Monday, 30 May 2011

Opinion: The New Sheriff in Town

Most ludicrous, offensive and insulting sight of last month: President Sarkozy posturing at the E-G8 Internet conference, standing up to tell the rest of us how France is going to lead the G8 to regulate the Internet for the whole world.

You could be kind and regard it as a pre-emptive move to out-flank the US government imposing its' regulation on us (Obama didn't even want it on the agenda). Or you could view it as a short egotist playing politics on the World stage for domestic consumption; using the G8 as a box to stand on to make himself look like a statesman, all the while pandering to a pro-business corporate lobby under the guise of protecting us all from pirates, terrorists and porn...

Full Circle Podcast Episode 20, A Dutch Pirate with False Teeth

Full Circle Podcast Episode #20, A Dutch Pirate with False Teeth is available now from the main site.

In this episode, Google I/O news, UDS and your feedback

Full Circle Podcast is also a proud member of the
Tech Podcasts Network.

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Sunday, 29 May 2011

Full Circle Magazine 49 is out Now

Full Circle – the independent magazine for the Ubuntu Linux community - is proud to announce the release of our forty-ninth issue.

This month:
  • Command and Conquer. 
  • How-To :
    * Program in Python – Part 23,
    * LibreOffice – Part 4,
    * Ubuntu Development – Part 1,
    * Use Google In Thunderbird.
  • Linux Lab – Swappiness Part Two.
  • Review – Virtual Machines.
  • Top 5 – Web Management Tools.
  • NEW COLUMN! I Think - we pose a question and you, the readers, give your thoughts. This month: what do you think of Unity? 

plus: Ubuntu Games, My Story, and much much more! 

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Review: Banshee Media Player So Far

My Banshee experience started with the remarkably fast import of my music collection. Oft criticised, I don't see why. Banshee imported 5188 tracks in just over 5 minutes. How many times do you run import and how fast do you need?

The interface is reasonably intuitive and vaguely familiar; my problem is thinking it's Rhythmbox and mousing in all the wrong places. You can find most features quite easily and it doesn’t get in the way of what you need/want to do...

Friday, 27 May 2011

Google's Schmidt Blasts PROTECT IP as Censorship

At last, a statement from Google's Eric Schmidt that we can all endorse! Notorious king-of-creepy and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt launched a characteristically blunt attack on an unusual quarter, firmly rejecting the US PROTECT IP Bill as a disaster for free speech.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot Feature List

Ubuntu 11.10, the eccentrically named Oneiric Ocelot was announced back in March, 2011. We now have a confirmed feature list for the release due October 13th, 2011.

For the desktop edition:

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Internet Usage Stats

In summary, a graphic from the fantastically named CyberGothPandas site for graphics designers (highlighted by teknophilia, thanks).

A graphic representation of the world's Internet usage and demographics. RC

Monday, 23 May 2011

Site link: Everything Express

In case you haven't spotted the link in the blog-roll,  there is another piece of shameless self-promotion.

Everything Express is our other site co-authored with Smithie, De Guerre, Hammond, Everchild and some upcoming guest contributors.

There you'll find most of the Linux and Open Source content syndicated from this blog, plus some of our other interests in the culture section, including books, movies, radio, TV, photography and art.

We would love to hear what people think. RC

Saturday, 21 May 2011

How-to: Edit Windows Boot Menu

I tripped over an issue with dual-booting a machine with Windows and Linux this week.

If Windows is installed first on the primary partition of the first hard disk, you might decide go with frequent advice NOT to install the Linux boot-loader onto that partition, for fear of messing up the Master Boot Record (MBR).

However, if you install Grub-2 anywhere else, you'll then need to add a menu option to the Windows Boot Menu, else your Linux install won't boot...

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Review: The Changing Worlds of Formula One

BBC World Service, Documentary, Podcast
First broadcast  11th March 2011

From Italy to India, David Goldblatt examines the ever changing face of Formula One.

This two-part documentary (also available as a two-episode podcast) was broadcast in March to coincide with the new F1 season. I caught up this week as an F1 follower to see what international, not-so-sporty World Service made of the direction in which F1 is heading. No surprises, then, that money rather than gasoline fuels the F1 circus...

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

How-To: Disable The Overlay Scrollbars In Ubuntu 11.04

Ever since they arrived in the test versions of 11.04, I've hated the new Overlay Scrollbars in Ubuntu.

  • Yes, it may save on-screen real-estate BUT
  • I've now got a much smaller target to hit just to get the overlay control to appear
  • I have to move the pointer most times to get the pointer into the sweet spot to drag
  • If I miss that then it disappears and I've got to mouse about to get it to appear again.
  • I can only hot-spot on the coloured portion of the scrollbar, whereas before I could click anywhere on the traditional wide scrollbar and start paging up and down
  • In theory a brilliant space saver. In practice an insane idea that drives me crazy AND drives a coach and horses through common-sense accessibility!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Why Microsoft bought Skype

Microsoft has spent $8.5 billion to acquire a company outside of its' core competencies. The optimists look toward the wholesale integration of Skype technology into Microsoft's product line. The pessimists say it paid over the odds for a firm that can't deliver anything to Microsoft's bottom line without radical and ruthless surgery - which may well threaten the very value Redmond is seeking to create. So why did Microsoft buy Skype...?

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Usual Flood from Google I/O

Getting over our jealousy of the attendees receiving lots of free gadgets, the Google I/O Conference 2011 produced the usual flood of announcements.
  • Android 3.1 for tablets, the improbably-named 'Ice-cream Sandwich'
  • Music Beta
  • Google Video
  • Android Open Accessory Development Kit (ADK)
  • Android @Home
  • Android Update Alliance
  • Google Chromebooks
The stage presentation was rather dull, the announcements potentially huge. In summary, Android everywhere (just don't mention Google-TV). Where to start...?

Friday, 13 May 2011

Microsoft Acquires Skype for $8.5Bn

The biggest acquisition in Microsoft's history: buying Skype Voice-Over-IP telecoms company for $8.5 billion.

Microsoft has trumped both Google and Facebook, which had been hovering over the purchase - although both these rivals have nascent voice and video telecoms already built into their own platforms. Rumours of technical asset-stripping or simply killing a rival service abounded. why begs the question, why Microsoft...?

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Review: Banshee Replaces Rhythmbox

Ubuntu 11.04 has replaced Rhythmbox with Banshee as it's default media player. Note media not just music. This isn't Canonical playing games with the Ubuntu distro, but because the Rhythmbox development team may release only one more version; it’s the end of the road for this popular music player, which is a shame as I like it.

I think the interface of Banshee is very much like Rhythmbox anyway, except that it displays album covers in the browser. It can import all your Rhythmbox playlists to make the transition less painful. But besides having all of the features of Rhythmbox and some of its' plugins, Banshee is a full media player, able to play video as well as most formats of audio...

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

UDS Keynote Video

A quick update to say that Mark Shuttleworth's Keynote speech from this year's Ubuntu Developer's Summit (UDS) is now available as a video from several sources.

For the path of least resistance, YouTube has it at

Mark does his usual motivational speaking. There's some congratularoy back-slapping for the 11.04 team and an outline of the thinking ahead for 11.10...


Saturday, 7 May 2011

Full Circle Podcast Episode 19: Burnt at the Stake

Full Circle Podcast Episode #19, Burnt at the Stake is available from the main site.
In this episode, Ubuntu 11.04 and Unity. 

Wilkins, Hewitt and Catling go head-to-head in the fight over the interface called (ironically) Unity.

MP3 audio file  Download
OGG audio file

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Show notes after the jump. 

Friday, 6 May 2011

Unity is a Crock

I have Ubuntu 11.04. After jumping through hoops to get the thing going, I also have the Unity 3-D interface.

Now I am wondering, like Benjamin Humphrey ("What’s wrong with Unity & how we can fix it" published March 17, 2011) where it's all gone wrong. It's worth looking down Ben's post and the - long list - comments which follow, especially as one of the early ones is Canonical supremo Mark Shuttleworth. Scroll down to Mack Richard's response as a tutor, in particular.

So what is wrong with Unity? How long have you got...?

Apple vs Samsung Patent Tangle

Sigh. Another legal set-to between technology companies. 

This time it's Apple suing Samsung for willfully and deliberately - I believe the word 'slavishly' has been bandied about by Apple - copying wholesale the design of the iPhone 4, right down to the icons (monochrome or color it doesn't matter). Now this is Samsung Mobile division, rather than Samsung Semi-conductor from whom Apple sources some $6.5 billion in components every year. Samsung being a giant umbrella corporation building everything from TV's to container ships, Apple clearly has no problem suing one division whilst trading with another... 

Unity Supported? No

Having run the update overnight (yes, overnight) on the Dell laptop to get onto Ubuntu Natty 11.04, I do believe that Ubuntu has hit it's 'Vista moment' in terms of compatibility. Remember when Windows Vista hit a massive road-block in the number of hardware devices that were no longer supported? 11.04 is at that point with graphics.

At log-on, the X-server informs me that I don't have the hardware required to run the Unity interface...

Thursday, 5 May 2011

My Rules for Social Networking

A couple of things last month prompted this post.

First, I got hold of a little booklet by Hampshire Linux User Gruop member Damian Brasher, Damian's Social Networking Rules.

Second, I saw the call for a Bloggers Code of Conduct over at O'Reilly.

Inspired, I decided to write out my (short) set of rules for social media. Apologies if this reads like Baz Luhrman's self-help record Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen) ...

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

KDE for Tablets

New open source projects have been created by the KDE developers aimed at bringing a consistent user interface across a variety of touch screen interfaces for tablets and multi-media devices. The new Plasma Active and Contour projects are aimed to offer a new user experience for tablets, smart-phones and set top boxes.

Given that KDE has taken great strides forward with its' UI design, with KDE 4.5 and 4.6 finally delivering in robust code the vision it set out for 4.0, this holds a great deal of promise...

Monday, 2 May 2011

Full Circle Side-Pod Episode Eight: Hardware, Software and Knitting

Full Circle Side-Pod Episode Eight: Hardware, Software and Knitting is available from the main site! 

In this episode: News, U-Cubed review, and the Opentech Conference.

Full Circle Podcast is also a proud member of the Tech Podcasts Network.

Feeds for both MP3 and OGG:
RSS feed, MP3:
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Show notes after the jump.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Oops on the Cloud: AWS Outage

April 21: A massive outage sent Amazon Web Services (AWS) scrambling to fix its Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2) and Relational Database Service (RDS) cloud computing services. 

From 4.40 in the morning for some 10 hours, major Amazon EC2 cloud customers, including popular Web sites like check-in site Foursquare, socila media aggregator HootSuite, social site Quora and Reddit struggled for connectivity or dropped of the Internet altogether.

To short-cut the techno-babble, it appears EBS (Elastic Block Store) volume replication was disrupted which meant that automated copying, deployment and load-balancing of large volume sites simply froze. “Something large” clearly failed, not just the EBS system as a whole, but the infrastructure that supposedly spread the load across multiple 'availability zones' which lasted around three hours before recovery began in earnest...