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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Virtual Box 3.2.10 Breaks 3D Acceleration in Ubuntu 10.04

     So this morning I found out that Virtual Box was updated to Version 3.2.10 and being the perpetual upgrader that I am, I downloaded the update and applied it to my installation of 3.2.8.

     Everything installed correctly without errors but after applying the new Guest Additions in my Ubuntu 10.04 Guest my 3D acceleration no longer worked. I re-applied the "Extra" setting under Visual Effects but it would no longer enable and I was stuck with no 3D effects.

     After trolling the message boards for a while I saw many posts relating to the fact that the latest Guest Additions for 3.2.10 weren't creating the Video Driver properly for Virtual Box in Ubuntu. Several posts suggested manually creating the driver using the Make command but I didn't want to mess around with that. As I read on there was another discussion that it couldn't "make" the video driver because "DKMS" wasn't installed. DKMS or Dynamic Kernel Module Support reportedly should be installed by default in Ubuntu but when I checked on this install it wasn't.

     Well, I went to the Synaptic Package Manager, searched for DKMS and selected the Package for installation. I immediately re-installed the Virtual Box Guest Additions but it didn't work. The following however did:

     In Synaptic Package Manager Search for DKMS and Install it.
     Reboot the Guest Ubuntu OS.
     Log back in.
     Re-Install the Virtual Box Guest Additions.
     Reboot the Guest Ubuntu OS.
     Log back in.
     Right click on your Background and select Change Desktop Background.
     Select the Tab called "Visual Effects".
     Click on the "Extra" option to enable Advance Desktop Effects.
     3D Desktop Accelerated effects Miraculously Returned.

     I don't know how DKMS got uninstalled in the First place as many things I've read have indicated that it should be installed in Ubuntu by default.

     For me this was a far simpler fix for this issue than manually creating the 3d Accelerated Video driver using "make". It also creates a long term solution that will allow the Script from Virtual Box to make the Video Driver itself as it should be doing.

     I hope this tip helped you solve your issue. If you found it useful, leave a comment and let me know.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ubuntu - Unity for All in 11.04

     Mark Shuttleworth today announced that the new Unity Desktop designed for the Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook edition will become the new Default desktop for the full 11.04 Desktop Edition.

     When you think about it, it makes perfect sense that they are going in this direction. As a divergence from Gnome on the desktop, Canonical has put a lot of time and effort into making the Unity interface what it is. They would want to progress this forward and the best way to do that is to ship it as default with the Desktop edition.

     Canonical through Ubuntu is trying to innovate the PC Desktop market in a way that no other Distribution has done before. They have already put themselves in the Leader position on the Linux Desktop by providing a Desktop OS that is ready for wide spread adoption. Seriously, if my 78 year father can use Ubuntu to do everything he wants on a PC then the OS is ready for success.

     What's holding back the widespread adoption of Linux on the Desktop is a Wow factor that it currently doesn't have. Yes it is functional. Yes, it can look pretty, but just equaling what Microsoft and Apple have to offer isn't enough. There needs to be a killer app for Linux that surpasses what the big 2 can offer. Perhaps Unity on the Desktop can do that.

     What this new Interface provides is a direction that Gnome and the rest of the Linux community seems afraid go down. Innovation. Innovation for the future. The Unity interface is very promising and if Gnome doesn't want to innovate then they will stagnate and be left behind. Canonical isn't afraid to try new things and work towards something better. That's what has brought them to the Number 1 position among Linux Distributions.

     The rivalry this may create between Gnome and Ubuntu Unity isn't bad at all. Competition is always a good thing and this competitor for the Linux desktop may force Gnome to begin Innovating in order to keep up. Win, Win all around. Also, no one is saying that you can't install the Gnome desktop on your Ubuntu if you like. As always competition and choice are the best of both worlds.

     There are currently many Desktop environments that you can install on Linux X Windows systems. There is of course GNome, but there is also KDE, Xfce and CDE among others.  I just hope that Canonical in someway makes the Unity Desktop available to the Community at large and doesn't isolate it in the way Oracle is killing Java and Virtual Box.

     Choice and Innovation is what it's all about, so I say bring it on, Bring on Unity for All.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Update: NetFlix Now Downloadable on the Wii

     One of the big criticisms of NetFlix on the Wii was the fact that you needed a CD everytime you wanted to watch. While not intolerable it was an inconvenience of using the system on a Wii. Well this week Netflix updated the setup on both the Wii and Playstation 3 to provide a downloadable version of Netflix from the Online Store.

     First off, have no fear, it is still a Free feature of the Netflix service on the Wii just like ordering the CD was. Just go to the Wii Shopping channel and right on the main page their is a Netflix logo. Click on the logo, follow the prompts and in no time you'll see Mario jumping along his way indicating that the app is downloading. Once completed your Wii will restart and you'll have a Netflix Channel on your Wii start screen.

     If you've already registered your Wii for access on Netflix then nothing further needs to be done. Just click on the Netflix logo and away you go. If this is your first time running Netflix on your Wii it will launch you through the setup wizard to register your device with Netflix.

    See previous Review "Netflix comes to Canada - The Wii"

     Once downloaded and registered the Downloadable Netflix appears to provide the exact same experience as the CD does. This is a great advancement for Netflix on the Wii and should open up the user base significantly for the Streaming Movie service.

     On a side note Netflix appears to be doing alot to correct the Content problem that they had on launch day. Everyday you can see more and more content being added to the service. While it still isn't perfect there certainly is much more content to choose from today with all signs showing further improvement down the road.

     All things considered providing the Netflix service as installable content on the Wii is a great step forward for usability and I highly recommend checking it out. If for no other reason than it is Free for the first 30 days.

  Have fun.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Empathy Quick Fix for MSN as of 0ct.20, 2010

Good Morning,

    Just a quick fix note for Users of Empathy on Ubuntu 10.04 and 10.10. (may affect other versions too)

    MSN made some changes that have prevented Empathy from connecting to the MSN network.

   Simply apply this fix below and it should begin working again.

 Thanks to Kakarato for the Quick fix.

and to Dennis Trinh for summing it up nicely.
I'm on 10.04 / Lucid. Just worked for me.
Go to terminal >
cd /usr/lib/pymodules/python2.6/papyon/service/description/SingleSignOn
sudo gedit
replace the line
CONTACTS = ("", "?fs=1&id=24000&kv=7&rn=93S9SWWw&tw=0&ver=2.1.6000.1")
CONTACTS = ("", "MBI")
should work. good luck.

This worked perfectly for me to correct the issue.

Hopefully it can help you too.

For the original posting see this thread:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Released

     Well, 10.10 on 10/10/10 has arrived. 

     Is it truly all 10's?

     The Maverick Meerkat seems like a solid and polished release without anything changed too drastically.

What do You Think?

Have you installed it yet?

What are your initial impressions?

     With the 10.04 release I pushed the install onto all of my relatives and as many of my friends as I could. Prior to 10.04 I was the only one using Ubuntu and every time a new version came out I installed it, new/clean. For my relatives though such frequent change is not a good thing and quite a lot of work for me to keep up with. Unless there are major usability or performance tweaks in 10.10 I can't see Upgrading any of them prior to 11.04 at the earliest and more likely 12.04. Anyone else looking at a similar situation?

Let me know what you think and how things are going with the Meerkat for you.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Quick Review: Chromium Web Browser

     I've been very suspicious of the built in spyware found in Google's Chrome browser. As a result I've stayed away from it even though I've read very good things about it's performance. Recently after a little investigation I started using Chromium. What is that you may ask? Chromium is the Open Source project that provides the Source code that Chrome is made from. The good thing is that it doesn't contain any of the added spyware that Google adds on to Chrome so nicely for you.

     If you use Ubuntu, Chromium can be easily found in the Ubuntu Software Centre and is easily installed. If your a Windows user your not as lucky. Chromium is not readily available except for Google's Chrome, of course. Interestingly enough, I recently read a rumor that Chromium will replace Firefox as the default Web Browser in Ubuntu 10.10.

     So far my impressions of Chromium are very good. It is fast to load web pages and feels very responsive overall. Fortunately the Ubuntu Software Centre has included all of the Important plugins with the installer. In comparison to Firefox 3.6.10 on Ubuntu, Chromium is much, much faster and so far has been just as compatible.

     The interface for it is best described as "minimalist" which is refreshing and clean but I found I needed to configure a few additional things to feel at home using the browser. I needed to enable the option to "Always show Bookmark Bar" and had to set the browser options to "Delete Cookies" every time the browser is closed. I also turned off the option to save Password and Form information. The installation itself went very smooth and Chromium imported my Bookmarks from Firefox on install.

     I'm really liking Chromium. In fact I'm using it right now to write this post. That isn't to say that Firefox isn't a great browser as well but choice is always best. Thanks to Canonical, Ubuntu users have that choice and it's really easy to try both. If you use Ubuntu and haven't tried Chromium yet, what are you waiting for? Go get it now. You wont be disappointed.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

NetFlix Canada - Follow Up, The Wii

     Good Morning, I've had a few days now to try out the Wii disc for NetFlix. It was a little delayed in arriving at the house but better late than never. The disc arrived in a brightly labelled NetFlix envelope with the Disc inside a light weight paper sleeve. Since this disc is critical to actually using NetFlix on a Wii I was a little disappointed that it didn't at least have a stiffer card board packaging.

     The instructions were fairly straight forward and within a few minutes NetFlix was setup on the Wii. While it wasn't the end of the world to get going it was hard to imagine why any of it was necessary. Insert the Wii disc, go to a computer, load up the Netflix website, login, find the location to activate a new device, enter the code the Wii is displaying, wait a few minutes and then you're all set. The Wii is a computer. It has internet access. Why on earth would I need to use another computer to register my Wii's computer. It has all the tools needed to accomplish this task itself. Secondly, why is the Wii application not installable into the Wii's onboard storage? This part makes even less sense. I have abundant amounts of memory on my Wii available. If the space is there and you want the option you should be allowed the convenience of not having to find the disc everytime you want to watch a movie. This portion doesn't seem well thought out at all and would be the only criticism I would have technically of the Wii / Netflix process.

     Once NetFlix for the Wii was installed and running the User Interface wasn't bad at all. Response times to load the scrolling Movie Icons were reasonable and the Wii controller functioned well to navigate the menus. The Search Option allows you to find any titles that you are specifically looking for by entering the first few letters of the title and bringing up results as you type. The more you type, the more the search is refined. It worked fairly well and I could find what I wanted pretty quickly.

     The Video Quality was of course limited to the Wii's technical limit of 480p if your Wii is connected with the "High Definition" cable. If you have the standard Composite cable you'll be limited to 480i. My Wii is connected by the "High Definition" cable to a 37" LCD HDTV. The Picture quality through this setup was surprisingly good looking. The video was sharp and clear and had no apparent difficulties in maintaining that quality throughout the video's length.

     The streaming capability was no different than on the other Computers in my house hooked up to the same Wireless DSL connection. That is to say that there were no interruptions for buffering in the video and the video's were almost instantly on. Streaming smoothness is of course dependent on your own Internet connection's capabilities and speed so your results may vary.

     Overall the NetFlix Canada experience on the Wii was very good and if you have a Wii and are going to stay with NetFlix after the 30 day free trial expires then absolutely request the Wii disc from the NetFlix website. The disc itself is free for all subscribers and is certainly worth it.

     The quality and quantity of the content that is available is another story entirely and in my opinion is not acceptable when compared to the amount of content that is available to Americans but that is another story that you can read here. NetFlix Comes to Canada

     That being said there is some good stuff here and I will be staying with the NetFlix service for a while to see how they do with upgrading their content. I'm still looking forward to Microsoft getting off their ars and making the NetFlix interface available to Canadians through the fall XBoxLive update in November. Look for another follow up at that time with a review of the XBL service.

     As always thanks for stopping by and please leave a comment. Discussion is always good.