Monthly Archives: May 2011


CrossOver is available for both Linux and Macintosh systems. It uses similar technology to Wine, but CodeWeavers have tweaked the application to make it easier to use, and provide support to subscribers for a limited period. At the time of writing, CrossOver for Linux with 12 months of support was available for $US60. A version for Macintosh users is also available. A trial version can be downloaded and used for 30 days without restrictions. To install CrossOver, download the appropriate DEB file from the CodeWeavers site at, and double-click on it to open it in the installer.
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Posted by on May 29, 2011 in Simulators


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Getting organised: GCStar

I am not an organised person. Some people react to complex, interesting things happening in their lives by firing up Google Calendar, setting up a To-Do list on their PDA, and automating their address book. I react by going to bed, hiding under the covers and hoping it will all go away. The crowning glory of our civilisation, after all, is that we have reached the point where a large proportion of the human population can look forward to a life of happy tedium, unmarred by flood, famine, disease, war or violent death: why spoil it by deliberately going out and doing stuff? Read the rest of this entry »


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Jolicloud: a Unity that works?

Long boring background story: at home I have a broadband router and three desktop computer (plus one laser printer) plugged into it by cable. Any of them are capable of running Linux Mint and connecting to the Internet and other PCs, though at the moment only one of them does. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on May 15, 2011 in Ubuntu, Unity, Vista


Ubuntu Unity — first (and last) impressions

I must be missing something. Here we are with a new interface for Ubuntu, a new KDE, a new Gnome, a new GTK, and I haven’t yet been able to figure out what was wrong with the old ones. I used Ubuntu for more than a year, and I have used Mint, which largely entails Ubuntu’s interface, for more than a year, and I haven’t yet found anything that I want to do which the interface prevents me from doing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on May 10, 2011 in Gnome, GTK, KDE, Ubuntu, Unity, Vista


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Why ‘Linux networks’ is an oxymoron

Fifteen years ago or so, local area networks were strange and exotic things, and setting one up was a rite of initiation for the young computer technician. With trembling, sweaty fingers on the keyboard, they would gradually make their way through the layers of the sleeping network’s consciousness, tweaking settings and codes as they went, hoping against hope not to wake the dormant giant before everything was ready. Then the gradual retreat, taking care not to leave any open doors or signs of their presence: then the awakening, and the hoping against hope that this time, this time! the arcane instructions would take hold, the magic would operate, and the network would recognise your poor little PC. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on May 6, 2011 in Networks, WiFi


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Virtually working

I have a word of advice for anyone bringing out a new version of a Linux distro — or any other operating system (OS) for that matter. Make sure it works in VirtualBox! Why? Because VirtualBox and similar programs are increasingly becoming the major testing grounds for any new software, particularly software that could destroy or seriously damage a system. I’ve been through enough failed installations and dual-boot nightmares to know that you don’t install a new OS unless it offers some fairly spectacular advantages over the one you currently have. Admittedly, when you already have Linux Mint that’s pretty hard to do, but I am happy to give other systems the benefit of the doubt, and as each new version of Ubuntu or Fedora or OpenSUSE comes out online, or appears in the letterbox with the latest copy of Linux Format, I fire up VirtualBox and give it a run. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on May 5, 2011 in Fedora, Mint OS, Ubuntu, VirtualBox



Creche epistle

In 1968 the US Science fiction writer Philip K Dick wrote a novel entitled Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? about a future in which a bounty hunter pursues sociopathic androids that have escaped from custody. The book got a second lease of life when it was used as the basis for the film Blade Runner with Harrison Ford and a young Daryl Hannah, and a third ‘electric sheep’ was adopted for the name of the Internet’s first social-networking screensaver. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on May 1, 2011 in Games, Graphics software, Monitors