Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Download and Save Youtube Videos in Ubuntu

Here is an easy way to download and save Youtube videos using Chrome and Ubuntu. I suspect that this will work with Firefox as well.

Here are the steps:

1. Visit the Youtube and select the video that you want. Start watching the video and wait for it to complete loading. Keep the web page up. Once you navigate away, the file found in step 2 will be removed.

2. Open up Nautilus and navigate to the /tmp directory.

3. In that directory is a file called "FlashBkJpeo" or something like that. Simply drag it onto your desktop and rename it!

4. Once it is on your desktop, you can play it by double clicking on the video.

Voila! You have downloaded a Youtube video.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Empathy Gets No Sympathy

Pidgin used to be a default install in Ubuntu, but was recently dropped in the most recent release of Ubuntu Karmic Koala. I occasionally used Pidgin on private chat server that was used a part of my regular employment. It is something that was not used all that often, maybe a couple of times of year.

This past week I needed to connect up to the chat server and gave Empathy a try. After a few minutes of fiddling around with the settings, I could not get it to work. Part of the problem was that I was not familiar with the set-up in Empathy, and the set up screens did not match-up at all with the generic set of instructions that are provided by my employer.

I am not sure why there was a change in applications in this latest release of Ubuntu. Pidgin seemed to work just fine. I found it in the Software Center and installed Pidgin. The nice thing I found was that you are able to remove Empathy as well. In the past, some applications in Ubuntu were tied to the ubuntu-gnome-desktop package, and individual packages were not able to be removed.

I am back to using Pidgin. In this case, I am just to lazy to track down how to set up Empathy and Pidgin properly. But Empathy, you'll still get no sympathy from me!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ubuntu One

Anybody try Ubuntu One? With the latest version of Ubuntu, 9.10 there is a software package that allows you to sync files on your desktop to another PC, via a file drop box service. It is part of the default install for Karmic Koala. I thought it was a nice feature. You get about 2 GB of storage area.

The client runs on your desktop and checks a folder in your home directory every so often for updated files. When it sees that a file has been updated, it will automatically sync it up to a server. I wonder what would happen if you logged off in the middle of a sync? I have not tested that out. So far I have been only using it to save documents and a few work files. I was able to sync them up from my Ubuntu machine at home, and upload the files. The next day at work, it was an easy retrieval, even from a Windows machine.

There seems to be no equivalent to a client that would run on a Windows machine for automatic file syncing. That probably would be the next step.

If I stick to straight documents, I seem to get the same functionality out of Google Docs. But Google Docs is a manual process. My guess is that some sort of file syncing process will arise out of the new Chrome OS. The possibilities are there.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mark Shuttleworth: Becoming the "Steve Jobs" of Linux?

I work up this morning and checked my usual Linux news sites and was pretty surprised to read that Mark Shuttleworth, the man behind the Ubuntu revolution is stepping down from Cannonical. He will get away from the day to day running of the company that supports Ubuntu and become more involved in improving the desktop experience.

His vision is to make the Ubuntu desktop more a more visually appealing and user friendly experience. "Better than a Mac" has been his motto. There is no doubt that the Ubuntu distribution has come a long way in recent years, but I think the development has been very slow.

From reading his recent comments about Linux developers, I get the sense that the friction between the camps has come to a head. GNOME is basically the same as it was 5 years ago, and Ubuntu is really still just like any other Linux distribution. Will Shuttleworth abandon Gnome and look for a better Linux desktop?

Linux desktops, no matter what distribution you run, is still just a collection of software that has been slapped together from a bunch of developers from all around the world. There is little continuity between user interfaces of applications. The one thing that they got right is stability, and the fact that the can be run on a wide variety of platforms. If you compare for example how Mac's OSX Mail or Time Machine software is integrated amongst is applications to how certain Gnome programs, the difference is striking. With KDE, it is even worse!

"Glued" together operating systems (ie, Linux desktops) are going to fall behind quickly as operating systems with very small footprints that can operate mobile devices take over the desktop market. Look at the success of running OSX on an IPhone. Now there is Google OS getting into the mix.

My belief is that desktops are gradually going to disappear from the home, People will do more of their computing using a handheld device, or slightly larger than handheld device, that can be carried around with them.

If they need a larger keyboard, or monitor, then they would simply plug the device into a docking station at home or work. For these devices a light OS is all that will be needed. The either connect up to the cloud to access their files, or run their applications natively. It will be able to use 3G or wireless, etc.

I think Shuttleworth is on the right track. But will anyone listen?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How to Upgrade to Ubuntu 10.04

Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx is out in Alpha, and if if you are brave enough, you can take it out for a spin. Remember that this is an Alpha release, so it will be full of bugs. Or you may get lucky and everything will work great!

Instead of downloading the CD image for Lucid Lynx, you can upgrade via the update manager.

Here is how to upgrade to the new version of an Ubuntu operating system, even if it is an Alpha or Beta testing:

Disclaimer: Alpha and Beta releases may not work, so do this with caution!
  1. Hit Alt-F2 to bring up a command line.
  2. Check the 'Run in Terminal' Box.
  3. Type sudo update-manager -d in the box
  4. Follow the prompts to upgrade.
It is as easy as that. It take some time to download the packages, and complete the install, depending on how fast your computer is. If you encounter any problems, be sure to submit a bug report to help with the development process of Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chrome in Centos: Does not work

Well, I tried to install Google Chrome on a Centos 5.4 computer at work. It did not work because Centos 5.4 still has an older version of lsb. It seems that it is a pretty trivial thing to fix within Chrome that will allow it to use an older version of lsb for the install. But, the Chrome developers closed out the bug report, stating it will not get fixed.

It seems they are only willing to support the latest version of Fedora, but are going to leave Enterprise Redhat behind. Interesting...especially with all talk of cooperation between Ubuntu and Chrome developers. Anyway, there is more details about it here at the Centos Forum.

I guess I'll just wait for Centos6....

Chrome in Beta for Linux

You can now head over to the Google Chrome Website and grab yourself a copy of Google Chrome for Linux. It is the beta version. I have been running a developer build of google chrome, which is an unstable release version of Chrome for some time, and have had very good luck with it.

The only thing I have noticed is that when you load a Google theme, the colors along the border are not rendered quite correctly for some themes. I am not sure if it is something within GNOME, or whatever. I assume it will get fixed. Either way, it is not a show stopper for me, since most of the themes work just fine.

Since I am on the developer release, I am going to stick with it for now. There are versions for Redhat/Fedora as well. I use a CentOs box at work, and will try the Google Chrome Beta there to see how it works. I assume all should go well!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Firefox, Thunderbird 3 and Ubuntu

I had a chance to play around with Thunderbird 3 over the weekend on a Windows box. The developers at Mozilla have made quite a few changes over the previous version. Overall, I like the new interface.

One of the most noticeable advances was the inclusion of 'tabbed' browsing for your e-mail client. The popular tabbed style was grabbed straight out of the Firefox play book, and works quite well with Thunderbird. Tabbed browsing allows you to open multiple folders in your email client, and you can view your e-mails in an almost web browser like fashion.

To me it begs the question: Will Thunderbird and Firefox meld into one application? Why not integrate the two so that they are one in the same application? If Google can base and entire operating system on a web browser as they are with Chrome OS, then it will really be a small stretch for Mozilla to combine FireFox and Thunderbird.

My guess is that there is a good chance that Thunderbird 3 will make its debut in Ubuntu 10.04 (LTS) Lucid Lynx.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Xubuntu 9.10 on 256 MB Ram

I have a Dell Lattitude C810 that 512 in RAM and about a 1.2 GHz Pentium 4 CPU. I had it upgraded to Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala and it was doing a pretty fine job. Since the laptop was so heavy, I primarily had it laying on a desk and used it to check the web. Otherwise this laptop would be a brick.

One of the memory chips went bad some time ago, and I was forced to remove one of the 256 MB modules. Therefore, I was left with just 256 MB of RAM. Not surprisingly, the Dell C810 became quite slow running Ubuntu and the GNOME Desktop. I three choices on what to do with this computer:

1. Throw it away
2. Go out and spend $30 for a new memory modules

I did not want to toss the machine quite yet (although I probably should) and I was not interested in investing any money into this laptop, so I decided to try Xubuntu on it.

Xubuntu is advertised as having a small memory footprint and great for older systems. To install it, I simply opened up a terminal and typed:

sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop

And hit 'Y' to a couple or prompts. All of the needed themes, artwork, and start-up programs were downloaded and installed without a hitch in about 20 minutes.

For a web browser, I switched to Google Chrome for Linux. Now the laptop is usable once again. It is still a little slower than before. But at least for casual web browsing it is still working. So maybe I will get another year or two of service out of this Dell C810 Lattitude.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Windows 7 Black Screen of Death

I have not had a chance to give Windows 7 a try, other than playing around with it on a couple of demo PCs and laptops at my local retail outlet. It seems like an OK operating system, and seemed to use a lot less resources than Vista. I tried Windows 7 out on a couple of low end netbooks at the store, putting them through their paces. Windows 7 seemed to run its applications pretty fast. It is too bad that none of these systems were running any virus software. I bet they would have been dogs if I gave it try.

I just can not bring myself to put down the $100 or so to upgrade to this operating system, when everything I need a PC for is already available in Ubuntu Linux. Maybe someday...

There have been reports that the latest security updates for Windows 7 is causing some system hangs. After the update you are left with a black screen, with now task bar, no icons, no system tray, or sidebar.

So, they went from the "Blue screen of Death" (BSOD) to the "Black Screen of Death."