mark-eichin-blogspot-com: Tue Feb 2 20:09:00 2010

Tue Feb 2 20:09:00 2010

Optimized for travel; biased for shooting

I picked up a second-hand Sony Vaio P from a friend who got it in Japan. Scarily light, 220dpi screen, comfortable keyboard, thinkpad-style eraser-mouse... I've just about completely switched over to it as my "laptop that I actually carry", though I haven't really "vacated" the T60p yet. I'm actually running a stock Lucid Lynx Ubuntu daily build on it, so I have "slow" X but in exchange for that pretty much everything works reliably, including suspend/restore (there's a backlight issue but changing vt's in and out of X seems to solve it.) I haven't ported my XMPP client over yet; it looks like python-pyxmpp gives a lot more rope and actually has Kerberos/GSSAPI code, but it fails to come up with sane service names (and if I force those, it fails to actually complete enough of the negotiation to get any traffic from the server.) However, pidgin actually does GSSAPI, so I may stick with that for a bit. I was also inspired by all of this to figure out how to set up ratpoison to use trayer and the various applets, including NetworkManager (which is a lot saner than it ever used to be, I may be able to stick with it and not go back to my adhoc scripts after all.) I've even completed an end-to-end run of my camera/usb stick/kphotoalbum/flickr upload workflow on it, that worked just fine. My biggest remaining problem is actually font sizes. I've had bad luck with telling xulrunner a minimum size to use (many pages seem to get confused and end up overlapping characters - even amazon's wishlist dropdown ends up wrong...) but having not touched it for this install, hitting ctl-shift-+ twice ("Full Zoom 150%") gives me pages that are readable and not disproportioned or otherwise broken. Unfortunately I haven't found an alternate path -- .fonts.conf.d is apparently ignored by everything except ratpoison itself, gnome-font-properties is gone, gnome-appearance-properties puts up a window and then crashes, xrandr --dpi doesn't seem to actually do anything... I still need to try creating a xorg.conf (that's right, I get 1600x768 with the server defaults, yay!) to set DisplaySize, and maybe there's a gnome config I can tweak with an editor, we'll see. What all of this means is that I can have my camera and "studio" and a weekend's worth of clothing and toiletries in a very small bag, I can be nearly unencumbered and just go places and take pictures... and one thing the 100-pictures-a-day lifestyle has taught me is that if you're going to get pictures of interesting things, it helps hugely to be "biased for shooting" - arranging your self so that it takes more effort to decide not to take a picture of something than to just take one. This means wearing a camera, not just pocketing one, or at least whenever you have a hand free, there should be a camera in it. A slightly large camera (a superzoom rather than a compact, I mean, not a full DSLR) helps with this because having it in hand is easier than "putting it away". ps. if I pretend that the Vaio P counts as a "mobile" client, this is another mobile test, using gnome-blog... which fails, debbug228236 is still open after 6+ years, and I had to use the web interface to fix the title :-{ drivel crashes with an FPE, blogtk looks a lot more real so I'm trying it next - it seems ok on titles, but edit mode gets paragraph breaks wrong...