martes, 24 de febrero de 2015

MX-14: Playing with Snapshots

At last I ventured into the land of snapshots on my MX-14.3 install, thanks to its MX-Snapshot tool.  This one is so user-friendly that I was able to actually produce a live copy of my system the first time I tried.

The good part is that the snapshot is also installable.  You can make one with your accounts preserved (this one keeps all your configuration) or one with the default accounts (if you want to give copies of the snapshot to other people)

Thus, I decided to experiment a little.  Since XFCE is not precisely my favorite DE, I installed KDE.  After all, a little eye candy won't kill me!

I also installed LXDE.  Pushing my luck a bit more, I installed Compiz and configured it on that DE...

MX's native XFCE gave me more trouble to run Compiz, but I finally got it working...
(And then I realized that I could configure Compiz to use Kwin on XFCE!)  :P

Anyway, I was able to have a copy of my entire system, fully configured, running on a USB thumb drive that I can also use to store data. 

Let's see what else I can learn...

viernes, 20 de febrero de 2015

Opening Dolphin as Root

For some people like me, the file manager is the simplest way to find, open and edit files.  KDE 4 distros normally use Dolphin for that.

However, Dolphin does not come with Root access (normally).  What can then users do to open the file manager with super user privileges?

1.  Pressing Alt+F2 to open the application executing prompt.  Then, you type "kdesu dolphin".  It will ask you for your root password and then you can ravage your system at your heart's will.

2.  Opening a terminal as super user to start Dolphin from it.  Then you can storm the gates of your files.

3.  Opening Kmenu Editor (Kmenuedit) and then, you add a new entry in the "System" category (or the one you prefer).  You will need to add this information to the new entry:

Name:  Dolphin as Root
Command:   kdesu dolphin %i -caption "%c" %u

Don't forget to assign a distinctive icon to it.  Something red or with a skull might work!  :P

lunes, 2 de febrero de 2015

Blow the Trumpets! Windows 8.1 Gained 0.55% Market Share in January!!

This is a time of celebration for Windows 8.1 fans! According to Netmarketshare, the new warhorse of Microsoft, Windows 8.1 got an enormous, sizable market share chunk of 0.55% in January.  That went well and was very much needed, especially after the horrible beating that the OS got in December and that "tech journalists" decided to hide.

But January is another story.   It is a turn of the page.  Windows 8.1 got a gain of 0.55% and that's amazing!  The only problem is that the stubborn XP got more than that. XP got 0.67%!

Let's correct the title, then...

"Blow the Trumpets!  Windows 8.1 Gained 0.55% Market Share in January and almost Reaches the 0.67% that XP got!"

This is extremely interesting... so far, no tech journalist has written about it.  Was Ed Bott's claim for silence so effective?  It seems so.

Why is adoption of Windows 8.1 going so slowly?

Windows 10 is about to be released, of course!!

The problem is that Windows 10 also lost some of its market share...

Oh, well!  I guess this somehow explains the silence.  Not even crickets are heard...

No wonder why Microsoft now apparently wants to do Android with CyanogenMod...

jueves, 29 de enero de 2015

LibreOffice 4.4 Is out! GREAT!!!

Yes, as soon as I read here that The Document Foundation had made a new release of LibreOffice available, I rushed to download it to give it a try.

You can find out what's new, from the technical viewpoint, about this suite here .  Let's comes with a nice has better OOXML support (I don't care about that as I use ODF), and it even added textboxes.  Well, texboxes are something I never needed and I actually find them annoying, but others may think they're handy... Still, I am more interested in knowing if this new release could meet my needs.

Japanese input support! Wow! I thought I'd never see it again on this old system!
I installed LibreOffice 4.4 on my old Mepis 8 desktop system.  I had given away my hope of using Japanese input on LibreOffice because the suite did not support my old input method editor.  In fact, I had to keep an old copy of OpenOffice (3.1.1) around for the times I needed to type in Japanese.  I was greatly surprised when I could indeed type hiragana, katakana and kanji on LibreOffice!

What was next?  Customization might be another aspect to check...
I don't remember this feature on LO 4.3...  Now you have a handy theme selector to change the appearance of the office suite!  I entered "cat" and hit the "search" button...and sure enough, I got several matching themes.  That was easy!  At the end, I chose a theme I happen to like quite a lot!  :P

I still need to test Impress, Calc, and the other applications.  But I have to install first LibreOffice 4.4 on my laptop.  After all, that is the device in which I use Impress.

But while I do that, why not giving a little donation to The Document Foundation?
After all, LibreOffice is keeping me free from preying office subscription fees and from locking my data into the silly OOXML format.  I must add that it has saved me from the horrendous, unproductive ribbon madness! 

I hope all those who like LibreOffice made a donation, big or small, to this great project.

miércoles, 28 de enero de 2015

A New User for My Chromebook

Today, I was using my chromebook but I went to another room for a minute.  This is what I discovered when I came back:

That's Pisi (yes, like the Linux distro), one of my cats.  He managed to restart the device (I was running Ubuntu through crouton) and that's why you can see that screen.  It's as if the machine did not like the new user and got irritated at this cat's disrespectful manners.

Bad news for you, Chromebook: we live in a cat-dominated world.

I think I should have named this entry Pisi on a Chromebook!

jueves, 22 de enero de 2015

Crouton: How to Install Ubuntu on a Chromebook with Compiz and Other Tweaks

Since I got my Samsung Chromebook Series E, I've been playing with it to see what it is capable of.  Surely enough, the very first thing I did was to go the Crouton route to install Linux on it.  To keep a record, this is what I did, based on several websites:

A. To add Crouton and Ubuntu:

First, I needed to go into developer mode and prepare my Chromebook for the fun.  The tutorials are here and here.

1.  To download Crouton:
You place it in the Downloads folder.  Why?  Because both ChromeOS and Linux will share that folder.

2.  To install Crouton:
Open a terminal (ctrl+alt+t)
type "shell"
sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -t lxde  (Or xfce, or KDE, depending on your choice)
Add your username and password at the end of the process

3.  To run Crouton:
Type: shell
sudo startxfce4

Here you have Ubuntu running.  You can go back to ChromeOS by pressing Ctrl+alt+back arrowCtrl+alt+forward arrow will take you back to Ubuntu. I downloaded Synaptic because I'm familiar with it for handling the software I want to download.

4.  If you need to erase Crouton for some reason:
Type: shell

Type these two commands separately:

cd /usr/local/chroots

sudo delete-chroot *

sudo rm -rf /usr/local/bin



B. To add Compiz: 

1. Download Compiz packages:

a. I added this source to Synaptic:

b. using a terminal, as root:
apt-get -o Acquire::Check-Valid-Until=false update
(otherwise, they won't show in Synaptic)

That will simplify things when reaching step 5.

3. Change the windows manager:
To load Compiz instead of Openbox we edit as root the file /etc/xdg/lxsession/Lubuntu/desktop.conf and replace window_manager=openbox-lubuntu (on Debian it's "openbox-lxde") with window_manager=compiz.

4. Mark everyting related to window decoration in compiz settings
We have to make sure window decoration is active (marked) in compiz settings.  The same goes for everything related to windows: movement, minimizing, etc.

5. Set Compiz windows decorations
The window decorator used by Compiz is gtk-window-decorator and it may use Metacity's themes.

Running the command gtk-window-decorator --metacity-theme Bluebird --replace will do the trick.  But I used gconf-editor:
In the left panel: Apps --- Metacity --- General
and then search in the right panel "Theme" and type "Bluebird"


C.  To change locales:

I found that, no matter what I did, Ubuntu did not like to keep my chosen locale (Spanish).  But I could correct the problem following this process:

On a terminal:
1.  sudo aptitude install language-pack-es language-support-es
2.  sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales
3.   sudo /usr/sbin/locale-gen es_ES.UTF-8
4.  sudo /usr/sbin/update-locale LANG=es_ES.UTF-8
5.  export  LANG="es_ES.UTF-8"  /usr/bin/locale


jueves, 15 de enero de 2015

I Got a Chromebook and I Have Been SCROOGLED!

I admit it.  I should have known better.  If I don't like Google Chrome as a browser... could I like it as an OS?

But I wanted to try a Chromebook.  After all, they generate all kinds of opinions.  Are they friendly devices?  Are they safe?  More than that, are they any useful?

Microsoft has been going to great lengths to persuade people that Chromebooks are little beyond bricks if you are not online or want hard drives with lots of space.  Scroogled, that is the word they used to refer to those users like me who purchased one of these devices.

Let's see:  I am not a cloud guy.  I barely use gmail.  I dislike Chrome.  I guess I'm not the best candidate for one of these machines.  I should get a Surface instead...

But here is the difference:  I am not afraid of learning!  I do not think that what most people do necessarily is what's best.  Malware is very popular...

Thus,  I did get the Chromebook.  It was hard to find one here, but I got it and it was extremely cheap!  (it's a Samsung, series 5 XE500C21-H01US Black Intel Atom N570(1.66GHz) 12.1" WXGA 2GB Memory 16GB SSD)

Certainly, those are not the most powerful specs out there...

Turning it on was quite a feat.  It needed a connection to perform its initial bootup and configuration. Is this a brick without wi-fi?   Then, it had to grab some upgrades and that took quite a while.  This was so Windows-like that I felt my heart fainting.  :P

And finally, ChromeOS greeted me.

Interestingly, I realized that I can actually get some of my work done offline using this little device. ChromeOS is fast, intuitive, and it has a pretty friendly personality.  It reminds me of the times in which computing was fun!

This chromebook, as it is, is a perfectly useful machine, at least for most my needs...

But what about other of my computing requirements?  Is Microsoft right about the limitations of Chromebooks?

Actually. I found this machine more flexible and useful than I expected...thanks to Linux, of course.

Using Crouton, I installed Ubuntu with LXDE (KDE was too heavy) on my new device.

This is what I got:

A beautiful, light, and customized Desktop Environment
All the great productivity tools that Linux has

And why not?  A little eye candy as well!
All this working with a minimal footprint on my resources!  Did I mention that, if I want to alternate between ChromeOS and Ubuntu, I just have to enter a keystroke combination?

But alas!  Nothing comes without a price!  To do that, I had to turn my device into developer mode, and that made the bootup longer.  Instead of the immediate one after pressing start, now it takes 15-20 seconds.  :P

Is a Surface as flexible as this?  We know the answer...

As a matter of fact, I'm typing this entry on my Chromebook...

Apparently, I have been Scroogled...and I DO NOT REGRET IT!