Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ubuntu 12.04 - Let's Try Something A Little Different

Since the introduction of Unity as the default Ubuntu desktop, there have been both supporters and naysayers, who have debated the long-term viability of the technology.  I will admit that it took me a short period to become comfortable with Unity, but ultimately found that I liked it and was even more productive relative to my work in the Linux environment.  However, as of late, I have seen a number of technical news articles promoting Cinnamon.

Cinnamon is a desktop environment developed by the folks who have brought us Linux Mint.  For me, Cinnamon is a replacement for Unity and provides for a Gnome 2.x desktop experience.  Cinnamon is a fork of GNOME Shell, initially developed by Linux Mint. It attempts to provide a more traditional user environment based on the desktop metaphor, like GNOME 2. Cinnamon uses Muffin, a fork of the GNOME 3 window manager Mutter, as its window manager from Cinnamon 1.2 onwards.

Cinnamon is feature rich and provides many features, including the following:
  1. Desktop effects, including animations and transition effects
  2. A movable panel equipped with a main menu, launchers, a window list and the system tray
  3. Various extensions
  4. Applets that appear on the panel
  5. Overview with functions similar to that in GNOME Shell
  6. Settings editor for easy customization. It can customize: 
              The panel
              The calendar
              Desktop effects
    Cinnamon can be installed under Ubuntu 12.04 by using the associated PPA.  In a terminal issue the following commands:

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gwendal-lebihan-dev/cinnamon-stable
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install cinnamon  

    Overall, I am very happy with Cinnamon under Ubuntu 12.04.  I suspect that I will retain this desktop for a while.

    Social-video Electric Eyewear

    I am not entirely sure how much use I would have for something like this, but the concept of wearable computers certainly has piqued my interest as of late.  With this said, I do know of a number of people within my social circles who would be all over these glasses.

    Friday, July 15, 2011


    Something I have given some consideration to as of late is how a number of years ago we were trying to get away of "Social" ISPs such as AOL or MSN and experience more of what is available on the Internet instead of some ISP-delivered content...think circa mid-'90s.  Now (in the recent few years) there is this huge rush back toward what we were in such a hurry to get away from relative to the social aspect of the aforementioned...think Google+, Facebook, etc.  Things that make you go "Hmmmm".  No pun intended, but we have come full-circle.

    Monday, May 30, 2011

    The Art of Overcoming Information Deception

    What if I were to tell you that the world is flat, the Earth is the center of the solar system, Newtonian physics is in fact the Grand Unified Theory, or global warming is 100% due to man? I suspect that you might have me sent away for a long holiday in a padded room without a view. As we transition more deeply into the Information Age, our perceptions of what is valid stands a greater chance of becoming distorted. Dissemination of information occurs at a rate staggering to the human mind. Because of this, being able to discern what is valid information, and what is not, is an important developmental requirement of us all if we expect to mitigate informational extinction.

    With the prevalence of social networks and wholesale liberal online media outlets, campaigns of agenda promotion are commonplace. Relative to the former, I am reminded of the childhood game where one child whispers a secret to the his/her friend who does the same to another friend; continuing down the line until the last child whispers the secret to the secret's originator. Invariably, the secret has been distorted. This is how valid information can be distorted within the context of social networks.

    No longer does one have to read the daily news, that is delivered each morning in hardcopy format, to find out what happened the day before. No longer does one have to rely on the evening television news being beamed into their skulls to find out what is going on in the world. Each subsequent evolution of news delivery increases the rate at which an individual is able to receive their daily injection of blood, sweat, and tears. As Internet enabled devices proliferate, news is delivered as quickly as it can be prepped for human consumption.

    One of the problems associated with our online news access, for both social networks and various media sources, is not the rate at which it is received. Instead, the problem is with the promotion of agendas that may or may not coincide with the overall belief system of the individuals being force fed this digital detritus.

    Convincing evidence that promotes and supports the reported information comes in the form of fancy graphs, charts, so-called expert narrative, and statistics. The way I see this is that statistics can be made to support any agenda. If you do not believe this, I would suggest that you do a little research into the various Microsoft sponsored studies associated with this or that.

    I have been around long enough to remember when eggs were considered part of a healthy diet. Then some study showed that they were bad for you. Then they were good for you. Information and understanding changes. What is the saying "The only constant in the universe is change"? Additionally, often what is solicited as fact by the expert is simply opinion.

    A number of years ago I was told that because of the rate at which new information and/or technology is being generated, I would know less of the total information available upon completing my undergraduate degree than when I began my secondary education. This is not difficult to believe. After all, I do remember when Pluto was a planet. There is simply no way to know everything, even though there are those who would have you believe otherwise.

    I understand that the pace at which change takes place is not what it once was. Obviously the pace at which the world turns, metaphorically, is significantly greater than 10, 15, or 20 years ago. Even so, what it boils down to is that we need to take some time to think. The following is a list of some things to consider when evaluating information validity, and not to be considered all inclusive:
    1. Does the presented information make sense in a logical world?

    2. Is the information fact or opinion based?

    3. Ask the question, "What information am I missing that is necessary to make an informed decision".

    4. Do not propagate information, the validity of which is uncertain.

    5. Above all else, do not simply believe something just because I said so. Do not just question authority, question everything.
    If it turns out that the information in question is indigestible for whatever reason, call "shenanigans" on the information promoter; individual, group, organization, or otherwise. A fact is simply a piece of information that is assumed valid until proved otherwise. This is a paraphrase of something I remember reading, the source of which I cannot recall.
    And with that, I am off to see the wizard...

    Tuesday, May 03, 2011

    Ubuntu 11.04 Banshee Issue Overcome

    Upon installation of Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal), I experienced difficulty with the default media player, Banshee. What I experienced was the Banshee UI not rendering text correctly. For me this made Banshee completely useless.

    Running Banshee from the command line prompt clued be into the fact that the file, /etc/pango/pango.modules, had not been created. Additionally, this provided insight as to how the file should be properly created. What I found when I attempted to issue the pango-querymodules command (noted below in Step 3) was that permission was denied, even when the command was prefaced with 'sudo'. Subsequently, this is what lead to the enabling of the 'root' account.

    The level of detail I provide below assumes a minimum familiarity with GNU/Linux systems and the associated vernacular. Without an further ado, in an effort to overcome the aforementioned issue I performed the following:

    1. Enable root account under Ubuntu by opening a terminal (CTRL-ALT-T) and using the commands:
    sudo passwd root
    sudo passwd -u root

    2. Bring up a text terminal (CTRL-ALT-F1) and login as 'root' using the newly established password.

    3. Once logged in as root, issue the command:
    pango-querymodules > '/etc/pango/pango.modules'

    4. Logout of 'root' account in text terminal (type 'exit', without quotes).

    5. Return to GUI (CTRL-ALT-F7), and fire up Banshee. If everything went according to plan, you should have a usable media player. That's all, folks.

    Sunday, May 02, 2010

    Messing Around with Enlightenment

    Sometime in the '99 time frame I had used the Enlightenment window manager off and on. After having read an article in the latest issue of Linux Journal, I became curious as to what was new with Enlightenment. Specifically I was interested in E17, as E16 is available from the Ubuntu repositories. Subsequently, I grabbed a snapshot of the associated code via SVN, compiled the source code, and got Enlightenment (E17) up and running. The picture shown above is a screen shot depicting the fruits of my labor relative to my Enlightenment mini project.

    Presently I am acclimating myself to the idiosyncrasies of Enlightenment, but like what I see thus far. I am of the opinion that Enlightenment is still one of the most elegant windows managers available for Linux. My understanding is that development continues, albeit at a very slow pace. It should be noted that E17, as it currently exists, is still in a state of flux and may not be stable enough for daily use. Personally I have not had any major problems to report.

    And with that, I am off to see the wizard...

    Saturday, April 17, 2010

    Screenshot for 04/17/10

    The following is a screenshot of my current desktop:

    Screenshot 04/17/10

    The following is a list of the pertinent components associated with this screenshot:

    Operating SystemLinux
    DistributionUbuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala)
    Window ManagerOpenbox
    Window Manager ThemeCarbon
    Gtk ThemeDust
    Background ImageBay.jpg
    OtherGnome Panel

    And with that, I am off to see the wizard...