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Portables

Journal: Creative Zen Vision: M and SuSE 9.3

Journal by Damned

I might have something inherently weird about the setup on my machine, but on the assumption that others may have the same problems, I'm putting this here. Maybe it will get listed by Google. At the very least it will be good for remembering what all went wrong.

I updated my system from SuSE 9.0 to 9.3 with downloaded CDs. Not everything went all that well (mostly because I didn't listen to myself, but..), but everything was working alright eventually.

I didn't think anything was terribly wrong when lsusb gave no output and df didn't show my usb drive. I figured it was a config file somewhere that needed a slight tweak, but I was very busy and so long as everything still worked pretty well (i.e. I could read and write to the devices on USB), I was happy to let things go.

Time goes by, and I decide it's finally time to get a portable mp3 player. I look around and decide that the Creative Zen Vision: M (zv:m or zvm hereafter) looks best. Who could argue with the number of supported codecs except to hope future firmware updates will allow it to play Ogg* and H.264?

I sought out all of the information I could find about getting a zv:m playing well with Linux, considering it uses Microsoft's MTP rather than UMS. I get, compile, and install the latest versions of libusb, libnjb, libmtp, etc. Udev rules are copied, gnomad2 and amaroK are ready to do their thing, so I purchase the zv:m.

But when I get it all plugged in, tragedy. It's nowhere to be seen. What's wrong? I try lsusb, forgetting that it hasn't been showing me the things connected through USB for some time. I assume that this lack of output from lsusb is peculiar to SuSE 9.3 itself rather than my particular system. I write to the mailing lists, and, many hours later and with a lot of help from some very nice and helpful people, I find that it was a configuration issue after all.

How it all was fixed: Two relatively minor changes to configuration files. Because I had updated an old system, my /etc/fstab had a deprecated entry for the USB filesystem

usbdevfs /proc/bus/usb usbdevfs noauto 0 0

A simple :%s/usbdevfs/usbfs/g fixed that problem, and lsusb was working again.

Then, the libmtp.rules file that comes with libmtp did not play well with SuSE 9.3's udev implementation; every line that wasn't commented out gave an error saying that the parameters weren't quite right and were skipped. It took a little looking at the other .rules files in /etc/udev/rules.d and the documentation available online to find out that this:

# Creative Zen Vision:M
SYSFS{idVendor}=="041e", SYSFS{idProduct}=="413e", SYMLINK+="libmtp-%k", MODE="0666"

should be this:

# Creative Zen Vision:M
BUS="usb", SYSFS{idVendor}=="041e", SYSFS{idProduct}=="413e", SYMLINK+="libmtp-%k", MODE="0666"

And that's it, everything's up and running decently smoothly now. It would be nice to be able to see where files are located in the zvm's filesystem (there must be a way. Creative's software must do this, right? I no longer have a Windows partition to check, so it's just guessing.). It would also be nice to see all of the directories rather than a mass of all media files (gnomad2) or a listing of the directory structure of only the audio files (amaroK). If I had the time and knowhow, I'd also make something for moving files from one place to another if we already know their location within the filesystem (like with amaroK and audio files since I told it to put files on the zv:m under <music directory>/<artist>/<album>) even if it was something as kludgy as pulling the file onto disk, erasing it from the zv:m, pushing it back to the zv:m in the new location.

Oh well, it's working now, and I'm rather happy about that.

User Journal

Journal: Herd behavior

Journal by Damned

Well, I finally gave in to peer pressure and made myself a MySpace profile.

Why would I do such a thing when I have a perfectly good Slashdot journal to write all the banal things that occur in my life and/or head? I suppose the answer is that most of my friends don't read Slashdot and my journal wouldn't get them to, but they do have MySpace pages.

So, hurrah, I have become a latecomer to an internet fad.

User Journal

Journal: I'm glad someone else saw this

Journal by Damned

article

It appears that a Danish psychologist has noticed a trend I have stumbled upon. The members of society with lower intelligence and/or capability are the ones having more children while the more capable and/or intelligent are having fewer children.

I find it interesting that in universities, students are informed about the state of global overpopulation and encouraged to have fewer children but there is no system to inform and encourage others in this regard. While the more capable/intelligent (college graduates [hopefully graduates anyway]) are being pushed to have fewer children, those of less capability are dropping children right and left.

Certainly, there is an environmental component to intelligence/capability, but as with (afaik) everything else, there is also a genetic component. Those who would give the next generation greater intelligence/capability should be encouraged to have children not discouraged. The opposite should be true for the opposite.

Of course college graduate status is not the only, or necessarily best, criterion to gauge intelligence/capability from, but it's a good start. University educated people already have fewer children than those not university educated. Do we really need to dissuade their childbearing further?

The people with children should be the ones who will do the best with them, not the ones who have 8 children with no support system and don't supervise them among other things.

I saw a perfect example of people like this on Oprah (it was late at night and I just didn't change the channel after whatever late night show was on before). This suburban family (3 kids) somehow got sent to one of the countries in Africa to live with a native group for some period of time. These people were morons.

The woman (the typically fat American suburban housewife) said something like the hut they were in was the size of her closet and that the daily existence was hard work with complete surprise.

The man described the slaughtering of a goat as "graphic" and "hard" I believe. The hard bit I've no idea what he meant since he wasn't participating in the slaughter in any way. These people also did such a great job raising kids.

The oldest, a girl, seemed to be constantly crying. She said something about how people shouldn't have to kill things to eat after seeing the goat's slaughter. The middle child, a boy, said something like he thought we'd prograssed farther as humans than to slaughter animals for food and had the good sense to throw a dog's bowl into the only source of drinking water for the community. The only saving grace of the family was the youngest boy who, after a short transition period, adapted readily to the community and voiced no complaint until having to leave. This child may have learned something and should be taken away from those parents before they can damage him.

Those two parents, and others like them, should not have children. However, it is people just like them that are having the vast majority of the children and polluting the next generation. This is just one of the reasons why I wholeheartedly endorse the ideas of Professor Nyborg and hope his, and my, ideas will gain converts.

Quickies

Journal: The Gipsy Kings are amazingly cool.

Journal by Damned

The subject says it all.

I got back from a Gipsy Kings show about 12 hours ago, and all I have to say is it was amazingly cool. The guitar playing from all seven guitarists (four of them lefties[for the trivia inclined]) and vocalizing were superb.

As an added bonus, I met a very attractive Bosnian girl there, and the venue was filled with droves of beautiful women.

I would recommend taking in a Gipsy Kings show to all of the non-existant readers of this entry.

Announcements

Journal: Observation made while irritable

Journal by Damned

Preface:
        I attend a University that has a horrible parking situation. Consequently, the campus shuttles are overfilled at certain times of the day. A few days ago I had the luck of arriving at a particular parking lot early enough to get a seat and observe those who were not so lucky. I was rather irritable at the time, and while observing those who were standing I had an interesting thought.

Fat people are inconsiderate. Two or more regular sized people could have fit on the shuttle in the space that one fat person occupied. That is at least one more person who could have made it to class on time. There was also the side thought that the extra demand for food caused by the amount of food they consume raises the price of food for me.

This does not apply to those who are slightly overweight. It, likewise, does not apply to those with a legitimate medical condition (i.e. hypothyroidism) that bring about such a state.

I will probably end up deleting this before too long as it is just a thought that flashed across my mind on an irritable morning.

Toys

Journal: New toys are interesting

Journal by Damned

Well, look at this. Here is a new toy for me to play with.
Not very good for my first posting, but at least now I'll have a place to complain to the world about the things that annoy me.

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".

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