Saturday, March 14, 2009

[various] RotoPath

How much time do you spend navigating through folders every day? For me, the answer was: Way too much.

I decided to give a try to an old idea and created a very simple app to navigate through folders (folders only, this is not a file explorer!!). It presents folders in a wheel. A left click goes to the next folder, a right click opens explorer on the folder. The wheel can be displayed at any time by pressing Left-Control and Left-Windows simultaneously.

As can be seen some folders are shown in red: These are the folders you use most often. Hence, they are visually outlined so that you can quickly get to the places the most important to you.

There are three special icons in the middle: Open command line at current folder, Show favorite folders, Go back to the computer root.

RotoPath is brand new and will likely have a few bugs, but it already helps me a lot on an everyday basis. Maybe you'll find it useful as well.

[No longer available]

Monday, March 2, 2009

[linux] Fedora saved my day!

Today I just lived what I consider to be a true computer technology miracle.

I was teaching in Paris today. The class involves powerpoint slides and then some OpenGL programming (each student has a computer to work with). As usual, I prepared my slides and the source code for the gl tutorials on my laptop. What was not usual is that I *forgot* to backup the files on my usb stick. 'So what?' did I think when arriving at the airport, it would really be bad luck if my laptop crashed today.

Guess what.

Windows soon refused to boot, chkdsk kept detecting more and more bad sectors at every run, and so on. The usual story. The dell repair tool only knows how to format the entire thing (I have a XPS M1330, and yes the NVidia card was faulty), and there was no booting windows. After the first battery emptied I felt very lonely, with my faulty computer, in the middle of the airport with no power plug in sight. 'If only I was home, I could boot from my Knoppix CD, access the NTFS drive and save the whole thing on a USB stick.'. And then I saw the light. Here it was, looking at me through the book shop window: The February issue of 'Planete Linux' - a French magazine about the Linux OS - and the distribution of the month was Feodra 10 Live with an included CD!!!

After spending 6.20 euros on the magazine - not a bad read by the way - I quickly tried it out. After a few minutes I had a full fledged Linux running! I was able to mount the faulty ntfs partition (with scary errors) and was able to retrieve my slides!

Arriving in the classroom, already feeling lucky enough, I was planning to ask a student for his laptop to display the slides. But, out of curiousity, I tried the included openoffice. It did open the slides with success! So, while I was at it, feeling quite invicible, I plugged the projector to my laptop-with-fried-hdd-but-working-Live-Fedora. And *it* *worked* *just* *fine*.

So here I was, with my CD-only OS, displaying my slides with OpenOffice on a DLP projector and all this for 6.20 euros when 2 hours earlier I was screaming over my dying Windows-powered fried-hdd laptop.

Needless to say, Fedora just won an unconditional fan!!!! I am actually writing this entry using the very same Fedora Live CD, through the included WiFi support.

Thanks guys for saving my day :-)