Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Updated Wizardpen Driver (0.7.0-alpha1? :p)

Out of the blue I received an updated source file in my mailbox for the Linux Wizardpen driver from a very nice guy called Mike. The driver itself addresses a significant amount of improvements including optimization for performance, which I was completely astonished and blown away by it as I previously have to deal with sluggishness when painting in a maximized GIMP window.

You can download it from the link below:

(*Note: Yeah, I'm being a stupid dumbass for plugging a version number myself... but I suppose the improvement warrants a major number increment ;)

List of features: (*Note: UNTESTED means I was never able to test it myself, please feedback if you had problems with it)

  • Major performance and reliability improvements
  • (UNTESTED) Support for bundled scroll-wheel mouse (I know a lot of people wanted this, hence bolded ;)
  • Pressure sensitivity now configurable (Xorg param: TopZ and BottomZ; range: 0-1024)
  • Reliable button press/release event mechanism (using pressure thresholds)
  • (UNTESTED)Support vertical tablet orientation (useful if are using stacked dual monitors and want the tablet layout to the vertical orientation) (Xorg param: Rotate90 - "0" or "1"
  • [UNTESTED] Ability to tell driver your screen size in case gets confused (xorg param: ScreenX and ScreenY)
  • Debug mode (Xorg parm: debugyn - "0" or "1")

Do have to iterate the fact that Mike should be credited fully for his work and I'm just disseminating this piece of good code :).

Have fun experimenting and post any bugs or issues found!

P/S: The installation steps are already outlined here

(*NOTE: My webhost is acting stupid again, so have to exploit the resources of the "empire" from now :p)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Winamp: It's 1999 all over again!

I have a confession to make: Firewire on Linux sucks! >_<

Despite liking Linux and open source software in general, the only thing that irks me is Firewire/IEEE1394 support: which they never seem to get along with each other at one time or the other, like dysfunctional couples. Or probably it's just the Draconic Apple Empire which decided to screw their firmware so to vow to cause inferno to Linux users (but damn I worship their idol: the iPod).

OK, probably that's a bad joke :p.

Either way, what I used to be able to do it in Hardy (8.04) is to manage my iPod library. What I'm unable to do now with Interpid (8.10) is exactly that: Interpid refuses to mount my humble 3rd-generation iPod. Apparently it is reported that it can be "fixed" by recompiling the kernel without EFI support, but that's something that I'm not willing to do at the moment (mainly due to laziness - I know how long the process would take, coming from a Gentoo background).

So at the moment, it's back to Windows again and having tried out quite a number of players that wasn't iTunes, I find myself using WinAmp. It's sort of a surprise to me and it felt as if I'm back to 1999 (which at that time WinAmp *is* THE player). The few things I liked: support direct drag-and-drop from Explorer to my iPod, read my tags properly and does automatic transcoding (jackpot!). What I don't like about other players: Crashes on me on first run (read: Floola and Froddle Pod), chokes and bloats itself with memory leaks (Songbird), forces me to use a non-intuitive library feature (MediaMonkey) and sluggish UI experience (YamiPod).

Until I can get Intrepid to talk to my iPod and happily reuse gtkpod, guess I'm happy to stick with WinAmp for quite sometime.

And it feels good to feel like you are 17 again :lol:.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

No more shitty Chinese/Japanese display font

This is sort of a follow up to my previous blog post on fontconfig, and also part of my efforts in making the EeePC a simple-to-use and pretty (in my own view) PC.

With such a small screen and fonts, complicated Chinese characters will be rendered as unintelligible white space with black dots when using Sung/Ming fonts (宋体,明体). In this case, Gothic/Hei fonts (serif equivalent to East Asian font) are very readable as it is capable to be rendered even with small font sizes. In this case, WenQuanYi's Zen Hei is the best open source Gothic/HeiTi font (and I even highlighted it in one of my post).

For this setup, I make it more simplistic: Copy a good template which specifies preferred Latin fonts (e.g. /etc/fonts/conf.d/60-latin.conf in Debian) to ~/.fonts.conf. Once that's in place: paste <family>WenQuanYi Zen Hei</family> in each <prefer> section.

Once that's in place, execute `fc-cache -fv` and restart your applications, and TADA! browsing Chinese sites on Firefox has never been more enjoyable with unified and readable text :D.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

EeePC Wireless Toggle Fn+F2 - Quick Troubleshooting Note

Just installed Debian Lenny to my EeePC 701, after screwing my eeeXubuntu over.

One of the most common Linux gripes about EeePC is the wireless chipset it's using (probably Asus should choose a more compatible from the start ^^||).

Have been spending the whole day trying to get the wifi toggle to work, finally I got it to work. Checklist being as follows:

  1. Check whether ath5k is blacklisted or not
  2. Check whether "options pciehp pciehp_force=1" was set properly
  3. Ensuring pciehp was loaded (best way is to add it to /etc/modules)

With the latest custom, EeePC Lenny installer, item 1 and 2 has been addressed (but no harm double confirming it). So should it not work, try to perform Item 3 and see whether that works for you before you ask the mailing list ;).