2013 in review powered by WordPress

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a cute annual report for this blog for 2013 🙂 For 2014 I’ve bought tickets for FOSDEM 2014 to represent Sopler and share what cool things can happen with it.

Right now, I’m taking a look at Mozilla’s version of the l10n.js library in order to localise Sopler (at least on FirefoxOS).

Well, that’s it! Have a great 2014! By the way, for this year, the 3-years-in-a-row champion is again “My Fedora 15 tweaks for an SSD” (ok, it accumulates all previous years but nevertheless it still gets views). I guess they’ve become even more popular! (both Fedora and SSDs).

PS. A weird thing to say but, if anybody works for a new wave/post-punk/indie rock record label, comment or PM me! I got good news for you from Wonky Doll and the Echo.

Click here to see the complete report.

Making a Tabzilla clone using Bootstrap

Hi, as you might have noticed Sopler has a navigation menu very similar to that of Mozilla’s Tabzilla…but it’s not 🙂

I think Tabzilla is a great tool but while making Sopler’s front-end with Bootstrap I faced a problem integrating it. I had to use a string in order to place HTML inside my menu. That’ss very restrictive. But, I found a similarity between a component of Bootstrap and Tabzilla!

I have no idea if someone else has found that out too, but it’s  the same effect with Bootstrap’s accordion. It expands & retracts.

In this post I will use the template of the navbar-fixed-top example from Bootstrap 3. Go get it here (Download source). It’s in the examples folder. Tabzilla is not fixed so I think we have an improvement here. Anyway, someone might find it too much, so, to implement my example on the navbar-static-top, you won’t need the javascript code at the end of this post. Here is a demo for navbar-static-top (not the navbar-fixed-top I mentioned before): http://jsbin.com/EkAweqA/1/ (press the Menu button)

The whole trick is to place the “accordion-body” div above the “accordion-heading” and then write a few lines of Javascript to change the navbar’s position from fixed to relative….and that’s it!

Go to the navbar-fixed-top example, open index.html and replace everything between:

<!-- Fixed navbar -->


<div class="container">

<!-- Main component for a primary marketing message or call to action -->

(this is NOT the first div class=”container”  you’ll find, it’s the one in line 69)

<!--- This will not show up until you press the Menu button --->
<div id="login_box" class="login-box">
   <div class="accordion" id="accordion2">
      <div class="accordion-group">
         <div id="collapsemenu" class="accordion-body collapse">
            <div class="accordion-inner">
		    <div class="row inner_box">
			<div class="col-md-12">
			    <h2>Put any HTML goodies you want here!</h2>

     <!-- Fixed navbar (To make it static simply change to navbar-static-top)-->
    <div class="navbar navbar-default navbar-fixed-top">
      <div class="container">
         <ul  class="nav navbar-nav list-inline" style="float:right; margin-right: 5em; white-space: nowrap;">
   	<div class="accordion-heading">
	 <button type="button" id="menu_button" class="btn btn-primary navbar-btn" data-toggle="collapse" data-parent="#accordion2" href="#collapsemenu">Menu</button>
	<a  class="navbar-brand" href="#">Brand name</a>


Now, we need to create two more classes at the navbar-fixed-top.css (it’s next to index.html inside the navbar-fixed-top folder) :

overflow: hidden;


margin:0 auto; max-width:57em; text-align:center;

Of course you can style it the way you want! And finally let’s go to the footer of the page (under the jquery.js call) and put this script (not useful for the navbar-static-example):

<script type="text/javascript">
var isopen="";
if (!open){
$('html,body').animate({ scrollTop: 0 }, 'normal');

Let’s explain the script! We use the isopen variable (line 3) which is set to false by default. It’s working like a switch. If the menu is not open and we click the Menu button then the page scrolls to the top and the position of the bar is set to relative. If we click the button again then the navbar’s position is se to fixed. We don’t need to scroll because when the menu is open the bar won’t move from its place anyway (that’s why we used relative).

If all goes well, when you click the Menu button it should look like that:

Introducing Sopler, a new open web application!

Here are some exciting news: The last two of months I’ve been part of a promising project. We made a web application that uses open standards (and it’s open source). It’s called Sopler and we are the Sopler project. I worked on the UI/UX design part  (meaning, HTML5, CSS3, JQuery etc) and oh boy…I’ve learned a lot of new stuff (like Bootstrap 3, FirefoxOS etc) and there are lot’s of things to post on this blog in the near future.

What can you do with Sopler? Make a list, add some items and share the link with your friends.They can add or check some items, make comments etc…

Sopler is still in Beta but you can check our code on Github. Enjoy our new video (with english & greek subtitles available):

What can’t you see in the video? Sopler can “remember” all previous lists of an authorized user (who signed in using a social account), plus, his privileges over any item are greater than those of a non-authorized user.

That’s because a social account profile makes a user unique and in this way it’s easy to map a user to his list.

Yes, Sopler is on many social networks too: Facebook, Twitter & Google+

So, see you soon with more news 🙂

MSP430 + Eclipse CDT on Fedora 19

Hello! This is a guide to install Eclipse and everything required to flash your project to a MSP430 board 🙂

First, you need to install Eclipse CDT (the Eclipse version using the C/C++ IDE) and there are three ways:

  1. Go the Eclipse’s website, download and install it yourself
  2. Use Fedora’s “Software” application (which is PackageKit, the GUI of yum) and search for “eclipse-cdt”
  3. Use your terminal, type su, press enter, give your root password and then type yum install eclipse-cdt. Type “y” to install all dependencies required for eclipse-cdt 🙂

After you have successfully installed Eclipse CDT you can continue to the main course. We need a plugin for MSP430 called msp430-eclipse by xPG. Don’t download anything yet. We’ll use Eclipse for that!

Now, open Eclipse go to Help->Install new software and add http://eclipse.xpg.dk as a software source. Use it to install the msp430 plugin.

Next, we need a tool-chain that includes all files to compile, debug etc our code specifically for our MSP430 platform! Visit xPG’s website as mentioned previously. Scroll down and choose the version of the tool-chain for your system.

We will need to install a few packages more though as xPG’s tool-chain is not sufficient (If you try to compile without those packages it will fail to find libmpc.so.2, or something like that). I fixed it by installing five msp430-related packages: msp430-binutils, msp430-gcc, msp430-libc, msp430mcu, mspdebug. Maybe some of them are not really needed but ok it’s only a few Kbytes and in the end everything works well. You can use step 2 or step 3 from above!

If you are confident for your tool-chain and skipped my previous steps, you don’t need to download any package (the next step), you just need to configure Eclipse later on.

Download and extract the package in an appropriate location (like your home folder, or any other folder inside it). Go to Eclipse (with the plugin already installed, like I showed you before) and from Eclipse’s menu click on MSP430 -> Tool Manager. Press  “Add…”, find the tool-package folder, select it and click OK. On the Tool Manager, select the tool-chain and press “Activate”.

If you want to use your own tool-chain, all MSP430 compilation and debug tools can be configured at Window->Preferences->MSP430.

As normal users we don’t have permission to use the USB bus. To fix that, go to Fedora’s “Users and Groups” or system-config-users (if you don’t have that install it like all other packages). Create a group named eg. “usb” and add your user into it (“Users” tab -> select your user-> Properties). Log out and log in again for changes to take effect.

Next, go to a terminal, type “su -” and create a file with the command: gedit /etc/udev/rules.d/71-persistent-msp430.rules . Then, copy, paste and save this:

SUBSYSTEM==”usb”, ATTRS{idVendor}==”0451″, ATTRS{idProduct}==”f432″, MODE=”0660″, GROUP=”usb”

The numbers “0451” and “f432” can be verified if you connect your board and use the command “lsusb”.  Now, go to a terminal for the last time and give these three commands:

systemctl restart systemd-udevd.service

systemctl restart systemd-udev-trigger.service

systemctl restart systemd-udev-settle.service

Now, let’s make a new project and test what we’ve done. This will require a MSP430 board, hopefully supported by the plugin (which is very probable as you will notice). Create a new C/C++ project and select the “Empty project” at the “MSP430 Cross Target Application” folder. Give it a name and then click Finish.

Right-click the project at the “Project Explorer” and choose Properties. Go to the “MSP430” section, select your MCU and debug settings. Next, go to the “C/C++ General” section -> Paths and Symbols, select GNU C at the “Includes” tab and include the path “/home/username/any_directory/msp430-toolchain-linux-amd64-3.0/msp430/include” (same for GNU C++)

Right-click the folder, create a src folder and place a source file into it preferably with a blink.c (a blinking LED example) file for your board such as this one in this blog. Don’t forget to include your board’s header file!

Build the project, then right-click the project and select MSP430->Upload to target (or use the icon for that job at the main bar).

The example should work and this brings us to the end of this tutorial 🙂

Disable NVIDIA on Sony VAIO VPCZ11X9E (Fedora 17) and more news

Hey! I know I haven’t posted anything these past few months but I would have no excuse if I didn’t post about that: I have disabled my NVIDIA card from the “Dynamic Hybrid Graphics System” of my Sony VAIO VPCZ11X9E.

A few more news: 2nd semester on my post-grad program was even better than the 1st one. Plus, the band I am participating in (both playing and composing), named Wonky Doll and the Echo, is about to release it’s debut album! Feel free to listen to four of our songs on SoundCloud (even more links there 🙂 )

Now, back to modifying our system, why would I want to disable my NVIDIA card? It’s because what I can only get out of this “hybrid system” is only the performance of my Intel card at the cost of Intel + NVIDIA working together! That means, more heat and faster battery discharges! Oh, by the way, I am now using Fedora 17 which is a lot more stable than Fedora 16 I must say (thanks GNOME!).

What I need to tell you is that: If you don’t know what you are doing, don’t trust any guide like this (…or do things at your own risk) 🙂 But you should know that in case of failure of this procedure, if you have at least once updated your kernel, you can just go back to the previous one and delete the files we will create. This will solve most of the crashes that might happen if you don’t follow the instructions correctly.

The Bumblebee project is for resolving the NVIDIA Optimus problem, not SONY’s hybrid system installed on some VAIO’s. So, I didn’t try that. What we are going to use is  acpi_call which is a kernel module (tip: that means it needs to be compiled again after a kernel update 🙂 )that will help us configure Fedora”s power management system in order to shut down the NVIDIA card.

My resources in order to learn how to shut down the card were mainly these:

We first need (as root) to download (lines 1-3), get inside the folder (line 4), compile (line 5, for that you need gcc, kernel-headers etc. if you don’t know what all that is…ask someone!), install the module on the current kernel  (lines 6-8) and test if it worked (that means the output of test_off.sh should get you one “works” next to a ACPI handle :

# yum -y update
# yum install git
# git clone https://github.com/mkottman/acpi_call
# cd acpi_call
# make
# cp acpi_call.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/acpi
# depmod -a
# modprobe acpi_call
# chmod +x ./test_off.sh

I got this one: Trying \_SB.PCI0.P0P2.DGPU._OFF: works! …which is great!

The result of the script will also be an increase of the battery duration (which I haven’t tested yet as my battery died a few months ago) and a decrease in the temperature of your system (you can see that in your terminal if you install the lm_sensors package on “Add/Remove Software” or “yum install lm_sensors”. The temprature of the NVIDIA card will drop to -1 degrees Celsious. The temprature of my CPU dropped approx. from 70 to 58 degrees!!!
Now you are able to shut down the NVIDIA card manually while you are using Fedora. Next, we have to make Fedora do this automatically in every boot.

As “su -” we will create a script named nvidia_off.sh :

# gedit  /usr/local/bin/nvidia_off.sh

and inside this script you will paste this:

echo “——————————-” >> /var/log/nvidia.log
echo `date` >> /var/log/nvidia.log
echo “Disabling Nvidia video adapter !! ” >> /var/log/nvidia.log
echo “——————————-” >> /var/log/nvidia.log
echo “\_SB.PCI0.P0P2.DGPU._OFF” > /proc/acpi/call

What’s important is the first and the last line only. The last line might need modification from your part as the ACPI handler might be different for your system (if you have a different laptop than mine). The other lines are not compulsory. Since I use an SSD disc and have moved my /var/log folder in RAM that means logging this info is not really of value. But for everyone else who hasn’t done this it’s cool for debugging.

Now we need to modify the priviledges of this script with:

# chmod 775 /usr/local/bin/nvidia_off.sh

Next step is to configure our system to load the acpi_call module we installed in each boot. For that purpose we create a .conf file here (again with su -):

# gedit /etc/modules-load.d/acpi_call.conf

and just write or paste just this : acpi_call

Since we now know that our module will be loaded it is safe to execute our “nvidia_off.sh” script.

To do that we need to create another script in /etc/rc.d/ named “rc.local” (it used to exist in previous releases, now it doesn’t):

# gedit /etc/rc.d/rc.local

and write down  or copy-paste this:

/usr/bin/sh /usr/local/bin/nvidia_off.sh

The final step is to stop the nouveau driver get activated during startup, as it will crash your system. We need to edit grub2:

# gedit /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

in this file you must be able to recognise the kernel in which you have just installed acpi_call next to the word menuentry 🙂 if you are not sure what’s your current kernel just use the command “uname -r”.

Now, right before the word quiet (which is before the command “echo ‘Loading initial ramdisk …’ “) paste this:


Yes, it blacklists the nouveau driver so that it will not load. If you boot succesfuly you will notice that the temprature of the NVIDIA card will not be mentioned anymore but the significant temprature drop will still be there. 🙂

New album on Jamendo and it’s an OST

Dear all,

I am glad to announce that I just published my new work. It’s a soundtrack for a theatrical play named “Έξι αρχεία κρυμμένα”  that means “six hidden files”. No it has nothing to do with Linux and you can’t unhide them with control+H.

As I already said, this album contains all the songs and effects used at the theatrical play of Tomas Diafas “six hidden files”. Six roles, six hidden documents. This play is inspired from last year’s incidents at the center of Athens, showing a different chain of events and personal misfortunes created from a protest. A theatrical play for the protests around us that reveal the protests inside us.

Download it in OGG format : http://bit.ly/fpaFbU

click to listen the album on Jamendo

===== Ελληνικά / Greek =====

Τα κομμάτια αυτά γράφτηκαν για τη παράσταση “Έξι αρχεία κρυμμένα” του σκηνοθέτη-συγγραφέα Θωμά Διάφα με πρωταγωνιστές έξι χαρακτήρες, έξι αρχεία κρυμμένα, εμπνευσμένη από τα περσυνά τραγικά επεισόδια στο κέντρο της Αθήνας και για το πως αυτά δημιουργούν μια αλληλουχία άλλου είδους προσωπικών επεισοδίων. Μια παράσταση για τις διαδηλώσεις γύρω μας που μαρτυρούν τις επαναστάσεις μέσα μας.Περισσότερες πληροφορίες:  http://bit.ly/hp1OBC

Περικλής Ασημακόπουλος
Έφη Κατσαφάρου
Ελευθερία Κατσούπη
Νάντια Παυλάκη
Βασιλική Σκρέκου
Απόστολος Φράγκος

Σκηνοθεσία- Κείμενο: Θωμάς Διάφας
Σκηνικά – Κοστούμια: Δομνίκη Βασιαγεώργη
Επιμέλεια Κίνησης: Αφροδίτη Βερβενιώτη
Μουσική: Κωνσταντίνος Αντωνάκογλου
Βοηθός σκηνοθέτη: Αθανασία Ανδρώνη
Κομμώσεις- Μακιγιάζ: Καίτη Αραβαντινού