Archive for category Linux

God Dammit LeJOS (or Should I Say, “God Dammit Ubuntu?”)!

It’s been a while hasn’t it? I’m not going to apologize because our four viewers per day are probably spambots anyways (don’t be offended, I hold you guys very close to my heart! Please don’t stop searching the blog for email addresses!)

As you may or may not know, I am the proud owner of a Lego Mindstorms NXT kit, on which I have spent more money than is legal or healthy. As my friend (and contributor to the NXT Step ) has kindly pointed out, I have been so busy programming my little heart out that I have forgotten to blog about my experiences. So here I am, complaining blogging about one of my favorite NXT programming languages: LeJOS NXJ.

Now, one might ask, “Steven, why would you complain about LeJOS? It’s the best NXT language on the block!” Presented with that question, I might answer, “It doesn’t work on Linux.” As you probably know, that’s actually my answer to all questions of that particular format, but I digress. To be accurate, LeJOS does run on Linux, and even Ubuntu, just not on my Lucid machine. I don’t know why, it just doesn’t. I have tried everything, and it just won’t run. Truthfully, I had it running perfectly for about nine minutes before I decided to work on my Computer Science Assignment (a Java program). Preceding my spontaneous decision to install LeJOS (spawned by my NXT making a funny clicking noise), I was running the OpenJDK JDK. Blindly following the instructions on the Ubuntu Forum, I uninstalled it in favor of the Sun JDK. Don’t you love Linux, we get two JDKs, neither of which work with anything. I continued following the aforementioned instructions until the end. Everything was working, even Bluetooth. Everything was working, I had succeeded, I was a Linux god!

Until I compiled my Java code.

It seems, as it always does, that the Sun Java compiler won’t compile Java code, only Fortran. Actually, it won’t compile anything (I don’t know what’s worse). As naive as we geeks are, I decided to reinstall the OpenJDK Platform, you know, so I could pick and choose which JDK I would use for what. Bad idea. Now all my LeJOS files compile to *.class files, and my Java code still won’t compile. Considering my Computer Science code was due the next morning, I uninstalled everything, finished the assignment and didn’t dare touch LeJOS until now. I can tell you, It’s not any better than it was three weeks ago. Now it just looks like Java vomited on my hard drive.

Maybe it’ll work when I switch to Fedora, I’ll keep you four delightful spambots posted.

The worst part it that Minecraft stopped working!


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Integrating Thunderbird into Ubuntu’s Desktop

Sorry for the late post. Last week I was studying for a test and this week I got injured mountain-biking. I flipped off a berm into a pond (my new bike came shortly after).

Back to reality. Many people prefer Thunderbird to Evolution (Ubuntu’s default mail client) simply because it’s better. However, there is a considerable disadvantage to using Thunderbird in Ubuntu 10.04. Thunderbird is not as well integrated into the the messaging menu as Evolution. By that, I mean it’s not integrated at all, but fear not! It can be done! We have the technology!

First, you’ll want to hit alt-f2 and enter:

gksu /usr/share/applications

Simple enough, right?

Next, find “thunderbird.desktop.” Right-click it and select “edit with gedit,” or whatever text editor you prefer (like SciTE). Replace the code with the following:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Thunderbird Mail
GenericName=Mail Client
Comment=Manage your email and contacts
Exec=thunderbird %u
[Compose Shortcut Group]
Name=Compose New Message
Exec=thunderbird mailto:
OnlyShowIn=Messaging Menu
[Contacts Shortcut Group]
Exec=thunderbird -addressbook
OnlyShowIn=Messaging Menu

Save and exit.

Go to /usr/share/indicators/messages/applications and add a file called “thunderbird” with the contents:


Then save, logout and log back in. This will only get you so far. To get Notify-OSD notifications, you’re going to have to install a Thunderbird plug-in called “Libnotify Popups.” It’s relatively simple to do, just head on to Tools > Addons, search for it and install it. Just remember to turn off Thunderbird’s default notifications to avoid redundancy and also to avoid redundancy.

Please enjoy responsibly!

Also, if you want to change the icon to the regular Thunderbird one, just change:




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Steam for Linux?

Now I know Valve has denied having a Linux version of their game platform (Steam) in the works, but a lot of bloggers are skeptical, and with good reason. On Steam’s website there’s a job offer. They’re looking for a Lead Software Engineer, and amongst the responsibilities listed, I spotted:

Manage the operation of large clusters of machines running both Windows and Linux in a highly available system.


Port Windows-based games to the Linux platform.

You can’t argue with that folks. If you don’t believe me, check it out for yourself.

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Help! The Linux Users! They’ve Got Me!

It’s been a little while. Before I continue with the post, I will make note of some key changes that this blog has gone through. First of all, I’ve changed the theme. Yeah, no sh*t. I also re-categorized all the posts and cleaned them up a little. I will also be introducing some guest bloggers (if I can find any) and permanent authors/contributors.


On to the post. As the title vaguely suggests, I’ve switched to Linux (Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid), but not against my will. I have been using it full time since May 25th, and I can honestly say I’m  in love. I haven’t booted to Windows for weeks! The first thing that struck me was that I didn’t have to sign (or rather check) a contract in order to use the computer. Of course I had to check the regular one that states I can’t change the font and re-upload it as my own. Which leads me to my other point; I can change the font! I can do whatever the hell I please with my computer! I can change any element I don’t like, unlike Windows, where I would pay $200.00 for an OS, and then decide whether I like it or not (and still not really be able to change it).

I also really like the fact that most everything is integrated (and if it’s not, you can integrate it). Rhythmbox (note the Billy Joel obsession), Pidgin and Thunderbird (among others) can be almost fully integrated with Gnome (or KDE, or Xfce, or whatever else strikes your fancy). It is unbelievable useful. I can have everything open on other desktops and still get the useful information on my panel. If I don’t want a certain app to show up there, I can uninstall the indicator, or just comment out the code (depending on the circumstances). Another thing I like is that I can have a bazillion windows open at the same time without having a huge performance impact. Of course, there is a slight one, but I digress.

Probably the best thing about Ubuntu (and Linux in general) is the people. If I want help with Windows, I have to go through customer service, which means being on hold for 2 1/2 hours to speak to Victor in an undisclosed location (India) who will tell me to clear my cache and reboot. With Ubuntu, you log on to the forums and ask for help. The best part is that you actually get help (or a link to a similar thread). The people aren’t condescending assholes either! Just normal, decent people!

There are a few things I don’t really like though. The first is compiling software from it’s source-code. It’s such a pain ins the ass! I haven’t even managed to do it once yet (mainly because I haven’t really tried. I’ll get around to it; Rigs of Rods can wait). Another thing is that your have to enable proprietary drivers manually. This doesn’t seem like a big problem, but it is if your wireless card needs one, as you need and Internet connection to download one. I was running all over the house (with a laptop that has about 73 seconds of battery life) trying to find an Ethernet jack. I also can’t turn my track-pad on without freezing Gnome.

All in all, I have to say, this is the best thing I’ve ever done with my computer. I can’t really remove Windows (I can’t part with Halo and Half-Life), but I usually pretend I don’t see the Vista GRUB entries. Just try it out! It’s no walk in the park, but if you’re witty enough, you should be able to get it to work.

Have fun!

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SonarPM: The Coolest Way to Accomplish Nothing Since the Magic Mouse

Wow. This looked so good on Lifehacker, but in reality, it’s useless. What it’s supposed to do is use sonar to detect your presence and put the computer to sleep when you’re not there.

I have to admit, it does work, but a timer is just so much more convenient. The first problem is that it’s not terribly accurate. If you lean back in your chair, it will shut your screen off, but if you leave the room and your chair is in front of your computer it won’t do anything. The second problem is that there are virtually no options. It’s either on, or off. You can’t change anything. The third problem is that it won’t wake up when you sit down. It waits for activity and presence.On the bright side, if there’s an earthquake and your mouse moves, it won’t wake up the computer. In the end, it doesn’t accomplish anything a timer can’t.

File this under “cute toys.”

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