Ubuntu 6.06 accessing usb drives

I have written earlier about challenges of setting up Samba for a typical, mixed home network environment. One particular irritating bug was related to backing up/synchronizing files from my Vista workstation and Windows XP based laptop to a same, shared disk in the Ubuntu (6.06 LTS Server release) file & web server. Since I am a Scandinavian user, which means many non-ASCII characters in my file names, it has been pain to get all operating systems to read and display file names correctly. Setting up Samba to use UTF-8 in the smb.conf has been one important step. I used these parameters in my /etc/samba/smb.conf:

dos charset = CP850
unix charset = UTF-8
display charset = UTF-8

But one problem remained in how Ubuntu handled file names in the disk, which is a removable, USB-linked data storage. I finally seem to have solved the issue by tweaking /etc/fstab file; I have now this line for the USB disk:

/dev/sdb1       /musicdrive     vfat    rw,user,iocharset=utf8,umask=000,uid=113,gid=65534      0       0

The “iocharset” part seems to have done the trick.

Mass Effect

Summer and games: not really football or Olympic field sports to my taste, but every now and then I cannot resist a proper RPG adventure. This summer it is Mass Effect from Bioware. I am not so much a fan of first person shooters, but occasional action sequences are ok when they are integrated as parts of a larger, fascinating universe as in Mass Effect. The game is very cinematic, and that sometimes means gameplay locked on rails, but when the outcome works fine as a science fiction movie, I do not complain. Problem is really that as we need to do other things during daytime, it is only nights that are available for gaming… Also fine voice acting, by the way (from Mark Meer/Jennifer Hale for the protagonist, and likes of Martina Sitris, Lance Henriksen and Seth Green in other roles).

A Mass Effect screenshot

Happy holidays!

Happy holidays, soothing summer. Luka and me are here enjoying the brisk wind and breathtaking scenery from the top of Pyynikin näkötorni (the old observation tower on top of Pyynikki ridges). Notice the bag of famous Pyynikki doughnuts (munkki in Finnish)… Link: http://www.munkkikahvila.net/

Thunderous summer

My summer holidays are starting from Midsummer, and just in time arrived thunder, lightning and rain to Finland. A lightning strike close to our home created an electronic impulse that apparently broke our ADSL modem, and this site was couple of days offline. Luckily, nothing else seems broken, and we got a new, identical TeleWell EA-501 v.3 from Verkkokauppa.com in Sunday. Looking at news, we are not alone: there are thunder damages reported from various places. I have a feeling these have been increasing during the last few years… It might be of course that we are just more concerned about the climate change and thus thunderstorms make more of headlines, but then again — it also might be that investing into a telephone line surge protector is a good idea, after all.

Unknown butterfly

This came flapping inside our car in last Midsummer day (23.6.2007). I have been looking around to identify the black-and-while beauty, but with small success so far. Any ideas? There were several of these flying fast around small path/road cutting through mixed woods in central Häme (a bit north from Tampere).

Slow Computing

This is concept I have been playing around lately, becoming gradually more and more serious about its potentials. Hopefully it would be caught up by discussion.

  • Slow computing: conceptualise it as an oppositional and revolutionary concept, like ‘slow food’ is in opposition to ‘fast food’.
  • Slow computing is not necessary about slow processors or weak technology. It is about computing that is used emphatically to pay attention to the quality and content, rather than to the quantity (be it mega- or gigahertz, mega-, giga-, tera-, or pentabyte, or what ever billions of polygons the technology pundits usually point our attention towards).
  • Slow computing is information and communication technology (ICT) that is put to the service of people, paying attention to the sustainability of lifestyle and preservation of our planet.
  • Slow computing may e.g. be a choice to use a slow, cheap laptop, running long on batteries, rather than investing into over-efficient hulking monster, unnecessary for everything else except the most graphically intensive games.
  • Slow computing may take the form of passive displays, slow on screen refresh times, but able to serve text and images while sitting outside, reading while thinking, paying attention. e-paper that is able to display and keep its contents without any further use of energy is slow computing technology. Energy efficient, small devices that take all their power from solar energy are slow computing.
  • Slow computing is all about how ‘less is more’.
  • Slow computing may take the form of applications that reduce and filter junk, so that the really important things are only ones that are there left, for your time and thought.
  • Slow computing may be a service that helps you to join forces with other people in organising your efforts collectively, reducing waste of human energy and effort.
  • Slow computing may be attitude, or cultural shift, rather than any single technology in itself. It is part of movement that says: ‘Wait, stop – did you say we need that to do this?’ It is about thinking alternatives.
  • Slow computing is not luddite ideology. For example, if it is possible to use rich media and teleconferencing rather than jet planes across the ocean to organise a meeting, then ICT has fulfilled the requirement of slow computing: allowing people to stay put, save time and energy, and concentrate on the actual matter at hand.
  • What is your view on slow computing?

GameSpace workshop on extended game experience

Today in Helsinki (Radisson SAS Hotel), participating in a workshop of GameSpace research project; this day is dedicated to game experience from the “extended” or holistic perspective, meaning paying attention also to the way one gets information about games, how one is able to access the game, and how game invites repeated gameplay sessions (or not). Interesting presentations from GameSpace team (Janne Paavilainen, Annakaisa Kultima), and Aki Järvinen (Veikkaus), Nokia (Jussi Holopainen, Hannu Korhonen), Olli Sotamaa (Univ. of Tampere, Games as Services project). This is the last workshop in the project, but the project itself will finish (with final reporting) next fall. Fascinating work, both this part, and the entire project.

3G iPhone

One of the big turn-offs for us Europeans in Apple’s iPhone has been its lack of 3G support. Rumors have been strong for some time now, and now Apple WWDC keynote has made 3G iPhone official. GPS positioning is also included, good battery life. Comparison to other smart phones promises better browsing experiences. It should arrive to stores in July 11. (Thanks Gizmodo for a nice live coverage and the pics.)

3G iPhone comparison slide

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