Using a Comic Book Viewer and Not Growing Up

[Windows, Mac, Linux]

Did you ever read comic books when you were younger? Maybe, you are like me, and you will never grow out of enjoying a good comic book. If that’s the case, you may want to read and collect comic books on your computer.

Recently, I spotted a post at How To Geek about a great comic book viewer for Ubuntu Linux, called Comix. I tried it out and I was not disappointed. Comix is already in the Ubuntu Software Center, and you don’t have to work hard to find it.

Typically, I spend most of my time on Windows computers, and I wondered if there was a good comic book reader for XP, Vista and Seven. I found the answer very fast on Google. There’s a great viewer for Windows and Mac, called Comical. It’s an Open Source project, and fairly new, but it makes viewing comic book files pretty simple.

comical-screenshot

Here is the description of Comical from the readme file.

————————————————
Comical – The Comic Book Archive reader
————————————————

Finally – a cross-platform, open-source CBR and CBZ reader!   Read your favorite scanned comic books and graphic novels with Comical’s absurdly easy GUI and in-your-face double page display!

Nifty Features:

  • Single-Page or Double-Page display modes.
  • Several zoom modes – Fit, Fit-to-Width, Fit-to-Height, Original, and Custom.
  • Crisp image scaling with algorithms adapted from FreeImage 3.
  • Autodetects double pages scanned together and displays it accordingly.
  • Page rotation.
  • Full-Screen mode.
  • Left-to-Right or Right-to-Left browsing.
  • Displays JPG, GIF, and PNG images.
  • Supports RAR(.cbr) and ZIP(.cbz) comic book archives.
  • Supports all encrypted RAR archives as well as ZIP archives with pkzip 2.04g
    encryption.

I’ll take a moment to explain the two file types .CBR and .CBZ, that are mentioned above. CBZ means Comic Book ZIPped, and CBR means Comic Book RARed. Both of those are simple archives of images. Therefore, the Comical viewer is a great tool for viewing any collection of images that is archived as a ZIP or RAR file.

Do you need to know how to open ZIP, RAR, ISO or other archives?

There are very few places that offer truly free comic book files. Here is one place that will help you find some.

Free Online Comic Books

Searching online, you’ll find that most of the comic books there are pirated copies and are located in places that are not always safe to visit. Please be extremely cautious while looking for free comic books. I recommend using the WOT addon for filtering out risky search results.

arrow-down-double-3Download the Comical viewer

Techie Buzz Verdict:

The Comical viewer is small, easy to install, and simple to use. If you need an easy way to read CBR and CBZ comics, this is a great solution.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Banshee To Disable Amazon Store In Ubuntu 11.04

As you are probably aware, Rhythmbox has been dropped as default for Ubuntu 11.04. Instead Banshee will be the default media player in Ubuntu 11.04. Many of the technical difficulties of including Banshee as default has been resolved. In fact, it has already landed as default in the second Alpha which was released last week.

Now a different sort of problem is brewing – one that has to do with money. You see, Banshee has an integrated music store powered by Amazon. Whenever someone buys music using the Amazon MP3 Store integrated in Banshee, the Banshee project gets some revenue from Amazon. However, the Banshee team does not keep any of the revenue. All the revenue from the Amazon MP3 Store is donated to the GNOME Foundation.

Canonical has a problem with this because it conflicts with their Ubuntu One Music Store. Powered by 7Digital, the Ubuntu One Music Store was introduced in Ubuntu 10.04 and it has been the default music store in Rhythmbox since then. Unlike the music store in Banshee, Canonical takes the revenue that comes the Ubuntu One Music Store.

The Ubuntu One Music Store is a project in which Canonical has put in a lot of hard work. They obviously do not want the new music player that ships with Ubuntu 11.04 to use some other music store. So, they have asked the Banshee developers to either give 75% of the revenue from the Amazon MP3 Store to Canonical or activate the Ubuntu One Music Store by default instead of the Amazon store.

Instead of paying Canonical the 75%, the Banshee team has decided to have the Ubuntu One Music Store activated by default. The Amazon MP3 Store will still be available – but users have to enable it manually – and the revenue from it will will still go to the GNOME Foundation.

This is the statement that the Banshee Maintainer Team issued:

As maintainers of the Banshee project, we have opted unanimously to decline Canonical’s revenue sharing proposal, so that our users who choose the Amazon store will continue supporting GNOME to the fullest extent. The GNOME Foundation’s Board of Directors supports this decision.

Do you think what Canonical did was right? And did Banshee did the right thing by choosing to enable the Ubuntu One Music Store by default?

[image credit]

Ubuntu 10.04.2 LTS Released

Although most of the actions are taking place in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narhwal, Ubuntu 10.04 is still a very important release. Being an Long Term Support (LTS) release, it is widely used by those who prefer stability to new features and on servers where stability is very critical.

Canonical is  committed  to supporting Ubuntu 10.04 till April 2013 on desktops and April 2015 on servers. So, in continuation of the support, they have made available a new maintenance release of Ubuntu 10.04. The new release – Ubuntu 10.04.2 – is the second maintenance release of Ubuntu 10.04.

Since this is a maintenance release, it does not come with any new features. However, it does include a number of security updates and bug fixes which affected the release earlier. One of the most critical bug fixed in this  maintenance  release  is are the installation bugs. The bug in the installation process which caused performance regression on ext4  file-systems  has been fixed in this maintenance release.

This is what Kate Stewart, Ubuntu Release Manager, wrote in the mailing list:

Numerous updates have been integrated, and updated installation media has been provided so that fewer updates will need to be downloaded after installation. These include security updates and corrections for other high-impact bugs, with a focus on maintaining stability and compatibility with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.

Along with Ubuntu, Kubuntu 10.04.2 and Xubuntu 10.04.2 has also been released. Ubuntu 10.04.2, Kubuntu 10.04.2 and Xubuntu 10.04.2 are available for download for both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms.

Download Ubuntu 10.04 Desktop

Download Ubuntu 10.04 Server

Download Kubuntu 10.04

Download Xubuntu 10.04

If you are already using Ubuntu 10.04, you do not need to download the ISO again. Instead, you can simply update your system as usual.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade

You can view the change log of Ubuntu 10.04.2 here. The next maintenance  release of Ubuntu 10.04 is scheduled for July 2011.

PyShare Lets You Easily Share Files Using TwitPic, RapidShare and ImageShack

PyShare is a application for Linux which makes sharing pictures and other files very simple. The current version (0.6.1) of the application supports uploading images to TwitPic and ImageShack and non-image files to RapidShare. After uploading the files, users can copy the URLs to share it with others, directly from the application.

Features

After installation, the application acts as a Nautilus extension and users can right click on the pictures/files and upload it from within Nautilus. The Nautilus menu for PyShare consist of the following:

  • PyShare_GTK – Selecting this will open the PyShare window. From the PyShare window, users can configure PyShare, look at the history etc. Users can also drop files on the PyShare window to upload them as well. Changing the PyShare configuration from this window never worked for me though.
  • sendDesktopScreenshot – The name is fairly self explanatory. On selecting this, PyShare will take a screenshot and upload it to either TwitPic or ImageShack.
  • sendFiles – This will upload the selected files to the appropriate service. If the selected files are images, they will be uploaded to TwitPic or ImageShack. However, non-image files will be uploaded to RapidShare.
  • sendWindowScreenshot – This is somewhat like sendDesktopScreenshot. Instead of uploading screenshot of the desktop, this will only upload screenshot of the selected window.

After using the application for almost a day, I feel that it still has a lot of rough edges. I certainly find the sendFiles function useful. However, for taking and uploading screenshots, I would prefer Shutter to PyShare. Shutter has more features and is more polished. I would certainly welcome support for Flickr and imgur as well.

Installation

If you want to install PyShare download it from GNOME-Looks.org, extract it and run the file install.sh. Then install python-pycurl and scrot.

If you prefer to do it from the command like interface, open the Terminal and execute the following commands:

$ sudo apt-get install python-pycurl scrot
$ wget http://gnome-look.org/CONTENT/content-files/100952-PyShare0.6.1.tar.bz2
$ tar -xjvf 100952-PyShare0.6.1.tar.bz2
$ cd PyShare0.6.1
$ ./install.sh

Now restart Nautilus and you should see PyShare on the right-click menu.

Johannesburg Stock Exchange Following London Stock Exchange And Switching To Linux

Around a year ago, the London Stock Exchange announced their decision to switch their trading platform to one based on Linux. By moving to Linux, they have been able to achieve record speed which is half of that of its main rival stock exchange.

Following in the footsteps of the London Stock Exchange, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange has also announced its plan to switch over to a Linux-based system. Right now the Johannesburg Stock Exchange runs the TradeElect platform – the same platform that the London Stock Exchange used. They plan to replace TradeElect, which is based on Microsoft .NET ans SQL Server 2000, to the Linux-based Millennium Exchange developed by MilleniumIT.

The migration is expected to start in the first half of 2012, and like the case with the London Stock Exchange, they are expecting a 400 times increase in the transaction speed.

Leanne Parsons, Johannesburg Stock Exchange Chief Operating Officer, had this to say about the decision to move to Linux:

We are excited about working with MillenniumIT and providing benefits to our market using their technology solutions. In our experience, whenever we take a step forward with our trading technology, trading volumes also follow. If we want to remain a world-class and relevant exchange in a highly competitive industry, we must remain abreast of technological advances.

One of the main reason for the decision to move to Linux is speed. Another reason is the cost. While the operational cost of the new system will remain approximately the same as that with TradeElect, Parson says that with the new platform, they can aggressively increase the trading volume without incurring a corresponding increase in the software cost.

The adoption of this Linux-based system by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange signals that Linux is being increasingly viewed as a platform capable of providing enterprise solutions, not just web-servers. If the system at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange performs as expected maybe a few more stock exchanges will also consider moving to Linux.

You can read the full press release here.

Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narhwal” Alpha 2 Released

Today Canonical has released the second alpha of Ubuntu 11.04, codenamed Natty Narhwal. This released will be followed by another alpha, a beta and a release candidate before the final version is released in April 2011.

Compared to the first alpha, this release marks the addition of most of the new features we will see in the final release. One of the most significant changes in this release has to the inclusion of LibreOffice in place of OpenOffice.org. Another change in the default application is that Banshee music player has replaced Rhythmbox.

People who have been calling for the Unity launcher to have an auto-hide feature will be happy to know that intelli-hide is now enabled by default. What the intelli-hide does is that it hides the launched only when it is obstructing an active window. The Software Center continues to get improved as well. The long-awaited application rating and review system finally makes an appearance in this release.

The much talked about global menu has also been included in this release as App Menu. Users of Mac OS X will already be familiar with this. It is the system where the menu is included in the panel instead of having it separate for different open windows. It was originally planned for inclusion in Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition, but did not make it. The App Menu is supported in both the Unity UI and the classic GNOME desktop.

If you want to try out these new features, you can download the live CD from http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/releases/natty/alpha-2/

WebUpd8 has also made a video review of these new features.

HAL Killed In openSUSE 11.4 Milestone 6

The openSUSE project announced the release of the sixth milestone of openSUSE 11.4 for testing. This is the last milestone release for openSUSE 11.4. So, the main focus of this release is on bug fixes and QA. This does not however mean that this is not an exciting release.

One of the most exciting changes in this release is the complete removal of HAL. With this, openSUSE is the second major Linux distribution after Ubuntu to have completely removed HAL. Now the functions of HAL will be taken over by udev, udisks and upower. Not only are udev, udisks and upower more modern than HAL, they are also more actively maintained.

Another thing that was originally planned for openSUSE 11.4 was to replace SysV init with systemd. However, they have run into some problems with integrating systemd. So, atleast for openSUSE 11.4, SysV init will not be replaced.

openSUSE 11.4 M6 will also have WebYaST installed by default. WebYaST is a tool which allows users to configure the computer remotely from a web browser. Packages for WebYaST was first made available for openSUSE 11.3.

So, far what we have talked about are mostly changes under the hood. openSUSE 11.4 M6 also has a few visible changes. The final wallpaper, splash-screen and branding for openSUSE 11.4 have been included in this release. The most recent versions of various software like X.org, VirtualBox etc. have also been included in this release.

Regarding the desktop environment, openSUSE 11.4 M6 ships with KDE SC 4.6 RC2. A few days ago, the final release of KDE SC 4.6 was made available. This will make it to openSUSE in the first release candidate which is scheduled for 10th February. The recently released Xfce 4.8 is also available for those who prefer a lighter DE.

This release will be followed by the first release candidate which will be released on 10th February and the final release in March 2011. There will be possible some more release candidates in between.

Install The Ubuntu Tips Applet To Get Useful Ubuntu Tips On Your Desktop

Ubuntu Tips Applet is an application developed by Alexandr Gudulin. The application regularly displays useful Ubuntu tips on your Ubuntu desktop. The tips displayed are fetched using fortunes-ubuntu-server and are displayed using Notify-OSD (the notification you see when you receive new IM, track change in music players etc.). These tips are actually for Ubuntu server, but it can also be a great way for new Ubuntu users to discover new features and tips in Ubuntu.

Ubuntu Tips Applet is available as a .deb file, so installation is very simple. There is no PPA available yet. Follow the steps below to install:

Command line way:

$ wget http://bitbucket.org/sagod/ubuntu-tips-applet/downloads/ubuntu-tips-applet_0.1.2.deb
$ sudo dpkg -i ubuntu-tips-applet_0.1.2.deb

If, you prefer to install it from the GUI, follow these steps:

1. Download the .deb package by clicking here.

2. Go to the location where you have saved the file and double-click on the downloaded file.

3. If you are in Ubuntu 10.10 and above, the Ubuntu Software Center will open. Otherwise, gdebi will open. In both the cases, you will be asked for the password. Enter the password and the installation will start.

After installing, you can launch the application from Applications > Accessories > Ubuntu Tips Applet.

The application does not auto-start when you start a new session. To make it auto-start, go to System > Startup Applications. In Startup Programs, click on Add and in the dialog box, enter “Ubuntu Tips Applet” (without quote) in the Name field and /usr/share/ubuntu-tips-applet/ubuntu-tips-applet.py in the Command field. Finally click on Add.

After starting the application, you can click on the icon in the System Tray to make it show a tip, disable the auto display, quit the application etc.

By default the application is set to display a new tip every minute. That can be a bit irritating and you can set the time you desire from Preferences.

The Document Foundation Releases LibreOffice 3.3

Four months after leaving OpenOffice.org, The Document Foundation has finally released the first stable version of LibreOffice. Although this is the first stable release, the release is given a version number 3.3 in continuation of the version number of OpenOffice.org.

Although The Document Foundation was started by less than twenty developers, the number has now grown to more than a hundred. This has allowed them to release LibreOffice ahead of schedule.

LibreOffice includes a number of original features which includes:

  • Ability to import SVG files in Draw and edit them interactively
  • Import filters for MS Works and Lotus Word Pro documents
  • Easy to use dialog box for title pages and page number in Writer
  • New tree view in Navigator Tool for Writer
  • Better import of WordPerfect files

Beside these new features, LibreOffice 3.3 also brings a number of extensions such as PDF importer, Presenter View in Impress, report builder etc. LibreOffice 3.3 also has all of the new features in OpenOffice.org 3.3.

Caolán McNamara, one of the lead developers of LibreOffice, has this to say about the release

We are excited: this is our very first stable release, and therefore we are eager to get user feedback, which will be integrated as soon as possible into the code, with the first enhancements being released in February. Starting from March, we will be moving to a real time-based, predictable, transparent and public release schedule, in accordance with Engineering Steering Committee’s goals and users’ requests.

LibreOffice already has very strong backings in the open-source community. LibreOffice 3.3 is already  the default office suite in Ubuntu 11.04 and it seems likely that other Linux distributions will follow suite as well.

LibreOffice 3.3 is available for Linux (both .deb and .rpm), Mac OS X and Windows. You can download it from here.

If you  followed our instruction and installed LibreOffice 3.3 RC 4 in Ubuntu, there is no need to download and install the .deb file again. The final release is exactly the same as the fourth release candidate.

LibreOffice Finally Lands As Default In Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narhwal

After what Oracle has been doing recently, it is no surprise that most of the open-source projects want to distance  themselves  from Oracle. So, when LibreOffice was announced as an alternative to the Oracle controlled Open Office, many Linux distributions offered their support for it. In fact, Mark Shuttleworth even  announced that LibreOffice will be shipped in the place of Open Office in a future Ubuntu release.

Today, Canonical has finally done it by replacing OpenOffice with LibreOffice in the daily build of Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narhwal”. This follows the earlier announcement that Canonical is planning to give LibreOffice a run in Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 2 to see if it can replace OpenOffice in the final release.

The second alpha of Ubuntu 11.04 is to be released 3rd February. LibreOffice will remain as the default office suite throughout the second alpha phase. There is no confirmation that LibreOffice will remain the default office suite in the final release – that decision will be taken later. However, in all likelihood it will remain as the default – unless something very bad happen in between.

The replacement of Open Office with LibreOffice will create a lot of noise, no doubt. But for an Ubuntu user, there will not be that much of a difference. Both LibreOffice and Open Office has almost the same UI right now. And regarding features, at this point most of what LibreOffice has done is import the patches from Go-oo. Ubuntu has always shipped Open Office with the Go-oo patches. So, there also users will not see much difference. However a big difference will be in the speed because LibreOffice uses a larger memory cache than Open Office.

If you cannot wait for Natty and want to try LibreOffice now, here is an easy way to install it easily.