Ubuntu 10.10 Banner

Recently I was looking through the Ubuntu 10.10 banners and really liked the simplistic design of one by Anthony Scarth.

Curious about adding it to my blog (as you should now see in the right column), I fired him an email. Unfortunately he didn’t have a script prepared, but still offered up the images!

Taking a little time, I grabbed the old script for an Ubuntu 10.04 Banner, made a few modifications (and corrections) and got the banner up and ticking in no time!

If you’re interested in using one of these two banners on your site then you’ll be happy to know I’m posting easily linkable scripts to these two right here!

Orange
<script type='text/javascript' src='https://fun.kyleabaker.com/ubuntu1010banner/orange.js'></script>

Purple
<script type='text/javascript' src='https://fun.kyleabaker.com/ubuntu1010banner/purple.js'></script>

Copy and paste the style that you’d like to use into your blog or web site. If you have any problems just let me know.

Be sure to give Anthony a shout out and thanks if you like his design as well! You can find his email listed on the Ubuntu banners page linked above.

Making Calls From Gmail

If you’ve somehow managed to miss this one in the news then you must be hiding in one deep dark hole. 😛

Here are some pictures for your entertainment. If you’d like to use this, you need to install the Google Voice plugin first and then restart you web browser.

Keep in mind that you need the plugin to do this (and obviously a microphone) and that you’ll be calling friends or family using a number provided to you by Google Voice (so they may not recognize it at first).

The best thing going for Google’s new calling feature (if you ask me) is that its completely free for me to call any phone in the USA. While this pricing may not be permanent, it should at least last through the course of this year (my source for that is linked somewhere up above 😛 ).

WTF Should I Watch?

Just for laughs I threw together this quick page that gives you a new movie or show suggestion in a humorous way each time you load the page.

Screenshot of the WTFSIW page in action..

The idea for this type of site is not my own and was inspired by site like What The F*** Should I Make For Dinner, F***ing Movie Reviews, The F***ing Weather and others.

The page works off of three very short files and the code is minimal, so if anyone’s wanting to make something similar just let me know if you’re curious about my implementation of this.

Hopefully you find this both useful as well as funny! Comments, retweets and other shares are always appreciated!

Get Your Last.fm Wallpaper From Wallpaperfm

If you have an active Last.fm account and like to switch up your wallpaper from time to time then you’ll love Wallpaperfm!

Example from my Last.fm account in Collage mode.

This python script, by Koant, has been around since at least 2008, but I’ve only recently stumbled across it. It’s easy to start using and is available for Windows, Mac and Linux users!

I’ll help you get started in Linux since that’s what I’ve set it up on. If you need more help or want more configuration options you should look to the information that Koant has posted on his website.

Install

  1. cd
  2. mkdir wallpaperfm
  3. cd wallpaperfm
  4. wget http://ledazibao.free.fr/wallpaperfm/wallpaperfm.py
  5. chmod a+x wallpaperfm.py

Create Your Wallpaper

  1. ./wallpaperfm.py -u YOURLASTFMUSERNAME

That’s the most basic set of options you can use to create your wallpaper (which you will find after running the script in the “wallpaperfm” folder that was created).

There are three options for the type of wallpaper created:

1. Tile

Albums are packed in side by side.

2. Glass

A few albums are highlighted on a glassy surface.

3. Collage

Albums are meshed together in a dreamy design.

To specify one of these modes, simply run the wallpaper script with the mode flag set to your choice.

  • ./wallpaperfm.py -u YOURLASTFMUSERNAME -m collage

There are plenty of other settings you can specify such as size, canvas size, filename, profile period, final opacity, cache, excluded albums, local copy, etc.

Suggestions and Ideas

User Interface and Packaging

I’m sure that this script could be simplified further for Linux users (and more specifically, Debian/Ubuntu users) if a user interface were created. It actually seems like a rather simple task since the parameters for the script are well bounded.

Adding this interface to an installer package would also be a very simple task and would most likely get more attention to such a neat tool!

Cron Jobs, Regularly Updating Your Wallpaper

Another thing, if your music preferences are constantly changing like mine, you may be interested in updating your wallpaper in regular intervals. To do this you can setup a Cron job that runs in the background.

While this may sound difficult and confusing, its really not at all and this helps explain a lot. I can even walk you through the steps.

  1. sudo apt-get install gnome-schedule
  2. Open the application (in Ubuntu) through the Applications menu -> System Tools -> Scheduled tasks.
  3. Click the New button and select the Recurrent task type.
  4. Give the task a description.
  5. Enter the command that runs your script. If you followed the steps above then it should be something similar to:

    /home/YOURUBUNTUNAME/wallpaperfm/wallpaperfm.py -u YOURLASTFMUSERNAME -m collage -f /home/YOURUBUNTUNAME/wallpaperfm/wallpaper

  6. Set the Time & Date option to hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly.
  7. Click the “Add” button to add it to your list of Scheduled Tasks and you’re done!

Have any other suggestions or tips? Leave ’em in the comments!

“Share via microblog”

I just came across this in Ubuntu 10.10 while browsing the Software Center.

"Share via microblog"

I’m not sure how long this little feature has been available, but it sure does make promoting your favorite applications a breeze for Ubuntu users!

Clicking the linked text, as you can see, brings up a box to post to your “Broadcast” accounts (as Ubuntu calls them, otherwise known as your social networks). Here is an example of what it posts.

You’re free to edit the message how you see fit, with the important part being the “apturl:rhythmbox” token. For the record, there appears to be a bug at the moment that resets your edited message back to the default, but this will most likely be fixed.

I’m a little confused as to how this will work, since Firefox supports apt:application by default and not apturl:application. Also, Firefox requires the text to be a hyperlink, like the following examples apt:application and/or apturl:application.

If you find your browser unable to handle such links, you can find information here that should help you get them working.

I suppose this is yet another way that Ubuntu is becoming “social from the start!”

I Hate Spam

I’ve given up on cleaning spam comments and spam registrations on my site. If anyone has good advice then I’d be more than happy to hear what you have to say.

Lately, spam has been reaching ~400-500 comments and ~40-80 registrations per day. Managing a blog is starting to become a job. I blame WordPress for not implementing a decent registration blocker and a better spam net to catch this waste of my time. The plugins I’ve tried do nothing for registration spam.

I’d love to hear from you all about what works and what doesn’t! It’s a shame that people stoop low enough to spam blogs hundrends of times per night just to make a buck. When can we all live in peace and say what we want without people trying to trump us?

Short Opera Mini for iPhone Gallery

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!

Sputnik: ECMAScript 3 conformance test suite

Today, The Chromium Blog has officially released their ECMAScript 3 conformance test suite in a form that is more friendly to test in your browser. The test contains over 5,000 tests (currently 5,246) and continues to grow!

The Chromium Blog has also posted some initial results among the top web browsers for Windows (emphasis is mine).

In this example, when running Sputnik on a Windows machine, we saw the following results: Opera 10.50: 78 failures, Safari 4: 159 failures, Chrome 4: 218 failures, Firefox 3.6: 259 failures and Internet Explorer 8: 463 failures.

An experimental plot to illustrate how the latest stable browsers compare.

Putting that into terms of 100% conformance rates: Opera 10.50: 98.5% successful, Safari 4: 97.0% successful, Chrome 4: 95.9% successful, Firefox 3.6: 95.1% successful and Internet Explorer 8: 91.2% successful.

Running the test myself in the latest Opera 10.50 snapshot for Linux (Build 6242) I’m seeing a solid 77, proof that Opera 10.50 is progressing still!

As explained in their post, the goal of this test is not related to Javascript performance in terms of speed, but in terms of conformance to the spec. Ideally all browsers would be in the center of the bullseye, meaning they all conform and behave (nearly) identically.

The Sputnik tests have been released as an open source project, so if you’re interested in providing conformance test cases to improve the future web..now is a perfect chance to get involved. 😉

To run the test yourself or learn more about it, visit: http://sputnik.googlelabs.com/

Making My.Opera more social

I recently posted an idea in the “Idea Mill” for Gwibber which is a social client for GNOME developed with Python and GTK+.

My idea is to evolve My.Opera from a traditional web browser based social community to a client based community so that users can quickly and effortlessly update their status, reply and receive private messages, follow community updates and more.

This project will require a large effort to get going from the start, but would help the My.Opera community grow by making the service available to a larger crowd.

The current problem with My.Opera is that it depends on a community of Opera enthusiasts. Lets face it, Opera has a very small market share when compared to the current leading browsers. If the community is to truly succeed it would make more sense to remove the requirement of being an “Opera fan” and focus more on making the service a social success such as Facebook or Twitter.

With my idea, My.Opera could integrate with applications such as Gwibber and TweetDeck to allow users of the online service to easily follow others, review and update their private messages, keep track of community updates and stay updated in general with the activities available at My.Opera.com.

Here is my mockup for Gwibber:

As you can see, My.Opera would be able to attract users in a fashion nearly identical to that of Twitter with features that already exist and have existed for some time now.

The only current setback….My.Opera doesn’t offer an extensive API to make this idea possible. While they do have some API support in place, they lack what is needed (AFAIK) to make this support possible without fetching and parsing pages designed for a web browser.

The inclusion of this support would be very beneficial to My.Opera, especially when Ubuntu 10.04 is release with default integration with the social client Gwibber.

Making this giant step into the micro-blogging and “friending” era via clients would also be very beneficial to Opera Software ASA‘s business model. With more people joining the My.Opera community (after seeing the service support in Gwibber and other clients) the number of people exposed to the Opera browser would be fantastic!

This could potentially be a game changing move for Opera and it would be wise to take advantage of it as soon as possible with the current popularity and high demand for social micro-blogging services today!

If you’re a frequent My.Opera user and you’re interested in this idea for Gwibber and potentially other social clients, please cast your vote to show support and let the My.Opera community developers know that you’re interested!

Google Buzz

Now that news has spread about a potential “Twitter-Killer” coming from Google as early as 10:00am tomorrow (according to trending topics on Twitter), its time for my own dish of speculation.

Around a week ago, I read a blog post mentioning that Google’s Gmail has restricted the use of the label “Buzz”. Reading this, I immediately attempted to create a label named “Buzz”in my own Gmail account and the rumor was confirmed.

Playing off of this small find, I wonder if Google will release a product named “Google Buzz” that integrates into Gmail so you can follow “Twitter-like” updates by simply clicking on the Buzz label.

According to TechCrunch, the new product will be integrating at least two existing Google products, while one is highly speculated to be Gmail. This is where my theory with the Buzz label comes into play. 😉

What do you think this new Google product will be? Any speculation? We’ve all got until 10am Feb. 9, 2010 to guess!

UPDATE (2009-02-09):
It looks like my speculations were correct. TechCrunch has a short write up regarding Google Buzz.

UPDATE 2:
If you want to start using Google Buzz right away and its not integrated into your Gmail account yet (it should appear between the Inbox and Starred tabs once its been integrated, but it will take some time for most people to receive the update) you can use it on your mobile (iPhone/iPod Touch/Android device) by opening your browser and navigating to “buzz.google.com“. That’s it! Hope your busy buzzing!

Solution To WordPress getimagesize() Error

If you’ve for whatever reason noticed that your WordPress website is generating errors similar to the following then I may have a solution for you.

Warning: getimagesize(/home/.some-dir/example.com/folder/httpd.www/wp-content/uploads/some-image.jpg) [function.getimagesize]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/.some-dir/example.com/folder/httpd.www/wp-content/blah/blah/blah.php on line 123

I noticed that some pages that generated image information were printing errors out on my pages with private server file structures included. Generally you don’t want to see this printed out to the public. 😉

I’m not guaranteeing a fix for you, but rather what worked for me.

If you are getting an error link the one that I’ve listed above, more specifically the “failed to open stream: No such file or directory,” then you may be about to fix it in only a few minor steps.

Things you will need:

  • FTP (I use FileZilla)
  • phpMyAdmin
  • Ability to add a new plugin to your site
  • Patience

Procedure

Single quotes must be the normal ascii quotes. Chances are, if you copy and paste from my blog, they will be the wrong type so double check that as it could give you problems. 😉

  1. First and foremost, make sure to backup your entire database to a safe place. I’m not liable in the case that you don’t backup your database and this procedure borks your blog (or any other case for that matter). 😉
  2. Create a new file named “abstest.php” and upload it to your blog’s root directory after entering the following code into it:
    <?php define('ABSPATH', dirname(__FILE__).'/'); echo ABSPATH; ?>
  3. Open a new browser tab and navigate to “http://www.your-website.com/abstest.php“. You should find a short page with the printout of your servers absolute path.
  4. Check that the path provided by this test file matches the base path printed out by the getimagesize() error exactly. In my case, my server had changed slightly so the differences were similar to the following:
    /home/.some-dir/example.com/folder/httpd.www/
    /home/example.com/folder/httpd.www/
  5. If you find a mismatch, then you’ve found your problem and the rest is simple. If not, then my tips will most likely not solve your particular WordPress error(s).
  6. If you’ve found a mismatch, then continue: Open a new browser tab and navigate to your phpMyAdmin interface. Select your WordPress database, then click Search. I searched all tables for a match of the path that was different, in my case it was “.some-dir/“.
  7. If there are matches found then you need to click the SQL tab at the top (preferably in a new tab) and paste the following (making sure to edit it to match the table and fields you need) and run it to find and replace that changed part of the path.
    update TABLE_NAME set FIELD_NAME = replace(FIELD_NAME, ‘find this string’, ‘replace found string with this string’);
    For more information on SQL find and replace, either search Google or read this.
  8. After replacing all of the affected tables and strings, your images should be properly address. You’re not done yet though.
  9. Open WordPress Plugins and add/install a plugin named “Regenerate Thumbnails“. After installing it, make sure to activate it. 😉
  10. In your Admin panel, find the Tools menu and expand it. You should see a menu item labeled “Regen. Thumbnails”…click it. This will open a page with a start button. Clicking this button will begin the process of correcting your thumbnail dimensions as well as other metadata. It will take some time depending on the number of thumbnails you have accumulated.
  11. After the progress bar reaches 100% it will notify you that it is complete. You’re all done! You may need to clear your cache to refresh any pages that still generate the previous error message.

If you had any problems with the above mentioned procedure, I would suggest restoring your database using your backup copy and either trying again, paying someone to do it for you or just forgetting about it. 😉

If it works then great! If not then sorry you’ve wasted your time. It worked for me, so maybe it will work for you as well. 😀