Archive for the 'Blablabla' category

Configuring the trackpad and touchpad behaviour for Thinkpad T540p on Fedora 21

published on December 22, 2014.
Heads-up! You're reading an old post and the information in it is quite probably outdated.

This is the last post about the Thinkpad and Fedora. At least for a while. Promise.

With the new generation of Thinkpads, Lenovo decided to change the touchpad. They removed the 5 physical buttons from the touchpad area and left us with one bigger touchpad. To click anything it’s now either touch click (two-finger click for right clicks) or one can push the entire touchpad down, the clickpad. The touchpad has different regions for getting left/middle/right clicks. Sort of.

And for the first time I completely agree with reviews on the internet. This thing is horrible.

If you want both the touch and push clicks, forget it. It just won’t be usable how inaccurate this thing is. If the touch click is turned on, it will get in the way of your typing. You forget yourself and do a push click with the touch click enabled? Here’s some double/triple click for you. Just don’t even bother with the touch click, turn it off.

You’re left now with the trackpad and touchpad for movement, and the clickpad for clicks. Again, pain. You push down the touchpad to click aaand… Good luck and I hope you clicked the thing you wanted. Your finger will move, just a little bit and so will the cursor. And here’s the kicker. Touchpad movements can’t be turned off. At least not in a easy and intuitive way.

After quite some time searching the internet for a fix, I found a forum post explaining how to get this thing usable (sadly, I can’t find that post again to link to it):

Section "InputClass"
    Identifier "TrackPad with buttons only"
    MatchDriver "synaptics"
    Option "SoftButtonAreas" "65% 0 0 0 50% 65% 0 0" # emulate right and middle buttons
    Option "AreaBottomEdge" "1" # disable moving but not buttons

Save this as 99-thinkpad-clickpad.conf in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/. The touch parts of the touchpad are disabled so we have the trackpad for movements and the clickpad for buttons. I just need to tweak the left/middle/right button clicks a bit more, because there are times when I accidentally do a middle click.

Oh, and now there’s no mouse scroll because that’s touchpad only.

Developer conferences in Croatia

published on October 28, 2013.
Heads-up! You're reading an old post and the information in it is quite probably outdated.

In the past month and a half I had the pleasure of attending not one, but two developer conferences in Croatia’s capital Zagreb. Both conferences are community organized, by people who apparently know what they are doing, as I only have words of praise for them.


ZgPHP was the first conference, held on September 14th. It started out as a regular meetup of the PHP community in Zagreb, but it soon grew out into something bigger. It might not have been an international conference, but it surely was a regional one, as it included speakers and visitors from Croatia and Serbia.

The conference was a milestone for the PHP community in Zagreb - this was their 2nd year of getting together every month and teaching fellow developers, or just having a drink and a chat. To the organizers Ivan, Luka, and Miro I extend my congratutalions and thanks for all they’re doing for the community, not just in Croatia, but in the entire South-Eastern Europe. Thanks guys, you rock!

It was community organized, backed by more than a dozen of sponsors, allowing for an entry fee free event. Thus, my thanks go out to the sponsors as well!

The topics ranged from designing and developing high scalability applications, using Travis CI to test open source projects, to using Redis with PHP and how, and more importantly why, should developers start using Vagrant for their day-to-day development. We also had the chance to hear about first hand experiences of being a woman in the IT industry, that sparked an interesting and important conversation. Minus the few bellends that thought that interrupting the speaker with “jokes” was funny, or even appropriate. I hope that they learned for the next time to not do that, or that they’ll stay home.

Enough coffee, soda, and pizza was provided for everyone during the day. After the conference was over the unofficial part of it moved a near by coffee shop were the conversations continued into the wee hours.

This anniversary ZgPHP conference is very important for the local community as there is still a lot of developers that for some reason or other can’t go to a PHP conference outside of Croatia. I believe around 100 attendees had the oppurtunity to hear 10 talks, which is great!

WebCamp Zagreb

The second conference was WebCamp Zagreb, held on October 26th. With 24 talks in two tracks, over 600! attendees the second, now annual WebCamp (last year was the first) covered a whole range of topics. You’re interested in front-end stuff like HTML5, CSS, developing mobile applications? You got it. Oh, you like the back-end more? They got it covered with stress testing web applications, how to use Erlang to develop high availabilty systems, concurrency, and more.

It was also community organized. 8 different communities - CodeAtSix, Girl Geek Dinners, Frontman HR, FutureDEV, HUJAK, Javascript Zagreb, Python HR, and ZgPHP - got together and made something special.

Same as with ZgPHP, the conference costs were covered by sponsors, making it free for people to attend.

I cannot point out a single problem with the entire event, it was that well organized and thought out. The things passionate people can create when they get together is astonishing.

The unofficial part of the conference continued in a local pub on a Github sponsored drinkup, that even included karaoke singing at one point. Fun times.

Keep an eye out

If you’re looking for new conferences to speak at, or attend, keep an eye out on the conferences in Croatia, great things will happen here in the future. There’s a lot of smart and passionate people here.

Eight years of PHP

published on April 04, 2013.
Heads-up! You're reading an old post and the information in it is quite probably outdated.

This time around eight years ago I was introduced to this thing called PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. I studied it in college as a part of classes on “Internet Technologies”. It consisted of HTML, CSS, some Javascript and XML, and PHP.

Maybe a half a year earlier my parents finally gave in and agreed to hook up to the Internet via our local ISP. At that time I was mostly hanging out on IRC channels, bulletin boards and the like. Soon enough I got curious about how all that stuff works and me being a fresher picked a class that sounded cool, the aforementioned “Internet Technologies”.

First I wanted to be a designer, but luckily for everyone I soon realised I am not quite talented for that sort of work. I still don’t understand what is so bad about having a green background with red fonts on it.

Then the PHP classes started. I was lucky enough to have a great professor teaching it and I quite enjoyed the lessons. I owe a great deal of gratitude to him and am lucky to call him a friend today. In the following years of college he pushed me to learn more than what was planned by the classes, took me to conferences and made me present my work there and so instilled in me the love for programming.

Thanks Zlatko!

One of the first things we did in class was printing out numbers from one to ten and have the even numbers coloured blue and the odd ones red. Or maybe it was the other way round. And that was fun! Some text that looks like you mashed your hands over the keyboard can do such a thing? It’s magic!

There’s another thing I remember. We had a “home project” that we were supposed to make. It was a simple address book, basic CRUD operations, nothing fancy. Well, nothing fancy today, but then… Oh man. I was stuck for at least a day trying to connect to the MySQL database and run a simple query against it. Once I did it though, I was jumping from joy like a little kid and ran three circles around the house. Magic!

Somehow at that point I was certain that doing this as “work” would be extremely fun and could clearly imagine myself doing it in my life. Hell, for the first time I knew what I want to do when I grow up.

And here I am eight years later, doing exactly what I wanted to do happy with how things turned out. Here’s to eighty more years.

Tags: about, php, life, random.
Categories: Blablabla.

Learning English

published on March 29, 2013.
Heads-up! You're reading an old post and the information in it is quite probably outdated.

Most of my knowledge of the English language is self-taught. I had English classes in elementary school, but that was more or less singing "London bridge is falling down" and reciting a list of irregular verbs. I also had a semester of English in college, but that again consisted of reciting a list of irregular verbs (true, this time the list was longer) and reading and translating engineering texts. Good for learning how to read a technical manual, but not so much when it comes to having a conversation with other people. Other than that, it's all from computers, music, films, books.

My mom has an old dictionary that I used to read when I was a kid. I remember spending hours upon hours flipping through the pages, learning words, trying to figure out how to pronounce them. Guess I was a nerd already when I was only seven years old.

In the past few months Swizec was quite persistent with his nagging of how terrible my English is, especially when it comes down to the grammar, so I decided to do something about it.

I started taking private English classes.

I had my first hour and a half long lesson yesterday evening. I enjoyed it very much, had a lot of fun and already learned a thing or two (at least I think I did). I am taking the classes from an English teacher who also happens to be my friend. But, don't let the friendship fool you! She's not afraid off bashing me when I make a mistake: "Hold on Robert! That sentence doesn't make any sense!" (or something along those lines). And I think it is actually a good thing that we know each other from before as it is much easier to just start a random discussion and not just go through the textbook examples. All in all, very enjoyable classes and I know I will learn a lot from them.

And to show that I am really serious about this, I started another blog dedicated to writing called Magic of Writing. And yes, I am aware that that sounds something like a five year old would come up with, but then again writing is magical. There's not much there yet, but I already have a few ideas in my head that will hopefully find their way onto paper.

A monkey with a banana

published on January 08, 2013.
Heads-up! You're reading an old post and the information in it is quite probably outdated.

From time to time I browse through the local board shop’s website, especially the “Longboard” section, because, well, I have recently developed this passion for longboarding. Few weeks back, just sometimes before Christmas, I was doing the same. Just casually browsing around, nothing that would catch my interest. And then, there it was, at the bottom of the page. A banana board. “Oh my, a real beauty”, I thought to myself. The price was also in the affordable range. But, a problem was that I really couldn’t, justify to buy it.

Whenever I find something to buy for myself, I really give it a lot of thought and wait for a while, just to see if I really need it. Doing my best to avoid buying stuff in the heat of the moment, which prevents me from having lots of regretable purchases. And it works quite well, can’t think of anything that I regret ever buying. It’s also a very good tactic for saving money.

And after giving it a lot of thought, going to the board shop a couple of times to check it out (sadly, I haven’t seen it, as they didn’t have it in the Novi Sad store, they’d have to order it from their central shop in Belgrade), and giving it some more thought, I finally broke down last week and ordered the board. The fact that they introduced an additional 20% discount around new year’s, also helped with this decision.

Luckily, the ordering time was just two days, so when I placed the order on Thursday, I was to pick it up on Saturday. Marvelous, getting a new board in the middle of a weekend. Even the weather forecast was looking good, not so cold, and dry, even if it’s beginning of January.

Fast-forward to Saturday noon-ish and me being told that the board is actually in Novi Sad, but in the distribution center, and they won’t be delivering it to the shop, as the delivery center doesn’t work on that specific Saturday, but only on Tuesday. Something about having a second Christmas in Serbia and people not working during those days (the orthodox church uses the Julian calendar).


Tuesday, finally!

And today, just after getting back to the office from the lunch break, the dude from the shop called me, letting me know that the board is in, and that I can come in pick it up after work. “Fuck it!”, I said, “I’ll be there in 5 minutes.”

Once I saw the board, I knew I did a right thing ordering it. It’s just fuckin’ gorgeous! I tried it a little in the shop, paid for it, and hurried out to the streets to give it a test ride back to the office.

It’s fun riding it, extremely fun. It’s much smaller, and feels much different than my longboard. The wheels are smaller, but softer than on the longboard. I was expecting the banana board to be slower, but two-three pushes and it rides like the wind. Oh, and it’s light as a feather!

On slower speeds it’s not really good for making turns, but when going a bit faster the turning is easier. I’m an idiot. I need to loosen up the trucks. The little “buttons” on the top of the board, which are there to provide a good grip whilst riding, are doing their job insanely well. I was pleasantly surprised how good the grip is.

Maybe even a bit too good. While I was riding the board home from the office, the “buttons”, or maybe the bolts from the front truck, under my front foot were bit too hard, and gave an uneasy feel during the ride. Like when you have a tiny rock in your shoe and the damn thing doesn’t won’t to get out. But I’ll try out different stances before giving the final verdict on this.

Apart from this little thing, it really is a fun little board, and I’m happy that I got it. I’ll be mostly using it for quick rounds around the city, and goofing around at the local skate park. Sticking with the longboard for longer rides, cruises, though.

Robert Basic

Robert Basic

Software engineer, consultant, open source contributor.

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