The USB Fan

7 11 2006

USB FanIf you’re an ultimate geek like me, then I bet you have one of these babies in your arsenal – the USB Fan. I first saw it while I was having my OJT in BlogStar, my boss, Sir WYu had one connected to his laptop since airconditioning was only turned on late in the morning, and it was a bit warm before that.

The USB Fan plugs directly into any USB port on your laptop, and/or PC. It has an adjustable neck, which is really flexible and can bend in all directions. It doesn’t need any other external power source since it has a low power consumption. And to top it off, it comes with a bonus – a handy dandy reliable LED at the tip of the fan.

Good stuff! And I know only of one place that sells it. It’s amazing, really. The weird and geeky things that you can find from CD-R King. Only for P150.00 🙂

Some pictures of The USB Fan in action:

USB Fan (Dark) USB Fan (Light)


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Quick Tip #3: Send files up to 100MB

5 11 2006

YouSendItEver had the need to send huge files to your friends or clients, but couldn’t because your e-mail provider only allows up to 10MB maximum file size? Well, here’s a quick tip on how to send files for up to 100MB, for free!

Simply point your browsers to http://yousendit.com/ and upload your file there! They will automatically e-mail the link to that file both to you and your recipient, and they will happily save it on their server until it reaches 100 downloads. 🙂 Pretty cool stuff, hehe.


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Quick Tip #2: Turn your CAPS LOCK key into RETURN

4 11 2006

Last night, Ealden and I were talking about ACM when he mentioned to me that the Chinese contestants were used to changing their CAPS LOCK key into RETURN (enter), via the System Registry, for faster typing. So I thought, hey, why don’t I research on how to do that, it’d be pretty cool!

So here it is, I made two Windows Registry files: (1) CAPStoRETURN.reg, and (2) CAPStoCAPS.reg. Obviously, CAPStoRETURN.reg maps your CAPS LOCK button to RETURN. Just download the file and double-click it. And when you really REALLY miss your CAPS LOCK button already because YOU CAN’T TYPE SENTENCES CAPITALIZED LIKE THESE, then use the second file to turn it back to it’s original state. Pretty simple. 🙂

Note: I think this only works for Windows XP and Windows 2000, and you would need administrative priviledges to edit your system registry.


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XAMPP

3 11 2006

Lately, PHP and MySQL have been the main goto applications for most web developers. They blend very well with each other and it’s open source characteristic, also meaning being free, is a big plus to companies who do not have that much investment to spend. It’s also been very attractive to young developers who wish to hone and just test out their skills. For the past few years, these babies have also increased their security to be at par to their commercial counter-parts, making them both reliable and powerful.

Now have you ever tried installing a web server at your personal computers? Pretty complicated, huh? Imagine having to install PHP and MySQL as well, for your web development needs. For the average person, having to install these applications can be a daunting task indeed. Yet even for those experienced ones, it will still take a couple of hours, or maybe a little shorter, to get them up and running without errors. Now what if I told you that you could install all three applications (and more) with running just a single file, without having to configure anything at all?

XAMPPIntroducing: XAMPP – stands for Apache HTTP Server, MySQL Database, PHP, and Perl programming languages. Now I’m not really sure what X stands for, but I think it’s a variable, to be replaced with any of the Operating Systems that it is compatible for: Windows, Linux, MacOS, and Solaris. Made by Apache Friends, this is a compilation of all the tools you need for web development. It’s packed in a single archive, or installation file, which you just need to extract on a directory, or run. It’s as simple as that.

In a Wikipedia article, XAMPP is described as follows:

XAMPP is widely named the “lazy man’s WAMP/LAMP installation,” as it only requires one zip, tar or exe file to be downloaded and run, and very little configuration of the various components that make up the web server is required. XAMPP is regularly updated to incorporate the latest releases of Apache/MySQL/PHP and Perl. It also comes with a number of other modules, including OpenSSL and phpMyAdmin.

No more complicated configurations. No more having to download several files, and making each one talk to one another. No more trouble! Just one download, one click, and you’re good to go. 🙂

Take note though: XAMPP was officially made to be used for development purposes only. It’s configuration files make it easy to access everything it installs (MySQL’s root has no password, etc), meaning it’s security is very open to outsiders. It is not recommended to used for servers which are open to the Internet. However, due to the demand of users for more security, Apache Friends decided to create a script file which you run to make XAMPP more secure, just check out the FAQ section of their website for instructions. 🙂


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Pandora Internet Radio

2 11 2006

This one’s for the music fans out there – Pandora Internet Radio. It was first introduced to me by my good friend Migo while we were doing our project for our web programming class (PHP). At first I thought he was playing MP3s of music from his hard drive, but when I started to hear Beatles medleys, I knew this wasn’t something that you can simply download off the net or rip from CD’s.

Created by the Music Genome Project, this web application plays hundreds of thousands of music based on your taste and mood. It has an archive of over 10,000 different artists! As a guest user, you can play 10 songs from their archive, after which you will be asked to register – for free. All you need is an e-mail address and you’re good to go.

Here’s how it works: first, you are asked to give a song title, or an artist name. The engine will then search for your query and look for songs which are similar to that artist or song. For instance, when I search for Jason Mraz, Pandora will give me a play list with songs “that exemplifies the musical style of Jason Mraz which feature minor key tonality and acoustic rhythm guitars”[1]. It’s smart enough to recognize patterns in the songs and search for music similar to what you inputted, and creates a play list for that particular genre. And all of this is happening right at your Internet browser, so you can just leave that window open to listen to songs.

Of course, due to copyright and such, you may not play a particular song or artist. When you search for song titles or artists, Pandora always creates a play list for that genre. But of course, if you type in “Beatles”, majority of the songs in the generated play list will be Beatles songs, since they are quite unique. And sometimes, when you type in a particular song, it will be included somewhere in the play list.

Pretty cool stuff. Since then, I’ve always tuned in to Pandora. Even when I’m researching/studying at our school’s library.

Pandora Internet Radio

[1] Written on the message box that Pandora displays when you create play lists.


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HowTo: Install Photoshop in Ubuntu

1 11 2006

Okay, as of this time of writing, the currently supported version of Photoshop in Linux is Photoshop 7.0, although you could, I know some have, also install version 8.0, which is more popularly known as Photoshop CS. Installing it on any Linux Operating System is easy if you have CrossOver Office which can be bought from CodeWeavers. Unfortunately, most of us do not have the luxury of buying software, which is why we installed Ubuntu and not Windows in the first place! (Although theoretically, you would have still bought Photoshop if you’re reading this How-To, ANYWAY). Lucky for us, there is an alternative, and it’s called WINE – which stands for Wine Is Not [an] Emulator (I think, or maybe it doesn’t stand for anything). Wine is an Open Source implementation of the Windows API on top of X and Unix. It can run a lot of popular Windows programs under Linux.

I’m not sure if these instructions are the same for all flavors of Linux, but here’s how you install Wine and use it to run Photoshop under Ubuntu.

First, make sure that you’ve read and done the stuff I babbled about adding extra repositories in Ubuntu in this HowTo. Next, let’s install wine by going on the terminal (Applications->Accessories->Terminal) and typing the following:

sudo apt-get install wine

Ubuntu should be able to install it for you automatically. Once it’s done, you’re all set to install your Photoshop. Get your copy of Photoshop 7.0 or OR CS (8.0) and insert it on your CD-ROM drive.

Side Note: For those of you who saved your copy of Photoshop (for back-up purposes of course) on an ISO file, you can quickly mount this ISO file on Ubuntu by doing the following on the terminal, be sure you’re on the directory where your ISO file is located:

sudo mkdir /media/iso
sudo modprobe loop
sudo mount file.iso /media/iso -t iso9660 -o loop

Once we have the Photoshop CD either in /media/ISO or /media/cdrom, let’s run the setup program under wine:

wine /media/ISO/setup.exe

The setup program of Photoshop should start momentarily. Warning: If you’re installing Photoshop CS, before clicking next on the first dialog box, be sure to move the dialog box a couple of inches downwards. The reason for this is that a warning dialog box will appear after you click next and it will appear behind this previous dialog box, and you won’t be able to click the OK button of that warning. Alternatively, you may just press [ENTER] after clicking next. (This may sound confusing, but just wait until you get to that annoying dialog box and you’ll see what I mean. For Photoshop 7.0 users, just ignore what I said, haha). The installation should run smoothly, and Photoshop would have been installed afterwards.

After the installation has completed, you may now run Photoshop under wine! Go to Nautilus (the Windows Explorer counterpart of Ubuntu, Places->Home Folder). Here, the default setting is to hide Hidden files, but we don’t want this because Wine installs applications under a hidden directory. So let’s tell Ubuntu to show us the hidden files by toggling it under the “view” menu.

View->Show Hidden Files, or simply press [CTRL]+[H].

Some other folders should appear now, look for the folder “.wine” (yes, with a ‘.’ preceding it) and double-click it. Now, enter the folder “drive_c”. The directory structure should be familiar from Windows. You should now locate the “Program Files” directory, then the “Adobe” directory, and lastly, your Photoshop directory. Once you’ve found it, simply double click Photoshop.exe and let Wine do it’s magic. 🙂

Final notes: If installation or running the program under Wine doesn’t work, try configuring the Wine to run under “Windows 2000” mode. To do this, go to the terminal and type:

winecfg

Under the “applications” tab, locate the “windows version” setting near the bottom of the window. Set that to “Windows 2000” and click OK.

Enjoy!





HowTo: Install Applications in Ubuntu

1 11 2006

Congratulations on finally installing and trying out the Ubuntu Operating System. You will soon find out that using Linux is not as difficult as it sounds, it’s actually simple and fun. Now after trying out the default applications, you might wonder, “how do I install more applications? Will it be hard? Do I need to compile programs from source?” Well, fortunately for you, the Ubuntu Community is kind enough to give a large repository of programs which can easily be installed with a few simple clicks. There are two approaches to doing this: (1) Synaptic Package Manager, (2) Aptitude.

Synaptic Package Manager

To run Synaptic Package Manager, simple go to System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager. From here, you can search for applications to install via the “Search” button. But first, let’s add a few more applications to the default setting, so that we have more programs to choose from. Let’s enable the extra Universe and Multiverse repositories, from within the Synaptic Package Manager:

  1. Settings -> Repositories
  2. In the Installation Media tab, click Add. There are three separate repositories; Dapper Drake (or Edgy Eft), Security Updates and Updates. Select each repository and check Officially supported, Restricted copyright, Community maintained (Universe) and Non-free (Multiverse). Ensure you click OK between each repository to save your changes
  3. You should now see those three repositories under Channels. Make sure Officially supported, Restricted copyright, Community maintained (Universe) and Non-free (Multiverse) appears under each repository

Now, let’s add the backports and PLF repositories.

  1. Settings -> Repositories
  2. Click on Add and then Custom
  3. Paste the following four lines into the box and click Add Repository, one line at a time:

deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu edgy-backports main restricted universe multiverse
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu edgy-backports main restricted universe multiverse

deb http://packages.freecontrib.org/plf edgy-plf free non-free
deb-src http://packages.freecontrib.org/plf edgy-plf free non-free

Then refresh the list of known packages:
Edit Menu -> Reload Package Information[1]

Now that you have a wider list of applications available to you, simple search for the programs that you wish to install. If you wish to install C/C++ compilers, for instance, simply install the ‘build-essential’ package.

Aptitude

Now this approach is more for the experienced ones, since we’ll be making use of the terminal. However, using this feature doesn’t have the search feature as in the above method, but it’s faster than the GUI-bound Synaptic.

To install applications using Aptitude, first enable the extra repositories by following the above instructions (the one under Synaptic). After this, all we need to do to install our programs is to type the following:

sudo apt-get install build-essential

for installing the C/C++ compilers, for example. Doing a ‘sudo’ however, asks for your administrator password. Simply enter it when it is asked for. It’s as simple as that! 🙂

Enjoy!

[1] Taken from http://ubuntuguide.org/wiki/Ubuntu_Edgy#How_to_apt-get_the_easy_way_.28Synaptic.29


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