Between Linux and Anime

Kind of like Schrodinger's Cat

Zypper/Yast Software Management Freezing ~ Fixing

So there are a good number of threads for zypper/yast hanging up in the middle of various actions, but none were relevant to my particular problem, so throwing this out into the googlespace for the next person who might end up facing my problem.

The Symptoms: Yast Software Manager and Zypper would randomly freeze and stay frozen apparently indefinitely – at least for hours. The freeze occurs seemingly randomly in the midst of any action that may require downloading – including refreshing repositories and actually downloading packages/updates.

What is happening: Staring at zypper output on -vv I began noticing that it always hangs up when trying to download something from download.opensuse.org. It doesn’t do so consistently: most of the time the download happens, but sometimes it doesn’t and it freezes forever – but always when attempting to download from download.opensuse.org. With some research I found out that download.opensuse.org isn’t actually a centralized download repository but uses something called mirrorbrain that transparently redirects you to a chosen download mirror. So it would appear that one of those mirrors were having trouble with me – perhaps my IP is somehow blacklisted by that server. What’s confounding is that it doesn’t seem to be able to flag an error or at least timeout so I can be served another mirror or simply retry – it just goes on staying stuck forever.

Solution: With the hypothesis that one of the mirrors is somehow rejecting me in this inexplicable way, a direct solution would be to simply find a mirror that is happy with me, and force zypper/yast to use it. For core OpenSUSE packages (distribution and update), a list of mirros is available here. For the repositories at http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/ though, I couldn’t find a mirror list. Instead, I discovered that when you open the listing of packages on a browser, for eg here, you can click on ‘details’ next to any package and that shows a list of mirrors you can get the package from.

So armed with this knowledge, I simply went through all my enabled repositories, looked for all repositories that have download.opensuse.org as source, and replaced the url with that of a specific mirror. After that zypper and yast operated without problems.

Of course, this is a non-optimal set up, so after a while you might consider switching back to download.opensuse.org and see if the problem has gone away.

Or not.

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Forest of Pillars


Titans. Sentinels.
Colossal monuments of ancient stone.
Seemingly numberless, vanishing
into the mist
Like a silent army poised
in a valley vaster than vastness
far as the beholder beholds

Young humanity, ever marching
with science and steel in ceaseless conquest
placed them at our feet
than those unspeakable enormities of cliff and shrub
we stand higher, on our pedestal of power
We look out upon them as above clouds

Yet even up here
lifted in the fancy
of humanity’s seeming victory
The mere man
surveying the conquered landscape
cannot but tremble
at the expanding, shattering image; stumble
smothered in the blanketing embrace
of ageless, inexorable nature
In the dizzying consciousness that the very stone
hard and strong beneath his weak feet
is but the speck of the hubris of Man
hewn in tiny steps and paths
upon the awful shoulder of an unfeeling giant
for which the dawn and rise of our age
is but a wink in a long and ancient dream

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Fixing Chromium/Chrome Ignoring Touch Input on Linux

Recent versions of Chromium (and, presumably, Google Chrome) appear to be capable of differentiating between input from a touch screen, and input from a mouse. The problem is, on Linux, you’ll often find the capability a counter-productive one, since chromium sometimes outright IGNORES all touch input, rendering chromium utterly inoperable with a touchscreen. Mouse and touchpad operates chromium okay? Touchscreen operates other applications okay but you can’t so much as click a link on Chromium? You’re probably experiencing what I’m talking about.

There’s a report here, but it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere at the moment. Apparently Ubuntu carries a patch that tries to fix this, and I’m not sure how well it works, but at least on OpenSUSE we appear to be on our own. Fortunately, it’s possible to workaround, based on a suggestion in the comments.

First, on the terminal, type

xinput list

You should get a listing that looks like

⎡ Virtual core pointer                          id=2    [master pointer  (3)]
⎜   ↳ Virtual core XTEST pointer                id=4    [slave  pointer  (2)]
⎜   ↳ Atmel Atmel maXTouch Digitizer            id=10   [slave  pointer  (2)]
⎜   ↳ SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad                id=13   [slave  pointer  (2)]
⎣ Virtual core keyboard                         id=3    [master keyboard (2)]
    ↳ Virtual core XTEST keyboard               id=5    [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ Power Button                              id=6    [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ Video Bus                                 id=7    [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ Power Button                              id=8    [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ Lenovo EasyCamera                         id=9    [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ Ideapad extra buttons                     id=11   [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ AT Translated Set 2 keyboard              id=12   [slave  keyboard (3)]

You need to look for the name of your touch screen hardware. In the above case, that is “Atmel Atmel maXTouch Digitizer”. Note the id number for the hardware on the right, 10 in the above case.

What you need to do is pass this id as a parameter to Chromium/Chrome. Like so:

chromium --touch-devices=10

Replace 10 of course with the id of your device. Launched this way, touch input should actually work reasonably on Chromium. In particular – you can switch tabs with touch, touch links to visit them, and even touch-scroll.

Of course, it’s a little tedious to do this every time you want to start Chromium. Fortunately, it’s not hard to put it all in a script. Like so:

#!/bin/bash
SCREEN=`xinput list | awk '/maXTouch/ { gsub(".*id=",""); print $1 }'`
exec chromium --touch-devices=$SCREEN

Of course, you’ll need to change ‘maXTouch’ above to a suitable identifier for your particular device, but running the script should start Chromium in touch-usable state. If you want, you can even modify your application menu entry to call this script instead of the Chromium binary directly.

UPDATE

It seems the above doesn’t quite work anymore on recent versions of Chromium. On my own box I’ve found that I now need to use the id of the parent item – ie “Virtual Core Pointer”, id=2 in the listing above. The rest of the procedure is basically the same, and if you use the script above you’ll need to make a minor adjustment to look for Virtual Core Pointer instead.

If you find, like I did for my box, that the id for Virtual Core Pointer stays the same all the time, instead of making a script you could just add the command line flag to the Chromium default settings config file. On OpenSUSE 13.2 this is at /etc/default/chromium, though I hear it can also be at /etc/chromium/default on some platforms. Simply add the following to the file:

CHROMIUM_FLAGS="--touch-devices=2"

This is cleaner and would probably also live across version updates :)

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I’m alive! Hana no Android Gakuen Summer Specials 3 and 4 English Translated!

The title sums most of it up. I’m not dead. The blog got pretty close to being dead, but isn’t quite yet. This translation endeavor, also, is still alive. And thanks in part to the little kick delivered by this fine fellow’s comment, we have a release!

Summer Specials 3 and 4 are the last strips in the long string of specials that go in between “Episode 12 (see it here)” and “Episode 13 (see it here)” of the original 4-koma-style strips. I’d recommend taking a look at “Episode 13” again after reading these two chapters since there is a little bit of continuity between the story at the end of Summer Special 4 and Episode 13.

As again, a reminder here that these strips weren’t released freely online, so if you like Hana no Android Gakuen I encourage you to support the authors by buying a volume (paper book and e-book). These are of course in Japanese, and no official English translations exist to the best of my knowledge. As long as this persists I will for my part commit to eventually translating everything in the first volume release – unless a much faster-working translation group picks it up or I get shut down by the creators for releasing non-free strips.)

Look for previously released translations in the category archives.

Hit the jump for the released strips. Like all Japanese manga, this should be read right to left, top to bottom.

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Snowfall


Snowfall
spiralling, swirling dance
The warm, smearing cloud
of my breath against
the burning frost in the air
The yellow lamplight
dotting the snow-clad wind
whisper of distance, beyondness, flickering
like shadows in my crusted soul
but with quiet, graceful tempo
Amidst the smell of fragant cold
the sweet, stinging taste
of yuzu


Strung with thorns, this path we plow
Far as the eye can gaze upon
Lo what comfort, what joy to know
The road goes ever on and on

Onward

-Photos by JX

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Anisong: Sora wa Takaku, Kaze wa Utau

Not an update worth writing home about, but an update nonetheless, with what little significance it brings. I guess this is a giving of voice, however small, to a defiance of sorts – a flail and a flinch that says I’m not quite ready nor willing to throw the towel and let the blog die just yet, notwithstanding the curveballs life has been throwing me of late. The great difficulty with the issue of blogging, at least for me, is that blogging – or more specifically writing – is for me immensely beneficial and stimulating, but also demanding of a synchrony of time, place and mood – mental room and solitude – that is getting harder and harder to achieve nowadays. One is tempted more and more to say “this isn’t working out, I’m busy, there is much to do. Better to put it down with finality than to have it forever hanging on my conscience – always desired but rarely reached”. At least for the near future, the plan is still to hold out somehow until the next time I am able to find the right spirit, topic, time and place to write a good blog.

… There’s still more android manga to translate too.

Anyway, back on topic. I had the pleasure of looking up the lyrics of this song recently – the second ED of that great series Fate/Zero. It was wonderful. Suffocatingly beautiful. Almost poetic. And as usual, not being satisfied with available translations that I’ve found, here is my own. Reflect on Kiritsugu and Irisviel as you listen – their romance and ideals. And then in the backdrop, the ideals, the passions, the efforts of the many other participants of the Fate/Zero stage – how they burned bright and intense, to eventually fizzle and fade, but not without first adding heretofore absent illumination to the Fate/Zero whole.

Merry Christmas from Between Linux and Anime. May the dream never cease to light our horizons, and may our weary steps thereto never falter for long.

Hit F8 to listen to it while it’s up (or play it from the player at the sidebar). Hit the jump for some pictures, Romaji lyrics, and translations.

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Hana no Android Gakuen: Summer Special 2 English Translated

Originally announced (aeons ago) here. Not much to say but enjoy!

(Reminder here that this strip wasn’t released freely online, so if you like Hana no Android Gakuen I encourage you to support the authors by buying a volume (paper book and e-book). These are of course in Japanese, and no official English translations exist to the best of my knowledge. As long as this persists I will for my part commit to eventually translating everything in the first volume release – unless a much faster-working translation group picks it up or I get shut down by the creators for releasing non-free strips.)

Look for previously released translations in the category archives.

Hit the jump for the released strips. Like all Japanese manga, this should be read right to left, top to bottom.

Read More

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Give Under the Dog some Love

I seem to be doing this a lot lately, but I’ll make it quick this time :) Juuuust in case you haven’t actually seen them, a bunch of veteran dudes are trying to fund a high quality anime episode – in its entirety – via Kickstarter. That’s basically it: fully crowd funded anime, where creator retains artistic rights and freedom and is answerable only to the audience.

There’s only three days left to the campaign at this writing, so here are some quick pointers to what I consider the important bits:

Step 1: Watch the trailer

Step 2: Read the last paragraphs of the Kickstarter page. Just look for “In closing, we will say again and again” and read from there.

Step 3: Read Hideo Kojima’s endorsement of the endeavor.

Step 4: Read some of the responses in their AMA.

Step 5: If any of that spoke to you, throw some money at them. (ASAP! Campaign ends in three days as of this writing)

Pace of funding has been accelerating, with about 70k being pledged in the last 24 hours, so it’s actually looking like they may yet make it to the goal. Which is kind of crazy. It’s a tired rhetoric in this blog by now perhaps, but a success here will be quite unprecedented, and perhaps be part of the catalyst for an inevitable change in workings of the anime industry. We want anime to become more transparent, more accessible, more sensitive to the fans (globally!) and less to investor whims, so that’s where our money should go. Into the projects and ideas that are nudging the industry in a direction we like.

So how about it? Do consider giving them some love (ASAP!).

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The King of Knights – A Brief Review of Fate/Zero

I finished Fate/Zero some time ago and enjoyed it immensely. It was a very dense show with a lot of rich, inter-weaving ideas – so much so that a detailed treatment is probably an impossibility for a single post. But I still want to write a little on it, in part also to hopefully build some momentum for tackling more difficult post topics later on. So I’m going to focus this post on Saber – a single thread in Fate/Zero’s yarn, but one that is I think quite wonderful and radiant. Hopefully I’ll also be able to pivot on that to say some general things about Fate/Zero itself – the kind of show it is like.

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Hana no Android Gakuen: Summer Special 1 English Translated

Here we go! Summer Special 1 (originally announced here). Translating this chapter took more effort than expected because of the bizarre references, so I ended up releasing just one instead of two chapters as I had hoped to. Not too much more to say this time, so I’ll keep it short for once :)

(Reminder here that this strip wasn’t released freely online, so if you like Hana no Android Gakuen I encourage you to support the authors by buying a volume (paper book and e-book). These are of course in Japanese, and no official English translations exist to the best of my knowledge. As long as this persists I will for my part commit to eventually translating everything in the first volume release – unless a much faster-working translation group picks it up or I get shut down by the creators for releasing non-free strips.)

Look for previously released translations in the category archives.

Hit the jump for the released strips. Like all Japanese manga, this should be read right to left, top to bottom.

Read More

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