Google Earth for Linux

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Sunday, June 25, 2006 | Published in

For anyone that hasn't noticed yet (yes I'm slow getting around to posting this shit) you can now get Google Earth for Linux. Check it oot.

Surround sound on Dapper

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in

Finally sussed how to get all of my speakers working in Kubuntu. I've stuck some notes on what I did on the Ubuntu forums.

It was a case of sussing out the correct thing to put in my .asoundrc file to make alsa pipe my stereo sound through to the proper speakers for things like mp3 playback and videos. Already had surround sound for things like DVD's that have actual 5.1 sound on them.

All good. Now to commence annoying the neighbours with my subwoofer....

Clerks 2 Podcast

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Saturday, June 17, 2006 | Published in

I discovered something the other day that all people of true taste (i.e. those who like Kevin Smith films) will be interested in - A video podcast chronicling the making of Clerks 2. I'm a massive fan of the original and all of his following movies so I was really chuffed to find this and I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished movie. Yet one more reason to say woohoo for video iPods!.

Bong!!

Picassa

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Sunday, June 11, 2006 | Published in

Anyone who hasn't had a look at Picassa yet should do. It's a free photo organising and editing/tweaking tool from Google, and with it being released for Linux fairly recently I've been having a play. It's pretty good - better than Digikam which was what I was using before and once people start hearing about it, it's going to hammer the shit out of sales of Photoshop Elements, which basically does the same thing, but costs £70.

If you have a digital camera, this is worth having a look at.

MMM, Kebabs

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in

We've just spent the day walking along the seafront and found out that the Seaburn Mela was on today so we went and listened to some of the music and bought food. I had a lamb and chicken kebab with naan bread, chilli sauce and yogurt and Marie had a lamb curry. Curry and kebabs, on the beach, in the sun, with beer is great. I could do it every day :P

WooHoo Ipodage, finally

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in

After 10 weeks of general incompetance and pissing about, those fine fine people at Dixons have finally coughed up the vouchers they owed me for a replacement iPod. My old iPod Mini had a cover plan on it from the afore mentioned useless bastards, saying that if the iPod broke down they would send it off and mend it and if they had it for more than 6 weeks I automatically get a replacement. So, the six weeks inevitably went by, I phoned them and asked them for my replacement, and after 4 more weeks of hounding them, they've finally replaced it for me.
I now have a shiny new black 30gb video iPod which I reckon was well worth the wait. I've installed an alternative firmware on it called Rockbox which lets me do things with the ipod like playing music encoded to formats other than mp3, like ogg and flac which is nice, and it also lets you mount it like a hard disk to move the files on and off of it which is much nicer than messing about with the ever evil iTunes. It also does cool things like letting me play Doom and Frozen Bubble on the ipod and has a Gameboy emulator as well. The only thing I'd like that it doesn't do yet (which I'm sure it will in the future) is do video playback, which means I have to reboot the player back into Apples original firmware to do that (which I do a fair bit because being able to watch anime on the way home from work is brilliant). The other reason for using Rockbox is that it plays nicely with Linux - whenever I plugged my ipod into linux before it always seemed to manage to kill the iTunes library file on the ipod rendering most of the music unfindable, which was a bit of a bugger, but Rockbox doesn't use this file, so no problem there.

I'm well chuffed with my new toy and I thank whichever god you feel like pointing me at that I no longer have to listen to other people on my way to work.

Hanoi Rocks

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Monday, June 05, 2006 | Published in


Marie and I went to see Hanoi Rocks at Legends in Newcastle on Saturday. They're 80's sleaze hair rock at its best, still doing the clubs and enjoying themselves. It was extremely entertaining, but at the same time a little bit tragic...

For the most part they were excellent - They kept it loud and bouncy and even though I couldn't name one of their songs if asked to I really enjoyed all of it. I'll definately see them again given the chance, and may even aquire an album or two.
The tragic part was watching the guitarist. He and the singer appear to be the only original members left (bearing in mind these guys have been knocking around since the early 80's) and while the singer appeared to still be enjoying himself and putting his best into the gig, the guitarist was just so drug addled and wasted that he could barely string a sentence together, was attempting to mime to a backing track (and failing) instead of playing, and generally falling around the stage getting pitying looks from the rest of the band. It was funny, but at the same time its a pretty sad state to end up in.

But anyway, an excellent night. I got some really crappy photos on my phone (forgot my camera), got reasonably tipsy, and had an argument with a charv in a pizza shop on the way home. Rock on.

New Kubuntu...

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Saturday, June 03, 2006 | Published in


I was absolutely gobsmacked when on June 1st I went to the Kubuntu site and as promised the new version was actually there, released, on time and everything. Amazing.

Aside from its really stupid name, Dapper Drake seems to be a pretty decent OS - It's fast, stable, the new live cd based installer is much nicer than the old text based one and will be much less intimidating to the n00bs.

There's a new version of Automatix available for it already which takes most of the pain out of configuring everything - It does your nvidia drivers for you, sorts out multimedia codecs and installs libdvdcss for you, as well as loads of other stuff like new versions of Firefox and Thunderbird and their needed plugins like flash and mplayer. There's also a program called Swiftfox which is basically an optimised version of Firefox for specific CPU types. It'll also do DVD and stream rippers, the new version of OpenOffice.Org, Amule, Gftp and all sorts of usefull apps and system tweaks which make Dapper instantly useable. I also have it running KDE 3.5.3, Amarok 1.4 (although this doesn't work totally properly yet), VMWare is easily installed and configured, and from what I gather from reading the forums Xgl is pretty easy to set up, although I haven't bothered because from what I've seen of it so far Xgl is, while being very pretty, far too unstable for everyday use at the moment. I'm going to be keeping an eye on it though, because if they can make it stable it's going to be great.

They've also fixed loads of the minor irritations from Breezy - monitor power control now works properly for example.

So far I'm really impressed with this and would recommend anyone to give it a go whether you've used Linux before and are pondering a new distro, or if you're thinking of giving it a shot for the first time.

On the flipside, I installed the new version of SuSE, 10.1, and that lasted all of a day and a half before being wiped. I have no idea what the hell they've done to it but this OS seems to have gotten WORSE since the last release - I quite like SuSE 10 but it was full of irritating little bugs, and the updating system was so slow it was virtually unusable, so I was quite looking forward to trying 10.1 hoping that all of this would be fixed. But no. Not only have they not fixed the irritations (like Yast. Yast is one big horrible irritation), but they seem to have packed in a load of new bug ridden, thoroughly unstable apps and then shoved the whole thing out of the door half finished. It's a shame because if SuSE could make their OS a little less frustrating to use, and sorted out their update mirrors then it could easily be the best distro out there. It's already one of the best looking, but it's just too unstable and requires too much effort to set up. This combined with the obscene amount of time it takes to install (bloated with unneccessar packages maybe?) and the fact the SuSE still insist on crippling the multimedia capabilites of their distro means that for the time being at least, I'll be sticking with Ubuntu.