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ZORIN for the New and Upcoming Linux Converts

I love linux, and wished I'd used it years ago when I was learning computers. There is an unkown adventure when using opensource. You like creativity and innovation, you will like linux. Plus, it will teach you areas about computers and technology that some of the other popular OSs left out. I am sure you have heard the term, "one size does not fit all". Well in the linux realm, that's exactly true. There are plenty of linux distros customized to fit anybody's need. Don't think one is all you can get. 

Speaking of "one size does not fit all", I have been using a particular distro for a while, and it has great potential--Ubuntu. Ubuntu does pretty much what you expect in an OS and will recommend it to everyone. It is, however, not the only one. 

I like to explore, keeping my mind open to new things and experiences. That being said, I've looked at all the other available distro flavors exploring their uniqueness. There was one that really stood out- Zorin OS 4. 

The reviews mentioned that this distro was a faster alternative to windows and actually utilizes the same theme from windows vista and windows 7, cool. After running the liveCD, the OS booted fast, which was good for a liveCD. First thing I noticed was the theme. It was exactly like vista, more or less. Not bad, especially for users who are coming directly from windows. You will feel right at home. Zorin uses the KDE desktop environment, meaning it is very configurable. 

The task bar lets you pin programs for ease of launch. Very similar to Windows 7. And for those who became accustom to the windows themes, Zorin has desktop options to change the themes to either vista or 7. Like that? 

Zorin gives you the ability to install new opensource programs as like the rest of the linux OSs, yet with a little spice to it. Zorin is a spine off of ubuntu, so you will notice some similarities. In addition, wine is installed by default with an app called "playonlinux" that allows you to run windows apps. So wherever you go, your trusted windows apps follow. And, the programs run better on Zorin.  Wine also gives you a huge list of game you can play one Zorin. GAMES!!! One of the games sold me completely, Call of Duty: Black OPs, NO WAY. And, there are many more, Devil may cry 4, halo, etc. 

Zorin supports a wide range of hardware as well. Which I think is very critical to a successful linux OS. I am running Zorin on an old Dell WHL with a Xeon processor inside and a 1Gb of memory. This machine is loving it. 

Ok for you security gurus, Zorin has an app that allows you to configure your firewall. Thats right, a gui app to configure your firewall. I am not saying it can replace iptables, however, you are fresh to linux, so why not do something you are used to, savvy?  

Now for the online media content viewers. Zorin comes with all the video and audio codecs pre-installed. It supports the opensource and proprietary codec software so you are kept adaptive. The codecs that are support, flash, java and windows media codecs.

Did I mention, that Zorin is blazing fast? Oh yeah, it is. I was opening up multiple programs and windows and everything worked seamlessly. And, it is only 32bit. 

In my opinion, Zorin is the windows equivalent of linux. This is a good distros to use to promote linux and help new users get familiar with the system as they make their way to becoming linux gurus. 

 

Explanation of Firewalls

 

Preface


Thanks to the rise of computer networking and the internet it is now more important than ever to have a firewall installed an running on your system. This entry is intended to give you a basic understanding of what a firewall is so you can choose the best firewall for your needs.

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Convert 3GP to AVI (from smartphone to PC or YouTube)

Now after my post on how to create a video and sending it to YouTube I'd like to show basic steps when dealing with videos generated from a Smartphone.

As you may already know nowadays smartphones are able to create .3GP files, don't matter about the platform (Android, iOS, BlackBerry OS, Symbian). And even better, if you need to upload your videos directly to YouTube you don't even need to worry about them or convert from .3GP to something else, YouTube converts your videos for you, you just need to wait a while before their processing queue takes your video off and translate it to the .ogv file.

But if you don't want to wait and you'd like to have your videos publicly available instantly you'd better upload an AVI file to YouTube, because when you upload an AVI to YouTube they'll process your video immediately. You can apply the same procedure if you'd like to download a video from your smartphone to your computer and play it with a common media player program (or send it by email, etc...)

If you've read my previous post you may notice the same conversion method, in fact here it is:

ffmpeg -threads 2 -i
filefromyourphone.3gp -f avi -r 29.97 -vcodec libxvid -vtag XVID -s
1024x768 -aspect 4:3 -maxrate 1800kb -b 1500kb -qmin 3 -qmax 5
-bufsize 4096 -mbd 2 -bf 2 -flags +4mv -trellis -aic -cmp 2 -subcmp 2
-g 300 -acodec libmp3lame -ar 48000 -ab 128kb -ac 2
fileonpc.avi


Just change output resolution (1024x768 in my case) to whatever you want and you'll have your new AVI (or free format) file on PC, just change filename and extension to convert it to whatever you like (OGV, MPG, …)

 

In the beginning I was against ffmpeg due to its surreal parameters and complexity but now I'm using it for everything

 

Hope it helps

Ben

 

 

Installing Adobe Flashplayer 10.2 for 32bit/64bit Maveric Meerkat 10.10

Ok, as 10.10 officially made its way to the public, excitement is high in anticipation to see what the gurus at canonical have cooked up this time. 10.10, delivers improvement to 10.04. However we don't know what did 10.10 improve. Could it be that they did mention it and we missed the intell, or canonical letf it up to us to find out. Questions, assumptions, my conclusion, lets just see what it can do.

First off I am anxious  to how well 10.10 plays online media and its ability to decode media files, like .wma and .mp3. My first attempt, install adobe 10.2.

I did some google search( should try to use bing more often ), and quickly found some information on adobe flashplayer installation. It was quit easy.

In the CLI type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:sevenmachines/flash

after that repository addition, which completed rather quickly, type

sudo apt-get update

Once that is complete, type

sudo apt-get install flashplugin64-nonfree

Once this is completed, flash should be installed. However, I ran into a problem, Flashplugin64-nonfree could not be found. A few hacks were performed, and I realized flash had been install after the update. This was brought to my attention after the system recommended I install flashplugin-installer.

sudo apt-get install flashplugin-installer

The procedure was attempted, and that's when I noticed ubuntu already installed flash. Next, went to youtube and played one of my favorite songs. Everything worked like a charm.

Reference link: http://tutorial.downloadatoz.com/ubuntu-10-10-guide-how-to-install-adobe-flash-10-2-preview-version.html

 

 

Acer Aspire 4745 is not getting configured with Ubuntu 10.04

Acer Aspire 4745        AcerDear friends,

I did a grave mistake, by purchasing Acer Aspire 4745 with out primary investigation. I am Linux user especially with Ubuntu. I have been using this for the past 4 years. I installed it many laptops like Compaq, Dell, Acer, and etc. I was having Acer Aspire 5920Ubuntu was configured excellently and there was no problem at anytime. In fact, it was my Linux laboratory. But I am suffering a lot with the present model. The problems are;

  • the battery is not properly configured, the applet at top-panel is missing, even if I add it from 'add to panel' option it appears but not responding to the battery changes.
  •  the gnome-sound-recorder is not working, I could not record any thing with the help of default sound recorder. But I could record sound with the help of microphone in Windows 7 (which came factory loaded) with my laptop.

other than above two all remaining things are good. But you know these two are very much important, and very most is the batter, I don't know when my laptop shutdown, this is the highest insult to me.

You know it is not Acer mistake, it is purely my mistake, I must have done little research before purchasing it.

 

Howto create a video with Linux and publish it on YouTube

Introduction

This time I'd like to share with you a simple method for creating a screen cast, adapt it to a common format and finally publish your job to YouTube or another web video sharing service. In my everyday job I need to create documentation and a video is something simple, direct and easy to understand for everyone.

Publishing some videos has never been so easy if you work with a Linux workstation, this is a step by step guide for the average Linux user.

One of the simplest program around for recording screen casts is “RecordMyDesktop”, if you use Gnome you've gtkrecordmydesktop, on KDE there are qt-recordmydesktop and recordmydesktop-kde, by the way, it doesn't matter which version you're using, when you start it you'll have a tiny window like this:

 

 

Basic Settings

In my example I'll record a GEDIT session, but before selecting the full screen or the targeted window let's check the advanced settings to see my changes, just press “Advanced” button to see something, here's what I've changed:

 

in the “Performance” tab I've setup a low frame rate because I'm recording just desktop applications, I've disabled “Encode on the fly” and enabled “Zero Compression”.

With these settings even if you've a low end computer you'll have a quite decent video and audio, my first big problem with RecordMyDesktop was related to audio or video out of sync, with a setting like that you'll waste a lot of space but at least you've a well formed audio/video stream; you'll process your video later to adjust size and various optimizations.

Let's record something...

Resize your window to meet your needs and press the “Record” button and do something with your app, when you're done just press “Stop” in the top right corner where RecordMyDesktop resides (Gnome App for me...).

If you're a command line guru and you prefer to use a script or something like that you can run a command like this:

recordmydesktop --width=1024 --height=768 -x=10 -y=50 --overwrite -o out.ogv

This starts RecordMyDesktop with a 1024x768 window located starting from X=10, Y=50 from the top left, so I can place my app in that position and cut my Gnome menu bar, this is what I do for recording web screen casts, “overwrite” wipes existing out.ogv (default output file) if any. Take a look at the man page for further details. If you're using the command line directly you need to hit Ctrl-C to stop the recording.

Process your video

Now it's time to process your video and encode it in a well common format, if you upload videos on YouTube you can upload basically everything you want, from open formats like OGV, 3GP files from cellular phones, AVI files and so on. I've decided to convert my videos to AVI files and then upload them to YouTube, I just need to shrink my uncompressed video, resize it and convert into an AVI container. To achieve this task you can use one of these tools:

mencoder

mencoder your.recorded.file.ogv -ovc xvid -oac mp3lame -xvidencopts
-vf scale=1024:768 -o your.recorded.file.avi


ffmpeg2theora

ffmpeg2theora --videoquality 10 --audioquality 10 -optimize -x 1024 -y 768
your.recorded.file.ogv -o your.recorded.file.avi


ffmpeg

ffmpeg -threads 2 -i
your.recorded.file.ogv -f avi -r 29.97 -vcodec libxvid -vtag XVID -s
1024x768 -aspect 4:3 -maxrate 1800kb -b 1500kb -qmin 3 -qmax 5
-bufsize 4096 -mbd 2 -bf 2 -flags +4mv -trellis -aic -cmp 2 -subcmp 2
-g 300 -acodec libmp3lame -ar 48000 -ab 128kb -ac 2
your.recorded.file.avi


All these commands resize an input video to a 1024x768 (HD) AVI file suitable for a YouTube upload. I personally prefer the third option and I always use ffmpeg heavily, command line options were taken from WinFF (ffmpeg GUI), I suggest to use it to avoid audio/video sync problems.

Adjust size to proper values if you need a different resolution, in my example I'm using 1024x768.

 

Now with your new AVI file you'll be able to upload it directly to YouTube without worries and having it quickly available without heavy post processing jobs from Google

Here's a sample.

 

News Update: Do you want to convert smartphone .3GP files to an AVI in the same way ? Read my "Convert 3GP to AVI (from smartphone to PC or YouTube)" blog [linux.com]

 

Glad to receive your comments and add your tips to the command list as well

 

Ben

 

KOffice 2.3 beta 3 is out!

KOffice team have released the third beta of the upcoming 2.3 version KOffice suite. According to information on the oproject`s official site,

"Between 2.3 beta 2 and 2.3 beta 3 there have been 443 commits by 29 different authors.

 

All applications have received bug fixes and improvements. Krita is the application with the biggest team behind it and therefore also the most active one."

The KOffice project is clearly getting more and more usable and with 2.3 release more users will be ready to use it in real-life applications. While 2.2 release was clearly for early adopters this next one will be interesting for much wider audience.

This release provides some important improvements, such as:

 

  • improved support for reading MS Office documents
  • much-waited KPresenter slide-sorter mode
  • decent track changes support in KWord
Although KOffice lacks some of the functionality (for example, a proper support for tables in word processor) it advances quickly and expands in some areas that are quite new for open-source office tools (for example supporting google docs).

 

 

Installing adobe flashplayer for ubuntu 64-bit

 

Ubuntu is a great linux OS, if not the best, that offers so much in the opensource world. I’ve used it for almost a year, fully, and up to this point, have not had one major complaint. Now it is my primary desktop system, yeeha!!!

 

One of the reasons why ubuntu has been so successful is its ability to support different file formats, like mp3, wma, MPEG-4, .doc. PDF and others. This support codecs are not enabled by default, however ubuntu developers will be porting default codecs that will read these files.

 

One of the codecs I like is the adobe flashplayer. This allows my PCs the ability to watch online movies. To do that, you need the media file that can view online media content, that being adobe flash.

 

In Windows you have to install flash from the adobe website and off you go. The same is true in ubuntu, huge points given for this. The difference is you have to download the .deb or .tar.gz compressed file package. I rather use .deb because it allows the system to install the file automatically. This is done for the 32bit version of ubuntu, however, it is more trickier for the 64bit version.

 

I started out with the 32bit version of ubuntu, which, for lack of a better phrase, “just works”.Now I am using an AMD64 dual core architecture and want to take full advantage of its power, so 64bit ubuntu was installed. As you can imagine, what I did in the 32bit I wanted to do in the 64bit.

 

The first thing to do was enable adobe flashplayer. Unfortunately, there are no .deb package files to install, it has to be done manually. This is when you start to get into the nuts and bolts of the command line.

 

Adobe flash for 64bit ubuntu is still in the alpha mode and adobe plans to release the stable version for linux 64-bit sometime in the year of 2010. Goods news though, the alpha release is stable for the most part and works fine on my system.

 

To get things started, you will need to download “libflashplayer-latest_closed_beta.linux-x86_64.so.tar”.

You can download it directly from this site: http://go2.wordpress.com/?id=725X1342&site=nxadm.wordpress.com&url=http://home.scarlet.be/var/tmp/libflashplayer-lasted_closed-bete.linux-x86_64.so.tar.gz&sref=http://nxadm.wordpress.com/2009/04/26/install-64-bit-adobe-flash-player-on-ubuntu-904/

 

I prefer to download the file to your preferred folder through the terminal using the wget command.

 

cd <to you preferred folder>

wget <download link>

 

Once the file is downloaded, it will be in a .tar zip file. Unzip the file.

 

Within the folder thar flash file was downloaded to:

 

tar xvzf  libflashplayer-latest_closed_beta.linux-x86_64.so.tar

 

Now you are going to create a plugin folder in your home directory instead a system directory. Flashplayer is a browser plugin that allows internet browsers to decode media content. The plugin is accessed by the browser from an application plugin folder located on your system.

 

To create the plugin folder, change to your home folder:

 

cd <home folder.

sudo mkdir –p .mozilla/plugins

 

Then you are going to move the decompressed libflashplayer.so file to the plugin folder.

 

mv <location of the decompressed libflashplayer.so file>/libflashplayer.so .mozilla/plugins

 

If you can’t move the file into the plugin folder form the terminal, as I had that problem, you can do it manually by dragging and dropping.

 

Go to places>home folder>

 

Type, ctrl+h, this will reveal all hidden folders and files.

 

Move the libflashplayer.so file to the .mozilla/plugins folder.

 

Restart firefox and go to the about:plugins to see if libflashplayer.so is visible.

 

In the address bar, type, about:plugins

 

Under shockwave flash, you should see the libflashplayer.so file. This mean flash is enabled.

 

You are all done. Now you can listen to you favorite online music sites or watch your favorite online movies and videos.

 

Conclusion:

Flashplayer only works for the user account it was installed under. To use it for any other accounts on your system, you will have to repeat the process.

 

To view the site where I got this information visit,

http://nxadm.wordpress.com/2009/04/26/install-64-bit-adobe-flash-player-on-ubuntu-904/

 

system76 Pangolin Performance part 2 : First Contact

After getting the laptop out of the box and removing all the protective stickers out of it, I plugged the power cord and fired the thing up.

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Windows or Apple? My Personal Journey Into Linux

As far back as I can remember, I have been a Windows user. I can clearly recall using Windows 3.0 on one of my mother's engineering computers in the early nineteen-nineties, or browsing the Internet for the first time in Internet Explorer. This pattern of Microsoft loyalty continued unabated with only minor dabbles into the world of Macintosh in secondary school into my current college career at Central Michigan University.

 

Microsoft Vista changed everything for me. A sub-par operating system from a hardware and software standpoint, Vista was worthy more for a laugh than a laptop. On the other hand, I frankly could not afford to purchase any of Apple's computers, nor was I pleased when reviewing the technical specifications of said computers in relation to what I would be paying for.

The choices before me were as follows; purchase broken Windows or an over-priced Apple. I made my choice, and I've never been happier using a computer.

With all of this being said, you may be wondering which operating system I use, Windows or Apple?

I use neither; I am an Ubuntu Linux user.

Before I continue, I must break down what constitutes Ubuntu Linux, as this may be the first time you have ever encountered these terms.

According to information from the Linux (pronounced “lih-nucks”) Online! website, Linux.org, Linux was originally created in 1991 by a Finnish college student named Linus Torvald. The software was unveiled in the early 1990's with the arrival of the first Linux Kernel, which forms the elemental basis of how everything works within this or any other operating system. Since this new operating system was released under the GNU (pronounced “guh-new”) General Public License, every aspect of the content's source code could be altered and acquired by anyone, anywhere free of charge. This ability to freely edit and distribute content is referred to as “open-source,” with a popular example of an open-source program being Mozilla Firefox.

Based upon the aforesaid original Linux kernel is the Ubuntu (pronounced as “ew-bun-too”) operating system, which is also free and open-source. The phrase “Ubuntu” is roughly translated as “humanity towards others” from the Bantu languages of southern Africa. The word choice creates an apt description for software made by community members for global communities. As stated on the Ubuntu Linux website, (ubuntu.com), the operating system will always be freely available for use on any type of computer. Furthermore, you can even try out a fully-functional copy of Ubuntu on a “Live” disc prior to installation.

You may be asking yourself, “Open-source sounds great, but what about content?”

The next time you see me on campus or at a convention with my laptop, I'd be more than happy to show you the eye-catching Desktop Cube I use to navigate my four separate desktops. Or, when I switch to Expo mode and navigate between my other 4 desktops with the click of a button. My computer, like other Linux machines, does not crash nor does it suffer from malware such as trojans, viruses or worms due to how the kernel handles security. This is exactly the reason why most servers which power the Internet use Linux instead of Windows, and to a lesser extent, Mac.

Much has been said by devout users of Windows and Macintosh regarding benefits of exclusive proprietary applications on either system. Mozilla Firefox web browser, VLC multimedia player (similar to Windows Media Player) and the OpenOffice.org productivity suite (the Linux equivalent to Microsoft Office, Word, Excel, etc.) are just three examples of free open-source programs found on Linux systems. Concurrently, they are also largely available for use on all computers, Windows and Mac, on campus here at Central Michigan University. Need an iTunes alternative for managing your music collection? I use Rhythmbox. Love 3D modeling and digital animation? Try Blender. Are you a gamer? I highly recommend playing Nexuiz (soon, Xonotic).

If you can not immediately find a program you wish to use, you can get in contact with other users who are just as interested in creating content as you are; others such as the members of online forums such as Ubuntu Forums or here on linux.com. With a healthy mixture of programmers and imagination, before you know it, you will have a fully customizable and free program for anyone to enjoy.

Imagination, freedom and helping others; welcome to the world of Linux.

 

 

 

Fedora 13 Gnome: Compiz Windows and Menu Transparency

After few forums and some hour searching on the web and divided opinion about this, I just made to have transparent Windows and Menus (main menu, dropdown menu) on Fedora 13 with Gnome. o.k. maybe it was easy for some of you, but after looking on the web, there are a lot of people who doesn't know how to accomplish this, so I decided to make a simple but useful tutorial about this. So let's begin:

 

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