Weird hardware fault

I’ve narrowed down what the problem is with my (otherwise fully functional) iBook. It basically won’t recognise the charger until the battery is totally drained. This would be quite annoying if it was still my main laptop, but as I replaced it with a shiny Sony Vaio at Christmas then it’s actually not a massive problem and just means I run it off the battery until it dies and then recharge it. The battery itself seems fine (it gives me about 3 hours of use on average), so it should theoretically have a little life left in it yet.

Updating and installing software on Foresight Linux

I’ve just installed the latest version of Foresight on my spare laptop, so I thought I’d investigate the package manager, conary, which is something I’ve never used before, but which looks like it could be as useful as apt and urpmi.

It’s really quite simple. To update to the latest version of all installed packages, type:

$ sudo conary updateall

And to install a specific package, type:

$ sudo conary update packagename

I’ll write more when I’ve explored further.

Review – Mandriva 2009.1 (KDE edition)

I’ve finally got round to installing the KDE version of Mandriva 2009.1 in a VM on my laptop. I’d been holding off, because I don’t really use KDE, and I wasn’t too impressed with how the other major distributions had implemented KDE4 (which is basically a total revision of every aspect). Happily, I can easily say that this is the most usable implementation of KDE4 I’ve ever come across, and it does a very good job of not getting in my way whilst still enabling me to be productive.

The desktop has seen some major customisations, as is usual with Mandriva (see for a screen shot), and it actually looks and feels like a more polished version of KDE 3.5 (the last version of KDE I used for more than a couple of hours). There are sensible defaults, and I think the only application I would want to add is Thunderbird, because I still really don’t like Kmail.

But could I use it full time? Almost certainly yes, and if I wasn’t very tied to Gnome and the Gnome libraries and applications then I’d consider making the switch. As it is, I’ll happily keep it as a VM, which gives me the option to have a play with KDE4 every now and again without having to make any major life changes.

Converting Quicktime movies using Linux

Another “so I don’t forget it” post.

Converting Quicktime (.mov) files to Ogg Theora (.ogv) is now rather simple (although takes a while).

Firstly, install ffmpeg2theora (it should be available for most distros).

Then just launch it from the command line. The syntax is:


Or to do a whole directory:

ffmpeg2theora *.mov