Archive for April, 2007

The Frogface Project Website Launched

April 30, 2007

We’ve tried to start this before and never quite finished it. You can check out the site at www.frogface.org. This time things went smoothly, however I had to struggle through my hangover on Saturday while I polished off the final details. A big kudos to Veedles who did a smashing job creating the images and logo for the site – and now that she is the queen of web design is gonna spruce the site up even more over the coming weeks!

Frogface logo

The Frogface project is an effort to create a user friendly scuba dive logging application which runs on any computer. It’s still not ready for everyday use so us developers will have to keep beavering away for a while. Things are going well recently as I escaped my horribly busy work schedule in order to get phase 1 of the project done. Ganesh is working on getting the menu’s together over the coming weeks and I’m gonna try and get my head around beautifying the user interface and making it look real pretty. As they say, “There’s more than one way to skin an app!”

Elephant Dream – Art House Animation Extraordinaire

April 29, 2007

Here’s a superb 12 minute animation which features crisp industrial post-modern backdrops puncuated by expressively crafted chararcters; all done in Blender – an open source 3D modelling on the verge of the big time. It’s a hefty download so you’ll want a broadband connection, but it’s worth the wait. Just sit back and simply enjoy these wonderful graphics by visiting the download section at http://orange.blender.org

Does Your Sheep Do This?

April 28, 2007

An Irish farmer’s lot is not always an easy one, but has anyone encountered this before.

Object Orientation and Javascript

April 26, 2007

Javascript is muck; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But it’s also unavoidable. My latest effort to write better JS code is to use inheritance when creating classes and objects. So before I forget, I’m posting these links – as they’re pretty handy. Sounds like a lot of hassle for a bit of inheritance though!

Very hardcore OO – but efficient

Again hardcore OO

Global Warming Debate – Who Are the Liars?

April 21, 2007

It’s interesting of late. Everyone is a global warming expert. People who don’t know Pythagoras from Pamela Anderson are busy telling me why there isn’t a direct relationship between greenhouse gas levels and temperature. It’s taken almost thirty years for the environment to actually make it onto the political radar and no sooner has it been there for 10 minutes than the conspiracy theorists are trying to knock it off.

Polar bears like sleepin

It’s probably fair to say that joe average didn’t give a monkeys about the environment until the film “The Inconvenient Truth” came out. The green issue has become a fad – and like most fads people will want to move on so they have a new issue to discuss with Saoirse down at the bridge club. So the new thing is to rubbish the claims of global warming, pretend it doesn’t exist and crawl back under your stone and hide.

What would have happened if we had taken this attitude with the ozone layer? Instead of being able to fix the problem – which we’re well on the way to doing – we would be making it a lot worse. Way more people would be dying of the dreaded cancer and the Aussie’s would be fryin even more than they are already!

So what’s the big deal with taking action on this global warming issue? Firstly, a lot of countries have prospered economically by following a pro-market agenda with small government, low taxes and high employment. Ireland, New Zealand, the U.S. and the newer E.U. countries all look to this formula. To be seen to be support a “green” agenda appears to automatically make you anti-capitalist, a tree hugging hippy or a Commie – Reds, Reds, Under the beds!!! This logic makes about as much sense as saying that watching Graham Norton will turn you gay. Proposed global warming reduction measures actually look to tackle the problem in a market fashion – trading carbon credits on an international exchange in order to regulate the problem. That doesn’t sound quite like Lenin speaking…

And in fact hippies are the worst capitalists of all – they’ll spend a fortune on organic soaps and herbal remedies made of out donkey manure and Tibetan straw if you tell them! Level-8 vegans will pay for bottled Amazon air as they struggle to eek out an existence on soy milk and sesame seeds…

Get a haircut hippie!

At the end of the day, when you come to make your decisions on what stance to take it’s not easy. Each and every one of us isn’t a trained environmental specialist so how can we separate fact from fiction. In the end, like everything, you have to rely on who you trust – and this is an important point. Of course certain people will try and pervert this issue and create enough uncertainty in your mind so that you can’t be sure if global warming is true or not. Let’s look at who usually does this. The number one anti-global warming group is the petrochemical industry, any guesses why? When it comes to lung cancer, the tobacco companies lied to you for most of this century so that you’d line their coffers before they lined your coffin. When it comes to heart disease the salt and fast food industries will lobby against report after report that comes out so that you will buy their pies and chippies. Not an important issue to most people, but certainly a big one of mine, in the software industry a few big companies spend millions upon millions each year in order to try sneak software patents into Europe – so that they will be granted a 20 year monopoly on almost everything imaginable – every window, button, menu, font, trashcan, disk file and interface they produce so that they can stop other businesses trying to produce a similar product from competing. Bear in mind, I don’t mean how the icons look (this is already protected by copyright) but the right of a competitor to simply have a trashcan or menu on their desktop. Getting back to the point, every company has an agenda – it’s simple, to protect their business model.

Nuns like smoking tooNuns give smoking the thumbs up!

So if you think that the petrochemical industry is right and 90% of the world’s scientists are wrong that’s up to you. Bear in mind that this figure is from a broad community of scientists not just pro-global warming theory scientists. Who’s got the bigger motivation to lie to you – them or the people who lied to these nuns? If you truly believe that global warming is a conspiracy theory then drop me a line, I might call around to your house and try to sell you some of these tasty Malboro Lights.

In particular, Channel 4 appear to have wheeled out some crackpot scientists to throw mud at the global warming theory. Well my fingers are getting tired now so I’ll let this link answer that one. Additionally, in case you didn’t know who we’re fighting for when we try to cut CO2 then look no further. And finally, if, like me, you just like polar bears click here.

Linux Sound Problem: Nvidia nForce 430 and Asus M2NPV-VM

April 20, 2007

This is just a quick post covering a sound problem I encountered when running OpenSuse 10.2 with Nvidia nForce 430 and Asus M2NPV-VM. The solution that worked for me is to open the /etc/modprobe.conf.local file and make sure it includes the ‘options line below

#
# please add local extensions to this file
#

options snd-hda-intel position_fix=1 model=3stack

This did the job nicely. I found the solution here, which has a lot more detail.

Installing the SMART Package Manager on OpenSuse 10.2 Linux

April 20, 2007

Easy installing of software is the make-or-break aspect of any operating system. This is no different with Linux. Far and away, in my humble opinion, the best tool for this (on an rpm based system) is SMART. This quick post just overviews the steps I took to get it installed on my machine, as some of the instructions deviated from the SMART on Suse wiki.

I went into Suse’s main configuration tool called YAST and checked made sure that the following were installed as pre-requisites
* python-xml
* python-elementtree
* rpm-python

Then I went to the command line and typed
> su
> rpm -ihv http://ftp.skynet.be/pub/suser-guru/smart/10.2/i586/smart-latest.rpm

This did the hard work of installing smart which then asked a series of questions as to what sources to use for installing software (called channels). I said yes to everything except any channels with KDE in the title as the KDE channels can contain ‘developmental’ bleedin edge software which can destabilise your system (I wasn’t sure if it was ok to say yes to the KDE-backports so I just err’ed on the side of caution and said no).

Then came the tricky bit – which is the reason I’m writing this blog post – installing a user interface for SMART. This is because when I followed the instructions on the ‘SMART on Suse wiki’ (ie. the above link) I typed

> smart install smart-gui

but got the error…

> Computing transaction… error: Can’t install smart-gui 0.50-1 guru.suse102@i686: no package provides python-gtk

The fix for this is to install python-gtk the same way as the prerequisites (python-xml , python-elementtree, rpm-python) using YAST. I found this answer at the following forum thread. Once that’s complete type the following

> smart install smart-gui

and agree to its demands. Here presto! You’re done… and now have the easiest way to install software in town! To run SMART just type

>sux -c “smart –gui”

I was doing this on a 32 bit machine. If your architecture is different you might want to refer to the
SMART on Suse wiki, which also has a lot more detail on the powerful ways to configure and use this wonderful little program.

Use the Force to Fix Evil Vista’s Bootloader

April 20, 2007

Hmmm… Those lovely folks at Microsoft are at it again. This time trying to break my lovely Linux system by killing my bootloader – the clever bit of software which lets you choose whether to boot into Linux or Windows. Cheers guys! You’re real sweet!

I bought my machine with Vista pre-installed with about 50 gig spare for Linux. I installed OpenSuse 10.2 into this space, which uses a little program called GRUB to switch between the Windows Vista and OpenSuse Linux when you start up the computer. Somehow Vista managed to overwrite this – I don’t know how, as I installed Linux second, but anyway in order to fix you need to do the following

1.) Get yourself a LIVE Linux CD (ie. a linux system that boots of a CD with requiring it be installed on your harddrive). I used the OpenSuse 10.2 Live CD
2.) Boot from this disk and then folllow the brief instructions at the following link. Even though it outlines the process for Ubuntu (a different Linux distribution), it works just as well for OpenSuse 10.2

Happy hacking!

Help Improve Computer User Interfaces…

April 20, 2007

Here’s a quick survey which you can fill in to help the OpenUsability project, which studies how you use a computer. The less you know the better as this study is especially interested in getting a broad cross section of the public to respond. It only takes a few minutes so why not give it a quick go!

http://test.openusability.org/UCCASS/survey.php?sid=43

Bumblebee in Mobile Phone Horror

April 16, 2007

To date mobile phones have been blamed for brain tumours, low sperm counts and making kids even more annoying on bus trips, but here is the latest to add to the list – serial bee killer…

Bee colonies around the world have been mysteriously disappearing over the last couple of years and apparently sticking a mobile phone phone in front of a hive is like sticking a AIDS patient in front of John Howard – they’ll both run the other away screaming hysterically…

No bees means no pollenation… and that’s not good. I like apples.