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Welcome to my personal hideout

My name is Tobias and I've always messed or had something going on with computers. I use the majority of my time with computers; mostly invested in programming and trying out new ideas. This site functions as a personal hideout and as a place where I present some of my projects.

News/my blog

Flutter is cool! A serious contender to React Native!
26/5/2017 Filed in: Programming

Last week I made a small post about React Native. This week I've had my head around Flutter. Flutter is a new mobile app SDK to help developers and designers build modern mobile apps for iOS and Android. So it's the same idea as React Native. Both projects are exceedingly similar. Flutter is written using the Dart language. 

A long story short; I like flutter A LOT already. Now I've tried React Native I can say that I like Flutter the best of these two. Granted Flutter is very alpha at this stage, but I really dig the API that's available right now. No markup. Just pure UI work with a vast amount of classes. There's a class (or widget) for almost every thing. It is simple yet very powerful. The thing I really like about Flutter is its UI API actually results in beatiful Material design interfaces right off the bat. No boilerplate or undocumented mumbo jumbo you get with the current official Android SDK. I get the feeling that Flutter is what the Android SDK should be like today. A modern SDK without all the boilerplate.

Another thing Flutter does right is debugging and hot-reloading. This is not the case with React Native; I've experienced a lot crashes due to errors while hot-reloading code. Resulting in the need to completely relaunch your app in debug mode.

Head over to Flutter to get yourself started. Yet again I rewrote some of my TV Lige Nu! app. Below are some screenshots of what I've accomplised in 5-8 hours time with Flutter (while completely new to Dart and the Flutter SDK);


The flutter implementation of TV Lige Nu!; 

React Native
13/5/2017 Filed in: Programming

I have been looking at React Native by facebook and the project intrigues me alot. React Native uses the same fundamental UI building blocks as regular iOS and Android apps. You just put those building blocks together using JavaScript.

I have experience with the ionic framework. With ionic everything is rendered in a webview using Apache Cordova. It works but especially on Android the performance is dreadful. I can already tell you that React Native is a better project in my opinion. The framework and the result is so much better. It makes sense. React Native compiles to native code for the respective OS, Android or iOS. That means there is no performance compromise and the apps built with React Native run just as smoothly as apps built using native tooling.

I still have some seconds thoughts about using other external building blocks with React Native. A lot of times maintainence of said external building blocks becomes a serious problem. The project React Native Material has not been updated for 7 months as an example. Not great. Right now React Native is a little short on features on both iOS and Android. Simple things like navigation features are not complete and lacking in documentation.

My idea is to re-build my app TV Lige Nu! using  React Native. I've already invested some hours pooking around and already have a crude working app. So this is a little new fun project.

It is fairly impressive how little code was required to do the above; and it's all running with native UI elements. I will publish an article with details at a later stage. When this project is more complete. I'm not sure if this implementation will replace the current TV Lige Nu! implementation. It's just a fun project ;)

Compact SSD with Arch and GRUB
16/10/2016 Filed in: News

I've been using a compact SSD USB-stick for some years now. My trusty Kingston DataTraveller. A beasty performer considering it's a glorified USB-stick. It contains a SSD controller with the flash chips so it functions just like a normal SSD. It gives me about 40-50MB/s read/write speeds. Decent for my needs.

Recently I formatted the stick and started afresh. This post gives a quick rundown of what I did to restore its glory.

First of I made a copy of my main install from my internal SSD; 

$ mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt/kingston 
$ cp -axr / /mnt/kingston
$ cp -axr /home /mnt/kingston

Remember to use -x to only copy from the locale mount and not other mounted filesystems. -a for archive; preserving attributes, recursive and no de-referencing.

Sometimes you get this gnarly error when trying to install GRUB;

Installing for i386-pc platform.
grub-install: warning: Attempting to install GRUB to a disk with multiple partition labels.  This is not supported yet..
grub-install: warning: Embedding is not possible.  GRUB can only be installed in this setup by using blocklists.  However, blocklists are UNRELIABLE and their use is discouraged..
grub-install: error: will not proceed with blocklists.

Therefore next clear what could be left of GPT or similar on the USB-stick. Making room for GRUB and insuring grub-install works its wonders.

$ parted /dev/sdb
$ mkpart primary ext4 0MiB 1MiB
$ quit

Then, zero the newly created partition.

$ dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb2

Then, delete the partition.

$ parted /dev/sdb
$ rm 2
$ quit

grub-install should now be able to do what it does.

$ grub-install target=i386-pc /dev/sdb
$ grub-mkconfig -o /mnt/kingston/boot/grub/grub.cfg

Verify the generated grub.cfg. And voilá. We're done. You should be able to boot from the USB-stick now. Remember to use the UUID of the sdb1 partiton in your /etc/fstab on the USB-stick to avoid problems.

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Latest playlist
1. Roky Erickson - It's A Cold Night For Alligators
2. Roky Erickson - Night of the Vampire
3. Roky Erickson - Night of the Vampire
4. Roky Erickson - I Walked With a Zombie
5. Roky Erickson - Two Headed Dog (Red Temple Prayer)
6. Roky Erickson - Night of the Vampire
7. Roky Erickson - I Walked With a Zombie
8. Roky Erickson - Two Headed Dog (Red Temple Prayer)
9. Roky Erickson - The Wind and More
10. Roky Erickson - Don't Slander Me

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