How To: Keep Your MacBook Looking New

11 12 2007

 

The white MacBook is notorious for picking up dirt. I’m pretty anal when it comes to washing my hands when using any of my stuff whether its my iPhone, laptop or guitar. The folks at the Apple store seem to refer to all things Apple as “brand spanking new” so I thought I’d share my tips on how to keep your investment clean.

 Use Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser

That is all. Your laptop will look like you just opened it out of the box. Magic Eraser’s can be used multiple times so do the world a favor and clean your laptop and maybe your kicks while you’re at it. 





Hands on with Android: XML Parsing

10 12 2007

This post is now available at my new blog The IT Report:

http://theitreport.com/entries/programming/hands-on-with-android-xml-parsing





Handbrake – Open Source DVD Ripping

29 07 2007

Its been a while since I’ve updated my blog. I’ve been busy with work and playing with the new Mac, but fear not, in the process I’ve discovered a great DVD ripping app called Handbrake. It can rip any DVD you throw at it regardless of protection/encryption or not. You want to preserve the chapters, original quality or export it to your iPod? It can do that too. If you’ve got a dual-core machine expect to rip a full DVD in 10 minutes or less =). As always its open-source and cross platform so you can run it on Windows, OS X or Linux.





Wake Up and Smell The Concrete – You’re Using Open-Source

11 07 2007

I would like to point out that no matter which operating system you may be using, we all have reaped the benefits of open-source. Believe it or not, there is a little bit of free software goodness in all of us:

Windows Users

  • I’d say browsing the internet is a must these days. Did you know that the TCP/IP stack in Windows is based off of the original code that was licensed by BSD?
  • Firefox is clearly gaining new ground on Internet Explorer’s turf. The Mozilla Foundation is all about the open-source baby.

Mac users

  • The entire OS X operating system is based off of the Darwin kernel which, surprise surprise, is a UNIX variant.
  • KHTML is the engine that renders web-pages in Safari. Yup, another gift given to you by the free software foundation.
  • Have you ever printed out a report on your Mac? You just used CUPS which is the Common UNIX Printing Service.
  • Apple has plans to ditch Microsoft and go completely with Open Office in the near future. It just feels better to be using open standards no?

Linux Users

  • Do you even have to ask? The entire operating system and included applications are all open-source.

The Web

  • Whenever you visit a website like Digg the content is automatically updated and generated for your viewing pleasure. Chances are its running on the LAMP stack – Linux + Apache + MySQL + PHP, check check check and check for open-source.
  • Google is my best friend. They also run Linux clusters so you get your search results in under a second.
  • Developers pay attention, Java is the most popular enterprise platform, and Sun just opened up its source for our hacking pleasure.
  • Whenever you blog on WordPress, or Drupal just know it was built using open source tools, and licensed under the GNU.
  • When I want information I go to Wikipedia. Wikipedia runs off of the open-source software MediaWiki which is also under the GNU.

Electrical Devices

  • Intel based computer’s have open source drivers. This means compatibility for everyone.
  • Set-top boxes like TiVo are using open source software to get you goodness on the big screen. MPlayer anyone?

As you can see open-source is all around us. The points I have mentioned are nowhere near the extent and true caliber of what open source delivers to us on a daily basis. Please enlighten me with your thoughts.





Wine Doors – Package Management For Wine Apps

10 07 2007

Wine lets you run Windows apps in Linux by having you manually install them as if you were actually in Windows. Who says you can’t install these apps Linux style? Wine Doors is a package manager for Wine applications. Thats right, you can grab your favorite Windows applications from a repository and install them exactly the way you would in Ubuntu. Wine Doors has a pretty snazzy list of software ranging from Dreamweaver 8 to Call of Duty 2 to satisfy both professionals and gamers.

Download:

http://www.wine-doors.org/releases/wine-doors_0.1-1_all.deb





Keeping Ubuntu Tidy Like Your Whities

8 07 2007

Installing and removing programs can clutter up your system. Sometimes certain dependency packages aren’t needed after a program has been uninstalled – so trash it. I have a few handy tricks up my sleeve so you can reclaim some of your disk space back:

Autoremove

apt-get isn’t like your two your old cousin – it can clean up after itself. If you want to get rid of packages that are no longer referenced by your system, its as simple as “sudo apt-get autoremove” in the terminal

Clean

Retrieved or downloaded packages can still remain locally on your system like bad residue. “sudo apt-get clean” will clear the repository completely, leaving only the lock that is used to connect to your repo’s.

deborphan

Sometimes apt-get’s built in cleanup functionality doesn’t cut it. deborphan finds “orphaned” packages on your system. It determines which packages have no other packages depending on their installation, and shows you a list of these packages. It is most useful when finding libraries, but it can be used on packages in all sections. deborphan is in the universe so grab it by typing “sudo apt-get install deborphan.” It should show up under System > Administration > Remove orphaned packages after the install.





Features Ubuntu is Lacking

7 07 2007

In my last post I mentioned why I chose Ubuntu over Windows. I stand by my comments, however I would like to shed some light where Ubuntu and Linux need a little work:

1. Not All Hardware is Supported

Though this is not Ubuntu’s fault, there are still hardware that does not work. This is due to the fact that some manufacturers don’t write drivers for Linux. I personally have not had any hardware problems myself, I am running a Dell 700m laptop with many different accessories such as a Western Digital external hard-drive. a Motorola bluetooth dongle, and headset which all work under Linux hassle free. Some home printers do not have drivers for Linux which can make printing a chore. There are ways to get around this, but the general user just wants everything to work out of the box.

I have good news however. Linux is gaining marketshare and with Dell selling Ubuntu amongst its retail channels will give Ubuntu more recognition which will result in manufacturers supporting the community with Linux drivers. There is also a community effort to reverse engineer drivers for new hardware which will help as well. Intel provides open-source drivers for all of their hardware making Lintel (Linux + Intel) a viable solution.

2. Lack of Professional Software

Photoshop is the industry standard graphics editing solution. Currently it is only available for Windows and OS X – leaving Ubuntu in the dust for the professional artist. Yes there are ways to get Photoshop running with Wine, or use Gimpshop (somewhat of a Photoshop clone) but again the average user does not want to have to mess with this. As I’ve stated before, with Linux popularity on the rise we may soon see more commercial development. Google and IBM are some of the biggest contributors to open-source.

3. Where Are The Games?

Linux gets no love from game developers. Microsoft has developers using Direct X which of course is proprietary to Windows. Linux is able to do almost anything you want it to do, given you perform some hacks and tweaks here and there. I’ve seen popular games like World of Warcraft run in a Linux environment – but the common motif here is concern for the average user.

4. Breakfast

Ubuntu can’t make your eggs sunny side up in the morning, but neither can any other operating system. Expecting a system to do anything and everything is a dream come true, but not always practical. Though this is no excuse for Ubuntu to sit back and relax. On a positive note, it is able to perform many tasks to make everyday life easier. If Ubuntu can jump through these hurdles – ladies and gentlemen we have a damn near perfect operating system.

*Notice how the features Ubuntu/Linux lacks are not really features in the software itself – it is the lack of 3rd party support from other manufacturers and vendors.








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