Saturday, 19 December 2009

Why I'll never buy another Microsoft product.

About a week ago my motherboard gave out on me. Luckily I'm running an AM2 chip meaning that a replacement was fairly inexpencive. After putting the new motherboard in I booted into Ubuntu 9.10 without any problems. I boot into Windows 7 however and apparently my copy is "not genuine" and a few seconds after boot I get told I might have been the victim of piracy. Now I'm tech savy enough to know that 7 is just throwing a hissy fit over the change in hardware so I go to the activation screen and re-enter my code only to be told that because my hardware has changed my license is no longer valid. I am told to call a toll-free number and input a 48 digit code just to recieve another 48 digit code which I input into the activation menu.

Ironically this total palarva would have been avoided if I had been running a pirated copy of Windows 7 as a pirated copy would have had the activation checks removed!

I will not be buying Windows 8 no matter what features it has. From this day on I no longer consider myself a Microsoft customer.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

HTC Hero on Virgin Mobile

My current mobile phone provider, Blyk, is about to stop supporting its mobile phone network side of the business. For me this means that by the 26th August I will no longer have a phone service.

I've been looking for a new mobile network and decided on Virgin Mobile. The network piggy backs on T-mobile, which has good signal strength at my house. I went for a SIM only deal which gives me unlimited texts, unlimited web (very important for Android) and 300 minutes a month for £18.

Got my SIM this morning popped it into my phone and realized that the 3G wasn't working. After quite a bit of Googling the settings are as follows:

Name: Virgin Internet
Proxy: not set
Port: 8080
Username: User
Password: Not set
MMS Proxy:
MMS Port: 8080
MMS Protocol: WAP 2.0
MCC: 234
APN type: *

I don't think these settings make MMS work but if I find them I'll post them up.

Saturday, 8 August 2009


Just a quick post to let you know that I'm trying out Tumblr. I'll post a link when I've finished tweaking!

Et Voila:

Friday, 24 July 2009

Jolicloud Review

If you read my post on instant-on/cloud operating systems you'll know I'm enthralled by the idea of not having any data locally but still having very fast access. This all started when I learned about the existence of Jolicloud an OS which lives mostly in the cloud. Sadly at the moment Jolicloud is in private alpha so I signed up for an invite and waited a few months.

The main (?) interface

Yesterday I got an email from Jolicloud with an invite and subsequently a download link :-) installation was very similar to Ubuntu NBR because Jolicloud is based on it. I installed it very similarly to my NBR installation as a result boot times are very fast from the 4GB SSD (less than 25 seconds)

First Impressions

What surprised me was that instead of booting into the Jolicloud interface it booted into a stripped down UME launcher. I've now discovered that the UME laucher IS Joliclouds main interface. This can make the experience slightly jarring as you install applications (both web and native) from the Jolicloud interface but cannot launch them from there.

The one click graphical installation is a wonder to behold and at the moment very useful but I'm not sure how useful it will be once there is a larger range of applications. The universal people and applications search will probably help.

Having downloaded the Twitter and Facebook "apps", which are simply Prism bookmarks, I was surprised that they didn't integrate with the Jolicloud interface. The main page of the Jolicloud Interface is an activity feed for your friends this however doesn't extend to Twitter and Facebook. It would be nice to open Jolicloud and see updates from the people I'm following on Twitter. Of course there might be a setting for this but the settings are strewn across the system, would it be in the settings menu on the UME launcher or in the Jolicloud interface or in the settings of the Twitter program?

This discontinuity also extends to the search bar which will allow me to search application and (the rather cryptically named) "people" at first glance for a social OS you'd think this would be Twitter and Facebook profiles but it is limited to the profiles of other Jolicloud users.

At the moment I must admit I'm a little disappointed but being an Alpha product I'm going to assume that tighter integration with the rest of the OS and web services is coming.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

GPU accelerated Flash

Recently there has been a lot of take about Adobe finally bringing GPU acceleration to Flash but did you know that Flash on Linux already supports this?

Flash on Linux uses OpenGL to render video making it acceleratable (new word?) by your GPU. "But wait" I hear you say "I've got (insert name of stronking great graphics card here) and I can't play YouTube in HD" This is because the Flash GPU acceleration won't work with compiz enabled.

Whilst researching this issue I've come across a solution. Obviously everytime you want to watch a flash video smoothly you don't want to be messing around with the "Appearance" settings to disable compiz. There is, however, an easier way!

Enter Compiz-Switch a small application whose only role in life is to swich off compiz if compiz is enabled and switch it back on if it isn't.

Hitting this button just before you click on a YouTube link will allow Flash to use the full power of you stonking great graphics card and render that HD YouTube experience you've been craving smoothly.

Find the Compiz-Switch program here at and look in the sidebar under projects for the latest build of Compiz-Switch

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

In search of Tux wallpapers

The redesign is basically complete, as you can see, so I've decided to release the wallpapers I've made for each of my OSes.

The original design was inspired by this wallpaper from PulsarMedia.

Click to make big.




I might get round to making an iPhone wallpaper at some point so stay tuned for that and an agnostic one featuring all 3 logos.

Feel free to download use, modify and redistribute but please give credit unless you are making major alterations. Thanks

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Totally agnostic (REDUX)

I finally have Mac OS X 10.5.5 running on my AMD pc. The entire reason behind running OS X on my PC was because I have a number of ideas for iPhone apps. However Apple in their infinate wisdom has decided to make the iPhone SDK Mac only! As a result I'm forced to either spend £499 on the cheapest possible Mac (The bottom of the line Mac Mini) or hack Mac (tee hee hee that rhymes!) onto my PC.

To cure my conscience I've bought a copy of OS X from Apple so that I own a copy of the code legally. I'm not a laywer so I'm not sure if that makes hacking Mac onto my PC more legal or not but it makes me feel better.

So that's the back story. After what must be 10 or 12 attempts at installing Mac unsucessfully I have finally installed iDeneb 10.5.5 sucessfully! Audio, Ethernet and resolution (thanks to a new graphics card) all work.

So I've just popped over to the iPhone developer site and downloaded the iPhone SDK only to find that in the time it's taken me to get 10.5.5 working Apple has released a new version of the SDK for iPhone OS 3.0. Great right? Wrong! The new iPhone SDK can only run on 10.5.7 :-(

So I'm now downloading a special hacked 10.5.7 update package which will allow me to run 10.5.7 without reinstalling. So in the mean time here's a screenie.

Update: The 10.5.7 package has finished installing and I'm now waiting for my hackintosh to restart, which for some reason takes ages!

Also I've changed my wallpaper to this:

Which has inspired me to want to redesign In Search of Tux. The blog never really had a distinctive look and feel that made you think "oh this is a tech blog" so I'm going to nab this style and make a banner with the Ubuntu, Mac and Windows logos and match the rest of the theme to it.

New theme will probably begin being put together tomorrow evening and as always I'll keep you up to date.

Monday, 15 June 2009

An interesting proposition

A couple of months back I found a Linux operating system called gOS Cloud, you may already be familiar with it. The basic premise is for it to be a netbook or kiosk OS. The only think which loads up at boot time is a browser, this makes the boot time next to nothing.

The browser looks very similar to Google Chrome with a AWN/Kiba Dock/GnomeDO/MacOS style dock at the bottom of the screen. The idea of this OS is that you use web services rather than applications to get your work done. The dock has links to the main google apps (gmail, calender, docs, spreadsheets etc) as well as a power icon a wifi hotspot selector and a "boot into windows button".

The Windows button is interesting becuase this OS isn't meant to be used on its own. Its supposed to be dual booted with another OS. In my case it'd probably be a flavour of Linux.

But what if you wanted to use this as the only OS? Could you still get work done? This is where we get to my main reason for this post. gOS Cloud is all well and good but aside from the fast boot times it isn't very exciting. The other reason I haven't posted about it is that it is in invite only private beta, a beta for which I'm still waiting for my invite!

Today whilst stumbling around the interwebs I came across eyeOS, it was Apple that started this "lets have lowercase letters infront of capitals nonsence with the iPod wasn't it! Anyway... eyeOS is a totally browser based OS which looks pretty much like other Linux based distros. This however lives on a server somewhere (possibly Narnia) and you control it with your browser.

eyeOS has a file manager, a web browser (yes I know, a web browser in an OS inside a web browser!), an office suite and image viewer amongst other things. You can either log into your eyeOS desktop on the Narnia based server or host your own eyeOS server.

The only problem is that you have to have an underlying operating system to run the web browser so you can log into eyeOS. If eyeOS was combined with gOS Cloud you could have a fully functioning desktop within seconds of pressing the power button.

The only issue I can see is if you don't have an internet connection (or connection to the server if its your own local one). This is solved in gOS Cloud by having the option to boot into a full blown operating system like Ubuntu of Windows but this defeats the point. One implamentation of eyeOS could be to have a google gears style offline function where the OS is cached on the connecting machine and syncs with the server when it has a connection but my guess would be that this is still some way off being a reality.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Podcast catcher for iPod Touch

I'm a huge fan of podcasts. I'm not however a huge fan of booting into Vista and syncing my iPod Touch with iTunes to get the latest episode. Now, before I end up drowning in comments, I know that iTunes Mobile can download podcasts OTA (Over The Air) but it doesn't allow me to subscribe to the feeds and have them download automatically when new episodes come out.

In steps Podcaster. This is one of those rare apps which started out life only for jailbroken devices and has made it into the official app store (albeit under the new name of RSS Player). As regular readers of this blog will know I hate paying for things if I can get hold of a free open source version. The official app store only contains the pay version of Podcaster (RSS Player) but Cydia contains the original version which is still pretty up to date when it comes to bug fixes and things.

The only limitation to the free version that I could find so far is that you can only add 3 podcasts through the search function. That's rubbish I hear you shout, however as always there is a work around. The app also includes an option to add podcasts directly from their XML link this method of adding podcasts doesn't seem to have a restriction on it at all! Couple this with clippy (iPhone and iPod Touch jailbroken copy and paste) and adding an unlimited amount of podcasts is really easy.

So if your looking for a podcast catcher for free give Podcaster a go from the Modmyi repository in Cydia.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Ahh! Panic!

OK after another failed attempt at installing Mac OSX (OSX86) on my PC I ended up reinstalling Vista (grrr) forgetting that Windows loves nothing better than breaking GRUB making my Ubuntu hard drive (which I'd unplugged for safety) unbootable (or it could have been a throw back to failed attempts at dualbooting) either way I was getting the dreaded GRUB Error 2 message.

A quick google search brought up this stupendously simple guide to getting everything working again :-)

So pop over to Ramblings of an old man to solve your GRUB booting woes.

Oh and in a moment of weakness I themed Vista to look like Windows 7. Best theme I found to do it is by deviantartist Mufflerexoz and can be found here. I might even upload a screenshot in a bit.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Netbook Remix is back

So far I've only had experience with Ubuntu as a Linux operating system. This is fine because both my eeepc and desktop run versions of Ubuntu. My brother's eeepc 701 however is still running Xandros, an operating system I know little about.

When my brother's wifi packed up on his eeepc all my wonderful Ubuntu knowledge was as useful as a chocolate teapot (and less tasty too!). My solution was to install Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Remix on his eee, this way at least I'd know what I was talking about.

Installation went smoothly and after finding out that the UME launcher is really, really buggy and slow on a 701 I switched him to the default Ubuntu.

After my success on his eee why not stick it on mine again? I'm much more knowledgeable than the last time I did it and I won't make the same mistake I did last time and try to install everything on the 4GB soldered SDD!

Installation was, again, smooth this time however I was careful in the partitioning of my drives:

4GB Soldered on-board SSD, 4GB partition formatted to EXT4 for /
16GB SSD, 2GB partition formatted for swap
16GB SSD, 4GB partition formatted to EXT4 for /usr
16GB SSD, 10GB partition formatted to EXT4 for /home

With root installed on the blazingly fast 4GB soldered SSD my eee now boots in just under 30 seconds! I haven't even started tweaking grub (and the rest!) yet.

The UME interface runs really slow on both the 701 and 900 but there is a fix (gotta love that open-source goodness) you need to download and install linux-image-2.6.28-11-generic_2.6.28-11.43~lp349314apw5_i386.deb and linux-headers-2.6.28-11-generic_2.6.28-11.43~lp349314apw5_i386.deb for both me and my brother this fixed the problem.

Can't wait to start hacking GRUB etc and get my boot speed down :-)

Saturday, 25 April 2009

How to install Miro in Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope 9.04

After installing 9.04 I began reinstalling all of my programs only to find that many of them don't have official support for the new version and are a pig to setup!

Before installing Miro I had a hunt round on the internet to see whether it was compatible or not. A quick google search only turned up bug reports saying that Miro constantly crashes in 9.04 and sometimes even takes X11 with it! I decided to give it a wide berth until a version for 9.04 exists.

However all is not lost. As with just about any Linux problem there is a workaround and you can retrieve all your feeds!

If you are installing Miro from a fresh copy of Jaunty then all you need to do is go into synaptic search for Miro and install it.

For people upgrading from 8.10 where Miro was already installed then during the upgrade process it will have uninstalled itself. However it wasn't a clean uninstall and the files left behind cause problems when reinstalling.

So the workaround is:

1. Launch Synaptic and search for Miro
2. Remove the package called "Miro-data"

3. Reinstall Miro-data followed by Miro
4. Open Miro and go through the first start wizard, if your feeds haven't appeared by magic continue to the next step.
5. Open your Home directory
6. View hidden files and folders
7. Find folder called .Miro
8. Click on any of the log files (the one with out the number is the most recent)
9. Look for the feed URLs
10. Copy and paste them one at a time into Miro through the "Add Download" dialogue
11. Enjoy all your feeds again!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

I think we're gonna need a bigger alphabet

So with all the plans I've just gone through I've run out of letters! I'm writing this from my iPod Touch!

OS X appeared to install correctly until I tried to boot it! In verbose mode it told me it was waiting for root device. So after trying a number of boot commands I found a site which suggested bypassing Apple's bootloader and loading OS X from GRUB. Fine I thought I'll just boot up ubuntu and edit the grub menu file. Only to find grub gives me error 17! (can't find the disk).

Ok so not too bad. I saved a copy of my grub file before I started changing things. I'll just boot from the ubuntu live cd and replace the current grub file with the old one. Except you can't write to root owned drives in a live cd.

So back to plan "A" from 3 posts ago! I've just finished making a large partition that I'm going to backup my home directory to. Then I'm going to do a fresh install of 8.10 upgrade to 9.04 (which was released today) and live happily ever after.

So cross your fingers for me will ya?

update: Just had a thought! Mac OS X only needs 5GB of space to install on! I just happen to have a (very) old 13GB (yes I said 13) drive lying around! So next time I install OS X I'll reduce my ubuntu partition make a seperate partition for my home directory formatted to fat32 so that all 3 OSes can use it. Leave the fat32 partition on my vista hard drive and use it as a backup. Install OS X on the 13GB drive and point them all to the 1st fat32 partition to use as home/my documents/whatever the mac equivalent is!

Sorted, once I can fix my current installations!

update 2: OK Vista's still working and Ubuntu 8.10 is working just waiting for it to finish updating 564 packages and then I'll update to 9.04 (mmm cutting edge!)

Totally agnostic!

So I'd love to get into developing, especially for the iPhone platform as I've heard that its easy, fun and a great way to make a bit of money (if you make a successful app). I've got an idea of the app I want to make and I'm all ready to download the SDK (even prepared to run it in Vista to make it work!) when I find out that it's OS X only!

Great! So as is often the case with my technological ventures... on to plan B (Yes another one!) I'm going to run OS X on my PC.

Now before I go any further this breaks the EULA. Apple clearly states that Mac OS X can only legally be run on an Apple machine (and no sticking a sticker on it doesn't count, although I'm going to anyway). The other thing is DO NOT PIRATE MAC OS X I have downloaded a full OS X iso designed to run on PCs BUT I have also bought a copy of OS X off of Apple so that I will still technically be running code I have paid for. (Admittedly I got student discount!)

My 1st problem, as anyone whose seen my system specs floating around in forums will know, is that I've got an AMD processor. Thankfully after a little searching I've found that it isn't the problem it used to be.

For the installation I've utillized the free space on my Vista hard drive (meaning if I screw everything up GRUB and Ubuntu will still be intact to remidy the situation) formatting it to Fat32 which will get formatted to HFS(+?) by the Mac installer. None of my other drives are formatted to Fat32 so theres no possibility of me getting the drive wrong.

So I'm about to do the installation and I'll update again from either OS X, Ubuntu (if everything goes wrong) or my EEE PC (if I totally screw up!)

See you on the other side!

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Well Plan "A" was ditched

So I'm blogging from... Duh Duh Duuuuh... Ubuntu 8.04!

Why? Well for one thing I don't really want to do a fresh install if I can help it as I've only just got ubuntu the way I want it. The second thing is that I've fixed my wireless... Kinda?!?

The wireless card in my box (Netgear WG311Tv1) doesn't play nice with my ubuntu (YMMV). I happen to have a ton of netgear stuff hanging around my room including a WGPS606 wireless printer server with 4 lan ports on the back! The damn thing is designed to be a wireless hubby thing that you attach all your ethernet and (in the case of a printer) USB cables to so that they sit on your wireless network happy as larry!

So after trying to install the Windows drivers with ndiswrapper and making it so that ubuntu can no longer see my internal wireless card I dug out a ethernet cable and my printer server. Turns out I also solved the problem of getting the damn thing to connect to my wifi and act as a printer server in the 1st place because the default IP of the printserver was way outside that of my network!

So I'm happy, Munkey's happy and ubuntu's happy :-)

Friday, 17 April 2009

Spring Clean

It's that time of year! Time for my desktop to get a spring clean. I'm going to upgrade to ubuntu 8.10!

There are a couple of reasons for this:
1. WiFi (Again)
Despite Vista, my iPod, my EEE PC, my brother's EEE PC and Desktop all showing very good signal on my Wireless network Ubuntu insists that the signal is very poor. Even to the point where it is dropping out and asking for my WPA passcode every 30 seconds!

2. Well there is no 2 but the WiFi is the thing which has finally forced me to upgrade.

So next post should be from 8.10 see you soon.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Back on the Linux bandwagon

Come on... OS X mobile is based on OS X and that's got Unix roots same as Linux! Too tenuous? OK then back to more Linux related stuff.

First up is the media player which may allow me to ditch Vista! Songbird has been developed by the Mozilla Foundation and is set to do for the same thing for music players that firefox did for browsers.
No points for guessing where the inspiration for the GUI came from

The software looks uncannily like iTunes and has full support for importing iTunes libraries. The Linux version didn't recognise my iTunes library from my Vista hard drive but does recognise and play all the songs from that location :-)

Obviously there isn't any support for encrypted AAC files but with iTunes going DRM free this isn't a problem anymore.

One thing that firefox is famous for is addons and songbird is no exception. Indeed the coverflow style interface in the screenshot above is an addon named media flow. One of the most useful addons from my point of view enables intergration with the iPhone and iPod Touch.

My second favorite addon is Media players for Linux often have support for "scrobbling" which is the process by which people on can see what sort of music you are listening to. Very few media players on Linux have support for streaming which is really wierd as the API is available for developers to use. Songbird is one player which does allow full streaming of and even allows loving, banning and favoriting of tracks!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

The Challenge

So the sun is shining outside and I'm damned if I'm going to spend the day indoors on my computer. So the challenge is to do all the stuff I would normally use my ubuntu box for on my considerably more portable iPod touch without spending any money.
1st challenge was obviously to write this post. While the blogger interface is great for posting from a desktop it's only just useable on the iPod touch. So first things first... Find a blogger iPhone app that will allow me to add to this post.
Right... OK... Turns out there is no fully featured blogger app which
will allow me to post photos. BlogPress promises all the features I'd ever need but the plan was not to spend any money. LifeCast is free and pretty much fully featured but only supports the 2.2.1 firmware and in order to upgrade I'd need a PC. Blogwriter Lite is free and runs on my firmware and while the interface is easy to use and will allow me to add new posts it won't allow me to edit old ones or post photos.

So in the end I've plumped for, drum roll please,

Yep. The easiest way for me to add a blogger post is by email. The
only to update a blogspot blog with pictures for free is through

At this point I'm considering trying to move to a wordpress blog if
google doesn't get it's finger out.

Next challenge... Watch the latest madness combat video! Should be

Yep was easy thanks to some kind sole uploading it to YouTube. The lack of flash on Mobile OS X based devices is still a HUGE issue. Next up is podcasting.

Ordinarilly you'd download podcasts from iTunes. Anyone whose read some of my previous posts know I hate iTunes. As a result I already have this solution on my iPod. MobileCast is a great jailbroken app which allows you to subscribe to podcasts and download new episodes OTA. The current release is a little buggy (a bit like the keyboard on this iPod which is currently about 6 letters behind my acctual typing speed) and the play buttons are really unresponsive meaning you have to prod it 6-7 times before it registers! However combined with Backgrounder (a jailbroken app which allows apps to run in the background) means I can write the post and listen to the Engadget Mobile podcast at the same time!

So overall in a pinch I could use just MY iPod Touch for a day. I've emphasised "my" because my iPod is jailbroken and tweaked to my needs. MobileCast for example is a jailbroken app and I couldn't use my iPod without copy and paste (provided by clippy) and as far as the actual UI goes SBSettings is a god send giving me an Android notifications style menu giving me access to things like wifi toggles without having to open the hugely bloated settings app.

Many of these things Apple should have included from the off and a lot of these gripes are fixed by firmware 3.0 but I'm not going to spend £10 (source:,39029453,49301583,00.htm) for functionallity I can get by jailbreaking, FOR FREE!