Friday, April 30, 2010

Concept videos of augmented reality gaming

Two of the things that I like most are games and technology. Projects that combine the two in innovative ways are incredibly interesting. What follows are a series of videos that show the augmented reality concept being applied to games, allowing tangible items to have an interface in a video game.

For more info, feel free to visit the augmented reality toys section of Frantz Lasorme's website.

His website also has a wonderful presentation about the merits of tangible toys versus video games (and the potential synergy between the two), which I will also embed here. If there is any interest, I will translate the slides to English:

A big shout-out to Frantz, who lives in Nantes, France, as I spent a semester in Nantes while I was in college, and I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the area. Votre technologie est vraiment formidable, Monsieur Lasorne. Bravo.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ubuntu 10.04 Released! Get Downloading!

Today is the day! Ubuntu 10.04 LTS has been released!

For a list of features, check out the Ubuntu tour here.
A brief listing of changes (from
Ubuntu 10.04 LTS RC includes the latest GNOME desktop environment with a number of great new features.

Linux kernel 2.6.32
Ubuntu 10.04 LTS RC includes the 2.6.32-21.32 kernel based on

KDE SC 4.4
Kubuntu 10.04 LTS RC features the new KDE SC 4.4. For
more information about new features in Kubuntu, see the Kubuntu technical overview.

HAL removal
This release fully removes HAL from the boot process, making Ubuntu faster to boot and faster to resume from suspend.

Major new version of likewise-open
The likewise-open package, which provides
Active Directory authentication and server support for Linux, has been updated to version 5.4. The package supports upgrades from both the officially supported versions 4.0 (Ubuntu 8.04 LTS) and 4.1 (Ubuntu 9.10), as well as the likewise-open5 packages from universe.
Since this upgrade involves a lot of configuration file changes and in-place database upgrades, testing and
feedback is appreciated.

New default open source driver for nVidia hardware
Nouveau video driver is now the default for nVidia hardware. This driver provides kernel mode setting, which will give improved resolution detection. This driver provides hardware accelerated 2D functionality, like the -nv driver it replaces. The nouveau driver is being actively developed upstream and we anticipate this will enable faster bug fixes for problems encountered.

Improved support for nVidia proprietary graphics drivers
Three different NVIDIA proprietary drivers are currently available: nvidia-current (190.53), nvidia-173, and nvidia-96. Thanks to a new alternatives system, it is now possible to install all three of these packages at the same time (although it is only possible to have one configured for use at a time).

Social from the Start
We now feature built-in integration with Twitter,, Facebook, and other social networks with the MeMenu in the panel, which is built upon the Gwibber project, which has a completely new, more reliable backend built on top of desktopcouch. Gwibber now also supports a multi-column view for monitoring multiple feeds simultaneously.

New boot experience
Multiple changes to look, feel and speed of the boot experience have been included in the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Release Candidate.

New Indicators
The notification area now features more consistent user experience and design for communication, session management, and many other tasks. See the application indicators page for information on this change.

New Themes
The desktop has been beautified with the addition of two brand new themes, Ambiance and Radiance.
New wallpaper and icons are also included.

Ubuntu One File Syncing
Select any folder in your home directory for sync, pick from your existing contacts when sharing folders. An updated preferences application has been added, with more features.

Ubuntu One Music Store
Millions of songs are available for purchase from your Ubuntu desktop, integrated with the Rhythmbox Music Player and using Ubuntu One cloud storage for backup and easy sync.

New features for Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC)
The Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud installer has been vastly improved in order to support alternative installation topologies. UEC components are now automatically discovered and registered, including for complex topologies. Finally, UEC is now powered by Eucalyptus 1.6.2 codebase.
This release will probably be known as "the one with the buttons on the left", as the default window buttons are moved from the upper right to the upper left.

Of particular note is the Ubuntu One Music Store, an iTunes alternative, which is being released with this version of Ubuntu.

For free Ubuntu downloads, click here! C'mon now, get downloading!

For those that have already downloaded the "Lucid Lynx", there are already tweaking guides or updates scripts that have been published, such as this one at

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April NEWLUG presentation now online!

This month, the North East Wisconsin Linux Users Group has recorded the presentation portion of their monthly meeting. This video has been posted to
The subject for the month of April:
Solaris: History, background, and features.
Ivan will be talking about the OpenSolaris project this month. He'll discuss some of the history of how the project came about, covering some basic background on the project, and diving into many of the unique features that make it different and stand out from other operating systems.

Here are the slides from the presentation, courtesy of Slideshare:

The video is split into two parts.
Part One:

Part Two:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Using ffmpeg to convert videos to FLV format

Linux has a wonderful tool called ffmpeg that makes video conversion long as you're OK with the command line.

Here is a sample command line argument that would help you convert to the FLV format:

ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -ar 22050 -ab 32 -f flv output.flv
Let's explain some of the operators in this command:

  • "-i" indicates that the next word is the input file name (input.mp4)
  • "-ar 22050" indicates an audio sampling rate of 22050 Hz
  • "-ab 32" indicates that the audio bitrate is 32kbits/second
  • "-f flv" indicates that we wish to convert the video to the FLV format
  • You could also force the video to convert to a particular resultion with "-s 320x240"
This is useful for a service such as, which automatically converts your files to flv format, but can occasionally have issues. For more info, check out the ffmpeg website. Have fun converting!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pandora Console nub configuration video

EvilDragon has once again provided a video showing off another Pandora Console feature. This time, he is showing the configuration of the nubs (dual analog controllers) for usage as input devices in the operating system.

Here is the video:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Linux Collaboration Summit Video freely available!

The Linux Foundation recently decided to release free video coverage of this year's Linux Collaboration Summit, in response to increased interest in this Summit from the community and developers as a whole.

The full list of videos is available here. Sweet!

Here are some of the videos that you can find there:

Jim Zemlin - The State of the Linux Union:

Keynote-- How to Prevent Community (a cautionary tale):

Keynote -- Chris DiBona, Google Open Source Program Manager:

Why your life may depend on your code:

Keynote-- MeeGo:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Android successfully dual-booted on iPhone

Planetbeing recently posted a video showing a successful dual-boot of Android and the native iPhone OS on a first generation iPhone. His notes about the process can be found on the Linux on iPhone blog.
Without further ado, here is a video of the dual-booting phone, as well as several common tasks performed in the Android OS:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Linux Journal video- working with Suse Studio

Linux Journal recently published the video of me displaying the Test Drive feature in Suse Studio. There should be a full review to follow, but in the meantime, here is the video:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lawrence Lessig speaks about Net Neutrality and US Broadband Policy

The following is the keynote speech from Storage Networking World by Lawrence Lessig about net neutrality. Interesting stuff. Lawrence Lessig is a professor of Law at Harvard, and is an open source advocate.

Winners of "We're Linux" video contest announced.

The Linux Foundation has recently announced the winners of its "We're Linux" video contest.

The winners are below.

First Place:

Second Place:

Third Place:

The videos are pretty good, but I'm not sure if any of them singlehandedly would convince someone to use Linux. Any opinions?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

New Pandora LCD Gamma Manager

This just in via PandoraPress: EvilDragon has released a video showing the new LCD Gamma Manager on the Pandora Console, which allows you to change the LCD display settings to emulate the look/feel of an old TV, etc.
Video of the LCD Gamma Manager in action:

Keep up the good work, people.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Google Summer of Code 2010 Mentor Organizations announced!

Google has again announced the mentor organizations that will be participating in the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2010.
For those that are not familiar with the Google Summer of Code program, here is Google's explanation from the Summer of Code 2010 website:

About Google Summer of Code

Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a global program that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source software projects. We have worked with several open source, free software, and technology-related groups to identify and fund several projects over a three month period. Since its inception in 2005, the program has brought together nearly 3,400 students and more than more than 3,000 mentors & co-mentors from nearly 100 countries worldwide, all for the love of code. Through Google Summer of Code, accepted student applicants are paired with a mentor or mentors from the participating projects, thus gaining exposure to real-world software development scenarios and the opportunity for employment in areas related to their academic pursuits. In turn, the participating projects are able to more easily identify and bring in new developers. Best of all, more source code is created and released for the use and benefit of all.

The complete list of mentor organizations for GSoC 2010 is available here, but I'd like to highlight some of the organizations:
  • The Battle for Wesnoth - A free, turn based strategy game, open to customization and portable to a wide variety of operating systems (Win, Mac, Linux, Maemo, Amiga, Solaris, RISC OS, OS/2, etc.).
  • - group dedicated to developing powerful and open embedded systems. Makers of the Beagle Board.
  • CoreBoot- A project aimed at replacing proprietary BIOS systems with open, modifiable ones.
  • Drupal - Open source web content management. The framework that runs,,, and other large websites.
  • Etherboot - Organization responsible for gPXE, an open source network bootloader
  • Rockbox - An open source firmware for mp3 players, developed from scratch.
  • The Linux Foundation - Organization that employs Linus Torvalds. It promotes, protects, and standardizes the use of Linux worldwide.

It is wonderful to see so many great projects will be receiving support through Google's Summer of Code this year. I look forward to the innovation that results from this influx of talented coders to high quality open source projects.

Pandora Console update : Wi-Fi

PandoraPress recently announced that EvilDragon released a video on YouTube showing developments that are being made to Wi-Fi internet access using an external USB dongle.
This USB dongle provides an admirable temporary solution for Internet access while the bugs are worked out on the internal Wi-Fi chipset.

The video also includes showing off a new menu system (called MiniMenu), and additional information about the Exaile music player.

Here's the video: