Ubuntu Lucid doesn’t speak Japanese

Trying to get Japanese input working on Ubuntu (Lucid)? The conversion between different scripts is not working? It’s probably because of a missing package: ibus-anthy.

I had a fresh installation today and just couldn’t figure out why it didn’t worked, if you wanted to convert between e.g. hiragana to kanji. All the settings look fine, you’ve chosen the correct input methods (Japanese-anthy) and also verified that the environment variables are set for starting ibus correctly. But still – no working setup. Usually the screen-shot illustrates what you expect to see when typing:

The little contextmenu is what you expect to see in case you have a working ibus setup.

The usual workflow goes like this: You enter text in hiragana, by hitting space you cycle through all alternatives the little context-menu shows. Pretty handy actually, but not if you don’t see the context-menu and no conversion happens. Most of the documentation online is either in Japanese or deprecated. It took me a while to figure out, that I just had to install ibus-anthy, because it wasn’t installed by default.


Input Methods in Ubuntu Karmic Koala

I recently upgraded to Ubuntu Karmic Koala. The only glitch I was stumbling over quite often, was a problem in my terminal. It allowed me to type in a few characters before the cursor continues. A bit like the digraph mode in vim to enter special characters.

SCIM Triggered

SCIM Triggered

Now I accidentally stumbled over the Smart Common Input Method Platform (SCIM) Setup. The default hotkey is ‘CTRL+Space’, the hotkey I’m using for switching windows in screen is ‘CTRL+A+Space’. In case I slipped a bit I triggered the default input method, which terrorised my programming hours. You can’t move in vim any more, you can’t navigate in mutt anymore you can’t even hardly navigate in your file-system, because every key-press is swallowed by the default input methods. WTF?

Don’t get me wrong. The problem is not the input methods setup here, it’s just that there is now way of figuring out what is triggering the different input methods. If you need to tweak or change the default hotkey, you can find the setup program for SCIM under ‘System/Preferences/SCIM Input Method Setup‘.

Vimperator – a firefox add-on


For my daily text editing and programming work, I’m using vim. Great editor suitable for almost every purpose.

There is a Firefox add-on out now for changing the browser interface to behave like a vim interface. It advertises itself that you can even throw away your mouse. First I was curious if that’s gonna even work, but it does and I’m very happy with it. Although, I’m still using my mouse for browsing. It saves time not touching the mouse in a few cases, though. A few key features I use every day:

Following links

You press the ‘f‘ key and vimperator hints all links on the current webpage. No you press either the first letters of the link label or a number associated with the link.

Navigating on a website

You can just use the normal arrow keys for browsing, but there is more. As usual you can use ‘j‘ and ‘k‘ for scrolling up and down, as well as ‘space bar‘ for jumping a page down, or ‘gg‘ for jumping to the top, or ‘GG‘ for jumping to the bottom.

Text editing

Remember editing text areas without using your favourite editor? The times are over: Press CTRL+i in insert mode (you’re automatically in insert mode when inserting text on an input field or text area) and vimperator fires up a vim. Very handy for editing large amounts of text in textareas.

Opening URLs

Just press ‘o‘ to open a new url, or ‘O‘ to use the current URL. You can easily open the url in a tab by using ‘t‘ or ‘T‘ instead. You can use yank and paste as well. Just pressing ‘y‘ on an opened web site, yanks the URL. If you’re already a URL in the buffer, press ‘p‘ and the browser opens the link (like the middle mouse click). Very handy.

You can also use tab for completing commands or URLs. For example you want to open the website you opened yesterday, but you only remember a few letters, You type: ‘o‘, enter ‘foo‘ and press tab. Vimperator shows a list of URLs matching your string. You can now tab and enter to the match and open the URL.

Navigating between tabs … err… buffers 😉

Jumping between tabs is like jumping between buffers in vim. Use CTRL+n or CTRL+n for jumping to the next and previous tabs. It’s similar to jumping in the history of visited pages: use CTRL+i or CTRL+o for back or forward in the history.

That are the commands are use almost everyday for browsing. There is support for more features like macros and quickmarks and so forth. So if you’re using vim everyday, give it a go. IMHO it’s worth the speed for browsing you get.

Before I forget: In case you need help to the features, use ‘:help‘ as usual for browsing the online help.

GAH – The stupid online postage stamp

I ordered a paket of shoes from an online shop. Now I want to send them back and the online shop uses an automatic postage stamp provided by DHL.

The yellow fields in the top right corner are buttons which trigger a 'print' on your standard printer.

The yellow fields in the top right corner are buttons which trigger a

You can download a PDF, which can only be opened by Adobe Acrobat or any PDF reader who understands Javascript. What you don’t expect, are Javascript buttons in the upper right corner, which actually start a print job. I mean, you’re looking at a document with a reader, not an application to start print jobs. That’s why the ‘print’ button of the reader application is for. Isn’t it?

So, all of a sudden, I clicked randomly in the PDF to get rid of the stupid ‘Muster’ letters, which make it difficult to see the actual postage stamp. After I closed the reader, I noticed that there happened something. The printer was already printing like hell and the terminal showed me the following debug output:

Auftrags-ID ist milhouse-107 (1 Dateien)
Auftrags-ID ist milhouse-108 (1 Dateien)
Auftrags-ID ist milhouse-109 (1 Dateien)
Auftrags-ID ist milhouse-110 (1 Dateien)
Auftrags-ID ist milhouse-111 (1 Dateien)

Fun with a Card Reader

My mum bought a software+hardware solution for her sewing machine from Pfaff. The software transforms vector images into data which the sewing machine can read. It stitches the image on a piece of fabric. Actually very neat, if it works.

But as always there are problems. I can’t get the card reader to work. It just remains silent. Windows recognizes the new piece of hardware, as well as GNU Linux does. Reading and writing is not possible, because the software shipped with the card reader can’t read from the card (at least that’s what’s the error message says).

Now… we have to call support…

Update: It turned out that the card was defect. How can someone produce b0rked cards? No quality control?