F.lux adjusts your display to the sun's color and brightness

And there's a Linux version with GUI add well, check it out: f.lux for Linux. This is great especially for people working on a computer and suffering from insomnia or e.g. if you have a work room without windows (glass filled frames that is).

GAP bzw. DECT-Telefone mit der Fritz Box nutzen

Es gibt eine sehr praktische Liste der kompatiblen Telefone, die hilft das richtige zu kaufen. Sonst hat man oft z.B. keine Tonwahl oder keine Anzeige der anrufenden Rufnummer. Grundsätzlich lässt sich sagen, dass Siemens tragbare ISDN-Telefone recht gut funktionieren und Gigaset 1000, 2000, 3000.

Sort Algorithms Visualized and Other Fun Projects

Thanks to ck's blog I just found this great website visualizing number sorting computer algorithms. And I want to share it with you.

Also I love the concept of fold.it to solve difficult scientific problems using computer games and gamers.

And at duolingo.com, a project is in closed beta to learn a language and help translate texts at the same time. (Click bottom left to ask for an invitation to the closed beta.)

Cool Android Apps for eReaders (e-Ink eBook Readers) and Developer Information

E-Ink readers like the Nook touch currently come with 4 bit (16 levels) of gray, no camera, often no sound, no GSM, often no landscape detection sensor etc. And especially, the display refresh rate is very slow. Still or nonetheless they have advantages like battery time, especially with the display on, clear readability in bright direct sunlight over a tablet and display size over a phone and also more and more often come with Android. Here are some apps and hints which work great for that scenario.

Resuming a Copy in Linux -- like cp --resume

When you want to copy a large file and close before the end the copy is interrupted. There are some ways to work around this.

Cropping (Scanned) PDF Pages, e.g. double pages into single pages

If you have a PDF document and want to crop it, e.g. because you have too large borders and/or it is skewed or there are actually two pages in each page, this software may help.

Briss comes in Java and is good for cropping and deskewing pages: http://briss.sourceforge.net/. This works fully automatically for single pages and is very nice. As it's written in Java, it works on Mac, Windows and Linux just the same. I will keep this for all my image pdf cropping needs. To split double pages I would first deskew and crop automatically in the first run and then save. That file I recommend to use for a second run and there crop the pages into two parts manually.

Unpaper (http://unpaper.berlios.de/) is a CLI tool for the job, which supports double pages, which briss doesn't yet seem to support. But it requires the PDFs to be split into .pbm , .pgm or .ppm first.
e.g.  convert  ./unpaper -l double -s a5 00000001.pgm 00000001a.pgm. But in my experience it didn't work at all...

And this helps for OCR: http://blog.konradvoelkel.de/2010/01/linux-ocr-and-pdf-problem-solved/


A Disk Healing Itself

Smartd just gave me this report:
Device: /dev/sdb, SMART Usage Attribute: 193 Load_Cycle_Count changed from 197 to 196
Now how it's possible for the load cycles to decrease during run time, I don't know...

KDE's New Touch Interface

Aaron Seigo from KDE has posted on his blog an intro to KDE's new touch interface - quite nice, impressive and recommended to see.

How to run Android in a Virtual Machine

Brighthub has a nice howto for installing Android x86 in a VirtualBox Virtual Machine. This way you can run android apps on your computer -- with a fair speed as opposed to with the android emulator that comes with the android sdk.

How to Pin a Package in Debian or Ubuntu -- to stop automatic upgrades of the package

If you always wanted to know how to pin that one package so it won't get upgraded, here's how.

Tips for saving power on Intel Notebooks with i915 driver

Phoronix published some intel laptop linux power saving tips you might want to read: i915.i915_enable_rc6=1 i915.i915_enable_fbc=1 and i915.lvds_downclock=1

Fix for Google Reader/Mail Login Page Always Refreshing Instead of Logging

Do you also know the problem that you want to sign in to Google services like Google Reader or Mail but the page just keeps refreshing? Have you also enabled cookies and use a supported browser, etc, but it didn't help? Try this...

Skype Video auf Android deutlich verbessert

In einem der letzten Tests hatte ich Skype Video auf dem Samsung/Google Nexus S getestet. Dabei war das Video und der Ton für mich gut, für die Gegenseite aber abgehackt und ruckelig. Das Problem hat Skype mit der aktuellen Version, die auf mehr Handy lauffähig ist, nun behoben. Ein zweistündiges Videogespräch nach Brasilien lief unproblematisch. Dabei wurde das Handy recht warm und danach war der Akku dann aber auch leer (von 60 % auf 15%). Trotzdem: Es macht jetzt einen riesigen Spaß auch mit Skype Videotelefonate zu führen. Die Unterdrückung von Hintergrundgeräuschen und das Telefonieren mit Lautsprecher an (statt Headset) geht dabei besser als mit Google Talk Video soweit ich das getestet habe. Das Video war meiner Meinung nach etwas weniger scharf als bei Google, aber das könnte auch an dem anderen Gesprächspartner liegen. Einen kleinen Hakler gab es noch als das Gespräch durch einen Anruf unterbrochen wurde. Das Videogespräch wurde zwar vorbildlich geparkt und ließ sich nachher fortsetzen. Aber ich konnte den Anrufer aus dem Mobilfunknetz nicht hören. Reproduziert habe ich das bisher allerdings nicht.

How to (Re-)Compress PDFs with Images for Free

I'll show you how to compress PDFs including their images for free using LibreOffice/OpenOffice.

Fixing .Net 2.0 Not Implemented Error in Linux Wine - e.g. Crossed out Boxes in the Menu in Photomatix

If you've used Microsoft .Net inside WINE, you may have come across this issue: Instead of e.g. a slider bar showing in the menu of an application, you see a box with a red cross inside it. The fix is very, very easy with winetricks, simply execute:
winetricks gdiplus

This works nicely, e.g. for HDRSoft Photomatix 4.1 in Wine 1.2.2.

Google Talk Video Review (Nexus S) (English)

So I finally got to test Google Talk Video on the Nexus S. The result is simply:

Google Talk Video Review (Nexus S) (deutsch)

(English Version) Am Wochenende kam ich dann endlich dazu, Google Talk (Videokonferenz) mit dem Nexus S zu testen. Das Erlebnis war kurzum:

Interner Voip Client und andere Funktionen von Gingerbread

Inzwischen bin ich dazu gekommen die Swype-Großschreibfunktion zu lernen und ich habe auch einige Voip Clients auf dem Samsung Google Nexus S getestet. Überraschend fand ich dass bei diesen Tests der interne Client als schlechtester abschnitt.

Kontakte, incl. Telefonnummern und Email, umziehen von Android zu Android

Ich möchte nicht alle meine Daten bei Google gespeichert haben. Deshalb habe ich meine persönlichen Kontakte auf dem Telefonspeicher gesichert, der nicht mit Google synchronisiert wird. Nun bin ich wie gesagt als Gewinner einer von O2 gesponsorten Preisausschreibung von einem Samsung Galaxy 3 auf das Google Nexus S umgestiegen.

What is google+ like? (xkcd)

Android video skype, system update, opera mobile auf dem google nexus

Nach swype kam das erste mal ein system update auf das neue Google Nexus S handy. Nach zwei minuten download und einem neustart war es auch schon vorbei. Und das system läuft weiter prima...

Das Nexus ist da!

For my english readers: I will make some german entries about my new google nexus s in the time to come.
Heute kam dann endlich das google nexus s zum testen bei mir an. Ich wurde als einer von mehreren Bloggern ausgewählt ein Handy, v.a. im Business-Einsatz zu testen.

Android Emulator Quick Boot

The first time I tried starting the android emulator, I quit it and never used it again. Starting up took about 5 minutes already and it wasn't too responsive afterwards. Now Matthew Casperson posted a nice howto for using the snapshot feature of the android emulator to start it up quickly. Now all I need is a trick to have it running faster as well... But that's not going to happen as long as it relies on qemu to first translate everything from x86 to arm code.  ;)

Being based on Java, you'd think it would be possible to create a much faster emulator by just leaving out the arm cpu emulation. And it seems some people have done that with youwave. Unfortunately, that's windows-only.

Another line of improvements would be to speed up the graphics, as reportedly displayed with impressive results at Google I/O 2011.

Enabling the Integrated Flash and Plugin Blocker in Google Chrome

If this is not available for you out of the box in the settings page (details, content, plug-ins), you can enable it in about:flags, "click-to-play". You have to restart Chrome for it to take effect. As before, I really don't know why they removed it from the settings page in the first place.

In that same flags page you can also disallow the reading of third party cookies.

Correcting a Misaligned VGA Image on your Monitor or TV in Xorg, e.g. when you see a black border or frame, the image badly aligned to one side of the screen

When I wanted to connect my TV via VGA out to my netbook, the image displayed started with a black frame on the left side and was missing a part on the right side. It only occurred in FullHD resolution (1920x1080), during boot and in other resolutions it was fine. Just for fun I contacted the TV manufacturer, but of course they didn't know any help but "try to install the newest driver for your graphics card".

Segfaults in Google Chrome

I've notice several times that despite the elaborate architecture, Google Chrome does reproducibly crash completely sometimes. But this time way really funny, because of the website I was trying to access: linuxfoundation.org.
[23706.661053] chrome[6256]: segfault at 5 ip 087ee261 sp bff2ad80 error 4 in chrome[8048000+2c05000]
[23732.024794] chrome[10876]: segfault at 0 ip (null) sp bff6db4c error 4 in libstdc++.so.6.0.13[3bf0000+ec000]

Youtube complains of a lack of local storage? Try this...

It seems youtube would really like you to (aka forces you to) enable enable flash storage for third parties and enable at least 10 kg storage for everybody by default. This is most certainly not a technical necessity, but to make advertizing work better. Otherwise you can't save your youtube 3d settings. But once you've saved your 3d settings, you can switch third party storage back off. ;)

The coming big 3.0 Kernel - First Impresions

After running the 3.0-rc2 for a few days I can say that I notice a higher responsiveness. I'm not sure right now what causes them, but something's definitely improved. On the downside my intel i965 chipset crashes even more. This started in 2.6.39 with video playback, but it's gotten worse now and includes switching to the framebuffer console and back - and a very hard freeze that is, too...

Optimizing Code for Small Size

Many people know the -Os flag of gcc to reduce the code size. Now a while ago Benno posted some tipps to reduce the size of a compiled program for ARM, which give a good hint what to look for in any case. His Summary
"Compile to Thumb instructions.
Use -Os to optimise for space.
Look for unnecessary code.
Look for examples of registers used in the wrong place."

Fixing USB Playback Issues for Video Files on LG, Samsung and other TVs - e.g. "Invalid File"

If your file won't play and the TV reports "Invalid file", the thumbnail is not created instead a one with a warning arrow, then your TV won't eat the file.

The problem is likely one of these issues:
1. unsupported format (check the supported list, e.g. LG)
- especially note the restriction of 30 fps for FullHD
- video codecs are usually divx and h264 (up to profile 4.1), no GMC
- audio codecs are usually mp3, ac3, aac.
2. Badly muxed file
3. Mkv with header compression

Putting a Group of Processes into a CPU and Memory Jail -- First Steps with Control Groups in Linux

Control groups are really, really great. They can effectively make your system act as if it were two or more systems in one. It's like virtualization without all the overhead and much more efficient than e.g. renicing. (Just a little overhead... and no hard cpu limit yet, but still great!) You can lock a process into a jail that is only as fast as e.g. 10% of your cpu and has only 10 % of your memory and 10 % of your disk speed. Pretty much whatever it does, it won't be able to really annoy you. This means that e.g. big compiles in the backgroud *really* don't affect your browsing *at all*. Here are some presentation slides about cgroups. So let's see how we take the first steps to get there. I will show you how to do it manually step by step so you can learn how it works.

Common Issues with Linux Control Groups - e.g. Lack of Space, Device Busy/Mount Problems, Subgroup can't be deleted, no cpu shares file

Problem: The group will e.g. not let you echo PIDs into its "tasks" file and complain about a lack of space.

Guess the Size of an Lrzip Archive of all Linux Kernel Sources Since 1.0

I've reported before about the efficiency of Lrzip. Now Con did a useful and fun thing: He created an lrzip archive of all the sources of all 2.6 linux kernels. And guess how much space it took? Update: Guess how big an archive of *all* Linux sources since 1.0 is.
A few hints:
- All sources in a tar are 10.3 GB.
- The kernel is 73 MB as a tar.bz2 archive.
- Now it would be less, because the first kernel was smaller (just 32 MB).
- So taking the average (73+32=105/2=52.5) times 39 would be just 2GB (compressed!).

- 19,617,064,960 bytes linux-1.0-2.6.39.tar
- 11,067,473,920 bytes linux-2.6.0-2.6.39.tar

- ( 2,000,000,000 bytes linux-2.6.0-2.6.39.tar.bz) estimate
-   1,535,618,848 bytes linux-2.6.0-2.6.39.tar.xz 13.8%

With heavy, slow IO it took less than an hour to compress, and lrzip was more than twice as fast as xz.

Now that I gave you all these numbers let's see how much it really is... (make a guess an click the link)

Learn Flashcards Efficiently - Tips and How to get OpenCards Running in Linux - Slow Opening of Files in Openoffice and LibreOffice

OpenCards is a great, optimized memorizing software that ensures you need as little time as possible to learn your flashcards.
What you get
  • As it's based on Openoffice, you can make full featured flash cards including diagrams, mind maps and everything else supported in Impress.
  • Focus on learning. As it logs your progress and automatically schedules the next time to question you, you can learn without organizing what to learn when.
  • The repetition schedule is based on modern psychological research. The Leitner system is "a widely used method to efficiently use flashcards that was proposed by the German science journalist Sebastian Leitner in the 1970s. It is a simple implementation of the principle of spaced repetition, where cards are reviewed at increasing interval." (Wikipedia)

Kernel Shark (trace-cmd/ftrace GUI) presentation by Steve Rostedt

There's a nice (WebM) video of Steve presenting the gui to trace-cmd and it's output of ftrace's work.

What to do if asm/errno.h asm/ioctls.h and others are not found anymore in Ubuntu or Debian

It turns out you need to now install gcc-multilib. It's not clear why yet. A bug is already filed, but he maintainers seem to see no problem in suddenly changing this behavior...

Charging your Kindle with Linux

To charge your kindle, you need to connect it via usb, and the eject it. This command should work on any Kindle in any recent Linux out-of-the box. You have have to install "eject", though:

sudo eject /dev/disk/by-label/Kindle

If you don't have /dev/disk/by-label look for the first partition, e.g. /dev/sdb1 and eject that, not sdb itself.

GnuPlot Cheat Sheet

This wasn't done by me, but it's a good cheat sheet for this nice, but difficult to use piece of software: http://www.gnuplot.info/docs_4.0/gpcard.pdf.

Vimprobable - A new webkit browser

It's amazing how much offspring the konqueror-derived webkit browser engine has created. I think it's a good hint to see how high the code quality of kde and qt is generally. One of the newest offspring is vimprobable. It's a browser that focusses on keyboard controllability. And it has a really fancy AJAX, Flash animated, SQL-Server backed website. ;) ;)

It's so fresh, there may not even be packages yet, so you'd have to compile it.

Other non-standard browsers of my readers include Opera Mini (.5%) (ok, that's the mobile standard), Seamonkey, Midori, "wg" and Playstation 3.

Ftrace Favorites Cheat Sheet - Fun Commands to Try with Ftrace

When you see the ftrace presentation or read through the presentations, you get an overload. It's just too much at once. That's why I decided to write up this little cheat sheet for ftrace with commands from Steve's presentations.

Logging and Graphing Power Consumption of Embedded Linux Systems -- Busybox and GnuPlot analyzing the Kindle 3

Actually this should've been really easy. A small script loop on the kindle to log the battery consumption and then plug that data into gnuplot. But it turned out gnuplot afaik doesn't support to output the difference between values. Thanks to apo_ from #gnuplot I've got it running with the help of awk now. The great thing is that this script runs in busybox and can hence easily be adapted for pretty much any kind of portable devices including Android phones, Kindles, Tablets, Notebooks, Netbooks, etc. And that's how it looks.
Kindle 3 Battery Consumption
Measurement points are marked with an x.

Charging Devices During Suspend Using your Notebook's USB Port with Linux

You probably have done this before: Plug your phone or mp3 into your Notebook's USB port to charge it. E.g. the Kindle usually only comes with a USB cable and no seperate charger. Did you know you can do this even when your system is in standby mode? I will show you how - without the need to modify anything but software!

Checking if at least a Kernel Version is Runnig in Bash

kernelatleast() { # provide number like 2639
kver=$(uname -r|cut -d\- -f1|tr -d '.'| tr -d '[A-Z][a-z]')
if [ $1 -ge $kver ] ; then
return 0;
return 1;

Getting the Right Kernel Configuration for Your System the Easy Way

If you're lazy (and/or smart), you still want to compile a kernel for your system and save the time compiling all the things you don't need, then make localmodconfig is your friend. It will create a .config from the modules you have loaded, as Christoph Hellwig did not fail to mention repeatedly at the LinuxTag. But there are two caveats.

Using a Linux Driver for a Device that is not yet supported without recompiling

If you have  a new shiny webcam or some other device you want to use in Linux, here is a quick short guide how you can have it runnig within minutes with a bit of luck.

Copying Binary Files Via Telnet

Telnet really wasn't mean for copying at all, even less copying binary files. But you can do it with a fair amount of effort. You need two open terminals.
On Terminal 1:
1. telnet host > somefile.txt (then log in blind or look at tail -f somefile.txt)
2. cat somefile | busybox uuencode -m -
3. Once you see that you are logged in and the data stream is going just wait for it to finish.
4. Close Telnet (Ctrl-C, Ctrl-D)
Then once telnet is closed and you are back on your system enter:
5. busybox uudecode -o somefile.bin somefile.txt

There is no need to first remove the login protocol and other random shell noise, they are no problem. uudecode automatically detects where the binary data starts and ends if you do one file at a time.
Now you have your precious binary data, rejoice! ;-)

Byebye Skype for Linxu and Android

So Microsoft bought Skype. I guess that means the Skype clients for Linux and Android will be even more neglected (or removed) and Windows Mobile and Xbox clients created instead. Good, that GNU started work on a Skype alternative and Google implements audio and video chat on Android with GChat, because now we will need it I'm afraid.

Accessing Kindle 3 with SSH via Wifi using usbNetwork and Launchpad

As a prerequisite you will need usbNetwork and launchpad installed and working. Once that is set up, create a new file in the launchpad directory: iptables.ini with the contents

Kindle 3 Discovery Tour: Kernel Config, Processes, Programs, Modules, /proc, cpuinfo, dmesg, meminfo, mounts, fstab and other Inside Information (Firmware 3.1)

There doesn't seem to be a copy of the Kindle 3.1 kernel config file on the internet yet. So I will put it online here. Also I will list a few interesting directories, like proc. This is just for documentation purposes and so people don't have to hack into the kindle to find out that e.g. though it has powertop, the kernel's support (timer_stats in /proc) is disables and so it's of no use. Check below for tons of information from the kindle root shell environment.

Minimal Powertop as Bash Script esp. for Embedded Environments

I wrote this for my kindle and android devices. It's a nice, easy script though and should be great especially for embedded environments, where you have a shell but not all of the powertop dependencies. It works wonderfully on my notebook and netbook, but you may have to slightly adjust the path names to work on your system.

It turns out that this wasn't needed for either, as the kindle comes with powertop preinstalled. But it can't work on either of my devices, as timer_stats are disabled in their kernels.
I do wonder: Why do they disable the timer_stats? Is the overhead of timer_stats too high? Let me know how you use it!

Always full of Surprises - Intel Linux Wireless Drivers

You always think that device support is very good in Linux for old drivers. You think that Intel wireless drivers are especially well supported. So an old intel wireless device should have eccelent support. But it turns out I was wrong in this case. Intel took from August 2010 until the end of Apri 2011 to fix a regression in their driver covering several devices introduced in 2.6.35, now in 2.6.39 it's fixed it seems.

Things you probably didn't know about the Kindle

As an outsider I had no idea that the kindle has a wide open linux root. You can install not only a port of FBreader to read epubs and other files, but there is also a port of mplayer to listen to music including internet radio via wifi, font patches, ssh, different screen savers and other things. I just wanted to test it for two weeks as you can in Europe with pretty much any mail ordered thing. But now I'll keep it!

Rzip - A new compression star is born

Remember when Bzip first came out and out-compressed Gzip\? Well, then came LZMA with another significant increase in compression ration a bit later. And then one of the authors of Samba, Andrew Tridgell, developed a new compression algorithm called Rzip. It compresses even more efficient, though it needs large amounts (may be 1 GB) of memory to do so. And now Con Kolivas, author of the great Desktop Latency patches including the BFS scheduler and the man who designed the current kernel scheduler (though another implementation of his design was used), took it to himself to further develop the rzip algorithm. And the results are quite promising: The linux kernel is compressed about 3 times as fast as with LZMA2 with just 2 percent difference in final size. I look forward to this going downstream into end-user desktop software.

Update: Con just commented with a link to more detailed and accurate lrzip statistics.

Is the Linux Desktop getting slower and more bloated?

In his "failure of logic" post "K. Mandla" writes that the Linux Desktop is not getting faster even though all the hardware around it is getting faster, pointing to an article with the same argument 10 years ago. The ensueing discussion was much too abstract for my taste. ("Why are clouds?" "What clouds, where?") But if you split up the question you get answers:

Why Not Scale the CPU on Schedule?

Usually e.g. CPU frequency scaling works mostly by seeing how much of the CPU is utilized and then reacting by setting the frequency to a certain level to satisfy this need. But why not at least in addition introduce an interface for some software, e.g. media players, to inform the kernel up front how much CPU it will need. Then it the CPU will be available on time.

0.4 Watt Less During Audio Playback - (Updated:) Power Performance: Pulseaudio + Interrupt-Less Alsa

(Skip to the update)
Ok, so with some help from Pierre-Louis from Intel I've managed to get it working and do some performance/power tests. But let me start at the beginning: Recently, pulseaudio not only switched to a more power efficient (and otherwise) timing system, as far as I understand a callback API. It also provided the infrastructure to use ALSA devices without causing any interrupts ("period wakeup disabling"), so you CPU can stay longer in standby mode (e.g. "C6 residency"), saving you power and avoiding playback glitches at the same time. See here and here or more background information. With kernel 2.6.38 the first driver (snd-hda-intel) supports this infrastructure out of the box, the snd-hda-intel driver. This combination is what I tested for power efficiency...

The Linux Kernel Trojan Horse Gift

Linus describes how he prefers new features to be introduced to Linux:

In other words, every new crazy feature should be hidden in a nice solid "Trojan Horse" gift: something that looks _obviously_ good at first sight.

The fact that it may contain the germs for future features should be hidden so well that not only is it not used as an argument ("Hey, look at all those soldiers in that horse, imagine what you could do with them"), it should also not be obvious from the source code ("Look at all those hooks I sprinkled around, which aren't actually used by anything, but just imagine what you could do with them").

New Open Source Poulsbo Driver in 2.6.39 staging

It works pretty nicely - though just as a framebuffer device so far. A specialized Xorg userspace driver for the new staging kernel driver is expected sometime soon. It already supplies KMS and can be used with the fbdev driver of Xorg. So next time you want to try a new kernel you can at least get into a working X without much ado. And there will surely be at least a simple driver coming with new kernels now. The first steps have been taken. And of course, all this is hopefully just the beginning...

Samsung Galaxy Kies Connection and Upgrade Fails with MTP Device Driver Popup

If you can't connect your phone to Kies because there is a constant Windows popup saying that the mtp device is installed again and again or not working correctly, here's a great workaround. It's extremely easy and works perfectly for upgrading to the newest Android version:

Simply Eject the Flash Card. Then connect the phone and it all works fine. Of course this way it can't access the SD card. And there will be a popup saying that the sd card is not inserted, just ignore it! ;)

Microsoft's FUD machinery is on full power again

Remember the good old times when Microsoft always claimed Linux would violate its patents? Well, now Android is the big bad show stopper preventing Microsoft from gaining the next monopoly, those poor guys... but of course they won't just take it. So here comes the good old FUD.

Pulseaudio Power Efficiency

Using pulseaudio in combination with alsa is already more power efficient and avoids many interrupts on current systems. In my experience the interrupts created by hda_intel decreased from 60-80 down to 6 per second. The sleep residency increased from about 3 ms to about 8 ms. This already makes a difference of about .25 Watts. I wonder if and how the difference will be with the new patches that went into 2.6.38, disabling even more interrupts.

Update: Also check how to save 0.4 Watts and more with pulseaudio and alsa.

More Latency Tweaks for Desktop Users

For those of you who got hooked already by the magical kernel patch that went into 2.6.38 and seriously improved latency with high load, there is a special daemon now that takes it further: uLatencyD. And for the lazy Ubuntu people there is a ppa available, too:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:poelzi/ulatencyd-stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ulatencyd

It works immediately and in my experience so far: veeery nice.


Converting Vobsub (.sub/.idx) to .srt in Linux

Mencoder rips the subtitles for you as I just posted. But what if you want a .srt file? The problem is that vobsub subtitles used in DVDs are made as images. This means you first need to convert the images back to text. That is usually done with the help of OCR. And not differently for subtitles. But there's already a special open source Linux program available for that purpose here.

How to Rip Subtitles with Mplayer or better Mencoder

Subtitle ripping changed recently. It used to be done with mplayer, but now it's actually done with mencoder. The current command is
mencoder -o /dev/null dvd:// -oac copy -ovc copy -vobsubout subtitle
The subtitle files will be called subtitle.idx and subtitle.sub.

Fixing OpenSUSE's 'No Devices Matches MBR Identifier'

Check the file in the subfolder boot/grub/mbrid. Do sudo fdisk -l and check that the ID of your usb stick is the same as the one in the file. If not, change it. Just deleting the file won't work, then the code will assume you want to boot from CD or DVD and fail if it doesn't find one. But you can also try to boot with the kernel parameter nombridcheck. But unfortunately for me nothing worked. It seems OpenSUSE USB boot is pretty broken ...

Step by Step Tutorial to the Android Development Setup

Check out this great screenshot-laden extensive tutorial to setup Eclipse and the Android SDK.

Powertop 2.0 beta

Check out the new version of powertop. It has still to be compiled from source code. Here's the release post

Clearing the Cache and Data of the Android Facebook App

The Facebook App likes to grow and grow in Android. The reason is that it never cleans cache and data. And you often can't even do it manually in Settings, Applications, Facebook, Clear Cache or Clear Data. But it turns out all you need to do it log out and back in and the cache is gone. Of course if you want a real fix, don't forget to file a bug report inside the app.

XBMC with VAAPI on Poulsbo (Intel GMA500) or other VAAPI Systems

It's not possible directly right now due to limitations of the existing GMA 500 drivers (IEGD, PSB, ...) and probably other vaapi drivers. But if you have mplayer-vaapi running, it's really easy - because you can set up xbmc to use external players with XBMC 10.