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Bath Tub, Rubber Keyboard, Ratpoison and Opera //at 18:24 //by abe

from the floating-keyboard-instead-of-floating-license dept.

I recently noticed that a very good way to safely read webcomics in the bath tub is an old laptop with a big screen (e.g. a IBM ThinkPad A-series like my 15” A31 which has a nice 1400×1050 resolution), a water proof keyboard, the screen-alike, keyboard only driven (hence the name) window manager ratpoison (other keyboard driven window managers like wmii or awesome probably will do as well as ratpoison) and a good keyboard driven web browser which can bind or by default has bound a key to follow <link rel="next" ... /> tags.

Like Opera. Opera has bound the space bar to scroll one page down and if you reach the bottom of the page to go to the next page as labeled in the link tag. Additionally the full screen mode is helpful, too.

Or the dream browser of all Emacs addicts, Conkeror, which has bound the function browser-follow-next to ]]. (Conkeror packages will hit Debian Experimental quite soon.)

Or the GNOME feed reader Liferea which has bound Ctrl-Space by default to scroll down the content by one page and if you reach the bottom of the content go to the next unread item.

With that equipment I can read my favourite web comics like Questionable Content (whose content seldomly is questionable :-) or Ozy and Millie (Think of a mixture of Calvin & Hobbes, Peanuts and Kevin & Kell) in the bath tub without drying my hands before reading the next comic or fearing water or health damage by the combination of water and computer. I just press one or two keys on the keyboard floating over my lap and have a good time.

a keyboard floatiing in the bath tub close up of the floatiing keyboard

BTW: I’ve got a blue, non-branded one (packaging reveals it as “AirTouch Keyboard”, probably manufactured by SanChuan Electronics, China) with swiss-german layout from ARP Datacom (whose website offers no permanent links and insists on session cookies *puke*), but those from Keysonic or from ROCK seem to be very similar — nowadays they are also available in illuminated, miscellaneous colors and wireless, but only IP65, probably because of the necessarily accessible battery compartment.

But this kind of having fun still has optimisation potential: non-flexibel water-proof keyboard (IP67 recommended, so those IP66 keyboards and mice recently posted at UF LOTD are probably not tight enough), flat screen mounted above the bath tub, etc. ;-) Or maybe a completely water proof laptop if such thing exists — Does it?

One more note: In Debian Sid and Lenny recently a new tool called keynav has been added, which allows you to control the mouse quickly using the keyboard only. So with Sid or Lenny, I don’t even need an waterproof mouse or trackball if an application insists on mouse usage. ;-)

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Hackergotchi of Axel Beckert


This is the blog or weblog of Axel Stefan Beckert (aka abe or XTaran) who thought, he would never start blogging... (He also once thought, that there is no reason to switch to this new ugly Netscape thing because Mosaïc works fine. That was about 1996.) Well, times change...

He was born 1975 at Villingen-Schwenningen, made his Abitur at Schwäbisch Hall, studied Computer Science with minor Biology at University of Saarland at Saarbrücken (Germany) and now lives in Zürich (Switzerland), working at the Network Security Group (NSG) of the Central IT Services (Informatikdienste) at ETH Zurich.

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