Doctrine ORM and Symfony

I’ve recently started to follow (and slightly help with development) of Doctrine. It’s a fantastic alternative to propel, significantly faster and a lot lighter. I strongly advise you check it out. Documentation is a bit poor, but I’m always on the #doctrine IRC channel on freenode as is the lead developer zYne- and a few others – feel free to pop in and say hello!

Continue reading “Doctrine ORM and Symfony”

KDE – kwin and Xgl

I tried Xgl today – and whist it looks nice and supports my twinview setup (shocking!) I coudn’t get on with it. The reason I couldn’t get on with is it because you need to replace kwin with something else, as kwin doesn’t have support for it yet.

So… I went onto #kde and asked if there was going to be support for it in KDE4, apparently there will be, but this answer isn’t offical. Some kind person (PhilRod) pointed me to a digest , which in turn pointed me to the KDE svn repos showing commits to kwin that appear to be relevent. I’ll try to figure out who lunakl is, and ask him for an offical answer.

Update: Having mailed lunakl (Lobus Lunak) he pointed me to an article on On KWin wobbling and such stuff over on kdedevlopers.org. As it turns out, KDE is in need of graphics developers, and this was dgged about last month. So, it’s planned… but some code monkeys with ubergraphical skills are needed.

Apple iSight camera under linux

Yes, it’s possible. You can even use it for webcam chat under Kopete IM (and other probably).

Firstly, the camera doens’t present itself as a v4l (video 4 linux) device, so you need vloopback kernel module. This kernel module will create 2 v4l devices, usually /dev/video0 (input) and /dev/video1 (output).

You’ll want to install coriander and libdc1394, probably the latest versions.

Plug your camera in, insert vloopback, and start up coriander. Click ‘v4l’ button so that coriander will start to export your camera via the vloopback module, and that’s it, you can now use your iSight as a v4l device. Fantastic.

I’m far from an expert in this field, so if you have questions about this setup, you’re best taking them elsewhere 😉

Update: If you’re finding that your colours are messed up and green and purple, you’ll need to make a change to the coriander source (effects versions of at least up to coriander-2.0.0-rc1)

Thanks to Marc Roberts who pointed this out to me…

I have fixed the color problem that I had with Coriander. In conversions.c, I changed the enumeration in line 32 from

DC1394_BYTE_ORDER_YUYV to:

DC1394_BYTE_ORDER_UYVY

update:
Seems my blog software doesn’t allow HTML in the comments, so here are some useful links.

Using Domi to install Ubuntu

Domi is a tool for building Xen domains. It’s usage is covered in HOWTO Xen and Gentoo hosted on the gentoo wiki site. It says you can use it to install Ubuntu, but no where actaully tells you how. So.. here’s how!

# cat ./ubuntu.cfg
DOMI_XEN_CONF="/etc/xen/test"
DOMI_XEN_KERNEL="/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.16.18-xenU"
DEBIAN_MIRROR="ftp://ftp.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/"
DEBIAN_RELEASE="dapper"
DOMI_DISTRO="debian"
DOMI_NAME="test"
DOMI_VDISK="hda"

Yes, I do know the DOMI_DISTRO is set to debian, but ubuntu is based on the debian package manager, so that’s correct.

Note that you have to setup the /etc/hostname and /etc/hosts after.

Brita / Breville Aqua Fountain Review

I’ve recently purchased a Breville Aqua Fountain and I’m not overly impressed with it, so I thought I would put a review here in the hope to put others off buying it.

104997704_934

I had a desktop water cooler before this, but it recently broke. It was a good cooler, but was reasonably tacky just slightly cheaper then my new Breville Aqua Fountain. The new cooler set me back £55 from Robert Dias.
First impressions were good. It’s got blue LEDs which make the water chamber glow, and has a downward pointing LED highlighting the dispensing area. The unit needs cleaning before use, but that should be obvious to most. It takes the new larger Brita filters – apparently these are much better – however I can’t help but think that it’s an attempt at vendor lock in. The external chamber can hold up to 3 litres (I’ve not confirmed it, but it seems about right) and apparently the internal chamber holds 1 liter – it’s this 1 liter that is cooled.

The unit is quieter then my old cooler, and it has a nice switch on the front to turn it off. Having said all this, I have a few issues with this cooler.

Firstly, you can’t turn the blue LEDs off. They really do give the cooler a nice look, but I don’t actually want them on. They are bright, and I keep this on my lounge, so whilst watching a movie I have to turn it off. To demonstrate how bright the lighting is, click the image on the right. This was taken about midnight from outside my house, nothing is on except the water cooler in that room!

Secondly, the fan seems to be on a lot! My old cooler was very loud when it was activly cooling, but it didn’t do it very often. This cooler seems to spend a lot of time attempting to cool.

Lastly, the water doesn’t appear to be that cold! Various quotes on the internet suggest this unit should cool to between 5 and 10 degrees. I’m reasonably confident it’s not cooling that much, but I intend to get a thermometer to test it soon, and will update this page when I do.

As a final note – how hard would it be to have a variable hemostat on the thing, so I can choose how cool I want it? I don’t think Breville did any tests on Joe Public with this product – it had potential to be fantastic, but alas… it barely hits the ‘good’ rating

Update: Using a Precision Gold N28BJ Infrared Thermometer I measured the temperature of the water. I took a glass (of about medium size, I imagine about 250-300ml) and filled it with water. I then took the temperature of the surface of the water. I ensured that the blue light on the front of the cooler was on, which signifies that water is at temperature. The reading was 10 degrees, so within specification, but only just.

Update 2007-10-30: I contacted Brita about this, asking if they wanted to give me an official response to post – however they have not yet replied.

Update 2007-11-07 Brita have replied!

We are of course looking into the concerns expressed on your blog. As the Brita Breville Aqua Fountain is a joint venture between ourselves and our partners Breville, we are keen to consult with Breville fully before responding to yourself. We look forward to coming back to you within the next week.

Update 2007-12-04 One month later, and no reply.

Update 2007-12-15 Another reply!

Many thanks for your kind offer to respond to your and other opinions concerning the Breville Brita Aqua Fountain water chiller. As with all products, consumer feedback is vital to their continual evolution, improvement and ultimately customer satisfaction and as such we welcome your honest opinion.

Firstly, the vast majority of Aqua Fountain purchasers over the past 2 years have been very happy with the performance of our product. Most are happy with the cooling performance, the convenience and cost over bottled water that it offers. I understand that it is only natural that those who have had an unusual or unfortunate experience are more likely to post opinions than those who are content. For those that are disappointed with the performance of their Aqua Fountain, it is guaranteed for a period of 1 year from purchase date against mechanical and electrical defects.

I also read with interest that your Breville Brita Aqua Fountain has been quieter than your previous water chiller. Also, whilst I appreciate that the water temperature achieved (you mentioned that you measured it at 10 degrees, its correct specification) might not be cold enough for your own tastes, we feel sure that this is ideal for others. Delivering temperatures colder than 10 degrees would use much more energy and time to achieve and so it was felt that 10 degrees would offer water cold enough for most tastes yet with a chilling time/energy use that was acceptable also. We pride ourselves in offering good customer service and genuinely welcome customer feedback as it forms part of our product development programme.

Our customer services team are more than happy to advise on and resolve any issues that are expressed on your website. If you have any other queries, please feel free to come back to our customer care team.

In my opinion, it’s a good reply. My dealings with customer services on this issue were good. Other then the delay in reply from Breville, replies were pretty quick.

mail clients – why is there no decent mail clients?

Well, I’ve moved from Kmail (randomly deletes mails, no IDLED support) to thunderbird. Thunderbird is nearly working, but there’s a few bugs which I’m listing here mostly for myself to track.

bug #23394
– really old bug – reply to quoting just selected text

bug #116075
– quicksearch including threads

bug #345040
– imap messages don’t get marked as read if you move to the next before it finishes loading

bug #345089
– editable ‘from’ field

bug #345102
– ability to assign an identity to a mailbox

bug #253853
– thunderbird stupidly assumes that if I want to view mail in plain text I’ll also want to do the same with RSS. Crazy 🙂

bug #345092
– Asks for password for each feed that needs it each time you open thunderbird, despite having told it to remember the password (it remembers it, I just have to click ok)

bug #206408
– thunderbird reports ‘Copying message to Sent folder’ until you click cancel, upon which it tells you it has not sent the mail, but it has – it has also copied the message to the sent mail folder, so it’s lying and just being stupid

bug #179033
– the inability to watch threads in email, although.. you can do it in news, madness

Note to anyone writing a mail client (please please, someone do this before I have to do it myself) I honestly think that there’s a hell of a market yet to be fully tapped, e-mail is becoming such an important part of life, people need the tools to deal with it with ease

http://www.xs4all.nl/~js/gnksa/gnksa.txt

It’s amazing how there’s such a lack of decent, cross platform, powerful, GUI based (yes, I’ve tried mutt and pine too, both suck, mutt less then pine – but I still have my issues with it).


UPDATE 14/03/2007: Seems I’m not the only one in despair about mail clients being annoying. Over on Mysql Performance Blog there is a post about mail clients and how they should be using a database to store mail. It’s a good point – I think mail clients are missing a trick here – not only would it be quicker to search on headers, but imagine having a full text index on your mail – a bit like google mail. I can’t be the only one that spends ages searching for specific messages in my mailbox?

ftp issues with symlinks and directories with dots in their name

I’ve found that certain windows FTP clients like cuteFTP in their default configuration have issues with directory names wiht dots in (such as ~/sites/domain.com) where the file is actaully a symlink somewhere else.

In one of my setups, I do this…

~user/sites/domain.com -> symlink to -> /var/www/domain.com

This was causing issues, to work around it, I had 2 options…..

~user/sites/domain_com -> symlink to -> /var/www/domain.com

or…

~user/sites/domain.com/htdocs -> symlink to -> /var/www/domain.com/htdocs

Some windows software really does suck.