Window Lists Essential to Unity

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With Unity having replaced GNOME as the default user interface for Ubuntu nearly two years ago, I continue to read articles and posts debating the usability of this new user interface. Many long-time Linux users dislike the new interface, and the debate over its usability verses GNOME continues. I have been using Unity since it has appeared in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, its first appearance in an Ubuntu long-term-support release. I like the interface, I have made the switch, and I haven't looked back. I previously wrote about how I think Unity gets it right.

OnStar Navigation Disappoints

I use a vehicle GPS whenever I travel for any distance, whether I know how to get there or not. In addition to providing navigational directions, it give me lots of data including estimated time of arrival, distance to the next turn, distance and time remaining, current speed, and an on-screen map. It is an amazing little piece of technology that combines use of radio signals, precise timing, and trigonometry. I have a TomTom brand GPS and am extremely satisfied with it.

Top 10 Reasons for Choosing Ubuntu over Windows

On my personally owned computing equipment, I have one one Windows partition installed; on my laptop (about which I have previously written), which dual boots with Ubuntu. When it comes to my personal computing needs, I use that Windows partition for maintaining a few specific devices for which no Linux-based maintenance software exists, namely my TomTom GPS, iPhone and iPod, and Logitech Harmony remote control.

Precise Pangolin Keeps Old Laptop Alive

I tend to hang on to hardware for a long time. My laptop, for instance, is going on probably 7 or 8 years old. It has been two months now since the latest Ubuntu version, 12.04 LTS, a.k.a. Precise Pangolin, has been released. I have been routinely upgrading (re-installing, actually) to the new Ubuntu release once a year, with each ".04" release. I like to do a fresh, clean install rather than upgrading; it gives me a chance to "clean house".

Windows Recovery with DEFT Linux

Every so often, a computer comes my way that is suffering from "Broken Windows"; a perfectly good piece of hardware that is rendered useless by virtue of catastrophic software problems within the Windows operating system. It's a shame, really. I have see perfectly good computers thrown in the trash just because Windows doesn't work any more. Of course, there are Windows recovery tools (e.g. restore points) to revert the system to previous configurations, which may or may not get the system working again.

Text-to-Speech, with Ubuntu

I was talking with a friend the other day, and he told me that he had a passage he was working to memorize. He talked about recording the passage and putting it on his iPod so that he could play it repeatedly, but was having some difficulty in converting to the proper file formats. I had done something similar in the past using text-to-speech. Personally, when trying to memorize a passage, I find that listening to my own voice over and over again is distracting. So, my solution was text-to-speech conversion. I offered to do that same type of conversion for my friend.

Backup Retention with Amazon S3

I manage several web servers, and a solid backup strategy is absolutely essential. I have been using Amazon S3 (Amazon Web Services, Simple Storage Service) for quite some time, for the purposes of storing backup files for the long-term, and keeping those backup files away from my production systems (essentially "off-site"). One item which I have needed to address since I have been using S3 is the subject of backup retention, or more specifically, automated purging of backup files no longer needed. Well, just sometimes, good things come to those who wait.

Easy Time-Lapse Video with Ubuntu

I hate snow. For me, it represents a lot of manual labor for the sole benefit of being able to get out of my driveway. I found myself into about three hours of shoveling the day after an unusual October nor'easter, looking out at my back yard, and reveling in the fact that the predicted warm temperatures for the week ahead will make this 14 inches of snow all go away. Then it hit me. This would make a great time-lapse video; watch it melt over the next eight hours.

How Unity Gets It Right

I have been a user of the Linux-based Ubuntu operating system for about five years, and until very recently its default graphical user interface has been GNOME. I have been a GNOME user even longer, having been a Fedora user previous to Ubuntu. The latest version of Ubuntu (11.04) introduced Unity, a new graphical user interface which is now the default UI (GNOME is still available as an alternative). I haven't seen Unity very well received, based on the reviews I've read. I use it on my laptop, and I think it has a lot of promise.

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