Partition Day

Boy, was this a hectic day... Ran around most of the time trying to solve a couple of problems, handed out a (typically cynical, but quite funny) birthday present to a dear friend, got my Toshiba/M100 and proceeded to set it up the way I needed it.

Fedora was up and running within 30 minutes (again), and I finally figured out with the help of a colleague (who had far better luck with ximian-connector-setup than I did) that Evolution won't access calendars via SSL (it's that or via a FQDN, not quite sure yet, but a bug anyway), got some work done in the OpenOffice spreadsheet and even got around to getting cups to print to one of the office printers.

The catch? The driver for the Intel ipw2100 wireless chipset (which, by the way, is available at ATrpms) and its video counterpart wouldn't work properly: I couldn't get Wi-Fi connections to work with WEP, and no chance of a dual-head display when I'm in the office. That and the fact that I couldn't grok the ACPI settings under five minutes were enough for me to pick up the Toshiba restore CDs at the end of the day and persuade them to restore into my custom partition setup (leaving more than enough room for setting up Windows 2000 and other stuff I need for testing, as soon as I can find the custom bootloader I used to use).

Total time wasted: one hour and a half - thirty minutes flat to set up Fedora (plus a couple of knick knacks for wireless support), the full hour for the Windows XP restore plus the usual set of updates (and a Cygwin install, which finished way before Windows Update did). Fortunately, I had printed out enough stuff to read while I waited.

There are a couple of things to add, sure, as well as my custom coLinux setup, the Cisco VPN client and the low-level USB drivers I need to talk to a couple of phones.

All in all, less is more, sure, but Fedora is rather less than what I need right now. The only thing I regret having on the laptop so far is the brain-damaged Toshiba Bluetooth utility.

And the name? Ah, yes. I called it Quicksilver - Quicksilver (the book) and the app have definetly had an impact on me, and the laptop is small, silvery, and with a tendency to get warm. It's no PowerBook (or a speed daemon), but it fits in an Airbus seat tray with room to spare, and that's a feature I suspect I'll be needing quite frequently.

Laser Tag

At long last, my Intelliscanner Cordless Collector has arrived.

I wholeheartedly recommend Portuguese buyers to use FedEx and boycott our amazingly incompetent Post Office, who apparently lost the first shipment. And, although I'd advise against breaking the law, any legal way to get around the bloodsucking leeches that feed off the Customs clearence process is fair game (I ended up paying Eur.115 to get it cleared - and VAT wasn't even half of it).

So, now that I have it, I've been scanning a few barcodes with it, and taking a look at the results in ~/Library/Preferences/Intelli Innovations, Inc./Collection Databases - it's straightforward XML, and I'll probably be running it through XSLT soon to try and render it to my WAP phone/Blackberry/whatever.

There is a very neat HTML export feature, mind you, so regular folk have no need to dig into the Library folder. But it's damn near impressive to see it in action, fetching cover art and all sorts of metadata from the Web. The application needs a few UI tweaks (deleting several items is not intuitive), but it works.

I think I'll spend quite a few days scanning in my library - which is much nicer than a couple of years gathering metadata on it...

Update: Melo showed me Booxter, which can now read barcodes using an iSight (or other) Firewire camera. The application looks real neat, but I can't be bothered to bring all my books near my Mac...