Archive for March, 2007

Looking for replacements

March 31st, 2007 by sjan

While I am loving the new Mac, I am slightly annoyed. I am trying to find tools to replace as many of the Windows tools I use so as to streamline my processes as much as possible. I had hoped to work almost exclusively in Mac and use the WinXP for games and audio work. (Yes, I am aware of the plethora of Mac audio tools, however there are some audio tools that I cannot replace, that are only available for Windows and we have enormous amounts of files, song snippets, loops, etc in those formats – thus the Parallels and WinXP.)

Python development is easy – grab Python and use Idle like I always have (although I would like a ‘beefier’ IDE for py). Java development is also easy – and both have Mac OS X versions.

It seems that for most things there are Mac versions, except one: Homesite. Without a doubt the best HTML/PHP development tool ever is Allaire Macromedia Adobe . While that is the case, runs an ok second, but even so, why haven’t Adobe ported HomeSite to Mac? It’s especially rough for someone like myself that has been using Homesite since it was a $9.99 shareware (version 1 1996). So that one is one that will keep me returning to my WinXP on Parallels.

I would also like to figure out how to do multi-pane file browsing in Mac (like the V-com PowerDesk for Windows.)



I found a replacement for PowerDesk – XFolders – very nice!

I’m back

March 30th, 2007 by sjan

I am back and working on my new MacBook Pro. I think the best thing is that I am compiling KDE on Gentoo while installing MS Office on WinXP Pro (I already owned the copy of Office, why not?) and surfing on Firefox in Mac, typing a blog entry in ScribeFire (formerly known as Performancing.)

The biggest difference I can see between Windows or Linux running VMWare and Mac running Parallels is that Parallels is a whole lot faster. With the same kind of OS settings I used in VMWare I am getting performance that blows away anything I have experienced prior to now. So far I have had no issues with pausing the VMs and putting the machine in ‘Sleep’ mode – although I have seen a few complaints about hanging in that instance on the boards.

So the big thing over the next week or so will be data recovery from the old hard drives, installing all the tools I need, and getting my OSes set up the way I want to work.

As far as the old rig goes, I’m not sure whether it has anything to do with it, but the motherboard looks discolored around the on-board video card, and powering it up and leaving it for 10 minutes or so to see if it would actually ever try to boot resulted in a lot of heat from the video card.

Powered by ScribeFire.


March 26th, 2007 by sjan

Well, the Xubuntu experiment has been cut short. As have any other projects I was working on. My laptop finally decided to give up the ghost yesterday morning. While reading an article on Slashdot the screen went white for about 20 seconds, then random color pixels, then it shut down entirely and now “no post no beep.” (Not that it ever beeped to begin with.) I first thought it might be the LCD screen and tried booting with an external monitor, no luck. I tried all the classic “my laptop won’t boot tricks,” but nothing. My guess is that it is mo-bo related. I’m going to have it looked over to see if it is going to be worth the trouble to repair it, or whether it’s just time to bite the bullet and get a new rig.

Edit: Got the word back, and the word is ‘Toast.’

Xubuntu issues

March 23rd, 2007 by sjan

While I am, for the most part, enjoying Xubuntu, I have run into what is a major snag for me. Sound seems to be an issue. While the startup sound plays (via the command line with aplay) the process hangs after playing and has to be manually killed in the terminal before any other sound can play. While that’s annoying, it’s not a show stopper.

The real issue here is getting anything else to play. While it is obvious that ALSA is recognizing my sound card and the proper drivers are loaded (as evidenced by the startup sound playing), there seems to be something wrong with either the drivers installed or the ALSA version installed. The only multimedia player I can get to make any sound is Rhythmbox, and then it only plays the first half-second or so of the sound and then freezes. The others I have tried (gxine, xmms, Amarok, Mplayer) all either freeze immediately (with sound files) or play the first 6 seconds of video (with no sound) and then freeze. Since I rely on my system for music composition and such, and was looking forward to the upcoming release of Ubuntu Studio next month, this will not do.

This is odd, considering that I have never before now had any issues at all getting sound to work properly on this machine, with Gentoo, Sabayon, Vector or DesktopBSD.

I may end up waiting until I am somewhere wired that I can reinstall Gentoo and then add the Atheros drivers and build the studio based on the packages that Ubuntu Studio promises. The only way I won’t go back is if I find a fix before next week when I can plug in and do a wired install.

Xubuntu / XFCE / Beryl 0.2.0

March 20th, 2007 by sjan

While I have been a Gentoo fan for a while (Portage hooked me) I have been trying out Xubuntu Edgy Eft 6.10 with Beryl 0.2.0. Here’s my take:

I have always like the XFCE environment almost as much as I like KDE, for opposite reasons (my tastes are nothing if not eclectic.) XFCE 4.4 is smooth, as always the response is quick, its lightweight nature makes it the perfect desktop layer for Beryl. Even with Beryl running, and Emerald Themes, the desktop is still quicker on my laptop than KDE 3.5 alone, and much faster than KDE on Beryl.

Under Beryl 0.2.0 my ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 actually runs with AIGLX without any glitches. With Beryl 0.1.4 I was only able to run under XGL. (I am not sure whether that was due to the drivers included with Sabayon 3.2 compared to the Xubuntu drivers, or if it is entirely the changes in Beryl.) Even with modifying Emerald themes and running with transparencies, and all the animation bells and whistles, it is a very nimble, usable system.

As far as the base desktop system installed, I am actually quite pleased with the default applications installed. While some may find the choices of programs rather limited, I prefer to have the basics and install the other things I want as I want them.

Installing was simple – in fact, this is the first distro that I have been able to install using my Atheros wireless card. (Thanks for including the ath_pci module guys!) I did run into one glitch – immediately after installing and rebooting my wireless card wasn’t found. Checked lsmod – no ath_pci. So , I tried to modprobe ath_pci but no luck. It turns out this is a know bug and I found the fix at ubuntuforums: put the install cd in tray, run sudo apt-get install linux-restricted-modules-`uname -r` and then sudo modprobe ath_pci. Once that was taken care of it was a complete breeze. I hate to admit it, but I think I am starting to really enjoy a Debian derivation. We’ll see over the next few weeks how system administration shakes out before I make my final decision regarding whether I will stick to this as my primary OS or not. Obligatory screenshots follow.

sshot-1 sshot-3 sshot-2

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Free Source for CSS Templates

March 14th, 2007 by sjan

There is a great resource for free CSS Templates, at (would you believe it)! There are some very nice uses of CSS-only rounded corners (similar to Nifty Corners Cube), some very professional designs and plenty of fun, personal-type designs for blogs and such. Definitely worth a look.

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How well do you really know the GPL?

March 4th, 2007 by sjan

The GNU Project have a quiz about the GPL and LGPL. If you like you can study first.