...and I'll code if I want to, code if I want to...

July 17th 1988:

I don't like to put too much stock into birthdays, but they are fun. I especially like that mine is in the summer, so it's as far away from Christmas and New Years which helps to get good gifts. It's also about midway through the year which makes it a perfect time for Mid-Year's resolutions and to refresh New Year's Resolutions. Without sounding like a yoga instructor, it's a great time to reflect and realign. For example, I started my "43 Things" on my birthday in 2007.


My summer project was to learn the Ruby programming language and the Ruby on Rails framework.
I started by reading Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmer's Guide (aka "The Pickaxe" after its book cover). Rubyists either hate or love this book. I just loved its price: the 1.8 (2001) version is provided free online by the publishers under the Open Publication License.

From there I went to Half.com, a sub-site of eBay for books, music, and movies. I found an amazing deal on O'Reilly Ruby books. 

That's (30 worth of Ruby books for {0! (after shipping)

Right now I'm halfway through The Ruby Programming Language (aka "The hummingbird book").


The ruby books were a great deal, but my real gift to myself is a new solid state drive for my Thinkpad X200s

Ever since I started fully respecting copyright and intellectual property (New Year's Resolution) the amount of disk space I need has dropped by order of magnitude. Now that I use GNU/Linux more than Windows it's dropped even more. Nearly every distro of Linux can sit comfortably within 4 GB and Windows 7 needs 16 GB. I also have a 1TB external hard drive where all my programs, iso
files, and backups go and where my music would go if I had any.

Getting a SSD with around 128GB of space would have been nice but hopefully I won't need it and I really didn't want to spend that much.

I'm having it shipped back home and will pick it up next week when I'm in town.

Mid-Year's Resolution: Stop Distro-hopping
Today I just burned by 50th Linux disc (the first being Ubuntu 7.04). In an attempt to reduce the amount of different distributions I try and never actually use, I'm only going to use Debian and first derivatives of Debian (e.g. CrunchBang, Sidux, Ubuntu. but not Linux Mint, Peppermint, etc.). This cuts out a significant portion of distributions (Fedora/CentOS, Mandriva, Gentoo, Slackware, Arch) but leaves the most stable and most popular ones.

Along those lines I've been using CrunchBang Linux and am in love. The most recent version (10alpha2 "Statler)  is based on Debian Testing "Squeeze" with their own custom package source, drivers, codecs, and customizations. It comes in Openbox and XFCE versions, making it very light-weight and versatile. I'm using the Openbox version and it's awesome, freaking awesome. It's so fast, usable, and even as an alpha it's more stable than any other
distro I've used. It already boots and shutdowns in seconds, I can't imagine how fast it will be running from my new SSD.

I know I promised a post about MW2. It will happen. Maybe.

Happy Hacking!


Ubuntu 10.04 "Mac-style" Buttons Justified

"OOOOH New long-term support Ubuntu!" Download...burn...install...then...

The brown is gone: YAY!
Replaced it with purple: Cool, I guess all the other colors have been taken.
And moved the minimize, maximize, close buttons to the left: WOAH, wait a minute...

This is where the Mac-Fanboys cry copycat! ("Leopard" "Lynx") and the Mac-Fanboy-Haters pull their hair out.

I've discovered an explanation and a solution, all in one program:

Ubuntu Tweak

What is it? It's AWESOME.
Everything that involves tweaking your system to just how you want it becomes centered in one simple location. These are just a few of my favorite things it does:

  • Application Center: Shows the top downloaded programs from the Software Center
  • Package Cleaner: Wash behind your ears after you update your kernel
  • Login Settings: Change the login wallpaper and even the Ubuntu icon
  • Computer Details: hostname, kernel version, GNOME version, CPU, memory, etc.
  • Security Related: This is what I would use to make a linux kiosk
But for the purpose of this post, I'm going to focus on Compiz Settings and Window Manager Settings.

Change from left to right

To change the buttons from left to right, the screenshot below should explain:


Why to keep buttons on the left
I realized the benefit to having the close, minimize, maximize buttons on the left when I used Compiz Settings to set corners of my screen to do show my desktop, show all open windows, and show all workspaces. 
More screenshots!

Compiz Settings

"Expose" for Linux

Linux had workspaces before Spaces were cool
Having the window buttons in the top left, along with the Main Menu, allows for the other three corners of the screen to be used for these cool effects. When I changed the buttons to be on the right, nearly every time I went to close a window, whatever effect was assigned to that corner would turn on. After doing this a few times, I realized this is a practical reason for having Mac-style buttons. 

Next Blog...Modern Warfare 2!
So two blogs about pretty Lucid Lynx is enough. I plan on my next blog being about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Here's a phone-camera-quality preview:

I was going for a nuke and was just one kill away.

EDIT (2010/07/05 11:59): Now all links open in new windows and comments show below posts. Thanks Nick.

Happy Hacking!