Saturday, March 21, 2009

Beautiful movie

On this blog where I've come to through Twitter, I've found yesterday a very touching short movie about loneliness and meeting people. I really liked it, and just wanted to share it:

Sunday, March 08, 2009


Sehr interessante Information aus dem Focus Money vom 21. Januar (Ja, ich liege etwas hinter in meine Lektuere).

Da wird es im Leitartikel geschrieben, dass die Praemie vor allem auslaendische Ersteller profitieren laesst (in der Reihenfolge Dacia, Dahaitsu und Hyundai; Smart kommt auf der vierte Platz), denn Leute, die ihre 10 Jahre alte Auto verschrotten lassen, bestimmt nicht hauefig ein neues Mercedes kaufen. Also, wir tun was fuer die globale Weltwirtschaft!

Positiv gesehen, es wird ueberall vom 'Protektionismus' gewarnt - mit diese Hilfe gibt es hier kein Gefahr.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Goodbye Gentoo, hello Kubuntu

Warning, this is another tech post ;)

End of February, I decided for some stupid reason that I needed to upgrade my Gentoo to KDE4. I installed this Gentoo in August 2005 and never formatted the disk since. Oh well, I had to make several repairs, rebuild all the system, but never reinstall it. It was not few maintenance needed, but the system was robust, and exactly configured to my needs.

Well, it came out this was a bad idea. I just tried to follow the documentation, but I came to a state where packages needed two versions of the same software at the same time - or so to say, my package tree was broken. After getting no help on the Gentoo forum, I decided that after 5 days of trying upgrading and repairing, that was time to give up and try some software that is told to be modern and usable.

So I downloaded a Kubuntu image (around 20 minutes), and burned it (20 minutes too). After that, I transfered all important data (~/.*, ...) to a separate data partition that I would not format.

The install went fast - just a few panels to complete: partitioning, first user, language, and then the packages were being installed. I was really curious to see if KDE4 will work right on. That was the case! At the first start, everything was running. Even Internet worked, without me having to configure anything. Nice nice.

Further using Kubuntu, I was really surprised by the usability, simplicity and beauty of the whole. A discrete popup bubble was telling me that updates were available, one click installed them. Miles away from the Gentoo cinema :) And without hour-long compile, of course!

The discovery of the new environment was full of new surprises - for example, as I had to open an editor, I just wrote 'emacs' in the command line, and then I got a message telling that emacs cannot be found on this system, but it's available in these packages that are not installed yet, and I just have to type 'sudo apt-get install packagename' to install it. Woah.

The Widgets in KDE give a new life to this desktop - there are lots of great widgets, you can find lots of them under Other than that, the transparency and 3D effects makes KDE a modern desktop.

Most of my configuration from KDE 3.5 worked, but I had to repair some programs. I still have to restore my Amarok configuration, as well as some other minor settings, but most of it is still running. I put a lot of information on the cloud lately to be able to use my information from my iPhone.

Problems? Sure! KDE4 is still not completely stable. Mostly yes, but for some reason Firefox has stability issues, and crash regurlarly (up to 3 times a day). The latest version 3.0.7 seem to be more stable.

So, in short, I like it - I have a system that is now usable, have modern software on it, and that takes less time to manage. I can only advice curious people to have a try at Kubuntu.

3270 on the iPhone: experience report

Last week I finally decided to get an iPhone - and now I can already write I'm not disappointed of the investment! As I use Linux as my main OS, it was not completely easy to sync it with the iPhone, another post is following soon on that topic.

So I discovered that many colleagues were amazed or surprised by what I showed them today: a z/OS mainframe terminal on the iPhone, that's the perfect combination of legacy & newest technology. But was that going to work for me?

First, I was actually searching for UNIX terminals that would help me to manage my iPhone files. It exists, but you have to jailbreak your iPhone. But as the search in the Apple Store was showing me lots of SSH & Telnet UNIX terms, I found per chance a 3270 terminal. It's free, so let's try it! It's a 3270 terminal from MochaSoft. So I installed it quickly, but couldn't test it right away...

The actual problem was not getting the terminal to run, but to actually get connectivity with the host. How do I come to the host through WLAN? I manage to do that because the iPhone supports all our security settings - you have to try it yourself (& check if IT allow that of course) in your company. Once you can get a connection from the iPhone, the terminal app should access the host too. You have to enter a connection as usual. There are few possibilities to configure, but enough for me. It's easy to configure even for newcomers.

After I get my connection, first login try. There are five dark icons on the screen, the most important of them are the keyboard icons, which allow you to type in the input fields, the enter icon to submit the input, and the settings icon. The terminal screen looks similar to the one you get on your desktop, except you can scroll and zoom it like a map or, for the one that tried Safari on the iPhone, like a web site. Not bad after all. The PF keys are small buttons on the ISPF panels.

The whole is really funny, and impressing first. It cannot be used as a productive environment of course. For example my attempts to open 3.4 ended with an error message, telling me the size of the panel is not adequate. I should look deeper in that problem, maybe some configuration can solve it.
Another difficulty is to navigate between the input fields - often you have to zoom on the field first.
And before showing it to my colleagues, I locked the iPhone, which stopped my session, but kept me logged in for a while. That prevented me of course to login again, but if you're reading this part of the post, you already know that ;)

To summarize, a good, simple and funny 3270 application, that is still lacking some usability but proves that the mainframe is still modern :)