Showing posts from October, 2008

iPod Touch: A Major Mystery Solved, and New Toys

The Great Crashing Mystery and the new toy are intertwined, so I'll start with the new toy first and then show how it led to Solving the Great Crashing Mystery.

The latest free new toy to be installed on my Touch is Google Earth. I installed it via App Store; it's currently #1 in the top 25 free apps.

After installation I tried to run it and it crashed almost immediately. And it crashed every time I tried to start it. I was already having to deal with a crashing web browser (Safari) and the New York Times news browser, but a crashing Google Earth was just too much. So I went looking at the Google Earth reviews in the App Store and it wasn't long before one commenter remarked that he stopped the Google Earth crashes by resetting his Touch; that is, by turning it off. So I did that, and lo and behold Google Earth no longer crashed.

Not only that, but Safari and the New York Times news browser stopped crashing as well. I have no idea why they were crashing before, or why 're…

My Tax Dollars at Work - The Florida State Capitol

I know it's been documented before. I mean, it even has an entry describing its 'somewhat' phallic symbolism in Wikipedia. But for the first time in the twenty-four-plus years I've lived in Florida, I finally noticed the grand phallic symbol that is Florida's State Capitol.

It was a perfect late autumn Florida day, with low humidity, in the mid 70's, and not a cloud in the sky. I crested a hill while driving and there it stood in all its radiant glory before me. You can see it quite clearly driving west on Apalachee Parkway, right as you crest the hill between Marriott Drive and Broward Street. I stopped just long enough to step out of the car and take this shot with my Olympus E-300 and a 40-150mm zoom at 150mm. And to think, outside of F.S.U., I labored under the delusion all these years that there wasn't anything worth seeing in Tallahassee.

Memory issues: Firefox 3.0.2 and Mandriva 2008.1

I've still got Mandriva 2008.1 installed on europa, the aging 32-bit Athlon XP system, and I'm running Firefox 3.0.2 I had downloaded from Mozilla and installed (untarred) into my home directory. Up to this point I've not had any memory issues, but today I happened to look up at the system monitor running in my upper panel and saw that a good chunk of the 2GB of system memory was consumed along with 1GB of swap. So I opened system monitor, then exited Firefox and watched memory consumption. Sure enough nearly all swap was recovered as was nearly 1.75GB of system memory.

Normally my Mandriva box stays up all the time along with a single instance of Firefox with multiple tabs, and I don't usually have any problems. Firefox this time had 21 tabs open, which is not a lot for me.

The image to the right shows memory usage right before I exited Firefox. I let the system sit 'idle' for a few moments before I restarted Firefox again. You can see the corresponding network …

iPod Touch: One Month On

I purchased the latest generation iPod Touch 2G (32Gb storage) a week after it was released. I've had a chance to work with it, loading applications, surfing the web, playing audio and video as well as working with the iTunes store.

What I've enjoyed the most has been the Touch's video playback. It's been clear and beautiful on my device. The playback has been silky smooth, with no jumps or stutters. I've downloaded a few TV shows from iTunes, both free and for-pay, and I've enjoyed watching them all. I've taken a few screen shots of some of the video playback and stitched the frames together to avoid chewing up too much screen real-estate as well as providing multiple frame comparisons. The first four frames were from the Battlestar Galactica episode "He That Believeth In Me", an iTunes freebee. Note the clarity of the frames, especially around detail in highly complex scenes such as the first and third. Note also, as in the second, the smooth tra…

Learning to like KDE again

Back in July I made the rather silly proposal to 'fork' KDE 3 to using Qt4. I made that proposal based on my negative experiences with KDE 4.0, before actually checking out the KDE 3 code and performing even a cursory review of the code base. I eventually performed those actions and came to really understand how complex and convoluted the KDE 3 codebase had grown over the years. And I came to appreciate, as others had warned, how difficult a task it would be.

It was only a short matter of time after making that announcement before KDE 4.1 was released. And with that release have come new releases of distributions that use it. An excellent example of a KDE 4.1 DE/distribution release is, in my opinion, Mandriva 2009. The more I work with the latest version of Mandriva and KDE 4.1.2 the more comfortable I am with the entire distribution. I honestly haven't felt this good about a Linux distribution using KDE since openSUSE 10.2 and KDE 3.

I believe the best course of action now…

Mandriva 2009

Madriva released 2009.0 today, and I downloaded and tested the Mandriva One KDE 4.1 live version. The system booted up without any issues. Once up and running I was able to quickly tweak the look-and-feel to something I liked, as can be seen below.

With one interesting issue, everything Just Works with Mandriva One 2009. The one notable exception is Compiz. Mandriva One comes bundled with the AMD/ATI video drivers, and Mandriva One uses the commercial driver as you can see below.

Outside of the Compiz issue, everything seems to be working just fine, although it seems to be shipping with pre-release versions of Open Office (OOO300m7) and the kernel (2.6.27.rc8). Overall I'm quite pleased that this version of Mandriva is working on europa, which is approaching its fifth birthday. It's performance is quite good, even for a live CD version. I've been thinking of rebuilding europa with a low-cost, low-power quad-core Phenom processor with 4GB of DRAM and 1TB of disk space. I'…