Saturday, October 19, 2013

Gentoo on Facebook

Turns out Gentoo had a Facebook page with >10k "likes" already for quite some time. It was created in 2008 by a developer who later stopped using Facebook at some point, and noone really posted anything "official" there. Well, now's the time to step up public relations a bit... We (as in the people I spoke to on the #gentoo-pr Freenode channel) are not 100% sure so far what to do with it exactly, but there will certainly be occasional news and updates. Also, I'm feeding it with the Gentoo Planet RSS. If you are a Facebook user, head to the page and like us! :)

Lab::Measurement 3.20 released - including Lab::XPRESS

We have uploaded Lab::Measurement 3.20 to CPAN today. This release includes significant new features, in particular in the high-level measurement code and in the instrument readout logic.

The central new feature is Lab::XPRESS. This set of Perl modules builds upon the Instrument layer and provides a replacement and alternative to the Lab::Measurement class and its metadata handling. As detailed in several examples (1, 2, 3), nested loops of parameters, as e.g. gate voltages, combined with arbitrary measurements at each point can now be implemented in a highly flexible but simple way: you describe the logical structure of the measurement, without having to program the loops yourself. This means the actual measurement scripts become simpler and shorter, while remaining highly configurable. The underlying code can automatically take care of many details such as waiting times, timing of measurements, and pause or well-defined abort of the script on key events.

At the Instrument level, foundations have been laid for a centralized caching of instrument parameters. While this defaults off, it can be enabled in an instrument driver. The functionality is useful e.g. if reading out a parameter from the device that does not change on its own, unless explicitly set by a script, is a slow command. This also includes a generic support for asynchronous readout, i.e. first requesting a measurement value and thereby starting a read-out, then later in a separate command reading the result.

In addition, several instrument drivers have been added in varying states of completion, as e.g. the Cryogenic SMS magnet power supply, the Knick S252 voltage source, the Anritsu MG369xB signal generator, and the Keithley 2000 multimeter.

Finally, the TCPraw connection has been deprecated in favour of a new generic Socket implementation which provides a larger feature set. While TCPraw is still available, it internally only calls Socket and will be removed in a future version.

The release package is available from CPAN. Documentation as well as a web view of the Git code repository and a bug tracker are available from the package homepage

app-emulation/vmware-workstation-10 and friends

I finally got around to import the ebuilds for the new VMware Workstation and Player versions into the main tree. Thanks a lot to all the contributors on Bugzilla. Right now the ebuilds do not have any keywords yet since I have not tested the installation results at all myself, so if you want to try installing the software, remember you need a license for VMware Workstation, and 10 != 9 :], and then keyword it manually in /etc/portage/package.keywords as follows:
=app-emulation/vmware-modules-279* **
=app-emulation/vmware-workstation-10* **
=app-emulation/vmware-player-6* **
(Obviously this will only work on x86 and amd64, since the software only exists for these architectures.) Feedback of all sorts is welcome on the version bump bugs for VMware Workstation and the kernel modules and for VMware Player.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Not keeping up - DB ICE w-lan hotspots pointless

We used to be very much at the top of travel comfort, at least what network connectivity concerned. On many routes of the high speed trains within Germany, W-LAN hotspots were installed in the cars, and the network was (not free but) reliable and quite fast. (Which 3G mobile network connectivity usually is not once you're moving at 300kph.)
Now, in the age of the smartphone, unfortunately we learn firsthand what happens if supply does not follow demand... During each of my last train trips, the router was quickly out of IP adresses. Strong signal, wi-fi connection fine, no network layer. Which makes the whole thing extremely pointless. :(