Archive for June 2009

Revert WICD Icon Theme

I’m not really a big fan of the “modern” icon theme included by defualt with WICD 1.6.0. It looks very out of place with the more Tango inspired icons like Pidgin and Deluge. Lucky it’s very simple to change these icons back.

First download a previous version of WICD. Inside the archive you’ll see a folder called images. Extract that folder to your desktop or another temporary location. Next you’ll need to copy them to where wicd stores it’s images. You’ll need root for this so open a terminal and navigate to the images folder and do

% sudo cp * /usr/share/pixmap/wicd

and you’ll have the old icons again. If you prefer working graphically you can launch your file manager with root using either a graphical su (ktsuss is great for this and has no GNOME dependencies) or using sudo from the terminal. From there just navigate to /usr/share/pixmap/wicd and copy the contents of images to it.

Nexuiz on the Eee

Recently I tried Nexuiz, a free deathmatch FPS with quality rivaling or exceeding those of commercial games, on my beloved EeePC 1000HE. I’ve been a fan of it for quite a while but I’m not really into PC gaming (console gaming is where it’s at for me). While my Eee can handle a bit more than it’s predecessors it still takes some tweaking to wrangle in Nexuiz to a manageable framerate. So here’s some steps I too to running Nexuiz on my Eee. This will obviously apply to other netbooks and older computers.

ps. If you’ve never seen Nexuiz before this I’d suggest you watch the video of it in action to see it’s full potential. These are examples of Nexuiz at its worst after all.

Option 1: Low Settings

The first step is to see how well your computer performs on the Low settings in the Effects tab of the options panel. My Eee averaged 20fps on most maps but slowed down to a crawl on larger maps or maps with many clients. See the above picture for an example of this setting.

Option 2: r_showsurfaces 3

Since my computer still performed sluggishly, I decided to try r_showsurfaces 3. You can type this command into the Nexuiz terminal (use the ~ key) and it will remove textures and replace them with a similar colour. This actually make Nexuiz look minimal and stylized. Not a bad tradeoff at all.

Option 3: r_fullbright 1

If you still seek a performance increase over the last tweak then try that with the command r_fullbright 1. This raises the lighting of the entire level to maximum brightness, effectively getting rid of any shading. This also looks quite stylized but if you can do without this performance wise then it’s up to you. Note that while the framerate didn’t change in the screenshot, it’s much better in motion.

In the end I just switch r_fullbright on and off depending on the level and how it looks. Anyways I hope this has been helpful to someone. If you have any suggestions feel free to comment.

Two Quick Notes: X Zap, MPC Update

It looks like in Server > 1.6.0, they disabled zapping the X server (Ctrl+Alt+Backspace to kill X). This really annoyed me as I often restart the X this way. Anyways this has been noted in the Arch Wiki entry for Xorg. A quick fix to this would be to add this line to your .xinitrc:

setxkbmap -option terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp

Second I thought I would mention one of the most useful mpc commands that most people don’t even know about. Instead of doing just “mpc update” to update the entire library (waste of time for small changes) you can follow that with a folder in your music directory to update only that folder. Say I just added a new album to my Joy Division folder. I’d just do:

% mpc update Joy\ Division

And the MPD library is updated with only changes to the Joy Division folder. Just don’t forget to escape spaces and other characters. I use this all the time when making small changes. This can also be very useful for playing files external to your MPD directory with systemlinks just like mpc-play does.

June 09 Screenshot

Openbox on the eee. Nothing too special. I was just messing around with xcompmgr a bit.

Openbox Theme: Turquoise Grass
GTK Theme: Turquoise Grass GTK
Icon Theme: ALLGREY
Window Font: AvantGuarde LT Medium
UI Font: Futura Std Book

In This Shot: PyPanel, Thunar, Sonata.

Shrink HD Videos to a Managable Size

I recently went on a spree of downloading music videos. The ones I couldn’t find I resorted to downloading them from YouTube with the youtube-dl. But videos, even HQ ones, look like crap. So I got the idea of downloading the HD versions. Sadly one thing my precious Eee PC can’t do is properly decode HD video at a reasonable speed.

After a little searching I found that MPlayer came with a video conversion utility called mencoder which I could use to shink my video down. However using it can be a little intimidating, especially when all I wanted to do is resize a video. So here’s the steps I took.

First I downloaded the HD video from YouTube using:

% youtube-dl -d "[url of video]"

Then when that was done I used this command to shrink it:

% mencoder input.mp4 -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:mbd2:trell -vf scale=852:480 -oac mp3lame -lameopts vbr=2 -o output.avi

So let’s break that down a little. -ovc specifies the video options while -oac specifies the audio options. I made the video mpeg4 and made the audio a LAME encoded v2 mp3. The real important part here is the scale option. Since we had a 16×9 HD video we need to make sure that we maintain that aspect ratio. 852×420 is effectively a 16×9 SD resolution. So this shrinks the video down to a widescreen standard definition video.

After that my eee handled the video with ease. While I did this with a video from YouTube you can do this to any format that mencoder supports (everything MPlayer supports). For more information take a look at this and this link.