Category Archives: environment

A truly lame KDE 4 issue (or: command keyboard shortcuts not working)


A few days ago, I've installed KDE 4 on my Ubuntu laptop, as I wanted to replace GNOME. The GUI and default styles are really beautiful (finally someone realizes that black-based colors are best. like good old console).

One of the first things I always do when customizing a new environment, is assigning a keyboard shortcut for running konsole. After a little struggling & googling, I realized that setting a command shortcut is not available through the keyboard settings, nor through the "properties" menu of the desktop icon, because there's no such menu anymore. I think that it's a bad design, but that's one thing.

The right way for setting a command shortcut is through the menu editor (right click on K menu). After choosing an application from the menu, it's possible to assign it a shortcut key.

... Or so it seems! I've chosen my favorite key combination (ctrl+space), and it didn't work. Some googling revealed that it's a known bug with a normal severity, which will only be fixed on KDE 4.2.

Bottom line: KDE 4.1 (sounds like a mature version to me..) does not support assigning keyboard shortcuts to commands although the option is present with no warnings, and nobody is going to fix that for 4.1. This is, what I call LAME (read: unprofessional).

On my Debian desktop I still have KDE 3.5 (which is a great product), because sid is still in a deep freeze. Maybe it's good, after all.

How HP & Microsoft donate to world pollution (and Ink business)

Or: "how to set draft printing quality as default"

[warning: non Linux post]

I've had two pretty modern (year 2006+) HP InkJet printers. Their driver adds a new tab to the Windows "Printing Preferences" dialog (I really enjoy those vendor-specific dialogs!), through which  one can change the printing quality.

For 90% of my home needs, black-only draft quality is enough, so upon printing, from the "Printing Dialog", I click "Printing Preferences" and change the quality to black-only + fast/economical printing:

However, the GUI designer forgot (or the MS API doesn't allow) a "make this the default" button, which is a MUST in my opinion.

A quick digging revealed the forbidden truth, though.

So, how can we really set the default printing quality?

Control Panel -> Printers -> right click on your printer -> Properties -> "Advanced" Tab (Cuz it's only for really advanced users! are you sure you are one?) -> Printing Defaults button:

Microsoft (and Apple), as the biggest OS vendors, have the [almost] ultimate power: they set the rules for most of the world computers, and they set the defaults. By making power-saving options very straightforward, and even making the defaults environment-friendly, they can decrease the world power saving by very large numbers. Same should go with Ink saving.

[Environment] News in the rechargeable batteries field

Following the interesting post about Li-ion batteries, I'll write a bit about a new type of battery in the NiMH area.

NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) is the most popular solution for rechargeable AA / AAA batteries (1.2 Volt). In recent years, these batteries got better, and competed on the "who has a bigger" mAh (Milli-Amper-Hour) category, which measures the batteries' capacity. 2700mAh is the biggest number I've seen yet in stores.

One of the disadvantages of NiMH batteries is their quick self-discharge: within few weeks, a 100% loaded battery would self-discharge to 50% state, regardless whether it's been in use or not.

The new NiMH variant is called Low self-discharge NiMH batteries. These ones are supposed to self-discharge much slower: After a year, a 100% loaded battery would self-discharge to 70-85% (compared to 50% after few weeks(!) with regular NiMH, as mentioned in previous paragraph). A nice side-effect is that it also comes partly charged from the stores.

GP ReCyko is one brand, so far the only one I've seen in Israel. I bought 4 AA such batteries for 80NIS ($22). I'm sorry that it looks like an ad, I just don't know any other brand yet. Actually these batteries are only 2050mAh (written in really small letters), but still, it's 2050mAh that stay longer..

The big advantage of the new type of batteries is for low-profile consumers, such as remote controls, clocks, calculators, or my bicycle led flashlights; for in these appliances, the main factor for discharging is the self-discharge, and not the appliance's regular electricity consumption.

So, is it really greener as the ad says? Probably yes, for two reasons:

  • Now we can use a rechargeable battery for more-or-less all appliances.
  • In many cases we'll recharge the batteries less frequently, thus power plants could rest more.

So.. stop buying single-use batteries that ruin the environment.