Archive for July, 2004

bikes = endless upkeep

July 7th, 2004

What is it with bikes that causes endless aggravation? I bought mine new a year ago and no matter if I use it a lot or very little, there's always something wrong with it. For one thing, the gears have never functioned properly in its entire existence. The breaks are great when new but then they get loose after a while and you have to mess with the string to tighten them. But when you go there, you notice that it's quite a challenge to fix it so that the brake pads will stay symmetric, more often than not, one of them is inching closer to the wheel than the other and you get the wonderful automatically breaking effect. Aside from that, you know that sooner or later you will puncture your tire. Do I ever hate fixing that, it's a pain in the ass to take it out, you have to dismount the wheel and break open the tire with a screwdriver. Then you patch the puncture, wait for it to dry (or you can replace it, either way it's still time and effort), then put it back in, again a pain in the ass to seal the tire with the screwdriver. Then put the wheel back on.

And unless you're some kind of bike enthusiast, the maintenance is just a pain in the ass.

He got game

July 5th, 2004

He Got GameFinally got around to watching the flick last night and I'm rather disappointed. Denzel was decent but Ray Allen wasn't very convincing, he should stick to basketball. The story wasn't all that interesting either, few strong points. It's basically about a total basketball fanatic who wants his son to be the player he could never be. So he pushes him very hard from a young age and the kid ends up hating his father. In a heated argument one night, the father pushes his wife out of the way, she hits her head on the sink and dies. So the father goes to jail for 15 years and leaves the boy with his sister without even a roof over their heads. But they make it and the kid goes on to become the #1 prospect in the country. At this point the father returns and wants to patch things up, ultimately so that the kid will sign for a college that is friendly to the mayor so that his sentence can be cut short.


Congrats to Euro champs!

July 4th, 2004

European Champions
Well there it is, Greece are the new European Champions! And it's all thanks to coach Otto Rehhagel. A better performance of the German style has not been seen in quite a well. Rock solid at the back as well as dangerous up front with the very few chances they afford themselves. It hasn't been the greatest tournament, seeing as how many of the favorites disappointed greatly but this team deserved to win, no question about it. I was quite annoyed at how the Czechs couldn't make it work in the semi final but the Greek team redeem itself in my eyes and proved tonight that they are in every sense worthy.

Rehhagel is a brilliant coach and adopting the defensive style has brought Greece right up to the top. As they say "offence wins games, defence wins championships". A sly combination of the two paradigms has seen King Otto accomplish what Hector Cuper has tried and failed so many times. He might as well retire now, because anything following this would be a step down for him.

Hail to the king!

Suse Linux 9.1 Personal review

July 3rd, 2004

Whoa my first review.. I've been meaning to do one of these for some time but never really had time for it. The new Suse 9.1 Personal edition has been out for a couple of weeks and it makes a good test subject. The distro is, of course, free of charge, you can get the iso here. I chose Suse because it always seemed like a distro with a lot of promise. I tried v8.2 a few months ago and I was a bit disappointed with some things even though I was generally pleased with it.

The installation is a no brainer, it's Yast all the way and it looks better than it used to. It will, of course, auto detect most of your hardware, it missed my Intel Centrino 2100 wlan card but that's known to be a tricky one. The software selection dialog was a bit poor, I couldn't find gnome in there anywhere for one thing. But all in all it was a successful process and Suse was installed while I watched an episode of "Scrubs" (what else? ;)).

Ok so Suse is pretty complete, you get an office suite, the Yast control panel and a full KDE installation. You also get a selection of productivity/multimedia apps like acrobat reader, xmms, real player, cd/dvd burning tools, a tv viewer and kaffeine (a xine wrapper). The problem is installing software not already included. In fact I haven't quite figured out how to do this. When I start the Add/Remove apps dialog from Yast, I only get to browse software on the install cd, does that mean they don't want you to have anything else? One of the first things I want on a new system is mplayer but it's not found in the Yast installer so you probably have to do it yourself. I consider it a big flaw to cramp the user's freedom like that and coming from a Gentoo mindset, I have every right to.

Suse has xmms with mp3 support. It also has xine with the kaffeine wrapper but without divx codecs which is a shame. I tried playing my new "Last Samurai" dvd in xine but alas it has no support for playing dvds either. On the upside, Konqueror does have flash installed but sadly it's also the only browser available by default. I also find it curious that given your software selection during install, YOU (Yast Online Update) still "recommends" you install a bunch of stuff you'll never need. For instance, it recommends ppp and isdn tools, which I have no use for at all.

One point of flattery is the software that *is* included. Real player is a pleasant surprise, I also like the way the nvidia drivers and truetype fonts are packaged. Suse can't include them by default because of licence restrictions, so instead they prompt you to accept the licence and install the software if you want those things.

Another positive thing is the auto detection of my monitor. The refresh rates were detected and I was prompted to select the resolution I wanted. Unlike many distros, Yast gives you the option to input a custom resoluton (given that mine is a bit uncommon being 1680x1050), which means you don't have to mess with /etc/X11/XFConfig. So far, in fact, I've only had to use the command line once, that being to mount another filesystem. Speaking of mounting, Suse comes with submount, which means cd/dvd media are supermounted (to use that expression) on input.

My printer was also detected, by all means it should be, it runs on cups with broadcast so it's easy enough for others to pick up the trail but nonetheless it works fine.

One thing that still bugs me about Suse (a throwback from earlier versions), is how bigass the fonts are even though you have a respectable resolution. I set mine to 7pt Verdana in kcontrol to battle that problem. I'm thinking it's the screen resolution set too low but I can't seem to find the location to set that myself.

Although Suse is decidedly KDE biased, you do get the gimp and gtkam, both of which are quite useful so that's a plus.

To wrap this up, the new Suse has seen some improvements since the previous version and it certainly looks nicer. But the main point of criticism still stands and say what you will about licencing, users will still point it out everytime. I want a bigger selection of software, most of all I want a way to install mplayer and video codecs, because that is what I need. The point is that if you don't find everything you want among the software provided, getting that software (which is still free) is a question mark. It shouldn't be.

Making the plunge..

July 3rd, 2004

It's been a while now since Firefox 0.91 was released. Now I don't normally pay that much attention to the releases because I've already tried the browser a bunch of times in the past and it just doesn't cut it for me. But I was reading this article on, comparing Opera and the new Firefox. It was shown in such a positive light that I decided to try it myself.

As it turns out, Firefox is faster than ever before. Both on loading and page rendering, but especially the latter. In fact, it's so much smoother now that I don't even need Adblock to kill flash ads because they render just as quick as images. :strong: The new default skin is improved, extensions are easier to install from a new website and it's less buggy installing themes and extensions. Much less buggy! :cool: So going by that article, I installed all the extensions the author had plus a couple of my own and I'm very satisfied. Up to the point that I've decided to switch to Firefox as my default browser. :party:

On the downside, Firefox has very limited customization settings, because they menus are bare bones. But to make up for it, the url about:config will, of course, give you all the familiar Gecko settings to play with.


  • Doodle (Plastik)


  • Session Saver
  • All-in-One Gestures
  • Single Window
  • Dictionary search (can't live without this now)
  • Adblock