cogito ergo vagus

May 16, 2009

You gotta love Free software

Filed under: open source — vagus @ 8:55 pm

Ever since Windows 7 and KDE 4.2 were available I started placing my taskbar vertically to the left of my widescreen LCD. On Windows 7 it works and looks great but on KDE 4.2 the running application icons are of a small size and the title text is hardly visible with only a couple of letters being shown as you can see in the following screenshot.

Less than perfect

Less than perfect

I couldn’t find a setting in KDE to change it and even posted a suggestion to the KDE Brainstorm forum section. But this was really annoying me. What if they reject the suggestion? What to do in the mean time anyway?
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February 15, 2008

Source-level parallel build in Visual Studio 2005

Filed under: software — vagus @ 10:28 am
Tags: , ,

I regularly work with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 with SP1 on my Pentium 4 single-core non-hyperthreading based PC and occasionally run some builds on an Athlon 64 X2 dual core based PC. I noticed the compiler (cl.exe) is a single process with a single thread running, even on the dual core.

I did some digging around to see if I could enable parallel (multi processor) builds to take advantage of the extra idle core to speed up my builds and came across the following links:

Visual Studio 2005 tour and MSDN multiprocessor project builds

I was glad to find the /Mx  option where x is the maximum number of project builds you want to run in parallel. I dug around the codebase and realised the build script already had /M8 specified as a parameter to the call to vcbuild.exe. I even opened up the project in Visual Studio 2005 and the setting was at 2 (since this is a dual core)  as expected.

But the build still seemed to be running a single thread and not using the extra core :-(

I then re-read the links above more carefully and saw that the option is for parallel project builds so it would only work for multiple projects and not for many source files in a single project.

I did the customary STFW/JFGI and found the new /MP option which is a part of the new Visual Studio 2008 and this option enables source level multiprocessor parallel builds.

But what about VS 2005? I did some more searching and, lo and behold, found this blog entry which says the /MP  option is also available, but undocumented, in Visual Studio 2005!

Adding it to the build script’s parameter list for vcbuild.exe didn’t work, but adding it in the “additional options” window in the Visual Studio 2005 project worked and now doing a build would launch three processes of cl.exe, one which had 45 threads but took very little CPU cycles, and the other two were single threaded and utilised a CPU core each to the fullest! That was my Homer Simpson “woohoo” moment of the day :-)

January 20, 2008

Doomsday 2012 – for real this time?

Filed under: miscellaneous — vagus @ 6:34 am

There was an interesting show on TV’s History Channel a few days ago (which aired in March last year in the US) called “Decoding The Past – Doomsday 2012: The End Of Days”. The show was about December 21, 2012 which has been predicted to be the Apocalypse by various prophets, oracles, holy texts from different civilisations and even a computer program!

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December 29, 2007

Microsoft’s Channel 9 revisited

Filed under: channel 9 — vagus @ 1:59 pm
Tags:

It’s been a while since I visited Microsoft’s Channel 9 website and watched any of the videos. There was a recent video of Mark Russinovich which made me go back and browse for new stuff.

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November 7, 2007

My first GPL code

Filed under: about me,open source — vagus @ 2:48 pm

I’d been using this multi-protocol chat program called Miranda which is for Windows and is open source. It has a nice plugin called “Webaware” which allows you to store your current chat status on your website so you can display it on your webpages.

Recently another piece of open source software which is also cross platform called GAIM was renamed to Pidgin and got a lot of publicity so I thought to try it out. It’s a fun/cute program and I decided to move to it especially since the same program works on Windows as well as Linux. The only problem was that there wasn’t (or I couldn’t find) a similar plugin as Miranda’s Webaware which was a bummer for me.

So I tried to write a Pidgin plugin myself which would do the same work as the Miranda Webaware plugin. I thought why not just make it open source, and thus came about my first bit of GPL code! I’d previously never really done programming at home, just at work, and as Larry Augustin (VA Linux Systems founder) said in the movie Revolution OS I felt that tremendous sense of empowerment working with open source :-)

It feels good being able to easily download powerful software to which you have access to the source code. I started off by reading the C plugin HOWTO and using the helloworld.c plugin as a guide to write my own plugin called webaware.c. I later needed an easy way to do FTP uploads of my chat status data and someone suggested I use cURL library which I indeed found to be useful. The compilation was failing for me and I quickly realised I needed to provide double-quotes to the echo calls in the lib’s MinGW32 makefile and off it went.

I had earlier compiled the plugin on openSUSE Linux which came with all the tools already. This week I thought to try compiling on Windows to test that it worked on both platforms. This involved downloading software such as Cygwin, MinGW and a bunch of others which is really a pleasure to not be restricted by “free” versions or the prohibitive costs of commercial tools.

I get to do fun stuff at work but it’s been a blast actually working with open source at home. The plugin resides at http://lahsiv.net/code/ , and as they say, “it works for me” ™ !

Well, Happy Diwali!

November 4, 2007

Synergy2 – cross platform screen, keyboard and mouse sharing

Filed under: gadgets,open source,software,tech — vagus @ 5:07 pm

Today I tried out this fun software called Synergy which is open source (GPL) and cross platform. It’s for virtual screen, keyboard and mouse sharing.

See the Synergy2 SourceForge webpage for more information about it.

It took about 15 minutes to download, install, configure and run on three devices, a Windows XP desktop as the “server” (called blackbird) placed on the left side, a tablet PC with openSUSE Linux (called silverbird) placed in the middle and an Ubuntu laptop (called vaiobird) on the right. I believe it works with Windows Vista as well. Real nifty and a cool toy to play with! :)

workstation

I just had to manually add the positioning information to the config file’s links section as follows:

section: links
blackbird:
right = silverbird
silverbird:
left = blackbird
right = vaiobird
vaiobird:
left = silverbird
end

October 12, 2007

The Top Movies Of 2008

Filed under: movies — vagus @ 4:50 am

On the slashfilm blog we have a list of the twenty most anticipated movies of next year.

They are:

1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
2. The Dark Knight (Batman Begins 2)
3. National Treasure: Book of Secrets
4. American Gangster
5. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
6. Iron Man
7. I Am Legend
8. Get Smart
9. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
10. Charlie Wilson’s War
11. Hancock
12. Beowulf
13. His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass
14. Mamma Mia!
15. The Incredible Hulk
16. Speed Racer
17. Step Brothers
18. Bee Movie
19. Mr. Magnorium’s Wonder Emporium
20. Starship Dave

For me it’s Narnia 2 and Beowulf :-)

October 4, 2007

India’s broadband woes – is TRAI the culprit?

Filed under: broadband,rants — vagus @ 7:59 am

There was an e-mail posted to a mailing list I’m subscribed to which asked for server co-location options in India. The poster mentioned a Reliance executive claimed that TRAI (India’s telecom regulatory authority) was controlling the minimum sale price of bandwidth!

I haven’t been able to locate any sources (TRAI website, PDFs etc.) to confirm whether or not this is true, but if it is then it’s a shame, and a shock to me, that TRAI is the cause of India’s currently poor broadband situation.

The poster mentioned the Reliance executive also stated that they would have done for the broadband market what they and other telecom companies have done for the mobile telephony market, which is vibrant competition and dirt cheap prices.

On the other hand, I have the impression (not from personal experience, but from others’) that you simply cannot rely on Reliance, so the executive’s claim may not be true.

Another person on the mailing list, in reply to my follow-up questions, suggested that even though TRAI may not be explicitly controlling minimum pricing, their narrow-minded licensing policies, which has entry fees and a percentage of revenues as license fees among other things, serve as a barrier for providers reducing bandwidth prices and spurring the growth and adoption of broadband in India to be on par with international levels.

Microsoft “opens” .NET source code – is it a trap?

Filed under: microsoft,open source — vagus @ 5:42 am

Read this post on Microsoft-Watch and this post on EWeek.

What do you think?

I wonder if some Microsoft employees will blog about this and try to explain it away :-)

October 2, 2007

Hardware And Software Bonanza Coming Up

Filed under: computers,gadgets,linux,open source,windows vista,wishlist — vagus @ 10:08 am

A bunch of new GNU/Linux distributions’ releases are coming up and will coincide with my plans to buy a new desktop and a new tablet PC for home use.

OpenSuse 10.3 is coming October 4th, Ubuntu 7.10 (codename: Gutsy Gibbon) is coming October 18th and Fedora 8 is coming November 8th. I plan to install and play with each one and decide on which distro to settle. My current preference is Ubuntu even though I like KDE better than GNOME. I’m currently running Ubuntu “Gutsy” Beta on my home desktop and “Feisty Fawn” (Ubuntu 7.04) on my work desktop and am very impressed with things.

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