Linux is calling again

I’ve always had this affinity for Linux. I just don’t know why. Maybe it’s because of the great ambition — to be able to have the choice of what you want with your PC and not be forced to choose from A or B. And it’s been great! Despite the setback of having big, bulky distributions such as Ubuntu, there are those that keep every good working PC alive today like CrunchBang or DamnSmallLinux or even Puppy Linux! So now, I’m trying to get my feet wet, yet again, by playing around with Linux distributions. Good thing my office machine is on Windows 7 and has a virtual machine installed.

I’ve enjoyed Ubuntu for quite some time and I’m part of the group that enjoys the eyecandy that Unity desktop offers. Yet I’m also pining for the sacrificed performance because of the same. It has definitely become a competitor between Windows and OS X but at the price of being really big and bloated. Still, I find it admirable that It has come so far from its early lean beginnings. And it is really fortunate that we have relatively lightweight versions for it: Xubuntu and Lubuntu. So that’s great news!

I tried to fire up Puppy Linux on my  machine and somehow, it doesn’t have the feel I wasn’t looking for. Simple, yes, but not clean and as refined as I would like it to be. It’s a big splash of colors and confusion in my eyes. I’m sure that’s pretty fix-able with a color scheme but that’s just it — I can’t seem to find where to adjust or change it! Oh well…

 

Right now, I’m downloading JoliCloud OS and Xubuntu to try out. I hope all goes well with these two distributions. I’m actually planning on using one of these for a PC I’ve been dreaming of donating to our parish in my hometown. Hope that happens soon enough. 🙂

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Autohotkey is useful. But I wouldn’t describe it as “awesome.”

Being a regular reader of Lifehacker, Autohotkey has been reviewed and featured over and over again in a lot of its articles which gradually created curiosity in me. At first, I was like, “eh, another tool on the PC.” Followed by, “Oh, maybe I could find a use for this.” and then, “I should try this once.”

And try, I did.

Autohotkey is a small scripting tool that creates keyboard shortcuts for different tasks and keystrokes you would normally do. It is made for your convenience such that you would hardly need to reach for that mouse and navigate your entire workspace with your keyboard, specially repetitive tasks that require you to input a lot of keystrokes.

But for the average user, it’s a pretty nice tool that doesn’t take up much system memory and makes working with a keyboard a little more convenient. I really didn’t need more keyboard shortcuts (since I’ve got most of the Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V down pat :P) at work so I actually tried this more for the ‘scripting’ part. And so far, it sits quietly in the background everyday but I don’t put it on my Startup folder.

So, how do I use it? Continue reading

Codeacademy: getting you started with JavaScript

Programming is an essential part of learning computers. You won’t be learning just about computer hardware — that’s what technicians are for. To be a computer “scientist”, you have to learn software and how to code. Though not in exactly in the “scientific research” category, JavaScript is one language you can use to learn about how to communicate to your computer. Codeacademy.com gives 8 easy interactive lessons for you to get started with the basics of programming using JavaScript.

Having had only a college degree and some basics of computer programming, I must say that codeacademy.com has a good interface for the user. Instructions are on the left side of the website with a big console in the middle. I don’t think it’s meant to be customizable so you can’t change it into your own console theme (green on black ala-The Matrix or plain white on black) but it serves its purpose. You can “Run” and “Save” and edit your code. However, I’m not sure if you need a compiler for JavaScript or it’s built in. Do you really just “Run” a program straight from code? Well, the console shows you errors so I guess it’s pre-compiled. But I’m just an amateur so I don’t think the person who’s trying to learn to code shouldn’t be thinking about that yet. And that’s a good thing.

In about an hour, I finished the “tutorial”. I was hoping for more lessons but alas, there were none. Codeacademy was hoping for more lessons as well and gave me a notification about writing lessons for other computer languages! I sure hope the community would grow and be of help to those who, just like me, want to discover or re-discover the joys of programming.

iTuning

I’ve recently been playing around with iTunes. I don’t know if this is a subconscious preparation for my iPod acquisition (cross fingers) but I can see why people have a certain compulsion to fix their music. Especially if you’re using iTunes!!! Everything’s just looks nicer!

In the past, I’d just organize my folders in Windows and let my browsing of folders play my “playlist” (since it’s not an actual playlist. I just drag and drop music onto Windows Media Player list. No complications! But eversince I used iTunes, I just HAVE TO ORGANIZE EVERYTHING! NO EXCUSES! tsk, tsk…

But in a way, it’s a good thing. Just because i get to see duplicates, where stuff I really want played are and those that just happened to be on my PC that i actually hate! As an organizing tool, I guess, iTunes is a good application. But for the hit-the-ground-running type of guy, it just might not be the one. You have to wear your tie for iTunes. the T-shirt is suited for WMP.