Super-achieve! Week 43 ’09

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Staying up all night is definitely the way forward for me. Stayed up last night and achieved…

  • First Japanese word learned in months.
  • Sent some emails I should have sent three months ago.
  • First go on Wii fit in months.
  • First cycle ride in weeks.
  • Found CDs with 400 photos I thought I’d lost forever.
  • Tucked all my loose CDs and DVDs away into folders.
  • Sorted out all my old AV and computer cables.
  • Cleared a lot of space in my room.

plus a few other bits and bobs. Woot!

And now I’m trying out posting this from my HTC Hero android phone too.

On the downside, one of the reasons for the flurry of activity is that I feel like I’ve wasted the last week or so trying to get the android SDK working on any of my Linux machines and attempting to connect the phone to Windows running in a KVM in order to update it. I’ve had to admit defeat on both of those which is why this has taken 10 minutes rather than 2 to write. Grrrr.

Fedora 10 Preview – Part 2

success!

i really don’t understand what’s going on with that bug but i now have a running F10 preview.

that means i also have a working procedure for installing the full DVD version as well – which is what i actually wanted to do in the first place.

having done it once i’ve decided to go back to the livecd installer (when it works) as it’s about ten times quicker.  looks like writing to disk is the biggest place where fedora loses out to the xandros linux that’s pre-installed on the eee.

eee pc 901 disk write performance - chart comparing linux distributions

eee pc 901 disk write performance - chart comparing linux distributions

to get the DVD install working i did the following:

  1. find an external USB disk with enough space for the DVD contents plus a bit.  you can use an SD card for this but the only machine i have which is capable of writing to an SD card is …. my eee.
  2. using fdisk create a single partition on it and set that partition bootable.
  3. mkdosfs on that partition.
  4. livecd-iso-to-disk on that partition using the /images/boot.iso file from the DVD.
  5. copy the contents of the DVD to that partition. (you can copy to a sub-directory if you want – just add that path before ‘/images’ in step 8 below)
  6. boot the eee from that disk (repeatedly pressing ESC while it boots and then selecting the USB drive as the boot device)
  7. select ‘local disk’ as the installation source.
  8. select /dev/sdc1 (assuming you don’t have more SD cards or USB devices plugged in) as the source drive and give the path /images because that’s where the install.img file is.

that gets the installer running – after that it’s a regular install.  don’t forget to un-tick the external USB drive in the list of drives to install onto!

you can skip steps 2 and 3 if the drive already has a bootable, fat-formatted partition with enough space on it.  that way you don’t have to delete anything.

i’ve re-done the install from livecd since then and tried enabling the encryption option.  it’s much nicer than in F9 – during the ‘blue bars’ boot stage (called ‘plymouth’ i think) you get a nice, clean text prompt for the password – which you can see as a row of dots as you type! 😀

enabling RPM Fusion repos was easy – just google for ‘rpm fusion’ and copy+paste the commands on the ‘configuration’ page.  when we get to the final release it’ll be even easier – just click on the link to the release rpm.

wireless worked after an rpm fusion install and a modprobe just as it did in the beta.

i’ve applied the 64 initial updates.  now i’m installing a bunch of stuff – themes, openoffice, optional gnome stuff, google-gadgets and cairo-dock.  about 100 packages – could be here for a while!

Achieve! – Week 28

  • got older!
  • had nice birthday lunch
  • birthday trip to the beach! (got sandblasted)
  • windy beach

  • Stayed with loverly Jells!
  • Got 54 stars .. and counting!
  • Ran around like a dog (Okami)
  • Didn’t go on the stupidly expensive London Eye.
  • a london bridge

  • Met up with KMC
  • Met up with Sara
  • Did a pub quiz with Jon and Co.
  • Built 60% 100% of a compost bin
  • Watched V for Vendetta – v good.
  • Watched Napoleon Dynamite – random.
  • Washed up – woohoo!
  • discovered exposure/focus bracket feature on my camera.
  • mango salad awesomeness
  • caught up with Barney
  • provided Zelda consultancy
  • became Drew’s best man!  woohooo!! 😀

geek goodness

last night was proper geek time for me. last year i hacked together an old webcam and a 35mm lens cap so that i could attach a second-hand zoom lens to the webcam. it kind of worked but the pictures were weird (see my little profile icon here) and it was hard to use.

say cheese

well, now i’ve found a use for it – as a barcode scanner!

i’ve got another webcam but it can’t produce a big enough image of a normal barcode. my zoom lens cam works well. mind you, the webcam isn’t great quality and the lens is old and dirty and i’ve not looked after either whilst sticking them together or since, so the pictures are a bit iffy.

muck

so, i found zebra – a bit of FOSS software that can scan in barcodes. had to install a few devel packages on fedora 8 to get it to compile. then i had to modify the code to get it to talk to the second webcam, not the first.

it still refused – turns out the webcam only supports GREY or YUV420p formats but the code only supports RGB24. a quick bit of googling and wikipediaing and coding and we had it accepting YUV420p and reading the black and white data correctly. … and barcodes appeared!!

can you tell what it is yet?

another fix was required to the zebra scanner so that it includes the check digit in its output – the searches didn’t work without it.

EAN-13: 0702727136221
EAN-13: 5060067000844
EAN-13: 5060034578109
EAN-13: 5022366552943
EAN-13: 5055201800763

the next nice find on the net was barcodepedia. loverly. great idea. didn’t have many of the DVDs i scanned. plus it looks like i might have broken it by pestering it with searches. sorry about that.

5022366552943 – Ghost in the Shell [Region 2] on Barcodepedia.com
5023965343321 – Katakuri-ke no kôfuku on Barcodepedia.com
5023965347428 – Mou gaan dou on Barcodepedia.com
5023965350220 on Barcodepedia.com
5023965351227 on Barcodepedia.com

however, it did know about manufacturer codes, so even if it doesn’t know what DVD it is you can still find out who made it.

whilst looking at these extra details and trying it out on a book i saw that the barcode is actually the ISBN number. so i googled for an online ISBN search and was reminded to look at amazon.

and that made me think of just passing the barcode values to amazon in the first place – which works!

a little bit of scripting later and i can now point books and DVDs at my hacked up webcam and the titles from amazon pop up on the screen. 🙂

Tenchi Muyo! DVD Ultimate Collection (NTSC)
Wario Ware: Smooth Moves (Wii)
Azumanga Daioh – Vol. 1
Azumanga Daioh – Vol. 2
My Wrongs #8245-8249 & 117 [2002]
At The Height Of Summer [2001]
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State
Ghost In The Shell [1995]
The Happiness Of The Katakuris [2003]
Infernal Affairs [2004]
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (2 Disc Edition) [2005]

next up – get more details from amazon and/or barcodepedia and save them to a CSV or XML file that gcstar can read.

Achieve! – Week 45

  • reached 1000th word in Japanese vocabulary quiz. it was “recently”. (今度)
  • cycled again .. twice! – it’s been a while
  • put grapher on hold to focus on table merging
  • cooked food from actual ingredients
  • chopped up parts for another monitor stand and built it
  • tried switching off fans – got freaked and turned them back on
  • finished a book
  • manually removed remaining spam from a few years of emails
  • upgraded athlon PC to F8 – it’s not very happy about that!
  • wrote new OS GML loader
  • joined freecycle and passed on a telly
  • tidied up slightly

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