Saturday, 5 December 2009

Mousey Terminal

I found an insteresting software package playing with Fedora 12. It may be available for other distriburions as well.

It's called GPM.

According to Wikipedia (short and sweet description), GPM means "general purpose mouse" and it "provides mouse support in Linux virtual consoles. It is included in most Linux distributions."
If you want to know more, this is GPM's official page.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Sitex 2009

SITEX 2009 is here again, and here's some information that can be very useful! Tomorrow (Sun 29/Nov) is the last day, so apologies for not posting this before. Fortunately, I don't need anything from it, so it slipped my mind. Plus I'm really into avoiding crowds.

Anyway, here it goes:

Other information you may get (via Google, for example) I found not as relevant and essential.
So if you're going to Sitex, check the offers and perhaps decide before you go.

And remember that some shops have Sitex offers during or even after the event (and some despite not taking part in Sitex).

Anyway, Selamat Hari Raya Haji, and happy IT, everybody.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Day 1 with Snow Leopard

Let me start by saying that I'm a fan of clean installs, so don't expect to find any information about upgrading issues here.

So, what you'll find here is a summary of how I've set up Snow Leopard from scratch.

Make Leopard boot in 64 bit mode
For selected Macs models only*, you can enable this. By default, all Macs except Xserves (server machines) boot in 32 bit mode.

*Which models?
Open the Terminal and type the following:
ioreg -l -p IODeviceTree | grep firmware-abi
If you get the following output, you're all set to go. Otherwise, skip this section.
| | "firmware-abi" = <"EFI64">
OK, you're happy. You got the EFI64 message (that means your Extensible Firmware Interface is 64 bit) and (still inside the Terminal, type:
sudo nano /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/
Type in your password when asked. A handy text editor will open a configuration file. Carefully, change it so it looks like this:
Kernel Flags
So, the idea is to insert the line
Right after the "Kernel Flags" section. Press control and X simultaneously, then Y, then return. Now we're done. Restart, then open the Terminal again, and type:
uname -a
If you get something like the following, the magic worked! Congrats!
Darwin xxxxxxx 10.1.2 Darwin Kernel Version 10.1.2: Wed Sep 9 23:09:02 PDT 2009; root:xnu-1486.1.8~1/RELEASE_X86_64 x86_64

2D Dock
Yes, we'll be using the Terminal utility again. Open it, and type
defaults write no-glass -boolean YES
killall Dock
To set the Dock to a 2D look, or
defaults write no-glass -boolean NO
killall Dock
To (re)set it to the 3D glassy look. I prefer 2D myself because it's easier to see which apps are open (the little dot).

Install MS Office 2008 without Rosetta
Rosetta provide PowerPC support for Intel Macs, and is not installed by default in Snow Leopard. I find a waste of space and time to install it, so... Guess what! Terminal again. I open it at login, as you may guess.

Obviously, you need to insert the MS Office 2008 DVD into your Mac's optical drive. After that, type inside the Terminal the following:
sudo installer -package /Volumes/Microsoft\ Office\ 2008/Office\ Installer.mpkg/ -target /
Type in your password, and wait. Wait! It takes a while, even on your shiny new Snow Leopard Mac or your recently upgraded system. You will get the familiar prompt back once the installation is done. No nags, no questions asked, just an old fashioned, straightforward install.

Don't run anything yet. First, download and install all available updates first. Just go to to fetch them, then install them.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0
Nothing. You don't have to do anything. It's one of my favourite applications... I would recommend you, however, to run the Adobe Updater before you run any Adobe application. In the case of a default Elements 6.0 installation, you can find it in
Applications > Utilities > Adobe Utilities > Adobe Updater
or similar. Sometimes there's a number after updater showing the version of the utility (i.e. 4, 5)

Best luck and enjoy your Mac!

Monday, 2 November 2009

Unbuntu 9.10 Released!

Great news! Ubuntu 9.10 was released at the end of October, and it's the best Ubuntu yet! Try it for free or get more information at:

So far I've tried it and it's looking and working better than ever!

If you have an MSI Wind U100 or similar netbook, you may want to know that the brightness glitch can easily be fixed (at the time of this post) by disabling the 3D desktop effects. At least that worked for me.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Windows 7

Let's start the game all over again...

Microsoft just released its Windows 7 Operating System, so obviously I've started digging for information before making the financial commitment of spending my hard earned money yet again on a Microsoft OS.

What I found out:
Vista left me a really bad aftertaste... Paying too much money for software that does not meet essential expectations regarding stability, efficiency, compatibility...

I have tried the Windows 7 Release Candidate, and it is indeed better than Vista, but my position is that Microsoft would almost redeem itself by charging a reasonable price for the upgrade (like Apple, for example), or why not offer it as a service pack?

It's up to you, dear reader, but I just can't part with so much money... again.

I'll be in the Apple Mac OS X camp and eagerly waiting for Ubuntu 9.10, thank you very much.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009


Some interesting links on using Google (search, apps, etc.) for educational purposes ;-)

Best Free Defragmenter

A must have piece of software for any Windows user:

MyDefrag - download and install it!

First run may be slow. Use it often (recommended: weekly or every other week) for better results.


Are you into Twitter?

If so, this blog entry with 11 Free Twitter clients may be interesting to you.

This post has similar information, specifically for Linux: "Six Twitter clients for the Linux desktop and one for the road".

Personally, I use the web interface when posting, and/or Twitterrific (available for the iPhone or as a desktop Mac application.

You may also want to check Tweetie for Mac OS X and MyTweeter for Windows.

The nice and glossy icon used in this post is from AODdesign!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Premiere Elements 6

I had to work intensively with Adobe Premiere Elements 6 last weekend. It became a horrible experience since it crashed often.

Obviously, I had to find an immediate solution. After a lot of google, more gray hair and frustration, I found the bug: Microsoft's Visual C++ runtime is pure fertilizer and must be updated.

Download and install these two files, but mind the fact that the smart people of M$ named them... Exactly the same. So change the names or save to different folders. Anyway, applying these updates solved my crashing problem in Premiere Elements 6.

I installed both just to make sure there are no conflicts and both are up-to-date. Should the links stop working because of M$ changing them, just google for their names and get them from

If you're looking for the best and least expensive Photoshop & Premiere you can get, check this great bundle by Adobe.

All brand and product names, logos, etc. belong to their respective owners, blah, blah, blah...

Monday, 10 August 2009

Annoying Firefox settings

I'm a Firefox fan, but there is a setting I always change. It annoys me when it saves everything to the Desktop by default. I prefer to be asked, so I can organise my files properly.

These are the simple steps to change FF's default settings:

Go to Firefox > Preferences

and then, under the Main tab,

click on "Always ask me where to save files"

Monday, 3 August 2009

Friday, 31 July 2009

LXDE and Ubuntu

If you've got Ubuntu (or any derivative) and try LXDE. It has impressed me because of its light footprint in the system (I'm trying it on a netbook), its looks and functionality. The first time I saw LXDE was with Knoppix v6.0, and liked it much.

There's a concise article in Spanish at BolivarLUG with information plus screenshots. Summarising, runs acceptably on a PentiumII (192MB RAM), well on a PentiumIII, and very fast on an AMD Athlon 1.6 (the last two with 512MB RAM).

The only problem, if you have a laptop or connect to a network wirelessly, is that LXDE does not start the Network Manager by default. This solution was tried and tested on Ubuntu 9.04 and worked flawlessly.

You need to use the terminal. Of course ;-)
cd /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/
sudo nano autostart
All you need to do is add the following line at the end of the file:
then press CONTROL X, press Y, and ENTER/RETURN. Log out and back on, and you're all set.

The only way I've found to add icons to the desktop (don't have much time to play with these things, sorry) is to copy the .desktop file(s) from the /usr/share/applications/ folder (corresponding to the application you want) to your home folder's Desktop folder.

Using the terminal, this would be an example:
cd /usr/share/applications
cp gnome-terminal.desktop ~/Desktop

More information on LXDE at:
  • LXDE & Ubuntu

SDL Basic

Well, it could be useful. That's why I'm posting it, so I don't lose track of it. It's a nice version of BASIC available here.

If you're using Ubuntu, its package name is sdlbasic, so you can install it via Synaptic or the terminal:

sudo apt-get install sdlbasic -y


Thursday, 30 July 2009

A fast and lightweight IDE

My favourite tool for coding (well, together KDE's KATE and Gnome's Text Editor).

It's Geany, a native Linux GTK2 application available to most distributions and ported to Windows as well.

Check its home on the web and download it!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Linux counter and more

Yes, I'm a Linux user. If you are, too, have your machine(s) counted at the Linux counter.

My favourite distro is Ubuntu (easy guess, probably), although I prefer KDE (still a fan of version 3.5) over Gnome. I like Gnome, Xfce, and LXDE, as well, Linux = choice and that's why I am so fond of it.

Other distros I like are Sidux, Mandriva (One), and openSuse and Fedora, in that order of preference.

Other sites you should know, related to Linux of course, are distrowatch and tuxradar.

New to Linux? Read this article on choosing the right distro for you.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

64 bit mania

I've been eyeing again at the possibility of running the 64 bit version of Windows (Vista or 7 RC1).
Especially after an encouraging success with Ubuntu 9.04 (64-bit), I got the itch again.

I found these interesting and useful web sites:

The frist one, called, which I'm reading now. It has information regarding 64-bit technology for Vista, Windows 7, and also Linux.

Second, this article at, which explains things you should know about Windows, 32 vs 64 bit. If you want to skip the details, at least read the article's conclusions.

Third, Microsoft itself. They have a "Windows Vista Compatibility Centre", a one-stop databse where you can check whether your hardware and software is compatible with Windows or not. Just check the 64 bit option and you're all set. Check the screenshot below for reference.

GarageBand-like applications for Windows

If you have ever used GarageBand (included with iLife, from Apple), but are a Windows user, you probably would like something similar that you could use in your Windows PC at home...

Fortunately, there are alternatives such as:

My recommendation: Music Maker by Magix.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Fixing PC

I've been really busy taking my desktop PC apart and putting it back together after my Windows Vista -_- installation got corrupted and wouldn't boot any more.

Tried repairing it using the Vista install DVD ~ no luck.
FYI, I tried the methods described at and

So ended up replacing motherboard, SATA cables, and checking for greener (less power demanding) components. Video cards may end up consuming far too much power nowadays, and I don't think most of us need them.

Now everything is back to normal, and I suspect that the problem was a malfunctioning/broken SATA connector on the motherboard.

Oh, well, at least it's fixed, over and done now.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Linksys routers

Who hasn't had a problem like this before?

It's happened to me ever since I got my first router. The more stupid passwords I have, the more I forget. Maybe it's one of Murphy's laws?

Anyway, the easy answer is reset the router. Find the reset button, press it for 30 seconds, and it's all back to factory defaults.

For Linksys/Cisco routers, head to their website to grab their manuals (usually PDF format) and firmware ("ROM") updates.

I've also had Dlink network hardware in the past, so here's their support/downloads link.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Fedora 10

Yes, I've finally set aside some time to test Fedora 10. I've played with it for a couple of hours only (install + first run) and I have to say I'm impressed. The desktop I'm using is Gnome, which I find simple, efficient, and uncluttered, although sometimes short of customisation options. Well, that's that the command line's for anyway...

I'm going off-topic. Back to Fedora 10, the boot/start up time is impressive, I can't tell you the exact number of seconds, but it makes Ubuntu feel like a tortoise in comparison. Looks neat, works fast, very good software selection even if you don't customise it (I went for the default + development packages).

Anything bad? I wish I could have more control over which repositories to use in order to add and update the software. I've been spoiled by Debian, Ubuntu and their derivatives, yes... And perhaps a tool like the restricted drivers utility/install wizard, like the one Ubuntu includes, would make things easier.

Otherwise and so far, superb distro. I just wish it had tools to make my life easier in terms of optimisation, as I mentioned in the previous two paragraphs. I don't think I'll have enough time for another post on Fedora 10 anytime soon, but if you have the time and you like to try something different than the Ubuntu crowd of distros, have a look at Fedora. It's worth your time, in my opinion.

Linux on USB flash drives

I've been having a blast testing a couple of Linux distributions, but this time using 1 or 2 GB USB flash drives instead of burning a bunch of CDs that end up in the waste basket... Plus booting from a USB drive is much faster than doing so from a CD or DVD.

The tools you need:
  1. UNetbootin
  2. the ISO image of your distribution of choice
True, if you have broadband or you could let UNetbootin download it (#2) for you, but I'd recommend you to check if there's a fast(er) server than the preset servers of UNetbootin.

A last piece of advice: try to stick to the "Default" boot option of the UNetbootin boot loader. Trying a couple of distros with other options messed things up and the distro couldn't finish booting. Had to restart (CTRL+ALT+DEL) and try the default option.

Another valuable source is ; do check it out if you want to learn more about putting Linux on pen/flash/usb drives! ;-)

Sunday, 25 January 2009

New to Mac OS X

At work I've been exposed to Macs, so I've had to learn how to use them.

The purpose of this post isn't to review or criticise the platform or the OS, but to help you if you're new to Apple Macs and OS X, like I once was.

Hope you will find these links useful. I was trying to find Mac OS X version 10.4 "Tiger" resources, but there are links to Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" as well.


(tutorials, text+images)

FDE Cycle

Fetch-Decode-Execute Cycle Links with information about the FDE cycle, from simple & concise to deeper and more detailed: GCSE Bytes...