MyBlog 0.5 released

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MyBlog is a very simple, nice looking, fast, and easy-to-use blogging application targeted to be used as personal blog. It has been completely coded in PHP, and uses MySQL as the database backend. Unlike many other blogging systems available, like WordPress, Movable Type, etc., MyBlog contains only those features that should be sufficient enough to maintain a personal blog. This adds to the fast speed blogging offered by MyBlog.

Read more about MyBlog or check out detailed features of it.

Some salient features of Myblog:

  • A full-featured Dashboard (admin area).
  • Uses FCKEditor for creating dealing with posts and adding comments.
  • Categories are supported.
  • There are specialized pages – MyWidgets, MyMovies, MyGames and MyWebsites.

Demo (see MyBlog live in action)
Download (browse through the download archive)

Happy blogging! ๐Ÿ˜€

Puppy Linux – A pocket-size atom bomb

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The category of small-sized Linux distributions (or mini distributions) is fast evolving. Every now and then we see a new mini distro coming out, sometimes as a light-weight edition of an already established distro and sometimes based on an innovative concept. The likes of this category involve Damn Small Linux, Yellow Dog, SliTaz, and Puppy Linux. But believe me, Puppy Linux is not yet another mini distro. It is an everything OS. Puppy comes as an installable livecd, and can be installed on a number of medium, such as hard-disk, USB pen drive, external hard-disk and more.

I happened to have my first stint with Puppy about 3-4 months ago, when I found it bundled with a local computer magazine in a companion disk; it was Puppy Linux 3. Since that very day, I knowingly or unknowingly became a hard-core fan of the distribution.

A month later, Puppy 4.0 was released and I upgraded from version 3 to version 4. As now I’ve spend considerable amount of time with this beautiful distro, I am in a state to mention some points about its goodness.

Waking up Puppy
Puppy’s boot process is a no thrills-and-frills thing. The booting is plain, but the developers have made it to look impossibly simple. We see a black screen with only relevant boot-time messages appearing, nothing more, nothing less.

The booting time is not large (about 35-40 seconds) and is almost the same when booting from hard-disk or livecd. That is a considerable improvement in the booting time of a livecd.

The interface
Once the booting has completed, Puppy logs you in as the ‘root’ user and takes you directly to the main interface. No password is by default required to login. Puppy uses JWM as the desktop environment which is extremely light-weight (occupies less space). So the interface is quite simplistic, sometimes primitive, and comes with a limited set of functionality. But there are so many other options in Puppy which will never let you feel the lack of features in JWM. Basic customizations are very easy, like changing the wallpaper, window decoration, icon theme, GTK theme, etc.

Setting up and configuring Puppy
Although Puppy detects and configures most of your hardware and other settings, there could be some areas that need to be setup by you. Say, for example, setting up an Internet connection, setting up a printer, and so on. Puppy makes it extremely easy to accomplish these common configuration tasks by providing you with a number of easy-to-follow wizards. And guess what? There is even a wizard for all other wizards by the name ‘Wizard wizard’ which serves as a central point to all configuration tasks. For installing new software, Puppy comes with its own package manager, PETget.

All-in-all, most configuration tasks in Puppy are very easy which are otherwise difficult in many other Linux distros.

Play me baby
Throw just any multimedia file at it and it will play! That’s what Puppy has to offer in this department. With the xine engine pre-installed, the multimedia application – gxine – is capable of playing just any audio or video format you have heard of (and even the ones you haven’t heard of). Although I would personally prefer a more feature-rich player than gxine, it proves a wise choice to save space. Puppy also comes with software for ripping CDs, DVDs, editing metatags and recording audio. It even has a Puppy community-made audio player Pmusic.

To complete the multimedia section, it includes Pburn – a very nice community-made software for burning CDs/DVDs and comes with sufficient options for authoring discs. Puppy even has an ISO file editor!

Internet
No Firefox! But Puppy comes with a light-weight cousin ofย  Firefox – Seamonkey – adored by many for its speed. And it’s not just a browser, it’s a complete suite of applications – a browser, a mail client, an address book, and a HTML editor. After you have easily setup your Internet connection, you’ll be all set to browse the web (Seamonkey), chat with friends (Ayttm), check email (Seamonkey), talk through VoIP (Psip) or download stuff (Pwget, gFTP, Pctorrent).

Fun & Work
Puppy contains many popular office utilities, like Abiword (documents), Gnumeric (spreadsheets), a pdf viewer, personal organizer (to-do, calender, contacts), scientific calculator, and even a CHM file viewer. In the fun section, there are more than a couple of games that could keep you busy for a long time.

Miscellaneous utilities
Puppy comes with some additional stuff, like a personal blogging system (PPLOG), a personal wiki system (DidiWiki), partition manager (GParted), archiver (XArchive), scanner software (XSane), firewall, torrent creator and many more such software.

Killing the Puppy
Not literally. I mean shutting down Puppy. And believe me, even if you have had enough Puppy experience, shutting it down would be just like killing a lively little being on your computer. The experience is most of the time so interactive and fun-filled (and not to mention ‘light’), you would want to switch it on again very soon. And Puppy boasts of the fastest shutdown time around. It shuts down in a mere 5 seconds or so, when most of the other well-known Linux distributions take 10-20 seconds for the same task.

Puppy also offers the feature of saving your current session to a file of desired size during shutdown or reboot for future use. The ‘current session’ includes all your custom settings (wallpaper, theme), newly installed packages etc.

Conclusion
Puppy Linux proves that even simplicity has the power to get all the things done. The basic interface may require sometime from you to get you accustomed to it, but you’ll like it afterwards.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a Linux newbie or a seasoned Linux user, you will like Puppy as much as I did. This has to be one of the best Linux distros around. And it certainly deserves more attention than it is getting right now. Puppy is a tiny atom bomb – loaded with plethora software and utilities – that you can carry in your pocket – in your pen drive, CD, etc. Puppy has so much to offer in so little a size!

Computer Talks – Recent posts

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Computer Talks is the second blog that I maintain quite frequently infrequently. It is a Blogger-hosted blog and one of my oldest ones.

Here are some recent blog entries from Computer Talks:

Themed Gmail
You heard it. Google’s Gmail offers themes now. Now, how did I first come to know about this? I woke up yesterday night to download some important stuff, started the download, opened Gmail in browser, checked my emails, changed my status message in Gmail to “Sleeping”, let the browser remain open with Gmail, turned off the monitor of my PC, and went to my bed to have some sleep while the download was in progress. [more]

Emoticons (Smileys) in Gmail
Today, as I was reading a friend’s email, I noticed he had used smileys in his email. It was surprising as I had seen people attaching images with the email, but emoticons? And that not attached but embedded in the text itself. [more]

Forum post number in Google results
Today, while Googling casually, I found out an all new feature in the normal Google search results. [more]

Most Visited Webpage
Thanks to my faulty and irritating (BSNL broadband) Internet connection, my most visited webpage is one of those frustrating default pages of Firefox (yup, you guess it; I am a Firefox user). [more]

Vista & Ubuntu – the similarities

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VS

Windows Vista and Ubuntu Linux – both are totally disparate entities and I am talking about similarities? Yup, I sure am. And I have reasons to believe this.

Most of us know what Vista is. Vista is the latest edition to the most popular operating system (OS) lineup – Windows. For those who are unfamiliar with Ubuntu, Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux-based OS that is available for free.

Here I discuss some of the similarities that I have noted in due course of my usage of both the operating systems.

Computer
In both, the name given to the central access point to all the disks and partitions on a computer is “Computer”. In earlier versions of Windows, we used to know it with the name “My Computer”.

Sub-folders in user profile folder
The default folders present in the user profile folder (or the home folder) are something like – Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos – in both the OSes.

Graphical effects
Starting from Ubuntu 7.10, both the OSes have given stress on providing graphical desktop effects to the end user. In Ubuntu, the effects are a result of Compiz Fusion software. In Vista, the most common and appealing effect is Flip 3D.

Creation of a new folder
When a new file/folder is created within another folder in either of the OS, the newly created item rearranges itself automatically in alphabetical order with respect to the other items contained by the parent folder. This wasn’t the case in earlier versions of Windows.

Renaming file
When a file is renamed (by right-clicking and choosing “Rename” or by pressing F2) in either of OSes, only the name of the file is selected, leaving the file extension unselected.

Navigation strip
When a folder within a folder within a folder (and so on…) is visited, a navigation strip appears near the top of the explorer/file manager window. In both the OSes, this navigation strip is very similar looking and a helpful aid.

Verdict
Does this imply anything? Were Vista’s features inspired by Ubuntu? Or Ubuntu’s features by Vista? Or neither of the cases. It’s upto you to decide. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Note: The similarities between Vista and Ubuntu are primarily because of the desktop environment used by Ubuntu – GNOME. So, these similarities are common between Vista and many other Linux distributions that use the latest version of GNOME.

Install Shockwave in Linux using Wine

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Adobe Shockwave is an advanced platform for 3D applications on the Internet, and online games benefit the most out of it. But unfortunately, Adobe never released a version of Shockwave for the Linux platform.

If you are a Linux user, worry not. Using Wine, you can easily play for favorite games made using Shockwave. Wine is a software that allows running Windows applications on Linux. Wine is an open-source, free software, and is now available as a stable 1.0 version.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Install the latest version of Wine.
  2. Install the latest version of Shockwave for Windows using Wine. To do that, open command-line (Konsole/Terminal) and cd to the folder where Shockwave’s installer has been stored. Next, issue the command: wine Shockwave_Installer_Slim.exe. This will install Shockwave as it does in Windows.
  3. Next, install the latest version of Mozilla Firefox for Windows using Wine, in the similar way as above.
  4. After it’s installation, open Firefox, go to the desired URL containing your favorite Shockwave application, and viola! The Shockwave application is ready to be used.

The screenshot in the beginning of this post shows Miniclip’s Table Tennis game being played in Google Chrome installed in Linux using Wine.

[ To installed Google Chrome using Wine on Linux, refer to this excellent tutorial ]