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Moved to Mezzanine

After my server that has hosted my blog for some years had given out its last breath (second motherboard failure), I decited it was time for a change. And not just server change, but also change in the blog engine itself. As I now focus on Python and Django almost exclusively at work, it felt logical to use some kind of Django-based blog or CMS. I tried django-cms and mezzanine and ... Mezzanine is so fast and simple, that I simply stopped looking.

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).

NVidia Optimus fail

Guys, we have a problem. The name of that problem is NVidia and their Optimus technology. The idea of that tech is quite neat - take a laptop, put two video cards in it, use the powerful card when you need 3D power, use the weak card when you need to conserve battery. The problem is that any laptop with this technology is currently an expensive paperweight on Linux (or rather it was so until a couple weeks ago, see below). And NVidia has no plans for fixing that.

Nexus S review incoming

This is just a quick note that I broke down and replaced my ageing iPhone 3G with a brand new unlocked Google Nexus S. I got it in my hands last Saturday and by the end of the first day it did 90% of what I used my iPhone for and by the end of day two it did 100% of what I used my phone for before this and did it better than the iPhone. I will give it a week and then write up a bigger thing on all the good and bad things I notices from my migration from iPhone to Nexus S.

Phoning it in

Currently I own and use an iPhone 3G. I bought it almost two years ago, when the local phone provider LMT started offering the iPhone legally. I had a pretty good experience with it most of the time, but now it is showing its age:

  • The two year warranty will run out in September

  • The iOS 4 update left out most of the new features - my model cann't have multitasking or backgrounds or any of that new cool stuff that is exclusive to the new iPhone 4

  • The hardware itself is starting to wear - the speaker stopped working a few weeks ago (so I have to use the loudspeaker function or headphones) and also approximately around that time the phone stated to randomly lock up approximately one a week or two - it freezes and after a few minutes reboots and demads to be connected to iTunes and restored from backup

  • Also the battery does not last as long as it used to

Going to Debconf10!

After a few months, today I finally got the approval and

Latvijas pavasara Ubuntu Bug Jam un Installest - 27.03.2010

The following is an invitation to the Latvian Ubuntu Bug Jam (in Latvian) sent for a bit of a wider circulation to catch people that monitor Planet Debian, but not Planet

Linuksys WRT54GL

Daniel, I also recently installed a WRT on the Linksys WRT54GL. But I used DD-WRT instructions - went to, entered my model number and got direct download links to the firmware along with a README.

USB 3D Sound

Want a sound card? Want a cleared sound that is not contaminated by electromagnetic interference in you computer's case? Want that all to work in Linux?

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