Archive for May, 2007

DeLi redux

May 27, 2007

I wrote about this six months ago (here). I took out the modem on the old machine I had installed Deli on, and put in an Ethernet card. Since a new version of Deli had come out I decided to try it out again from scratch.

The install went pretty much the same as the last time, but this time I tried to configure the local network during the delisetup part (after installation). The delisetup command (at the command prompt after logging in) goes to a text-based setup. (Note: if you try to go straight to a gui interface (by typing startx) without doing the setup, it gives a group of white terminals on an icewm interface; but closing the terminals closes the gui interface). The setup categories are:

  • Keyboard
  • Language
  • Setup LILO – the Linux Loader
  • Setup PPP – Needs data from your Internet Service Provider
  • Setup local Network
  • Printer Setup
  • Setup Tiny X Server
  • Setup Window Manager
  • Install additional software packages
  • Set up your Mail system (with masqmail)
  • Select servicesto run at boot

I went through the Setup for local Network. The first screen says you can always go back and make changes by typing netconfig (it says that, but it lies: typing netconfig gets an error message that there is no such command). Then it wants a hostname and domain name. There are instructions with screenshots at the wiki on the Deli site. After the hostname and domain name, you choose between using a static IP, DHCP, or loopback. I tried both static IP and DHCP, but somehow ultimately ended up with loopback. Choosing DHCP will take you through a probe for an Ethernet card. The message I got was “A networking card using com20020.o module has been detected.” Great, but it wouldn’t connect to the network.

I tried “ifconfig” instead of “netconfig” and it showed, despite the Network configuration done in delisetup:

Link encap:Local Loopback

inet addr:127.0.0.1 Mask: 255.0.0.0

UP LOOPBACK RUNNING MTU 16436 Metric:1

After looking at a bunch of config files, going through delisetup several times, and editing the /etc/rc.d/net file, I checked the ethernet card and put it in another slot. But the browser is still giving the error: “dns can’t find slashdot.org.” I think it’s stuck in loopback purgatory, and I don’t have the right incantations to get it out.

On the other hand, it is still a nice, fast distro, even on this old dinosaur, and not that difficult to install, as long as you’re not trying to connect to the Internet.

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Flock browser for Macs

May 26, 2007

I have been slogging through applications, plug-ins, extensions, and widgets for anything related to blogs and blog posting on Macintosh (OS X). Since I download anything that looks like a possibility as I come across it, I invariably end up with a lot of stuff sitting around waiting for my attention. Sometimes it may be weeks before I actually get to a downloaded file, and have no idea what it is or why it’s there until I install it and try to use it. Such was the case with Flock, a browser for quick picture uploading. But it had mentioned something about blog posting (which is why I downloaded it).

So here’s the first post from Flock! The blogging part isn’t as obvious as the photo-uploading features. In fact, it looks like the blog part is really supposed to be an enhancement to the photo-uploading feature (you can drag and drop a photo you find on the web into a web-snippet bar to “hold” it, then drag it from the snippet bar into your post). But it’s findable through the menus, or the customizable toolbar. It pops up a blog editor which operates in editor mode or source code mode (for those who like to have total control).

The browser itself is like Safari and Firefox in the look and feel. It supports tabbed browsing, and will import your bookmarks from Safari or Firefox when it is installed. It even has extensions, like Firefox. In fact, on the site, there’s an interesting promise and caveat (snipped via the Flock websnippet tool):

Very soon you will be able to add your favorite extensions and we’ll convert them on the fly for you. Extensions written for other platforms can still be used in the Flock browser, but there is no guarantee that they will work correctly.

So for Mac bloggers, here’s the site:

Flock

[addendum: the tagging tool is for technorati tags only, so I had to edit the post here to add my own tags ]

[addendum #2:  once I had posted, my categories showed up in Flock.  Unfortunately, I can’t add categories, but it does show the ones I have already used on the blog.]

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Testing and more testing

May 10, 2007

Somehow I have ended up with a copy of ViaVoice for Mac OS X. It appears to be the newest version, although I recall hearing something about it not being updated in the last couple years. This could be a problem for a new macbook. I decided to give it a try anyway.

The package comes with an instruction book and CD, a headphone/microphone combination attached to a USB adapter, and an audio plug to connect the USB adapter box to the audio output port on the computer. There are also a few other things I haven’t figured out yet.

I inserted the CD into the macbook slot, decided to actually read the instructions in the book and try tp follow them, and found the first minor glitch. The book assumes the CD will start on its own. I helped out and opened the CD. From there it is pretty much a no brainer, going step by step through plugging all the devices in and positioning the headphone/microphone, then going through an initial test to see if all the parts are working. Audio: check. Microphone: problem. It suggested I close the setup assistant and start over. Same thing. It suggested I restart the computer after plugging in the USB. O.K. Once again, the message: “It appears that your microphone may not be connected. Check your connections, close SetUpAssistant, and repeat this setup test again. You may need to restart your compuer after plugging in the mic.” Hmmmm. Back to the book: Getting Help; Obtaining Technical Support: “A solution to your problem might already exist! Before contacting technical support, check the Frequently Asked Questions database and the Tested Systems list. The Internet address is http://www.ibm.com/viavoice. Click the support link in the left panel on the web page. Then, select your speech product.”

I typed in the url and ended up at IBM software through a redirect. Clicking on the support link took me to their websphere section. Backing up and trying the support & download link at the top and searching through their software by name and category got me nowhere. There is no more viavoice on their site. There is a Websphere Voice, however. But there is no Macintosh version (I should have paid more attention to the discussion about ViaVoice a couple months ago). Nothing, nada, nowhere.

So I made a trip to friend Google and found: Nuance – IBM ViaVoice Release 10 Mac OS X Edition. Hey! The picture looks just like the box I have here! O.K., so after navigating through the site, I found this knowledgebase article: “Error message: ‘The microphone does not appear to be connected’ when using OS 10.2.” It actually has some very good information there, like turning ON the speech and microphone recognition in System Preferences. In OS 10.4 that turns on the native speech recognition, but ViaVoice still couldn’t get through. So, the next step was to reboot and try it again. Next: Remove the ViaVoice folder from the Applications folder, and the ViaVoice login from the users folder. But there is no ViaVoice login in the users folder. Sooo, Spotlight! then trash all the ViaVoice files (about 20 of them!), and empty the trash. Reboot, re-install, reboot, download and install the update, reboot, and try again.

Oooookay, first there’s the warning on the update download page, saying this is only for OS 10.2. But I download, reboot, install, and reboot anyway. It says to start the setup assistant from a specified path in the Finder menu, but it’s not there. Spotlight! again. This time it acted like it was recognizing the microphone, but not me. After a couple tries, and taking off the headphone, I tried one last time, fairly shouting the passage. Amazingly, that worked. So I put the headphone back on, and shouted into the microphone. Finally past that hurdle, I got to the testing voice quality. I spoke slightly louder than normal, and it said the quality was good. I tried again in a normal voice and the quality dropped to poor. After getting it back up to fair quality, I moved to the next section, which is to read passages as they are displayed.

I don’t think it’s supposed to be this hard. It’s beginning to dawn on me why I ended up with this: last one to arrive, having missed out on the previous conversation about how bad it is? But giving in to a masochistic streak, I finished the setup, and now have no idea what to do with it, especially since I’m now hoarse from reading aloud. On the upside, the reading passages were interesting.