Thursday, 29 May 2008

Step 6... Profit!

Them good 'ole spam messages are getting more cryptic! This is the latest one I just recieved:
1. Find a girl
2. Invite her to your appartments
3. Use subject product V (or C)
4. Have fun
5. Take her number
6. Profit?
Beats me what that means! Maybe it's really a secret code...

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Logitech MX Revolution in Linux

With my Dell Precision M6300, I was given a Logitech MX Revolution Rechargeable Cordless Laser Mouse. There's a review here. This is a great looking mouse with a good feel (if you're right-handed). It has the usual buttons and wheels. Compared to other laser mice, it has the same smooth flow and precision.

The greatest feature however, and it's stand-out point is the wheel. The wheel can change from a click-wheel to a free wheel. By default in Linux (no special drivers loaded) The wheel button itself changes this behaviour, which means you don't have a middle-button (button 2). If you use this for Firefox tabs, or pasting, you will find this a real pain!

Windows users get an extra feature: Depending on how fast you scroll the wheel, the click-scroll will automatically disable, allowing the wheel to free spin for quite a few seconds. When it stops, the click-feature automatically sets back in. You can hear this with a small "clunk". Logitech claims this is great for navigating very large documents quickly. I like it because I like watching shiny things spin :)

I assumed I would be left without this in Linux however, as weird Windows driver stuff is usually not available. Think again! Thanks to Some Guy there is a program called revoco to control it. Petteri R├Ąty (betelgeuse) has created an ebuild for Gentoo. Follow his instructions, and be sure to read the comments, as you will find some useful info there. I had to do the following:

  1. Edit revoco-0.3.c and change the value of #define MX_REVOLUTION to the value you get for you mouse from `lsusb`. Mine is c525.
  2. The auto setting was a bit whacko by default - the solenoid was clicking on and off without even moving the wheel. This worked:
    $ sudo revoco auto=10
  3. Setting the manual click change to button "6" (find button) gives you the middle click (button 2) back *woot*
    $ sudo revoco manual=6
    and also gets rid of that annoying "search" keyevent which I have a keyboard for :)
  4. But unfortunately, when I set the manual=6 option, the auto scroll feature turns off again :| But that's a small price to pay!
Now I can show off to my friends :) What fun!

Monday, 26 May 2008

No Mio P560 for Australia :(

Earlier this year I enquired about the Mio P560 - a great looking PDA/GPS with windows mobile 6. At the time it was "due to be released within a few months". I just got an email saying it will no longer be released in Australia:
Dear Iain

You enquired about the Mio P560 a little while ago and this is to let you know that this model will not be released in Australia.

Sorry we are unable to assist you at this time.

Kind regards
I have looked through so many GPS models it's not funny - that elusive perfect handheld is proving to be very... well, elusive!

Compare the .com product list with the product list!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

CeBIT, day 1

I woke up early (strange bed, you know the drill) so I headed off for CeBIT early, and got there around 9am. The Sydney Exhibition Centre is built under part of the freeway:

The open wasn't till 10am, so I watched people turn up, people have trouble with the magic registration machine, booth babes wander around lost, crowds milling, etc.

The open source conference was interesting. I would like more guts and bolts, but it was aimed more at people slightly more unaware of open source. These photos were taken at the end during the "panel".
Speakers were (left to right) Mike Cannon-Brookes (Atlassian)
Don Christie (Catalyst IT)
Frank Feldmann (RedHat)
Matt Palmer (Engine Yard)

... Alex Lee (Lateral Minds)
Grant Allen (Google)

Shane Owenby (Oracle)

I was mildly surprised to find Shane and Frank in the same room :)

After the conference I had about half an hour to check out the stalls. I saw a very big TV:

and a Stereoscopic LCD:

tomorrow I'll take two photos of it, so you can get the 3D effect!

That's all for now!

Hello from CeBIT

CeBIT Sydney, that is!

Well, it hasn't officially started yet (that's tomorrow). I'm here till Thursday. Tomorrow I'm going to the open source conference.

Here's part of Darling Harbour from my hotel window (made from hugin on Gentoo:)

Monday, 12 May 2008

Dell Precision M6300

I've just come back from a three and a half week holiday interstate to see my new Dell Precision M6300 has finally arrived! If it wasn't for a new toy to play with, I would have found it hard to get out of bed this morning (first day back after a great holiday is usually like that...)

Anyway, now to install Gentoo Linux on it!

The first problem I encountered was the classic install cd "no bootable medium found":
Attempting to mount media:- /dev/sda
No bootable medium found. Waiting for new devices...
Could not find CD to boot, something else needed!
I used the minimal install cd, which booted but couldn't "find itself" (after booting the kernel, the cd tries to mount itself so it can use the files contained on it). I tried all-generic-ide, acpi=off, playing with AHCI vs ATA in the BIOS and various options to no avail. In the end, I copied the install cd to a usb key, and booted from the CD. The install found the usb key media and continued to run! Thanks to here for this solution!

Now I've finished installing the basic system and I have the machine booted and logged in. I'm currently compiling gnome! I'll provide more details here soon...

Edit: 20/5/08
The system was mostly installed within a day. This is my success so far:

Processor frequency scaling
works (2.6GHz, 2GHz, 1.6GHz, 1.2GHz and 800Mhz. Conservative scheduler works well)

works (1920 x 1200 native resolution)

LCD backlight control
mostly works (DPMS works, but I haven't got the lid to switch off the display yet)

Touchpad (synaptics driver)

Hibernate to disk
doesn't (resume properly yet!)

ACPI and power button

Speakers / sound card


MMC reader

multimedia keys
mostly works (Some issue with play, pause, etc buttons)

DVD burner
untried (DVD / CD reader works)



VGA / DVI / TV out


I'll post more details again soon!
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