28 giugno 2007

How Envy blew up xorg

Two days ago I installed Ubuntu 7.04 for the n-th time. I am motivated to add a piece every day until I will reach a good substitute for my Windows PC iMac. (Well, windows vs ubuntu is not a fair match...). The installation worked flawlessly. Yesterday I installed ies4linux, aka Internet Explorer for Linux. Runs perfectly on Ubuntu, and allows to navigate sites IE only even if they use M$ proprietary technologies like asp and ActiveX.

So this evening I wanted to install Beryl. Let's see what's did go wrong. [Note: using Vista@work and to Tiger@home, I could not resist installing a lights and candies GUI for linux: my problem.]

Here I found a command to verify the direct rendering, needed to run Beryl:

$ glxinfo | grep direct

$ direct rendering: No

No direct rendering? I had to update nVidia drivers (I have a nVidia video card, of course). I used Envy, an automatic video driver updater for Linux. Ok, let's try. Blam! xorg doesn't starts anymore. Linux isn't Windows, so I log on in text mode, seep through /etc/X11 and rename xorg.conf to xorg.conf.rtfm, and pick xorg.conf.backup (thanks God it's backup day) to xorg.conf.

$ sudo mv xorg.conf xorg.conf.rtfm

$ sudo mv xorg.conf.backup xorg.conf

$ startx, and everything is gonna be all right. No, the average salesman couldn't perform even such a simple repair, and this would have move him/her far away from Linux at least for 10 years. Alberto, please, add a routine to test if at the next reboot the system is running at the required runlevel.
The dwarf (nano, in Italian) is a tribute to nano, the text editor I used to find the difference between xorg.conf and xorg.conf.backup. The command I typed was

$ sudo nano xorg.conf
(incidentally, "sudo nano" means "I sweat, dwarf" in Italian, which is rather funny for a terminal command...)

Nano (text editor) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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26 giugno 2007

CPDL is down?

Testing a new search engine to retrieve free music scores (you can find the link here), I didn't reach to browse on, home of the Choral Public Domain Library. I tried with several DNS resolvers, but not to avail. I hope it would be just a temporary down.

And if you have news regarding cpdl, please: let me know.

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23 giugno 2007

How to recover files from a damaged CD/DVD

If you, just like me, have had enough of I/O errors reading your optical media, this post is for you.
This method allows for recovering files from damaged CD/DVD by copying them byte to byte, using the Unix command dd.

WARNING: dd is a very powerful program, and if misused, can literally erase everything on your hard drives. And worst, dd is a no-warning, no-second-think, advanced-users only, Unix-style mean and lean program. See dd entry on Wikipedia for details.

This is the command you should run:
dd if=/Volumes/MY_DYD/File_to_retrieve.ext of=/Users/myuser/myfolder/File_retrieved.ext bs=512 conv=noerror, sync

dd: the command
if: input file
of: output file
bs: bytes size [512 bytes]
conv: conversion options [noerror, don't halt on errors; sync, pad with blanks the block containing the error]

If you specify a bs so small (512), in case of a large bad chunk on the medium you will obtain a lot of error logs. Let it go until you have the prompt again.

This method is expecially useful to recover damaged movies, because unless you have the file 50% corrupted (not very likely even in worst cases), you probably will strip a couple of frames from the movie, and the result will be perfect.
Of course if you are recovering file working as a whole, as a compressed archive or a RDBMS datafile, maybe padding the error with spaces may render useless the resulting file. As usual, YMMV.

dd is available under OSX and Linux (any). If you are running Windows, well, probably you are not an advanced user anyway, so why bother (and no, neither Robocopy nor NtBackup have the same functions of dd). Just in case, you can run dd under Windows via Cygwin. And if you don't know Cygwin, aka Unix shell for Windows, you better read the tutorial on Lifehacker.

dd MAN Page

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06 giugno 2007

Asus announce extra-cheap Notebook

Digging from PCPro, through Engadget and finally thanks to Engadget Chinese, I found some significative picture of the super cheap super light Asus Notebook, sporting a Linux OS (but a WinXP driver set is on its way), 1 to 32 GB SSD. The price tag is announced $ 199; as of today, corresponding to 147,407 EUR, roughly 1 EUR cheaper than Windows Vista Home Basic.

Let's wait for this magic box to be released (August 2007), I want one.

From the pictures you can see some specs (guessed by me):

- Full notebook keyboard

- Touchpad with one (one?) button

- LAN adapter (left side)

- 3 USB ports (1 left + 2 right)

- 1 VGA out (right)

- 1 SD card reader (? what's the little opening in the right side?)

- monitor roughly 9'' wide, 800 x 480.

I definitely want one.

COMPUTEX 2007 動手玩:Asus Eee PC 701 - Engadget 癮科技

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Why you should support Open Source

Briefly: Jamie Cansdale write an add-on for Visual Studio. Microsoft sends him a MVP award to congratulate. Unfortunately, the add-on works on Visual Studio Express Edition too. Someone in Redmond notices the fact, and tries to ask softly, then firmly, then threatens, and finally sends his lawyers to Jaime, to make him remove the Express Edition compatibility from his add-on.

Are you a pay-version user? Ok, you can use the add-on. Are you a miserable free version user? Are you trying to use add-ons? What does Microsoft resembles? A bunch of Open Source Freaks?

The correspondence between M$ and Jamie stretches for a year. Meanwhile, Redmond sends him another MVP award, readily withdrawn (Microsoft: this error put you in the same rank of italian TLC companies - for the record, they are all disgusting).

The deadline given by the M$ lawyers is today, @4PM. Jaime, don't back down. I hope this story will fire back to Microsoft enough for them to understand why Google, after given years, will buy them.

Microsoft threatens its Most Valuable Professional | The Register

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04 giugno 2007

02 giugno 2007

Space and children.

Today I was talking to my son Mario (6 years) about gravity force and I was trying to explain that:

  • an apple falls from the tree

  • the Moon turning around the Earth 
share the same cause. Ok, maybe is a little early (never underestimate childrens).

When I finally asked him: "Do you know why the Earth doesn't fall in the Sun?", he politely answered that the colorful ring (see image) is like a rail, thus the Earth and the other planets cannot steer off their guide." :-)

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Space pictures

If you like space pictures the way I do, be sure to check the linked website. I found this nice image of the Moon and Venus in their 10 yrs archive.

Astronomy Picture of the Day Archive

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