Ubuntu Unity - Switching Between Application Windows

I have really enjoyed trying out the new Ubuntu 11.04 beta release with the Unity gnome shell (desktop) and find it very fast and stable (after a quick upgrade).

As Unity is now using Compiz to drive lots of cool 3D effects, there are lots of new keyboard shortcuts to make use of.  Here are a selection of useful keyboard shortcuts using the “Super” key - the one that has either a windows logo or an Ubuntu sticker on it.

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Getting Creative - Creating a Wanted Poster

I help organise a monthly social for the London Java Community and am always on the lookout for way to get our members talking.  One of the ways we do this at the social events is to have greeters, to help our new (to the event) members find people who know about the things they are interested in.

In a moment of creativeness, I also thought about having posters on the wall of the social event, so people can see what other members are interested in talking about.  I thought of kind of a rogues gallery, which kind of lead onto the idea of a western style wanted poster.

Using my favourite open source graphic design toolkit (MyPaint & Gimp on Ubuntu) I created the a western style wanted poster of myself.

I initially drew the poster in MyPaint and saved the concept as a portable network graphics (PNG) file.

I export the mypaint drawing using the transparent background.

Opening the concept drawing in Gimp, I cropped the size of the poster to what seemed to be the right dimensions, then added a suitably (less than happy) mugshot of myself.

I wanted to have a paper feel to the poster and make it raggedy too, so it looked like the poster had been around for a while (as have I). I filled in the background of the poster with a medium dark brown colour, with a little bit of opacity, filling in any gaps in the text that the fill tool missed.

Using the FX-Foundry filters in the Gimp, I used the Texturizer (FX-Foundary > Selection Effects > Texturizer) to apply a paper pattern.  Then I added Berchovic Lomo effect (FX-Foundary > Photo > Effects > Berchovic Lomo) to give a glowing boarder to the poster.  This made the poster a little too orange around the boarder, so I also applied a Gothic Glow on top (FX-Foundary > Light and Shadow > Gothic Glow).

To add some finishing touches to the poster, I saved it in Gimp again as a PNG file and opened the poster in MyPaint.  Using the Ink Eraser tool I made the edges look like they has warn away and placed a few holes in the poster.  Using a charcoal tool, I coloured around the edges of the holes I made to give them a wear and tear or burnt feel to them.

To finish off I used the spray tool to add a little more ageing to the poster in general and saved the poster.  Opening the poster back in Gimp one last time to check the poster is nicely cropped and the poster is done.

From idea to finished poster took about 45 minutes, some of which was deciding what to write on the poster in the first place.

Thank you.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 ShareAlike License, including custom images & stylesheets. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at @jr0cket
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Unity Desktop Menu Arrives in Ubuntu

A nice treat that came with this mornings upgrade on my laptop running http://www.ubuntu.com 11.04 was a first look at the new Unity application menu.

Its a nice clean look to the menu and really easy to use, especially when I am using the touchscreen on my laptop.

Its not feature complete yet as the top row just launches nautilus with the application list, but the bottom row of the menu launches the specific applications.

I am looking forward to seeing the further enhancements to unity in the run up to alpha2 in the next few weeks.

Thanks to the Ubuntu team for all your hard work.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 ShareAlike License, including custom images & stylesheets. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at @jr0cket
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Trying Out Ubuntu 11.04 on Lenovo X201T

I am vastly more productive when I use Ubuntu as an Operating System as it is fast and gives me all the tools I need to get things done. Unfortunately Lenovo dont support me in this requirement, shipping Windows with theiir products. So to replace the incumbant Microsoft Windows software on my Lenovo Thinkpad X201T tablet, I intend to replace the 320GB hard disk with an OCZ Vertex 2E 128Gb solid state drive (SSD). The Lenovo lets you easily swap out the hard drive (great design). This way I can simply put the original hard drive back in should I decide to sell the laptop. Here is my approach.

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Ubuntu on Lenovo X201T Tablet Laptop

I’ve just received my early holidays present to myself, a new Lenovo X201T tablet laptop. Its a great piece of hardware and feels very robust and gives the feel of solid engineering which has created something will lasts a long time.

I went for the top end version, Intel i7 processor, 8Gb RAM and top end Intel wireless network card. Here are my experiences so far with the Lenovo X201T tablet latptop.

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Ubuntu 10.10 Hibernate Suspend Bug Fix - Only for Some Laptops

I am really enjoying the new version of Ubuntu, 10.10 Maverick Meerkat. I especially like the Unity desktop of the netbook edition.

Unfortunately my Asus netbooks (Asus Eee PC1000, Asus Eee PC 1201N) are affected by the hibernate suspend bug that affects some machine.

Good news though as there is a simple fix to this bug, documented in the Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat release notes. Here are the details of the fix.

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Creating Posters With Inkscape - Open Source Drawing

I do find it helpful to quickly sketch out what I want the poster to generally look like.  I also found that using separate layers for background images, text boxes and text helped when building up more interesting designs.

Once I’ve created my posters I can save them as a standard Adobe pdf file.  You can of course save them as postscript as well as lots of other formats too.

As the default file format of Inkscape is SVG, you can also view your posters using the Ubuntu Image Viewer or The Gimp.

According to the Inkscape site:

Inkscape supports many advanced SVG features (markers, clones, alpha blending, etc.) and great care is taken in designing a streamlined interface. It is very easy to edit nodes, perform complex path operations, trace bitmaps and much more.  There is also a thriving user and developer community by using open, community-oriented development.

There is a great online guide to using Inkscape called Inkscape: Guide to a Vector Drawing program which is also available as a book.

There are more features I’d like to learn with Inkscape, to make even better posters, but it shows how good the tool is in that I can be productive so quickly.  Have a look at the Inkscape advanced tutorial for making your posters even more snazzy.

Thank you.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 ShareAlike License, including custom images & stylesheets. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at @jr0cket
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Testing Upcoming Release of Ubuntu With TestDrive

Launchpad | GUI | Introducing | TestDrive Lucid |

One of the easiest ways to get involved with testing a new release of Ubuntu is to use TestDrive. TestDrive makes it very easy to download and run the latest daily Ubuntu development snapshot in a virtual machine  (KVM, Virtualbox, etc.) without affecting the rest of your system.

Actually, TestDrive can be configured to download and run any URL-accessable ISO image in a virtual machine, although the primary goal is to provide feedback on the current Ubuntu release under development. Here is how to get going with TestDrive.

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