Archive for November, 2011


November 29th, 2011 subogero Comments off

I gave it a go, after I read a positive blog-post about it. So I installed Fedora16 as a new VirtualBox machine. Then I installed VirtualBox guest-additions to enable 3D-acceleration, without which one is confronted with the 2D fallback mode, which shall not be mentioned in civilised company.

Finally I was presented with the new shiny uncluttered Gnome Shell. I hit Alt-F1 to see the menu. There emerged the even more shiny semi-transparent Activities page. Surprisingly, it was rather empty. I wanted to start something like a browser or a terminal with the keyboard. So I hit the arrow keys, Tabs and stuff to get to “Applications” instead of “Windows”, or to the hierarchical menu on the right side. Nothing. In about 5 minutes – googling included – I have not found any key combination the Activities page recognizes. There is probably something like Ctrl-Alt-Shift-arrow, which needs 3 hands to operate.

So, rather sadly, I resorted to using the mouse and started a terminal. I was immediately presented with an unpleasant huge silver title bar. So much for uncluttered. So, yes, let’s customize the desktop theme. Right-click the desktop. Nothing. Hmmm. Alt-F1 for Activities, somehow I found Settings. It turned out all you can do is change the background image. Hmmm, indeed. Compiz will probably sort it out.

Or rather not. Compiz is not available. Good bye Rotating Desktop Cube, good bye Ring Switcher, good bye semitransparent Wobbly Windows. One might say I’m an effect-junkie, but the fact is these Compiz bells and whistles actually help you see what you do. On the Cube, you see what is on the next desktop. With a semitransparent moving window, you see where you place it. With the Ring Switcher after Alt-Tab, you see what window you choose. Which is not the case with Gnome3’s Alt-Tab, which displays icons only. Welcome back to the wonderful world of Windows XP.

Having mentioned terminals, I wanted to open a second one. Activities, click Terminal, and Gnome3, endeavouring to give satisfaction, returned me to my old Gnome-terminal. Thank you very much.

So back to customization. You cannot choose your fonts. You cannot choose your colours. You cannot choose your keyboard shortcuts. You probably can, but you need extensions and special config tools and config file editing. Need an extension to choose my fonts? Weird. The Windows XP registry springs to the mind. Not funny.

But c’est la vie, I yummed gnome-tweak-tool. Suddenly a whole new world of options opened up, like choosing fonts. Not colours, though. I’d say about 10% of the options of Gnome2-Compiz. At least I could select my favourite MetaBox window borders. Or rather the Metabox non-borders.

The issue of window borders brings me back to my favourite obsession, vertical space. Or in the case of Gnome3, the lack of it. You must have a panel, and you must have it on top. You must have a window title bar and you must a have a menu. In Unity, for a maximized window, the panel, the title bar and the menu are one. In Gnome2, you can place the panel to any side and make it auto-hide.

And sorry, but I have not seen any nice effect that necessitates 3D acceleration. Gnome3 does not look too good. It’s a desktop, which is a piece of furniture, which, by definition, must look good. Mac OS X looks good. Unity looks good. And Gnome2-Compiz simply blows everything else away.

Gnome2-Compiz was actually so bloody good that Apple copied many features from it. I still remember the day I first installed Jaunty Jackalope after living for years in a desert called Windows XP. I was amazed by the myriad of desktop customization options: Configurable window decoration! Configurable controls! Configurable panels and applets! Configurable hotkeys for everything! Semi-transparent terminals! A sane algorithm for placing new windows! Not even mentioning the rather mind-blowing Compiz stuff. And suddenly, Windows XP looks like an oasis of freedom compared to Gnome3.

What’s going on here? I’m probably very stupid. Too stupid use Gnome3. At least I’m in good company. Linus Torvalds can’t use it, either.

The Command Line Is Outdated

November 23rd, 2011 subogero Comments off

The command line has been outdated for 20 years.

This is the claim I heard yesterday from a colleague, along with a statement that he needs useable interfaces. The revelation came during a discussion about git vs MKS Source Integrity*.

Why, one might ask, comes Windows 8 Server, for the first time in history, without a GUI?  Why do retarded Linux freaks still claim that the command line is way more effective than any GUI?

The shocking answer is that, surprisingly, the command line is our natural way of communication since the dawn of the human race. We have an organ to form and send text streams. It’s called the mouth. We have another pair of organs that receive text streams. The ears, ladies and gentlemen. We also have a way of batch-processing these messages. Some would call it reading and writing. Others call it literacy.

That’s the reason that, against all odds, the only remaining paradigm of the last half century of computing is Unix, which embraced TEXT as its core value. Everything is a file, in other words a stream of characters, text.

What is the very essence of the C language, the ultimate superclass of all superclasses, which is compatible with everything by definition? It’s this, the pointer to the universal byte stream:

void *

And we’ve just arrived to the most crucial question. Why do so many people still despise the command line? Exactly. Because it involves learning languages.

But come on! By the age of two, everybody has learned one. It’s not that difficult. Of course, we all start with GUIs. We click our toys. We play with the mother of all GUIs, our Mom’s b… erm… buttons.

But as time passes, our parents watch with ecstatic joy as we form our first text streams. They tell their friends about it. Then we go to school and what do we learn first? Scripting.

I’ll go further. The command line is older than the human race. Text is more universal than the universe.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Chew on that, you serial clickers.

* Some would propose a better name: MKS Source Disintegration.

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CyanogenMod 7 Update

November 11th, 2011 subogero Comments off

A few days after installation, I wanted to install ssh onto the phone. I turned out dropbear is installed by default, I just had to set up some keys.

Then, to my utter amazement, I found a bash directory in /etc. I typed bash, and suddenly there it was, the world’s favourite shell in all its glory and coloured prompt!

CyanogenMod 7 on MotoDefy

November 7th, 2011 subogero Comments off

I’m happy to report that the Bluetooth issue with the helmet headset was due to a broken mic wiring. No battery problems either.

And now back to the actual installation of CM7 to Moto Defy. This description is based on two excellent and detailed articles in Hungarian on

And now let’s get down to business.


Your phone could be bricked during the process. No warranties, blah blah blah.
Use the download links here. The internet is full of crap.
Fully charge the phone’s battery and use a laptop to avoid problems due to power failures.
I used the company laptop with Windows XP, because the rooting program is for Windows.
Back up your data. I did not, as contacts are synced with Google and all else is on the SDcard.

Backups are for whimps (Linus Torvalds)

1. Install official stock Froyo

Only if you have an older device which came with Android 2.1.

You need the Motorola drivers for the PC. Download if the USB connection does not work.

Motorola has released an official update program for Windows. Download. Search the net for other details.

2. Root Your Phone

Download the SuperOneClick program for your PC. There are many versions, and most don’t work with this phone. Use this link.

Allow USB debugging on the phone: Settings / Applications / Development / USB debugging

Connect phone to PC via USB. Pull down phone statusbar, tap USB Connection, select ‘Charge Only’ or ‘Motorola Phone Portal’.

On PC, start the SuperOneClick program (as admin on Win7). Click the ‘Root’ button. Wait 1-2 minutes until the ‘Device is rooted’ dialog pops up, click OK, close SuperOneClick.

Restart phone. Check whether rooting was successful by starting Terminal Emulator on the phone and typing ’su’. The Superuser app should pop up asking for permission.

3. Install 2ndInit ClockWork Custom Recovery

Allow unknown app sources on the phone: Settings / Applications / Unknown Sources.

Install the 2ndInit program on the phone. Download, copy to phone SDcard, On phone, start File Manager app, go to SDcard, find and click SndInitDefy_1.4_2.apk program, Install, Open.

Tap ‘Install 2ndInit Recovery’ button. Tap ‘Allow’ twice in the subsequent Superuser Request popups.

Disable USB debugging on the phone: Settings / Applications / Development / USB Debugging

Reboot phone, you will get into boot menu.

  • Select ‘+Boot –>’ with volume buttons, push power button
  • Select ‘+Set Default –>’ push power button
  • Select ‘+Normal –>’ push power button
  • Select ‘–Go Back’ push power button
  • Select ‘[Reboot System]‘ push power button

After this second reboot you get back to Froyo, but the CustomRecovery is installed already. We’re ready for the actual CM7 installation.

4. Install CM7

Download the lastest stable version and GoogleApps as well. Copy them both into the root folder of the SDcard.

Restart phone, after 8 seconds from start the blue LED is switched on (indicating that 2ndInit is working). Push Volume Down while blue LED is on to get into boot menu.

  • Select ‘+Recovery –>’ push power button
  • Select ‘[Custom Recovery]‘ push power button
  • Select ‘- wipe cache partition’ push power button
  • Select ‘- Yes – wipe cache’ push power button
  • Select ‘- wipe data/factory reset’ push power button
  • Select ‘- Yes – delete all user data’ push power button
  • Select ‘- install zip from sdcard’ push power button
  • Select ‘- choose zip from sdcard’ push power button
  • Select ‘update-cm-7….zip’ push power button
  • Select ‘Yes – Install …’ push power button
  • Select ‘- choose zip from sdcard’ push power button
  • Select ‘gapps-gb….zip’ push power button
  • Select ‘Yes – Install …’ push power button
  • Select ‘+++++Go Back+++++’ push power button
  • Select ‘- reboot system now’ push power button

Your phone will now boot into CyanogenMod 7. The first boot is slow and you should go through a lot of initial settings. Have fun.


November 1st, 2011 subogero Comments off

This post is about the richness of hacker-lingo. Let’s take, for instance, custom ROMs for Android devices. The real name of the phenomenon is actually “cooked ROM”. Let just savour the beauty of this expression for a moment…

After some frustration with the slowness and general crapness of the official Motorola Froyo for my Defy, I’ve finally made up my mind and installed CyanogenMod-7 last Friday. I’ve followed the instructions of an excellent guide in Hungarian. General impressions:

I’m root by default and busybox is installed. Good start.

The amount of configuration options is mind-boggling.

The status bar is black at last. And the home screen auto-rotates as well.

It’s bloody fast.

It works.

It plays the most fluid liquid drum and bass all day long from my favourite internet radio. It plays offline music and navigates in the car. It GPS-tracks my cycling routes. It can read and write email. It can browse the web. It syncs my contacts between the phone and Evolution automatically via Google. It takes pictures. It browses pictures, much better and faster than the utterly crap Moto-Gallery. Blimey, it can even make phone calls!

It reads the Bible in Hungarian, Greek and Hebrew, just to name a few. Thanks to the new app and-bible. It’s sooooo much better than YouVersion. Swipe left for next chapter. Get to the Hebrew Aleppo codex with one tap. Local search. No pretend-to-be-social-internet-junkiness. Just do one thing extremely well. Respect.

Back to CM7, I have a week impression that it’s a bit heavier on the battery than the stock firmware. But it needs to be confirmed.

Tomorrow is the big day. We’ll test whether it connects via Bluetooth to the helmets of the great Defy-using-and-motorcycling community at the office. Which the original Moto firmware does not. Keep fingers crossed.