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Monday, December 20, 2010

Remove Extra Kernel Entries from Ubuntu

     Have you ever wondered how to remove extra kernel entries from Ubuntu after a kernel upgrade? That's what were going to talk about today. Ubuntu Update Manager is a great utility for keeping your system up to date with the latest in patches including upgrades of your Linux Kernel. It does this automatically for you without any further work on your part. It even goes so far as to leave the old Kernels in place if you would like to go back to them at some point. Over time though this can begin to take up space and if you use the Grub boot loader, can make your start screens very messy.


     To clean these Old kernel entries off of your hard drive and unclutter Grub's boot loader menu we'll need to go into the Synaptic Package Manager. The Synaptic Package Manager is your repository of all applications installed on your PC. From here you can add and remove applications from your PC.

     Go to the Menu called System and then Administration and finally click on Synaptic Package Manager.



     You'll be prompted for administrator "sudo" credentials. Enter your password.


     In this example we are going to remove the Linux kernel for version 2.6.32-25. To do this we'll need to find three packages to remove for version 2.6.32-25. Do not remove any other versions or any other package files than the ones for the version you want removed as it could be very bad.

     The three packages are:

     linux-headers-2.6.32-25-generic
     linux-headers-2.6.32-25
     linux-image-2.6.32.25-generic

     In Synaptic Package Manager enter the version number of the kernel you want to remove. In this case we'll enter "2.6.32-25". The following should be displayed.


     The three packages that make up the kernel are displayed and to further clarify I've highlighted in yellow. The Green squares also indicate that the packages are currently installed.

    To remove these packages click on the Green squares for each of the packages and select "Mark fo Removal" from the popup menu. Clicking the package "linux-headers-2.6.32-25" will also mark the "linux-headers-2.6.32.25-generic" for removal as well.


     Once all three packages have been marked for removal it will look like this.


     This is your last chance to make sure that the correct versions have been selected. Once you are ready simply click the "Apply" button and the 2.6.32-25 kernel will be removed. You'll be prompted to confirm, again. When ready click "Apply" again.


     If everything was successful you'll get the following screen.


     That's it. The old Linux Kernel has now been removed from you system freeing up disk space. The nice thing is that the removal of the Kernel from Synaptic Package Manager will automatically remove the entries from the Grub Boot Loader. When you reboot, Grub will now look like this.


     That's all there is to it. Just replace the kernel version number with the one you want to remove and follow the steps above.  As always, these steps have been tested in my lab setup and work correctly in my environment. If they don't work for you or you encounter problems with your PC, I take no responsibility for any problems you may encounter. That being said if you follow the steps outlined above you shouldn't encounter any problems.

     If you found this tip helpful, let me know, leave a comment. Thanks.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Change Grub Default OS in Ubuntu

     If you have Multiple Operating systems installed on your PC with Ubuntu/Linux then you're probably at least aware of the Grub Boot Loader. Grub, included with Ubuntu, automatically checks during installation for an Operating System already installed. If there is one, then Grub is automatically configured to allow you to choose which operating system to boot when you start your PC. It is a good tool and it does it's job well.

     After all Operating Systems are detected and you've rebooted you'll notice the Grub Boot Loader as the first thing after your hardware's load screens. Here's a sample of what it looks like below.



     In this example I don't have multiple operating systems installed but I do have Multiple Linux Kernels that you can choose to boot just like you would an Operating System. The Highlighted entry is the default instance created when Ubuntu was installed. You can see at the bottom that a Timer is counting down from 10 seconds. If you don't choose a different entry from the list within that time it will automatically start the default instance, in this case, Ubuntu with Linux Kernel 2.6.32-26.

     The great thing about Grub is that it is very customizable. One of the features you can customize is the Default OS entry. If for example I wanted to boot Ubuntu with Linux Kernel 2.6.32-25 instead by default, I can do this by changing the Grub.cfg file. Linux Kernel 2.6.32-25 could easily be Windows XP or Windows 7 if those operating systems had been detected during install.

     A word of advice before we begin. It is good practice whenever making changes to configuration files of any kind to make a copy of the file before you begin. Whether it's through Nautilus or at a command line copy the Grub.cfg file to a backup location for reference and possible replacement if for any reasons things don't go as planned.

     Now to change the default OS selection we need to go in and edit Grub.cfg which is located under /Boot/Grub. There are several ways you can do this, the quickest is to open a terminal and enter the following:


     The Gedit graphical word editor will popup with the Grub.cfg file loaded. Change the line Highlighted below to the Sequential number in the listed order starting with "0" that you want to boot by default. In this example to boot the Linux Kernel 2.6.32-25 counting from "0" would be "2" for the 3rd item listed.

Unedited Grub.cfg file set to "0"

When updated it should look like this:

Click Save and close Gedit.

     When you reboot your PC the next boot up should now have the 3rd option from the top highlighted as the default OS to boot.


     As I said earlier the Linux Kernel 2.6.32-25 entry could just as easily be Windows XP, Vista or 7. The key thing to remember here is that the numbering begins at "0" not "1". As long as you count correctly from the top when assigning the number in the Grub.cfg file then you can't miss.

     To undo any of these changes simply reverse what you did and assign "0" again in the Grub.cfg file. Easy Peasy, hopefully. As always, these steps have been tested in my lab setup and work correctly in my environment. If they don't work for you or you encounter problems with your PC after, I take no responsibility for any problems you may encounter. That being said, you really shouldn't experience any issues with this so long as you follow the steps outlined above.

     Next Week we'll look at how to remove extra Kernels from your system and the Grub loader.

    Until then, I hope you found this tip helpful. If you did, please let me know, leave a comment.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

TIP: How to Force and Lock Version Control in Ubuntu

     Last week we discussed how to Stop Adobe Air from Auto Updating and causing conflicts with the Ubuntu authorized version of Adobe Air. The latest version from Adobe is 2.5.1.17730 and the Ubuntu authorized version is 2.0.4.13090. Now, if you want to do the reverse, which is Stop Ubuntu from forcing version 2.0.4.13090 you need to make changes in the Synaptic Package Manager to "Force" the version you want.


     Forcing the version you want in Synaptic Package Manager is actually very easy but as they warn, forcing a particular version of any application may cause file dependency errors down the road. As with all work like this, a word of warning, you make these changes at your Own risk. All of these steps have been tested in my lab and work correctly, if you encounter problems with any of this, I am not responsible. Thanks for understanding.


    Now, to make this change, Open the Synaptic Package Manager in Ubuntu by going to the System menu and selecting Synaptic Package Manager. You will be prompted for your password to run, enter when prompted. In the Search Window of Synaptic enter "adobe" and you should see the "Adobe Air" entry. If not already selected, Highlight the "Adobe Air" line now so you are making changes to the correct application package.




     You can see here that the Installed Version differs from the Latest Version. This is why Ubuntu keeps trying to re-install with an older version.  


     Now click on the "Package" menu item at the top of the window and Select "Force Version...".




     You'll see the current Ubuntu Authorized version of 2.04 (lucid) listed in the drop down. Click on the Drop down Arrows and you will see the two versions that you can choose from. These are the two installed versions of Adobe Air.




     To force version 2.5.1 as the authorized version select it from the drop down choices, then click the button labelled "Force Version". You'll see the following in Synaptic.




    Forcing the Version is applicable when you have 2 different versions of an application installed and need to tell Ubuntu which Version of the Application you want to actively use. In this case we told Ubuntu to Actively use version 2.5.1 over version 2.04.


    To finalize this you now need to "Lock" the version in place. Highlight "Adobe Air" and go to the "Package" menu item. Find "Lock Version" and click it.




     This will prevent the Update Manager from refreshing this item back to the 2.04 version.




     If successful you'll see the result above for "Adobe Air". The lock is what actually prevents Ubuntu from attempting to continually "upgrade" Adobe Air to an older version. Keep in mind though that if Ubuntu Authorizes a newer version than you have Locked you won't be notified that the update is available.


     To reverse the Locked and Forced Version, go back to the "Package" menu item at the top again, making sure that "Adobe Air" is highlighted and select "Lock Version" again. This will reset the Lock and the Latest Version entry will return to 2.04 resetting it all back to default.




    Remember that Forcing and Locking the version will prevent Dependencies from updating as per Ubuntu's update manager and down the road could cause problems. In the short term though it will prevent the Update cycle that Adobe and Ubuntu will battle over. 


I hope you found this tip useful. If you did let me know, leave a comment.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tip: Turn off Adobe Air Auto Update

     I've been sort of struggling with Adobe Air and Ubuntu for some time now related to constant updates. Now that I understand what is happening it is really silly but it seemed that Adobe Air was constantly being updated. When I'd launch Tweetdeck Adobe Air would indicate that there was an Upgrade ready (no versions numbers displayed). Well I'd upgrade and everything would work fine until the next time Ubuntu's Update Manager ran when it would tell me there was an Update to Adobe Air as well. So I'd update again. This goes on and on in an endless circle of upgrading.

     Well I finally did some research on this strange behaviour and found that Adobe Air itself runs an Auto Update feature every time an Air application is launched, and Ubuntu does it's regular Update Manager checks and finds that the Version of Adobe Air doesn't match it's approved version so it wants to set it back calling it an upgrade.

     The two different versions here at the moment are that Adobe has released Version 2.5.1.17730 as it's latest and Ubuntu's authorized latest version is 2.0.4.13090. The good thing is that there is something you can do to stop this crazy Merry Go Round of Upgrades.

I'll start with How to Turn off the Adobe Air Auto Updater. There is no actual configuration interface for Adobe Air but they have provided an installable application that allows you to turn Off and On the Auto Update feature at will. It is a downloaded Air application that can be found at, http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/403/kb403175.html . The second question from the bottom asks,

Is it possible to disable Adobe AIR auto-updates? Yes it is.

     Click on the link in the questions answer and download the app called
SettingsManager.air. This process works for any Operating system Linux, Windows, Mac, etc because the app is an Adobe Air application and not an OS based native app.

     Install the app by double clicking on the file. You will see the following screen.



     Click "Install" to continue.

     You'll then get this:



     Click "Continue" ... to ... continue.

     You'll then get a progress bar for installation followed by a completed message.





     That's it then. The Settings Manager app is now installed and if you didn't de-select to place an icon on your Desktop you should now have one called "Adobe Air Settings Manager".

     Double click the shortcut to run the application. From there it is as simple as can be.



     Click "Disable Updates" to ...  Disable Updates. The option then changes to:



     In the future to re-enable the updates simply run the app again and choose "Enable Updates" to ... Enable Updates again.

     The end result of this is that the Automatic checking for Adobe Air updates will be disabled and the Merry GO Round of Updating will be broken. You will however, be left with the Ubuntu approved version of Adobe Air installed on your PC. While both seem to work just fine in my testing there are complications that could develop down the road from being too far behind the latest Adobe release version.

     I hope this tip was helpful and if you found it useful, let me know, leave a comment.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Running Netflix on Linux - It Can be Done! Sort Of...

     So after some extreme disappointment in finding out that Microsoft won't license the DRM on the Linux platform for Netflix I ran some experiments to see what could be done and I've got some good news and some bad news.

     The Bad news first, Even using Moonlight you cannot run Netflix on a Linux based machine.

     The Good news, You can run Netflix on Linux inside of a Virtual Box running Windows XP.

     While this is not an Ideal solution it is very workable. You will need a moderately higher end PC. I would recommend nothing under a Dual Core processor and at least 2 Gig's of Physical Ram in your system. Sata II compatible hard drives wouldn't hurt either, but are probably not essential.

     Now I won't go into detail on how to install Virtual Box on Linux. The simple solution in Ubuntu is to simply go to the Software Center and Search for Virtual Box and install it. You could also go to Oracle's Web site http://www.virtualbox.org if you want the latest version, however Oracle's Version isn't strictly speaking Open Source. Both do work and are Free Downloads though.

     The one catch here for all of this though is that you will need an Available (meaning unused) copy of Windows XP in order to install in the Virtual Box Guest, but if you are moving to Linux as your main operating system then you probably should have a copy of Windows XP that is no longer being used on a Physical PC.

     Now that we have everything lined up, you can open the Virtual Box interface and click on the "New" button in the Upper Right hand corner of the App. Walk through the Setup Wizard to create a New Virtual Machine Guest and Create a New Blank Hard Drive for Windows XP installation. Give the Virtual Machine at least 512mb of Ram and 1 Gb if you have enough on your physical PC. Enable 2D and 3D acceleration for your VM if possible based on your physical hardware setup.

     Put your Windows XP CD in your CD drive Start your VM by clicking on the "Start" button. It should come up and indicate that No Operating system found. Go to the Hosts Menu Options at the top of your screen where it says "Machine   Devices   Help". Select Devices then CD/DVD Devices and finally on the Popup menu Select "Host Drive". Then go to "Machine" and Select "Reset". Now your VM Guest will reboot and Start the Windows XP installer from the CD.

     I won't go into How to install Windows XP as that's way too much to include here. Just follow the installation Wizard and get XP installed. Again make sure that you have a Valid and Available License for this installation or you won't get very far with it.

     Once you have Windows XP installed and Updated on the VM Guest, Start it up and go to the Netflix website like you would normally do. Everything will load and and execute just like it was running on a dedicated Windows XP PC. You can make it Full screen, or watch in a Window.

     The only thing to watch out for here is again that you have a Valid/Available license for Windows XP and that your Physical PC has enough horsepower to run the setup. Performance of the Video will depend entirely on the Physical Specs of your PC running the Windows XP virtual machine. The faster the Physical PC, the better the performance.

     If you have enough horsepower though, you should be able to then Run Netflix on a Linux based PC. Alright, it's not exactly running directly in Linux, but until something can be worked out to get the DRM licensed for Linux this is the only way to make it work.

     I hope you found this useful. If you did, leave a comment and let me know.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Show the Grub Loader Menu by default

     One of the things I wanted this blog to be about was a sort of online Archive of all of the Tips, Tricks and Ideas that I've come to find useful in one convenient location. If they've helped me, maybe they can help someone else as well.

     Since I began using Linux and Ubuntu I've really liked the Grub Boot Loader and how good it is at handling Multiple Operating system installs. I like it so much that I've come to want it as part of my startup procedure whether I have Multiple operating systems installed or not.

     So without further adieu here is How To force Grub to display on Boot up when Only One Operating System is installed.

     To do this you need to edit your Grub options file. This is found in Ubuntu under:

     /etc/default/Grub

     To Edit the file you must run Gedit as Root. Open a Terminal window and enter:

     sudo gedit /etc/default/grub

     Enter your password and the Grub option file will appear in your Gedit Editor.

     Below is my Grub options file. The Line highlighted in RED is the key here. When Grub_Hidden_Timeout=0 is Commented Out by starting the line with a # symbol, the Grub Boot Loader menu is forced to be displayed whether you have multiple Operating Systems installed or not. If the Grub_Hidden_Timeout=0 line does not have # symbol at the start, it is not displayed. It's that simple.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
# If you change this file, run 'update-grub' afterwards to update
# /boot/grub/grub.cfg.


GRUB_DEFAULT=0
# GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT=0
GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT_QUIET=true
GRUB_TIMEOUT=10
GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian`
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash"
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX=""


# Uncomment to disable graphical terminal (grub-pc only)
#GRUB_TERMINAL=console
# The resolution used on graphical terminal
# note that you can use only modes which your graphic card supports via VBE
# you can see them in real GRUB with the command `vbeinfo'
#GRUB_GFXMODE=640x480
# Uncomment if you don't want GRUB to pass "root=UUID=xxx" parameter to Linux
#GRUB_DISABLE_LINUX_UUID=true
# Uncomment to disable generation of recovery mode menu entries
#GRUB_DISABLE_LINUX_RECOVERY="true"
# Uncomment to get a beep at grub start
#GRUB_INIT_TUNE="480 440 1"
----------------------------------------------------------------------


     The only thing remaining to do is Update the Grub config file to "Apply" the changes. You do that by entering the following at the Terminal command line.


    sudo update-grub


     Whenever you make a change to this file you need to run sudo update-grub in order for the changes to take effect.


     That's it. Reboot your machine and the Grub Boot Loader menu should now display. I've just grown to prefer this menu being Displayed over the years whether Multiple Operating Systems are installed or not. Personal preference. You may feel the same. Give it a try and see.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Virtual Box 3.2.10 Breaks 3D Acceleration in Ubuntu 10.04

     So this morning I found out that Virtual Box was updated to Version 3.2.10 and being the perpetual upgrader that I am, I downloaded the update and applied it to my installation of 3.2.8.

     Everything installed correctly without errors but after applying the new Guest Additions in my Ubuntu 10.04 Guest my 3D acceleration no longer worked. I re-applied the "Extra" setting under Visual Effects but it would no longer enable and I was stuck with no 3D effects.

     After trolling the message boards for a while I saw many posts relating to the fact that the latest Guest Additions for 3.2.10 weren't creating the Video Driver properly for Virtual Box in Ubuntu. Several posts suggested manually creating the driver using the Make command but I didn't want to mess around with that. As I read on there was another discussion that it couldn't "make" the video driver because "DKMS" wasn't installed. DKMS or Dynamic Kernel Module Support reportedly should be installed by default in Ubuntu but when I checked on this install it wasn't.

     Well, I went to the Synaptic Package Manager, searched for DKMS and selected the Package for installation. I immediately re-installed the Virtual Box Guest Additions but it didn't work. The following however did:

     In Synaptic Package Manager Search for DKMS and Install it.
     Reboot the Guest Ubuntu OS.
     Log back in.
     Re-Install the Virtual Box Guest Additions.
     Reboot the Guest Ubuntu OS.
     Log back in.
     Right click on your Background and select Change Desktop Background.
     Select the Tab called "Visual Effects".
     Click on the "Extra" option to enable Advance Desktop Effects.
     3D Desktop Accelerated effects Miraculously Returned.

     I don't know how DKMS got uninstalled in the First place as many things I've read have indicated that it should be installed in Ubuntu by default.

     For me this was a far simpler fix for this issue than manually creating the 3d Accelerated Video driver using "make". It also creates a long term solution that will allow the Script from Virtual Box to make the Video Driver itself as it should be doing.


     I hope this tip helped you solve your issue. If you found it useful, leave a comment and let me know.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ubuntu - Unity for All in 11.04

     Mark Shuttleworth today announced that the new Unity Desktop designed for the Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook edition will become the new Default desktop for the full 11.04 Desktop Edition.

     When you think about it, it makes perfect sense that they are going in this direction. As a divergence from Gnome on the desktop, Canonical has put a lot of time and effort into making the Unity interface what it is. They would want to progress this forward and the best way to do that is to ship it as default with the Desktop edition.

     Canonical through Ubuntu is trying to innovate the PC Desktop market in a way that no other Distribution has done before. They have already put themselves in the Leader position on the Linux Desktop by providing a Desktop OS that is ready for wide spread adoption. Seriously, if my 78 year father can use Ubuntu to do everything he wants on a PC then the OS is ready for success.

     What's holding back the widespread adoption of Linux on the Desktop is a Wow factor that it currently doesn't have. Yes it is functional. Yes, it can look pretty, but just equaling what Microsoft and Apple have to offer isn't enough. There needs to be a killer app for Linux that surpasses what the big 2 can offer. Perhaps Unity on the Desktop can do that.

     What this new Interface provides is a direction that Gnome and the rest of the Linux community seems afraid go down. Innovation. Innovation for the future. The Unity interface is very promising and if Gnome doesn't want to innovate then they will stagnate and be left behind. Canonical isn't afraid to try new things and work towards something better. That's what has brought them to the Number 1 position among Linux Distributions.

     The rivalry this may create between Gnome and Ubuntu Unity isn't bad at all. Competition is always a good thing and this competitor for the Linux desktop may force Gnome to begin Innovating in order to keep up. Win, Win all around. Also, no one is saying that you can't install the Gnome desktop on your Ubuntu if you like. As always competition and choice are the best of both worlds.

     There are currently many Desktop environments that you can install on Linux X Windows systems. There is of course GNome, but there is also KDE, Xfce and CDE among others.  I just hope that Canonical in someway makes the Unity Desktop available to the Community at large and doesn't isolate it in the way Oracle is killing Java and Virtual Box.

     Choice and Innovation is what it's all about, so I say bring it on, Bring on Unity for All.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Update: NetFlix Now Downloadable on the Wii

     One of the big criticisms of NetFlix on the Wii was the fact that you needed a CD everytime you wanted to watch. While not intolerable it was an inconvenience of using the system on a Wii. Well this week Netflix updated the setup on both the Wii and Playstation 3 to provide a downloadable version of Netflix from the Online Store.

     First off, have no fear, it is still a Free feature of the Netflix service on the Wii just like ordering the CD was. Just go to the Wii Shopping channel and right on the main page their is a Netflix logo. Click on the logo, follow the prompts and in no time you'll see Mario jumping along his way indicating that the app is downloading. Once completed your Wii will restart and you'll have a Netflix Channel on your Wii start screen.

     If you've already registered your Wii for access on Netflix then nothing further needs to be done. Just click on the Netflix logo and away you go. If this is your first time running Netflix on your Wii it will launch you through the setup wizard to register your device with Netflix.

    See previous Review "Netflix comes to Canada - The Wii"

     Once downloaded and registered the Downloadable Netflix appears to provide the exact same experience as the CD does. This is a great advancement for Netflix on the Wii and should open up the user base significantly for the Streaming Movie service.

     On a side note Netflix appears to be doing alot to correct the Content problem that they had on launch day. Everyday you can see more and more content being added to the service. While it still isn't perfect there certainly is much more content to choose from today with all signs showing further improvement down the road.

     All things considered providing the Netflix service as installable content on the Wii is a great step forward for usability and I highly recommend checking it out. If for no other reason than it is Free for the first 30 days.

  Have fun.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Empathy Quick Fix for MSN as of 0ct.20, 2010

Good Morning,

    Just a quick fix note for Users of Empathy on Ubuntu 10.04 and 10.10. (may affect other versions too)

    MSN made some changes that have prevented Empathy from connecting to the MSN network.

   Simply apply this fix below and it should begin working again.

 Thanks to Kakarato for the Quick fix.

and to Dennis Trinh for summing it up nicely.
-----------------
I'm on 10.04 / Lucid. Just worked for me.
Go to terminal >
cd /usr/lib/pymodules/python2.6/papyon/service/description/SingleSignOn
sudo gedit RequestMultipleSecurityTokens.py
replace the line
CONTACTS = ("contacts.msn.com", "?fs=1&id=24000&kv=7&rn=93S9SWWw&tw=0&ver=2.1.6000.1")
with
CONTACTS = ("contacts.msn.com", "MBI")
should work. good luck.
-------------------

This worked perfectly for me to correct the issue.

Hopefully it can help you too.

---------------------
For the original posting see this thread:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Released

     Well, 10.10 on 10/10/10 has arrived. 

     Is it truly all 10's?

     The Maverick Meerkat seems like a solid and polished release without anything changed too drastically.

What do You Think?

Have you installed it yet?

What are your initial impressions?

     With the 10.04 release I pushed the install onto all of my relatives and as many of my friends as I could. Prior to 10.04 I was the only one using Ubuntu and every time a new version came out I installed it, new/clean. For my relatives though such frequent change is not a good thing and quite a lot of work for me to keep up with. Unless there are major usability or performance tweaks in 10.10 I can't see Upgrading any of them prior to 11.04 at the earliest and more likely 12.04. Anyone else looking at a similar situation?

Let me know what you think and how things are going with the Meerkat for you.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Quick Review: Chromium Web Browser

     I've been very suspicious of the built in spyware found in Google's Chrome browser. As a result I've stayed away from it even though I've read very good things about it's performance. Recently after a little investigation I started using Chromium. What is that you may ask? Chromium is the Open Source project that provides the Source code that Chrome is made from. The good thing is that it doesn't contain any of the added spyware that Google adds on to Chrome so nicely for you.

     If you use Ubuntu, Chromium can be easily found in the Ubuntu Software Centre and is easily installed. If your a Windows user your not as lucky. Chromium is not readily available except for Google's Chrome, of course. Interestingly enough, I recently read a rumor that Chromium will replace Firefox as the default Web Browser in Ubuntu 10.10.


     So far my impressions of Chromium are very good. It is fast to load web pages and feels very responsive overall. Fortunately the Ubuntu Software Centre has included all of the Important plugins with the installer. In comparison to Firefox 3.6.10 on Ubuntu, Chromium is much, much faster and so far has been just as compatible.

     The interface for it is best described as "minimalist" which is refreshing and clean but I found I needed to configure a few additional things to feel at home using the browser. I needed to enable the option to "Always show Bookmark Bar" and had to set the browser options to "Delete Cookies" every time the browser is closed. I also turned off the option to save Password and Form information. The installation itself went very smooth and Chromium imported my Bookmarks from Firefox on install.

     I'm really liking Chromium. In fact I'm using it right now to write this post. That isn't to say that Firefox isn't a great browser as well but choice is always best. Thanks to Canonical, Ubuntu users have that choice and it's really easy to try both. If you use Ubuntu and haven't tried Chromium yet, what are you waiting for? Go get it now. You wont be disappointed.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

NetFlix Canada - Follow Up, The Wii

     Good Morning, I've had a few days now to try out the Wii disc for NetFlix. It was a little delayed in arriving at the house but better late than never. The disc arrived in a brightly labelled NetFlix envelope with the Disc inside a light weight paper sleeve. Since this disc is critical to actually using NetFlix on a Wii I was a little disappointed that it didn't at least have a stiffer card board packaging.

     The instructions were fairly straight forward and within a few minutes NetFlix was setup on the Wii. While it wasn't the end of the world to get going it was hard to imagine why any of it was necessary. Insert the Wii disc, go to a computer, load up the Netflix website, login, find the location to activate a new device, enter the code the Wii is displaying, wait a few minutes and then you're all set. The Wii is a computer. It has internet access. Why on earth would I need to use another computer to register my Wii's computer. It has all the tools needed to accomplish this task itself. Secondly, why is the Wii application not installable into the Wii's onboard storage? This part makes even less sense. I have abundant amounts of memory on my Wii available. If the space is there and you want the option you should be allowed the convenience of not having to find the disc everytime you want to watch a movie. This portion doesn't seem well thought out at all and would be the only criticism I would have technically of the Wii / Netflix process.

     Once NetFlix for the Wii was installed and running the User Interface wasn't bad at all. Response times to load the scrolling Movie Icons were reasonable and the Wii controller functioned well to navigate the menus. The Search Option allows you to find any titles that you are specifically looking for by entering the first few letters of the title and bringing up results as you type. The more you type, the more the search is refined. It worked fairly well and I could find what I wanted pretty quickly.

     The Video Quality was of course limited to the Wii's technical limit of 480p if your Wii is connected with the "High Definition" cable. If you have the standard Composite cable you'll be limited to 480i. My Wii is connected by the "High Definition" cable to a 37" LCD HDTV. The Picture quality through this setup was surprisingly good looking. The video was sharp and clear and had no apparent difficulties in maintaining that quality throughout the video's length.

     The streaming capability was no different than on the other Computers in my house hooked up to the same Wireless DSL connection. That is to say that there were no interruptions for buffering in the video and the video's were almost instantly on. Streaming smoothness is of course dependent on your own Internet connection's capabilities and speed so your results may vary.

     Overall the NetFlix Canada experience on the Wii was very good and if you have a Wii and are going to stay with NetFlix after the 30 day free trial expires then absolutely request the Wii disc from the NetFlix website. The disc itself is free for all subscribers and is certainly worth it.

     The quality and quantity of the content that is available is another story entirely and in my opinion is not acceptable when compared to the amount of content that is available to Americans but that is another story that you can read here. NetFlix Comes to Canada

     That being said there is some good stuff here and I will be staying with the NetFlix service for a while to see how they do with upgrading their content. I'm still looking forward to Microsoft getting off their ars and making the NetFlix interface available to Canadians through the fall XBoxLive update in November. Look for another follow up at that time with a review of the XBL service.

     As always thanks for stopping by and please leave a comment. Discussion is always good.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

DLink Wireless Routers - Disable QOS for Reliability Issues

     I've personally owned a few DLink Wireless routers in my time and generally speaking they are fairly good and reliable for the most part. My current router is a DLink 655 Extreme N class router that I bought a couple years ago now. From the moment I set it up it was reliable and fast. I really liked it and would still recommend it for most people in their homes today.

     The problem began about a year down the road as I began adding more and more simultaneous Wireless devices. What I began seeing was frequent disconnects of Wirelessly connected devices and more and more reboots of the router This got progressively worse and would peak whenever the downloading of Torrents was added to the workload on the router. Dialing down the Torrents only helped minimally.

     After a considerable amount of research and playing with various settings on the Router, without success, I came across a forum post in a DLink support forum that sounded very similar to my problem. The post was specifically regarding Torrent traffic but deals with a much more generalized problem that DLink Routers have. The suggestion was to disable the QOS services on the Router which is enabled by default on the 655 as well as many DLink models. QOS stands for Quality of Service and it functions to try and prioritize different traffic types in order of importance. For example, XBox traffic, Streaming media, and general Web Traffic are all different types of traffic that it analyzes and sets different priorities to. This actually is a good thing when there isn't too much traffic being processed through the Router. The problem is when the Router has too much traffic to analyze it can't keep up and literally the CPU of the Router maxes out causing performance issues and reboots. This ironically is the exact opposite of what the QOS service is supposed to do.

      By Disabling the QOS service engine it no longer attempts to analyze every packet going through the router and the performance and reliability issues are solved. Shown below is where the setting can be found on a DLink 655.

  
 Deselect "Enable QOS Engine" under the QOS Engine Setup heading.

     That's all there is to it.

     Since then all my traffic works including Torrents, XBox and Streaming media without performance issues or reliability problems. If you don't have a lot of devices connected then you most likely wont see an issue but if you have 3 or more Wireless devices connected and you are beginning to see problems this should fix it up. This is specific to the DLink 655 Extreme Wireless N Router but will also be applicable to almost any DLink router or in theory would potentially be applicable to any manufacturer's router. 

If this tip helped you let me know, leave a comment.

Monday, September 27, 2010

XRandR - Desktop Scaling for Ubuntu

     I picked up an HP Mini 210 Netbook over the summer and installed the full Ubuntu 10.04 desktop on it Dual Booting Windows 7. The result was, in a word, "Awesome". I absolutely love it but as time went on I found that the 1024x600 screen resolution was not usable with all applications in some situations. For example, Evolution's Preferences window refused to size properly with scrolling bars on the side, so all of the options were not accessible. I searched and searched for a resolution but nothing was obvious until I came across the utility XRandR.

     XRandR is a utility for resizing and setting characteristics for displays in Linux, in this case Ubuntu. What I found was that this could be used with the "panning" option to set Virtual Desktop sizes on the attached display. To do this, first I needed to open a Terminal window and enter "xrandr" which is the built in utility with Ubuntu. After pressing Enter I saw something like this:



@ubuntumini:~$ xrandr
Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1024 x 600, maximum 4096 x 4096
VGA1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
LVDS1 connected 1024x600+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 222mm x 125mm
   1024x600       60.0*+
   800x600        60.3 
   640x480        59.9 


     What this shows is the capabilities of your attached Displays. Screen 0 shows the current capabilities of the PC both minimums, maximums and current. I had no external displays attached so the connector VGA1 shows disconnected. The three resolutions listed below LVDS1 shows the physical resolutions that the display is capable of. In my case the builtin screen is called LVDS1. This is important to remember as you need to name this Display when making changes with XRandR and your Display may have a different name. The important "number" here is the maximum. This shows that the largest Display size you can set is 4096x4096, huge. For my needs I just wanted to increase the Desktop slightly within standard resolutions to 1280x720.

      Once you have the Display name and the minimums and maximums you can enter the following at a terminal command line.



xrandr --fb 1280x720 --output LVDS1 --panning 1280x720


     What this says is set the resolution to 1280x720 on display LVDS1 enable panning at 1280x720. The panning enables the oversized desktop. You can enter any resolutions here that you would like to experiment with, however I would stick with standard monitor resolutions or you could experience unexpected results. BTW, it needs to be said at this point that if you play with these settings and mess up your display, I am not responsible. These settings have worked as shown perfectly for me but your mileage may vary.

      For me, this solved my problem with Evolution and all other applications experiencing the same issues. When I opened Evolution's Preference's it now displayed correctly with all Option settings reachable through scrolling. To set the desktop back I used the following which resets it back to my original settings.


xrandr --fb 1024x600 --output LVDS1 --panning 1024x600


     In my case this is exactly what I wanted. To be able to change the resolution on demand between oversized "panning" and the standard desktop resolution. To make it even simpler I've created a quick launcher for the command in Cairo's GL Dock so I don't even have to enter it in a terminal. Easy Peasy.

     This can be set permanently as the default desktop preference several different ways but that wasn't what I was looking for and will have to be something for a future discussion.

    If you found this tip useful, let me know, leave a comment.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

NetFlix Comes to Canada

     Well, Netflix has finally come to Canada. I have been really excited and have been waiting patiently for it's debut for some time now. So yesterday I got my first taste of the new service. I signed up just before noon yesterday and started streaming movies within minutes. The signup process is pretty simple and you can breeze through it in a few minutes. You'll get a 30 day free trial with a monthly fee of $7.99 / month after that. No commitments, no long term contracts, cancel at any time. Cancel before your 30 days are up and you won't be charged at all, however you do need a credit card for the initial signup process.

     The service itself was a little a slow. I believe this was due to the sudden rush of people signing up at the same time and partly due to the Horrible internet connection at work. That being said my first streamed movie "Erik the Viking" went smoothly and worked as I would expect albeit with a video quality appropriate for the bad internet speeds. In browsing around I didn't find too much content that was even close to new or good but I figured I just must be missing something and would dive in when I got home that night.

     After dinner and the kids were in bed I got a chance to really test drive the service. On my home 3mb DSL connection response times were acceptable and the streaming was almost instant on in most cases. I tested the High Definition video by watching "Teen Wolf" on my Media PC hooked up to my HDTV Flat panel @720P resolution. The video was crisp and clear and streamed in HD without any problems across my G Class Wireless network. Technically the service provides what it promises SD and HD Instant On Streaming Video with good quality across home Broadband internet connections. That's the good, and it was very good at it in my opinion.

     Later on I settled in for a full watch (1hour 38 minutes) of a classic Tom Baker Doctor Who episode from 1975 (The Ark in Space). The video had no hiccups or interruptions and performed flawlessly, but you might notice a pattern developing here. While it was very cool to see this episode again after so many years I couldn't actually find anything new here. The actual content to choose from was difficult to navigate and extremely sparse. There were no recent release movies. Period. Nothing. The TV episodes/collections were interesting but the content available to Canadians was pitiful compared to our American cousins. Three TV series I looked for that I knew were on Netflix were the New Doctor Who, Torchwood and the original Twighlight Zone. These were some of the primary reasons I wanted Netflix because I knew these were there. I had to search to find them but they did come up, although they very politely told me that "This video is not Available for you" but perhaps you would like to see "Killer Clowns from Outerspace". Um... no. I was speechless. Everything I wanted to see was either "Unavailable" to me or was something I already owned on DVD. Hugely Disappointing.

     I have to say, I haven't been this disappointed since Season 3 of Heroes. It would be a great service if it was free, as it is for the next 30 days, but for any monthly subscription rate, even $7.99 / month, it just doesn't seem worth it. Any media service has to have content that people actually want to see, even free services, if they hope to continue operations. Unfortunately Netflix Canada is seriously lacking in Content at the moment. Until they address that, I can't recommend the service at all. I'll monitor it for a while longer, after all it's only Day 2 of it's existence and if it improves I'll have a follow up down the road. For now, Try it out for 30 days but ask yourself, is this content worth any dollars per month at the moment?

BTW, Almost forgot, this is a Windows / Mac only service. No Linux support possible without Emulation for Windows. Another disappointment.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pirates of the Revolution - Ben Franklin

     First of all this entire post was inspired by an article at ArsTechnica called "Benjamin Franklin, the First IP Pirate". I really recommend reading this article, it was fascinating.

http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2010/09/benjamin-franklin-founding-pirate.ars

     Being a student of history and a Tech geek, I have always been fascinated by Benjamin Franklin. Franklin was truly an inspiring individual and it was for more than just being a randy old bugger. He was the pre-eminent inventor of his time and one of the great thinkers of all time. What I didn't know was that he was such a supporter of what we would call "Open Source" today.

     Current copyright laws are so messed up and protectionist it would be laughable were it not true. Knowledge is the key to humanity's future and Franklin apparently knew this even back then. The idea of Intellectual Property just doesn't work over extended periods. Or to clarify, Intellectual Property as it is today inhibits free thought and creativity by restricting access to information. It exists simply to create wealth for those that control it and those that control it in many cases aren't even the ones that created it.  In reading the article I almost get the impression that Franklin may have viewed Intellectual Property as being "Regal", which is something the founding fathers would have found very distasteful at the time. The idea of bestowing inheritable IP rights in perpetuity does not benefit society in anyway.


     I've long felt that "we" as a society need to do more to benefit mankind, to help each other to be better people. That's what drew me to Linux and Open Source projects in the first place. The idea that these people were giving back for the benefit of everyone is something truly special in today's world. It sounds like Benjamin Franklin would have fit in very well in the Open Source communities of today.


     So, I've said enough.
     I'm getting down from my soap box.

     Go to Ars Technica and read this article and if you like what you see look into the book by Lewis Hyde called Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership. It sounds like it should be a fascinating read.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rock Band 3 - Preview Thoughts

     Well Rock Band 3 is coming out soon and everyday we find out more and more about the new Pro Mode. What is Pro Mode you ask? Well Pro Mode will allow Keyboard, Drums and Guitar to come as close as possible to performing like real Musical  Instruments. There is a catch though. You'll need all new Controllers or at least add-ons for your existing controllers. This will cost. All the peripherals will be sold separately from Mad Catz as well as a Bundle available that includes the Game and Wireless Keyboard controller.

     Mad Catz press release has indicated that the Pro Guitar will retail for $149us, the Keyboard for $79us, and the Cymbals for $39us. The Keyboard Bundle is slated at $129us. 

     Now the controllers themselves do sound interesting. The Drums add on will feature a set of 3 cymbals that act independently from the Drum pads. On the game they are represented by a round cymbal character on the fret board instead of the rectangular symbols to differentiate. There will also be the option to use a Double Kick pedal in game as well. The Guitar has 6 strings and buttons for every position on the physical Fret Board. In the game this is represented by a new "Wave" system that looks like it will take some getting used to. The Keyboard resembles a KeyTar with I believe 10 keys for playing. You can also purchase separately a stand to lay the Keyboard flat.

      Adding Cymbals to the Drums was the biggest complaint I heard from real musicians that attempted to play the game as well as many non musicians so adding actual Cymbals to the Drums should make it feel much more realistic. Additionally adding the capability of Dual Kick pedal action will make some of the more difficult songs a bit easier to play without Breaking your pedal.

      I'm really not sure about the guitar. While adding 6 strings to pick and a button press for each position on the Fret board sounds interesting in theory, I don't know how realistic it will feel without the feedback you get from physically sliding your fingers across the strings. I'll have to see how much I like it when it comes out.

     The Keytar might be fun to play but how realistic it will be compared to playing a real keyboard is questionable. I have to admit while it may be interesting and fun to play, adding keyboards to the Rock Band lineup is not something that really interests me too much. Again if you play piano/keyboard it may be just the thing that was missing from the game for you, for me, I could take it or leave. I'll reserve judgment on it until I've actually played. It could be really fun on Boston's song Foreplay/Longtime though.

      The game itself promises the usual lineup of classics and new hits from the history of Rock. If you already own a copy of Rock Band 1 or 2 and aren't interested in Keyboard or Pro-Mode then you can always just pick up a copy of the game itself to use with you're existing controllers. However, I think the real fun here might lie in the Pro-Modes because other than that, if you played Rock Band before then there is nothing new here.

     There is one more thing to mention as I dig my way through the Giant Pile of Controllers laying strewn across my living room. How Many Controllers can you actually have and still Live in your house or apartment? Not only are the cost of these devices prohibitive but where oh where can you store them when not in use.

      My house now looks like a Recording Studio with all the Fake and Real musical instruments laying around. Anybody need a set a phony Drums or a couple of Fake Guitars? Help!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Gaming: Remembering The Dreamcast

     I've been gaming for a long time.

     A very, very long time.

     My first video game system was Pong on a Black & White TV. It was Black & White because that's all we had in the house. Colour was too new and expensive. It had 4 paddle controllers, a light gun and was a blast, literally.

     Several Years later, my world exploded when the Atari 2600 was released. Suddenly the games I was playing in the local Arcade were on my home TV. Colour now. I was absolutely hooked. Now sure, they didn't exactly look like the games in the arcade. More like big slow moving blocks but it was addictive and awesome.

     A few years later I was introduced to something called a VIC 20 which the following year became a Commodore 64 with floppy disk drive for Christmas. Now we were really talking Gaming. Sure it was my first introduction to a home computer and I could type letters and learned basic programming with it but for me it's primary purpose was Video Games. Don't tell my Mom she thought it was for school. The Sprite based graphics that it produced were amazing looking and the machine was rarely turned off.

     After the Commodore which amazingly I used all through University to write papers with, I played some friends NES, SNES and Genesis systems. Sonic and Mario ruled, but I never owned one of the consoles. In 1992 I bought my first PC for an outrageously expensive cost and proceeded to use it to learn everything I could about the hardware but also for Video Gaming. For the next 8 years I was a dedicated PC gamer, Wolfenstien 3D, DOOM, Quake and every EA Sports title ruled my world.

     Then in 1999 I started hearing about this thing called The Dreamcast, remember the ads "It's Thinking". I was impressed, I'd played some Playstation 1 and Nintendo 64 thanks to my future Brother in Law, and it was cool but it didn't compare to the PC, although to be fair many hours were wasted playing Golden Eye multiplayer in the basement. When I started seeing the Dreamcast though I was impressed. Most people remember the Dreamcast for being the First of the Next Generation Console systems. It had terrific 3D accelerated graphics, full rich CD quality sound, real movie quality in game video playback, vmu memory units for game saves, 4 player controllers, and a builtin 56k modem for online gaming, and, eventually, web browsing. All this was ground breaking in 1999 and unheard of on a console. You have to remember here that Xbox, Playstation 2 and Gamecube were still years away.

     This was the system that got me off of PC gaming and back to consoles. There were truly some great games on here, everyone remembers Sonic Adventure 1 and 2, and has at least heard of the legend of Shenmue, but there are some real treasures on this system that get overlooked. Metropolis Street Racer is a fantastic Racing Game that never seems to get remembered as the real beginning of the Project Gotham series. The game that really stands out for me though was Skies of Arcadia. This is truly a unique and fun RPG that had great graphics and a compelling story. If you haven't heard of it, check it out. It was truly a gem for the Dreamcast.

     Over 10 years ago now I bought my Dreamcast. I've still got it downstairs and power it up once in a while. A testament to the longevity of the hardware. Since then I've had Xbox and 360 and Wii but the Dreamcast will always hold a special place in my heart as the system that made Console gaming fun again.

     What's your favourite memory of the Dreamcast or any other system?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Windows 7 Virtual Box 100% CPU Issue

     I've been researching an Issue that I've encountered running VirtualBox 3.2.8 in Windows 7. It may very well occur in other versions of Windows and VirtualBox but I have not tested them for the issue. What I'm encountering is the VirtualBox process on the host pegs at 100%, freezing the Guest OS permanently. The only out is to Power off the guest and restart. This only appears to happen when running 2 Virtual Guests at the same time.

     After suffering through many restarts I found in a few forum posts around the web, some hints that VirtualBox was having issues with Windows Prefetch and Superfetch. Prefetch/Superfetch are services that "Preload" portions of frequently used applications into Memory prior to your clicking the shortcut to start them. It analyzes you're computer usage and creates a record establishing the most frequently used components. These are then automatically loaded into memory in advance speeding up the load times of your applications. It actually is pretty slick and is the primary reason why Windows 7 feels faster and more responsive than previous versions of Windows. Microsoft has made great improvements to the algorithms that make up Prefetch/Superfetch for Windows 7.

     What these forum threads suggested was that the VirtualBox disk I/O to the virtual hard drive files was getting intercepted by Prefetch/Superfetch and creating a hang situation trying to read/write to the virual hard drive files. The fix suggested was to simply turn off Prefetch/Superfetch in the Registry. There are utilities out there that can do this for you but I personally haven't tested them. In order to do this you will need to make modifications to your Registry.

     At this point I will give a warning. Your Registry is your Main Database of all settings in Windows. Making incorrect modifications to it can seriously screw up you computer so always make a backup of your Registry before making changes. I repeat, backup, backup, backup. As well I personally take no responsibility if you attempt to make this change and mess up your PC.

     Well, now that being said here is what has worked for me.

To Disable Prefetch/Superfetch go to your Start button and in the Search box type "Regedit".

Go to:  HKey_Local_Machine/System/CurrentControlSet/Control/Session Manager/Memory Management/PrefetchParameters

Modify the KeyWord EnablePrefetcher and EnableSuperFetch as seen below:

                                  Click to Enlarge.

You can enter the values below as you would like.

0 = Disabled
1 = Application Only Enabled
2 = Boot Only Enabled
3 = All Enabled

I've chosen to keep the Boot Prefetch settings to help the Boot times so the example above shows the values = 2.

You can now close Regedit.

I'd recommend Rebooting your PC at this point to get a clean start.


    After this was applied, VirtualBox would still use 100% resources at times but has always returned control to the Virtual Guest OS.

Freezing has been eliminated.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Preload Speeds up Linux Application Loading

     Linux is a terrific operating system. It is as lightweight as you want or as bloated as you want, but by default most distributions come very lightweight and let you decide what to do. A great add on for Linux desktops is to install the Preload application to your install. In Ubuntu the easiest way to do this is simply from the Software Centre.

     But I'm getting ahead of myself. What does Preload do? Well Preload tracks what programs you run on your desktop most frequently and preloads the important parts into your spare memory before you actually click on it to run. With Preload running the application will load from Memory instead of the Hard Drive speeding application start up times. This won't affect boot load times but does a good job of speeding up the responsiveness of using your desktop applications.

    It is similar to what Microsoft has done with Pre-Fetch and Super-Fetch but unlike Microsoft Linux distributions give you the choice of whether you want to use it or not. Choice is always better.

    Now, how do you install it? Well my current favourite distribution is Ubuntu so we'll focus on how it's done there, which is also incredibly easy. Simply go to and open the Ubuntu Software Centre.

In the Search Box type in preload as shown below:




      I already have the app installed so my button shows "Remove", your's should show "Install" if you don't already have it. Simply click "Install", enter your Sudo credentials if prompted and the app will install and be running.

     From that point forward it will begin monitoring what you run most frequently and in the future it will improve the load times of these applications by preloading them into memory before you use it. Pretty nice.

     One of the good things about this on Linux is that since Linux has a very small Memory usage footprint to begin with, most people will have loads of memory to spare, even on Netbooks, so it won't significantly impact performance in any other way.

Very, Very Nice.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Microsoft's Dilemma

     Microsoft began this journey ironically with the advent of Product Activation. What journey is that, you might ask? Well, I would answer, the journey to extinction on the home desktop. And you might respond with, Apple's market share hasn't grown that much to worry the Software giant. To which I'd respond it's not Apple they should be worried about, it's Linux. When MS implemented Activation on the XP Desktop they unwittingly started the ball rolling on change. Not a change in revenue like they expected but a change in the OS of the Desktop PC market. Through their essential monopoly and strong arm tactics of the PC resellers they've managed to hang on to their market share for now, but in trying to squeeze every cent they can out of the consumer they have unwittingly opened the door to Linux which is, Free. The lack of cost involved with Linux is the key factor here.

     Over the past few years a very smart group of people have worked diligently on improving the ease of use of the product. My introduction to Linux began with Fedora 5, and let me tell you things have come a long way. With the latest release of Ubuntu 10.04, Linux has reached a level on the home desktop that it can compete and win against both Microsoft and Apple. If you haven't tried it yet I highly recommend giving it a go. A real problem for Microsoft is that Apple really isn't threatened by Linux. Apple Fanbois are brainwashed into believing that no price is too great for technology that in some respects isn't up to the levels found in the PC world from either Microsoft or Linux. That market segment will never change and will eternally remain a source of revenue for Apple. The rest of the home computer world is a little more fiscally concerned and they buy Microsoft. Now if the Linux community can offer a competitive product to Microsoft and it has No Cost, well the math is simple. Linux will devour Microsoft's market share once people realize what is going on.

     Microsoft compounded their own situation by creating the Xbox. With the Xbox there is no longer a need to use your PC as a gaming device. If you don't need Microsoft Windows for gaming and you don't need Windows to surf the web, get email and use an Office productivity suite, then what do you need Windows for? Linux surfs the web, gets email and has an excellent full Office productivity suite that is free. When you add up the cost for the privilege of running Windows on your PC then suddenly there is no Value to it. Linux, Ubuntu in particular should be gobbling up that Microsoft market share as we speak, but alas it is not. Linux has problems of it's own. Not technical problems but organizational problems. Since there is no central structure behind Linux and there is not a gigantic revenue stream generated by a free product, it becomes a very difficult task to get the word out that it even exists. Against the combined Marketing juggernauts of Microsoft and Apple the voice of Linux gets drowned out. However given enough time, the little mouse that is Linux will roar.

     Like a snowball rolling downhill, it has started small but made huge gains particularly in the last couple of years. Given where Linux has come from without any real financial backing, and where it is today, in another 5 years Microsoft may have to ask itself, Do we Open source the Windows home desktop or abandon the home market all together? It is an interesting dilemma that they have brought on themselves. What do you think?

Things moving Fast

Well things are moving fast. The blog is beginning to look better. There will be further changes coming to the look and feel in the near future. Watch out for the first real article coming soon. Thanks for stopping by.

All Right - Let's get this party started! :-)

Hello there. This Site is still under construction but I expect to see big things in the very near future. Thanks For Stopping By!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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