Sunday, November 30, 2008

Add It To The Panel

If you are like me and thinks clicking the applications menu for the program that you want to use is just too much work, then your option is to add an applet on the panel. You right click on the upper panel of your GNOME desktop and Ubuntu gives you a graphical user interface to choose your applet from. By default in Ubuntu, the firefox, evolution and help/documentation icons are already there.

I like to add my Pidgin icon and Rhythmbox icon for sending instant messages and listening to my music. My data is in a separate partition and I have to mount the partition at the beginning of the session. I added an applet in the panel to mount partitions.

Linux has come a long long way since the day of command lines.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex Installation

One thing that I definitely take for granted since migrating my computer to Linux is how easy it is to upgrade and install an operating system like Linux. I have installed and reinstalled Windows XP before and accepted the fact that installation up to the point where I can personally use it takes 3 days to a week. That long because I had to find where my email archive and contacts are so I can back them up and restore them. The whole business of backing up and restoring is in itself like Magellan circumnavigating the globe. You prove it works after you see it works. Scary and adds years to my age.

I have my documents, data and settings saved in a separate partition. The operating system resides in another partition which is mounted to the root. In Linux you have to mount a partition manually so data don't get deleted or modified by others in the network so easily or by mistake. Linux is truly an operating system built for the connected devices because security is built into the system.

This new version of Ubuntu called the Ibex (Intrepid) has an updated file handler; Nautilus the local file navigator has tabs now. I am finding more and more reasons to depend on this new feature than on any other function of the OS past or present. I can search for files and folders within Nautilus and it's really darn fast at it.

The other new thing with Ibex that I absolutely enjoy is the updated version of GIMP the photo and graphical software bundled with Ubuntu.

I am still waiting for voice and video inside the instant messaging application just like how Yahoo IM implemented it. But I read that Google is introducing voice and video within its Google Mail in the Web. I haven't tried that one yet. The way it is implemented now with a separate application (Ekiga) handling voice and video I fear wont hold with users. I look forward to the day when we can send email, manage contacts, call and get live video plus throw in our one line instant messages in one application. I want to see a communications hub within the operating system.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A new computer always bring some excitement to its owner. I brought home a new box last August 1, 2008 right after finishing my job training in Makati. It's a coincidence. Really. I needed one because my 2005 box gave up the ghost one fine evening.

My new box is an Intel Core2 duo 2.4 Ghz with 2MB L2 cache, Asus P5LD2-x motherboard bought at Sta. Lucia Mall, PC Depot. I want the 2 GB RAM and the Nvidia GEForce 8500 video graphics card. It's a value box with a lot of room for extra performance. I'm not particular about 3D Gaming so I don't need any expensive high-performance video card. But the 8500 series Nvidia can handle directX 9 games. It will not drop the ball.

Thirty days after, I have to replace my monitor of 4 years and I chose the Samsung Syncmaster 920NW.

It's so cool when the computer hardware has plenty of room to spare for your operating system requirements and not only the OS but any application you throw at it.

All the bell and whistle enabled and no performance lag!

I also upgraded to a 160 GB SATA hard drive from a DMA 40 GB. It's like removing the handcuffs and ankle cuffs and I'm ready for the 100 meter dash.

I am still using Ubuntu Linux 8.04 Hardy Heron. No defragging and no bloatware to prolong boot up.

I don't have to use an anti-virus program nor a heavy weight security software. These things costs you more than the money you spend in purchasing them, it also impacts performance.

Upgrades to a new version of the operating system is a matter of downloading from source and burning it to a CD. I use the live CD for a new install and wipe out the old version. My data and settings are on a separate partition so I don't have to touch it. The installation usually lasts 15 minutes. Then you mount the data partition and you are set to go.