Some Digital Storage Tips and Tricks!

26 09 2008

Digital Storage…Hard Disk Drives, Flash Drives, CD/DVD+/- RWs, Media Cards (SD, xD, CF, ProDuo…), Flash Memory… and so on. These can go from 64MB to 1TB…in fact the smallest drive you can find right now is 256MB-512MB. Anyways, these devices are our friends when it comes to storing music, pictures, movies, and so on…

But “How can I get the most of my “friends” in Ubuntu?” you might ask. Well, I’ll show some neat stuff you can do to get the most out of these devices.

– Remember back in Windows, when you had to defragment your drives every week or so…well now that you’ve seen the light you DON’T need to do that again ever! In fact, there’s not even one defragmenting app in Linux, so bye-bye defrags! And why is this so good? Because you won’t waste valuable time that can be used to surf the web and visiting this blog *wink-wink* in stupid defragmentation. So that’s one tip for ‘ya! Don’t bother with defrags anymore, drives in Linux work smarter and a lot faster too! It’s great!

– But what if you want to make, delete, resize or change a partition? “Break in the ton of useless and dangerous programs!…WRONG! There’s a neat little app in Ubuntu called GParted (which can be easily found and installed in Synaptic and then accessed by going to System>Administration>Partition Editor) that’ll cover ALL of you partition needs. **WARNING** This is a very powerful program, and can potentially harm your data if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you want to work with partitions you MUST backup everything that’s important for you. If you resize or move a partition and there’s an error in the drive the data can be damaged or lost, so make a backup first! Deleting and changing partition types means you’ll delete everything on the partition or the drive, so be careful with this!
This program can also be found in LiveCD mode which is used exactly as the Ubuntu LiveCD, except it’ll just have GParted running. You can download it here! The LiveCD is used when you want to delete your Home/Boot partition, or basically the partition Ubuntu is in. This is fairly useless sometimes because the Partitioner you use to install Ubuntu in the Ubuntu LiveCD is GParted…So it’s basically a matter of choice.

What if you want to COMPLETELY DELETE files? Well, you don’t need to use any special apps or programs. basically there are lots and lots of programs that’ll recover your data, and there’s basically no way to totally destroy old data, but since you don’t need to delete any files to oblivion you might want to stick to the easy stuff. So to avoid having your Trash folder full, you can simply press “Delete” when holding “Shift” and voila! The files will be deleted and will not go into the trash folder. This is usefull to get rid of files you know you’ll never need again, and when this is done, the only way to retrieve the data is to use one of those flashy and expensive DataRecovery Programs. And this is also very useful to save up space.

Always Unmount your drives! Go to Computer and select the drive, right-click it and press “Unmount Volume”, or go to the desktop and look for the device shortcut. Avoid data loss this way!

– If you want to have complete compatibility with Ubuntu, you should format your drives to ext2, ext3, FAT16 or FAT32. EXT partitions are Linux-native and won’t work with Windows, so if you have a dual-boot scenario or your drive is shared between Windows and Linux you might want to format it to FAT16/32. Avoid NTFS at all costs! It’ll be buggy and very hard to handle with Linux apps. In my personal scenario, I use ext3 on my Hard Drives, and FAT32 on my Flash Drives. I want my Flash Drives to be as multi-platform as possible, while keeping my HDDs to my Ubuntu laptop. I had an external HDD formatted to NTFS and the speed rate of data transfers between my laptop and the HDD was never over 11 mb/s…now with the same drive formatted to Ext3 the speed rate tops the 19mb/s in most cases and most of the times is around 21mb/s…cool, huh?

Well, this were my HDD tricks! I hope you guys liked them! I’ll post some more as they come to me! Happy weekend!





Cool Programs You Might Need v2.0

23 09 2008

Here’s another list of somewhat common, but very useful programs!

gtk-recordmydesktop (Available in Synaptic) – Neat and tidy utility to record your desktop’s activity. This is a great program to show off your Compiz effects to your friends!

VLC (Available in Synaptic) – Great, lightweight and almost perfect media player. I said almost perfect because somehow it reads almost any format on known to man and several known to monkeys! It’s great and easy to use!

FFmpeg (Available in Synaptic) – **For best results add the Medibuntu repositories before trying to install ffmpeg. The instructions are pretty easy to follow** This is one of the most comprehensive video format converters found in Linux. This is a command-line tool!

WinFF (Found here!) – This is the Graphical User Interface for FFmpeg which make slife a whole lot easier!

Audacity (Available in Synaptic) – Great music editing program! It’s a great option to make ringtones on Linux since most Windows-based ringtone-makers don’t work on Wine.

That’s it for today! Hope this helps someone!





Open-Source Firmware For iPods!

22 09 2008

Well, this has been debate that has been going on and on for years now. People like iPodLinux, but sadly the webpage has been taken down, it just gives and Apache error and never loads. So I was frustrated one night looking for another open-source firmware and I came across Rockbox. And man, is it a great firmware!

So I got to work almost instantly with the automatic installer/Rockbox Utility they provide on the site, but apparently it doesn’t work for Ubuntu 8.04 and iPod Nano (which was the iPod I used for this experiment). So the instructions are pretty easy to follow, all you have to is go here and search for your mp3 player (yep not only iPods) and read the simple instructions. I do have to point out though that when you extract the .rockbox folder you MUST have “hidden folders” as viewable items (once you open up Nautilus and navigate to your mp3 player’s root folder (where the rockbox folder should be extracted) press CTRL+H and you should see a .rockbox folder.) It’s worth noting that if you fil to this step you’ll never see the folder anywhere you extract it to. Also remember that folders that start with a “.” are hidden by default, so if you want to see any hidden files or folders you have to enable the view of hidden folders.

Ok, now that you read the instructions and extracted the folder you’re ready to go! I won’t go into great detail on how to install it because the manual is pretty self-explanatory, so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. The only part of the manual that it’s blurry is the fact that the extracted Rockbox folder is hidden and I already cleared that out.

I installed it on my 1st gen iPod Nano and it worked great! Not a problem in sight! In fact it sounds a whole lot better now, and the shuffle setting is a lot more shuffly…no more repeated songs over and over on the same playlist. And incredible as it may sound, the battery lasts longer than with the Apple Firmware. So it IS a good firmware =).

Note: There’s still no support for newer iPod models or iPhones. For a list of current supported devices click here!

Enjoy!





Pimp My Ubuntu!

21 09 2008

Hey guys! I know that many of you are wanting to have custom wallpapers and themes on your newly discovered Ubuntu desktop. Well, I have great news for you! There’s a great webpage called Gnome-Look.org which is one of the greatest places to find themes, wallpapers, GDM themes, Splash screens, desklets, icons, mouse cursors, sounds and everything else you might want to use for pimpin’ out your Gnome desktop in Ubuntu!

Go check it out! It’s a great place to find Gnome goodies! And the best part is that it’s free! And it’s updated very often! So you’ll have new stuff almost every day!

Let me know what you think!





Fundamental Differences v2.0

17 09 2008

As I promised, Fundamental Differences v2.0 is here! Ok now, I’ll be talking a little bit about the less known differences between Ubuntu and Windows (any version in this case).

  • Free Professional Programs – Huh?! YES! Professional, as I stated on an earlier post, there are open-source programs that can deliver results as good as any $500-$2,000 program. People are scared of Open-Source , but as I said before, as long as you’re careful about where you download your programs, Open-Source can be your friend! I call him OSsie … LOL!
  • Frequent Bug Fixes And Updates– “Ha-Ha! Windows has Automatic Update!” So?…Ubuntu has UpdateManager which is responsible for automatically notifying you, downloading and installing ALL programs installed by/through Synaptic…TAKE THAT MICROSOFT! And the best part is that these updates and fixes are released almost daily!
  • Schedules Releases – “OMG Windows has new releases too!” … Wrong! People that know computers have come to learn that Microsoft just puts new crap on their old crap. They keep adding “features” to the same OS we’ve known and hated since 1995 (Windows 3.1 and lower were kinda different programming-wise). Since Windows 95 we’ve been buying “new Windows” versions, which are everything but new. Vista added a bunch of new stupidities that ate half the RAM and VideoRAM in utter dumbness. Ubuntu has new releases and versions every six months. Granted it looks almost the same every new release…but the kernel is constantly being devloped and updated, unlike Windows.
  • Minimal System Requirements – Wanna see sparks and flames fly? Try to run Vista on a 500mhz processor with 64mb of RAM, it won’t even let you start to install it. Ok, so people buy new PCs every year, but not everyone can. Some people only have older PCs which are enough for them. Ubuntu has a very low requirement to be ran in a desktop or laptop, and even the Recommended requirements are low in comparison with Vista’s whopping 1.5Ghz processor, 1GB RAM, and 138mb video card “minimum requirements”.

Ok I’m gonna end this post here before I start to hate Windows even more! ;-D!!!
Have fun reading! And I apologize if someone is offended by my sincerity about Windows-hatred!





We’re Almost There!

17 09 2008

Yeah! Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex is near! Let me explain a little about the version numbers first.

Linux Ubuntu is scheduled to have a new release every six months. The first Ubuntu version was 4.10 in October 20, 2004…what does this mean?…

The first number means the year of the release, and the second number means the month of the release. And since Ubuntu is released every six months you won’t see anything besides X.04 (meaning April) or X.10 (meaning October).

Ok! Now we know that Ubuntu 8.10 means the second release of the year 2008, or the October 2008 release! And I CAN’T WAIT!!! This new release promises to be one awesome improvement over 8.04! It has………..oh well, I’m gonna let the pro developers tell you the news about Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex! Looks cool, huh?

The greatest thing about Ubuntu is that unlike Windows, everytime it gets a new release/version, it’s almost completely sure to say it will work better than the last version! Like XP to Vista upgrades, right?...WRONG! 😉

Sometimes there are a few bugs and disturbances that might arise with a new release on certain computers, but it’s never something impossible to overcome! So with a little reading and brain-power, as well as the necessary fixes the new release will work better than the last one!

Now, Intrepid Ibex looks awesome and all, but it’s still in Alpha 5 state…so it’s not stable nor recommended to be used on “non-developer” computers. If you want to use Ubuntu on the day-to-day basis wait for the final release, scheduled for October 30, 2008!

And if you’re reading this and wondering what do you need to run Ubuntu, you’ll find this System Requirements table very handy!

Desktops & Laptops Servers
Required Recommended
Processor 300 MHz(x86) 700 MHz(x86) 300 MHz (x86)
Memory 64 MB 384 MB* 64 MB
Hard Drive Capacity 4 GB 8 GB 500 MB
Video Card
VGA @ 640×480 VGA @ 1024×768 VGA @ 640×480

*This table can be found in Wikipedia.
**Note: Although this table says “(x86)”, 64-bit Ubuntu is also available. But I haven’t used it yet.

Once you meet the minimum requirements you’ll be good to go! But the “Recommended” System Requirements are even better of course! Keep in mind that Ubuntu might run ok, but some programs have their own System Requirements and might need more out of your computer.

So, we learned a few new things, haven’t we? I bet you can’t wait for October 30 either! I’m very excited about this new release and I hope for it to be the best so far!

Stay tuned!!!





Make your internet connection speed faster than a Porsche!

16 09 2008

Well not really…but it’ll be a lot faster! With this tweak you’ll maximize your bandwidth and improve your web-browsing experience even when downloading files/torrents!

Simply open a Terminal (Applications->Accessories->Terminal) and type this in:

sudo gedit /etc/sysctl.conf

Now, the above command will open gedit Ubuntu’s default text editor with a file. Scroll to the bottom of the file and paste this in:

# increase TCP max buffer size setable using setsockopt()
net.core.rmem_max = 16777216
net.core.wmem_max = 16777216
# increase Linux autotuning TCP buffer limits
# min, default, and max number of bytes to use
# set max to at least 4MB, or higher if you use very high BDP paths
net.ipv4.tcp_rmem = 4096 87380 16777216
net.ipv4.tcp_wmem = 4096 65536 16777216
# don't cache ssthresh from previous connection
net.ipv4.tcp_no_metrics_save = 1
net.ipv4.tcp_moderate_rcvbuf = 1
# recommended to increase this for 1000 BT or higher
net.core.netdev_max_backlog = 2500
# for 10 GigE, use this, uncomment below
# net.core.netdev_max_backlog = 30000
# Turn off timestamps if you're on a gigabit or very busy network
# Having it off is one less thing the IP stack needs to work on
#net.ipv4.tcp_timestamps = 0
# disable tcp selective acknowledgements.
net.ipv4.tcp_sack = 0
#enable window scaling
net.ipv4.tcp_window_scaling = 1

It’s important to paste it exactly as it is on the very bottom of the text file we opened. Now click on “Save” on the top toolbar, or press “Ctrl+S” and close gedit.

Now in a terminal type this in:

sudo sysctl -p

Now press enter and exit the terminal. This command applies the settings we added to the sysctl.conf file.

Now go to SpeedTest.net and check your internet speed. You can also try to download a healthy torrent or a file from any website and surf the web at the same time! You’ll notice a very dramatic change in web-browsing speed! And if you don’t and want to revert to your previous settings, just type this in a Terminal:

sudo gedit /etc/sysctl.conf

Remember this file? Now remove the lines you just added, hit “Save” or “CTRL+S” and exit. This should’ve successfully reverted your sysctl settings back to normal.

Hope this helped!

Note: Info taken from Ubuntu-Unleashed