Friday, April 18, 2014

Basic Linux Directory Structure

I was reading through some old issues of Full Circle magazine, and I ran into this very handy guide written by ArsGeek on the Linux directory structure from the first issue.

The directory structure can be pretty overwhelming for new users. Reading various documentation can get very confusing if you do not understand the basic structure. For new users of Linux who are not familiar with the basic UNIX/Linux directory structure, this can be a very useful guide.

Be sure to check out Full Circle Magazine, which is an excellent, independent, community driven publication, for the latest and greats news, tips, and tricks in the world of Ubuntu. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Office 365 Personal for those without 5 PC’s

Microsoft recently released Office 365 personal edition which offers a subscription service for the latest version of office for 1 PC or Mac and 1 Tablet device. This edition has a pretty reasonable price of $6.99 per month for the latest versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, One Note, Access and Publisher. For those users who are on Mac this will include Office 2011 which has Outlook, Word, Excel, and Powerpoint only. (However, OneNote was recently released for OSX for a great price… Free! )

Prior to the Personal Edition, the subscription was $9.99 per month and allowed users to install Office on 5 different PC’s. This made a lot of sense for families, or people with many computers. Those with one computer didn’t really see the benefit of purchasing a subscription when they would not be able to fully utilize the service.

This is just in time for Office being released for the iPad which requires an Office 365 subscription in order to use.

I think that people will welcome the new personal edition. With this addition there are now several ways to get your hands on Office 2013.

1. Office 365 Subscription
2. One Time Purchase of various Tiers
3. Ala Carte purchase of specific software

If you are the type of person that always wants to be on the latest version of Office, then Office 365 is a great value. For those who have just recently let go of Office 2003 and are looking for the another Office Suite to use for the next 10 years, then it would make more sense to purchase Office 2013 for a One time Fee. I think the flexibility in the way that Office can be purchased is great because it allows users to decide which option works best for them.

Don’t forget, students can get a 4 year subscription to Office 365 for only $79.99. But before you buy a subscription make sure your school does not already offer a deeper discount for Office products. Many schools are using Dreamspark now to deliver Microsoft software to their students, faculty, and staff. Check with your University IT department before making any purchases.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Running BlueJ with Oracle Java 8 in Lubuntu

BlueJ is a great IDE for learning Java. The installer on the BlueJ website works great for any debain or ubuntu based system. The launcher in BlueJ is geared toward Java 7 so if you are running Java 8 you need to make a small change to the launch script in order to get it to work.

If you need help installing Java 8 in lubuntu, check out this excellent guide from webupd8.

After you have Java and BlueJ installed, if you try to launch it from the programs menu, nothing will happen. If you launch it from the terminal, you get a little bit more indication of what is wrong.

A suitable JDK couldn't be located. You may need to edit the
/usr/bin/bluej launch script.

Fortunately, this is an easy fix.

Open up a terminal and type:

sudo nano /usr/bin/bluej 

On the 14th line of that file you will see "for VMNAME in java-7-oracle jdk... "

Change the 7 to an 8 on this line. So your file should look something like this:

for VMNAME in java-8-oracle jdk-8-oracle

Press Ctr+X to exit and save the file. Now you will be able to launch BlueJ and hack away in Java! :)

Configure Email with Sylpheed

Lubuntu is a great lightweight Linux distribution that is prefect for users transitioning from Windows XP.

By default, it comes with the Sylpheed mail client. Which like most of the software that comes out of the box in Lubuntu is designed to be light weight and robust.

Sylpheed, is quick, easy to use, and pretty simple to configure. The first time that you launch sylpeheed it will create your default mail folder and allow you to configure your account.

1. On the first screen select IMAP and move forward.

2. On the next screen enter your display name (which can be anything you would like) and your email address.

3.  On the next screen enter your full email address again for User ID. The IMAP4 server is and the SMTP server is Make sure that Use SSL and Use SMTP authentication boxes are checked for both the IMAP4 server and the SMTP server settings.

Now your account is created and you will be able to receive mail. However, in order to be able to send mail you need to make one final configuration adjustment.

4. Navigate to Configuration -> Edit Accounts

5. Select your account and select edit.

6. Go to the SSL tab and make sure that Use STARTTLS command to start SSL session is selected.

Now you are all set, and you can send and receive email with Sylpheed.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Dell Inspiron 7000 Memory Upgrade

I recently picked up an 15” Inspiron 7000 – it is a very powerful, sleek, and stylish machine for under $1000. I had 16GB of RAM laying around that I wanted to upgrade the existing 8GB with.

The idea here is to use this laptop for everything – its got a great processor, nice screen, usable keyboard, and a huge 1TB hard drive.

I read online that some people seem to think that the memory was soldered onto the motherboard (something that Apple is now doing on all MBP Retina and MBA models). I am happy to verify that this is not true.

There are 6 Screws on the bottom of the machine. Taking out the four on the edges, and loosening the two in the middle will allow you to “pry open” the bottom case and expose the two memory modules which can be replaced with 1600Mhz DDR3L Memory Chips.

Check out the documentation for more information. I don’t usually write reviews but if you are looking for a powerful, desktop replacement with a good battery life for under $1000 I would definitely recommend this machine!