10 Things I Love About GNOME 3

April 5, 2011 37 comments

There’s a famous quote that goes something like,

“If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said ‘a faster horse’.” -Henry Ford

As you most likely know, Henry Ford’s company popularized the automobile. Naturally, automobiles are very different from horses and if you get too used to how a horse works, you might find it awkward to adjust to using an automobile. Automobiles, obviously, are much better than horses, but they no doubt caused complaints from horse riders who were too used to how things worked as they were and have worked for years. GNOME 3, being released tomorrow (Wednesday April 6), is having a similar problem: how do you innovate without annoying long-time users who are used to the way things are done now? The short answer is: you can’t. Changes must be made that might seem awkward or even stupid at first to some, but you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

Fortunately for GNOME, their latest version of their popular desktop environment manages to break very few eggs, if any, and still magically makes omelets regardless of that. GNOME 3 designers and developers have had a lot of time to think and plan about the design of the latest desktop and it shows very clearly in several areas. Some refinement and improvement could come in future releases (and that is actually being worked on right now), but for now I am loving the GNOME 3 desktop as it stands today just fine. Why? I’ll give you 10 reasons: Read more…

Categories: Linux, Reviews Tags: ,

LinFreeze – “Deep Freeze”-like Software for Linux

April 4, 2011 2 comments

A few years ago at my middle school, they gave each student a laptop loaded with Windows XP and locked it up with Deep Freeze by Faronics, a program that prevented permanent file changes and re-set the filesystem to it’s previous state upon a reboot. It does this, I believe, by saving all file changes to RAM or something similar using a tmpfs-like mechanism. Well, after I graduated from the school, I offered to provide voluntary computer service once each week. I showed them the awesomeness of open source software and they actually started using GNU/Linux distributions, OpenOffice.org, Clonezilla and the like in their computer systems which I taught them how to use. I noticed, however, that there was a rather large hurdle to cross for them to switch to Free Software on the workstations and laptops at the school, and this was the lack of a Deep Freeze-like program to prevent permanent file changes, so I took on that challenge with LinFreeze.

I noticed a couple flaws with the Deep Freeze model that I actually tried to improve on with LinFreeze, however. For example, Deep Freeze only “froze” the entire system, not specific folders or user directories, thereby requiring a reboot into “un-frozen mode” to install software or make changes. I changed how that worked for LinFreeze by only allowing individual folders to be “frozen” in time, including user home directories. That way administrators can install software without needing to reboot, and all that would be needed to secure that would be to restrict installing software to administration accounts (or the root user), a relatively simple thing to do.

When I first wrote LinFreeze it was very basic and simple, but late last year I decided to work on the project again and put it up for public testing and contribution. So far it hasn’t exactly gotten the audience it deserves, so I decided to write this article about it. LinFreeze is written entirely in Bash and modifies the /etc/fstab file to work, so it’s inherently a very risky program to use, though I believe I’ve ironed out many of the potential bugs over the past six months.

You can download it at its GitHub page and read the README file for information on how to install and use the program. After installing, you can read it’s man page by typing “man linfreeze”. Enjoy, and any contributions (especially translations) would be greatly appreciated! 🙂

Categories: Linux Tags: ,

My woes of remote Arch Linux installation…

March 31, 2011 1 comment

Before I begin, I am going to assume that you know what a lot of common *nix commands and programs are. I’ll try to explain some things, but if you don’t know about Linux, SSH, port forwarding, or ISOs, then steer clear of this article until you know about them. Read more…

Categories: Linux, Personal Tags: , ,

Migrated to WordPress.com

March 29, 2011 Leave a comment

I moved my blag from self-hosting to WordPress.com today, mostly because I can’t support a server 24 hours each day. I also changed the theme and general look of things as well. Thanks for reading and enjoy my blag :)!

Categories: Site Status

These guys look really competent…

March 17, 2011 Leave a comment

This blog runs from my desktop because I don’t exactly get a lot of traffic. I’m thinking of upgrading to something that doesn’t need to be shut off for 12 hours each night (like a Dream Plug, or some kind of web hosting). As I was browsing around the various services to host WordPress with, something caught my eye:

Hmm… I wonder if I should pick them… 😛

Joking aside I’ve heard good things about a lot of different places. What host should I choose, if any?

Categories: Funny, Site Status Tags:

I noticed something peculiar about Netflix…

March 14, 2011 Leave a comment

See if you can find the patterns that I find in the “Local Favorites” for my area. Click the images for a larger view:

Categories: Funny Tags: , ,

Review: "Gurren Lagann"

March 9, 2011 Leave a comment

When my mom got Netflix for the family about a month-and-a-half ago, my favorite feature instantly became the Instant Streaming component. I set it up on my Wii so the family could watch shows over the internet and we’ve barely watched regular television since. About this time I noticed that there were some shows on Netflix that I’ve always wanted to watch but never could due to cost-related factors (I’m not the type to torrent a show just to watch it). One of those was Gurren Lagann, an anime (Japanese animation) that my brother watched online a while ago. So one day, out of boredom, I decided to start watching the series. I’d heard a lot of good things from the rather cult-ish fanbase around this show on the interweb about it, some people saying it was the greatest show they’ve ever watched. So, the question here is: does Gurren Lagann live up to the hype? Is it really that awesome? For the most part, I’d say yes, but I did hit some noticeable snags along the way… Read more…

Categories: Reviews Tags: , ,