Unresponsive Flash Player in Ubuntu

Recently  the sites that contain Flash Player have become unresponsive.  Right click works.  Mouse cursor works.  And even scrolling works (although Flash Player looks a little buggy while doing that also).  Most importantly though is that Flash Players will not recognize my left mouse clicks.  Other types of video players seem to work according to the Ubuntu community but not have Adobe’s Flash Player working is a show stopper for many considering Adobe’s dominance in the video player market.

So I searched the bug reports to find the fix if any.  Turns out to be a quick and easy fix and painless.  There’s actually a couple of ways you can go about fixing your Flash Player woes.

#1 Disable Compiz (Yea, I know. I’m not getting rid of my eye candy either!)

#2 Remove flashplugin-nonfree and flashplugin-installer from the Software Center.  Then install directly from Adobe.com. (This didn’t work for me but is reported to work for others.)

#3 (a) Open Terminal and enter:

gksudo gedit /usr/lib/nspluginwrapper/i386/linux/npviewer

(b) Then add directly before the last line of text:

export GDK_NATIVE_WINDOWS=1

Fix number 3 worked for me and took less than 2 minutes. Be sure to restart your browser also.  I’m not sure all of which versions of Ubuntu this is effecting or even other distributions but I’m using Ubuntu 10.04 AMD64 version.

Set the Right Size Wallpaper

Have you ever found that super cool wallpaper that you had to have, applied it, then find out that it looks like crap on your desktop, notebook, or mobile device?  While stretching the photos of your kids and using them as backgrounds is suitable for some, I prefer high quality backgrounds that don’t look like they’ve been stretched out.

First you need to know what the resolution of your monitor is.  Your monitor consists of tiny little individual dots or light elements.  You can think of them as very small LED lights inside your display case.   These are called pixels.  If you could take a magnifying glass and count the number of pixels from right to left that would give you the first half of your resolution.  Then you would count the number of pixels from top to bottom giving you the second half.  For example my 25″ monitor is 1920 x 1080.  That would indicate that I have 1,920 pixels from right to left and 1,080 pixels from top to bottom.  That is my resolution.

I don’t really expect anyone to count the pixels in their monitor unless your that OCD and just have to know.  So there’s a couple of quick and easy ways to find out.  One is to simply look at the paperwork that came with your display or check the manufactures website.  Second you can check in the display options on your computer.  With the number of people using different operating systems, I will leave it up to you to find out where your display properties are.  If you can’t find it, simply click the link below that says “What Is My Screen Resolution” and it will tell you.

What Is My Screen Resolution

Now that you have your screen resolution you can go and find the right size wallpaper for your desktop.  Only problem here is that chances are you won’t find the perfect desktop wallpaper in your resolution.  Luckily you have a choice here.  As long as you stay within the correct aspect ratio, the wallpaper of your choosing should still look good.  For simplicity’s sake, I’m not going to go into aspect ratios but if you follow the image provided and stay within your color family, you shouldn’t have a problem.

For example if I have 1920 x 1080 display and I look at the chart, the color of that box is blue.  So that means that any wallpaper I choose should match the resolution of one of the blue boxes.  One that would work 1280 x 720.  I don’t recommend that you go more than 2 boxes up or down.  The difference in resolutions will cause a grainy appearance more than likely at this point.  Meaning that I shouldn’t choose 854 x 480.

Keep in mind it is still best that you get the wallpaper that matches the resolution of your monitor for a number of reasons but this guide will help you out if you cannot find one that matches.

More detailed information on display resolutions can be found on the Wikipedia page.

Guinness Makes A Video Game Edition of World Records

If you were anything like me as a kid, then two things that you did to pass time as a child was thumbing through the Guinness Book of World Records and play video games.  Well the good people over at Guinness finally put one and one together and released “Guinness World Records 2010: Video Game Edition”.

This edition of Guinness World Records has all the usual top categories such as; Fastest Perfect Completion of Pac-Man, Highest Score in Donkey Kong, and so on.  But of course we all want to know who’s the best of the best in a particular category.  One of the more interesting categories in my opinion was the top video game series of all time.  I was honestly surprised to see that it was Halo.  Not that Halo isn’t a great series but it’s still relatively new with people even to this day still getting on board.  So congratulations to the good people over at Bungie.  Rounding out spots number 2 and 3 are Call of Duty and The Legend of Zelda.

Official details and more at the Guinness web site.

TIP: Gnome Panel Isn’t Visible When Added

I was exploring the customization options of Ubuntu when ran into a slight snag.  If you add a new panel by right clicking on an existing panel it does not appear.  It allocates to the space to it like its there but you cannot do nothing to it or see it.  See screenshot below to see what I’m referring to.  Dammit, I said. Something broke that’s going to either force me into some alien world of command line or re-install.

There was a bug report submitted.  You can find the submission here.  But no worries though.  Turns out that the fix is quite simple.

1. Open System Monitor. [Menu > System > Administration > System Monitor]

2. Select the Process tab at the top.

3. Scroll through the Process Names and find “gnome-panel” without quotes.

4. Right click gnome-panel and select kill process.

(note) It may restart automatically but if not, open up Terminal and simply type gnome-panel and it should start back up.

That’s it.  Once gnome-panel is running again, you should notice the new panels that you added and then can do with them as you wish.

At the time of writing this, I’m using Ubuntu Lucid 10.4.

Thoughts: Tech Industry Wars

Adobe is mad at Apple.  Google is trying to be friends with Adobe but is having a disagreement with Apple.  Microsoft doesn’t like anyone but will play the game for their own advancement.  Blah, blah, blah.  Sounds a lot like some high school drama that these, and I use the term loosely, respected tech giants are partaking in.

Much like the 2010 health plan package and global warming, the subject of debates amongst these companies and the general population seem to ensue because you have to be on a side.  It is your civic duty as a citizen of the world to choose the side of your favorite tech giant!  Now I don’t claim to be a guru or anything close to it at anyone of these subjects but my common sense tells me that just like most heated political debates, the general population hasn’t a clue what they’re really arguing about.

And to push this whole cat fight along has been the industry insider themselves.  Everyone from the blogging community to actual employees of the companies involved.  Steve Jobs himself has been a very chatty person as of late and pulled not one punch when criticizing his rivals and their business practices.  C’mon Mr. Jobs.   Can you really criticize anyones business practices on the basis honesty and open platform development?!

I personally find it tiresome to read the on-line news headline everyday to only be bombarded by updates of the latest spats between company X and company Y or the new one thats brewing in the wing.  What could be the potential motive for allowing this to continue?  Sure it boosts web page traffic for those hosting these stories and may even fall into the “no publicity is bad publicity” category of absurdness.  But here’s a reality check for anyone who actually cares to know what’s really going on.  Like the global warming theory, there people out there much smarter than you and I focused on the issues on hand and have thus far, found the results to be inconclusive.  The people and companies involved in these spats obviously have an agenda and much like the way a mother protects her children, they are protecting their own interests with a vengeance.

So what makes you think that they would give you the real facts if they don’t promote their respective companies products or services? They won’t!  Now I don’t expect that because I wrote one post on this topic that anything will change but my hope is that hopefully it can keep at least one more person from buying into this hoopla and circus act that does nothing but drive up profits for Wall Street and Silicone Valley.  As long as fanboy A is bragging to fanboy B about how is Droidpod or  whatever he fancies for the next 30 seconds is the greatest thing since sliced cheese even though he knows he could have gotten a better product, support, or services he can’t and won’t be focusing his financial influence towards the companies who sold him brand new shiny terd.

Alternative Linux Software

Last post I wrote about how Ubuntu is perfectly easy way to step out of the Windows world and why I feel it’s a great alternative.  Now that you have Ubuntu loaded and your ready to go, there’s no doubt that you will soon find that you are in need of some software that you used in Windows.  But how do you go about finding what the equivalent or alternative is to your Windows counterpart?  Below I have posted a list of sites that I found useful.

All these should get you on your way to making your Ubuntu install even more productive with concern to your personal needs.

Ubuntu 10.04: Make the Switch From Windows

Ubuntu 10.04: Impressions

Let me start with some really brief history. I’ve been aware of Linux since about 1999 or about. I’ve used it actively since around 2003 on and off and always have been a supporter of Linux and it’s philosophy. Especially growing up through the dot com boom and realizing that all those shiny software packages, suites, and games can cost you a fortune.

Through the years I usually stuck to the mainstream distributions of Linux such as Mandrake (now Mandriva), Kubuntu, and Red Hat as I’m not a Linux guru like most people and on-line help for these distributions are readily available. Somehow though, I always ended back up in the world of Windows due to some constraint, bug, or lack of knowledge in Linux. I know many will say to dual boot but I’m not a fan of that for reasons that I won’t get into here. What could make an admitted fan go back to Windows so many times you say? To start with earlier and now is the complete lack of any real substantial and cutting edge games on the Linux platform. There are a handful of games that were the blockbuster titles natively supported in Linux but those titles are scarce. Then you can try to beat Wine into working on your favorite PC title but thats time not playing my games and getting a massive headache. Once the console market called me back, I gave my Xbox 360 full gaming responsibility from that point on leaving my now aging PC to do actual ummm, PC stuff. (Still got many hours of World of Warcraft play though for awhile :^P ). Back to Kubuntu and the shiny KDE 4 desktop environment. For those who have recently tried KDE 4 know what I mean when I say buggy as hell. This function doesn’t work, there’s a work around for that, and so on and so on. Upon loading it to my desktop I always had to hack some system file somewhere just to get one or two pieces of hardware to work. I loved Kubuntu, KDE, and their shiny look for a long time but no thanks guys. And so on to Ubuntu. I loaded it. Everything worked. Voilà This could be what finally wins the OS war on my desktop. But wait. It’s so fugly and dare I say Windows XP looking. After numerous attempts to pretty up my desktop I gave up not quite ever happy with the results. Back to Windows 7 at this point and I must say the best operating system Microsoft has released to date. Then my PC crashed and corrupted a bunch of system files. I rebooted and somehow my release candidate version of Windows was no longer valid. So I rebooted again (kind of liking kicking your tire when your car breaks down), and my profile mysteriously got scrubbed. That was it. I wasn’t going to spend another whole weekend repairing a broken Windows install so I researched the latest happenings in Ubuntu and found that version 10 had just been released and it was due for some nice interface upgrades soon.

Installing

Installing it was simply painless. It asked me some very basic questions then for about 15 minutes installed itself. Once the installation process was over and I logged in everything just worked. I did have to manually enable the Nvidia drivers due to them being proprietary and install some codecs such as mp3 and wmv support for the same reason. But this experience was made painless using Ubuntu’s Software Center application.

[You will have to install Ubuntu Restricted Extras for Java, Flash, and extra codec support not covered under GNU licensing.]

The Experience

For Windows users navigating around shouldn’t be that much of an adjustment. Things aren’t exactly located in the same place though, so some searching may be required. After pointing and clicking for a few minutes, I was thoroughly impressed by the amount of free goodies already loaded on my desktop. You get a full office suite via OpenOffice.org with the option to download more add ons. A handful of games are loaded such as Solitaire, Sudoku, and Mahjongg. And to round it out there’s a disk burning utility, Firefox (default browser), and email client just to name a few.

What really caught my eye is the top right portion of the screen though. Very subdued little icons and where I found a mail icon. With the mail icon you have quick access to email, messenger, and broadcast messenger. Email is simple enough as it is the notifier for your email client, Evolution. But the part that impressed me the most was the amount of options for getting connected socially. Not only did it have the standard amount of options for instant messengers but they’re all rolled up into one package. That means Yahoo, MSN Live, Google Talk, AIM, and many more can easily be setup from one central location. And as a bonus, from this same mail icon, you can access Gwibber. Gwibber is your social client that connects you with the popular social circles such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Flickr, and Friend Feed. This application is nicely laid out allowing you to easily follow your friends from one area on your desktop with a notification feature.

[Gwibber: The Social Network Client]

I could go on and on about the number of extras and eye candy that Ubuntu has but one application that really stands out is Compiz. With Compiz you will be able to have enough eye candy and fun till your hearts content. Check out some screenshots below.

[Application Switcher]

[Cube Effect]

Final Thoughts

Ubuntu 10.04 makes it easy for anyone wanting to try out Linux or jump ship from Windows. There will be a learning curve but Ubuntu tries to make this adjustment as transparent as possible with vast hardware support and tons of software built right in. This post is written from the view that you are the average computer user or maybe not but rather not have to learn shell commands and edit a bunch of text files to get your favorite hardware/software up and running. Besides the weird brown windows I found that using Ubuntu is just as easy to figure out and get running as a Windows system. Best part is that all the software is free and you don’t have to fool with product keys, licenses or the sort. Performance wise, it ran as good as Windows 7 did on the same system with a hiccup or two every once in awhile, mostly due to the age of my desktop.

Unless you have that one must have software on your Windows computer, I highly recommend everyone trying Ubuntu out. There’s many applications and alternatives for what you use in Windows and may work differently but you can obtain the same results. I know many people will debate that some software is just plain better in Windows but I challenge anyone who has used Adobe Photoshop for years to use Gimp for the same amount of time and tell me that they can’t be as productive.

I obviously didn’t get into all the goods and bads of Ubuntu and theirs plenty of sites where you can get the full rundown. I just want to get across that Ubuntu in my opinion bringing Linux into home desktop maturity and is a serious alternative to Windows and Mac systems. It’s a great way to upgrade your computer if you don’t want to purchase the latest copy of your current operating system also. I personally cannot see how you can go wrong with Ubuntu at this moment and hope that you have as much fun using it as I have.

Gaming | Linux | PC Pimping