Android debug on Ubuntu – emulator and alternatives

This is the second article in my 21 day blogging marathon. It is not quite as polished, as it could be.

Join the marathon by adding meaningful comments all the way!

I use a quite old, and battered Acer laptop with an I5 2nd generation processor and a “feeble” 8GB memory, for my personal projects.

It works fine, as long as I work on my smaller hobby projects, Freeplane GTD+ or the MindWeb which only require a  smallish development environment, but it quickly becomes a bottleneck as soon as I start up my heavier Android development environment, as that requires full processor  emulation using the Android emulator.

It’s quite useful to keep the computer running hot, to keep my fingers warm, and my tea next to the air went hot, in these cold autumn afternoons. On the long run however it will certainly damage the fan or even burn the processor. I had to find a way to keep the emulator overhead down.
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Time-lapse movie on Linux – How is it achieved ?

This post is for summarizing the information about the time-lapse movie I mentioned in my earlier posts titled Using a standard web camera to capture a time-lapse on Linux and Compiling UVC driver for Linux with still image support.

As it turns out this topic is one that was actually read by someone out there (based on two feedbacks I received), I decided to publish my findings.

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Compiling UVC driver for Linux with still image support

To support my web camera project and enable it to use higher resolutions I need to patch the UVC driver in the kernel with still image support found on

First the chages made in that project to the standard UVC driver were merged with the driver in 3.0.4 kernel I’m running now.

The newly compiled driver seems to work ok, however the capture utility (also found there) doesn’t seem to produce output. I got as far as identifying the way it should be parametrized, unfortunately I always recieve a memory allocation exception. Based on the logs it seems that it’s trying to allocate 0 bytes as an output buffer.

To trace that, I need to revive my long-extinct C(++) skills and maybe some gdb knowledge as well.

It’s still a mystery to me why it doesn’t work in the first place.

If I’m done with that I’ll try to include this capture method in the project and maybe replace the entire current capture with that.

New trends in Linux desktop UIs

win95Menu-WordAs I see there is a solid movement to reform the user interfaces that are in use in our computers. After all the menu bars with a start menu are on the mainstream desktops since the win95/OS2 era. And the programs can be started using icons on the desktop and the start menu. For the ones who know what they are looking for there is also a command line. And there is a task bar to switch your running applications. But things ought to change with time, shouldn’t they?

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Creating for a bot for MafiaWars

I started playing MafiaWars on my last job, where I had time to spare. As it has happened in the past with me playing on a mud, when the game got repetitive I start writing tools to speed things up.When I was on the mud I used macro-enabled clients, like tintin++ to perform simple tasks for me. Since MafiaWars is a Web 2.0 application, one must emulate a web client, so things are a bit trickier than what one can achieve using a simple wget or shell-script based bot.
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Starting VirtualBox on boot

After setting up VirtalBox based virtualization on our server, I needed a way to have it automatically started and stopped whenever the host is restarted.

Also it would be for the better if the system was not simply started and stopped, but rather saved and restored when possible. I love scripting, but prefer the easy way, and since it’s a problem many have probably already tackled I sniffed around for a while.

There it was, new and shiny tool to make my day!

Starting DB2 instances on boot

After migrating our hosted application to a virtual server I realized, that as usual the system is a “maintenance free” Linux, meaning we set it up as it were and left it running for ages without touching it. On the occasion of power failure the applications were started manually.

As I don’t want to restart everything by hand, whenever our system is restarted I decided to iron these glitches out. OK, the system is only restarted about twice a year, but I tend to forget to restart things manually, so that’s the real reason.

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Migrating from physical to virtual server with pain and tears

We host the server for a legacy application in our office. Since it’s more like a favor than a real assignment we don’t care much about the server. However we had a few network issues lately, so we decided to migrate it to a virtual server running on our hosted server. Also the machine produces lot’s of heat and noise, so we’d better had it switched off.

This seemed like such an easy task to do, what could be hard in creating a disk image with CloneZilla, copy it to a server, set up a virtual machine there with kvm, restore the image and redirect all traffic to this computer instead of the one in our office. We estimated it could be done in two to three hours tops, and we get home around 7PM.

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Linux on Compaq Contura Aero 4/25

My dad found this puppy on the street. Someone decided to get rid of it, and put it out for grabs. Since it’s a nice compact looking machine we decided to give it a spin.

Originally the computer ran DOS, and judging from the software I found on it, it was used by someone visually challenged, for reading out text through the speaker.

Looking at the configuration I found that even though originally it is supposed to contain 4 to 8 Megs of RAM, and 84 to 250Mb HDD. It’s expanded to the last limits possible for the computer. I have 20Mb RAM with a blasting 1,3Gb HDD! Unfortunately the board only has a 486 SLC, running on a staggering 25Mhz, a 4 bit grayscale VGA adapter and a grayscale LCD with 640×480 resolution.

I HAD TO put Linux on this, no matter how slow it is to start with!

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