Category Archives: General

How to install silc-client on Ubuntu Xenial 16.04

For many years now, the silc-client package has not been available in the standard Ubuntu apt repositories, so here’s a quick how-to on how to install the silc-client on your Ubuntu box:

First, install the dependencies to be able to compile the silc-client from source:

sudo apt-get install build-essential pkgconf libglib2.0-dev libncurses-dev

Then, download the latest silc-client source from the http://silcnet.org/ site to your Ubuntu box (Latest version is v1.1.11 – direct link here: https://downloads.sourceforge.net/project/silc/silc/client/sources/silc-client-1.1.11.tar.gz )

Extract the source file using tar:

tar zxf silc-client-1.1.11.tar.gz

Change directory into the extracted source:

cd silc-client-1.1.11

Configure the build environment:

./configure

Compile the source:

make

Then finallly, install the compiled client:

sudo make install

And that’s it, you can run the silc client now using the “silc” command:

silc -c your.favourite.silc.server.hostname -n yournick

Enjoy.

Vaadin Java Framework

Through the PacktPub 2014 Advent Calendar, I recently became aware of a Java framework called Vaadin.  It’s essentially a Java framework with focus on HTML5 on the frontend, it does some fancy stuff by compiling some of the frontend Java code into Javascript for presentation purposes, does all fancy data-binding between the Javascript and the backend server (compiled into a WAR for Tomcat/Glassfish, or even running on Google AppEngine) through AJAX, etc.

There’s a Vaadin Book, that I started browsing through, and the one very nice thing that I noticed about Vaadin, is that it feels very, very famliar.  The more I read and watch some of the tutorial videos, the more it feels like I’m coding an Android app.  I mean, look at this simple code snippit for creating a button, and adding an event listener to that button’s Click event:

Look familiar?

So if you are familiar with Android app development, Vaadin becomes a very small jump to creating great and rich web applications too, all totally in Java, with no need to hack around in the frontend code much, or at all.  There is an Eclipse IDE plugin that adds the typical Text/Design tabs when creating new components, allowing you to drag/drop new web components onto the a canvas, with lots of versatility.

For a step-by-step 10 minute tutorial of creating your first Vaadin app, watch their video.

The price of “performance”

So today, on a whim, I decided to see what a “reasonable” gaming PC will cost if I had to chuck out most of my PC, and buy all new parts.  I have a harddrive and a video card, so wouldn’t need to buy those.  I also wanted to keep in mind that I may want to try my hand at creating a Hackintosh at the same time, so decided to check out some Hackintosh hardware guides, as I figured the Hackintosh hardware guides, plus my video card (confirmed, supported under OSX), should be “good enough” to give me both a gaming PC and a Hackintosh-capable PC.

So off to takealot.com I went, as well as followed this guide from TonyMacX86, for a “budget” mATX Hackintosh, making sure I can fit my video card and harddrive as well.  Here’s what I came up with, a list of Hackintosh-supported hardware:

Case
I chose a reasonably cheap case, as a case for me is purely functional, and not decorative, so I chose the
Raidmax Super Atlas Black – coming in at only R441.  The case does not come with a power supply, which was my intention, as generally the PSUs that come with a case are generally not powerful enough to run several devices as well as a reasonably power-hungry graphics card.

Powersupply
As takealot did not have the suggested 500W Corsair modular PSU, I ended up choosing the
RaidMax 850W PSU V2.3 80PLUS modular PSU.  More than enough wattage to be able to add more peripherals, but a bit more expensive than I’d ever pay for a PSU before, a heavy R1149.  It is a modular design, so no extra cables hanging around causing airflow problems inside the case.

Motherboard
One of the suggested, and Hackintosh-supported motherboard, is the
Gigabyte Z87M-D3H M-ATX motherboard.  4 memory slots, supports 4th generation i5 and i7 CPUs, has USB3.0 support, supports 6GB/s SATA drives (6 SATA ports, so lots of RAID possibilities there), and has a single PCIEx16 slot.  I won’t ever run a second video card in my machine, so the single PCI-Express slot is fine for me.  Never having paid more than maybe R1000 for a motherboard before, this one’s price of R1716 was a bit of a drag, but hey, it’s chock full of goodness.

Memory
PC, and Hackintosh, memory is a dark art.  Lots of numbers and CL this and latency that, to tell the truth, I don’t know much about it.  And the bit of reading I’ve done, the differences between a lot of these numbers may mean an extra 1% or 2% extra performance.  Not enough of a performance gain to spend much time on that, so I just took the suggested memory dimms from the buyer’s guide, and went with CORSAIR VENGEANCE Low Profile 8GB – 2x 4GB DDR3-1600 CL9 from takealot, coming in at a reasonable-ish R1293 for 2x 4GB, leaving enough room in the motherboard for future expansion too.

CPU
The CPU was the shocker for me.  The most I’ve ever paid for a CPU was about R2000 for my Intel Core2Duo E8400 CPU, a fantastic CPU for its time.  The CPU I ended up looking at, based on the recommendation from TonyMacX86, was the Intel Core i5 4670K – 3.40Ghz Socket 1150 Processor.  I read up a bit, and found that the “K” in the model number indicates that the CPU is overclockable, which I’m OK with.  It’s only about R200 more expensive than the non-overclockable version, so a no-brainer.  The price of this puppy was my biggest surprise.  Coming in at a very heavy R3339.  It comes with its own CPU cooler, so no overclocking quite yet.  It will require a better cooler if any overclocking is going to happen.

Total
Doing the math now, this comes in at just under R8000, keeping in mind the above kit does not include harddrive, graphics card, mouse, keyboard or monitor, all of which I already have.  Adding the price of those could easily put the price of this Hackintosh/gaming PC at easily over R15000.  Fine, R8000 for an upgrade to a reasonably new hardware platform, and allow me to run both Windows and OSX on it is not a bad price at the end of the day.  Now if only I had the R8000 to make it happen.  Anyone want to donate me some bitcoins?  😉   (Really?  Bitcoin tipjar here: 1KDHFgVsw2Zcp3erPDNDRz8VF6vQQvmjAj )

Mac OSX tips for Windows users

I was recently asked “Now what?” when a primarily Windows user was faced with a sealed Macbook Pro box. So I ended up typing the following few tips off the top of my head to help said Windows user to find their way around OSX:

  • Your system tray is top right, not bottom right.
  • Your menu bar at the top left, is there *all* the time, and changes depending on which application has the focus
  • Applications do not have their own menu bar attached to the window, their menu bar *is* the menu bar at the top left of the screen.
  • Ctrl is now Cmd (Cmd-c to copy, Cmd-v to paste, etc).
  • Alt *really* means what it’s meant to mean – alternative. want a ™ sign? alt-2. £? alt-3. ¥? Alt-y, etc. (shift-alt-letter is another alternative).
  • Want a kappie on your e? Alt-i_let-go-of-Alt_e (Umlaut is Alt-u, Accent is Alt-e). Kappie on the u? Alt-i-u -> û
  • Where is your Control panel? Click the apple icon on the menu bar, click System Preferences.
  • Where’s your right-click on your laptop trackpad? Ctrl-left-click. Want to have a right click? Enable “click-with-two-fingers-for-right-click” in System Preferences->Mouse.
  • The dock at the bottom is both a taskbar *and* a launchbar, just like in Windows 7. Little dot under the icon means the app is running.
  • Want to close an app? Click the red x icon top left of the window. But the little dot is still under the icon on the dock! Yes, you closed the app, you didn’t Quit the app. Want to quit it? Cmd-q or click on the app’s name in the menubar – then click Quit.
  • Quick way to kill an application? Alt-Cmd-Escape.
  • Want to use the built-in media player? Cmd-Escape. (no mouse in there, use the keyboard. escape to go back/escape out)
  • Try the tap-to-click option in System Preferences->Mouse – no more *clicking* of the mouse touchpad, just tap it to click.
  • Scrolling up and down in a webpage/document? Drag up/down with three fingers on the touchpad.
  • Where’s your Start menu? Click “Applications” on the right-hand-side of the dock at the bottom.
  • Can’t find your file explorer? it’s now called “Finder” (usually far-left of the dock)
  • Default browser? Safari.
  • Default mail application? Mail (or also written as Mail.app)
  • .app is the “application” extension, you won’t see the extension, but it’s implied. It behaves like an exe in Windows.
  • .dmg is “Disk image” aka a zip-ish file that contains an application – double-click the .dmg file to open the disk image – it opens a Finder window.
  • Want to “install” that application onto the laptop? Drag the application from the disk image window onto your Applications icon on your dock.
  • Want to delete a file? drag it to the Trash icon. Or select it by clicking on it once, then press Cmd-Backspace.
  • Want to clear your trash? Shift-Cmd-Backspace, or right-click on the Trash icon, then click on Empty Trash
  • What about your desktop? That’s there still as well, and works similar to in Windows.
  • Attached a USB disk to your Mac? It appears inside Finder on the right-hand side as well as on your desktop
  • Want to detach that USB disk safely? Right-click on the icon and click unmount -OR- drag the icon onto the Trash folder. WAIT A MINUTE! That Trash folder icon changed to an Eject icon! Now that’s clever.
  • Want to connect to your Exchange server for mail? Mail.app supports Exchange, otherwise, you can install MS Office for Mac – it has Outlook.

I hope this helps Windows users that have never seen Mac OSX.
Did I miss some rather obvious things? Let me know and I’ll add it to the list.