Next Change: Ubuntu 12.04


UPDATE 3: You can download the Ubuntu 12.04 Manual from here

UPDATE 2: 9th May 2012 – Thanks to the Ubuntu community, I managed to fix the postgresql 8.2 error using command “sudo touch /usr/share/postgresql/8.2/tsearch_data” and removed the postgresql without any errors. Then I started to upgrade again (not using the Update Manager which still showed errors but using Terminal command) and this time, upgrade was rather smooth (perhaps thanks to the stable internet connection). The upgrade to 12.04 LTS was finally done after almost two hours. The review of the 12.04 will be done later if I have time.

UPDATE 1: 27th April 2012 – the upgrade from 11.10 to 12.04 LTS had hiccups when the upgrade package download connection was disconnected half way (due to my internet connection) – the same did not happen when I upgraded from 11.04 to 11.10. When I retried the upgrade, the update failed to work. After a few tinkering, I found the source of the problem – postgresql 8.2 was corrupted and need to be removed. Easier said than done, the removal failed as follows:-

Reading package lists… Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information… Done
The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required:
libmagick++3 amsn-data libemeraldengine0 perlmagick inkscape tcl-tls
Use ‘apt-get autoremove’ to remove them.
The following packages will be REMOVED:
postgresql-8.2*
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 1 to remove and 660 not upgraded.
After this operation, 12.4 MB disk space will be freed.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? Y
(Reading database … 269406 files and directories currently installed.)
Removing postgresql-8.2 …
find: `/usr/share/postgresql/8.2/tsearch_data’: No such file or directory
dpkg: error processing postgresql-8.2 (–purge):
subprocess installed pre-removal script returned error exit status 1
update-rc.d: warning: postgresql-8.2 stop runlevel arguments (0 1 6) do not match LSB Default-Stop values (S 0 1 6)
Errors were encountered while processing:

Back to the original post

Read these first:-

(The next generation of Ubuntu with a more sophisticated dashboard – a far cry from the dull, simple version 6.10 that I installed back in 2006. Image source: http://www.webupd8.org)

Mark the launch date – 26th April 2012. This is the date when Ubuntu will be releasing their latest OS – version 12.04 codenamed “Precise Pangolin”. I have been using Ubuntu 11.04 for sometime now (suppose to upgrade to 11.10 a long time go but my OS update was screwed due to a silly mistake of mine – somehow I have “un-ticked” the upgrade source server).

And of the things that I am looking forward to in 12.04 is the possible inclusion of HUD. OMG!Ubuntu reports “HUD – Heads UP Display – uses an intelligent search-based approach to finding and accessing menu items you need. It’s smart too; HUD is capable of remembering what items you use most often and prioritizing them in the results. The goal is to make finding menu items faster, in turn speeding up your workflow”.

(HUD in action hopefully in the upcoming Ubuntu 12.04 and never misjudge the ease of using keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys instead of using the usual mouse clicks. As I have experienced, it can very, very fast and very convenient)

In addition this, Tech Drive-In further reports about “10 New Features Added to Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin” which includes the following changes:-

  • Unity Dash’s default home screen has changed. Now, it shows ‘Recent Apps’ first, ‘Recent Files’ next and lastly, your most recent Downloads.
  • Home menu quicklist is a really useful addition
  • Apart from the usual three Unity lenses (Applications, Files and Music), there is now an additional Video lense too. It lets you select and play videos from a variety of sources ranging from your local collection to YouTube Movies, BBC iPlayer and TED Talks to name a few.
  • HUD is now an integral part of Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin. HUD have not yet replaced menus in applications though. So no need to panic.
  • Size of launcher icons can now be changed directly changed from ‘Wallpapers’ menu. No need to install CCSM just to do that anymore. As you can also see, there is now an option to change the default Ubuntu 12.04 theme from the same window. Useful additions and nicely done too.
  • This is perhaps the biggest visible change to new Unity. Launcher won’t be in the ‘dodge windows‘ state anymore (by default) and instead will be ‘always visible’. Dodge windows is not even an option anymore. It is completely removed.
  • Initiating Alt + Tab shows you just the open windows in the current desktop and not from all the desktops like it used to be
  • The decision was taken during the last Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS). Rhythmbox has just replaced Banshee in Ubuntu 12.04. Note taking application, Tomboy, has also been removed. Canonical seems serious about completely removing Mono from Ubuntu.

Those who have not used Linux before, the new release of Ubuntu may be uneventful. But installing free, open source Ubuntu as my secondary OS (having Ubuntu and Windows in dual boot) was probably one of the smartest I did when I upgraded to a 64 bit machine a couple years ago (I was curious and wanted to brush up on Linux as well).

This is because when I was abroad for an assignment last year and when my Windows crashed unexpectedly (due to a registry screw up – what else?), all I needed to do was to fire up my Ubuntu and was still able to connect to the Internet to check my emails using Firefox,  chat with my colleagues using Pidgin & Skype, open documents & spreadsheets using the free Libre Office and use OpenProj for project management, etc – well you get my drift. What I am trying to say here is that with Windows crashing down (and the only way to fix the crashed Windows was to reinstall Windows all over again – duh), it did not mean the end of story for me.

Linux are not like those days when you have to run most of the apps using line command in Terminals (you still do sometimes but it is not difficult once you get hold of the usual convention) and where a simple update of packages was a nightmare. But now, thanks to user friendly GUIs, software center with well-stocked apps and well organized update manager, it is in par and in some cases superior to Windows 7. You also don’t have to worry about firewalls and anti-virus in Ubuntu and best part is, it is also free and can run along with your Windows without much fuss.

I have moved from 10.10 to 11.04 (which introduced Unity user interface which combines search and dock functions in one) and finally to 11.10 (which refreshed the login screen with LightDM and tweaked the Unity to be more streamline. It felt lighter too), I can’t wait to move to 12.04 next week.

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Seeing Double


(Perhaps this is just the distraction that one needs from the National Feedlot screw-up by yet to be retired BN politicians)

Still remember when you were young and you used (and still) watch those old Tamil movies where the star actor acts in more than one role (usually playing the role of the father & son or the good & evil brothers)?

(Seeing Sivaji Ganesan in action is one thing but seeing the two of them could be a double whammy. Both interacted well on screen but still there are some limitations as to how both characters blended in on screen. Image source: Business Line)

When both roles is shown on the same scene, one character would be on one side of the frame whilst the other character on the other. The only time when these two characters overlapped each other is when one of the characters is played by someone else (it will be shown without showing the face). It was good and highlighted the difficulties that the actors, director and editor have to go through to ensure that that particular scene comes out just perfect.

Even so, seeing the same person on two different roles at the same time in a movie was a big thing back then and we knew that it was not easy to do. Just imagine the number of takes just to get the actor acting as if there was another of “him” standing next to him and the film editors cutting and stitching the film rolls at the right places.

But those were the years when technology has yet to catch up with the art of story telling.

It is a whole different ball game now and we have seen it in great deal in special effect laden Hollywood movies and they seems to be getting better at it year in, year out. Tamil movies have seen some improvement when it comes to CGIs as well. We saw a great deal in Dasavatharam (where Kamal Hassan played 10 different roles and interacting with each of them at some point of the movie), Enthiran (ya, the stupid climax) and recently Shah Rukh Khan‘s Ra.One (the storyline sucked big time but the CGI is top notch).

Now with computer animations, blue screens (green screens as the above) and well choreographed acting, the result is simply amazing. You can have more than one characters on the screen played by the same actor and they blend and interact with each other as if they are played by different actors.

Take for example this song scene from the movie Thillalangadi (2010) where the hero and the heroin is shown in different roles and interacting with each other in a very fluid manner (it makes it even better with Yuvan Shankar Raja‘s lovable music, very meaningful lyrics and well coordinated choreography).

Now that that is mind-blowing! Add that with a clean, logical story-telling, superb background music and fine acting and you will have a real winner.

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