Friday, September 28, 2012

Ubuntu 12.10 Beta 2 Freakshow

Look, my computer never fared well with Ubuntu's development releases, but this is getting silly. Can someone explain me how images of my windows desktop leak into the live cd environment of the latest Ubuntu Beta 2? Are they stuck in the video memory? Or RAM? Or what? Do forgive the crappy quality, my camera batteries decided they don't want to witness such horrors. :D Everytime I tried to open a window, different parts of my previous Windowsing session appeared instead. And mind you, they were not even the last things on screen when I rebooted, no, no, some of those windows happened hours before. What the actual F?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Distro Hoppin`: Blender-boot 1 Suzanne Beta 2

Distros, distros, distros... Glue a bunch of software together, add your favorite themes, name it "Frank OS" and that's it, you've got your own operating system. Obviously, I'm joking, I know it's quite a lot of effort that needs to be put into such a project. But, from a really high-up birds-eye view, they all can seem a bit... similar. Most of them are general purpose distros, aiming to please a large segment of users. Some focus on a smaller target, like audio artists, pre-school teachers or network administrators testing how penetration-prone are their setups. 

...and then there is Blender-Boot, which is a whole OS wrapped around ONE application: the awesomely versatile Blender 3D content creation suite. The idea itself is enough to raise some eyebrows and gain a good amount of attention. But is it really necessary to have a separate OS for one purpose? 

Well, if you always want the latest version of Blender delivered to you hassle-free (e.g. compiling), then yes, Blender-boot is a good choice. I think its main audience is formed of artists wanting to go open source and have little Linux experience. Just install it (which, being Ubuntu-based, is super easy) or ask someone else to do it and your computer will boot straight into the  Blender suite, hence the name. Of course, puns are always a trait of Linux people, so this distro's developers couldn't refrain themselves from tapping into the other meaning of "boot". Thus, the logo and wallpapers revolve around a... shoe. But it's not just any shoe, it's one that has the familiar Blender eye on top of it and is, of course, orange. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Distro Hoppin`: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS "Precise Pangolin"

Ooooh yes, it's that time of the year again, folks. It's time for the world to partition hard drives, create new virtual boxes, burn hundreds of CDs, format USB sticks and pillage every Windows OS they pass by. I've always loved the .04 Ubuntu releases more, not necessarily because they were better, but because they came with the spring, and I tend to like things more when it's warm outside.

2012 is a special year: the Precise Pangolin release will be supported for 5 years, on both desktops and servers, so if your business considered switching to Ubuntu, now is a great time to take that step. Also, it's cockchaffer year, a reason for massively increased joy levels and overall ADD manifestations in my cat. Obviously, I'm a tad more excited of the former event. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Google Drive Is Finally Here to Kick Some Dropbox Butt

UPDATE: Google Drive now comes with 15 GBs of free space (shared with Gmail and Picasa)! Your move, Dropbox!

Well, not as drastically as some expected, but it's still enough to get Dropbox worried. So, 5 GB free with the possibility to upgrade to 25 GB for $2.49 a month! Yep, not even 3 dollars. Oh, and that's not all. Hear this: 100 GBs for only $4.99!! Dropbox offers the same amount of storage for $19.99! Ouch!

For starters, the Google Drive client is NOT available on Linux (I'm not 100% sure... once my Drive is ready, I will clarify) (here's a quick workaround) , but only on Windows, OSX and Android. iPad and iPhone versions are undoubtedly coming soon.  

 Will  I  switch? 

As I was part of the latest Dropbox beta testing program, I have 5.2 GBs at my disposal, out of which I currently use 43.8%. If things start to feel crowded, I'll definitely consider Google Drive. Until then, I'm pretty happy with the blue box. It works wonderfully across all platforms I access during the day and I love its features. Plus, I quite like it as a company too. Moreover, I'm sure that by the time I near the storage quota, the prices will drop significantly and I might not have to make the switch after all. 

While current Dropbox users are not likely to stop using it in favor of Google Drive, new ones will surely notice the latter rather than the former first, given Google's omnipresence on the Internet. Of course, many will simply sign up for both and get a hefty amount of space for free. 

Anyway, cloud storage for mass audiences will definitely be an interesting space to watch this year. Microsoft has also upped their offer with a whooping 7 GBs of free storage for new users, but they lack an Android and Linux clients, so their offer is of no interest to me. Also, there are full backup providers like Carbonite (less than $5/month - UNLIMITED storage) and SpiderOak ($10/month for 100 GBs) that seamlessly save your files, without you needing to manually move files to a certain folder. 

All in all, we are the ones who will greatly benefit from this increased competition, so sit back, relax and watch your storage quota get bigger and bigger. ;)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I'm a Star

Here's the link to my first (of many *wink wink*) ever interview. The great Dmitry aka DarkDuck apparently ran out of cool people to interview and decided to get one from me. Heh. To the staaaars! Thank you, Dmitry! I shall not forget you when I'm famous!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Quick & Dirty Mobile Remote Video Surveillance Solution

So you want to be able to watch your baby/cat/dog/house from your smartphone but don't have the time or the patience to setup a webcam server? The answer is TeamViewer, world's favorite remote support app. Install it on your Linux machine (I run it on the Ubuntu 12.04 beta), install it on your Android/iPhone (I set it up on a Samsung Galaxy Mini), open up Cheese or your favorite webcam viewer and start watching. If you're connected to a Wi-Fi network, you can crank up the quality for a really decent image quality/speed ratio.

Here's a poorly made video showing the process: 

Yay poorly made video! Thanks for tuning in and I hope this will be of help for at least some peeps.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ubuntu for Android is Here to Kill Your Bulky Tower PC

O, this is good, folks, this is so damn good. Canonical just unveiled their latest project and it´s nothing short of revolutionary. In these wonderful days in which technology is continuously and rapidly evolving, people are being spoiled with anything from super-fast broadband connections, crystal clear video chats across oceans, huge LCD screens, cheap but oh-so-powerful digital cameras, and, what is still mind-boggling for me, multi-core mobile phones. Tiny devices, often smaller than your palm, light as a feather and incredibly thin, laugh in the face of your 4-5 year old top-of-the-line computer.

Looks like a dream, doesn´t it? Image source
What Canonical will do in the hopefully near future is make use of every last MhZ in your Android device. How? Through Ubuntu for Android! You will be able to connect a compatible mobile device to a keyboard, mouse and monitor and in no time, you will work on a full-fledged Ubuntu machine. Pop the phone out from the dock, and it will return to its regular functions.

When docked, besides accessing all of Ubuntu´s goodies, you will be able to manage contacts, view and add events to your calendar, even SMS and call people through the good old message indicator. Everything will seamlessly sync between the docked and undocked states of your phone, including bookmarks, browsing history, etc.

I really hope this will be at least half as good as it sounds. Even so, the most important thing is that Canonical started to push the tech industry with an incredible momentum. Unity (debatable :) ), HUD, Ubuntu TV and now this... 2012 will be awesome! 

Read a much more detailed description of Ubuntu for Android here.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Distro Hoppin`: Linux Mint 12 KDE

Oh, dear Open Source Lord, how time has passed. As I was reading the release announcement of the new Linux Mint KDE, I didn't even consider creating a distro hoppin` episode, thinking  I just recently did one on it. I went looking through the archives and, there it was, Linux Mint 7 KDE, written on... August 5th 200...9! And it's now 2012! Wowey.

So here I am, in front of a new Kate document (I like writing my articles in the OS I am testing - though I would prefer, in the future, to have a completely separate hoppin` machine), ready to share some geeky thoughts with you people! Before I begin, let me give a shout-out to my great neighbor on the 4th floor, who likes listening to horrible, horrible music, at max volume, every weekday MORNING until early afternoon.

Logo by geo kal @ LinuxMint-Art
Coming in both 32- and 64-bit versions, the ISO size is around 1.1 GB, going over the CD limit by quite a lot. That's a great thing; I hate OSes that gruesomely remove features and applications just to keep the aforementioned limitation standing. I had a new DVD-RW laying around, so I decided to use it instead the usual USB thumb drive. Big, big mistake. The live environment loaded forever and the installation itself was over in two forevers and a half. I don't know why Linux Mint 12 didn't want to play nice with my shiny disc, but I was determined to see if it's a problem with it or a problem with the medium, so I formatted my USB drive and put unetbootin to work. Of course, one of this version's new features is the "hybrid" configuration of the ISO, meaning you can simply use the "dd" command to write the files to any USB drive and boot from it straight away. But still, unetbootin is a great, super easy to use tool. This time, everything went smooth and silky, fast loading times, responsive live environment, quick installation. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

YouTube Now Seamlessly Switches from Low to High Video Resolutions

Ah, how annoying it was to fullscreen a YouTube video as it automatically switched to a higher resolution, resulting in a hefty amount of extra buffering... 
No more of that, as I noticed today. Bringing a video to full screen does change the quality, but it doesn't do it instantly, thus allowing the viewer to continue watching without interruptions. Once the hi-res buffering is complete in the background, the switch from, say, 360 to 720p is made seamlessly. 

I really hope they keep this functionality, as YouTube is known for testing out new features for only a few days before taking them out. 

Go ahead and test it out yourself. But know that improvements such as this are not always rolled out to all users at the same time.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Udacity - Learn IT from the Best... for Free

I've always placed programmers at pretty much the same level as Superman, Batman, Captain Planet, etc. As fascinating as the science/art of programming is and has been for me, I never seemed to be able to activate those regions of the brain necessary to be a part of it. Sadly. 

But, never say never, as a fat cartoon mouse once taught me; come February 20th, I shall develop a brand new search engine! Eh, how about that? OK, actually I will TRY. How is that possible with 0 programming background you ask? Udacity, the latest hot startup from Palo Alto, California promises to bring the greatest computer science teachers in the world in one place and share their immensely valuable knowledge to hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. Courses can be attended for free, and, at the end, if students successfully graduate them (through assignments), they will receive some sort of diploma that will recognize their newly acquired information. 

I know there are multiple video-lecture online portals out there, but this promises to be more personal and more interactive and I certainly can't wait to begin. Of course, as the company grows, more courses will be made available, but, for now, you can choose from two: CS 101: BUILDING A SEARCH ENGINE and CS 373: PROGRAMMING A ROBOTIC CAR. The latter sounds WAY cooler, but it does require a fair amount of programming experience, so yeah... THEORY OF COMPUTATION, OPERATING SYSTEMS, COMPUTER NETWORKS and DISTRIBUTED SYSTEMS are also announced for 2012. 

So, do you think this is the future of teaching? What are the pros and cons of such a system? Please feel free to discuss in the (greatly improved BTW) comments section below.

See you in class!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Distro Hoppin`: Netrunner 4.0 Dryland

2012!!!!!!! I hope you had a wonderful “yay-we-are-one-year-older-where-the-hell-did-2011-go celebration” and wish you an exciting 2012. If you're more like me and would rather have an uneventful 2012, you can switch, no problem; my wish store is sufficiently flexible.

Today, in the very first week of January 2012, I am happy to report that I found out who runs the Internet. It's no secret government agency, no occult faction, no MiB, it's a Linux distro. How do I know? Because it is called... NETRUNNER. The truth is often hidden in plain sight. ;)
Netrunner 4.0 Dryland is a Kubuntu-based distribution that aims to provide an all-round OS for desktops, laptops and netbooks.