any two digital books (wherever you happened to get them) and turn them into a big html file, nicely aligned by sentence.

It’s a great tool – however, it’s missing a third aspect: audio. Normally I’d get my listening practice from dubbed tv (I’ve watched all 7 seasons of voyager, and most of DS9, in german) but the dutch don’t care much for dubbing, so it’s hard to get materials. :( What we do have is dutch audiobooks to match some of the parallel texts I’m reading – good quality unabridged audio, too. The problem was, you needed to play the audio in another window, making it a PITA to pause or skip around, or go on to the next file, or find your position again after shutting it all down.

So, I integrated the audio into the parallel text itself. Thanks to the html5 audio tag, I have a little control widget floating at the top of the window; you can scroll the text or pause the audio without moving the mouse anywhere. It’s in the early stages right now, so there’s no synchronization between the text and audio, and it doesn’t remember your position (although session-restore does restore the text position). I have some ideas for that, though.. :) The most annoying issue, really, is that firefox doesn’t support mp3 and half the other browsers don’t support ogg; it seems the only one supporting both is konqueror. So, I’m running it in konq :)

If you’d like to try out the script, it’s fairly simple. I have it hardcoded to expect mp3 files at the moment, but I’ll add an option for that as soon as anyone wants it. All you need is my audio.js file, jquery, and these three lines in your html head:

<script src='jquery.js'></script>
<script src='audio.js'></script>
<script>initAudio("path/to/mp3s/", N);</script>

where files are named 01.mp3, 02.mp3, etc (or 1.mp3, 2.mp3…) and N is the minimum number of digits in a file (yeah, all my files had leading zeros and I didn’t get around to removing them).

Patches and code review are very welcome – this is only the third (or second, depending on how you count) thing I’ve written with jquery. :)

{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

{September 17, 2007}   almost, but not entirely, off-topic

since someone complained about my being utterly offtopic for planetkde (and sadly he’s right) I figured I’d make an attempt at getting at least somewhere close to being on-topic. I have actually begun coding again (yay!!!), which is nice. despite the start-of-school madness, I’ve found time, and have regained that obsessive desire to code which mysteriously vanished for a semester. I think it helps that our jindu class is only doing one chapter a week, instead of one a day (that was insane and I hardly remember anything I learnt and I’m so glad it’s over).

first, let’s get the RL stuff out of the way: school is school, but we’ve been split into different classes, which means new friends and also having an amount of time when my bf is in class and I’m not. I was expecting electives to take a chunk of my free time, but when we got to see the sheet today, the class I really wanted to take conflicted with my schedule. I’m really pissed off about that right now; you’d think china would have lots of martial arts courses, but no, there’s just. this. one. and I can’t frigging take the class. and last semester they said we couldn’t take any electives because we arrived too late in the semester. and the semester before, in canada, I dropped my martial arts class because I needed more time to study. grrrrr. I’ve only had one semester where I successfully got into a course, and it was such fun…

aanyways. at least that leaves me with more coding time, I guess. I did get kde4 compiled again a week or two ago, and played with it a bit, but I wasn’t really sure what I might want to work on, or what I might be able to do. I quickly got distracted by an old project I keep reviving and attempting to rewrite… I got a fair bit further in that than other attempts, because this time I was using pyqt4, but it never really gets far because I just can’t decide where it’s going. :) it’s dropping into the background again already.

yesterday I spent a lot of time playing around with django, because a friend has asked me to do some for-profit coding. it’s a really small project, so I’m only expecting it to take a couple of weeks… I just have to figure out what tools I want to use to do it. :) django seems fun, but might be overkill… I dunno. pylons looks interesting too.

something I was discussing last night was the state of plasma. I was really surprised that it doesn’t yet have panels I can toss things onto, and the taskbar and systray seem such a mess… I was a bit less surprised by this when I found out qt4.3’s qgraphicsview can’t have qwidgets on the canvas. doh. that would make things a bit harder, wouldn’t it? :) shame we can’t just make 4.4 be out already :P I guess that’ll just have to wait… there are several things I’m really looking forward to in 4.1, now.

in the meantime, maybe once I’m done this paid code I’ll dive into plasma and see if I can lend a hand there. I’m also interested in making kde’s proxy stuff suck less (since I have such a crazy mess of proxies here) but I’ve been told that has to wait until 4.1.

{June 17, 2007}   more python fun

so I finally made some progress on my ideas for chinese-practice programs.
I’ve got a little quiz app that’ll help me study (if I actually use it instead of just working on it), a script to make creating lesson files faster, and a simple thing to make looking up words in cedict easier – now I just have to paste the text and hit enter, instead of grepping the cedict file myself. :)

they’re all really quick, simple things, but I guess I’ll show a couple screenshots of the quiz app anyways. at this point it’s still got the lesson filename hardcoded in, even!
I’m hoping that someday I can make it a proper little kde app.
Zi Drill 1
Zi Drill 2

{June 8, 2007}   kubuntu feisty

well, the update did indeed go smoothly. most of the issues I found after rebooting were weird graphical changes, like the widget style being changed and my clock mysteriously disappearing. nothing that couldn’t be fixed in a few minutes. the biggest thing was that privoxy started failing at dns a lot, but I eventually realised that it was due to a new setting in the config file, so that was easy to fix too. :)

unfortunately I haven’t seen many improvements yet, either. gmail and wordpress still mess with konqueror – supposedly the gmail fix is in 3.5.7 and I’ve got 3.5.6 :P
I probably have a newer version of kdevelop that I should go check out, though. :) and… networkmanager seems to no longer be baffled by my static ip. that’s certainly an improvement :)

[edit: ick, found a bad thing: konq 3.5.6 gets along even worse with wordpress. it’s often impossible to delete text when creating a post – how the heck did they manage that one!?]

now I’m reading about lvm, and hoping to set it up tomorrow. my partitions are a mess, so I need to do this before I can make space to try out any other distros.

I guess I should get back to kde4 stuff, too.

then there’s various coding projects, and studying, and projects that are meant to help with studying… but I’ll probably end up procrastinating instead :) I *still* haven’t bought anything that’s actually effective at killing or repelling mosquitoes.

{June 6, 2007}   mmm, code

wednesday kinda disappeared in a blur of programming. pete and jon decided they’re going to write a program to record their go games with a webcam – tuesday night I wandered into their discussion. I decided it’d be a good excuse to try out pyqt, so I spent wednesday morning getting pyqt4 installed and working. it was pretty easy, once I got past the huge changes between qt3 and 4 (99% of examples online are for pyqt3 or older) and figured out how to write in python. I tossed together a quick gui, then decided to do it with designer instead of manually.
well, first I wanted to try out kdevelop, but it turns out the version in edgy is from right before they started qt4 support :P so I installed qt4-designer and started learning to use that. I’ve played with designer a little before, trying to fix a kopete bug, but I really don’t know much about it :) I got caught by the silly mistake of dragging a layout onto my widget instead of using the toolbar layout buttons.
I also got caught by the fact that edgy’s uic module (the tool for converting .ui files into python code) lags behind, and is actualy for qt 4.1, which apparently lacks QGraphicsView.

still, by the end of the day I had all my buttons, I was drawing dots on an image, and it mostly did what I wanted :) pretty good for just one day.
I think I might like to use pyqt4 again if I ever get around to implementing my chinese-practice-games ideas.

after discovering all these limitations caused by edgy, I decided it was about time I did a dist-upgrade. the strange lack of upgrade issues listed online unnerves me, but pete got the same idea yesterday and actually *did* the upgrade, and his comp hasn’t exploded or anything ;) yesterday I only got as far as setting up my backup scripts and burning a cd. now I’m debating whether or not to do a full backup of the whole partition before the dist-upgrade…
I really miss gentoo, though. I’m not sure if kubuntu’s still the right distro for me… trying out others takes time, though. and I doubt I can have the flexibility of gentoo without the maintenance effort, in any distro.

{August 7, 2006}   urrrg

ok, time to bring my mind back to some sort of reality. it’s 8pm on monday. there’s nothing I really *need* to do, although I should look at the email mum sent me. I should boot up my laptop, too, and see how far I got installing stuff on that. I should also clean up the kitchen :( and I guess eating would be a good idea…

soc project needs to be thought about – I need to test icq+gaim – if that works (because of their retarded aim-protocol usage) then I might as well do the same thing and figure out the icq stuff after soc. if it doesn’t work then I have to decide whether to leave out icq support and wrap up, or try to reverse-engineer it this week (I’m doubting that’d be feasible, my brain’s likely to burn out).

as for other stuff, I wanna do things but I think I should wait until soc’s dealt with, since there’s less than 2 weeks left. I can still rant, though… there’s a new rant on my laptop I need to post, and it left me with some unfinished thoughts about surfaces and chems that I really should try to sort out.

then there’s the evil school stuff – tuesday I should look over stuff, nag people and ask any questions I have.

for now, I should just clean the kitchen and get a decent meal. by then I’ll probably be ready for sleep anyways.

et cetera