Friday, April 27, 2007

Ubuntu Linux Vs. Windows Vista: The Battle For Your Desktop

Image Hosted by

Is Linux finally ready to take on Windows as a desktop OS? We tried out both Vista and Ubuntu on individual PCs to see which works better. Here's who won.

Apr 27, 2007 - By Serdar Yegulalp

The prevailing wisdom about Linux on the desktop runs something like this: "I'll believe Linux is ready for the desktop as soon as you can give me a Linux distribution that even my grandmother can run."

Image Hosted by

For some time, the folks at Ubuntu have been trying their best to make Granny -- and most everyone else -- happy. They've attempted to build a Linux distribution that's easy to install, use, configure, and maintain -- one that's at least as easy as Windows, and whenever possible, even easier. As a result, Ubuntu is one of the Linux distributions that has been most directly touted as an alternative to Windows.

In this feature, I'm going to compare the newly-released Ubuntu 7.04 (codenamed "Feisty Fawn") with Microsoft Windows Vista in a number of categories. To keep the playing field as level as possible, I'm looking wherever I can at applications -- not just in the sense of "programs," but in the sense of what the average user is going to do with the OS in a workday. Sometimes the differences between the two OSes are profound, but sometimes the playing field levels itself --, for instance, is installed by default in Ubuntu, but adding it to Vista isn't terribly difficult.

Image Hosted by

I tried to stick whenever possible with preinstalled software, although this rule sometimes had to be bent a little -- for instance, to see what backup solutions were available for Ubuntu through its own software catalog.

Also, while I was tempted to compare Vista's Aero interface to the Beryl window manager (which has a similar palette of visual effects), I decided that pretty graphics, while nice, had more to do with personal preference than efficiency. In addition, Beryl isn't installed by default in Ubuntu, and Aero isn't available on all PCs.

In each case, I've tried to look at practical benefits rather than theoretical ones -- what works, what doesn't, and what you have to do to get certain things done. I should also note that, despite being a big fan of Vista, I've tried to keep my enthusiasm for it from overriding my judgment. Everyone needs something different, and not everyone needs (or wants) Vista -- or Ubuntu -- so I've done my best to keep my mind, and my eyes, wide open.

Read the entire article.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Tux 500 project

Image Hosted by

I made a donation to this interesting cause for promoting Linux.

From the website:

"Marketing Linux has always been a tricky proposition. As a community, we have relied on corporations who have a stake in the Linux operating system to market Linux to the world at large. Today, we have an opportunity to change that, and make Linux marketing as much a community effort as Linux development. That effort begins with the Tux 500 project.

Our goal is simple: we want to collect community donations to enter a Linux sponsored car in the 2007 Indianapolis 500. We need your help! If less than 1% of the Linux community donates $1, this will happen... will you do your part?

Our ultimate goal is to raise $350,000 or more in order to have Linux as the primary sponsorship on a car in the Indianapolis 500, on May 27th, 2007. Primary sponsorship means that we have a Linux logo prominently displayed on the side of the car, and we acquire the program's naming rights, i.e. "XYZ Motorsports Team Linux". This name appears in all media connected with the event, including USA Today's Memorial Day race weekend edition, the Indy 500 Official Program and the official race box score that becomes a permanent record of the race. We have identified a race team that we will sponsor, and have identified possible levels of sponsorship.

* $25K - $50K USD : Minor Associate Sponsorship; logo appears on the car
* $50K - $100K USD : Associate Sponsorship; larger logo appears on the car
* $125K - $300K USD : Major Associate Sponsorship; large logo appears on the car's engine cover
* $350K - $600K USD : Primary Sponsorship; logo appears on the car's sidepod, and the race team name contains "Team Linux"

Additionally, our plan is to make prizes available to people who donate to the program. The prizes we can offer will be contingent on how much we can raise. If we are able to raise enough for Primary Sponsorship, we will award the following prizes.

* The top contributor will be a member of the Pit Crew on Race Day
* Two random contributors will get a ride in a two-seater Indy Car
* The second highest contributor will get a Linux server or notebook
* The third highest contributor will get a video iPod

Also, with Primary Sponsorship, we intend to print a graphic with the names of top donors on the car, and make Team Linux merchandise available."


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

How to convert .flac files to .mp3 using Windows

I found this article which will come in handy...

How to convert .flac files to .mp3 using Windows

You’ve downloaded a concert or two from and now you want to convert the flac files to mp3 to take with you on your iPod or MP3 player. This tutorial will walk you through the steps to do just that, using Microsoft Windows. Read on

First things first, make sure you’ve downloaded and installed Winamp, the Flac with library support plug-in for Winamp, and iTunes, all of which are free.

There are two steps in converting your .flac files to .mp3. The first is to decode the .flac’s into .wav files. After that’s done, you’ll encode the .wav files into .mp3’s.

Decoding .flac files with Winamp

Encoding .wav files with iTunes

Decoding .flac files with Winamp

  1. Open Winamp and select Options and then Preferences… (note: if you’re using the “classic version” skin, open the Winamp Preferences by clicking the Control and p keys on your keyboard)

  2. setting up winamp
    Click to enlarge

  3. Select Output from the Plug-ins section of the left window, and then select Nullsoft Disk Writer. Click Configure.

  4. setting up winamp
    Click to enlarge

  5. Click the Directory: button so you can choose a location to save the .wav files

  6. setting up winamp

  7. Navigate to the folder you want to save the .wav files in. I usually save them in the same folder as the .flac files.

  8. setting up winamp
    Click to enlarge

  9. Click OK to return to the Preferences window, and then Close to return to Winamp. Now select File -> Play file… and navigate to the folder with your .flac files. Select all of the .flac files by single-clicking the first file, holding down the Shift key on your keyboard, and then single-clicking the last file. When all of the files are selected, click Open

  10. setting up winamp
    Click to enlarge

  11. Press the Play button. Winamp will now decode the .flac files and turn them into .wav files. It typically takes about 20 seconds to convert a 5 minute song, but this depends on how “fast” your PC is.

    Once Winamp is done decoding the files, make sure to set the Plug-ins -> Output back to DirectSound output, or the next time you try to play a file using Winamp, it will decode that file instead.

    Check to make sure all of the .wav files were created.

  12. setting up winamp
    Click to enlarge

Encoding .wav files with iTunes

  1. First you need to make sure that iTunes will encode the songs to .mp3 (rather than the default, which is .aac). Start by selecting Edit and then Preferences…

  2. setting up itunes

  3. Select the Advanced tab, and then the Importing tab. Select MP3 Encoder from the Import Using: list, and then choose a quality from the Setting list. You may want to remove the check-mark from Play songs while importing (I find it annoying, and it makes the encoding time slightly longer). Click OK when you’re done.

  4. setting up itunes border=
    Click to enlarge

  5. Back in the main iTunes window, select File and then Add Folder to Library…

  6. setting up itunes

  7. Navigate to the folder that you saved the .wav files in and select it. Click OK

  8. setting up itunes

  9. Find the newly imported .wav files in iTunes and select them all (single-click the first file, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard, and then single-click the last file). Right-click on any of the selected files and choose Convert Select to MP3. You may want to get a cup of coffee right now, as this step will take a while (depending on the number of files you’re converting).

  10. setting up itunes
    Click to enlarge

  11. iTunes will let you know it’s done converting the files by playing a little “beep”. Now is also a good time to remove the .wav files from your iTunes library so you don’t confuse them with the (identical looking) mp3 files. With the .wav files still highlighted, click the Delete key on your keyboard. If prompted, click the Remove button.

  12. setting up itunes
    Click to enlarge

That’s it, you’re done! Rename the files in iTunes (if you wish), give them a listen or transfer them to your iPod/mp3 player. Don’t forget to delete the .wav files if you no longer need them - they’re pretty big and take up quite a bit of space on your hard drive.

The .mp3 files can be found by going to My Documents -> My Music -> iTunes -> iTunes Music -> Artist Name -> Album Name

website page counter