Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Flickr uploads right from the desktop!

Flickr desktop application is very much prevalent across Windows platforms and Mac. However there isnt really a proper app for the use of Flickr in Ubuntu. Or so I thought.

There are actually 2 programs available for download from the synaptic itself. One is called Flickr uploader and the other Desktop Flickr Organizer. Of the two, the Desktop Flickr Organizer is the more user friendly and also the more efficient app. Its real easy to use, all you need to do is follow the instructions of the program and authorise the software from flickr (its not as difficult as it sounds, the program has clear instructions regarding its usage).

And uploading photos couldnt get simpler! A really useful software.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ubuntu 9.10 Review

Finally I had to give in to my immense curiosity. I couldnt wait for the stable release and I downloaded the beta version (Release Candidate) of Ubuntu 9.10 aka Karmic Koala.


Proceeded without a hitch, however this edition of Ubuntu is special simply because its using some really cool stuff this time around. The default file system has been changed from ext3 to the new and supposedly faster ext4 filesystem. The GRUB is now GRUB 2! So that means booting time is reduced. And it indeed has been although to what extent might be a matter of debate.

(For those who are using 9.04 and want to upgrade to 9.10, here's a sincere suggestion: BACKUP YOUR DATA. I tried upgrading from 9.04 to 9.10, and things didnt work out as expected. This maybe because of the new GRUB etc. but frankly speaking I wouldnt recommend "upgrading". If you want to use 9.10, format your drive/disk and install 9.10 afresh. And of course, backup all data)

The installation process is pretty fast, takes about 15 minutes (on an AMD X2 240 - 2.8 GHz processor with 2GB of DDR2 RAM) and proceeds smoothly. The best part about the installation is the new Windows styled know-about-your-OS sort of messages while Ubuntu installs. This is a refreshing change and reiterates the fact that Ubuntu is moving towards a far more professional approach.

The First Boot:

This is very important in my opinion, the first impression of an OS is where the real liking starts. And Ubuntu 9.10 does it with unparalleled grace! Erm...not exactly. On booting I found a notification informing me that my hard disk has multiple bad sectors. Quite shocking really coz my hard disk isnt really that old and to be frank, I never had such errors with 9.04 or with Windows (when I used to have it). Now if this is a bug of ext4, then its really a shame since from now on Ubuntu will be using ext4 as the default filesystem.
(BTW the boot splash is really good looking!)

Hits and misses

Ubuntu introduces the all new "Ubuntu Software Center" with 9.10. Now you can download multiple softwares all from the same Software Center window without having to wait for one software to complete installing. Novel idea but I still dont think it has matured enough to replace synaptic. Anyway, its moving in the right direction and thats whats important.

Personally speaking, I dont really like the icons of the default theme, although the wallpaper and the rest of the theme looks great. I might actually download another icon set.

To my utter disappointment Pidgin has been replaced my Empathy. I never really was a fan of Empathy and I dont think I will ever be. Pidgin is simply much more mature than Empathy right now.

Firefox now has a new version the all new 3.5.3 (thank god!). I was seriously missing this Firefox version, 3.1 of 9.04 was so passe!

The rest of the things are more or less the same compared to 9.04.


This is an important step forward for Ubuntu. In a month where we saw Microsoft come out with Windows 7 and Mac with Snow Leopard, how could Ubuntu stay behind? Kudos to the entire open-source fraternity for creating such an awesome OS and as always kudos for keeping it open-source and most importantly...free!


Friday, October 23, 2009

Installing nvidia drivers in Ubuntu

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This is a problem for most users and it can get a little difficult to find a proper solution to it. So, if you have an nvidia graphics card or an nvidia chipset, this is what you need to do to install the drivers on Ubuntu: (A suggestion: copy the following on a piece of paper so that you can follow the instructions)

Step 1: Visit the official NVIDIA drivers page. The link to the page is here: NVIDIA Download Drivers

From there select your product type, product series and OS and download the driver. Personally I feel you should download the driver to a separate folder so that you can use it later in case a new kernel is released by Ubuntu. As for me, I created a folder called "Drivers" under /home/user_name and saved the downloaded driver files there.

Next comes the part where you need to quit the default desktop and enter the command line (okay, dont freak out, its simple enough! Honest!)


Step 2:

Press "ctrl+alt+F1"

As soon as you press the three keys you will be taken to a command line interface and you will be asked to enter your username and password. You'll have to enter your Ubuntu username and password there.

Step 3: Next type the following exactly as mentioned:

cd Desktop
sudo /etc/init.d/gdm stop

Modify the following command according to the location where you have saved the NVIDIA file ("user_name" is obviously your username, so do replace that, also I'm assuming that you have saved the downloaded driver to the Drivers folder):

sudo sh /home/user_name/Drivers/NVIDIA

(press TAB after that and the rest of the file name will appear)

Follow the instructions after typing the following command (its easy dont worry! Just press "Yes" and "Accept" everywhere if you arent very sure/use the recommended option) and the drivers will be installed.

Step 4: Finally type the following:

sudo reboot

Your computer will reboot and when it starts you'll find your Drivers already installed. You can find your NVIDIA driver settings under System > Settings > NVIDIA X server settings.

Thats it! :)

P.S. - There's of course an easier way out. Go to System > Administration > Hardware Drivers and install the recommended nvidia driver. What this does is basically installs the latest version of nvidia available at the time of the release of that particular Ubuntu distro. So, if there's a critical update to the drivers, or if a new version is released, you wont get it. The above procedure installs the very latest drivers on your system irrespective of your version of Ubuntu.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Desktube...YouTube on your desktop

How many times have you wished there was a youtube app for the desktop? Well, from the looks of it, this has been the demand of users for a very long time. Only now has it been realised in the form of Desktube. Mind you, its not open source. However the development team behind this Adobe AIR app is quite active and even take the pains to send you personalised emails if you report a bug.

Its quite revolutionary in the sense that there's absolutely no other software which can do what it does, i.e help you watch youtube videos on a desktop app. Now I hope other companies spot the potential here and jump on this highly lucrative boat.

Anyway, the thing is this is quite a useful app, has loads of customisation options, lets you comment, add videos to your playlist etc. And the best part is that it even has twitter and facebook integration, so basically, in the long run and with some development, it could turn out to be a twitter and facebook client as well as a youtube viewer. Sounds good?

Well what are you waiting for? Give it a try.

Here's the link: Desktube


Thursday, October 1, 2009


We all have that little child in us dont we? Anyway, the thing is I was searching for a good software for Ubuntu which could help me read comics. Most of the comic books available are in the .pdf format which means one has to use Adobe Reader to read. Now that isnt exactly an ideal proposition to be frank, not because Adobe Reader is not an open source software (oh well maybe that is a reason) but because Adobe Reader is kinda boring! No cool tweaks, no ease of use (I'll explain it later) etc etc. So I was kind of frustrated with it and wanted a dedicated comic book reader. The search wasnt easy. I had to climb to the highest of peaks and to the deepest of canyons to find....Comix!

Undoubtedly this is the most popular and the best comic reader available on Ubuntu. It has some really cool options like the fit width view, manga view and double page view as well as enhancement options which lets you have total control over the brightness, contrast, colour tone etc. And its super fast. It has this cool feature called bookmark which is pretty much what it sounds. And best of all, its open source! Wanna try it out?

Installation instructions

There are loads of download instructions given on the official page, but here's the easiest way of installing it. Its available in the software repositories in Ubuntu, so all you need to do is type the following after launching the terminal:

$ sudo apt-get install comix

and it! You'll find it in the Graphics section of the Ubuntu applications menu.

Comix home page

Screenshots of Comix