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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Got the new Firefox 4 beta yet?

I do!
It's looking pretty slick so far. The new toolbar looks to be build with a minimalist approach, much like Google's Chrome. In fact, I don't see much of a difference between the beta and chrome after a few tweaks, and by tweaks I mean editing userChrome.css and rewriting the code! Personally, the first thing I did was move the tab bar to the very top line. By rewriting the file, you can do things like change the default font size and color, move icons around, and make your own transparent image backgrounds. Being able to change the font size can be really interesting in Linux, due to some font size issues.

Here's my layout

Looks like Chrome, right? Yeah, no kidding. From my slight experience with Chrome, it's almost exactly the same, except the address bar isn't integrated with the Google search bar. The search bar is still located on the right of the address bar just like it was in the older Firefox.
Firefox still has all those famous apps too, even some new ones.
One interesting app which GodofGrunts showed me, is called Tab Candy. It allows tabs to be better organized.
Check this out

An Introduction to Firefox's Tab Candy from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

Unfortunately, the Tab Candy app is not included with the Firefox 4 beta on the official Mozilla website, nor is it available as an extension or app. Instead, if you want to try out Tab Candy before the official release, you have to download Firefox 4 beta Here.

The official Firefox 4 release, including Tab Candy, is scheduled to release in November. I can't wait.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Quick Arch Linux install!

Well guys, I've been talking about it for a while now. I think its finally time to show to you guys how I install arch. It usually takes me about 10-20 minutes to get to a non-text based stage with a login screen and all. Let's begin!

Note: If you're going to be using Arch Linux with another operating system, such as windows, go ahead and create another partition on your hard drive using the OS that you already use. This partition will be where you're going to install Arch.

First step, find the arch .ISO or .IMG file Here.
You'll notice a 32bit and a 64bit version. 32bit versions can't read ram greater than ~2.9 Gb. 64bit versions won't work on older CPUs such as a Pentium 4. There's not really much difference between the two other than that.

Burn the .ISO to a CD, or copy it to a USB drive using Win32 Image Writer or Unetbootin. Win32 will only copy .IMG. Unetbootin will copy both, but may not work on all versions.

Insert the CD or USB and reboot. Make sure you change your boot order in your BIOS menu to boot from either the CD or USB.

You then should see a screen that looks like this,

Go ahead and select "Boot Arch Linux from Live CD"
Log in by typing "root".

Read the information on the screen and run

Soon after you'll see a screen that looks like this,

This will be your installation home screen. You will go through each one at a time.

Select Source - From here you choose either a net install or core install. Core install will use the information on your disk, while a net install will access information from a remote server. If you have a slow internet connection, you may want to select core. If you downloaded and burned the net .ISO or .IMG, you will use net and not have this option.

Set Clock - Select your timezone. fairly straight forward.

Prepare Hard Drives - This parts fun! If you're going to use PURELY Arch and not have any partitions on your hard drive, just select Auto Prepare. This will completely ERASE ALL OF YOUR PREVIOUS INFORMATION on your hard drive!

If you are using windows, mac, or any other system on your computer, select Manually Prepare hard drives. Split that previously created drive space into 4 seporate parts, each with 32Mb, 500 - 1000Mb, 4,000 - 15,000Mb, and the rest in the last. Highlight the 32Mb part and make it bootable. Make sure you keep track of the names of the parts (typically sda1, sda2...) as you will have no other way of identifying them. I like to write them down.

After finishing this, select Manually
configure Block devices, filesystem and Mountpoints
. Configure
your parts as follows,
32Mb - ext3, /boot
500 - 1000Mb - Swap
4,000 - 15,000Mb - ext4, /root
*rest* - ext4, /home

Hit Done, this may take a while.

Select Packages - Here is where you select which programs to initially install. Personally, all I would recommend you add is "Sudoers" under Base. You can install all of these packages later using

Install Packages - Select it and let it do its magic. This part may take a while.

Configure System - Select Nano. Select /etc/rc.conf,

Scroll down to where you see HOSTNAME="something" and replace something with the name of your computer (whatever you want). Hit ctrl-o to save and ctrl-x to exit. Select /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist and scroll down to your country and delete the # symbol in front of about 5-10 lines. You can delete all of them, but you don't need to. ctrl-o and ctrl-x. Select Root-Password and type in your password twice. Hit Done.

Wait a while...

Install Bootloader - Select
GRUB and select your hard
drive, typically sda.

to reboot!

When you reboot, you can remove the CD or USB from your computer and change the boot order if you want. If you do this, you will see a screen that looks very similar to the boot screen you saw earlier, but with less options. Select the Arch Linux option.

If you choose not to remove the CD or USB, you will see the same screen as before. You can select More Options... then select Boot from Existing Arch Linux install.

Next you will get back to the original text screen where you can input commands.
Go ahead and log in to root with your root password you defined earlier during
the install.

From here you can configure your system and install a Graphics User Interface (GUI) complete with a desktop, icons and more.

First thing you need to do is update your system. Run
pacman -Syu

pacman is the program Arch uses to download packages from the Arch server. Don't confuse this with the little yellow dot muncher. Pacman stands for Package Manager. -Syu is a command specific to pacman. It tells pacman to update all of the packages currently installed and look for a newer version of the linux kernel.
Other usefull commands are -S (standard download and install) -Q (search your computer
for packages) and -R (remove packages on your computer).

Next you want to add your user account. Run
useradd -m -G users,audio,lp,optical,storage,video,wheel,power -s /bin/bash (all one command)

Where is whatever you want to name the account.

To read more on the useradd command, go Here.

Add that user to your sudoers list. Run
nano /etc/sudoers
Nano is the program used to edit text, you chose this before the configurations in the install.
Sudoers is the configuration file that holds a list of all allowed sudoers. /etc is the directory where the configuration file is located.

If you scroll down, you should see something like this
Directly underneath that, add
Once again, where is the username you just created.

While you're at it, find the line
and uncomment it (delete the %).

Once you add the user name to the sudoers list, you can now run root-only commands while logged into that user. Just add "sudo" to the beginning of your command. For example,
sudo pacman -Syu

Next we're going to get started on the GUI. Run
pacman -S libgl xorg mesa alsa-utils

Find the correct video card driver for your system Here.
Some common drivers are
xf86-video-nouveau (Experimental)

If you don't know what video card you have, run
lspci | grep VGA

Once you find the driver you need, install it using pacman. For example,
pacman -S xf86-video-ati

Install your mouse and keyboard drivers.
pacman -S xf86-input-keyboard xf86-input-mouse

Next, let Xorg work its magic. Run
Xorg -configure
cp /root/ /etc/X11/xorg.conf

And now for the important stuff. Deciding what windows manager you're going to use. The
two most command managers are Gnome and KDE. These are both equal in performance and have very minor differences. If you don't have a preference, just pick one.
For Gnome, run
pacman -S gnome gde gnome-terminal gnome-extra
For KDE, run
pacman -S kde
There are many different windows managers out there, such as Openbox, Fluxbox, Xfce, FVWM2, and more.
Windows managers are purely user preference. Decide which one you like by trying a few out later.

Next we need to edit your daemons. Run
nano /etc/rc.conf
rc.conf is a configuration file for your computer that holds the daemons. This might look familiar,
this is were you changed your computers name. /etc is the directory where rc.conf is located.

After you open rc.conf, scroll down to the daemons list. It should be the last line in the file.
It should look something like this,
DAEMONS=(syslog-ng network crond)
Go ahead and add these items to the list.
DAEMONS=(syslog-ng hal network alsa crond gdm(for gnome, kdm for KDE))
Order DOES matter, try to make is similar to what is above.
ctrl-o, ctrl-x.

Once that's all done, you should be able to reboot into Arch and be amazed by what you see next.

After logging into your created user account, you can now control your desktop like any other computer.

Use and be happy!

If you want to read more about my projects, visit my current blog at

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Bucket V2.0 is born!

Well hello boys and girls! The Bucket V2.0 is up and running.
The build was fun and I had no hiccups with the hardware installation! As for the software, that's another story. But long story short I got it working. I'll have to reinstall Arch, but know I can get the x86 version instead of the i686 because my CPU is 64 bit compatible.

All that money on a computer and I still don't have a decent camera. Note for you guys who read this, I am accepting donations.

I got all of my essentials running good and played TF2 for a bit today, but I'm so tired from work I'm going to take a break for a while.
I'm going to take a rest for tonight and maybe tomorrow. I plan on installing arch again soon!

Check one off the bucket list.

Leave those comments, it keeps me going!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Minor + Major

I've had some changed in the past couple days. Let's start out with the minor stuff.
I logged into arch a couple times and played around with flashplayer and Conky. I can now watch Youtube videos! I also configured my Conky! Right now its fairly basic, didn't change the font, but changed the data it displays, changed the size a tad bit, and the location. Some funny things, I turned on double buffer because it was flashing every time it updated, about once a second. The double buffer made my desktop icons disappear! I figured it out eventually, had to add a couple more lines of code. I couldn't get the standard weather commands to work, and I don't feel like writing Python code to get it to work, so I'll leave that for later. I was also a tad disappointed that I didn't have any temp sensors that arch could read, so I couldn't display any temp reading, which would've been very nice. Overall getting Conky to work the way I like was pretty fun! Maybe I'll play around with some python code later to make it look prettier. Right now the font is pretty boring.

And now for the major updates!
I decided to spend some (quite a bit) of cash and update the bucket. First I got a graphics card to play a steam game my brother got me for my birthday. I am extremely satisfied with the buy. It's cheap, but crammed pack full of features. It can also run the games extremely well. I still haven't figured out why its so cheap.
Up to 3 monitors: VGA, HDMI, and DVI
HD compatible: up to 1080p, though I'm running it through VGA, which isn't.
Direct PSU input, my PSU isn't capable.
The only complaint I have is the heatsink is only plastic fins, it tends to get hot after a while of gaming. The manufacturer recommends +400W PSU and mine is only 240W. It seems to still work fine after about 4 weeks.

But why have all those features and not be able to use it?
This morning I decided to get a more powerful PSU, so I got this.
Antec EarthWatt 430W, and keen observers will notice it comes with a computer case too! This PSU will allow me to directly power the GPU without having to go through the motherboard, which would allow me to use all of the capabilities without having to worry. Plus it's rated for +400W, so if I decide to RMA the GPU, they won't get me for not having a proper power supply. That case is pretty slick too! Comes with plenty of ports and a 2.5 HDD slot. So I could install my hard drive directly without having to use the case I made, but I'll probably use the case, because I'm proud of it.

But isn't the motherboard is custom fitted for SFF current case?
Yeah, it is. So I wouldn't be able to use the motherboard with that case. So just now I decided to get one that would!
Nice board for the price. Once again, you might notice that it comes with a dual core processor too! Both of these items are really top notch. I'm surprised I could get them at a fairly low price. The motherboard has full overclocking capabilities, so I can finish what I started with the actual bucket list!

But Ian, that board requires DDR3 Ram, you only have DDR ram!
Yeah, your right once again. So in order to use it all, I'll have to get some DDR3 ram.
This is pretty much out of bare necessity. I want 2GBs of ram, and this was the cheapest option. The board is capable of 1666 ram, but I went a tad lower with the 1066 so I can overclock it if I feel like it later.

Total Tallies:
$85.98 -GPU
-$20.00 mail-in rebate
$69.99 -PSU
$44.99 -Case
-$20.00 Combo discount
$79.99 -Board
$67.99 -CPU
-$17.00 Combo discount
$47.99 -Ram

Running total: $536.90