Microsoft Windows Tech Tips #1

I got it. I finally understood this quickly aging [2001 Microsoft Windows XP system](http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/default.mspx). No more regular 6 months reinstallation. I am currently using my windows system and the famous [firefox webbrowser](http://www.mozilla.com/firefox/) to write this blog post. Although I installed it more than a year ago, its still amazingly stable. The solution ? Everyone is listening ? Simple, If a Windows system usually last about 6 months or close to 180 days of uses. I just use my windows system only one day every 1 or 2 months. This way, my windows can potentially last 180 to 360 MONTHS !!!! Is this not very super crazy amazing!?!?!. Its more than enough long to survive before [Apple Leopard](http://www.apple.com/macosx/leopard/index.html) comes out (Spring 2007). In the mean time, If you wonder what to use the other 27-30 days of the months. Get yourself a copy [GNU Kubuntu Linux](http://www.kubuntu.org/). It's very inexpensive and definitely worth every penny you'll invest in this operating system. comments very welcome.

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Posted in , | Posted on 23 Sep 2006 01:41by somekool |

The joy of WengoPhone and VoIP

I was using [skype](http://www.skype.com/) quite often before and quite like it too. they've done a pretty amazing job. Yet, there was many little things I was not happy with and I keep this old habbit to try out what's available see If I could not find any better. The main reasons I wanted something else is because release for Windows, MacOSX and Linux are not in sync and features sets are so different, it's quickly becoming different software. While they first advertise their software to be using Qt and full cross plateform. I remember [The KDE News Site](http://dot.kde.org/) advertising Skype as this freshly created startup that commercially use Qt and we were all so excited about getting a decent VoIP cross-plateform. The other reason is, I never got it to work under Linux. If you have a desktop, with one simple sound card and a stupid basic microphone plug onto it, it should work. but if you have a laptop, with some weird sound card, a USB mic, or worse a USB webcam with internal microphone. just forget about it. There is tons of hacks around the internet. but seriously. none works. and think about it, when you want to call your mother and you are paying for a software, hacking around is not really what you want to spend time on. So times has changes now, and there is various alternative. [Gizmo](http://www.gizmoproject.com/) and [WengoPhone](http://openwengo.com/) to name the two most serious ones. Both free, opensource and available on all commun plateform. There is others choices under linux, but I would want to make them appear worth than they are so I'm just not gonna name them. So, few months ago, I decided to give a serious try to WengoPhone and bought 10Euro worth of credit. cost me roughly 14.50$can. They had a god promotion such as If you were buying credits, you would not used them. That's it fee calls. Sounded weird, but I tried it. So it last about a month, I could call my family for free, seeing my credits jammed at 10.22Euro. To that point, things were great. I was using my girlfriends windows computer and I could do my calls for free. I was also looking for a cheaper altertive over to skype and Wengo is definitely cheaper. but then a few flaws started to appear. You contact list is local to your wengo install. so if you switch computer, user, or reinstall wengo, you'll loose your contact list. I learned quickly how to not use their contact list and just use my address book for the number I have not memorize. Something a user should never have to do. Also, if there is two user logon on your windows machine at the same time, only one instance of Wengo can run at the same time, the second one simply won't launch. As wengo is a french company, and all calls are virtually routed from France, every occupied-messages, dialing-error-messages or any type of message you usually hear from your phone company is in French. bonus points for people who doesn't understand french. but the windows client works, well, the old version. the latest beta crash on started up. I submitted a bug report more than a month ago and nothing has changed, so I have to use the version 0.99 At work, I am using Mac, the beta version of Mac works. well, I have to launch it 3 times as it crashes on startup as well. but after 3-5 crash it seems to figure out his way through and then I can makes calls. weird? funny? I don't know but it's certainny nor fun nor quick to use. So today I went on their website again to see if they had release a new beta. unfortunately not, but what I noticed though is the fact they are stating their BETA for PPC is "For advanced users only" while the BETA for Intel isn't. Well, it could be true, but let me doubt here. the look of this strangly look like a copy paste of the Win32 version, which states the BETA is "For advanced users only" but the 0.99 version not. which makes sense. so they copy/pasted this block, replace the version for the proper Mac version, but forgot they were both beta and they did not duplicated the warning for advanced users. A minor error you will tell me. but I seen so many mistakes of that kind on their websites, thinking about the actual code of the application scares the hell out of me. Such People lacking attention to details such as this can only provide crashing applications. I'm gonna slowly use my wengo credit and then might switch back to Skype. well, I'll see at that point. but changing evil for worse was not for all the best. except that I could try out this app. I guess its something more under my belt but how usefull is it? ah,... those guys over at [WengoPhone](http://openwengo.com/). ![Wengo Mac download area](/files/Picture_4.png) I should mention a bit about [Gizmo](http://www.gizmoproject.com/) Phone project. I have not seriously try it, just installed it and did couple of tests, but nothing serious. but they also have an interresting promotion. They allow free calls between gizmo users. Skype also advertise something like that but there is a big different. Of course, all software as such allow you to do audio conferencing over the internet. but What Gizmo allow is different. You can call your friends real phone number for free if your friend as an account on gizmo and he had this phone number to his user profile. I don't know how secure it is to put your phone number in there. but I would expect that only my trusted contacts can have access to this information. but the point is. you sign up, enter your phones into your profile, your friend does the same and when he is not online, you can call him for free using gizmo. They are sure losing money on this. but they wants users so. way to go. maybe gizmo is next finally, I don't know. I hoped you enjoyed readings and won't post your useless thoughts on the comment box below.

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Posted in , | Posted on 18 Sep 2006 20:23by somekool |

Updating E17 on Gentoo

Maybe some of you have tried the excellent [Enlightenment 17](http://enlightenment.org). Although still under heavy development, its definitly worth the look. Luckily for us gentoo user, there is ebuilds already done which makes the compiling task easy. Still, when is time to upgrade, it's a not all automatic. The problem is; all packages keeps de same version (9999 for development). So, if you re-emerge e, it will not re-emerge all the dependencies, because they are already installed and the version number has NOT changed. So You have to check all the dependencies and make sure to re-emerge them all, in order. its a bit of a pain in the butt when you just want to see the latest development the team has made. So I wrote a script to make it even easier. I wrote it few months ago while I was doing it by hand. and Few days ago, I thought I might upgrade E17 again and check it out. so I tried out my script which worked with not too many bug fixes ;) hehe. click more for the script and to send comments
It's not 100% production quality, but it does the job ;) maybe you'll laugh on the incomplete part, maybe not.
$ cat ~/bin/emerge_e17
#!/bin/sh
# krypton ~ # epm -qa | grep 9999 | cut -d \- -f 1 | xargs  echo
# eet embryo engrave e_utils examine edje epsilon epeg engage ewl evas ecore esmart e
# http://www0.get-e.org/EFL_User_Guide/English/_pages/print.html

e17_ignored_libs="imlib2 edb"
e17_libs="eet evas ecore epeg embryo edje epsilon esmart emotion ewl engrave emotion"
e17_wm="e"
e17_dm="entrance"
e17_apps="entice elicit embrace eclair evfs entropy exhibit eclair ephoto erss evidence"
e17_misc="e_utils examine engage"
e17_proto="etk exhibit entropy"
e_modules="calendar flame monitor mount rain screenshot slideshow snow tclock weather"
default="$e17_libs e engage entice elicit eclair"


function choose_packages() {
        if [ -f /tmp/.e17.package_list ]
        then
                echo `cat /tmp/.e17.package_list`
        else
                echo "what would you like to (re)install ?"
                echo "-1 - The Default ($default)"
                echo "0 - imlib2"
                echo "1 - libraries ($e17_libs)"
                echo "2 - Window Manager (e17)"
                echo "3 - Extra packages ($e17_apps $e17_misc $e17_proto)"
                echo "4 - Extra Modules ($e_modules)"
                echo "5 - Themes (none)"
                read answer
                echo "you choose ($answer) but I'll go anyway with the default because I'm lazy."
                echo "$default" > /tmp/.e17.package_list
                echo `cat /tmp/.e17.package_list`
        fi
}

function compile_app_list() {
        did_something=0
        for package in $1
        do
                if [ ! -e /tmp/.e17.$package ]
                then
                        echo "emerging $package...."
                        emerge $package
                        err_code=$?
                        if [ $err_code -eq 0 ]
                        then
                                touch /tmp/.e17.$package
                                did_something=1
                        else
                                echo "... emerge returned error code $err_code"
                        fi
                fi
        done
        echo $did_something
}

function main() {
        list=`choose_packages`
        rep=`compile_app_list "$list"`
        if [ $rep -eq 0 ]
        then
                echo "All package has already been emerged, you would like to start over ? (y/n)"
                read answer
                if [ "$answer" == "y" ]
                then
                        rm -f /tmp/.e17.*
                        list=choose_packages
                        compile_app_list $list
                fi
        fi
}

main

enjoy

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Posted in , , , | Posted on 12 Aug 2006 00:35by somekool |

A paranoid vision of the computing world.

Do Microsoft still owns important part of Apple? Do Mr Bill Gates received huge money from ipod sales and Mac switcher as well? I'd like to know if it is still the case. Because if so, things could become very scary.
What if the new popularity of Apple and the inaction of Microsoft was planned. Windows have not got a public release since 2001, except for service patch and server edition. People are getting tired and switch to Apple, for more security, easyness and newest technology. While windows keeps his hardcore fan until the end. but really, Microsoft is not doing anything. Some guy recently was remembering me that a day will come where Steve Jobs will disapear from Apple and Apple won't be as cool and as nice as it is now. Then we gonna need something else to use. Here is the crazy thought: when Microsoft windows gets infected by a virus or some similar crap. What happen ? The computer dies or almost, need to be reinstalled and potentially the computer had infected some others on the network. but really, is that it ? no data theft, no company corruption. just few machines behing reinstalled. no biggy eh ? What if Microsoft had always been behing viruses and now at the time of the information, it ain't enough anymore. Because on Apple/Linux/Unix, when you get a security issue: it's a computer intrusion. Which can lead to network intrusion, data theft and company corruption. Much worse. So here is the idea: Microsoft Windows is unmaintable, too many bugs, its just unfixable, everyone knows that, even Microsoft. OS X is a new and fresh product. Clean, Secure and becomes more popular. the adaption of Unix based system accross the board may cause more subtle problems. While insecure, people may not be informed and companies will access user data. I think they want a bigger computer war. Where geeks are soldier, user are victims and companies are trying to control the world while geeks are warning their friend of the threat. It is hard to show the actual point, I don't know if you see what I am trying to say. but it's not about a browser war anymore. Microsoft wants more and while everyone think they are asleep, they are installing their new weapon for world domination.

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Posted in , , | Posted on 09 May 2006 06:25by somekool |

ALSA we love you

Anyone had fun with ALSA before ? Some would say its much better than OSS and much more powerful. Some would simply say the it supports more cards (well of course, development on OSS is kinda stopped for a while already) anyway. Who need this kinda of configuration ? why there is so many options to this config file ? its like your computer could really have 5 different sound card and reroute them in some weird way. well, buy a mixer. got true use for all the power ALSA offer ? please comment below. I'm just to a point where, even though you are a geek programmer, if all you want to do is software or web development. You don't really want to understand the fully underlying sound system of your operating system to chat with your girlfriend. There is advantage Linux has I can't live without but there is huge whack of extra time that you have to spend in order to get things working. And some of you who does not have problem, well either you have not used it long enough or you are just as picky as I can be. anyway, I did not want to troll about anything today. I'm just very tired of rebooting on windows when I have to do my phone calls. And **the good news is**: I found this little hack that I need to get both my soundcard device and my USB microphone as default device.
somekool@krypton ~ $ cat /etc/asound.conf
pcm.!default {
        type asym
        playback.pcm {
                type plug
                slave.pcm "hw:0,0"
        }
        capture.pcm {
                type plug
                slave.pcm "hw:1,0"
        }
}
somekool@krypton ~ $
that's it. so now I can just use arecord to record my voice without needing any options to specify the proper device.
somekool@krypton ~ $ arecord file.wav
well am I happy ? not really. skype needs OSS or OSS emulation to work. it does not use ALSA directly. but OSS is too old. and I can't really switch my system to it. so I'm not sure if I can get an OSS-emulated device for my USB microphone or If I really need to get arts to see my microphone. arts seems the easiest way to get everything working. but for some reason, it still does not see my microphone. Hey you out there who knows all about it but are just a little to shy to help. show yourself off it will be highly appreciated.

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Posted in , , , , | Posted on 14 Apr 2006 23:59by somekool |

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