Friday, October 29, 2010

Ice prevents freezing!

peppermint ice
Although I have a variety of computers, I mostly use three: a Macbook, a Samsung NC10, and a generic laptop that comes with my office at work. I use the generic laptop a lot, especially since I maintain a LAN in the school's admin block. But it came with only 200+ MB of RAM. Needless to say, the new releases of Ubuntu and OpenSUSE hardly get out of their starting blocks on this machine.

Enter Peppermint and especially Peppermint Ice! Instead of waiting, with mounting frustration, for the bigger distros to actually do something on this machine I can actually do my work through Peppermint without hassles. I prefer Ice since it's browser back-end is Chromium rather than Mozilla, and I also think it's slightly faster. Printing doesn't come with Ice initially but CUPS is easy to install via synaptic. All-in-all, I'm a fan.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ruby Shoes!

Everyone knows of course (or should!) about Dorothy's famous ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz:
they are justly iconic.

But have you seen this icon before?

These are also ruby shoes! 

Let me explain. From time-to-time I do some coding/programming, since I began using computers in the days when computers came with built-in programming languages; in those far-off days the only way you could have a program is if you wrote one (my first computer was a ZX-80, R50 at the time from South Africa). The languages I learnt back then were BASIC, LOGO, and PASCAL. Later on, I actually posted a few programs online for Mac OS 7,8, and 9. 

Well, recently I've been tinkering with PYTHON and RUBY. RUBY... aha! RUBY is quite special I think.

It got me considering how I might be able to teach some RUBY at school to the students. Surfing the net I came across SHOES, which is a mini-GUI kit for RUBY. When students start learning something they want to see quick results, and SHOES certainly provides quick results. Like RUBY itself beginners can see results from the get-go. I think it might be what educators are looking for. And it's not even difficult to get hold of. It's already in the Ubuntu/Mint/Peppermint repositories, works as call-to app, and (obviously) runs on ruby. More on this next week...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rainy Morning Dream Song

My head
is full of places,
places I've been;
and faces,
faces I've seen. On
rainy misty mornings
like this one,
listening to Bach in the car,
I remember where they are
and who they were.

It's a different kind of travel,
unravelling a past,
exploring familiar spaces,
the pigeonholes logged and locked
in the recesses of a brain.

Children walk by, singing
It's raining, it's pouring,
the old man is snoring.

The rain continues to fall.

The memories pour out of me,
sing like children,
dream like the old man.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Peppermint outruns Meerkat

Well, I've been using Maverick for some four days or so, and I definitely like it, but these standard Ubuntu distros are becoming more and more RAM heavy. A lot of the time I'm using a laptop that only has about 200 MB of RAM, so after a while Meerkat begins to crawl. That's when I logout and fire up Peppermint which is like a breath of fresh air... however, I've installed the new UBUNTU font on Peppermint, so it's not as if the Meerkat hasn't changed my user experience! :)

Btw, there's no need to install Ice to get web-apps any more: I notice Chromium has a command dedicated to this in its Tools menu.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Maverick Meerkat 10.10.10 has arrived!

Well, Maverick has finally arrived (Ubuntu 10.10). I've been running the Release Candidate for the last 24 hours and it works fine so far. Cardapio is installed and still cool, Swiftfox is still speedy, and K3b is still the best CD/DVD writer ever! My other favourite apps are also fine.

Visually, Maverick hasn't changed much but from the activity I've seen going on doing the installation and updates, there's been a lot of changes under the hood. Next week--after the official release--I'll see if I can install and run SchoolTool on this newbie. Should be fine though.

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