Last updated: 11 Apr 2008 - 21:41
OpenStreetMap is a collaborative project, much like Wikipedia but for road maps. The map available on the site is searchable by keyword, postal/zip code etc. like other online map services, but the content is completely royalty free, available under a creative commons license. The map is generated by users of the site with commercial GPS units.
Last updated: 31 Mar 2008 - 21:00
Why has the BBC decided to deny listeners access to their listen again feature recently? Until fairly recently it was possible to listen to radio shows fairly easily, now it seems that only a small set of users who are running the BBC's idea of the average hardware and software are able to listen.
Last updated: 03 Mar 2008 - 09:03
I watched the 1996 Star Trek film, First Contact last night. As the credits were rolling at the end I started thinking about that final scene where Zephram Cochrane is "entertaining" the Vulcan visitors with alcohol and his somewhat suspect jukebox. Not a great advert for human kind, a scruffy man getting drunk and listening to very loud music, was my first thought, but after a few moments it dawned on me that he wasn't trying to impress them particularly, it was just a sharing of culture.
Who better then to introduce the human race to the first group of aliens than someone with no agenda of their own, no desire to impress the aliens with the aim of getting an advantage in public relations. I would much rather live in a world where some essentially well meaning oddball was the one to represent me in situations of importance than a well groomed, scheming politician out to reach his own ends.
Who would you rather see make first contact, George Bush or someone like Zephram Cochrane?
Last updated: 28 Feb 2008 - 22:16
After a week or so using Ubuntu on my EeePC, the only times that I had booted back to the original Xandros install were when I had forgotten to hit the ESC key during boot to select the SD card to boot instead of the internal SSD. I decided that it was time I got rid of the installed Xandros properly and just used Ubuntu from the internal SSD. Again the install went really smoothly, using the USB CD drive as before, I did however make a backup of the SSD image before I started. I know there is a recovery tool on the included CD from ASUS, but I wanted a quicker and easier way of getting back to where I was. To do this I stuck my new 8GB SDHC card in the slot and typed into a command prompt on the live CD
dd if=/dev/sda of=/media/disk/save.img
ddcommand for those of you new to Linux command line tools makes a binary copy of the data on any block device on the system. Much like an ISO image of a CD contains all the data to be stored on the CD, performing
ddon a root block device saves everything, MBR, partitions, data all in one file that matches the original block device's size. So I ended up with a 4GB save.img file on my SD card that I put away somewhere for future use.
Last updated: 14 Feb 2008 - 01:01
I have just got Ubuntu installed and working on my EeePC. I am posting this now from within a Compiz enabled Gnome desktop via my WiFi connection, so it seems quite compatible. I've only just got this up and running, so I can't really comment on the long term usability of it yet, but before I forget, I will make some notes on what I did to get here.
Last updated: 02 Feb 2008 - 08:57
Price: £218.99 inc vat. (dabs.com [discontinued])
I would be lost without Tinkerbell, (the name I gave my diminutive EeePC on account of it being tiny and magical.) It's been a couple of months that I've had it now, and I still don't feel I've found any serious problems or limitations. In summary it's an awesome machine, well suited to the needs of a mobile geek like me.
Last updated: 31 Jan 2008 - 22:16
Over the last couple of weeks I have come to a new and significant understanding about the design of modern keyboards, and a way that they could be significantly improved. What is needed is a "Do It" key. No, not the enter key, I mean a key that will always select the fastest route to completion of whatever task you just tried to perform.
Last updated: 14 Dec 2007 - 00:24
Reading through this month's Linux Format, I came across a tutorial on how to write curses applications in Python. For those of you un-initiated in programming speak, curses is a library designed to allow programmers to manipulate the command line interface. Unlike a simple line buffered text interface, curses allows you to print at a given set of screen co-ordinates in rows and columns in the terminal window, allowing you to do much more sophisticated layout. It also handles input and can even provide multiple "windows" within the text only display. Take a look at the Wikipedia article for more sensible info.
Last updated: 04 Dec 2007 - 00:21
After a recent case of excessive tinkering, my desktop install of Kubuntu became terminally unstable, requiring a re-install. After a quick try of gOS I decided to try Xubuntu 7.04 from a Linux Format cover disk before deciding on what OS to install.
So, Xubuntu, another flavour of Shuttleworth's much hyped "Linux for Human beings"? But what's special about this one? Well, the X stands for XFCE, the desktop front-end applied to the Ubuntu framework. If you've played with Linux much, you'll be aware, no doubt, of the big two - Gnome and KDE, but if you can run two different desktops on top of the Linux Kernel, why not more? The answer is, you can, there are a whole host, XFCE, FluxBox, BlackBox and many more. XFCE is one of the more mature and is a light weight yet fully featured desktop. I have tried it before, many years ago, but it seems that it has come a long way since.
Last updated: 03 Dec 2007 - 12:58
I was using my desktop PC yesterday and listening to music on my laptop, I was frustrated by the fact that I couldn't control the music with the media keys on the keyboard I was using without switching the KVM over to my laptop, and then having to switch back. So, I came up with a solution, a client/server UDP based simple remote control system for Amarok.