My Ubuntu experience

I have installed Linux: Ubuntu a month back on my laptop and to my astonishment, the open source operating system is astounding. It is something I have been wanting to do for the past decade but never had the guts to do so. I am a person who is constantly haunted by the hunger to try something new which most of the time ends up in a terrible disaster. I get bored easily and that is why I always need to seek something fresh to fulfill my satisfaction. So I got confident enough to take it one step further into the typical dual-boot setup.

Installing Linux on my system was a breeze. I’ve downloaded the Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn ISO file and burned it on a CD. It took around 40 minutes for Ubuntu to be fully installed but I am guessing that it would take even less if it was installed on a faster computer. Ubuntu 7.04 starts up with a login screen which I am required to insert my username and password. After getting through the login screen, I am presented with the GNOME desktop environment. GNOME is the graphical user interface which sits on top of a computer operating system. Most of Linux distribution are based on the GNOME.

The user interface is pretty similar to the one of Window’s, not that I know of any other operating systems other than Windows. Like Microsoft Windows, GNOME also have horizontal menu bars. But instead of just one horizontal bar at the bottom, GNOME has two. One at the top and one at the bottom of the desktop. The top menu bar shows the different application and function that you can interact with just like Microsoft Windows Start button. The date and time is also displayed on the top right menu bar. The bottom menu bar shows currently active programs which when clicked will maximize onto the desktop. The trash can is also displayed on the bottom right corner of the menu bar. I find It rather easy to navigate through the applications from the menu.

Although at first I had some difficulties with connecting to the internet, I still managed to solve the problem with a little bit of googling and configuring. I even managed to install the latest driver for my ATI graphic card by using Envy. Envy is an application that detects the model of your graphic card (only ATI and Nvidia cards are supported) and install the appropriate driver. After successfully installing the driver, I am able to add extra visual effects to my working environment using Compiz Fusion. The extra visual effects gives a wobble effect to windows when they are dragged. A really slick effect for a desktop environment I would say. I can actually have more effects on Ubuntu desktop by installing the Advance Desktop Effect such as the Desktop Cube, Viewport Switcher, ADD Helper and Motion Blur.

To play my mp3s I need to use the Rhythmbox Music Player. I had to install the appropriate codex package first so that I can play most of the common music formats. With the default installation of Ubuntu, I would not be able to play music with .mp3 file extension or play movies with .avi file extension because they are restricted formats. So I need to install the w32codecs package to play them.

Updating Ubuntu is also very easy as I can do it over the network. All I need to do is go to Systems -> Administration -> Update Manager and click install update. I can also Upgrade to the latest version of Ubuntu. For example I want to upgrade my Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn to Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon. All of that can be done in Update Manager.

Ubuntu is a new experience for me but I am starting to love every part of it. For a Ubuntu beginner, I would say that I am very pleased with it. Very easy installation and updates and user friendly. And the best part of all Ubuntu is FREE.

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The very long tail

The Long Tail by Chris AndersonI’ve come across this term when I was first introduced to a book “The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More” written by Chris Anderson. The Long Tail, a phrase coined by Chris Anderson to describe the niche business strategies in the entertainment industry. A really interesting concept that focuses on niche products which is said to be the next big thing in the market. Niche products here meaning items that are non hits, unpopular and difficult to find. The long tail can be found in the many Terabytes of data found in the databases of giant companies such as Netflix, Amazon.com, ITunes and Rhapsody.

Chris Anderson is the editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine, which has won a National Magazine Award under his tenure. He started off with an acclaimed Wired article on the long tail that caught the attention of millions of people. He argues the Internet is encouraging an enormous amount of specialized creativity for specialized interests.

What I have discovered from reading The Long Tail is that people are shifting from a focus on a relatively small number of hits and moving towards a huge numbers of niches. With unlimited choices that the internet provides, we tend to want more than just hits. In the past we were so consumed by hits just because of the scarcity effect, the lack of distribution of content, because we didn’t have enough screens to show every movie that is available, because we didn’t have enough shelf space to display all the labels that exists, because we didn’t have enough radio waves to broadcast all the radio channels. The difference of the past and now is simply choices. With the internet we have unlimited screens, channels and shelf space. Giant companies such as Amazon.com and Netflix use this new culture to their advantage by setting up businesses on the internet where people can dig deeper into their catalog down the long, long list of available titles far past what’s available at Blockbuster Video and Tower Records.

Hits are still hits. They are great because if they weren’t, then they wouldn’t be called hits. They still amount as the majority of the total sales for these giant companies but we can see from their database that these markets of niche products are increasing every year. In other words, the fastest growing part of their businesses is sales of products that aren’t available in traditional, physical retail stores.

Long story short, The long tail is an entirely new economic model for the media and entertainment industries that is just beginning to show its power.

Back to blogging

It’s been so long since my last post. However I am still determined to continue writing. For 3 months I was unable to gain access to my blog from my university. One possible reason is that my university had filtered out websites with domain names with getenjoyment.org. So I had to look for another host which I hope would be more convenient. It would be easier if I just used one of the readymade CMS that blogspot or wordpress offers. But what’s the fun in that?

So now, I am hosting my blog on a different server which a friend of mine suggested. I really hope this would be the last time shifting to different free web hosts.