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Trying out Google Reader

As part of my feed reader quest, I’m trying out Google’s Reader, which is a bit more fully featured than Personalised Home. I’m going to use it for a few days and then post a review at Gizbuzz about my thoughts.

In the meantime, you can see which feed items I’ve found interesting below:

(Apologies to anyone who came to an old, broken version of this post via the feed – I messed up the publish somehow and had to pull the old post and rewrite it)

My new (beta) homepage

It’s here. After some time of actually finding a free moment in which to do this, finding the strength to carry on despite my apparent inability to understand the stylesheet of this WordPress theme and finding the strength to avoid having an anti-Microsoft week following IE’s refusal to correctly render some of my tweaked CSS, it is here.

What am I talking about? Well, as you might have noticed, this blog is on Not just There was a reason, and this is it.

My homepage. It’s amazing to think how long I have been doing web design/development and still I haven’t actually ever had a homepage of my own, only a blog. So I built it and integrated it with the blog and used the WordPress style to help me a bit.

I’ll stop rambling and let you see it – my new shiny homepage.

What do you think? (I know, there’s an annoying message, but it can’t be called finished yet, can it? And “Peter Upfold Beta” sounds a bit too Web 2.0)

I guess one of the reasons I haven’t had a homepage per se up until now was lack of content. Website without content is a rubbish website, and eventually my homepage will have my blog, projects and scripts and stuff and various other content (“Me around the web” will get bigger) until it is in a state where it can be called 1.0.

Well, I’ll keep you posted on the upgrades as and when they happen, and any feedback is greatly appreciated.

Flash 8 on Linux – workaround

Flash Player 8 (or 9) isn’t on Linux. Well, Flash Player 9 is being built for Linux, but in the mean time we Linux faithfuls are stuck with Flash 7. Flash 7 on Linux isn’t so bad, if you discount the instability, the ugly interface…

This hack is no longer needed as Flash Player 9 for Linux (beta) is out, but I’ll keep it up here just in case…

But let’s not go there. There is a workaround to run Flash Player 8 in Linux, albeit a messy and Wine-requiring one. Plus it only works on standard PC architecture at the moment (that is almost of you, just not people running Linux on PowerPC Macs and other funky hardware). I will try and show you how to do it. First of all, an apology. I can’t remember where I found this, so I’ve got no-one to attribute this to. If you found this out first or covered this somewhere, comment here and I’ll give you a link.

» Read the rest of this post…

Akismet goes down…

A lot of WordPress-powered blogs recently got a load of comment spam. Nasty. In fact, I had to do a bit of a clean up job (and so did many people using WordPress), all because the Akismet spam database appeared to be down.

Akismet is an awesome service for WordPress-powered blogs which checks your comments against the spam database and either puts the comment in the spam bin, the moderation queue or straight onto the post depending on how similar it is to the spam.

Unfortunately, when the spam database goes down, as happened recently, all comments get let through … with disastrous results. So I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Akismet guys for their great service; the fact that I don’t notice the spam when it’s working means Akismet is great.

According to their site:

One of the reasons we’re doing Akismet is we’ve built up a highly fault-tolerant infrastructure that can handle huge amounts of traffic and processing. However if something ever does go wrong your comments will simply go into the moderation queue.

Not this time, apparently.

But we love Akismet! (especially when it’s online!). No, seriously, we do. We love WordPress too.

UPDATE: The Akismet blog has an update on this – it seems to be back online and working for me. Apparently some new code broke the API, but it’s working again now. Thanks guys for the great service. Thanks also to Antony Pranata for (indirectly) leading me to this update (and linking to me in the first place!).

Very good tutorial for building KDE C++ apps

This tutorial which shows you how to build a KDE application in C++ using Kdevelop and QT Designer is very good. As part of my attempt (can I emphasise attempt here) to learn not only C++, but to be good enough to build a KDE application, I tried it.

It’s very well written, but I think I strayed a little too much off the course of the tutorial and I ended up being unable to build my application. Something about some error somewhere. Still, there is source code for a version which does work, so I might take a look at that and see where I went wrong. I swear I did something wrong with the Automake Manager… Ah well, I’ll have another crack at it later and hopefully I’ll be able to build a KDE application Sometime Real Soon.

Hey, at least I’m making progress, albeit slow progress. This post comes to you courtesy of my SUSE 10.1 software development installation.

A trip down (extended) memory lane

Windows for Workgroups 3.11 was the first version of Windows that I used, and I thought I might have another look at it, just for the fun and nostalgia value.

But I wasn’t going to install it on a real machine – I have setups I don’t want to lose! So VMware was launched and I had a try getting it to work on a virtual machine.
Just a word – the original machine which ran WfW 3.11 no longer has it installed; not that Microsoft would be too worried about multiple machine uses of an essentially dead product. The machine originally came with IBM PC DOS and OS/2 (neither of which now live on it either).

Initially, I was going to put PC DOS on the VM first, because Windows at this stage wasn’t really an OS in its own right, it needed DOS to run the setup. However the IBM PC DOS floppies weren’t looking too good, and the PC DOS install had a hiccup. It completed, but important stuff like himem.sys (deals with extended memory, so you can have over 640k RAM) weren’t installed, so it wasn’t much use.

So instead I downloaded FreeDOS, the free and open source DOS system, that claims pretty damn good compatibility with MS-DOS. I had to find a mirror that worked, and a version that worked, but when I did, I successfully installed FreeDOS on my 200 MB virtual hard drive.

Now, to the Windows install – with screenshots (click any one to make it bigger, thanks Zooomr)!
» Read the rest of this post…

I’ll be back…

Just a quick post – I’m going away for a few days sans internet access and will be back posting by Wednesday with a bit of luck.

In the meantime, be sure to check out my Writely and Mono+GWS conspiracy theory. Well, not quite, but read it anyway. It’s interesting.

Installing .rpm files on Linux

Beginner's Linux Tutorials

Welcome back to my Beginner’s Linux tutorial series and today I’m going back to the subject of software installation. A while ago I looked at compiling software from source, but this time I’m going to look at installing RPM packages.

Note that this tutorial is specific to distributions that use the RPM package format. That is most distributions (SUSE, Fedora, Mandriva etc.) , but there are a few very notable exceptions including Ubuntu, MEPIS and anything else Debian-based. For those distros, a completely different packaging format and set of tools is used, so I might cover that in a future tutorial.

Just before we get into things, if you’re a complete newbie, I’d recommend reading my Linux Explained tutorial at Gizbuzz and my basic introduction into files and folders here to get you started with some of the concepts (I’m jumping in quite quickly to terminal stuff, so you need a basic understanding).

Oh, and the ‘consuming packages with yum’ section is weighted towards Fedora users, but the rest is sound advice for any RPM-based distro.
» Read the rest of this post…

Freespire includes loads of proprietary drivers

Freespire Logo

Freespire is the community arm of Linspire, a Linux distro that’s been in the news a few times, most famously for getting into trouble with Microsoft for it’s old name – Lindows.

As the old name suggests, Linspire and Freespire are aimed at the Windows user to make switching to Linux easy. Linspire has always been a paid-for distribution – there’s been no free to download pre-packaged version. Freespire is set to change all that, and it helpfully has a version which includes various proprietary software bits. The benefit of this is that not only do things like WMVs, MP3s and DVDs (lots of acronyms) work out of the box, but so do a larger number of bits of hardware. There are wireless card drivers, modem drivers, 3D graphics drivers and more – note that not everything is guaranteed to be there, some manufacturers are still bone idle enough to ignore Linux support.
So if you’re a someone who’s tried a Linux distro but have been put off by non-support or difficult to set up modem drivers, wireless card drivers or media support, give Linspire a try!

Open source Java is an “ongoing process”