Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Newest Ubuntu

I haven't posted on this site for some time due to a couple of new projects I've been working on. One involves Linux and the other is a new cartoon feature I've created called, I Knew That. I'll talk more about these down the road.

In the meantime, I wanted to pass along a video my nephew Michael sent to me. Mike is a Computer Science major at bowling Green State University. he recent;y decided to set his Windows Vista desktop aside and give Linux anothr look. he chose Ubuntu's Beta release 8.04, aka Hardy Heron.

Mike said that set up and installation was easy. He found instructions online on how to install Ubuntu next to Vista. He emailed me, "Since this was the first time dual booting with Vista, I went online for some help and followed the guidelines for shrinking my Vista partition here:"

After Mike got Ubuntu installed, he then used its Add/Remove software installer and installed Compiz Config, the 3D desktop. Mike then added plug-ins like 3D Windows and his desktop really came alive. You'll also note that in the video, Mike is running a game called Full Tilt Poker. This is a Windows program that he's running in Linux using Wine.

It's all easy to do and the folks on the Ubuntu forums will help you achieve the same result with your computer.

Enjoy the video. Then, get Linux.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Big Snowfall!

Northeast Ohio got pounded with a huge snowstorm this past weekend. Everything closed down and I was holed up inside for the duration. When the snowfall had subsided, I was finally able to get outside and dig out. With my trusty Nokia phone, I snapped a photo of the piles of snow alongside the road and captured some video of my dogs romping around in it (video is at the end of this post).

Luckily, I had power and was able to log on to Kiowa Linux Beta 3 and surf the internet for weather updates and just use this great operating system. And Kiowa really performed well! Despite the fact that this is a beta release, it's incredibly stable! I talked with Kiowa's founder Matt several times during the weekend and he alerted me whenever a new package came online in Kiowa's repo. Pidgin Messenger works wonderfully well! XMMS is simply great! But the big attraction for me is how terrific Kiowa's version of Wine is!

If you've never used Wine, or are unfamiliar with it, Wine acts as a translator of sorts so you can install a needed Windows application. The absolutely great thing about Kiowa's Wine is how it works invisibly in the background. Just pop in your disk, find the Windows .exe file needed to install, double click, and Wine takes over. The software installs just as if it were on a Windows system!

Now, I'll caution you that not all applications are going to work. You'll have to check the Wine application database to see which applications work and which are still being worked on. But PhotoShop 7 installed in a snap! As did the compression utility Expander and Dropstuff (for when my Mac friends send me a stuffit file).

I've used a few versions of Wine and have found that Kiowa's version of Wine is by far the easiest to use. Get Linux, get Kiowa and get Wine. Then say goodbye to Windows.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Linux For Mom.

As many readers of this blog know, I absolutely LOVE Linux. Mainly because it really is so easy to use and the price simply cannot be beat. And, of course, the Linux community is just an email or forum post away if you need help.
But you probably ask yourself if Linux really is that easy and if others in your family would be able to make the switch. The answer is YES! And there are so many resources on the web to help you and your family make the switch.

For instance, the folks over at have a wonderful article titled: How to: Create a Linux Box for Your Mom (50+ Resources).

The article gives links to popular Linux Distributions, software, and How to Guides. In no time, you'll be armed with valuable information which can help you set up a Linux box for mom or any family member. It's worth the visit and the read.

You can also search my blog for other ideas in getting a Linux box set up.

Above all, get Linux, get involved with the Linux community (an example would be the Kiowa Linux forums ore.the Freespire Linux forums), and move away from Windows and it's viruses and spyware.

My thanks to Amy S. Quinn of for emailing me about their article.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A better Sound Mixer

I'm continuing to explore Kiowa Linux Beta 3 and am delighted by all the neat features the GNOME desktop offers. In the above screen shot, you can see Kiowa's sound mixer application (GNOME Alsa mixer) . Now, compare this sound mixer with the ones you've used in Windows XP. You can clearly see that Linux is head and shoulders above Windows. Every aspect of sound control can be tailored and tweaked to your heart's content. You can control each and evey nuance of the sound eminting from your PC's speakers. need more 3D control? Simply check the box and adjust the mixer settings giving your music a more spacious feel. Easily adjust surround sound settings if you have these kinds of speakers set up. Does your sound card support 5.1? There's an adjustment for this, too! Adjustments for microphone, video, center speakers, etc. It's all there! In addition, if your PC is equipped with two sound cards, GNOME Alsa Mixer can select either card right from the file menu. It gives you total control!

And this is the great strength of Linux. It's totally customizable to YOUR liking and tastes. From the desktop tool panels, sound, video...all aspects of the Linux operating system can be customized and tweaked to your exacting standards. With Linux, you no longer have to rely on Windows' "one flavor for all" approach. Linux is real computing power!

Get Linux. Get Kiowa!

Friday, March 7, 2008

LinDVD for Kiowa!

If you're new to Linux, one of the first things you're likely to do is pop in a commercial DVD and attempt to play it. You'll find that, just like Windows, unless you install a legal DVD player on your Linux system, you won't be able to play the disc's content.

Here in the U.S., circumventing DVD playback is in violation of the DCMA. and Windows and Mac have legalmethods to bring DVD playback to their desktops. this is something Linux has worked towards for the past few years.

So, I like many others, was excited to hear the good news! Kiowa Linux has legal DVD playback! Kiowa founder Mathew Portner made the following announcement on the Kiowa Linux forums:

"We are pleased to announce legal DVD playback for Kiowa! We have made available LinDVD to be purchased through our new site. Till then, if anyone wants to purchase a license before the new site is live we can surely make it available. Just PM (private message) me. The license fee will be $29.95 per unit and comes with 1 year LinDVD support Via Kiowa support Help desk (coming soon!)...and the forums still of course! LinDVD for Kiowa how exciting! Works very well and has been fully tested."

And I can attest to the last statement. LinDVD is a rock solid, stable DVD player that plays wonderfully well on Kiowa. It's a fantastic, full featured DVD player with such features as time compression playback (speed up the video while maintaining the audio's proper pitch), bookmarks, step frame, full audio support (dolby Surround, 5.1, etc.), full screen playback, parental controls, and much, much more!

If you've ever used WinDVD, LinDVD is very similar, easy to use, but runs on a much more stable platform, Kiowa Linux!

So, if you were worried about Linux and legal DVD playback, worry no more. Get Kiowa Linux, LinDVD, and sit back and enjoy the show!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Kiowa Ease of Use

As I take this new Kiowa Linux through its paces, I'm delighted to see features that make the overall computing experience a pleasure and ease to use. One of these features is quite simple, but oh so necessary if you're moving over from Windows.

When I first moved to Linux, the biggest question I had was, "How much of my hard drive is being used?" Linux gave me the information, but graphically, it fell a bit short in giving me a familiar interface. But, thank goodness this has improved ten fold. And Kiowa has it! In the above screen shot, you can see how easy it is to get this information. Simply right click on your drive, select properties and new window comes up displaying a pie chart showing drive usage and available space.this is brilliant! It's easy to find, pleasant to view, clear and informative!

I was on deadline last night and used the new Kiowa Linux to get my comic strip completed. I'm happy to report that Gimp 2.4 and Xsane (scanning utility) worked wonderfully well! (both are included in Kiowa.) Things went so well, that I not only completed my comic strips, but got wrapped up in using and exploring Kiowa. Which is why there was no blog post yesterday.