Technology Tidbits

A new thing called “sporn” hits the intertubes

i-b4d74b5686c2d3e402c453f559c7c5ef-ERV_spore.jpgErv writes a post: SPORE: Obvious happens, EA shocked which points out a flaw in the plan by EA games to take over the world … they may be causing the “The Internet is ruining society” scenario du jour.

You see, spores (entities that users, players of the game, create on by what is all accounts amazing entity-creating software) created in this new universe are automatically converted to readily available animations, automatically uploaded to You Tube. But they can be very racy, even pornographic.

EA has been taking down sporn YouTubes and Sporepedia entries, and putting sporn makers accounts in ‘time-out’. Evidently it is someones job to sift through every single uploaded creature to make sure they arent ‘naughty’


i-152650952eaa79adb7c86b3a7ff058cf-crossover_bullets.jpg

Crossover … shoots holes in … well, something. But not your computer screen.
Running Windows software on your Linux computer: Some household home improvement projects (like fixing a lamp or installing hardwood floors) are best done with a beer in one hand and a screwdriver in the other. Running Windows programs on Linux is best done with a little wine. But, running Wine (a software wrapper that allows you to run Windows program on Linux) is best done for the non-geek (or, for that matter, non-masochist) with Crossover.

And Crossover 7.0 is out.

CodeWeavers, Inc., a leading developer of software products that transform Mac OS X and Linux into Windows-compatible operating systems, today announced the release of CrossOver Mac 7.0 and CrossOver Linux 7.0, both available for purchase immediately.

Both version of CrossOver 7.0 will include support for Microsoft Office 2007 (including Outlook 2007), newer versions of Quicken, and the Adobe CS and CS2 line of products, particularly Photoshop. source

According to the Codeweaver’s web site, this should run EndNote 7.0 pretty well but not flawlessly. Might even run EndNote 8.0, but more flawfully.

i-47fc91aa8afe9f002ef6e083ba15a7dc-gedit_plugins.jpg

Get yer gedit
Back in the day, a line of print was a line of print. If you wanted to make your sentence longer, you had to insert the extra words, then find out where along the newly lengthened line there should be a new line-feed, insert the line feed, then fix up all the lines after that one upt to the next paragraph break. My first computer-edited archeology report was produced on such a text editor with my colleague, Mitch, in the lead. It changed how we wrote. We tended to re-phrase using the same number of characters and spaces if possible. We tended to make paragraphs short so that editing the first part would require fewer adjustments.

EMACS, the geekiest of all editors assume that the world works that way. The idea of a wrap-around line is something Emacs can handle, but astonishingly, not by default. Well, that may work for writing and reading certain kinds of files, but the benefits of having this be the default for a modern text editor are highly questionable. This is why I don’t use EMACS, though I love the idea of a text editor being an operating system. (Well, a meta shell that functions as an operating system, anyway.)

I use Gedit (G-nome’s editer).

If you use Linux, you probably use Ubuntu, and thus you probably use Gedit as well. What you may not know is that Gedit can be enhanced (as with EMACS) with numerous plugins and stuff.

For instance, you can make Gedit act like a terminal in-line. This way you can type code, execute it in place, and get the output in your document. This is cool, for instance, for messing around with scripts or interpreted languages such as R, a statistical package. Garbage in, garbage out, garbage all over the page.

One of the most significant functionalities in gedit that I don’t believe is a plugin is its ability to handle regular expressions in the search or search and replace functions. If you do not know the meaning of the prior sentence, then you don’t know about a world of wonder and amazement. It would be like knowing about eating but not knowing about French food. Or knowing about sex but not knowing about … whatever. It would be like being a Windows user all your life. How depressing.

(By the way, did you know that Microsoft Nework owns the domain “www.windowssucks.com”???)

I personally have added very few plugins, though some (such as some of the programming modes) came with the distro installed and turned on. There is a current review of gedit plugins here, and you can get the official plugins here.

You can also write your own plugins or get third party plugins.

i-af1c96c2c2893897edf7da2ff4723475-podcasts.jpg

Speaking of podcasts, here is an interesting piece about the phenomenon by Mark Glaser.
I just downloaded and installed, on the strength of this recommendation, gpodder, which is a potcast management client. For those of you who are not Linux users, you will be interested to know that at this moment, I have five separate user applications open, several instances of two of them (gedit and swiftfox). I installed the software by clicking on my package manager, searching for “gpodder” … which was found in a second or so …. clicking on “install this” then, since this was the only package I wanted to install, clicked on “apply.” A few moments later the software was installed. I ran it, inserted a known podcast link. I am now busy downloading the last two installments of the Sunday Minnesota Atheists talk radio show.

The point here is that I installed an important piece of software without “closing all applications, saving all data” and I did not have to reboot. Now, if this was a bad application that would crash a system, it might have been a good idea to save the data before actually running it. But such applications are so rare in Linux that it is hardly worth it.

Anyway, the review cited above gives gPodder a good recommendation. So do I. It seemed to work just fine when I used it just now to check out Mark Decker‘s recent interview on the aforementioned radio show, and my own interview in early May on Academic Freedom, with Mike.

The only real differences between gPoder and iTunes, as far as this review indicates and as far as I can see, are: gPodder is much, much faster to load and does not link you to the iTunes music store. Try it, you’ll like it.

As you probably know, there are many different distributions of Linux. Here is a somewhat tongue in cheek review of the current status of some of them from http://www.linuxjournal.com/ Linux Journal. Gentoo users, do not watch this, please.

Comments

  1. #1 Doug Alder
    June 29, 2008

    Greg – I’ve been intending to let you know that it was your whole hearted recommendation of, and frequent posts touted the benefits of, Ubuntu, that led mer to installing it on my XP Pro system as a dual boot option (using Wubi). I’ve moved all my day to day stuff into Ubuntu and now only use Windows for those things Ubuntu can’t do such connect via remote desktop to a Win 2008 server (the RDP client will connect to Server 2003 but not to 2008) which I need for work, Paint Shop Pro (yes I use Gimp too) and for now, sftp as I have not been able to get and ftp client to connect successfully to my server yet (even with IPtables turned off)and for posting media to my blog as the media upload feature in WordPress returns an error message when trying to connect to Ubuntu – it starts to upload the stops and says HTTP error (I’m relatively certain this is connected to the FTP problem but for now I’m stumped). Anyway all the above was a rambling way of saying thanks :)

    ps. If you have any suggestions for overcoming those problems shoot me an email please – you know the address :)