Ubuntu Linux Gets a Manga Fan Magazine – Ubunchu!

How many Ubuntu fans also like Japanese Manga comics? My guess would be that it’s a pretty high percentage. The author of this comic series, Hiroshi Seo, is apparently a big fan of Ubuntu, the Linux operating system that many of us have come to love.

ubuchu1

The love for a great free operating system plays the main role in this Ubuntu Romantic School Comedyseries. I leafed through the first two of the six episodes available. The graphics are well done and the plot is typically adolescent, as I had expected. There’s no need to worry about this series though, I’d rate it as safe for kids to read.

If you are a Linux fan, and you also like Manga, you may want to waste a little time reading Ubunchu.

animals-penguinVisit this site to read Ubunchu! in English and several other languages.

[Via HowToGeek]


Oracle Rolls Out The First Beta Version of VirtualBox 4

VirtualBox, one of the best ( and my personal  favorite) virtualization applications has just gotten a new lease in life. The developers of VirtualBox have uploaded the first beta version of their next major release, VirtualBox 4.

One of the notable changes seems to be the way features are going to be available.

As of version 4.0, certain features of VirtualBox are shipped as part of external packages (extpacks).

As of now there is one such extension pack, the PUEL extension pack which features support for USB 2.0, RDP server and the PXE bootloader with E1000 support. It would seem like Oracle intends to ship only one version of VirtualBox, with extra (closed-source ?) features added on as extra packs. And given the way Oracle has acted previously it wouldn’t be surprised if some paid extrasget tacked on.

Some of the new features included this major release include:

  • Support for resizing existing virtual hard disk images ( Finally!)
  • Support for copying files into guest filesystem
  • Support for auto-update of Guest additions ( Windows only, as of now)
  • Intel HD Audio is available as one of the audio hardware on the guest.

For a detailed list of changes do check out VirtualBox forums. You can grab the downloads from here.   And as with any beta software don’t use it in your production environment!

Are Public Libraries Still at Risk Because of Microsoft?

A reason to panic?

public-library-iconBack in April of this year, Yardena Arar posted an article at Windows Secrets titled Microsoft decision puts public libraries at risk.

What did Microsoft do that puts libraries at risk?

They retired Windows SteadyState. In case you haven’t heard about it, SteadyState is a free application for Windows XP and Vista which completely protects a Windows operating system from everything except a hardware crash. It makes Windows almost bullet-proof. Thousands of home users, internet cafes, schools and public libraries depend on SteadyState for protection. However, it won’t be available for Windows 7.

According to Yardena,

… not only is SteadyState incompatible with Win7, Microsoft says it has no plans to introduce a Windows 7-compatible version. That’s leaving some IT managers scrambling for replacement technology and others vowing not to upgrade to Windows 7 at all.

Windows SteadyState is going away?

I recently discovered that it’s not only unavailable for Win7, SteadyState won’t be available after Dec 31st of this year. That’s a twisted Happy New Year’s wish to everyone wanting to use it on XP or Vista. If you plan on using it, be sure to download SteadyState from Microsoft, before it’s too late.

Are there alternatives to SteadyState?

If you settled for the answer given in that Windows Secrets post, you’d give up. In the article, Yardena says:

Third-party solutions, such as Faronics’ Deep Freeze, don’t appeal to cash-strapped educational institutions, which are already spending considerable money upgrading to Windows 7.

Worse yet, if you listen to Microsoft, they’ll tell you that you don’t need it. Here’s the Microsoft spin:

We have just released a whitepaper along with an accompanying document that describes Group Policy settings that you can use to configure computer and user settings and also a reference excel worksheet which can be used to look up and filter the settings described in the whitepaper. (source)

What a load of techno-crap! Does Microsoft think a librarian, teacher, cyber-café owner, or home user is going to read their white papers?

What is my suggestion for replacing SteadyState?

Fortunately, a security company named Comodo, recently released a free replacement for Windows SteadyState. As far as I can tell, Comodo Time Machine does nearly everything SteadyState does. It’s currently supported and works in Windows XP, Vista and 7.

arrow-down-double-3Download Comodo Time Machinecomodo-time-machine-icon_thumb

If you are interested in Comodo’s offer, check out this Video Review of Time Machine.

Why do we need Windows?

Why does a public library need to depend upon Microsoft for all of their software needs? The answer from any Open Source enthusiast would be Get rid of Windows!. If you need some arguments to use against your library’s or school’s addiction to Microsoft, be sure to read about Windows 7 Sins: The case against Microsoft and proprietary software

Use Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)

If a librarian or teacher came to me and asked about setting up several public computers , I’d have two ready answers for them. I could save them money and practically guarantee that they wouldn’t have any spyware or virus problems.

edubuntu-icon1. I’d burn a set of Live CD’s with Edubuntu on them. They could disable the hard drives and put these in the CD Rom drives. Whenever the PC boots up, they’d have a fresh new operating system that’s ready to use and kid-proof.

2. I could also install Edubuntu on each PC normally, as this old timer shows in a video.

Conclusion:

Microsoft doesn’t have the answer, and they don’t seem to care. However, there’s no reason to worry.   Using either of my recommendations, secure and trouble-free public PCs can be created at no cost.

WinCDEmu – Opens ISO and Other CD/DVD Images

Just in case you didn’t know, an ISO file is an exact image of a CD or DVD that can be burned to a disc. There are also other types of files that contain disc images, such as CUE, NRG, MDS/MDF, CCD, and IMG. Often times, software can be downloaded as an ISO file or another disc image type.

Not only can these image files be burned to a new disc, they can also be opened or “mounted” as a virtual drive. When you mount an ISO or similar file, it can be found as a new drive letter on your computer. This is handy, especially if you want to find out what’s in a disc image before you burn it, or if you don’t have a CD/DVD drive on your computer.

In order to mount a disc image, you’ll normally need to install virtual drive software on your PC. My favorite mounting software is Virtual Clone Drive. Once installed, it’s easy to use. You only need to double click an ISO to mount it as a new drive. Another good one is MagicDisc, which was reviewed here a few years ago.

Here’s one I recently ran into. It’s called WinCDEmu. It’s available as a normal install, and also as a portable program (single EXE file). I have a special love for portable applications and gave WinCDEmu a try.

I downloaded the portable version. It’s a small download, at about 235k. When you first launch it, you’ll be prompted to let it install it’s driver.

win-cd-emu-install-driver

Click the Yesbutton to continue. After that, you’ll be able to mount ISO and other disc images by clicking the Mount another imagebutton.

win-cd-emu-mount-drive

As you can see above, you’ll be able to see the drive letters for your new virtual drives as you add them. That’s as complicated as it gets …

Downloads

arrow-down-double-3 Download WinCDEmu from SourceForge (portable and installed versions)

arrow-down-double-3 Download WinCDEmu from Download.com (portable)

arrow-down-double-3 Download WinCDEmu from Download.com (installed)

Here are some more things that might interest you

Techie Buzz Verdict:

WinCDEmu has several things going for it. It’s free, open-source, small, and has a portable version. As I’ve shown, the portable version is simple to use, and the installed version is even easier, since it allows you to mount images by double clicking on them.

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Try Ubuntu Inside Windows – Uninstall If You Don’t Like It

wubi-installer-icon Do you want to try the newest operating system for PCs? Ubuntu 11.04 has recently been released. Although many people would enjoy trying it, the need to make permanent changes to their computers may be stopping them.

There is a way to install Ubuntu inside of Windows using the Wubi installer. If you decide you have no use for it, it can always be easily uninstalled later. Below, I’ll show you the details of a typical Wubi/Ubuntu installation.

First, you’ll need to download the correct Wubi file.

*** Download Wubi for Ubuntu 11.04

hori-rule-blue

If the download goes well, you’ll have a wubi.exe file to run. When you launch it, you should see a setup screen like the one shown below. It should show the version at the top.

wubi-setup

You can choose the Desktop Environmentusing the pull-down menu. In it you’ll get a choice of different versions of Ubuntu, such as Ubuntu (Desktop), Ubuntu Netbook, Kubuntu, Kubuntu Netbook, Xubuntu or Mythbuntu.

The rest of the settings are fairly obvious, but I was a bit confused when I entered my password and got an error. I didn’t notice that I had to enter the password twice.

hori-rule-blue

Once you hit the Installbutton, you should see this next image. The download is fairly large. It took about 25 minutes on my DSL connection.

Twubi-downloading

hori-rule-blue

Once it finishes, you’ll be prompted to reboot.

wubi-reboot

hori-rule-blue

Once the reboot has started, you will now have a new boot option in your Windows boot menu. Just select Ubuntu and it will finish installing. Here you can see a short video showing you basically what you’ll see as Ubuntu finishes up.

hori-rule-blue

I won’t spend any time telling you how to customize Ubuntu once it’s finished installing. If you need help, there’s plenty of help available at Ubunutu forums.

When you return to Windows, you can find a new folder at C:\ubuntu, which contains the entire installation. This copy of Ubuntu can be uninstalled using the Add/Remove applet in Windows, or by launching the uninstall-wubi.exefile in the install folder as shown below.

wubi-files

hori-rule-blue

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Wubi is a good solution for people who aren’t sure that they’ll like Ubuntu. If they decide they don’t like it, it’s easy to remove. A free operating system and an easy way to remove it are a winning combination in my opinion. Wubi with Ubuntu has my recommendation.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Rating: (4/5) Excellent

Upgrading your Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Install to Ubuntu 10.10

Ubuntu 10.10 was released earlier today, and if you’re wondering how to upgrade your existing Ubuntu 10.04 install, here are couple of easy ways to do so.

  • Update manager

Ubuntu’s Update Manager should prompt you that a new distribution upgrade is available. If not, jus check if Ubuntu is configured to look for Long Term Support (LTS) releases only. To do this, Click on System -> Admininstration -> Update Manager. Next, click on Settings and change the “Show distribution releases” from “Long Term Support Releases only” to “Normal Releases”

Hit close, and start Update Manager again, click on check and it should prompt you to update to the newer version.

  • Via the command line

If you’re a command line junkie, the best way to upgrade is to open the Terminal and type in

sudo do-release-upgrade

The automated script will ask you few questions and upgrade your existing install to Ubuntu 10.10. Enjoy the new release!

Free and Portable – MPlayer WW for Video Files

[Windows]

MPlayer WW is an open source player that supports dozens of multimedia formats. It not only handles almost any video format, it also has a nice selection of skins to make it fit your tastes. Below is what the default skin looks like.

mplayer-ww-fantasy

To get started using MPlayer WW, you will have to download a zip file from the home page, then extract the files onto your computer. You can start MPlayer by double clicking the mplayer.exe file.

mplayer-ww-executable

Since this is portable, you could create a shortcut to the program and place it on your desktop. That would make it easy to access when needed.

However, a better alternative is to create file type associations to your favorite media file types. This will allow you to double click a media file and open it automatically with MPlayer. To associate file types in MPlayer, right click on the program’s title bar and select the preferences as shown next.

mplayer-ww-preferences

Click the Associatetab and you’ll be able to set associations by adding check marks next to the ones you want.

mplayer-ww-associate

Once you have a movie running in MPlayer, you can control playback using the visible controls at the bottom. There are also plenty of keyboard shortcuts which you’ll find under the Input tab in the Preferences.

MPlayer has a few other features that only true video geeks will appreciate. The most important fact about MPlayer is that it does it’s job very well with no problems.

arrow-down-double-3

Download MPlayer WW

Note: Check out these other free media players.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

MPlayer WW allows you to easily play many different types of video files. A few of its best features are that it’s open source, light weight and portable. Although it’s not as fully featured as some of the bigger, more popular media players, it deserves a thumbs up.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

HTC Home: HTC Weather and Clock Widget for Windows

One of the most distinctive aspects of HTC’s Sense UI is the combined weather and clock widget. It has been replicated on multiple platforms by numerous applications. For example, all Android users can get enjoy a similar home screen widget thanks to the Beautiful Widget application. However, there was nothing quite as good for Windows. The good news is that a free app called HTC Home has stepped in to fill the void.

HTC Home is an open source application for Windows Vista/7 that accurately emulates the HTC weather widget. Everything from the icons and styling to weather animations have been replicated. Here’s a screenshot demonstrating the default appearance.

HTC-Home-Weather-Widget

The widget is fairly configurable. You can toggle animations, change the update interval and configure z-ordering. I am not confident about this, but the source of the weather information appears to be AccuWeather.

Techie Buzz Verdict

HTC Home is simply gorgeous. There is no doubt about that. However, its system resource usage might be of concern to users on slightly older rigs. It consistently consumed about 30 megabytes of memory. However, CPU usage was negligible. It also crashed on me on first launch, but has behaved well since. Of course, it is unfair to be too harsh on an alpha build. They are expected to behave unpredictably.

In the end, if having a beautiful desktop matters to you, you will probably appreciate HTC Home. Others, might be put off by the high memory consumption.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3.5/5 (Very Good)

[ Download HTC Home ]

via Addictive Tips

Facebook Caught Plagiarizing Open Source Code in the Official iPhone App

One of the many nifty features present in the official Facebook app for iPhone is the “Pull to Refresh” functionality, which was pioneered by Tweetie. This UI (user interface) element is derived from the open source TTTableHeaderDragRefreshView class created by Enormogo. Unfortunately, it appears that Facebook was using third party open source code without proper attribution.

Obviously, folks at Enormogo weren’t pleased when they discovered the similarities between their code and Facebook’s implementation. Shaun from Enormogo wrote in a blog post, “To find out that they took our code, re-released it as their own, and take credit for it though? That’s not cool Facebook. Not cool at all”.

Before the daggers come out, it’s worth noting that this was most probably an honest mistake by Facebook. Here is the statement issued by David Recordon, the head of open source programs at Facebook:

Back in February a developer outside of Facebook sent a GitHub pull request which included this pull to refresh functionality. At the time we believed that the developer wrote the code themselves and thus didn’t realize that it actually came from Shaun’s open source library EGOTableViewPullRefresh. I’m sorry that we messed this one up. Three20 has over a dozen different contributors (http://github.com/facebook/three20/blob/master/AUTHORS) and we try really hard to give credit where it is due.

The required attribution has already been added by Facebook and will be committed to the GitHub soon.

BrowserLinux Now Offers Chrome Browser

chrome-ico In December of last year, we told you about BrowserLinux, a very small operating system that has one basic purpose, providing a web browser. The older versions contained only Firefox, but now you can get versions which use Firefox or Google Chrome. That’s good news for those of us who prefer Google’s web browser. At this point you might be wondering why you’d want to use BrowserLinux. Below are a few details that might convince you to give it a try.

browser-linux-chrome

Size matters

How would you like to run an entire operating system from a 128mb flash card or USB thumb drive? With BrowserLinux, it’s quite easy to do. It’s offered as a Live CD (ISO file) download and is less that 80mb in size. You could burn the ISO file to a CD, but SD cards and USB sticks are so easy to carry around. Here’s an easy way to create a bootable flash or USB drive.

Your PC is unchanged

Since BrowserLinux was designed to run only as a Live CD (or bootable flash/USB), you don’t have to worry that your PC will get messed up. No matter what OS is already installed, BrowserLinux won’t make any changes to it.

Infection Free

The bad guys don’t seem to care about Linux. While Windows operating systems get infected by the thousands every day, it’s very unlikely you’ll find a website or email attachment that can infect your BrowserLinux system.  If something weird happens, you can simply shut down without saving by killing the power. Any problems you had during your surfing won’t be there the next time you reboot. That makes it almost bullet-proof and an ideal system to take with you on the road.

Public Library or Internet Cafe

This might also be a good OS for Public Libraries or Internet Cafes to use. All they’d have to do it take out the hard drive, slip in a Live CD and set the BIOS to boot from CD. No changes could ever be made to the PCs that are set up that way. With so many cool web applications and online office suites available, who needs the hassle of installing, constantly updating, and paying for buggy software like MS Office. Finally, BrowserLinux will run fine on older PCs. That makes a computer running from this Live CD, the ultimate low cost, maintenance free system.

Simplicity

The developer of BrowserLinux says:

If you want an operating system for editing movies, writing letters or printing spreadsheets: don’t use Browserlinux. Browserlinux is for browsing the web.

The most difficult task to getting this OS on the web is connecting to a Wifi network. However, even that’s no big deal. All you have to do is hit the Menu button, choose Network, then choose Wireless. It will scan the area for Wifi hotspots you can connect to.

Download

http://www.browserlinux.com/

Highly Recommended

If you have your own tips on using Linux or it’s problems, be sure to comment below or email me.