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Håvard invited me to Spotify the other day. For those who don't know, Spotify is sort of like iTunes, only better, and free. You get to stream all the music you like, from most of the major and a lot of the minor labels, in return for listening to the odd advertisment.
I've been streaming for quite a few hours now, and I've still not heard a single ad. But then again, Spotify is still in beta, so I assume thecontent/ad ration will decrease as time goes by.
My taste in music may be a bit eclectic, but I've been able to find a lot of the instrumental weird stuff I prefer for coding. However, there are still a lot of stuff "missing" compared to what you can find in your local store, especially if you consider, say, Norwegian music. And no Beatles, either. However, it's free, so who's complaining?:)
Well, I have three minor complains. First, the client is for Windows. It works in Wine, and they even explain how to run it in Wine on the Spotify pages -- kudos for that! (Of course, I had to kill and terminate PulseAudio again, since that pile of crap usually fucks up everything sound-related on my system). Second, the client is closed source, so it's not possible to fix the few minor annoyances it comes with, nor is it possible to port to Linux. When you need to lock down the music behind a DRM scheme so that people won't rip it and share it outside Spotify, it certainly easier, and perhaps even safer, to go closed.Third, the audio quality is sometimes abysmal, as if they'd encoded the stuff in 64kbit/sec. However, this may very well be due to Wine and not Spotify. I'll keep digging.
Then again, Spotify is free and in no way imposed on me, so I don't have much grounds for complaint, really:)
Like last year, I'm going to FOSDEM. Last year, I traveled from Paris with the express train (great experience). This year, it's back to planes again. Not looking forward to the security hysteria.
If you're interested in meeting me there, don't hesitate to fire off an e-mail.
I hate ESD. I strongly dislike artsd. I was intrigued by NAS, but then I used it for a while. The idea of a sound server seems so appealing, but nobody appears to be able to get it to work, and least of all the PulseAudio people.
Of course I'm being too harsh here, but I'm royally fed up with sound not working out of the box like it should. It's 2008. People have farted on the Moon. How hard can it be to replay recordings of that on bog standard laptop?
It appears to my untrained eye that mplayer, vlc and miro all default to using PulseAudio on Hardy. It further appears that the PulseAudio server is not installed by default, at least not in Xubuntu. This gives rise to the royally entertaining snippets:
AO: [pulse] Failed to connect to server: Connection refused MPlayer interrupted by signal 11 in module: ao2_init - MPlayer crashed by bad usage of CPU/FPU/RAM.
bind: No such file or directory *** PULSEAUDIO: Unable to connect: Connection refused gxine has suffered a fatal internal error. To get a backtrace, run gxine in a debugger such as gdb.
INFO Playing item with renderer:
WARNING downloader: connection closed -- quitting INFO Shutting down downloaders... Segmentation fault
Is Linux ready for the mainstream? Is Ubuntu?
Anyway, the solution to the above problems are:
- sudo nano /etc/mplayer/mplayer.conf
And rewrite the ao= to
- sudo rm /usr/lib/xine/plugins/1.20/xineplug_ao_out_pulseaudio.so
Less cautious people than myself might instead add a ~/.mplayer/config with containing ao=alsa and rename, instead of remove, the pulseaudio support from the libxine1-misc-plugins package. But that's less cautious people.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster help you if you decide to go the other route: install PulseAudio. Despair, delirium and dismay lies down that path, and nothing else.
I have had my PS3 for almost a year now. and I've rarely had time to use it. Now that I finally do, I find that it's already outdated: the 1.92 firmware won't allow me to log on to the Playstation Store at all.
I would have upgraded the firmware without a second thought if it weren't for the "RSX issue". In firmwares prior to 2.10, the hypervisor contains a vulnerability which allows the operating system to access the nVidia G70-based GPU. My primary goal for bying the PS3 was to code multicore programs and playing with graphics, so I have some incentive to retain GPU access. Of course, downgrading firmwares isn't possible unless I buy a modchip, and this one is near impossible to solder.
However, even if I keep the RSX hole open by not upgrading the firmware, there's actually no OpenGL implementation that will work with the GPU. The closest thing is the Nouveau driver, but that's a long way off, and nobody appears to be working on the PS3-specific parts. I'm guessing that if anything will materialize from this, it will be far into the future.
All hope is not lost, however. There's a Cell-based driver for Mesa under development by Tungsten Graphics and friends. They claim to want full GLSL support eventually, but that will take a lot of time and effort.
I'll delay the firmware update for a few more days, and check if there are any opportunities I've overlooked. There's something fundamentally upsetting by being at the mercy of big corporations. I bought the box. I want to use it for writing my own programs. Why should that be such a crime?
I've been using XFCE on my laptop for a while now, and there's a lot I like about it. It's clean, minimal and responsive. The majorest annoyance I've encountered is its propensity to move windows between desktops automatically.
Whenever a window gains focus, it will be moved to the currently active desktop. After a while, all the windows will have migrated to the same desktop, and the point of multiple desktop metaphor is pretty much moot.
This is especially annoying whenever I hit a link in the console, on IRC or in an e-mail: Firefox will move over to my current desktop, and I always have to "push it back" to its proper desktop. (Incidentally, Firefox always lives on desktop #2 in my world, whereas IRC is on desktop #1, and my real work happens on #3, #4 and #5).
I've looked at this issue before, not there's no documented way of fixing it. I jumped onto IRC today, and got the following:
22:05 < TheSheep> karltk: http://sheep.art.pl/2007-09-08_Firefox_jumping_between_workspaces_in_XFCE
The solution descriped there is simple, add
to your ~/.config/xfce4/xfwm4/xfwm4rc (then restart the XFCE window manager). This will ensure that the Firefox (and other programs) stay on their respective desktops, but that the active desktop changes, i.e. the window stays, you move. And that's the way I like it.
(Oh, and I love IRC. Say what you will about "everybody" using MSN and GTalk, but when I need some actual substance, there's no substitute for the realtime support on IRC.)
I'm going to FOSDEM again this year. A bunch of old friends will be coming, so the opportunity is too good to pass up. Also, since I'll be in Paris at the time around FOSDEM, travel is both fast and reasonably cheap. (Three cheers for high speed trains.)
If you're interested in meeting me there, don't hesitate to fire off an e-mail. There's no Gentoo room this year, so I'll be hanging around elsewhere. I'm bound to drop by the Free Java devroom, for sure:) Another gang I'm anxious to meet again are the Nix people.
I had the good fortune of buying the Lexmark E250dn laser printer about a month ago. It's a networked printer with a duplexer, all for less than 2000 NOK. Unfortunately, the necessary printer drivers are not part of Foomatic (yet). However, when I browsed the Lexmark support pages, all the printer defintions (PPD) were available as a simple download. Once I added them via the KDE control panel (and the GNOME printer setup tool), all my Linux boxes were able to print flawlessly with it.
Today, I had to install the same printer on a new different machine, so I visited Lexmark again. This time, the PPDs were gone. The only thing I could find was a 25MB .deb download which, once I had fetched it, didn't contain a single useful file. Apparently, it contains a derivative of an old LPD-based printing system.
For convenience, I've posted the tarball with the PPDs. This contains all you need for running this printer with CUPS. Hopefully, a convenient download of these files will reappear on the Lexmark pages, as well as becoming a standard part of future releases of Foomatic.