Backlog…

July 14, 2007 at 6:08 pm (Uncategorized)

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t got around to updating this blog for a few weeks now, this is because of various personal things going on and also from just not having any free time too. Over the next few days I hope to work through the main happenings of this undocumented timespan.

  • Designing the website and graphics for Mr Ben’s Linkpot.net
  • Setting up loads of Newark LUG stuff.
  • The death of mine and my dad’s dog, Gemma.
  • Being quite ill.
  • Painting the Chinny Raccoon picture for LugRadio Live 2007.
  • LugRadio Live 2007!!!

Those are some of the major things of the last few weeks. Let’s get cracking!

Chris Hayes / cbhworld

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A happy chinny ending…

June 15, 2007 at 8:56 am (lugradio)

In a recent fortuitous turn of events, the Chinny Raccoon has been brought back to his usual lodging; chin.lugradio.org – also making appearances for the fans at mychin.org

Although no one has publicly taken credit for this so far, it is likely that Jono Bacon was the good samaritan able to talk the raccoon into coming back home. This truely is great news, and now it is looking quite likely that the Chinny Raccoon will once again be able to make some kind of appearence as the mascot of LugRadio at the The Lighthouse, Fryer Street, Wolverhampton, UK this year on the 7th and 8th of July for this years LugRadio Live!

There’s not much more to say at this point other than, good luck Chinny Raccoon – we’re truly glad to see you back, and everyone – go to LugRadio Live this year! It’s gonna rock like never before!

Gonna rock out at LugRadio live image.

And for those who are interested, I’ll be there – of course. And furthermore, I should be leading an Art Contribution BOF – where people who are interested in contributing art to the open source / Free software community can come along and talk to developers about doing this. Any questions that you’ve wanted to ask, anything you’re unsure of – this is your chance, and the same goes for developers too. It’s open to all and I hope people will find it useful. Any questions or suggestions about this, feel free to contact me at cbhworld (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Enough said, go there if you can! (and never attempt to listen to LugRadio alone: http://www.lugradio.org/listenalone/)

Chris Hayes / cbhworld

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A Chinny chinny chinny chinny chinny raccoon…

June 14, 2007 at 3:46 pm (lugradio)

In the young history of my blog, this is quite possibly the first important and serious issue that I’ve ever brought up on it. It concerns the famous cultural icon known as the Chinny Raccoon. Here (on Adam Sweet’s blog) is some background concerning the roots of how the Chinny Raccoon became the personification of the essence of chin, as well as a brief definition as to what the term ‘chin’ means within this context.

The Chinny Raccoon is an illusive and shy creature now, of course – with his launch into fame occurring so fast, it’s quite conceivable why this is the case. Unfortunately the raccoon has gone missing, it is unknown when the raccoon was last sighted at its official place of residence at chin.lugradio.org of Bacon Towers – however he was spotted twice in the UK city of Wolverhampton during LugRadio Live 2006. Some have speculated that he may have found the fans present at the event too much to handle and absconded at some point while everyone in the building was distracted by Bruno’s inspiring talk. Others had suggested that the raccoon’s hasty retreat may have been caused by some conflicts within his family – however these claims appear to be completely unfounded.

In a recent development of the story, Stuart Langridge of LugRadio was able to piece together evidence concerning the whereabouts of the Chinny Raccoon and finally report that he had tracked down the raccoon at its current location, which is here.

So far there has been no official comment as the to the celebrity’s current mental state, some have suggested that the raccoon is in need of some counselling before any attempt at returning him back to his home. Others have suggested that this year’s LugRadio Live could prove problematic if the raccoon is not up for making a live public appearance for the fans.

Right now, it has been suggested that Jono Bacon, also from LugRadio and known as being a lifelong close friend of the raccoon might be in a position to issue some kind of solution. So far Mr Bacon has made no comment in relation to this.

With it only a matter of weeks left before LugRadio Live 2007, it is becoming less clear as to whether the Chinny Raccoon will be making a public appearance now. However fans seem not to be giving up hope that this is still a realistic possibility.

If you know anything that may help, either contact LugRadio directly or leave a message of support on their forums.

Chris Hayes / cbhworld

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USB to Serial to ancient pda…

June 12, 2007 at 7:56 pm (d3v, open source)

I just thought I’d put this up as it could help someone. It concerns the transfer of data over a USB to serial port adapter (I believe using this Prolific chipset http://www.prolific.com.tw/eng/Products.asp?ID=59 and was bought from Maplin) to an ancient PDA, the Olivetti Davinci – version 3 (http://www.dv3.info/) when running Linux on your computer.

Anyway, to transfer programs to the homebrewed extended Davinci OS (http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/dv3-devel/) you need to transfer the data using the xmodem protocol (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XMODEM) – and I found this to be a problem to do. Anyway, eventually I found a way that worked:

  1. Have your DaVinci switched on and plugged into the docking cradle, make sure you’re ready by going to the Launcher part through menu>app.>Launcher
  2. Type the following command into the command line (you might have to install the sz programs – I can’t remember)
    sz -X App_15.dv3 > /dev/ttyUSB0 < /dev/ttyUSB0
    Here ‘App_15.dv3’ should be replaced with whatever the file you disire to send is called. And the path ‘/dev/ttyUSB0’ should be to whatever file in the /dev directory that seems to be where your serial port adaptor is appearing at (a way to find this out is to go to the Gnome Device Manager, by going to the Administration menu and looking for the serial port listed in there, if it’s this one it’ll show as PL2303 Serial Port, then click that and then on the Advanced tab at the side pane with the information on – and there you’ll hopefully see a row with ‘linux.device_file’ and the /dev file at the end)
  3. After pressing enter, you’ll likely see something like this:
    Sending hexwidget.cpp, 90 blocks: Give your local XMODEM receive command now.
    At this point you can tap the tools button and then on ‘New Record’ from that menu. And hopefully you’ll see the terminal jump into action and starting counting how much data it’s sent – until it’s done!

Anyway, hope that might help someone, somewhere. For those interested in adding progams into the miniOS bit of the homebrew moded DaVinci OS thingy, I was able to do that using gtkterm, I think – just setting it to use the right serial port /dev file and setting the speed to 19200, and the making sure that the parity was none, bits were 8, stop bits were 1 and flow control was none.

Also! For those interested in developing stuff for the DaVinci v3, take a look at http://sourceforge.net/projects/dv3sdk – although they haven’t released any files, you can loginto the CVS system and take a copy of the source code, then type ‘make’ in the main directory of the 4 sub parts, and it should compile them all (although I do have a ton of development libraries, headers and general stuff on my computer – so, you’ll need some of those things, and there’s no configure script so I’m not sure how much help you’ll get from it in terms of telling you what you need) – anyway, the stuff there seems pretty cool, I haven’t really done anything with it though – and I’m unable to figure out how to get the emulator to load a state yet (or find a state it’ll load).

Anyway, that’s that.

Chris Hayes / cbhworld

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my KDE and Gnome rant unearthed…

June 5, 2007 at 4:28 pm (open source)

Today I heard Adam Sweet on LugRadio episode 20 season 4, ask Aaron Seigo whether KDE 4 would be lighter, specifically less option saturated. Upon hearing this I found it ignited the ongoing annoyance I have been known to hold towards people criticizing KDE for being intensely configurable. I’ll quickly make clear now that I don’t use KDE, I find it ugly and – in my more recent experience on Ubuntu, quite unstable. So I use Gnome, because I think it’s the best out of those two.

Something that upsets me about Gnome though, is that it regularly forces me to use the commandline, this is a problem because the whole point for a graphical desktop is surely to stop you from having to use the commandline. An example of this was where I attempted to get some of he Myst games to work under wine, and reading the error messages that were spamming my terminal – it appeared that at least one problem was switching the display to a different bit depth. As much as I doubted that it make everything work, I thought it’d be useful to at least see whether anything changed if I manually did this – so wine didn’t have to. Bearing in mind that this was in the days before I had a constant internet connection – I lost an entire night going through xorg related man pages, and got nowhere. To this day I don’t know how to do it, but I’m sure it must be fairly simple. Anyway – that was an example where I, a reasonably technical user of Linux (not competent) wasted many many hours trying to do something that is straightforward to do on Windows and I would be surprised if you couldn’t do it on KDE. Previously I had described Gnome’s insistence that users cannot handle lots of options as the result of inbred ideals, where instead of making functionality usable, they instead choose the strip out the functionality entirely.

As far as the extreme saturation of options resident in KDE goes, I totally agree with Aaron Seigo here when he said that cutting back on KDE 4’s options would be fine except that the 20% of options that one person would use, will not always be the same as the 20% that another person uses. A good example of something I see as a seemingly useless, yet overwhelming useful option, and also the reason why I continually fight KDE’s corner against those who criticize the abundance of configurability within it, is the taskbar hide button width setting. Basically, kicker, the KDE taskbar, allows you to add a button to it which retracts it from the screen – so that only the button still shows. When you want the taskbar back, you just click again and it will return. Back on my old laptop (which appears to be effectively dead now unfortunately), I only had an 800×600 pixel screen resolution, and the ability to hide the taskbar was great – however I only ever used this option in KDE. This was because in KDE I could set it to be only 3 pixels wide, which was great when you’re fighting for every single pixel on the screen – whereas in Gnome, it’d be a large button that’d take away too much space to merit using it. That’s my example, and I’m sure other people could think of better ones, although I really must stress – on a 800×600 pixel resolution screen this was a great help. Heh, I just remembered that the reason I stopped using KDE on that computer was because some of the configuration boxes wouldn’t fit on the screen.

Anyway, I personally don’t think that it is possible to satisfy everyone in the way that Gnome tries to, hoping that people will all come to work in the same ways. I do however see great value in Gnome, I think that it is a very easy to use desktop – unfortunately the user is restricted a lot, that’s it’s downside. But for most people, it doesn’t matter – and that currently describes myself. Even I am willing to put up with what I openly consider restrictions, in preference to a desktop that feels nice and is straightforward to use.

I’m hoping that KDE 4 will have the changes that I need to move back to it. But, perhaps more importantly – I don’t see any reason why Gnome couldn’t be option intensive while maintaining its ease of use, and why KDE couldn’t become more streamlined and ‘hide’ its advanced settings somewhere less in your face. All it takes is having basic configurability seperated from the advanced options that are generally conceived to be less used.

Anyway, that’s a big ongoing rant that I’ve had for a long time, I hope I’ve done it justice.

Chris Hayes / cbhworld

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