[Gentoo] Trying to get a Canon SD500 camera working

I had some Costco gift cards to use, and my digital camera’s been slowly dying for a year (even faster since getting soaked by the ocean in Hawaii). So I bought a new Canon SD500, a nice 7MP camera. I found a couple of docs saying it works in Linux. Problem is, I just can’t get it working.

First, it wasn’t even recognized as the user but was as root (found using `lsusb`), so I figured it was some sort of permissions problem. I came across a post from some guy named Steve suggesting that hotplug was the problem. After looking into it further, I found a file ‘/etc/hotplug/usb/usbcam’ that defines a group required to access hotplugged USB things. In Gentoo, this group is called “plugdev” — never heard of it in my life, never seen it in any documentation, nothing. You’d expect that it might be the “usb” group, but no, it’s something with a weird name nobody’s ever heard of.

Next, the camera was found in f-spot (added to portage today) and gthumb, but I still can’t get photos to import because other errors are coming up. The camera won’t respond to repeated identifier sequences, or it isn’t recognized, or something else.

If someone else has a Canon SD500 working properly in Linux, particularly Gentoo, please let me know.

Awesome military fantasy series by Steven Erikson

I just finished “Memories of Ice,” book three of Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen series. Whenever I get the chance, I’m a voracious fantasy/sci-fi reader, so I have a tough time finding new, good books that I haven’t read yet.

Erikson’s series really highlights the kind of thing I love to find. On Saturday, I was up in Portland and stopped by Barnes & Noble while we were at the mall. I spotted the latest book in the series and snatched it up. Most of Sunday, I was reading and got through around 600 pages. (For those of you who don’t know me, I generally read about 100 pages an hour.) I finished up the last 200 pages or so yesterday.

[Gentoo] Becoming a great distro for science

In the continuing saga of making Gentoo a great distribution for chemistry and structural biology, I’ve been packaging computational and molecular graphics applications. The latest addition to the tree is molscript, a popular program for preparing publication-quality graphics.

Other recent additions by myself and others include GAMESS, NAMD, MOLMOL, NMRPipe and MOPAC7.

With some luck and some time, we should see VMD and CCP4 in the relatively near future, among others.

[Gentoo] iPod support in Linux

I got an iPod nano for my birthday. It’s amazingly small — probably about 1/4″ thick, and 1.5″x3.5″ or so (2.54cm/inch, for those of you in the rest of the world). Now I’m trying to figure out how to get everything working nicely with Linux. Note that I don’t actually want to put Linux on the iPod, I just want to get things syncing properly.

I found a Linux Journal article from a few months back about using gtkpod as an iTunes act-alike. Also, it took a little searching, but gtkpod also provides scripts to sync the Calendar and Contacts with a number of Linux “groupware” apps. Looks like everything will work great!

Update: Brandon pointed me at a couple of other iPod apps: banshee and dopi. Banshee looks almost exactly like iTunes, and dopi is meant to be used in combination with nautilus for drag-n-drop.

[Gentoo] Packaging science apps still sucks

So, I decided I’d like to make Gentoo a solid distro for X-ray crystallography, my specialization in biochemistry/biophysics. Unfortunately all the apps I’ve started packaging so far have build systems clearly designed and constructed by scientists.

These are the types of apps where you’re expected to source some shell script before the build starts to set up random environment variables, then compile the whole thing in-place and leave it there, source and all. It’s actually incredibly difficult to get it independent of the source, as things have cross-directory dependencies on locations of other things.

This time, it’s CCP4. Why can’t they just use autotools??

[Gentoo] My birthday

Today’s my birthday. If you appreciate what I’ve done for Gentoo, or you have a generous spirit, feel free to express that via Paypal or my Amazon wishlist. =)

My wishlist contains a number of books ranging from less than $10 to more than $100, many of which would help in Linux work, others with grad school, and a few for (gasp!) entertainment.