Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What a functional desktop looks like

As a followup to my first Un-Terrible-ize
Ubuntu 11.10
post, I thought I'd show everyone what my computer looks like
after reverting the desktop to a working state.

Here is what it looks like now:


Nice, neat, with all of the things I want and none of the things I don't want. I
have a couple of customizations for Firefox (like the tabs on the side), and
along the top is the "System Monitor" applet, which displays (from left to
right) the current CPU usage, memory usage, network activity, swap space, load
average, and disk usage. That's undoubtedly overly geeky for many people, but I
find it quite useful.

Now, for comparison, here is what the default Ubuntu 11.10 interface looks like:

This is a direct screen shot. True story.

Later on, I may post a step-by-step description or even a script for getting
from the bottom image to the top.

Configuring Printers in Ubuntu 11.10

Welcome back to my ongoing adventures in making
Ubuntu work
once again. Today's episode features printing!

So upon trying to print a document, I found that my printer hadn't been set up.
No problem! I guess I had forgotten to do so. So I jetted on over to the "System
Settings" application, which helpfully had a "Printers" button. "Why hello Mr.
Printers button," I said. "Let's go on a magical printer-configuring adventure,
just the two of us!" Clicking on Mr. Printers, I was greeted with the Nice™,
Shiny™, Sexy™ Interface below:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Un-Terrible-ize Ubuntu 11.10

Oh my god. After years of being a great, easy-to-use Linux distribution, Ubuntu finally has failed me and may need to be dumped. I just upgraded to 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) and they have made it more difficult than before to return to a not-terrible window manager. I think the idea behind Ubuntu's new "Unity" interface are cute, but is just god-awful for people who want to use their computer for things and don't like desperately trying to hunt them down. What was wrong with an "applications" menu that had an "Office" tab under it with office-related applications? Now, you open the side panel overlay bar thing and it takes up the whole screen but presents you with almost exactly zero useful information. It has something like 3 applications along the top and then says "fuck you, go figure it out" if you want anything more. Alt-F2 doesn't work to open a launcher to launch an application. Alt + middle-click doesn't resize windows any more. Just getting out of my damn way and letting me use the computer like I have for years doesn't even close to work.

GNOME 2 was just fine. Why did you have to take something which worked, in a non-terrible fashion, and remove all of the useful, discoverable, productive parts of it? I've spent a couple hours at this point trying to get back to the level of non-uselessness I had with Ubuntu 11.04, which was not useless. I even tried installing GNOME 3 in the hope that it would have a "stop doing stupid bullshit" mode, but it only kind of does. I've gotten close, but the "system" menu is AWOL, and I can't figure out how to get it back. It doesn't seem to want to let you customize the theme at all or even have something as simple as focus-follows-mouse. Yes, I've opened gconf-editor and set /apps/metacity/general/focus_mode to mouse, which seems to be the closest thing to focus-follows-mouse available, but it doesn't do it.

I'll post what information I've found to get it to the minimally-crappy state it's in now, but I'm still searching for how to de-terrible-ize it further. Alternatively, I might just dump Ubuntu altogether until it gets some sense beaten into it. I hear Linux Mint is supposed to have remained safe from the "enshittening" of Linux user interfaces of late. Also, I could try Xubuntu, though I've never really been a fan of XFCE. It's a heck of a lot better than Unity or GNOME 3.

No, nevermind. Not using XFCE.

Okay, after a few more hours of wasted time, I'm going to bite the bullet and back up all of my documents, wipe 11.10 off of my computer, and go back to 11.04, aka "the last sane version of Ubuntu". It really sucks because I used to recommend Ubuntu to my relatively non-technical friends, but with the crap they're pulling now, there's no way I'd let their first Linux experience be with this trash. Sad day.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Changing up the style

You may have noticed a change in the style of the site. That's because I changed the style of the site.

Okay, seriously, I switched to the new Blogger interface/template, so things look a bit different. I tried fiddling around with some things, and hopefully nothing broke. To all of you massive numbers of readers of this blog, let me know if anything went wrong in the upgrade.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Genericizing Rails view templates

In keeping with my previous post, I have put together a way of greatly reducing the redundant code in Rails views. On the HTML side, this really only applies to the simple case of rendering the default REST views provided by Rails' scaffolding mechanism.

Rather than have an index.html.haml (or erb if you're a bad person ;) for every model you have, why not consolidate all of those into a single template? They all do the same thing anyway: render a table of objects along with a few actions. Using the wonderful render_inheritable gem, you can define a single index.html.x file in a central location (such as app/views/application) and have all of the customization occur at runtime.

Scala on Android with Eclipse

Yes, I'm back from the dead. I've been busy starting a company of late and have been pretty much full speed ahead on that, leaving less (read: none) time for blogging.

Anyway, on with the main event: a working setup for developing Android applications in Scala. I spent about 3-4 days total trying to get this setup working, using various different schemes such as the Treeshaker plugin for Eclipse, the Maven Android plugin and others. After hours and hours of fiddling, I finally found a solution that works: a custom SBT setup with the SBT Android plugin. The key is to avoid building the Android app in Eclipse itself, but to use SBT for the heavy lifting.

Friday, February 11, 2011

MineCabinet - a database-backed chunk manager for Minecraft

As I alluded to in my last post, I have been working on modding Minecraft to use the excellent Tokyo Cabinet database to store the chunk data. I have finally gotten it to the point where it is ready to be released to the masses.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Size of Minecraft chunk files

So I'm working on a replacement for Minecraft's save file format, since the format it currently uses is rather busted. In a world that I've been playing with 4 other friends for just under a month, the save directory is 50MB and contains a whopping 17,684 files!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Why I hate Java

I ran into this fun time while trying to install the Scala bindings to Neo4j.

First, I had to install Maven: