Wednesday, 30 May 2012

WE'VE MOVED

The new site is now up and running. This blog is no longer being maintained. Please head over to RefuGeeks.com for the newest updates.

Thanks for all your support whilst running Jingi Blog - I hope to get your continued support on RefuGeeks.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

I'm Moving!

Well guys, I've been running this blog for a little over a year now and I'm starting to outgrow it unfortunately. So, I've started building a shiny new blog that is based on WordPress. The server is built and I have started work on it already. I am hoping to have the site live within the next Two weeks.

I'm also re-branding
The name 'Jingi Blog' is getting a bit tired I think, plus it's a bit naff :) so I will be completely re-branding the blog to an equally naff name. 'Refugeeks' - it will be a refuge for all geeks :D. Sad I know, but I like the sound of it.

Over to the right is the new logo, it's a very simple logo based loosely on the Ubuntu colours, although this is subject to change, I doubt the live version will change very much.

Over on the new blog I will have a lot more flexibility to add better, more in depth posts, so I will be blogging on there a hell of a lot more than I do on here...hopefully daily. This blog will stay alive, mainly as an archive and once the new site goes live, I will post a "We have moved" link. After a few months I might redirect blog.jingaling.co.uk and jingiblog.co.uk to the new site.

So if you like this blog and you want to keep reading what I write, then head on over to www.refugeeks.com. At the moment it's only got a countdown page up, but keep your eyes peeled - the new site will be live before you know it.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Blogger or Word Press?

Well gang, I've been running this blog on Blogger now for over a year now and it's served me well. The amount of hits I am getting to this blog is steadily growing so I have been thinking about moving the blog over to Word Press, hosted on my own server.

I was also going to take the opportunity to re-brand the blog as 'Jingi Blog' doesn't really sound all that cool to me. So I started playing around, registered a domain name (not going to say what it is yet), installed MYSQL and Word Press on the server and away I went.

I've so far spent around 12 hours solid on the new 'blog' and have absolutely nothing to show for it. I can't find any decent themes, customisation is a nightmare (it's very simple on Blogger) and doing the simplest thing like editing the home page is simply escaping me.

You see, I have 2 other 'sites', a wiki which I maintain and also my personal site. I was hoping to incorporate the whole lot under one nice tidy little package but I just can't for the life of me work out how to do it all.

What do you guys think? Have you used Word Press? Do you prefer one or the other? Please leave your thoughts in the comment field, I'd really love to hear them. :)

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin Review

Ok guys, after all the waiting Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin (12.04 for short) is here and I have to say, I'm loving it! I've deliberately waited a couple of weeks after the release to do my review as the Internet will be saturated with reviews, plus I wanted to spend some time with the OS before I actually wrote a review on it.

What's new?
Well, in short - A LOT! There have been a load of new additions to 12.04, some small, some not so small. With 12.04 being an LTS (Long Term Support) release, this means that this version will be supported by Ubuntu for longer so the emphasis for this release is on stability more than cosmetics.

However, they have got some great cosmetic additions in 12.04, some of these are:
  • The logon screen background changes to that of the users wallpapers when flicking between users.
  • The Ubuntu button, dash and notifications background change colour to the most commonly used colour within your wallpaper
  • The HUD (head up display) - more on that later.
  • More unity customisation by default - e.g. changing the launcher icon sizes.
  • Unity 2D looks a lot better.
Is it any good?
I've been using 12.04 since it's release in April and I have found it to be very stable, the only problem I have had so far is with the Bluetooth card on my laptop. I get an error every time I boot up, but apart from that, no problems. I don't use Bluetooth so this isn't a big deal for me.

12.04 seems to be a lot quicker than it's older brothers. I created a virtual machine with only 512MB RAM, no 3D acceleration and a single core CPU and 12.04 was perfectly usable. Although I did have to use Unity 2D because of the lack of 3D acceleration.

On my laptop (dual core AMD, 6GB RAM, 120GB SDD) it absolutely flies. I have run numerous OS's on this laptop and I can catagorically say that 12.04 is by far the most responsive I have used. Obviously I haven't compared this to deliberately light weight distro's like Xubuntu or Bhodi as these are not comparable OS's in my opinion. Although, I really don't think 12.04 will be far behind them in the speed stakes.

My Ubuntu 12.04 Desktop
Is it easy to use?
This is an easy one to answer, YES! Here's an example...Being the go-to-geek for all my family and friends I put Pinguy OS on my parents computer as my Mum kept infecting Windows (she's very gullible when it comes to emails). The machine they have isn't very powerful (AMD Athlon x2, 1GB RAM) and it is now pretty slow after a year of running Pinguy OS 10.04. So, I explained that I was upgrading her to Ubuntu 12.04 and that it would look different.

I used her as my Guinea pig and only showed her how to logon, shutdown and where the window management buttons are on a maximised windows (all of 5 minutes tuition). That was 2 weeks ago. I went up to visit at the weekend and asked how she is getting on, her response was "Why couldn't I have had this a year ago? Everything is really easy, I just press the 'swirly button', type what I want and press enter. Even your Step Dad can do it!" By 'swirly button' she means the Ubuntu dash button...old people and their technical terms. :)

So if my parents can use 12.04 with literally only 5 minutes tuition then I think anyone will be able to use it.

The HUD
This is a fantastic addition for basic and power users alike. Personally, as a 'power user' I prefer to use keyboard shortcuts as much as possible as it's quicker and I don't have to break concentration. The HUD really helps with this. All you need to do is hit the alt button and you are able to search the menus for the application you are in. Use the arrows, hit enter on the correct command and it's executed.

So, for example, if I'm in LibreOffice drafting a blog post and I want to save progress, I hit alt start typing 'save'. In the HUD menu I should see File > Save. Use the arrows to select that and hit enter. Ta-da! My document is saved. Before anyone says, I am aware that I can just hit ctrl+s - it's just an example. :) I can personally see this replacing the global menu that is currently on the panel. I'm sure time will tell if I'm correct or not.

Unity HUD in action


Conclusion
This is a simple one...Download and install Ubuntu 12.04 and your earliest opportunity. It's a fantastic Operating System that will only get better and better. With things like Ubuntu TV & Ubuntu for Android on the horizon I really don't think it will be long before Ubuntu is a household name...even amongst non-geeks. :)

Links
Download Ubuntu
Hints & Tips on customising Ubuntu/Unity

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Google Drive Review (Windows)

So, the long awaited Google Drive has finally been released but unfortunately Google have decided not to release a Linux client yet. They do hint that a Linux client is in the making and will be along soon but with Google being such Linux advocates and using their own version of Ubuntu internally, I would have thought the Linux client would have been available on release.

On a positive note though, I used Google Apps for my emails and usually us Google Apps users have to wait a while longer to get new Google features but it's great to see that Google Drive is available for Google Apps users from the start.

So because there is no Linux client, I've powered up my Windows 7 install (for the first time in months) and after some time of running Windows updates etc I now have Google Drive installed and working on my Windows 7 box.

What is Google Drive?
Well, Google Drive is basically Googles answer to Dropbox or Ubuntu One (U1) - it syncs files and folders to the cloud and between machines and mobile devices. 

Is it any good?
Well that's a tough question to answer, in my opinion it's nothing special, it syncs your Google Docs to your machine but when you click on a Google Doc icon it still opens it in your browser as usual. To me this isn't very good. At the very least I would have liked to have seen the document open in a cut down browser window so that it looks like a separate application. With it just opening in your browser as a normal Google Doc then I really don't see the point in syncing them to your computer.

Other documents are a different matter though, Google Drive will sync them between machines but when you try to open them in the wen interface all you see is a preview, you cannot edit the document from your browser. So, if you are away from your computer you can't edit documents without downloading them, changing them and then uploading them again....just like Ubuntu One and Dropbox - poor show there Google!

Google are clearly trying to promote Google Docs with this tool and using Google Docs will mean that you can edit your docs anywhere but my question still stands - If you do this then what's the point n Google Drive? As you could always do this in Google Docs.

Google Drive does have dome advantages over Ubuntu One and Dropbox, you get 5GB free storage (the same as U1 and 3GB more than Dropbox), you have a revision history on all files (U1 doesn't offer this) and it is cheaper than Dropbox and offers better storage increments 20GB - $2.49/month, 100GB - $4.99/month & 200GB - $9.99/month. Also, if you upgrade your plan to a paid one Google will give you 25GB of storage in Gmail instead of 10GB. To find out more about Google Price Plans then check THIS LINK. 

Should I move to Google Drive?
Well I can't tell you what to do, you need to make that decision yourself but I personally use U1 and I won't be moving away from that anytime soon. If you use Google Docs for your documents or if you have a Chromebook then I think Google Drive will serve you very well but at the moment I personally don't see any clear advantages to moving away from U1 - but, I will be keeping an eye on Google Drive as Google will no doubt and more and more features over time as they do with all of their products.

Are you using Google Drive? Why not comment on how you are finding it.