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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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Installing Ubuntu Packages Offline


Here's a neat feature of Synaptic that allows you to download packages without having Ubuntu connected to the internet.

Go to File > Generate Package Download Script
I saved the file as a shell script (.sh extension) and moved the file over to my Mac, which had an internet connection. I googled and downloaded a version of wget for OS X, copied it to /usr/bin and smoothly ran the package download script.

Then, I transferred the downloaded packages to my pen drive and dropped them off on my Ubuntu computer. I installed the packages, and now I have all the extra software I wanted installed without ever having needed to connect Ubuntu to the internet.

(Ubuntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron", original release)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

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    The Rambling World

    Last night I started a new blog: The Rambling World: Thought, Philosophy, and Information.

    Please visit it!

    Friday, August 22, 2008

    Vista Interface Oddities

    There are two oddities I noticed in Vista Ultimate that take the new, shiny Aero interface back in time:

    1. Old MS-DOS-logo-like icon for Microsoft Pinyin after enabling Chinese input









    2. Old Windows XP mail icon in the desktop's contextual menu



    Microsoft should fix these up sometime soon....

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    Why XAML is Powerful


    Introduction
    XAML, Microsoft's eXtensible Application Markup Language, was released with the .NET 3.0 framework and works with the new technologies available in the once-called WinFx release of the framework, such as WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), WF (Workflow Foundation), Windows CardSpace, and WCF (Windows Communication Foundation). Currently, I'm learning WPF, where XAML is used for building user interfaces.



    Ideas
    Being a markup language, XAML is inherently powerful (object-oriented pun not intended) for the pure reason that you can write your interface in XAML and use it in a variety of projects in the most various languages (in Microsoft's case, C++, C#, and Visual Basic - I'm not sure if J++ and J# are still around). This way, a project doesn't need to have its interface written in one non-compatible language, but rather in XAML itself, allowing the code to be shared across various languages.

    It would be especially useful if Linux distributions and APIs adopted this new markup-based way of marking up interfaces. Imagine if programmer is experienced in Python and at an intermediate levl in C and wants to write a GTK+ application, but wants some parts of the interface written not only in C but also in Python. The code would get confusing having one part of the interface in C and the other in Python (I'm not sure if this example is plausible, it's just an example) when the interface could be entirely written in a markup language, so that the two languages could easily access the markup file.

    Thought
    One could say XIB (on OS X Leopard) is copying off of XAML (on Windows XP SP2 and Vista) : they're both markup files used for interface implementation, but Xcode 3.0 development doesn't seem to have started until late 2006 or early 2007, while Avalon (the codename for WPF) was in development since before 2005. Recently, I've been finding Apple to be copying off Microsoft: OS X iPhone - Windows Mobile, XIB - XAML, icon size sliders in the Snow Leopard Finder (at least in the alpha version) - same feature was implemented in Vista's Finder. On the other hand, Application Services was copied by Microsoft and re-implemented as WCF. They both copy from each other, let's just put it at that ;-)

    Friday, August 8, 2008

    An Open Letter to Ubuntu

    Don't get me wrong on this - I love Linux and Ubuntu is one of my favorite distros, but there were some problems that temporarily turned me away when I was introduced to Ubuntu (and Linux in general) that I've noticed are affecting a lot of newbies on #ubuntu, too.

    Intrepid Ibex (8.10) is coming this October and here are some things that should be brushed up, especially for new users:
    1. Screen resolution and desktop effects are really hard to configure out-of-the-box with NVIDIA and ATI hardware.
    2. In package management, the names "universe", "multiverse", etc. should be replaced with something more understandable, like "free with source, proprietary, etc"
    3. It would be nice if it were more obvious on how to install themes, because the first thought is to extract the (usually) .tar.gz compression.
    4. Please, more support for networking devices!
    5. Make sound configuration easier and better support for some speakers that might otherwise reproduce very very soft sound. Forget alsa, pulseaudio, and all those names that don't make sense; make it simple.
    6. Imitate GoboLinux and Mac OS X filesystem-wise.
    7. Better built-in documentation would be greatly appreciated by new users.
    One good idea would be to do like the early Macs and Windows versions: include an optional tutorial on how to use Ubuntu; even though the interface is simpler, it may be unfamiliar on some terms. I was switching from Windows and I was surprised that Preferences was under the Edit menu instead of the Tools menu. It's those tiny differences that count. (Maybe offer a separate tutorial CD?)

    I'd like to see how well Ubuntu would do on a Mojave Experiment test. That would bring more results as to what needs to be reworked.

    See also here.

    Sunday, August 3, 2008

    Windows finally learns from Linux

    Check out this screenshot from the WinSuperSite: Windows 7 build 6519. Now apparently Windows has the same feature as Linux when it comes to program managing: having its own "Programs Explorer" and having the programs being divided into categories. Now I'll just wait for this feature to be added to OS X.....

    Free Software in the Stores

    Today I was in a France-based store called fnac here in Brazil and I noticed some interesting free software packages available on the shelves:
    • Ubuntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron"
    • Ubuntu 7.10 "Gutsy Gibbon"
    • OpenOffice.org 2.0
    • Freedows 2004 Standard and Professional (does this distro still even exist?)
    • Mandriva Powerpack (most recent version)
    Also check out my Linux in the Stores post.

    Safari 4 Bug


    When command+click-dragging the back/forward control in Safari 4, instead of getting the normal textured buttons as you're dragging it you get the old Aqua buttons...


    iPhone is the new DS

    iPhone 3G could be seen as a new Nintendo DS with a lot of better features:
    • cheaper games (ranging from free to about $10 for the average ones)
    • get games anywhere and on-the-go, including from the comfort of your home
    • better use of touchscreen technology than the DS
    • you can download more than games

    Overall. the iPhone has better features and overall better prices than the competing mobile gaming system, so I don't see why you couldn't say it's the new Pippin with success ;)

    Saturday, August 2, 2008

    Microsoft afraid of Apple?

    It seems Microsoft is afraid of what Apple could do to hurt their business. An internal memo sent out by Ballmer reads:

    A competing vertically-integrated model, in which a single firm controls both the software and hardware elements of a product, has been successful with certain consumer products such as personal computers, mobile phones and digital music players. We also offer vertically-integrated hardware and software products; however, efforts to compete with the vertically integrated model may increase our cost of sales and reduce operating margins.

    The only rising company we know does that is Apple. Maybe they're afraid OS X will soon the operating system market or that the iPhone will kill off Windows Mobile?

    As a side note, I have to say that the Mojave Experiment is quite convincing.

    Delicious goes Web 2.0

    del.icio.us is dead. Delicious is alive! And with a new look to it! What used to be one big bad-looking old-style HTML Perl application is now Web 2.0 and has all those neat vector drawings. There isn't much to say except that a picture is a 1000 words, and 1000 more when you actually look at it yourself, so click the link and check it out!