Friday, May 27, 2011

Ambiance Evolution Theme

Trying another theme for the brand new Ubuntu 11.04 now.  Ambiance Evolution looks very sharp. What with the bordeless windows. When I did the installation and started using it I was pleasantly  surprised with the look it gave Banshee, the default media player for Ubuntu 11.04.  Wow.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

You Are Invited To Diaspora

Diaspora is a distributed social network that champions privacy and your power over the things you create and share with friends and only with your friends.

Diaspora is open source which means its code is accessible for perusal and inspection.

Why do we need another Facebook? Because if you came here looking for it, then I say there is a need for it.

This is Diaspora.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Linux Rant (just this once)

Don't click links from unknown sources in your email.
Don't download anti-virus software you encountered while browsing something else.
Update the software you're using.
Delete away software you're not using.
I guess this is why I think Chrome OS is a good idea. The idea here is an operating system that's kept in the cloud. Every time you boot into this OS it checks the system files. No rootkits right there. If Google wants to work a security patch, it's done in the background. If you've been using it a while and suddenly you feel paranoid about the computer, all you have to do is re-boot and accept the 'cloud' version instead of your local OS.

Lately, a bunch of companies with business models anchored in the cloud got their security broken. There are a lot of security issues with cloud services. There are a lot of privacy issues with cloud services. Many of these services were not thought through very well. I don't have the level of technical knowledge to judge these services initially and so I find myself using them and then finding out I'm in trouble. All I can do is follow the discussion and then look out for me. Learn from the mistakes and be the better user for it.

I came from Windows and so I know how users can end up not trusting their computers anymore. That is a very sad day. Luckily, I learned about Linux. I know about Apple but I have to buy a new hardware to get the Mac and it doesn't feel right  that I have to pay for security and privacy when I already have pc's. I mean it's looking a lot like the Mafia and Al Capone if you know what I mean.

I now use Linux. I really like the culture that comes with embracing this operating system. Linux doesn't hide its internals. It's unapologetic about giving you text commands and keyboard shortcuts to use. These pushes you to be a more informed user and if you're like me, seek help from the community. When you are in the minority, finding other Linux users in the thousands make you a lot more confident. Actually it's the exchange of knowledge that made me a better computer user.

I think you should do Linux right.
Steep learning curve? Learning linux is fun.
Too many choices of linux distros? Since when is choice wrong.
My favorite application doesn't work in Linux. Linux is not Windows. I thought I won't be able to replace MS Office. I am now almost embarrassed to say that because I am typing this rant using LibreOffice.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Freedom Riders: What Is A Hero?

Civil rights is a long struggle and most often involved challenging authority and facing violence. In 1961 the Supreme court of the US ruled that segregation in Federal facilities is unconstitutional. Groups advocating civil rights tested this ruling by riding in nonsegregated buses up to southern states like Mississippi and Alabama. These interstate buses were legally obliged to follow the supreme court ruling even in places where segregation was still practiced and enforced.

One iconic image of the freedom riders is that of Jim Zwerg.


from Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia.

Freedom riders knew or expected to be stopped or arrested for violating local laws.  What they did not count on was the degree of hate and violence waiting for them in bus stops and roads. The first freedom riders were to arrive in New Orleans May 17th but in May 14th in Birmingham, Alabama a mob attacked the freedom riders.

Freedom riders sat side by side with another person in the bus regardless of the color of their skin and ethnic background. The mob hated the white freedom riders the most and singled them out by beating them with baseball bats and iron pipes. Injured riders were denied medical treatment in local hospitals. Local police and authorities looked the other way and did not stop the violence.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

An Old Skill Comes To The Fore

If you happen to be geek, there’s a lot to like about Unity. It invests heavily in keyboard shortcuts, a strategy that arguably makes window management more efficient than in any other desktop interface I’ve ever used — provided you learn the hotkeys.

From the VAR guy


I have been using Ubuntu 11.04 since early April before it was released as Final. It struck me that the developers made Unity specifically for 'keyboard' mode users. What I realized early on is that without typist skill and utilizing keyboard shortcuts I can't make 11.04 work for me with efficiency. What other users are shaking their heads over is the fact that you have to make extra clicks just to get where you want to go. This is not happening to me mainly because I use and depend on the keyboard and the OS keyboard shortcuts since I began using Ubuntu. I am a great fan of keyboard shortcuts and I've been typing my way through my work and blogs the way they taught me in high school-all ten fingers on the keyboard.

Comment On Sen.John McCain's Anti-Torture Speech


The comment section of a Youtube post is such a wealth of conversation from pundits and the general section of the gallery.

The lie:

@bsphenom We received the first hint of a particular curier(sic) over 4 years ago by the ksm. If we didn't have the start of that lead, it would never have been followed up on. Deny it all you need to, to make yourself feel better about your government and yourself. The majority of Americans know the truth/facts.

The truth:

@TheYoungTurdz Research that more. KSM actually LIED to us about the courier. KSM said the courier was now married to a tribal woman and living in Peshawar (tribal area). If anything, that led us in the wrong direction. That is probably why we were searching for caves, not in the suburbs of Islamabad near a military base. I actually used to support torture, but now I see I was wrong. These terrorists are TRAINED to evade torture. They know how to lie very well even under torture.

KSM=khaled sheik mohammed(tortured detainee)
Peshawar=province in Pakistan

The McCain Speech is here.

Senator John McCain ran for president against President Barack Obama.While he lost that presidential race, he continue to serve his country as senator of Arizona. His personal encounter with torture has given him a unique position in the debate about enhanced interrogation techniques.He may not have won the presidency but he certainly deserves it.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Reveal The System Settings In Ubuntu 11.04

After installing Ubuntu 11.04, the next thing most users do is find their bearings and maybe ask some directions. What they see is the Unity launcher with the application launchers and the home folder. Now if you're like me, you may want to change the background, the font and some of the behavior of your default desktop.

Nothing is more convenient than a single window, a center, where all the controls are. You can find the different settings in the System Settings.

So go the your dash and type System Settings.


I suggest you put the system setting icon in the Unity launcher for now at least. If you don't mind the "HAL" icon there.


Hi, dave. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Reaction: Republicans in Texas Senate approve guns on campus

There really is a disconnect among Americans when it comes to guns and crime. I thought that Columbine drove home the message about kids, guns and lots of guns. I hope that when students bring guns to school, that they need it for educational purposes because otherwise the only target to shoot are other students and their teachers.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Stealth Helicopters: I Smell Skunk Works


This is a MH-60 helicopter that will be recognized by US military personnel familiar with the aircraft.
Note the tail rotor.


This is the partial wreckage of the helicopter used in the Bin Laden Raid. This is the tail rotor of the unknown helicopter ditched during the raid. The proposition that this section of the wreckage can belong to a highly modified MH-60 like the one above is remote. Somewhere in a Skunkworks hangar in the Nevada desert sits a number of these stealth helicopters. The fact that Pakistani Air Defense was not alerted until after they ditched this helicopter speaks of its capabilities.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Make Ubuntu 11.04 Work For You

I recommend these two posts at Tech Drive-in-Technology,Linux,Ubuntu FTW by Manuel Jose to set you straight with Ubuntu 11.04 and the Unity Desktop. If you want to check what else you can add to the default applications in Ubuntu 11.04 this is the list you should check.

I f you just installed Ubuntu in your hard drive, there's no excuse in neglecting to update your repositories and check whatever updates are being offered. I have been using Ubuntu (natty narwhal) and downloading the updates for April 28 means I'm set. The only unique must-do for me is installing dconf-tools to edit the unity panel's list of application allowed in the appindicator or systray. Having noted that, don't forget to get Compiz Configuration Settings Manager CCSM because it has the new Unity plug-in which can make your life easier.

I still encounter questions about partitioning AFTER users install Ubuntu. If you downloaded Ubuntu and burned it in a CD or USB stick, there's an application included there called Gparted. Gparted is my lifesaver when I need to move things around in my hard drive. So use that. I really recommend you do partitioning BEFORE you start installation though. In fact I recommend a separate /home partition created, formatted and waiting to be mounted before you start installation. It makes installation uncomplicated if you break it down to small pieces. Partitioning before installing also means you don't have to mess with fstab just the advance method option in the installer. Just remember which partition! In any case, if you yourself did the partitioning, you will remember.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Overviews In Ubuntu 11.04

Two kinds of overviews in Ubuntu 11.04 that I would like to talk about.


The Workspaces.   You use the arrow keys to change / navigate around it. You use the Super key + S to invoke it.
Why 4 workspaces? Why not 2? Why not 6? Will Ubuntu allow further configuration with regard to workspaces?


The Window Overview. You invoke it by typing Super key + W.
This overview should help the user spot the focused window right away. Perhaps by greying out the unfocused windows? Putting titles over the windows will help in identification.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Osama bin Laden Dead

Michael Shear advises us not to play poker with David Gates and POTUS, Barack Obama. Both men are laughing with the White House Correspondents at a Sunday party but hours after they are part of the national security team who are going to watch a raid to kill America's Public Enemy no. 1, Osama bin Laden.

A strike team made up of Intelligence officers from the CIA and US Navy SEALS landed by helicopter in a sprawling compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. They killed four other people plus Osama bin Laden. They identified him through photographs and DNA test. They took his body and buried him at sea.

News of al queda's leader's death was answered with a collective sigh of relief not just by Americans but by the world. There were spontaneous gatherings at New York Memorial of the 911 and the White House. After the thousands of lives lost in invading Iraq and Afghanistan, it was old fashion detective work, interrogations and high tech surveillance which led Americans to Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Supplementary to: Transmission Bittorrent Client

Supplementary Post to Related Post

The current version of Transmission in Ubuntu 11.04 is 2.13. If you go to the Transmission web site their latest stable version is 2.22 and they are already asking for testers for 2.30b4.

Download the stable version here.

Chromium browser Issues

Do I really need Apparmor to confine Chrome/Chromium-browser? From what I’ve read so far it has its own sandbox mechanism. Ubuntu 11.04 has a ready profile for Chromium-browser and after updating to 11 I find that I can’t open Chromium anymore. Opening the application on a terminal gives me a cryptic message informing me that I don’t have permission for /sys/dbus/pci/devices/**

I put the Chromium profile to complain for now. I want to find a more elegant way to secure Chromium after some of my questions are answered.

I use Chromium as an alternative browser. Additional issues with Chromium-browser has something to do with me using Xmarks. Xmarks seems to have issues with Google sync and duplicate sync services so I had to disable the Xmarks sync altogether. I thought I had a nice solution to this one a few days ago.

Problem With Mail Authentication In Evolution Mail

I encounter this pervasive and nagging bug in Evolution Mail's strange relationship with its co-GNOME app called Seahorse (although this...