The Universe and Planets etc.

The Key to Success in KBC – Part 1 – The Universe

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How to install Google Earth on Ubuntu/Linux?

I am sure Google Earth will be among the first few things you will want to install on your Ubuntu machine. The installer which you get online is not a regular installer which Ubuntu default installation will be happy with. You can’t just double-click to install it.
That’s why I thought of providing the steps to install Google Earth on your Ubuntu or any other linux machine for that matter. Steps are as follows:

  1. Download Google Earth to your desktop.
  2. Go to Applications > Accessories > Terminal.
  3. Type in cd ~/Desktop
  4. Type in sh GoogleEarthLinux.bin
  5. Follow the on screen prompts to complete the installation.
  6. You will see Google Earth icon on your desktop after the installation is complete.
  7. At the same time it will also give you an option to launch it for the first time after the installation is complete.
  8. Google Earth should have been installed in the default location “/usr/local/Google/Google-earth“.
  9. That’s it. Enjoy the cool Google Earth features.

TIP: By the way, you might have already guessed the trick. To install any software on Ubuntu with a *.bin extension you can do the same to install it. Just browse to the directory, at the terminal type sh *.bin. Your software should be installed properly.

Keep reading Technomania for more tips and tricks on Ubuntu, Linux and Open source community updates. You can subscribe to the feed or receive email as and when I update anything on this blog.
Cheers…
Anurag Bansal

How to get different wallpapers on each workspace in Ubuntu?

I am sure you have always used to think if it is possible to have different wallpapers on different workspaces in Ubuntu using GNOME. Isn’t it? Don’t worry I have a tip for you, and it is very simple too.
Assumptions:

  • You have Ubuntu 8.04 running. (Though it should work with 7.10 as well. But I haven’t tried it.)
  • You have installed CCSM. Check under System ->Preferences if Advanced Desktop Effect Setting is there.
  • For better results you have Avant Window Navigator installed. (Else you won’t be able to use any shortcut on your desktop.)

If you have set up all that then it should be pretty easy for you. Just follow the following steps:

  1. Go under System> Preferences > Advanced Desktop Settings
  2. Select Desktop Cube >Appearance > Background images
  3. Desktop Cube
  4. Click New under background images and add all the images you want as background.
  5. Desktop Cube - Appearance
  6. Alt + F2 to launch the Run Terminal.
  7. Enter gconf-editor and hit Run.
  8. gconf-editor
  9. Go under apps > nautilus > preference
  10. Nautilus
  11. Deselect ‘Show Desktop’.

That’s it. You are all set. Check all the workspaces. You should have the images you selected as wallpapers on these. Cool…

Screenshot

Note:
You will notice that you can’t right-click on the desktop and all your existing desktop shortcuts are gone. But don’t worry they are not gone. You will have to go under Places > Desktop to see all the thing you kept on original desktop. Going forward if you save something on desktop they will also appear on that location only. This is one thing you will have to sacrifice if you want to have different wallpapers on each workspace.

But hold on…there is a good news for you if you enabled Avant Window Navigator, then all your shortcuts should be there.  Enjoy different wallpapers on all your workspaces. Did you like it?

Desktop with AWN
I would like to see your screenshot with all the workspaces as I have shown here. Or if any other customization you did to achieve better results, drop a comment here so that others also can learn from you.

Keep reading Technomania for more tips and tricks on Ubuntu, Linux and Open source community updates. You can subscribe to the feed or receive email as and when I update anything on this blog.
Cheers…
Anurag Bansal

What is Compiz, Beryl, Metacity & Emerald etc. in Ubuntu?

You might have been hearing lots of terms for desktop managers in Ubuntu or any other distro. I was also confused initially but I collected some information which I wanted to share with you.
Compiz is a Desktop manager which is enabled by default in Ubuntu 8.04. It controls how all the windows appear on the screen, like the title bar, colors, icons, cursors and borders etc. Ubuntu already has one which is called Metacity which is very basic. The advantage of using Compiz is that it has lots of cool effects. Which can make you windows transparent, enable Desktop cube, many customized effects while minimizing, maximizing, opening, closing & moving windows as well as many eye candy effects.
Compiz-fusion was originally called Compiz and had some limited effects. Another window manager Beryl had some other effects and some common effects as Compiz. Eventually Compiz and Beryl combined resulting in Compiz-Fusion.
Emerald is another desktop manager which helps you modify the settings further and help you cutomize the entire theme itself. But you can enable either one of Compiz or Emerald. This is a short explanation of the terms.

There are some other plugins like cairo dock and AWN also which provides you the ability to get a Mac OS X like dock. There are definitely lot of things you can do to get better look than Vista.

Now how to enable those effects:

  1. Ubuntu 8.04 by default has Compiz enabled.
  2. To enable advanced features :
    Go to System > Preferences > Appearance > Visual Effects and select the last option ‘Extra’.
  3. Restart the computer.
  4. Search for ‘Compiz’ in Synaptic Package Manager or Add/Remove software and install ‘Advanced Desktop Effect Settings’
  5. Once installed, play around to get the required effects.

Keep reading Technomania for more tips and tricks on Ubuntu, Linux and Open source community updates. You can subscribe to the feed or receive email as and when I update anything on this blog.

Cheers…

Anurag Bansal

Some useful keyboard shortcuts for Ubuntu

Most of the times it so happens that we want to do something quickly but don’t want to move our hands from keyboard to the mouse. There are some shortcut keyboard keys/combinations which lets you save couple of clicks. These shortcuts make our life easy. It is true for everything : Windows, Mac or Ubuntu Linux.
Today I am going to provide information about some such shortcuts in Ubuntu. Though there is always a shortcut for all applications menu items. But for a start couple of ‘ALT’ and ‘Fn’ key combinations are here, learn them by heart, they will be useful for your Ubuntu life:

  1. ALT + F1: Displays application menu and expands it. Use arrow keys to navigate further.
  2. ALT + F2: ‘Run application’ dialog box
  3. ALT + F4: Closes the selected window.
  4. ALT + F5: Reduces the size of current window if it is maximized. Use arrow keys to change the size.
  5. ALT + F7: Move the selected window. Use arrow keys to move it around.
  6. ALT + F8: Resize the selected window. Use arrow keys.
  7. ALT + F9: Minimize the selected window.
  8. ALT + F10: Maximize the selected window.
  9. ALT + Tab: Cycle through the open windows. Brings the window in focus to front.
  10. ALT + Space bar: Displays context sensitive menu.

These are couple of ‘ALT’ and ‘Fn’ function key combination which helps you navigate through the desktop quickly without using your mouse or touchpad.

Keep reading ‘Technomania’ for more Ubuntu related stuff. You can subscribe to the feed as well.
Cheers…
Anurag Bansal

How to try Ubuntu without messing with your existing OS?

Now when you have 25 reason to use Ubuntu instead of Windows, then I am sure you will like to try it. How you do it is a question? And most probably you are afraid to mess around with your existing operating system.
I tell you what, it is very very simple and with Ubuntu 8.04 it is even simpler than ever. (Will be covered in a future post.)

  1. Download the Live CD *.iso image (after 24th April, 2008 for latest Hardy Heron) on your hard drive for your machine. (i386 if Intel processor and AMD 64 if AMD processor)
  2. Burn the image file to a CD or DVD with your choice of software Roxio, Nero or whatever. I will suggest using a RW (re-writable) disc so that if you don’t like it, you don’t waste a CD (chances are very low, but in case)
  3. You can even get it shipped to you free of cost through Shipit if you don’t even want to download.
  4. Insert the burnt Live CD in your CD drive.
  5. Restart your machine.
  6. Go to the system BIOS and change the booting option to CD/DVD drive. (You have to be quick to go to the BIOS, else you will end up booting your existing OS.) Generally you have to press F2, F8, Delete or some specific key to go to system BIOS. Refer your system manual.
  7. Boot Ubuntu from the CD.
  8. Ubuntu Live CD will load and give you a screen to select what you want to do further. (You might have to wait 2-5 minutes depending upon your system to see this screen.)
  9. Select ‘Try and Install Ubuntu’. Don’t worry it won’t load Ubuntu on your machine and you won’t lose any data.
  10. It will take another 2-3 minutes to give you a desktop.
  11. Now you are in Live session of Ubuntu OS. You can test your machine to see all your hardware works on it. You can play games and do lots of other stuff.
  12. If you like you can double-click on the ‘Install Ubuntu’ icon on the desktop. (Next post will elaborate on the install options.)
  13. You don’t have to install now, if you wanna try it for some days.
  14. To exit, just click ‘Quit’ and ‘Shut Down’ the system.
  15. Remove CD from the CD drive when prompted. Hit enter.
  16. Reboot to use your existing OS. No changes have been made to your system…right. Cool….
  17. Come back to this blog to see what you need to do to Dual boot your system keeping your existing OS. (Dual Boot : You will have option while booting to select which OS you want to boot from. You can select if you want Windows, Ubuntu, Mac or any other thing.)

    Hope this post helped you in trying Ubuntu for free without affecting your existing OS.

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    Technomania gets a new direction

    I know I haven’t posted anything on this blog for a little over 2 months now.  But now I have got altogether a new direction for this blog.  What is that….???  Guess…!!!

    In this era when there is increasing open source awareness and the support from all the talented people out there supporting so many open source forums and communities, I thought it will be a good idea to give this blog a new direction.  Going forward, this blog is converting into Ubuntu only blog or any information related to Linux or any Open Source application or resource.  I will keep posting on this blog the tutorials, suggestions or any resource list for any of these subjects will be part of this blog.

    Reason for doing so, you can obviously guess is because recently I somehow got involved with Ubuntu.  I installed Ubuntu on couple of computers for my friends and including mine.  And I very proudly say that I loved it.  That’s why I thought of helping this community by providing some resources or share my knowledge with them with this beautiful medium.

    So stay tuned…You will enjoy it, specially if you enjoy Open Source applications.