Saturday, May 8, 2010

Iron Man 2 leads into The Avengers movie.

Marvel Comics is opening up a door that has never been opened before. Linking the Marvel movies together to form a single movie universe could be a disaster or a genius move, we'll just have to wait and see. I will be paying to see whatever Marvel movies come out because I'm a fanboy, comic book collector, & geek. It will be challenging to have so many big name superheroes in the Avengers movie without it being at least 4 hours long. The X-Men movies were good, but superhero teams don't translate so well into superhero team movies mainly because you don't have enough time to establish the origins of team members. But I guess that Marvel has decided to put out individual movies to establish the backgrounds of the team members of the Avengers which may work fine in the long run.

I thought the movie was just as good as the first Iron Man. Iron Man 2 had more comedic moments in it, but the laughs fit in very well. I believe there will definitely be an Iron Man 3, at least I hope so. Using Whiplash and Hammer as villains brought a decent amount of balance to the film. I like how they worked in more of the Avengers storyline. It was also good to see Howard Stark in the movie too, you never hear too much about Howard Stark in the comic books.

I guess how Fury ended things with Stark left Marvel room to go either way in terms of having Iron Man in the new Avengers movie. Finding Thor's hammer in the desert sets up the new Thor movie that is being worked on. The Captain America shield that Tony used to prop up his particle accelerator machine had to be an early prototype of some sort of Captain America's shield. I'm guessing that Howard Stark played a role in the creation of Captain America's shield back in the day. Will we see Howard Stark in the upcoming Captain America movie? It will be interesting to see where Marvel goes from here. There are still plenty of good villains in the Iron Man universe. I'm guessing that the next movie will be about either The Mandarin, Modock, or A.I.M. The end of the movie where Tony kisses Pepper makes no sense. They tried to develop a relationship in the first Iron Man and that didn't work, so why do it again in Iron Man 2?

I don't expect the upcoming Avengers movie to be anything like the comic book because it simply can't be, but it should still be good if done right without being hindered by a limited budget. I have no doubts that the Avenger movie may be the most expensive movie Marvel makes to date. We'll just have to wait and see true believers! Share/Save/Bookmark

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Apple iPad v. Amazon Kindle - Round 1

Both the Apple iPad and the Amazon Kindle are amazing devices. I have personally been able to spend some time with both devices recently and I wanted to share my initial impressions of both. The Amazon Kindle is good at what it does, display books in electronic format for reading. The Amazon Kindle 2 and the DX version are single purpose devices for reading only. The Apple iPad is a multi-purpose device that can be used as an ereader and much more. For the sake of rating the ereading experience alone on both devices, I believe that Apple provides a richer experience in ways that the Amazon Kindle can't. First, the Apple iPad is in color and the Amazon Kindle is not. In favor of the Kindle 2, it is priced lower than the iPad. However, the iPad is competitively price in the same range as the Amazon Kindle DX. If you are in the market for a purely simple ereader device and that is the only thing you want to do with the device and you did not plan to read PDF documents, I'd recommend the Amazon Kindle 2 to you. But if you were in need of a larger screen, and wanted to manipulate and interact with more content beyond books, then I'd go with the iPad.

As I spend more time with either device, I'll be posting further comments about the Kindle and iPad. If you have either device, please feel welcomed to share your testimony & review of your favorite ereader with the readers of Anything But Windows blog. Share/Save/Bookmark

Monday, March 22, 2010

Installing and Testing Out Ubuntu 10.04 Beta 1

I thought I'd take the time to install Ubuntu 10.04 Beta 1 since I'm definitely planning on installing the final 10.04 LTS release of Ubuntu on all of my computers. So far, so good, I haven't encountered any problems so far. My initial impressions are very good. The operating system is very snappy, and the over all look of Ubuntu 10.04 is a vast improvement from previous versions. I no longer feel as if I have to modify the .font.conf file to have my fonts look smooth. My wireless adapter on my laptop was detected right away. I will be testing out some features that I've read about to see how they work, to include testing out whether or not I can synchronize my iPhone with Ubuntu. I won't say I'm not doubtful about how good syncing the iPhone on Ubuntu is going to be. I have high hopes in regards to Linux support for working with the iPhone, but I'll keep my expectations low because Apple's history with allowing their devices to work with other operating systems. If syncing the iPhone does work, I don't believe it will work for long as Apple will more than likely release an update to the iPhone which would disable the ability for the iPhone to synchronize with Ubuntu. I'd really wish Apple would release a version of iTunes for Linux. Share/Save/Bookmark

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Testing out ISO Master

I was trying out ISO Master tonight, as I need a tool to manipulate ISO files. I'm trying to create my first multi-distro Live CD. I downloaded the tarball from without any problems.

To extract the tarball, you can either browse via nautilus to the isomaster-1.3.6.tar.bz2, right click and extract here, or you can do extract the tarball the fun way by using the terminal. My perfered terminal application is Terminator. Open up Terminator, browse to the folder where you have the .tar.bz2 located at and run the following command

tar -xvjf isomaster-1.3.6.tar.bz2

This will extract the contents of the tarball into a folder named "isomaster-1.3.6."

Next you want to type "cd isomaster-1.3.6" to change directories to "isomaster-1.3.6" folder.

Within the folder you will a very detailed and well laid out README.TXT file that explains exactly what you need to do to install ISO Master. If you are using Ubuntu, all you have to do is run the following commands to install the application:

sudo make install

When all is said and done, you will have a new application installed called ISO Master. I highly recommend that you check out this excellent piece of software that is supported extremely well by Mr. Andrew Smith. Mr. Smith helped me out tremendously in resolving an error message that I received the first time I tried to install ISO Master from the source tarball. Mr. Smith replied within minutes of me sending him an email about my questions and the error message I received. Mr. Smith gave me detailed feedback and instructions about how to resolve the problem & it worked like a charm. Not only is ISO Master a well made application, it's developer, Mr. Smith provides excellent support and is very open to feedback. Mr. Smith's prompt response to my inquiry about his application is just one more reason why I love using Linux which is my primary operating system of choice over Windows and Apple OS X.

Linux is here to stay and the sky is the limits of where this vibrant and fluid operating system called Linux can go because of developers like Mr. Andrew Smith who are making extremely useful applications for anyone to use.

Check out ISO Master when you get the time at because it is a top notch piece of software to add to your Linux OS. Share/Save/Bookmark

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference by Keir Thomas

I definitely recommend that you pick up a copy of the book, Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference by Keir Thomas. The book is a valuable source to any Ubuntu Linux user regardless of your experience level with the operating system. You can even download a free complete PDF version of the book from the website at <> . The PDF version is nice, but we need to really support the open source movement with our dollars, so pick up a copy of the book. You can order the book online from by clicking here.

Ubuntu 9.04 has been released in the wild.

It is about that time to download the latest version of Ubuntu that has just been released. Head on over to <> for more information about how to download the ISO files or order your very own Ubuntu install CDs for free. Check out what other people are saying about the latest version of Ubuntu that was released into the wild on April 24, 2008.

For those of you who are already running Ubuntu 8.10, you can check out an article on Ubuntu Geek about how to upgrade from 8.10 to 9.04. Click here to read the excellent article from Ubuntu Geek now. Share/Save/Bookmark

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Rise of Netbooks

Netbooks are taking the computer market over by storm. They are all the rage, and it seems the term "netbook" is the new buzz word that you hear about on CNN or see on tech websites like CNET <> . What is a netbook? In very simple terms a netbook is a shrinked down cousin of the much bigger laptop that everyone has grown to love & hate (especially if your hard drive crashes and it is your only computer you have). Netbooks are the "Mini-Me" of laptops (see the YouTube clip below and check out the Austin Powers movies for more info).

Like Mini-Me, netbooks are pure genius in their concept and purpose for which they are designed to meet. Netbooks are primarily designed for emailing, surfing the web, and doing light word processing. You don't need a full blown laptop that will cost you upwards of $1000.00 to accomplish the tasks of checking your email, surfing the web, and doing word processing. Netbooks would make great computers for kids, students, people who do light traveling and still need to be connected to the Internet cloud, road warriors who are tired of lugging around back breaking laptops, and power desktop users who can't drag their fabled desktop PCs into the living room to surf the web while they are watching Lost, Heroes, or 24 on their 42" flat screen TVs. Netbooks are too cheap for laptop manufacturers not to make them, since they can flip a decent profit on a device that probably costs them pennies compared to the price the consumer will eventually have to pay for them.

I'll admit that a netbook would make a great addition to anyone's tech arsenal for numerous reasons. Take myself for example, I've used laptops over the years both at work on a professional basis, and on a personal basis. Laptops have their place, but I will always espouse the benefits of a desktop PC vs. a lapotp any day of the week if I'm making a point about which I'd use for my primary computer. But the desktop vs. laptop argument is a post for another day. Who hasn't wanted to check their email while sitting on the couch watching their favorite show? I know I've wanted to do that, but I don't want to drop $1000.00 to do that. I can use the exercise and I don't mind getting up to walk to my computer room to check my email if I really need to that. Netbooks make the Internet a more personal and mobile experience for a person especially when you have the ability to take it with you as long as you have a wifi connection around to jump online with. Even if you don't have wifi, there is still a benefit to being able to have a small computer with you that you can be productive on when the urge hits you. If I was taking a college class in a traditional brick & mortar classroom, I'd definitely want a netbook at my side just for the simple fact of being able to take notes & jump on the college/university LAN when the lecture hits the boring, sleep inducing spots that exist in all lectures. Overall, I think the concept of netbooks is great and I hope it is a niche that is around to stay. Netbooks represent the writing on the wall. The "wall" I allude to is the eventually advent of a true tablet computer. I'm sure the tech aliens over at Apple are working on something like a tablet computer. On a side bar, the folks at Apple seem to bring science fiction to life in amazing ways, just take a look at the iPhone <> and I don't have to say anything else in that regards, back to netbooks though.

I think everyone was sleep at the wheel when ASUS dropped their netbook on the market which sparked the netbook revolution that we are now in the midst of. In typical Microsoft fashion, the storm troopers at Redmond and their mindless fanboys in the press have been spreading misleading articles about Windows dominance of the netbook market (click on the article links below:
I don't buy many of the arguments in the 3 articles above that I referred you to because I believe that there are more Linux users out there than anyone accurately knows. At the most, the articles and others like them only present one side of a two sided argument. With over 10 years of experience of actively working in the Information Technology field on a professional basis, I can safely say that out of the box that Windows is not easier to use than Linux. For starters, to use just about any sort of peripheral in Windows, you have to have the associated driver for that device in order for the operating system to be able to communicate and interface with that peripheral, Windows plug-n-play is a well known myth in IT circles. Out of the box for Windows, means you can only surf the Internet and fire-up Wordpad if you need word processing. Linux on the other hand is an entirely different story. With Ubuntu <>, my Linux distrobution of choice, you get a ton of applications out of the box like:
  • Firefox - a much better and innovative web browser than Internet Explorer.
  • Tons of free games.
  • F-Spot - a photo manager.
  • Gimp - a photo editor.
  • Open Office - a full blown office productivity suite that includes words processing, spreadsheet, and power point applictions that really work and get the job done.
  • Brasero - a professional CD/DVD burning application.
  • Transmission - an awesome BitTorrent client.
  • And rock solid security as soon as you press the power button.
There isn't enough room in this blog to list all the software that is freely available for Linux that is out there for the masses to not only just use, but to also tweak, customize, and perfect to their own specific tastes and needs. There are thousands of software applications that are no farther away than a very simple "sudo apt-get install XXX.deb" or search through the Synaptic Package Manager in Ubuntu. Let's just say that Linux is like legion, we are 10s of thousands deep & we are everywhere. Do you have a cell phone? Have you checked out the latest hollywood blockbuster? I have no doubts that you would be surprised to discover just how deep Linux runs within the world of technology. What do you think most Internet backbone servers run on?
Typical netbooks come with between 512MB to 1GB of RAM, an average video processor, an Intel Atom processor, and a decent size hard drive. These specifications alone would cause me to think of something other than Windows to run on a netbook. Have you every tried to run Windows XP on a computer with 512MB or 1GB of RAM? It isn't a pretty experience that I'd write home about if I wanted to brag about something. 1GB of RAM is the bare minimum to get decent performance out of Windows XP. I'm amazed at how people & OEMs have been duped by Microsoft into buying into the hype of netbooks that come pre-loaded with ancient Windows XP! Yes, most people do use Microsoft Windows, but that doesn't equate to Windows being the right operating system for the job. You can run Linux on just about anything due to its flexibility, low hardware requirements, and compatibility with a very broad range of computer hardware. Anything, as in the super small picotux - the smallest Linux computer in the world. The picotux 100 is the world's smallest Linux, only slightly larger (35mmx19mmx19mm) than a RJ-45 connector, see the picture below.

More information about the picotux 100 can be found here.

The hardware requirements for Ubuntu are meager when you compare them to what you need for Windows XP or Vista. Ubuntu or Kubuntu have the recommended minimum requirements of:
  • 700 MHz x86 processor
  • 384 MB of system memory (RAM)
  • 8 GB of disk space
  • Graphiccs card capable of 1024x768 resolution
  • Sound card
  • A network or Internet connection
More installation system requirements can be found here.

Linux is like the Jedi of Star Wars, and Microsoft is like the Sith. We know who wins the war eventually, but for now, Linux users need to band together whenever and wherever we can to spread the word about Linux and open source software. Ignorance about the advantages and power of Linux is something we must combat aggressively and whenever we get the chance to. Don't buy into the hype about Windows dominating the netbook market, because it simply isn't true. Linux gives users their powers back in regards to turning a mundane computer experience into an adventure of epic and informative proportions as you plunge into the world of using Linux. I believe in time that Linux will eventually overcome the suffocating dominance of Windows to finds its voice in the mainstream technology and computer circles and coexist with Microsoft on a more public level than it does now.

Total freedom is one of the true beauties and strengths of Linux & open source software, even though I'd be willing to pay for Ubuntu if I had to because it is well worth my dollars.

Have no doubts about it, if I ever get a netbook, it will definitely be running Ubuntu Remix, Ubuntu's Linux OS for netbooks!

Additional resources and information can be found below at the following links & videos.