The One with the Thoughts of Frans

Author Archive

KOReader 2020.04 “Eating Ghosts”

As one of the maintainers of KOReader, a versatile a document and image viewer, I’m proud to announce the latest release.

koreader-2020 04-coronavirus-evillll

By staying inside and reading, humans have become resistant.

We’d like to thank all contributors for their efforts. Some highlights since the previous release include:

Full changelogclosed milestone issues

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KDE Compact Window Switcher Missing?

Let’s face it, all of KDE’s task switchers other than Compact are awful in varying degrees. Unfortunately I found it to be missing. Luckily the solution is simple on Debian/Ubuntu.

sudo apt-get install kwin-addons

And there you have it. Happy window switching!


KOReader 2020.03 “Skating Bird”

As one of the maintainers of KOReader, a versatile a document and image viewer, I’m proud to announce the latest release.


There’s this upcoming videogame called Skatebird. The demo was quite promising. But what you didn’t know is that many of those birbs read heaps and gobs of classic literature from Project Gutenberg and Just like us!

Quite a bit of effort was put into PocketBook this month to make it more maintainable going forward. By creating our own toolchain (koreader/koxtoolchain#22), we can now build the binaries with an up-to-date GCC instead of the years-old GCC 4.8 in the official toolchain, which was starting to become problematically outdated. This is no panacea; most PocketBook issues are unrelated, but a higher maintenance burden can be quite demotivating and gets in the way of addressing actual issues.

In-page footnotes are now enabled by default (#5908). We’re quite fond of them, but if you’d like to disable them you can do so in the document menu (second from the left in the top menu) → Style tweaksMiscellaneousIn-page footnotes.

We’d like to thank all contributors for their efforts. Some highlights since the previous release include:

  • Make dictionary margin depend on font size (#5865) @Frenzie
  • Footnote popups: CSS: remove some vertical margin (#5863) @poire-z
  • Font menu: show only 5 items per page (#5863) @poire-z
  • Style tweaks: reorganize in submenus, add a few (#5863) @poire-z
  • Get rid of the old PB TC (#5860) @NiLuJe
  • Statistics: revamp settings, add calendar settings (#5867) @poire-z
  • CoverBrowser: fix “Extract and cache” crash (#5874) @poire-z
  • Warn if color rendering is enabled on a grayscale device. (#5871) @NiLuJe
  • TextBoxWidget: handle tabs and tabstops (#5870) @poire-z
  • [Android] Prevent previous book reopening in some situations (#5880) @pazos
  • continuous: do not limit visible area to page area (#5885) @yparitcher
  • Add “message at top of screen” screensaver (#5739) @RenaKunisaki
  • Add support for PocketBook InkPad X (#5890) @KucharczykL
  • Disable HW dithering on Kindle (#5893) @NiLuJe
  • Style tweaks: force List items bullet/decimal style (#5897) @poire-z
  • Migrate books to normalized xpointers (#5897, #5904) @poire-z
    This means highlights should be a lot more stable from now on, across rendering setting changes or rendering engine improvements.
  • kosync: validate username and password against empty/blank strings (#5894) @pazos
  • Avoid writting highlights into read-only PDFs (#5889) @pazos
  • TOC: validate and fix misordered page numbers (#5907) @poire-z
  • Style tweaks: enable EPUB/FB2 in-page footnotes by default (#5908) @poire-z
  • SDL2 MacOS HiDPI (#5917) @magicmirror1365
  • PathChooser: fetch ‘show_hidden’ setting on each use (#5923) @poire-z
  • Correct Frontlight status on suspend when screensaver mode is ‘Leave … (#5928) @clarkspark

Full changelogclosed milestone issues

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Switching Audio Output Devices in Broken Sword 5 (OpenAL)

Shamelessly lifted from Norbert Preining in case I forget. I still haven’t actually continued Broken Sword 5 past the first few rooms, just like a few years ago.

Create a file named ~/.alsoftrc with this in it.


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KOReader 2020.02 “90 % Cocoa”

As one of the maintainers of KOReader, a versatile a document and image viewer, I’m proud to announce the latest release.

Thanks to @tcrs the program has now been ported to the Remarkable (#5828).

Additionally, OTA update reliability should be better from now on, by switching to zsync2 with a few custom patches (#5810). The update from 2019.12 to 2020.01 managed to sometimes trigger an edge condition where the OTA update would just keep looping without ever finishing. Furthermore, the download progress will now be printed directly to the screen on supported devices, so you’ll always know exactly what’s happening.

By switching to the connectivity manager on Android, we should stop falsely triggering an unconnected message in some edge cases such as Ethernet, which you typically don’t see on the platform (#5801).

And as a final little unexpected gift, @poire-z implemented a calendar view for the reading statistics, so you can easily see what you were reading when (#5854).

An illustration of the calendar view.

We’d like to thank all contributors for their efforts. Some highlights since the previous release include:

  • Style tweaks: adds “Enforce steady line heights”
  • Wikipedia Save as EPUB: better gallery rendering
  • cre: default to enable crengine call cache
  • View HTML: adds another extended debug view ((#5800)) @poire-z
  • Update fonts & add Noto Sans Devanagari UI (#5803) @NiLuJe
  • [i18n] GetText: ignore fuzzy strings (#5807) @Frenzie
  • Allow running shell scripts from the FileManager/Favorites (#5804) @NiLuJe
  • Switch to zsync2 (#5810) @NiLuJe
  • Stop using the “calibre catalog” wording (#5813) @NiLuJe
  • File search & BookInfo: Don’t traverse hidden folders if we’re not showing them (#5816) @NiLuJe
  • end of document: add go to beginning (#5814) @yparitcher
  • Some improvements to the file browser speed when very large folders are involved. On a slow Kobo, you’d have needed at least 500 files in one folder to even have a chance to notice. (#5819, #5827) @Frenzie
  • Add “searchable” capabilities to OPDS catalogs (#5823) @bateast
  • Add searchable version of flibusta OPDS catalog (#5826) @avsej
  • android: switch to connectivity manager (#5801) @pazos
  • Remarkable port (#5697, #5828, #5834) @tcrs
  • Open more varieties of CBT with some upstream MuPDF patches (#5835) @q3cpma
  • Don’t waste time on dir/file attributes in subdirs (#5819, #5827, #5858) @Frenzie @yparitcher
  • Print zsync2’s output on screen (#5824) @NiLuJe
    This is really useful because it gives you a much better idea how much time is remaining for an OTA update.
  • skimto: add beginning and end as hold callback (#5820) @yparitcher
  • crengine: various table and other fixes (#5840) @poire-z
  • [doc] Add some basic info on using ffi-cdecl (#5808) @tcrs
  • Footer: bold font option (#5849) @poire-z
  • Spelling: for example, Wi-Fi, turn on/off (#5855, #5855) @comradekingu
  • Statistics: new Calendar view (#5854) @poire-z
  • PRSTUX fixes (#5857) @v01d

Full changelogclosed milestone issues

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KOReader 2020.01 “Indoor”

The KOReader translation project has migrated to Weblate. Please head over there if you’re interested in assisting with localization. More information is available here.

A small fix, but important if you used it, the LoginDialog widget no longer crashes on switching focus (#5749).

We’ve also added Liberapay link (#5770), in the form of a “sponsor” button in the top right here on GitHub. We’ve often received requests for something like this, and the platform looks promising.

We’d like to thank all contributors for their efforts. Some highlights since the previous release include:

  • Weblate migration (#5713, #5719, #5720, #5722, #5734) @Frenzie (hat tip to @yparitcher for some related fixes)

  • Unbreak the KUAL extension (#5715) @NiLuJe

  • [feat] Adds Document> Auto-save book metadata sub-menu (#5687) @poire-z

  • android: import from Storage Access Framework (#5686) @pazos
    Add an option to the filemanager “plus” menu to import files in current path using Android storage access framework.

    The new menu entry will be displayed on Android 4.4+. Once the user select one or more files in the dialog these files will be imported on the specified folder.

    Only supported mimetypes can be imported.

    On folders outside the file sandbox the “import files here” entry will be disabled.

  • Style tweaks: In-page footnotes: add some classic classnames (#5727) @poire-z

  • [feat] Option to change page gap in continuous mode (#5705) @mustafa-001

  • [RTL UI] Bidi-wrap filenames, paths, urls, metadata (#5696) @poire-z
    This also helps correctly displaying RTL and bidi filenames and directories in a LTR UI.

  • PicDocuments: fix crash on hold + pan (#5742) @poire-z

  • android: call EPD test from within KOReader (#5737) @pazos

  • [UX] Footer: add option to set font size (#5736) @robert00s

  • android: share text (#5745) @pazos

  • LoginDialog: fix crash on focus switch (#5749) @poire-z

  • Remove DSCROLL_MODE and DGLOBALGAMMA (#5754) @robert00s

  • Unbreak OTA on Kindle (#5758) @NiLuJe

  • [UX] Footer: add option to set progress bar min width (#5757) @robert00s

  • bump crengine: support inline-block, better text selection (#5763) @poire-z

  • bump android, fixes ntx landscape tearing, thanks to @char11 (#5769) @pazos

  • cre: add toggle-able crengine call cache (#5773) @poire-z

  • [UX] Keyboard for Arabic and languages with Arabic script (#5569) @WaseemAlkurdi

  • Make Inverted Portrait a first-class citizen (#5783) @NiLuJe

  • [UX] Footer: add options to show title and current chapter (#5775) @robert00s

  • [fix, plugin] Evernote exporter only writes one documents clippings when txt export used, rest is ignored (#5774) @mustafa-001

  • add turkish q keyboard layout (#5795) @mustafa-001

Full changelogclosed milestone issues

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Enable 60 Hz and 10-bit (HDR) on 2018 Sony UHD/4k TV

Rather annoyingly, you have to manually turn on “enhanced format” HDMI to actually get that which is advertised on the box. I spent a little while fiddling with different ports, cables and my video card before I finally realized. See here for the full details.

  • Press the HOME button on the remote control
  • Select Settings
  • Select External inputs in the TV category
  • Select HDMI signal format and set to Enhanced format

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Virtualbox Needs Extension Pack for USB

To share USB in VirtualBox guests, you need to install the extension pack on the host. On Debian, that’s the virtualbox-ext-pack package. At first I thought I needed guest additions or something like that, but that wasn’t the problem.

$ apt show virtualbox-ext-pack
Package: virtualbox-ext-pack
Version: 6.0.12-1
Status: install ok installed
Priority: optional
Section: contrib/misc
Maintainer: Debian Virtualbox Team 
Installed-Size: 130 kB
Pre-Depends: debconf
Depends: virtualbox (>= 6.0.12-dfsg-0~) | virtualbox-6.0, virtualbox (<< 6.0.12-dfsg-z) | virtualbox-6.0, wget, debconf (>= 0.5) | debconf-2.0
Download-Size: unknown
APT-Manual-Installed: yes
APT-Sources: /var/lib/dpkg/status
Description: extra capabilities for VirtualBox, downloader.
 VirtualBox requires an extension pack to provide support for Remote
 Desktop Protocol, USB 2.0, PXE booting for Intel network cards, etc.
 This PUEL-licensed extension pack is free for personal use.
 This package downloads the extension pack from internet during install.

N: There is 1 additional record. Please use the '-a' switch to see it


KOReader 2019.12 “Edge of the Decade”

As one of the maintainers of KOReader, a versatile a document and image viewer, I’m proud to announce the latest release.

KOReader’s UI is gearing up for RTL. This isn’t truly visible yet since the relevant translations (e.g., Arabic, Hebrew, and Kurdic) are only partially finished, but a preview can be obtained in English as well. By going into the file browser → tools (screwdriver & wrench icon) → developer options → UI layout mirroring and text direction you can play around with it. The full discussion can be found in #5359. If you use or develop RTL software, please contribute your expertise.

Another nice improvement this month is the keyboard layout picker (#5583). Users can select keyboards for quick access switching in settings → device → keyboard layout. Hold to pick a default layout. After you’ve selected a few layouts, you can quickly switch between them by tapping on the globe icon, or directly to a specific layout by swiping on the globe icon in the relevant direction. You can also long-press on the globe icon to bring up a popup, just like on every other key.

We’d like to thank all contributors for their efforts. Some highlights since the previous release include:

Full changelogclosed milestone issues

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A Plague Tale: Innocence is boring

I just finished A Plague Tale. It had some merit, but I enjoyed it an awful lot less than The Council. I will for sure not be replaying this one. The graphics are mostly outstanding, but I found the gameplay ranging from somewhat boring to downward frustrating at times, except for the first hour or two when it was very promising. It’s a bit of a mixed bag and I wouldn’t really recommend getting it except to gape at the visuals. The voice acting is also good, in French (in which I played it) as well as in English.

One of the game’s pretty castles. Le château d’ombre, the castle of shadows. Spooky.

The game reminds me of Alan Wake, by which I partially mean the mechanics, but primarily that it’s a game I wanted to like but didn’t. I have nothing against games that aren’t all that much of a game. Life is Strange is one of my recent favorites, and to what extent that’s a game is debatable. But when most of the game feels like annoying filler in between the story there’s something not quite right.

After a while you become painfully aware that the game will randomly prevent you from jumping down a ledge because climbing up on it advanced the story, so bye bye exploration, collectible or fuel that you needed. Sometimes this is done slightly more elegantly with the equivalent of a randomly collapsing or closing doorway instead of an invisible wall, but it’s annoying all the same.

There’s a very contrived mechanic around torches. A torch is vital to our survival? And there are multiple people in our party but we have to put down the torch for a second to climb a ledge? Well blimey, I guess that torch will now be lost forever. Without this continuous torch losing there are some occasionally interesting puzzle aspects that wouldn’t work, but I’m actually surprised I stuck with the game to the end. I suppose I wanted to see more pretty churches, castles, and Roman ruins.

Near the end there was an “emotional” moment that felt incredibly contrived. It was very annoying to boot because there wasn’t a save right prior to it, yet you had a bunch of materials, a whole (optional) cutscene, and the ability to upgrade your equipment. And it’s very easy to die during this contrived sequence. The checkpoint was at the start of the area rather than at the start of the contrived semi-cutscene! This kind of thing happens all too frequently in the game. So there you go, collecting all the things and upgrading your equipment just to do it all over again when you accidentally die on the linear path.

For the € 20-something I paid on GOG it was okay, mainly for the occasionally gorgeous art & graphics. But it’s repetitive, completely on rails, and the story is so-so.


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