X-mas Goodies

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I’ve finally gotten my new desk and new speakers setup that I got for Christmas. It seems as though my setup is gradually becoming more and more infiltrated by Apple and Apple-esque products.

Next step, (cleaning up that ugly mess of cables and) enjoying the wealth of desk space since my old desk was extremely cramped!

Macbuntu, Part 3

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I’ve finally gotten around to contacting the Macbuntu maintainer about some of my changes and modifications and have now been granted administrative access to the project!

Most of the changes I’m making are in the details, as most of the features are already available. I’ve contributed plenty of code and images to make Docky appear nearly identical to the Dock in OS X and even made the Docky bar image in Inkscape myself. :D

I’ve contributed an Opera skin, that I mentioned in my last post, but it is still very unfinished. Over all it looks well, but there are several areas that need to be corrected and the skin itself needs to be slimmed down a bit.

The Docky icons zoom by default, though its not an OS X default setting to the best of my knowledge. It can very easily be toggled on or off from the Docky settings window.

I’ve removed the Docky settings icon that was seen in previous screenshots so that the Nautilus application launcher (Finder icon) is the first item in Docky as it is in OS X. You can still access Docky settings by right-clicking the separator on Docky between the Trash icon and the others.

I’ve also written a very very simple application that toggles the Widget layer, which is powered by Compiz, on and is handily disguised by the Dashboard icon…meaning it reveals the widgets. As of writing this, there are no default widgets installed.

Eventually I plan to work in Screenlets and preinstall a few default ones as you would find in OS X, but I’m still waiting to make sure that my tiny tool works pre-compiled on other computers (is 32/64 bit versions). ;)

A lot of people are impressed with Compiz’s ability to render your workspaces in a Cube, Sphere or Cylinder. I’m pretty impressed with this feature myself, but having used it for a long time in the past I’ve found that I usually end up just switching workspaces with the keyboard and not paying much attention to the fancy cube in all of its transparent glory.

Honestly, this is one thing that should appeal to even OS X users as it looks cool and can give you a good quick visual of your windows. However, in Mac OS X 10.7 there will be a feature for Mac users that gives them a quick look at all of their activities and may possibly pass this Cube design right on by. Who knows? :P

One feature that you couldn’t see in the first Cube screenshot was the 3D window aspects and stacking. This is a neat feature and helps make the Cube look a little less boring. Especially when you can see how busy, or possibly bored, you are!

As always, proof that this is indeed Ubuntu Linux. ;)

Several other changes that I’ve contributed to this project include:

  • New transparency for the Top Gnome-Panel and all Menus
  • Alpha blurring for Docky
  • Added folders to Docky for the Applications, Documents, Downloads and Dropbox folders (where relavent)
  • Added detection for other applications and add them to Docky upon installation
  • Re-arranged several Docky launchers
  • Brand new Docky theme — Macbuntu
  • Reset the default wallpaper to the Snow Leopard  wallpaper (was the Leopard wallpaper)
  • Changed the clock format the match OS X’s clock (with tips from OMG! Ubuntu)
  • Added setting to ensure that people with multiple monitors see the workspace cube as One big cube instead of each screen rotating separately.
  • Default the screensaver to blank in case its already set to something like Gnome Feet, but it would be neat to have an elegant OS X screensaver!
  • Various other bug fixes, minor details and cleanups.

Its great to see a project come together, but its even nicer to have the ability to speed it up. :D

A few ideas that I’ve got include pre-installing Gloobus for a feature that mimics “Quick Look,” but until I find a good way to install this and until I can work out the bugs with this tool myself, it won’t be getting any prime time in Macbuntu.

The Docky Stacks feature that was covered at OMG! Ubuntu is also on the map, but is currently far too unstable to be included. I’ve been testing it out for a few days, but it consistently crashes Docky and ceases to function. When I come across a stable ppa for this tool, it will be adding to Macbuntu in a hurry!

Obviously there are several areas that I/we won’t be able to mimic thoroughly. Mac OS X is a great operating system and has a great deal of “simplicity” worked into it by design, somethings that just aren’t possible by “skinning” Ubuntu Linux.

If you have any suggests that are actually feasible, I’d love to here them! The biggest area that I’d like to work on is the GTK theme and get the theme’s quality up tremendously. I’ve had no part in the GTK theme (originally known as GTK Leopard) thus far, and its actually a great piece of work, but it still has a long way to go before being smooth and finished.

One last thing thats interesting is the fact that someone has already began a spin of Macbuntu, dubbing it Macbuntu-iso, and it is available for download in 32 and 64-bit!

MacBook Pro

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In with the new, out with the old. I got my new MacBook Pro 13″ around noon today, but had to wait until noon to start playing around on it.

Here are my phones blurring pictures of the old HP dv4000 (left) and the new MacBook Pro (right).

Notice the HP isn’t running. Thats because it no longer even boots thanks to some internal hardware problems.

This time around I decided that I wanted a smaller, more portable laptop. Since I’ve had plenty of Windows computers and have been running Ubuntu Linux for a few years, I decided it was about time for me to get a Mac.

So far I’ve gotten the basics installed and setup thanks to suggestions from my brother and friends.

  • Opera
  • Adium
  • Skype
  • Last.fm Scrobbler
  • Tweetie
  • Dropbox
  • Coda
  • QuickSynergy
  • Xcode

I’m still testing out Xcode to see how I like it, but my first impression of the 3gb download wasn’t too positive. If it works well then great, but I was hoping to find a good medium between size and features.

I’ve also tweaked my MacBook’s name so it appears a little more customized on the network (using this guide). Now it appears as “kyBook Pro.” :D

Have some suggested apps or tips for me, or something better than what I’ve listed above? I’d love to hear what you like to install on your Mac!

Netflix Now For iPhone & iPod touch!

Mobile Photo Aug 26, 2010 2 05 16 PM

Being an iPod touch owner myself, I’ve been highly anticipating the release of this app all summer (thanks to the early rumors and annoucements).

I checked the app store last night just before going to bed for this app and there was no sign of it in sight, so I had decided to write a post along the lines of “Where is the promised (summer) Netflix iPhone/iPod touch App?”. Little did I know that I would wake up to the release headlines (that was much better)!

Without further ado, I bring you a brief gallery of what you can expect to find in this little app..

That’s a rundown of the Sign-in page, Home, Genre, Search, Instant Queue and player screens!

In case you missed these details, hiding the keyboard in the Search screen expands the movie covers into view where there was previously too little room to show them.

In the player screen with controls, you should note the progress bar at the top with a “zoom” button to the right which zooms in just enough to fill the wasted space above and below the video (not pictured zoomed). There is also the play/pause button at the bottom which is accompanied by the 30 second backtrack button and the volume bar.

This design is nearly (if not exactly) identical to the Netflix app design for the iPad which has been released to the public for some time now.

If you’re a Netflix member and own an iPhone or iPod touch then I highly recommend you head straight to the App Store and download this free app for yourself! Enjoy!

Talks between Steve Jobs & Bill Gates

I'm being sued.

This is a collection of epic talks between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. I claim all no credit for these comical pictures, but I’m too lazy to research the original authors so just enjoy..

I'm being sued.

Remember when...

Touch you.

Loan

Just to talk...

Killing Linux.

Decisions...

Windows inefficiencies...

Millionare...

Antarctica

Netbooks...

If you have more, paste a link in the comments and I’ll credit you and add them!

Short Opera Mini for iPhone Gallery

Opera Mini's new permanent home, bye Safari (mostly).

Opera Mini for the iPhone (also iPod touch and iPad) has already replaced Safari’s resting throne on my iPod touch shortly after it became available via the App Store early this morning.

Opera Mini's new home.

I was a little disappointed with Opera Link since it never actually synchronized my Bookmarks and my Speed Dial on Opera Mini isn’t configurable up to 12 (or even more or less than 9 for that matter). Aside from these relatively small problems, I’ve been very pleased with Opera Mini!

Probably the most important advantage for me in Opera Mini is the lightening fast back button (like in the Desktop browser). Pressing back in Safari forces a page reload which consumes a great deal of time if you use your mobile device for browsing a lot!

One thing I’m unclear on (and haven’t taken the time yet yo clarify) is the difference between a Bookmarked page and a Saved Page in Opera Mini. Saved Pages seem to load faster, which leads me to believe they may be stored locally for offline viewing, but I’m not completely sure just yet.

After installing Opera Mini, I took a few screenshots and thought I might share some of them below just to give some more exposure. Overall I’ve been rather impressed. Nice work and congratulations to the Opera Teams responsible!

Initial Welcome Page

Initial Welcome Page Scrolled Middle

Initial Welcome Page Scrolled End

Successfully Connected to Opera Link

View of My Blog: kyleabaker.com

My Opera Mini Speed Dial (only first 9 speed dial items though..of 12). Also, 99 open tabs. ;)

Fun testing tab limits (99 vertically).

Fun testing tab limits (99 horizontally).

Fun testing tab limits (100 tabs...blank).

Fun testing tab limits (100 vertically).

Fun testing tab limits (100 horizontally).

Configuration options with Saved Pages and Find in Page!

My Guide to Jailbreak the iPod Touch

Mobile Photo Feb 2, 2010 12 51 50 PM

I recently made a quick list of steps that I followed a while back to jailbreak my iPod Touch as I usually do to keep as a reminder guide in case I have to go back and do it again. You can use this on your iPod Touch and/or iPhone, however, the iPhone is a little more risky as you could potentially brick your device if you don’t create a proper restore point or backup prior to jailbreaking it.

I thought I would post it here so others can find it and use it as I most likely will again in the future. So…below is my “quick and simple” guide (copy/pasted from my bbPress forum post) as well as a few things you can do with your device after you’ve jailbroken it.

Index:
I… Preparation
II.. Jailbreak
III. Securing your jailbroken device
IV. Installing apps and customization
V.. iPod/iPhone with Ubuntu
VI. Previews of my iPod

Notes: It is no longer required to Jailbreak your iPod/iPhone in order to use it with Ubuntu. If you only wish to use your device in Ubuntu, simply follow the link in Step #10 and ignore the steps to Jailbreak your device.

Preparation
1. Update your iPod via iTunes to the latest firmware available.
2. Backup your iPod to allow future system restores (in case of an error).

Jailbreak – (more detailed guide)
3. Download “Blackra1n” http://www.blackra1n.com/
4. Open “Blackra1n” and click “make it ra1n”
5. Wait until you are prompted with a message similar to the following:
“Your jailbreak is done once the phone reboots.
If this was the simplest jailbreak ever, …”
6. Now simply wait for your device to reboot on its own. It can take a minute or two to reboot. (If you ever reboot or turn off your device in the future, you will simply need to connect it to a computer and click “make it ra1n” to reboot it after its been jailbroken. Also, iTunes must be installed for “Blackra1n” to work correctly.)

Installing apps and customization
7. Download the “Cydia” application from the new “Blackra1n” app that should now be on your device.
8. Download the following apps from Cydia (some require a reboot so don’t go too far from a computer…as noted above).
—1. Categories – This enables you to create folders on your springboard and better organize your icons.
—2. WinterBoard – This allows you to install (seperate) themes to further change the appearance of your springboard, unlock screen, icons and panels.
—3. MIM (Make It Mine) – This allows you to change the carrier name (iPod, iPhone or whatever it may be) to something more personalized. Mine is “kyPod”. You can also change the banner (where the time is usually displayed) to anything you’d like as well. I left my banner default (time).
—4. Install themes, navigate to the Winterboard app to find and activate them.

Securing your jailbroken device
As with any hack, there are risks. One of those risks is that your device can become infested with a few nasty viruses that have recently made news headlines. To avoid this, simply follow the steps to change your devices default SSH password. Steps are also provided in your Cydia application towards the bottom of the home screen labeled “Change Root Password”.

9.  Open the Cydia app. Scroll down to find the guide labeled “Change Root Password”. Scroll down to Step #4 in the Cydia guide labeled “Change the mobile Password”. If you connect to your device via a terminal window (Mac or Linux will work or you can download the “Terminal” application via Cydia and use it) you can connect via SSH using the “su root” as the root user and “alpine” as the default password. You want to change “alpine” to something different so the typical virus won’t have your default password. After logging in via root, type “passwd”. You will now need to enter your new password twice (it will not appear as you type it as a security measure). After you’ve entered your new password, exit the terminal…you’re done! You may also change your mobile password if you wish by starting the password change with “passwd mobile”. This may or may not be beneficial to you.

iPod/iPhone with Ubuntu
10. Following the directions that I discuss and point to at the following location:
http://www.kyleabaker.com/2010/01/17/ubuntu-ipod-touchiphone/
It is no longer required to Jailbreak your iPod/iPhone in order to use it with Ubuntu. If you only wish to use your device in Ubuntu, simply follow the above link and ignore the steps to Jailbreak your device.

Previews of my iPod

Ubuntu + iPod Touch/iPhone

Updated Information at End of Article

After spending a great deal of time researching Ubuntu and iPod Touch/iPhone sync issues, I’ve finally found a solution that isn’t a dreadful experience.

There is currently a project in the alpha/beta stages that, when completed, will provide sync support for the iPod Touch and iPhones that are using Firmware 3.

If you’re not using Firmware 3 on your iPod Touch or iPhone, then I’m not sure how much this guide will apply to you. You can try looking here for more information.

If you are using Firmware 3 (my iPod Touch is running OS 3.1.2), then I’d suggest you following the guide provided by A. Tres Finocchiaro (aka FatButtLarry) over on his blog.

Following his guide, which is comprised of two lines of terminal commands to copy-n-paste, I was able to have my iPod Touch sync’ing in no time!

While the transfer speed seems to be a bit slow, it is indeed working well! Cover art is transfered flawlessly, everything seems to be in order!

Remember that this project isn’t complete and you are likely to encounter bugs. My experience thus far has been positive, your mileage may vary. Good luck. ;)

Update (2010-02-24):
If you are using or plan to upgrade to Ubuntu 10.04, you will not need to manually install any of the software mentioned above. Ubuntu 10.04 brings support for the iPhone and iPod Touch by default. You should not have any problems with your device and Rhythmbox!