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Friday, August 18, 2006

KDE or Gnome?

Much like Chocolate Cake or Mint Ice-cream, how the hell do you decide. I like Gnome because its simple, has a nice set of applets and development is piss-easy using Glade. However, KDE has a nicer resolution on my laptop, runs faster for some reason, and has SuperKaramba.

Developing KDE applications is pretty good using QT aswell, just the workings of QT-designer don't seem to gel as well with the actual back end coding as with Glade; QT-Designer doesn't have a 'Build' button as in Glade. However QT does seem to have a more straight forward (when coming from C/C++) object model, with classes fitting better, GTK however makes programming the UI easier using packaging. Where there might be a packaging implementation thing in QT, I've not really came across it; but if anyone knows, then let me!

Under KDE the PIM of choice is Kontact, which Gnome its Evolution. Kontact is a nice application with good interaction with the various peices of KDE such as Kopete etc, however Evolution can boast Exchange compatibility which is even better than that which Outlook provides! I know this because my work machine uses Outlook, and while its waiting to connect to the server to update calendars and emails, Evolution is sitting pretty telling me of new mail and syncing with my PocketPC! So for the time being its Evolution for me!

So for the time being I'm runnign KDE 3.5.1a with key apps being Kopete, Evolution, Firefox and Superkaramba.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Planning a gig

I've been booked to play a show at the Liquid Lounge in Glasgow on the 16th of September. Although I've done the solo acoustic folk show before, this is my first 'club date' which I have to sell tickets for. For this reason I am putting more and more effort in to planning the set list and overall meaning of the gig.

Sorry, I seem to have disappeared up my arse. I'll continue anyways; when I come to do a gig I like to make sure that if I have a setlist it is consistent with the story and feelings I'm trying to relate. I'm not happy with just getting up there and playing all the songs I know are good enough to play.

I'm looking for a balance in the material, kind of fifty-fifty slow and upbeat songs. And I'm doing my best to not put a bloody Springsteen cover in again! In my old band we used to get derided for always playing Green Day songs, and now it seems I'm going that way with Springsteen; so I'll stop now. But hey, sometimes other peoples songs just fit what you want to say much better than anything you could write yourself.

Currently I'm sitting infront of ten possible setlists, each with slightly different feelings and ideas; my current favourite is the one that starts with songs about the useless-ness of myself in past relationships, and then travels through the problems of the wider world to make me feel like its not so much a big deal in a wider sense. It finishes with the song I wrote a few months back called "So Long (This is not goodbye)", a real show stopper I think. Another set is the flip side to this story, but I don't feel it works as well; it feels a bit to 'emo' to depreciate a relationship because the rest of the world is shit. I'm sure I'll work it out nicely.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Wireless Lan in Suse 10.1

I spent much of installation day with Suse 10.1 trying to get my WiFi card (TrendNet TEW-421PC, £24 from ASDA) to work. Although what I am presenting here is not by any means a generic installation for every WiFi card under the sun, it merely serves as a small pointer to those who would like to try and get theirs working. I found that in order to acheive success with the wireless, I trawled through many a forum and blog about every other wireless card!.


Anyways, the main tools I used to get my card working was ndiswrapper (the version on the Suse 10.1 DVD) and the trendNet drivers for XP (from the cards installation CD).


After copying the .SYS and .INF files from the cards CD to a directory on my disk,I entered the command inside that directory:


ndiswrapper -d *.inf


This tells the ndiswrapper what driver to use, followed this with


ndiswrapper -m


and then


modprobe ndiswrapper


As far as ndiswrapper is concerned, its loaded with the correct driver. Yast2 was now used to configure the wireless card. Under network devices its just a case of adding the wireless card, setting it to be a PCMIA card and using a configuration name of 0. This is so that it is references as wlan0, and now pcimca-cardbus or the like, oh yeah, make sure and use the Traditional method and not the new-fangled Network manager. On the following you can leave much of it blank, therefore allowing any network to be accessed.


Another point to note is that for some reason my card likes to use IPv6 as default, so this needs blocked by editing /etc/modprobe.conf to say


alias net-pf-10 off


At the required line, (do a find for net-pf-10 in your favourite text editor, and make sure hte line reads the above!)


The command line is what I use mainly for connecting to the networks I use, one of which is my home AdHoc network, and the other is the works Access Point network.


For connecting to the ad hoc protected network I use the commands


iwconfig wlan0 essid "home"


iwconfig wlan0 key s:


dhcpcd wlan0

(once the lights have stopped flashing


And for work its a case of


iwconfig wlan0 essid ""


dhcpcd wlan0

SynCE , the Gnome and Suse 10.1

After installing Suse 10.1 on my lovely Thinkpad T30, therewas one thing missing from the final installation, namely syncing with my O2 XDA PocketPC phone. I read up about the SynCE project and installed the neccesary RPM's from the Suse DVD and the multisync plug in from the Synce.org website.


Wrong!!!!


I use the Gnome desktop, and the packaged I found on my dvd don't like it at all! When running dccm I got an error about being unable to connect to the DCOP server and then no syncing with multisync. When logged in to KDE, the DCOP error dissapeared but multisync was an unhappy bunny. Therefore, I uninstalled the Suse RPMS for SynCE.


The RPMs from the SynCE website are written for Multisync (with a C) and not for MultiSynK (with a K), and as such work with Gnome! A word of note is that you have to make sure that the plug in is installed in the correct directory for multisynce, namely /usr/local/lib/multisync, and not the default /usr/lib/multisync. This is just a case of copying the required files as root though!


So now I have my lovely PocketPC syncing nicely with Evolution via multisync. The next post will probably by a report on my automated "plug XDA in and sync" scripts that I'm trying to work, purely by bastardising some pages I've seen already on the web!


UDEV here I come


Summary of how I got syncing!

1. Install MultiSync and the suse plug ins from Suse 10.1 DVD (but nothing to do with Synce!)
2. Download and install the Gnome SynCE RPMs from www.synce.org, namely synce-multisync_plugin for basic syncing and the others for fun!
3. Setup synce using "sudo synce-serial-config ttyUSBx" where x is the USB port that dmesg says the pocketPC is attached to
4. Create a matchmaker pair using "synce-matchmaker"
5. Run "dccm" as yourself, not the root!
6. "sudo synce-serial-start" to start the connection, if all is well then the Active Sync log in screen should appear on the pocketPC's screen! Ignore any errors about ifup-ppp0, its not needed for syncing!
7. Run Multisync and create a sync pair and on you go!
8. Smile, have a cigarette and fall asleep.

Introductions and Politeness

While I have already got a blog at my myspace page , this one is slightly different in that its more general. Wait, I should probably start with a quick introduction, let folk know who I am and why this blog is relevent!

I'm Dave, I have a Physics Degree from Glasgow University and am currently studying for an EngD in Medical Devices at Strathclyde Univeristy. My doctorate research project is entitled "Optical and Ultrasonic detection of dental caries", and I have just finished my summer project entitled "Optical and Ultrasound detection of Dental Ultrasound".

I have been computer literate from a very young age, moving from Deskmate on an old Tandy computer up through WIndows 3.1, to Suse 4 to Win XP and now back to Suse 10.1. The quick lapse in judgement which brought me to Windows XP was a career based choice, but has now been rectified!

I'll be using this blog mainly to write up little tips I find when using Linux, or things I notice day to day, or well, just as a blog in general!

Oh and I hate the word Blog, much like I hate the words "War on Terror" but everyone uses them, so I might as well, I'm well past inventing words by now.