searching for answers

Forum FAQs like to remind us to search previous posts and check with Google before posting: chances are that the answers are already out there. It’s true, but it takes some will to dig and some idea of what to find.

I am trying to build Violet UML editor from source, and building with maven seems pretty straightforward, pointing out missing dependencies as well as generating the command to splice it into the build once I fetch it myself. I had a heck of a time tracking down this one JNLP package for Java, which exposes some additional API in javax.jnlp.*. It was so confusing because everywhere I looked – the Gentoo packages, the Java Ranch forums – all pointed to Sun’s website for download. The only download available was the Java SE, which I had but obviously didn’t have what I was looking for since I have the build error, right? After much digging, I finally found the JNLP developer pack, which after Java 5 is included under the *samples* in the JDK. That could have been much easier.

In other news, I took a shot at using my Freerunner as a PDF reader today. I installed epdfview, a lightweight PDF viewer, but it was barely readable because I was in portrait mode. I assumed that the program would come out in landscape mode, but when I tried it and it didn’t, I assumed it was due to the Gestures program that detects the orientation and automatically rotates the screen to match. Digging deeper, I find that there’s actually a command to change the orientation of the screen!

xrandr -o [0-3]

0 is the default orientation (right side up) and it goes clockwise from there.

epdfview in landscape

The result is more lateral real estate and nicer reading experience. The big fat toolbar is open because I need the page scroll buttons since epdfview doesn’t have continuous page scrolling. I may just try evince later to try and really optimize the screen space, but it’s already as wide as it can get, which is okay.

In the end, it boils down to (1) whether you care enough to bother looking and (2) whether you know what you are looking for in the first place. Sometimes it just takes a while…

One of my new year’s resolutions is com …

One of my new year’s resolutions is complete: contribute code to an open source project! It was just a simple rewrite of a function and some cleanup in a Python script of a dice game for the Freerunner. It’s available here:

Couple of notes. (1) It’s fun tweaking code that’s already been written: I don’t have the stamina to put down all the boilerplate, but once it’s there, aha! I can learn from it. (2) Mixing tabs and spaces in Python code is annoying. (3) The guys on the mailing list are really nice and give lots of feedback. It’s great fun!

freerunner arrived

My Freerunner kit arrived in the mail today. I’m pretty excited.

I’ve been going through the wiki trying to get started setting up the phone. I don’t have a SIM card (we have Verizon). But at this point, all I’m worried about is getting the factory image updated to a more recent image. I managed to set up a USB connection between my laptop and the phone, sharing the internet connection. opkg, the package management system, fails with some missing signature errors. The wiki mentions there would be a problem, though it doesn’t offer much more to solve it. That leaves the second alternative of manually flashing the phone.

Seems also that I’m not the only one getting started as there is a guy on the community list who’s also getting his Freerunner flashed and all. I guess I’ll be riding in his coattails as well as reading around on the wiki; it seems everything is there, somewhere. More to come soon!