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Not going after all

I was very excited to go to Debconf13, but in the last minute I caught some kind of virus and went down with fever in the night before the flight. I am sure Wouter will take over group photo duties. And I will just take this week of vacation to rest up and check out the video streaming :)

Soon to be on my way to Debconf too

Going to Debconf13
I also soon will be on my way to Debconf13 and those who asked for more photos from the place on Planet Debian will soon start getting their fill ;)

Istabai.lv - installation

So, the price of heating my apartment has gone up significantly since last year and a lot of people have noticed the same trend. As a geek, I want not just any solutions, but geekiest solutions possible to that - enter a Smart Home system. The heating in my apartment is separated from all other apartments with a separate heat meter that measures both heating water flow and the temperature difference on the incoming and outgoing pipes, so if I reduce the heating consumption I will immediately see that in lower heating bills. This particular smart home system is very simple and made in Latvia and also relatively cheap, so I decided to give this a try.

Cloning or pre-configuring a batch of Android phones

An interesting question popped up in my Twitter stream today - is there an Android alternative to Apple configurator (for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch) that allows to create a bunch of identical Apple devices with some added configurations and applications. The best I could come up with is not as polished, but on the other hand much more powerful option - Nandroid backup and restore (also known as ClockworkMod Recovery backup).

You though NVidia was bad, don't try AMD

Remember when Linus Torvalds lambasted NVidia for not supporting their Optimus technology in their Linux drivers for half a decade and counting? Well, I went out and bought an AMD/ATi video card as mu upgrade. And you know what? Its Linux drivers are far, far worse than NVidia.
1. Most of the games I had working fine on NVidia, do not work on AMD. And those that do suffer far more visual corruption, synchronization bugs (like bottom 40% of the screen rendering half a second after the top 60%), strange visual artifacts (weird triangles popping out of everywhere) and crashes, lots of crashes.
2. There were crashes with NVidia too, but NVidia never managed to crash Compiz along with it or crash the whole X server or lock up the system so far that only SysRq works or even lock up the system so far that only powering it off manually works.
3. And then there is the configuration atrocity. Apparently AMD is too good to store its configuration in /etc/X11/xorg.conf. Or even to document the supported options there. Instead they have their own (also undocumented) configuration file in /etc/ati folder. And it is undocumented because it is a cryptic mess and the only supported way to change it is to use their tools - aticonfig and amdccccle. The command line tool is almost reasonable, except it is also barely documented. For example, one of my screens somehow was always stared at 1920x1080@30Hz. There were 3 different ways to specify default resolution, but none of them used or saved the refresh rate. And when I changed it in the GUI tool - the refresh rate did change, but it was never saved. Oh there nowhere is a save button. It 'just works', except when it doesn't. Like: both of my screens for some reason started with huge black borders around the screen, I finally narrowed it down to the GUI setting "overscan" which defaulted to 10%. Ok, so I change it, it works, but next time I reboot, the overscan is back! I had to find an undocumented invocation of the aticonfig that would change the default value to 0%. Why did this one setting not save? Oh and fun note - the refresh rate of that second screen was correct on the login screen, but it then swiched back as I logged in. Fun, huh?
4. Even at basic desktop tasks fglrx if inferior to not only the free driver, but also to the nvidia driver - even simple scrolling of a large folder in nautilus seems to tax the 200$ card to its limits - the bottom row blinks into place almost half a second after I stop scrolling. Another example - with NVidia when I switch my TV to the HDMI input from the card, the sound starts at the same moment as the picture, however with AMD the sound only decides to show up 10-15 seconds later. And sometime it does not show up at all, unless I start the AMD Control GUI tool and only then the sound shows up 15 seconds later (without doing anything in the GUI).

Fun with the new camera

Triple hit!

Fish-ing for tips

I am trying to get used to fish as a default shell. I like some things in it, but can not quite get used to other things, so I wonder - maybe I am cooking it wrong? So here are things that I could not find a solution for, while switching from bash.

New camera research

So, I was reading the coverage of the newly announced Canon 650D last week and it so happened that a friend needed a camera, so I sold my old Canon 550D and started looking for a replacement.

Gnome thumbnails size

I wonder - am I the only one who feels that Gnome default thumbnail size is way too small? See the bug report for the background, motivation and a comparison screenshot :)

Le Camp Le DebConf Le 2013!

The meeting was as long as the kernel changelog, the decision was as difficult as a Debian release, but in the end Le Camp has won in the voting 5 to 4. It was lucky that one member of the 10 man committee was not present or we could have had a tie, just like there was one in the first round of voting.

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