Showing posts from September, 2011

Quick Fix: Simple Welcome slowdowns

There is nothing more annoying than an OS that stutters and stops working due to the hardware limitations.  After installing Mandriva 2011.0 on my aging Acer Aspire 5500Z running Pentium M 1.6 Ghz and 1.5 GB of RAM, I quickly found out that it was better to switch back to Linux Mint 9 or a lighter Linux distribution. 

As awesome as Mandriva 2011.0 is so far, it looks like the specs I mentioned above isn't enough to handle the changes.  If Mandriva 2011.0's desktop stops working at any point, users can get it back up and running by killing off the process that runs Simple Welcome - the Rosa Desktop's animated new menu. 

1.  To end a buggy Simple Welcome menu, press CTRL+ESC.  This opens the System Activity window.  Alternately, click ALT+F2 and then click the second icon from the left.   2.  On the list, look for rosa-launcher which at this point is probably consuming more than 50% of the CPU's activity.  Select rosa-launcher and click End Process.
3.  Simple Welcome

Xstreamer Sidewinder: Multimedia Streamers for Non-Network Admins

Multimedia streamers allow users to play media files pulled from a variety of sources such as hard drives, USB sticks, and external storage.  However, it's true power is found in its ability to work well on a wired or wireless network.  For enthusiasts, creating a network designed for streaming entertainment is fun and easy enough using Linux distributions and headless devices, but for users with less time on their hands, they can opt for products such as the Xstreamer Sidewinder

Xstreamer is an online South Korean company that sells these brilliant devices that allow even a beginner to set up a multimedia network.  The device supports output to speakers, HDTVs, and even old-school CRT TVs.  One of the advantages of the Xtsreamer is that it really does boast support for even the most obscure codecs (even ones unlisted on the site).  The WD TVLive, Asus O!Play, and Buffalo LinkTheatre all advertise support for at least a dozen codecs and the Xstreamer is no different, supporting v…

Bamboo Wacom Pen and Touch on openSUSE 11.4

The Wacom Pen and Touch product is worth every cent of its exorbitant price.  It's an excellent product for any serious graphics enthusiast.  In Windows and Mac OSX, it works seamlessly on the desktop and in a number of popular applications such as CorelDraw and Adobe Photoshop.  I purchased the Bamboo product fully aware that it may not have the same functionality in Linux as it does with Windows and Mac OSX.  Thankfully, Linux and Bamboo didn't disappoint. 

Before a short review of Bamboo Wacom Pen and Touch on Linux, a shout out is in order. 

First off, kudos to the team at Linux Wacom Project for taking the time  to work on Linux-compatible drivers for the Wacom Bamboo.  They get some credit on the Wacom web site, but not enough from users of the device.  As a disclaimer though, the Wacom Linux site over at Sourceforge isn't for the casual Linux user and requires a bit of patience. 

Next up are the awesome guys over at the openSUSE wiki.  Like most community wikis, f…

LyX: No-nonsense Structuring Documents using LaTeX

I've been around long enough to remember using Basic to “print” out text on a display. Moreover, I had the pleasure of going through early word processing software and making mistakes along the way. I overwrote a year's worth of journals using WordStar, found the glaring blue screen of WordPerfect blinding, and worked my way up to recent Text editors such as Gedit and Kwrite, while appreciating the evolution of Microsoft Word and OpenOffice and LibreOffice. Although Adobe PageMaker wasn't a word processor, it became my primary application for writing for quite awhile before it was eventually killed off.

TeX/LateX, a typesetting/documentation system, has been around for awhile and according to online sources has a huge following in the academe and scientific community because of it's ease of use and practical foundations. I'm a huge fan of applications that are minimalist and do a specific job well and LyX, a GUI-based frontend to LateX, is certainly on my top five a…

Adobe - The Other Tech Cult (with good reason)

Everyone is familiar with the Church of Apple and the Microsoft fanbois (dwindling but still there).  Linux users are also accused of being isolationists and can be too overzealous themselves.  However, there's another group out there that is *generally* platform independent.  This group is composed of hobbyists and professionals who make use of products of one of the most popular software companies in the world - ADOBE.
True, Adobe Flash is a hot topic.  Hated by Apple fans and derided by HTML5 disciples, Adobe Flash has caused a lot of mud throwing.  Less controversial, however, is Adobe's excellent software such as Photoshop, InDesign, Acrobat, Dreamweaver, and Captivate.  Adobe has a whole web page filled with products which have achieved varying levels of success and failures.  Few would disagree, however, that Adobe's products are the standard in many industries.

There is no doubt that when a user gets accustomed to Adobe software, they tend to stick to the suites an…

Install Canon Pixma IP2770/2700 on Mandriva 2011.0

One of the interesting things about Mandriva 2011.0 is the inclusion of Epson and Lexmark Printer Manager whereas previous KDE releases only included an HP Printer Manager (which is still available and on the repositories too). However, users are left without Canon printer drivers (though Mandriva helpfully will attempt to search for alternatives).

1. Printer drivers are available via the Canon Support web site.  Download the RPM drivers for the Pixma IP2770/2700 which are also used for openSUSE (tutorials for openSUSE are found elsewhere on this blog).2. Extract the cnijfilter-ip2700series-3.30-1-i386-rpm.tar.gz to a folder such as Documents using Ark.  This can be accomplished by right-clicking the file and selecting Extract Archive to. 3. Open a Terminal and navigate to the folder.  Run the command:
Users will be prompted for a Root Password and the driver will begin installation. 4. The driver will instruct the user to plug the printer and switch it on in order…

Nixiepixel: GNU/Linux on YouTube

It's really hard not to love Linux tutorials when it's an attractive young lady teaching it to you.  Behold Nixiepixel's Ubuntu tutorials on YouTube.  The comments on this Linux enthusiast range from enthusiastic to perverted with marriage proposals and compliments all over her YouTube Channel

A sample video is linked below:

One commentor nicely pointed out that with knowledgeable and super-cute girls like her teaching Linux, who needs old and moldy (but time-tested) Linux guys? 

I've watched a handful of her videos and I'm equally smitten by her charm, sultry voice, and efforts at dressing up for her fans.  Although I find it difficult learning Linux by watching videos, she does service to the Linux community by attracting so many devotees (and I do mean attracting!). 

Kudos Nixiepixel!

Celebrate 20 years of Linux Today!

The great folks over at the Linux Foundation released a great infographic boasting the long and underrated history of Linux. 

It's been a great ride and I'm in for the long haul.

Removing LiveUSB Linux: Format using Windows 7

After creating a Linux LiveUSB and installing your openSUSE or Mandriva unto your optical drive-impaired netbook or thin-and-light, you might need your USB stick's enormous space to save precious files.  Unfortunately, the Disk Utility in Ubuntu or openSUSE won't format the USB stick due to mounting or Permissions issues.  You log in as Root or run the Disk Utility application as Root and it still refuses to format the USB stick.

Obviously, there are ways to format a USB stick from the Terminal in Linux properly.  However, formatting a USB Flash Drive in Linux using a FAT32 or FAT16 file format often results in Windows machines being unable to read the Flash drive.

The solution?  Format the USB Flash drive as FAT32 in Windows 7 or XP.  It's quick and painless and will work for all platforms concerned. 

Once a LiveUSB is plugged into Windows 7, a window will prompt the user to format the USB drive.  Select FAT32 or NTFS and select Quick Format if needed, and the USB Flash d…

VboxGTK: openSUSE 11.4 host and Mandriva 2011.0 Guest

openSUSE has long been supported by VirtualBox.  Users can easily install VirtualBox via the Yast Package Manager or via the RPM download from

Linux users have an alternative and can install VboxGTK, which provides a GTK-based GUI interface.  The lightweight interface has superficial differences from the original VirtualBox.  However, any advantages it provides for lower-powered systems like netbooks are certainly welcome.

VboxGTK does not have the same hand-holding provided in the VirtualBox interface such as notifications regarding mouse and screen shorts.  It's important to remember that it is still VirtualBox and important keys such as pressing the RIGHT Host CTRL key allows the host to regain mouse control.

In this example, VboxGTK is installed on openSUSE 11.4 and the guest OS to be installed is the recently released Mandriva 2011 KDE.

A few notes about installing Mandriva 2011.0 in openSUSE 11.4 Vboxgtk
During installation mouse control would be shared imme…

Quick Tip: Lock your Linux Box

Lock your openSUSE system by pressing CTRL+ALT+L (Apple guys might see what Linux can do!). 

A Guide: I love Computer Books

Make no mistake, 70%-90% of the computer books out there are horribly written even when they purport to be for non-technical readers.  SAMS, O'Reilly, the Dummies series are all well-known publications that are guilty of this.  I'm often appalled when a bookstore chain doesn't carry any computer books but it's easy to understand why.  Most computer books out there quickly become outdated and absolutely useless to anyone with DSL at home (e.g. Microsoft Office, Linux books).  There's also the price.  Computer books are extremely expensive.  Add the price to the chances of getting a book that would end up unread and obsolete and it actually makes sense that bookstores save the extra shelf space for a few more copies of Twilight or Percy Jackson instead.

Buying computer books is not like picking out a series like Harry Potter from the shelf and deciding the book's worth reading.  Even if the topic of the book, such as PHP and SQL, is worth learning, no amount of …