Written by  on December 21, 2015

I was using this tool already in 2005(!) and recently re-discovered it when I set up again a multi-monitor multi-system desktop at home. Synergy allows to share keyboard and mouse between different systems by defining virtual expansions at the edges of the ‘server’. Layout is configurable. It is even possible to share the input between different operating systems!

Use the nightly build-download-archive, because for the stable release they charge at least 10$ (since 2014 ).

  1. install at both systems
  2. define one as server
  3. enter the server-IP at the client
  4. configure a expansion-setup for the screens, done!

edit 20190319: url for the repo not working anymore, use (v1.8.8) instead. Worked on OSX <--> Win10.

360° panorama: quick and easy

Written by  on December 14, 2015

The ‘magic’ behind 360° panoramas is nothing new. I remember stitching together manually the pictures from the Canon Ixus 800, later switching to AutoStitch and other solutions. But after I used Google Kamera as replacement for the pre-installed camera-app on the smartphone and also acquired a cheap 10€-cardboard I had a jaw-dropping moment of enlightment: wow! This is amazing. And to whomever I showed this (techies, friends, parents, ..) they were also impressed. A freely explorable panorama with head-mounted gear is soo much much descriptive of the scene than the regular 2D-photos. Yes, I still stick to analogue photography, but If you want to show somehow how the sights looked and how the surrrounding environment looked like, then stick to a panorama. Creating them is quite is, but this is a different story.

Too cut it short: I was always looking for a way to present those views also to people far away. Which don’t have a smartphone. Jeremy Heleine created with his Photo Sphere Viewer a truly amazing in browser-javascript-library. I just added some of my own examples (in a pretty bad boilerplate-way *cough*). But this is still great! I love it.

Want to visit Brüssel, Leipzig, Kiel, Wismar or Göteborg?


Install an operating system-rage

Written by  on December 14, 2015

I hesitated for a longer time to add rant-posts to this blog. Reason is: most of the time not the criticized fact is noted by the reader but the fact that someone complains.

From time to time you encounter some flaws or bugs or “design-choices” whre you start to think: this can’t be an accident. Or there are reasons I don’t understand. But this is nothing which could not be fixed.

Therefore todays rant: create/recover a working and sound operating system. I just refer to the major three ones: Windows, OSX and GNU/Linux.

  • OSX: Boot, press CMD+R, select recover and add you favorite Wifi and wait: no problem. But since its a really enclosed environment in terms of hard- and software I did not expect something cumbersome/special. Since it is not wanted that you can change something inbetween, the needed user-interaction is quite limited. Works, ok.
  • Linux: I always have a USB-stick with one of the latest Linux Minut (former times Ubuntu, DSL, Kubuntu or just some other distro) in my pocket. Reasons: I don’t trust foreign computers for sensible data (plug it in and use a live-system) AND safety (main system fails to boot? Oh, you still have some backup solution :D). So this is inserted, then select for booting this stick either via UEFI or BIOS. Boot, select in GRUB the real version, “Install Linux”, maybe addd Wifi/ethernet before, add additional user-data, maybe change partition so that your old home-partition is mounted correctly, reboot, unplug the stick, run maybe “sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade” ONCE and be happy. Although this text is quite big this takes roundabout 60 to 90 minutes! Et voila: working system with all your previous data. Almost all devices have correct drivers and are usable. Continue with your work …
  • Windows: buy a Win7 Ultimate-key (2 min), burn a 3 GiByte-image for the corresponding version on DVD, insert and reboot. Select to install, add all the needed credentials. 1 hour later it looks like you can reboot. Oh, 800×600 display resolution, no fucking device is recognized, therefore neither ethernet nor Wifi are usable to get additional drivers and updates, I can use the mouse and that is all. No usable tools for image viewing and editing, nothing. A bare system. Is this a joke? Microsoft, come on … when this happended to me in former times for older versions of Windows I thought this is how it should be. But why don’t you force the manufacturers to create small driver-libraries for their stuff so that at least basic, minimal support for all the hardware is given? Why is this possible for FOSS-projects but not for you with your big market-reach?!?
    Back to topic: so I downloaded and installed the basic drivers and then armaggeddon happend: 179 important and 49 optional updates are offered. OK? why not, better safe than sorry. ONE fucking DAY later the whole cycle of installing, rebooting and re-doing the search for newer updates was still not finished. And I started with SP1, not the original Win 7-release. This is 2015, hello!

Ok, to cut it short: having to install Windows is still the worst what can happen. Sometimes it is needed, because some Wine and virtual machines are not covering everything.


Written by  on December 12, 2015

After a longer discussion we came to the following conclusion. In the end it breaks down to only four reasons why someone writes software:
0. you get paid for it: simple as that
1. you need a tool or the existing stuff doesn’t exactly do what you need for your solution
2. you want to learn something
3. you want to impress someone
Wait, what? Impress someone?
Let me tell you something: sometimes you try to solve an issue just because you want to prove for yourself or others that you are able to do so. You don’t get paid, it is not your problem, you also won’t learn anything besides the practising effect, but you want to earn some reputation. Or solidify your credibility. Because you see it as a challenge. Like the early explorers of the world!