Xournal

Thanks to Xournal, you can now annotate any PDF and export it out to a new PDF. This is excellent for filling in forms, note taking, keeping a journal, writing using a stylus etc. I have just experimented it on my newly minted Fedora 12 machine and it just worked wonderfully. My set up has a Genius G-Pen 340 pen tablet plugged in via a USB port and it just all worked seamlessly. Kudos to all who make this happen!

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Brother DCP-135C and Fedora 12

I was disappointed that the Brother DCP-135C is not within the CUPS database. However, kudos to Brother, they do make drivers available on their website.

I have the USB version of the printer/scanner/fax machine and I had to download the drivers from DCP-135C. Pick the 32-bit or 64-bit rpms as needed.

What I did was to download the LPR, cupswrapper drivers, then went to scanner section and downloaded the brscan2 and scan-key-tool rpms.

With the 4 rpms downloaded, I switched to a terminal and:

yum install brscan2-0.2.5-1.i386.rpm brscan-skey-0.2.1-3.i386.rpm \
  dcp135ccupswrapper-1.0.1-1.i386.rpm dcp135clpr-1.0.1-1.i386.rpm --nogpgcheck

I hope Brother will set up a proper repo so that these can be done automatically!

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Temporary fix to run Chromium in Fedora 12

Filed in BZ: https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=550651

Just updated Chromium via Spot’s page using yum update for Fedora 12. SELinux permission issues on three libraries. Need to grant permission to SELinux to run the following:

#!/bin/sh
chcon -t textrel_shlib_t '/usr/lib/chromium-browser/libmedia.so' 
chcon -t textrel_shlib_t '/usr/lib/chromium-browser/libnacl.so' 
chcon -t textrel_shlib_t '/usr/lib/chromium-browser/libsandbox.so'
#to make the change permanent 
semanage fcontext -a -t textrel_shlib_t '/usr/lib/chromium-browser/libmedia.so' 
semanage fcontext -a -t textrel_shlib_t '/usr/lib/chromium-browser/libnacl.so' 
semanage fcontext -a -t textrel_shlib_t '/usr/lib/chromium-browser/libsandbox.so'
#

Put those 6 lines above in a script, run it and chromium should work there after.

BTW, Chromium was from:

[chromium]
name=Chromium Test Packages
baseurl=http://spot.fedorapeople.org/chromium/F$releasever/
enabled=1
gpgcheck=0
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Digital Restrictions Mismanagement or in Microsoft-speak RMS Restriction Mismgt System

Why would anyone continue to put any more credibility with the entire Digital Restrictions (mis)Management that our Redmond friends continue to implement in their software? DRM is bad enough, being locked out of your own files is completely unacceptable. Does this warrant a class action suit? I don’t know for I am a happy user of OpenOffice.org which does not have any of these abominations.

I like the following comment on /.. I think it is 100% spot on.

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Deviant Linux? Normal Microsoft computer?

This was on a mailing list and thought I should publish it here for posterity.

(Tech Support | California, USA)

Caller: "I need to report a very serious computer crime! The local university
is running an illegal computer system!"

Me: "Could you please repeat that"

Caller: "The local university is running an illegal computer system! They've
hacked it!"

Me: "How could you tell they'd hacked it"

Caller: "Well, when it booted, it didn???t say Windows or Microsoft or
anything! It said something about Deviant Linux, I think, and the main
screen looked nothing like my good, legal Windows screen at home!
I think they hacked that, too!"

Me: "Do you mean Debian Linux"

Caller: "Yes, that! Is it some sort of computer mafia or something"

Me: "Uh, no, it's just a different operating system. Nothing to worry about."

Caller: "But it's illegal! It's not Microsoft, not even Windows! They're on a
normal Microsoft computer, so they're breaking the law! I think they stole
my identity when I came in the building! I'm calling the FBI!" *hangs up*
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The Singapore Dilemma

So, the PSLE results came out today, November 26 2009. My son did well (got 3As and an A*) and his “aggregate” is 241. Next step is to apply for secondary one. In a way, the system is freer now compared to when I did my PSLE 38 years ago. He has a much wider range of options but there are some Singaporean idiocyncracies in it. FWIW, he did very well for his second language Malay, getting an A for it. Considering that my Malay was all from National Language which was from my primary and secondary school days, and we don’t speak anything other than English at home, I am really, really pleased to see him do very well in it. Full credit goes to his school Malay teacher, his Malay tuition teacher and his daily reading of the dead-tree edition of Berita Harian.

Last week or so, Lee Kuan Yew apparently acknowledged the mistake of his ways in insisting on a second language as an important subject. There are more to it that just this admission of mistake.

Firstly, the schools use the term “Mother Tongue” when referring to second language. This is a not too subtle spinning done by the PAP-led government to subconsciously suggest that the second language done in school is the child’s “mother tongue”. Of the four official languages in Singapore, historically, only Malay and Tamil are indeed the mother tongues of those who are Malay and Tamil. To every one else, the four official languages are technically non-mother tongues. But the clever use of “mother tongue” helps to imply to the Chinese Singaporean, the Malay Singaporean and the Indian Singaporean, that Mandarin, Malay and Tamil are their respective mother tongues. It is not and never has been. Clever PAPesque wording but stupid social engineering.

Keeping that in mind, let’s consider the plight of a Singaporean child going through school. She has to do a 2nd language compulsorily. Compare that with a foreign child attending the same school who is exempted. Who do you think would do better overall – given that no time and energy is spent on a subject with weightage that is not needed? Is it then a surprise to read enough stories of Singaporeans who uproot and move to Australia (mainly) and citing that the 2nd language policy is the push that made them leave? How many good people did we loose as a result of one man’s flawed reasoning? Singapore invites people from all over to settle on her shores and contribue to the economy, culture and the arts. But these newbies are not burdened with the mandatory 2nd language albatross.

Earlier this year, at a secondary school open house, I asked if students who join the school next year can choose to continue or discontinue the second language? The reply was that “so long as Minister Mentor is in the cabinet, it will continue to be a requirement to do 2nd language” – not the exact words, but the winks, nods and smiles implied it and I choose to put those words in their mouths.

The exam system has been gamed by those who can answer questions in the way that the graders cannot but pass and whether or not the child has any learning per se, is hard to determine. Looking at my son’s primary six science and english language text books, the contents of the books were so superficial that it is no surprise that the teacher did not even use it the whole year.

All is not rosy. Too many mistakes are in the system and political leadership is called for. Not sure if Lee Hsien Loong can rise to it, not sure if Ng Eng Hen (the education minister) cares, but we need to fix the problems. We are loosing (and have lost) good people due to stupidity on the part of the policy makers aka politicians from the PAP.

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Fedora 12 launch at Singapore Polytechnic

Happy to have helped with the launch of Fedora 12 at the Singapore Polytechnic. It was a lunch and learn affair and we had about 120 or students in attendance – including about 10-20 faculty. Nice to see the interest. Good questions were asked: does it have AutoCad? How about PhotoShop? What about drivers? Was able to show them Fedora Electronics Lab and scribus and inkscape. Good interest and good feedback. Hopefully some will sign up as Fedora Ambassadors.

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