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Picasa 2 works on PCBSD!

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Good news!

There has been a long long wait for Google’s Picasa on FreeBSD / PCBSD. And the wait is now over… if you are running PCBSD, just go get the latest Wine 0.9.32

Step 1: Install Wine – double click on the .pbi file and follow on-screen instructions.

Step 1.1: Install arial.ttf inΒ c:\Windows\Fonts ( /home/username/.wine/drive_c/windows/fonts )

Step 2: Install Picasa – start up konsole, navigate to the directory where your Picasa installer is located ( cd /home/username/Desktop/ ) and run the installer by typing ( wine picasa2-current.exe )

Step 3: Thank the Wine Team and enjoy!

Written by hiway

April 5, 2007 at 5:36 am

Mute Master Volume – Script for FreeBSD/PCBSD

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For the FreeBSD users, there’s a bit of a problem when using laptops –
the special volume buttons are usually not automatically recognized.
The following page helps in configuring that:

For configuring the keypress/command association, we use the following port:


You might want to install the following port for making configuring
xbindkeys easier:


Now, there’s only one issue – the volume cannot be muted and unmuted
to its original setting automatically, here’s a small shell
script that resets volume to 60

I wrote a python script that uses commands from above file and
adds persistence of volume setting while automatically muting or
unmuting each time the script is called, also it relies heavily on
UNIX commands – since this script is necessary only on UNIX/FreeBSD.
It will not work under windows.

It also has a nice feature – soft fade-in / fade-out (configurable via script). Especially useful when you mute at high volume and forget it… then play some loud music and unmute – if done using this script, it might not shock with you with sudden loudness. πŸ™‚

All configuration is kept inside the script to keep usage of the script as easy as possible – just a call:


Hope it is useful to anyone looking to solve this or similar issue…

Here’s the file:

Written by hiway

March 5, 2007 at 6:53 pm

BSNL Broadband Slow Like Hell

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It is 3:43 am, when most other users are offline, I am trying to download KDE 3.5.5 source packages for my newly installed FreeBSD 6.2 on AMD64 machine – I am using a 256 Kbps BSNL DataOne Broadband connection. On January 2007, BSNL announced that it has upgraded all users for speeds upto 2 Mbps. Yes, I enjoy the speed – and I am thankful to BSNL. However, as I watch the progress of my downloads, there’s nothing else than “SHOCK” that awaits me.

Here’s a sampler from my Python download session:

Python-2.4.3.tgz                                5% of 9129 kB 3775  Bps 39m04s

3775Bps, around 3 KBps which comes around to 3*8 = 24 Kbps. Am I being served 10 times slower internet or what?

This is not just for one or two downloads. I tried reconnecting, hoping vainly that things might magically sort themselves out. I tried to check my DNS settings (Regular and OpenDNS both) both resolve fine. This is not the first time this has happened. It’s becoming a regular P.I.T.A., and I’m very much frustrated with it. If BSNL decides to make the 2 AM to 8 AM block free for all users (no charges for downloads) then they should at least give the minimum promised 256 Kbps speed!!! 24 kbps is just #$%@#$% #%$@@.

Written by hiway

March 5, 2007 at 3:55 am

Posted in BSNL, computers, Internet

Panther going to the vet…

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That’s jungle code for “my machine is going to be upgraded now.”

Hopefully, I have all the backups in a good shape. I’ve just made sure – but with machines, you never can be really sure. Have the AMD64 version of FreeBSD ready to leave its mark on my system. I’m loving PCBSD, but it is 32bit only, my machine sports a AMD Turion 64 processor – better use the power!

Will try to set things up as they are (or at least very close to as) inΒ  PCBSD 3.3. If I’m able to do that in the next few hours/days/weeks/months/who knows when, I’ll be a happier man! No, I’m not planning on PBI support, I like ports tree more – and I just realized, The FreeBSD Foundation has Java binaries available for most of our systems… great! Because I hate compiling java by hand (those who have tried it, know what I mean πŸ˜‰

Here’s the link.

I’ll be gone, not for long – cause I do have 3 other machines (actually, with friend’s machines lying here… those can be 5 spare machines) to come online if I mess this up! So no worries mates! I’ll just be busy, living on pure caffeine and rock music for the next few hours/days/… whatever πŸ™‚

Written by hiway

March 4, 2007 at 4:55 am

Mounting samba share with write permissions for regular users

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I have tried looking for this information on the Internet but have successfully managed to make myself look dumb. I found nothing for three consecutive days (nights, actually – mostly I sleep in the day, work at night!) I proudly say this – “I may not know everything, but I know where to find it.” But these three days left me increasingly frustrated at the inability to solve a simple problem. Recent trends are showing that I am finding less and less relevant information in my searches. I’m afraid… am I losing the search-fu skillz?

So anyway, rants aside – this is what I was facing:

I have set up samba on my computer named Jaguar, it runs PCBSD 3.3, I wish to access the samba share from Panther, which also runs PCBSD 3.3. I can simply point Konqueror to “smb://” (the IP address belongs to Jaguar) and I am able to read and write to the share.

Trouble begins when I try to mount the share using mount_smbfs command. I have configured the share to be public, writable and also allowed guests – also, security is on share basis – so no passwords are required. I add the “-N” switch to my mount_smbfs command to disable password prompt.

mount_smbfs -N -I //guest@ /home/harshad/shared

It mounts the samba share, I am able to read the files… but I cannot write to them. And trying to solve this problem took a good amount of time. I know – it should be simple. And trust me – it is simple. You only have to know how to use two simple switches – “-g” and “-u”.

They tell mount what should be the group id and user id for the mounted filesystem. So, go ahead, look up your user id (uid) from /etc/passwd and group id (gid)for whichever group you wish to allow write access to and substitute in the following command:

mount_smbfs -N -u 1002 -g 10 -I //guest@ /home/harshad/shared

That sure fixed my problem – and I hope it can help you too.

Thanks to: ##FreeBSD channel on (IRC)

Written by hiway

March 2, 2007 at 5:24 am

Beagle on PCBSD / FreeBSD – IT WORKS!!!

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Continuing on my rant a few hours ago… days, hours, they seem all the same when I’m toying with computers… anyway…

So I tried installing Beagle, the fantastic desktop search comparable to Google Desktop and Spotlight from Mac, and I failed miserably. Apparently, Beagle uses a few linux-specific tricks, which are not available on FreeBSD.

Somehow, I failed to notice the work done by BSD# team. My bad. Really, because they have a port ready for FreeBSD since last few months (that’s what the CVS repository seems to be saying) and it compiled and installed painlessly as far as my experience goes. I’m only very slightly annoyed that it downloaded and installed evolution, a rather large application – that I never use. Dependencies… well, sometimes I thank the FreeBSD guys that the ports system does the work of driving me up the wall – at least like RPM, it doesn’t coax into driving yourself up the wall. Bad pun I guess, nevermind – thoughts start getting dizzy and confusing when you are at the desk for more than 14 hours.

Ok, back to the rant. So I installed Beagle, and right now, as I type, the beagle daemon is indexing my files. Sweet!

Only one small issue: it is not easy to get the files – Beagle is not included in the standard FreeBSD ports tree, and there seems to be no simple way of getting the required files and start compiling. After hunting around the website, you find the CVS repository… from that point you either have to know CVS, or have to browse the repository and save each file to your disk, in the proper directory hierarchy and then copy the directory named “beagle” into “/usr/ports/deskutils/” and then run “make install”.

I’m hoping it is included in the standard ports tree soon because Beagle seems like a very sensible and useful tool.

Cheers to people working on Beagle, BSD#, PCBSD and FreeBSD! Long live Open Source!

Written by hiway

February 28, 2007 at 3:26 am

Open Source Photography Workflow Management Software

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A few days ago, I stumbled upon a nice application. From the website it looks nice and might soon contain every feature that I want – I haven’t been successful in making it run on my system (yet).

First of all, it is a Java application… and FreeBSD/PCBSD isnt exactly Java paradise. Yes the support is improving fast, and I’m happy about it πŸ™‚ So, after downloading the “jar” file, I tried double clicking in Konqueror file explorer – which promptly opened the archive and showed me the files inside. Hmm… not exactly what I wanted to do.

So I fired up Konsole and issued the command

jar blueMarine-0.8.6-setup-linux.jar

For which is gave a rather confusing reply:

Exception in thread “main” java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError: blueMarine-0/8/6-setup-linux/jar

Yes folks, I am an outsider to the Java world. I usually am clueless about how things work here. So I searched on the Internet and found nothing that said somebody had the exact same problem and how they solved it. So, I realized that I was probably on my own for generalizing the problem, finding out a generic solution and then applying it here. So after searching a bit, I found out that Java was unable to find the “classpath” for the given jar file and it makes no assumptions that the classes might just be in the same jar file… and so we have to tell it exclusively – it’s in the same file dangit!… well, for a computer to understand that, the command is:

java -jar blueMarine-0.8.6-setup-linux.jar

Finally, (wait, its not really finally) it worked! The interface loaded and complained that I have Java 1.5.0 while it needs 1.5.0_05! So until I make up the mind to try and upgrade Java (which isn’t a lovely process on this Operating System) I’m going to do something else (which includes having a cup of tea or sleeping). I need to make my mind up soon! πŸ˜€

*sigh* sometimes, I really dislike softwares. Whoever said that computers make life easy, hasn’t really ever used one.

Oh, and if you are curious, here’s the link to blueMarine:

Written by hiway

February 26, 2007 at 4:43 pm