domingo, 24 de agosto de 2014

PicarOS is back!

I had not noticed that a Mageia 4 GRUB2 update in my daughter's desktop had erased the entry for PicarOS.

When Eimi mentioned PicarOS yesterday, I remembered I had not seen the entry in quite a while, so I tried to fix the problem.

Oddly, neither GRUB customizer nor the Mageia GRUB2 installer could fix the problem.

I thus tried the GRUB2 tool that is included in KDE.  Fortunately, in a matter of three clicks, KDE reinstalled the PicarOS GRUB2 to the distro's partition.  After that, I ran GRUB customizer and it added the missing entry.

I cannot describe Eimi's happiness when the computer booted to PicarOS once again.  She played a lot with GCompris and drew many pictures.

PicarOS is a child's magnet without any doubt.  The comfort with which my little daughter uses the computer when booted to that OS is truly notorious...

miércoles, 30 de julio de 2014

My Life with Firefox OS

Let me say it plainly:  I do not like mobile phones.  What's more, I hate them more than I hate regular phones.  However, when I decided to buy a mobile phone, I knew I wanted one with Firefox OS.

The problem was that they do not sell any Firefox OS phones in my country, so I had to go to Amazon and got a ZTE Open.

It is not the best smartphone in the market, I know.  In fact, I read lots of reviews before buying this phone.  The most interesting point was that it was labeled a "developer" device, not an end-user phone.  Even with its many "flaws," I made up my mind and bought this smart thingie because it has everything I want on a cellphone: Firefox OS ;-)

I had used an Android phone before and the difference between that one and the ZTE Open was enormous.  The Android phone, despite being old and partially damaged, was a tamed dog: it did everything it was commanded to, the apps were consistent and responded promptly, and the services were all orchestrated by Google, the master conductor.   On the other hand, the ZTE, thanks to its Firefox OS 1.0, was a true smartphone with a mind of its own: apps would occasionally install, but not launch, or they would open and close by themselves, and the sound would go mute showing the free will of the phone.  To sum up, it was like a herd of cats... er, foxes!

I thought that I had to live dangerously and decided to upgrade the OS to Firefox OS 1.1.  After all, if I bricked the device, it had been cheap.

After I followed this great tutorial here, my ZTE Open had Firefox OS 1.1.  With the new version, the rebelliousness of the phone went away and the device now behaves like a regular cellphone should, that is, predictably... So much that even my almost-four-year-old daughter loves playing with it.


Main screen (Yes, Nihilumbra!)
Main apps


My installed apps
Blogs screen :-)





















I also use it more often because the apps that I like now work.  I check my email, browse the Web, keep track of my jogging (Run Recorder), manage my projects (Projector), study languages (Cabra Flashcards), and even chat in WhatsApp (via ConnectA2). 

But I make almost no calls.

Yes, I still hate phones :-P

viernes, 25 de julio de 2014

On LibreOffice and the Challenge to Install Linux to the New Office Computer

The University where I work declared the use of .odt as an institutional interest in 2011 but, unfortunately, the migration took a long time to reach my faculty.

However, the presence of LibreOffice is becoming more visible this year:
1.  At the School meetings, you see that the computers now run LibreOffice.
2.  LibreOffice substituded MS Office in all lab computers. 
3.  The School acquired new computers, which where placed in the professors' offices.  I was not hoping those machines to run on Linux, but it was good to see that they come with Windows 7 (not the 8 disaster) and it was great to see that LibreOffice was included.
4.  Yesterday, at a meeting, the speaking professor delivered her presentation using LibreOffice Impress, not PowerPoint.
5.  Occasionally, one .odt document hits my institutional email mailbox.

So, there is hope :)

Now, regarding the new office computer... It has Windows 7 professional and UEFI.  My brother Megatotoro activated legacy boot so that we could run Linux distros on that machine and yesterday, he presented me with a challenge:  to install a Linux distro.

I was hesitant because I only had an OpenMandriva Lx USB and I had never installed it as a dual boot with Windows 7.  I remember having installed Mageia to a Win7 UEFI desktop as a dual boot, but I was not sure this was going to work.

Anyway, I took the leap of faith and proceeded with the installation.  OpenMandriva Lx worked like a charm: it took care of the partitioning (interestingly, it said "Moondrake" instead of "OpenMandriva" :D) and installed itself in less than 10 minutes.  When we booted the machine (expecting a catastrophe, if I must be honest), none of our visions of doom panned out.  GRUB2 picked up Windows 7, that OS was fully operational, and OpenMandriva also launched (desktop effects included, yay!).

So, my brother pimped it up with the Ghost desktop theme and window decorations, we updated the distro, installed some packages, and got ready to enjoy Linux on that office machine.

Yes, I am feeling happy ;-)

jueves, 12 de junio de 2014

The LibreOffice Migration Finally Reached My Workplace :)

The University where I worked determined that it was in the best interests of the institution (and the students) to migrate to LibreOffice.  This happened in 2011, but the process was slow.

In the school where I work, the migration stalled, mainly because of the resistance of professors.

An email from the direction of the school made my day today.  It read that the migration was in process and that all computers in the labs (and the laptops) had been migrated to LibreOffice.

I cannot be happier.


sábado, 31 de mayo de 2014

Weekend fun

I braced myself for a weekend marked by work.  So, I turned on my ZaReason Strata laptop and left the room to get a cup of hot tea.

When I returned, I found Lara, my cat, playing with the keyboard.



This is the only "cyber-attack" that I have suffered since I migrated to Linux... And I have to admit that it is, by far, the cutest!

sábado, 10 de mayo de 2014

From .flv to mp3 with Firefox add ons

Sometimes I need to get the audio from a video in YouTube, which I download using Download Helper, the convenient Firefox add-on.

Normally, I prefer to do the process myself: that is, I extract the audio with a program (VLC) and then use Audacity to convert the file to whatever audio format I  like.  The advantage of this approach is that I stand on my own feet and can get my .mp3 file all the time and the way I like it.  The downside is that, depending on the distro I am using, I might not have the tools available.

If you do not know how to use those tools (or ignore how to use the Linux terminal to achieve that purpose easily), you can always take a point-and-click approach to convert .flv videos to .mp3 files thanks to a Firefox add-on called BestVideoDownloader 2 (you can get it here).  This add-on relies on a transcoding Web service called converttomp3.net.

Once you have installed BestVideoDownloader 2,  go to your desired YouTube video, play it and scroll down to look under the title.  Right next to the like/dislike buttons, you will see the downloading icon of BestVideoDownloader 2.
 
 Click on it and a drop-down menu with format options will appear.  Select the one you prefer.  I used MP3 192 Kbps:
Once you select the format, you will see a button indicating that you can proceed to the download service:


You will be taken to converttomp3.net service, which will indicate that the conversion of the file is in progress:

The conversion will finish and the service will ask you to specify the .mp3 file tags.  Simply click on "CONTINUE": 

This will take you (finally!) to the download page.  Notice that the service will only store your .mp3 for two hours.


This process is certainly convenient, but it has a main drawback: you depend on the service to be up and running for your conversion to work.   Another potential problem can be that, depending on the version of Firefox that you use (or if you update the browser in the future), the add-on might stop working until it catches up with the browser version.

jueves, 8 de mayo de 2014

OpenMandriva Lx 2014 and iBus, Success Still Eludes Me

The quest to make iBus work with OpenMandriva has been a difficult one.  I first tried to see if I had all the required dependencies according to this page:

    anthy
    GConf2 [*]
    ibus [>= 1.2.0]
    libanthydic.so.0()(64bit)
    libanthy.so.0()(64bit)
    libc.so.6()(64bit)
    libc.so.6(GLIBC_2.14)(64bit)
    libc.so.6(GLIBC_2.2.5)(64bit)
    libc.so.6(GLIBC_2.3.4)(64bit)
    libc.so.6(GLIBC_2.4)(64bit)
    libpython2.7.so.1.0()(64bit)
    python(abi) [== 2.7]

I discovered that I missed a couple.  Most of them are already installed.  However, even having all of them, iBus refused to launch. 

I followed the instructions on this page to activate iBus:

$ pkill -9 ibus
$ ps -ef | grep ibus
$ /usr/bin/ibus-daemon --xim &

The last command activated iBus, but it did not remember the IME selection (Japanese, Anthy).  

The page also said this, which I did not understand:

After ibus-daemon is invoked, Run ibus-setup to set the preference, enable input methods, also start ibus daemon.
e.g.
 $ ps -ef | grep ibus
foo 15735 15518  0 11:30 pts/3    00:00:17 /usr/bin/ibus-daemon --xim
foo 20037 15735  0 12:58 pts/3    00:00:00 /usr/libexec/ibus-gconf
foo 20039 15735  0 12:58 pts/3    00:00:06 python /usr/share/ibus/ui/gtk/main.py
foo 20041     1  0 12:58 pts/3    00:00:00 /usr/libexec/ibus-x11 --kill-daemon
foo 20042 15735  0 12:58 pts/3    00:00:01 python /usr/share/ibus-anthy/engine/main.py --ibus
 
So, that's as far as I have gotten now...