Posted by: vwbusguy | May 31, 2010

Running Davar in Fedora 13

For the most part, the good bible study software is made for other OS’s.  There is the glimmering exception of Xiphos, which runs natively in Linux and since it uses the Sword modules from Crosswire is pretty decent for studies in English.  However, while it may have the unpointed Leningrad Codex and Westcott-Hort Greek, its biblical language tools are very weak.

There is a free-as-in-beer tool however that includes the pointed Masoretic text, including the Brown-Driver-Briggs lexicon, as well as books for Greek studies, and other texts such as the apocrypha and pseudopigrapha.  This great resource is Davar.  The problem is that #1 It only runs in Windows, and #2 It’s closed sourced.  This means that in it’s current state, due to the decision of the developer, there is little to no hope for getting this ported to Linux, nor making it compatible with Crosswire’s modules.  The sadness!

There is hope to getting it to run in Linux with wine, though.  Here’s how to do it:

1.  Install wine on your system:  yum install wine

2.  Download the installer from the Davar site.  Save the .exe file.

3.  Open a terminal and cd to the directory where you saved the file (DO NOT LOG IN AS ROOT!)

4.  Run the installer:  wine32 ./davar2_setup.exe

***  At this point Davar will be installed but the fonts will likely be all messed up or in a foreign language.  Let’s fix that.

5.  Copy the Davar fonts:  cp ~/.wine/drive_c/Davar3/fonts/* ~/.wine/drive_c/windows/fonts

***  Now we need the base windows fonts.  Let’s get them!  (Alternatively for 6 and 7 see Comment #1)

6.  Download exe’s for the Core Fonts here under Fonts> Final

7.  Install them into wine one at a time, example: wine32 ./andale32.exe /Q

(The /Q will skip the click prompt and just install the font)

***  One last step.

8.  Click the the Davar3.desktop icon on your desktop and allow access.  The icon will change to the Davar icon.  You’re good to launch it!  (Just delete the .lnk)

All the updates and add-ons can be installed just as described on the website for adding books, audio, etc.  Just drop them into their respective folders in ~/.wine/drive_c/Davar3 and restart Davar.

Perhaps the Davar developers may see the value in open sourcing this useful tool so it can become even more useful, running natively on other OSs and perhaps getting more module support, thus extending it’s use.  If you feel the same way, why not send them an email?

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Posted by: vwbusguy | February 21, 2010

SCaLE Day 2: Fun at the Fedora and Red Hat booths

Today was more of a traditional conference day for events.  I helped with the Fedora booth, and later on in the afternoon, helped with the Red Hat booth.  I also got a chance to visit other booths today, and especially HP, Qimo, splunk>, and OLPC.

The Fedora booth saw quit a bit of traffic that was consistent through most of the day with quite a various demographic of use cases and interests.

Afterward, some of us went to 3rd Street promenade in Santa Monica:

Posted by: vwbusguy | February 20, 2010

SCaLE 2010 – Day 1: Fedora Activity Day

Today was Fedora Activity Day here at SCaLE.  Today, we focused on getting documentation together for Fedora’s involvement in Google’s Summer of Code, and also answered general Fedora questions from visitors.  We were also able to get the booth setup for the next two days here.

Afterward, we all went to El Cholo in Santa Monica for some quality Mexican food.

And Clint paid homage to Ubuntu with his van:

Posted by: vwbusguy | February 19, 2010

SCaLE 2010 – the penguin heads south for the winter.

This is the first of a series of blog posts. I will be updating this through the event.

Most of our Fedora group arrived last night, and we enjoyed some casual conversation in the hotel lobby with other linux fans.

While none of the activities have started yet, groups are arriving. Today is FAD, and we’ll also be setting up the Fedora booth. I will report back later on with an update on FAD, and maybe some pictures to go with.

Posted by: vwbusguy | February 13, 2010

cputemp gets an update!

I had posted a while back about a tool I had written to monitor the CPU temp in command line through ACPI.  I later added logging and more hardware support, and then, I didn’t do much with it for almost a year.

After some renewed interest followed by several suggested features, I have a new release!  The new version has command line arguments, includes an average temperature, can be run for a specified time, and can just return an average temperature over a few seconds, making this tool more and more useful.

In addition, I added comments to the code, did a little house cleaning, and worked on the temperature reporting to make it more robust for systems storing ACPI data in /sys.

I also packaged this as an RPM.  While the RPM was created on Fedora 12, it is pretty universal.  All it requires is python 2.X and ACPI.  I also have a quick install script for non-RPM systems (or for, whatever).  And, like previous releases, licensed under GPL, so share it with your friends.

Enjoy!

Posted by: vwbusguy | February 3, 2010

Android Review: My First Open Source Phone

I was a Blackberry user.  I had already been sold on smartphones, and was one of those BlackBerry users who scoffed when the iPhone came out as something expensive and shiny that could only do a fraction of what my Blackberry could, and yet was tied to an expensive plan on a single carrier.

I was aware of Android and had been running it for a while in a virtual machine hoping it would develop as a mature netbook OS.  I saw the G1 come out on T-Mobile and subsequent HTC offerings on Sprint as well.  And then came Droid.

By the time my two years had ended and my phone came up for upgrade, the new Blackberries were just not as impressive.  The Blackberry Storm had terrible reviews from friends, and was equally unimpressive when I tried it at the store.  After two years of use, I found the ball of my Blackberry was very finicky over time.

In the same I used my Blackberry for so much.  It was my mp3 player, my email client, my camera, and my alarm clock.  I had recently started to use Google Voice, which also integrated well on Blackberry.  I got an iPod Touch, but while the touch screen worked, and an mp3 player, I was very irked by how locked down it was, and how it seemed to have comparatively less features than the Blackberry, even my two-year old one.

Enter the Motorola Droid.  I got my Droid about a month ago and so far has been the answer to my post-Blackberry experience.  For the most part, it has been far more stable than my Blackberry and iPod Touch have been.  It again fills my need for an mp3 player, a camera, an alarm clock, an email client, a calender, and in addition, a pocket video gaming platform.

From a nerds perspective, I can get ssh and a terminal directly from the App store without having to jailbreak or root my Droid.  The control over the device is amazing.  For the linux user part, I like that it does not rely on a software platform to integrate it with my laptop.  I just put all my music in a folder on the sD card (simply by plugging in the USB cable that came with the Droid into my computer) and Android automatically organizes the library.   The same for pictures and video.  No need for iTunes to do this.  To be fair, this is exactly what my Blackberry did as well.  Droid comes with the Amazon.com downloader so you can purchase mp3’s directly to your Droid and copy your music over to your PC’s library no problem.

The battery life is mediocre.  Better than my wife’s iPhone but not nearly as good as my Blackberry was even after two years.  Blackberry definitely wins in that area.

If you are a Google user, the Droid integrates with all your Google account stuff, so anything on your Google calender and your Google Contacts can be sync’d.  It’s not just Google, it can do this with Outlook and Facebook as well!  The Google Voice app integrates even better than with the Blackberry.  Whenever you make a call you can be prompted to call through Google Voice or through your regular number.  The same goes for SMS.

Similar to the Apple experience, and an area Blackberry has been trying to do, there is a common software repository called the Android Market which is full of free and paid apps.  I have generally found that while there are more Apple apps, the Android apps are more useful, such as getting ssh or a good IRC client for free.  The gaming experience is pretty decent too, if you don’t mind the hit on your battery life, but there’s apps for that too.

Other cool apps are an Ebay app that can scan the barcode from any label and search for that item on Ebay.  Another one is Google Goggles from which the user can take a picture of something (a brand name, or a painting) and the app will come back with a Google search for it.

The Google Streetview integrated navigation system is a very nice thing to have if you happen to live in Los Angeles or any other major city, and so far has worked pretty well.

My recommendation is that if you can afford the required data package add-on, to go ahead and get the Motorola Droid.  The learning curve for it is not very steep, and it is loaded with functionality.  It is also one of the most stable mobile platforms available right now.

Posted by: vwbusguy | December 12, 2009

Capital Punishment in America

My final Ethics paper on capital punishment.  As usual, Creative Commons, so feel free to share, modify, and use it under CC-BY-SA.

Capital Punishment in America– pdf

Posted by: vwbusguy | November 5, 2009

Quick Review: Mandriva 2010 – Impressive

Today, I gave Mandriva 2010 a spin.  You can grab the install media or live media free from their website.  The live versions offer GNOME or KDE  Since I’ve been a steady GNOME user, I decided to review their GNOME live media.

Mandriva 2010 has a lot going for it under the hood with an impressive list of current features.  Perhaps even more impressive is they have accomplished a professional looking distribution that is also very simple and easy to use.  The default look has a very attractive glassy look and feel to it.

Mandriva-Network

The network interface is very simple, and allows one to easily configure advanced options.  Since I am running this in Virtual Box, I didn’t get a chance to play with their wireless setup, but their ethernet setup is very simple.

Mandriva - Control Center

Many of the administrative tasks can be handled through their Control Panel, which is much easier to navigate and much simpler than SuSE’s Control Panel.  The software management is also simple and easy to use.  Here the user can do things like set up compiz 3d effects and manage hardware.

Mandriva - Hardware

The Hardware section shows a list of detected hardware, from which the user can easily see information about the hardware, tweak driver options, or configure things like video settings.

Mandriva - Codecs

Mandriva also include Codeine as a way to manage third party multimedia codecs as a service offered through Fluendo.

Altogether Mandriva seems to have a good interface and a lot going for it beneath the surface.  Perhaps the only annoying part about it is it has a very commercial feel and comes with links on the desktop offering Mandriva products.

I realize that there are many aspects of Mandriva I did not cover in this review (such as the installer) which are important.  But at a quick glance, there is much to like.

Posted by: vwbusguy | October 29, 2009

My trouble with Just War Theory and Pacifism

 

I need some input on this one.  I’m wrestling with a Christian worldview on warfare.  There have been two dominant historical positions on Christianity and war (though not all Christians abide by either):

Just War Theory:  Founded by Augustine, sets rules for when it is right to go to war (such as mass genocide), how one should enter a war (public announcement through proper authority), and how a war is to be fought (such as not targeting civilians or torturing)

Pacifism: Avoiding war entirely and seeking peaceful, nonviolent solutions (as championed by Martin Luther King).

(There is an extension to both called Just Peacemaking)

 

While the above views both ideally seek to make peace and not war, and deal with the question of what exceptions, if any, there are to war and how one should act during war-time, it is hard to find contiguous biblical backing for either.

Pacifists often point to Jesus’ Sermon on the mount, where Jesus says: Blessed are the Peacemakers (Matt. 5:9) and When stricken, turn the other cheek (Matt 5:39) as examples of Jesus emphasizing peace and indeed, much of the lifestyle shown in the Sermon of the Mount is one that deflates unjust situations and dramatically ends conflict.

But does this mean that where Christians are practicing that we should then find peace?  Not necessarily.  In fact, in many cases we find the opposite effect.  Consider that in the same book, a few chapters later in Matthew 10, Jesus is warning the Disciples about the reaction the world will have to them, that they will be hated and persecuted (Blessed are the ones persecuted for righteousness Matt 5:10).  The climax of chapter 10 is where Jesus says: “I have not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matt 10:34)

What does this mean?  When we are stricken, turn the other cheek, walk an extra mile, give them the shirt off our back, but this is not for peace, but for conflict?  John Wesley comments on this:

“Whosoever shall deny me before men – To which ye will be strongly tempted. For Think not that I am come – That is, think not that universal peace will be the immediate consequence of my coming. Just the contrary. Both public and private divisions will follow, wheresoever my Gospel comes with power. Ye – this is not the design, though it be the event of his coming, through the opposition of devils and men.”

Therefore by being faithful followers, instead of creating peace, it often creates discord.  Should the Christian have to choose between making peace or being faithful to Jesus?  Certainly there have been times where these have been in conflict, and surely it is also inevitable that the polarizing nature of the Gospel, “Brother against brother” (Matt 10:21) will in many cases have the effect of creating relational and even political conflict inside and between nations.

 

For Just War Theory, the problem seems to be more rooted in the Old Testament.  While we have many examples of such things in many books, nothing in the Old Testament is as damaging to the Just War Theory as the book of Joshua, where after crossing the Jordan, God commands Israel to wipe out the nations of Canaan, and in a brutal way:  Leave no man, woman, child, pet.  How they decided to go to war, how they began war, and how they carried it out were all violations of the Just War Theory.  Now it is our duty to reconcile that God was with Israel in Joshua and yet is the same God as represented by Jesus.

Perhaps the answer is to step back and ponder God’s sovereignty.  God has a right to judgement and perhaps there is much about Canaan we do not know, such that God was using Israel as a means of judgement.  It is also difficult to understand to what extent God intervenes or doesn’t when considering when and what nations go to war.  But we are not called to judgement in such a way. 1st and 2nd Kings shows what happens when man tries to decide such things.

Just War Theory may serve as a tool insofar as it uses criteria that are somewhat objective and seek peaceful ends.  And as far as they can go to prevent another Holocaust as what happened to the Jews in World War II or Rwanda in the 1990s, I should hope to find Christians rising up to condemn injustice everywhere and to calm down existing conflicts.  For even if we take the stance that God declared judgement against other nations in the old testament, it still shows God loves justice, and we should work to halt injustice everywhere we can.  My end point is that perhaps Just War Theory or Pacifism may serve us practically as long as neither become idols in themselves, and as long as neither seeks to discredit the historicity of Scripture to fit its own ideology.

 

Posted by: vwbusguy | October 23, 2009

Mozilla’s Response to Google Wave: Raindrop

Screenshot-Raindrop Inflow - Mozilla Firefox

A few months ago, Google rocked our world with its presentation of Google Wave.  The idea of sharing conversations, and integrating with all of the social networking utilities we use, into one web page grabbed a lot of attention.

Now it’s Mozilla’s turn to awe and impress.  Raindrop, appears to attempt what Google Wave is trying to do.  It integrates with your online accounts, such as email, twitter, facebook, Skype, etc, into one web page, and organizes them into conversations.

Granted Raindrop is in heavy development and doesn’t have near the robustness of Wave yet, but setting up a Raindrop server is also much easier than a Wave server, for those of us who are still waiting for a Wave invite.

It’s also, in Mozilla fashion, open source.  Setting it up was a moderate difficulty.  I did it in a VM to be safe, and used the check-raindrop.py –configure option which mostly worked well and considering it basically just adds python modules, seems pretty harmless.

The end result being that you a browser (webkit or mozilla-based recommended) to a local address where all of your accounts get aggregated to.  So you see your email, twitter, skype, etc as a news feed, like conversations.  Pretty cool.

The instructions to set it up are on mozilla’s site.  Because it’s under heavy development, your mileage may vary, but seems to work pretty well here.  The above is a sanitized screenshot I took of it after getting it setup.

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