Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hardy Heron Hottness

On April 24, Ubuntu 8.04 codename Hardy Heron was released. The 8 refers to the 2008 and 04 because its the fourth month of the calendar year.The installation was flawless and the only techie thing I did was make a /home partition so that I could save my home directory for future updates. I also wrote over my Windows partition, so there is no way I can use windows apps except through wine.

The installation continued with a couple of questions about username and password, timezone, and a few others. After I rebooted, I was immediately prompted with the option to enable restricted drivers for my ati video card and broadcom wireless. Then wireless and desktop effects worked like a charm. Of course you need to install advance settings.
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager.
New with Hardy is a simple configuration gui which can be installed with:
sudo apt-get install simple-ccsm
Installed with Hardy is Firefox 3 beta 5 and also the default bittorrent client Transmission. Also, playing music has been a breeze except for of course protected m4p files. Restricted codecs can be installed by Aplications->Add/Remove then look under all available apps and type in 'restricted'.

So far, I have been using many of the default applications for my needs. Pidgin instead of Kopete, Transmisison instead of qbittorrent, Rhythmbox instead of Exaile. I haven't decide which email client to use, Thunderbird or the default Evolution. For now, I just keep gmail.com open on a tab in Firefox.

F-Spot is a program I wish I used before to organize my photos. It has a great import tool that will tag your pictures. Also, you can export directly to sites like Flickr and Facebook.

Linux is so much easier for me to use and its exciting to support open-source. Linux is no longer an alternative to Windows. It is my OS!

Download the torrent here

Update: I forgot to mention the awesome feature of Wubi which installs Ubuntu as a program on Windows. Perfect for anyone who is unsure about trying Ubuntu and does not want to mess with partitions or losing data. Pass it on!

Friday, April 18, 2008

TeX the World

I found a pretty awesome plugin for Firefox that will display TeX and LaTeX expressions right in your browser, great when scanning through physicsforums.com or other super trendy sites. Be sure to Tex the World.

[;u_t=k\nabla^2 u;]

Get the plugin for the proper display.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Download Archive of Tweets

Today I came across a script written in Python to download all of your Twitter updates. This has a lot of possibilities for me since it will be in xml format, which will allow for many transformations. Perhaps create a nice time-line, as the author references, or create tags for myself to see how often I do something. I am very excited to see where this will lead.

I expect to customize the script for my liking and compatibility. Stay tuned for updates.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


A new weekly column here at four loves four, "Things I think are awesome, and therefore, are in fact, awesome", starts now!

I can't imagine I'm alone thinking the music service Pandora is one of the coolest things found on today's interweb. It hands down is the best streaming radio available, specifically because it uses the power of the music genome project. However, being that I'm a music-elitist and geek all in one, I've been tracking my music habits with the scrobbling service provided by last.fm for over three years now. As you can imagine, I was devastated when I had to make a decision whether or not superior streaming radio was an excuse to no longer have my listening preferences tracked. Then I found Pandora-fm, a hack/mod/whatever that scrobbles songs you listen to on Pandora to your last.fm account.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Three Years of Last.fm

So today marks the three year mark as a member of Last.fm, formerly audioscrobbler.com. I know there was a long period of time when I didn't have the plug-in hooked up, so my tracks played number is definitely a little lower than normal. Anyway, here are the top ten artists for the past three years, averaging about 11 tracks per day.

1. Coldplay*
2. Death Cab for Cutie
3. Pearl Jam
4. Led Zeppelin
5. Radiohead
6. Incubus
7. Red Hot Chili Peppers
8. Foo Fighters
9. Counting Crows
10. Collective Soul

* - Coldplay was left playing over the weekend in my office.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Great American Inventions

For my first posting, I would like to discuss what, in my opinion (and I'm not exaggerating), is the greatest invention of all time. I mean, totally dominates sliced bread or the wheel. I'm talking of course about the Wawa Pancake Sizzli. This breakfast sandwich is the very definition of innovation. (I took a class on innovation; I know what I'm talking about.) At its core, the Pancake Sizzli is not all the different from a regular breakfast sandwich. A scrambled egg patty on top of sausage, all topped with American cheese. (Yes, I realize it is white American which is a concern, but I'm willing to let it slide.)

Here is where the main issue comes into play, the ingredient to shield this core of breakfast awesomeness. This is where Wawa really let the creative juices flow. (that's what she said.) Instead of the boring/typical/lame English muffin, Wawa slaps two PANCAKES around this beefy core of tastiness. (that's what she said.)

Fig 1 : A Slice of Heaven

Two pancakes. It doesn't sound like a big deal, but let me break it down for you:

1. English muffins are bland, pancakes are ridiculously tasty.

2. English muffins have those stupid cornmeal things all over them leaving a giant mess on your car/pants/boxers, pancakes are clean.

3. English muffins are English. Pancakes are American.

4. English muffins have lame nicknames like: Hot muffin or breakfast muffin. Pancakes have cool nicknames like: Hotcakes, griddlecakes, or flapjacks.

5. A breakfast sandwich with an English muffin does not leave you anything to remember it by (aside from increased risk of heart attack). The Wawa Pancake Sizzli is so generous that it leaves your hands SMELLING LIKE PANCAKES!

I know what you're thinking and/or saying out loud, "I probably don't want my hands to smell like pancakes." You're lying and you're an idiot. Pancakes might be one of the best smells in life, and your hands will smell like pancakes all day, making life that much more enjoyable. So go out and experience this creation of the gods because it’s Flippin' Sweet.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Update Kopete with Twitter Status

I love how twitter can update my facebook status but it would be even better for it to update my away message for gchat and aim while on kopete. The most important finding for me was the dcop command for kde programs. The usage of the command is as follows:

dcop kopete KopeteIface setAway "away message" false

Once I figured that out, I surfed around the Twitter API for my favorite scripting language wrapper, python. So after install python-twitter, I created a script that will check my Twitter status every minute and update by away message for kopete.

import twitter, os, time

while True:
api = twitter.Api()
user = ""
statuses = api.GetUserTimeline(user)
stat = [s.text for s in statuses]
stat = str(stat[0])
os.system("dcop kopete KopeteIface ...
... setAway \"" + stat + "\" false")

So just have this script load at start up and your away message will change even when you aren't there. I know this isn't the best way to code it, but it works :P

Comments Please

Speaking of blogs, check out today's XKCD here.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

1st Quarter Audio Recap

Top ten artists, 1/1/2008-3/31/2008:

1. Sufjan Stevens
2. Blink 182
3. Pompeii
4. Jack's Mannequin
5. Vampire Weekend
6. Say Anything
7. Chris Walla
8. Owen
9. Weezer
10. The Starting Line

I was at first surprised to see Blink that far up there, but I do roll through that playlist frequently enough. Nice work Pompeii, only 10 or 11 tracks released and you still get on the podium.

Oh, and in the spirit of March...

Last four out:

11. The Cure
12. Frou Frou
13. Stars
14. Nada Surf

Bubble watch!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Conky - The Ultimate System Monitor

Conky is my new favorite thing about linux. I used to be all about the flash compiz desktop effects but that wore off. I still turn it on to impress people about linux, hopefully converting a few. Conky, allows me to know a plethora of information just on my desktop, without the bells and whistles. An added bonus is that you can display outputs from scripts. The screen shot above shows weather and also if I have new gmail. I am currently working on a script that will tell me about my friends' twitter updates
sudo apt-get install conky


With all the social networking, instant messaging protocols, internet applications, email accounts, et cetera, anything that helps me consolidate is always advantageous. Listed here are a few sites I've found really useful over the last few months.

- It's been around for a while, but its simplicity always brings me back. Great for multi-protocol (aim, gtalk, yahoo, all at once) instant messaging while not at your own computer.

pidgin.im or adiumx.com - Great open source multi-protocol instant messaging clients for pc/linux and mac. Totally customizable, change the colors, the sounds, whatever. Add-free awesomeness.

twitter.com - Just got into this yesterday. Manage your status from IM or phone via sms and your status update can be relayed to all your IM accounts, facebook, myspace, blogs, and such.

senduit.com - Upload a file up to 100 mb and you'll get a private link to share with whomever you wish. You say how long the file is hosted, from 30 minutes to 24 hours.

socialthing.com - Still in beta, haven't been able to test yet, but looks amazing. Consolidate all the feeds from any social communities you may belong to.