Sunday, 19 December 2010

Full Circle Podcast #14: NFC: Nantucket Fried Chicken

Full Circle Podcast #14: NFC: Nantucket Fried Chicken is available form the main site

In this episode, Narwhals, Wayland and… I almost forgot, Amnesia

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Show notes after the jump.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1 On Trial

Unity is now the default user interface in the 11.04 Ubuntu Desktop Edition. Or at least it is if you have the right combination of video drivers and Compiz. Unity now uses Compiz 3-D compositing, not the abysmal Mutter framework of Ubuntu Netbook Editions up to 10.10. Which will be great when all the video driver issues are worked out. Right now, this Alpha release is so crippled by display problems, I won't be doing much testing...

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Editing the Full Circle Podcast Part 5 - Post and Packing

The final part of this series: Packaging and Exporting the show.

We've planned, recorded and mixed the show. At some point I have to decide that the episode is finished.  I'll apply the final filter of dynamic range compression to the edited voice tracks, check the mix-down, then it's time to export the episode for release...

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Opinion - the 'Mac-buntu' fightback

Ronnie got some correspondence regarding my article in Full Circle magazine: MacBuntu: Why? (aka Desktop Identity Crisis here) in which I criticised the Mac and Windows 7 fanboys for dressing up their Linux desktops as OS-X or Windows 7. 

Why, when we have perfectly functional and attractive Linux desktops on Gnome, KDE, Xfce and others, would you want to pretend to be using Mac or Windows desktops, even down to the Apple and Microsoft logos?

Friday, 10 December 2010

Full Circle Side-pod Episode #6: Just Filling In

In this episode, Ubuntu 11.04, Alpha-1, on trial; Opinion fightback on MacBuntu - Why? And final art of Editing the Podcast series: Post and Packing, Finalising, posting and releasing the show.

This episode comes with some visual content via YouTube...

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Full Circle Side-Pod Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Installer

The experiment continues!

More Ubuntu screencast content, this time the Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha-1 release. As separate review of the desktop and the rest of 11.04 Alpha-1 follows shortly.

Video for Full Circle Side-Pod Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Installer is on our YouTube channelRC

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Modern Life

Forgive me, father, it's been two weeks since my last blog post.

Modern life got in the way again.

[Insert four-letter word here]


Need I say any more...

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Full Circle Podcast #13: The One Where You're a Rabbit

Full Circle Podcast #13: The One Where You're a Rabbit is available from the main site.

In this episode, UDS, Unity and no big guns...

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In the show:
    File Sizes:OGG 29.3Mb
    mp3 23.8Mb

    Runtime: 54min 40seconds

    Wednesday, 3 November 2010

    Apple To Remove Java from Mac OS X?

    After the news that the new MacBook Air netbooks do not ship with Flash pre-installed it may be that Apple will be removing its  own Java runtime from Mac OS X.
    In the release notes for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 3:
    "As of the release of Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 3, the version of Java that is ported by Apple, and that ships with Mac OS X, is deprecated...

    "This means that the Apple-produced runtime will not be maintained at the same level, and may be removed from future versions of Mac OS X. The Java runtime shipping in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, will continue to be supported and maintained through the standard support cycles of those products."
    Some Java support was removed a while ago...

    Tuesday, 2 November 2010

    Ubuntu's First Commercial

    If you haven't seen the first 'official' Ubuntu brand commercial, take a minute to do so.

    The animation is very good; bouncy, happy, bright and snappy. I like the visuals.

    I'm just not convinced about the message.

    It tries to answer the question What is Ubuntu?

    And completely fails. Utterly.

    Sunday, 31 October 2010

    UDS Orlando Keynote

    Well worth watching Mark Shuttleworth's opening keynote to the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Orlando last week. Mark outlines the roadmap not only for the 11.04 version, but positions Ubuntu in the software landscape in general. Clearly still a man with ambition and vision.

    Always an engaging and entertaining speaker, Mark addresses a room with the kind of confidence that few people can muster. This is a man who has actually seen the Earth from space.

    Saturday, 30 October 2010

    Meerkats United

    (...was the name of a BBC wildlife show a few years ago that popularised the Meerkat over here)

    I have now made the jump to Ubuntu 10.10 on the main machine. I have to say its the smoothest upgrade I've ever done in my entire Linux life.

    Bear in mind that I have a disk partitioning scheme with 11 partitions including a separate /home partition, so all I had to do was format / and /usr and specify the same mount-points for everything else. Happily, no configuration file clashes...

    Sick PCs should be banned from the net says Microsoft

    At least that's what the BBC's poorly headlined article said...

    Virus-infected computers that pose a risk to other PCs should be blocked from the net, suggests Scott Charney of the firm's trustworthy computing team, in an attempt to tackle botnets - networks of infected computers under the control of cyber-criminals, which can contain thousands of machines. Running Microsoft Windows. All of them -  as far as I know. 

    Charney's proposal is based on lessons from public health, 
    "Just as when an individual who is not vaccinated puts others' health at risk, computers that are not protected or have been compromised with a bot put others at risk and pose a greater threat to society,"

    Thursday, 28 October 2010

    Full Circle Side-pod Episode #5: It's only a trademark

    Full Circle Side-pod Episode #5: It's only a trademark is available from the main Full Circle site.
    In this episode, Linux Mint Debian Edition and the Open Learning Center.

    News: Back-to-Mac announcements include something called Launchpad... which happens to be a Canonical Trademark.
    Interview: Alan Lord of the Open Learning Centre
    Review: Linux Mint Debian Edition

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    Podcast Running time [50:09m]

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    Wednesday, 27 October 2010

    Motorola vs Apple in Battle of the Bulge

    Motorola launches pre-emptive strike against Apple patents.

    Motorola may yet come to HTC's rescue by seeking to invalidate the very patents with which Apple is currently suing HTC.

    As explained in the brief, Motorola believes that it will face a patent infringement suit from Apple covering the same patents cited in the HTC case. If the best defense is attack, the Motorola is seeking to overturn the very basis of the case before it can be brought against them.

    Saturday, 23 October 2010

    Tangled Web of Social

    Just wanted to highlight this wee diagram I came across while I was scouring the news sites for nuggets.

    It's a high-level chart of interfaces and API's that exist between various social networking/collaboration/blogging/sharing sites. Send it, suck it, scrape it,  or shake it, all our collective words pictures videos are constantly on the move. As a snapshot, it's not new and it's certainly not complete. But it does illustrate a couple of things...

    Thursday, 21 October 2010

    Releasing Full Circle Podcast #12

    This week, real life got in the way of the blog. Again.

    So no time to reflect on the release of Episode 12.

    The segment edits for #12 went ok; very fast. Either I'm getting better or less fussy (or less patient, which amount to the same). But I think I lost the plot assembling the segments Friday night. Which Ed queried, as it was a short recording...

    Saturday, 16 October 2010

    Friday, 15 October 2010

    Review: Linux Mint Debian Edition

    There is now a rolling release Linux Mint distro. It's been in the pipeline for a few months. Linux Mint Debian Edition or LMDE is based on the Debian Unstable branch, as an experiment for 32-bit machines only.

    The Mint team retains the objective of making it an easy-to-use Windows replacement, question is, does the change under the hood keep it on track or de-rail the thing completely...?

    Thursday, 14 October 2010

    Google Android to Overtake Apple iOS

    Developers see Google's Android operating system surpassing Apple's

    A majority of developers believe Google's Android operating system - not Apple's iOS - will be the dominant platform in the future to power everything from smartphones to touch-screen refrigerators, according to a recent survey.

    While independent software writers are enthusiastic about creating apps for Apple's iOS mobile operating system, and see it as the most financially viable platform now, they view Android as the long-term winner in terms of market share...

    Wednesday, 13 October 2010

    Global Stuxnet Apocalyspe

    More on the Stuxnet worm, which was apparently designed to steal industrial secrets and disrupt operations  at industrial plants, using Siemens equipment has infected systems in the UK, North America and Korea, however the largest number of infections, by far, have been in Iran.

    The Stuxnet worm was programmed to take advantage of a zero-day vulnerability in Microsoft Windows operating system, allowing it to spread through USB devices. Once installed on a PC, Stuxnet uses Siemens' default passwords to seek out and try to gain access to systems that run the WinCC and PCS 7 programs — so-called PLC (programmable logic controller) programs...

    Tuesday, 12 October 2010

    Editing the Full Circle Podcast Part 4: Assembly

    So, the individual segments are edited, post-processed and allocated in the running order. All the theme and incidental music, trailers, bumpers beds and stingers are lined up. It's a big model kit laid out ready to put together. It's time to assemble the show. 

    I assemble the episode as a multi-track project in Audacity...
    (Screencast of this post on YouTube)

    Monday, 11 October 2010

    Full Circle Podcast on YouTube

    In a bold (and some say rash) experiment, the Full Circle Podcast is on YouTube.

    We've created a YouTube channel for the Podcast with two episodes.
    • Podcast Episode #11 in individual segments as audio-with-banner, 
    • Side-Pod #4 in two parts: Part one is the news/opinion section, part 2 is our first Screencast of sorts with some visuals on using Audacity to assemble the podcast.
    The reasoning of this is to audition some screen-casting tools (Kazam) and try out PitiVi and Openshot video editors (reviews to follow in the podcast/blog and maybe the magazine). I have a feeling we may be heading back to Cinelarra.

    We'd like to do more screen-cast reviews and how-to's if the interest is there.  RC


    Sunday, 10 October 2010

    Ubuntu 10.10 is Here

    The Maverick MeerKat has arrived!

    The waiting is over. The count-downs have finished.

    The download link is live on Ubuntu 10.10.

    Go get it!


    Google and Schmidt in the Dock

    French court convicts Google and boss of defamation

    PARIS — A Paris court has convicted US search engine giant Google and its chief executive Eric Schmidt of defamation over results from its "suggest" function, a French legal affairs website has revealed.

    The new function, which suggests options as you type in a word, brought up the words "rapist" and "satanist" when the plaintiff's name was typed into the search engine, reported.

    The plaintiff in this case had been convicted on appeal to a three-year jail sentence for corruption of a minor. He discovered the results on entering his name in a Google search...

    Friday, 8 October 2010

    LibreOffice Fork Breaks for Freedom

    Nobody in the Open Source community  was happy when Oracle bought Sun Microsystems. That unhappiness has led directly to LibreOffice, the provisional name of a community-led fork of OpenOffice, to be developed under the umbrella of a European based non-profit organisation named the Document Foundation.

    The main focus seems to be to free OpenOffice from the oversight of any single commercial company...

    Thursday, 7 October 2010

    LibreOffice default office suite in Ubuntu

    Future Ubuntu Releases Will be Shipped With LibreOffice, Says Mark Shuttleworth

    In a related LibreOffice story, Mark Shuttleworth has apparently announced the switch, although so far all instances of this story originate with Techdrivein.

    Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth announced that, future releases of Ubuntu will be shipped with the new OpenOffice fork. He said, "Office productivity software is a critical component of the free software desktop, and the Ubuntu Project will be pleased to ship LibreOffice from The Document Foundation in future releases of Ubuntu."


    Wednesday, 6 October 2010

    Faenza Desktop Makeover

    It seems that everyone loves the Faenza icon set. If you like glossy, square tiled icons in candy-colours, this could be the desktop-makeover you're looking for.

    I wasn't especially looking to change until I came across this set, only to realise I've been staring at the standard icons for a long time and needed a bit of visual pizazz...

    Tuesday, 5 October 2010

    Full Circle Side-Pod 4 Global Stuxnet Apocalypse

    Full Circle Side-Pod #4: Global Stuxnet Apocalypse is available from the main site.

    In this episode: LibreOffice, Android domination and Google Defamation

    This episode is by way of a place holder until we get Ubuntu 10.10 next week. Until then, a little news, opinion and shameless plugging.

    News: Lawsuits of a different kind, little green robots and… we’re all doomed!

    Expert Spot: Editing the Full Circle Podcast pt. 4: Assembly

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    Sunday, 3 October 2010

    Mobile Phone Upgrades

    Something to think about if you're on anything other than pay-as-you-go.
    Why should I?
    • You want a new phone, more features, new call plan, different mix of airtime or a cheaper tariff?
    • Is your current contract ending within the next month?
    Don't assume your provider will remind you; they'll be making money on you on the old tariff for as long as you let them. Free and subsidised phones cost the providers money, they need to recoup that on tariff plans over as long as they can.

    If you're switched on, however, you can get your new toys and and more airtime for the same money or less...

    Saturday, 2 October 2010

    Professional Cheapskate

    Cheapskate: "a person unwilling to give or spend money; stingy person."
    Frugal: "not wasteful; not spending freely or unnecessarily; thrifty; economical."
    "A cheapskate is someone who takes frugality to the extreme. Instead of trying to make the most of his or her resources, the cheapskate refuses to spend money at all..." (Love-to-know)
    To you, cheapskate may be an insult. To the Professional Cheapskate, it's a badge of honour, particularly when applied to utilities, toys (computers, software and phones), financial products...

    Friday, 1 October 2010

    User Desktop Identity Crisis

    Macbuntu. Why? Just... WHY?
    As if it's not enough that Ubuntu is itself going for a Mac look-and-feel - I direct you to recent releases in which features to go Mac-like include:
    • Icons
    • Button Placement
    • Light 'brushed aluminium' themes and purple wallpapers
    but some people seem to need to go the whole hog and re-style their entire desktop as Mac-buntu...

    Thursday, 30 September 2010

    Ubuntu Gamer Goes Live

    After a low-key start, the boys have publicly declared the new Ubuntu Gamer site open for business.

    You will know Ed Hewitt's work from Full Circle Magazine's Gaming column and Full Circle Podcast, whilst Tommy Brun is himself a game developer.

    I knew they were up to something and pleased to say there's now a gaming site that fills a niche and defies the critics who say Linux is a gaming desert. RC

    Wednesday, 29 September 2010

    The truth About Proprietary Software Licensing

    Ladies and Gentlemen, we would like to present the original text of Alan Lord's speech to the recent Westminster Eforum.

    Alan is co-owner of the Open Learning Centre, open-source advocate and author of the Open Sourcerer blog.

    In an excellent, concise speech, Alan presents the truth about proprietary software licensing, or as I like to say, why you are paying for pratically nothing, and why Free Open Source Software is so much better...

    Monday, 27 September 2010

    Intel-Macafee Proofing Chips Against Crackers

    "Intel to Charge $50 USD for Unlocking CPU Features"
    This is why Intel paid a ridiculous amount for Macafee Security. It needs some hack-proofing expertise in order to defend it's next generation of protected microprocessors.
    "Intel is currently testing the water with processors that have certain features disables or limited, so that users can buy upgrade cards later on and improve the performance of their processors. This allows resellers and system builders to increase their margins - says Intel."

    Sunday, 26 September 2010

    Essential Link Shortening

    Owing to the weird and slightly random #### the current version of Wordpress throws into the Full Circle Podcast posts, I've had to resort to some link shortening in order not to mess up the Atom feed for the show.

    Why Link Shortening?
    • Easier to sms-txt or IM web-links
    • Keep within character-count limits of Twitter and other social media
    • Prevent conventional web addresses contaminating your content management system or breaking your web pages
    Thanks to Rob K our sysadmin, I introduce to you a free and open source link-shortening script, powered by Phurl...

    Saturday, 25 September 2010

    Testing the Maverick Meerkat

    Mark Shuttleworth pinned his colours to the mast and declared the aim of a "perfect 10" with the delivery of Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat.

    Having just upgraded the Alpha-3 release to the Beta, we're struggling to get the numbers that high, not because it's broken or wrong... it's just not very exciting for a "10"...

    Friday, 24 September 2010

    Full Circle Podcast #11: A Painful Washing Experience

    Full Circle Podcast #11: A Painful Washing Experience is available now from the main site.
    In this episode, testing the Meerkat; also Android 2.2, Nexus One and Spotify. Our opinion on neck-beards and imitation as a form of flattery. On gaming, it’s Sauerbraten Justice, Quake Live, Rage and the Steam pantomime.

    Podcast [67:41m]:
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    Wednesday, 22 September 2010

    When Memory Goes Bad

    My test box has a Pentium-4 motherboard with 1Gb of memory in 133MHz PC2100 DIMMS. I know: antique. In dog years this main-board is about 70 years old. In tech years that's about 140. Only slightly younger than me.

    It worked perfectly for the g/f to check her email. Later I come back to install Maverick from the CD. I start it up and... the machine hangs at X, before the GDM login. I think I have a hardware bug which is stopping the Maverick boot or more likely the X-server.

    Now I'm in fault-finding mode...

    Thursday, 16 September 2010

    Full Circle Magazine issue 40 is out

    How remiss of me not to mention Issue 40 which has been out a few days!  Including a new logo redesign by Thorsten Wilmsand the new (official) Ubuntu font.

    This month:
    • Command and Conquer.
    • How-To : Program in Python – Part 14, Virtualize Part 3 – OpenSolaris, and ADSL Modem As A Switch.
    • Review – SOFA Statistics.
    • Top 5 – Favourite Apps.
    • plus: MOTU Interview, Ubuntu Games, My Opinion, My Story, and now with all new LoCo and Translation Team interviews!
    Download Full Circle issue 40 here at the main site.

    Wednesday, 15 September 2010

    Maverick Upgrade Manager in Deadly Embrace

    Having installed Maverick Alpha-3 from the ISO image, you'll naturally want to run Update Manager.

    UM ticks through the package list and offers a Partial Upgrade; if you take it, Upgrade Manager gets itself in a twist and the operation won't complete. If you do get it to complete, you will find it's removed a bunch of packages it shouldn't and introduced version conflicts in a host of others.

    If you close it and try to run an normal update, UM goes through the process and declares all 551 packages to be unauthenticated and refuses to run. It then offers a Partial Upgrade!

    Remember, we are still in Testing. Don't mess with it if you're not into the mystery, intrigue and pain of trying an Alpha release. However, if you are...

    Monday, 13 September 2010

    Mobile On-chip DRM via Intel-MacAfee Deal

    Intel acquires MacAfee in a move which nobody seems to have understood.

    The single most ridiculous deal this year concluded at almost $7.6bn, at $48 per share, a premium over $18 over McAfee's closing price. McAfee is valued at 45 times earnings. Even Apple trades at only 20 times earnings.

    However, if you take the biggest PC chip maker and add a big dose of so-called security expertise, I can only surmise more on-chip DRM is on the way...

    Saturday, 11 September 2010

    Everybody sues everybody

    It seems nobody wants to develop software or manufactures hardware any more. Everybody just sues everybody else. And here's two more examples:
    • Lexmark sues third party component maker for cartridges
    • Interval Research lays claim to web 2.0

    Friday, 10 September 2010

    Opinion: Taxation in the New Economy

    What the Phily $300 blog tax means for the rest of us
    It's only a matter of time before every tax department in the world believes it's got a right to a share of anything you make on the web. I don't have a problem with web income being taxable. I don't have any. Government services have to be paid for by taxation, as true in the new economy as in the old. What I don't know is how this is going to work for the Average Joe on the Internet...

    Tuesday, 7 September 2010

    Code-names: Wheres the Neurotic Numbat

    If you missed it, Mr Shuttleworth has announced the codename for Ubuntu 11.04, the one with the double-n mnemonic. I must say I'm disappointed. Again. Come on, where's the Neurotic Numbat?

    The Numbat is a real, and endangered marsupial. Myrmecobius Fasciatus. Check the wildlife sites. Don't say we're not educational.  RC
    (Image courtesy of

    Sunday, 5 September 2010

    Editing the Full Circle Podcast #3: The Edit Environment

    I have a confession: this may NOT be the best tool for this job. It is certainly not fool-proof or bomb-proof. It can occasionally crash but it has the best crash-recovery routines of any software I know (except in the extreme circumstances where it has deleted or orphaned segments of a recording. See filenaming, versioning and backing up.)