Friday, September 28, 2007

Website update :)

Hey guys, have a look at my homepage! It has been updated once again :)

You might want to claim that it's not as colorful as the old version, but believe me it's better :P I have put a lot of thoughts into that. The site looks very elegant now and has better support for accessibility. It's also optimized for every browser and small screen devices. And it's gradually adopting CSS3, which will be the open standard soon.

In the next few days (or weeks, or even months :P), you'll see more updates. Elimination of broken links, new updates for the CryptoBox, Steganabara, the bbq project, and hopefully a cool applet tutorial :)

Stay tuned!

Waiting for 2008

Hey guys,

2008.0 was scheduled to be released on 27 September, but there were so many critical bugs that it hasn't been out yet. That's no surprise to me as there have been so many delays to the older versions. A bit disappointed, but I'd rather wait than getting an unstable release.

In the meantime I'll tell you how I could move the big DVD isos from one computer to another with just a 2GB USB flash. It's really easy with the following wonderful linux (or rather, unix) commands:

- split: This command helps you split a file into smaller files of equal sizes. The most important option is -b which specifies the file size, with the following multiplier suffixes: b for 512, k for 1K, m for 1 Meg. The beta2 DVD iso was 3.1GB, so I splitted it into 2 files of 1600M each:

split -b 1600m mandriva-linux-2008.0-free-beta2.i586.iso

This command will produce 2 files named xaa and xab.

- cat: Not only help you view the file content, this command also joins files together. It is pretty easy to use:

cat xaa xab > mandriva-linux-2008.0-free-beta2.i586.iso

With just 2 commands you can probably get everything. But as the files are pretty big you should use checksums to make sure there's no error in transmission. Linux provides 2 common checksum tools: md5sum and sha1sum. md5sum is faster and enough for everyday use.

PS. There's this really cool sourceforge project that provides ports of many common unix tools for Windows: Long live the penguin empire :D

Monday, September 17, 2007

quangntenemy teaches java 2 is up!

It must be my lucky day. The jackpot is up at rankk, and now qtj2 has finally been published at tbs too. This second challenge of the qtj series will teach you about object oriented programming in Java.

With 2 challenges being published the same day, I only have a "few" things left to do. The applet tutorial has been pending for so long. And some changes need to be made to "Message Me" to make it solvable. Then some more updates to my website, Steganabara, CryptoBox and of course the bbq project ;)

Stay ready for all the good news ;)

New applet chall! The jackpot

4 years ago, as a student taking the Java programming course instructed by Professor Dave Elliman, I was given the task to fix a broken code for a Fruit machine. It was my first approach to Swing and I really enjoyed it. Although broken, the code was really well designed that it really took me very little time to get the machine working. Being really enjoyed, I enhanced the code even more and the lab instructor was really impressed.

Last week while discussing with Sphinx about writing a Jackpot as the next applet chall, the old code came to my mind. And now it has been recycled to become a real cool challenge. Among the applets I have created, this one has the nicest graphics. The broken code now has become a real gem ;) But don't be lured for its disguise. You'll scream in horror once you see the devils that are protecting those precious gems :P

Curious? If you have yet to create an account at rankk, do so right now and climb up to level 7 to defeat this chall!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Taming the penguin - Part 3

You know, I had Mandriva 2007, but I still wanted to get the latest packages, especially KDE, the best desktop environment out there. In Mandriva, this can be done easily with a single command:

urpmi task-kde
Once again things didn't go on so well - that's the thing I hate the most about Mandriva betas. As an experienced Mandriva user, I logged into failsafe trying to start KDE from text mode and debug the problem. Here's the important command sequence:

startkde &

From the error output I found out that the arts package was missing. I installed it and voila, the system booted smoothly :)

Now I can live happily until the official 2008.0 release comes out - hopefully before October :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Something for September

Just realized there hasn't been any post for almost a month, although I have been quite active.

On the new pyramid, aka rankk, I have finally secured the first place. Obtained it quite a long time ago, but the place was always taken back by valsa whenever I woke up in the morning. It was not until he had solved the final challenge - 9/1 - that I had a free race. Was there a curse placed upon the Geb title that he has not been able to surpass? If so, I really should take it with care ;)

On TBS, finally I have grabbed 2 more challenges to reach 300. What's even cooler is that one of them is "The Long Forgotten Game" - a really evil chall. With that challenge done now I only have 3 more BaRa's steganos unsolved - Same record as Phas and Inferno - Of course I'll surpass them soon.

A few months ago flamecruiser claimed that he would get TLFG before me. Now I really have taught him who's the new master. quangntenemy is back and kicking! :D

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Taming the penguin - Part 2

Hey, it's me again.

Last time after installing Mandriva 2007, I tried to upgrade to 2008 beta 1 again. And once again things screwed up. Being on a slow connection I had no other choice other than switching back to 2007. So basically I'm on 2007 now.

The next day the Mandriva community released 2008 beta 2. So I grabbed the DVD iso. Too scared to upgrade the whole system yet so I planned to keep it for individual package upgrading. I don't have a DVD burner, but there's no need for it actually. In Linux you can mount an iso without the need for a virtual CD/DVD drive. The command is:

mount -o loop -t iso9660 /mnt/data/images/mandriva-linux-2008.0-free-beta2.i586.iso /mnt/2008/
You can make the system mount the iso automatically by adding the following line to /etc/fstab:
/mnt/data/images/mandriva-linux-2008.0-free-beta2.i586.iso /mnt/2008 iso966 0 ro,loop,auto 0 0
And here's the command to add it to the urpmi source:
urpmi.addmedia --distrib 2008 /mnt/2008/i586/
rpm --import /mnt/2008/i586/media/media_info/pubkey1
There's a cool game added to 2007 that I really enjoyed: Super Tux (haven't noticed it until now :P) Basically it is similar to the famous Super Mario Bros series with nicer graphics and the most important thing is that it is freely available. Not just that you can get it for free, you can also use the level editor to create new levels, or if you are familiar with c++ programming in *nix you can edit the source code to add more cool features :)

As a member of the @ generation, which browser do you use? A sad fact is that although the Internet has been around for many years all the browsers out there are still immature. Internet Explorer (aka Exploder) is a piece of crap. Firefox, the currently dominating browser is a big mem eater. Other browsers like Opera, Konqueror, Netscape, Safari don't provide as good plugins. And none handles applets/flash loading very well. People always claimed applets/flash suck because they freeze their browsers but the real truth is that the browsers really sucked.

I used to have 3 browsers installed on my Linux box: Firefox, Konqueror and Opera. Now I have to install Opera on my fresh system again. Having grabbed the latest rpm from, installing was easy with urpmi. Unfortunately, on startup, the fonts were so badly broken that I could not read even a damn word.

After some research, I found out that the problem was that Opera was using 100dpi fonts while they had not been installed on my system. xorg-x11-100dpi-fonts was what I need :)

That's it for now. Stay tuned for the next chapter :P