Archive for January 2009

The Answer Has Arrived: KDE 4.2 Has Been Released

Jan 29, 2009

The (at least by me) long-awaited KDE 4.2 release has hit the road! What can I say: It’s beautiful and now contains most of the features that one wanted from a modern desktop environment that were still missing in KDE 4.1. I think I will write a more-detailed article about KDE 4.2 in a couple of days and so will concentrate today on a feature that many people were missing in previous 4.x releases: Icons on the desktop. Yes, there were some workarounds in 4.1.x like placing a large folder view plasmoid on the desktop, but nobody really liked it. In 4.2 the whole desktop becomes a large folder view at the user’s command just as one is used to from KDE 3.5 or Windows. To activate it, just right click on the new shiny desktop and select Appearance Settings from the context menu. Select “Folder View” from the “Type” drop-down and you are done.

Windows 7 Test Drive

Jan 11, 2009

Yes, I did it… Albeit being a confirmed Linux enthusiast I thought it would be a good idea to have a sneak peek at what Microsoft is calling its next-generation Windows operating system. My plan was to install Windows 7 into a KVM (= hardware-accelerated QEMU) virtual machine. After taking some hurdles such as Windows to refuse installing on a 9 GB file system image complaining about a lack of temporary storage space although I had created a separate 5 GB partition for exactly that purpose, the installation went through smoothly and surprisingly fast - on a 10 GB partition. Somewhat weird math the MS engineers have invented: 9 GB + 5 GB is insufficient, but 10 GB is sufficient. Anyway…

The first unpleasant surprise after the installation had completed was the lack of support of QEMU’s graphics adapter: It was just detected as a standard VGA adapter limiting the maximum available screen resolution to 1024 x 768. One, however, should probably not blame Microsoft for not including a graphics driver for a chip set that is older than ten years. Network briefly worked after the installation, but became dis-functional after some time. That, however, may very well be a QEMU issue as I recall having already seen this on Windows XP running inside QEMU.

Apart from that Windows 7 makes a robust and polished impression although I did not experience it to be as fast as other sources claimed - probably related to the non-accelerated graphics driver being used.

In the end, I will definitely stick to my Linux desktop for the time being. ;-)

Kandinsky - Absolute. Abstract.

Jan 3, 2009

Just a few days ago I had the pleasure to visit the art exhibition “Kandinsky - Absolute. Abstract.” at the Lenbachhaus in Munich.

When we arrived there it was freezing cold and there was already a lengthy queue (around 60 m) in front of the ticket office. About 45 minutes later we finally got our tickets and headed over to the so-called Kunstbau, which is located in the underground next to the subway station “Königsplatz”.

What I saw there was worth every minute of waiting in the cold, although it is hard to put it into words:

Ascom/Swissvoice DECT Phone Hacking

Jan 1, 2009

Or: How to enable the “Support” menu of Ascom/Swissvoice DECT handsets…

While playing around with the DECT base station built into my new AVM FRITZ!Box Fon WLAN 7270 I just got a day ago I actually managed to get the handset into an endless loop signing on to the base station, failing, beeping and starting all over. I remembered having read about a support menu built into the handsets of these phones and after a little trial and error managed to revive my phone by disabling DECT in the FRITZ!Box base station (to stop the endless looping) and clearing the phone’s registration via the handset reset built into the support menu.

Booting System

Jan 1, 2009

A new year has started (Happy New Year, everybody!) and so I decided to finally give into the Web 2.0 movement and start dumping various thoughts and ideas into a blog.

At the moment I do not really know (yet) what you should expect in terms of topics, so stay tuned… However, expect some geeky bias ;-)