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Posts Tagged Facebook

Happy Mother’s Day

I stole this from Michele’s facebook page:

Happy Mommy’s Day to ALL the mommies out there-the women who choose to love children unconditionally, whether they grew in your stomach or someone else’s. ♥

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms–the ones Michele mentioned, and the grandmas, the aunts, the caregivers–those who care, and an extra-special dose of love to Michele, my grandmother Sonya, and my almost-mother-in-law Nola. :)

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’ve changed the banner image, and I’d like to try doing this with different holidays, too.  If there’s a holiday I miss, or if you’d like to suggest a banner image for a certain holiday/celebration, contact me.

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My suggestions for WordPress plugins

Here’s my suggestions for a great set of WordPress plugins. The descriptions provided here are from the plug-ins themselves, and the links go to the plugin page on WordPress.org. You can also go to your ‘Plugins’ area in your WordPress dashboard to search for and install any of the below plugins easily.

Bad BehaviorDeny automated spambots access to your PHP-based Web site.

Contextual Related PostsShow user defined number of contextually related posts.

Fast Secure Contact Form – Fast Secure Contact Form for WordPress. The contact form lets your visitors send you a quick E-mail message. Super customizable with a multi-form feature, optional extra fields, and an option to redirect visitors to any URL after the message is sent. Includes CAPTCHA and Akismet support to block all common spammer tactics. Spam is no longer a problem.

Fluency Admin – Give your WordPress admin the Fluency look, Fluency 2.4 is the latest update and is compatible with WP 3.1.x.

Google XML Sitemaps – This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com to better index your blog.

Jetpack by WordPress.com – Bring the power of the WordPress.com cloud to your self-hosted WordPress. Jetpack enables you to connect your blog to a WordPress.com account to use the powerful features normally only available to WordPress.com users.

Simple Facebook Connect – Simple Facebook Connect is a series of plugins that let you add any sort of Facebook Connect functionality you like to a WordPress blog.

Simple Twitter Connect – Makes it easy for your site to use Twitter, in a wholly modular way.

WP-PageNavi – Adds a more advanced paging navigation to your WordPress blog

What plugins do you use on your WordPress-powered blog? Have any to recommend? Are you a plugin author and want to “plug” your plugin? :) Please feel free to leave a comment below!

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Must-have Android apps?

I initially had my list of must-have Android apps posted in my review of my Samsung Moment, but I thought they deserved a mention apart from my awful experience with that phone.

I’ve recently updated this list to reflect my current list of must-have Android apps, rather than the old list. Quite a few of my recommendations have changed. These are recommendations for Froyo and newer. So here they are, in no particular order, and now with Market links. Note that some of these application descriptions have been taken directly from Market where I feel the author has explained it better than I could. If you have an iPhone, feel free to check out my list of must-have iPhone apps as well.

aCar
An all-in-one application to track and manage your car: maintenance, fill-ups, fuel mileage, expenses, business trips and more.

Advanced Task Killer (ATK)
Simple, easy-to-use task killer that supports automatically killing tasks as well as force-closing unwanted system tasks.

Astro File Manager
In my opinion the best free file manager / file explorer program available for Android. Easy manage files on your device and SD card. Easy to use, free, and powerful.

Autokiller Memory Optimizer
An outstanding and powerful automatic task killer with manual-kill features and additional tuning for rooted phones. Does have some advanced tuning features, so novice users may want to consider ATK above instead.

Barcode Scanner
A fun little app for using the camera to extract human-readable info from 1D and 2D barcodes. Supports many different barcode formats and recognizes codes quickly.

Barcode2file
The natural compliment to Barcode Scanner. Save your scans in a text file or send them via email with a simple touch. Supports batch scanning as well.

Battery Indicator
A free, simple, no-nonsense application to display your remaining battery as a percentage in your notification area.

Battery Widget
This widget displays the battery charge level as a percent on the home screen and offers one-touch access to the Wifi, GPS, and Bluetooth power toggles

Data Counter Widget
A must-have for those who are on data-limited plans. This widget displays your cell and wifi data usage for the month (or another configurable period of time) as a home screen widget.

Dolphin Browser HD
Puts the stock browser to shame. Easy full-screen browsing with swipe access to plugins and gesture  support for quick access to your favorite websites. Supports a variety of plugins as well.

Eternal Legacy HD
If you’re a fan of the turn-based fantasy RPG’s (think Final Fantasy) you will LOVE Eternal Legacy HD. This one is NOT available on Market, but is available from Gameloft.  Check the link for actual phone compatibility.

Evernote
This is one of those apps that once you have it you’re not sure ow you got along without it. Evernote is an easy-to-use, free app that helps you remember everything across all of the devices you use. Stay organized, save your ideas and improve productivity. Evernote lets you take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders–and makes these notes completely searchable, whether you are at home, at work, or on the go. Since Evernote’s notes are synced to all of your devices via the cloud, you don’t have to worry about losing them.

FBI Child ID
While the Android app is still in development as of  the date of this update, FBI Child ID is a must-have for anyone with a child that they are responsible for. You can store photos, identifying information, and have the comfort of having it with you whenever you have your phone. With the ability to send it to authorities with a few taps, FBI Child ID can save valuable time in the event of a lost or missing child. See the FBI’s official Child ID page for more information.

Facebook
What can I say? Facebook app. Much better with recent improvements.

Hackers Keyboard
I don’t like Swype — It lacks some of the extended characters that I use and I’m a tap-typer rather than a swipe-typer. When I do inadvertently swipe my finger across the keyboard it tends to mangle whatever I was trying to type. For me, Hackers Keyboard is better — and free!

JuiceDefender – Battery Saver
A freemium, easy-to-use application to monitor and extend the life of your phone or tablet. Features widgets that give you one-touch access to status and features.

JuicePlotter
Great app to show historical data about battery life and usage, as well as a widget to show time-to-charge and time-remaining on your battery life. Very useful, and gets more accurate over time.

LastPass
A great password manager. LastPass web site. With fast and easy access to your LastPass password vault, the LastPass mobile app is a must-have. (Note: Requires a LastPass premium subscription – $12/year)

Lookout Mobile Security
Contains an anti-virus element, phone location, and backup/restore services. Excellent service for free, and a quite reasonable paid subscription service.

Meebo IM
A multi-protocol instant messenger for Android. Supports AIM, Facebook, Google Talk, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, MySpace, and Yahoo messenger protocols.

Parcels
Track FedEx, UPS, USPS, DHL and more right from your handheld. Also allows you to scan barcodes before shipping to be informed on their progress to the recipient.

PayPal
Handy for sending money via PayPal while on the go.

Spare Parts Plus
This is a handy utility for editing some hidden functions of your phone or tablet device. Settings should be changed carefully. The most useful reason for this app is enabling/disabling compatibility mode.

Twitter
It’s Twitter. Do I need to say any more?

Waze
Waze uses your devices GPS to not only provide turn-by-turn navigation, but also provides crowd-sourced traffic data to other Waze users  about traffic, delays, police presence, accidents, and other road incidents. Waze allows you to report a road incident with just a few taps on the screen, and Waze works well in both portrait and landscape orientation. (Thanks Jeff T. for the recommendation!)

WeatherBug Elite
Shows up-to-date weather information, forecast, radar (supports multi-touch), and more, with configurable widgets and “follow me” support. WeatherBug Elite is nice, but they do have the free WeatherBug app available too.

WordPress
A real must-have for anyone with a WordPress.com or self-hosted WordPress blog.

Z-DeviceTest
Handy app for testing various functions and sensors on your phone.

If you’ve read this far, you might also be interested in a list of apps specifically for rooted phones, yes? Well, here they are:

AdAway
Open-source ad blocker for rooted phones.

AdFree Android
Another ad blocker for root phones. For more information and to give feedback, visit the XDA Forums.

Chainfire3D
An intermediary OpenGL graphics driver which may increase video performance on some devices. Requires: Root, 1ghz+ device, Android 2.1+. See the XDA thread for more information and a list of compatible devices.

Samba Filesharing
A Samba server for your Android phone. Allows you to access your Android phone’s SD card over your network.

Titanium Backup
EXTREMELY powerful tool. Backup ALL apps, Market links, remove bloatware & MORE! Backs up your apps to your SD card and can restore them with their data even after a hard reset, factory reset, or even a new ROM install. It’s fantastic!

Have an Android app you just can’t live without? Please let me know in the comments below!

Last update: December 7th, 2011

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How to get your Facebook follower count in PHP

If you’re looking for a way to fetch and display your Facebook follower count in PHP, here is your code. In the below, substitute __ID__ for your numeric ID for your app or page, and __TOKEN__ for your access token.

Please consult the Facebook Graph API documentation for more information.

This method uses file_get_contents() rather than the preferrable cURL() call. Also, don’t forget to cache your queries, or you may experience API throttling. See the Rest & Graph API Best Practices for reference on this.

Here is the code:

function GetFacebookFollowerCount(){
  $json = file_get_contents('https://graph.facebook.com/__ID__/insights/page_fans/lifetime?access_token=__TOKEN__');
  $obj = json_decode($json);
  $new_facebook_followers= $obj->data[0]->values[0]->value;
  return $new_facebook_followers;
}

Comments and feedback are welcome.

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When did Facebook become a social obligation?

So at least once I week I get hit with the following:

“Did you see what so-and-so put on Facebook?”
“No.”
“Go look.”
“I don’t want to look right now.”
“Just go look.”

Don’t get me wrong, I think Facebook has a certain social value. A certain value. I’m not trying to downplay it, but unfortunately it’s turning into, or been turned into… well, something else. I hear a lot of people say “I use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends I don’t see very often.” or “I’ve met friends that I wouldn’t have met otherwise, using Facebook.” Good on you!

Unfortunately the real value of Facebook has been drowned in a sea of spam and junk. I had to have someone show me how to hide and block it, otherwise it’s almost impossible to sift through it.

Facebook is turning the corner (some would argue it passed it a few miles ago) of being more harmful than beneficial, but I suppose that can happen with anything that more than half-a-million people get involved in.

Friends you don’t know in real life, people you will never meet, people you may never want to meet, and you and your “friends” are sharing your life with them, around the clock. The “social obligation” of having Facebook friends reminds me of High School cliques.

There’s also the over-sharing: the Facebook status that just screams “I’m a loser!” The pointless random stupid Facebook “repost” crap. Whoever thought some of this up had a fantastic idea to bring Facebook page views and advertising revenue.Lastly, there’s the gossip. Nothing spreads faster on a social network than gossip. Gossip, rumor, stuff that’s made up and has little, if any, truth factor. You want to spread gossip, Facebook is the way. There’s also people who have lost their jobs, ended up in jail, or otherwise punished for something or other they’ve put on Facebook. Recently, a California judge ordered legal action against a juror because of their Facebook posts. Good. You shouldn’t have been discussing the case publicly, and you knew better.

Let’s also not forget the privacy issues surrounding Facebook. After all, Facebook started by stealing people’s personal information and sharing it. That’s what got them off the ground. Why should they stop a good thing? Not to mention the malicious apps that install viruses on your computer, in an effort to get just-that-much-more of your information.

I feel bad for the people that simply “live” on it, and forget that there was a time when it wasn’t around, and there will be a time where it won’t be. Social networks come and go all the time. Look at MySpace for a really good example. I think people have too easily forgotten this… what happened to the good old exchange of email addresses? Rather, it’s “I’m on Facebook.” If you’re using depending on Facebook as a way to share blurbs and photos with others, you might just want to keep your options open.

Businesses have been doing it too: I’ll see billboards and TV ads encouraging me to “Find us on Facebook.” Just the other day I got an email telling me that a business was having a drawing or a contest for something-or-other, and all I needed to do to enter was “like” them on Facebook. Really? So how are you honestly going to choose a “random” “winner” from all your Facebook groupies? I think businesses that do this do a discredit to themselves in an effort to get (or expand) a fan base. I’ll “like” a company on Facebook if I really want to get updates from them, not because you’re throwing me a teaser.

To Mark Elliot Zuckerberg and the rest of the Facebook devs: Well played.

What are your thoughts on Facebook, currently the largest, most controversial, and most profitable social media networking website ever?

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Ten ways to advertise your website or blog that don’t cost money

Webmasters and bloggers are always looking for ways to advertise their sites and increase traffic. There are a lot of ways to do this that don’t cost a penny.
Here’s some of my suggestions in no particular order…

Produce good-quality content and have it indexed by the search engines

People want content, and content sells itself. If you’re searching for something, then come up with what you’re looking for, why not mention it with a link? Or, if you solve a problem with a piece of software, or find a bug, write about it. Certainly other people have run into the same thing, and they’re likely looking for the same thing you were. Help them find you.

This is actually a lot easier than most people realize — it only takes a few steps to set up, and the rest of the crawling is done by the search engines automatically. Don’t bother with sites that want you to pay to submit — you can do it yourself in a few minutes, and it doesn’t cost anything. Depending on your CMS software, you can likely find a plugin to help with generating and submitting your sitemap. Read more about it here.

Participate in forums and have your URL in your signature

An easy method if you’re already involved in one or more forums regularly. Simply edit your forum signature to include your site’s title and a URL. You can also do this with your email signature to hit the people you email as well.

Leave comments on other blogs and link back to your site

This is great when you can find a blog that’s related to yours, or has a post about a topic that’s related to something you’ve already written about. Simply post your thoughts on the issue, with a segue “I mentioned this at…” with a link. I have gotten a lot of traffic this way, though it relies heaving on the other blog having traffic, and catching people with your brief statement enough to make them want to click through. It can be done, and it works very well.

Link to other blogs from your own posts to generate “pingbacks.”

I’ve seen this done well, and I’ve seen it become spammy at the same time. When you link to another blog from one of your posts, (depending on the platform) the software will generate what’s called a “pingback“. This means it posts a link to your site at the site you linked to. It can be good to generate links to your site.

Post links to your new articles on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.

Again, can be very effective, can also be very spammy if not done correctly. You’ve written a great interesting article that you want people to read. Post a link on your favorite social-networking site — Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter to name a few — and people are sure to click on it, right? Just make sure they’ll find the story as interesting as you did, and avoid over-posting, or you’ll lose followers faster than you can create new posts.

Submit your RSS feed to aggregation sites like Facebook, Digg, etc.

Facebook has a feature in Facebook Notes that allows you to submit an RSS feed that will publish your posts as Notes. The new Digg also has a feature that will allow you to submit an RSS feed to be automatically published on the site. Many other sites also support this, and it’s a great way to have your new articles automatically pushed out there. There is a downside to this: People will read the article on the published site and may not click through to your site. Try including links to other posts inside your own to get those click throughs.

Personally email out links to articles that others would find interesting.

Email marketing is great, and has a very high click-to-impression ratio. This means that, for every person that looks at your link, a lot of them will click on it to read it. Now, be careful with this one, and try not to get spammy. Opt-in mailing lists are great if you can get people to sign up, and you will have a very low likelihood of upsetting someone that doesn’t want to get your emails (or worse — having them report you as a spammer), but if you know you have an audience, shoot them an email, but make sure it’s personal.

Consider Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a set of copyright rules that, among other rights, can allow others to publish your content providing they provide credit in a manner of your choosing. This can include a link back to your site. Interested readers finding these articles can see your authorship on them and click through to your site to see whatever else they might be interested in.

Participate in Link Exchanges and Blogrolls

If you know someone who has a website or a blog, ask nicely if they’ll post a link to your site on theirs in exchange for the same on yours. A well-placed link on another site can generate traffic from an interested visitor, and the other site will no doubt appreciate the same from you.

 

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Happy Birthday to me

I don’t usually blog about myself, but this is a special occasion, so bear with me and you won’t have to read it again for a while.

So today I turned the big 3-0. That’s right, thirty. I had that moment thinking to myself “Wow, I never thought I’d make it to thirty.” My younger years were rough around the edges, to say the least. Not much I care to go in to, really.

So today, after some stress around BlueHost’s CPU throttling mechanism, I decided to move the site to another host, MediaTemple. Any time the site would experience a load spike, BlueHost’s CPU throttling would choke the site down, pretty much to a standstill. Obviously I’m looking to gain traffic and be able to handle load spikes, so I thought that they might not be the service for me any longer.

So I moved the site to MediaTemple, and as I was waiting for things to get set up, I started thinking about all the ways the world has changed since I was in high school. I have no idea where the thought came from, it was just there.

Here’s some of the points:

  • In high school, having a set of encyclopedias was considered an asset. Today no one uses them.
  • In high school, you actually had to learn to use a card catalog. Today you learn how to use a search engine.
  • In high school, people knew which finger their index finger was, and why it was called that. Today no one has a clue.
  • In high school, people knew what plagiarism was, and knew it was bad. Today you can easily find five sources that have the same content word-for-word and no source, original author, link, or credit.
  • In high school, pagers were cool. Today, grade school kids have cell phones.

That was 12 years ago. What do you think things might be like 12 years from now?

Also, I did get much love on Facebook, which was nice. Thank you Facebook friends! (I thought most of you were ignoring me) ;) Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes.

All things considered, it was a good day today.

To everyone, thanks for reading.

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Captchas, Anti-spam services, and Bad Behavior

I run this WordPress blog as well as a Drupal-powered forum site and one of the biggest challenges that any webmaster can have is controlling spam — both in comments and user sign-ups.

I used to rely heavily on captchas, and I’ve gone through several captcha and non-captcha systems to try to find the “ideal” solution: One that cut the spam down to nearly nothing as well as not putting too much of a burden on the legitimate users (as to possibly deter them from participating on the site).

Here’s what I’ve tried, and what I’ve learned in the process:

reCAPTCHA (WordPress, Drupal): This service aims to stop bots and spammers by presenting two words.

Pros: As a side effort, the service also aims to help digitize books by using the legitimate users to correctly identify one of the mangled words provided. Also has a feature called “reCAPTCHA Mail Hide” to hide email addresses behind a captcha to keep them from being harvested by web bots.

Cons: reCAPTCHA has one distinct weakness: Only ONE word needs to be correctly entered to pass the captcha. Additionally, at least one implementation has a weakness making the captcha worthless.

Mollom (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla) : Mollom is a text analysis service with a captcha fallback.

Pros: Aims to be unobtrusive. Does not present the user a captcha unless textual analysis cannot be performed or appears to the service to be a spam submission. Captchas are “cleaner” looking than other services (less visual distortion). Audio captchas.

Cons: Limitations on the free service, and does not scale well. Free service only allows 1,000 legitimate posts per day, then it’s 30 EUR/mo/site. (Around $50 USD). No service uptime guarantee with the free service.

Akismet (WordPress, Drupal) : Akismet is a non-captcha anti-spam service that does textual analysis (similar to Mollom) except completely without the aid of captchas.

Pros: Comes installed on all WordPress.COM blogs by default and needs no configuration. Powered by, and maintained by Automattic, the same team behind WordPress and Gravatar. Suspicious submissions are placed in a moderation queue for the administrator to manually approve, with the option to automatically expire (delete) them after 30 days or so. Easy setup via an API key.

Cons: Akismet weighs input the same across all Akismet-protected sites. This means that someone who submits a comment on an Akismet-protected blog that gets flagged as spam would get the same treatment on an Akismet-protected forum (and every other Akismet-protected site for that matter) until enough comments get marked as false positive for the system to re-learn the user is not a spammer. I had a user that got hit by this false-positive treatment the first day I implemented Akismet on another site and it became a hassle. When I enabled Akismet on this WordPress site, his comments were still getting flagged as spam. That’s a serious issue for me. (Akismet FAQ)

Defensio (WordPress, Drupal, Facebook) : Similiar to Akismet, weighs each source seperately, and offers Facebook protection as well.

Pros: Defensio is a service similar to Akismet, but weighs content from each website (blog, forum, etc) separately to avoid mistakes. You register each web property you want protected and obtain an API key for each. Slow to learn at first, but avoids false-positive/negative and cross-property disasters like I mentioned above with Akismet. This service is a favorite of mine. Additionally offers profanity / file link protections, as well as customizable filters. (Link)

Cons: Slow to learn at first. Might require you to manually flag content until it learns. Currently free, though they mention possibly charging for the service in the future for commercial users.

Bad Behavior (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla) : Not a captcha or textual analysis service at all, takes a completely different approach

Pros: Filters access at the http level, by blocking proxies, historically abusive IP addresses, suspicious user-agents, and malformed requests. Cuts down on bandwidth, spammers, users who are accessing site content through known proxies, etc. Conserves server bandwidth and resources, as pages are not served up at all when a block is performed. No training required.

Cons: It’s possible that a number of users whose ISPs force proxies may be blocked, but I have not seen evidence that this is happening on my sites.

So there you have it. Personally, I use a combination of Bad Behavior and Defensio on my sites, and I’ve seen a big drop in the amount of spam.

Have experience with one or more of the above? Please share it!

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Do it for your users : Single Sign-On (SSO) / OpenID

I’m going off on this tangent because of what I saw at a website today, that has become all-too common (and all-too frustrating). Websites that handle multiple services will make you create a seperate username and password for each of them.

Want an account to do this? Create one.

Want to do something else here? Create an account on our other server.

Want to post on our forums? Create another account.

Want to manage everything in one place? Create an account at this completely different website.

Want to have an affiliate account? Create another account.

Come on folks, let’s focus a minute. The reason you need me to create all these different accounts is that you weren’t thinking user-friendly from the beginning. You started out with one thing and just kept adding different services on, without ever thinking single-sign-on.

For those of you that don’t know, Single Sign-On (or SSO) is a technology that allows you to have one account and multiple different services at a single website (or even a group of websites) all use a common login and a shared user database. You create a sign-on at one service, you use that same username and password for every service that they, and their partners, provide.

It’s user-friendly from the beginning.

When I’m adding content to my other site I try hard to make sure that I can integrate it in a manner that allows SSO. The only notable exception to this is the chat, but that can’t be helped as long as I use IRC (perhaps someday…).

I really think other websites should be promoting the use and adoption of SSO more heavily.

Now, there are some serious strides towards SSO adoption. A few prominent examples are the Sign on using your Facebook account and Sign On using OpenID.

I really urge more website developers to consider and adopt services that integrate some type of SSO sign-on into their site. Do it for your users. I know that I think twice before signing up if I know I’m going to have to juggle different IDs for the same site.

Consider some type of internal SSO, or consider OpenID.

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Ubuntu Karmic post-install Guide

Ubuntu Post-Installation Guide v9.10

Note: Unless otherwise specified, packages are installed/uninstalled using
System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager.
Repositories are updated in
(System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager > Settings > Repositories)
or
(System > Administration > Software Sources)

> Third Party Software (for Jaunty) or
> Other Software (karmic).

Java, Flash Player

By default, openjdk-6-jre is the Java VM used on Ubuntu. This is because OpenJRE is actively developed, while Sun’s Java VM is not. Also, by default, Flash is not installed. To install Sun’s Java VM (which can be successfully installed alongside OpenJRE) as well as Flash Player, install: ubuntu-restricted-extras

Medibuntu (DVD, MP3 and WMA support, etc)

Additional codec support (MP3, WMA, etc) is provided by the non-free-codec in the Medibuntu repository. (See for information) Running the following lines in a terminal will install the correct Medibuntu repository as well as the required keyring to authenticate packages:

sudo wget  -cs).list
--output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list &&
sudo apt-get -q update &&
sudo apt-get --yes -q --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring &&
sudo apt-get -q update

(Reference https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Medibuntu)

Following that, install the following packages:
libdvdcss2 (Allows to read encrypted DVDs)
non-free-codecs (Additional codecs)

Compiz

On supported video chipsets and with the correct video drivers, Compiz can enable a variety of visual effects. If Compiz is supported on your system, it can be enabled via System > Preferences > Appearances > Visual Effects and settings the level to Normal or higher. If compiz is enabled, it is recommended to install compizconfig-settings-manager

Other Useful Programs

The following packages are useful, and installation is encouraged:

APPLICATIONS MENU
–sound and video:
amarok
(music management application which also supports a wide range of MP3 players)

–internet:
While empathy is the new default IM client, pidgin is recommended for facebook users. Empathy, at the present time, does not have the same level of facebook
support that pidgin has). install:
pidgin and pidgin-facebookchat

–system tools:
gnome-format (a tool to easily format removable memory cards)

–other
fglrx-amdcccle – Catalyst Control Center for ATI graphics cards
nvidia-settings – Tool for configuring the NVIDIA graphics driver
nautilus-wallpaper – Adds ‘Set as wallpaper’ to right-click menu
nautilus-image-converter – Adds ‘Rotate’ and ‘Scale’ image commands
to right-click menu

VirtualBox

A free Virtual Machine system.

virtualbox-ose is available directly from Synaptic, but does not support USB device pass-through (allows the VM to communicate with USB devices). Sun’s VirtualBox 3.0 does support USB device pass-through easily.

See http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Linux_Downloads for instructions on how to add the VirtualBox repository to your system. After adding that repository, you can install the virtualbox-3.0 package.

Be sure to give yourself access to VirtualBox using System > Administration > Users and Groups
and give yourself User Privileges to ‘Use VirtualBox’

Intel microcode update

Systems with Intel CPUs should install the intel-microcode package. This provides an updated microcode to the processor at boot-time which can address processor errors and lock-ups.

Broadcom wireless issues

Systems with broadcom wireless cards which are detected but do not show any wireless networks should install the b43-fwcutter package. This provides an updated firmware for the card which fixes numerous issues. This would have to be installed using a wired network.

Dropbox on Ubuntu

Add the repository line for your Ubuntu distribution and install the nautilus-dropbox package (Reference: http://www.getdropbox.com/downloading)

Other Software

It is strongly recommended to use software that is distributed in the repositories. If you need to install a program from another source, the .DEB format is the best choice. This installs the program and adds a listing in Synaptic for easily unisntalling the program when you want to.

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