Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Full Circle Magazine 11.10 Unity Special Edition

Full Circle Magazine 11.10 Unity Special Edition is available from the main site!

Something of an unusual Special Edition this time, it really is special in that little of this material has appeared in Full Circle Magazine before.

Our on-going Specials are compilations of popular article series published in prior editions of Full Circle. For this one, we're out on a limb, running new articles, albeit on some familiar topics we've touched on, for example in the Q and A section of the magazine.

This is also the first not overseen by our esteemed Editor, Mr Tucker. You are now at the mercy of the demented genius usually in charge (if you can call it that) of the Full Circle Podcast.

While that show is enjoying it's Winter break, try not to be too alarmed by the random mind of the man who brought you Mallard Man and Northern Star Trek.

Normal service will be resumed shortly. Enjoy. RC

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Full circle Magazine no 58 Out Now

Full circle Magazine no 58 is available now from the main site
This month:
  • Command and Conquer.
  • How-To : Beginning Python – Part 30, LibreOffice – Part 12, Backup Strategy – Part 6, Screencast Your Desktop, and The Paperless Office.
  • Linux Lab – Useful Investigative Tools.
  • Review – Linux Mint 12
  • I Think – Which Mobile OS.
  • Closing Windows – Formatting a USB Device
plus: more Ubuntu Games, My Desktop, My Opinion, My Story, and much much more!


Friday, 24 February 2012

How-to: Add RSS Feeds to Facebook using RSS Grafitti

How-to: Add RSS Feeds to Facebook using RSS GrafittiThe Wordpress plugin for Facebook isn't working for us on Everything Express; we don't know why, we can reset every day but it stops feeding soon after.

So rather than push from Wordpress to our Facebook page, we've opted to pull posts via the existing Wordpress RSS feed using a successful Facebook app called RSS Graffiti. There are many RSS applications to auto-publish your blog’s content, but RSS Graffiti is one of the top apps for this. It can centrally manage all the RSS/Atom feeds you publish in each of your Facebook Pages.

Once you authorise this application to access your Facebook profile, RSS Graffiti is a straightforward Facebook application to configure. It enables you to import several RSS/ATOM feeds and publish all of them on your Facebook Profile, Facebook Fan Pages and Facebook Groups, so its a feed aggregator for Facebook.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

How-to: Navigate the Mobile Carrier Jungle

Sometimes, crowd-sourcing good advice is the best way to go; several heads are better than one, right?

With kind permission of one of my mailing lists, herewith is some of the best advice for dealing with those crafty mobile carriers: how to get a decent deal on your next mobile phone.

Yes, 24 months is the standard these days. However, most (Vodafone's website in particular) also lists contract lengths of 12 and 18 months as options (with 24 the default). Daniel L.

How-to: Whitelist Programs for Unity Notifier

The architecture of the Systray changed in Ubuntu 11.10. Now it's the Notification Area. The majority of old, familiar application no longer appear in the tray, where you expect them to be; unless you fool it.

Some systray icons for QT-based programs such as Skype and VLC are automatically converted into indicators by sni-qt.

Wine, Java, scp-dbus-service and the Update-notifier are whitelisted by Ubuntu, but you can whitelist all applications.

Monday, 20 February 2012

How-to: Stop Default Pinning of Newly Installed Apps to Unity Launcher

As of Ubuntu 12.04, Precise Pangolin, the Ubuntu Software automatically adds newly install applications directly to the Unity launcher when they are installed. Very convenient. Not actually useful to anyone but the novice who doesn't yet know how to pin items to the launcher themselves.

The rest of us will get a Unity launcher bar cluttered with every application we install from Day One, and there's not enough space on that thing as it is.

So the first thing you may want to do in Ubuntu Software Center is turn off that action.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

How-to: Stoppy Going Dotty in LightDM 12.04

I foolishly thought that the grid of dots in the background to the LightDM login screen were a part of the background wallpaper. Wrong! The dots are drawn over the background, so you too can ruin any wallpaper you choose with the default grid. Why the Canonical design team let this particular and peculiar bit of visual clutter through, I can't imagine. Does anyone need a grid of dots on their login screen? Are we supposed to be measuring something? Free-hand drawing our own login windows?

You can remove the dots, at least you can in Ubuntu 12.04. There is a magic setting in one of the LightDM configuration files.

UPDATE: the I documented used to work, but now in 12.04 Final, it doesn't! Stay tuned to the end for the latest solution...

Friday, 17 February 2012

How-to: Closing Windows Part 3 (Guest Post)

Closing Windows 3: Move, Copy, Rename FilesGuest post from Full Circle Magazine Issue 56. Written by: Ronnie Tucker (KDE), Jan Mussche (Gnome), Elizabeth Krumbach (XFCE), Mark Boyajian (LXDE), David Tigue (Unity)

Closing Windows Part 3: Move, Copy, Rename

This month, we’ll discuss the moving, copying, and renaming of files. We’ll also take a quick look at how to delete a file, and (should a mistake occur) undeleting (or restoring) a deleted file.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

How-to: Disable 'For Download' in the Unity Dash

Another 'Marmite' design choice (you'll love it or hate it, indifference is not an option) in the Ubuntu Unity Dash; head for Applications and an entire chunk of the Dash is taken up with  "Applications for Download" with a selection taken from the Ubuntu Software Center.

It would be a great idea if it ever suggested anything useful (to me, anyway), but instead it just eats up space in the Dash I could use for other things. Like seeing the stack of favourite programs I already installed, thank you.

In Ubuntu 12.04, this "Applications for Download" section in the dash can be disabled.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

News: Unity and the HUD

"Say hello to the Head-Up Display, or HUD, which will ultimately replace menus in Unity applications.”

Thus Mark Shuttleworth, the Chairman of Canonical, announced the next dev-elopment of the Unity interface at the start of the year. The HUD is intended to apply the Unity Dash search method to any Unity-compliant application.

In a post full of enthusiasm for re-modeling the Graphical User Interface, “...it’s a way for you to express your intent and have the application respond appropriately. We think of it as 'beyond interface', it’s the 'intenterface'... 'intent-driven interface...'”

Monday, 13 February 2012

Ubuntu 11.10 and Unity Special Edition

Ubuntu 11.10 and Unity Special Edition - coverSomething of an unusual Special Edition this time, it really is special in that little of this material has appeared in Full Circle Magazine before.

For this one, we're out on a limb, running new articles, albeit on some familiar topics we've touched on, for example in the Q and A section of the magazine.

Written and edited by yours truly, this Special Edition is available from the main Full Circle site. RC

Sunday, 12 February 2012

News: What Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, And SAP Don't Tell Customers

Hand Pushing Button by Twobee, FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Or at least, news to anyone who hasn't worked with them for any length of time. Only this time, it's a reputable analyst from respected market analysts Gartner Group.

At last November's Gartner Symposium in Australia (courtesy of IT News), Gartner analyst Dennis Gaughan outlined the hidden agendas of the big four software vendors to push customers into spending money:
  • Microsoft mainly wants to protect its lucrative Windows and Office monopolies, while maintaining platform lock-ins. Gaughan advised caution even with new products such as Office 365. 
  • Oracle products actually have very little integration, but it's aggressive sales force doesn't care so long as the estimated 90% of profits derived of maintenance fees continue to roll in, despite Oracle's reputation as being is "the most difficult vendor to deal with." I'm spinning some of this through personal experience, you understand. 
  • As a re-invented consulting services company, IBM wants to take over your IT strategy. The sales managers will sell in anything they think they can persuade you that you need on your roadmap. 
  • SAP confuses customers with pricing, apparently (although you could say the same for the dark art of IBM, Microsoft and IBM software licensing), evidenced by the SAP customers who ask Gartner for help figuring out SAP's pricing and licensing. Expensive technical migrations from R/3 system to the newer Business Suite has almost dried up, which means SAP's maintenance fees will go up to maintain it's revenue. 

Personally, I find none of this much of a surprise. These are some of the most aggressive corporate entities around, which have printed their own licenses to print money for the last couple of decades. They've never been transparent in their practices. When you swim with sharks, you have to expect to lose a leg or two. RC

Source article: Business Insider, What Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, And SAP Don't Tell Customers

Image: Hand Pushing Button by Twobee, FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Review: Google Good to Know

Good To Know is is Google's latest attempt to educate and inform the Internet-using public about privacy and on-line security. Specifically, Good To Know aims to inform users of the tools they can use to control how their data is used across Google's many services.

The question is, do we look on this as genuine public service content or as a thinly disguised Public Relations puff-piece with more spin than the Magic Roundabout? Is this act of proactive public reassurance just to pre-empt the kinds of privacy lawsuits Facebook is fighting?

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Opinion: Google Plus Still Doesn't Get it

Rant alert: Google+ naming policy remains the most unutterably dumb, un-safe, impractical and unworkable piece of junk Google ever came up with!  The thing still insists on 'real names' but couldn't recognise a real name if you painted it on a missile and fired it at them. Lord knows what anyone outside the Anglo-speaking world does with this piece of junk.

There is an appeals process that doesn't resolve appeals. I think I know why. Advertisers.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

How:to Rip DVDs with VLC

If you don't have the VideoLan VLC media player, then you're missing out. It is the most versatile players and converters around; platform-agnostic, it runs on anything and comes with a stack of controls and features not usual in a media player...

...including a fantastic Convert/Save features which allows you to convert media between formats, including ripping DVD's. Note this may be illegal in some territories and we rely on your responsible behaviour.

I always start or end with VLC for media conversion. It's much more usable than command line tools such as Mencoder and ffmpeg.

Monday, 6 February 2012

How-to: Add Users to Groups in Ubuntu 11.10

Amongst the mixed bag of fail in Ubuntu 11.10 is the lack of a proper user and group admin tool. We had one in 11.04, you could do anything with user and group permissions from a graphical interface. Easy.

Come 11.10, that goes away and all you can do is add or remove user accounts or change the account type (Standard or Administrator). Canonical: you upgraded something useful (nay, essential) out of existence!

How is this making Ubuntu easier to use and more desirable to the new users whom Mark Spaceshuttle is trying to attract in the millions? You just made a large number of us resort to a command line. Again. Back in the geek ghetto. How 'very Linux.' FAIL. Anyway, moving on...

Saturday, 4 February 2012

How-to: Create New Virtual Disks in VirtualBox

The whole process of creating virtual Hard drives in VirtualBox is much simpler than it used to be, aided by a step-through Wizard.

The only thing  novice might want to know is the pro's and con's of some of the options.

Let's say I want to create a new virtual disk for my Mint-12 virtual machine.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

How to: Fallback to Gnome Panels on Ubuntu 11.10

I'm still not getting on with Unity desktop in everyday use. Xfce has a few quirks and disadvantages. Kubuntu is a culture shift too far.

Sooo... let's drop back to the look and feel of Gnome 2! Panels and menus are fast and lightweight and do just what I need to do. They are also easy to achieve thanks to a couple of small package installs, which gives me the desktop shown.

Firstly, install the package ‘gnome-fallback-session’ from the Ubuntu Software Centre. This one package does the hard work.