Five IMs

Five instant messaging and internet communications program in my systray is what I ended up after trying to find out, which one is the best. I have: Gnomemeeting, Psi, Gaim, Skype and Gnu Gadu 2. I tried to recall passwords for all of my accounts and it turned out that I have eleven instant messaging accounts. Five of them on jabber servers. Looks like I'm a very online guy.


Timestamp in Derby

I got a response from Derby mailing list. The timestamp substraction is present in 10.1 version of Derby, so it means that the feature was added after Derby went open source. I wonder if transition from 10.0 to 10.1 is smooth, i.e. without dump/restore and database re-creation.

Automatic mixer settings

How to set up a mixer for internet telephony from a Linux box? Even though mixer settings are not complicated, I’ve seen people having problems, not being albo to set up their microphone for audio capture. Mixer have lots of elements and most of them irrelevant (seen the same things on Mac? just two keys on the keyboard for volume adjustment). If you need to set up your mixer for talking over the internet, like Gnome Meeting or Skype, you can try this script:

amixer set PCM 85% unmute
amixer set Master 85% unmute
amixer set External unmute
amixer set Capture 100%
amixer set Mic 0% mute cap
amixer set 'Mic Boost (+20dB)' unmute

It will set up playback and recording. I’m using device names (Mic, PCM, Master) from my sound card, I hope that yours will be the same.

The actual device names on your system will be probably different, but you can list yours and change them accordingly. You can list your controls with “amixer scontrols” for simple controls and “amixer controls” for the full list.

Date substraction in Derby

Derby, a pure Java SQL database, doesn't support date substraction!

ij> SELECT DATE('2000-01-10') - DATE('2000-01-01') AS date_diff FROM dict_country;
ERROR 42Y95: The '-' operator with a left operand type of 'DATE' and a right operand type of 'DATE' is not supported.

Derby was originally an IBM product, under name "Cloudscape", released on Apache license by IBM some time ago. It's a very nice database engine, but those dates… what the heck?

Going to Poland and not having my bike stolen

Stealing is not common in Denmark. I can go out shopping on my bike with a trailer and I don’t have to worry that somebody steals it while I’m picking yoghurts from shelves. How is it going to be in Poland? I will have to buy heavier locks and lock both my bike and the trailer. And not only lock the wheels, but also tie vehicles to some heavy object so they can’t be loaded on a truck and carried away for lock removal.

Home music studio on Linux

Jack Audio Connection Kit + Hydrogen + Rosegarden + ZynAddSubFX + MIDI cable + new soundard with MIDI support for ALSA + (last but not least) Technics piano with MIDI out = Home studio! Did I miss anything? Oh yeah – Linux of course.

I tried the same thing about two years ago, but it was a failure. All applications were crashing very often, I got annoyed and gave up. Now it seems a lot different. Rosegarden crashed only once during today's session.

One of the quirks was the necessity of Jack recompilation. The jackd from SuSE 9.3 RPM package produced an "Illegal instruction" error. After recompiling it started working fine.

What's next? I think now I need to collect good-sounding instruments for ZynAddSubFX and try to install some LADSPA effects.

Nokia 6610i and IrDA

I finally communicated with my Nokia 6610i by IrDA port in my Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pro V2000D. It required a nasty modification in the driver code (nsc-ircc.c), but finally I got both devices talking to each other. I used gammu. Now I can send SMS messages and download/upload graphics. I'd like to modify the nsc-ircc driver so it recognizes and talks to my IrDA port nicely. Now I just commented out two lines of code that prevented the driver from loading after an unsuccessful IO port allocation.

UPDATE: As for the kernel version 2.6.16, the nsc-ircc driver works fine without any modification.