Thursday, February 25, 2010

KDE 4.4 Features

I have been really impressed with KDE 4.x, so when 4.4 recently came out, I was excited to try it out. You can get KDE 4.4 for Kubuntu through PPA and Arch already has it available in their main repo. Here are some of the cool new features that will make your Gnome loving friends jealous.

New Plasmoids and added features.
  • Improved folder view plasmoid, hover mouse a folder to view it's contents
  • improved device notifier, gives options for handling devices
  • webslice to view a portion of a website
  • Spell checker
Window Management
  • ctrl+F9 to view all open windows (similar to expose in OSX)
  • ctrl+F7 to view all grouped windows
  • ctrl+ F8 to view all desktops - my absolute favorite

  • Tabbed Windows (just like fluxbox)
  • Improved Krunner with plugins - shows devices, firefox bookmarks, wikipedia (mediawiki plugin), calculator, etc (Leave Gnome-Do in the dust)
  • Timeline:/ protocol to sort by time
  • Kmix has multimedia keyboard support
  • Can flag devices for auto mounting
AND a new netbook desktop. I've never been keen on the moblin/ubuntu netbook remix look. Joulicloud was better, but nothing great. KDE netbook desktop is not perfect, but is better then any of the other choices that are currently available.

I installed it on my netbook running Arch and it's not bad. I definitely like the icons on the desktop and the search field is really handy.

Also some cool new apps.
  • rekonq - my favorite new app, konquorer with webkit or Konquorer done right
  • palapeli - an actual jigaw puzzle game
Anyway, go check KDE 4.4 out and read about its new features here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

pwsafe - Password Keeper

I don't know about you but, I have a butt load of usernames and passwords. I try not to use the same username and password for facebook, twitter, my bank, work, etc for what I hope is obvious security reasons. I desperately needed something to manage my passwords, which lead me to find pwsafe. From the man page, "pwsafe [is a] commandline password database utility compatible with Counterpane's Passwordsafe." It has been really handy.

pwsafe is in the Debian/Ubuntu repositories and I assume should be in most of the major Linux distributions. If you can't find it for your distro, you can get it here.

Once installed, you will need to create a new database.
$ pwsafe --createdb

You be asked to create a password for this database, make sure it is unique, secure and don't forget it.

Once that is done you're ready to add an entry.

$ pwsafe -a name

This will initiate the following:

Enter passphrase for /home/jared/.pwsafe.dat:
group []: Web
username: xxxxxxxxx
password [return for random]:
password again:
notes: access to ftp and panel

This is pretty straight forward. You are asked for your passphrase (the one
created when you first set up your database) and then a group name. This is a
nice feature to catagorize your passwords. I have a group for Finance, Websites,
Work, etc. You can then search or list information just for those groups. Next you will enter a username, password (twice) and notes. The notes is nice for security questions you may be asked on bank sites for authentication where you can never remember the answer.

To view a list of entries with in a group.

$ pwsafe -l groupname

You will be prompted for your passphrase. The groupname is optional, but helps cut down on the output. This will just print out group, name and your notes. No passwords will be displayed.

To view your passwords,

$ pwsafe -upE name

Again you will be prompted for your passphrase and your username and password will be displayed. There's a lot more you can do with pwsafe. See the man page for more info.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Catching up with Arch Linux

Let's begin with a little update. I've been off-line for a few months now, mostly due to a new job and just feeling like I needed a break. Recently though, I've been having the urges to blog again, mostly due to Quvmoh putting the audio of my presentation "Life without a GUI" from UTOSC on HPR. (thanks Quvmoh) This also reminded me that I need to put my slides up from the presentation which you can find here. Use the tpp application to view them as slides or any text editor will work as well. You can also download my handout of the presentation here. The handout will give you useful links for file conversion and the syntax for playing video in the framebuffer.

The last time I blogged I was praising Slackware, but since then I've moved on to Arch. Don't get me wrong Slackware is awesome, but there was one unforgiving issue that caused me to dump Slack for Arch. It was the lack of supported software for Slackware. I just couldn't find everything I wanted on the main repo or on or anywhere else. One example of this was tuxpaint for my son. I just could not get it installed on my 64-bit system. After hours of frustration without any progress I was done. This is tuxpaint for heaven's sake, it shouldn't be this hard, especially when I could easily just "apt-get install tuxpaint" on Debian/Ubuntu or "yum install tuxpaint" on Fedora or "pacman -S tuxpaint" on Arch.

And speaking of pacman... WOW! I'm in love. It really does put apt to shame. It is so fast. I literally blink and applications are installed. More praises for Arch, include the rolling release methodology. I always have the latest and greatest stuff and everything is stable. I just can't say enough about it. I recommend everyone to give it a try.

Finally, I've been throwing around the idea of doing a Linux command line podcast. I figure it's a niche topic that's not exclusively covered in any other linux podcast. I would cover alot of what my UTOSC presentation was all about, "How to live life and get everything done in the command line." Topics I might cover could include: How to deal with various office document formats, How to blog from the command line, How to email and view attachments from the command line, How to do photo editing from the CLI, discuss how to use the various apps listed on my CLI apps list or maybe interview the developers of these apps, and so on. For the 2 people out there that read my blog let me know what you think. If anyone is interested and would like to co-host that would be great. Now all this being said, I really don't know anything about podcasting so if anyone could give me some tips or advice or just point me in the right direction that would be greatly appreciated.