Back from holidays

We spent previous two weeks on so called holidays. Why “so called”?

They were quite exhausting two weeks — first two days trip from Poznań to my parents which live in Olecko. We did a break in Grudziądz — I recommend “City” hotel if someone will go there.

On Tuesday I had crazy trip to London, UK… First train, then train, then 3rd train… Lunch in “Złote tarasy” shopping centre and then public bus to Warsaw “Okęcie” airport. Few hours later landed on Luton airport and finally after 13h trip I was at hotel. But that trip was worth it — we were informed that there is no OpenedHand anymore, we “are” Intel now (“” because we needs to sign papers etc).

Two days later even more crazy trip back… This time from Heathrow airport to Warsaw and then night public bus to Olecko (I got sitting place after 4h of standing). Nothing strange that I was zombie on my brother’s wedding which took place on same day when I got back…

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But finally I was able to make use of free time — walking though Olecko is good thing. There are many green places, no big traffic etc. Great place for holidays. And there are many lakes around… This year (as we do each year) we also walked around “Olecko Duże” lake — this takes few hours as whole path is over 12 km long but it is worth doing.

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In meantime we made short trip to Vilnius, Lithuania where we visited some interesting places and on back trip enjoyed visiting Trakai castle.

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It was maybe a bit exhausting some times but overall I enjoyed that time.

What do I do for living

Recently my mother asked me what exactly I do for a living. As she is not type of computer person I had to create definition which would be easy to understand for normal people. And as from time to time people asks me same question here is what I told her.

When hardware vendor builds new hardware and want to sell it to end customers he cames to us to get help on software side. As my part is building whole systems rather then single applications I took her phone as example of device and told:

Your phone is able to do many things:

  • make, receive and reject calls
  • send/receive text/voice/video messages
  • make/show/send photos/videos
  • has addressbook
  • has calendar
  • has menu to choose functions etc…

Each part is handled by separate application and my job is to build them into something what hardware vendor can put on a device before shipping it to end customer.

She was happy with that explanation, even my wife told that it is nice summary of what I do for a living. Of course there are more things which I do at work, but how to tell that I am fixing badly written software or do some testing of new ways to build it…

KDE 4.1? No, thanks

I am using KDE since switched from Duron 600 to Athlon XP (few years ago). IIRC it was 3.1.something then. It was nice improvement from my desktop built on ROX-Filer + gnome-panel and WindowMaker. Time passed, my machines got faster and faster, 3D hardware acceleration was added with NVidia cards and then KDE 4 started to appear…

I installed KDE 4 on my desktop and tried to use it for few months. First it was 4.0.x but I upgraded to 4.1-svn packages when they started to be available for Debian. Ideas which KDE team has are nice but usability of such desktop is much worse then KDE 3.5.9 one 🙁 Too much bling, too less features so I “upgraded” back to 3.5.9 to get nicely working system.

What did I lose with KDE 4.1 (tried final release yesterday):

  • fast desktop switching (if there is Konsole open on desktop it will render for long time)
  • fast Konsole tab switching (I have 2-8 tabs in terminal)
  • ability to set/move panel at any edge of screen (now I use top panel, used more)
  • ability to reorder applets/plasmoids in panel (ops – there is a way but not as intuitive as it was in 3.5)
  • Klipper is not usable (crash on nearly each use, not launching browser)

From what I read on KDE website Konsole problems are related to NVidia cards and workaround is given. I wonder why there is no check in preferences “I have NVidia — do not use ARGB windows then” or other way. I think that it should be easy to check with few function calls which OpenGL libs are in use…

Looks like now I have to wait to 2009 for KDE 4.2 and then check does it behave or not. Or maybe it is time to check XFCE or other environment?

Nokia N8x0 emulation part II

My previous post about Nokia N800 tablet emulation became one of popular ones. On LinuxTag I shown Maemo booting in QEmu and it was met with nice response from community. But the problem remained — how to boot it when config.mtd which I used was not distributable…

Yesterday I solved that part. After studying how Maemo boots and why does QEmu restarts with wrong config.mtd I grabbed that partition from my N810 and tried again. This time OS2008/Chinook booted fine 🙂

What is needed? Tablet needs to have “no-lifeguard-reset” flag set. IT can be done by using flasher as this is one of R&D flags. I had it set on my N810 because I did experiments with booting from internal SD card in past.

Maemo OS2008 (Chinook) on emulated N800 - first screen Maemo OS2008 (Chinook) on emulated N800 - desktopMaemo OS2008 (Chinook) on emulated N800

Thanks to Faheem Pervez (more widely known as “qwerty12”) who sent me config.mtd dumps (without R&D and with “no-lifeguard-reset”) from his N800 I was able to confirm that this is all what is needed.

Next step will be updating qemu to more recent revision to get N810 emulation (which is present in HEAD) and getting Diablo booted.

UPDATE: Diablo booted on emulated N800 and N810:

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Nokia N810 emulation is more useful as there is a keyboard attached so no need for use of onscreen input methods. There are some things to remember anyway:

  • Alt(Gr) behave like Fn (with sticky status)
  • no CapsLock (but Shift works like on N810 so no big loss)
  • no numeric row — to get “5” press “Alt+t” like on N810
  • some of other keys are also in weird places
  • Right Shift does not work (N810 has 2 Left Shifts)

NOTE: This is QEmu HEAD — no extra patches were needed to boot Chinook on emulated N800. To boot Diablo “hw/nseries.c” file needs to be edited to change partition info (initfs is twice as big compared to Chinook).