Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Useful Twerks, I mean Tweaks

I know. Another long hiatus of no posts.  Life has been a whirlwind with my second daughter being born pre-mature as well as me preparing myself for graduate school come this spring 2016. Regardless, I want to keep posting here as often as I can. So today, I thought I would write up a small post with a couple of updates on what I have been working on and cover a couple of useful tweaks I have discovered I could make on my Debian systems to improve useability and productivity.

The first tweak is targeted at just the iBook and PowerBook owners.  Out of the box, the scroll direction feels unnatural and counterintuitive.  Luckily, I was able to discover what trackpad settings could be used to reverse the scroll direction. Once in place, you should be able to pull down on the page and have the browser scroll up and vice versa. To put this configuration in effect, open up your synaptics.conf file and add the following lines:

Option "VertScrollDelta" "-111"
Option "HorizScrollDelta" "-111" 

Once those two options have been added, reboot and enjoyed reversed scrolling.

The other tweaks I thought would be useful to share is the ability to spice up and add a bit of color to your bash shell. Add the following lines to either your ~/.bashrc file or /etc/bashrc.bash file.

export LS_OPTIONS='--color=auto'
eval "`dircolors`"
alias ls='ls $LS_OPTIONS'

To apply the changes, run the following command (assuming you edited the file in your home directory):

source ~/.bashrc

Why stop there though?  If you are a heavy user of vim like myself, you have the ability to add highlighted syntax to your text editor.  Browse to /etc/vim/vimrc and uncomment the line below.  You will need to make the edit as the root user if you do not already have root privileges.

syntax on

Yep.  That is it. The change is immediate. 

These two colorful tweaks add a great amount of readibility within the terminal, especially the colored syntax highlights.  Such a configuration makes it easy to spot typos within configuration files and code as well as pick out certain kinds of items with much more speed and agility.

In terms of new hardware, I have scored an ATI FireGL X3 graphics card with 256 MB of VRAM.  This particular card is documented as being the second fastest graphics card available for G4 Quicksilvers. The fastest graphics card, the Nvidia GeForce 7800 GS, I also already own! Speaking of the Nvidia card, I have been able to get 2D acceleration working with the Nvidia Card as well using the procedure I explained in detail over at PowerPC Liberation, so hopefully I can post on that soon too.  Before that though, I want to test the latest Rage 128 patch mentioned here to see what kind of performance I can manage with a nearly 15 year old card.

Speaking of graphics, a university also provided me with a couple of spare G4 towers and an older 17" Apple Studio Display with an ADC connector.  When hooked up to my G4 Quicksilver project machine, it looks magnificent with its 1280x1024 resolution.  The Apple Display Connector is a real bugger though as finder adapters for other display outputs is not as feasible and the Apple branded adapter costs well over $100.

Lastly, I also purchased some royal blue heatsinks for the QS's RAM and they look fantastic, but in terms of performance and temperature difference, I am not sure how they fare. Not only that, but I also scored a Sonnet Serial ATA PCI card for the G4 upgrade project. With that in mind, my next post should get us back on track with the Pimp My G4 Quicksilver project where I wrap things up with the CPU upgrade for the time being.