Happy with Windows 8? Or hoping Windows 9 would be better?

Windows 8 by Ceo1017
It’s pretty much obvious that Windows 8 and its 8.1 update wasn’t as successful as previous versions of Windows were. And I don’t think the explosion of smartphones and tablets running on Android and rival iPads were entirely to blame. Just like Windows Me and Vista before it, Windows 8 was a failure.

Should we give up on Windows altogether? Well, until Macs become more affordable and more software developers embrace Linux, the majority of PC users would have to wait for Microsoft to recover and make amends with Windows 9.

Perhaps the folks at Microsoft would take into consideration these words from Jason Hiner:

In Windows 9, Microsoft will likely need to make another retreat. It will need to renew some of its focus on the standard desktop and laptop users that remain its core user base. It will need to focus on the things it can do to make their work easier, faster, and more productive. Yes, that will likely mean integrating multi-touch, camera gestures, and voice recognition in smart ways. But, Microsoft has to do it without forcing new interface concepts on users in places where it doesn’t necessarily add anything, and sometimes even forces extra complexity.

Good luck to Microsoft. And to everyone else stuck with Widows 8 right now. As for me, I don’t really care that much, I’ve switched to Ubuntu Linux since 2008. And I’ve been a happy PC user ever since.

Image by Ceo1017. Some rights reserved.

Ubuntu Server Map: 10 Ubuntu Servers in the Philippines

Do you run an Ubuntu server? Or is blog or website hosted on box running on Ubuntu server? If your answer is ‘Yes’ then most probably your server’s location has been marked in the new recently rolled out Ubuntu Server Map.

Ubuntu Server Map
Location of every Ubuntu Server in the world

I’ve checked out how many are in the Philippines and so far there are currently 10 Ubuntu servers running:
Ubuntu Servers in the Philippines

Makati City – Near Buendia
Pasay City – Near Libertad
Manila City – Near Recto – Phil. Rabbit Station(?)
Quezon City – Gob-smack in the middle of the EDSA/Quezon Ave intersection
Bulacan – near San Ildenfonso
Pampanga – Quezon
Benguet – near La Trinidad

Cebu City

Davao @ the Ateneo de Davao University campus

From what I’ve been reading online, Ubuntu server is gaining popularity in use. I myself fancied the idea of getting a VPS running on Ubuntu server to host my blogs and online projects. But since I’m finding it difficult to wean myself from a CPanel/WHM environment, it would probably take a lot more before I make the transition. Once that happens, Ubuntu would power my computing needs from desktop/notebook to the servers that run my blogs.

I’m happy to know there’s quite a number of Ubuntu servers running in the country. And maybe someday, I’d have one running and marked in the map as well!

Check out and explore the entire map at maps.ubuntu.com/map

The Story of Linux: 20 years of software freedom that changed the world forever

This month, I join the Linux Foundation and the thousands and thousands of fellow Linux users in celebrating the 20th anniversary of the iconic open-source OS that changed the world forever.

No matter which distro you use, no matter if you’re a free and open source supporter purist or not, we all share in this historic moment wherein we mark an important milestone in the history of computing, free and open-source software and technology; the two-decade milestone that Linux has reached.

To kick start the celebrations, the Linux Foundation has come out with a video that tells the story of how it all began and what Linux has achieved in the last twenty years:

Windows may still be the most used OS on PCs and notebooks, however Linux in its various distros or flavors has in turn pervaded almost all aspects of our contemporary history. Every where you go and almost anything you do, a machine or computer running on Linux has a part in it. That’s an achievement Microsoft and Apple would have a very tough time to surpass.

As part of the 20th anniversary celebrations, the Linux Foundation has lined up some great events, like the LinuxCon North America 2011 happening in Vancouver, Canada. A t-shirt design contest to commemorate the 20th anniversary and the Stories of Linux series which would showcase interesting stories about Linux from the last twenty years, including some pieces of analysis from Linux experts.

One of the most exciting event is the Linux Foundation Video Contest where the community is invited to create a one-minute video to celebrate the past, present and future of Linux with no less than its creator Linus Torvalds himself being the judge of the said contest.

I’d be sure to save up for that winning t-shirt and own a piece of Linux history. Maybe I’d even contribute my own Linux-inspired story. Are you a Linux user too? What distribution are you using? Happy 20th anniversary to all of us Linux users!

Running Kindle for PC on Ubuntu Linux

When I returned to using Ubuntu Linux as my main OS, WINE or Windows Emulator was amongst the first applications to be installed.

The original plan was to install and configure a version of Photoshop CS using WINE but I haven’t got to do that yet so I opted for another great thing – running Kindle for PC on Ubuntu Linux.

It’s quite simple really, I just followed these steps from redshirtlinux.com:

Step One – Install Wine

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install wine

Step Two – Obtain Kindle for PC (Windows Version)

wget http://d1xhj100piaj9u.cloudfront.net/25338/KindleForPC-installer.exe

**Note: This isn’t the lastest release, the latest version does not yet work under Wine. Thus you will need to obtain a copy from the site above.

Step Three – Run Kindle installer

wine KindleForPC-installer.exe

**The installer will launch and proceed with the installation as normal. Do not select for Kindle to start after the install, it will crash without one tweak.

Step Four – Change Windows Version for Kindle under Wine

Go to Applications, Wine, Wine Configuration. On the applications table click add application. Up should appear the virtual C drive instance for Wine. Browse to Program Files, Amazon, Kindle for PC, and select KindleforPC.exe. This will deliver you back to the application tab. Highlight the entry for KindleforPC.exe and then click the drop down for Windows Version. Select Windows 98. Click ok to accept changes and exit the Wine Configuration Utility.

Step Five – Mark the Kindle Desktop icon as Trusted

Go back to the Ubuntu Desktop, right click on the Kindle for PC icon and left click on properties. Go to the Permissions tab. Click the check box to allow executing file as program.


Now, I can access the Kindle books I’ve purchased right from Ubuntu instead of booting into my Windows Vista partition. Kudos to redshirtlinux.com!

Now it’s time to check out Kindle Lending Club to easily lend or borrow ebooks from others.

Back to using JDarkRoom – distraction-free writing tool

Well, I’m back to using JDarkRoom, a distraction-free text editor based on Java. Took me quite some time to figure out how to install Java on Ubuntu 10.10 but since this post was written using JDarkRoom means I succeeded.

No-fuss app that simply pushes you to write
Truth be told, I’ve been searching for a neat and simple writing tool every since I made the switch back to Ubuntu Linux as my main OS. Primaly for offline blogging but the most of the desktop blogging apps for Linux didn’t appeal to me. Some where to complicated to install while some didn’t allow me to simply ‘connect’ to my current WP-powered blog and insisted on creating a new one on my VPS.

Then there was NeverNote, the ‘clone of EverNote for Linux’, it worked well but after a few weeks, a bug kept on rearing its ugly head and instead of helping me to write, it was needing my help to get fixed. So after I did a fresh install of Maverick Meerkat, NeverNote was amongst the few apps that didn’t make a comeback.

In short, another thing I miss about using Windows, particularly Vista is the Live Writer which was everything what I needed for offline blogging. But sadly, no one has made an equivalent app for Linux that could be on par with Live Writer.

Luckily, I remembered about JDarkRoom while browsing the archives of OMG! Ubuntu. So I headed on to their website and downloaded the .jar file which when I tried to run brought me back to beginning of this post; Ubuntu 10.10 doesn’t ship with Java. A minor inconvience but leaves me wondering why is it so, when on the other hand Flash is included in Ubuntu out-of-the-box.

A topic I will leave up to the hardcore geeks to discuss as I am now happy with what I have; a no-fuss writing app that let me do just that, write with not much fuss.

Let’s hear fellow Ubuntu users, which app do you use to get your writing done? Do share for that what we Ubuntu users thrive on, sharing.

NeverNote – an open-source clone for interacting with EverNote

When I was still using Windows Vista as my primary work OS, the OneNote program in MS Office 2007 became my primary notebook. Though I signed up for an EverNote account, I stopped using it because OneNote provided everything I needed in a notebook and I can work on it offline. Back then, I never fancied keeping my notes online for fear of security and privacy concerns.

Now that I’ve switched back to Ubuntu Linux, it meant losing OneNote and access to all my notes in it. However, it also presented the opportunity to work with EverNote again using a desktop client because I’m already familiar with it and it would be a waste to let the free account idle away.

An open-source clone of the EverNote client (click to zoom)
Thinking there was a Linux version of the EverNote client, I headed on to their website but was disappointed. The client only had official versions for Windows and Mac. The alternative was to run the EverNote client using WINE, but that too was a bad idea because apparently, version 3.5.x won’t run under it. All was not lost however, because there is already a working open-source clone of the EverNote client; the aptly named NeverNote.

What’s more convenient is that NeverNote already has a neat deb package that one can simply download and install with just a few clicks. In fact, this post was written in NeverNote just to reacquaint myself with it. The UI is smooth, neat and clean. Much better than the EverNote web app.

All I have to do now is to go back to my Vista partition and export all my notes out of OneNote and import them later to NeverNote. And now that I’m on a dual-boot setup, switching between Vista and Ubuntu is a lot smoother because my notes are now synchronized thanks to EverNote.

Finally, Being Able to Chat to all Contacts on Ubuntu Linux

One of the trade-offs of using Ubuntu Linux is the fact that one can no longer use the popular chat clients like Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk etc. thus making it difficult to get in touch with your contacts on Yahoo! and Gmail.

The solution is using a multi-protocol chat client like Pidgin which is popular amongst Linux users. Unfortunately, I cannot get it to work with my Google Apps account, so for the last two weeks, I’ve been using the built-in chat in Gmail.

A better solution turned up when I received a notice that my Google Apps account can now be transitioned to function like a full Google Account.

It means, I can now use my jhay [at] jrocas.com.ph account to login to Google’s services like Gmail, Calender, Google Reader, Feedburner, AdSense etc. using their default login pages (http://mail.google.com, http://www.google.com/reader, etc). Finally, I can use single account to control and manage all of the Google services I use.

Empathy Multi-chat client for Ubuntu Linux
Chat with friends on Facebook friends without logging in (Click to zoom)
The most immediate benefit I gained from this is I could again use my Google Apps-powered @jrocas.com.ph account for online chat because it will use the Google Talk protocol to connect. Being totally turned off by Pidgin, I used instead another multi-protocol chat client that is bundled with Ubuntu Linux 10.04; Empathy.

Setting it up was easy, and it worked right away. So after adding my @jrocas.com.ph account, I imported my Yahoo! accounts from Pidgin to Empathy. The best thing about it, I can also chat with my friends on Facebook as well, without having to actually log in to Facebook. Suweet!!

Now I you can reach me via IM whether you’re on Facebook, Yahoo! Or Gmail. If you’re a Google Apps user, I suggest transitioning your account to a full Google Account today, the process is easy and smooth. You can check this page to see all the Google services you can access once your Google Apps account has been transitioned. Now all I’m waiting for is to receive the new Gmail with Priority Inbox for my Google Apps account.

Back to a Vista-Ubuntu dual-boot setup

After spending an entire day migrating and configuring my blogs to my new VPS hosting account, the unthinkable happened. My laptop’s original hard drive crashed. Well, the Windows Vista installation on it anyways. I suspect it was a trojan or some other malware because in my attempt to fix things from Windows in Safe Mode, the malicious file “pc-off.bat” was found in the root directory of C:/

My attempts in removing the damn file were unsuccessful. Something else, another malware was re-creating the file right before the system restarts. So, I’ve decided to reformat the hard drive and start with a clean install of Windows Vista. The one thing that stopped me was that all my files stored in the drive weren’t sycnhed with the backups I have stored on an old IDE drive housed in an enclosure. And since I have no other means of accessing a SATA drive at home, a trip to the mall was scheduled yesterday to enlist the assistance of computer technicians in recovering my personal files and reformatting the drive.

Then the idea of getting a new and bigger capacity hard drive popped into mind. The one that crashed is nearly 3 yrs old and had been in regular use more than 18 hours every day. After visiting each computer store in SM Dasmarinas, I settled with a Seagate 320GB SATA drive from TCA for Php2,950. For another Php350 they installed the new hard drive in my laptop, that’s the price of losing the set of small screw drivers we had at home. Then they offered to install my licensed copy of Windows Vista but for a Php1,400 fee, I refused after saying ‘You want me to pay your technicians that much for a task I could easily do myself? Up yours!’ at the back of my mind. My next stop was at CD-R King where I bought an enclosure for the old Samsung 120GB SATA drive for Php250.

Vista + Ubuntu Linux in Dual-boot

The bigger hard drive was not only meant to provide more storage but to enable me to have my laptop running on dual-boot setup of Vista and Ubuntu Linux 10.04. I’ve always wanted to return to this setup because of Ubuntu’s appeal and the liberating experience I get whenever I use it. Ubuntu could also be used to recover my files on the Vista partition should it crash again. It may not be foolproof, but it gives me a better chance of recovering my data and to keep on working even if Vista has shot itself in the head.

Ubuntu Lucid Lynx
My Ubuntu 10.04 desktop (Click to zoom)
The 320GB hard drive was partitioned to provide 250GB for Vista and 50GB for Ubuntu Linux. I installed Vista first then followed by Ubuntu. Things slowed down when the LiveCD of Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx I burned had read/write errors on it. So instead, I installed Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron from a CD Canonical sent me two years ago for free. Yesterday was then spent upgrading to Ubuntu 10.04 the latest version of Ubuntu Linux. You may ask why I didn’t use Wubi or the Windows-based Ubuntu Installer. I didn’t because I want a fully-functioning Ubuntu installation on its own dedicated partition and it would defeat the purpose of having Ubuntu as a secondary OS in case Vista crashes.

I worked on Ubuntu first because I used it to download all the Vista drivers for my laptop along with the basic set of programs that will be installed like utilities, security and other apps that are good to start a fresh install of Vista with. It meant that the Vista partition didn’t need to go online ‘naked’ and exposing it to various threats from the internet just to download all those drivers and programs. It also gave me enough time to reacquaint my self with Ubuntu and its latest version Lucid Lynx which by far is impressive as my Compaq Presario c765TU and all of its components are working well with it. The audio, mic and headset jacks, the wireless adapter, even the hot keys are working. If only Photoshop CS4, Lightroom 2 and Microsoft Office could be installed on Ubuntu 10.04 natively, I’d dump Vista altogether.

I’m not going to skin Ubuntu to look like Mac OS X because I feel that it does Ubuntu a great disservice especially with how 10.04 has become more feature-rich, more compatible with a lot of hardware and besides, the current theme looks nice on its own. For now, I’ll be using Ubuntu whenever I would blog, blog-hop and just surf the internet. Video, audio and heavy image editing will done on Vista. More stories to come from this new dual-boot setup of mine, as I’ve already taken much of your time. Thanks for reading this far and hope to see you on the next post.

A patch to a patch – What?! No thanks I’m on Ubuntu

Windows PatchMicro$oft has just released the the “release candidate” version of its SP3 or Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. Some of my friends have already downloaded it and while I still use Windows XP, I’m not even bothered by this yet again, another patch from M$.

Speaking confidently like this is made possible by one solution, having an alternative OS to run my PC. Sure I can’t get a hold of Apple’s new OS X Leopard, but I have what could possibly be better than XP, and that is Ubuntu!

Ever since I returned to using Ubuntu last month, dual-booting it with XP to be more precise, life has been quite easier, peaceful and more productive for me. Before the dual-boot setup, I was stuck with using my 4-year-old installation of Windows XP Home patched with SP2. The patch was awful! It hogged up lots of HD space and made my system considerably slower to startup, to run and to shut it self down (the shut down process takes an average of 20 mins!).

I cannot help but think that these patches are nothing but bloatware and even annoyance-ware. As they do nothing but to simply bloat-up my XP installation and force me to upgrade unnecessarily my other programs, like firewall, audio editing etc. Upgrading software is a good thing, and a routine I have followed diligently ever since I got my first PC. But somehow, upgrading Windows has never been an exciting task for me to do, all because of the reasons I’ve mentioned earlier. Which kind of defeats the purpose, upgrades are supposed to make improvements to the software not ‘dumb-down’ the software. What’s even ridiculous and plainly stupid is when M$ started issuing patches FOR patches! I mean, wtf?!

So why not upgrade to Vista instead? No thanks, well not yet. Perhaps next year. Or the next. Because so far, I’m content with the way XP is setup in my old HD and I’m happy with Gutsy on the new HD. Ubuntu may issue upgrades or patches from time to time, but I welcome them for they work! Unlike those of M$ which is just…oh nevermind, we all know what it’s like.


I know this post is a rant but I can’t help it. Haven’t been able to post regularly here so I suppose getting something off my chest would ease my return to normal blogging. Be back with more useful posts later on as today’s the last day of school for this 2007! Woot!

My Ubuntu CDs have arrived

Ubuntu CDsI’ve been down with the colds and school work, the usual culprit as to why this blog has been rather idle this past few days.

Also, this blog sports a new custom with lots of nifty features of which I’ll be talking about more in a later post. So please bear with me if the front page looks a bit pale and untidy.

Last night when I got home, my mother told me a package has arrived for me. Curious I was because I wasn’t expecting anything to come through the mail, though I’ve been anxious about my TLA check for October. It’s almost the end of November and it usually should have arrived last week. Hopefully, it wasn’t lost or worse, stolen.

Moving on, the package I’m talking about as mentioned by this post’s title is my 10 CDs of Ubuntu Linux ver 7.10. I requested for them almost two weeks ago and I’m quite surprised it arrived so soon. This is compared to my other requests of Ubuntu CDs before which took almost two months before arriving at my doorstep. Many many thanks to Canonical and the Ubuntu community!

The package contained the usual open-source goodness. Ten CDs of Ubuntu 7.10 and two sticker sets to spread and leave my Ubuntu mark. It was very tempting to jump right in and install Gutsy Gibbon but it was already very late in the night and I really need to recover lots of sleep and rest so I postponed this geek-fest until this Saturday. Why not tomorrow when it’s a holiday? Tomorrow is the birthday anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, and to commemorate his great memory and deeds, I’ll be attending a forum organized by Anakbayan tomorrow at Philippin Christian University – Dasmariñas. More about this after the event itself of course.

Going back, I also plan to install Ubuntu 7.10 on a separate hard drive so as to improve my PCs performance and for it to act as secondary drive to store or archive my precious data. We all know that with Windows, you’re always one BSoD away from disaster.

So right now, I’ll scour the net for good and reliable tutorials on how to dual-boot a system using XP and Ubuntu on separate physical hard drives. Though I have a rough and general idea on how to achieve this, based on my previous practice of dual-booting XP + Ubuntu on a single drive. Still, one can never be too careful. I’m confident that the ever-warm and loving Ubuntu community forums will be of great help.

Does anyone know of a good tutorial or how-to on how to do this? Do drop me a line in the comments below. Of course, I’ll document the entire process this coming Saturday. But first, I need to get a new hard drive, which is another story for another time.