Category: Geen categorie

I bought a video player at the flea market.
Even though I have one, my video player only supports mono playback,
and doesn’t support the LP speed.

In 2002, I recorded the wedding of our crown price Willem Alexender
and Máxima. As the broadcast on TV was longer then 4 hours, it
wouldn’t fit normally on a tape, so I recorded it on the LP speed,
using my uncle’s video recorder.

So, in order to play it, I needed one that does support the LP speed.
So, I bought this recorder at the flea market.

Since I’ve been at my family’s place this weekend, I took the tape
with me, and I decided to try to play it.

And it played back fine, even though the quality was a little low,
so I thought, I need to run a head cleaning tape through the VCR.

After watching a few minutes, rewinded the tape. Suddenly,
after rewinding, the take was ejected, but the tape somehow
got stuck.

After unplugging the VCR I opened it

There you see where it got stuck
Eeps…. doesn’t look like a healthy take anymore!

Back in the box for now… 
Well…. it’s just the introduction part that got damaged… nothing about the event itself yet…
Hmmm…. is there a way to straighten up a crumpled tape?
Lesson learned: use an unimportant tape to test a used VCR.

Some of my foreign friends on Facebook are

learning/speaking some Dutch. I think this
post might be interesting for them.
I was thinking about the Dutch word “zin”.
What does it mean? Well….. it can mean multiple things…
“Dit is een zin”  would be translated to “This is a sentence“.
But if I would say “Ik heb geen zin” it would mean “I don’t feel like it” 
“Het heeft geen zin” on the other hand means “It’s in vain” 
“De zin van het leven” translates to “The meaning of life”

If you are a linux/unix user, I guess you’re familiar
with the program screen. A program that lets you
run text-based apps in a virtual screen, and you can
attach and distach from this virtual screen without
disturbing the program. An excellent program to run
your applications on a server somewhere on the
internet, and you can use it from where ever you

But…. what about graphical applications…. that’s
a different problem. There are programs like NX,
but that runs a complete desktop in a window,
in stead of just a window.

Well…. I came across a program that might offer
a solution. It’s called xpra (“X Persistent Remote Applications”)
It can be found at

Unfortunately it seems to be abandoned, since the
latest version is from November 2009. There seem
to be some bugs related to keyboard layouts with
‘dead-keys’, which is kinda annoying since I usually
use such a lay-out.

There seem also to be some issues related to the
status of the control/alt/shift keys.

I am testing this on a local setup now, but I am
thinking about doing some tests over the internet

Installing the dependencies on Mandriva:

urpmi libxdamage-devel ocaml-lablgtk2-devel python-pyrex x11-server-xvfb libx11_6-devel libxtst6-devel libxcomposite1-devel python-gobject-devel pygtk2.0-devel

Installing the dependencies on ArchLinux:

pacman -S  libx11  libxtst libxcomposite libxdamage pygobject pygtk xorg-server-xvfb pyrex

Another note about running on ArchLinux: You have to open
the build script and change python to python2 (it ocuurs two times!)
Since ArchLinux is so modern it defaults to python3.

Well…. the question… are our thoughts limited?
But… by what, you might ask? In which extent
are we capable of thinking about things we do
not have words for.

If this is the case, then the next question arises,
is what we are capable of thinking about
limited by the language we speak. Are there
things a German speaking person can think
about and a French speaking person not?
(Languages in this example chosen at random)

Speaking a language is much easier then translating
between languages. Words in one language may not
have an equivalent in an other language, or with a
slightly different meaning. Sometimes translating
between languages means losing information.

For example, the Swedish word “farmor” translates
to “grandmother”, but the Swedish word “mormor”
does too. “farmor” means your father’s mother, and
“mormor” means your mother’s mother. But in some
languages, like English, German or Dutch, there is
only one word referring to both.

Another example, the word “siblings”, in German
“Geschwister”, has no equivalent word in Dutch.
Or the dutch word “neef” which could translate to
both cousin and nephew.

These things make translating between those languages
difficult, but could it also mean, there are more complex
concepts of which there is no word in some languages,
and what would it mean for someone speaking those
languages. Would it limit their capability of thinking
about those languages?

Another question is, even if there are words for the
same concepts in two languages, what influence does
the language have on what people think about the concept?

Freedom… what does it mean…. does such a thing even exist?

Doing whatever you want? Going where ever you want?

Well… let’s say, I want to go to the moon. Can I?
I guess not…. but does that mean I am not free?
Nah… It’s just not possible to go to the moon like that.
Neither on earth can I go where ever I want, I cannot
just walk into any people’s house just like that,
but that also has not so much to do with freedom.

No, the problem with freedom has not that much
to do with going somewhere, but more with doing.

Let’s say, both you and me are free to do whatever
we want, right? If I am free to do whatever I want,
let’s suppose I want to lock you up… I am free to
do whatever I want, so I would be free to lock
you up….. but then you wouldn’t be free any more
to do whatever you want, would you?

And so, freedom, defined by doing whatever you
want is in conflict with it’s own definition…

So…. what does freedom mean? Is there such a thing?
Perhaps freedom should be considered in context only?

What does it mean???

A while ago, I found this site with abandonware.
Bits and bytes, forgotten, lost in history. Among the files on this site,
there is Xenix. A UNIX-os, back in the days, by Microsoft.

Long forgotten times, times, when computers were still interesting
(and I was still wearing diapers)

Afin…. monday, this Xenix OS was broad up in a conversation
at Stack, and so, I decided to try to get the damn thing working.

Not as easy as it looks like, to get the Xenix version for the 8086
working. Even though, modern x86 hardware is supposed to be
compatible with the original IBM-PC, none of the emulators seems
to understand what to do when I feed it the disk images.

One of the reasons, perhaps, is the fact the floppy images are
360k images, and the emulators only understand 1,44 MB images.

I have tried virtualbox, qemu, bochs and PCem, without luck.
PCem, well… it’s a windows app, but it runs in wine. PCem
seems to emulate older, real hardware, or tries to. It supports
various machines, and BIOS files from the original hardware.

It also includes AMI 386 and AMI 486 with BIOS files….
Oh… memories… seeing the AMIBIOS again, the way it
used to look on my first computer…. but booting Xenix….
no, that’s too much to ask….

Some note to make, as it seems, the boot loaders do
load in some of these emulators, but the boot loader
seems unable to load the kernel. The kernel file is
available on the floppy image

To mount such an image, use

mount N1 test -o loop -t sysv

For one part, I suspect these old images possibly do not
respect the boot signature, and therefore mark the image
as non-bootable. And for the part the boot-loader does
work, I suspect the emulation of the floppy controller is
not completely accurate, as in, possible timing issues.
But this is just a wild guess….

Anyways…. I have found an emulator that passes this
point, and boots the kernel correctly. The emulator that
works is an emulator specific for the IBM PC 5150,
and that seems to do the trick…. but now…. I have to
find out how to swap the disk image to insert the 2nd
disk when Xenix asks for it.

Well…. I posted about the VGA adaptor for the BeagleBoard.
I’ve looked around on this site and found this

And yes, problems regarding USB stability, that’s the reason
I haven’t been using my BeagleBoard as intended.

Even though I assumed this was a kernel issue, as this was
suggested by various sites discussing the installation process.

We need:
and a shot glass.

No…. I am not drinking this early. lol
Take the shot glass, and place it in the middle of the bread.

Now, make a hole in the bread

Take a pan and melt some butter. (for the best result, use real butter)
Put the bread in the pan, and add the egg.
Make the yolk go in the hole.

Let it fry a while and flip it around

Add some pepper and salt, and serve.

I am following a course Data Structures as part of the pre-master
programme at university. During this course, there are homework
assignments that should preferably done in LaTeX. Now, making
drawings in LaTeX can be a pain in the a$$.

One of my instructors recommended using the program ipe to
do this. As this program is not available as a package in the
Mandriva repository, I have to compile it from source.

The instructions on the website assume a debian based system,
but Mandriva is a redhat bases system. So, the first step,
dependencies. As the package naming scheme on rpm based
systems differs from deb based systems, this is the first thing
to look at.

The install.txt file mentions:

    sudo apt-get install zlib1g-dev libqt4-dev
    sudo apt-get install libfreetype6-dev libcairo2-dev
    sudo apt-get install liblua5.1-0-dev gsfonts

First of all, I don’t like to use sudo, I prefer to use su. As I like to
have a different password for root stuff then for user stuff.
So, I will execute the commands from a root shell.

    urpmi zlib1-devel libqt4-devel
    urpmi libfreetype6-devel libcairo-devel
    urpmi liblua-devel

The different naming scheme includes the prefix -devel in stead of -dev,
which isn’t that hard. But for example, the debian scheme has a libcairo2
while the redhat equivalence is libcairo. The gsfonts package… well…
it’s a package that contains certain ‘type 1’ fonts.  As there is no package
with simular names available, this might get a little more tricky to find the
corresponding package. But the readme file gives a list of file names that
should be included,  but unfortunately, these file names give no results either.

Another line in the readme file gives me a clue:

   Identical fonts may also be in subdirectories of
   “/usr/share/texmf/fonts/type1/urw” or

There exists a package named ‘texlive-texmf-fonts’ so, I guess,
that will be the one I need. So, this will be

    urpmi texlive-texmf-fonts

So far for the dependencies. Let’s compile the program!
Really? No!

The first problem to appear is, a program named, moc-qt4 is not
found. Well… the solution to this problem is to make a symlink
to /usr/lib/qt4/bin/moc.

Well… trying again…. still no success… it’s raining messages
about undefined references. Which means, the Makefile doesn’t break
on errors correctly, as it should.

Settings the terminal to unlimited scrollback reveals the following error,
somewhere at top

Package lua5.1 was not found in the pkg-config search path.
Perhaps you should add the directory containing `lua5.1.pc’
to the PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variable
No package ‘lua5.1’ found

Weird…. I *did* install the lua devel package, right? Perhaps it’s
the wrong version? Well… lua -v says it’s 5.1.4, so that should be
right. Different makes in the pkg_config databases…. that’s new
for me, as pkg_config should exists undependable from the packaging
system, as it will also include software compiled from source.

Well… how to solve this. Open the config.mak file and replace
lua5.1 with lua. Now, finally, the program seems to compile.

make install seems to work fine as well,

…but the next step from the readme file:

sudo cp ../fontmaps/gsfonts-fontmap.xml
sudo ldconfig

What??? having to copy a file after running make install???
Isn’t make install supposed to install all files???

Also, it seems that make clean is broken

All I can say, this is a bad makefile. Making certain assumptions
about the target system, which is basically a bad idea.

Seeing how much trouble it is to get it to work, this is bad,
not just for this specific program, but for open source software
in general, as this is what gives open source software the reputation
of being difficult to install.

autoconf/automake is used to compile many open source software
programs. Yes, it has also it’s disadvantages, like being slow,
and one sees it checking for irrelevant things, like checking for
a fortran compiler when we’re going to compile a C program, but,
nevertheless, autoconf/automake would have prevented the kind
of problems which I experienced when trying to compile the
program, (except the names of the packages, of course)

ANd I’ve noticed, ‘make clean’ is also broken.

Well… the software is installed, right? Let’s run it….
Uhm… NO!

ipe: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

great….. f*cking great… Did I mention I have to run ldconfig MANUALLY?
right…. adding the /usr/local/lib to the ld configuration. Now it *finally* starts.

Now, this program better be f*cking great since I’ve spend a lot of time
to get it working.

Why I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day.

First of all, I wasn’t raised with it. This “holiday”. It has only been
‘introduced’ in this country in the mid 90’s, by the means of
companies advertising.

This brings me directly to the reason I don’t celebrate this day, since
it’s purpose, the reason why it was introduced here, was only, for
the companies to make money. And to exploit love for profit…
I don’t want to be part of that.

Just look at the amount of emails from various websites I’ve
received the past days with this day in the topic. It’s all
about profit

If you want to celebrate this day, I urge you not to *BUY* presents,
in stead, I suggest to give a hand made present. I believe, giving
something you put effort in to make it, is worth much more then
something you’ve only spend money on.

Another phenomenon this day seems to create are the people
who say they hate it because they are single. What this group
of people represents,  goes beyond the meaning of this day,
but it reflects something in out society. I’m not sure how to
explain this in English. But it comes down that this holiday
creates the idea you HAVE to have a boyfriend or girlfriend.
It’s the idea that society puts this pressure on individuals, they
have to perform, they have to confirm certain exceptions.