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Home - THE INQUIRER
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Topic: linux baobab incorrectly reports it can't open a folder (plus stupid XFCE tricks)
08:22pm EDT, 7 Jul 2012

I was running the "baobab" program to analyze my disk usage. It's kind of like the late, great "kdirstat", but for GNOME.

And there's the rub. I don't run GNOME; I use Xubuntu. So I run the xfce environment, which uses Thunar, not Nautilus, as its file manager. And when I right click on a folder in baobab and select "Open Folder", I get this strange error message: "There is no installed viewer capable of viewing the folder."

Thunar works fine for opening folders, thank you. So I had to correct baobab in a quick and dirty fashion. My patch is certainly not acceptable for submission to the GNOME project, as I use a bare system() call to launch xdg-open, which I assume is in the user's path, to open the folder in the user's choice of file manager in a cross-desktop way. Click through to get the text of the patch.

While baobab's behavior is a side effect of the gnome-utils developers not expecting anyone to run their programs outside of GNOME, Xubuntu's own "Run Command" dialog has a similar problem: it will open folders or executables, but only with absolute pathnames or URIs. xdg-open has no such limitation, but xfrun4 does. I know enough to type "xdg-open" before the filename... after it refuses to run the first time.

Being the lazy sort, I patched that too. Now if xfrun4 can't figure out how to open something, instead of complaining it just hands the command line off to exo-open, which is xfce's equivalent of xdg-open. That patch is below too. I doubt it's suitable for general use, since I don't test for files that don't exist, and besides, maybe the general population would prefer to get a red X if they forgot to type "/home/username/" before they type "Documents/masterplan.odt" rather than having it just work.

All snark aside, click through for the patches. more...


Topic: random The pull of Disney (or the lack thereof)
11:52am EST, 29 Feb 2012

All my life I've heard people talk about the magic of Disneyland and Walt Disney World. I have friends in their 40s and 50s who take weeklong vacations there, even have time shares there... and they don't have any kids.

I went to Disneyland at age 12. Going to Walt Disney World is on my bucket list, I guess, but I've had plenty of opportunities to go and I never have. What does everyone else see in it that I don't? Here are some possibilities. more...


Topic: linux Xubuntu 11.10 screensaver weirdness
06:15pm EST, 6 Feb 2012

I updated to Xubuntu 11.10 ("Oneiric Ocelot"... whatever) last month. Ever since then, my machine has had this annoying habit of blanking the screen and/or turning the monitor off after 10 minutes. Weirder still... this happened after removing xscreensaver (the default Xubuntu screensaver) from my computer entirely. It took a lot of googling and reading bug reports incorrectly marked "resolved: invalid" to figure out that there were at least 3 systems competing to be the first to lock my screen. more...


Topic: games Why I haven't bought a Nintendo 3DS
05:02pm EDT, 7 May 2011

Wow, it's been 2 years. I guess the blogging thing doesn't really do it for me anymore. But I wrote a post last night that was too long for a comment box on some videogame site. Here it is.

In October 2004, I preordered two Nintendo DS units. One was for my niece, and the other for me. This year I preordered only one 3DS, and it wasn't for myself. (Find out why after the jump.) more...


Topic: linux KDE4 = KDE Vista
10:39am EDT, 11 Jun 2009

After upgrading to Jaunty on my laptop, I noticed that kmail and akregator were a little slower than usual and thought it might help their performance by logging into KDE instead of GNOME. Besides, maybe KDE4 just sucked because I was trying it out under Mandriva.

Um, nope. more...


Topic: linux More Mandriva to Ubuntu migration stuff
10:47am EDT, 4 Jun 2009

In Mandriva, there's a file, /etc/urpmi/skip.list, into which you can just put names of packages or regular expressions matching packages. So when I had to install a version of bitpim (tool to back up most Sprint/Verizon cell phones) from the developer's website because the version in Jaunty crashed in the middle of the backup, and then had Ubuntu try to pull in its broken version again in the next round of updates, I went looking for the equivalent Ubuntu mechanism. more...


Topic: music So I finished a song
07:44pm EDT, 29 May 2009

A couple weeks ago, a confluence of events led me to start working on a song, a cover of "Leipzig" by Thomas Dolby. more...


Topic: linux Apt-get hints for Mandriva users coming to Ubuntu/Debian
03:23pm EDT, 28 Aug 2008

I've been using Mandrake (now Mandriva) for almost 10 years, but more and more I need to administer Ubuntu machines. I really like urpmi; I'd say it's more consistent and capable, but I think it's just because I know urpmi so well that I can build packages for it pretty easily. Still, if you're used to urpmi, the "apt way" of doing things is not intuitive. Read the rest of the article to get some rough equivalents to common urpmi operations. (I'm putting this out there as much for my own reference as anyone else's.) more...


Topic: music One of my unfinished songs is ten years old today
08:51pm EST, 25 Feb 2008

Well, okay, a lot of them are more than 10 years old, but because I was putting the date in the filename of songs I didn't have a name for, I happen to know that I wrote and/or recorded "980225" ten years ago today. more...


Topic: linux cdtray: detecting an open cd tray without closing it
02:54am EST, 28 Jan 2008

I have a CD collection that numbers in the 4-digit range. Sadly, the number of them that I've ripped numbers only in the 3-digit range, which is plenty to fill my Nintendo DS but I really want to get one of those Archos 160gb jukeboxes. Over the last few years I've been trying to remedy that using some batch CD ripping programs, where I drop the disc in the drive, the program polls the drive for a new disc, hits freedb, rips, encodes and then ejects it so I can put the next one in.

Unfortunately, polling the drive would always pull the tray back in. I knew there was an ioctl to tell you the drive's status, but because it didn't seem to work under perl, I figured it wasn't really supported. Turns out I was wrong, so tonight I sucked it up and wrote some C code that seems to work like a champ so far. more...


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