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Senin, 30 November 2009

Automatically Download All The Wallpapers From National Geographic (Almost 400 Wallpapers) [Windows, Linux, Mac OS X]

national geographic wallpapers

I like changing my wallpaper automatically with a script (but alternatively, you can use Desktop Drapes or a similar app) every few minutes, but for that you need a lot of wallpapers.

You can already download hundreds of wallpapers with just one command but I really like the National Geographic wallpapers which are actually professional, amazing photos, so I made 2 really easy scripts which automatically downloads all the wallpapers (to date, the script will have to be modified when they add new wallpapers because the link is not fixed) from he National Geographic website.

To download all the National Geographic wallpapers from the 2008 or 2009 contests, simply download my scripts (download links at the end of the post), place them in a folder where you want to download all the wallpapers and run it like so:


Of course, don't forget to make the scripts executable first:
chmod +x natgeo2008.sh
chmod +x natgeo2009.sh

The "natgeo2008.sh" automatically downloads all the wallpapers for 1280 width screen resolution. To download the wallpapers for 800 or 1024 width screen resolution, edit the script and on top of it, replace:


The "natgeo2009.sh" script downloads all the wallpapers from the 2009 wallpaper contest but the wallpapers are only available for 1600px screen width so simply run the script as stated above (don't change anything inside the script).

Note: The script for 2008 will download 226 wallpapers, and the script for 2009 will (w)get 170 wallpapers, all from the wallpaper contest so give the scripts some time to fetch all the wallpapers.

Download the script for Linux: for 2008 wallpapers | for 2009 wallpapers

Update 1 - Mac OS X: Reader LargePig has modified the scripts for Mac OS X. Download them from HERE (those scrips use curl instead of wget).

Update 2 - Windows: Fire Onyx has sent us the modified scripts for Windows. Download them from HERE. You need wget either in your path, or in the same directory as the script.

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Mac OS X Style For WINE

If you use the Mac4lin theme on Linux, you will probably also want your WINE applications to look like on Mac OS X as well.

Mac OS X Style For WINE

csongi has created an Mac OS X Leopard style for WINE which comes in 3 versions: transparent space taskbar, flat taskbar and plastic Unified toolbar.

Download Mac OS X Leopard Msstyle | Thanks to Mahdi for the tip!

Portable Ubuntu Remix - Ubuntu Running As A Windows Application

portable ubuntu remixPortable Ubuntu Remix is an Ubuntu system running as a Windows application.

Why would you want to run Ubuntu as a Windows application? There are several reasons / situations when you would want to do that:

1. If you want to try out Ubuntu in a really simple way (it's even easier than with Wubi)
2. If you really need to run some Linux / Ubuntu applications in Windows
3. If you want to use Linux at work for instance, but you are not allowed to install Ubuntu.
4. And of course, since it's portable: you can basically take Portable Ubuntu Remix anywhere with you on a Pendrive, etc.

Unfortunately, Portable Ubuntu Remix only works on Windows 32bit.

Download Portable Ubuntu Remix

If you plan on using it, you'll be needing this info: The password for the pubuntu user is 123456.

Minggu, 29 November 2009

System-Wide PulseAudio Equalizer For Ubuntu

pulseaudio system wide equalizer

Ubuntu or PulseAudio actually really needs a good system wide equalizer. A project which initially begun as a simple script (actually it still is a script) now has become a fully working system wide PulseAudio equalizer. In the recent version, thanks to psyke83 the script comes with:

  • a GUI
  • .deb installer and presets (based on VLC's built-in equalizer) - so it's really easy to install and use by anyone.
  • 15 frequency bands you can adjust to your liking;
  • preamp will boost your equalized volume (as a multiplier value from 1x to 4x);
  • you can save your own presets

Once you install it, if there is no menu entry under Applications > Sound & Video, run this command to get a desktop shortcut:
cp /usr/share/applications/pulseaudio-equalizer.desktop ~/Desktop/

Then double click it and select "Mark as Trusted".

You can download the script and get support @ ubuntuforums.org | Direct download link*

*I suggest downloading the script from the ubuntuforums.org since new versions may be released. Only use the direct download link if you don't want to make an ubuntuforums.org account.

Update: For Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat packages, see: Download Pulseaudio System-Wide Equalizer Fixed .deb For Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

Ubuntu: Automatically Disable TouchPad While Typing

syndaemon is a program that monitors keyboard activity and disables the touchpad when the keyboard is being used. If you are using Ubuntu / Debian, syndaemon should already be installed and all you have to do is type this in a terminal to start it as a daemon:
syndaemon -d

To set the time you want syndaemon to restore your keyboard, run this command:
syndaemon -i 4 -d

Where "4" is the time between the period you stopped typing and when the touchpad becomes active.

Please note that I have noticed you need to kill syndaemon before changing it's settings. So before specifying an option, kill it with:
killall syndaemon

You can also specify syndaemon to only deactivate scrolling and tapping but leave your mouse pointer active even if you type on your keyboard, by ysing the "-t" option.

To see everything syndaemon can do, use the man command:
man syndaemon

The following example invokes syndaemon for 4 seconds after any keyboard activity (-i 4), except when modifier keys such as Alt or Shift are used (-K), and only disables tapping and scrolling (-t) for this period:

syndaemon -i 4 -d -t -K

And a bonus. A bash script to toggle the touchpad on an off with a hotkey:

# toggle synaptic touchpad on/off

# get current state
SYNSTATE=$(synclient -l | grep TouchpadOff | awk '{ print $3 }')

# change to other state
if [ $SYNSTATE = 0 ]; then
synclient touchpadoff=1
elif [ $SYNSTATE = 1 ]; then
synclient touchpadoff=0
echo "Couldn't get touchpad status from synclient"
exit 1
exit 0

Save it in a file and call it whatever you want (for instance "toggle_touchpad.sh"), make the script executable (chmod +x toggle_touchpad.sh) and assign a hotkey for it (for instance by using CompizConfig Settings Manager, on the Commands options).

Note: If you use an EeePC, you can toggle the TouchPad on and off with an utility called EeePC Tray or with Eee Control (see step 9)

Last Week's Top Posts (Week 48, 2009)

  1. Dual Panel Nautilus For Ubuntu Karmic Koala
  2. Improve 'apt-get install' And 'upgrade' Speed [How-to]
  3. Adium Themes in Pidgin [Ubuntu Karmic Koala How-to]
  4. Upgrade PulseAudio To Version 0.9.21 In Ubuntu Karmic From A Launchpad Repository (PPA) and Ubuntu Karmic: Upgrade ALSA To 1.0.21 From A Repository (Launchpad PPA)
  5. Ubuntu Netbook Remix Optimization Guide
  6. Gnome Panel Backgrounds
  7. OpenShot 0.9.54 Released!
  8. Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Proposed Themes [Artwork]
  9. Ubuntu: Get A List Of Packages And Dependencies For Offline Installation
  10. 10 New / Recently Updated Emerald Themes

Slimrat: Linux Download Manager For RapidShare, MegaUpload And Many More


Slimrat is a Linux download manager which can download files from the following online file hosting services: rapidshare, megaupload, metafire, easyshare, czshare, datahu, depozitshare, fastload, fastshare, filefactory, filehive, freakshare, hotfile, sharebase, youtube, zshare and many other including a direct download if there is no plugin available for a certain service.

Slimrat is lightweight, it can download multiple files and once and comes with both a GUI and a CLI. Another very interesting Slimrat feature is the automatic captcha solving based on an tesseract-ocr library.

To install Slimrat in Ubuntu, firstly you need to install some dependencies:
sudo apt-get install libwww-mechanize-perl aview imagemagick tesseract-ocr libgtk2-gladexml-perl xclip libspiffy-perl

Then simply download Slimrat, extract it, go to it's src folder and open either slimrat (cli) or slimrat-gui.

Installation instructions for other Linux distributions can be found in the INSTALL file in the slimrat archive you have download.

You can configure slimrat by editing the slimrat.conf, which should be copied into /etc/slimrat.conf or ~/.slimrat/config

Sabtu, 28 November 2009

Asus EeePC 1201N Netbook Review

Asus is finally launching the new EeePC 1201N and I was lucky to get my hands on it for a few days, for testing purposes.

I know many Web Upd8 readers love Linux, but the netbook I have received for testing came with Windows 7 and I am not allowed to install another operating system, so my review will be based on it's Windows 7 performances only.

EeePC 1201N
[image via laptopmag]

Here are the official Asus EeePC 1201N Hardware specifications:

  • Display size/resolution: 12.1 inches (1366 x 768) LED-backlit WXGA
  • CPU: Intel Atom 330 (1.6 GHz) dual core processor
  • Memory/Expandable to: 2GB/3GB DDR2
  • Graphics: Nvidia Ion
  • Hard drive: 250GB / 320GB (plus 500GB online storage)
  • Ports: VGA, HDMI, 3 USB 2.0, Ethernet, headphone/mic
  • Card Slots: MMC/ SD(SDHC)
  • Wireless: 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • Size: 296mm (W) x 208mm (D) x 27.3~ 33.3mm (H) (11.7 x 8.2 x 1.3 inches)
  • Weight: 1,46 kg (3.22lbs)
  • Battery Life: 6 cells 63Wh Li-ion - Up to 5 hours with Super Hybrid Engine
  • Available colors: Black, Silver, Blue, Red

A quick glance at the system specs and you will see why Asus EeePC 1201N is special: it comes with an Nvidia ION graphics card, 2 or 3 GB of RAM and a dual core Intel Atom N330 Processor.

Nvidia ION specs
nvidia ion specs

The Nvidia ION graphics card is great for watching HD videos and gaming. Also, the NVIDIA® CUDA™ technology takes the EeePC one step further and allows you to work with graphics and video editors almost like on a desktop PC.

The Intel Atom N330 processor differentiates itself from the other Atom processor by it's large L2 cache: 1MB (compared to 512K for N270 or N280). Even so, the processor was what caused it to get only 3.3 points in the Windows Experience Index tests, while the hard disk, RAM and gaming graphics had some pretty decent scores:

Asus EeePC 1201N windows 7 tests

Here are some screenshots to get an idea on the size of the Asus EeePC 1201N Netbook:

eeepc 1201n 1005ha dellAsus EeePC 1201N Netbook
Dell Inspiron 1525, Asus EeePC
1201N and EeePC 1005HA
Asus EeePC 1201N
Asus EeePC 1201N1201n 1005ha
Asus EeePC 1201N
(lid closed)
Asus EeePC 1201N (the bigger one)
and EeePC 1005HA

The Eee PC 1201N should be available in North America in mid-December and it's price around ~ 500$.

If you own a Netbook and use Ubuntu Netbook Remix, you may want to read or Ubuntu Netbook Remix optimization guide.

Commander Stalin Real-Time Strategy Game [Windows, Linux]

Commander Stalin is a free, open source real-time strategy based on Boswars game for Windows and Linux.

In a RTS game, the player has to combat its enemies while running his war economy.

Everything run in so called real-time, in opposition to turn based games where the player always has to wait for his turn. The trick is to balance the effort put into building the economy and building and army to defend an attack the enemies.

commander stalin rts game

[image credits: freegamer]

The battle takes place in the first decades of the twentieth century and the player is Stalin so he must organize the state, industrialization and turn it into a major power. This means you have to effectively manage their resources, creating a broad base of social support (workers), launching the existing industry and develop science and technology. The historical accuracy isn't very good (the KGB didn't exist back then, etc), but the game is lots of fun!

One thing you will miss in Commander Stalin is the fact that there is no single-player campaign unfortunately.

The graphics are average and the units level of detail is pretty good so if you are into real time strategy games, you should give Commander Stalin a try.

Download Commander Stalin (Packages available for Windows, Linux and source files).

Gnome Theme Which Changes Automatically, Depending On The Time Of Day

Based on the Ubuntu Sun concept and New Wave, Narfss has created a Gnome theme for which the titlebar (Metacity only) changes automatically depending on the time of day (dawn, noon, evening and night).

new wave chronos theme

The theme is called New Wave Chronos and comes with a script which does the actual theme changes according to the time of day.

Download New Wave Chronos (remember to add the .sh script to your startup applications!).

Installation instructions:

1. Download and extract the .zip archive
2. Install the .tar.gz theme (right click on your desktop, select "Change Desktop Background" -> drag and drop the .tar.gz file onto the Themes tab).
3. Run the .sh script (rename it to something without spaces, for instance newwave.sh and run it in a terminal: ./newwave.sh)

Jumat, 27 November 2009

Music Album Covers And Picture Previews As Folder Thumbnails In Nautilus [Ubuntu / Linux]

nautilus image as folder cover

The trick to use folder.jpg images as the icon for a certain folder in Ubuntu which we wrote about some time ago only works for Jaunty. But luckily, the same Stephen O'Sullivan has found a way to make this work in Ubuntu Karmic Koala.

This time, the script comes in a .deb package and it's called Cover Thumbnailer, and it displays music album covers, preview of the pictures which are in a folder, etc. in Nautilus. That means that it's no longer necessary to have a folder.jpg file inside a folder in order for the thumbnail to be displayed!

Cover thumbnailer is a small Python script which displays music album covers in nautilus, preview of pictures which are in a folder and more.

Cover Thumbnailer

The script fits in nautilus like any other thumbnailer of the GNOME thumbnail factory and it basically works out of the box. Also, this script is dynamic, meaning that when you add a new folder, it immediately transforms it into a thumbnail.

Download Cover Thumbnailer (Packages available for Ubuntu - .deb, and .tar.gz for other Linux distributions).

Note: after installing Cover Thumbnailer, you need to log out and log back in!

Googsystray: Unified Google Services Notifier [Windows, Linux]

Googsystray is a Google Voice, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Reader and Google Wave checker application for Windows and Linux. The idea is to be able to keep track of all that stuff without having to keep a bunch of browser tabs open, or constantly checking them.


It notifies on new messages, alerts, etc., and provides basic services quickly (Reading or sending a new SMS message, or marking an email read, for example.)

Installing it in Windows is as easy as any other application, just download the installer.

To install Googsystray in Linux, firstly make sure you have Python and pygtk installed, then download the .tar.gz archive and extract it. Open a terminal, navigate to the folder where you have extracted Googsystray, and run the following command:
sudo python ./setup.py install

Then, go to the bin subfolder from your googsystray folder, and double click the googsystray file.

To configure Googsystray, right click it's icon on your systray and select "Preferences":

Googsystray preferences

To open an unread message, left click the service icon (Gmail, etc) in your systray (notification area). And finally, to quickly see what's new, right click a service icon.

[via gulp]

Ubuntu Netbook Remix Optimization Guide

Update: read part 2 of this optimization guide: How To Get The Most Out Of Ubuntu Netbook Edition [Optimization Tips]

I recently got a new Eee PC and installed Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.10 Karmic Koala (which is going to be renamed to Ubuntu Netbook Edition starting with Lucid) and even though UNR is already somewhat optimized, I don't like how some things work and also there is room for a lot more optimizations. I would like to share with you these optimizations, all with screen real estate and low power consumption in mind. A part of this article is for EeePC only, but most work on any netbook!

Let's get started (read on - huge post ahead)!

1. The terminal

guake ubuntu netbook remix

Since doing a lot of things requires a terminal (not because you can't do it without a terminal, but because it's a lot easier!), we need to optimize it. Actually, we won't use the normal terminal because that would require to go to the menu, then Accessories, etc. We could create a shortcut on the panel for it, but we would loose some precious space.

That's why, we will use Guake, a drop-down terminal for Gnome (Quake style) which can be fully customizable (make it transparent, change it's height, etc). What I like about Guake is that all you have to do is press F12 and it comes down on the screen, write your commands and it disappears.

Let's install it:
sudo apt-get install guake

Or click here to install it. Because I don't remember if it was in the official Ubuntu repositories, I will also give you an alternate download link from Softpedia (it has an Ubuntu .deb).

Now let's put it into the star-up applications. Go to the main menu > System, scroll down to Startup Applications, launch it and click "Add", under "Name" enter "Guake" and under "command" enter "guake" (all letters lowercase, without the quotes).

Now launch it for the first time from the Accessories in the main menu and press F12. Now right click it so we can configure it:

  • under the General tab, check "Stay on top", "Hide on lose focus" (so it automatically closes when clicking outside Guake), and "Show tab bar" (so we can easily use multiple tabs). Also, drag the "Main window size" bar to about 1/3.
  • under the Appearence tab you will have a slide where you can set the transparency. I have set mine to 1/3.
  • on the "Keyboard shortcuts" tab, modify just the command for opening a new tab, to "Ctrl + T" - Firefox style, it's easier to remember.

2. Improve your netbook battery life

PowerTOP is an application that allows you to view information about programs that are misbehaving while your computer is idle. With this information, you can then make changes and optimize your computer to squeeze more juice out of your laptop battery.

PowerTOP not only can tell you what's consuming your battery, but it also suggests a solution, like disabling a certain service (see screenshot at step 1).

Install PowerTOP with the following command:
sudo apt-get install powertop

Or click here.

And run it like this:
sudo powertop

3. Replace the Window-picker-applet with Namebar and DockBarX

I don't like the built-in Window-picker-applet in Ubuntu Netbook Remix:


because it doesn't have a "restore" and "minimize" buttons which I find to be very inconvenient.

dockbarx namebar
(DockBarX and Namebar in action)

We have already covered installing Namebar and DockbarX in Ubuntu, so head over to that post for details.

4. Tweaking Maximus

Maximus has a really annoying thing: it maximizes every window you open, even small windows which should not be maximized. The weird thing is this only occurs on my PC, and not on my EeePC, but in case it also occurs on your netbook, here is what you need to do:

Press Alt + F2, enter gconf-editor, navigate to: /apps/maximus/no_maximize and set it to "true" (Do not automatically maximize newly opened windows. If undecorate is set, will still undecorate maximised windows.)

5. Optimize the Gnome Panel time display

gnome panel time display tweaks

The time and date can take a lot of space. To remove the date, right click it, select "Preferences" and on the "General" tab, uncheck "Show the date".

More advanced tweaking to the time and date in the Gnome panel (note: in my UNR Karmic, the apps > panel > applets > clock_screen seems to have been changed to apps > panel > applets > applet5)

6. Optional: Remove the Gnome panel altogether.

You could set the Gnome Panel to auto-hide, but this works better with Docky, Avant Window Navigator or Cairo Dock (click on their names for info and installation instructions).

So if you want to remove the Gnome Panel, you can't just "do it". Here is how to remove the Gnome Panel (to have 0 Gnome Panels). Open a terminal (or press F12 to bring down Guake), and enter this command:
gconftool-2 --type=list --list-type=string --set /desktop/gnome/session/required_components_list '[windowmanager,filemanager]'

You must now log out and log back it. Please note that I haven't tested the complete removal of the Gnome Panel.

7. Firefox netbook optimization

a) Install Swiftfox, an optimized Firefox build.

b) Use a minimalistic Firefox/Swiftfox theme. I recommend Stratini-Stripe Point Nine:

Stratini-Stripe Point Nine eeepc

If you want to go one step further, you can use an even tinier navigation bar: if you put icons, urlbar, or searchbar into the Menu toolbar in Small Icons mode, they will shrink dramatically. Also, favicons in the Bookmarks toolbar and Bookmarks and History menus shrink in Small Icons mode. You can also add a special Teeny toolbar as well. View > Toolbars > Customize > Add New Toolbar > "teeny" or "teeny2" > move icons, urlbar, searchbar to the "teeny" (that name is absolutely necessary) bar while still in Customize mode. Be sure to use all lowercase letters or it won't work. Toolbar buttons, urlbar and search bar will shrink in Small Icons mode in this toolbar.

That will basically bring your navigation toolbar to this:

teeny firefrox

c) Remove the Firefox/Swiftfox menubar and replace it with a single icon, by using the Compact Menu add-on.

d) Remove the "Stop", "Home" and "Bookmark launcher" icons from the navigation toolbar. You can also remove the Bookmarks toobar:

- To remove the "Stop", "Home", and "Bookmark launcher" buttons (icons), right click on any of them, select "Customize" and drag and drop them from the navigation toolbar to the newly opened dialog. You can also check the "Use small icons" button.

-To remove the bookmarks toolbar, View > Toolbars and uncheck "Bookmarks toobar".

e) You can also remove the statusbar, but still see what's behind the links with yet another Firefox addon. Details here.

f) Remove the Search box and replace it with Omnibar Firefox add-on, which integrates the location bar and search bar into one "omnibar".

Here is how Firefox (actually Swiftfox) looks after most of these changes:

firefox tweaks netbook

There is an Firefox extensions collection with add-ons for netbook screen optimization which includes some of the above addons and some others. Take a look.

8. Some more fixing / tweaking

Our post about what needs to be fixed or tweaked after installing Ubuntu Karmic Koala 9.10 also works for Ubuntu Netbook remix and using some of the information there, you will fix some annoyances.

EeePC specific optimization for Ubuntu Netbook Remix

9. EeePC only: Install an EeePC tray utility

The EeePC tray utility allows you to set the performance profiles, switch on/off some integrated peripherals, etc.

To use it, we must firstly add the repositories:
sudo sh -c "echo 'deb http://www.statux.org/ubuntu software main' >> /etc/apt/sources.list"
wget -q http://www.statux.org/ubuntu/key/statux.pub -O- | sudo apt-key add -

Now let's install the EeePC tray utility:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install eeepc-tray

Alternatively, you could use Eee Control, a similar application which you can download from here.

10. Wireless - EeePC 1005HA only

Since I own an 1005HA EeePC, I can only post about it when it comes to troubleshooting. On my EeePC 1005HA, the wireless works out of the box, but connection is somewhat flaky. However, this was fixed installing linux-backports-modules-karmic:
sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-karmic

Or click here to install it.

Updates (all netbooks):

Update 1: I've also written about syndaemon, an utility which automatically disables the touchpad while typing.

Please note that this post is by no means finished. I will add more info as I further optimize my EeePC, so stay tuned!

Update: read part 2 of this optimization guide: How To Get The Most Out Of Ubuntu Netbook Edition [Optimization Tips]

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Kamis, 26 November 2009

HandBrake DVD Ripper And Audio / Video Converter Updated To Version 0.9.4, Adds 64bit Support


HandBrake is a free, open-source video transcoder for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. It supports any DVD-like source and most multimedia files and can convert into the following formats:

  • File format: MP4 and MKV
  • Video: MPEG-4, H.264, or Theora (1 or 2 passes or constant quantizer/rate encoding)
  • Audio: AAC, MP3, Vorbis or AC-3 and DTS pass-through (supports encoding of several audio tracks)

Among HandBrake features are:
  • Chapter selection
  • "Soft Subtitles" (not permanently rendered to frame)
  • Integrated bitrate calculator
  • Picture deinterlacing
  • Cropping and scaling
  • Grayscale encoding.

HandBrake 0.9.4 was released a few days ago, and it includes over 1,000 changes since the last release, including soft subtitles (rips subtitles and you can turn then on or off), constant quality encoding (for better quality video and no need for 2-pass encoding), a live preview mode (so you don't waste your time encoding only to find you had a setting wrong) and something many people have been waiting for: 64-bit support. 64-bit builds tend to perform approximately 10% better than 32-bit. Unfortunately, the 64-bit version seems only available for Linux and Mac OS X for now.

For a complete list of changes, head over to the HandBrake 0.9.4 release announcement.

Download HandBrake (Packages available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux: Ubuntu .deb and Fedora .rpm - both with a GUI or command line).

Wasp: Another Proposed Theme For Ubuntu Lucid Lynx

wasp ubuntu theme

Last week, we some some Ubuntu Lucid Lynx proposed themes and like always, there were mixed opinions. Here is yet another proposed theme for Ubuntu Lucid Lynx 10.04 LTS: Wasp.

Wasp takes care of most used apps with adhoc configurations: no strange behaviour like dark toolbar where it shouldn't be, no redundant borders, no compromise on general setting just because of a strange behaviour in one app.

Don't like orange/brown colors? just use GNOME Appearance and choose all colors you want, Wasp is totally recolorable.

The Wasp theme comes in three flavors: Wasp, Wasp-Alt and Wasp-Hard, all with GTK, Metacity, Xfwm themes, an OpenOffice patch, a Firefox style (for Stylish) and a GDM screen. It's the kind of theme which is not light but not dark either.

waspwasp altwasp hard
WaspWasp AltWasp Hard

While I really like the theme, because of the many customizations needed by it, it may not be included in Lucid (just my opinion). But that doesn't mean you can't use it.

You can download WASP from Gnome-Look.

How To Create Your Own Short URLs With Google Apps

There are loads of short url services these days, but a lot of them disappear and your links are lost. So what can you do in order to have control over your short URLs? It's pretty easy (assuming you have your own domain): create your own short url service with Google Apps. Obviously, this is a free service (as long as you have the domain name).

1. The first thing you need to do is set up Google Apps for your domain.

2. Then go to THIS link and click on "Add it now" button and enter your domain name. After logging in, enter the subdomain for your short URLs. For instance "sh.yoururl.com". You then need to create a new CNAME in your domain name control panel. Name (alias) this CNAME "sh" (for my example, it depends on what you have chosen), and redirect it to ghs.google.com

3. Let's take care of all the settings for our short URLs. Click on "Additional Short Links settings":

short url google apps

For the good of your own url shortening service, make sure you check the following boxes:

Access restrictions: Only administrators may create new links.

Miscellaneous options: Use permanent redirects (HTTP code 301).

4. To create your short url, go to the subdomain you have set up. In my example: http://sh.yoururl.com. You will reach as screen which looks like this:

google apps short url

You can now start creating your own short urls using Google Apps. You can either choose to create your custom short url or hashed short url (which will look like this: http://sh.yoururl.com/rtu62f)

Also, as you can see, there are also two bookmarklets you can use, one for private and one for public links. You can drag them to your browser toolbar and click whenever you want to create a short url.

And finally, you will also have some stats for your links so that's also something to take into consideration when deciding if you want to use your own url shortening service with Google Apps. As you can see, basically you won't lose any (or most of them) features other url shortening services have, and also, using Google Apps, you are sure you won't lose your short URLs!

Rabu, 25 November 2009

Download Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx .ISO

ubuntu 10.04 lucid lynx screenshot

As you probably know, the work on the next Ubuntu version 10.04 called Lucid Lynx has already begun. Until now, there was no ISO available and you had to do a little 'hacking' in order to use Lucid.

But now you can already download a development release of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx from HERE. Obviously, this should only be used for testing purposes!

Happy testing!

Try Out The New Google.com Look For Yourself

A few days ago I was telling you about a new Google home page. Well, thanks to Blogoscoped, you can try it for yourself.
colorful googlenew google

Here is what you need to do:

1. Go to Google.com and log out. Then, make sure you are on .com and not on your country domain extension.

2. Paste this in your browser's URL bar:
javascript:void(document.cookie="PREF=ID=20b6e4c2f44943bb:U=4bf292d46faad806:TM=1249677602:LM=1257919388:S=odm0Ys-53ZueXfZG;path=/; domain=.google.com");

3. Reload the Google.com page.

Improve 'apt-get install' And 'upgrade' Speed [How-to]


Axel is a command line application which accelerates HTTP/FTP downloads by using multiple sources for one file. For example, some FTP sites limit the speed of each connection, therefore opening more than one connection at a time multiplies the allowable bandwidth.

What if we could use a bash script to use "apt-get" with Axel so the "apt-get" download speed would increase dramatically? Well, you can, thanks to Matt Parnell who has created a bash script which does just that. The script works with any Linux distribution which uses "apt-get" (Debian, Ubuntu, etc.).

Before using the script, you must install Axel:
sudo apt-get install axel

Then create an empty file called apt-fast and paste this:

#apt-fast by Matt Parnell http://www.mattparnell.com , this thing is FOSS
#please feel free to suggest improvements to admin@mattparnell.com
# Use this just like apt-get for faster package downloading. Make sure to have axel installed

#If the first user entered variable string contains apt-get, and the second string entered is either install or dist-upgrade
if echo "$1" | grep -q "[upgrade]" || echo "$2" | grep -q "[install]" || echo "$2" | grep -q "[dist-upgrade]"; then
echo "Working...";

#Go into the directory apt-get normally puts downloaded packages
cd /var/cache/apt/archives/;

#Have apt-get print the information, including the URI's to the packages
apt-get -y --print-uris $1 $2 $3 $4 > debs.list;

#Strip out the URI's, and download the packages with Axel for speediness
egrep -o -e "(ht|f)tp://[^\']+" debs.list | xargs -l1 axel -a;

#Perform the user's reqested action via apt-get
apt-get -y $1 $2 $3 $4;

echo "Done! Make sure and check to see that the packages all were installed properly. If a package is erred, run sudo apt-get autoclean and try installing it again without the use of this script.";

elif echo "$1" | grep -q "[*]"; then
apt-get $1;
echo "Sorry, but you appear to be entering invalid options. You must use apt-get and one of apt-get's options in order to use this script.";

Then use the terminal to navigate to where you created the script and run this command:
chmod +x apt-fast

For easier usage, you can move it to the /usr/bin folder.

Now, instead of using: sudo apt-get install PACKAGE_NAME, use sudo apt-fast install PACKAGE_NAME or upgrade or dist-upgrade - it also works with those operations.

I must say I have obviously tested the script and indeed, it works really fast. I don't know if it's 26x faster as the author claims, but the speed improvement, well, let's just say you won't need to measure it to notice the difference!

Update: a new apt-fast version is out, now with full apt-get syntax replacement

Special thanks to Mahdi for suggesting this script!

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Inkscape 0.47 Final Version, Released! [Downloads For Windows, Linux, Mac OSX]

inkscape 0.47

Inkscape, a SVG-based vector graphics editor for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X has finally reached version 0.47.

This new version (thanks to unixmen for the heads up) brings improved performance and tons of new features, some of which are as follows: timed autosave, Spiro splines, auto-smooth nodes, Eraser tool, new modes in Tweak tool, snapping options toolbar & greater snapping abilities, new live path effects (including Envelope), over 200 preset SVG filters, new Cairo-based PS and EPS export, spell checker, many new extensions, optimized SVG code options, and much more.

Full release notes.

Also, the revision of "Inkscape: Guide to a Vector Drawing Program" book is out and you can download it for free!

Install Inkscape 0.47 final in Ubuntu Karmic

To install version 0.47 final in Ubuntu Karmic, you must add the following PPA:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ricotz/ppa

Then upgrade Inkscape to the latest version:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

If you are installing Inkscape for the first time:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install inkscape

Do not do a apt-get upgrade, as there are some other packages in this PPA. Instead, after installing Inkscape, remove the PPA from System > Preferences > Software sources, on the second tab.

Download Inkscape (Windows, Linux - source packages and Mac OS X)

KOffice 2.1 Has Been Released - Kubuntu Installation Instructions

koffice 2.1KOffice 2.1 was released yesterday, bringing a number of new features as well as general improvements in the maturity of the individual applications. Import and export of foreign file formats have been given an overhaul, and especially the import filters for Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt) and Word (.doc) have been much improved. This is a result of the work done for the Nokia n900 Office viewers.

This KOffice release is aimed at developers and early adopters and it's not indended for end users. Also, the KOffice developers do not recommend packaging KOffice 2.1 in any Linux distribution as a default office suite.

To see all the release changes and improvements, visit the KOffice announcement.

Starting with the KOffice 2 series, the office suite is provided by the KDE on Windows project. Users of the integrated installer have to just select KOffice on the list of applications. Visit windows.kde.org/download.php to find installation instructions.

Download KOffice 2.1

(K)Ubuntu users can install KOffice by adding the Kubuntu backports PPA:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/backports

And then:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Please note that the above PPA contain backports of new versions of KDE and major KDE apps for Kubuntu which are not yet tested enough to go to Ubuntu Backports. So upgrade the packages at your own risk!

Using Restricted Encoding In FFmpeg And x264 For Ubuntu Karmic

In case you don't know, FFmpeg is a command line tool for encoding and converting a numerous video and audio formats. x264 is a free software library (also command line) for encoding video streams into the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC format.

FFmpeg and x264 in the Ubuntu repository does not support some encoders, formats, and codecs (which are restricted).

There is a quick way of enabling the restricted encoders but it will not work for all of them. In Ubuntu Karmic, run the following command in a terminal:
sudo apt-get install ffmpeg libavcodec-extra-52

For Karmic, the libfaac codec has been disabled in the "extra" (formerly known as unstripped) libraries because it is considered non-free. The only way to get it is to compile ffmpeg yourself.

FakeOutdoorsman @ ubuntu forums has posted a great tutorial for compiling the ffmpeg and x264 yourself for Ubuntu Karmic, Jaunty and Intrepid. You can find this great how-to, HERE.

After enabling the restricted formats, you can use these additional resources for using FFmpeg:

Selasa, 24 November 2009

Google Reader Finally Adds Feeds Favicons To Your Subscriptions


Google Reader has finally added feed favicons support, something for which you had to use Greasemonkey up until now.

The option is not enabled by default but you can turn it on by going to Settings, on the "Preferecens" tab and checking the "Show favicons for subscriptions" option:

google reader favicons option

Feedly Now Works On Google Chrome

Feedly google chrome

Feedly is a magazine style feed reader which integrates with Google reader and used to work only on Firefox, as an extension. A Feedly extension for Google Chrome has been released, so Chrome users can finally enjoy the great feed reading experience provided by Feedly.

We've covered Feedly a while ago so you should read that if you are not familiar with Feedly.

To add the Feedly extension to your Google Chrome browser, simply click THIS link and install the extension. You will then see a new button, to the right of the omnibar.

Please note that you need the latest development version of Google Chrome in order to use this extension!

Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Will Also Have 100 Paper Cuts

The 100 paper cuts project which was introduced for Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala will return for the next Ubuntu version: Lucid Lynx LTS 10.04. The 100 paper cuts project addresses small usability bugs in Ubuntu that are annoying for the users and should be really easy to fix but have never been addresses exactly because they are considered to be minor.

We have made a post exactly with such fixes and tweaks for Ubuntu Karmic. Hopefully, some of those will be taken care of in the 100 paper cuts project.

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx) will have ten rounds to fix 100 (or more) paper cuts in time for the Lucid Lynx before it is released in April. Three of the ten rounds are focused on addressing the outstanding paper cuts from Ubuntu 9.10. Many of the paper cuts for the later rounds of bug fixing though have yet to be singled out.

The 100 paper cuts page for Ubuntu Lucid Lynx can be found HERE.

[via Phoronix]

Made-up Internet Domain Names Generator: Wordoid


DLS has discovered a great website for generating great, made-up domain names.

The website is called Wordoid and it uses phonetics rules to generate internet domain names in English, Spanish, French and Italian. You can choose to put a word somewhere inside the domain and Wordoid automatically generates hundreds of domain names, and also notifies you if those domains are registered or not.

I had fun with it for almost an hour and I must say it works really well. For instance, here are some domain names it has came up with, for the word "web": websterday, webstern, websterdam, webels (as in web rebels?), webergency, websteria, webberman, webberian, etc. (Wordoid notifies you if .com or .net are available).

As you can see, even though some of the results are pretty funny, they can actually be used for a a website domain name.

Amazing Foobar2000 Skin: Kameleon

Looking for a skin compatible with the latest version of Foobar2000 (1 beta) music player? Then you should try Kameleon which, even though it was built for Foobar2000 0.9.4, 0.9.5 or 0.9.6, it still works with the latest version.

As a proof, here is a screenshot I have just taken with my Foobar2000 player using the Kameleon skin:

kameleon foobar2000 skin

It doesn't look 100% the same as the screenshot on Kameleon skin website, but that's because I don't have the album covers in my music folders. Also, on my computer, the lyrics plugin fails yo find any lyrics but maybe that's a temporary issue with the lyrics database.

Download the Kameleon Foobar2000 skin (see the installation instructions on the website!).

If you are looking for more Foobar2000 skins, take a look at this post (although probably many of them don't work with later Foobar2000 versions).

iConvert: Convert Images To Icons For Windows, Linux And Mac


iConvert is a website which you can use to convert Windows, Linux and Mac icons in just one step.

Don't think that you will need extensive knowledge to use this web application. It's actually very easy to use: you are asked to browse for an image on your hard drive and in seconds, the image will be converted to different sizes and formats.

Once the converting operation is finished, some links will be displayed for various image sizes, such as: 512 × 512, 256 × 256, 128 × 128, 48 × 48, 32 × 32 and 16 × 16 and you can then save the image(s) you want to your computer. The converted formats available are: .icns and .hqx (for Mac), .ico (for Windows) and .png (for Linux):

converted icons

OpenShot 0.9.54 Released!

openshot linux non-linear video editor

Openshot, the great Linux non-linear video editor was updated to version 0.9.54.

New in version 0.9.54:

  • Snap to Play-Head: the snapping tool has been improved to also snap to the play-head.
  • Auto-Extending Timeline: you can now drag or resize any clip past the end of the timeline, and it will simply extend the timeline.
  • Improved Zoom: zooming now adjusts your scrollbars to keep your clips in view.
  • Translations updated: All 7 of our default language translations have been updated to the newest text from LaunchPad. Also, you can use any of the additional 40+ languages. Just drop the .mo file in the /openshot/locale/ folder.

And more. Read the entire announcement, HERE.

Download OpenShot 0.9.54

You can upgrade to (or install, if you don't have it already) OpenShot 0.9.54 by using the OpenShot Launchpad PPA or directly downloading the Ubuntu .deb files.

Upgrade PulseAudio To Version 0.9.21 In Ubuntu Karmic From A Launchpad Repository (PPA)

PulseAudio 0.9.21 was released yesterday and comes with even more bug fixes than version 0.9.20 which was released just two weeks ago. You can see a list of changes, HERE.

Besides bug fixes, PulseAudio 0.9.21 also integrates the device-manager module.

PulseAudio's device-manager module is used to keep track of the names and descriptions of any and all audio devices. This module then also provides a protocol extension for other programs to query this information. At this time, device-manager will largely be used in integrating support for KDE Phonon. The device-manager module is considered experimental at this time along with its API.

[information provided by Phoronix]

Like I told you earlier, if you are having issues with the sound on your PC / laptop / netbook, you could try upgrading ALSA to version 1.0.21. If that, however, does not fix it, you can try to also upgrade Pulseaudio to the latest version (read on).

Adding the Ubuntu Audio Dev team PPA repository to install Pulseaudio 0.9.21

Once again, I would like to remind you that this Launchpad repository (PPA) is experimental (and so are the packages, obviously) so only upgrade to Pulseaudio 0.9.21 only if your sound is buggy or does not work and you know what you are doing!

Ok, let's get started. To add this repository, open a terminal and paste this (there are packages available only for Ubuntu Karmic!):
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-audio-dev/ppa

Then, to upgrade to Pulseaudio 0.9.21, run the following command in a terminal:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Ubuntu Karmic: Upgrade ALSA To 1.0.21 From A Repository (Launchpad PPA)

Ubuntu Karmic comes by default with ALSA 1.0.20 and if that doesn't work for you, an upgrade to ALSA 1.0.21 might be the solution. We wrote about the ALSA upgrade script for Ubuntu and Debian but there is an easier way of upgrading ALSA: by using a repository (Launchpad PPA).

What's the reason for which Ubuntu Karmic Koala comes with ALSA 1.0.20 and not 1.0.21?

That's because new packages get pulled into the development version until a certain date that is called feature freeze (that was august 27th for Ubuntu Karmic). ALSA 1.0.21 was released on august 31st, therefore too late. While the new ALSA may not have caused any breakage, it might also have been the opposite, and the goal of the final stage of development is to make the system as stable as possible with a certain set of packages, which by release date may not be the newest anymore.

Let's upgrade Ubuntu Karmic ALSA to 1.0.21

Firstly, please remember that this repository is unstable and you should only upgrade if you are having issues with the sound. That being said, let's proceed to adding the Launchpad PPA. Open a terminal and paste the following command (there are packages available only for Ubuntu Karmic Koala!):
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ricotz/unstable

Then, use the following command to upgrade your Ubuntu Karmic to ALSA 1.0.21:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

If you want to remove ALSA 1.0.21, see THIS post -> it will remove this PPA and everything you installed from it. Then, install ALSA from the official Ubuntu repositories.

Update: Alsa 1.0.22 was released! (Ubuntu installation instructions)

Google Chrome Extensions Gallery Opens For Developers

google chrome extensions

Google announced that it has opened up the Google Chrome extension gallery for submissions.

The process for submission is simple: log in with your Google account, zip your file code and your extension’s icon, submit supplementary info like a description, demo (on YouTube or whatever), etc. and you’re done! The process is automatic for almost every extension: ones that include an NPAPI component (Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface) or content scripts that affect "file://" URLs will require additional information and review.

There are already some Google-made extensions that are working in Chrome now, such as a Gmail Checker, which is handy. These were mainly made to be examples in helping walk developers through the extension creation process. You can find their documentation on that here.

Senin, 23 November 2009

Gnome Panel Backgrounds

The first 2 Gnome panel backgrounds I'll show you have been created by Cláudio Novais (thank you for the suggestion!) and you can use them to get a glassy Gnome panel.

Here are the 2 Gnome panel backgrounds:


glassy gnome panel

To use this panel background, right click this image and select "Save image as": gnomepanel2


glass gnome panel

This second panel background works best for the bottom panel but I don't have one so that's why it looks a bit weird in my screenshot. To use this panel background, right click this image and select "Save image as": gnome panel

Both of the above two Gnome panel backgrounds are semi-transparent so they will inherit the color of your wallpaper (but the image will be darker for the panel since it's semi-transparent).

After saving the background images to your computer, to use a Gnome panel background, right click on a panel, select "Properties", on the "Background" tab select "Background image" and browse for the image you have just saved:

gnome panel properties

Do you want even more Gnome panel backgrounds?

1. There is an entire pack of Gnome panel backgrounds at Gnome Look:

gnome panels

Download all of them from here.

2. Kde like Gnome panel for Arch Linux (but should also work in Ubuntu, just extract them, set the panel height to 40px and also the width has to be of 1024px):


3. Gnome Panel Skins - cKPanels (24px) - This compressed file contains a few Gnome Panel skins/backgrounds (for 24px panels.):

gnome panel background


4. Gnome Panel red supernova background:

Gnome Panel red supernova background


5. Yet another Gnome panel backgrounds pack:

gnome panels

The screen-shot does not show all the panels!


These backgrounds do not work with some themes such as Human, but I have tested them and they work with Dust, Clearlooks, DarkRoom, etc. If the font for the theme you are using has a dark color, you can use Gnome Color Chooser to change that (among other things).