Adobe AIR Beta for Linux

Wowzers, finally there’s a version of AIR available that has an (almost) equal set of features to it’s Windows and Mac counterparts.

Before you can install this new version you do have to uninstall your old AIR applications (as they won’t work with the new version anymore) as well as the AIR runtime itself. Both can be done through your package manager.

Features now include working trayicon support, kwallet integration and some other goodies.

Using vi as hex editor

There are many things vi can do, for instance invoke other commands to process files. That’s pretty cool.

Since installing Okteta isn’t always an option, here’s a small snippet on how to work simple capabilities into vi:

vi -b myfile
[in vi]: %!xxd
[to return to previous view]: %!xxd -r

Pretty easy, pretty handy. Something to keep in mind. Another thing to keep in mind: Always open binary files with the -b switch, otherwise you’ll damage the files when saving them with vi.

Making the NX Client portable

NX is great. I’m deeply in love with it. Sometimes it’s acting like a real jerk, though. The NX Web Companion is installing a lot of crap into the active user’s profile. The NX client writes stuff in the active user’s profile. Both isn’t really convenient for me.

I prefer to have all my settings with me on a USB thumbdrive. So, in the spirit of PortableApps I’ll show you how to simply turn NX into a portable application.

First thing to do is installing NX client on a machine, if you have installed already – that’s fine. Copy the entire program folder to a new directory structure like NxClientPortable\App (I’ll follow the PortableApps schema here). In NxClientPortable create a new directory named “Data” and a batch file with the following contents:

@echo off

App\nxclient.exe %*

reg delete /f /va "HKCU\Software\Cygnus Solutions"
reg delete /f /va "HKLM\Software\Cygnus Solutions"

That’s it. Start the batch file and you’ll be fine. No need for installations, no files in some stranger’s profile. Everything goes back to your thumbdrive neatly.

This example also demonstrates why batch still isn’t dead: The USERPROFILE variable will be changed just within the scope of our batch file, all other applications will still use the path specified in the “global” instance of the variable.

New nVidia Linux driver speeds things up

The end of the world must be near: nVidia released a new version of their GNU/Linux driver that fixes some of the annoyances regarding RENDER performance. Given you apply some manual adjustments to the configuration the new driver performs in a somewhat usable manner.

It is still far from the beauty that ATI users can enjoy (in terms of performance) but it’s an immense improvement over the old, totally unusable slideshow.

Fixing the “null” date problem in WordPress

If you’ve been a constant reader of my blog (and of course I know you are 😉 ) you could hardly have missed the ugly “0” date in the archives. Turns out that this 0 date was caused by all the old drafts I had saved but never published. Deleting the drafts would help, but simply assigning them a date seemed like a more sane solution. Voila, problem solved.

Building recent Mplayer SVN + CoreAVC For Linux

As Michael points out there’s a slight problem with the CoreAVC For Linux patchset that enable Mplayer to take advantage of CoreCodec’s h.264 decoder — with recent changes in the sourcecode the old script doesn’t produce usable output anymore.

There still is a way to compile Mplayer with the modification, though: Mithun Diwakar altered a patch to work against current subversion checkouts. How long this one will hold… we don’t know. But I think it would be preferable to fix up the patchbuilder. Maybe I’ll hack around on it during the weekend (no promise 🙂 ).

Wuala goes beta, Badges to celebrate

Along with the public beta of Wuala there’s also a new website.

Aside from the plethora of new information, a feature to install/launch Wuala straight from the browser and mucho polished bling, Caleido offers a few badges to advertise Wuala and link to your own shared files (very welcome indeed!)

Unfortunately all of those badges are… big. Many people (including myself) use the common 80×15 badges with the common layout icon on the left, text on the right.

That’s why I quickly threw together two small badges in the standard form-factor. Use them as you like 😉 .

Using twhirl on Linux – the nice way

Without any doubt twhirl is the greatest twitter client available. It’s an Air-based application – meaning you can even use it on Linux.

Now, as you may know KDE 4.1 comes with a handy little twitter client plasmoid itself but the functionality is really limited, the plasmoid is a little buggy and overall can’t compete with twhirl. So, let’s install twhirl then, eh?

First thing you have to do is installing the Adobe Air for Linux alpha. Since the installation is pretty straightforward and the package is an RPM I’ll skip the details.

After installing Air just navigate to the twirl website, look for the “manual installation” paragraph on the right handside and click “Download and install the latest twhirl release”. The installation will start and you’ll be able to start the application afterwards by executing (if you installed it to /opt) /opt/twhirl/twhirl.

You probably want to get rid of the pesky taskbar entry now: With KWin all you’ve to do is press ALT+F3, select Configure Window Behaviour and choose “Window Specific” in the dialog. Create a new rule by clicking New, click “Detect Window Properties” and select the twirl window. Just accept the settings in the upcoming dialog, and close it. Time to edit the rules a bit: Double click the new rule in the list, go to the Preferences tab and select “Keep below”, “Skip taskbar”, select “Force” for each item and don’t forget to enable the checkbox at the end. Apply the settings and voila – a nice, widget-like twirl on your Linux desktop.

The nice thing about twhirl is that it comes with different color schemes and the “Black Magic” colorset matches the dark Oxygen plasma theme almost perfectly.

Yeah, this post is pretty sketchy, I wish I could upload media to illustrate it – but that functionality is still broken.

Wine 1.0 RC

Woot woot. Good things do happen 🙂

Now it’s time to do some regression tests. Without implying bad things here, but people should be very strict with applications before giving out platinum status.

Things like “does work perfectly fine as long as you don’t click button X” or “works perfectly fine but has some visual glitches” usually mean the application does not work perfectly fine and therefore doesn’t really deserve platinum status. Feels a bit like cheating on yourself if you give out platinum too easily. Just my two cents, though.

Adobe Air for Linux

A test version of Adobe’s Air for Linux is available for public consumption now. Tweet-r as well as the Pownce client work fine, there are some visual problems with alpha channels, though.

It is great to see that Adobe does release a Linux version, this should help adoption of this technology a bit. Even better, of course, would be a simultanous release on all platforms.


Composing music can be a very fruitless and hard thing to do.

Especially so when all your music talent lies in being able to play the pianica a bit, but that’s about it then. Thankfully there are several programs out there that will cheerfully make up for one’s own misses and provide easy and intuitive tools.

In the past I’ve been using Myriad’s Melody Assistant. It’s a very capable program for writing and rendering music. You can import Midis, change their notation, the instruments and render your stuff out to an MP3 if you want to.

Recently I started tinkering with music creation again after a long recess, I’ve been using FLStudio and it’s absolutely great. It has all the features of Melody Assistant plus a some real stuff for quickly producing and editing songs. There’s a waveform editor that allows you to do slicing, looping and sampling from within the program, a bunch of drumkits, VSTi support and support for soundfonts. It’s a real treat to be able to do work so swiftly, especially when you’ve got a basic knowledge only. There are several versions of the program out there starting from about 50$ up to 300$. Still, that’s pretty cheap if you consider the costs of applications like Reason.

And things get better from here on: FLStudio works fine with Wine on Unix. It does have the expected amount of visual glitches and minimizing is a no-no but apart from that the application works flawlessly. That’s not only cool for FLStudio and Wine but also for Linux 🙂 .

Quick hint: Use SharpDevelop more often

There are quite a number of things that were stripped from Microsoft’s proud Visual Studio Express series. One of them being the resource editor in C++, another one being a buttload of templates for your project type. Like… let’s say… Windows service.

Now, while I dug myself through the documentation on how to write a service the more obvious and easier solution was ignored: Use SharpDevelop. It comes with a lot of handy templates… like Windows service. It can do a lot more though; the new beta version features support for XAML, respectively WPF, which is quite a nice addition.

So, best thing to do (if you don’t want to skim out the money for the full version of Visual Studio) is to use both IDEs side by side.

Wine to go 1.0 soon

Now that is news, my fellow subjects!

Wine, the not-so-much-an-emulator program that bridges the gap between Linux and Windows, is about to hit One-point-O in a not so distant future. It took 15 years to get to this point and Wine is an absolutely remarkable piece of software. There are some interesting ideas floating out there as well, so I’m absolutely never going to get tired of watching it evolve.

Anyway, Wine 1.0… what can I say? I’d love Wine to be less Johnny-on-the-spot and a little bit more reliable sometimes. But then again, I’m primarily using it to run games like Team Fortress 2, so I’m in no position to complain about freezes. Wine works for just about everything by now and I’m eagerly looking forward to your 1.0 tarball 🙂 .

WINE Nitty Gritty

Normalerweise führt der Einsatz eines Joypads bei GTA: San Andreas unter Wine dazu, dass CJ unentwegt vorwärts läuft. Das ist recht nervig und ein Fehler, der auch in anderen Spielen auftritt.

Im Bugtracker steht jetzt die Lösung: Einfach per chmod Lesezugriff auf /dev/input/event* geben. Funktioniert hervorragend 🙂 .

Ebenfalls im Bugtracker findet man Hinweise darauf, dass an einer etwas besseren Kompatibilität zu nProtect gearbeitet wird. Hervorragende Neuigkeiten für jeden Onlinespieler 🙂 .