Sunday, 30 October 2011

How-to: Create a Desktop Shortcut on Ubuntu 11.10

Thanks to the changes effected by the Unity interface, adding a desktop shortcut is no longer easy. The old right-click on the desktop, selecting "Create Launcher" no longer works.

You can create a custom launcher on the desktop, either via the terminal or the run line invoked by Alt-f2

gnome-desktop-item-edit --create-new ~/Desktop

The New Launcher window opens for you to create the launcher commands. The new shortcut will now appear on your desktop as soo as you save it. RC

(Original tip found on the Upbuntu site)

Saturday, 29 October 2011

News: The Flying Handbag Podcast

Not to be confused with the Flying Handbag bar, this is a one-off podcast recording from Barcamp Blackpool of October 15th 2011.

An impromptu round-table discussion (minus actual table) featuring Dan Lynch of Linux OutlawsPete Cannon of Dick Turpin Roadshow fame, our good friend Les Pounder of Blackpool LUG, Dan Westley, Tony Hughes and Michael 'Heeed'.

Friday, 28 October 2011

How-to: Add Places as Quicklists in Unity

Unity Quicklists Quicklists in various desktop environments can be controversial features. Are they a cheat or a compromise of standards and usability, or a useful ergonomic aid?

Disappointingly, quick-lists are not included as a feature in Ubuntu 11.10. However, you can add your profile's Places as quicklists.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

How-to: Change Icon Theme Ubuntu 11.10

Change icon set using Dconf-editorIn yet another frankly dumb-ass move, Canonical stripped out the controls in Ubuntu 11.10 to allow you to change icon sets independently of your desktop theme. Yet more ability to customize your system taken away. WHY???!!!

It's not like this is something that is going to break your system (unlike the utterly stupid inclusion of system janitor by default -  good riddance to that one).

So the among the first things you'll want to do is restore some lost functionality now that Appearance Properties have been dropped in Ubuntu 11.10 and the System Settings doesn't support a change the icon theme.

Monday, 24 October 2011

How-to: Run Xfce on Ubuntu 11.10 Final

Xfce Dekstop panelXfce is a lightweight desktop environment which is designed to be responsive and consume fewer system resources than say, Gnome with Unity, or KDE. It's also a useful substitute for Unity now that Gnome panel has been removed in 11.10.

I am now running it on the regular Ubuntu 11.10 Unity release; that's not Xubuntu, but the regular 11.10 with the usual Ubuntu applications stack, with Xfce4 on top. I now have the choice of Unity or Xfce. Guess which I'm using for my everyday environment?

Thursday, 20 October 2011

How-to: Promote Your Blog

Promoting your blog
Not our most original post, this is largely a lift of Blogger's advice on promoting your Blogspot site.

Not unique to Blogger, you can apply this advice to most platforms, even if the specific tools vary.
  • 'Set your blog to Send Pings. When this setting is activated, your blog will be included in various "recently updated" lists on the web as well as other blog-related services.'
  • Install Email This Post... people will be able to forward your posts to friends... it enables others to publicize your blog for you.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Opinion: Google Plus Identity Fail

Google Logo
Now that Google Plus is out of Beta on public release, I'm expecting another wave of dissent over the whole user name debacle. If there isn't one there should be, since Google's policy on this is assinine, naive, dangerous and plain dumb.

If you go to the answers document about profile naming, you will find the feedback form at the bottom. Take the time to send them appropriate abuse over this. I did.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

How-to: Add WordPress Custom Forms

Wordpress custom form field add and has sharing buttons for every social network under the sun, plus you can make your own for anything not covered. Other kinds of interactivity are limited by the free hosting option and the lack of customisable plug-ins. For those you need the self-hosting option of

However, you can dress up a custom contact form in order to collect reader information and have it emailed to you. It's a surprisingly powerful feature that actually works.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Ubuntu 11.10: Release the Ocelot!

The latest version of Ubuntu, 11.10 codenamed Oneiric Ocelot, was released on October 13.

What's new?
You can see the list of new features on the official Ubuntu website, or take the snazzy visual tour. You can download directly from the Ubuntu Download page.

You can follow the same upgrade process as normal. Simply upgrade from the Update Manager and your settings, files and bookmarks will stay the same.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Review: Dynamic Views in Blogger

Last month Google’s Blogger (Blogspot) platform released a revamped template portfolio for blogs hosted on their platform. Called 'Dynamic Views' the idea is a set of easy-to-apply web 2.0 templates to keep the vast number of blogs from becoming stale.

There are many hundred thousands of blogs; huge numbers look the same or very similar, since they use the same free templates (Bloggers' own or common third-party designs). Dynamic Views aims to provide an instant make-over with some snappy effects thrown in. But do they work?

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

How-to: Name or Label a Disk Partition

Various Linux file managers make a poor job of identifying mounted drives and partitions in the file system or on the desktop. Or do they?

For example the Nautilus file manager shows the root directory as File System for your system partition. Other partitions or volumes maybe shown using the reported gigabyte size, 32GB Filesystem.

This is usually because the Linux utility, distribution or user failed to label them. Most Linux installers will happily go ahead and create partitions unnamed and unlabelled, leaving users to do it themselves. Which we mostly don't.

Monday, 10 October 2011

How-to: Unity Keyboard and Mouse Shortcuts

The latest Ubuntu Unity interface is like Marmite, people either love it or hate it. Change is of course one of the most basic reasons to dislike it. The general lack of intuitive operation is another. Yes you can clatter about on the keys and mess with the mouse and 'discover' what it does. Or you can piggy-back off the thriving sub-industry of documented Unity Keyboard and Mouse Shortcuts to help you.

There are lots of pages and blog posts popping up describing Unity keyboard and mouse shortcuts, the weightiest being that on Ask Ubuntu.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Event: Barcamp Blackpool Oct 15th

Barcamp Blackpool logoBarcamp Blackpool: A free ‘unconference’ with no scheduled speakers.

Attendees arrive on the day armed with talks and decide which ones they want to go along to! The talks can be on anything, from android application development to learning the British Sign Language to Electronic Organs played by BBC Micros! But don’t worry, you don’t have to do a talk to participate! The event is paid for by lovely sponsors.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Review: You are not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier

Book: You are not a gadget by Jaron Lanier
“The words in this book are written for people, not computers.
I want to say: You have to be somebody before you can share yourself.

Jaron Lanier is a computer scientist, composer, visual artist, and author as well as roving academic for Microsoft Corporation the University of California at Berkeley. Lanier is associated with research into “virtual reality,” a term he coined whilst developing VR in the late 1980s.

Lanier describes this 2010 book as a manifesto: “my belief that cybernetic totalism will ultimately be bad for spirituality, morality, and business.”

Friday, 7 October 2011

Full Circle Podcast Episode 25: The Podcast as a Rolling Release

Full Circle Podcast LogoFull Circle Podcast Episode 25: The Podcast as a Rolling Release is available from the main site.
In this episode, Floss UK Un-conference and Programming in Schools.
Full Circle Podcast is also a proud member of the Tech Podcasts Network.  

File Sizes:
  • OGG 35.8Mb
  • MP3 26.2Mb
Runtime: 1hr 18mins 57seconds  

Thursday, 6 October 2011

How-to: Xfce on Ubuntu 11.10 Beta

Xfce on Ubuntu 11.10 BetaMy failure to get on with the Ubuntu Unity interface is well documented. Meanwhile, D-day is getting closer: Ubuntu 11.10 drops on Oct. 13th  and the 11.10 release contains no 'fallback' to Gnome or any other desktop.

I am now running plan B: the Xfce desktop environment sitting on top of the 11.10 Beta release. So far it looks promising...

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

How to upgrade Dell Mini 10v memory

Further to our previous article on How-to: Upgrade your own Gadgets, James Rintamaki ( shows you how to upgrade the memory in the Dell Mini 10v netbook from 1GB to 2GB.

I've followed his process with a little modification to perform just this upgrade.

The memory is mounted on the underside of the main-board and there is no access hatch in the case.  This means you have to fully dismantle the entire laptop to access the single memory slot.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Full Circle Magazine issue 53 Out Now

Full Circle issue 53 is available from the main site!

This month:
  • Command and Conquer.
  • How-To : Program in Python – Part 27, LibreOffice – Part 8, Backup Strategy – Part 1, GRAMPS – Part 2, and Ubuntu For Business & Education – Part 2.
  • Linux Lab – ZoneMinder CCTV – Part 2.
  • Review – Linux Mint 11.
  • I Think – With the rise of internet email, do we still need an email client installed by default?
plus: Ubuntu Games, My Story, and much much more! RC

Sunday, 2 October 2011

How-to: Upgrade your own Gadgets

Hammer and Spanner by Anna Cervova
Laptops, notebooks, netbooks, tablets and net-tops all fall into a class of gadget that is difficult to upgrade. The small size of the chassis and internal components, combined with the black arts of factory-assembling units that small often means that you get little or no opportunity to upgrade components such as memory, processors and disk drives.

That's not to say it's impossible. As we proved in the memory and disk upgrade of the JVC-mini, it can be done...