Tag Archives: open source

Gnome3 and Fedora

Just before the latest version of Fedora (Verne) was released I was installing the beta on a laptop to take it for a spin. I’d been using LoveLock since beta and Gnome3 suited me well. There has been a lot of talk about it and the lack of customizable options for power users but that must not be me. For a week now Verne has not disappointed and I expect that to continue.

Here’s a pic of my desktop.

What I like most is the clean simple look and integration of the windows key to find applications and recent documents. I’ve never been a “put a shortcut on the desktop” kind of guy, to much clutter. So having nothing there is great and I don’t need/want to add anything. The online accounts integration is nice, the notification tray is there but not in the way and using Ctrl-Alt-UpArrow/DwnArrow to move between screens (vs Ctrl-Alt-Right/Left) is just fine too.

Another pic with apps open.
Desktop Pic

Can’t wait to see what’s coming next!

The HTC G1 still rocks

Phones have almost become disposable as technology advances at a speed where what you have is replaced in a month or two by “the new thing”. I like new gadgets but these days at $300 to $600 dollars a pop it’s just not economical. So when I opted for a G1 Dev Phone last year I was hoping for something that might be upgradeable and still have that new feel as the software evolves.

I have not been disappointed.

After the upgrade to 1.6 I was satisfied for a while but then came the next version of Android and that changed things. Better navigation and snappier user interface with screen auto rotation and more. When it didn’t look like there’d be any official version after 1.6 I went looking for a custom ROM, enter cyanogen. I loaded 1.6 just after the first of the year and 2.1 (Eclair) about a month ago, it has been excellent. Checking the site today they have 2.2 (Froyo) available for both the Dream (G1) and the Magic (G2).

It’s been two years since the G1 was released and thanks to folks at cyanogen and other communities like xda developers it has the same software as a Nexus One, HTC Incredible or EVO. Open Source, you gotta love it !!!

What’s the password for your passwords

A few weeks ago I took some days off and went to Utah for a little skiing with friends. I skied two days at Powder Mountain and one at Snowbasin it was a great time. I can’t remember when ski rental and lift tickets were $70 a day, hopefully I can get back there again soon. It was one trip I didn’t take my laptop, just my Nokia 810. It worked pretty well but the wifi was not the best where we were staying, so I suppose taking the laptop would have been moot anyway.

When I got home I needed to check a few things, most importantly pay some bills. This is where I ran into a problem. I use KeePass to store all my usernames and passwords as well as letting it generate a password for me, there are some rare exceptions. It is an excellent program and has served me well over the years. For access it requires a password and when I got back from my trip, since I had not used it for a while, I forgot the password. It was actually kind of funny at the time, here I was using an application that encrypts and stores passwords that I couldn’t get into cause I forgot my password !!!.

All was not lost I really did know the password, just couldn’t remember the right combination. I did find it, made a clear text copy and put it in a secure place… just in case. I’ve debated for a while on changing my philosophy, in case something like this happens, but just haven’t done it yet. Of the various methods out there the one I like the most is keep passwords written down or in a text file somewhere easily accessible but what’s recorded is incomplete. Yes just writing the true password down would not be that secure. The theory is a unique sequence of characters, easily remembered by you but not common to your identity, in the beginning middle or end of password completes it. That way you have the 8, 10, 12, etc characters that one can’t remember for the 20 or 30 accounts written down but you and only you know what’s missing to complete the password.

Maybe one of these days I’ll do that.

GnuCash XML Parse Error

Some time ago I found GnuCash to replace Quicken for keeping track of finances. It escapes me how long I’ve been using it but regardless it has served us well. Yes Kay is using it too. So last year when I moved back to Windows, Win7 RC, for a work machine I installed the Win32 version of GnuCash. I don’t need it for work, Kay was using it too. It worked well accept for a dll error we click past when starting which has not been a big deal. But do to the end of life on the release candidate I needed to load a production version of Win7 or get a new machine. I mentioned in a in a previous post I’m not to keen on $300.00 for Win7 Pro so the option of a new machine seemed reasonable. In the end I chose a new machine. I hadn’t anticipated a problem just install on the new machine, copy the folder that held the compressed xml file backups and transaction logs, run and open the compressed xml file and were done. That’s not exactly how it went.

I now realize why I was probably getting the dll error now. I’d been running the 2.3.7 development branch not the 2.2.x production. I’m not sure how I did that, none the less it seems to be the reason for my troubles. When opening the compressed xml in the version I just installed, 2.2.9, I received a parse error. At first I didn’t get to excited as I’ve yet to run into real problems with open source where there hasn’t been an answer. So the research began.

I found many posts on the problem but nothing that pointed to a solution. A solution that didn’t include reverting to a previous backup and then re-running transaction logs that is. I have enough trouble entering receipts I’d hate to think what I’d screw up re-running umpteen transaction logs… I don’t think so. After more searching I came across GnuCash to QIF a Java conversion utility that takes the existing xml file and converts it into a QIF (Quicken) file. Seeing as though opening the compressed and extracted xml both failed I figured lets see if we can convert it to a Quicken file and then import it back in.

And what do you know …. it worked like a charm.

Thank you GnuCash to QIF. A “bone head” move on my part running the development branch code on our “real” data. I’ll need to pay attention in the future but once again open source and the internet have taken care of me.

Ubuntu Karmic notification icons with messed up video

For the last month or so I’ve been using Fedora as it seemed to fit my T42 better than Ubuntu did. But wanting to get back to it I plopped in the drive and fired it up. A decent amount of updates were needed and after getting through those things seemed fine. But then after resuming from suspend I noticed the pop up icon in the notification area was blank. It was almost like the something was up with the resolution or video display of the icon itself.

Bad Video Notification

I’m not sure if this was one of those things I thought was a problem when Karmic first came out or not. I did load it pre-release but moved to Fedora shortly thereafter. Finding this to be odd I tried to do a little googling and research, found a few threads that pointed to some of the work the Ubuntu Desktop Experience Team was doing but not much that suggested a solution. The only thing I did come across was talk about video drivers and excelleration. This didn’t really make much sense to me, it has been years since I’ve had to care about the X config file and adjusting it manually. That takes me back to the RedHat 6 days and my Tecra 600. But it did give me a thought.

Video in general was not a problem, just the notificaiton icons. So as a guess I checked what was set for Visual Effects.

System -> Preferences -> Appearance -> Visual Effects (tab)

The current setting was None so I changed it to Normal. To test I watched Rhythmbox move to the next song and the icon was normal.

Correct Notification

Good to know that fixed the problem but interesting it needed to be done. Regardless the polish with Gnome in Karmic is really good. Ubuntu has taken Linux on the desktop where no one else has and with that there will always be little challenges. Wonder where they’ll go from here.