Saturday, 26 January 2008

One Step Beyond!

OK, the only reason I still have Vista on my hard drive is because I own an iPod and because Apple in its infinite wisdom decided to make the entire device proprietary. As a result I have to run iTunes in order to get music onto my iPod.

Now there are a few possibilities when it come to running iTunes on Linux. The first would be for apple to make a version of iTunes for Linux, an idea that went up in flames when Apple went with DRM (Linux is far too open source). The second possibility is WINE (standing for Wine Is Not an Emulator) this program creates a windows compatibility layer between Linux and the program you are trying to run.

The program works a treat on most old programs, yeh OLD programs, this is fine if, like me, you learned web design, animation and image manipulation on Studio MX but if you need some of the newer iterations your stuffed! At one point the WINE team got iTunes working, but Apple are bringing out updates for the software so often that it wouldn't be viable for the team to try and keep up. If you have an old iPod (pre this generation, I think) then this option might be good for you.

I, however, went out and bought an iPod Touch the newest of the new. An iPod which wont run on any previous incarnations of iTunes. So whats my solution? VirtualBox.

VirtualBox is free Virtualization software which allows you to run an OS from inside an OS. This means I can run a full blown copy of XP inside Linux! At the moment of writing this I've still got some tweaking to do (such as install iTunes and figure why everything is running so slow!) but I'll get some screenshots up in a few hours.

UPDATE: I spent hours trying to get it working but only ended up in a frustrated mess of linux and windows command lines! So I've given up! I'll wait for WINE to support iTunes 7.whatever! In the mean time iTunes is still a reason to keep a windows partition :-(

Compiz Fusion + Windows!

Boring... I hate waiting!

Friday, 11 January 2008

All you internet video belong to us!

When I was a Windows user I stumbled across Democracy Player (now Miro) the program is just a video program that supports almost all video formats you can think of. I downloaded and installed it but at the time was unimpressed. I'm still however on their mailing list and now that the program is 1.1 I thought I'd give a another shot.

Installation seems easier on Ubuntu that it was on Vista, just a case of adding a repository and searching for the name of the program. (I love synaptic!)

The program then asked me where to search for media, I picked my Vista hard drive because thats where all my media is. Then after sorting through the files it could and couldn't play (when the program can't play a file it offers to play it through an external program instead) and the ones I didn't want cluttering up my playlist (like the raw footage from my YouTube videos) I started looking at the programs most impressive feature...

Internet TV, in a few clicks I had downloaded the latest episode of Spriggs (A Halo 3 machinima) from YouTube thats something you can' t do natively with YouTube!

Another great feature is Miro Guide which is basically video podcasting, within 3 minutes I'm subscribed to Cnet TV's Buzz Report just like in iTunes on Vista (But with fewer bugs!)

Linux is probably not going to get a all in one replacement for iTunes any time soon, but for all your video podcasting needs Miro is a brilliant program. I'm one step closer to ditching Windows for good!

P.S. Sorry about the stupid screenshot window in the pics obviously theres a timer function for a reason!

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Compiz Fusion goodness!

One LiveCD, Sabayon, ran perfectly on my mates laptop (Beryl and all) when I had to run it in safe graphics mode on my blindingly fast Vista machine! I understand now that even powerful laptops use fairly standard hardware so the developers of Sabayon were able to make it fully compatible with most laptops. In contrast desktops can have millions of different pieces of hardware in even more different configurations!

I had heard good things about Ubuntu so I asked for a free CD (A good way of getting into Linux without downloading the ISOs for hours) but the 6.2 disk I ordered wouldn't even run! Luckily they fixed this in 7.10 and I'm very happy with my installation of Gutsy Gibbon! As you can see from the screen shots below I got Compiz Fusion running, without much trouble, and I even have it optimized for my 32" LCD TV.

Although it was far easier to get Vista configured for my TV when you configure something in Linux you feel like you've achieved something, windows always seems to molly coddle a user holding their hand through every option with Linux you feel in control, powerful but still safe. I tried installing the screenletts sidebar recently and nearly broke Ubuntu, but the safety mesh stepped in and told me that what I was trying to do was dangerous long before I did any damage.

But if Ubuntu's so great why do I still have Vista? One word iTunes, I've got an iPod Touch which requires iTunes 7.5 (or whatever the latest version is) to sync but wine (a windows compatibility layer) doesn't support it yet. You can get the touch to sync with Amarok but it involves a lot of work and at the moment I'm quite happy to wait for the wine developers to do their magic.

Now my windows are wobbly

And my desktop cubed!

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Infinity + Freedom + Voice

So after looking around I plumped for Fedora Core 7 as my first Linux distro. The installation process was fairly quick but threw a fair amount of confusing Linux buzzwords at me. Eventually I had a working distro on my hands with only one problem, the internet. The modem I was using was a Sagem F@st 800 which is a USB ADSL modem, the only problem was this modem is notorious for not working with Linux. And with all things Linux, no drivers, no modem, no internet, no packages, no new programs and no fun. That wasn't a problem though as I had a fully working copy of Vista on the other partition. So I booted back into Vista. Nothing... The boot got as far as the progress boot screen then goes black. Rebooting several times didn't help and I had to reinstall Vista.

It didn't take long for me to get bored with Fedora so it wasn't too long before I removed it using a nifty little program called EasyBCD after just a few clicks Fedora was gone and the Windows BootLoader had once more taken back control.

As you can imagine it took me a while to try Linux again after the mess Fedora made of Vista, so when I did I stuck with LiveCDs