Once again: Bye-bye Ubuntu, welcome Lubuntu

In April 2011, Ubuntu introduced Unity.
A lot of articles for or against have been wrote about it since.
I won't write a new one: NO!

I'll simply want to explain what misses to Unity to be my professional desktop.
– needs too much power for displaying windows only (Unity 3d),
– too buggy (Unity 2d) specially in multi-screen mode,
– not at all customizable or even modifiable,
– needs a lot of hacks /tricks to show basic informations (CPU usage, standard apps menu),
– not 100% compatible with all apps (icons hidden in Inkscape for example).

Of course, it's possible to argue on my POV but it's a fact for my needs, Unity is not able to let me work efficiently.

It's why I decided to try another way: Lubuntu.

What is Lubuntu?
On the website we can read: "lubuntu is a faster, more lightweight and energy saving variant of Ubuntu using LXDE…"
Sounds very good, isn't it?

Let try this.
After downloading the ISO (32 bits) and install it on a usb stick, I boot my computer on Lubuntu and it runs really quickly, even in live cd mode (in RAM memory).
After seeing that all my stuff are recognized by the system, I click on Install button and follow the very easy process of the installation.

20 min later, I'm in front of Lubuntu.
Here, the desktop is not really ready for my needs but after some work, it will be!

For the tips and tricks I made in Lubuntu, have a look to my next articles :
– Custom clock applet, enable numlock and 2 bottom panels
– Replace applet volume icon and add a nice sound mixer
– Enable Shift+Control+Left-Right to move application and the shutdown button
– Add autostart applications and desktop shortcuts


Touchscreen gestures icons, cartoon style

This multitouch / touchscreen set of cartoon icons is supposed to help people which have a project of application for kids on tablet.
With it, it will be easy to prepare and show some screen demo.


You can find individual SVG files of them here:

Let me know if you like them or use them.

Ubuntu VLC audio delay fix

Since that the Ubuntu team decided to switch to PulseAudio, many users have got audio problems.
It's still true with the last Ubuntu 11.04
One of them is the audio delay with the video player, VLC.

There are many solutions to fix it, more or less easy, like replacing the PulseAudio by the (old but good) ALSA.
But this solution brake a lot of native things in Ubuntu.

Recently, I discovered that's not need to remove PulseAudio for using ALSA.

Follow this steps to achieve it and definitively say bye-bye to the audio delay!

1. start VLC

2. go to the preferences: Tools > Preferences

3. tick the full view (left-bottom) > ALL

4. click on Output module entry and choose the menu: Alsa audio output


5. in the same part, click on the Alsa entry and choose the ALSA Device Name: HDA NVidia: ALC662 rev1 Analog (hw:0,0) (in my case)


6. Save

Finally restart VLC and try a movie, good show!

Kiwix-the perfect wikimedia offline solution

Few weeks ago, I found a very impressive tool for consulting a mediawiki without Internet, in offline mode: Kiwix
This client is currently available for Windows and Linux.
A Mac OS version is on intensive development.

To use it, you need a ZIM file (specific format) which contains a static copy of Mediawiki and allowing to make searches. The generation a ZIM file is not really trivial  but after some tries, I have been able to make one by myself with my personal wiki data.
Yes, that could become a sort of backup solution for a personal wiki.

In the same time, I offered to the creator to make a new skin for Kiwix. He was happy with the idea to get a new design and finally integrated the new skin called “Evolution” (based on the Gnome icons set and the Tango icons set).

Today, I had the chance to test the preview version of Kiwix for MAC OX. And what I can tell you, that’s the developers have made a very good work on this port!
Except some small visual problems, the client is working exactly like in the other OS, well done !

Below, some snapshots of the tests:

fullscreen slideshow



Mageia logo to celebrate the birth!

Apparently, it’s the fashion to fork. Some people think that the great and normal life of Open Source projects, I believe it too.. not in all cases but for this time, I think so.

But what is the name of the project?
Mageia, the new fork of the Linux distribution Mandriva. I won’t explain why the folk exists, to know more about the project, go to http://mageia.org/

As a new project, Mageia doens’t have a visual identity, even a logo. Some designers started to upload their creation on a Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/groups/mageia-art/pool/

To celebrate the birth of Mageia, I decided to join them and to design some logos, here you are:

Notion Ink logo contest

Notion ink is the company which will provide to us the Adam tablet, the more promising tablet of the year.

Why promising?
First of all, because it will be the first pad to provide a 10.1″ screen technology with 2 modes: passive and active. It should be possible to watch the screen outside even in sunny day.
It will come with Nvidia Tegra2, SSD 16/32Go, 3.2 Mp swivel camera and more…
For the rest of specifications, go to http://www.notionink.in/

Last Friday (10.15), a contest has been launched on the official blog (http://notionink.wordpress.com/2010/10/15/the-case-of-the-changing-logo/) to design the company logo.
For the winner: $1,000 and (particularly) a ADAM tablet only if a logo is retained!

Designing a company logo is really challenging and stimulating. In the same time, I’d like to get a ADAM tablet. Then I decide to try one’s luck.!

Let me share with you some designs made for the contest (and already sent).

I should be happy to read your comment about my proposals!

World cup 2010, 3 easy steps to mute the VUVUZELA noise

to celebrate the come back home of the French team, I’d like to share with you the easiest way to cut the annoying buzzing of vuvuzela  in Ubuntu (compatible with all Gnome system).

1- Download and install PulseAudio Multiband EQ

2- Create the filter by copying the following lines in to the new file ~/.pulse/presets/vuvu-cut.preset

  • create the folders:
    mkdir ~/.pulse
    mkdir ~/.pulse/presets
  • the 4 frequencies to mute: 233Hz, 466Hz, 932Hz and 1864Hz (thanks surfpoeten.de).
    nano ~/.pulse/presets/vuvu-cut.preset
Multiband EQ
  • save the file and exit:
    Ctrl+O and Ctrl+X
  • prevent the changes of the presets file by changing the right:
    chmod 444 ~/.pulse/presets/vuvu-cut.preset

3- Now, when you want to watch a match

  • open the soft in the gnome menu Applications/Sound & Video/PulseAudio Equalizer
  • select EQ Enabled and choose the vuvu-cut in the Preset list.

Enjoy the rest of the World Cup 2010 without the French team (I have to confess now, I’m a bit sad for my country).

http://www.surfpoeten.de/tube/vuvuzela_filter for the frequencies and idea
http://digitizor.com/2010/02/08/how-to-install-system-wide-pulseaudio-equalizer-in-ubuntu-9-10-and-10-04/ for the PulseAudio EQ installation/source
– French team for the motivation to write this article.

Wxcam on eeePC 901-Ubuntu 10.04

Sometime, I don’t understand the software choice made by the Ubuntu team!
We have a good example with the default video recording software Cheese. Maybe, it’s a good tool if you have a laptop or desktop but with the poor cpu included in our netbook (Intel Atom) and the limited memory, that’s not the right choice.
Remember, I used previously WXcam (see jaunty-jackalope-ubuntu-remix-904-on-eeepc-901). It’s a small tool which makes the same job than Cheese but with less resources.

So, what is the problem, I only have to remove Cheese and install WXcam?
Well, not exactly because Ubuntu not more provides .DEB of this soft.

Again, it’s not a problem, I can go to the official website (http://wxcam.sourceforge.net/) and download the .DEB available there!
So, I went there, downloaded the package and tried to install it on my eeePC 901 witht the new Ubuntu 10.04. But unfortunately during the installation, a lot of required dependencies were not installable!

The final solution to get WXcam on my netbook is to compile it by myself.
And to be honest, it’s not a hard job!

Follow this few steps to achieve the compilation:

1. download the WXcam sources: go to http://sourceforge.net/projects/wxcam/files/ and click on wxcam-1.0.5.tar.gz

2. open a terminal, go to your download folder and uncompress the file:
 tar zxvf wxcam-1.0.5.tar.gz

3. install the packages needed for the compilation:
 sudo apt-get install libwxgtk2.8-dev intltool libmjpegtools-dev cimg-dev libxvidcore-dev

4. go to the WXcam sources folder and run the configuration file:
 cd wxcam-1.0.5
Normally, that should be alright and none error returned.

5. Now it’s time to compile the soft by this simple command:

6. After few minutes, the compilation will be finished and you’ll be able to test WXcam without install it:

7. If all is ok here, you can install the soft to your system:
 sudo make install
8. WXcam is available in the “Sound & Video” tab. In some cases, you need to restart X to see the change. Click on the logout button for that.

Now, you have to configure WXcam.
Run the soft by clicking on the “Webcam Application” icon, open the Settings menu and finally choose the Preferences entry.
In the 1st tab “Global“, your camera is already selected, in my case /dev/video0.
The file format is YUYV and the driver Video4Linux2.
In the 2nd “Files“, choose the 2 folders to save the snapshot and the video files.
In the 3rd “Video“, choose xvid with a quality compression to 50 and the audio device: /dev/dsp (in my case). 
I don’t very well understood the “Add silence for synchronisation reason” and let the default setting to 20.
Press the OK button.

Now, I found a big bug with the camera resolution which is impossible to fix by the settings menu (“Frame size” entry).
I managed to fix this point by manually editing the configuration file located on your home folder (in a terminal):
 nano ~/.wxcam
Find the parameter “Resolution” and change it to: “640×480

That’s it, now you got a light solution to record movie with your netbook.
Note: I also compiled WXcam in Ubuntu 9.10 with the same steps.

iPhone UI Vector (SVG) Elements

I’ve recently added to OpenClipart.org, 2 news SVG images: iPhone and iPad in realistic style.
Today, I’ve finished the 1st version of the UI elements set. 

With this set, you can design the visual of your own app (or webapp) in Inkscape or SVG compatible software.
As already said in the title, all of the elements are in pure SVG.



Download this file

Cheap and easy DIY iPhone steering wheel for fantastic driving sensations

The intro story
The brother of Alice (Thanks Math) given to me a 2G iPhone 2 years ago. 
I used it a lot but 6 months later, the Home button stopped to work (it’s a well known problem with iPhone).
I tried to fix it but without success and finally bought a 3G iPhone.
Last week, I decided to retry to fix the first generation iPhone. After some solderings (flex cable of the Home button broken), the iPhone has resuscitated (the back cover is a bit damaged, it’s very hard to open).
Well, what to do with 2 iPhones, a car game and a little boy?
Yes, of course, a multiplayer race. But for my 4 years old boy, the iPhone is not really ideal to hold, specially to play a car game.
Ok, no problem, I decide to transform the iPhone in a real car simulation experience. 
And what you need to achieve this ambitious project? a steering wheel, of course!

Question: How to build a DIY iPhone steering wheel for next to nothing? See bellow.. 

What you  need:
 – a 2G iPhone (can work with 3G)
 – a steering wheel toy
 – an original iPhone packing (here first generation)
 – a bit of scotch-tape
 – 4 screws (for plastic)

 – an electric drill (like Dremel)
 – a screwdriver

 – between 1 and 2 hours depends how you are good with your hands!

1. Find an unused toy with a steering wheel. In this case, annoying and very noisy toy for the parents.

2. Pull out the wheel (4 screws to remove) and put the iPhone on the center to get to an overall view.

3. Find the original box of the iPhone (again thanks to Math to have given to me the full package) and get the transparent plastic packing.
Put it in the middle of the wheel, check the alignment and mark with a pen the position of the plastic piece to the wheel.

4. Use a Dremel tool to cut the unwanted bits of the wheel.

5. See the result, around 3 millimetres of plastic has been removed.
Now, the plastic packing takes place naturally in the middle of the wheel.

6. Keep the plastic piece with pieces of scotch-tape and mark 4 circles with a pen. They will be used to attach firmly the piece to the wheel. 

7. First, use a small drill bit to drill the 4 marks to the 2 pieces (packaging and wheel) and make a larger holes to the packaging.
The diameter of the drill bits must match with your screws (here, 2 millimetres and 3 millimetres). The screws come from a old plastic radio.
Before to mount the packaging to the wheel, put 2 rubber bands in each end of the packaging.

8. Now screw the packaging on the wheel.
The iPhone attach with the 4 rubber bands on the middle of the steering wheel.

9. Now, a little video to show how it’s cool to drive with the iPhone.. ok, I’m not really good in game but I’m better with the wheel than without.

10. Enjoy!