Friday, July 18

I got some new hardware for the Eee!

Nothing I really need - the Eee do pretty much everything i want out of the box, except brewing coffe - but a couple of nice to haves.

First, I've invested in a spare, larger battery - a 6600 mAh one to suppliment the 5200 mAh battery that came with my Eee. Although i suspect the battery to be mislabeled and actually be 7800 mAh, because i got two days of casual use out of it on the first full charge... and later useage seems to conform my theory. Which makes it even funnier that the command cat /proc/acpi/battery/BAT0/info tells me that the battery says it is 4400 mAh, and as such should last significantly shorter than the original. Smile, nod, move on...

Secondly, I found a Maxtor Basic™ 160 Gb external hard drive for a price that couldn't be beat. Just plugged it in and saw the big, empty vistas ahead of me... I've put a few movies on it, along with the full run of a couple of television series. There are still a huge open space there.
Now, as I said, neither of these 'upgrades' are needed as such, and both reduces the portability of the basic Eee. But since my job requires me to do one or two (or, in summer when everyone else has vacation, five) 24 hours dutyshifts a month, they will make those more bearable... just plug in the big battery, plug in the HDD, copy a movie or two to the SD-card, unplug the HDD and lean back to enjoy the show.

Off course, with all this gear my pockets would be bulging, so I started a search for a suitable bag or carrier to carry it in. I might even have found it, and in an unlikely place: The Norwegian Armed Forces Museum's shop in Oslo. It's an old respirator carrier, with pockets that will hold the external hard drive, the cable for the same, my mouse and a couple of USB sticks. In the main room the Eee fits (in it's sleeve) along with my charger, a spare battery and a notepad. And when I go on vacation I'll have room in there for a change of socks too *grin*.

Tuesday, July 8

I'm plotting... stars!

Part of the reason why I bought the Eee in the first place was my attempts at literature. And as part of that, I 'need' a star map. Much like a fish needs a bike, but...

Now, the Eee comes with the universe preinstalled, in the shape of KStars - an interactive, accurate graphical simulation of the night sky from anywhere on Earth. And that was, in fact, the trouble. I needed to get off the planet.

Now, a little bit of digging at Atomic Rockets - a most excellent resource for anyone interested in hard science fiction - revealed StarPlot. Not only lightweight, but also in the repositories I have pinned. Success!

Or, so I thought.

Turns out, StarPlot only comes with a few test stars in it's internal database. So off I go again, finding in the repositories the Gliese dataset. More stars than you can shake a very big stick at. A very big stick indeed. Download goes smooth, and we have success!

Uhm. No.

Turns out the Gliese dataset is not in the 'proper' format for StarPlot to read. However, I wasn't very deep into the documentation when I found what needed: the stardata-common package provides hooks to automagicaly convert stardata on your system to a StarPlot dataset. And yes, stardata-common was also in my pinned repositories.

So, download. Watch the percentage scroll. Open StarPlot, point the program towards the right dataset... Success!

So, to summarize:

sudo apt-get install starplot

sudo apt-get install gliese

sudo apt-get install stardata-common

sudo apt-get clean
Result: I can see the relationship between stars in three dimensions, from any point in space.