Monday, July 30, 2007

Lessons Learned: Numero Uno

I would like to open a new topic as I go on using Ubuntu. In this new entry, I would like to discuss things you should not do. There is a program called "Alien" that converts RPM packages (Red Hat) to DEB (Ubuntu). You may ask why, but with so much software available in the Ubuntu repositories, there are still programs that are not available as DEB packages. You have a few options: find RPM package and convert with Alien or compile from source code. Since I am still barely walking on the Linux surface I chose the easier path. I didn't find a Debian package for VMware as crazy as it sounds but eventually I did find it in the repositories, only after what I will tell you next has happened. I started converting the RPM package found at the vmware site with Alien but I forgot to include a switch to with the sudo alien to include scripts. I had to interrupt the conversion and turns out that I created a folder on my desktop that was impossible to remove since I didn't need it anymore. The folder was owned by root and I didn't have permissions to delete it. I used a root access for terminal to delete the folder, it took me hours because commands to remove non-empty directories was not accepted. I'm yet to learn how to enforce that. Anyhow, I issued "sudo rm -r *" to remove everything in the current directory and I must've been careless and didn't realize with directory I was in. I deleted some system files and when I rebooted the machine I couldn't boot up anymore. The funny thing is, once in trash I would've have had to go through the same deletion process all over again since trash has my logon permissions, not root. So here's the lessons learned for you guys, be extra careful when you use sudo and remove and always make sure you're in the right directory.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Introduction to ideAjax and Google Alerts Service

If you're reading this blog you probably know me personally and you may be aware of my other venture called ideajax. I write in both places, here and there and sometimes material is so common that I have trouble picking where to post it. So just to cover all the angles I would like to link you guys to that entry that goes over Google Alerts service. I also suggest to subscribe to ideajax blog as well with your favorite RSS reader.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Show the number of reboots before next disk check on Ubuntu

I find it a little annoying when I boot up my machine and check disk utility pops up at the minute it's least needed. I am sure there is a setting that Linux experts know of but for us noobs, we need someone to hold our hand. I give you, or actually my favorite site Lifehacker gives you showfsck utility.

All you need to do is:

sudo apt-get install showfsck

after install:

sudo showfsck

Pretty damn handy, if you ask me.

Multitouch Future

Remember those Microsoft Surface videos that may have left some of you and me with jaws dropped to the floor? Well, not to be outdone, Linux is not so far behind. As pointed out by Gizmodo today, this video of multi-touch interface running on top of Ubuntu Feisty Fawn leading me to believe that very soon we're going to play with this technology and it won't cost an arm and a leg. I will make it short because everything you need to know about this can be found on the Gizmodo site.

p.s. I'd like to be clear on one thing though, this interface will run on any Linux distro where X server will compile. It doesn't necessarily need to run on Ubuntu.

Linux MPX:

Microsoft Surface:

Microsoft Surface Parody:

Monday, July 16, 2007

Quick Hack: review your voice mail message before sending

Last night I came across a quick and effective hack for voice mail messages. This is perfect when you work in an office environment and your tone of voice, your speech and other factors may influence the effects of the message. I just tried it and it does indeed work. Long story short, after you leave the voice mail, dial # and it will give you an option to review your message. If you're satisfied, dial # again to send it, otherwise you may delete or append to it. Pretty good hack if you ask me. I can think of many ways where this can come in handy. This can eliminate the need to say words "like", "uhm" and other unnecessary elements.

Thanks lifehack.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Ubuntu Server with LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP)

Today, I had a pleasure installing Ubuntu Server edition on my friends'/cofounders' machine. I was using this tutorial. All we had to go with was a box missing a CDROM and HD. My friend had an HD but was missing an optical drive. So while he was buying one I was getting familiar with the tutorial. The cool thing about the whole process was that he was missing a monitor and it was a hassle to dismantle his desktop. He suggested we use his 50" Plasma TV. It worked out pretty well. We used the S-Video output to connect the machine to his TV. The whole installation is fool-proof. We ran into some gripes when we were trying to install Java 1.5. It all could've been avoided if my man had a spare mouse (the only mouse in his house was wireless, and also a pain to take out). So enabling LAMP server is a one click process. Literally 15 minutes later we had a server with no GUI.

I issued:

sudo apt-get update

this updates the system to the latest configuration available

sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

this installs KDE front-end so that once in a while we won't need to mess with terminal.

This server will eventually become a server for ideAjax. This is a small company of close friends which I am a part of. I also write on that blog as well. I chose to separate one and the other due to the specificity of this blog.

So last thing I did was install synaptic package manager (I know there's adept for KDE but I prefer synaptic for Gnome). I can't wait to dwelve deep into the innards of the server again. This was the most productive day in my ideAjax history. I love it and please start using Ubuntu. It will change your life.


Monday, July 9, 2007

more Linux and more phones

This Saturday I had a pleasure meeting a guy who owns a cell phone store. He had an interesting phone in his hands. I requested to look at it and little did I know but it was Nokia N95. This phone sells on Amazon for almost $800. The phone has a 5MP camera! I didn't want to dwelve into the ins and outs of the phone so I just left it at that. There were only a few icons on screen and that seemed plain. I guess I have to play with it more to get true appreciation. Next, a bunch of my coworkers are getting addicted to World of Warcraft. I haven't had a chance to play this game any time soon. But once I found out that my buddies are into it, I started paying attention to WOW on the web. Today I give you a link to a video of a guy playing WOW on his iPhone via some middleware. An application running on his laptop allows him to control the game remotely. Seems kind of awkward if you ask me. Lastly, I came across an article on DIGG about Al Sharpton's new public stunt. What caught my eye was that he's trying to push Linux and driver development. On any other day I'd ignore anything with him in the headlines but as much as I dislike the guy, I can't say anything wrong about this :).

Ubuntu tip of the day:

If you would like to load some applications faster at boot up, install a program called "preload". It retains memory of frequently used apps and will boot your system with those apps running.

In terminal: sudo apt-get install preload

General Tip:

I have a "shared items" section on my blog for articles that I find interesting. If you find anything intersting, go ahead and read. The interesting story behind this section is that it's integrated with Google Reader and any item I "share in GReader will appear on my blog.

Once again, thanks Google!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Ubuntu on Dell

Currently, Dell is offering Ubuntu on four of their machines. They're promising more configurations to come shortly as well as an option to sell to Small Businesses. Dell surprisingly is happy to hear that HP is planning to offer Ubuntu on their machiens as well. All this madness can be summarized in the following feature:

Friday, July 6, 2007

Phones, phones, phones...

I don't know what the fascination with cellphones is but I'm definitely an addict. I feel like I've been a good boy for the past few months and I deserve a prize. Recently my phone got stolen and I was thinking what would be the "it" phone for me at that point. If I had to choose, I'd go with T-Mobile as carrier (personal preference) and HTC Wing as the phone of choice. The only gripe I've heard of it was that it's pretty heavy. I love the two thumb devices. It all goes back to Sidekick 2 era. Currently I own a Motorola Q and I hate it. I have another year to go on my contract ::sigh:: So a new phone is out of question. If I didn't have to go with Windows Mobile 6, which by the way is a major improvement over mine, well at least that's what my friend Felix tells me who owns a much better device, T-Mobile Dash, also by HTC. On a side note, those who own a Q may look forward to Windows Mobile 6 upgrade sometime at the end of the year, not that it will make whole lot of difference. I inquired about it when I was activating my new phone (remember I said my last phone was stolen). Some will say why not iPhone and I'll say that it still has a lot of work. I haven't had a chance to play with it but functionality I'm looking for is still missing, i.e. Instant Messaging and don't say use eBuddy. I need a dedicated client, not web. So my other two choices would be Helio Ocean and FIC 1973 (openmoko). As I see it FIC phone is equivalent to iPhone minus the brand name and all that Apple good stuff. FIC has a GPS and its unlocked and has a replaceable battery and support for additional storage, plus a number of software repositories. I can go on. The only drawback to these phones is the price. I cannot see why a phone costs $300+. So long story short I have to wait for my contract to expire, $175 is not much but I can live with it. So this takes me back to the original dilemma. What am I going to get? I was looking at Nokia N800 tablet and with the new firmware release that includes Skype, it's becoming an intriguing idea. I think this is the most likely candidate for my next gadget. I just learned that I could add a "NAVKIT" to it and it becomes a navigation system with GPS. The only itsy bitsy problem I have is that I have a strong feeling that a new tablet is about to pop up. I've been monitoring and slickdeals amongst others and prices fluctuate on the N770 device. They dropped to $129, is everyone clearing stock? I would hate to spend $300 and change on N800 and another $250 on the Navkit, just to find out that a new version of the tablet is out. I'll be stopping here because I'm going fishing in the am. More on the devices soon.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Google Repositories for Linux

This is old news that Google is a Linux supporter but I think is worthwile to mention that Google has added repositories for its applications running on Linux. More on that later. Google hosts Linux user groups and some of their developers use Ubuntu Linux on their workstations. Recently I came back from a trip and I needed a big web repository for my pictures. I stumbled upon Picasa and little did I know that there was a debian package ready for my Kubuntu box :). A little after Picasa for Linux, Google announced its desktop product for Linux. Of course I installed it and I have to tell you that it looks neat. If Google will spearhead the application development on Linux, they will set the standard for the application look and feel. Current Linux applications lack a visual appeal; hope it will change with time. I haven't had a chance to play with Google Desktop but Picasa is a clone of its Windows brethren but not quite. Upload to web album option is still missing. I hope it will change with time (pretty soon, fingers crossed). I dedicate this post to first and foremost Canonical and its REVOLUTIONARY OS - Ubuntu, Mr. Shuttleworth and Google, whose services make my life peachy every day. This post is written with Blogger, which of course belongs to Google :). In the future, I will post more about my Ubuntu experiences, Google user groups and other random blabber. If you're using Linux, definitely try these applications and add the repositories at this address: Link