Tag Archives: Linux

On Help and Linux Help

Via Andrew Cooper:

I just discovered your youtube page a few days ago. Since then I watched 99% of your videos, and I have to say it is a great thing you are doing. It got me excited that people like you are out there helping people across the world, with just the use of the internet. I was a big fan of yours when you were on Tech Tv, and I am glad to see the “call for help” intent is still out there!

Some people don’t see me as giving back to and trying to support the community, but that’s not my problem. I’m very happy to know you were able to discover what we’ve been up to as of late. And speaking of late, as I’m composing this at 2:40am, there are people in the chat room trying to help someone fix a crazy CD problem. A few hours ago, “fatboy” hopped in and claimed: “Oh by the way chris thanks to your vid about the computer restarting and freezing on its own and all, i moved my computer to a cooler room and now it doesnt make this weird sound like its being overworked and also it doesnt freeze and it runs smoothly.”

Anyways, I was wondering if I could get an invite for LockerGnome? I am not so sure what it takes to get an invite, so I decided to just ask out right. Also, I have a quick question. I am just starting to get into Linux. Well, a few months ago. At the end of my college degree courses I had a linux class (which was made because of me, haha) and we used Suse linux. I am about to turn an old pc into a linux box.. and I am wondering what you recommend what version of linux I use to teach myself the basics? There are so many out there, it’s tough to decide. Thanks for your input, and keep up the good work. I’ll be stopping in the chat more often!

I’ll yield all Linux questions to Matt Hartley (or any one of my Linux followers, for that matter). As far as invitations to blog on Lockergnome – ask me again in a few weeks. We are still hoping to announce something new at Gnomedex, and would certainly welcome you, so long as you meet the general criteria. We’re in the process of migrating from WordPress MU to Drupal (for a few reasons), and the important pieces and people are finally starting to come together.

Zonbu Green PC

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http://live.pirillo.com/ – Ubuntu and Linspire better be on alert: Zonbu is on the way.

Earlier today Chris received the Zonbu "Green PC" as part of a special beta program. The Zonbox is a small, noiseless machine running a customer Linux distribution. As Chris put it "this is what Linspire should have been."

Zonbu says "being green doesn’t have to make you blue:"

Welcome to a new generation of environmentally responsible computing. Zonbu is ready to go right out of the box. All you need is a broadband connection. Nothing to install. Nothing to buy. Nothing but fun and foolproof ways to get more out of your digital life.

Zonbu is a compact, ultra low power mini with all the bells and whistles:

  • Intel-compatible ultra-low power CPU
  • 512 MB RAM + 4GB flash-based local storage
  • Graphics up to 1400 x 1050 (16 million colors). Hardware graphics and MPEG2 acceleration
  • PC-compatible ports for keyboard and mouse
  • 6 USB ports to plug-and-play all standard USB accessories
  • Broadband ready: 10/100MB Ethernet built-in

For $99 and $12.95 per month you get to run Zonbu. The monthly subscription fee gives you access to the Zonbu service, which includes updates to your drivers, applications, and OS. In addition to the automatic updates, Zonbu also encrypts and stores your information on a "disaster proof" backup server, so in case your Zonbox doesn’t work anymore you can still access your data.

It sounds really cool, what do you think?

America, Iraq, Gas. amd Linux

Live Linux on USB

I’m featuring something awesome in the next Pirillo’s Picks (subscribe to get even more cool finds by sending an email to [email protected]). It’s so awesome that I had to share it here in a completely dedicated entry: USB Pen Drive Linux. This open source project puts Live Linux distributions in packages ready to load onto and boot from USB flash drives. This includes DSL Embedded, Knoppix, PCLinuxOS, SLAX, MiniMe+ SLAX, and Ubuntu! Yes, you can run Ubuntu easily from a USB key!

World's Highest Linux Distribution

I’ve taken over a hundred flights in my short lifetime. Some experiences have been great (JetBlue), and others have been wildly less-than-mediocre. No matter what, I always appreciate the infusion of technology / entertainment options with mass transit. Boeing is sadly killing their Connexion service, and that probably means we won’t ever see wireless Internet access in airplanes. Delta put us on a newer plane last week, en route to Florida (to start our honeymoon). While there wasn’t WiFi, I had a personal digital concierge placed at my fingertips – literally. A touch screen system with plenty of options had been infused into the back of everyone’s seat. I watched a movie, flipped through some live TV channels, then decided to play some Galaga. Without warning, the unit locked up – and I tried everything to restart the buttonless, pinholeless PC. I couldn’t believe what I saw next:


Is that the world’s highest Linux installation?

The Windows Vista Challenge

Charlie Owen has issued a challenge, but I’m not quite sure he understands why I’m complaining so much about the UI oversights found in Vista. Mind you, I haven’t said a word about Windows Vista’s Media Center – I haven’t had a chance to play with it extensively yet. Before I respond, I’d like everybody to read Why Vista will mean the end of the Microsoft monolith:

The Vista saga has two interesting lessons for the computer business. It raises, for example, the question of whether this way of producing software products of this complexity has reached its natural limit. Microsoft is an extremely rich, resourceful company – and yet the task of creating and shipping Vista stretched it to breaking point. A lesser company would have buckled under the strain. And yet while Microsoft engineers were trudging through their death march, the open source community shipped a series of major upgrades to the Linux operating system. How can hackers, scattered across the globe, working for no pay, linked only by the net and shared values, apparently outperform the smartest software company on the planet?

Challenge?! You can operate an XGL desktop perfectly without having to upgrade your video card first. To add insult to injury, XGL sports infinitely better (and reasonably more) eye candy than Aero does. Windows Vista is hardware hungry, no doubt – and I’m challenging Microsoft’s assertion that Aero is a “breakthrough user experience.”

No, it’s not – Vista’s UI is not breakthrough, Charlie. It’s broken. XGL, on the other hand, is breakthrough – and I find myself wondering how long it’s going to take for someone to port that to OS X. Windows Vista is not revolutionary – it’s evolutionary (barely, at that). A recently releaesd Mandriva Linux 2007 RC1 comes bundled XGL and AIGLX with Compiz, by the way.

Vista is already taking a beating, whether by Apple fanboys from InfoWorld, UAC task forces, or old Latvian women. There is no perfect operating system, and I’m certainly not suggesting that Linux and/or OS X are totally teh shiz. What I am saying, however, is that as far as cohesive, compelling user experiences go – I believe that Vista’s Aero fails (on the whole).

I understand that thousands of people poured their blood, sweat, and tears into pushing Windows Vista out the door – but I started to get impatient two years ago, only to be handed an RC that looked more like a early beta (I said “alpha” earlier, but perhaps that was a little harsh on my part). If Linux (with XGL) and Leopard (with UNO) aren’t challenging Microsoft to take UI more seriously, nothing ever will. In this arena, Windows has already been challenged – and remains truly challenged.

Rubbing XGL in Windows Vista's Wounds

Everybody went ga-ga over the video I linked to the other day – showing XGL running on KDE in some random flavor of Linux. Some of you suffered from motion sickness after watching the entire thing, but I don’t think typical usage would require or necessitate that much desktop movement in such a small amount of time.

No matter, I went on a quest to find a live CD distro with XGL pre-infused – just to see how well it would work. Because of GPL violations, most XGL-enabled live CDs have been taken offline. I tried installing XGL on my own, following “simple” instructions I found for various distros online – and wound up remembering why I dislike Linux so much in the first place: it’s not easy, no matter what anybody leads you to believe.

GNOME makes Linux easier to navigate, which is why I think so many people have fallen in love with Ubuntu. If Linux is ever going to win over the hearts and minds of the status quo, the GUI must continue to improve. I think XGL gives power users enough eye candy to give Linux another stab – but I couldn’t come close to recommending Linux over OS X for reasons other than economics at this point.

I scoured the BitTorrent directories for XGL-enabled live CD ISOs. Wow, that was probably the geekiest sentence I think I’ve ever written. Anyway, I discovered an XGL-enabled distribution called Kororaa. You can download, burn, reboot, and run Linux without installing it on your hard drive. Grab the torrent for Kororaa Linux Xgl LiveCD 0.2 before it disappears.

Go ahead, try XGL on your own PC – you’ll be amazed. I ran it on Ponzi’s laptop, which has a lame-ass Intel video card. Every one of the XGL effects I tried ran smoother than I ever would have anticipated.

And yes, I believe GNOME looks and works infinitely better than Vista (especially with XGL enabled) for common, everyday tasks.