Unpacking a .deb without dpkg

25.09.2005 22:32

Today I've stumbled upon this sequence of commands that will allow you to unpack a Debian package even when dpkg isn't functional:

# cd /
# ar x xxx.deb
# tar xzf data.tar.gz

If I only knew this was so simple a few months ago. It would have saved me quite a few hours of unpacking packages on a functional machine and transferring files via a floppy to a crashed one.

Posted by Tomaž | Categories: Code | Comments »

Dan brez avtomobila

22.09.2005 13:23

Today is a "no car" day in Ljubljana. This is a way city authorities are using to promote public transportation.

So far so good. I'm all against cars. I think they are an fundamentally inefficient way to travel. Public transportation isn't very popular in Slovenia and basically everyone drives a car, so in my opinion such an initiative is a good thing.

What I don't get is the way the city implemented this idea. First, they closed the city center for all traffic. And I mean all traffic, including buses (which are the only public transport in Ljubljana). This of course means that all major bus lines have been diverted to unusual routes. Causing confusion among regular users of bus lines is certainly a great way to promote them. The bus rides are free though, but what good are they if they don't take you where you want to go?

Another weird idea is that they closed the dedicated bus lanes on the major roads in Ljubljana. Buses now have to drive on the inside lanes, which means that you have to walk a couple of meters over an improvised platform to the bus (in the rain). I can't find any reasonable explanation why they did this? (perhaps they wanted to broaden the sidewalks?)

And of course it seems that the city center is closed only for those people that respect the road blocks. Because all the "smart guys" obviously ignore them.

Posted by Tomaž | Categories: Life | Comments »

When in doubt

19.09.2005 17:13

When in doubt, use less technology.

I've read this simple piece of advice somewhere on the net a while ago. I think it nicely complements the Keep it simple rule.

It seems that more and more people rush into using a computer for tasks that are currently accomplished faster and better for example with a pen and a piece of paper or an old-fashioned blackboard. Computer-human interfaces have come a long way, but let's face it: the old way is still better in a lot of cases.

Paper doesn't need be recharged, it boots in less than a second and (best feature in my opinion) can seamlessly integrate different types of media: text, drawings, photos. Blackboards always work, aren't vulnerable to viruses that crash your computer in the middle of the lecture and won't suddenly turn all yellow/purple/blue. Also they are far cheaper than computer projectors and in my experience every single lecture given by someone using the blackboard was better and more enjoyable than a lecture given by someone using a computer presentation.

Posted by Tomaž | Categories: Life | Comments »

One deb a day...

15.09.2005 15:13

Sometimes when I'm bored I apt-get random packages from the Debian archive on my computer. More than once I found some great piece of software this way that I didn't even know they existed (last two packages I remember finding were games Supertux and Viruskiller).

Now it looks like some people at Debian also realized that because of the sheer number of packages many nice packages remain unnoticed. A few days ago debaday.debian.org went on-line, which promises that it will present one Debian package a day. They even offer a RSS feed.

Posted by Tomaž | Categories: Code | Comments »

The horror

08.09.2005 12:40
hda: dma_intr: status=0x51 { DriveReady SeekComplete Error }
hda: dma_intr: error=0x40 { UncorrectableError }, LBAsect=54455098, sector=54455086
ide: failed opcode was: unknown
end_request: I/O error, dev hda, sector 54455086
hda: dma_intr: status=0x51 { DriveReady SeekComplete Error }
hda: dma_intr: error=0x40 { UncorrectableError }, LBAsect=54455098, sector=54455094
ide: failed opcode was: unknown
end_request: I/O error, dev hda, sector 54455094
hda: dma_intr: status=0x51 { DriveReady SeekComplete Error }
hda: dma_intr: error=0x40 { UncorrectableError }, LBAsect=54455098, sector=54455094
ide: failed opcode was: unknown
end_request: I/O error, dev hda, sector 54455094

Two hard disks in two months is just too much...

I guess it's time for another put-hard-disk-in-freezer-and-try-to-copy-the-most-important-documents trick. Sigh.

Posted by Tomaž | Categories: Life | Comments »

Short video

07.09.2005 22:09

I play with 3D modeling and ray tracing software now and then and I found this short video to be absolutely hilarious.

It obviously received quite a few awards, so it seems that I'm not the only one that likes it.

Posted by Tomaž | Categories: Life | Comments »

Wireless

06.09.2005 15:45

After all complications with the payment (6 GBP got lost in the international money transfer, go figure) I've received the mini-PCI to PCI adapter I've ordered. Now I'll finally be able to have some fun with the Atheros-based wireless card I've got at What The Hack from the friendly Meshnode people.

Wireless!

This chipset includes a dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) diversity transceiver, supports IEEE 802.11 a/b/g standards, can operate in AP, ad-hoc and monitor modes and, best of all, has free software drivers for Linux and FreeBSD available.

The only problem is that the antenna connectors are of the U.FL type and it is almost impossible to find a coax cable with that connector already attached. I've only bought one adapter from U.FL to RP-SMA at What The Hack because I didn't notice the second antenna connector for the diversity mode.

Damn U.FL

The sad thing is that I paid 5€ for it at WTH and if I would order it now from Farnell it would cost me some 25€ plus postage.

I think I'll wait until 22C3 and see if I can get another adapter there.

Posted by Tomaž | Categories: Digital | Comments »

Gnome 2.12

06.09.2005 0:45

Anyone care to organize a Slovenian Gnome 2.12 release party tomorrow? Somehow I don't feel like traveling all the way to Madrid for this occasion.

Posted by Tomaž | Categories: Code | Comments »

Interesting misconception

04.09.2005 23:55

Wikimania got some media coverage in Slovenia and on several occasions I had an opportunity to listen to a conversation about Wikipedia between people that are not exactly computer enthusiasts. I was surprised to hear that many people seem to think Wikipedia is some kind of a search engine, just like Google. After all, you can go to Wikipedia, enter a subject you are interested in in a search box, click a button and if you are lucky, you will get a lot information about that subject printed on your screen. As far as these people are concerned, Google works in exactly the same way.

Posted by Tomaž | Categories: Life | Comments »