Ubuntu 8.04 First Look

Okay I immediately downloaded and backed my Ubuntu partition up on Dustpuppy (my loving laptop). Takes a while to make the backup, but i was exited through the whole process to get a clean, new, fresh and hopefully faster Ubuntu install.

Gparted

First off I resized my NTFS partition to be a bit bigger. Been using my windows partition heavily for Photoshop and development (side effect of being away from home alot due to heavy university load). The whole process of deleting the old Ubuntu partitions, resizing the NTFS leaving me with about 70 GB free unpartitioned space went like a breeze with Gparted from the live cd.

Install

The installation went easy as ever. No problems, easy to install and extremely fast. My backup took way longer than the install did. After install i was greeted by the Grub bootloader and without a hitch could choose both Windows XP and my Ubuntu 8.04 install. A short bootload later and the brown welcome screen greets me.

First impressions

I love it! Its running smoothly, 3d was easy to install… basically everything just works! I immediately fired up Synaptic and started typing in my commonly used applications. Here i hit my first snag.. overload on the repositories. A download speed of about 20kb/sec wasn’t that fine when i had a ton of stuff to download. But a pleasant surprise was in store as i under the “repositories” dialog for Synaptic could select “other” for the server i wanted to use. I expected to be greeted with a dialog asking for a specific server URL, but was extremely pleasantly surprised when i see a precompiled list of servers. Further more a button allows me to quickly test all servers to find the fastest one. I select that fastest and a minute later im flying the downloads at 1 Mb/sec !

Screenshot-Software Sources

Screenshot-Choose a Download Server

Screenshot-software-properties-gtk

No Automatix

I was sad to find that Automatix (homepage) was no longer in development. apparently some of the key developers were busy with normal life and at the same time got hired by the company behind a new distro. So no more automatix for now.

However this was easily fixed as most of the packages i used from Automatix were available through Medibuntu.

Conclusion

I like it 😉 Fast, more stable and so far a lot of small improvements that i really like. Especially love the whole world clock applet, with weather forecast included.

Links

Want to design your own Text Adventure Game ?

The Hyperion Project

The fine folks, educators and all round good guys over at 3D Buzz created an amazing series of C# and XNA programming video tutorials. As part of the “hello world” application an entire game engine for a simple Text Adventure game is created, and lovingly called The Hyperion Project.

However during the course only the game engine itself is coded, thus lacking any overall game to put out.  So i decided to move on with the programming and create my own text adventure game as a side project. Time however is a bit short, so i wanted to put out a call for help for any interested parties out there with a good idea.

Details

What happens if you are interested is that you will be writing the story and designing the level using the accompanying design specifications. I will then implement the story, game rules and level into the game engine itself and provide the compiled game. The reason being that i am not sharing the source code. Not because i don’t want to share (i will develop primarily open source myself), but out of respect for people learning from the tutorials themselves. People will not learn anything if they can find the entire source code available and just mess about it. However if you are a student of the XNA Xtreme 101 class you should have the engine yourself and thus be able to collaborate on the game more easily 😉

Design instructions

   1: ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
   2: // Create the XXXXXX room
   3: room = new Room();
   4:
   5: //Assign this room to location (1,0)
   6: rooms[1, 0] = room;
   7:
   8: // Setup the room
   9: room.Title = "Blue Room";
  10: room.Description = "You have entered the Blue Room";
  11: // Add available open exits here
  12: room.AddExit(Direction.West);
  13: room.AddExit(Direction.South);
  14:
  15: // ITEMS
  16:
  17: //Create a heavy 6kg anvil
  18: item = new Item();
  19:
  20: //setup the item
  21: item.Title = "Anvil";
  22: item.PickupText = "You struggle to pickup the anvil, and dump it into your BIG pockets";
  23: item.Weight = 6;
  24:
  25: //add item to current room
  26: room.Items.Add(item);
  27:
  28: //Create the green ball
  29: item = new Item();
  30:
  31: //setup the item
  32: item.Title = "Green Ball";
  33: item.PickupText = "You just picked up the Green Ball";
  34:
  35: //add item to current room
  36: room.Items.Add(item);
  37:
  38: //Create the Key
  39: item = new Item();
  40:
  41: //setup the item
  42: item.Title = "Key";
  43: item.PickupText = "You just picked up the Key that unlocks a door";
  44:
  45: //add item to current room
  46: room.Items.Add(item);

The above is basically how to create room that make up a level in Hyperion. Each room is laid out in a grid starting in the upper left hand corner with coordinates (0,0).

Each room can contain a number of items, a description, exits (north, south, east, west).

After creating the rooms a set of game rules is needed. Examples can be written in plain text e.g “when blue ball is dropped in blue room XXXX happens”.

A starting room is also needed as well as what causes the player to win/loose the game.

Finally everything should be send to me in a plain .txt file and I will compile the game and publish it. Of course you should include any credit you want noted in the game.

PS: I am posting this here because at the moment i don’t have a lot of time to make up the contents of the text adventure itself. I wish to continue to get further with the XNA Course since graphics programming is more to my liking right now. But i still wanted to give people to option to get into this easily 😉 Plus then we could develop the game further later on :p

SlideShow application by Felizk

Friend of mine, Felizk, made this nifty little sideshow application. Basically just shows images at random from selected folders and allows you to make the current selection wallpaper, copy to desktop (drag and drop) or delete it. Further more you can select folders via drag and drop and also quickly cycle your wallpapers folder and find a new pleasing look for windows.

Requirements:

.NET Framework 3.5

Download:

http://felizk.dk/?p=79 (in Danish)

Direct Download

Just say No-To-All !

When copying files in windows you are normally given 3 options when there is a name conflict. Namely if you want to replace “Yes“, “Yes to All” and “No“.

no-to-all-windows-thumb

Thus if you are copying a large amount of files you will be forced to select “No” for each unless you want to replace it with the one being copied. Where is the “No to All” Button Microsoft ?

However there is a hidden “No to All” option included. Just press SHIFT when clicking “No” and you will only be asked once about the replacement strategy. Very useful for copying larger amount of files were it is simply not fun to click “No” 1000 times :p

Source: online-tech-tips.com

Windows Live Writer

Okay so one of my mates introduced me to Windows Live Writer. Normally I prefer open source software but lately I have noticed an increasing tendency to use proprietary software that is freely available.

Lately I have also been using my Windows install increasingly as I have been coding XNA and C# and simply love coding in Visual Studio. I found that for day to day tasks my Linux install does most things better than Windows. Small stuff like multiple desktops makes my day easier as I use alot of multitasking.

However heavy specific tasks such as Painting (Photoshop), programming (Visual Studio) and gaming in general. I also use windows only applications for my random html coding’s (I prefer an IDE above pure text editors).

So why not give Windows Live Writer a shot. Also it provides me with the option of inserting nicely formatted code into my posts. I have been searching for a code insertion feature for WordPress for a while, but nothing works the way it should or simply does not work at all :s

So for a while I will be testing out Live Writer to post on the blog. Hopefully it will make my postings easier for me, more frequent and nicely formatted as usual!

By the way; I’m Awesome! :p

Example code:

   1: namespace HelloWorld2
   2: {
   3:     static class Program
   4:     {
   5:         /// <summary>
   6:         /// The main entry point for the application.
   7:         /// </summary>
   8:         [STAThread]
   9:         static void Main()
  10:         {
  11:             Application.EnableVisualStyles();
  12:             Application.SetCompatibleTextRenderingDefault(false);
  13:             Application.Run(new Form1());
  14:         }
  15:     }
  16: }

 

Links:

Pidgin replacement for my aMSN ?

I wish i could say i have been running aMSN for years. It feels like it, and it is almost true. However it has only been about 1 year since i discovered this delightfull alternative to MSN Messenger. Why ? Well i liked the MSN features but disliked the advertisements, extras, games and bloat i didnt need. Also i needed an alternative to use on my Ubuntu Box.

My first experience with messenger on Linux was using Gaim. It worked but lacked some fundamental MSN features since it was multiple protocol based. So i never really liked it as much as using something messenger like.

Finally i stumpled upon aMSN and i liked it. Was a bit buggy but worked for most cases. Back then nothing like offline messages and live spaces was in use mind you. Since then i have steadily been using aMSN for a long time since. Using it exclusively in fact. However i have had my frustrated moments. Mostly with file transfers failing and webcam crashing the application 🙁 But it worked and i was (for more features) using the svn edition which tends to break once in a while.

Gaim become Pidgin

Gaim later changes (Due to several legal issues with AOL and their AOL instant messenger AIM)) its name to Pidgin. I rediscover the application and test it out again. I like the simplistic feel and look of Pidgin and it performs without crashing and seems extremely stable and great. However i quickly find several small but usefull features missing; Personal Message, Offline Messages.

Wanting to use this for my windows box i start searching for ways, or plans, to implement this into pidgin. Much to my despair i find that there either (conflicting statements) isn’t a practical way, nor any way, to implement a feature like the personal (highly used) messages into Pidgin. After long searches i find that apparently this feature is in an upcoming version of Pidgin but that doest do me any good now. I finally find a solution.

MSN Pecan

I discover MSN pecan which is basically an alternative MSN protocal for use with Pidgin that enables the personal messages, offline messages and much more. Im happy!. MSN-Pecan.
I decide to test it out, and low and behold it works great!

Featurelist:

  • Support for personal messages
  • Server-side storage for display names (private alias)
  • Partial direct connection support
  • Improved network IO
  • Improved error handling
  • Network issues tested with netem
  • GObject usage

Conclusion:

MSN-Pecan is a nice alternative (easy install) to recompiling pidgin from source just to get some of the most used MSN features in what is an amawing IM Client. So if you feel (little) adventurous give Pidgin + MSN-pecan a whirl!

Links:

Pidgin – a multi-protocol Instant Messaging client that allows you to use all of your IM accounts at once.

MSN-Pecan – Alternative MSN protocol plugin for libpurple

NextGEN Gallery for WordPress

Today I discovered an amazing gallery plugin for WordPress. Simply amazing. It is simple, does everything i need and does it with flair! NextGEN Gallery.

Features:

  • Sortable Albums : Create your own sets of images
  • Upload a Zip-File with pictures : Upload pictures in a zip-file (Not in Safe-mode)
  • Watermark function : You can add a watermark image or text
  • JavaScript Effect : Use any available popular image effect : Thickbox, Lightbox or Highslide
  • Multiple CSS Stylesheet : Use a nice shadow effect for your thumbnails with your own CSS file
  • Slideshow : Full integrated flash slideshow
  • TinyMCE : Button integration for easy adding the gallery tags
  • Sidebar Widget : Show a slideshow, random or recent picture at your sidebar
  • Language support : Translated in more than 15 languages
  • Upload tab integration : You have access to all pictures via the upload tab
  • Tag support for images : Append related images to your post
  • Meta data support : Import EXIF, IPTC or XMP meta data
  • Sort images feature

Installation:

  1. Upload the files to /wp-content/plugins/nextgen-gallery/
  2. Go to the web page JW Image rotator and download the JW Image Rotator and unpack the conent
  3. Upload the file imagerotator.swf to the /wp-content/plugins/nextgen-gallery/ folder
  4. Activate the plugin
  5. Create a /wp-content/gallery/ folder and CHMOD to 777 or 775
  6. Add a gallery and upload some images (the main gallery folder must have write permission, thus the 775 or 777 chmod)
  7. Go to your post/page and use the gallery quickbutton to add content

Comments:

Personally i love this plugin. Easy install. Works right away with options to upload images from zip files as well as single uploads. Meta tags, sorting thumbnail generation. Fluid transistions and lightbox showing.
I particularly love the slidewhow transistion effects. So if you need even a simple gallery on your website try out NextGEN Gallery!

Links:

NextGEN Gallery WordPress Plugin

JW Image rotator (needed download)

Randy Pausch dvd bought!

Tonght I bought the Randy Pausch DVD on The Last Lecture.
Nothing much more to day exept were to buy it. I wanted to support the cause, and own this inspirational lecture on a medium so i can watch and re-watch as needed 😀

The Links:

Buy the Last Lecture DVD

The Book (went on sale april 8th)
Randys Peronal Update Page
Other Lectures + download information

Lectures:

“Time Management” by Randy Pausch – Nov 2007
The “Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch – Sept 2007