Why Open Source Rocks (and the music industry does not)

August 9, 2009

If you ever looked for song lyrics online, you know how most lyrics sites are. Plenty of ads, popups, silly scrolling flash gadgets, bad punctuation, and no easy way to send in corrections. Why not apply to lyrics the same community-driven editing model that has made Wikipedia so successful?

LyricWiki.org has done exactly that, and more. They have provided an API, making it easy for media players to query the database and fetch the lyrics for a specific song. To get an idea of this project’s success, check out these stats. At the time of this writing, LyricWiki is the fifth largest MediaWiki in existence, and the largest wiki that is not a Wikipedia or Wiktionary. What an inspiring example of a community built around the ideals of improving content and making information available. What could go wrong?

Read the rest of this entry »

Slow KDE / Plasma on Intel Integrated Graphics?

June 25, 2009

Got a laptop with an Intel GMA? Is Alt+Tab slower than you would like? Does Plasma take forever to move or resize an applet? Maybe you didn’t think it could get better?

Try playing with the options in xorg.conf. This is a good starting place.

In my case lspci shows ‘Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller [8086:2a42]’, and putting

Option  “AccelMethod”   “UXA”

in /etc/X11/xorg.conf has improved things significantly. UXA acceleration has been disabled by default in Ubuntu because it caused problems for some people, but in my case enabling it has made everything snappier, and also gotten rid of the drawing artifacts I used to see.

It also caused suspend to stop working (assert in X upon waking), but a recent fix to xserver-xorg-video-intel takes care of that. Distros might have released an update by now, but if you’re using Kubuntu and can’t wait, you can grab the packages from this ppa.

Snappy plasma, working suspend, happy user.

Update: Here is a post with another trick, using the -graphicssystem raster option of Qt programs. It makes switching tabs in Konsole faster, and it does wonders for long lines in Kate!


May 7, 2008

Sorry about the mess I currently made of this blog. I updated the Code section (aka. Magic) and had to create a separate post for every config file that was listed there. The news here is:

  • I’ve become maintainer of the KCharSelect widget/utility app in KDE. I haven’t done much besides bragging yet, but I have some bug fixes (before 4.1) and features in mind.
  • With a little luck (and a lot of free time if I find it), I will begin porting Filelight to KDE 4.

In other weakly related news:

  • Theme change. Opinions?
  • Blogroll updated. Forget common sense.
  • I won’t be home until Monday. I’m going to make an ass of myself again in front of the unbeatable Romanian contestants at the .Campion final round
  • I’ve been pondering whether I should finally get my own domain + paid hosting soon. I decided that it’s not yet the time, since except for a few gotchas (can only upload certain file types, can’t change CSS), I’ve been really happy with the WordPress.com service.

Now, if this post is not random, than I don’t know what is!

Konvert2Ogg 0.2 is here

March 21, 2008


after a complete redesign,

and a complete code rewrite,

released under a full moon,

feature-complete and usable,

[drum roll],


Konvert2Ogg 0.2 is here.

(updated) Home page
SourceForge.net project page
KDE-Apps.org page

I am especially thrilled about what I’ve learned while developing this project:

  • How to implement a factory in C++, so that when I want to add a new class, I don’t need to add references to it all over the place.
  • As a bonus, make that factory a singleton ;)
  • Lots of things about Qt, KDE, and even svn, XHTML and CSS, that I could only learn hands-on. (too many to list)
  • I even fixed some bugs / made some improvements to kdelibs while working on K2O!
  • Probably a bunch of other stuff I am forgetting right now.

Although the program now works and does what I want, this is no way the end of the journey. There are many more cool things in the can :D

People born today age four times slower.

February 29, 2008

In other completely random news:

  • School’s out for a week!
  • Konvert2Ogg, the KDE project I’m working on, has a new mission statement and code and GUI design. I am especially satisfied with the way the singleton / object factory (as taught by Alexandrescu) has turned out. With the factory and the base classes in place, adding support for Oggenc took only a few minutes.
    Wait for version 0.2 sometime in the next few weeks.

Playing with Qt/KDE

November 3, 2007

justwrite.pngSpeed writing means dumping the contents of your brain as fast as you can without stopping to think or check grammar. The small program I wrote today pretends to help you do it by launching a full-screen window to cover all distractions. It also keeps track of time for you and counts how many lines, words, and letters you’ve written. Here’s the source code (rename to .tar.bz2).

It uses the KDE4 libs, and the preposterous colors are the result of my experimenting with Qt style sheets.

PS. Bonus points if you find a way to crash it! (I know there is at least one)


September 15, 2007

Almost a week has passed and I’m still silent. No time? No inspiration? No will?

School is boring like usual. We’re not feeling the full weight of it yet, not until the exams start. Still, spending the first half of the day away from my PC makes me think of how much time I’ve wasted this summer… This year more attention is given to SATs and college applications than to school itself. Teachers had better be understanding or else…

Thankfully, audio-books make the days significantly less monotone.

I’ve been hacking around in KDE, Konsole mostly. So far I helped implement a couple of features which I’m awfully proud of:

  • Double-clicking a tab lets you rename it;
  • Double-clicking the empty space on the tab bar opens a new terminal session;
  • From the menu you can now open Konqueror at the directory you’re currently at.

but I’m still floating around through the files and classes like a clueless wanderer…

So, risking to sound like Abby Normal again, let me just say: ‘later.