Tag: Linux

Kubuntu Karmic Koala is out!

Kubuntu Karmic Koala
Kubuntu Karmic Koala

Kubuntu Karmic Koala is finally out! I use it since the Release Candidate came  Oct. 22 nd, and it is absolutely awesomely mind-blowingly fabulous.  All of the kinks in Jaunty have been fixed and a lot of new features have been added.

Kubuntu?

Why am I talking about Kubuntu and not about its more popular sibling Ubuntu? Well, very simply because KDE kicks Gnome’s ass any day (while blindfolded and with all of its finger stuck in its nose). I know that seems like a very bold and unjustified statement, well it is indeed very bold but totally justified.

The main difference about KDE and Gnome, besides the fact that the KDE foundation is much more solid, flexible and portable, is the mindset. In KDE you can configure (trough a nice GUI) pretty much everything, whereas in Gnome, you get a bunch of very comfortable defaults that (although they can be modified) are not intended to be fiddled with too much.

Also, KDE is much more than a desktop environment and provides a full suite of programs that do almost everything you could want to do. These programs also integrate very well together and provide as many more features and options than any sane person would need or be able to use (but who likes sane people anyway?).

Quick Review

My Desktops (Grid View)
My Desktops (Grid View)

I am currently using the 64-bit version of Kubuntu and it is performing incredibly well. The system (my laptop) boots in around 40 seconds and turns off in less than 15 seconds. The graphical performance is flawless and I can benefit from smooth performance even when doing very processor intensive tasks (such as stitching photos together).

Also, It comes with Ubutu One (a remote storage service) which is pretty convenient for sharing and backing up files.

I’ll try to do a screencast and post it in order to show off the Koala.

Tux Laptop Sleeve

The only defect of my new Vostro 1320 is that it did not come with a sleeve as the Eee PC does. Since I would like to protect the laptop from scratched and dust, a sleeve is absolutely required. So, from my perspective, the only solution to this problem was to do one myself.

I had an old blazer from my girlfriend’s father that was too oddly shaped to fit anybody I know, but I liked the fabric and I thought that it could become a very nice laptop sleeve. The only problem about that idea is that I do not know how to sew. Of course, not knowing how to do something, has never stopped me before and is not likely to stop me any time soon.

Tux laptop Sleeve
Tux laptop Sleeve

Materials

  • Old blazer
  • Zipper
  • Fabric Marker (not required but rather cool)

Doing it

Making this was surprisingly simple since I expected great difficulties coming from the sewing part. I decided to go with a design as simple as possible and to minimize the number of stitches, this resulted in making something extraordinary similar to a simple cousin.

I simply cut a rectangle big enough so that, when folded in half, it could contain my laptop from the blazer and then stitched the bottom and the side of the resulting pouch.  Then, I added a zipper to the top. I used zigzag stitches all the time and, of course, I sewed the sleeve from the inside.

Also, I chose a section of the blazed which had an internal and external pocked so I could use them to carry some extra stuff. Furthermore, I kept the (synthetic?) silk interior lining that looks better than the bare exterior wool.

Finally, I wanted to ad some decorations to the pouch so I decided to use my brother’s fabric markers (he is using for making pretty cool disguises) to ad the word “Linux” to one side of the sleeve. Then I asked him (since he is much more talented than me at drawing (and since I am very lazy) to draw Tux on the back. To achieve that he used a stencil made from the image below that I got from the internet.

Tux Stencil
Tux Stencil

I think the final result is pretty cool and very useful. The pockets are great, I can put all of the things that I usually need to carry with my laptop (e.g. mouse, headphones, USB keys) without any troubles. The only thing missing is perhaps a handle that I may add in the future.

My Brother Painting Tux
My Brother Painting Tux

Eee PC 1000 + Ubuntu + KDE 4.1

My computer finally died. After close to ten years of faithful service, my computer catastrophically failed one last time (this doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t try to fix it). Anyways, this pushed me to finally buy another computer after many years of searching around.

I chose to buy an Asus Eee PC 1000; I could not be happier with my buy.

The obligatory Eee PC specs:

  • 1.6 GH Intel Atom CPU
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 40 GB SDD (8 + 32)
  • 10 in LCD
  • SDD card reader
  • Multi-touch touchpad
  • Shiny black body
  • WiFi draft n

The solid storage is great. It gives the peace of mind that I require to be able to take the laptop everywhere on my bike or in my backpack (I jump around a lot). I have currently formatted both disks with ext3 partitions mounted with the realtime option. I know about the life expectancy concerns but I have not found any reference that says that my SDD drives will die prematurely if I use the ext3 filesystem instead of ext2. Also, the ext3 filesystem is more robust and it doesn’t corrupt files if it is not checked often or if the computer is turned off abruptly.

I installed Kubuntu by creating a live USB stick using UNetbootin and then setting the USB stick as the primary device in the BIOS. The Eee PC then boots with the USB key and Kubuntu can be installed normally. For more info about installing Ubuntu please refer to this page.

In order to have the WiFi adapter and the wired Network card working, I used the kernel packages from Array.org.

The battery life is awesome. It is much longer than in conventional laptops, even with the processor working at full speed, the LCD at full brightness and the WiFi adapter enabled. Also, the keyboard is very nice and not too small. It is really easy to get used to it. For more info about the Eee PC performance, please watch the following video:

The touchpad is very good and the multitouch feature works very well. It is hard to go back to normal touchpads. Nevertheless, a mouse is much faster and precise, so I decided to buy a mouse: the Logitech VX Nano.

Needless to say, the VX Nano is wonderful and a perfect match for the Eee PC. They have both been carefully designed with particular attention to detail and quality. They come with carrying cases and are very sturdy and good looking.

It is obvious that I’m happy with my two new toys.

Finally, KDE 4.1 is simply perfect. It is beautiful, fast, and very well thought. In short: the perfect software for the perfect hardware.