September 15, 2009 Archives

Tue Sep 15 23:59:47 EEST 2009

festival "Linux: can't open /dev/dsp" error fix

I tried using festival today just to realize it doesn't work anymore.
For instance "echo test" |festival --tts would fail with the annoying
"Linux: can't open /dev/dsp" error message. I found the solution in ubuntuforums,
the solution is originally taken from "the Gentoo Speechd Howto".
The solution is to create .festivalrc in your home as well as to the homes of all users intending to use festival.
Here is how:

printf ";use ALSA\n(Parameter.set 'Audio_Method 'Audio_Command)\n(Parameter.set 'Audio_Command \"aplay -q -c 1 -t raw -f s16 -r \$SR \$FILE\")\n" > .festivalrc

Tue Sep 15 17:51:04 EEST 2009

GNU / Linux Widgets (gdesklets, screenlets) - Apple MacoSX / Microsoft Vista like Widgets

Screenlet Widget
I'm staying in a friend's place for few days. Nasko a friend of mine has apple pc and showed me some nice features of the apple MacBook's Mac OS X. One of the features I liked was the Apple Widgets which are helpful in facilitating the work with your pc. The same widgets are also included in Windows Vista (I always disabled that when used Vista).
Anyways I wondered if there is a way to have the same shiny widgets running on my Debian GNU/Linux.
I first found Gdesklets which basicly is a collection of Widgets for the Linux Gnome desktop written in Python. To run the gdesklet after installation
I had to issue the command:
$ gdesklets . Then in the tray a small tray puzzle icon appears. I sort of wondered a bit until I figured out how to add some gdesklet widgets.
To do that I had to select
"Manage Desklets" and through the gdesklets shell
to click twice the widget I would like to add to the desktop and then drag it to the exact desktop place I would like it to have it positioned.
I have to emphasize gdesklets widgets are very, very buggy. Many of the widgets I tried crashed the whole application.
After which I had to manually kill the gdesklets app
and delete all it's temporary files located in
~/.gdesklets directory. Many of the apps that didn't crashed the gdesklets that required extra data from lmsensors never worked even though I have working version of lmsensors.
I suspect some of the widgets which failed to gather data from lmsensors cause
My notebook is Lenovo Thinkpad R61 and uses some custom features from the thinkpad_acpi kernel module
. Another possible reason for the crashes and misworkings of some components of gdesklets could be because I'm currently running Debian Unstable.

After being a bit disappointment from gdesklets experience.
I went looking further for some Linux widgets alternative.
Next widget related gnome prog I stucked on was jackfield . This one is said to have worked with Apple's Widgets I don't believe it does any more since it's not actively developed anymore.
I tried the jackfield python program with no luck. The untarred archive of it was really messy and what was even worse was it lacked any documentation.
Hence I continued my quest for widgets just to came across a real working Gnome widget application.
Just to find Screenlets! .
I've red somewhere that Screenlets is based on jacfield.
The current release of Gnome Screenlets which by the way is officially part of is 0.1.2. I was pleased to find the application worked pretty decent.
Screenlets includes many, many widgets:
Here is a link containg a list of all the screenlets widgets
. If you like to have a general idea of how screenlets looks like please check out the screenlet in action screenshots

Tue Sep 15 13:16:16 EEST 2009

Linux Check Laptop battery status from Console / Terminal

I needed to have a quick way to check my battery status via terminal and I googled around looking
for a solution. I found the following website explaining in a pretty good way "How to check your battery status in Console".
. Just like the blog explains the proper way to do that in Linux is via the acpi command. In case if you don't have, yet the command please install it.
1. The fastest way to check the laptop battery status is via: 

$ acpi
The output would be something like this:
Battery 1: discharging, 91%, 02:00:09 remaining

2. Check laptop battery temperature:

$ acpi -t

3. Check laptop battery AC Power Status

$ acpi -a

4. Check everything related to acpi

$ acpi -V

Another possible way to check for your notebook battery status from console in Linux is via:

1. Command to show general information for battery status:

$ acpitool

2. For detailed battery information use:

$ acpitool -B add "-v" for verbose output

3. Show information about AC power.

$ acpitool -a

Some of the other possible ways to check your battery charge status via console are either via: yabs ( Yet Another Battery Status ) script or via:
cat /proc/acpi/battery/BAT0/state or
cat /proc/acpi/battery/BAT0/info

Tue Sep 15 12:18:13 EEST 2009

Cheap tech gadgets from China

A friend of mine Amridikon has suggested me a nice website containing plenty of valueable tech gadgets.
Some of them include things like Wifi/WLAN/Wireless Network Signal Detector (keychain) - That's a nice keyholder which detects the open Wireless/WLAN networks and saves you time and efforts in bringing out your notebook everytime you'd like to check if open wireless network is available for connection. There are a couple of models you can choose from.
Some of the other handy gadgets are:
Dual SIM Cards .
My personal favourite is 5-Band GSM/CDMA/3G Handheld Phone Signal Blocker (20M range)
. One more nice thing about this cool website is that all shipment of gadgets bought for sums higher than 50$ (bucks) is free!