Saturday, 30 April 2011

Gnome 3 Issues

     We'll I just tried Gnome 3 on Ubuntu 11.04 and I have mixed thoughts on it. Some good thoughts but mostly disappointed thoughts on my Gnome 3/Ubuntu 11.04 experience. It took some effort to get Gnome 3 to install in Ubuntu 11.04. It would not install with out adding a Gnome 3 ppa installed and if I tried without the ppa it would come up with a broken package error.
     So when I finally got it installed it worked great when I got it to finally to install. I found the interface a lot more user friendly then Unity and found there more you could do with the desktop. There is a lot of similarities to the Unity interface with the left side bar for your programs. The ability to be able to use multiple desktops easier. I was not able to do a full test of Gnome 3 because of the major issue so I can not highlight all the positives. 
     Then everything went down hill my mouse froze as I was in a game to test out how well it works. My keyboard was working but my mouse would not work and I could not back out of the game so I had to reset the computer. After the computer reset I tried to load Gnome 3 again it would not load. The background would load up and a couple of programs I had to start up in background would load. But that was it nothing else would load. So I tried Ubuntu Classics and that would not load because Gnome 3 update Gnome 2.32.1 to 3.X. Also Unity would not load up I am not sure why that is. I did not have any other desktop interface installed like KDE or XFCE. So the only thing I could do was to reinstall the Ubuntu operating system. At least it only took me under fifteen minutes to reinstall the operating system.
     I am not sure why this has happened, as of right now I will not be trying Gnome 3 again for some time. From what I read Gnome 3 will be out in 11.10 by default along with Unity. Right now other Linux distro's like Fedora in there up and coming version 15 will have Gnome 3 as there default desktop. Right now at least till 11.10 I would recommended Gnome 3. Ubuntu users should stick with Unity or Classic. Even with the slick desktop that Gnome 3 there is no guarantee that it will not crash on you and you will have to reinstall your operating system.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Ubuntu 11.04 Released Today

     We'll the new Ubuntu 11.04 operating system has been released today. This also means that I have updated the test computer to full version of Ubuntu 11.04 from beta. There are a lot of major changes that has gone into the new version of Ubuntu.
     The first major change is the fact that they got rid of Gnome as the default desktop. Canonical (the makers of Ubuntu) decided to make there own desktop called Unity as the default desktop. There is still a version of Gnome in the list of desktop's you can choose from called Ubuntu Classics. But from what I have read on-line with version 11.10 Canonical will get rid of that option. Now you are still able to install what ever desktop you want and with Gnome 3 out you can install that one if you want as well. I have not tried out Gnome 3 yet but I may try it out down the road. Another major change would be on how the installer for Ubuntu 11.04 works. The installer is very sleek and is very user friendly to new and veteran users. Also if you have a internet connection you can download important updates while Ubuntu is installing. These updates are important for new people to start using Ubuntu 11.04 right away. The next major change they did was to get rid of Rhythmbox as the default media player and put in Banshee in it's place. They have also taken out OpenOffice as the default office suite and put in LibreOffice. From what I have read the reason for the office change is because of the fact that LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice. LibreOffice is also being supported more in the open community. Also Firefox has also been updated to 4.0 as the default web browser. They have also got rid of the Netbook Edition so you will have to use 11.04 on your netbook now. There is no real difference from the feel and look of the Netbook Edition to 11.04 since the Netbook Edtion was using a version of Unity.
     With all the changes I find that this update to the Ubuntu operating system is a very much welcomed and needed. Kubuntu another spin off of Ubuntu has released there 11.04 update as well today. With Xubuntu another spin off of Ubuntu will be bringing out there 11.04 update very soon. I would give Ubuntu 11.04 10 out of 10. If you are wanting to upgrade from any earlier version press Alt and F2 then type update-manager -d. Your update manager will open up and there will be a option there for upgrading to the new version. If you are looking to download Ubuntu you can go here Ubuntu and remember there is no cost for this operating system.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

New Humble Bundle (Frozenbyte) Update #6

     We'll the Humble Frozenbyte Bundle has ended with $909,849.56 in sales and 183,193 copies sold. As it stands linux users have spent the most on average $11.82, Mac users $6.42 and Windows users $3.91. Also as it stands Windows users bought the most copies with Linux users and Mac users next. On the Huble Bundle website you will be able to download your games for sometime and also sign up for future humble bundle news.

Saturday, 23 April 2011


     I am going to take a look at the game Trine another game from the Humble Frozenbyte Bundle. Remember that this game is tested on Ubuntu so it does not one hundred percent reflect any other platform that this game maybe on. I am reviewing this game next because of how different this game is compared to the other games in the bundle.
     First off this game is a full side scroller game with not a lot of cut scene, they are focusing on game play here. The only cut scene they have in the game are during loading times between levels.
     Now for some information on the back story and what is going on in the game. You are set in a medieval kingdom and evil has taken over the entire kingdom.  You either pay as a thief, knight or magician that has been trapped in a magic orb. The only way to get free of this orb is to make it to the end and free the kingdom of the evil.
     Now for all the good points of the game and why this game is Frozenbyte best game out of all the games in the bundle. Installation of the game went very well, the install put a shortcut onto the desktop and games menu. A lot of games that run on Linux that are cross distro (different Linux companies) do not even do this. The graphics for the cut scene and game play were maybe the best I have ever seen in a long time. You could tell they put a lot of effort into the graphics. The background had just as much going on as the foreground did. The soundtrack also worked very well for each level and did not over power what was going on in game. There was also very strong voice acting in the game and cut scene. The controllers were also very solid I had no issues with the controls randomly freezing. The game also had multi player action but no online multi player. From what I have read they are looking to put online multi player in Trine 2. From what I am told Trine is Nvidia 3D Vision compatible but for only Windows users right now. I am told this issue is a Nvidia driver issue and it looks like there will be drivers out soon.
     Now I am going to go over the bad parts of the game because there is not a lot of bad points. For the game play itself when you would walk on a trap to open a door your character freezes but enemies or other items can hurt you or kill you. I find this frustrating when your frozen from a door opening and a big spike ball is coming at you. But this does not happen that much through out the game and you can work around this issue.  The next issue and it's not with the game but what should come with it is a level editor. I am aware that there is one for Windows versions but there should been one for Mac and Linux users.
     With all the small bad points in the game I would give this 9.5 out of 10. If it was not for the small issues in this game it would be a 10 out of 10 game. Now with one of these issues (level editor) I do know it is a Linux related issue. But the other one I am not sure if it is Linux related or not. Either way I can not wait for Trine 2 to be released in the next few months. You can find the game here Frozenbyte and as of this writing the game cost $19.99.

Friday, 22 April 2011

New Humble Bundle (Frozenbyte) Update #5

     It looks like Frozenbyte has made some big news for there games. First they have released the source code for Shadowgrounds and Shadowgrounds: Survivor. They have also put out a level editor for Trine it is only out for Windows not Mac or Linux. They also have a sneak peak for the game splot in a flash game demo. There is also talk that there maybe a release of Jack Claw for Linux in the next few weeks.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

New Humble Bundle (Frozenbyte) Update #4

     With the Humble Frozenbyte Bundle more then have way over the bundle has hit over 143K copies sold with over 713K dollars made from the bundle. Windows users are still leading with number of copies sold with Linux and Mac right behind them. Linux users are still spending more per copy then Windows or Mac users. You still have a little over 5 days left to get your self a copy of the bundle. Remember if you own a copy already you can still gift a copy to friends or family.

Monday, 18 April 2011


     We'll now that I have had the bundle for a few days now I thought I would first take a look at the game Shadowgrounds. Remember that this game is tested on Ubuntu so it does not one hundred percent reflect any other platform that this game is on.
     The game is a 3D top down shooter for your in game play. I am going to take a look at some of the back story for the game. The game is set on a moon that orbits Jupiter in the distant future. There is a large colony that is setup on the moon. Then there is a alien attack that wipes out most of the population on the planet. You play as a maintenance worker that is in the colony that survives the initial attack. You have to go around helping other people out to get off the planet. You will uses different weapons that you can upgrade and tools along your way to help you out.
     Now I am going to start of with the good points of the game. The installation of the game went very well, the install put a shortcut onto the desktop and games menu. A lot of games that run on Linux that are cross distro (different Linux companies) do not even do this. The in game graphics were really top notch with a lot of proper lighting effects. The enemies and environment were really well done as well.
     Now for the issues that hurt what could have been a really solid game. The first issue was with the in game controls. There was a few times that I would be running away from aliens and I could not move. It was not like I was stuck on a item this was a wide open area that I was stuck for a few seconds. I found this to be a issue when you were trying to deal with all a lot of aliens at once. Another issue was in the cut scene that they had in the game. There was quite a few times that you hear them talk then the talking would stop but the text on the screen would change. It was like they forgot to record that part of the conversation. There was also random music that would start playing in parts of the game. This hurt for the fact that when they started talking you could not hear them over the music that was playing. The type of music they used also did not sound right when it came to what was going on in the game. The game would be a lot better of if the music was not in it.
     Still for all the issues I give this game a score of 5.5 out of 10. The amount of issues that the game has I really felt it really took you out of the game when these issues happened. Now with these issues I am not sure if they are only Linux related or other platform related. If these issues were solved when the game came out to the bundle I would have had no problems giving it a higher score. I will be taking a look at the other games in the near future. You can find the game here Frozenbyte and as of this writing the game cost $9.99 to $40.00 depends on were you buy the game from.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Why Good Cooling Is Important For Your Computer Part 2

     Now I am going to cover cooling for your computer case and why it is so important to your system. Today's computers case come in a variety of sizes from one that will fit in your hand to the very big bulky ones.
     With the computer case that I am using the Fractal Design R3 this case has six fans running. Some of them are 140mm fans and the other ones are 120mm fans. The reason for the different sizes is because this is were they thought the best air flow design would be. How I have the fans set-up is blowing the air in the case from the front and bottom out the back and top of the case. The reason for this is because the CPU cooler is blowing the air out of the top of the case as well. The CPU cooler is drawing the cool air in the push pull (2 fans) to cool down the CPU better. With all this air being drawn this way it has a better chance to cool all the components. Now what ever design you you have for a computer case you should use all the spots for the fans. This is extremely important if you are pushing your computer components beyond what they are meant to do because of the heat issue.
     If you are worried about how loud your computer could be with all them fans. You can get low rpm fans some as low as 600 rpm. Now at that speed it will not push as much air but some is better then none. Remember when you are installing the fans there will be arrows on the fan to let you know what way the air will be pushing. This will be important because of the air you will be pushing either in or out of your computer case.
     Now you maybe wondering about if you have a laptop how can you cool it down even more. You can buy a laptop cooler it is a thin pad with fans that your laptop would sit on. This will help to displace the heat that most laptops get on the bottom of the case. You can spend from twenty dollars and up on a cooler. Remember to get one that is meant for the size of your laptop. If you get one to small or to big your laptop will not cool properly.
     Now that we have looked over cooling for your computer case, in part 3 I will be going over cooling for your power supply and video card. With power supplies I will cover the different ways they are cooled. With video cards I will also be covering the different ways they can be cooled. Cont 3

Friday, 15 April 2011

New Humble Bundle (Frozenbyte) Update #3

     We'll just a few days into the Frozenbyte bundle they have raised over 566K with over 110K copies sold. From what it looks like Linux users are still spending the most per copy with Mac users next and then Windows users. It also looks like there are more Windows copies sold with Linux and then Mac users buying. There is still a little over 11 days left to get your copy.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Update On The Asus Xonar DX 7.1

     We'll I have been using the Asus Xonar DX 7.1 for a little over a day and I am really impressed. Ubuntu found the card with the CMI8788 [Oxygen HD Audio] codec with no extra drivers to install. This is the first card I have ever used that Ubuntu found it as a high definition sound card. The major benefit to this is when you are listening to high quality music or high definition movies you will take full advantage of the audio. It also looks like the extra power you have to supply it via a berg connector is to give you a louder sound.
     So what extra items does the sound card give you in the box. The sound card has an adapter so you could plug digital audio out (SPDIF) from the sound card. This would be helpful if you are plug-in the card into a stereo or high end computer speakers. It also comes with a low profile back plate bracket so it will fit in smaller computer cases. There is also the manual and cd for the drivers for Windows. If you are installing this card on Windows you should go to the company's website and download the latest drivers. There is also a cable that comes with it to connect to a analog device.
     Now for a look at the features that comes built onto the sound card. If your computer cause has front audio you can connect them to this card. I have not done this yet only because I have not had a reason to. This card also has a internal auxiliary input for connecting devices that require an analog connection to the sound card. There is no cd input to this card but there is also no need for one for along time.
     For the cost of this card I would recommend it to anyone looking for a solid sounding card to replace your built in sound card. The card cost under one hundred dollars and they had a twenty dollar mail in rebate.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Test System Hardware Update #2

     Keeping with the updates for the test system I updated the internal sound card (Auzen X-Plosion 7.1 Cinema) with the Asus Xonar DX 7.1 (pci-e). The reason I did this is because of the design of the motherboard. I am looking to add a second video card for sli and to do this I have to give up the pci slot the other audio card is in. So I bought a sound card that would fit into a pci-e slot. This slot would have been used for a third video card in sli. The only real draw back to this card is that I had to install more power to the card via a berg power connector.  From what I read in the manual if you did not add the power the card would not work. Also this card worked right out of the box with Ubuntu.

Test System Hardware Update

     We'll I took out one of the 500 GB Western Digital hard drives for a 2 TB Western Digital hard drive. The new drive is only a green drive what this means is that it is runs only 5400 rpm (speed of the hard drive platters). I understand it is slower but I was looking at the size for this drive rather then speed. I was able to pick it up for a really cheap price on-line. I will keep the other 500 GB drive installed until I get a new 2TB or 3TB drive in the near future.

New Humble Bundle (Frozenbyte) Update #2

     The Humble Frozenbyte Bundle has now made over $389K in sales with over 75K copies of the bundles sold. The information on there web site still shows that right now the most downloads are still with Windows user but still Linux users are spending the most money on average. There are still over 13 days left to get your copy of buy (gift) a copy for someone else. I bought my copy last night but I have not had a chance to go through the games yet.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

New Humble Bundle (Frozenbyte) Update

     We'll the humble bundle has been up and running for a little over two hours and it has raised over $44K of sales between Windows, Linux and Mac users. With almost 8300 copies sold it looks like windows has the most copies sold but with Linux buyers spending more money. The bundle has 14 days left so you have sometime to buy a copy or you can buy (gift) a copy for someone else.

New Humble Bundle (Frozenbyte)

     We'll there is a new Humble Bundle coming out at with five games from the Frozenbyte game developer. This would be the third humble bundle brought to us from Wolfire Games. The new bundle should be up and running in the next couple of hours. The five games in this bundle are Trine, Shadowgrounds Survivor, Shadowgrounds, Jack Claw and Splot. Trine will be making its Linux debut with this bundle. Four games are available on Windows, Linux and Mac. Jack Claw is the only one that is on Windows but it does come with the source code. When you make a payment some of the money does go towards The Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child's Play Charity. When I pick up the bundle I will go over the games in more detail.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Your Second Option Operating System

     With all the new Asus motherboards and Asus computers out right now. There is another option out there for your operating system. This operating system is called Express Gate and is built right into the Asus BIOS.
     To get into the OS you will have to do a few things first. After you start the computer you will have to press the F8 button to get into the BIOS. You will then need to go into the Tools option and make sure that the Express Gate option is enabled. You will then need to back out and save your settings. When your system reboots it will bring you into a screen for the Express Gate operating system. You will have a 10 second timer countdown by default so if you do not do anything it will try to boot to your other operating system installed.
     So you maybe asking what does Express Gate give you out of the box? It comes with Skype client, a chat client, on-line games client and a web browser client. It also lets you set up your network and other settings related to your network. An important note when it comes to downloading anything via the web browser or chat you will not be able to. This only relates to things that you would want to keep on your computer. This does not relate to watching videos on-line. The reason for this is because there is no space on your BIOS to save anything. If you know that you will be downloading anything on your computer then you will need a operating system like Ubuntu on a hard drive.
     Now you maybe asking yourself if I can not download anything why would I want to use it. We'll the biggest reason I would think of is time. If you needed to check your e-mail or quickly surf the internet it would only take a few seconds to get on-line. Or if you are a new/novice user and you just want to do some basic things.
     You also maybe asking why I would be bringing this up when I have been talking about Ubuntu on your computer. Express Gate is based on the Linux kernel as with Ubuntu is based on Linux kernel as well. It shows how easy a operating system that is based on Linux can be. Express Gate is not a 100% replacement for a operating system on your hard drive. In fact I would say it would be a really good idea to have both Express Gate and Ubuntu installed.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Why Good Cooling Is Important For Your Computer Part 1

     Today I will be talking about the importance of proper cooling for your computer components. If you have read our past post you will have read that our test computer CPU is over-clocked. With this over-clock our CPU will create a lot of heat that will have to be dealt with.
     CPU cooling has been a issue since the first processor came out to the market. Through out the years CPU coolers have changed quite a bit from just a heat sink with no fan to the extreme dry ice cooling (VERY DANGEROUS). Now you maybe asking why has it gone from just a heat sink to the extreme of dry ice. The reason for this is because how fast the CPU is and how many resistors are in it. When you buy a CPU today you can either buy them as a retail box or OEM. If you buy with a retail box you will get a CPU cooler and OEM's do not come with any. Now stock CPU coolers do a really good job of cooling CPU's they do fall short when you want to push your CPU farther. I would recommend a really good after market CPU cooler. You should be expected to pay from $60.00 and up for a good one. Also be aware that most after market coolers will need you to buy thermal paste. Thermal paste is the material between the CPU and the cooler to move the heat from the CPU. You could go more extreme with water cool or more but you will be spending more money for this set-up. New types of air CPU coolers will let you added a second fan to the cooler. The benefit to this is what is called a push pull system. With this set-up you will be able move more air in your cooler to help regulate the temperature.
     Now I know I have talked a lot about air cooling for your CPU and you maybe asking about the other types. We'll there are three other types of cooling only two that are realistic. The first one would be water cooled and as the name states it is cooled by water not air. There are different companies out there that make water cooling components. The biggest benefit is that you can add the water cooling to other components for added cooling. You will also notice a larger drop of temperature then you would with air cooling. The biggest issue is if you have even a small leak it can destroy your computer components. The next one is called Phase Change cooling OCZ made one called Cryo-Z. The major benefit to this idea is that you can get a much larger temperature drop for your CPU. Also there would be less chance of leaking in your computer. But the major draw backs out way the positives. First the amount of power the machine takes to work also you would need room for it right beside your computer. Also the fact that you can not use it with any other device on your computer as you could with water cooled. The last way to cool a CPU that we will cover is dry ice cooling and as we stated at the start it is VERY DANGEROUS. The major benefit would be that you would be able to push your over-clocked CPU more without heat issues. With dry ice you can get your temperature to under 0 degrees Celsius. Now for the bad news first it is really hard to get a hold of. Dry Ice is something you can not just get anywhere and you may have to order in. The set up is not meant for daily use you can not use this while in a computer case and running daily. Also why it is dangerous is because it can burn you. If you do not take extreme care you can cause a 2nd degree burn so this is something we would not recommend.
     Now that we have covered some basics for cooling your CPU let's take a look at what we will cover in part 2. We will be talking about your computer case and why it is a good idea to have good cooling for your case. Cont 2

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Ubuntu (Linux) Versus Computer Viruses

     Hi there today I am going to talk about computer viruses on Ubuntu machines or lack of. I will also be covering basic things you can do to prevent a viruses on your computer no matter the operating system. Viruses are a major problem today in the computer world with every operating system being affected today. The most affected operating system today is the Microsoft Windows family. There are many different reasons for this, the lack of quick updates from Microsoft. The fact that right now Windows is the most popular operating system. The biggest reason and this would go for any operating system would be lack of user education. Now Apple and Linux has had viruses made for there operating systems in the past. The biggest reason for the lack of so many viruses is that you can not run Microsoft programs by default. What I mean by this is that files that end in .exe, .bat, .cab or .scr can not be opened by Apple or Ubuntu. These files could be opened if you used another program to install them like a program called Wine. But even installing these files with Wine will only limit the virus to Wine and not your Apple or Ubuntu machine. These four ways are the most popular ways to spread viruses. Also with Ubuntu programs need to ask you to put a password in (by default) to be installed.
     Now if you are worried about your Ubuntu machine getting viruses you can download a free anti virus program called Clamtk. This program is free and is updated often. If you want to use it you can download it at or through the Ubuntu Software Centre. This program does not run in the background but only takes up 18% of your cpu when it runs. This program is not just for Ubuntu it should be able to run on any Linux distro. You should also download clamav-unofficial-sigs from the Synaptic Package Manager. This will help with "phishing, spear phishing, fake lottery, ecard malware, casino, fake jobs, fake loans, 419s, fake diplomas, porn, emailed malware and other general spam." There are other programs out there that will help you with viruses on your computer but this is the easiest one I could find.
     Another great advantage with Ubuntu is that it "can" help to cure a virus on a Windows machine. For this you will need to know the name of the virus so you can look it up online. When you look up the name of the virus they may tell you the directory that it should be in. If it does then all you have to do is start Ubuntu in a live cd mode on the computer that is infected. When the cd boots up you can go into the infected hard drive and look for that folder. When you delete the folder the virus should be gone and your computer should be virus free.
     Remember the biggest way to prevent viruses on your computer is user prevention. If you do not know about were a file you are downloading comes from or about were a e-mail comes from you should not open it. Also remember to make sure whatever anti virus program you are using to make sure it is up to date.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Test System Full Specs

     We would like to show you the full technical specifications of the testing system we will be using in these blogs.

Cpu: AMD Phenom II X6 1055T 2.8GHZ (stock)
Motherboard: Asus M3N-HT BIOS revision 3202
Cpu Cooler: Corsair Cooling Air Series A70 (2 Fans)
Thermal Paste: Arctic Silver 5
Ram: 8 GB OCZ 1066 Mhz
Hard Drives: 2X 500 GB Western Digital Green Hard Drives
                      64 GB Kingston Solid State Drive
Video Card: Nvidia Geforce GTS 450 
Sound Card: Auzen X-Plosion 7.1 Cinema
Computer Case: Fractal Design R3
Case Fans: Six
Power Supply: Thermaltake TRX-1000M 1000W
Misc: Rocketfish Multi Card Reader
          Four Fan Controller
Operating System: Ubuntu 11.04
Wireless Card: D-Link DWA-556 Xtreme N

When we do upgrades to the test machine we will do a update on here about the upgrade. We will also go over what this upgrade will do for our test system. Remember for the time and budget these parts were the best for our needs.