Sunday, 30 May 2010

Full Circle Magazine #37 is Available

Come and get Full Circle Magazine #37

Full Circle issue #37 is out with a review of Lubuntu (by yours truly in collaboration with reader/listener Dan), more programming in Python, talk about streaming media, and more.

This month:
  • Command and Conquer: SSH forwarding.
  • How-To : Program in Python – Part 11, Adding Screenlets, and Streaming Media.
  • Review – Lubuntu.
  • MOTU Interview – Stefan Lesicnik (package maintainer).
  • Top 5 – Tiling Window Managers.
  • plus: Ubuntu Women, Ubuntu Games, My Opinion, My Story, and all the usual goodness!

Friday, 28 May 2010

How-to: Setup Google Analytics

"If you build it, they will come"
  (Field of Dreams)
"How will I know?"
  (Robin Catling)

Build a website or blog: yes you can include 'follow' and 'friend connect' buttons, but that only tells you who came and bothered to click once. You need continual traffic tracking, hard stats on every visitor, otherwise you're flying blind.

Google Analytics is Google’s free service for tracking both performance and traffic of your websites and blogs. It's a service-based service with a simple web-interface...

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Review: Simple Scan

Ubuntu Lucid 10.04 and all its derivatives now come ready-equipped with a useful little application called Simple Scan.

Position it in your mind as F-Spot is to Gimp, so Simple Scan is to X-sane. This is the one-window, simplified scanning interface you've been waiting for.

If you have even a moderately recent scanner this should work off the bat for you.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Review: Ubuntu Netbook Launcher versus Unity

Watching Mark Shuttleworth's keynote from UDS earlier, my interest was piqued by the new Unity interface due out with Ubuntu Light.

This is the stripped-down, space-saving vertical application launcher intended to accompany Ubuntu Light, the fast-boot version of Ubuntu for OEM's. Light is being promoted as an OEM pre-install, an instant-on, login-to-desktop in 7-seconds session manager.

Then I realised I hadn't much idea of the difference between Unity and the standard launcher of Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR), now more commonly referred to as Ubuntu Netbook Edition (UNE) so I wasn't ready to judge the idea.

Only one thing to do: download of UNR and a fresh VirtualBox virtual machine at the ready...

Monday, 24 May 2010

Facebook 'Privacy' Coerces Public Lemmings

I have only a token presence on Facebook. It wasn't intentional, I wanted to create a Facebook wall for my sports club, but Facebook wanted info on me as an individual before I could create anything at all. I gave it as little as possible. Then got inundated by the kind of attention I normally call 'spam' when it's email.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Full Circle Podcast #7: Two Tin Cans and a Length of String

Full Circle Podcast #7 is available!
"In this Episode, our longest so far; UDS, Unity and a Humble Bundle."
News: Ubuntu Developers Summit, Ubuntu Light, Unity.
Guest Spot: We go through the Ubuntu bug-reporting process with Alan Pope.
Games: Ed, Dave and Alan are all agreed about the Humble Indie Bundle  and Dave looks at Wormux.
Interview: Part II of the Ubuntu Manual Project – tools
Keynote: Part I of Mark Shuttleworth’s keynote from UDS
Feeds for both MP3 and OGG:
feed MP3RSS feed, MP3:
feed OGG audio  fileRSS feed, OGG:

Friday, 21 May 2010

Review - Linux Mint 9 Software Manager

Having touched on this in a previous review of Mint 9 'Isadora,' the Mint Software Manager remains a step ahead of it's counterpart in the other 'Buntu distributions.

Combining the previous Mint Software Manager with the GNOME App-Install and the new Ubuntu Software Centre, this must be one of, if not the best software installation tool around for non-technical users...

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Review - Midori Web Browser

"Midori is a lightweight and portable web browser based on Gtk+. The interface is designed to be intuitive yet powerful."
I took up version 0.2.2 from the Lubuntu repositories,  surprised at how fast it is, how light it is, and how good is the media/Flash support.

It gets you away from Gecko engines (Mozilla, Firefox) and onto Webkit (the Chromium variety not Apple). The browser is plain and uncluttered, so far it's stable and a sound choice for users not looking for extensions and other whizz-bang features.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Review: Conky

Another 're-discovery': I had forgotten, until I booted the PartEd Magic CD, an excellent little desktop utility for displaying system information, monitors, sensors - actually displaying anything on your desktop, not just system information.

It is by far the best system monitor I've found, not just lightweight and fully customisable, but with a whole community of loyal users contributing config files, code and hacks.

A round of applause for: Conky...

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Review: Linux Mint 9 'Isadora'

A clean install of Linux Mint Isadora on Compaq Evo

I am something of a Linux Mint fan, as previous reviews of Mint 5 ('Elyssa') and Mint 7 ('Gloria') will show. It's a good Linux distro for Windows migrants, thanks to the well-presented and well-described GUI utilities and Windows-like menus. The green-and-black livery evolves each release and gives Mint a cosmetic gloss which I think is very smart and corporate without being too intimidating. There's a good selection of new background artwork keeping this going.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Lubuntu and Mint Double Upgrade

A while ago, the Compaq Evo got upgraded to 1Gb memory and a 120Gb disk. I don't have all the music and virtual machines on it I used to, so there is enough space to use as a practical every-day machine and as a test bed for other distro's. So here it is, a dual-boot, double upgrade:
  • Lubuntu 10.04 Final
  • Linux Mint 9.0 'Isadora' Release Candidate

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Computer Janitor Land-mine

Computer Janitor:
"Clean up a system so that it is more like a freshly installed one"
Congratulations, you have now TRASHED your Ubuntu installation!!

I don't want my system more like a freshly installed one, I want it working the way I installed it! This is a half-baked, un-documented equivalent of a software anti-personnel land-mine with no flag!

DO NOT USE THIS unles you know exactly what all the libraries and binaries are for on your system - particularly if you're relatively new to Ubuntu...

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Milestones on the Upgrade Trail

It wasn't the plan for this week, but I've now run in-place up-grades for three machines:
  • Lucid 10.04 on the JVC-mini
  • Lucid 10.04 on the Dell 6400
  • Lubuntu Final 10.04 on the Compaq Evo
and set-up a dual-boot with an extra distro:
  • Linux Mint 9.0 'Isadora' RC also on Compaq Evo
This is the first time I've run in-place upgrade in Ubuntu ever! I always prefered clean installs as more stable, secure and reliable. It seems I was wrong...

Friday, 14 May 2010

Ubuntu Manual Critique

I love that the Ubuntu Manual team has got the manual together, we now have something that didn't exist before. I know Mark appreciates the effort, I saw the name-check for Benjamin Humphrey in the UDS video!

As for the manual itself, now we have one to touch and feel, I've exchanged ideas with Benjamin only to find most of them are already in the plan for the next release... 

Palimpsest Disk Utility

Following on from colleague Ed Hewitt's re-discovery of SMART disk technology  embedded in the Palimpsest disk utility, I've been playing with it too.

This came with Lubuntu by default, but you can get the palimsest .deb package from the repositories. The Palimpsest main window will give you an overview of your attached storage...

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Audacity Minus Compiz Equals Smiles

Still on the trail of the mysterious (and often data-fatal) Audacity crashes on the Dell, I have now turned off Compiz and defaulted to Metacity as my window manager. I have been switching between Compiz and Metacity using the handy little utility fusion-icon which is a small program available from the Ubuntu repositories. Once installed, you can run on demand or have it as a startup application sitting in the Notification area. Switching off Compiz is achieved through a menu option equivalent to the terminal command metacity –replace.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Xfce Task Manager in LXDE Lubuntu

This is a neat little utility with a configurable display of columns and filters, to display running processes by user type. Add, remove or sort the processes listed.

Of course, its a process manager, not a task manager; select a process and right-click and you will get a menu, Stop, Kill, Term, Continue and a sub-menu for setting priority...

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Full Circle Podcast no6 Out Now

Full Circle Podcast #6: Mark’s Space Brain from the Future is here!
"In this, Steam-powered episode, those English guys are going to annoy what's left of the Audience. Again."
  • News:10.04 Lucid Lynx Release, Ubuntu Manual, Indicators, Windicators, Facebook Docs and patent hysteria.
  • Opinion: We review Lucid.
  • Games: Ed is Steam-powered all the way and Dave picks some RPG's.
  • Feedback: I get defensive over the feedback.
And we have the feeds back for both MP3 and OGG:

RSS feed MP3RSS feed, MP3:

RSS feed OGG audio fileRSS feed, OGG:

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Timmp Search Engine Review

"Step aside Google as from tomorrow there's a new kid on the block in the world of search engines..."
Or not.

That was the first line in the April 1st press release from the Timmp search engine, widely re-produced on the less reputable news sites as 'news'...

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Recomending a Lucid Post-install Guide

Not alone in recommending Danny Piccirillo's blog The Silent Number, in particular his Lucid Lynx 10.04 Post-install Guide.

In Ubuntu 10.04 Post-Install Guide: What to do and try after installing Lucid Lynx!  you'll find not just a great selection of enahncements and alternate software picks, but very a well written and presented posting. A must for any Lucid user, new or otherwise. RC

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Gnome-mplayer on Lubuntu

"A media player for GNOME that uses MPlayer"
Lubuntu on the Compaq doesn't have Gnome on it but the player still works - so it really is lightweight. This is as stripped down and basic as it gets in a media player whilst still having a full set of functions and controls.

It plays anything you have a back-end for (CD audio, DVD, mp3, flac, ogg, digital and analogue TV). It supports plug-ins and emulation.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Review: Ubuntu Start Screen

If you've not got 10.04 Lucid, why not? If you have, then your default browser start page has changed.

It features the new Ubuntu typeface, a standard Google search control and three links with funky graphics (warning: middle-aged white bloke - is 'funky' an okay description to use?):

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Full Circle Magazine no36 Third Anniversary

Much kudos and thanks to Ronnie, Rob K and the rest of the magazine team for keeping the standard of Full Circle Magazine so high for three years.
"The release of issue 36 (and Lucid Lynx!) marks the 3rd anniversary of FCM. We’ve gone far from those first posts in the Ubuntu Forums and we have you — all of our supporters and readers — to thank for it."

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Review: Simple Backup

Following on from an earlier posting and the discussion in Full Circle Podcast #4 on backup solutions, I took another look at this handy little utility (often shortened to Sbackup), not used by me since the days of Edgy Eft.

Although it's called Simple, you'll find that in function it covers most of what you need; full and incremental backups, include and exclude criteria, backup destination and timing options (manual, timed and auto). Going down the custom configuration route gives you as much control as many larger backup applications.