Monday, November 21, 2011

openSuSE 12.1

I've been using Ubuntu for quite some time now. Ever since the issues I've encountered while upgrading from Hoary, to Breezy, to Dapper, I decided to stick with LTS (or Long Term Support) releases. I don't care about using bleeding edge technology, I just want a PC that works.
Being a first hour kubuntu with KDE4 user, I was a little bit displeased with the latest LTS release, so the past years I've been looking at different other distributions to see which one supports KDE best. Distributions with rolling releases earned extra points :)
In 1998 SuSE 6.0 was released and I remember buying a big box containing 6 CDs in a local bookstore. I liked SuSE a lot. It was easy to install and maintain. The only downside was the RPM dependency hell you can end up with once you tried to install packages that were not available on the CDs. YAST already existed back then and was already doing a great job configuring the system (ncurses based, of course). Since openSuSE is very KDE oriented, I decided to give openSuSE 12.1 a try.
SuSE still uses YAST for most of its system configuration and YAST is still doing a great job. Integrating your system with an LDAP for fetching your users is a simple point and click operation (something that does not exist in kubuntu). As with kubuntu, using the proprietary nvidia drivers is a manual operation. So far, the only annoying thing I found in SuSE is its multimedia support. I had to include third party repositories to be able to install VLC and mplayer (or maybe I am doing it wrong). Burning plain audio CDs from K3B from mp3 is also not working yet, but I'll figure this out some day.
This doesn't mean I ditched Ubuntu, well kubuntu actually, completely. I just wanted to try something different, which is what Linux is all about :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fosdem 2012 ...

... the dates are set. February 4 & 5, 2012 ... yeah!

Monday, September 19, 2011

NK Concept Car, all pieces arrived ... finally

Today the final package containing 14 missing red lift arms arrived. I had to place 5 orders in 5 different stores, for a total of EUR 380 to get all the necessary parts for this car. Most parts (and the largest order) where found in Juergen's store. I am still missing the wheel covers. These have become very rare and very expensive. Since I think these are ugly, I might not order these anyway. Pictures coming soon!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

NK Concept Car

Alright, I'll admit it I am an Adult Fan of Lego (or AFOL). Maybe this doesn't make me a real adult, but you'd be surprised to see how many people my age are still buying sets or creating MOCs (My Own Creations). My love for Lego started many years ago with a Universal Building Set. After that, many sets followed, ranging from space ships, airports to famous Technic sets.
I have always been fond of the larger, more complicated Technic sets. I also remember being very fond of the Technic chassis series (853 ,8860) which later became real cars. Unfortunately I don't own any of the chassis sets, but I do own the 8880 and the 8448.

Recently I stumbled upon an interesting blog entry talking about a concept car for sale on eBay, designed by Nathanaël Kuipers. The car looks a lot like the car from the old 8448 set, but is using a more modular design. It is also completely studless whereas the 8448 still had some older Technic bricks. The car was eventually sold for $600 which was way more than I ever bid.
Since the instructions were also for sale, I decided to buy the instructions and all necessary parts from Brick Link instead. I thought this was going to be much cheaper, but I guess I was wrong. I have now gathered EUR 330 worth of parts spread across 3 stores (first large package arrived today, yeah!). I don't have all the parts yet, but expect to have them before the end of this year.

To be continued I guess :)


Friday, February 11, 2011

TimeLogNG

As a consultant, it is important to be able to track your time spent on different tasks and projects. This is necessary to be able to report everything accurately in your time sheet or invoices you send to your clients. Tracking time can be a tedious process, however, and there are different tools available to help you with this.

A long time ago, I found a tool called Timelog. I can't provide a link to this software, because it seems dead at the time of this writing. You should be able to find it again if you google for Timelog and kclee. Anyway, the tool did a terrific job and was written in Java. The only problem I had, was its inability to cope with different clients and projects. You were just able to track time spent on tasks, regardless of clients and projects. So my solution was to keep different files for different clients. This worked just fine, but consolidating all the different files into one time sheet was error prone and not so easy once I started to work for a lot of different clients. Since it was open source, I decided to assist the original author in redesigning (rewriting) the original application. As a result, the TimeLog NG project was founded.

A few years later, I discovered a new tool that did exactly what I wanted, called Stopwatch. At that time, this little application was still free and open source and hosted on java.net. Since it did exactly what I wanted it to do, the rewrite of Timelog got postponed again (no need to reinvent the wheel right?).
That same year, I started developing Eclipse RCP applications for a client I was working for. I also switched to a different employer and I was asked to give a not so short presentation on Eclipse RCP. As a demo, for this presentation, I wrote a Stopwatch version in Eclipse RCP. This was basically Stopwatch's model, with an Eclipse RCP UI on top. Writing this took a day or so and was ideal to demo most of Eclipse RCP's features.

In 2009, I think, the Stopwatch project on java.net got commercialised, so the TimeLog NG project was reinstated. The demo application I once wrote was uploaded in subversion and mavenized. If you checkout the project from subversion, you should be able to build it with maven 3. Tycho now works more or less and is capable of building an RCP product. Currently it only builds on Linux, but it's fairly easy to compile this on other platforms.

TimeLog NG is more or less stable, but the model is crap, it does not adhere to the ddd principles and it still has some bugs. The model is also serialised using XStream to persist it to disk, which tends to slow down the bigger your model gets. So, again, a rewrite is necessary. It also lacks some features which I think are must haves for a time tracking application. A simple start and stop button, for example, to record work on a task.

So, once again, I will try to rewrite this little application, help is appreciated.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Telenet lanceert Fibernet 40 en 60

Ik heb momenteel een Diamond Shake + abonnement bij Telenet. Deze formule bestaat al een tijdje niet meer. Deze maand heeft Telenet echter voor een vervanging gezorgd. Fibernet 40, vergelijkbaar met Diamond Shake +, maar iets goedkoper en Fibernet 60, vergelijkbaar met Turbonet. Fibernet 40 zou echter sneller moeten zijn dan ExpressNet XL, die vervat zat in de Diamond Shake +. Dat zullen we dan wel zien.

Volgende week ga ik hiervoor een nieuwe modem halen, die trouwens vlot over de toonbank gaan. Het Telenet Center in mijn buurt was zijn volledige stock van 100 modems kwijt na één dag. Een collega van mij heeft de stap reeds gezet en ging gisteren een nieuwe modem halen. Tot zijn grote verbazing werkte er niets meer. Geen Internet toegang, geen telefoon en dus ook geen digitale TV. Telenet was echter zo vriendelijk een technieker te sturen en er bleek een probleem te zijn met de versterker. Telenet plaatst immers bij elke abonnee een versterker tussen de kabel die binnenkomt, de modem en de TV(s) in huis. Als de versterker te oud is, laat deze de hoge frequenties die gebruikt worden door de nieuwe modem niet door, dus geen Internet of telefoon.

Telenet is bezig de versterkers bij alle klanten te vernieuwen, zodat bovenstaande problemen kunnen vermeden worden. Voor "early adopters" zoals wij, betekend dit jammer genoeg miserie en een dag verlof nemen om een technieker te laten komen.
Ik heb alvast een bericht gestuurd naar de helpdesk en ben in blijde verwachting van een antwoord.

UPDATE 21-01-2011: Mails beantwoorden bij Telenet gaat niet zo vlot, dus heb ik zelf eens gebeld. Volgens hen heb ik dus inderdaad een verouderde versterker en kan ik die ook inruilen in een Telenet Center. Volgens deze link moet de versterker signalen van 5 tot 65 MHz doorlaten. Op mijn versterker staan lijntjes in 2 kleuren. Groen; met daarop 10-25MHz en zwart; met daarop 108-860MHz. Het groene lijntje telt dus blijkbaar (-6 dB).

UPDATE 24-01-2011: Deze ochtend ging ik niets vermoedend naar het Telenet Center in de buurt om mijn huidige modem in te ruilen voor een Fibernet 40 exemplaar. De vriendelijke persoon aan de andere kant van de toonbank wist mij echter te vertellen dat Telenet in een interne mailing vrijdagavond beslist heeft om de gratis doe-het-zelf installatie af te schaffen. Iedereen, dus ook bestaande klanten, moet dus een technieker laten langskomen. Dit was een dikke streep door mijn rekening, want ik had hiervoor vandaag verlof genomen. Even bellen met Telenet dus :/
Gelukkig hebben ze mij snel kunnen helpen en konden ze in de namiddag al een technieker langs laten komen. NU dus :) Ik schrijf dus deze update via de nieuwe Fibernet 40 verbinding.

De nieuwe modem heeft intern reeds een draadloze router aan boord. Dit wil zeggen dat de adressen die uitgedeeld worden in het 192.168.0.x netwerk segment zitten. Ik had eigenlijk al een router en ben voorlopig niet van plan deze op te geven. Hij dient immers als centrale server voor opslag en printen. Doordat deze in het 192.168.1.x netwerk segment adressen uitdeelt kan ik deze nog steeds gebruiken, ook al zit hij achter een andere router. 2 keer NAT dus, wat wel een beetje vertraging betekend, veronderstel ik.