Jan 22, 2015

Ubuntu Flavors 15.04 Vivid Vervet Alpha 2 Available For Testing

The second alpha for the Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet flavors (Kubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, Lubuntu and Ubuntu Kylin) has been released. Let's take a quick look at what's new.

As usual, Ubuntu (w/ Unity) doesn't take part in alpha releases. Also, the Ubuntu flavors not mentioned above (like Xubuntu) didn't take part in the Vivid alpha 2 milestone.

Ubuntu GNOME 15.04 Vivid Vervet Alpha 2

In Ubuntu GNOME 15.04 Vivid Vervet alpha 2, most GNOME components have been updated to the latest 3.14 version - this includes GNOME Shell, GNOME Control Center/Settings Daemon, Nautilus, Maps, Weather, Evince, Terminal and so on. Unfortunately, there are still a couple of apps that are quite old: Gedit and Videos (Totem), which are still at version 3.10.

Here are a few more Ubuntu GNOME 15.04 Vivid Vervet alpha 2 screenshots:

Another minor, but interesting change, is that Numix GTK theme is now installed by default. Adwaita continues to be used by default but Numix GTK theme is now jus a few clicks away:

Kubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet alpha 2

Kubuntu 15.04 will use Plasma 5 by default and unlike Kubuntu 14.10, there will be no alternative Plasma 4 ISO.

The latest alpha 2 ships with KDE Applications 14.12 and Plasma 5.2 beta, which include numerous changes, such as:

  • new components (first release for Plasma 5): BlueDevil, KSSHAskPass, Muon, Login theme configuration (SDDM), KScreen, GTK Application Style and KDecoration;

  • work in progress modules include Touchpad settings and User Manager;

  • option to undo changes made to the Plasma desktop layout;

  • KRunner (to trigger it, use Alt+Space): smarter result sorting, added audio player controls;

  • Breeze window decoration theme is now used by default;

  • many new Breeze icons;

  • new white mouse cursor theme for Breeze;

  • new plasma widgets: 15 puzzle, web browser, show desktop;

  • KDE Frameworks 5-based versions of Kate, KWrite, Konsole, Gwenview, KAlgebra, Kanagram, KHangman, Kig, Parley, KApptemplate and Okteta.

Also, with the switch to Plasma 5, Kubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet now uses SDDM by default, replacing LightDM.

Kubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet alpha 2 screenshots:

Ubuntu Kylin 15.04 Vivid Vervet alpha 2

Ubuntu Kylin (an Ubuntu flavor for Chinese users) Vivid Vervet alpha 2 ships with LIM (locally integrated menus) enabled by default, with the new "always-show-menus" featured turned on, so it doesn't use autohide:

Also, the latest Kylin 15.04 alpha 2 release comes with "click to minimize" enabled by default for the Unity launcher, a feature that's of course, also available for Ubuntu (w/ Unity) users, but it's not enabled by default.

According to the release notes, these changes are meant to "make Windows users easier to adapt to the Unity user interface".

Other changes in Ubuntu Kylin 15.04 Vivid Vervet alpha 2 include fixes for the Kylin-specific applications: Ubuntu Kylin Software Center, Youker Assistant, Chinese Calendar and Unity China Music Scope.

Here are a few more Ubuntu Kylin 15.04 alpha 2 screenshots (note that I installed Ubuntu Kylin in English, but some parts are not translated, that's why you'll see a mix of English and Chinese in the screenshots):

More information and download links for Ubuntu Kylin 15.04 alpha 2

Lubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet alpha 2

For Lubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet alpha 2, there's no changelog available - the wiki page mentions that the "LXQt is still in development, so Vivid Vervet is another bug fix release. ". So it looks like LXQt won't make it in Lubuntu 15.04.

All the Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet alpha 2 flavors include Xorg server, Mesa 10.3.2 (but Mesa 10.4.2 is available in proposed) and the Ubuntu Linux kernel 3.18.0-9.10 which is based on the upstream 3.18.2 Linux kernel (for changes in Linux 3.18, see THIS page)

Up next in the Vivid Vervet release schedule: Beta 1 (for opt-in flavors), which should be released on February 26th.

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Jan 19, 2015

There’s a Game Hidden inside your Google Chrome, It works on Android too!

Chrome Game in Android

Google Chrome users are probably familiar with the T-Rex dinosaur that shows up when your computer is not connected to the Internet. The T-rex had short arms and therefore lot of things were out of its reach. Chrome, like that dinosaur, too is having trouble reaching the Internet.

What’s even more interesting is that the offline dinosaur in Chrome is also a game. Press the space bar to activate and your Chrome tab will quickly turn into a moderately addictive game.

The game is written in JavaScript and you can find the complete source code in the Chromium repository. Thanks Codepo8 for the discovery.

And it’s not just about Chrome for desktop, the dinosaur game is available in Chrome for Android as well. Switch to airplane mode and give it a shot. The only difference is that instead of the space bar, you need to tap on the screen to jump / fly the dinosaur.

Chrome Offline Dinosaur

The story, There’s a Game Hidden inside your Google Chrome, It works on Android too! , was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 19/01/2015 under Games, Google Chrome, Software.

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`Albert`: A Fast, Lightweight Quick Launcher For Linux

`Albert` is desktop environment agnostic quick launcher for Linux, which might remind you of Alfred (Mac) or Synapse (Linux). Using it, you can quickly launch applications, open files or perform web searches.

Albert features:

  • run applications;

  • open files;

  • open Chromium bookmarks (Firefox is on the todo list);

  • calculate math expressions;

  • search the web;

  • the modules are configurable: you can add/remove web searches, configure which files it should index, etc.;

  • supports fuzzy search (not enabled by default - it can be enabled individually for each module);

  • you can modify the actions taken by pressing the modifier keys;

  • configurable hotkey, maximum history, maximum number of proposals, subtext for selected/unselected item, etc.

  • ships with 3 themes by default.

What makes Albert special is that it's very fast, lightweight and desktop environment agnostic (it's based on Qt5, written in C++), so you can use it with whatever DE you want: Xfce, LXDE, LXQt, Cinnamon, Unity (if you don't like the Dash) and so on.

Here are a few more Albert screenshots:

Albert quick launcher
Pinboard theme

Albert quick launcher
Android theme

To see Albert in action, check out its GitHub page (there's a gif which demonstrates how Albert works).

Note that Albert is currently in alpha and so you may encounter bugs! In my test, I've only encountered one issue (reported here): initially, Albert used about 9-10 MB of RAM on my system but after I've set it to index some folders that contain a large number of files (about 280,000), its memory usage increased to about 280-300 MB. So for now, don't add folders containing a huge number of files to its FileIndex module!

If you encounter other issues, report them @ GitHub.

Install Albert quick launcher in Ubuntu or Linux Mint

To install Albert quick launcher in Ubuntu (15.04, 14.10 or 14.04) or Linux Mint (17.1 or 17) and derivatives, you can use the main WebUpd8 PPA. Add the PPA and install Albert using the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install albert

If you don't want to add the PPA, you can download the debs from HERE.

For other Linux distributions, grab the Albert source code from GitHub.

Thanks to Felix for the tip!

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Lightbox-Style Image Viewer `PhotoQt` 1.2 Released

PhotoQt 1.2 was released recently and it includes some important improvements, like better SVG support, XCF support, better handling of large folders (15,000+ files), shuffle and loop options for the slideshow and much more.

For those not familiar with PhotoQt, this is a fast, Lightbox -style Qt5 image viewer which uses GraphicsMagick under the hood (so it supports over 80 file types).

Besides its image viewing capabilities, PhotoQt can be used for some basic image manipulation (flip, rotate, zoom) and file management (rename, delete, move, copy).

PhotoQt also features customizable keyboard and mouse shortcuts, thumbnail cache, can display EXIF information, image slideshow and more.

Changes in PhotoQt 1.2:

  • GraphicsMagick: more thorough testing and fixing;

  • intelligent detection of supported fileformats on first start;

  • color filetype tiles of unsupported formats orange (Qt formats only);

  • better SVG support;

  • added XCF support (depending on XCFtools);

  • added PSB/PSD support (depending on libqpsd);

  • added Loop and Shuffle options in Slideshow;

  • smart preloading of folder, better support for large directories (15,000+ files);

  • add sorting criteria for files (name, natural name, filesize, date);

  • restore support for Trash on Linux;

  • re-worked thumbnail handling: faster, more reliable, new "smart thumbnails" mode;

  • option to stay centered on active thumbnail;

  • dynamically detect supported context menu entries;

  • remember zoom levels/rotation per session;

  • option to fit smaller images in window;

  • improved handling of windowed/fullscreen mode;

  • automatic language detection on first start-up (system locale);

  • change: Main animation is now 'fade-in' (+Possibility to disable altogether)

  • wheel sensitivity settings;

  • opt-in to High-DPI pixmaps (Qt >= 5.4.0);

  • re-ordered settings and quicksettings;

  • many other improvements and bug fixes.

For PSD/PSB support, you need libqpsd, which isn't available in the Ubuntu repositories to if you want to use this feature, you'll have to compile and install libqpsd manually.

PhotoQt Quick Settings

PhotoQt doesn't come with a traditional menu and its Quick Settings, General functions and info panes/widgets are displayed on mouse over, so here's how to access them:

  • Quick Settings -> right edge of the app window;

  • General functions -> top-right (top edge of the app window, near right);

  • File / Exif info -> left edge of the app window.

Also, the application runs in full screen by default but you can set it to run in window mode from the Quick Settings (see above), by enabling "Window mode" and optionally, "Widow decorations".

Install PhotoQt in Ubuntu 14.04 / 14.10 or Linux Mint 17 / 17.1

Ubuntu 14.04 / 14.10 / 15.04 and Linux Mint 17 / 17.1 users can install the latest PhotoQt by using Sam Rog's PPA (for Ubuntu 12.04, there's a older PhotoQt version - 1.0). Add the PPA and install PhotoQt using the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:samrog131/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install photoqt

If you don't want to add the PPA, you can simply grab the PhotoQt deb from HERE.

For other Linux distributions and Windows, see the PhotoQt downloads page.

Report any issues you may find @ GitHub.

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