Archive for the 'Apps' Category

GLDirect – OpenGL to DirectX Converter

Attention internet! If you have an ATi Xpress 200, Xpress 200m, Xpress 1100, or Xpress 1100m graphics card affected by the OpenGL firmware bug, this is for you. I stumbled across it randomly; it’s called GLDirect. It converts system calls to OpenGL into DirectX calls. So, if you can run DirectX games fine but you’ve been having trouble with horrible (read: completely unplayable) performance in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Neverwinter Nights, Savage, or another OpenGL game, give it a whirl.

I’d love to test it, but I no longer have the time or the affected hardware in question. If you try it, let me know how it works for you in the comments. Thanks!

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My Firefox Configuration

Upon reinstalling Ubuntu, the first thing I did was pull up a Tomboy note I save useful Firefox settings in. It occurred to me that I had some rather useful tweaks saved, and it would be a shame to hoard them all to myself. So, this is my Firefox configuration of choice. Yay.

Extensions
Adblock Plus
ChatZilla
Fission
Google Gears
Greasemonkey
Stylish
Ubunfox

Theme
Tango Gnome theme

about:config

  1. browser.startup.homepage = http://www.google.com
  2. browser.tabs.tabMinWidth = 32
  3. browser.tabs.closeButtons = 0
  4. browser.urlbar.hideGoButton = true
  5. network.cookie.cookieBehavior = 1
  6. browser.backspace_action = 0
  7. layout.spellcheckDefault = 2
  8. keyword.URL = http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&q=
  9. middlemouse.loadContentURL = false
  10. general.autoScroll = true

What it does

  1. Set homepage
  2. Make minimum tab size smaller
  3. Only show a close button on the current tab
  4. Hide the GO button on the address bar
  5. Only load cookies from the current site
  6. Make hitting backspace go back.
  7. Enable spellcheck in one-line fields
  8. Enable Google searchs in the main address bar
  9. Disable middle-clicking on tabs to goto URL in clipboard
  10. Middle click to scroll

Thanks to Joey Day for the “Google search in the address bar” tip. I believe he currently uses YubNub.

Stylish CSS
Combine Stop and Reload buttons

Wine-Doors

Wine is a great tool for Linux users who need to get their Windows software running outside the Microsoft OS, and it actually runs most things fairly well, but it can be a pain to configure. Actually, configuration is a huge reason it’s not more popular. So, what’s the logical thing to do? That’s right! Make an application that automates the configuration of popular Windows software. Someone has just started such an endeavor. It’s called Wine-Doors.

Actually, I can’t believe that no one else has tried this yet. It seems so obvious now.

EnglishMajoryness

I know my declared major is computer science and engineering, but I occasionally ponder whether or not I’m really pursuing the right degree. Am I actually an English major in some parallel universe? Sometimes I wonder. I’ll make a list to double check.

  • I write stuff down. An immense amount. Scarcely a day goes by when yours truly hasn’t jotted something simply “because.” Over spring break, I wrote an essay at least one page in length every day. Partially for personal entertainment and enjoyment, and partially because it helps me keep a perspective on things and observe my thought process. Also, partially because “they just happened.” In addition, regular scrawling help me observe the lurking horror of my truly awful syntax, grammar, and editing errors.
  • I tend to think of life in terms of what a great story it would make. Waking in a panic at 7 A.M. because of roommate’s fire-alarm clock, running to class an hour before it starts due to early morning disorientation, and holding the door for a random female becomes a decidedly epic tale of betrayal (how could you do this to me, clock?!), plot-twists (where is everyone?), and chivalry (the handicap button totally counts). I would continue with more examples, but The World At Large is probably better off not knowing exactly how I perceive things.
  • On the flipside of simply enjoying life as it comes, I frequently attempt to direct and control it by composing sentences, paragraphs, and occasionally entire conversations in my head before initiating a join to normal socialness. These snippets of text frequently undergo revision a few times until I see it fit to release them into the wild. It is a jungle out there, though. There are nasty tribal people with spears who like to kill my fragile text and ideas, usually requiring me to reply shortly afterward. It’s tough to speak while mourning the loss of loved precomposed dialog.
  • Perspective has a habit of killing the excitement brought on by the previous two bullet points.
  • Technology interests me. Strongly. It’s the ideas of many people come together to better the world through communication, reason, and learning. Most of it is text-based. Think about it. It’s all currently about doing fantastic stuff with words. Connecting people, linking ideas, and creating new ways of thinking about information.
  • That reminds me, the ultimate killer app has not yet been achieved.
  • Basic word processing functions
  • Basic spreadsheet functions
  • No need to save
  • Simple file format, pretty much just a zip file with XML and whatever inside. Images, video, MP3s, etc.
  • Ability to export PDFs.
  • LaTex support! Teh maths, they need notes about them. Kformula has a wonderful system. Embed or fork that off, maybe?
  • Allows text windows. Position text anywhere, take notes on images, write notes in the virtual margins etc.
  • Dump any file into a note in-line. Drag n’ drop from a browser, file manager window, etc.
  • Completely brainless outlining
  • WikiLike CamelCase linking
  • Very small and fast. Instant, if possible. If the user is coming up with new stuff faster then the program can process it, it’s too slow. Load time must be minimal, regardless of notebook size.
  • Open source! Cross platform! USB key compatible! Anyone¬†should be able to use something like this. Palm, Generic Windows boxen, Macs, Ubuntu, TabletPC, etc.
  • Get a peer-to-peer note server going, while we’re at it. (low dev priority. SAMBA shares will hold users over in the meantime).
  • OneNote does some of it. Tomboy does some of it. Basket is a nice example of the whole “dumping” concept. None of them are perfect.
  • I shall call it “MetaApp”, and development of a prototype will commence eventually using Python and wxWidgets.
  • Copyright JamesGecko, 2007.

Oh, right. Enthusiasm displayed over a detailed spec list for an obscure software product targeted at a decidedly niche market. I guess I am an engineer after all.

Safari on Windows?

I’d just like to say, Windows Safari is pretty much the most bizarre thing I’ve seen all month. I feel so confused.

Windows Desktop Search No More

Dear Microsoft,
Through some tragic accident, Windows Desktop Search recently became installed upon the Windows XP partition of my machine. Perhaps it was required by Office 2007. Maybe Windows Update installed it as a secret bonus. I don’t know. I don’t appreciate it.

“Why not?”, you ask. Maybe it’s the way my search functionality suddenly changed without my consent. Perhaps it’s how my disk is constantly grinding and how I am forced to compete for processor cycles. I hypothesize that it might have something to do with how the indexing service randomly starts up, even when I’ve disabled it using Administrative Tools. It might even be how the constant indexing continues, even when this laptop is running on battery power. Whatever the reason, I’ve had enough of it.

Have you looked into Beagle? It does a little thing which I find very special. It indexes when I’m not using the computer. Think about it.

–James

Thunderbird Annoyances

Thunderbird 2.0 has been released! Huzzah. It’s like 1.5, but with slight changes! Right, enough of all that. Now I will complain. There are some things that have been bugging me about the new version. Some of them have been bugging me since v1.0. I first started thinking about them when I tried an early beta of 2.0, and I had hoped that would be fixed for the final release. Guess not.

  • Horizontal view
    • Re-sizes message list instead of current message
    • Message list items don’t get twice as high to fit more info in
  • The “from:” and “attachments” panes take up space at the top and bottom of messages. It would be better to move their contents in-line. It’s not like I’m going to forget who sent me the message halfway through. I’m also not fond of having my viewing space halved when someone sends a bunch of images. Can re-size both the from and attachment panes, (with a small button to target) but they still take up at space and it’s annoying.
  • If you sort a folder by date so that the newest messages appear at the top, that view *only* holds true for that folder. There is no way to set the view application-wide; one must do the sort manually for every folder. A subtle annoyance.

There’s probably more, but those are the major things that have been getting to me. Within a year, there will probably be some extension called “Thunderbird Mix Plus Plus” or some such nonsense which fixes all this and more. Else, it all gets corrected in a future release. I await either of those with impatience.


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