i3 window manager
6 June 2013 09:36:23
I'm in love with "i3, improved tiling
wm", my current window manager of choice. I can't understand how I
managed to live without it for so long.
When I first started using GNU/Linux back in 2000, one of the first choices I
made was picking a window manager. I tried an early version Sawmill (Sawfish),
Enlightment, Fvwm and others. Eventually I settled with Fvwm which could be
configured to be near-perfect match for me. Even though I had come from Amiga
and Workbench, I absolutely loved focus-follows-mouse, virtual desktops and the
pager, the ability to bring windows to front and sending them background by
simply clicking the frame and so on. As time went by, I added more obscure
commands to move and resize windows and removed all but one widget from the
Even though I was mostly happy with Fvwm and Fvwm2, I often ended up opening
far too many terminals for tasks that were only supposed to take seconds. My
usual workflow to use several desktops and organise stuff accordinly usually
worked well because I only had one or two overlapping windows on each desktop.
With one-shot windows, however, I sometimes had to hunt for that one terminal
with Vim put in the background. Furthermore, this helped me to form a habit of
typing "fg" whenever there was no Vim running on that terminal.
Clearly there was something wrong.
Eventually I was introduced to tiling window managers. I loved the idea and
tried a few, namely xmonad and wmii. I decided to skip awesome for naming
reasons and ion because of the author's attitude. These experiments confirmed
that I liked the concept, but could not switch because I was so fixed
with having a terminal window limited to exactly 80 columns. This was because I
believed (and still do) that no line of code should have to be wider than 80
columns or there was something wrong with it. Yes, even with 8-column
indentation. If there wasn't an option to force certain windows to certain
size, this would be a showstopper.
As time passed, I came across a Vim option (colorcolumn) to highlight given
column. Even though the option made pasting stuff over X a bit more cumbersome
(as each line would have whitespaces at the end of each line), I started using
this option. Some time later I heard about i3 and decided to give it a go on my
home computer. Configuring i3 took almost no time and with this newly
discovered Vim option, I was happy. When I realised that I could make certain
window classes to always be floating I was even happier. These always floating
windows would only be used to very temporary stuff such as showing feedback for
keyboard shortcuts that controlled command line applications.
Point of no return
After a few months of running i3 on my home computer, I started using i3 on my
work computer as well. This was one of the best choices I had made for quite
some time. i3 on dual screen setup was even better than i3 on a single screen.
It wasn't just good, it was absolutely brilliant. I could easily change focus
between two screens, change the content of either screen without touching the
other, move focus between windows intuitively and efficiently, open a persistent
"scratch" terminal anywhere and hide it again - all with a single
keyboard shortcut. I could still sends number of Vims in the background, but
now there was little need to do so. Right now my only regret is not trying this
I'm sure my honeymoon period with i3 will have to come to an end, but right now
I couldn't be happer with my decision. Much like with Ruby, all the pros easily
outweight the cons. Do yourself a favour, have an open mind and give i3 a go.
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SID of the day: Good Enough? by Stellan Andersson (Dane)
7 April 2013 20:08:18
SID of the day
Good Enough? by Stellan Andersson (Dane)
Stellan Andersson (Dane) is my new hero. Seems that every time I go through new stuff on
HVSC, I find something new from Dane
that I love. Similarly, much of the time when I listen to my favourite SIDs,
these gems by Dane really get my attention. Enjoy.
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ruutu-dl - Tool for downloading video from ruutu.fi and jimtv.fi
7 April 2013 16:52:10
ruutu-dl is a tool for downloading video from ruutu.fi and jimtv.fi. It's a
Ruby script that implements ugly spawn-kill loop around flvstreamer. On
author's setup, flvstreamer would stall every few megatypes and rtmpdump would
produce large and broken video file. Read more or grab the latest version.
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Web stores and questionable customer care
29 March 2013 14:00:00
Sometimes shopping online just works, sometimes
it doesn't. This is a story about the latter.
Back in November when I had finally received my
first Android device ever I also tried to purchase a protective cover for
it. I turned my attention to PandaWill
that was selling a neat looking case that didn't add too much bulk to my
otherwise compact device. I placed an order on 3 October and started waiting. I
liked their check out process for not forcing me to create an account. The
final step in the process confirmed my order and said that I'd receive another
confirmation in an email with full details including order and invoice numbers.
I never did.
Three weeks passed and hadn't heard anything from PandaWill. Not even that
confirmation email. I didn't think much of it as I didn't register and I
figured I had to be minority and the system was largely untested for this use
case. Still, being tiny bit worried, I opened their fancy online support,
explained the situation and was given my invoice number that I should be able
to use to track the status of my order on their website. I couldn't. Using the
feature would have required me to create an account. Them having confirmed that
my order had been received I was content for time begin. Their online
support was friendly and didn't use canned replies like some bigger companies
Four week later on 25 November I emailed their support explaining the situation
again and asked what I should do next. I got a quick response telling me that
my pacakge was shipped on 19 October. I was asked to wait for another week and
promised that if I haven't received the package by then, they'd send me another
package. They told me that it usually took about a month for a package to be
On 20 December I reported back and told I still hadn't received the package. I
was given three options; pay extra three dollars for registered mail, have the
package resent with no guarantees or get full refund as store credit. I
decided to pay up, bringing my total to whopping 17 US dollars. After some
hassle with PayPal I was given a tracking code to be used on Signapore Mail
website. Also, I was told to refuse the package if the original package arrived
Original package was still nowhere to be seen. On 9 January my registered
package arrived. Interestingly enough the tracking service said the package had
been shipped only a week earlier, on 2 January, and not in mid or late
Fast forward to 20 February. I had just come back from work and noticed a padded
envelope from China waiting for me. There was nothing on the envelope that I
could have used to recognise the sender. No logo and no sender name. The
envelope had been stamped 2013.01.28.20 by China Post. Being curious, I opened
the envelope only to find another protective cover inside, packed and wrapped
in much smaller package than the one I received before.
Later that evening I sent PandaWill an email explaining that I had just
received and opened their original shipment. I made sure to explain that I had
no chance to refuse the letter. After checking local post office for prices I
told them that postage for returning the item back to China would exceed what I
had originally paid for the item (shipping included) and asked what they'd like
me to do. I figured that they might have a return address in Eurpose, which
would ont have been anything unheard of, really.
Two days later I got a reply. They suggested that I'd pay extra 8 USD and keep
both items. They agreed that sending the item back would not be worth it. I
refused the offer stating the fact that as I only had one device, the other
cover would be uttely useless to me. I also reminded them that I had already
already paid 3 USD extra and waited for three months for the first received
shipment. I got one more reply from them. The message was short and right to
the point, even if I didn't fully agree with it.
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2013 14:44:55 +0800 (CST)
From: email@example.com Mon Feb 25 08:48:01 2013
OK, You keep that two items .and at the same time ,your are blocked in
pandawill.com for your non-honest .
Of course, you only have my word for it, but from my point of view I had been
rather courteous during the whole ordeal. I hadn't threatened to dispute my
PayPal payment, used offending language, compained about the delivery time or
asked to have a discount because of the delay. Also, I actually told them that
I had finally received their original shipment and offered to send it back (at
their expense). Had I not reported back I would not have been accused of being
dishonest or been blocked from their web store. Little did I know when I first
placed my order...
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Web stores and music downloads
28 March 2013 20:37:16
Today I had my first experience in purchasing music in form of digital
download. Everything went better that I ever dared to expect.
It was probably a month ago when I came across yet another random YouTube video
on IRC. On this particular video two artists I'd never heard of performed live
with nothing but a drumset, keyboard and a looper used by the singer. (Please
excuse me if I got the name "looper" all wrong.) I found the song
most interesting and checked YouTube for more. I continued to listened to
playlist for some time until I closed the browser that didn't have Flash
disabled. I moved on.
After I finished listening all changes between
HVSC 53 and 58 I needed something else
to listen for change. I then remembered Sóley. Today I decided to spend some
money to support the artist. At first I checked a record store that, I think
you could say, specialises in indie and alternative music - or anything but
mainstream. They had a single copy of the CD available, but as they didn't
have it locally where I live, I would have to wait for it. Besides that, I
would then have to rip the CD and find a place to keep the physical media.
After some consideration and then a little search work I found that
Boomkat was selling a digital copy in FLAC. I
didn't spot anything (too) alarming in their website and decided to give it a
go. Two minutes later I had downloaded an unencrypted zip archive with
perfectly fine FLAC files and covert art in JPEG in it. Contrary to my
expectations the whole ordeal was quite painless. They didn't require me to
enter irrelevant info such as my home address, click through a questionnaire of
my music preferences or even create an account beforehand.
I probably won't be listening to this piece of art for as long as I will listen
to HVSC, but this experience certainly restored a bit of that little faith I
have in humanity.
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