Sunday, January 31, 2010

Watch online TV

For many of us, living outside the US or the UK, watching online TV is kind of boring. Simply because getting links to TV channels is such a big task without Hulu or iPlayer. Fortunately SopCast Player is a video player which will allow you to watch online/internet TV with absolute ease. The program has an inbuilt list of channels, and even allows you to add extra/custom channels.

As the official site describes it, SopCast Player is designed to be an easy to use Linux GUI front-end for the p2p streaming technology developed by SopCast. SopCast Player features an integrated video player, a channel guide, and bookmarks. Once SopCast Player is installed it simply "just works" with no required configuration.

The download link is here but I suggest that you follow the instructions given on the wiki page (worked perfectly for me).

Here's a screenshot of SopCast:

Give it a try.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Flash for 64 bit

Adobe has finally come up with a 64 bit version of flash which can be installed without any tweaks. Ubuntuforums has helped me out with installing the recent beta version of flash 64 bit.

First up, you need to clean your computer of anything 'flash'. To do that type these one by one in the terminal...

sudo apt-get remove --purge flashplugin-installer
sudo apt-get remove --purge flashplugin-nonfree gnash gnash-common mozilla-plugin-gnash
sudo apt-get remove --purge iceweasel-flashplugin mozilla-flashplugin firefox-flashplugin
sudo apt-get remove --purge swfdec-mozilla libflashsupport nspluginwrapper iceape-flashplugin
sudo apt-get remove --purge xulrunner-flashplugin midbrowser-flashplugin xulrunner-addons-flashplugin
sudo rm -f ~/.mozilla/plugins/*flash*
sudo rm -f /usr/lib/firefox-addons/plugins/*flash*
sudo rm -f /usr/lib/firefox/plugins/*flash*
sudo rm -f /usr/lib/iceape/plugins/
sudo rm -f /usr/lib/iceweasel/plugins/
sudo rm -f /usr/lib/iceweasel/plugins/
sudo rm -f /usr/lib/midbrowser/plugins/
sudo rm -f /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/*flash*
sudo rm -f /usr/lib/xulrunner-addons/plugins/
sudo rm -f /usr/lib/xulrunner/plugins/
sudo rm -f /var/lib/flashplugin-nonfree/

(Source - Ubuntuforums)

And then install the 64 bit build of flash as directed here.

The instructions are pretty simple and easy to follow. So get the latest flash installed.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

GIMP tutorials

Just wanted to let you know of a really cool site which has some awesome GIMP tutorials. And for once, its comprehensible! Check it out here: Tankedup-Imaging and browse through the 'Gimp Tutorials' category there.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Add random colours to burn effect of Compiz

The default burn effect of Compiz can get a bit boring after sometime. So, here's something to 'lighten' things up.

First up, go to GNOME Menu > System > Preferences > Compiz Config Settings Manager

You will now have to go to the Animations Add-on option:

Next, select the Random Colored Fire option:

Thats it! Now close the window and watch the magic unfold!

If you havent activated Compiz or configured it, please go through this post.


How to install Google Chrome

Google has finally released a proper version of Google Chrome browser (finally users of Linux OSes can have a go at Chrome and not Chromium, the development version). Mind you though Chrome is still in beta but since I've been using it for around a month now, I can safely say, its quite stable. It has both 32 bit and 64 bit versions and comes in .deb as well as .rpm packages. Which basically means that now we dont have to add Chrome to the repositories and do all sorts of weird things to get Chrome to work.

For us Ubuntu users, .deb packages are far easier to install, so I'll mention just that.

First up, go to this page and select your package depending on what type of processor and OS you have and the file you are comfortable with. I recommend going for the .deb file (be it 32 bit or 64 bit) unless of course you are comfortable with .rpm files.

Next click on "Accept and Install" and wait for the file to complete its download. Then just double click on the file and Install it. The Google Chrome browser should be located under GNOME menu > Internet.

Thats it! Enjoy the power of Chrome...


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Transparency (contd.)

This is actually a continuation of the Transparency post (already covered in another post) which can be found here.

The type of transparency which I'm going to mention today will change the transparency of the panels without changing the transparency of the docks (which you might be using). So basically this is transparency in the truest sense.

First up you need Compiz installed. For that check out this post.

Open Compiz (GNOME Menu > Preferences >CompizConfig Settings Manager). This is what you’ll see:

Now do you notice that small tab which says “Opacity, Brightness and Saturation”? Click on that tab and it will open with this:

Notice carefully, you can see a “New” button on this window under ‘Window specific settings’. This image will help you out:

After you click on “New”, type the following exactly as is:

(class=Gnome-panel) & !(type=Menu | PopupMenu | Dialog | DropdownMenu)

Set the value to around 70, I have found best results with 67. But do check which value suits you best.

Next if you want to change the transparency of the windows, this is how you do it:

First up, install Ubuntu Tweak. If you havent installed it already, the guide for the installation is here.

Now coming to the panel window transparency. Open Ubuntu Tweak from GNOME Menu > System Tools > Ubuntu Tweak. Go to the Desktop >Windows option and select the settings as given here (change the values to suit your needs):

I have set active and inactive windows transparency to 1.00 and 0.75 respectively. Try it out and check what suits you best.

Thats it! This will give you transparency in the truest sense.


Friday, January 15, 2010


Image via Wikipedia
I guess most of you must have heard of it, if not then this is for you.

Songbird is to Ubuntu what iTunes is to Mac or Windows. This music player uses the Mozilla build with loads of features. The best part is, it supports 'add-ons', yea much like the ones for Firefox, and believe me the add ons are brilliant! There are loads of customisation options available and the interface is unlike any other media player you have seen. And its syncing features are really awesome. So give it a try.

Songbird can be downloaded from the website here. (Although the Synaptic should already have Songbird)


Remove programs from WINE

Now uninstalling programs installed under WINE is pretty easy isnt it? But sometimes, even though you have uninstalled a program, the menus of it might persist in the GNOME Menu > WINE > Programs

This is quite a common problem with an easy solution. The next time you see list of programs in the menu which you have already uninstalled, do this:

Go to /home/username/.local/share/applications/wine/Programs folder (the username being your username) and delete the files which have the names of that already removed program.

Thats it! Close the folder and check the GNOME menu now, your WINE menu will be exactly as it should be.


(For tips on how you should install WINE and modify it to benefit you, check out another blog post of mine here)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Ultimate Flash Fix For Ubuntu

We all know how crappy the Linux version of flash is. And the worst part is, sometimes it becomes impossible to click on flash enabled menus and options.

Anyway, here's the working fix for this bug.

1. Open the terminal.

2. Type:
gksudo gedit /usr/lib/nspluginwrapper/i386/linux/npviewer

3. Add the following line before the line of the last text:

4. Save the file and restart your browser or flash app.

Thats it! Say goodbye to Flash woes!

(Also consult these posts on Explore Ubuntu: Flash for 64 bit, Solution to the Flash problem in Flock browser)


Source: Ubuntuforums

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bluetooth problem last!

If you've been using Ubuntu for sometime now you'd know that the default bluetooth manager isnt really good (well it never worked for me!). It was better in Jaunty but somehow Karmic 9.10 doesnt really 'get' bluetooth. Actually there was a really cool programme in Jaunty which was called 'Bluetooth File Transfer' (not exactly sure of the name). Somehow I cant seem to find that software anywhere on the web, let alone in the Ubuntu repos. Basically this had prevented me from transferring files from my mobile to PC for a few months.

Anyway here what you need to do, first up go to Ubuntu Software Center, search with the words 'blueman' and install the app. Here's the pic:

Ideally there should already be a small icon on your GNOME panel with the new Bluetooth Manager icon.
(If not go to GNOME Menu > System > Preferences > Bluetooth Manager)

Right click on that icon and select Local Services from the drop down menu. Next select the options from the Transfers tab exactly as shown in this pic:

Thats it, the next time you transfer a file, it will land up right on the specified folder! No hassles at all.


Plethora of Ubuntu games and softwares

If you're tired of the default Ubuntu packages/softwares/games etc. (well they're pretty extensive though, it should probably take you months to try out each and every software in the repos), here's a really cool way to install external apps without worring about tar.gz or extracting files etc.

For Ubuntu apps:

Its called GetDeb. It has loads of really good and useful softwares, and the best part is its just a one click install. But before you can download these, you need to install a small package (dont worry, it is small, just a few hundred KBs). The instructions for installation is here. The rest is self explanatory. Browse through the extensive list of softwares here and just click on 'Install' for the program you like. And bingo, it will be installed. No fuss, nothing.

For Ubuntu games:

The site is called PlayDeb, its a sister site of GetDeb but this one's dedicated to games. So before you start installing go through the installation instructions (basically install a package, this one's again in KBs) here. Then just browse through the huge list of games here and click on 'Install' for the game you like.



Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Nexuiz beta screenshot - uploaded from http://...
Image via Wikipedia
If you're using Linux, you might feel a bit uncomfy whenever your friends tease you about Linux not having any proper games. There's no 3D first person shooter game etc etc. Well, next time you meet such people, tell them you came across Nexuiz.

Nexuiz is a first person shooter game which is much like Quake. It has both single player and multiplayer versions. The game-play is smooth and perhaps more importantly the game itself is very 'light', absolutely nothing special is required in terms of processing power and graphics capability to enjoy this game.

Its available from the Synaptic as well as the Ubuntu Software Center (I would prefer to use the latter). Type 'nexuiz' in the search bar of Ubuntu Software Center. And install it. This image will demonstrate it.

Mind you the installation can take some time, on a 256kbps connection it took me about 4-5 hours. The link to the official site of Nexuiz is here. Also, do note the Ubuntu software repos might not update itself as soon as Nexuiz releases a new version. So, do check out the download page of the site here for the very latest updates (if you're playing in the Multiplayer mode, the latest updates are necessary).

Try it out! You wont be disappointed.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Yahoo Messenger for Ubuntu

I presume most of you must be really missing Yahoo Messenger since you shifted to linux/ubuntu. Apparently there is indeed a Linux version of Yahoo Messenger. It can be found here. Now this one's the official release. However this release has loads of problems. First up, there's no specific software for Ubuntu and also, there's no 64 bit version of this unix version of yahoo messenger.

Fortunately though there's a way out. And this time its a proper app with no issues whatsoever. Its called Gyache. Its a great replacement for yahoo messenger, has loads of features. Spam blocking mechanisms are superb and more importantly looks and feels much like the good old yahoo messenger for Windows. Here's the download page. Try it out!


Image: Danilo Rizzuti /

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Linux Mint...a revolution in the making

Its the 'green' season and everything's going green! And now even OSes have joined the green bandwagon (at least as far as naming of OSes is concerned).

Say hello to Linux Mint, the new Linux OS which has created quite a stir. Linux Mint uses the same repositories as Ubuntu, so it looks and feels much like it. But what Linux Mint promises is something quite extraordinary. It has virtually gotten rid of every 'techy' bits Ubuntu has and managed to create an OS which is well and truly 'universal' in appeal. Even Windows users will find this OS very very user friendly (I doubt what the KDE users will say now though, coz Ubuntu already has a tag of being too simple). There's another reason for this meteoric rise in Linux Mint's popularity. This OS is community driven. And for once, thats exactly what it is! Development takes place virtually every minute and updates are very frequent. Basically, the Mint community implements anything they find useful. Now thats something really cool!

Anyway, I downloaded the .iso file from the Linux Mint site. As 32 bit OSes are quoted to be more stable than their 64 bit counterpart, I tested the 32 bit version of the OS. Below is a list of images which will explain to you the installation process and give you a taste of the look and feel of Linux Mint.

Once you insert the CD of Linux Mint, this is what you get (the images are in sequence):

[Press any key preferably the 'Esc' key to select options, or else the CD will boot as a Live CD]
Next you'll have to select your type of installation, for a complete installation select as is shown in the image below. For live cd type installation, select the first option.

And the quite cute shutdown screen, check it out:

Press enter and your PC should restart. This is how the booting process unfolds:

And here's the really really cool Linux Mint menu. Much much more exhaustive and useful than the default Ubuntu menu.

That was the installation process of Linux Mint. Stay tuned for more info and guides. I have a feeling this is the beginning of something huge.