Ubuntu Install Party London - 16 October 2011

Ubuntu 11.10 is released on Thursday and we are running an install party in the Central London. The party aims to help people try-out and work with the Ubuntu Linux distribution and anything mildly related.

The party will be held on 16th October, 12 noon till around 5pm and will include installing Ubuntu Linux, discussing everyone’s favourite applications and generally how to have more fun and still be productive.

Read More

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.

Read More

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
Creative Commons License

Byobu Saves the Day

I took the bold (all right, crazy) decision to run with Ubuntu 11.04 whist still in heavy development directly on my Lenovo X201T tablet laptop, partly for the experience of the new Unity and Compiz desktop and partly to help with the testing.

As the 11.04 version of Ubuntu is still being written, I prepared myself to experience a few problems, but apart from one upgrade last Friday (my fault as I didnt look closely enough to see what apt-get dist-install was removing) I have been using Ubuntu 11.04 and Unity quite productively.

Occasionally I get the odd rendering problem with the menus when I login to a new Unity session, so I run the command unity --reset and all is well again.  I leave the terminal window open to see if there are any useful error messages.

I did have a little bit of a crash today with Unity (core dump), but as I also run byobu in my terminal window by default I was easily able to recover without loosing any work or any windows or applications closing.

The unity core dump made my desktop unresponsive to keyboard, though I could still drop down to a virtual terminal (Ctrl-Alt-F1).  When I logged into the virtual terminal, as byobu is set to run as default it picks up the same session I used to reset Unity and I see the core dump message.

So all I needed to do to get back to a working Unity desktop was issue the unity --reset command in the virtual terminal and jump back to my Unity desktop (Alt-F7).

So thanks Byobu, you have saved the day and I have found yet use for this great piece of software.

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
Creative Commons License

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
Creative Commons License

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.

Read More

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.

Read More