Sunday, June 27, 2010

android, nice but...

Ok, who don't know android, the smartphone platform from google? Since the first iphone the smartphone sector is a fast growing market. Recently, both apple and google released a new version of their smartphone platform with lots of improvements and new features. For me, as an opensource enthusiast, android was always the prefered platform, but when i bought my nokia n900, android wasn't that popular. With the release of the nexus one i strongly though about to buy it.

Now i'm glad i didn't bought it. Last week my brother bought the new samsung galaxy s with android 2.1 and i finally could play around with it.

So far i'm disappointed. Why? (n900 vs. galaxy s)

Let's start with the positive about android:

It looks nice. Very nice. Compared to my n900 the android ui is much more colorful. But i guess it's not google's work. As far as i know every company who sell android phones makes his own user interface. Please correct me if i'm wrong. Anyway, in combination with the super amoled display the android phone looks really cool.

Secondly, its fast. Even if its still android 2.1 (android 2.2 should get again much faster) it's very responsive. But since it has a 1Ghz prozesser and the very latest hardware it shouldn't be a suprise. Other advantages over my n900 are a better webbrowser or google maps. Ovi maps really sucks here, but thats something which i don't use that often. There are also much more "apps" available for the android, but i really don't miss any "app" on my n900. They should just improve things like the webbrowser ;)

Let's move to the negative about android:

The first thing i wanted to configure was wlan. At home we have a wireless network with wpa2. Establishling the connection was no problem. The phone immediately found the network and made a connection. Afterwards it wanted to get the ip-address. The problem is, i don't have an dhcp server set up. Every pc/laptop/mobile is configured by hand. In android's case i couldn't find a way to configure it. I don't know how to set up the ip-address or dns-server. Maybe i oversaw it elsewhere but for now it looks like i have to set up an dhcp-server just for that phone..

Another big minus is the poor integration of various services, like jabber. On my n900 it's very easy to set up new accounts. Since it's a real linux it's also very easy to get new protocols like for icq. On the n900 you can add accounts for nearly every protocol and the real big plus is that it's directly integrated into the phone. Every conversation is listed under "conversations", dosn't matter if it comes through icq or a sms. Futhermore, since facebook can be access through jabber, it's one of the most awesome features at all. I have all my friends directly in my contact list and can chat with them through facebook without starting any chat app.

On the android you just have a gmail integration. Actually you can also add an facebook account, but it just imports the contacts. Chatting is not possible. At least it didn't work for me. Don't know if i oversaw here something again. Other protocols are only available through apps like meebo and because of that, there is absolutly no integration with the, for example, contact list.

Video chatting was also not possible. Don't know how that works, i'm pretty sure it works somehow, at least for google talk. On my nokia n900 it's possible to make video-chat's through skype, sip and google-talk (ok, first since the last update).

Another showstopper was the youtube player. I wanted to compare the screens with a hd-video from youtube. I searched for "black eyed peas" and found immediately the official music video from "i got a feeling" in high definition (with mYtube). Android's youtube client found.. well.. everything but not this video. I've tried other videos too, but while my n900 always found the right video, the android phone found always something else. It didn't found any hd-videos at all. Don't know how that youtube client works, but thats something which should be really improved.

Right now i'm glad that i didn't bought an android phone. I really would miss some great features (xterm is by far the most important application anyway). We will see how android improve in the future and, more important, how nokia will improve his meego platform. I can't wait too see the first meego phone. :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

personal movie awards

Today i'm going to talk about my favourite movies and why these are my favourits. They're many movies out there, many bad one, a few good one and sometimes really awesome one. Usually i like quite every kind of movie, but what i don't like are horror-movies. Ok, let's start with the first place:

1. Fight Club, 1999 from David Fincher

Well, this movie is a masterpiece. It's incredible, the story and the characters are superb. Especially Tyler Durden (alias Brad Pitt) acts damn good. For me it's the best movie i ever saw, and i saw it often. Both in english and in german. There is no other movie which can reach the level of Fight Club. This movie is just awesome and my favourite quotes from this movie are:

"It's only after we've lost everything, that we're free to do anything!"

"The things you own, they end up owning you."

Tyler Durden is my real hero in this movie. His lifestyle and his personality is unique. I could tell much more about this movie, but lets come to the secound place:

2. The Bourne Trilogy, 2002/2004/2007 from Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass

I love this Trilogy. Lots of movies have successor, but really seldom a successor is better than the previous. In Bourne's case all three are just great. My absolut favorite is the secound movie. In this 3 movies you have constantly action. The story is not exaggerated and all the time very thrilling. A Trilogy which you can see again and again without the risk of getting bored.

And the last place goes to:

3. Matrix, 1999 from Andy and Larry Wachowski

Well, i guess as a computer freak you have to like Matrix. It's a fantastic sience fiction movie and especially the effect's where awesome to that time. But in Matrix case it's a perfect example where the successor's (Matrix 2-3) weren't that good. For me just the first one is really good, but i have to say, i guess it's really difficult to top such a movie.

Besides these 3 top movies, i have a few others which i want to show you:

Se7en: Another great Movie from David Fincher. This movie is very horrible, but it wouldn't be that good if it would be "nicer". After all it's not a horror-movie. For me it's a really sad story. And the end is so, well.. unbelievable.

The Ocean's Trilogy: Another Trilogy which is very good. I guess you already notice that i like movies with Brad Bitt. Well, i think he is a really good actor.

The Boondock Saints: First time when i saw this movie i was really suprised. I didn't though it could be so good, but i really liked it. These two brothers in this movie showed me how a brotherhood should be.

Le Pacte des Loups: This move comes from France. Again a very good movie. Good story with quite nice fights.

Monday, June 14, 2010

dear summer...

I suppose Austria is not the best country for wind-surfing, but since the weather got warmer it would be really nice to have some wind. I really want to try out my new (old) sail ;)

This is my new (it's not really new, it was already used) sail. It's a 5.3m² sail. Not that big thus better for strong winds.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

open vs. closed

On the PC this topic is quite popular. Especially if you're a heavy computer user and not just a typical user you know the difference between open and closed. A typical indicator for open is Linux, a typical indicator for closed is Microsoft. I didn't used the word "software" because hardware can be open or closed too. (who don't know apple)

This is now a big topic and difficult to explain. I'm sure i can't explain it too, but i'll give a try. I also want to keep this topic quite short. I'll try just to make an overview of what open and closed means to me, but it dosn't mean it belongs to others.

I was a windows user fo a long time and i never had big problems with it. The reason why i switched to Linux was because it got boring. I wanted to get an deeper understanding in how a operating system works and that wasn't possible with windows. The reason why i decided to use gentoo is another story.

The short explanation is: First i wanted to try out some distributions. Debian, Slackware, Fedora, OpenSuse and Gentoo where on my list. Once i started to download all the live-cds the gentoo-cd had just about 50MB and was finished first. So i could try it out first. I have to say, i loved the way to install it, even if i nearly didn't understand anything from the installation manual. But if you do it like its written there, it will work without any problems. After my succesfull installation i didn't wanted to try out any other distributions anymore.

Compared to windows, linux is much more open. Not just because the sourcecode is available. You also have much more freedom to change things to your need. Especially on gentoo you have even more freedom. The gap between windows and gentoo is big. Very big. But this freedom makes linux also very vulnerable. Not just because of bugs, also because of wrong configurated or over-optimized systems (in gentoo's case). While it's easy to make a gentoo "useless" it's much more difficult on windows (without a virus ;). It's also possible to misconfigure windows, but windows hides such configurations for a normal user. Futhermore, big software corporations like Microsoft trying to hide their bugs in order to show customer how good their product are and how few bugs they have. In opensource software noone can hide his faults, so it looks like opensource have much more bugs. But this openess is also good. Bugs can be solved much faster than in closed source software.

For me open means to have the freedom to change things to your need, to try out new things even if it's not healthy for your system, to see how things are working and have the opportunity to make it better. Since i've started with gentoo, i've tried out many things and all my systems are now very special. I almost go away from the usually installation way, in order to try out new things. For that freedom i love linux and especially gentoo, even it it means to solve big problems sometimes.

While this topic is common on the PC i found out it also fits into other parts in our life. For example to our personality. I realized that i'm the biggest betrayer to myself. Everyone can be an open or an closed person and while i've tried to spread opensource on the PC i found out my personality is very closed. I guess the reason is the same like on the PC. I'll try to hide my mistakes and problems in order to give no one a chance to hurt me.

Well, while a windows-kernel couldn't work in a gnu-enviroment, it also cannot work for me. I definitely have to change myself...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

kde activities on multiscreens

I don't know since which release activities are part of KDE. Maybe they introduces it already whit the first KDE 4 release. Anyway, on multiscreens it really works good since the 4.4 release series. Before 4.4, activities where a typical crash-scenario. Now especially for multi-head setups they made alot of improvements and bug-fixes. This includes the activities, but it's still not perfekt (at least for me).

Usually, activities are a nice feature. In my case i use an extra activity for showing all my system-information like cpu-temperature, cpu-usage, network-usage. Additionally i also have a weather-forcast plasmoid and one for the latest xkcd story :)

The problem now is that the activity manager shows 3 different activities. Since every screen counts as a "full" activity i could also just switch the left and the right screen. (in the past plasma would have crashed)

Here you can see what i mean:

But that's something which i don't want at all. Especially if i change activities via shortcut it can happen quite fast that i just switch the screens. Well, it's not a big problem (maybe it's a feature :D), but i guess this one could be better implemented...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

gentoo cube

Since composite becomes famous the desktop-cube was one of the top showcase-effects.

Right now they are a few popular composite-manager out there. One of them is kwin from the KDE desktop enviroment. kwin also supports the cube-effect alongside with alot of other effects.

Today i'll show you how to personalize this cube a bit, so that you have your own image at the top and botton of the cube. Usually there is a nice KDE-logo, but you'll see how it would look like with a gentoo-logo :) To make that possible on your system you first need the gentoo png image which you can get from here: image

Afterwards i suggest you to make a backup of the original KDE-image:

cp /usr/share/apps/kwin/cubecap.png /usr/share/apps/kwin/cubecap.png.bak

Then you can copy/move the new image into the above folder. Be sure that you change the filename to "cubecap.png".

cp ~/gentoo_logo.png /usr/share/apps/kwin/cubecap.png

After a restart of kwin the result would look like this:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

gallium3D on gentoo

Ok, today i give a short howto about gallium3D.

Gallium3D is a new 3D API under Linux. It not only supports OpenGL, but also OpenVG, GPGPU and Direct3D. Right now gallium3D is still under heavy development, but it's already quite stable. Since a few days now it's also very easy to get this new API. We only have to unmask mesa-9999 and keyword both mesa and eselect-mesa (which is needed by mesa-9999).

This is easily done by doing (as root) :

echo "media-libs/mesa" >> /etc/portage/package.unmask

echo "media-libs/mesa" >> /etc/portage/package.keywords

echo "app-admin/eselect-mesa" >> /etc/portage/package.keywords

Afterwards we can set the gallium API via eselect:

eselect mesa set r300 gallium

eselect mesa set sw gallium

Now everything runs threw Gallium3D, but how much does it bring? Here is a short glxgears test:

gallium: 12124 frames in 5.0 seconds = 2424.745 FPS

classic: 11817 frames in 5.0 seconds = 2363.365 FPS

This is under my Radeon X1900 XT. Well not much in glxgears, but i encountered a better playable ut2004. :)