20 Apr 2014

feedPlanet Arch Linux

screen-4.2.0 cannot reattach older instances

Gaetan Bisson wrote:

Users of the screen program will not be able to reattach older instances after upgrading to version 4.2.0; this is due to upstream having made a lot of changes to the internals, and switching from named pipes to sockets for communication. Please ensure your current screen instances are not anymore needed before upgrading.

20 Apr 2014 6:10am GMT

17 Apr 2014

feedPlanet Arch Linux

Syncing with khal

Following up on my post from last week, about using khal and mutt, where I covered off a couple of simple hacks to integrate command line calendaring with Mutt, I had been using the main development branch of khal which includes syncing capability. However, as I was conversing with the developer, Christian, around a bug report, he indicated that this functionality would be superseded by development in a separate branch that uses vdirsyncer to synchronise calendars.

As Christian intimated that this change would happen in the very near future, and "js" had commented on my last post to the effect that it was working well, I thought I should take a look for myself.

There are packages in the AUR for vdirsyncer-git and python2-argvard so you will just need to grab the khal branch that uses vdirsyncer as it's syncing engine. I have thrown up a PKGBUILD gist, or-as we are only talking about a couple of simple scripts-you could install the complete set using pip, the Python package manager; in which case it would be a straightforward:

sudo pacman -S python2-pip
pip2 install --user git+https://github.com/geier/khal.git@vdir
pip2 install --user vdirsyncer

…and then remember to make sure that $HOME/.local/bin is included in your $PATH.

I wanted to have vdirsyncer manage two of my calendars, my CalDav work calendar and a simple iCalendar with all of the New Zealand public holidays. Configuring vdirsyncer to successfully do this took me a lot longer than I would like to admit: a combination of my ineptitude, a bug and a broken schema in the original holidays.ics that I wanted to use.

The collections variable in the config file merits a mention in this regard. If you choose to use it, be aware that your URL will have this value appended to it, which may throw a 404. Using the DEBUG verbosity level will identify this issue if you are struck by it.

Eventually, with the help of both Christian and Markus, the vdirsyncer developer, I got it set up and running smoothly. I then just had to create a cron job to sync my work calendar every two hours and it was done.

As you would expect with such a simple tool, there is not a lot to say, or do, with vdirsycner. It runs on a similar model to OfflineIMAP, in that it synchronises a remote and local repository. There are a couple of nice touches: it will read your credentials from $HOME/.netrc so you don't have to worry about sensitive information in plain text in yet another file, and there is a VDIRSYNCER_CONFIG variable, so you can place the config file wherever it suits.

Notes

Elevator, a Creative Commons image on Flickr by Mykl Roventine.

17 Apr 2014 10:32pm GMT

14 Apr 2014

feedPlanet Arch Linux

Interesting Links – March 2014

Only a couple of weeks late this time… A longstanding bug was found in GnuTLS Mozilla introduced a "new" JPEG library Libreoffice now has "fresh" and "stable" releases Python-3.4 was released Android games can soon connect with iOS games The Continue reading

14 Apr 2014 6:18am GMT

07 Apr 2014

feedPlanet Arch Linux

SAT Flood Fill

A SAT function required for many nikoli puzzles.

07 Apr 2014 3:41pm GMT

04 Apr 2014

feedPlanet Arch Linux

Mutt and iCal

I have posted a few times now about how I use Mutt1, that most superlative of email clients. Using a variety of different tools, I have settled on an effective and satisfying workflow for managing both my personal and professional email, with one glaring exception: calendaring. This, I should stress, is not for want of trying. It is not necessarily a nagging concern in terms of my personal use of email, but professionally it is a daily frustration.

Day after day, I receive a lot of meeting invitations and, when these show up in my inbox they are, for all intents and purposes, unintelligble. Yes, with careful scrutiny you can decypher the iCalendar files, but doing so is more likely to induce a seizure than a punctual appearance at an important meeting. To get around this, I had been using a basic Awk script that would parse the most important parts of the message and print them out. This was working well enough until I started to receive invitations from people using OSX. For some god-unknown reason, Apple's "interpretation" of the standard2 is different enough to those sent from Evolution and Thunderbird that my script wouldn't successfully print some of the data (just the start and end times of the meeting, nothing too important).

I started to try and expand the capability of the script and then realized that I would be much better off seeing if someone else had solved this problem; satisfactorily, that is. And they had. In a further delightful coincidence, the original author of the script, Martyn Smith is an ex-colleague who, in 2004, first got me interested in Linux (thank you, Martyn). Armed with this script and entries in $HOME/.mutt/{mailcap,muttrc} now, whenever I open a calendar invitation, the pertinent details are printed out perfectly legibly. It's a small step, but an important one.

Next I started playing around with khal, a command line calendaring application that uses CalDav to sync to calendar servers. It is described as being in "the early stages of development" and that certainly is the case. Nonetheless, it is incredibly promising as-even in this rudimentary form-it performs well and offers most of the basics that I require. khal is simple to setup, does not have too many (python2) dependencies and handles multiple calendars3. Yes, there are bugs, but nothing grievous and the developer, Christian Geier, is very responsive and helpful4.

The khal documentation gives you a pretty good idea of the current feature set. Set up your khal.conf with the calendars you want synched and then you have two modes of interaction: directly via the command line or an interactive mode invoked with ikhal. Both modes allow you to perform the basic functions of adding, editing or deleting events.

While the interactive mode is very simple and straightforward, what I am most excited about is the ability to add events from the command line, as per the example in the documentation:

khal --new 25.10. 16:00 18:00 Another Event :: with Alice and Bob

I just needed to figure out a way to extract the relevant fields from the iCal file and pass them to khal. My first attempt is unashamedly ugly, both in conception and execution. However, I don't know Perl (and at this stage of my life I have run out of time to learn it), and it actually works. I modified Martyn's script to write to a temp file and then, for iCal events I want to import to khal, I bound a key sequence in Mutt to a simple Awk script5:

</p>

<h1>!/usr/bin/awk -f</h1>

<h1>read from ical_filter.pl and then send ical invitation details</h1>

<h1>in mutt to khal</h1>

<p>/<sup>Summary/</sup>   { for (i=1; i&lt;=NF-2; i++) $i = $(i+2); NF-=2; summ = $0 }
/<sup>Location/</sup>  { for (i=1; i&lt;=NF-2; i++) $i = $(i+2); NF-=2; meet = $0 }
/<sup>Dtstart/</sup>   { date_st = $3; time_st = $4 }
/<sup>Dtend/</sup>     { time_nd = $4 }</p>

<p>END          { print  date_st" "time_st" "time_nd" "summ }

In $HOME/.mutt/muttrc, I have Ctrlk in pager view trigger the script like so:

</p>

<h1>save iCal to khal</h1>

<p>macro pager \Ck  "!/usr/bin/khal --new $(~/Scripts/mutt2khal ~/.mutt/temp/caldata)" "Saving Calendar event"

Neither elegant nor imaginative, I know; but for a first attempt, it gets the job done. If I did know any Perl, I am sure I would be able to avoid the additional temp file and the need to reread the information before handing it off to khal, but you work with the skills (or lack thereof) that you have. Needless to say, patches are welcomed.

Notes

  1. See all my mutt posts:
  2. Yes, I understand how special Apple is but this is particularly annoying…
  3. There is a package in AUR.
  4. I logged a bug and it was fixed in a matter of hours.
  5. The script is in my bitbucket repo.

Creative Commons image, Calendar by Angela Mabray.

04 Apr 2014 8:48pm GMT

03 Apr 2014

feedPlanet Arch Linux

TalkingArch 2014.04.01 is now available

The TalkingArch team is pleased to bring you the TalkingArch 2014.04.01 dual architecture iso. This iso is in perfect sync with the 2014.04.01 Arch Linux iso, and includes Linux kernel 3.13.7. The only new package that was added to Arch and TalkingArch is intel-ucode. The most noticeable change to TalkingArch itself is the updated Espeak [...]

03 Apr 2014 10:17am GMT

25 Mar 2014

feedPlanet Arch Linux

Anime Guide 2013

Another years has past, so once again it is time for me to provide my (not very) insightful opinions of the anime that finished their run in 2013. As in previous years, I give my opinion without providing an actual review. This years installment is longer than usual because I got myself a Nexus 7 to use on my train ride to work. I also tend to focus on the short series more because there is less risk with the time investment, so that also bumps the number in the list. Continue reading

25 Mar 2014 12:51am GMT

24 Mar 2014

feedPlanet Arch Linux

Have you ever been afraid to get out of bed?

In my past writings about mental health, I've mostly discussed depression and suicide. I've been meaning to add 'anxiety' to that list of topics, but have been waiting until I could write about it from the first person. One of the peculiar things about my personal struggles with mental illness is that when I'm feeling […]

24 Mar 2014 3:28am GMT

21 Mar 2014

feedPlanet Arch Linux

Autotext Function

Once you have your environment set up; your window manager patched exactly the way you want, same for your editor and even your kernel builds automated, then you either start from scratch and learn a whole lot more, or you start to focus on the really small details. The endless polishing that is bred of a mania for automation and customisation and the liberating freedom of using software that allows, and even encourages, this approach.

Since I started using a couple of basic functions for managing my note taking, I have been conscious of the way I can use this tool to make my workflow a little less onerous.

One of the things I find myself doing a lot is reusing the same snippets of text; either prose in work documents, or links to relevant articles on the Arch Wiki and Forums. It is simple enough to add this material to my ~/.notes, but retrieval has always been-for the text I reuse frequently-unwieldy.

How many times do you really want to open the file, search for the relevant excerpt, highlight it and then copy it to the system clipboard before closing the file and pasting it into your email or a web form? I must have logged several thousand before I finally decided to do something about it.

I now have a couple of different files in ~/.notes/ depending upon the context; the example I'll use is the one for the Arch Forums kept, naturally enough, at $HOME/Sync/notes/arch (I symlink to ~/.notes so that the directory is synched using BitTorrent Sync).

This is just a simple text file with all of the links, guidance and wisdom that I generously share with those people, mostly new to the community, who have yet to embrace the opportunity to commit the Forum Etiquette to memory. The format of each file is the same and is pretty basic:

rules sticky

https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=130309

smart questions

[url=http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html]How To Ask Questions The Smart Way[/url]

arch only

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Forum_Etiquette#Arch_Linux_Distribution_Support_ONLY

I use the commented title to identify the desired piece of text and then just copy it to the clipboard, ready to pasted into a post that will undoubtedly be gratefully received by the infractor:

$HOME/.bashrc
</p>

<h1>board snippets</h1>

<p>bbs() {
  file="$HOME/.notes/arch"
  if (( $# == 1 )); then</p>

<pre><code>local opt="$1"
awk -v line="$opt" 'index($0, line) { getline; print }' "$file" | xsel -b
</code></pre>

<p>  else</p>

<pre><code>awk '/^# /' "$file"
</code></pre>

<p>  fi
}

So, on the rare occasion that I need to remind someone that on the Arch boards we only support Arch Linux (I know, quite the revelation…), I just open a scratchpad and enter bbs only and then Shift+Insert the text into the post and I am done. Not passing an argument just prints the commented titles in the file in the event that I forget what the damn thing is called.

I have a similar setup for work, with a couple of files that feature longer pieces of text that I find myself reusing for proposals, email responses and other administrivia. It's a simple enough approach, but it works well and does lend a certain satisfaction to the otherwise tedious business of writing boilerplate.

Notes

Flickr Creative Commons image how many cans by shrapnel1

21 Mar 2014 8:20pm GMT

13 Mar 2014

feedPlanet Arch Linux

Our wiki page has moved

The Arch Linux wiki page that describes the TalkingArch project and its installation process has been moved. You can now find this information at wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/TalkingArch. The move was initially proposed for a couple of reasons, including the fact that it is easier to type # lynx wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/TalkingArch than it was to type # lynx wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Arch_Linux_for_the_blind [...]

13 Mar 2014 12:44am GMT

08 Mar 2014

feedPlanet Arch Linux

[kde-unstable] KDE SC 4.13

Hi all,
it's again time for a new major release of KDE Software Compilation.

The first beta of the 4.13 series has been released.
As usual, you find the packages in the [kde-unstable] repo, which only contains beta/rc releases.
Read install instruction from here.

NOTE: It requires [testing] enabled.

The following packages have been added:
* kfilemetadata
* baloo
* baloo-widgets
* kdeedu-artikulate
* kqtquickcharts

KDE is migrating from Nepomuk to Baloo, because of this, I built KDE without Nepomuk support.
Dolphin, KDEPIM and Gwenview have already been ported to Baloo. It seems that KActivities will not be ported away from Nepomuk in those 4.x releases.
Amarok, KDE-Telepathy, Digikam and more still use Nepomuk, but future releases will not. You can take a look to this list.

Please report any packaging bug to our bug tracker.

KDE bugs go in the upstream bug tracker.
Have a nice update and testing!

Watch the list of known issues.

08 Mar 2014 8:30am GMT

06 Mar 2014

feedPlanet Arch Linux

Interesting Links – January/February 2014

Well… I intended to be more organized and get these posted on time each month. Maybe next year. January: Red Hat and CentOS joined forces, while paid SUSE staff will work less on openSUSE kGraft for rebootless kernel updates The Continue reading

06 Mar 2014 5:08am GMT

23 Feb 2014

feedPlanet Arch Linux

Introduction talk to metrics 2.0 and Graph-Explorer

This week I had the opportunity to present metrics 2.0 and Graph-Explorer at the Full-stack engineering meetup.
I could easily talk for hours about this stuff but the talk had to be about 20 minutes so I paraphrased it to be only about the basic concepts and ideas and some practical use cases and features. I think it serves as a pretty good introduction and a showcase of the most commonly used features (graph composition, aggregations and unit conversion), and some new stuff such as alerting and dashboards.

The talk also briefly covers native metrics 2.0 through your metrics pipeline using statsdaemon and carbon-tagger. I'm psyched that by formatting metrics at the source a little better and having an aggregation daemon that expresses the performed operations by updating the metric tags, all the foundations are in place for some truly next-gen UI's and applications (one of them already being implemented: graph-explorer can pretty much generate all graphs I need by just phrasing an information need as a proper query)

The video and slides are available and also embedded below.

I would love to do another talk that allows me to dive into more of the underlying ideas, the benefits of metrics2.0 for things like metric storage systems, graph renderers, anomaly detection, dashboards, etc.

Hope you like it!

23 Feb 2014 9:20pm GMT

21 Feb 2014

feedPlanet Arch Linux

Linux 3.13 WARNING: PS/2 keyboard support is now modular

It has been requested that we make support for the i8042 keyboard and mouse controller modular. Some people get weird error messages because they don't have one and the manual probing slows down their boot. Tom took care of this on the kernel side (thank you) and the result finally landed in 3.13.

In order to get keyboard input during early init, if you don't have it already, add the keyboard hook to the HOOKS= line in /etc/mkinitcpio.conf and run mkinitcpio -P. It has been in the default configuration for some time.

WARNING: There's a downside to all this: On some motherboards (mostly ancient ones, but also a few new ones), the i8042 controller cannot be automatically detected. It's rare, but some people will surely be without keyboard. You can detect this situation in advance:

$ dmesg -t | grep '^i8042'
i8042: PNP: No PS/2 controller found. Probing ports directly.

If you have a PS/2 port and get this message, add atkbd to the MODULES= line in mkinitcpio.conf and run mkinitcpio -P. If you just noticed that you are without keyboard after rebooting, fear not! Simply add

earlymodules=atkbd modules-load=atkbd

to your kernel command line in your bootloader.

I will move Linux 3.13 to [core] a few hours from now, to give everyone a chance to read this before upgrading. I apologize for any inconvenience this transition may cause.

https://www.archlinux.org/news/linux-31 … w-modular/

21 Feb 2014 9:34am GMT

Linux 3.13 WARNING: PS/2 keyboard support is now modular

Thomas Bächler wrote:

It has been requested that we make support for the i8042 keyboard and mouse controller modular. Some people get weird error messages because they don't have one and the manual probing slows down their boot. Tom took care of this on the kernel side (thank you) and the result finally landed in 3.13.

In order to get keyboard input during early init, if you don't have it already, add the keyboard hook to the HOOKS= line in /etc/mkinitcpio.conf and run mkinitcpio -P. It has been in the default configuration for some time.

WARNING: There's a downside to all this: On some motherboards (mostly ancient ones, but also a few new ones), the i8042 controller cannot be automatically detected. It's rare, but some people will surely be without keyboard. You can detect this situation in advance:

$ dmesg -t | grep '^i8042'
i8042: PNP: No PS/2 controller found. Probing ports directly.

If you have a PS/2 port and get this message, add atkbd to the MODULES= line in mkinitcpio.conf and run mkinitcpio -P. If you just noticed that you are without keyboard after rebooting, fear not! Simply add

earlymodules=atkbd modules-load=atkbd

to your kernel command line in your bootloader.

I will move Linux 3.13 to [core] a few hours from now, to give everyone a chance to read this before upgrading. I apologize for any inconvenience this transition may cause.

21 Feb 2014 9:30am GMT

17 Feb 2014

feedPlanet Arch Linux

Basic installation tutorial now on Blind-Planet

The TalkingArch basic installation tutorial is now available at the new Blind-Planet website. Any problems anyone may have had downloading or listening to the files available from the tutorial page should be resolved now, as the Blind-Planet website hosts only mp3 files. The Blind-Planet posting for this tutorial can be found here.

17 Feb 2014 5:45pm GMT