I have moved my blog to Wordpress at theunixgeek.wordpress.com. I will still be checking back periodically on this one as well, though. 19 April 2009


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Thursday, May 31, 2007

What Steve Oualline thinks of C++

C++ is a powerful, highly flexible, and adaptable programming language that allows software engineers to organize and process information quickly and effectively. But this high-level language is relatively difficult to master, even if you already know the C programming language.

I'm sorry, Steve, but I think the 2nd sentence isn't true. The only two languages I knew before this were BASIC and Python, and I'm picking up C++ rather quickly.

Readers, don't be afraid to try out C++, it's very rewarding, and I'm enjoying very much.

Installing Software on Linux (cont...)

The last post I wrote about installing software on Linux, I only mentioned the sh function with .bin files and ./[program-name] to run the installation program. Now, I will somewhat extend on the latter.

Most of the times you download software for Linux, it will be messy, uncompiled code. If you open up the terminal (after unzipping the .tar.whatever file), navigate to the folder using the cd command (remember: Unix is case-sensitive unless you're on the Mac platform) and run the following commands in order (if it's a tar.gz file):

tar -zxvf [filename]

make install

Now, to run the program, check the Applications menu of your distro. It will probably not be there. No worries. Launch your terminal and type in the name of the command (like googleearth or gftp) for the program to start up. Just so you don't forget what programs you installed on your machine, keep a little text file just in case.

I have somehow actually successfully installed some Linux software on my Mac with X11 - comes free on your OS X installation disk (X11 is the Unix windowing system - Apple built something in a way that you can't do that through terminal .... go figure!). However, depending on the software you're installing (like gFTP vs. FireFox), one (in this case, FireFox) may take longer to work than another.

****-Oriented Programming

Ok. Recently I abandoned C for C++ because at the library, searching for a book about C programming, the only book I saw was "Practical C++ Programming", by Steve Oualline, published by O'Reilly publishers. It is a very good book, and I reccomend it to anyone who wants to learn C++, but that's not the point. While reading the beginning of the book, I saw that C++ is what's called an object-oriented programming language. I had heard about object-oriented programming for quite some time but didn't bother to look up what it means. Today, out of curiosity, with my trusty friend Google, I found that the opposite of an OOPL is what is called a function-oriented programming language , or a procedural programming language. So I got even more curious. What are the differences between these?

An OOPL is made up of objects, while a FOPL is made out of functions and procedures. With OOPL's objects you can define
the abstract characteristics of a thing (object), including the thing's characteristics (its attributes, fields or properties) and the things it can do (its behaviors or methods or features).
Now, what about FOPLs? With FOPLs, you have certain functions scrambled all over the program, and you can skip around from one to the other and things like that. If you've ever used the GOTO command, you know what- I'm talking about. Since I still don't know how to use classes in C++ (I'm still on chapter 9 of 30), I use the GOTO function every now and then.... reminds me of my old QBASIC days.....

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Nifty Web Tool

A quick trip to the Google Docs website will show you just how useful it can be. I usually have too much on my hard drive, so just a quick upload onto Google Docs will ensure me more hard drive space and a reliable document backup server. These documents are securely kept, although you may share any of them with another Google user (that is, as long they've registered for a Google account).

Now, many of you have heard about how Microsoft copied so many things from Apple (and I'm sorry, Bill, but some of the features and the look/feel of Windows do resemble the Mac OS quite a bit). But it also seems that Office 2007 was based off of Google Docs.... or did Google copy off of Microsoft? Now a quick trip into the computer world past shows us that Microsoft started its Office 2007 job around mid-2005 to late-2006 (correct me if I'm wrong here) and when Google Docs began, it wasn't even Google Docs! It was Writely, which began, I believe, at around the same time. So, none of them are guilty, so freely use them without having remorse of using a copied product!


Monday, May 28, 2007

WebOS - is it just a FACTAS?

Many of you may have already heard of WebOS's, online operating systems to store your files, apps, .... wait a moment .... operating system? Not really: you need an operating system to run a web browser, and the browser runs the WebOS. Although it's called an "online operating system," it's more like a "flash application connected to a server." So, we've heard of WYSISYG (what you see is what you get), so what's so bad about a FACTAS? I mean, a computer computes - it's based off of zeros and ones. A keyboard is a board of keys to press. A mouse is a device that resembles a small furry mammal (hey, at least they look alike). A trackpad is a pad that tracks finger movements. Do I need to go on? YouOS, change your name to YouFACTAS or something. The name might really confuse people.

But they're still useful. I mean, YouOS is a pretty nice one. For more good ones, visit the big WebOS roundup article.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Let Michael do the Job

A quick visit to Ubuntu's website and you'll see a quick little ad:
Ubuntu is super easy to install, but why not have Michael do the work for you? Ubuntu on Dell. Available now. Configure and Buy!

I think this'll be a great turning point for both Dell and Canonical : Linux will be more well-known, and Dell will possibly raise its extremely low stock quote. Also, for the general public, computers will be two-hundred dollars cheaper!

Now, the only weird thing I find in the picture is that the monitor isn't connected to the tower.....

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Simple Lecture on Operating Systems

****I'm a beginner to this depth of computer science - please leave any comments with corrections if any errors are spotted. Thank you!****

I'm forgetting about Python and learning C. I'll need it to write the OS I'm working on. Well, I'm not forgetting about Python entirely, but I'm abandoning it for good reasons.

First, every time the user you run a Python program, it needs to be interpreted. This may cause pain for the user, having to use chmod +x over and over again. What is the difference between interpreting and compiling? Compiling is when you have the pure source code and you save it in runnable machine-language form. In C, it's only done once, which means the developer can compile it once and the user doesn't have to go through the pain of compiling for every time they download the file. They just click, and off they go! In Python,  an interpreted language, the code is sort of like a one-time use camera: you type in python foo.py and foo.py is run, but isn't saved as an executable. Also, C is more widely used in Windows PC's, the most widely used platform in the world (Python only comes pre-installed on most modern UN*X systems).

Secondly, it's harder to write an OS in Python because it's so distant to Assembly, the main OS language. It's easier to write an OS in an assembly-C(++) combo.

In an OS, the main boot file (the file that boots the computer) is written in assembly, while the actual OS program is written in C. The makefile basically describes how the system is built, and all that to run a simpler C program.

Now, why is it easier to write an OS in C than in Python? Let's see the family tree (these are metaphors)!

"And Fortran created the Programming Language World, and upon it placed Assembler. Assembler begat C and C++, fraternal twins, and BASIC. Now, the twins moved to a far away land. And the twins begat Perl, who in turn begat Python. Perl was very different from his father due to the fact that he was born so far away from his father's homeland. Now, Perl was dumbed down compared to his father, and Python was not the brightest around."

Python is really far from Assembler, like BASIC. None of BASIC's "descendants" can be used to program an OS.

What about some semi-modern OS's? UN*X and DOS, for example. UN*X is written in an Assembler-C combo. DOS is written in an Assembler-Batch combo. Batch is a language the developers made to ease their writing of the OS. Batch is a really quick and easy language, somewhat like BASIC.

That's just a basic lesson on operating systems, a fundamental step to studying computers. But this is just a scratch on the surface of a wonderful science.

digg it

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Today's Old Computer: The NeXT Cube

Yes. The NeXT Cube, and it was the first of its kind. After leaving Apple in the late 1980's, Steve Jobs wanted to create a more revolutionary computer: one even more revolutionary than the Macintosh. The business Mac is what one might call it - the NeXT Cube. After exploring it awhile one can easily see that most of Mac OS X's modern features come from NeXTSTEP(the OS): the dock, UN*X, and even the early Finder looked like NeXTSTEP's file browser. The NeXT Cube was a bit strange for its time - no floppy, black case, no hard drive, and a web browser! Yes, a web browser in 1988 (not very useful, though). So, all you Mac users, you better thank Steve Jobs for bring so many NeXTSTEP innovations into OS X, and it all began with this little cube (Mac Mini pops in my head....)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The New MacBook


I actually fell out of my chair upon seeing this - 2.16GHz MacBook - 1 GB RAM!!!!!!

200 GB HARD DRIVE!!!!!!!!

Go to Apple's website to see it!

Linux OS?

After exploring WikiBooks (a sister project of Wikipedia), I found an article on basic computing that I'm printing out to give my grandmother who finally got a computer after ** years. Somebody that was trying to contribute to the article called Linux "Linux OS"!

Mac OS I understand, but Linux is a name of its own! It's like Windoze... sorry. Windows. You wouldn't call it "Windows OS" even though it IS an OS. People have to understand that the OS suffix is part of the name, and you can't just randomly add it on.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Today's Linux: PCLinuxOS

Ok. I've already discussed the Ubuntu Linux distribution (see blog archive if you wish to read it) and now I'll discuss the PCLinuxOS distribution. Ubuntu uses a window environment called GNOME (I have no idea what that stands for, except that ME stands for "Management Environment") while PCLinuxOS uses K.D.E., the K Desktop Environment (whose mascot is a cute dragon named Konqi).

Both Ubuntu and PCLinuxOS vie to be known as the easiest and least geekiest Linux distro out there, and I have to say that they are at a tie, and so does the Linux community. According to Seopher.com, Ubuntu and PCLinuxOS are both tied at 25% as of prefferred Linux distros. Surprisingly, Mandriva and OpenSuSE are down low. Anyway, on to discussing PCLinuxOS.

PCLOS's tagline is "Radically Simple", and I think that's entirely right. With the customizability of KDE, you can change the look of it so that it's "radically simple" to use. Say you have a grandmother with an old Windows 98 machine. You want her to have a more modern, quicker system, but not so buggy as Windows. You can switch the theme to look just like Windows 98, with the windows, buttons, and even the taskbar buttons look the same (the "Start" button is replaced by "PC" in a circle). Or does she have a 233 MHz iMac with Mac OS 9 installed on it? No problem! Set KDE to the Platinum theme, move the panel (taskbar) to the top of the screen, and voila! Even the window closing button is moved to the left. It's amazing! The same applies for the Windows XP "Luna" theme.

How about web browsing? Web browsing is a big issue these days. PCLOS comes built-in with FireFox (why do open-source people AlWays put capitals in the middLe of NaMES?), one of the best web browsers out there. And the office suite? Say goodbye to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint (there goest the capitals in the names thing again, except PowerPoint is closed-source) and say hello to OpenOffice.Org (there's the capital thing again.... I'll stop with that now)! Ooo is a great office suite, and you can save and read documents in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint formats. If you're familiar with Sun Microsystems' "Star Office," you can also read those files with Ooo.

That basically covers the main features of PCLinuxOS. Visit http://www.pclinuxos.com for more information, features, screenshots, and downloads!

Today's Old Computer : the Alcyane A6E

This little French computer held a lot of power for 1983. It had 5 MHz of blazing speed (that is, for that time) and was programmable with a B.A.S.I.C.-type language called Alcybase. Alcybase was also the name of the OS included in it. The major capability of the Alcyane that made it a real professional computer, however, was the ability to network 2 to 4 computers to each other. The price tag of 5350F (about $1070) also didn't exactly make it for the home user, but great for networking and a good choice for businesses.

Monday, May 7, 2007

The Most Inspiring Commercial Ever

This SO describes Linux!

Linux is NOT geeky

This video shows that LINUX IS NOT GEEKY, as many of you might find.

Today's Linux: Ubuntu

You're probably interested in learning more about Linux, after all I've said about it. In case you still don't know what inux is, Linux is a free operating system that can be downloaded from the internet and burnt to a disk, from which you install it on your computer.

Ubuntu is a special version of Linux. Its tagline is "Linux for Human Beings". After using it many times and even installing it on one of my old PC's, I realized that this is the best Linux I've ever used. I'm serious! If you've ever used any other Linux, it's just weird. Ubuntu has a more familiar look. It also makes installing software quick and easy.

If you look at the screenshot of Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn), it's easy! If you're used to Windows, you have the taskbar. If you're used to the Classic Mac OS, You've got all your apps in the upper-left corner. And if you're used to Mac OS X, the clock and utilities are at the upper-right corner.

Try it out! The CD won't harm your hard drive (unless you install it, of course). If you wish to install Ubuntu while leaving Windows, defragment the hard drive before installing.

Ubuntu proves that Linux doesn't have to be hard to learn. It's very easy and fun to use.

Today's Old Computer - the Mac Portable

In 1989, Apple created the first laptop with a GUI (graphical user interface): the Macintosh Portable. Running at 16 MHz, it was released at the same time as the MacIIci, running at 25 MHz. This marketing strategy is what may have been why the Macintosh Portable didn't get as much attention as it deserved. Although very heavy, it sported a 3.5" floppy drive, Mac OS 6, and a 10-hour battery, yet to be beat by today's laptops. At that time, the $6,500 price tag was really worth it.

Promoting The Unix Geek

Welcome, visitors to The Unix Geek! If you could, please spread word of this blog, as we are hoping to have more visitors. Also, please leave at least one comment at each visit, if you haven't done so yet.

Thank you for your time, and enjoy The Unix Geek!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

The Best Emulators

What is an emulator? An emulator is a piece of software that runs a virtual computer in the screen of your actual computer. Let me give you an example. Say you have a Windows computer but you want to use some 3D modeling software that's only available for Linux. Easily, you can download Linux off the internet (read Windows/Mac/Linux article for more details) and using the emulator, you can have a window dedicated to Linux, and with that program running in it!

If you have a Windows/Linux PC, visit http://www.vmware.com for some really nice emulators for the other system. If you have an Intel version of Mac OS X, try it out! It just might work.

If you have a Mac, then use VMWare Fusion (free while it's still beta!) or Q (http://www.kju-app.org/kju/)

Installing Software on Linux

While working with Ubuntu Linux in an emulator (http://www.ubuntu.com), I felt an urge to install Google Earth and Flash Player 9 on it. But when I used to have an Ubuntu PC, no matter what I tried, I couldn't get it to install. After perusing through some readme's, I finally discovered it.

If you download Google Earth for Linux, you'll see it's in a .bin file. To install the .bin file, I go into the terminal and type

cd ~/Desktop
sh GoogleEarthLinux.bin

and just wait for the process to work its magic. In case you don't know many UN*X commands, cd means change directory, or folder, and sh executes a script.

Now, for Flash player, it's a little different. After downloading and extracting the .tar.gz file,

cd ~/Desktop/flash_player_9_linux

and just answer the questions. This is what happens with most .tar.gz files.

Although I thought installing Linux software would be hard to do, today I learned otherwise, and (hopefully), so did you!

That shiny new webcam

"So.... you got that new HP Pavilion with Windows Vista Ultimate installed on it? Nice! Oooh! A webcam!"
"I know. It's so awesome. Except that I don't know how to use it."

This actually happened in real life for me. An acquaintance (not mentioning names) got a new HP Pavilion laptop with Windows Vista Ultimate on it with a webcam on top. He asked me how to use it. Here's another point on why I think users should use a Mac over a PC: They're more original! Yes. Apple came out with the webcam on the computer thing first. And now, the PC companies are going at it, trying to copy Apple again.

Except that the PC world doesn't doesn't make things easy to use like Apple does. Each separate PC has its own trial software. Maybe one is a moive-type thing. If you're trying to explain to your friend "Oh! Use Geurrkin Cinema Pro." and they'll answer "I didn't buy that." and you'll answer "It' free." and they'll answer "Its $500." and the conversation will go on and on and on and on....

Now, how DOES Apple make it easy on its users? Well, a program called "Photo Booth" makes it easy to spot. Or maybe iMovie? The little "i" in the beginning gives it a more personal feeling. It's like it's YOUR movie. Not just ANY movie. It all just clicks (and yes, that's a pun, because MacBooks don't have any latches). Unlike PC laptops they magnetically snappe. If your PC can do that you're using a copycat machine.

Oh, and by the way, if you're a PC user using a copycat machine, use Windows Movie Maker to record from the webcam.

The Best Sites for Technology

Here's a few websites I find interesting:

http://www.microsoft..... wait..... never mind scratch that one

Hope you enjoy them!


Windows, Mac, or Linux is the question that comes to mind when people go to buy new computers. Now, which one should you use? If you want a bitten apple, an easy-to-use OS with no viruses, or want high-tech graphics editing, GET A MAC!!!!! If you want a semi-buggy OS with good network connectivity and a great range of software (but with 144,000 virus out to get it), get Windows. If you want to get the most secure OS in the world, get Windows Vista. It's more secure than any other OS because its restrictions are so great that nothing goes in and nothing goes out. If you're an internet user, Vista is not right for you. If you are an avid developer, want a FREE OS or if you just want a REALLY REALLY REALLY wide range of choices for an OS (there are over 500 different distributions of this OS), then Linux is right for you.

Personally, I prefer Macs. I'm into video editing and they're right for me. However, for daily use, I use Wolvix Linux in an emulator so I don't have to buy another computer (an emulator, in case you don't know, is a software program that allows you to run a virtual computer inside of another one).