Nov 28, 2012

Ubuntu Powering Wii U Demo Booths?

Is Ubuntu Powering Wii U Demo Booths? | OMG! Ubuntu!

great! Ubuntu is just everywhere. And in lots of places you wouldn't know it is.

Game performance improvement for Ubuntu

Losca: Game performance improvement for Ubuntu available for testing

good that this issue is finally/soon resolved. Still waiting for my Steam beta invite. ... but not in a hurry, rather want things to work out of the box. I guess much more stuff like that will be introduced/fixed in the next year or so. Like how Steam pushes things there, will get easier and more straight forward to port other games.

Nov 13, 2012

Humble Bundle for Android 4

late, I know. But here it is. The newest humble bundle :). Still great, still drm free ...

Oct 31, 2012

Ubuntu UDS R - Keynote

like the stage, looking good. Good things to happen in the next cycle but a lot of it on the back side. Which isn't a bad thing at all.

Coder Radio - Jupiter Broadcasting

The Modest Rockstar | Coder Radio | Jupiter Broadcasting

Coder Radio turns out to be a really good show. Nice to listen to in the morning..

Oct 29, 2012

Valve/Steam Linux Beta

[Phoronix] Apply To Be Part Of The Valve Linux Beta

Valves Linux beta, finally here. Of course it did arrive just as I wasn't anywhere near my computer.

Google Nexus 10

Nexus 10 available November 13th starting at $399; hands-on photos and video | The Verge: "EASILY THE BEST-FEELING AND BEST-PERFORMING 10-INCH ANDROID TABLET WE'VE SEEN"

sexy, sexy thing that Nexus 10 Tablet. Wonder when I'll be able to buy it over here.

Oct 24, 2012

Mono 3.0 is out

Mono 3.0 is out - Miguel de Icaza

hmm .. so now how do I get that onto my Ubuntu box. Hope this is also soon used within Unity3D.

Team Fortress 2 Is Coming To Linux

[Phoronix] Ho-Hum: Yes, Team Fortress 2 Is Coming To Linux

more good Steam games is always a good thing :). Hope the beta is still on track for this month ...

Oct 20, 2012

Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) release

Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) released!

.. this is the first release in years I didn't have much time or motivation to install prior to release. Ubuntu 12.04 is a great release. And I haven't seen any compelling new feature that makes me switch. My laptop has Ubuntu 12.10 installed now. I'll post my usual findings as I used it for some time.

Open Source Culture: Problem #1

I like how Canonical decided to be more open about secret projects they work on. At least that they now involve some people outside of Canonical to get feedback is great. I think a lot of problems with the new "Amazon Suggestions" feature could have been avoided like that. Sometimes it just takes an outside perspective to see some problems.

And I don't think it is a problem between Open Source and secret projects. Sometimes this is a much better approach then to be open from the start. It's more about the psychological side than code improvements or testing. Often Projects fail because motivation of the contributors fades away. People just tend to move on as they loose interest.

That's why I really dislike bad comments to some newly released code. It's new, surely it has it's problems, just like anything new has. At least some others seem to share my opinion. I think Jono Bacon put it right on his blog:

The Genesis Of Free Software Projects | jonobacon@home: "when sometime decides to create Free Software either as an individual or as a company, they have the right to create the first iteration of that feature however they choose. Their investment of time, money, or both in building Free Software earns them a right to put together a first cut that meets their needs…this is the very nature of scratching an itch."

Comments like "you should have used X instead!" are just wrong. Especially for things that are open and you get for free. Even more so if the one releasing something didn't event get paid to do so. The only thing these comments do is discouraging someone which cares about free and open software. So people writing such bad things are only discouraging other people to do such tings. You are destroying your own system here.

This is something I still see way too often on blogs. This is really bad for open software ...

Oct 11, 2012

Galaxy S III Mini

Samsung officially launches the Galaxy S III Mini with a 4-inch display, 1GHz processor | The Verge

finally someone releases a decently sized phone that looks ok .. can't seem to find a new phone I actually want. All are just too big.

Sep 30, 2012

Choice: None

Right now the only reasonable choice seems to be Unity3D. Developing from Windows instead of my beloved Ubuntu Linux. Shame ... Within Unity3D things are looking good so far .. tbc.

Moai SDK 1.3 released

New Moai SDK 1.3 release now available | Blog

nice, but how do I develop with this from Linux? I could use Chrome or Android theoretically. Where is native support? Can't seem to find anything ...

Tears of Steel

really cool new Blender movie ...

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Pre-purchase XCOM: Enemy Unknown on Steam

can't wait for the game's release. Looking really good so far...

Sep 19, 2012

The Humble Indie Bundle 6!

The Humble Indie Bundle 6 (pay what you want and help charity)

Epic games as usual! ...

Skeuomorphism Is Bad

Will Apple's Tacky Software-Design Philosophy Cause A Revolt? | Co.Design: business + innovation + design
The issue is two-fold: first, that traditional visual metaphors no longer translate to modern users; and second, that excessive digital imitation of real-world objects creates confusion among users.

Sep 16, 2012

Intel and AMD: New chips Win8 exclusive

The Linux-Proof Processor that Nobody Wants:

"Microsoft must be paying both manufacturers a lot for this. However, AMD is not saying the chip won't run Linux, and is indeed preparing Linux support, though not for Android."

yeah, will be interesting to watch how this turns out for intel.

Sep 10, 2012

Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

so much still to do. I hope that at least Canonical has plans for most of these. And I think that Ubuntu should jump to the systemd wagon. Riding one will streamline the efforts and resources needed to create an awesome product. Event if upstart is a better implementation (which I don't know much about) freeing the resources for years to come is something I would prefer.

Aug 30, 2012

Myth of pinch-to-zoom: Apple doesn't own it

The myth of pinch-to-zoom: how a confused media gave Apple something it doesn't own | The Verge

yeah, media and is't Apple dedication. And worse, people starting to believe everything they read ...

What Killed the Linux Desktop (so far)

What Killed the Linux Desktop - Miguel de Icaza

... (a) First dimension: things change too quickly, breaking both open source and proprietary software alike; (b) incompatibility across Linux distributions. ...
good and valid points raised. This needs to be addressed somehow...

Aug 27, 2012

Spherical glass solar energy generator

spherical glass solar energy generator by rawlemon

this is just awesome. Love how it look on that window rendering. This should be used everywhere!

Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children

Are people not believing in evolution only within and around the US? I only ever here that from over there.  In the end, evolution is going to happen to them as well and their believes will disappear.

Aug 23, 2012

Unite 2012 : Keynote - Founders & Peter Molyneux

not too bad, like the new features. Now just get that Toolchain to Linux, not just the runtime :/.

Aug 11, 2012

2-step verification

Recently, I enabled Two-factor authentication on my Google Account as I use it for a lot of things. It's just so much more secure this way. I like the possibilities you get to receive your verification code. At first it seems more complicated to get everywhere logged in. But on your trusted devices you need to enter the verification code only rarely. For my main account it's worth the added effort to make it much more secure.

Aug 2, 2012

OpenGL performance

Faster Zombies! | Valve
Left 4 Dead 2 is running at 315 FPS on Linux. That the Linux version runs faster than the Windows version (270.6) seems a little counter-intuitive, given the greater amount of time we have spent on the Windows version.
I heard that already from different places. OpenGL seems to have a bit less of an overhead than DirectX. But then, who cares if it runnt 270 or 315 FPS. Can't see that difference anyways...

Jul 31, 2012

Gumroad - Sell like you share.

Gumroad - Sell like you share.

That sounds interesting and maybe worth giving it a try. Maybe I've to take a closer look at it. But app stores are just nice free advertising for your app. Getting people to know about your app is a bit tricky.

Still love my HTC HD2!

My HTC HD2 is just a great phone. Everything runs on it, and its still pretty "current" software wise. The hardware is slowly getting old still, need to think about what to buy next soon.

And it's always good to read things like this:

HTC HD2 gets unofficial Android 4.1 Jelly Bean port, becomes the Phone That Would Not Die - Engadget

on your way to work on the very device they write about. (Only with Android 4.0.3 at the time). And others buy more current devices and don't event get an update to it.

Steam Summer Sale 2012

So, I couldn't resist but had to buy lot's of games in this years Steam summer sale. Don't know when I'll play most of them, but they where just too cheap to let pass by. I bought the following games on Steam:
  • Borderlands GOTY
  • Magicka
  • Trine 2
  • Orcs Must Die + Artifacts of Power and Lost Adventures
  • Metro 2033
  • Costume Quest
  • Stacking
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky
  • Dragon Age: Origins - Ultimate Edition
  • Sins Trinity
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  • Dungeon Defenders
  • Civ V Cradle DLC: Bundle
  • Bulletstorm
  • Dead Island (RoW)
  • Galactic Civilizations II
  • Fallout: New Vegas
all for about ~81 EUR. Would cost me now 270+ EUR on Steam. Not bad ... 

OUYA: A New Kind of Video Game Console

OUYA: A New Kind of Video Game Console by OUYA — Kickstarter

Still not too sure about this. But I can imagine that this would make a very nice retro gaming console. I'm sure emulators will find it's way onto this console. That alone would make it worth the money.

I definitely dislike the controller design. Too straigt, don't thing that feels good. But maybe I'm just too fastidious by the well designed Nintendo controllers. Ah, can't really decide, probably I'm just gonna buy it anyway ...

Jul 27, 2012

12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) Alpha 3 Released!

12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) Alpha 3 Released!

Alpha 3 Time already. Usually I upgrade some of my hardware to this release. Don't have much time right now. So I guess for this cycle it's gonna be the first Beta for me. I haven't heard anything too exciting anyways ...

Jul 17, 2012

Linux | Valve

Linux | Valve

After years of patiently waiting it if finally official. And I'm sure Steam on Linux will be awesome. Can't wait to play my first round of Left 4 Dead 2 on linux. Exciting news indeed ...

Jul 15, 2012

Eclipse Bug 368543

Bug 368543 – Odd Display of WindowBuilder in Eclipse 3.8/4.2 on Linux

Thumbs Up to the Eclipse project. I reported an annoying bug which makes the visual UI editor unusable for me. Not even 24h have passed and they are all over it. There is already a quickfix and a patch. Great work ... hope this is fixed with 4.2.1

Jul 13, 2012

OUYA - A Video Game Console

OUYA: A New Kind of Video Game Console by OUYA — Kickstarter

This looks very interesting. Potentially a cheap, good looking device to play around with. I'm sure that it will be possible to run something like Ubuntu on it as well. This will make a great little desktop like that. Potentially also a good media box.

Jul 2, 2012

Selling my lovely Dell Inspiron Mini 10v

I'm selling my lovely Dell Mini 10v Netbook. (I have a blue cover, not black) As I have an other laptop now I don't use it anymore. Besides some small test installations. I still love it, its a great little netbook. The hardware is a bit dated already but for normal tasks it works well. Great for Skype calls, Youtube, Websurfing, writing documents and similar stuff. Not so good for playing games or HD Videos.

  • Intel Atom N270 (1.6 Ghz) CPU
  • 1 GB of DDR2 RAM
  • 10.1 inch with a 1024 X 576 resolution
  • 160 GB 5400 RPM 2.5 inch hard drive
  • 1.3 megapixel Webcam
  • 802.11b/g WiFi card (not sure about n, need to check)
  • SD Card reader
  • Windows XP (I run the latest Ubuntu 12.04 on it, works great, Windows 7 works great too)
  • has no Fan! completely silent ..
I took good care of it and it has no obvious signs of usage. (no scratches or anything like that) The keyboard is very nice. I bought it for ~320 EUR and I would like to have 180 EUR for it. Also, it does work well as a Hackintosh.

- Wikipedia EN

Jun 29, 2012

Build Server Dlls blocked?

This file came from another computer and might be blocked to help protect this computer « jackal777

If you do a lot of work using a Build Server and your files get blocked by windows. This link is handy to have. Very annoying thing especially if you often take files from an other computer.

Jun 27, 2012

Like the idea: Nexus Q

I like the social streaming aspect of this little device. I hope they extend the usability of this outside of the Android eco-system. I want my friends with their iPhones, WP7's aso. to be able to control this just as well.  I'm confident that at least a web interface will be around somehow. Still, I would prefer a good native app. If I'll buy the Nexus 7, this sure will be a nice addition for the living room.

Jun 26, 2012

Google Nexus Tablet as Android Alarm

Google Nexus tablet reportedly shows its pre-rendered face, packing Android 4.1 and a $199 price -- Engadget
this would be really nice. Cheap enough to just buy as a toy. I really don't see a good reason for me to have a tablet. They just aren't useful enough at the moment. I'm sure that will change with time. I hope they offer a decent looking stand/docking station with it. Then I would have one use for it at least, as a fancy alarm clock. I do want to buy some internet radio/usb storage playing alarm anyways. (The iHome iC50 would be a nice alternative for that)

Jun 24, 2012

Why is Linux not competitive on desktop?

ah yes, that's slowly changing. Too slow for my taste. But if you want, you can buy PCs and Laptops preinstalled with Linux nowadays. Still far from going down the road to a computer shop and pick one up. We get there further down the road ...

Jun 23, 2012

Software isn’t Dead

DoctorMo's Blog » Blog Archive » Software isn’t Dead

he's got a good point there. I like the cathedral metaphor :). And it's interesting that Microsofts "Metro" UI makes programming simpler by making the UI simpler (=more mobile like). Less feature bloated, less to code. But also a lot needs to be reinvented for this "new" UI. From this point of view half of it feels like a step back to the 90s. Thank God they didn't reintroduce the commandline.

Jun 19, 2012

Unity 4 Adds Linux Support

Unity 4 Adds Linux Support - Slashdot

Big news today! Now, just bring me the development stuff as well and I'm all for it.

Jun 16, 2012

Linux & Games

Humble Indie Bundle is the single greatest thing to happen to Linux in years

The situation with games and Linux has steadily improved in recent years. A lot can be attributed to the Humble Indie Bundle. And I think the Steam for Linux will highly accelerate this trend. Furthermore, Steam will finally deliver AAA-Titles to Linux effortless for publishers. This will make Linux a much more viable target for them.

Jun 15, 2012

The Humble Indie Bundle V

The Humble Indie Bundle V (pay what you want and help charity)

Great to see this excellent bundle having such a epic success. Over 5 mil. USD with almost 600k bundles sold. This is quite a step up from previous bundles.

Jun 7, 2012

The Black Triangle

Tales of the Rampant Coyote: The Black Triangle

this might come in handy some day. This is always a bit hard to get for outsiders...

May 31, 2012

Vacation: Lisbon

Been on vacation for about a week in Lisbon. Beautiful city, nice people, loved it. Free-Walking-Tours are great. Hostels are nice and clean. I stayed in the My Lisbon Home Hostel. Lisbon offers a lot of beautiful places around the city. We did take hundreds of pictures all over the place. Meet a few lovely people over there and had lots of fun. Visiting all the nice places did make the vacation a bit exhausting. But was still totally worth it.

Next vacation gonna be nice and relaxing with the sea and a sandy beach to lie around all day long. Maybe Greece? Or Italy? We'll see ...

EPIC: The Humble Indie Bundle V

The Humble Indie Bundle V (pay what you want and help charity)

crazily good games :) ...

Game Over for Moonlight

Moonlight sent into twilight - Update - The H Open Source: News and Features

sad, sad thing. But expected ...

Two Guys SpaceVenture

Two Guys SpaceVenture - by the creators of Space Quest by Two Guys From Andromeda — Kickstarter

cool project, would love to see that happen.

May 20, 2012

MOAI: Multi-Platform Development

As Tim Schafer postet a movie about how they are going to use MOAI in their latest game. So I had to have a closer look at it. A few months back I already once noticed MOAI but I didn't care much about it. Nor did I have a closer look at it. Now that this changed here are my first thoughts on it.

MOAI is primarly intended for 2D mobile game development. But it's also possible to develop and distribute Windows and Mac games with a Linux port soon to follow. At least that's what their Website tells us. Mostly as a user of MOAI you code using LUA which is a pretty neat programming language. Overall it looks like a fast multi-platform 2D game development environment.

Zipline Games is the company behind MOAI. They make money from selling Games and Cloud Services (which MOAI fully integrates with). I especially like the Cloud stuff as that's definitely something I would want to use in my games.

My biggest problem with MOAI is the currently missing Linux support. As I develop my private projects solely on Linux (Ubuntu) I can't do much right now. The only possibility is to build the Linux part yourself from the Linux branch. But last time I checked they said it will be integrated soon. So I'm waiting for that.

Right now I mostly use libGDX which offers similar things except for iOS support (which they work on) and Cloud integration. Otherwise they seem very similar. But cloud for me would be a big plus and I would move my development efforts to MOAI with proper Linux support.  I hope that's gonna be released soon.

Logitech Linux support

Performance Mouse MX (and others) Linux support - Logitech Forums

I recently purchased a new Logitech Performance Mouse MX. Basic mouse functionality does work fine under Ubuntu. But special hardware things like changing the DPI doesn't work under Linux. Otherwise, I love my new mouse. The hardware is great, and Packaging is awesome.

So if you happen to use Linux and have Logitech Hardware leave a note so Logitech does know that users are out there.

May 4, 2012

BBC News: Ubuntu's Mark Shuttleworth

BBC News - Ubuntu's Mark Shuttleworth on shaking up system software

Neat to see how more and more big sites report on Ubuntu. This didn't happen a few years ago. More and more start to notice Ubuntu, great trend ..

Ubuntu 12.04 - dislikes

As usual, after the official release of the Precise Pangolin and my first impressions, my dislikes on this nice and polished Ubuntu 12.04 release.
  • They removed my favorite Launcher Feature. As I wrote before, I really loved the Launcher window dodge feature. It was great to work with and with the new edge resistance it would have been so much better to use. Really a shame they did that. Autohide feels like such a big step back from such an intelligent feature. (It's possible to get this feature back.)
  • They changed how Meta+1/2/3/.. behaves. It now only raises the last focused window from these. Before it did raise all windows which I found much better. I used this a lot so now it's a bit more cumbersome.
  • Skype still doesn't work properly. Distorted audio is the norm for every notification. Basically this makes me hate Skype. Didn't try to call anyone so far, so don't know how the audio is there. I think I need to apply my old Skype audio hack to fix this, again.
  • Just like last time I still need to manually edit the Pulseaudio config file and set "enable-lfe-remixing = yes" for my subwoofer to work with normal stereo sound (like music playback). This is annoying and one of the only things I need to edit a config file for (which I still hate to do).
  • I start to hate it more and more when applications create directories in my home folder. And I'm not even talking about hidden directories here (which is bad as well, a .ssh, .config and .local should be all there is). The default Backup application creates a deja-dup/[computername] directory for Ubuntu One syncing. Why not use something like Ubuntu One/Backups/deja-dup/[computername]? If I use Ubuntu One that directory will be there anyways.
  • Compiz Scale window switching seems to have problems sometimes. It happens that some windows end up on the wrong Workspace after switching. Not really sure how to reproduce it, just happens sometimes.
  • When the computer is Idle and the display deactivates it starts to do something. The fans start to spin faster (and with that also louder). As soon as I do something to reactivate the screen it stops. Annoying as usually you can barely hear the fans even while doing normal activities like browsing the web. Like this I can't leave the computer on while doing something else.
  • Focus stealing got a lot better. It only happens very rarely anymore (like while running Synaptic). Still annoying, but mostly gone now.
Thank good that most of my old dislikes from Ubuntu 11.10 are fixed now. Especially the Unity related ones. Unity is pretty great to use now. Generally, my dislikes seem to move more to niche areas. This is a very good thing.

May 1, 2012

Android Ported to C#

Android Ported to C# – Xamarin

pretty crazy stuff. Sounds awesome. Maybe I've to try that Java-To-C# translator on some of my Java projects. Just to see how well it works.

Apr 23, 2012

Dell XT3 - Linux

After installing windows for my job I also installed the soon to be released Ubuntu 12.04. I didn't expect it to go too well as Windows took me a long time to install and nothing worked out of the box there. Windows was quite a pain to get up and running with all the hardware this nice laptop comes with.

I have to say that I'm pleasantly surprised as with Ubuntu everything worked out of the box. At least everything I tried and used. So far I didn't use the Fingerprint reader as well as the SD card slot. I wonder why Dell doesn't offer the Latitude XT3 preinstalled with Ubuntu.

The only minor problem so far is that not all special key functions work correctly. But all the important ones and most of the not so important ones work just fine. The multitouch trackpad does even work better with Ubuntu as two finger scrolling in windows is something you need to get used to. It does work as expected in Ubuntu and has somehow a small input lag with Windows. It's rather annoying as its hard to scroll anywhere with that.

It starts up to the login screen in 10 seconds, which is half of what Windows 7 uses. On my desktop at home I have autologin active as I'm the only one using it. As the laptop is mobile and can be stolen more easily I login every time. Also I encrypted my home folder which requires you to login as this would defy the purpose if you autologin. After login it takes about two seconds to a fully working and usable desktop. It's pretty damn fast with Ubuntu 12.04. And looks beautifully at that. A co-worker of mine was quite astonished at the speed and look of Ubuntu. I think he would like to have his Windows/Mac box be a Windows/Ubuntu/Mac box now.

I did draw a bit with the screen being capable of pen input. It's really nice to see what you draw directly under your pen. The overall experience is better (mostly faster, more responsive) on my Bamboo Fun Tablet. Besides that the tablet has more features. But for rough sketches, quick diagrams or annotating something its nice to have.

Overall I'm pretty satisfied with how Ubuntu performs on this nice Dell Latitude XT3 laptop. Besides a few minor things there isn't any real deal breaker here.

Apr 22, 2012

Ubuntu 12.04 - first impressions

So I've been using Ubuntu 12.04 for a few months now. Mostly on my netbook but also for about three weeks on my new XT3 Laptop and a few days on my main machine at home. There is a lot to like about this release. It's well polished and refined. The Unity interface really starts to shine now. So like with the last release here are my first impressions on Ubuntu 12.04 "Precise Pangolin":
  • Unity is fast. It feels very snappy to use even on my aging netbook. It's great to use like this.
  • Finally, the most important aspects of Unity can be easily customized. And even more using MyUnity from the Software Center.
  • The Unity multi-monitor improvements are very welcome. As a developer I usually use at least two monitors. With this release of Unity it is fairly usable, at least on pair with Windows.
  • Love the changed Unity Dash front page. The old one was never of use to me. This might have (after some time) the applications right there that I actually want to launch.
  • Overall the "attention-to-details" changes made are all really nice and all over the place. Everything behaves better, simpler, faster.
  • Linux hardware support is getting to a point where you can expect it to work better than windows (just like with my netbook as well as my brand new laptop). Microsoft really needs Windows 8 and it needs it soon or they gonna loose the edge they had for so long.
  • The newest XBMC Media Center is very easy to install and very nice to use. With all the Android and iOS apps out there acting as great remotes this is awesome! And it's as simple as logout and login to get to it and have a great media center experience.
  • Improvements to the Software Center are great. I'm starting to use it more often.
  • Desura is also awesome and has a lot more Linux games now. It went from 48 games about 6 months ago to 130+ now. Also I should mention that you can play a lot of games easily on Linux (DOSBox/Wine). Just if the Desura games arn't enough for you.
  • Wine has improved a lot. It works well with a lot more games and it integrates much better into the system.
  • My Wacom Tablet, Webcam and Android Phone seem to work as expected. No configuration or modifications needed.
  • Startup speed is great. With an SSD Ubuntu tend to use half the time Windows 7 takes to the login screen. At least on my Desktop and Notebook this is the case. I have no need to hibernate my computers. The difference isn't big with the short start times already there.
  • Most of the first impressions for Ubuntu 11.10 still apply here.
I like this release, it's a good improvement over the last releases (as usual). But as with any LTS release software packages are not as up-to-date as I'd like. So I already can't wait for an other "normal" release that isn't as conservative. Ubuntu 12.10 will be more to my taste. And I already can't wait for it.

As usual a list of things I didn't like will follow shortly after the final release. As some things I already found might be fixed by then. I think the dislike list is going to be shorter than for any other release I've written one, but we'll see ...

Apr 21, 2012

Trouble installing/running Wakfu

Ubuntu Forums - View Single Post - [SOLVED] Trouble installing and running Wakfu

thank good I found this one. Wouldn't be able to run it on my fresh Ubuntu 12.04 installation without this. Who would think of installing "libjpeg62:i386" on a 64bit system. But runs fine now :)

Apr 15, 2012

Dell XT3 - Windows

As I use the XT3 mostly at work (and for work) I'm in Windows a lot. I have high hopes for Windows 8 on the XT3 as it has a nice Touch-Screen. But for now Windows 7 is what I have to use.

Right after I got it I did a clean install of the Windows 7 (+SP1) version that came with it. After the installation almost nothing works out of the box on this Laptop. Luckily it also comes with a separate drivers disc with dozens of drivers on it. Did I mention that the XT3 doesn't have a DVD drive but comes with discs for all the software? Funny ...

Installation of Windows (+all updates) and Drivers took me about 3-4 hours (constant restarting :/ ). After that, I installed all the software I usually need for work like MS Office, Visual Studio and Expression Studio. All went pretty well and after about 8+ hours I was done with a basic installation. Right now it boots in about 20 seconds to the login screen. This feels pretty fast compared to my old work PC which used like 5 minutes.

As mentioned in my last post about the hardware I did get it to a point where the graphics did start to lag a bit while dragging things around. Sandy Bridge processors aren't known for great graphics. So this laptop isn't good for playing games. But that's not what I use it for anyway. All in all I'm pretty satisfied with it so far, it's a good, fast machine to code on ...

Apr 14, 2012

Hardware: Dell Latitude XT3

Recently I got a Dell Latitude XT3 for work. So far it seems well build and I kind of like the simple design. It's light enough to carry around and has a big enough display to code with. Also the Multi-Touch Screen is handy for me as I do a lot of touch development (MS Surface, WinTouch, Mobile as well as hopefully soon Win8/WinRT).

Positive Parts:
  • Tablet convertible and Pen/Touch usage.
  • Fast SSD is great and likely from all choosable options the most important one.
  • Layout of all Ports. As with my old Dell-Netbook the layout is very usage oriented. Ports are where you expect/need them to be. 
  • Build in Bluetooth and SD card port are always handy to have.
  • I like the Keyboard. It feels good and has all the keys on the right places.
  • The hardware feels very robust and it's still light enough to carry around with you.
  • Even under stress (got the i5 version) the fans are very silent.
  • Hardware seems to work fine in both Windows and Linux.

Negative Parts:
  • The lock to hold the display while its closed/in tablet mode seems a bit hit and miss. It doesn't lock well and often I have to try is multiple times to event get it to lock. 
  • The Intel GPU is a bit on the "light" side. For a Sandy Bridge CPU this is normal. And for future Intel GPUs this will likely not be a problem anymore. It's still well usable but I get it to the point where I feel that it's not keeping up. Especially of course if you plug-in an external monitor. Ivy Bridge will improve a lot in this area.
I think the Notebook fits well for my work. And it lets me work from home/university/everywhere I got internet access. More on the software side later ...

Apr 7, 2012

You want to try switching to Ubuntu?

Don’t get stuck trying to re-create a solution you used in Windows to a problem that doesn’t actually exist on Linux. You have a whole world of new possibilities in front of you now, take advantage of that and question your old habits.
Great, great post! Couldn't find better words for these problems new users have.
In the Linux ecosystems, we do things a little (ok a lot) smarter. Instead of each user scouring the internet for themself, distros do that for you. All you need to do is open the package manager or software store (e.g. Ubuntu Software Center) and tell it what you’re looking for.
Something I see regularly for new users. Advanced users already familiar with Linux will start to use Google again. PPAs are just so nice if you know how to handle them. Also interesting comment there:
Windows 7 wouldn’t install. Not until I disconnected (physically) the second hard drive so as to not confuse it’s little brain. Not only did Ubuntu install, but it set up a bootloader to boot both OS’s with no hassle whatsoever.
Guess which OS didn’t recognize his wireless card?
Guess which OS didn’t recognize his video card, and stuck in a horrible low rez?
Thankfully, I was able to boot to the Ubuntu partition and download drivers for these things Windows could not find automagically.
Have almost the same problem with my netbook and the current Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Also funny addition:
If it wasn’t for mainstream games, there would be no reason for Windows to exist.
So where is my Steam for Linux? damn ... :)

Apr 6, 2012

Fallout free on GOG

Fallout -

Fallout is a great old game! And you can get it for free on! With that you can play it legally on Windows, Mac and Linux! using DOSBox :).. enjoy!

Mar 19, 2012

Ad-Supported Apps Killing Your Battery

Free, Ad-Supported Mobile Apps Are Killing Your Battery

yeah, who would have thought that ... :D ... good thing to add to your reasons for your customers to upgrade to the premium app ;) ..

Humble Bundle For Android 2

The Humble Bundle for Android 2 (pay what you want and help charity)

and even more fun games for all platforms I happen to care about :).

Mar 17, 2012

Wasteland 2 - Kickstarter

Wasteland 2 by inXile entertainment — Kickstarter

Kickstarter seems to really take off for games recently. And I really like that these projects go multi-platform and DRM free. This is a great way to finance games for gamers. Shame that Kickstarter is for US projects only. The German alternative Pling seems nice as well and looks like it's open for international creative projects.

Mar 12, 2012

Mar 2, 2012

Ubuntu Design: Micro, Macro

Ubuntu Design: Micro, Macro
From the comments (by Sicofante):
Besides that, Ubuntu/Canonical don't seem to be certain what an LTS is about. What's a very experimental feature such as the HUD doing there? How can you play so irresponsibly with features like dodge, completely removing it against any common sense and logical considerations? How can you go back and forth with basic applications like the default music manager? You do things like those with ordinary releases, not LTS releases.
well said. Don't understand that stuff either. Too many basic things changed for this LTS.

Feb 29, 2012

Time Tracking Solutions: Toggl

Had a look at a few time tracking solutions. It's easy to loose the overview of how much time you spent on a project if you work on a lot of different projects at the same time. So, I did search for a good solution that fits me. The few requirements I had where as follows:
  • very easy to use (else I won't use it for long)
  • cloud/server based (as I want to use/access the same data on all devices I use)
  • multi-platform (I use Windows, Android and Linux daily. WP7 would be a nice bonus)
  • decent overview of time spent on projects (graphical analysis of some sort)
  • free (for personal use. As I only use it privately. Very cheap would be acceptable but I rather go for free in this case)
My choice fall onto Toggl. Mostly they do everything over a website. Their platform apps (Win, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS) are basically a container displaying the website. As the website is very well done this does work well as long as you have internet access. I'm not sure how far they use HTML5 to make it possible to use it while not having access to the internet. As having internet is usually not a problem for me I don't care too much about that.

I think Toggl is a really neat time tracking solution for projects. It's very simple and has a nice structure. Tagging tasks is a neat bonus I don't really use but still nice to have just in case. I'm curious how long I'll keep using this ...

The Truth on Google+

Why Google+ Doesn’t Care If You Never Come Back | TechCrunch

I think this is very true. Google doesn't need you to come back again and again for Google+. They just need you to sign up and fill out the information, which most (including me) gladly do. Simple and effective add-targeting improvements. But still I kinda like Google+ more than Facebook. It's so much cleaner and nicer to user like most Google products.

Feb 20, 2012

ICSI Netalyzr

ICSI Netalyzr

it seems that this is a pretty cool (and useful) network analyzing tool. Need to remember that one ...

Feb 19, 2012

Multiple Canvases Support for AWT

Badlogic Games • View topic - Multiple Canvases Support (WIP)

love that my code was already useful to someone else. So now there is a working AWT backend for libGDX as well as a SWT backend which are both able to render to multiple canvases. nicely done. This is how Open Source is supposed to work ...

Feb 12, 2012

Need A Hardware Upgrade

So, I decided that I need some hardware upgrades. I really didn't buy much in 2011, so it's time to replace some old stuff and extend some of the not so old stuff. As hardware selection is a complex thing with lots of things to consider I put together a small list. Maybe someone has a similar taste in hardware and finds it handy. So here it is:
  1. My main PC needs a second monitor. I like to use (and have one now) a 16:10, 23"+ and IPS panel monitor. I've decided that I want this baby here: HP ZR2440w (my current one is a HP LP2475w)
  2. Also I want to replace my main mobile phone (an HTC HD2 running Android) with something new. This is a hard choice as I love the Nokia N9 but want to have an Android phone as well. I think the N9 would be the right phone for me. Maybe I'm just gonna keep the HD2 for Android development.
  3. Thinking of buying a tablet. Lots of them are coming out this year. I guess I'll likely wait till later in the year to decide what I want. The Spark may be a nice one for me to play around with. But maybe I'm waiting for something better and bigger. Who knows ..
  4. I'm still looking for a good hardware solution to wake me up in the morning. I like to wake up to some nice music. Sonos offers some nice things I would like but is rather expensive.
  5. Looking into digital cameras. Want something better than my mobile phone cam (which is horrible). Would love a Sony NEX-7 but its rather expensive for my taste (and from Sony). So I guess I'm going with a Panasonic DMC GX1 for now. The H-PS14042E lense (or a similar) would be nice if it happens to fit. Maybe I make that my birthday present :).
  6. And finally I need to replace my aging Netbook (can't play those HD videos). It's an old Dell Mini 10 and I'm not sure what I want to replace it with. Maybe that's gonna be replaced by a tablet. 
I'll see what I'm actually going to buy. Nice new things to play around with this year. The first and most important thing will be the second monitor as its just so nice to work with that. The rest is more for toying around with anyways :) ...

Feb 10, 2012

Small Details Matter A Lot!

For me, today is one of those sad, sad days. Everything was fine until I did read this blogpost on OMG Ubuntu!. It struck me like lightning. Is it already April the 1st? No. What the hell did happen there? What went wrong. I've been using this happily since it's introduction. It's not a great feature, it's an AWESOME one! This made the Unity Launcher matter to me. Now it's basically back to what every other launcher on every other OS does. Big bummer ...

I still remember very well the first time I stumbled over it. I remember how I played with it and later showed it to my flatmate and told him how awesome this feature is. And he agreed. It was love at first sight. We both use it and we both like it today. Back then it still was buggy, didn't work as expected all the time and had its quirks. But it was a feature that made the launcher stand out from others. At the time we all could see the potential. And I do not think that this potential has suddenly disappeared.

So, Mark Shuttleworth writes on the Ayatana Mailing List a few things on this topic. I do understand the reasoning behind the removal. But, in my opinion, completely axing the feature is a bit extreme. He writes the following:
So, based on that, we made the following design choices:
  1. To start with the launcher always visible. This is the least surprising starting position. Nothing happens unless the user commands it. 
  2. To expose an option of having the launcher hide, or be fixed.
  3. Not to offer a dodge option, because users who don't want it always there are perfectly capable of using it in plain hiding mode, and users who don't know what 'dodge' means don't have to spend time trying to parse it.
Point one is pretty clear, good and what should be the case and is expected. Second point doesn't say much besides "no dodge". Third one is a bit tricky. Yes, users who don't know what "dodge" means shouldn't be confronted with it out of the box (point 1). And, yes, users who use dodge can also use plain hiding mode, as they can use always visible mode (hey, they are advanced users!). But what the hide mode users really want is a good implemented dodge mode! As that's the evolution of simple hiding.

To me, dodge is definitely a feature for advanced users. It's basically an improvement to the always hide mode. It's that small detail that transforms the launcher behavior from good (that it hides) to awesome (that it dodges when it would waste space otherwise). It's nicer and makes one feel like the launcher has some intelligence to it. If I have my desktop visible, I want the launcher to be visible. There is no reason to hide it except laziness of the programmers to implement a better behavior. Especially as likely the next thing I do is launch one of those pinned "important" apps of mine. With a hidden launcher that needs more effort from my side.

There has only been one thing that still is annoying about the dodge feature. In the current release it shows as soon as you touch the left screen edge with you mouse. This is annoying for some programs. Especially graphic applications, like Gimp or Inkscape as they have icon toolbars there. But guess what!? They fixed that by introducing edge resistance (which is awesome too!) in the newest alphas for the next LTS. So now that dodge would have been perfect they axe it completely instead of making it an option for advanced users. Personally, I would rather axe the always hide mode.

A sad, sad day indeed. I just say, details matter and this is one of those details that did matter a lot. And definitely not only to me. This is the additional attention to detail and polish that is needed to make something awesome. I hope they leave it in for the LTS release as an hidden option. Furthermore, I hope someone will add this feature over some Compiz plugin to later versions of Unity. It's been too useful to just disappear completely.

Jan 26, 2012

On Code Architecture (.Net, CSharp, WCF and WPF)

Been working on an "educational" project for on of our clients at work. They are migrating to the .Net Framework and CSharp. As an example project that also is useful I (among other co-workers) implemented a nice and simple server-client architecture for an application they need. I'm pretty satisfied with how it turned out so far. The project is almost finished and I've had a easy time tracing and fixing bugs as well as implementing some last minute changes. The architectural concept seems to work well.

Nice thing about such a project is that you get time to have a closer look at the architecture. To have lots of (sometimes heated) discussions with different people about it and to really widen your understanding of different concepts. Also its a good time to experiment with things and try different approaches to find out what works well for you. Furthermore, I learned a lot about some .Net technologies I didn't use extensively before. In my opinion the time I spent digging deeper into these was well worth it. I'm convinced that other projects will greatly benefit from my new/improved knowledge.

The architecture is pretty straight forward and I hope for most nothing new. I've known it for some time but never really implemented it as its intended. Mostly due to lack of time/control or the simplicity of projects I've been working on in the past. This project was the chance to once do things the right way. The architecture is layered and consists of a data layer, business layer and a presentation layer.

Data Layer
This layer is pretty dump. Minimal Logic which handles connecting to a "datasource". On our Server side this is the SQL Database using Entity Framework. On the Client side this is the WCF Webservice. The idea here is to simply exchange this layer with an other one to connect to a different source.

Business Layer
Almost all application logic is located within this layer. It uses the data layer to access the needed information. On the server side it handles transformation of the database objects into POCOs which later can be easily sent over the WCF Webservice to the client. Also, it does data validation and security checks. As our client doesn't do much logic it mostly does data caching and management on that side.

Presentation Layer
This is where others interact with the Server/Client. On the server this means the WCF Webservice. This consists of an Interface as well as the implementation that mostly routes everything into the business layer. On the client side this is a bit more heavy. We use WPF (XAML, Behaviors, Converters, Commands, Data binding aso.) for the actual UI and make heavy use of the MVVM (Model - View - View Model) pattern.

This whole architecture created quite an initial time overhead (which I underestimated). But I think that over time this will pay off. Finding bugs, fixing and extending code is so much easier with this consisted architecture. This will save some time in the future.

Sidenote: We use integration builds and unit test the server business layer. I think with ~70+ tests and a 81,9% statement coverage we do pretty well there. More unit tests would be nice but this covers the most important logic of the application.

There is room for improvement but overall I'm pretty satisfied with our results ...

Jan 24, 2012

Ubuntu: HUD

Mark Shuttleworth » Blog Archive » Introducing the HUD. Say hello to the future of the menu.

nice, I like that. Especially for menu heavy applications this will be great. Much easier and faster to use ...

Jan 16, 2012

Jupiter Broadcasting: LAS

Linux Rocks CES | Jupiter Broadcasting

Linux Action Show is just the best Linux enduser podcast out there.

PulseAudio vs. AudioFlinger

PulseAudio vs. AudioFlinger: Fight!

I like this one. Good comparison. The Android audio stack has often been criticized for it's inability to handle audio well.

Jan 11, 2012

About Focus & Change (on my webpresence)

I've started to change a few things related to my (and my projects) online presence. But first a bit of background and what's there right now. Years ago I purchased some webspace and domain names. At the time has been my service provider of choice. I've had no problems so far and am not planning on switching anytime soon. The problem is that I have to manage the different websites on this space. Updating things isn't very hard but still takes time I rather spend on something more productive. Nowadays there are enough services offered to replace a few things I used to manage "by hand".

For some time I've been running my own wiki page for projects. This has mostly been "private" information about unreleased projects. Last year I already started to use Google Sites for this as they offer everything I need for that. I can keep them private and let others edit the pages wiki style as well. It's simple and straight forward and I don't need to mess around with background technology. I've used this for most of 2011s projects. A few of these will hopefully be released this year. Furthermore, I use these Google Sites as an Idea dump for future projects. It's just simple, has all needed features and I can access it from everywhere without the need to remember separate credentials. It's just very convenient this way.

Also, I've had a personal webpage for a long time now (started in 1996). This page has always been about my projects. Later it started to become a little more about my person by adding a CV as well as a blog to it. The current iteration runs on Drupal 7 which I'm pleased with. But I still want to remove the burden of keeping it's software and modules up-to-date. In 2011 I've already struggled a lot with that (on most of my sites). I already moved my blog off the site in 2009 (and I'm glad you could find my current blog ;). Blogger has been good enough for me and I especially enjoy the good Google integration. So back then Blogger has been a natural choice. I'm planning to migrate the rest of my site to Google Sites in the coming weeks. Mainly this is the (short) information about my projects as well as my up-to-date CV. I'll keep my old site running for some time but will not update it anymore.

This will hopefully free up some of my time for these low-changing sites. I plan to keep as well as the digitalDreams page on my webhost for now. Hopefully I'm able to get them up-to-date soon. Especially I'm sad that doesn't work anymore. That one will take some time to fix.

More on Google Sites in an other post soon ...

Jan 9, 2012

Ubuntu TV for human beings

Ubuntu TV will be an interesting thing to watch. Right platform to start with. Looking forward on how this will turn out at the end of 2012. Maybe we'll really see some first devices with this appear. I hope Ubuntu 12.10 will include some of this work. Would be nice to have an integrated media center in Unity.

Some more on: I Want My Ubuntu TV! (TechCrunch)

Jan 8, 2012

Center & LFE Channel silent?

Here is a quick fix that worked fine for me on Ubuntu 11.10:

short version:
Just put your volume to the minimum and to the maximum value (might need to let some sound play). Did the trick for me.

longer version:
It seems that something messed up my audio channel levels. In my case the center and LFE (your bass > subwoofer) channel where set to 0 in Alsa. Pulseaudio didn't increase them as I increased the volume. This resulted in having no bass and one channel less while playing normal music (annoying). Also while watching Movies (Surround Sound ones) I couldn't hear what they where saying as that is played mainly over the center channel. So movie music and effects where normal but the characters voices all very dimmed down. Understandably this makes most movies unwatchable.

I did search for this but couldn't find anything recent. I opened up alsamixer on the terminal and saw the channel problem. The solution then was pretty simple. Put the volume to min and max and Pulseaudio and Alsa are synced again. "To max" not on your keyboard as that doesn't go all the way to 11 ;). Open up the sound settings and change it there. You might need to play some sound for this to work. Just use a music player and decrease the volume there as pulse has individual volumes for each app. So you don't annoy your neighbor with too loud music. After that it hopefully should be back to normal again.

I suspect that some of the great Humble Indie Bundle Games did mess with my sound as I was playing them a lot lately :).