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More of a good thing?

There is one particular aspect of Microsoft's document format going through ISO process that I had a hard time to find a counter-argument against: "Well it is better to have multiple open formats, isn't it?". Last night when I was presenting in a Document Freedom Day event, I finally got one. When multiple standards exist in the same area, two options can exist:


  1. Cooperative standards - providing similar functionality in different ways that can coexist in the same medium without a significant overhead. An example of this are the credit cards - they have multiple ways that the card information can be transferred to the bank: visual writing down of the data, imprint, magnetic strip and the chip. Any of these ways can be used and all of the are equally valid;

  2. Conflicting standards - providing the same functionality in incompatible ways. The example here is the power adaptors - the form of the power plug is an open and public standard (AFAIK), but so many of them exist in different places that it creates all sorts of problems both for companies producing electronic equipment and for frequent travellers.

Standard software not in standard?

I was consulting a small company with a couple Debian servers the other day and I found that they did not have some packages that I expected to be there. Now thinking about it on every server that I install or take over the first thing I do is install a bunch of packages, such as: sudo, mc, wajig, localepurge and a bunch of others that I can't remember at the first moment, but that I re-discover each time I find them missing. I assume that other people have discovered other great non-standard tools that I am missing out on.

EEEPC

A few days ago I got myself an Asus EEEPC to experiment with it being in a role of a small server and a tiny internet kiosk. I installed Debian on it, but the process was not for the feint of heart, that's for sure. First of all the d-i font was messed up and all the menus overflowed the screen making it very hard to select anything. Additionally it seems very strange to me that there was a special d-i image made for EEEPC, but that image did not include built-in support for the computers wired or wireless network interfaces. That made my day highly problematic as I do not have an easy way to get to the Internet via a wired connection and the provided d-i image did not have enough files on it to finish the base install without networking.
This again made me think that the approach Ubuntu took is more favorable in most situations - have the install image boot a mostly functional system (it does not have to be X even) and then install from there. It actually feels more flexible than using the highly restricted d-i environment.
I will be looking to make a Debian rescue image designed for the EEEPC that you could dd onto a USB key, boot from and have a minimal Debian system with working ethernet, wifi and some basic rescue tools and a way to install a basic Debian system as well. That should make it much easier for people to get Debian onto their EEE PCs. I do hope that the Debian EEEPC project will improve as well.

Sneaky blacklisting of WiFi in HP laptops?

I've been there before, but somehow I hoped that HP has come to its senses, so when my girlfriend got a HP Compaq 6715b laptop with a Broadcom wifi card that does not work with the open source driver and randomly crashes under load with ndiswrapper driver, I said - "well, I'll just get an Intel mini-PCIe wifi card and plug it in". I should have know better.

Using FUSE encfs in a graphical way

If you want to use encfs module from FUSE to encrypt some of your files and do not want to go into the command line to mount and unmount that encrypted folder, here is what you do:

Annoyed with USA

My girlfriend is annoyed with USA timekeeping. More particularly with the way Sunday is the first day of the week in the Gnome calendar applet that shows up when you click on the time applet. After some searching I am unable to find how to change that short of changing the source code.

AI classification of websites

I see that Erich is also trying to do something with AI classification of web pages. It would be interesting to find out what algorithms he is using and what the validation testing results are - I just did my Masters in a similar direction. But alas, his blog has no comments :)

Webmin alternatives

Everyone knows that Webmin is nasty - it does things in wrong way on a pure and nice Debian (and Ubuntu) systems and for some reason is not included in Debian (post-sarge) or Ubuntu. That does not inspire confidence in a root-running web based software to say the least.
I have a need to have a Linux server and give an administrator the ability to add/remove users, configure some LAMP settings, some email settings (SMTP, POP, IMAP, Spam/Virus protection), Samba and those kinds of everyday system administration tasks on a SOHO Linux server without having to know much about Linux.

TurboGears widget errors

I am making a small project with TurboGears and I am just loving the widgets and the identity framework. There are some rough spots, like the documentation, but luckily for the most pars you can just launch an ipython interpreter and use tab completion to look at what functions are available. But then I got this error:
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "./start-foo.py", line 23, in
from foo.controllers import Root
File "...Foo/foo/controllers.py", line 22, in
action="save_settings"
File "/var/lib/python-support/python2.5/turbogears/widgets/meta.py", line 169, in widget_init
validator = generate_schema(self.validator, widgets)
File "/var/lib/python-support/python2.5/turbogears/widgets/meta.py", line 277, in generate_schema
if widget.is_named:
AttributeError: type object 'SettingsFields' has no attribute 'is_named'

And I could not find any help on this. Luckily I found Lucas manual and by comparing the code I found that in this part of the code:
settings_form = widgets.TableForm(
fields=SettingsFields,
action="save_settings"
)

FON not giving me my own Internet

Unfortunately I will have to disconnect my FONera and buy a real WiFi router to replace it because that small box is a glitchy piece of crap compared to every other WiFi router out there.

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