Sabro, here we come!

Outside view of a house in the same block as ours Yes, we got the answer today: we can move to a 90 m² big apartment in Sabro on the first of March 2007. The 34 m² we have now is simply too small for two people with a lot of stuff — there’s no place to put the damn things! So we’re both looking so much forward to moving to a bigger place… :-)

Things we can now finally buy since we have the space for them:

  • A dish washer! I’m really tired of washing up all the time, and so it Stéphanie

  • A full-height refrigerator/freezer. Right now we only have a half-height refrigerator with a small box for some ice cream.

  • Dance Dance Revolution pads to play StepMania :-) Out in Sabro there’s no one living below us, so we can jump up and down as much as we want…

  • More things to come as we think of them :-)

Closing tabs in Firefox 2

Thomas recently compiled Firefox 2 here on DAIMI, so I gave it a go. My impressions so far have been good overall: switching between tabs is significantly faster than before as is scrolling through, say, The Planet. The machines here only have 512 MiB of RAM, and Firefox 2 seems to handle that better than before. The built-in spell checker is also very nice, but why did we have to wait until 2006 (almost 2007) before browsers shipped with a spell checker by default? That’s just ridiculous!

There is one change in Firefox 2 which I don’t like at all — they changed the close buttons on the tabs. Now there are individual close buttons on each tab. This is apparently a great achievement, they even mention is as one of the new great features of Firefox?! I find it truly annoying to have to search for the button I want to push when I want to close a tab. With Firefox 1.5 the button was always in the same spot so I could click it several times in a row to close several tabs quickly. With Firefox 2 I have to move the mouse around when closing multiple tabs.

Luckily it’s easy to change: open the URL about:config and find the setting browser.tabs.closeButtons. Change the value to 3 and you’re back to the sane pre-Firefox 2 setting.

Almost too easy

With my new monitor I of course had to get my TV card going again — you might remember that Stéphanie and I had stopped watching TV?… Not anymore, we’re now quite normal again :-)

Configuring tvtime is fairly easy, but reordering the channels is somewhat annoying since you have to specify their position with an attribute in the stationslist.xml file, which looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE stationlist PUBLIC "-//tvtime//DTD stationlist 1.0//EN"
<stationlist xmlns="">
  <list norm="PAL" frequencies="europe">
    <station name="DR1" active="1" position="1" band="VHF E2-E12" channel="E5" finetune="0" norm="PAL" audio="auto"/>

I would have gone for the simple solution where the document order would determine the relative position of the channels since I find it much easier to reorder the lines than updating the attributes.

Luckily it was very easy for me to edit the XML file to suit my need using the excellent Beautiful Soup Python library. I simply did this in an interactive Python session:

>>> from BeautifulSoup import BeautifulStoneSoup
>>> soup = BeautifulStoneSoup(open('.tvtime/stationlist.xml', 'r'))
>>> for i, station in enumerate(soup.findAll('station')):
...   station['position'] = i+1
>>> soup

after which I got the changed XML in the terminal, which I could then copy-paste into the file. The result was a nice file where the position attribute reflected the document order, just as I wanted it!

My Dell 3007WFP is here!

My Dell 3007WFP where it belong: on my desk! My monitor arrived late Tuesday and I’ve been mesmerized ever since :-) I have been blogging a bit about it, and now it’s finally there, right infront of me…

It’s huge, really, really huge, please see for yourself on the image on the right (click to see the full size). You actually have to turn your head to look from one corner to another — that feels weird and wonderful at the same time :-)

Unpacking and setting it up went quick and easy. The big cardboard box was made so that instead of lifting the monitor up and out of the box, the box itself could be lifted up past the monitor so that only the bottom piece of the box was left standing. It was then easy to pull out the monitor.

Having connected the power cable and dual-link DVI cable (which came with the monitor) I turned the machine on. It came up fine with the BIOS and the kernel writing it’s usual status messages in gigantic letters. But when GDM was supposed to start the screen went blank.

“Hmm…”, I thought. Switching to the console worked fine, so I took at look at my xorg.conf file. With my old ViewSonic monitor I had had to issue a IgnoreEDID commands to the nvidia driver because the monitor reported some wrong values. Having deleted that setting I could simply set the resolution to 2650×1600 and restart X — it worked just like that.

Closer view I had been reading about how other people had to specify special modelines and other voodoo to get the monitor working… so I was glad to have it working without any battles :-) The built-in memory card reader also works fine, I transferred the pictures you see in the post via it. It simply showed up as any other USB mass storage device in GNU/Linux and I could easily mount it.

After having used the monitor for three days I think it’s super. The image is crisp and clear and the colors are as good as any other LCD I’ve seen. The viewing angle is large enough that I haven’t noticed any distortion of colors. Stéphanie and I rented The Da Vinci Code the evening I got the monitor and I saw no ghosting while watching it.

My conclussion must be that if you have the money and if you spend a lot of time at your computer, then this monitor is fantastic. I’m still trying to get used to administrating so much space, but I’m sure that I’ll get used to it with time :-)

My Dell 3007WFP is on its way…

My next monitor My new Dell 3007WFP has been shipped! It has been in “pre-production” since I ordered it on the 14th, but today it suddenly rushed all the way through “production” and “delivery preparation”. What a nice surprice! :-) The delivery date is set at the 29th, though, but I hope it will be here before.

This makes my previous question about a suitable GPU even more relevant…