How to use VirtualBox

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Looking for some good software for your virtualization needs? Look no further! VirtualBox is a great software for running the obvious, like Windows, to running the unknown, like JRocketVE or L4. This simple tutorial tells you how to make a virtual machine in VirtualBox. Here’s what you’ll need:

VirtualBox and an Operating System of your choice.

I will be installing Windows 3.1 on my Virtual machine today. Let’s go ahead and get started!

Continue reading

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ContentBurst–Post 2: Stelarium Review

Ever wondered what’s out there, but have cloudy skies? Turn to Stelarium. This open-source software lets you see exactly what’s going on out there without you needing to leave you desk! One great thing about it, it works offline! The setup file is a bit large at 51.2 MB, but it includes everything you need to get started! I like the multiple modes of viewing in Stelarium. You can even see outlines of constellations and get detailed information about every star. If you run out of stars to look at, or you think something just isn’t right, you can update it and download more star packages! Now, I don’t know much about space, but this software is destine to teach me more about space! I like how it will take the time from your computer and then apply that to your view. For example, at noon, it showed a field (which I can change if I want) and it was day. But this won’t restrain you from changing the time.

Stelarium

As you can see, Stelarium is an impressive piece of software. I would go into all the features, but that would take way too long, so just go to http://sourceforge.net/projects/stellarium/files/latest/ to grab yourself a copy!

-Ben

ContentBurst–Post 1: Gedit review

Gedit is a text editor made specifically for Linux, but is available for any operating system, except for OS/2, but nobody uses that, except for Justin Timberlake, and everybody uses him. (That kinda sounds disgusting!) Anyway, Gedit is in some ways a lot like Notepad, but in more ways it’s nothing like Notepad. It has highlighting for certain markups (codes for programming). Another way it’s nothing like Notepad is this; have you ever heard of extensions and plug-ins for Notepad?! If so, please tell me, but I doubt it. Gedit has plug-ins. Some useful, some lame like crazy. Gedit would be a lot cooler by using a theme like Clearlooks, instead of the rather sad Windows 98 style for everything. It kinda gets on my nerves. So, I wanted to do this for ContentBurst February, so here:

Gedit VS. Notepad:

 

Feature

Gedit

Notepad

Plug-ins YES NO
Customizable theme Sort of…* NO
Cross-platform YES ONLY USING WINE OR SIMILAR
Free YES YES
In Linux repositories YES NO

 

*-You can change the color theme, but you can’t change the icon theme.

Now that I’ve done that, here is you link: http://www.gedit.sf.net/

We are doing a “ContentBurst” monthly to make sure you have something to read on this blog. I hope you like the idea! The content was made on Saturday, February 4th 2012, if you were wondering. Winking smile

-Ben

Armagetron Advanced

Hey guys! It’s Ben!

What’s that? Why am I here? (Cause it’s my blog, that’s why!) Well, because I can’t stay away from blogging, and Brenden is probably boring you poor readers to death right now! And no, My Internet has not been fixed, but I can post to GB7., so I’m doing a post about every 2 weeks or so. Before I get into tech, I want to announce 2 things:

  • If Brenden hasn’t told you yet, (tsk tsk) GB7 now has a Facebook page! Feel free to post on out wall anytime at http://www.facebook.com/GeeksBlog7!
  • I also wanted to welcome Zara Rethman into the group! She is the first female writer. The board of administration for GB7 (Me and Brenden Winking smile needed a fancy name) were thinking about Zara joining, and a few days ago, Brenden went ahead and sent her an invitation to join GB7, so now she’s part of the group!

Now that I’ve wasted a few minutes of your life, (Mwahaha! Devil) review time!!! (This was longer on paper…)

Don’t really care about the announcements? Skip to here!

You all know about Tron and all that stuff, right? If not, you are not a geek! (Oh wait, that’s LEGO and Star Wars… Never mind.) Anyways, one of the most famous parts of Tron is the light-cycle racing. Well, I found out about this great tri-platform program called Armagetron Advanced (AA, because typing the whole name is tedious.) TRI-PLATFORM: [Tri-Plat-Form] Works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, even though OS X is Linux. In this well-built game, you race around on your light-cycle and try not to be “dumped.” One great thing about AA, is that it has network game functions! This means you can sign in to the server and see a bunch of different games, all with random people from around the world. One thing that is a bit hard to preform, but pays off in the long run, is edit the source code, as AA is open-source. I don’t mean download the source code and make edits to the whole program, I mean opening up a .CFG file and putting in your own data. You can change maps, AI names, game settings and a bunch more! Maps are built in .XML format, so please don’t ask me how to make one, as my last attempt ended in failure.

AA

As seen above, I have version 0.2.8 right now. I haven’t updated in a while, so there may be a newer version. Winking smile

History:

I know, history? Ugh! I hate history! Well, I couldn’t find anywhere else to put this, so I put it here. AA was based off of Tron Legacy, but that was not the first instance of this style of game. According to the readme, the first instance was Blockade from 1976. The first home version was SNAFU for the Intelevision system in 1981 and the next was Surround for the Atari 2600. Either way, the game is great!

I like the game’s menu system and I like the snazzy 3D camera angles, too! There is also a nice little console for you to type commands in. The gameplay is smooth on most operating systems, but I see a major speed-up on Windows as opposed to Ubuntu. (Somewhere from about 100 on Windows and 50 on Ubuntu.)

The whole game is brilliant and I’ll be sure to keep playing for ages to come, and I hope you do too! To grab yourself a copy, go to http://armagetronad.net/.

I want to apologize about the sad state of the blog lately. We hope to get posting again soon, so stay tuned, guys! Smile

-Ben

My Final Post: How to record audio from a device using Audacity

Hey readers! I am sad to say that I am leaving GB7. Perhaps only for a few weeks, a few months or even a few years, but my Internet that I use now blocks sites like WordPress (Who hosts GB7) and Youtube, so I am unable to keep up with comments and such. I am happy to say that the comment issue seems to have been fixed! Our friends over at WordPress took a look and seemed to know what was going on. I am keeping my profile up on the About Us page and will keep my account active, if I am able to resume blogging. From now on, Brenden Reeves will be our webmaster. If you have questions related to the website, you will now need to direct those to him. I will probably be lurking about the blog at every chance I get, but I won’t be doing much else. I know what your thinking, “Ben, you started the blog, why is it you are the first to leave?” Well, things happen, I guess. Winking smile Keep on keeping on!

Now for the tutorial. I will be showing you how to record audio from a device such as a iPod or in my case, a Nintendo DSi. The device will need a headphone jack in order to do this. You will need:

I’m going to do this step-by-step, cause I like it that way. I can’t stand Kelly Clay’s posts on http://www.lockergnome.com/, she NEVER does step-by-step! Anyways….

  1. Start up the device and get to the file or menu with the audio you wish to record.
  2. Insert the line-in cord in the headphone jack of the device and in the microphone jack of your computer.
  3. Download and install Audacity by using the link above or by clicking here.
  4. Open Audacity and make sure the drop-menu to the right of the microphone icon on the second-to-last bar says “Primary sound capture”
  5. Click the large record button and start the media on the device. Wait until that finishes and stop recording by clicking the stop button.
  6. Trim the un-wanted parts by clicking and holding on the large window before the media and after and pressing delete.
  7. Go into File –> Export and save as a WAV, MP3, WMA or your desired format.

There you go! If you want, feel free to use some effects on the audio. I like the “Wahwah” effect. Audacity has tons of great tools for you to use on your music and audio, try them all out! Smile

This is Ben High, for his last blog post for awhile, signing off. Good bye, community! I hope to return to you soon, so stay tuned and try to act excited about iOS posts from Brenden. Winking smile

-Ben High

Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox

If you use the Internet, which you are now, you want a fast an simple Internet browser. In this post, I will cover Safari, Chrome, IE and Firefox.

Internet Explorer (IE)

I would not recommend using IE 9 at all. It slows your system down, it crashes and it’s slow. The first thing I did on the Internet was go and get a new browser (Chrome, of course) Here’s my default IE screen:

IE9

As you can see, it is a basic browser. I like the fact that it blends into the top-level window (which I’ll get into in a minute) like MirandaIM or some other Windows 7 program. Other than that, I dislike IE completely.

Google Chrome

This is my favorite browser and used by both writers here on GB7! It is the fastest I’ve used, has a top-level theme, a great home page, apps and extensions, sugar, spice and everything nice! If you look back in the archive, you should see tutorials and app reviews for Chrome!

Google Chrome

It has apps and some extensions. The picture in the background is a bit ominous, but I like it. A great thing about Google Chrome is that you can customize it with themes. These not only change the home screen, but also change the top-level window style.

Top-Level Window Style on Google Chrome

I would use this for a browser any time!

Apple Safari

This browser is usually for Macintosh, but also has a Windows version. Unlike Chrome and IE, it does not have a top-level window style.

Apple Safari

I haven’t gotten a chance to use this browser very much, but the style is very nice. I like the top bar for the simplicity, but I would still use Chrome over this.

Mozilla Firefox

This is the first open-source browser I have used, and I like the style of it. It has a top-level window style, but isn’t as flashy as Chrome’s.

Firefox

I use this browser on our home computer, because it is connected to dial-up (the really slow Internet connection that nobody likes.) It’s a nice browser. Here’s the top-level window:

Top-level window theme on Firefox

(6 pictures… not done yet!!)

Comparison:

These are the four main choices for a browser. I didn’t go into much detail up there, so I’ve made a table of features!

IE Chrome Firefox Safari
Local Home page x check x x
Apps x check x x
Extensions x check check x
Free check check check check
Top-level window themes x check x x
Downloadable themes x check check x

It’s all about choices. As you can see, Google Chrome has a yes on everything while others stumbled. Especially IE and Safari. Well, that’s all I have for now! And now the image count. Drumroll please.

Da da da da da da da da da da da da da da…

30 IMAGES!! (Man this will take a while to upload.) That’s 3 times Brenden’s record of 10! HA!! Winking smile The war is on!

-Ben

Ubuntu Tutorial: How to personalize Ubuntu–Part 1

Hey guys!

I did a review on Ubuntu about a month ago and promised a tutorial or two, so here’s one on how to personalize your Ubuntu Desktop! Of course, you will need to have installed Ubuntu or use it on a LiveCD. After you have booted into Ubuntu, continue reading!

1: Window ribbon style

Unlike Windows or Mac, Ubuntu lets you change the top bar style to fit your preferences! This is how you do it:

  1. Right-click on the desktop and click “Change Desktop Background”
  2. Click the “Theme”tab.
  3. You will be presented with a list of themes for you to use.

You can also use some other themes you find on the Internet to change it up a bit!

2: Window ribbon button position

This is a bit harder, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a piece of cake!

  1. On the desktop, press ALT+F2 and type “gconf–editor” in the box that appears. Click “Ok”.
  2. Navigate to apps—> Metacity –> General
  3. On the right, you will see a list. Navigate to “button_layout”

Now you can change the button layout. Check the help text below it for more info.

3: Templates

This had me stumped for so long. But, I have it down now! Here’s how you do it!

  1. Go into the Ubuntu Software Center and download and install Ubuntu Tweak.
  2. Open Ubuntu Tweak and navigate to “Manage Templates”
  3. On the right, move all of the items from the right of the screen to the left.

That’s how it’s done!

I’m going to go ahead and end this part of the tutorial right here, so thanks for reading and I’ll have a part 2 up pretty soon! Smile

-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

Miranda IM review

Ever wanted to have one place for all of your IM accounts and IRC? Now you can with Miranda IM! I downloaded it from it’s website, miranda-im.org and I love it! It is currently in beta, but it is still great for IM! It supports Yahoo!, IRC, AIM, GG, IRQ, JABBER and MSN, and still has a way to go. The icons can be imported, too! Just a tip; don’t use the expansion pack! My initial impressions were more on the good side than bad. we’ll see how it works later on down the line. When using an Aero style Windows, Miranda blends to the top bar, which adds some “Oooooo…” to the program’s design. I’ve yet to see this program in full action, (Come on… somebody go online!!) but from the chat windows I have seen, it is a very neat program! I hope you guys check it out some time! Smile Thanks!