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The Acer Aspire One ZG5 is currently one of the hotter new items in the Hong Kong electronics market. It is a small (9.75″ x 6.75″) and cheap (3,400 HK$ or $436 USD) laptop running from a 1.6GHz Atom N270, 1gb ram, and an 8gb solid state hd. Out of the box it comes with a Linpus Linux opperating system (which looks like this). I found the OS to be functional but lacking a lot of what I love about Ubuntu, so I installed Ubuntu 8.04. The Aspire has no optical drive so you need to connect an external CD drive containing the boot CD. Ubuntu installs very easily on this device, the only problem I had was getting the the wireless to work for which I needed to follow these easy 5 steps.

Mine was purchased from Centrafield in the Golden Computer Arcade (one of the largest electronics markets in HK). To get to the market take the MTR to the Sham Shui Po stop, exit out of the D escalator, and look for this sign.

More photos here.

Huge love to my overly generous Chinese brother Neo for the gift.

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Posted on July 10, 2008

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Support open source by looking fresh. Ubuntu’s summer line is now available with hot new designs that will give Mozilla and Open Office some fierce competition on the runways of silicon valley.

For a complete collection of open t-shirts click here

(Hat by Eriffs)

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…. and I mean that in a good way.

  • For those unfamiliar with compiz, it is the bling’d out windows manager for the Linux X window systems (including the popular Ubuntu). Picture flames, sparkles, and lots of things animating in 3d for no particular reason. In a recent article HOWTO: Convert A Friend To Linux the author’s best advise is:


  • “Whenever you wanna dazzle a potential convertee, fire it up. Whirl the cube, wobble, minimize, and shade the windows and they will be gagging for the Linux CD.
    ;)”

  • This rings true though. Wobbleing windows and spinning cubes are what really convert people to switch over to Linux. It happened to me and I’ve seen it happening to those around me. Hardcore Linux users should stop hating on Compiz and recognize that it may be the single most important piece of software brining Linux out of the dungeon’s and dragons closet and into main stream culture. In fact, the best thing Ubuntu could do right now is drop everything else and just Bling that shit out even more. No one is going to switch to Linux because it has a whole lot of print drivers ready to go…. they are going to switch to Linux because they want an OS w/ some D’s on it.

  • Case in point: while the single most viewed youtube video for the search term ‘linux’ is a Rick Roll, the second most viewed is screen cast video showing off the screen effects in Ubuntu (2.5 million views, not to shabby).

  • If the Linux community wants to wipe Windows and Mac out of the OS business all they need to do in focus all of their collective efforts on developing Compiz. With the combine intelligence of hundreds of thousands of nerds we could develop the most pimped out windows management system known to mankind. The kids don’t want stability, they want an OS w/ rims that spin.

  • (Any bias in the above article may stem from the fact that I sort of view FFFFFat as the compiz of the new media art world…… and I mean that in a good way)

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    Posted on December 27, 2007

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    … the last step to freedom.

    I run a dual boot on my PC laptop of Windows XP and Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon (Linux). Because I feel more like a ninja when I’m using Ubuntu I try to minimize the amount of time I spend in Windows, but one of the last things that keeps me from wiping XP from my CPU entirely is video editing. I have a long standing addiction to Adobe Premiere….. a love hate relationship which w/ the new version of the Quicktime has turned mostly into hate. After looking around it seemed like the options available for Ubuntu are Kino, Blender (using the sequence editor), and Cinelerra. Kino I ruled out because it lacks some basic features (e.g. speed up slow down) that I feel are necessary. Blender I was really excited about until I went to hit the render button and couldn’t figure out how to create anything but a sequence of images. I have heard there is a way around this using ffmpeg exporter, but I haven’t returned to the scene of the crime to figure it out yet (if anyone has any information on exporting video and audio from Blender I’d love to hear more).

  • Cinelerra seems to be the go to video editor of the Linux world, so I thought I’d give it a try. To get up and running there is a great tutorial at linux.com on how to set it up on Ubuntu Studio. Cinelerra is a forked project (typically not a great trait for an open source initiative) meaning there are two different groups of people developing the same application in different ways. The linux.com article describes them as follows:

  • Cinelerra comes in two versions — one with the original codebase, released by a mysterious person/entity called Heroine Virtual, and the community version (CV), which makes revisions and improvements to that code. Although it is released as GPL, there is a controversy surrounding the legality of the original codebase, and that has kept Cinelerra from being included in the official repositories of most Linux distributions. In Debian and Ubuntu, you have to use third-party repositories in order to install the community version, which is the most stable and widely used.

  • Most of the research I have done points to using the community version of Cinelerra rather then the Heroine version. This can be downloaded for free here.

  • Enter The Source: “the only video podcast produced entirely with open source software”…. pretty cool. They have a list of tools they use to produce the show with here, but even better they have done a 3 part series of video tutorials explaining how to edit video using Cinelerra (which can be viewed here).

  • For my first video editing project using Linux and Cinelerra I edited and compiled all of the Cinelerra tutorials from The Source website into one meta tutorial video. The other tool I find to be very handy in this processes is MEncoder (or MPlayer). This is a command line application for converting video (users guide here). Because Cinelerra deals mostly with .ogg files (an open source file format I understand little about but have been told to think of as a zip file containing audio and/or video content), MEncoder will allow you in one command to convert, resize, and compress your video into something the rest of the world will be able to look at (eg. .avi). The command I used to to turn my 640×480 .ogg file into a slightly compressed 500×375 avi file that I could upload to vimeo looks like this:

  • mencoder cinelerra_tutorials.ogg -ovc lavc -oac mp3lame -vf scale=500:375 -ffourcc DX50 -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vrc_buf_size=800:vrc_maxrate=2800:vbitrate=700:keyint=15:vstrict=0:acodec=ac3 -o cinelerra_tutorials_2.avi

  • Navigate to your video files home directory, paste the code above into the terminal, replace ‘cinelerra_tutorials.ogg’ with the name of your input file and ‘cinelerra_tutorials_2.avi’ with the name of your output file name, give the computer a few minutes to think about it, and you should in the business of uploading your Linux edited video to your youtube account.

  • I’m still in the learning process of all this stuff, so if anyone has any tips or recourses they would like to share please leave some comments. And without further ado, I give you my first Linux edited video:

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    Posted on December 17, 2007

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