Saturday, October 16, 2010

So far so good...

Its been about a week since I've put Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat on my laptop. So far so good. I have not run into any serious problems, but I have had minor issues with the updating system. It seems that it has since worked itself out, but I was having some weird problem downloading packages from a repository. It seems to have been something that was not a problem I caused since it ironed itself before I posted this. My only other issue has been that my power button goes wonky, but it seems that it was part of the problem that has worked itself out. It wasn't the actual hardware button on my laptop- I just mean the power icon in the corner of the screen... The section where i can look at the calendar and the sound options and such were blending together over the power icon and i couldn't click on it or anything like that. My small project at the moment now is trying to get my computer to play nice with my systems at work (secured Windows servers) so I can work from home if I have to. Citrix is being a bit of a pain. Earlier in the year I managed to get everything to work in Karmic but I did not bother to document the process I went to to get it to a working state. Other than those minor issues... things have been going very well with this distribution.
In other news, I sat in on a panel to discuss video game culture. If you have an interest in Linux as well as video games check out the website at The podcast returns every week to discuss video game news, interesting technology, and life in general. I went on to talk up Ubuntu a bit as well. There were some technical issues dealing with microphones and quality and such but Audacity and Skype did pretty well on Ubuntu during crunch time. My wife is still enjoying Linux Mint 9 on her Dell Mini 10, so far no real issues or achievements to write about this time around. I am still kicking around the ideas for my android app and i know that time is of the essence, so once i get the android app inventor back up and running in this machine ill be able to get back to working on it.
Thats it for this post, but I do want to pimp some links for your amusement.

Here I am on the gameenthus podcast.

Check out Anjibee, this week full of free tracks... support those artists.


Monday, October 4, 2010

New Ubuntu, First Impressions and Ramblings

Just a quick update – I've upgraded to Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat. I am using the release client, as the official build is not out yet. If you have been keeping up, you know that I was on Linux Mint. It was a tough decision but after playing with the live cd I was convinced to go back to Ubuntu.

With the upgraded installer it was a very quick and painless process. I enjoyed Jolicloud 1.0 for what it was but I honestly just got tired of playing around with it. I will definitely reinstall it when they have another upgrade but for now I am putting that hard drive space to good use. The new installer allows you to connect to the internet and download your updates and packages during the install process. I saw the little wifi icon come up during the process and it was a nice surprise. Its a pretty nice touch, very handy.

The difference between Mint and Stock Ubuntu is all in the included packages and some creature comforts. It did take me about forty-five minutes to get everything the way I like it but its well worth the effort. (dvd playback, flash, java, ubuntu-tweak, play-on and of course setting up gwibber, browser tweaking, screensavers and power consumption options... fun stuff) The upgrade from Lynx to Meerkat definitely shows they took at lot of that setup process into consideration. The better featured Ubuntu Software Center is a lot easier to use. When downloading .deb packaged from the web Maverick will automatically open the center for your install. Another thought - I have gone full into chrome/chromium and have found that the Google Sync option is great. After tweaking out the system specs its good to know that all the browser settings and bookmarks are saved on the web and are easily synced up once connected to the net.

Overall I am very impressed with the newest Ubuntu, and I think it is a pretty nice alternative to Linux Mint in its current state. With all of these upgrades I am curious to see what the next build of Mint will do to improve. I can say that going back to stock Ubuntu from Mint I do miss the Mint Menu. I can see everything in one area and not have to scroll all over the screen for one app; I had all my favorites within reach as well. The panel is nice and customizable, but not the same. I know I can install it in Ubuntu but I like the top and bottom panel view that is classic Ubuntu.

In other news, my wife is quite happy with her Isadora install, she hasn't used her Windows 7 for the time that she has had it installed. The only hiccup so far is that the Netflix compatibility issue. That remains my hangup as well – if I could easily update my Zune and play Netflix on my Linux builds I would have zero use for windows. Oh well, it wont be long for those features to come. I am contemplating replacing it with Ubuntu 10.10 regular or netbook remix but Mint's update scheduler is awesome for noobs... set it and forget it, it does all the important updates in the background – no muss no fuss.

I am still a bit distracted by the newest Halo game but this time I do have a couple links:

Follow me on twitter @bigrob029

Check out these guys here

Consume some news here


Monday, September 27, 2010

Still around...

Sorry to neglect the post, been kinda busy. In order to post Linux stuff for fellow noobs, I must have done some work. My latest project was installing Linux Mint on my wife's netbook.

Basically, I ran into some problems with the harddrive partitions but I did manage to eventually get it up and running. Its not as pretty as I would like, but its almost there.
Its a Dell Mini 10 with a 260Gig harddrive. It was purchased as a factory refurb with Windows 7 starter ed. pre-installed. Upon further inspection it has 3 partitions, a small 500Mb boot loader for windows, a 9Gb recovery partition and the rest is free space for the windows. My plan was to resize the huge 250Gb partition and leave about 40Gb for Linux Mint. The problem I ran into was that the big partition throws up errors in the partitioning software. I used the install options for Linux mint, Ubuntu 10.04, and a live GParted iso and couldn't get any of them to resize or edit the partition. My only option was to either kill and restart the big partition or resize another partition. I don't really want to backup and restore the big partition just yet but i could resize the 9Gb one... so i gave in after a lot of experimenting and internet searching.
I split the restore partition down since it was only about half full and am now running Linux mint on the system. There is about 2Gb of free space to toy around with, as my wife mainly wanted to dabble in a bit of Linux just for the speedy startup and stable use space isnt that big of a deal.
After the install there was a lot of updating to be done as expected, but there was a strange issue with the Broadcom Wireless Modem. The odd part is that the Ubuntu Live iso worked fine with the WiFi. I have had situations with a live cd/usb not working with everything (screen resolution, WiFi, video cards) but then working great once installed and updated. The Linux mint iso never worked with the WiFi... after going through the package manager it is now working well.
So, all told - Linux Mint is up and running on the Dell Mini 10, WiFi and all. The next step is to tackle the possibly corrupted 250Gb partition and maybe reinstalling windows 7 properly and getting two equal sized partitions.

In other news - I finally received my invite to the android app creator from Google. I sat on the invite for about 2 weeks as I didn't have any idea of what to build with it. While out "improving my golf game" I came up with a pretty good idea for an android app. I don't know where to start, but hopefully starting simple will leave room for branching out to something bigger.

I have access to the MyTouch 3G, MyTouch Slide, maybe a G1, a couple Evo 4Gs, and with any luck a Samsung Fascinate. If you have a phone that isn't any of those, and have any interest in side loading beta apps that could potentially break your expensive phone and/or void your warranty... I may be in need of beta testers.
I will try to be more regular with the updates... I'm toying with the idea of going back to Ubuntu (probably 10.10beta) from Linux mint, I cant push the apps to my own phone and I suspect Linux Mint is the issue since every other step has worked.
No interesting links this time, hopefully ill have more next post.
Thanks for reading....


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Open Social

I just joined the twitter-verse... yay! Only a couple years late. This post has very little to do with open source other than my sad attempt at installing tweetdeck on Ubuntu. The experience was frustrating but I will give it another chance real soon. However, the Twitter app for Android is very useful, easy to use, and it gets the job done quite well. Using the site by itself has been fine; its easier to check followers through the web than on the phone.
Twitter, after a week, has been pretty interesting. It was quick and painless to sign up and the unsettling part only comes later when you realize everything is public and no longer "for your eyes only" or even "just me and my friends." After learning some etiquette and terminology I was on my way. Take the time to shorten urls/links with online address shortening services and use abbreviations when possible. Shout-out your friends with hashtags (#) and "at" replies (i.e: @username), and don't hesitate to re-tweet cool things that you think your followers would enjoy.

For now, I will keep it simple - find & follow me directly on Twitter @bigrob029
Check out:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Various Distros and Distractions

In my time with Linux I have tried out a few different distributions. I am running the LXDE Ubuntu 10.04 at the moment. I like it for its quick startup and shut down but the differences in this new "desktop skin" have me thinking about going back to basic gnome Ubuntu or something different all together. I have yet to figure out how to get it back to that point, so starting fresh is a viable option if the payoff is a fresh new desktop.
I have been making use of a stack of blank cds by burning various Live CDs of different distributions to try them out. They are great to have on hand in the event of a system failure as well. For a user starting out fresh with zero knowledge I would recommend Linux Mint.
I prefer a desktop PC-like experience on a laptop, I'm not running a netbook so i don't need it to be optimized for a smaller screen and i like my panels and clocks and calendars where they currently are. A drastic change is unnecessary, but i would like to see the Linux Mint crew take a swing at a netbook optimized OS, the regular distributions of Linux Mint 8 & 9 are phenomenal.

In my quest for an economical and enlightening alternative operating system, i have come across quite a bit of impressive music that does the same. I have found that listening to music podcasts can help you find plenty of good music out there on the internet. The days of horribly produced garage bands and mix tapes are pretty much over in this new digital age. However, the age of overproduced mainstream garbage is in full swing. There are many self made artists and net-labels out there with plenty of good music for all to sample, buy and enjoy. I stock up on great free stuff, but I have no problem shelling out a couple bills to an artist that makes music for the love of it. Many a long troubleshot, install, uninstall, reinstall, and hair pulling sessions have been smoothed over with some quality music.
To keep the computer gremlins at bay I have to suggest my go-to podcasts: The Chillcast with Anji Bee, Radio Bsots, and Dave's Lounge. From there you can research, download and enjoy some great music.

When completely tired from the PC, I turn to the glorified PC... mr xbox 360. I can be found up at odd hours of the night racking up frags and points in various games. When I am not playing them, I am checking out info on what is new to come in the industry. For clever insight and commentary my one stop shop for all video game news thats fit to be joked about is The GameEnthus Podcast.

Distractions aside, thanks for checking in.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Starting Fresh

I am starting this blog as a soapbox to hopefully dispense some knowledge on using Linux and open source software.

As far as my own setups I run mainly on an older Toshiba Satellite laptop, very little portability with a failing battery. I have the remains of an old gaming rig cir 2003, its an old Pentium 4 HT, 1Gb ram, with a decked out ati/msi video card. It has always been my project pc, but with a broken monitor it hasn't been tinkered with for a while. Replacing my laptop battery and the monitor are on my todo/wish list. Investing in a harddrive reader or a couple enclosure cases would probably be a good idea too since ive got about 3 small HDDs in that project pc.

To get down to business... I have all this old hardware and no disposable income to replace at them moment, what could i do?
Windows is taxing on old hardware with low or non current specs and buying new hardware was out of the question. I turned to Ubuntu as a free alternative to purchasing a new operating system that was fairly lightweight for an older laptop. I have been quite happy with Ubuntu and have been using it for about a year now... I do dual-boot with windows cuz i havent successfully gotten 100% away yet, but im working towards that. When Netflix comes to Ubuntu i will finally delete xp from this laptop.