Monday, October 27, 2014

I touched my laptop screen and I liked it

I finally decided that I needed a new laptop. My 2008 HP Mini was really showing it's age and I wanted to do some work with VMs that would tax my desktop. After much deliberation, I got a Lenovo IdeapadS410p Touch. It was an Intel i5 machine with 4GB of RAM (which I bumped to 8GB) both VGA and HDMI outputs and a DVD drive to boot.
English: Touchscreen
Kids love a touchscreen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I had gone in to buy the Lenovo laptop that didn't have an OS bundled or the 'DOS version' they called it. How many people buying new computers remember what DOS is another question. But that range only came with AMD CPUs and having done that in the past and got nothing other than a warm lap and mediocre performance, I decided to go for the Intel version, the i5 specifically. But to keep my options open, I decided to also keep an open mind on the the AMD A10 CPU which was by most reviewers as good as the i5 although meant to compete with the i7s.
Next was to find someone who knew what they were talking about. Too many times, I have been besieged by salespeople who knew little about what they were selling. It was time to give the right guy their due. I did find a chap who gave me several options and let me try the laptops. Finally, I decided to ditch the A10 and went firm with the i5. He found me two models that fit the bill, a Windows 8 machine with a touchscreen and the OS-free version without a touchscreen.
For some reason, the non-touchscreen Lenovo laptop was slightly pricier and was a different model range. I did get the notion that the guy wanted to get rid of it because it was an older model. A quick check showed it was still listed as current on the Lenovo website, so I figured that it wasn't all that old. I figured I might as well see what the fuss was about Windows 8 and the touchscreen interface.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Going Minty 3 - Solving why Gimp is opening PDFs on Chromium

Something I did not encounter on Mageia but cropped up in Linux Mint is something quite strange. It's strange because it also seems counter intuitive. Especially for a distribution that does so well in keeping things user-friendly. The odd thing that happened to me in Linux Mint was that Chromium opens PDF with Gimp.
A screenshot of the GIMP 2.2.8 raster graphic ...
GIMP 2.2.8  graphic software. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Now this is not too bad if you have a good PC. And it's not wrong either because Gimp can open PDFs and better still, edit them. But you want to open a multi-page PDF, Gimp will render each page up-front. Meaning that if the PDFs has a lot of pages, it's gonna take some time. If your rig has less than 1 GB of RAM, the wait becomes worse.
The solution is obvious: change the default setting or program for opening PDFs. Unfortunately, that didn't work for me. Set what ever it is, the default is set to Gimp. I do get a choice to switch to another program each time, but it tends to get annoying. So how does one change the default application. Apparently there is common program called xdg  that helps with opening of files. Applications under freedesktop.org call on xdg to help them open document files. So for Chromimun, after it downloads a PDF file, it calls on xdg to open it. xdg determines the actual viewer and passes the name of the PDF to the viewer for it to open. The definition for the 'actual viewer' is either set by the underlying environment (KDE, GNOME, etc) or by xdg itself. The command is as follows:

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