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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Saturday, May 31, 2008

All Hail the Windows Registry!

Or, in other words, how to remove the "non-commercial use" tag from Office 2007 Home and Student Edition. I recently installed Office 2007 Home and Student Edition for its nice price but was greeted with the annoying "non-commercial use" tag on every window. Microsoft Word non-commerical use, Microsoft, PowerPoint non-commercial use, and it eventually just plain got annoying. So I opened up regedit, searched for the string "non-commercial" (no quotes) and replaced the annoyance in Word and PowerPoint. Same for Excel and OneNote. But, uh-oh! It's back! I'll continue trying to get across this annoyance. The Unix Geek goes on in a Windows world... (no I'm not The Windows Geek, I'm a Windows visitor :P )

Edit: here's the way to do it, source here:

Make sure you have opened all the Office products at least once in order to create a registry key. Under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0 then select your product (let's take Word, for example) and change the WordName key to take out the non-commercial use tag. Go to Edit > Permissions, click on Advanced, uncheck "Inherit from parent...", select copy, and remove the "Full Control" ability from administrators and the user you're logged in as. Click OK until you're back to the main form and do the same for PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fighting the Vista FUD

Please be aware that I'm still testing Vista, so there will not be a lot of detail in this post.

Yep, I did it. I gave in and installed Vista. Now it's time to fight the FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt, an interesting but sure political strategy.

Personally, 2008's Linux distros weren't stable enough. Hardy Heron was the most stable, though, but a bunch of graphics issues kept suddenly popping up and I decided to go to Fedora 9. There, graphics issues were resolved, but the system just wasn't stable enough and the package management system was broken since the group files weren't well set up and it was hard to configure gdm since gdmsetup was gone. Overall, it was rushed release. Then I switched over to Kubuntu. It was finally a stable distro, but I still had a lot of configuring to do. I the gave up and decided to try Vista to see if it was as bad as everyone says it is.

Turns out Vista isn't as bad as many advertise it. To be honest, it runs more quickly than xp and I find its directory system more organised than previous Windows versions. Now, for fighting the FUD.

F: Fear. People are fearing Vista won't be compatible with their hardware and software. To start off, it was more compatible with my hardware than previous Windows versions; all I had to do was install two drivers that I easily downloaded from the internet and I quickly got access to the Aero effects and networking, which is a lot less than if I at least wanted a good screen resolution on the distros.

U: Uncertainty. People aren't certain that they should spend a lot of money on Vista. Granted, Vista's price is a bit hefty, but you have to take a look at the advantages if you can't afford a Mac or if this year's distros aren't good enough (I know I'm excluding alternative OS's here), Vista's a heck of a lot more stable than XP and the OS X likeness of many of some of its apps make it more relaxing to use a PC.

D: Doubt. People doubt that Vista is as good as Microsoft says it is. They doubt that the new look will make using the computer easier; if anything, they think it'll make it harder to use! But no, it's not like that - if you know and love the Ribbon interface from the newest releases of Microsoft Office, you'll feel right at home using Windows Photo Gallery, Internet Explorer, and even Explorer itself! Now, the ribbon interfaces aren't as clearly ribbonized on these apps as Office itself. These are more like menu-based ribbons (in other words, no menu bar and buttons next to menus on the toolbar), but they still convey the same idea.

I (and Microsoft, too) hope you'll release all the FUD you have about Vista. Keep your opinions, though! If it runs slowly or is buggy on your hardware, it's a shame, but its capabilities can be well-exploited on many systems, including Macs.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Why Microsoft Still Has a Stronghold and How to Break It

It’s obvious Microsoft still has a control in the personal computer world. It’s sad for many, yet wonderful for many others. The logic behind this is the simple fact of business: Microsoft has since the beginning targeted businesses, which in the mid-80s where the only people who really wanted a computer, spreading into homes because people would use at home what they used at work. Apple, however, took the step of focusing on the home and educational market, which although was a not a bad start, it did not bring Apple to the type of power Microsoft has today, and frankly, the “look, I can make a movie” ads for OS X don’t reflect how good OS X really is. 

If Apple wants to expand their computing business to enterprises and small businesses, stress on the Mac’s productive abilities, speed, and ease of use instead of iLife's creative abilities, with which there’s little way to convince a stuffy businessman to buy a Mac like that. 

Instead of including iLife with the Macs, include iWork. Remember when AppleWorks was included with every Mac, and the creativity stuff was separate? That’s what the world wants today - to be productive. I’m surprised to see so many saying “how come my new mac doesn’t have an office suite?” on the forums. Sure, there’s TextEdit (my favorite to this day), but it’s like Wordpad - few people know of what it can actually do. Change the TextEdit name to "Word Processor" since it’s becoming more and more like it and the stronghold that Microsoft has may begin to be broken, especially since a lot of PC's today come with either Works or Office pre-installed.

Also relating to business, IT needs to be able to have more expandable servers than Apple offers - they need to be able to run their server software on the hardware they want. Also, it's harder to control, manage, and configure clients via OS X server (this is the GroupPolicy feature of Windows NT-based server systems). In general, many businesses find it easier to administer NT because it's been around longer (this is obviously excluding Linux since it was not as well advertised as NT, but not negatively). Apple's first real server was with OS X Server sometime around 2000. Of course, graphics powerhouses are excluded from this - Macs are made for "art."*

Also, there's the thing about developing for the Mac. Of course, I love Cocoa, which is a wonderful API, but make it easier for newcomers who visit your website. The currency exchange tutorial documentation is too complex for a simple thing, which should almost always be Hello World, the big step, and "The Objective-C 2.0 Programming Language," while and invaluable resource, doesn't get new developers motivated. At least Microsoft provides videos for getting started with Windows programming that greatly simplify the learning process.

Summarizing, if Apple wants to ease their entrance through Microsoft's stronghold, focus on the Mac's productive abilities and how it can help businesses, include iWork instead of iLife with every Mac, and ease the entrance for new developers - these are what made Microsoft successful, and what can make Apple rise even more.

Note: yes, I know Apple has gained a lot of popularity these past years, and yes I'm writing this on a MacBook. Apple could perhaps split their website: half to focus on businesses and the other half for home. Although Apple has a small business and science section of their website, it is not clear how to easily arrive there through link-hopping.
*thanks to Yert for this point

Another Note: Justin Bradshaw has an interesting point that Apple is already going further into businesses with the iPhone and being able to run Windows on the Macs, but just because the iPhone is going into business doesn't mean the Mac is going into business - remember, iTunes is cross-platform.

Friday, May 23, 2008

KDE 4 Wallpapers on Kubuntu

It seems that from a KDE 3 install of Kubuntu, after "sudo apt-get install kubuntu-kde4-desktop" it seems that the KDE 4 wallpapers aren't pre-installed. To do this, simply "sudo apt-get install kdebase-workspace-wallpapers" and you're ready to go!

Monday, May 19, 2008

How to Download Embedded Videos

Ever come across that has the embedded video or audio file that you really want to save? Well, it's really easy to scoop out that video, whether QuickTime, AVI, etc. it can be done.

First off, YouTube. Just go here. After downloading the file, add a .swf extension. Make sure you have an SWF-compatible video player, such as VLC.

Ok, now onto all other files. On Safari go to Window>Activity, and in the size column, look for a file that's a couple of MB big (This works better if the video is still loading). Once you find it, option(alt)+double-click on it and it should begin downloading. Firefox is a different beast to tame. Go to Tools > Page Info, find your movie file under the Media tab, and click the Save as... button.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Random Ramblings

First off, Evince finally integrates with your browser to display documents! FTW!

Secondly, having started studying JavaScript and will soon write a post about it.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Unix Geek 1-year Anniversary

11 days ago marked one year that The Unix Geek blog has been up, and in that time, it has risen to being the 1,025,253rd most-visited website on the world wide web, and late March 2008 getting just about 0.0050% of the internet's visits.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

What's Missing OpenOffice.org 3 for OS X

EDIT: Sun joined the OOo Aqua port after it was decided in OOoCon 2005 - it was not started by sun(kudos to Eric Bachard for the extra info!)

I think it was cool that Sun's OOo team decided to (finally!) port OpenOffice over to Aqua, meaning no X11 for us OS X users. This idea had already been pioneered, though, by NeoOffice, and there are still some things OOo 3 for Mac are missing that I hope the developers fill in:

  1. A better native look: what are with the pinstripes? Those are way too pre-Leopard-like. Unify the interface and remove the pinstripes. And some buttons' sizes just look out of place. Also, try to use the unified toolbars (see iWork 08 for examples).
  2. Speaking of toolbars, some better icons on the toolbar, please: perhaps some of those Aqua/Pastel-like icons we see in NeoOffice, Adium, Grapher, Colloquy, etc. Don't forget the app's main icon - it looks nothing Aqua-like and needs some redoing.
  3. speed it up a bit.
I know, those are mostly aesthetic "bugs," but isn't how your computer looks a big thing about how much your productivity is increased? Usually GUI stuff is left for the end of development, but try to squeeze it in - it'll make a big difference.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Why Apple Hasn't Been Focusing on Macs

It's pretty obvious Apple hasn't been paying attention to the Mac itself, but instead focusing all of its attention on iPhone and a little bit of iPod in its advertisements.

When you arrive at the Apple store, it feels like they're saying "Here are our phones and music players. Oh, yeah - we have some computers back there if you're interested." Generally, the only computers in the front are MacBook(Pro)s. And if you go to Apple's WWDC page, "iPhone" is the title of the first tab under the sessions that will be available.

So why'd Apple shift all the attention to iPhone? As a way to market Macintosh! Sounds weird, I know, but I guess they reasoned that "if we want OS X to be more widely used, we should make a big deal about iPhone development, and make OS X the only platf0rm you can develop for iPhone on!" It sortof makes sense, but really, Apple, what about the people who already have Macs? We want exciting upgrades and new software, too!

I like the new version of Xcode, by the way, but how about updating some other things, too, or adding new stuff? Maybe merging Mail, Address Book, and iCal? ;)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Fedora 9 Coming Soon

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mail, Address Book, and iCal Merge

As I was fumbling back and forth today between Mail, iCal, and Address Book, I thought to myself, 'wouldn't it be nice if the apps were integrated, similar to GNOME's Evolution?' So then I decided to hop on over to Apple's OS X Feedback Page, and I sent this to them:

It seems that if Mail, Address Book, and iCal were merged as one application instead of two separate ones, the applications would be much more useful. Here are a couple of tasks that could be simplified with a merge of the applications: linking a date with an e-mail, inserting address book contacts in Mail (Address Book is small enough, why not just push it into Mail anyway?), linking todo's in Mail with certain dates and see to-do's that are still to-be-done, and the list just goes on. Maybe this doesn't necessarily need to be addressed in Leopard, but it'd be nice to see it in OS X 10.6.

Here are a couple other advantages I didn't mention: less Dock space, less disk space (Address Book, iCal, and Mail obviously have some shared code), more organized. What's your opinion on merging the apps? Is it a good idea, or do you not agree with it?