Kno Tablet for School Textbooks

posted in: Computers, Linux, Technology | 1

Kno textbook, notes, and web browser in a tablet

Earlier in the week, “I Can’t Internet” published my article “Will tablets replace laptops and netbooks?”  Essentially, my answer was no, but there are certain niche industries where it makes sense to move to tablets.

K-12 schools spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on textbooks.  Some charge rentals fees for students, but many urban schools lend textbooks to students and never get back the money they lose when their students’ dogs invariably eat their textbooks.

Kno has a possible solution:  a tablet that displays textbooks.   The initial cost is pretty high with the Kno single screen costing $599 and the awesome-looking dual screen that opens like a book costing $899.  But the textbooks cost significantly less, meaning schools will eventually save more in the long run.  Of course, seeing as how schools can barely afford to pay teachers right now, it is doubtful if they would be willing to make the initial investment.

6 Undercover Linux Devices

Droid, Kindle, Nook, Boxee, Roku, Revue (Google TV)

Linux has quietly inserted itself into the hands of millions of people without them evening knowing it.  Linux and free software supporters have long dreamed of the day when people would readily adopt Linux on their desktops and laptops, but it has been in the mobile and embeded markets that Linux has taken hold.  Anyway, here are 6 undercover Linux devices:

1. Roku – The tiny little media player that pumps out Netflix videos and other streaming content is Linux powered.  Unlike Linux desktops, it can play the DRM-laced videos from Netflix, but getting the Linux source code won’t help you hack it to that end.

2. Droid, HTC EVO, etc. – There are now a ton of Android phones flooding the mobile phone carriers.  Take your pick.  The Android operating system is a Linux variant, so all of them run Linux.

3. The Nook – The little e-book reader that could from Barnes and Noble is not only a Kindle killer.  It also runs Android and, therefore, Linux.

4. The Kindle – Not to be outdone by the Nook, Amazon’s own e-book reader also runs a custom Linux variant.   Nevertheless, like the odd Roku/Netflix situation, there is no desktop Kindle reader for Linux.

5. Google TV – Also Android-powered (seeing a trend yet?), Google TV will continue the Roku trend of bringing Linux to the living room.

6. Boxee Box – This aught to be called Geek Box, but people might confuse it with Geexbox.  This little cute thing can play just about anything you throw at it, making it a real competitor for Roku, Apple TV, and Google TV.  To top it all off, it runs Linux, and unlike the others, you can download Boxee for your Linux computer.

Will Linux make it into your stocking this year?

Jupiter, Netbooks, and Super Hybrid Engines

posted in: Free Software, Linux, Technology | 0

Girl modeling hybrid engine

One of the unique features of the Asus Eee PC is a function called Super Hybrid Engine (or what I like to call SHE) , which I’m told has nothing to do with the hybrid engine pictured above. On a Windows-powered machine, simply press Fn+Space to send your Eee PC into super speed (High Performance) or ludicrous speed (Maximum Performance).  When on battery power, it offers a PowerSave mode just like other power managers.  With maximum performance, you can actually squeeze smooth 1080p HD video (even with Flash) out of certain models like my 1201n.

If you happen to have something other than Windows running on your Eee PC, you have pretty much been out of luck…until now.  Jupiter, originally designed for Aurora, is a little Linux tool that gives you back the functionality Windows kept for itself.

Jupiter also gives you handy functionality like toggle settings for the touchpad, WiFi, bluetooth, screen rotation, external monitor support, and display resolution.  Best of all, Jupiter will remember your performance settings when you plug up or unplug your netbook, and it works with other netbooks besides Eee PCs.

Jupiter is free and open source and available for download from the project’s website.

Easy Samba Setup with KDE

posted in: KDE, Linux | 0

As promised, I wrote an article about setting up Samba in KDE.  It is not immediately obvious how to set it up in KDE, but it is easy if you follow the steps I have illustrated.  I have tested this method, so it should work for most Linux distributions and other Unix variants, as long as they have standard KDE installations.

Boxee recognizes Samba shares immediately.  All you have to do is add the ones you want in the sources settings.

Read the article here.

Sun Blast Game Review (On Linux)

posted in: Games, Links | 0

The makers of the game Sun Blast sent me a copy of their game for review, and I was very impressed.  It is integrated well within Linux and worked without any additional configuration.  Best of all, it has the ability to use a Wii remote for control (either one-handed or in two hands).  The motion control works very smoothly.

Before doing this review, I did not even know it was (easily) possible to connect a Wii remote to a computer, but I did it in only a few minutes.  All you need is a bluetooth adapter and a few software packages (all of which are already in the Ubuntu repository), namely wminput and lswm, both of which are primarily for testing purposes.  Connecting the Wii remote within the game is a simple detection process.

To read my full review of the game, visit

New KDE Userbase Design

posted in: Free Software, KDE | 0

The other day I noticed that KDE UserBase has a new look.

KDE UserBase screenshot

For those of you unfamiliar with KDE, it is a free and open source desktop environment, development platform, and application suite, primarily for Linux and other Unix-like operating systems.  Portions of KDE are also available for Mac OS X and Windows.

KDE UserBase is a wiki containing helpful documentation for KDE users.  While KDE TechBase is for more technical information, primarily for developers, the UserBase is designed to be simple and straightforward, even for beginners.

The New Oracle Kernel -Old Red Hat Clone

posted in: Free Software, Linux | 0

NetworkWorld has an interesting take on Oracle’s announcement of their “new” Linux kernel, which supposedly has amazing new features not found in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), which is, otherwise, the underlying source code for their own Unbreakable Linux.

The truth, according to the article, is that Oracle is still using RHEL for the other parts of their distribution but has slapped the latest Linux kernel on top of it, allowing it to support hardware, like solid state drives, that RHEL will not support until version 6 is released.  Instead of admitting this, Oracle is making it seem like they have developed their own version of the Linux kernel.

See the full article.

On a side note, every time I use or Virtualbox and see Oracle’s logo where Sun’s used to be, it gives me chills.  I don’t know why, but something about Oracle doesn’t sit right with me.  Maybe their low blow tactics to compete with Red Hat are just the beginning.

5 More Linux Games You Probably Haven’t Played

posted in: Games, Linux | 0

gaming tower with monitorLinux is not known for gaming, and when most people think of Linux games, they think of a few free and open source games that are good but not numerous. Nevertheless, there is a growing pool of free and commercial independent gaming developers who are pushing the envelope by offering their games on multiple platforms, including Linux.

They are available for purchase and download right over the Internet (often DRM-free), and some of them are pretty high quality. Here are five more you might not have played but are definitely worth giving a try.

The games: Mad Skills Motocross, Machinarium, And Yet It Moves, Tiny and Big, and OGS Mahjong.

Read the rest at

How to Configure Linux for Children

posted in: Linux | 0

Girl on Linux computer playing TuxPaintMany people still cling to the notion that Linux is for 30-year-old male geeks. While that may be true, there are plenty of other people of all ages, ethnicities, and genders who enjoy Linux and other free and open source software.

For the most part, the operating systems a child uses are determined by the child’s parents and school. As the parent and Linux user yourself, you may prefer your child to use Linux at home.

One feature of Linux desktop environments like KDE and Gnome is that they are extremely customizable. You can have one panel, two panels, or no panel at all. Just as easily as icons, menus, and widgets can appear, they can also disappear.

For that reason, you may find it necessary to set parameters for your children when using Linux. Whether you need tools to lockdown the desktop or filter Internet content, there is free software out there to help you. What follows is a short guide to preparing a Linux desktop for a child, complete with game recommendations.

Read the rest at

Spotify for Linux but not for Me

posted in: Linux | 0

Wall-E sad

Yes, I do use Linux, but I cannot use Spotify, despite the fact that the company just released a Linux version of its awesome music software.  With their P2P technology, users can share their music, create customizable playlists, and do all sorts of other cool things, as long as they are not in the U.S.

Spotify is still trying to work out “licensing” agreements with the recording industry in the U.S. (good luck with that).  How odd it would be if the music companies actually allowed legal P2P file sharing of their music.  It would certainly limit piracy, and they would still get paid.

Anyway, if you live anywhere from sea to shining sea, don’t hold your breath.  I suspect that Spotify may never reach a deal here in the U.S.

Nevertheless, those Linux users in other countries, enjoy your new toy.