Archive for the 'Linux' Category

The Little Things in Life Rock

Nathan Weizenbaum was helping me with a few issues in a pet project I’m working on.

In the process, I ended up learning a really neat trick that Ruby can do.

To give you a bit of background, I’m working on a GTK Tray Icon. To make a menu spawn upon right-clicking the tray icon, you’d expect to see something like this:

require 'gtk2'

class TrayIcon
  def initialize
    trayicon =
    trayicon.set_tooltip('My Tray Icon')
    trayicon.signal_connect('popup-menu') { |button, activate_time| on_right_click(button, activate_time) }

  def on_right_click(status_icon, button, activate_time)
    rc_menu =

    exit ='Quit')
    exit_image =, Gtk::IconSize::MENU)
    exit.signal_connect('activate') { Gtk.main_quit }

    rc_menu.popup(nil, nil, button, activate_time)

But, the line 8th line (trayicon.signal_connect …) is a bit unwieldy. The thing is, we need those arguments to be passed for everything to work. And that’s where Ruby’s Proc handling comes in to save me. The same line can be re-written, and work, using the following line instead:

trayicon.signal_connect('popup-menu', &method(:on_right_click))

Banshee Plugin for Xchat

I’ve been working on a wide variety of projects lately, so when I got some spare time today, I did something for myself.

As such, I’ve done a complete rewrite of the Banshee plugin for Xchat. It’s stable and shouldn’t have any bugs. Works great on this end. The code itself is improved as well. πŸ™‚

You can nab a copy here.

Ubuntu: The First Distro to Ship Compiz-Fusion by Default

As of the Tribe 2 release, due to the awesome work on the part of Michael Vogt (mvo) and Travis Watkins (Amaranth), Compiz 0.5.1 git and the Compiz-Fusion main plugins are not just a part of the default installation of Ubuntu, but enabled by Default, even on the LiveCD.

Of course, it’s only enabled for supported hardware devices, so for you folks that can’t run Compiz, you’ll be greeted by Metacity as always.

The rest of the Compiz-Fusion stuff is also in the universe repository, so feel free to pick it up by running the following command:

sudo apt-get install compiz-fusion-plugins-extra compizconfig-settings-manager

Keep in mind, Gutsy is alpha software and isn’t recommended for use on your desktop, however, if you’re feeling gutsy, it’s a fun experience. πŸ˜‰

Some Neat Stuff

I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of SLED 10’s Service Pack 1 for a few small items: Gnome Main Menu 0.9.8, updated Gilouche theme, etc.

Finally, on the 18th, after way-too-long a wait, they put it out.

Since then I’ve compiled and configured a few things, while a couple more are being put off for a little bit (namely the international clock – which requires rebuilding the whole of gnome-panel).

Here’s a shot of Gnome Main Menu 0.9.8, with the updated Gilouche theme, to give you just a taste of some of the neat things that should start making their way upstream.

Adobe Really Does Love Us!

In addition to this week’s announcement about a particularly awesome little beta release of Flash 9 Update, which features all sorts of treats such as native GTK support and fullscreen use, Adobe has gone one step further in easing adoption of Flash on Linux: particularly for PCLinuxOS, openSUSE, and Fedora users.

As of yesterday, Adobe now sports its own, maintained YUM repository for Flash. πŸ˜€

In order to install Flash, just run the following:

wget -O ~/adobe-release-1.0-0.noarch.rpm
su -c "rpm -Uvh adobe-release-1.0-0.noarch.rpm" root
su -c "yum install -y flash-plugin" root

Remember to restart any web browsers after installing Flash!

Adventures with Scribble!: Nothing Quite Like Playtime

I was feeling a little bored, so I opened up Scribble! (after a brief svn update) and decided to play around some.

I ended up making the RGB circle:


While it obviously doesn’t blend to create that insanely cool effect, it looks cool anyway. πŸ˜€

During the process of this, however, something struck me… unless you’ve played with graphics before, none of the “average Joe Sixpack” users that Scribble! is designed for know the golden rule of computer graphics!

When you’re working with graphics on a computer, there’s a little “rule” that you operate under. The point of origin is the top left corner of the screen. There are of course many reasons for this, none of which I’ll trouble you with, but, to keep things brief, if you were to draw up a simple grid with X and Y axes, as far as computer graphics are concerned, you’re dealing with the IV (4th) quadrant.

Now that we’ve established that, looking at Scribble!’s code is easy.

brush.stroke = 0, 0, 0, 0.7

This code establishes the two traits of the Scribble we’re working on before we start any drawing. We’ve set the size to 360 pixels wide and 300 pixels tall. Then we’ve set the stroke of the brush (don’t forget – this is still Ruby and method act on objects, in this case, the stroke is acting on the brush) to be black using RGB values (0 red, 0 green, and 0 blue is the combination for black) and have an opacity of 70%.

brush.fill = 1, 0, 1, 0.5
circle :center => [130,170], :radius => 75

Now, we begin by setting the color of our brush to Magenta (1 red, 0 green, 1 blue) and set its opacity to 50%. This next portion is a little bit trickier in terms of syntax, but it’s relatively simple to read. We’re creating a circle with a center point 130 pixels to the right of the origin and 170 pixels down from the origin. If we compared this to the coordinate sheet we envisioned earlier, our center point is at (130, -170). The next bit, the radius, is set to 75. Simple, no? The rest of the script is just placing two more circles of different colors on other parts of our canvas.

If you’ve got any interesting Scribbles you want to share, please comment! πŸ™‚

Adventures with Scribble!: The Basics of Basics

Scribble! has been undergoing many changes lately to prepare for the mystical and (at least in my case) anticipated 0.1 release.

But the important thing to remember about Scribble!, is that, just like Hackety Hack, its goal is to teach people how to program without breaking out the boring lectures about “Hey this is syntax. Do it.” It’s a tool for beginners to learn a little bit about graphics using Cairo and Ruby to have a little fun and expand their knowledge.

So, you ask me, how does Scribble! do it?

Pretend we take the following code and drop it into Scribble!:

#Set Canvas Size to 500x500!
brush.fill = 0, 0, 0.9, 0.04 #Uses standard "Red, Green, Blue, Opacity" values
brush.stroke = 0, 0, 0, 0.1 #Same as above

#I like circles too! ^_^
30.times do
  circle :center => [rand(size[0]), rand(size[1])], :radius => (rand(size[0]) - 150)

#Draw a cool spiral thing that Evan Farrar came up with. B)
scribble(250,250) do |s|
  s.curve 250, 300
  s.curve 300, 250
  s.curve 250, 200
  s.curve 200, 250
  s.curve 250, 350
  s.curve 350, 250
  s.curve 250, 150
  s.curve 150, 250
  s.curve 250, 400

## And to top it off, a blue smiley face over everything!
scribble(100, 10) do |s|
  s.line(100, 60)
  s.jump(150, 10)
  s.line(150, 60)
  s.jump(80, 70)
  s.curve(125, 90)
  s.curve(170, 70)

The code is, of course, a little commented (mainly because I’m a nice guy, <3), so it shouldn’t take too much explanation. In fact, once you look at the image below, it shouldn’t take any at all!

Scribble! here, Scribble! there…. hell Scribble! everywhere!

So, I encourage you to go pick up Scribble from SVN and play around some:
svn co svn:// scribble

To run it, cd to ‘/path/to/scribble’ and run ‘bin/scribble’. If you come up with anything neat, share it with me!