Oct 1, 2014

Pandora Client `Pithos` 1.0.1 Released With Bug Fixes

Pithos 1.0.1 was released recently and it includes some minor improvements and bug fixes - for instance, the bug that was causing the Ubuntu Sound Menu to stop working when using Pithos was fixed in this release.

For those not familiar with Pithos, this is a simple Pandora.com client which includes features such as:

  • cover art;

  • thumbs up / thumbs down / tired of this song options;

  • allows switching between Pandora stations;

  • allows editing QuickMix and creating stations;

  • desktop integration: Ubuntu AppIndicator, notifications, MPRIS v2 support - so Pithos integrates with the Ubuntu Sound Menu / GNOME Shell Mediaplayer extension;

  • media keys support;

  • proxy support;

  • last.fm scrobbling.

Pandora is a music streaming and recommendation service that's only available in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. You can use it in any other country with an US proxy, VPN, a DNS service or with Tor and SelekTOR .

Changes in Pithos 1.0.1:

  • Automatically install missing codecs if supported;

  • Save window position between sessions;

  • Fix saving last station on quit;

  • Fix pacparser support;

  • Improve pandora module docs;

  • Add setup.py command to build docs;

  • Add appdata file;

  • notification_icon: Make toggling visibility more reliable;

  • mpris: Fix exception when querying position;

  • mpris: Implement setting volume;

  • screensaver_pause: Improve Unity support;

  • OSX: mediakeys and notify support.

Install Pithos in Ubuntu 14.04 or 14.10 / Linux Mint 17

Pithos is available in the official Ubuntu repositories, but that's a pretty old version. To install the latest Pithos in Ubuntu 14.04 or 14.10 / Linux Mint 17, you can use the official Pithos PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pithos/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pithos gir1.2-gst-plugins-base-1.0

Arch Linux users can install Pithos via AUR.

For other Linux distributions, see the install section from the Pithos homepage (the app should also work on Windows and Mac, but there are no binaries for now).

Report any bugs you may find @ GitHub.

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Borderlands 2 Now Available On Linux; Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Is Coming To Linux This Month

Borderlands 2, the popular action RPG video game developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games, is now available on Linux / Steam OS.

The game was ported to Linux by Aspyr Media, the company that ported Borderlands 2 to Mac back in 2012.

For those not familiar with Borderlands 2, this is an action role-playing first-person shooter video game which uses the Unreal Engine 3. According to Wikipedia, the game was a financial success and with 8.5 million copies sold by February 2014, it's 2K Games' best-selling game.

Below you can watch the official Borderlands 2 launch trailer:

(direct video link)

On Linux, Borderlands 2 has the following system requirements:

  • Ubuntu 14.04 / Steam OS (but of course, this doesn't mean it doesn't work on other Linux distributions)

  • Processor: 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad, AMD Phenom II X4

  • Memory: 4 GB RAM

  • HDD space: 13 GB

  • Video card (Nvidia): Geforce 260

  • Video memory: 1GB

The game Steam page mentions that integrated Intel graphics and ATI graphics are currently unsupported for Borderlands 2 on Linux.

Borderlands 2 costs $19.99 but there's a special promotion right now and you can buy the game for $4.99 (75% discount) for the next 32 hours: Borderlands 2 @ Steam.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

Aspyr Media has confirmed that Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is coming to both Mac and Linux, on 14 October 2014 in North America and on 17 October 2014 outside of North America:

"Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel for Mac and Linux will offer full feature parity with the Windows PC version, including cross-platform multiplayer and SHiFT Support. Plus, Aspyr will be supporting all future DLC releases."

You can pre-order Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel from GameAgent or the Steam store ($59.99).

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Sep 30, 2014

Add Collaboration Features to your Website with a Line of Code

Tools like Google Docs include real-time collaboration features that let multiple people work on the same document or spreadsheet at the same time. Then you have screen sharing tools, join.me or Chrome Remote Desktop for example, where there’s a master presenter and remote viewers can follow along.

Website with Real-time Chat

TogetherJS is a Mozilla project that brings similar collaboration features to your own website but without any coding. Once enabled, visitors to your website will be able to interact with each other on your site in real time.

They’ll able to see each other’s cursor (like in Google Docs), the clicks are highlighted and the screen content stays synchronized. Visitors will also have the ability to text chat and audio chat (using WebRTC) with each other while staying on your website. All this and more with a line of code.

Add TogetherJS to your own Website

To get started, all you have to do is insert a little JavaScript snippet anywhere on your web page(s). There are several configuration parameters available for the widget but we will use the default settings to keep things simple.

TogetherJSConfig_autoStart = true;
<script src="http://ift.tt/1vtXj93;

This will add a little floating widget to your website that will be visible to all visitors. They can click the “+” button in the widget to generate a unique TogetherJS URL. Anyone who clicks this URL will be able to interact with each other on your page in real time. It can’t get any simpler.

I have put up a quick page where you can test TogetherJS capabilities. Click the “+” icon and send the unique URL to another person to chat in real-time.

Add TogetherJS to any Website

There’s more. You can add TogetherJS features to any web page on the Internet with the help of a bookmarklet.


This bookmarklet will load the TogetherJS library on the current web page and you can give the chat session a unique name. Another person can launch the bookmarklet on the same page on their own computer, enter the same session name and you’ll be instantly connected.

You can co-browse, watch each other’s activity or chat atop the page.

This story, Add Collaboration Features to your Website with a Line of Code, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 30/09/2014 under Bookmarklet, Web Design, Internet

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Professional Video Editor `Lightworks` v12 Available For Download

Lightworks, a professional video editing and mastering software, has reached version 12, this being the first release which gives the same experience on Linux, Windows and Mac OSX:

"The release of Lightworks version 12 marks a unique milestone in that for the first time, the same version runs on the Windows, Linux and Macintosh platforms - a unique achievement for a professional, fully featured NLE.

As a result of Lightworks' intelligent software architecture, new features and fixes for all three versions will be available virtually at the same time, barring operating system-specific issues"

The latest Lightworks 12 includes a new Content Manager structure, rewritten Lightworks Play engine for improved playback performance along with new Blur, Color Correction and Selective Color Correction effects and more.

Lightworks continues to be available as free to use however, the pro license prices increased with this release and a one month license now costs £14.99 | €19.99 | $24.99, a one year license is £99.99 | €134.99 | $174.99 and an Outright (doesn't expire, includes two activations) license is £249.99 | €337.99 | $437.99.

The difference between the free and paid (pro) version is that the free version allows exporting only to MPEG4/H.264 at up to 720p while the pro version has a much wider range of output options, includes advanced project sharing, 3D stereoscopic output, user-definable project locations, rendering and Hardware I/O support.

Changes in Lightworks 12:

  • Same experience on all three platforms;

  • Added new Content Manager structure:

    • Bins and Groups (previously racks) are now all visible within the content manager;

    • Multicam Bins (previously Sync groups) are now all visible within the content manager;

    • The Search function has been incorporated into the content manager (click the magnifying glass);

    • Added Clips, Subclips, Prints, Syncs, Edits, Searches, Everything and Recent filters to the content manager;

    • Added ability to create and edit Filters;

    • Added ability to create Filters based on search criteria and manage them;

    • Added the ability to drag/drop files from the OS directly into an open bin (cannot import to Filters);

    • Added the ability to import directly into an existing bin (cannot import to Filters);

    • And much more!

  • Optimised the drawing pipeline to create a much more responsive user interface;

  • Rewritten the Lightworks Play engine for improved playback performance;

  • Added improvements to the export panel to make it easier to select a format for export;

  • Added entirely new Blur effect to the Effects panel;

  • Added powerful new Colour Correction effect;

  • Added powerful new Selective Colour Correction effect;

  • Added import of Final Cut Pro 7 XMLs;

  • Added 4K support for ProRes formats (Blackmagic cameras).

Note: there are some known issues and limitations across all platforms. On Linux, Lightworks only supports Nvidia and ATI graphics (Lightworks strongly recommends using proprietary drivers or else the app might not work properly), there is no Firewire support, no Quicktime/MPEG4 export option, no .wmv support, audio may not be present on some uncompressed avi files and there are only 64bit deb and rpm files available for download, among others.

For a complete list of known issues as well as all the changes in Lightworks 12, check out the Lightworks 12 changelog PDF (see the release notes link; I can't link the PDF directly).

To get an idea on how Lightworks works, check out this Lightworks v12 quick start guide video:

(direct video link)

Download Lightworks

On Linux, Lightworks comes with the following recommended specifications:

  • Ubuntu/Lubuntu/Xubuntu 14.04, Mint 17 and Fedora 20

  • Intel i7 chipset or faster, fast AMD chipset

  • 3GB RAM or higher

  • Two high-resolution displays (1920 x1080) or above

  • PCI Express graphics card (NVIDIA or ATI) with 1GB or higher

  • Separate media and system drives (these can be internal or external as long as the the interface is suitably fast

  • 200MB Disk space for Lightworks installation

Note that to be able to install Lightworks 12, you'll need to register and agree to the Lightworks Terms and Conditions:

Download Lightworks (available for Linux - deb and rpm 64bit only, Windows and Mac OS X)

If you're new to Lightworks, I suggest you take a look at the official tutorials.

seen @ lffl.org

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Restrict Google Forms to only Allow One Entry Per Person

You have created a survey using Google Forms but people have quickly figured out a way to game your poll and tilt the results in their favor. They are submitting multiple entries, and because Google Forms will not record the I.P. address or the email of the form submitter, it is nearly impossible for you to separate the duplicate submissions from the genuine entries.

How do you restrict Google Forms to only allow a single entry from a user?

If you are a Google Apps user, you can always restrict the Google Form to accept entries only from users who are part of your domain and the response spreadsheet will then record the username of the form submitter. However if you have a regular Gmail / Google Account, you have another option now to prevent multiple form submissions from the same user.

While creating the Google Form, click the Settings bar and turn on the option that says “Allow only one response per user.” When the unique option is enabled for a Google Form, respondents will have to sign-in with their Google account to access the form. Their email address won’t be recorded in the response sheet but Google Form will not allow another entry from the same Google Account.

If someone tries to fill the Google Form again, a warning message will be displayed saying “You’ve already responded. You can only fill out this form once. Try contacting the owner of the form if you think this is a mistake.”

This is by far the easiest approach though it does put your Google Form out of reach of people who do not have Google Account or those who are skeptical of associating the email address with their form entry (though this association is completely hidden from the form owner).

Google Forms - Multiple Entries

This story, Restrict Google Forms to only Allow One Entry Per Person, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 30/09/2014 under Google Forms, Internet

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Sep 26, 2014

Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn Final Beta Available For Download

Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn final beta was released today, this being the first and only milestone for Ubuntu Utopic (while for the Ubuntu flavors, this is Beta 2). Let's take a look at what's new.

And I mean "look" figuratively, because there are almost no visual changes in this Ubuntu final beta release. For instance, this will probably be the first Ubuntu release in which Unity (now referred to as Unity 7, not to be confused with the latest Unity 8 which is used on the phone) won't get any new features - of course, unless that happens in the month that's left until the final release, but that's unlikely.

However, Unity 7 did receive quite a few bug fixes and minor improvements and the most notable were related to HiDPI support: the Dash previews, lockscreen and other Unity bits were updated with proper UI scaling based on current monitor scaling. You can check out the complete Unity 7 changelog HERE.

systemd available but not used by default, improved hybrid graphics support, Linux Kernel features

With Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn, the controversial systemd (208) is available in the repositories, and Ubuntu can finally boot with systemd, but it's not yet default because there are many packages which only have upstart jobs and they need to be updated to provide corresponding systemd units. Ubuntu will switch to systemd by default "when it's ready", says Martin Pitt

Hybrid graphics support was improved with Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn and the changes in this area include:

  • nvidia-prime and gpu-manager now support GDM (these changes were backported to older Ubuntu versions, but without the GDM patch that allows this);

  • added support for "gpumanager_uxa" and "gpumanager_modesetting" boot parameters, so that there is an option to force NVIDIA Optimus systems (that don't work well with Intel/SNA) to use either Intel/UXA or modesetting);

  • allow RandR offloading even without bbswitch;

  • more.

It's also important to note that Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn final beta ships with the Ubuntu Kernel 3.16.0-17, based on the upstream 3.16.3 Linux Kernel. Since the Linux kernel 3.13 (which is used in the previous Ubuntu version - 14.04), there were some important improvements, such as:

  • zram is considered stable with Linux 3.14; zram received LZ4 compression support;

  • stable support for Intel Broadwell CPU graphics (3.14);

  • the SCHED_DEADLINE scheduling class was added to the Linux scheduler in version 3.14 of the Linux kernel mainline;

  • faster resume from suspend;

  • EFI mixed mode support: 64-bit kernels can be booted from 32-bit firmware (with Linux 3.15);

  • various Nouveau improvements, including initial NVIDIA Maxwell GPU support, initial GK20A and GK110B GPU support as well as support for allowing to change the frequency of the GPU from the BIOS predefined values for nv40, nvaa, and nve0 clock types;

  • Radeon performance improvements through improved APU power management have been enabled in some APUs;

  • Intel Cherryview graphics support;

  • NVIDIA Tegra PRIME support;

  • Broadwell support for the Intel P-State driver (3.16);

  • various other improvements to audio and sound, btrfs and ext4 improvements, better support for newer laptops and much more.

You can read more about all the important Linux kernel changes here: Linux 3.14 | Linux 3.15 | Linux 3.16

Applications / packages

Among the applications shipped by default with Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn final beta are Firefox 32, Thunderbird 31.1, LibreOffice 4.3.1rc2, Nautilus 3.10.1, Rhythmbox 3.0.3, Empathy 3.8.6, Transmission 2.82, Shotwell 0.20.0, Gedit 3.10.4, Brasero 3.10.0 and Totem 3.10.1 (and others), on top of Unity 7.3.1+14.10.20140915 and GTK 3.12.2. Also, Utopic includes Mesa 10.2.6 (but 10.3 is available in the proposed repository) and Xorg server 1.16.0.

Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn final beta ships with GTK 3.12.2 and not the latest 3.14 (and, as you can see from the app list above, mostly GNOME 3.10 apps) because GNOME 3.14 was just released and Ubuntu 14.10 had its feature freeze on August 21st.

As for the default GNOME applications included by default in Ubuntu (w/ Unity), they are still at version 3.10 because they need to be patched to properly support Unity (to use regular window borders and menus) and it looks like the Ubuntu developers didn't have time to update them for this Ubuntu release.

There is some good news for GNOME fans though: GNOME Shell was updated to version 3.12.2 is available in the official Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn repositories.

Download Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn final beta

Before downloading it, remember that Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn is in beta, so you may encounter issues! That said, I've been using Ubuntu 14.10 for a while and, like the previous development cycle, it feels pretty stable and robust and I didn't encounter any major issues.

Ubuntu 14.10 (stable) will be released on October 23rd.

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