OpenID Authentication Plugin for vBulletin 4

Recently I volunteered to help fix an existing project or develop an OpenID authentication plugin for the vBulletin platform. The group in need was UbuntuForums.org and I would have never known if it hadn’t been for Jorge Castro’s public request for help.

The Story

The existing plugin had been developed specifically for vBulletin 3.x, however, they are (as of writing this) in the process of upgrading their forums to vBulletin 4 especially wanted OpenID to be available when they make the upgrade. That’s where I came in.

Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, provided me with necessary software licenses for vBulletin 4 and from there it was a lot of late nights attempting to simply get a successful OpenID process to occur.

Working a full time job doesn’t make projects like this as easy as I remember them once being… Nonetheless I was able to successful port the plugin to vB4 where there were several significant differences that took me some time to address and to be honest, the previous code was a bit more complicated to follow than it should have been.

One major change from vB3 to vB4 was the way templates work. I’d never worked with vBulletin before, but I’ve had an extensive amount of experience with phpBB and bbPress in the past. After getting over the frustration of how vBulletin prefers to store ALL template information (in the database rather than pull from template files) I was ready to begin the repair process.

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Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Released!

Code named Maverick Meerkat, Ubuntu 10.10 has been officially released and brings with it loads of improvements both in visual and stability sense. Ubuntu 10.10 is yet another release that helps hold the bar high among other Linux distributions.

With Ubuntu 10.10, the Ambiance and Radiance themes found in the previous release have steadily gained aesthetic improvements that will, in future releases, set Ubuntu on par to rival the simplicity and beauty of mainstream competitors such as Mac OS X and Windows 7.

Rather than repeat whats already been posted across the Internet in many different places already today, I’ll direct you to my friends blog, which also happens to be my favorite Ubuntu blog… 😀

If you’re just looking for the downloads, you can find them here. Their simple guide will have you ready to install Ubuntu 10.10 in no time!

Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

If you’ve not already read the news (I’ve been too busy to post this lately)…it’s time again to update your computer now that Ubuntu 9.10 has been released! With the release of Ubuntu 9.10 you’ll find a wealthy list of new features!

Upstart
Upstart gets you to your desktop to start using Ubuntu even faster than before.

Software Center
The Software Center has replaced the Add/Remove option in the Applications menu and provides an easier to use experience for anyone when looking for an application that you don’t already have installed.

GNOME
With GNOME 2.28, Empathy is the default instant messenger, a new login screen has been added, and you’re now protected more than ever when viewing documents with Evince thanks to AppArmor!

Ubuntu 9.10 translation status
Ubuntu is available in the following 25 languages: Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, French, Italian, Swedish, German, Hungarian, Simplified Chinese, English, Russian, Dutch, Japanese, Portuguese, Finnish, Danish, Catalan, Czech, Polish, Korean, Bulgarian, Greek, Slovenian, Traditional Chinese, Basque and Galician.

Application development with Quickly
Quickly is a new tool that makes it quick and easy to create and share applications in Ubuntu via deb packages!

Kubuntu
Kubuntu 9.10 includes the first Kubuntu Netbook release!

Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud Images
Ubuntu 9.10 includes images for common use on Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) and Amazon’s EC2.

Ubuntu One
Ubuntu One is a tool that allows you to drag and drop files to a folder on your computer that are uploaded and synchronized with your existing files in the clouds! You can work on a document on one of your Ubuntu computers and it will be automatically updated on your other Ubuntu computer! This is similar to DropBox.

Linux kernel 2.6.31
Ubuntu 9.10 includes the 2.6.31-14.48 kernel based on 2.6.31.1. The kernel ships with Kernel Mode Setting enabled for Intel graphics (see below). linux-restricted-modules is deprecated in favour of DKMS packages.

hal deprecation
Ubuntu 9.10’s underlying technology for power management, laptop hotkeys, and handling of storage devices and cameras maps has moved from “hal” (which is in the process of being deprecated) to “DeviceKit-power”, “DeviceKit-disks” and “udev”.

New Intel video driver architecture
The Intel video driver has switched from the “EXA” acceleration method to the new “UXA”, solving major performance problems of Ubuntu 9.04.

ext4 by default
The new ext4 filesystem is used by default for new installations with Ubuntu 9.10.

GRUB 2 by default
GRUB 2 is the default boot loader for new installations with Ubuntu 9.10, replacing the previous GRUB “Legacy” boot loader.

iSCSI installation
The iSCSI installation process has been improved, and no longer requires iscsi=true as a boot parameter; the installer will offer you the option of logging into iSCSI targets if there are no local disks, or you can select “Configure iSCSI” in the manual partitioner.

Putting the root filesystem on iSCSI is now supported.

AppArmor
AppArmor in Ubuntu 9.10 features an improved parser that uses cache files, greatly speeding up AppArmor initialisation on boot. AppArmor also now supports ‘pux’ which, when specified, means a process can transition to an existing profile if one exists or simply run unconfined if one does not.

Source: New features since Ubuntu 9.04

Download Ubuntu 9.10
If you’re looking for a place to download Ubuntu 9.10, you can find the direct download from Ubuntu’s official download page here. If you prefer downloading via BitTorrent then you may want the Desktop i386, Desktop amd64, or NetBook Remix i386 torrents!

Upgrade to Ubuntu 9.10
If you just want to upgrade from Ubuntu 9.04, just press Alt+F2 and type update-manager -d then press enter. After you continue through the upgrade you’ll be running Ubuntu 9.10…in no time!

Either way, enjoy Ubuntu 9.10!

Trillian Astra Now Open to the Public

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog for a while, then you may know that I’ve been testing Cerulean Studios’ latest version of Trillian which has been coined for some time as “Astra”.

Trillian gained a great deal of popularity in recent years when Trillian 3 was released and harnessed instant messenger features that had never before been seen.

Today, Cerulean Studios officially removed the restricted access and have made Trillian Astra available to everyone! Just head on over to the download page if you want to check it out!

trillian-astra

While Trillian Astra is still not in a final release stage, it should be close enough for you to depend on as your main messenger.

I will be interested to see how Trillian Astra competes with Digsby now that they are both openly available to the masses.

WordPress Plugin WP-UserAgent 0.8

I’ve just updated WP-UserAgent to version 0.8, covering a lot of ground over the past few days. As I’m working to reach a stable and solid 1.0 release, I’m also working towards a feature complete plugin.

Version 0.8 offers support for detecting ~90 different web browsers and ~35 different operating systems (counting each version of windows).

wp-useragent-0-8-img1

Easy access to WP-UserAgent settings is worked right into the Plugins page. No more need to search for options to edit!

Once you find the options page, you’ll find a cleaned up look and feel, along with a real-time preview of how your changes will appear.

wp-useragent-0-8-img2

If you’re in need of a cool geeky WordPress plugin, why not give WP-UserAgent a shot? It’s an interesting way to find out a few details about your subscribers and other visitors!

Find out more details, changelogs and downloads on the official WP-UserAgent plugin page.

Slacker Uprising: Now Available for Free

Slacker Uprising, which is a film by Michael Moore which aims to encourage 18-29 years to get out and vote, is now available.

Today was the release date for this film which is being offered online for free via download.

To get this film you have one of two options and both are 100% legal and legitimate.

1. You can download the video from the official website which only allows downloads from within Canada and USA.

2. You can download the video via BitTorrent which may actually be a faster method. If you’re unsure of what BitTorrent is or how to use it then you can find all of the information that you need to know here.

I for one will be downloading this video as I have heard a lot of good things about it and since it’s being legally offered for free…why not?

UPDATE (2008-10-03):
I myself have not received a notice of take down, but I might as well remove the link to the torrent since the torrents are apparently being removed now.

Several websites linking to Michael Moore’s freebie film Slacker Uprising have received cease-and-desist letters demanding removal of the torrents.

http://blog.wired.com/underwire/2008/10/legal-crackdown.html

You can still get the movie legally and for free from the official website which is option number one above.

Google Chrome: First Look at a First Release

Details regarding Google Chrome, which if you haven’t heard yet is Google’s new web browser, were recently leaked through a comic that Google released to a selected crowd of people and then the the world when it was leaked online.

The comic images show many different features of the Google Chrome browser and help to explain what’s different about Google’s browser compared to other browsers that are already available. It’s worth a read and you can read it here.

After refreshing my browser for nearly an hour, Google’s Chrome web site finally became live and I jumped at the chance to download this brand new product and give it a review.

Well the review will come shortly, however, I will go a head and reveal some screenshots of the browser and a first look response: shockingly impressive, simple and very stable!

If you want to download Google Chrome and try it for yourself then just navigate over to http://www.google.com/chrome and download and install away. Google Chrome is currently only available for the Windows platform, but Macintosh and Linux should be available soon!

Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Desktop Edition

Canonical has released the newest stable version of Ubuntu! I’ve personally been using Ubuntu 8.04 since late 2007 when it was available for the public as Alpha 1. You can take a look at the release schedule and road-map that the developing team followed for version 8.04! Ubuntu has really come a long way during the time that I’ve spent using it.

I first started using Ubuntu with version 7.04. Ubuntu builds are now given “code names” as well as release versions. Ubuntu 8.04 is given the “8” from the year that it is released and the “04” from the month that it is released. The code name of Ubuntu 8.04 is “Hardy Heron“. Ubuntu 7.04 was released in April 2007, 7.10 was released in October 2007.

The next version of Ubuntu to be released is Ubuntu 8.10 and is code named “Intrepid Ibex“. The release time should be obvious to you now! If you’re like me and like to use the latest bleeding releases possible then you can upgrade your version of Ubuntu to 8.10 in the near future by typing the following into your terminal:

sudo update-manager -d -c

This will launch the update manager window and prompt you about upgrades. If you’re currently running 7.04 or 7.10 you can upgrade to 8.04 or 8.10 by using the same step as mentioned above. You will however have to upgrade in order of releases. You cannot upgrade immediately from 7.04 to 8.04 or from 7.10 to 8.10. That shouldn’t be an issue, you can just upgrade to one and then upgrade to the other after the first upgrade has completed!

With Ubuntu 8.04 came a great deal of stability and many new features! It also includes the ability to install Ubuntu from within Windows! If Ubuntu looks interesting to you then you should give it a try! They’ve made Ubuntu very easy to install and very easy to use and get used to. Ubuntu is quickly becoming the synonym for Linux in today’s world. Don’t let yourself miss out on this ground breaking release!

Go get it now! It’s available by free download or free mail (delayed as they only send a certain amount per month). You can also spend a small fee (just a couple dollars) to have them mail it to you very quickly!

Update 2008-09-23:
Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex Alpha 6 has been released. Here is how to update your system to the latest version of 8.10!