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Archive for February, 2008

I was downloading pics from my camera this weekend (strictly speaking, from its SD card) and found out about a nasty bug: digikam will fail to download an image for no good reason, and overwrite good images when you tell it to try again! I immediately opened a bug report, let’s how this progresses. A comment in the bug report suggests that downgrading back to 0.9.2 will avoid the problem. I didn’t test it, but I certainly will do that.

In addition, you need pay attention to the import wizard’s window to see if all images were downloaded correctly. If an error occurs, the only indication is a small red cross on the image itself. There’s no warning dialog or status message telling you that something went wrong. You have to check each image. I opened a bug report about this too.

This is actually the first problem I had with digikam, and have always had a great experience with it. I really recommend the application to organize your photos (well, just avoid version 0.9.3 🙂 ). Along with amarok, I think it’s one of KDE’s killer apps.

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I’m not really a computer games person. For some reason, I started playing less and less games since I was about 16 years old. After a while, the only game I still played was NetHack (the ASCII or ncurses versions, I don’t like the X ones). And Koules too, for a while.

Anyway, I started this post to suggest a game which I recently started playing and found very interesting and fun. I know, after  mentioning that two of my favorite games were NetHack and Koules I don’t deserve much credit, but still…

’tis called Neverball,  and is one of those simple, but yet effective games. There’s a ball and you have to make it through the game level while collecting the coins. The thing is, you don’t control the ball. What you actually control is the level floor beneath it. So what you do is tilt the floor to make the ball roll in the direction you want, at the speed you want (well, if you are a good player!).

neverball1.png

By the way, since I’m talking about games: there’s one other I find very good. Since I won’t write a full post about it, I might as well mention it here: it’s Pingus, a free Lemmings clone. It’s very well done with good graphics and sound.

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insulae

Fiquei impressionado esses dias quando descobri que existiam edifícios de até 6 ou 7 andares na Roma antiga, 2000 anos atrás! Chamavam-se insulae, e eram a moradia mais barata em Roma. Os ricos tinham dinheiro para comprar casas.

A maioria era construída para aluguel, de forma insegura e usando materias baratos. Era freqüente elas desmoronarem ou serem atingidas por incêndios.

Esses romanos eram mesmo loucos!

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portable ogg vorbis player

It took me some time to actually own a portable digital music player (mp3 player), because I didn’t want an mp3 player, really. I was searching for an ogg vorbis player and it takes some effort to find one, especially in Brazil where the sound format is virtually unheard of.

I was gladly surprised when I was in FNAC one day and found a player which clearly stated in the box that it was able to play .ogg files (okay, ogg vorbis for the purists out there. but I’ll say .ogg from now on.) and better yet, even not counting this feature, it was actually the player with the best cost/benefit ratio on that store. It’s the Samsung U3.

yp-u3.jpg

I’ve been using it for about two months now, and I am enjoying it. You should take this with a grain of salt, since I didn’t have many requirements from a digital player except that it could play .ogg files, and I’m not an expert or music lover. I’m just an occasional listener. The reviews I have read about it tend to be good though, even regarding the sound quality.

One nice thing is it’s form factor. The player is very small, thin and light. I also like it’s very bright OLED screen, and the fact that it’s very simple to use in Linux. It just presents itself as a regular pen drive. It sports 2 GB of capacity, FM radio, sound recording, progressive “fast forward”…

The main drawback is it’s very sensitive touch buttons. They’re cool, but not very practical. You need to look at the device to see where to touch (but eventually you develop your muscle memory and just know where buttons are). You also need to use the player’s hold key a lot, otherwise buttons will activate all the time while the player is in your pocket.

Now, why this need of playing .ogg files? I have all my CDs encoded in ogg vorbis format, and didn’t want to reencode it all. I think ogg vorbis is a better format than mp3 since it’s newer (mp3 is already more than 10 years old. some advances in lossy audio compression must have been made since then!) and patent-unencumbered. Before you ask: no, I can’t hear the difference in quality between .ogg and .mp3… It’s more the decision of an engineer who preferred to go with the newer, shinier system. 🙂

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Quem diria? A famosa placa “Cuidado com o cão” na entrada de tantas residências tem alguns milhares de anos de idade…

500px-cave_canem.jpg

O mosaico acima foi encontrado na entrada de uma casa romana em Pompéia.

Eu vi uma história do Asterix em que uma placa escrito “Cave Canem” estava no portão da mansão do César, mas achei que era uma piada. Como diz a expressão em inglês… “haha only serious!” 🙂

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