Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hands-on video of a mass production Pandora in the wild.

As Pandora consoles start reaching the hands of actual consumers, we get the excitement of seeing consumers of the product trying out the product that they have waited so long to receive.
Here is an HD video of a Mass Production Pandora, showing the relative size compared to a Nintendo DS, and footage of the handheld in action:

Exciting stuff! I can't wait to get mine!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Dan Pink- Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us.

I would like to share with you a video taken from a Dan Pink presentation for the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) regarding his book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. It helps explain the emergence of Linux, Open Source, and services such as Wikipedia.

Abbreviated, animated version:

Full, non animated version from the RSA youtube page:

I encourage you to explore the other videos that are available on the RSA Youtube page. There are some amazing and insightful videos there. Also, visit to learn more about this organization.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

How to install Formatta 7.0 on Ubuntu 10.04 using Wine

I do some volunteer work for the ELCA, and I recently found out that a good deal of the forms that the ELCA uses are in the ".pff" file format. For those of you that have never heard of the ".pff" file format, it is a format used for the Formatta Filler Tool. Currently, there are downloads available for Windows and Mac, but there is no mention of Linux. I will explain the steps that I used to get this program running on Ubuntu 10.04, without any assistance from the software maker, using WINE. For more info on WINE, read the WINE wikipedia article.

Go to Applications --> Ubuntu Software Center.
Search for "wine" and install "Wine Microsoft Windows Compatibility Layer (Beta Release):

Once installed, download the Formatta Filler 7.0 PC file.
Go to the location that you downloaded the file, right-click the file, and select "Properties".
Make sure to click the "Allow executing this file as a program" check box.
If you don't check this check box before you continue, you'll get a "blocked" error when you try to run the file, like the one below:

Right click the file again, and select "Open with Wine Windows Program Loader" and follow the prompts.
Your program should now be available under Applications --> Wine --> Programs. Sometimes, you may need to reboot for the GNOME menu to update itself.

You should now be able to run your program in Linux.

Keep in mind that with this method, your mileage may vary. Not every Windows program will work, but some of them will. I still prefer native Linux applications, but this is a way to bridge the gap when a Linux application simply doesn't exist and an alternative is not available.

Qimo version 2 released!

Today marks the official release date of Qimo for Kids version 2, a distribution based on Ubuntu 10.04 but specifically targeted at kids. As mentioned in my preview post of Qimo version 2, a new character has been introduced to the Qimo lineup. She is a polar bear named Illa ( sounds like 'ee-la'). She comes with her very own desktop theme, as shown below:
Links to download the distro can be found on the project page, but I'll also post the link to the torrent here:

MD5: fcc629f107e8ca8766b15bc6e5c32e5c
SHA1: 3e328b74b2eb9fcc179b2fa93afeccea55b59ca6

For more Qimo news, feel free to visit the Qimo for Kids website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Setting up Pydev in Eclipse for Django development with Python

While researching ways to do Python/Django development using Eclipse, I found this wonderful, though slightly outdated, tutorial video by Nick Vlku that streamlines the process quite well:

As I mentioned, the video is slightly outdated, but very well made. Here are the things that have changed or that I would suggest doing differently than the video:

As I use Ubuntu 10.04, I would suggest installing these packages from the Ubuntu repositories: eclipse-jdt, and eclipse-pde. Without eclipse-pde, you can't install extensions (such as Pydev). You could also simply search for "Eclipse" in the Ubuntu Software Center.

Pydev and the Pydev Extensions have now been merged together as of version 1.5.0, so you now have all of the extra capabilities from Pydev Extensions in the open source Pydev package. Pydev also has a new website-

To add PyDev to Eclipse, Go to Help --> Install New Software.
Then Click on Add in the upper right hand corner and enter PyDev for the name, and for the location.
Select PyDev for Eclipse, select "Next", agree to terms, and the "Finish".

For Django, To add the Start and Stop Debug server buttons, after right-clicking the Icon bar and choosing "Customize Perspective:, the PyDev Debugger Server buttons were under "Command Groups Availability" -- not "Commands".

You should now have a working PyDev development perspective in Eclipse, including integration with Django. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

May 2010 NEWLUG Android Presentation

May's NorthEast Wisconsin Linux Users Group (NEWLUG) presentation is a general overview of the Android operating system. The talk discusses some of the different uses for a cellphone running Android OS and the applications available in the Android marketplace. We discuss some of the different hardware platforms that either support the Android OS or are speculated to be released in the future. Beyond the user experience, we cover the architecture of the Android OS and how to develop your own applications for the platform.

Presenter: Justin Fisher
Justin Fisher graduated in 2009 with a bachelors degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and currently works as a web developer for LoanSifter Inc. out of Appleton, WI. Justin has experience developing websites in VB, C#, Plone, and PHP. As a Linux enthusiast, Justin was incredibly excited about his new Droid phone that he picked up last November and hasn't stopped fiddling with it since.

Here are the presentation slides:

This presentation video is in seven parts, though one of the parts is only eight seconds long. Eventually, we will get the recording process smoothed out.

Part 1:

Google Faculty Summit 2009: Introduction to Android

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Part 7:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

GoogleWebToolkit Quake II, showing off WebGL and HTML5

Apparently, some Googlers decided to port Quake to HTML5 using the Google Web Toolkit. Here is a video that shows the result of their work. It's amazing to see games act as a catalyst for technological innovation.

Might WebGL be another way to get gamers to use Linux, seeing as the games are moving to the browser?

EDIT: BONUS! The Google Employees that made this port did a developer session at Google I/O! That video has been published online, and here it is!

Google I/O Day 2 Keynote video/notes

Keynote Video is trickling out. Much slower for the second day than the first. Apparently, they are having issues with copyright/licensing since they showed TV footage (including NBA game footage) during the demo of Google TV).
Per the Youtube GoogleDeveloper page:
Due to licensing and permissions issues, we are unable to show the full Google TV demonstration from the Day 2 keynote at Google I/O. Until we are able to get these permissions, please check out these clips.

Android portion of the Day 2 Keynote:

Google TV clips (apologies for the multiple parts):

Here are some of the big announcements from the Google I/O Day 2 keynote:

Google doesn't like Apple's closed stance on things. They don't believe that one person should be in charge of the Internet.

Updates to the Android Marketplace:
It looks like Google is going to offer music downloads via the Android Marketplace. They've already addressed the first objection to their music store- what if I already have a ton of music someplace else? Well, they also showed off the ability to stream your (non-DRM) music collection via a PC to your Android device. The example was a nice little clip from Earth, Wind, and Fire. Feel the funk, y'all.

Some of the thunder of this portion of the presentation was tempered by announcements that had leaked out before the Google I/O conference, such as this one from Android Police, but there were still a lot of cool things shown off about the newest version of Android. As rumored, there appears to be a large performance increase, especially with Javascript. Let's mention the announcements in bullet point form.
In Android 2.2:
  • There are some great UI improvements when sending things to Android from your PC. In general, the OS will be more friendly when you send it apps, directions, and web pages.
  • The Dalvik VM will have a just-in-time (jit) compiler, increasing performance.
  • There is Exchange integration, allowing for administrators to have much better control on business email.
  • There are APIs that allow Android phone users to migrate information from one Android phone to another with minimal fuss.
  • There will be a Flash 10.1 beta at launch, and Adobe AIR compatibility. They showed off how Nickelodeon's web site on an iPad, then showed what it looked like on Froyo. Android wins.
  • You will be able to tether via USB and Wi Fi. They connected an iPad to their Android phone to show off the tech, which brought some chuckles from the audience.
  • Improvements to hardware access via the browser, such as using the camera and accelerometer via the browser.
  • Apps will be easier to update, including the addition of an "update all" button for apps, and the ability to tell the OS to automatically update apps for you.
  • Updated bug reporting, allowing developers to see the stack trace from users who upload bug reports.
  • Easier to use SD card storage. They are hoping that the process of moving content is easier with their UI updates.
  • Improved voice recognition, including translation ability. They showed off an on-the-fly translation from English to French, and it wasn't half bad. It's still not a replacement for learning a foreign language, but it's getting a little bit closer.

Google TV:

A large amount of the day two keynote focused on Google TV, an upcoming development that attempts to make television more personalized and user-friendly. Sony, Logitech, Adobe, Dish Network, and Best Buy are on board. Looks like we may be seeing Google TVs and Google add-on boxes before Christmas of this year. Google TV will also integrate with the Android market, meaning that you will be able to use android apps on your TV.

Google quite a few attendees happy by announcing free Sprint HTC EVO 4G phones (and Google TV socks) to all in attendance. None were given to those watching on Youtube, however. Maybe they can send free swag to the Youtubers next year. Maybe this will speed up the adoption of 4G in the US. Maybe not.

Google I/O 2010 has begun! VP8 open-sourced! Keynote now online!

Google I/O 2010 is underway! For those of you that are not in San Francisco, here is the Google I/O agenda.

To save you the work of searching for it, here is the 2010 Google G/O Keynote. It was originally posted in twelve parts on their Google Developers Youtube channel. Twelve parts, Google? Really? Isn't this 10 minute limit on videos starting to limit you, seeing as you had to cut your keynote into a dozen parts? To give you an idea of how ADD'ed out society is, at the time of the first version of this post, part 1 of the keynote had 42,373 views, but part 12 only had 4,736 views. That's right, Google. Nearly 90 percent of your audience didn't watch all the way to the end.
Luckily, they have since released a full version, which is embedded below:

For those of you who did pay attention the whole way through, there were quite a few interesting announcements. Here are some of them:

Google loooooves HTML5. They are looking to leverage it anywhere and everywhere. Google wants video to be everywhere, efficient, and open. Google is open-sourcing On2's VP8 under the WebM project. A nice surprise is that the OGG Theora people have agreed to embrace the new standard, meaning that we can hope to avoid codec flame-wars. They are working hard to provide a ton of APIs that interoperate with existing technologies like CSS to allow people to make the web a more video-friendly place.

Google is attempting to make web app store for web applications, similar to the app stores that exist for smartphones. They are looking to leverage the WebGL framework to leverage cool 3D apps, like Darkroom (from MugTug) and Lego Star Wars (through Unity).

Google Wave is open-sourcing most of its framework, in the hopes that it will be the backbone of the collaborative web, especially concerning project management. Wave is now open. You no longer need an invite to get in. Just go to They mentioned that Novell Pulse and SAP's Streamwork will be inter-operable will Google Wave. They are also working hard at making it easier to embed waves into existing web site.

Google talked about the Google Web Toolkit (GWT) and its integration with Spring Roo to create rich web applications. It is simply amazing to see the power of the Java programming language on the web with these tools. And...integrated plugins for Eclipse! Is there anything that Eclipse can't do? Props to the Ben Alex for using Ubuntu for the demo!

Don't be evil?
In showing a demo of millions and millions of expense report entries, it looks like they had some fun with the data. You'll notice that I've circled "Money Laundering" as one of the Engineering department's activities. Hmm, isn't that.... evil?
Google I/O

Google announced the upcoming availability of Google App Engine for Business, along with a roadmap for implementation. They are aiming to make enterprise development and deployment much easier, including deploying apps under your own domain and controlling permissions for a large number of developers under the same projects.

I will try to get the Day 2 Keynote up as soon as I can.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Changing around the window buttons in Ubuntu 10.04 with gconf-editor

Linux Journal recently released a great tutorial video about using gconf-editor to move around the window buttons in Ubuntu 10.04, from their Mac-like upper left default to the previous upper right default that was present in previous versions. Props to Kris Occhipinti for the video.
As a warning, manually editing this preference may have adverse issues if you plan on changing themes. Other options exist, such as downloading themes with the default options already changed.
Here it is:

For more videos and articles, head over to!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Humble Indie Bundle raises over a million dollars!

If you haven't heard about it, The Humble Indie Bundle is a group of cross-platform games (World of Goo, Aquaria, Gish, Lugaru HD, Penumbra Overture) that are currently being sold as a bundle using the "Pay what you want" price structure. Many of these games were award winners at the Independent Games Festival, which speaks to the high quality of the games. Below is the YouTube video that was released to advertise the sale.

In addition to being able to determine your own price, you are also able to determine who receives the money that you pay. You can choose to have the money go directly to the developers, directly to two charities (Child's Play and the EFF), or split the money between the organizations in a customizable fashion.

The sale was originally offered from May 4th to May 11th, and during that time, they were able to raise over a million dollars from the sales of the games. Of that money, $354,446 was allocated to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child's Play Charities.

As a way to say thank you to the participants of this sale, they have decided to allow additional sales of the bundle until May 15th, and have decided to make Gish, Penumbra, Lugaru, and Aquaria open source, and they have also decided to offer an additional game (Samorost 2) to purchasers of the bundle.

You still have some time, people, get buying!

Valve announces upcoming Steam Linux Client!

Today, both Phoronix and the UK's Telegraph have reported that Valve's Steam content delivery platform and Source Engine are going to be released for Linux. There have been rumors of Steam coming to Linux for quite some time, but this marks the first time that Valve has indicated it officially. An official press release is forthcoming. This announcement marks a large step forward for the Linux gaming community, as many top tier titles may simultaneously launch on Linux, Mac, and Windows, aided by Steam's content delivery system and development tools.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Check disc for defects in Ubuntu 10.04

The makers of Ubuntu have decided to cleverly hide their text boot menu when you boot from a Live CD in Ubuntu 10.04. Here is a video that I've made that shows you how to access the text menu and its memory testing and disk integrity check functions:

For those that don't want to watch the video, the secret is to press a space bar when you see the graphic logo at boot time.