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User Journal

Journal Journal: NHL GameCenter Live 6

2nd Edit- As Pudge points out the ability to turn off the box scores is right there. So I'm the stupid one on that count and all I have left is being slightly put out that I need to call to turn off auto-renew.

Little first world complaining here.

I did something last week I haven't done before. I subscribed to the premium NHL GameCenter Live service.It is a freaking train wreck. Let me tell you why.

The biggest problem is this - you cannot watch games that have already been played without seeing the score. Their interface for selecting games already played is by giving you a box score. Clicking on that will take you to a summary of the game with the final score repeated at the top. It is horrific design. I really don't feel like staying up until 1 or 3 am to watch a game - but if I want to watch it during the day it means I have to watch it already aware of the result. STUPID.

As I realized it worked this way I dug around their site looking for some hidden way to make it work in a desirable fashion and learned a fun little fact. When I subscribed to the service I also signed up to auto-renew every year and the only way to stop that is to call them on the phone. ON THE PHONE. Seriously. This is such a complete mess. So I'll be calling them on the stupid phone to talk to a stupid person about not making me pay again next year for their horrible stupid service. Idiots.

Edit - I have found one screen that shows past games without scores but they have a 3 day lag. Today, the 21st of February - the most recent games I can watch are from the 18th. Losers.

Python

Journal Journal: Github pays off 1

Well, Pyrrhic REE has contributors. Found them via reddit. This is cool because if things work out the project could end up being much, much cooler than it would ever have been with me working on it alone.Woot!

Movies

Journal Journal: Cloud Atlas - Spoilers 1

I watched Cloud Atlas last weekend. I have not read the book - though I probably will now. I really enjoyed the film. I've been thinking about it quite a bit since I watched it and here is what I've come up with so far.
 
I found each story to be compelling on its own. This is important because the ties between them weren't tight enough for the whole to make up for weakness in the parts. At least I didn't see it that way. I had a little trouble at times putting together the relationships between the stories. I still don't totally understand how some of it fit in, but since I enjoyed each part on its own - it didn't bother me.
 
The cast was pretty amazing. Jim Broadbent is pretty much awesome in everything I've seen him in. And he's been in a lot of movies I've liked. I get a real kick out of him here. The thing I love about the setup with the different stories is how the actors get to portray such really different roles in the same film. I've always been impressed how Tom Hanks really seems like different people in his different films, as opposed to say Bruce Willis, who I like but he's always the same character. In Cloud Atlas, the players really get an opportunity to show that ability off. And as much as I enjoy Hugo Weaving's characters, I'm thinking he probably falls into the 'always same guy' category. If it wasn't for Elrond I would just immediately see him and think, "There's that bad guy who exists in so many worlds."
 
I do have an issue with the Neo Seoul section of the film. I thought it was pretty cool - the effects and the way they showed the future. But I think the whole idea of how the fabricants were treated was a bit unrealistic. The fabricants are too much like people for the way they were treated to make a lot of sense. Can you imagine going to work every day to spend hours shooting cute Asian girls in the head and then stringing them up on meat hooks? That would mess people up in the head. I think the struggle that Decker feels in Blade Runner gets at the truth more of how it would be to try and treat 'artificial' humans as disposable. If the process had been more automated, it would have made more sense. I still liked the story though - I just thought it was a bit flat and without much complexity.
 
I still don't quite get what Weaving's green guy character was in the furthest forward story. I think he's the only one who goes from being an actual person to being a figment of someone's imagination. That didn't make a ton of sense to me. I also didn't get why if humanity is on the brink of extinction, a group with more technology and resources wouldn't want to recruit in others, rather than leave them to die. I get the whole prime directive idea but in this setting it made no sense.
 
All that said, I really enjoyed the film and how it showed the stories by moving through them. It was very interesting.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Using a Wacom Tablet with my Fedora Box

My machine: Acer Aspire X3810
OS: Fedora 18 installed from the live KDE spin
Kernel: 3.7.6-201.fc18.x86_64
Desktop Environment: KDE 4.9.5
Tablet: Wacom model PTZ-930

I was asked about this. I wont have a lot to say because it mostly just works - but I will outline what I've done. The mostly comes from the fact that the one hang up is sort of a big deal but not a showstopper. When I initially plugged in the tablet it did not work and was not noticed by the kde configuration tool. After logging out and back in, the configuration tool saw it but it still didn't do anything. After a reboot, with the tablet plugged in, everything is fine.

I did install some packages not picked up from my initial install. I don't think they were necessary but I got them. They are all from the repos. The one already installed was xorg-x11-drv-wacom. I added kcm_wacomtablet (this is the gui config utility), libwacom and libwacom-data.

Once I did the little reboot dance above I could move my stylus around above the tablet and my mouse pointer would move.

Then I fired up Krita and drew some stuff. In The Gimp I needed to go into Edit -> Input Devices and turn on my various Wacom things. They were set to disabled. Once I did that it works great - with the varying levels of sensitivity to pressure and all that good stuff.

If I unplug the tablet and plug it back in - KDE kicks of notifications that it has been removed and that it has been added back in, but it will not work. Back to reboot land. So - not ideal but really not the end of the world. I don't know what the issue is but I have similar problems with my usb headset. I can unplug it and plug it back in - if it was in when the system started. If not, it's a no go. So something with usb and getting it all to work isn't right. I can live with it.

Books

Journal Journal: Free Books on Amazon 1

Found out about a site this week - Centsless Books that lists books available for free on Amazon. Apparently the list is updated hourly. Here is the sci-fi list. Now I see some pretty good stuff here that is available other ways - via Baen or Gutenburg for example. But if you have a kindle it is rather handy.

I'm reading Drake's "Redliners" right now and I'm enjoying it immensely. But I've always been partial to his military sci-fi. I love all the Hammer's Slammers stuff and such. Anyway - it's a handy site that I thought some of you might enjoy.

KDE

Journal Journal: Little Gimp Trouble Today 2

I'm a Fedora user as I've mentioned before. I do not run the default de, gnome though. I'm a KDE user. I recently moved my main work machine to Fedora 18. I had a bump or two but I've gotten things mostly dialed in. Today I tried to use the Gimp to do some work on an image but it would not start. I tried from the launcher first and that failed. I moved to the console and was greeted by an immediate segfault.

These attempts kicked off the Automatic Bug Reporting Tool (ABRT) and so I decided I should let it send in a report. It did it's thing and informed me that the bug had already been reported with a link to this bug. This was rather nice.

I looked at the bug report and saw that this is an issue dealing with the theme KDE was using for GTK+ apps. Well - I'm just using the defaults and didn't even know where to look to change this so I googled. The answer is to go to System Settings -> Application Appearance (not Workplace Appearance) -> GTK+ Appearance. On the page there I had a few choices for Widget style. For now I've chosen Adwaita. I'll keep an eye on this bug and switch back when it gets fixed.

So if you are a KDE user and Gimp wont start - there you go - that should fix it.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Iran's Fighter 1

The only thing I can think is that this stuff is for domestic consumption as the farce is so easy to see. Is there something I'm missing?

Books

Journal Journal: entertainment 4

I wanted to read The Diamond Age by Stephenson and I heard it is built in a world that follows Snowcrash. So I re-read Snowcrash. Man I love that book.

My daughter is really into a series right now The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. She loves it. I think it is o.k. It's a bit repetitive but I do enjoy the locations the author uses and the way they are described. It's not bad for a juvenile series. I was also looking to do a little comfort reading (speaking of juveniles) and knocked back Space Cadet for the umpteenth time. Which has me wondering. I know you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a metric crap ton of juvenile fantasy - but what about juvenile sci-fi? The Fun Guy - get on that. When you are filthy rich from writing the equivalent of Harry Potter in Space, I want a cut for coming up with the idea.

I don't know if I mentioned the Hobbit film here. We liked it a lot. Looking forward to the next one. Went the next week to see Les Mis with my wife. I had to fight to stay awake and engaged. Sorry - I am a Philistine. But seriously - I took her to see Carmen at the state opera this fall and enjoyed that a lot more. Les Mis just felt long. I did like the sets and costumes. Just didn't care for the music so much.

I liked the new Bourne movie. It delivered what I expect from a Bourne movie. Though I think the first one is still my favorite. I haven't seen the others in a while so it did take me a while to figure out that this one was taking place concurrently with one of the others. (second or third? all 3? I don't know. or as I like to say now, nem tudom.(that's a nice one, didn't even have to switch my keyboard to Hungarian))

I think Scalzi summed up the situation with Abrams and Star Wars rather nicely. But he is a super smart dude. I am not buying Human Division an episode at a time. He says getting it as a full book at the end will cost about the same as buying each separately but I'm hoping that at some point that is not the case as that is a bit steep for me. Maybe I can weasel my way into a review copy like I did for Last Colony.

AND - I just wrapped up watching Season 8 of Deadliest Catch. I've watched every episode of that show there is. I've spent more time watching some of those guys than I have with people I'm actually related to. What a horrible sentence, the grammar not the content. Anyway I like it on account of all the waves and stuff. Now I'm liking the facebook pages of some of the guys and trying to squeeze more out of it. April I think the next season comes out.

I've been fending off the cravings for Breaking Bad by watching Malcolm in the Middle on Netflix. I'm a sad little junkie.

All right - I've got to get back to real stuff. I can't entertain you all day. I'll leave you with two music videos that are so gorgeous it actually hurts to watch them.
Little Talks
King and Lionheart

Programming

Journal Journal: A Couple Python IDEs on Linux 2

I'm kind of an IDE junky. I really like messing around with them and trying them out. This probably offends real programmers who are actually productive. I don't blame you and I'm sorry.

So I've never used KDevelop before on account of I've never really written much in C or C++. In fact while I'm being offensive to those of you with legit skills the biggest thing I ever did in C was part of a project I did in VB 6.0 There was one section I couldn't accomplish in VB so I wrote a little thing in C that I could call from the VB code. I don't even remember what it was - it's been a few years now. I wonder if I wrote about it in my journal here? I may go look later. I'm the programming equivalent of the rich white kid with all the 'bling' who styles himself as a hard core rapper guy.

Well, I'm on Reddit and there is a post in r/python about a python plugin for KDevelop. And as I'm investigating that I see that there is also one for PHP. The PHP plugin must have been stable a while back because it is available via the Fedora repos. The Python one is pretty new so I had to compile that sucker from source. I felt pretty manly doing that. (manly is a bad word for this but I can't come up with another one that describes how it made me feel. i'm sure this is a product of my upbringing and culture and not due to a personal failing on my part.)

Anyway - it's cool. I mean really cool.

I got it installed, played with getting KDEDIRS right, running kbuildsycoca4 a few times and then figuring out how to get this variable set right in a permanent fashion - and then I could use it. I fire up KDevelop, click on "New Project" and I see that I have choices, one being "Python". Upon choosing Python I learn that I have even more choices. Simple Python Application, New Django project and Simple Qt GUI application using Designer. Verbiage and capitalization inconsistencies aside I was pretty pleased to see more choices than I would have expected and doubly so over the last. I chose it and created a project called test.

What did I get in my project called test? Well again, a whole lot more than I expected. It created 3 files. test.py, mainwindow.ui and mainwindow.py and it was capable of running right out of the box. This is pretty freaking cool in my opinion. When you run it there's a little window with a push button and a progress bar. Pushing the button increments the progress bar. Really - it doesn't matter what it does, the point is that everything is there that one needs to get the ball rolling I really, really like that.

It does bunches and bunches of all the IDE stuff you would expect. Syntax coloring, code completion, debugging stuff - all that junk. I'm pretty impressed. I'm a brand loyal person. I love feeling like I belong to a team. This is not a positive attribute on a number of levels but I don't care. It's a truth about myself I've learned to accept. So I really like the idea of becoming a more KDE person by using KDevelop. I've also dropped pidgin for Telepathy and learned to embrace Dolphin. I'm all about the buy in. Though I do not browse with Konqueror. I can only go so far. And my love affair with google takes precedence here. But now I'm rambling.

Another Python IDE that I haven't looked at in a long, long time is Ninja IDE. It comes with a dark them as the default setting and I feel like a rebellious hacker type person straight out of a Gibson story every time I fire it up. It's a Python IDE written in Python. I respect that. I haven't messed with it a lot but it is available via the Fedora repos now and at some point I may give it a more serious spin. I wondered how it would go when they first started and they seem to be hanging in there and building a nice product. The name as a recursive acronym thing is annoying but I'm willing to overlook it. They have packages for Lin, Win and Mac. How nice is that? Try it out. Write a plugin for it.

So with all that Valve is doing your Linux PC can now be your complete solution for development and entertainment. So many good tools just sitting there waiting to be used.

**Technical Note about the KDEDIRS thing. I am (if you read these regularly you already know) of course not all that smart. Fortunately I live in an age where I can get away with it. I followed the install directions and that left my plugin stuff installed into /usr/local but by default KDEDIRS (at least on my system) just has /usr. My initial gut reaction would be to modify it in ~/.bash_profile but I googled it and this was not the right answer. The right answer was easy though. I created ~/.kde/env and in there put a script that set KDEDIRS to include /usr/local and all was well. Though this is why I really look forward to this plugin getting to the repos because then I don't need to worry about this stuff any more. I just fire up apper, search by title on "kdevelop" and clicky-clicky she is installed. Or if I feel like being 1337 I su to root and type yum install kdevelop-python You know what I mean?

Java

Journal Journal: 64 bit Linux, Java, Swing and Fonts

Netbeans, Intellij Idea - both look craptastic on 64bit Fedora. I've tried just about every vm option there is and a number of different fonts but none of it looks very good. I think the Python plugin for KDevelop may be a turning point for me.

Google

Journal Journal: Google+ Hangouts 2

Participated in a Hangout for the first time today. I've watched some that were recorded on youtube but this was the first where I've been a participant. I've got to say that it was pretty slick.

The weak point was the audio. It was o.k. but sometimes there was a lot of echo. Other than that though it was pretty impressive. As our organization moves to Google Apps I imagine I'll be using it a lot more. When my kids see the goofy little graphics that can be put into the video they are going to flip.

The other two participants today were on Windows 8 - I was using my Fedora 18 machine. I had to install something to get it to work but Chrome helpfully gave me a list of options for the install and one was a 64 bit rpm. Nice.

I'm not naive about Google - and things could go all square shaped fast with them but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I love the convenience and functionality they bring to my life.

KDE

Journal Journal: Kamoso - KDE Webcam Program 3

Last time I looked, the only webcam program I could find that sort of worked for me was Cheese - which is a Gnome application. I don't mind running Gnome stuff but I do like having KDE programs to use with KDE.

I checked again today and ran into Kamoso which is working really well for me. There really isn't any lag, it saves videos and photos very nicely. It's super slick.

I never did get Cheese to properly record video on this machine - but I do have the video card in there now so maybe it would work fine too. But I was really surprised by how snappy Kamoso is. Very nice.

Graphics

Journal Journal: F18 - Nouveau Drivers - Firefox 2

I wrote earlier about how everything worked so well with my new multi-monitor setup. Then I started noticing issues. The title bar on windows would get borked up. Right click menus would start to look wierd. I tried loading the Nvidia drivers- they would cause the system to lock up and crash. I went back to nouveau but had issues still. Especially if I started up Firefox. The article on the front page today had a link to Eric Schmidt's daughter's write up on their trip to North Korea. Just going to that page would blow up Firefox. Then when I closed Firefox everything else would go wonky.

I messed with it a lot today and then did something I should have done right away. I went into my settings for KDE, started poking around and turning off all the desktop effects stuff. I want to cautiously say that I think this is the ticket. I'll keep working tomorrow and see if anything goes askew. This is really annoying. I have zero problems with intel stuff - but (and I don't know a lot about this stuff) if you want to run multiple monitors off a desktop machine then that means nvidia or ati and both seem to have their share of problems. I think I'm o.k. now but I should be able to load decent, open drivers that will just work. They don't have to be the greatest - just give me some stable basic functionality.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Ticket to Ride - Europe 1

I can't remember if I mentioned it here but my wife got me Ticket to Ride Europe for my birthday. Pretty exciting. The instructions in the box were in Hungarian but downloading the English version was a trivial exercise. Actually playing the game requires no reading beyond the city names and they are all in what I assume is supposed to be the local name for the city at the time of the map - though they don't use non-latin character sets. If I remember correctly the time is 1901. Hungary and Germany are HUGE. Really - super big and worthy of all caps. There are a lot less countries than now and it's kind of fun from that perspective.

I've never played the original game on the American map. I watched the Ticket to Ride TableTop episode though and that's what made me want to get the game. I think the Europe version is actually better for our family. The addition of the train stations makes it a little easier to complete routes and that really helps my kids. I want them to have fun playing, not just feel frustrated all the time.

It's a fantastic, well designed game that is nice to look at. It works great as all 5 of us can play and the rules are pretty easy to grasp. That said, the fun of playing scales up well with the ability of those playing I think. With my kids it's all pretty straightforward, but I'm guessing with more adults there would be a whole additional level of trying to figure out what others are doing and stopping them if possible.

The game can be played on-line but I haven't tried that out. Not sure that I will. My favorite thing about table games is playing them with friends and family and just hanging out together.

Red Hat Software

Journal Journal: A couple notes about Fedora 18

Got to work this morning and I started up my machines. I went to start synergy but it didn't start. I thought I had fixed this. It wouldn't start because it didn't recognize the machine name. I thought I had changed it from localhost.localdomain in a permanent fashion but I was wrong. I determined to track this down once and for all. I finally did. Here is the solution. (sort of)

hostnamectl set-hostname jr-acerdesk.this.net

I say sort of because that didn't totally work. hostnamectl sets up a static hostname and a pretty hostname. When I ran the command without specifiying which I got jr-acerdesk.this.net as the pretty name and jr-acerdeskthisnet as the static name. So the output of hostname is jr-acerdiskthisnet and that was not going to fly with synergy. So I had to do it again but this time specify that I wanted the static name to match the pretty name.

hostnamectl set-hostname jr-acerdesk.this.net --static

If you are curious - changing /etc/hosts had no effect on this. Poking around I think maybe changing /etc/hostname would have fixed it but I'm not sure. Unless I missed something, and I don't think I did - there was no opportunity during the install to choose a host name.

Next issue was my firewall. It was blocking the synergy client trying to connect on port 24800. There is a gui for managing the firewall daemon so I went with that. The problem is I couldn't get the changes I made via the gui to persist. It took some digging but here is what did it.

firewall-cmd --permanent --zone=work --add-port=24800/tcp

I had to specifiy the zone because I have the ethernet connection on this machine set to a zone that is different from the default zone. If it was default that could be left out. I think there is an xml file somewhere I could have dug into but that's not really my idea of a good time. Hopefully the gui tool for managing firewalld will improve soon.

The kio_mtp work is available in the F18 repos. I am having a very difficult time getting it to work consistently with my Galaxy S3 though. I'm not sure why. The Nexus 7 devices I've tried work flawlessly. Something is up with the phone. I'm not sure what. I'm trying to contact the developer and see if I can help provide information that might point a solution.

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