Shit They Didn’t tell You About DRI

11 11 2011

Extra-short post, stemming from my general annoyance at the difficulty with which I enabled DRI on my latest laptop. You see, there are MANY factors that all come into play, many of which are described in detail at the DRI wiki.. I, however, had to spend an annoyingly long time reading to get it working. Here’s a quick step-by-step for getting it working on a clean (with X) Arch install:

  1. Install drivers! Package names for X drivers are formatted as such: xf86-<class>-<driver>. For an Intel video driver, for example, it’d be xf86-video-intel. That should grab DRI packages for that driver as well. For Intel, that’d be intel-dri. In case you forgot or something, you’ll want to install it with pacman -Syu <package> as root.
  2. Break out the text editor! Run your editor of choice (nano, vi, gedit, mousepad, etc.) as root, then paste the following in:
    Section “DRI”
    Mode 0666
  3. Save that file as /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-dri.conf, then quit your editor.
  4. Run gpasswd -a <user> video, where <user> is your username, as root.
  5. Reboot!
  6. Start X!
  7. Play Minecraft or similar, revel in the rendering!
  8. Profit?

Hope you enjoyed it, and I hope it got you working… leave feedback in the comments!

New Laptop

11 11 2011

The title of this post is actually rather misleading, as one might assume that it refers to the first new laptop I have acquired since my last post to this blog. That, however, is not the case. I have actually acquired several laptops, of varying age and performance, since my last post, but I shall save the complete list for a future post. This post shall be dedicated to my latest acquisition, a Dell Latitude D610.  Many of my readers may immediately recognise this as a model that is seemingly ubiquitous in schools and corporate workplaces, and indeed it is to an extent. For example, approximately 20 feet behind me and to the left is a similar laptop, owned by the school. Most of this school’s laptop fleet is made up of this model of laptop, and both of the schools I attended before Compass had similar fleets. Now, for a moment, I’d like to focus on the reason for this model (or, more accurately, series’) apparent ubiquity; its IT-friendliness. The entire Latitude D series is made up of laptops that have many interchangeable components, are easy and fast to disassemble and reassemble, and have relatively inexpensive replacement parts. These factors are, of course, just as attractive to me as they are to IT departments, albeit not necessarily for the same reasons. I enjoy the flexibility of upgrading offered by these laptops, the potential for modding, and the robust stock feature set, as well as the comfortable form factor and wide range of peripherals available. IT departments enjoy the speed with which they can return laptops, working, to their fellow (non-IT) employees, the ease with which they can return a laptop with a failed part to the field, often by simply swapping the part out of another laptop. They also appreciate the fact that they can simply move a “dead” laptop’s hard drive into a “live” laptop to keep all of its data without having to reinstall drivers or reconfigure any part of the operating system (in the case of windows, at least).

Now that I’ve covered some of the advantages of this laptop series, I’ll proceed to my specific laptop. First, the specifications:

  • 2.00 GHz Pentium M (Pentium 4 Based)
  • 2 GB RAM (Upgraded from 1 GB)
  • 80 GB HDD (Upgraded from 40 GB)
  • 14″ 1024×768 LCD
  • Intel 915 GM Express graphics
  • Broadcom BCM4306 a/b/g WiFi
  • Dell Bluetooth adapter
  • DVD-R/RW Module
  • CD-R/RW/DVD Module
  • Floppy Module
  • Dell Latitude D/Dock
  • ~2 hour battery

I swapped it for an iBook G3 14″/900 MHz with 576 MB of RAM, so I believe it was an excellent trade. The only real downside is that I don’t actually have a power cord for it, so I have to charge it on the docking station. To tell the truth, however, the docking station itself is enough of an upside to justify the loss of convenience.

When I first got it, there was an admin password on the BIOS, which was a significant reason for the ease with which I obtained it… I quickly removed the password with the help of the absolutely amazing Dogbert, whose blog can be found at

I’ve installed Arch Linux on it, as per usual, and it runs GNOME-Shell marvelously. As of now, it’s yet to stutter on any task I’ve put to it, and I believe it’s a very well-specced laptop. I’m sure I’ll be posting more about it in the future, but at the moment I believe I shall conclude this post. Farewell, and please do look forward to my future posts, which shall hopefully become more frequent.

— platnicat

Music on Slow Computer

4 10 2011

Music on Slow Computer

The Grand Return!

21 06 2011

After not blogging for a very long time, I return! A lot of stuff has changed, but I won’t detail it here… just ask! As for projects, I have a NetPliance i-Opener I’m screwing with, and I have tons of new computers. Stick around!

My Birthday

25 05 2010

Hello all, I am writing this at the end of the day on my birthday. I felt that I ought to share what I got and did with the blogosphere, so here goes:
In the morning, I got up, got dressed, and took out the ingredients for my cake. Then, I “subtly” dropped hints that I’d like to see my presents. They were:
A new iPod touch (I dropped my old one)
A SuperDrive for my ThinkPad
And, tickets to Alice in Wonderland, which we went to see.

After seeing Alice in Wonderland, we came back home and ate cake. There really isn’t much else to it.

The Insane Difficulties of Finding a Good Linux Twitter Client

21 04 2010

Since the latest version of pino decided to become as stable as an alpha of Windows 95, I’ve been looking at other Linux native Twitter clients, and here were some of the problems I ran into:

1. Stability. Gwibber was especially bad, not managing to stay open for more than a few minutes at a time, although it was better than pino, which was crashing whenever I minimized it to the tray.

2. RAM Usage. If it weren’t for this one, I’d be using Qwit. However, Qwit is a HUGE RAM hog, taking 235+ MB of RAM when idle, which is more than Firefox with more than 30 tabs open!

3. Lack of Features. I also noticed that some basic features were missing in a few clients, such as lack of a tray icon in Buzzbird and Yasst. Twitim is a truly read-and-post only client, and I like to have a URL shortener at a minimum, and preferably a picture uploader too. Also, it doesn’t have an icon at all! I just get my “object” icon in the tray… not pretty.

So, my final vote?  Turpial. It’s a great client, albeit currently Spanish only, but Tweeting and replying/DMing is not that hard to get without reading anything anyway!

Finally, you can look forward to a more in-depth review of some of these on Allison Sharidan’s NosillaCast sometime soon!

Updating in Ubuntu Tutorial

26 03 2010

So, this is a quick tutorial, made at the request of the wonderful Allison Sheridan of the NosillaCast podcast, (A technology geek podcast with an eeever so slight Macintosh bias) on how to update apps in Ubuntu 9.10.

Step 1: Open a Terminal.

Step 2: Type “sudo update-manager” without the quotes.

Step 3: Type your password when it asks you.

Step 4a: If a window opens and checks for updates, you’re good. Install the updates.

Step 4b: If no window opens and you get an “update-manager: command not found. Use sudo apt-get install update-manager to install it.” error, install it.

Step 4c: If NEITHER happens, comment on this post and I’ll add more detail. However, this should be enough to get it working.