Posts filed under ‘Linux Stuff’

Setup for the Modern Virtual Workspace

Breaking Barriers

Breaking Barriers

Do you tire of reformatting your computer so that it can be set up with the prescribed environment determined by your superior or client? How about the hassle of making sure that there is a backup copy of your past project? Is quality assurance testing a pain because you have to reset your environment over and over again?

Well I did tire of that hassle. And I also tired of having to run my computer on a specific OS, just because that was what the task prescribed. So I went out and used a few proven tools to remedy the situation, which will be what this guide will be all about.

Continue reading at the new Geedkmadness

August 14, 2008 at 8:30 pm 2 comments

Playing Warcraft III and DOTA in Linux

Don\'t Celebrate YetAre you one of those people who would almost like to switch over to Ubuntu but just couldn’t because you don’t quite like great open source games such as Glest, Sauerbraten and Tremulous? In today’s post, here’s one more reason for you to do so: Now you can play Warcraft III, Frozen Throne, and also Defense of the Ancients, or more commonly known as DOTA! Ok, so that’s 3 reasons…but since DOTA is just a custom map for Frozen Throne maybe 2 and a half…anyway…let’s get started.

Continue reading at the new GeekMadness

June 24, 2008 at 8:45 am 20 comments

To The (Open) Movies

It’s now been over 2 weeks since Project Peach’s Big Buck Bunny opened in theaters last May 30, or at least in home theaters. So if you haven’t seen it yet, now would be a good time to head on over to the Big Buck Bunny website and download a copy. If you’re still downloading pirated movies, here’s a breath of fresh air: this short movie is given to you completely free of charge.

Big Buck Bunny is the story of a large, but kind rabbit who is bullied by three naughty rodents. Finally, Big Buck Bunny decides to fight back, and…well you’ll have to see it for yourself. The visuals are breath-taking, from the tall grass blowing in the wind, to the stream reflecting off sunlight, to the cute and cuddly creatures.

Continue reading at the new GeekMadness

If the concept of open movies is new, or strange, to you, you may find it interesting to know that Big Buck Bunny is already the second open movie in the world, following from the success of the first open movie, Elephants Dream.

Two years ago, the Project Orange released the world’s first open movie, and it was titled Elephants Dream. Elephants Dream and Big Buck Bunny are called open movies because they are made entirely with open source tools, where of course Blender is the star player. Not only that, all the production files, all the 3D assets, everything used in the movie is also available for download, and it’s also included on the DVD.

Computer graphics, or CG, has been used with film since all the way back in the 70’s even before films like Tron came out. Back then, the technology was still at its infancy. As the technology progressed, CG found its way more and more into film, combining live action and animation in films like Batman, Star Trek, The Abyss, etc. and moving on into feature-length movies like Toy Story and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. What most of them have in common is the use of expensive software, such as Maya, for creating the CG (except Pixar; they use in-house technology built on top of Linux).

A lot of you probably don’t know that there is a software out there called Blender proving itself and its abilities to be on par with the big industry giants like 3D Studio Max, Lightwave, Maya, and SoftImage. But unlike its counterparts with 5-digit price tags (in US dollars), Blender is completely free! That’s right. Free to use, free to abuse, free to modify, free as in freedom and free as in beer.

Now there are a lot of people I know who are averse to Linux and the concept of free and open-source software, believing them to be of inferior quality because they’re not backed by large companies with lots of capital. I think that Blender is one of the model FLOSS software that proves this to be simply not the case.

If you haven’t seen the Open Movies yet, now would be a good time to do so. Head on over to the Elephant’s Dream page or the Big Buck Bunny page. You can also see how Plumiferos, another movie in the works, is coming about, as well as a whole lot of movies over at the Blender Movie Gallery. Oh, and of course, tell your friends or give them a copy. Don’t worry, it’s free (and open); Edu Manzano or the MPAA won’t be knockin’ on your door anytime soon.

June 16, 2008 at 9:28 am 1 comment

Can Your’s Do This?

Hardy_FileOperationsCan your file manager do this?

This is only one of the cool additions to Hardy Heron, the latest version of Ubuntu to come out.

Other new features include Firefox 3 beta, modified in Hardy for stability, better hardware support, upgraded versions of all applications, Transmission BitTorrent client, and a nifty new wallpaper!

You can now also try Ubuntu inside Windows like a regular application. No need to partition, and no harm to your system. Give it a try!

For more details, check out the Ubuntu website.

Hardy File Operations 2Update: The new File Operations manager now also offers the “merge” feature when overwriting folders. In Windows, if you choose to overwrite a folder, it will blindly overwrite all of its contents as well. With merge, you will have the option of confirming which files inside the folder will be overwritten. Cool!

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April 29, 2008 at 4:07 pm 7 comments

Say Hello To Koji

Kohjinsha’s Size Compared to An SD CardI saw a Kohjinsha SH6KP10A for only Y40K in Nipponbashi! I have seen the Kohjinsha quite a few times before, but never really paid attention because it was a local brand and was as expensive as a more powerful, albeit larger laptop. So coming home, I decided to do a little forward research on the Kohjinsha, specifically on Linux support. It only had an Intel A100 600Mhz processor (for reasons unknown to me, it’s faster than my 2.4Ghz main laptop), although it did have an Intel 945 GPU, which was perfect for 3D in Linux. If this thing could run a Vista, it would be quite fast when running Ubuntu. I compared the price vs. feature set with other UMPCs. TheSamsung Q1 was another favorite of Ubuntu users, but as it did not have a real keyboard (I need to be able to work on it; the optional keyboard attachment made it not so ultra-mobile, yuck). Searching the Ubuntu Forums yielded few, but very promising and helpful results. Checking them out, I found a few owners of Kohjinshas getting Gutsy on their UMPCs.

It was only 40K yen if you were going to get a Yahoo!BB subscription with it. But at 60K, it was still a bargain, since it was only 6mos used and at half the price of a new one. And I got myself one last weekend.

Kohjinsha and My Old Asus L3Taking it home, what was my first impression? First of all, it was preloaded with Vista, and instead of a recovery disc it had a 4GB recovery partition. I had to test all the hardware first to see if everything was A-Ok. Touch screen worked, webcam worked, the controls beside the screen (a lot of ’em: D-pad, track pointer, launcher, shutter, rotation, enter, brightnes. scroll keys. left and right mouse buttons), webcam, TV tuner, bluetooth and WiFi, all working perfectly. And you had no less than 3 ways to control your pointer: via the touch pad, the thumb pointer, and touch screen. As for text input, well you had the physical keyboard when you really need the typing speed, or you can use the touch screen.

While it still had Vista, I decided to do a quick speed comparison test. Nothing fancy, just a quick test to see which OS would allow me to work more before I had to get off the train at the station. In short, boot times.

Here are the results:

Windows Vista Home Basic Startup time:
1:10.03 – Time to welcome screen
1:49.83 – Time to desktop display
4:06.85 – Time to finish loading everything

Ubuntu Gutsy LiveCD startup time:
0:22.21 – Time to LiveCD menu
3:02.19 – Time to opening tune
4:26.33 – Time to finish loading everything

Vista was able to boot in just a little over 4 minutes (about the time it takes for a train to get to the next station) and 20 seconds faster than Ubuntu. That’s swell, until you consider the fact that IT WAS A LIVECD! For those not in the know, a LiveCD basically allows you to run an OS without installing on your computer. That’s right, that 4 minute Vista on my fast hard drive barely beat Ubuntu running off a CD drive! Hey, I wanted a fair fight, so I had to handicap Ubuntu..<snicker>

Kohjinsha Showing Compiz’s Scale FeatureAlright, so what are the real comparison figures for Ubuntu and Vista when both are installed in the hard disk?
Ubuntu Gutsy LiveCD startup time:
1:01.44 – Time to Login Screen
1:10.41 – Time to opening tune
1:35.58 – Time to desktop display
1:39.49 – Time to finish loading everything

You could argue that the Vista desktop already appears at about 1:50, but you just can’t do anything with it yet for another 30 seconds, where you can *technically* do something e.g. click a button/menu, just don’t expect your computer to respond well.

Kohjinsha Reverse StyleSo Vista was out and Ubuntu was in, and without needing to install any drivers at all, the CF and SD card reader, controls beside the screen, the webcam, 3D card, sound, and most everything worked out-of-the-box and without my intervention. And from the info in the Ubuntu Forums thread I had found earlier, I was able to get Koji up to speed.

Kohjinsha Handwriting Recognition With CellwriterSo right now, I can type away on the train(where I wrote most of this post’s content yesterday on the train to Kyoto). Heck, I could do away with the typing altogether and just scribble away with Cellwriter.

I don’t really need to say this but I’m one very, very proud Ubuntu-powered Kohjinsha owner!

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March 10, 2008 at 12:33 am 5 comments

Ubuntu From A Beginner’s Perspective

Stop what you’re doing and watch these! I found these series of Ubuntu videos on the ‘net titled First Impressions, Office Functionality, and Multimedia Support, and it’s unique because of who made them. John Bradbury is a, quote, “long-time Windows user and a Windows System Administrator” who is “pretty comfortable with all things Microsoft”, and so he’s out of his element as he reviews Ubuntu.

And it actually works in favor of Ubuntu as you watch how a completely newcomer to Ubuntu figure his way through the interface without getting really got lost and ask such questions like “why is the ‘Shutdown’ button located in the ‘Start’ menu?”

The Multimedia Support video actually highlights improved codec handling, one of the features introduced in Feisty. Well, I’ll let you watch the video for yourselves to get a clearer picture.

You have to watch these.

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February 27, 2008 at 10:03 pm Leave a comment

Video Phoning

I bought a webcam for my laptop for an overseas trip so I can make video calls cheaply, without researching first about the webcam’s compatibility with Linux. It’s an A4Tech Notecam Clip-On. So before any of the fun stuff could happen, I needed to know if it was working or not. After a bit of searching, I stumbled upon Camorama (it’s in the Ubuntu repositories). The good thing is that it worked! No installation, no pop-up dialogs, nothing, just plug it in, and it’s in. It came with a driver CD for Windows; take note, Windows users, my Linux box doesn’t need driver discs.

Camorama can be used to test if your camera is feeding video information to your computer, and also for taking pictures or recording videos. However, for my particular camera, it couldn’t adjust the color correctly. I was worried that the linux driver for my camera had a problem. Well a badly-colored videocam feed is better than no feed at all.

Next up was research. What program do I use with my webcam for video calling? Gaim/Pidgin is a multiple-IM client capable of connecting not only to Y!Messenger, but also to MSN, AIM, GoogleTalk, etc., but couldn’t do video because these companies use private and proprietary protocols with their networks they want to keep private. I wanted to be able to call Yahoo! Messenger clients, so like what I usually do when I’m clueless about something, I hit the Ubuntu Forums and do search (or post a question if search results aren’t fruitful). Sure enough, there was a thread that answered my question. After a conversation with Loell, another UF member, I tried the following applications to see which best suited my needs.


Kopete is a multiple-IM for KDE, though you can still use it in GNOME. It has a nice, clean interface which I think looks better than Gaim. Trying out the webchat feature, I was able to connect to my Y!M buddies. However, while the person on the other end could see my video stream, all I got was a single frame. The first frame of what is supposed to be a video stream (at best, I managed to get another frame a few minutes later). Also, there was no audio with the webchat.


First of all, I would like to state that this is my personal opinion: I really hate Gyachi’s interface. The first screen you see looks like a mess, or at best an old, unsophisticated Win95 program. The buttons are cluttered, and I really can’t make sense of the interface. But I was able to try out the webchat feature, and it worked. But like Kopete, webcam with audio was a no-go. Supposedly, you have to start audio chat aside from your webchat do get around this, but I never was able to make audio chat work either. So either I use Kopete or this for webchat without video. And I’d rather the clean Kopete interface than this. As a small saving grace though, Gyachi notifies you when your buddies sign in as invisible, so there’s no hiding from a person with Gyachi.

Wengo and Ekiga
Taking a different approach, why not just use a softphone for VoIP? Ubuntu has Ekiga by default, and unlike Skype which uses its own proprietary protocol, Ekiga is SIP-protocol compliant. In human terms, Skype can connect to Skype only, while Ekiga can connect to ANY SIP phone. Linux Skype can’t make video calls by the way, so that’s automatically out. So why not Wengo instead of Ekiga? Wengo is more fully featured than Ekiga. Wengo can be installed in Windows, Mac, and Linux, it can make SMS as well as calls to real phones anywhere in the world (I loaded it up with 10euros, which is the minimum. Calls and SMS are really cheap by the way), and it’s also a multi-IM client.

In conclusion, while I never got webcamming with Yahoo!Messenger solved, it was a good learning experience, without which I would have never learned about Wengo, to which I’m casting my vote. It solved the day for webcam with voice, I just have to convince whoever I need to talk to to download the client, but it’s not that hard since Wengo is really a good client, better than Skype. It still has some kinks, which I’m sure will soon be solved by the open source community behind it as more and more people start using it.

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September 16, 2007 at 11:08 pm 1 comment

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