Monday, March 31, 2008

Adobe AIR for linux works great !!! and it runs Pownce too

Adobe AIR alpha is finally out for Linux. I had been eagerly awaiting for this release . Now let us give it a test drive. We'll also try out the Pownce AIR client.

1. Download the Adobe Air binary from the website to your desktop.

2. run and install the package via terminal
$ cd ~/Desktop
$ sudo chmod u+x adobeair_linux_a1_033108.bin
$ sudo ./adobeair_linux_a1_033108.bin

3. Now let us try some applications. You can find some sample applications from the Adobe labs website. I am more interested in the Pownce client.

4. Download the client from the Pownce website.

5. Install it using Adobe AIR
$ sudo /opt/Adobe\ AIR/Versions/1.0/airappinstaller Pownce.air

6. To run Pownce either click on the new shortcut created in the same folder where the original air file was kept or from the terminal
$ /opt/Pownce/Pownce

7.Here is the Pownce AIR client running in full glory on the beautiful KDE4 desktop

PS: For subsequent runs, you can also double click on the air file of an application to install it. You might need to login again for the mime type to be associated.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Taaz is a breath of fresh air

Taaz is derived from the Hindi word Taaza, which means fresh. aspires to be a fun, easy-to-use website that gives women the opportunity to “try on” the hottest makeup and hairstyle looks from the convenience of their homes.

Initially, when a friend of mine described this site to me, I gave it a pass as it seemed like another Picnik or FotoFlexer with an ability to easily manipulate images, add some cool filters and edit them online.

What sets Taaz apart is their proprietary facial recognition technology which can figure out for instance, where your lips are, your hair alignment etc. The killer feature of Taaz definitely is the ability to upload your photographs and experiment with different makeovers - hair, eyes, makeup, etc. They seem to have tieups with major cosmetic companies - revlon, MAC etc and you can try out their products virtually before actually buying them. That's what I call a smart consumer targeted product advertising.

Finished makeovers can then be shared with other users, rated, commented, etc.Overall, it's a fun tool, especially for women, who spend hours deciding on what shade of lipstick goes well with their contacts and hairstyle ;)

Installing Mozilla Prism on Ubuntu Gutsy

Mozilla Labs is launching a series of experiments to bridge the divide in the user experience between web applications and desktop apps. Prism let's user run web applications right from their desktop. It's a great initiative and an offline integration is close on its heels.

Prism packages are not out yet in the gutsy repository. So, let me show you how to install and configure prism..

1. Get the package
$ wget

2. Extract the archive into /opt
$ sudo tar jxvf prism-0.8-linux.tar.bz2 -C /opt

3. Change the permissions
$ sudo chown -R root:root /opt/prism/
$ sudo chmod -R 755 /opt/prism/

4. You can either run it from shell
$ /opt/prism/prism

or, create a menu entry

$ sudo gedit /usr/share/applications/prism.desktop

add these lines in
[Desktop Entry]

5. Launch prism, select the URL of your web applications and the shortcut options.

6. Start using your first desktop-prism-app

7. Now, you can create your own suite of desktop-web apps. From an end-user point of view, these apps launch and feel like normal traditional apps. You can add them to your applications menu, desktops, launchers etc.

Tip: If it complaints of missing plugins, copy or link your firefox plugins folder to your prism folder
$ sudo cp -r /usr/lib/firefox/plugins/ /opt/prism/

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Digsby on Linux: Revisited

This is a followup to an my older post: Digsby: No love shown for linux where I was trying to run Digsby's window's client on Linux.

Trick was to get gdiplus.dll. Here's the link to gdiplus.dll … ml?gdiplus

$ cp gdiplus.dll ~/.wine/drive_c/windows/system32

Now install digsby using wine
$ wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/Digsby/digsby.exe

It still doesn't run that smoothly but it should sustain your interest till their native linux client comes out.

Src: Digsby forums
The Linux Blog

South Park Studios Beta: All shows online for free

For all the international fans of south park, who used to get their share of uncensored comedy via torrents and blogs, Matt and Trey, with association with comedy central have launched the new southpark studios website, where each and every show of the past 12 season are available in HD quality. Hats off to you guys, we all really appreciate the effort.

This endeavor is close in lines with Hulu, which does the same with it's partnership with major tv studios like Fox and NBC.
The best part is that I from Singapore, am not authorised to Hulu's content, but comedy central has no such restriction. Strange, why can't Hulu support this. Anyways, enjoy your South Park.

[Src: Natali Del Conte : Loaded]

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Ubuntu: Twittering from the command line

I found this neat post in Hackszine recently. It shows a cool way of posting to twitter from your command line.

1.Let us convert it into a shell script. Open your favorite editor and create a file called twitter and enter these in it. (replace username and password with yours)

curl -u username:password -d status="$1"

2. Save the file and change the permission
$ sudo chmod u+x twitter

3. Now, let us try our cool twitter script
$ ./twitter "shell twitter script is up and running"

If you don't have curl, you'll need to get it via apt. It's simple..

$ sudo apt-get install curl

Once the twitter script finishes sending the post, it sends back an acknowledgment in form of an xml response with your account details.

Hope you had fun experimenting with twitter, I definitely did ;)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ubuntu Hardy Heron Coming Soon...

Ubuntu 8.04 is realeasing in April. You can check out the beta here. There are some nice new features, especially the new Gnome 2.22. Here is the release schedule. : One click posting to all your social networks

I had always wanted a service that could integrate my pownce, facebook and twitter accounts. 1 post to update all my statuses on all these networks.
I was contemplating of writing my own mashup to do all these but luckily folks at have launched a product that serves all your social syncing needs. One click posting to all your social networks. They currently support Twitter, Jaiku, Facebook, tumblr and pownce.

It is currently in private beta so the only challenging part is to get an invite. Setting up is really easy. You set up all your social network accounts and you are good to go.
Overall a satisfying service. I am still not sure how scalable their platform is when the user base increases (twitter still has troubles). Anyways, watch out for

Here are some screenshots..

Monday, March 17, 2008

ADrive: For all your filehosting needs

ADrive is a new player in the filehosting segment. It serves up a whopping 50GB of storage for free, with a max filesize cap at 2GB. The free "beta" accounts are ad supported and they have plans to launch an ad-free premium service soon.

The service is pretty easy to use with nested directories to host your various files. There is a neat upload applet to upload your files. The applet has one major shortcoming though. It takes control of your browser and I couldn't continue my other work till the upload process finished.

Apart from that, it's a good service. Files can be marked public an shared with peers. The download and upload speeds were also quite decent. Here are the screenshots ..

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tech TV this week

Here is my pick of tech shows this week

Great Shows:

1. Natali Del Conte's Loaded
This show has become my favorite one-stop show for daily tech news. Ms Conte is a charming host indeed. Just one complaint. I have no idea why cnet doesn't display the show on the home page. They should publicize the show more.

2. Tekzilla
Another great show this week. Patrick shows how to install Linux and a way to find lost cameras. The best thing I like about the site is the no. of sizes and formats the show is available in. Must watch.

3. Olivia Waters' DailyBuzz TV
Some interesting shows were on the twitter spats and the recent Mark Zuckerberg/Sarah Lacy interview. This is a part of MoBuzz TV, which is based in spain.

Now, Not so great shows:
I have always loved but lately the content is becoming repetitive and boring. The Hulu segment was long and unnecessary. C'mon guys, get back and regroup.

Skype 2.0 For Linux adds Video Calls

Skype recently launched Skype2.0 for Linux.
This new release adds video call support to the already excellent voip service offered by skype.
Most of the webcams work seamlessly well in Ubuntu.
For support of your webcam do read the ubuntu webcam wiki.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Downgrading from KDE 4.0.2 to KDE 4.0.1

This is for those unlucky folks who found KDE 4.0.2 frequently crashing and want to go back to 4.0.1 now.
It took me some time to figure a way out. The challenging part was to recover the KDE 4.0.1 packages, which ppa launchpad no longer hosts. I posted this query regarding this on the kubuntu forum, and a user was kind enough to upload the packages online.

Here are the steps to get back to 4.0.1..

1. First remove all KDE 4.0.2 packages using synaptic. Also remove ppa launchpad from the synaptic > settings > Repositories > Third-Party software.

2.Now Check your /var/cache/apt/archives if you still have the KDE 4.0.1 packages from your previous install/update.

3. If you do, then copy them to a separate folder. These are files that you need.
eg. /home/anoj/debs

4. If you don't then download these i386 packages for KDE 4.0.1 (211 MB) and extract them to the debs folder.

5. Now, you need to build local APT packages. Change to the debs folder and run

$ cd /home/anoj/debs

$ sudo dpkg-scanpackages . /dev/null | gzip -9c > Packages.gz

6. Now let's start using these packages. Edit your sources.list file and add the path of the package

$ gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

Add these lines at the end of the file
deb file:/home/anoj/debs/ /

7. Update the apt package index

$ apt-get update

8. Fire up Synaptic. Search for kde-4. Now start installing the KDE 4.0.1.

My Kubuntu forum post
How to build local APT Repositories

Web 2.0 in Plain simply amazing

I have always found it hard to convince my friends and folks the benefits of certain products. Take RSS readers for instance. There are so many staunt supporters for the good old way of visiting and reading web pages. They'd rather prefer periodically visiting their favorite websites to access latest news, but not an RSS feed of the same.
Enter CommonCraft, and their superb ability to describe technology in a simple and friendly style. Be it RSS, social bookmarking or twitter, they have explanations for all. So the next time, you want your friends to join you on twitter, try showing them this video and see how their reactions change.

Found via Cali Lewis' latest GeekBriefTv #325

Monday, March 10, 2008

Ubuntu/XP: Streaming Sopcast to your mobile devices

Sopcast is an amazing application which gives you access to a lot of unique and entertaining channel listings. Here I'll show you how we can broadcast your sopcast streams onto your other devices on your home network.

Let us see how it is done..

My setup:

  • 1 laptop running ubuntu with 2 network interfaces (or WinXp)

    • eth0 - LAN, (public ip -- internet)

    • eh1- WLAN (

  • 1 Nokia N80 cell phone (any device with wifi)
  • Ad-hoc wireless dorm network (or any other network)


1. Start gsopcast and let it buffer the channel of your choice. The video soon starts playing.

2. Find the port in which sopcast is playing. Copy the last port no. displayed in the sp-pc command
ps -ef | grep sp

anoj 17567 17549 7 04:09 pts/2 00:00:16 sp-sc sop:// 42205 57700

For folks on winXP, right click on the media player window that appears when the streaming starts and look at its properties. It should have a localhost address of the stream. Copy that

3. Open Vlc player, click on open network stream. Specify http address :
http://localhost:[port no]


4. Select on Advanced Option section on stream/save and click on settings.

5. In the settings dialog, check on http and select port 1234.

6. Select the enapsulation method supported by your other devices. I have chosen MPEG TS

7. In the transcoding section, select the video and audio codec that your device supports. I am choosing mp4v Bitrate 1024 kb/s, scale .5 Also select the desired audio codec and click ok.

8. In the open dialog, click ok and let vlc start streaming and broadcasting.


1. In your mobile devices, open your media player (eg. Core media player) and play this url
http://[ip-adr of eth1]:1234

2. Viola!! The device is now streaming a sopcast feed off your server.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

KDE 4.0.2 A huge disappointment

There are seldom such instances where a patch/update crashes a decently running system ;)
I had a great time upgrading to KDE 4.0.1. The latest KDE update (4.0.2) seems to have some plasma rendering issues with my system . My KDE 4 refuses to load and crashes with sig11. I would greatly appreciate it if anyone knows how to revert to the old package of 4.0.1. Synaptics fails to fetch the older versions. Probably kubuntu removed all the old packages from launchpad.

Till I find a fix, its is back to Gnome and Xfce. Hope the next update fixes this issue.

Here is a way to downgrade to the older KDE 4.0.1 Release

PS: It might just be an one off incident. Hope this doesn't deter you all from trying KDE 4. Can't wait for the official 4.1 release.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

KDE 4.0.2 Released..

KDE 4.0.2 has just released. Here are the change logs. Updating on gutsy is as easy as ever. Fire your synaptics or your update notifications ( the orangish star in your taskbar).

Some great plasma enhancements and fixes are included. More after I get the upgrade. No singapore mirrors yet, so it's pretty slow.

PS: For Ubuntu 7.10 add deb gutsy main to your /etc/apt/sources.list

Using Google Gears on Linux

Google gears makes web applications work offline. It seamlessly synchronizes and stores an image of the online version on your local pc for offline use.
Quite a lot of web apps are available on google gears. Some common ones that I have used - Google Reader, Autodesk draw, Zoho Writer etc. It first came out for windows in mid 2007 and now they have a fully functional, stable version for Linux. Installing it and using it is really easy. Let's see how.

1. Go to google gears webpage and download the firefox addon.

2. Restart the browser to activate the addon. Google gears should be successfully installed and ready to use.

3. Now, time to test. Fire your google reader and allow it to use google gears for offline integration.

4. To start google gears, click on the green button at the top hand corner. It will start the synchronization process, save 2000 feeds onto your local machine and switch to offline mode.

5. To test if it works offline, switch firefox to offline and start reading your feeds.

6. It works simply great. I am yet to calculate the memory footprint but it doesn't seem much. Google gears doesn't save linked images and embedded videos, which saves a lot of local space. Each time you read a page offline, the page is marked read and is reflected back immediately when you change to online mode. Autodesk draw also runs pretty well. check the screenshot below.

Kudos to the google team for making it so simple. I was expecting a more tedious installation and sync process. Hey folks at google, we are still waiting for our google talk client for linux. Please bring that soon.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

New Invisible feature in gChat

Gtalk is my favorite IM client. I simply love its clean, light and unclutted interface. One complaint I really have from the folks at google is their constant refusal to release a linux version of their client. They want us to use variants like Pidgin( previously, Gaim) and Kopete, but none of these clients support voice and file transfer that the gtalk desktop client for windows offers.

Gmail's gChat is a killer tool for people who either don't have the gTalk desktop client or hate to use Pidgin or Kopete on linux.
Recently, I found the invisible mode in the status and it works wonderfully well. It still doesn't feature in the desktop client so not many of your friends wouldn't know you are secretly snooping on them staying invisibe ;)

Here is the screenshot...

ZDNET's Working Webware, a must watch

You love the webware blog and Rafe Needleman's take on latest web 2.0 applications. Now, ZDNet has a new video segment called Working Webware where Rafe and ZDNet Editor in Chief Dan Farbe interview folks from upcoming startups and discuss their future.

A must watch if you are a pageflakes, ning or zoho fan. These are some of the companies covered so far.

It gives a great insight into the challenges these popular startups face and the faces behind these ideas.I just hope they update this segment on a weekly basis.