Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Computer Notes

Listening to:

Dodge the Dodo, by the Esbjörn Svensson Trio.

This and That

iTerm2: Having had a number of spinning beach-balls of death occurrences on my macbook lately, I started to worry that I had a dying disk, and that the machine (or at least the disk) was going to need replacing.

But now I'm beginning to suspect that the terminal program iTerm2 is the cause. If this was running when the laptop went to sleep, I’d often find that I had a seriously unresponsive, beach-ball filled machine on waking it up.

I’m going to try running without it for a while, and see if the hangs go away. (I’d earlier suspected Firefox of being the culprit, and its Master Password+ add-on in particular, but I’ll soon try reenabling the latter.)

Upgrading to Ubuntu 11.04: This version of Ubuntu still has a particularly ancient (=2009) version of its TeX distribution. If I replace it with a more recent version manually, then I have to then install my own copy of the emacs AucTeX mode because Ubuntu’s package management sees its own TeX package as a prerequisite for AucTeX. Grrr.

Another minor problem is that the cursor mask used in my xpause program doesn’t seem to work properly anymore: when I get the big “Stop” appearing as my cursor, the containing rectangle’s background is all messed up. Given that I’m supposed to be stopped at this point, not doing anything with the mouse, and generally having an RSI-preventing break, I don’t suppose this is such a big deal.

Still, perhaps I can find a replacement for xpause. It’s a TCL/Tk program written by Jules Anderson in 1993 or 1994. I may well be the only person on the planet still using it. I’m sure others will have tried to scratch this itch before.

I will soon upgrade to 11.10 I think, but before doing that, I may get a new desktop machine entirely. The current one has too little memory, and a disk that is getting a bit close to full (across all its various partitions).

Firefox: Oh yeah, I also have to look into Firefox synchronisation options. My current solution is SyncPlaces + Dropbox, but this seems to break browser restart.