Recruiting bloggers

If you like reviewing technology or giving some tips to others, you can be a writer on the blog! All you have to do is drop me a line at pack5guy@yahoo.com and give me an example post. The post should be informative, well-sorted and have proper punctuation and spelling. (Excluding program/OS names) If I find that the post will fit into the website, I will reply to you and let you know that I like it. I will then send you an invitation as a writer on the blog. Good luck! Winking smile

-Ben

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Comment issue

I was changing my theme, when I noticed that 19 comments that I had no clue existed, had somehow been marked as spam. I want to apologize to all the people who looked at my blog and commented without me noticing. I will be watching out for this issue in the future. I restored all the comments and approved them all. Sorry about that, folks!

-Ben

Ubuntu review

Ubuntu Linux 10.10 was the first Linux distribution I ever used. You may remember the name in my last post, “How to get started with Linux.” While I was writing that post, I realized that I had not done a review on Ubuntu yet. Well, here is the review I have been nagging myself about for the past few days! Ubuntu is the easiest Linux I have used. It’s one of the most known Linux distributions out there today. It is also the only Linux distribution that supports VirtualBox Additions. Ubuntu has a few “official” derivatives, as well as the ones made by the Linux community. The official ones are Kubuntu (Ubuntu using KDE instead of GNOME), Xubuntu (Ubuntu using XFCE instead of GNOME), Lubuntu (Ubuntu using LXDE instead of GNOME), Edubuntu (Educational version of Ubuntu) and Mythbuntu (Something to do with TVs…) Ubuntu has countless unofficial (or community) derivatives, such as Macbuntu, a Macintosh OS X-style derivative. The current version of Ubuntu is 11.10, but is coming up to 12.04 pretty soon here. If you have not noticed it yet, the “version number” is actually a date. Ubuntu is released every 6 months. Once in April and again in October of that year. 2011 has finished for Ubuntu releases, but the new year is coming up really quickly. 2012 will bring new changes for the Ubuntu line. 10.10 is already a huge change since the project started. If I look back, there was no default background in the early versions of Ubuntu and the window ribbon style was different back then. The color of the distribution has changed also. It was once orange, but now it’s a dark purple color. One of the best things about Ubuntu is that it’s Linux. What I mean by that is that it is fully customizable. You can change the window ribbon style, panels and so much more with a click of a button. You can also download what’s called “XPGnome”, which transforms any GNOME desktop (Ubuntu or Edubuntu) into a Windows XP-like desktop. It is best for versions before 10.10, but works on any version of Ubuntu.

Ubuntu Software Center

Something I like best about Ubuntu is the Ubuntu Software Center. Here, you can browse for programs without even needing to know the name! It’s simple and very graphic, making it easy to navigate in. All you need to know is what kind of program you are looking for! You can use the categories in the Software Center to find the program you want! Once you find it, you can read up on it and see a screenshot! (not available on all programs) Before you can download or read about any programs, you have to update your cache, Ubuntu makes this easy by letting you select a program and downloading the cache for that source.  After that, you can download and install programs with a few clicks and keystrokes! The bad thing about the software center is that it prompts you for you “root user” password. This can probably be turned off somehow, but I have yet to find out.

All-in-all, Ubuntu is a great Linux distribution, though it needs some work on programs crashing. That’s all I have for now folks! Stay tuned for some Ubuntu tutorials possible in the future! Smile

p.s.: Happy new years, everybody!

-Ben

How to get started with Linux

If you have been following the blog, you have noticed 2 posts about Linux, both of them are reviews. You may know exactly what Linux is, or you may not have ever heard the word “Linux” before in your entire life. If you have never heard of Linux, this is for you, if you have used or know what Linux is, but don’t own a Linux computer, read over this article. If you use Linux, watch out for some more reviews!

What is Linux?

This is a question I get from a lot of people. Linux is older, so some people don’t know about it, but Linux is gaining more popularity lately. One person knew that I was running Ubuntu Linux on my old laptop, but it took him a second to identify it. Oh, the question! Linux is an operating system, like Windows or Macintosh (now known as Mac), but is a little more command-line oriented. No matter how hard you try, you can never pass a command-line system while starting Linux. In some cases, command-line is all Linux is. The thing that sets Linux apart from Windows and Mac, other than the appearance, of course, it that it is the only operating system (OS) that is free. You are able – and encouraged, actually – to customize it! You can change the close, minimize, maximize buttons position and appearance quite easily. Something that I did for a long time was use what is called a “Live-CD.” A Live-CD allows you to run Linux without touching your computer, though not all Linux distributions (distros, the different kinds of Linux, created by other people) support Live-CD. The ones I know that support it are Ubuntu, Slax (though Live-CD is the only way to run Slax, see Slax review.) and OpenSUSE. Those can be found here: Ubuntu’s website  |  OpenSUSE’s website  |  Slax’s website

Different Linux distros have different tastes to it. They also have different software to them. Most Linux distros have all-free software, where some may have proprietary/commercial software to it, too.

Where can I get Linux?

When I first got into Linux, I asked myself this question. The answer is not linux.com or linux,.org, though. Google Linux distros. Wikipedia.org has a nice chart for Linux distros, which I have actually contributed to the article myself. One great Linux distro for beginners is Ubuntu. (Link above) It allows Live-CD booting and is easy to install and use. Updates come every 6 months for Ubuntu. (the 10th and the 4th month of each year.) After you find a Linux distro you like, you have to download the .iso file. This could take from 10 minutes to an hour, depending on your Internet speed, the mirror you use and the Linux disto you picked out.

Ok, I just downloaded the .iso file… what now?

After you download the .iso file, you need to burn it to a CD or DVD, or a USB drive. There are also ways to test Linux without rebooting or using a disc, it’s called virtualization (also called Virtual Machines). They simulate a computer inside your computer. You can find a virtualization software free online. I trust VirtualBox (virtualbox.org) for all of my Linux work. After you have burned the .iso file to a disc using a burner or “unetbootin” for USB drives, restart your computer and look for a key to press to enter your “BIOS settings.” From there, use your arrow keys to navigate to your boot tab and move the CD drive (or USB) to the top of the list, save your configuration and restart the computer. It should boot into Linux. You can then use your arrow keys to select whether you want to boot the Live-CD or install it to your hard drive. After that, Linux will boot up eventually, depending on your choice. There you are. Linux!

How do I work this thing?!

If you are having problems with Linux, check the Help program, or the distro’s website. They should have what you need there. If you don’t know how to work it at all, move the mouse around and click stuff. Winking smile I will also be happy to help you with your Linux questions. You can reach me at pack5guy@yahoo.com.

 

Thanks for reading guys! Smile

-Ben

Blender review

If you are in the market for a good 3D modeling and animation and game creation software, look no further than the wonderful price-tag of $0.00! Blender is a great tool for not only animations, but also modeling, coding and even video games! One of the greatest things about Blender is that it is free and stands as one of the most used Open-Source pieces of software out there. Another great thing about Blender is that it works on all 4 operating systems out there! (The fourth being Solaris.) That’s two great reasons to get Blender! You can obtain it from the Ubuntu software center or SUSE software repositories, or you can download it for free for any other operating system at http://www.blender.org/. It’s really good for anyone’s 3D needs. It starts in seconds, with no splash screens in the way. One minor issue is that you may need to download and install Python just to get it to work. Windows users should be able to get away without needing to do that. The current version of Blender is 2.60, but I use 2.49b for my everyday use, as I don’t like the new layout in 2.60. If you are new to Blender, this won’t matter to you… Unless you are extra picky or something like that. Here is a little still frame I made with Blender in 3 and a half minutes:

 

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Pretty good for taking only 3 and a half minutes… counting the time it took me to decide what to do! And the watermark was made in the blogging application, Blender doesn’t put watermarks on anything. I chose this frame just for the close-up cube at the right of the image. That image is actually the very first one on my blog! Yay! Well, thanks for reading! 🙂

Windows 8: Developer Preview: Part 2

I just installed Windows 8: Developer Preview on my old Toshiba laptop. I could have done the 64-bit version, but I didn’t want to take any chances, plus my discs are only –W, so I can’t re-write them. It runs a whole lot faster on a real computer then it does on a Virtual Machine. It took about 5 minutes to do what a 30 min process took on a virtual machine, but the first boot was almost 3 times as long on a physical computer. It takes a while to install Windows if you haven’t noticed. One of the new things that I like about it is that when your battery goes low, it notifies you instead of doing a popup which could be covered by an application on Vista and 7. One thing I need to get used to is the new start menu. When I need a desktop app, I have to go to my charm-bar (which is easier on a physical than a vm.) and choose Search, or go to my start menu and type. The other bad thing about that is that I need to scroll down and choose “Applications”, because the default is searching /BUILD. That aside, I applaud Microsoft for they’re new OS. Sorry about me not posting much, nothing to post about lately. Thanks for reading this and I will hopefully be posting a video of Windows 8 running soon. Also!! I forgot to say that it takes Windows about 10 seconds to boot up and it boots up almost instantly from a hibernate, so that’s way faster than the OS I covered! (10-15 minutes booting Vista, 15-20 minutes shutting Vista down.) Ok, that’s done. Thanks, guys! Smile