I installed qemu a few days ago on my Windows laptop to test how fast it is and whether it is able to emulate an X server so that it is actually usable. The result is surprisingly positive. I installed Gentoo Linux on it, so it did hardly anything else than compiling a packet after the other since I set it up. I think this is the first time, the dual core processor in the notebook is of real use: While qemu only emulates one processor for the virtual machine (although it could emulate both, I believe), the other one remains for the rest of the system and so my other applications run without any noticeable delay.
I always wanted to be able to do some gnome development when I am not at home, but I do not want to install Linux on a separate partition because the hard disk capacity is "only" 60GB and I had some space problems on Windows on the last laptop. It also annoys me that I have to reboot every time I want to switch from Windows to Linux or vice versa. On the other side, I do not want to remove Windows from the machine either (well, I probably want, but it is not an option) because there are some applications like Evernote that exist only on Windows and since Gobby is officially supported on Windows anyway, I should be able to provide Windows builds and perform some testing.
To summarize, the qemu approach seems promising and I look forward to work with both operating systems without having to reboot all the time. Currently, the Gentoo is still compiling Gnome (36 out of 215 packets done).
In december, I bought a wacom graphics tablet (a PenPartner2) for my notebook to be able to note stuff right into the computer as I would note it on a sheet of paper. Corresponding software preconditioned, this not only makes fun but is also easier to modify lateron and can easily be sent over the internet. As the notebook runs Windows, I just had to install the shipped driver and everything worked out of the box.
Saturday, a second tablet for my linux desktop computer arrived. Today, I tried to set it up. Nearly two hours later, it almost works. After having installed the linuxwacom package, compiled Wacom tablet support into the kernel and hacked some file in /etc/udev/rules.d for great udev magic (As adviced on the gentoo wiki), nothing happend. There was no file in /dev/input as there should be. It took me some time until I realized that I was running kernel 2.6.18 with which linking a /dev/input-file to the wacom device was broken. So I upgraded the kernel, and voilà, there was a file, and catting it produced some output when I moved the stylus on the tablet.
After having configured the appropriate input devices in xorg.conf, I was able to move the pointer with the stylus. The only drawback was that the pointer always was in the upper left quarter of the screen. The X log file told me some coordinates it seems to use to map the tablet area to the screen area. I divided them by two and set the BottomX respectively BottomY parameters using the xsetwacom utility from linuxwacom. These values can also be set in xorg.conf, in the section of every input device, so this is what I have done:
Note however that these are most probably depend on the size of the tablet, so don't just blindly copy them of you do not own an Intuos3 A6 Wide.
Now at least the absolute positioning seems to work correctly. Gimp still does not support pressure sensitivity (which it did on Windows out of the box, by the way) and keeps telling me there were not any extended input devices in the preferences. It also does not recognize the eraser. Anyway, I am going to have a look at this in the next few days.
I already mentioned notetaking software to be used with the tablet. While there is EverNote for Windows (even its commercial and non-free, blahblah), I could not find an alternative for Linux that actually satisfies my needs. The most promising application I tried out was xournal, but I miss the great selector and cutter tools from evernote where I either cross or surround something I have written to select respectively delete it. I also prefer the "endless sheet of paper" approach to the multiple pages which xournal provides. Using a computer for notetaking, I can just get around those limitations like "Oh, I have only one line left but need to write two further lines". However, I must admit that printing in EverNote is pretty broken due to that reason: It truncates notes in the middle of letters or a figure to split them up into pages which it needs to actually print.
I also had a quick look at Jarnal (which is written in Java which should be reason enough not to use it...). The collaboration feature sounds like a great idea, but in Jarnal it is limited to only one participant to actively edit the document which takes away a lot of the greatness. Anyway, semester break begins in about a week (if you do not see the computer science exam I still have to write in the end of February), so perhaps I am motivated enough to get something done in this direction.
Last night was the first time I slept in my room in Karlsruhe. Saturday, my parents, my brother and another friend helped me to carry and install the furniture which went quite well and quick, so I had some time left to learn for the theoretical physics exam I wrote yesterday. People here are nice and internet and television work, so there is nothing I could complain about. But as you know a picture tells more than thousand words, so enjoy.
I also wrote experimental physics on Friday last week, but most problems were taken from old exams I already have seen before. Actually, I expected more from an elite university, but well, the good thing is that I most likely passed that one.