Installing the latest stable version of LibreCAD on Ubuntu

I have recently been looking at different CAD options on Ubuntu and LibreCAD ( is looking like the best option for my needs at current (apart from the wish there would be some DWG support). Since the main Ubuntu repositories are usually a fair bit behind the lastest stable realeases of LibreCAD you need to add the LibreCAD Dev PPA Repository sudo add-apt-repository ppa:librecad-dev/librecad-stable sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install librecad

Continue ReadingInstalling the latest stable version of LibreCAD on Ubuntu

Bulk converting Office documents to PDF

When you need to convert multiple documents to PDF for distribution (or from one Office format to another) there are a few utilities around. The most workable I found is the UNOCONV utility which is build on top of LibreOffice / OpenOffice. This uses the OpenOffice conversion facilities rather than a simple PDF print driver. On Ubuntu it can be installed via Software Center or via apt-get from the core repositories. sudo apt-get install unoconv Combined with the -exec option of the Unix find command this makes conversion of whole directory structures a breeze. #find all Word Documents and convert to PDF find . -name "*.doc*" -exec unoconv -f pdf {} \; #find all Powerpoint Documents and convert to PDF find . -name "*.ppt*" -exec unoconv -f pdf {} \; To show all the possible conversion formats you can use: unoconv --show The following list of document formats are currently available: bib - BibTeX [.bib] doc - Microsoft Word 97/2000/XP [.doc] doc6 - Microsoft Word 6.0 [.doc] doc95 - Microsoft Word 95 [.doc] docbook - DocBook [.xml] html - HTML Document ( Writer) [.html] odt - ODF Text Document [.odt] ott - Open Document Text [.ott] ooxml - Microsoft Office Open XML [.xml] pdf - Portable Document Format [.pdf] rtf - Rich Text Format [.rtf] latex - LaTeX 2e [.ltx] sdw - StarWriter 5.0 [.sdw] sdw4 - StarWriter 4.0 [.sdw] sdw3 - StarWriter 3.0 [.sdw] stw - Open 1.0 Text Document Template [.stw] sxw - Open 1.0 Text…

Continue ReadingBulk converting Office documents to PDF

Installing Samsung Multifunction Printer – Ubuntu 11.10

Getting Multifunction Printers to scan under Linux can be a bit of a pain. The Samsung SCX-3400 I had to install recently was no exception. Here are the necessary steps I had to perform: Ignore all Samsung Provided CD's and downloads. They do not work under Oneiric Ocelot (11.10) Add Samsung Unified Driver repository Install Samsung drivers and libsane-extras Edit sane configuration files vim /etc/apt/sources.list #add the Samsung Unified Driver Repo deb debian extra wget apt-key add suldr.gpg apt-get update apt-get install samsungmfp-data samsungmfp-driver samsungmfp-network samsungmfp-scanner samsungmfp-configurator-data samsungmfp-configurator-qt4 libsane-extras The following sane config files need to be modified (add lines) /etc/sane.d/xerox_mfp.conf # Samsung SCX-3400 usb 0x04e8 0x344f /lib/udev/rules.d/40-libsane.rules # Samsung SCX-3400 ATTRS{idVendor}=="04e8", ATTRS{idProduct}=="344f", ENV{libsane_matched}="yes" The entries above are for the SCX-3400 model. To find the USB ID's for other models use sane-find-scanner Thanks to the following Ubuntu Forum participants for providing some the tips:

Continue ReadingInstalling Samsung Multifunction Printer – Ubuntu 11.10

Finding a Notepad++ alternative / replacement on Ubuntu

One of the most important utilities on any computer is a decent text editing tool. Since there are as literally hundreds of text-editors out there you would think it is an easy task to find a similar one for each platform.   by  Thomas Hawk  After years of trialing on various Windows platforms I have found Notepad++ to be the most useful of them all (closely followed by EMEditor which I used for years before Notepad++). Since I have now switched to Ubuntu completely it was necessary to find a permanent alternative on that platform since Notepad++ is only available on Windows. The requirements list in order of priority: Fast & Native (reading NOT Java or similar runtime requirements) Excellent Search & Replace (which is where most fail ....) Lightweight Simple GUI (reading NOT an IDE) Potential Candidates Scite Scite was my first try since it is based on the same engine as Notepad++. I have used it for a number of months but was never really happy with it. Issues with "Find in Files" functionality have been the final issue that make me move on. Geany I came across this one very recently and after a short trial period grown to really like it. Apart   from it's silly name and very ugly icon it really has got the nicest overall balance of speed and functionality. And most importantly it also has very decent in-built search & replace functions. This includes "Find in Files" functionality which actually works. Vim (Cream) Since vim is my command-line text editor of choice for years I was…

Continue ReadingFinding a Notepad++ alternative / replacement on Ubuntu

Turning the Toshiba Z830 into a Ubuntu Ultrabook

EDIT: Here are some tweaks if you install 12.04 (Precise Pangolin). Since I will have to do a fair amount of traveling in the next year I was in need of upgrading my trusted workhorse of Toshiba Qosmio F60 to a more portable option that will be easier on the shoulders during long travels. After doing some research into which of the major manufacturers offer the best support for a Linux based Operating System it came down to a final two: the Intel i7 variants of Samsung Series 9 and the Toshiba Z830. Thanks to these sites for some useful content: In the end it came down to Toshiba having full-size VGA, HDMI and Ethernet connectors at the rear of the unit (no need for carrying adapters) and getting a very decent price rebate for the Toshiba. The first and only task in the included Windows 7 OS was to create a recovery USB drive using the Toshiba included utility (on the desktop). You need a 12GB USB stick (found out the hard way after buying an 8GB version with the unit on advice of the sales guy). After booting from a USB stick created from the Ubuntu 11.10 ISO ( with Ubuntu Bootdisk Creator (or alternatively UnetBootin) I opted to wipe the whole SSD drive. If you are not sure that you want to stick with Ubuntu it might be safer to try running from USB or dual-boot. Note: you need to use the USB3…

Continue ReadingTurning the Toshiba Z830 into a Ubuntu Ultrabook

Using Google Goggles in mobile learning projects

One of the lesser known free Google services in our experience is Google Goggles. Specially in it's lastest release (Version 1.7) it has received a few enhancements that make it very useful for some mobile learning applications Scanning of barcodes Google Googles will scan most standard barcodes and provide information on the product scanned. Here is an example from the Google Mobile Blog: Let’s say you’re reading a magazine article you really like and want to share it with your friends. Just point Goggles at a part of the page, and instantly find a link to an online version to share immediately or read again later. You won’t even need the entire article in the frame. Goggles will also pull up more information from pages around the web where that text is mentioned, so its easier to learn about what you’re seeing. Text recognition You can use Google Googles to take images of printed text and have the result converted to text using OCR (Optical Character Recognition). Whil the results may vary our own test have shown good results on newspaper and magazines. To download Google Goggles you can scan the QR code below Google Goggles are currently available for both Android and iOS phones (just install via Android Market or Apple App Store. See for further details.

Continue ReadingUsing Google Goggles in mobile learning projects

Open Governance Index – measuring openness

This is an interesting report and info-graphic by the folks at VisionMobile on a new way of measuring the openness of some mobile open source projects. The Open Governance Index measures the true openness of eight open source projects - Android, Qt, Symbian, MeeGo, Mozilla, WebKit, Linux and Eclipse - and analyses how governance, and not licenses, tell the full story of a project's openness, across transparency, influence and control. The full report can be downloaded free (email required) here.

Continue ReadingOpen Governance Index – measuring openness

Facebook – good riddance !

Finally I made the effort to completely get rid of my Facebook Account. After initially getting a Facebook Account in the very early days (as an 'occupational hazard' to investigate the potential of Facebook Applications) I have always been suspicious of the companies motives and decided not to use such a closed system as a base for application development. Recent developments have only confirmed this suspision: Instead I will concentrate all of my content inside this blog (including as a backup for other social services I create). I believe the control over my own content is important enough for me to warrant the extra effort. As the saying goes: 'You are not a Facebook User - you are the Product'   by  cogdogblog 

Continue ReadingFacebook – good riddance !

Google Adsense – or when is big TOO big ?

I am not generally one for writing blog entries about customer support failures. Thanks to my technical work I have had my fair share of dealing with call queues and help-desk systems over the last 20 years. But compared with my experience with Google AdSense over the last weeks all of these just pale into funny memories. I have never experienced the outright refusal to acknowledge an issue and blanket denial of communications.   by  Alicakes*    The whole disaster began with an email we received in early August that our (Business) AdSense Account has been disabled. This message was sent from a notification-only email address that does not accept incoming email. Please do not reply to this message. Hello, After reviewing our records, we've determined that your AdSense account poses a risk of generating invalid activity. Because we have a responsibility to protect our AdWords advertisers from inflated costs due to invalid activity, we've found it necessary to disable your AdSense account. Your outstanding balance and Google's share of the revenue will both be fully refunded to the affected advertisers. Please understand that we need to take such steps to maintain the effectiveness of Google's advertising system, particularly the advertiser-publisher relationship. We understand the inconvenience that this may cause you, and we thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation. If you have any questions or concerns about the actions we've taken, how you can appeal this decision or invalid activity in general, you can find more information by visiting…

Continue ReadingGoogle Adsense – or when is big TOO big ?