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226  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Re: The Princess Rescuing Application (Mixing Games and Applications) on: August 20, 2013, 07:09:50 AM
Glad to hear it!

I went through it a second time with an ex-developer -- we were both inspired by the possibilities  Kiss
227  DonationCoder.com Software / Jibz's Tools / Re: Dina font in size 7, 6.5 or 6 ? on: August 20, 2013, 06:39:06 AM
I can get 3 80 columns terminals/editors side-by-side

I appreciate being able to do this.
228  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Scandalous Intel on: August 17, 2013, 04:27:25 AM
229  Other Software / DC Gamer Club / Re: Pet Peeves in Language in Games? on: August 17, 2013, 03:14:15 AM
All your base are belong to us?
230  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Search for Devices - Then Pown them... on: August 17, 2013, 01:29:26 AM
Am reminded of the following quotes from Joe Armstrong (of Erlang):

It was during this conference that we realised that the work we were doing on Erlang was very different from a lot of mainstream work in telecommunications programming. Our major concern at the time was with detecting and recovering from errors. I remember Mike, Robert and I having great fun asking the same question over and over again: "what happens if it fails?" -- the answer we got was almost always a variant on "our model assumes no failures." We seemed to be the only people in the world designing a system that could recover from software failures.

We can't stop our systems and globally check they are consistent and then relaunch them. We incrementally change bits and we recognize that they are inconsistent under short time periods and we live with that. Finding ways of living with failure, making systems that work, despite the fact they are inconsistent, despite the fact that failures occur. So our error models are very sophisticated.

When I see things like Scala or I see on the net there's this kind of "Erlang-like semantics", that usually means mailboxes and message boxes. It doesn't mean all the error handling, it doesn't mean the live code upgrade. The live upgrade of code while you are running a system needs a lot of deep plumbing under the counter -- it's not easy.

231  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Re: Installing and Using Arch Linux (2013-05 - 2013-07) on Thinkpads / Ideapads on: August 14, 2013, 08:20:26 AM
As an experiment, prepared an installation of Arch that can be used both as a Host and Guest OS using VirtualBox with UEFI + rEFInd.  Tested with some success on Z580 and might do so on E130.  Perhaps a bit dangerous, but potentially convenient -- though maintaining the settings may be more trouble than this is worth...

Adapted the instructions at:

  VirtualBox Arch Linux Guest On Physical Drive

Some differences include:

  • Did not specify partitions using UUIDs
  • Did not use GRUB -- used rEFInd instead
  • Set up rEFInd as bootloader basically as described here to work-around the flakiness of VirtualBox's UEFI NVRAM support
  • MODULES and HOOKS in mkinitcpio-vbox.conf differed from instructions:
      MODULES="ahci pata_acpi ata_piix"
      HOOKS="base udev autodetect modconf block filesystems keyboard fsck"
  • Added additional line for booting via VirtualBox to /boot/refind_linux.conf to specify alternate initrd
  • Performed instructions in "Setting up VirtualBox to boot Arch Linux from the Physical Drive" section via an Administrative prompt
  • Start VirtualBox as an Administrator

IIUC, as a side "benefit", this set-up does not appear to require mucking around with UEFI boot entries -- convenient if swapping in a different model HDD / SSD with the same set-up (e.g. a backup).
232  Other Software / Developer's Corner / The Princess Rescuing Application (Mixing Games and Applications) on: August 14, 2013, 06:48:31 AM
From a few years back, but just read through Mixing Games and Applications -- slides from:

talk [was] on building an application that rescued princesses. The goal was to give interaction designers some insight into how game design might be applied to the domain of more utilitarian applications.

Took about half an hour to go through but was quite interesting.

I wonder if anyone who has seen this material has been inspired to apply some of the content to an existing app...

via: http://www.lostgarden.com/2008/10/princess-rescuing-application-slides.html

233  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Programming/Coder humor on: August 13, 2013, 08:53:17 AM
Why do computer scientists confuse Halloween and Christmas?
234  Main Area and Open Discussion / Non-Windows Software / Re: What Android apps do you use to read digital books? on: August 12, 2013, 07:58:15 PM
I think now what I'm looking for mostly is a GNU GPL reader.

FWIW, here's a link to the LICENSE file for Document Viewer:


On a side note, if you haven't tried F-Droid already, may be you will find it to be of interest as a source of Android apps with source (including GPL ones).  I use it to help with not using Google Play (and similar things) but also as a source of example code smiley
235  Main Area and Open Discussion / Non-Windows Software / Re: What Android apps do you use to read digital books? on: August 11, 2013, 08:45:11 AM
For some formats I use a fork of EBookDroid called Document Viewer.

Supports the file in following formats:

Comic Books (cbz) (NO support for cbr (rar compressed))
FictionBook (fb2, fb2.zip)
236  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: When you make your 100'th Post on: August 09, 2013, 08:12:58 PM
Thanks smiley
237  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Request for Information: EasyUEFI on: August 08, 2013, 07:08:49 PM
Anyone have experience with EasyUEFI?

It is allegedly:

software to manage the EFI/UEFI boot entries. You can use it to create, delete and edit boot entries, specifies a one-time boot entry for the next restart, or change the boot order without entering BIOS setup.

Have not succeeded in turning up much that is relevant on it...perhaps that is not surprising as the first public release seems to have been in May of this year...
238  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Rufus: Bootable USB Device Tool on: August 08, 2013, 08:03:10 AM
Thanks for making an effort smiley
239  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Rufus: Bootable USB Device Tool on: August 08, 2013, 05:12:33 AM
Aha...If you happen to come across that info again, please share smiley  Was it the following by any chance?


FWIW, I saw a table comparsion of Rufus and similar at:


I've not tried this latter one -- though it does look interesting.
240  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Rufus: Bootable USB Device Tool on: August 08, 2013, 04:37:11 AM
Used Rufus successfully in preparing bootable USB memory from ISO images recently.

Seems pretty snappy and source code is available too smiley

Specifically had it work for installation media of Windows 7 (UEFI / GPT) and Linux Mint.

Quote from: the horse's mouth
Rufus is a small utility that helps format and create bootable USB flash drives, such as USB keys/pendrives, memory sticks, etc.

It can be especially useful for cases where:

    you need to create USB installation media from bootable ISOs (Windows, Linux, UEFI, etc.)
    you need to work on a system that doesn't have an OS installed
    you need to flash a BIOS or other firmware from DOS
    you want to run a low-level utility

Mentioned in passing already by NigelH:

241  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps Specification Set and Ready for Development on: August 03, 2013, 09:38:01 PM

Thanks for the advice.   I will take another look at the UEFI/BIOS settings on a couple of the newer machines -- I didn't see anything the last few times I checked, but perhaps I'll be luckier this time around smiley
242  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Damn Hackers! on: August 03, 2013, 12:58:55 AM
A couple of things I like to check:

  • Never use WEP -- go for WPA2
  • Change the default admin password
243  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps Specification Set and Ready for Development on: August 03, 2013, 12:55:54 AM
Have had rotten luck booting from USB 3 ports -- often doesn't work, when it does speed seems slow, etc.

I'd be much happier if the booting part would get fixed smiley
244  Special User Sections / N.A.N.Y. 2013 / Re: Easy Screencast Recorder - NANY 2013 Entry on: July 24, 2013, 07:37:34 PM
Thanks for the clarification.
245  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / Re: O'Reilly programming Ebooks & videos 50% off through 7/27/2013 on: July 23, 2013, 11:01:39 PM
To celebrate the 2013 Open Source Convention, O'Reilly is discounting all programming Ebooks & videos by 50% until July 27, 3013.

He he -- I wish the date were correct Wink

Thanks for the info  thumbs up
246  Special User Sections / N.A.N.Y. 2013 / Re: Easy Screencast Recorder - NANY 2013 Entry on: July 23, 2013, 07:39:51 PM
Thanks for the explanation.

Is it far off to say then that for a given source (image, video, audio clip), sampling is a process of creating a set of components (samples) which can later be assembled to create something akin to the original source?
247  Special User Sections / N.A.N.Y. 2013 / Re: Easy Screencast Recorder - NANY 2013 Entry on: July 21, 2013, 09:19:17 PM
Making it through took me a while and I feel a bit more comfortable, but I am left wondering what "sample" means.

Any help on that?
248  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Installing and Using Arch Linux (2013-05 - 2013-07) on Thinkpads / Ideapads on: July 17, 2013, 08:36:55 PM
TLDR; Recommendations

See below for background, but the gist of this post is -- If you are interested in installing and using Arch Linux as a host OS on Lenovo hardware with UEFI as of this writing (2013 July):

  • Don't be surprised if there is trouble getting it to work
  • Consider using older installation media if the newest doesn't work (went back as far as 201304 for E130 installation)
  • Consider using more than one boot loader for insurance (e.g. rEFInd and GRUB)
  • Consider USB memory with UEFI Shell
  • Look for and consider trying additional kernel command line parameters (noapic made it possible to boot E130 via UEFI)
  • Consider keeping a second boot device / partition with a working configuration that can be tested when there is a kernel update
  • Consider examining Arch Linux online docs and their forum for hints
  • Read Arch News especially before upgrading / updating

If you would like a trial-by-fire way of learning about UEFI, trying to get a certain subset of recent Lenovo hardware working with Arch Linux might not be a bad choice.   If you're "unlucky" though, certain bugs may get fixed soon and much of what's in this post will be worth far less.   So hurry if you want to learn about UEFI the hard way Wink

The Long Version

Have been using Arch Linux as a base for developing and trying out new software.  Been finding it quite nice for this purpose as there are many programs that are packaged (either officially or in AUR) and for what isn't, it has been relatively straight-forward to do so (far easier to do than put together a .deb for example).

My initial experience with it was as a guest OS via VirtualBox and that worked out quite well so once I felt comfortable enough with it decided to try to get it working as a host OS.

Installation on an IdeaPad Z580 went ok (though as a newbie to UEFI there was a bit to pick up).  For some time things were relatively smooth, but then one day the machine seemed to get struck with:

  Kernel 3.7 doesn't boot using EFI Stub

The short of it is that the machine will not complete booting with certain kernels if using certain boot loader combinations.  My impression is that there's some poor interaction between some of Lenovo's UEFI implementations and the Linux kernel's EFISTUB functionality.  IIUC, there is a participant of the aforementioned thread working with a kernel dev to get to the bottom of things.

In the mean time, after downgrading to an appropriate earlier kernel, installed a second boot loader (was using rEFInd with the kernel's EFISTUB but added GRUB) and this made it possible to boot kernels which wouldn't boot with my original set up.  Booting via GRUB (configured to use UEFI) is successful so that's one work-around...Hopefully there will be some better resolution before too long.

On a related note, had the occasion to attempt installation on a Thinkpad Edge E130 and this turned out to be a bit tricky.  Since the Z580 installation, the installation media has been updated a few times and didn't have success with the three that I tried (201305, 201306, and 201307).  After upgrading the BIOS (2.51 -> 2.52) performed most of the installation steps using the 201304 installation media.  The boot loader steps didn't work fully (but got rEFInd and GRUB files in place and tweaked) as the machine wouldn't boot the installation media using UEFI.  A ciruitous work-around (boot with UEFI shell -> start GRUB -> via its rescue mode start kernel with additional parameter noapic) got the machine booted up via UEFI and this made it possible to complete the boot loader installations.

So it's possible to get Arch Linux up and running via UEFI with some Lenovo hardware, but it may requires some extra steps.
249  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: DVCS ? (All about Git, Mercurial-Hg and the like...) on: July 17, 2013, 04:09:12 AM
As might be expected, I have been finding that the tip tends to work better for more recent commits...

On a side note, I lost data twice recently -- only a small amount luckily -- possibly through pilot error or perhaps it has to do with how I tend to use git (a tendency to try to pull apart multiple changes in the working tree and selectively commit them).

Out of curiosity, has anyone come across instructions on using a GUI merge tool (e.g. meld) to do essentially what SmartGitHg's "Index Editor" does?

Also came across tig.  Anyone tried it?
250  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Startpage.com Search Engine - Katherine Albrecht on The Corbett Report on: July 15, 2013, 07:08:43 PM
Inspired by your comment, I took a closer look at Mycroft and found a GET-based OpenSearch that seems to work.

Thanks!  Thmbsup
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