Friday, August 29, 2014

Ubuntu Linux - Apps that "just work"

Well I'm now on day three or so of  my Ubuntu adventure and I'm super impressed by the availability of software.

More importantly, the days of having to stuff around in the Linux shell installing apps are virtually over.

I've put together a list of apps that are installed directly from the included GUI driven "software centre" that were mandatory to have working as I previously used them on a daily basis back in Win8 land.

Brace yourself - it really is that easy.

1. Remmina

This is an RDP client that lets you jump into Windows desktops should the need arise.
The client works perfectly and the bit that does my head in is the fact that this app launches faster than the old mstsc app in Windows and feels like it has less lag.

2. VLC
Good old VLC.
This really is the go-to video and audio player.
Works beautifully in Ubuntu and has no issues playing back anything you can throw at it.

3. Pinta
Pinta is a port of for Linux.
Leaves gimp for dead and has the exact same GUI as

4. KeePass
If you're not already using KeePass, shame on you
This is the standard for password safes.
To make your life easier, save your keepass database on your Google Drive storage and you can then access your store from your Android phone when you're out and about.

5. Sublime Text
While I have been a big fan of Notepad++ for a long time unfortunately there's no native port for Linux.

Not to worry though - Sublime Text is just as good (and actually looks a little bit slicker) as Notepad++ and has a diff plugin (sublimerge) as well.

Again, I can't believe how easy this has all been.
Linux has always been a sure fire bet in server land but the time has come where there is no reason not to jump in and run Ubuntu on your laptop.

Next up, apps that need a little bit more love to get up and going (but not much). 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ubuntu Kingsoft Office Install Guide

Every now and then I fire up a Linux distro just to see where things are at in the world of the Penguin.

Last night I gave Ubuntu v14 a whirl and was a little bit taken by surprise.

I made a list of the daily apps I use on my Win8 laptop and found that there was a solid Linux equivalent for every single app. 

The big hold up for me jumping ship to a non-Windows machine has always been a lack of good Office Suite.

Thanks to Kingsoft Office, this now exists for Linux.

If you're keen to give a whirl, it's actually super easy.
Just not published very much.

To install Kingsoft Office on Ubuntu, follow these three steps:

1) Download Kingsoft Office

Grab the installer file from 
 You want the first file in the list named something similar to wps-office_9.1.0.4751~a15_i386.deb

2) Install gdeb

gdeb is a package manager that makes installation of apps and dependencies much easier.

To install, fire up the Ubuntu Software Centre app from the dock on the left and search for and install gdeb (not the kde version).

3) Install from Terminal

Search for terminal from the search function on the dock and enter:
cd Downloads
sudo gdeb wps-office_9.1.0.4751~a15_i386.deb

Or whatever version of the wps .deb file you downloaded.

Say yes to the "do you want me to install all required dependencies" question and that's it!

To launch, use the finder and if you want, drag and drop the shortcuts to WPS to your dock.

Nice :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Internet's Own Boy

As I grow older, I seem to be developing a deeper interest in my industry outside of my little Network Engineer bubble.

I guess that's just the unavoidable nature of being a tech :)

Anyway, I recently watched The Internet's Own Boy which really makes you stop and think.

Especially given the anti-piracy measures which are creeping into Australian Government discussions at present.

(And yes - it appears we're in exactly the same position in terms of people in Australian Federal Parliament who actually understand technology and the implications of the anti-piracy laws they are drafting as the American Government was two years ago (well, except for Malcolm Turnbull, who seems to be prioritising the Governments budget over what he knows is right)).

The movie is about the life of Aaron Swartz.

I remember reading about his passing last year but didn't know much about him or why he was so important.

For those of you like me who were unaware, Aaron Swartz was a child genius who first came to the attention of the tech community when he started contributing in a large way to the development of the RSS standard at the age of 14.

You have to admin, that's pretty hardcore for a 14 year old.

In fact, before that he had created The Info Network, which was basically Wikipedia, which I actually remember seeing pages from a long time ago.

He then went on to co-find Reddit and then launched into fighting the bullshit politics machine that is the American Government.

Anyway, the movie explains all this and a lot more in very good detail.

The movie is built around interviews with his parents, his brothers (which also strike me as very switched on people), his room-mates, his partners and his lawyer.

It really is a great, inspirational, depressing and intelligent rollercoaster that makes your hate for over-privileged twats in positions of power grow a fair degree.

The movie is available to watch on YouTube for free at: