Friday, October 31, 2008

Adding Themes To Rockbox

Now that I have showed you how-to install Rockbox onto your ipod (Installing Rockbox on your ipod). So now I will be showing you how to install themes and apply them to your Rockbox install.

First off you will need to go and download the themes that you would like to install on your ipod and you can get them from here: Then select you version of ipod from the list and search though the ones submitted until you find the one that you like and download the .zip file. After you have downloaded the theme you want you will now have to navigate to it and extract it. Now you will need to navigate to where your ipod is mounted and just drag the .rockbox folder into the .rockbox folder on your ipod it should then copy all of the files into all the places they are supposed to be. You can also do this manually if you would like by just opening up the .rockbox folder with you theme in it and just copy the files inside of the folders into the same folders on your ipod in the .rockbox folder but the above way seem more practical though. Now you have your theme installed onto your ipod. You are now going to have to apply the theme to be able to accually see it on you ipod. To do this you will need to eject your ipod from your computer and boot into Rockbox.

The main Rockbox screen

You will now need to scroll down to Settings and select it with the middle button.

The settings screen

Now you will need to scroll down to Theme Settings and select it using the middle button on the ipod.

The themes settings screen

Now for the final part you will need to select Browse Themes and then select the theme that you added to your ipod and it will apply it.

Main screen after the new theme is applied

Now you can apply tons of different themes to your Rockbox install in just a couple minutes. The theme I used for this tutorial is Black Glass AA v2. So go have even more fun with you ipod than you had before.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Upgrading From Ubuntu 8.04 To 8.10

Ubuntu 8.10 is released today October 30th so you may be wondering if you can upgrade from your 8.04 install to the 8.10 release without a full reinstall. The answer is yes you can and it is very easy to do. So lets get this upgrade going.

First you will need to navigate to System > Administration > Software Sources. A window will come up like the one shown below.

Software sources window

You will now want to navigate to the Updates tab. Then in the Release Upgrade section in the drop down menu you will want to select Normal Releases. Then you can hit the close button.

You should have Normal Releases selected

Now you will need to navigate to System > Administration > Update Manager. You will need to click on the Check button and install any new updates (if you have any) then click the Check button again and you should then see a message that says New distribution release'8.10' is available. Now you just need to click on the Upgrade button.

8.10 upgrade screen

You will then just need to follow the on screen directions to complete the upgrade. Now you have upgraded from 8.04 to 8.10 in a very simple and quick way. So go have fun with you new upgrade of Ubuntu.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Installing Fedora To A USB Flash Drive Using Fedora Live USB Creator

Have you ever wanted to install an Operating System onto a USB Flash drive and be able to boot from it on a different computer but thought that it looked complicated and heard that it didn't work very well? There is a Tool that makes the process to do this very simple and easy to do and it is called Fedora LiveUSB Creator. This little program makes installing Fedora to your USB device very simple.

To start off you will need to download the tool from their website here:

When you download it if you are using windows it will be in a .zip file so what you will need to do is right click and select Extract All this will now create a new folder in the same place where you downloaded it to. Now open up that folder and you will see a file called liveusb-creator.exe now just double click it to start-up the program. This should now open up a little window like the one shown below.

Fedora LiveUSB Creator main screen

Now there are some options in the window that you can choose from. You can choose to hit Browse if you have already downloaded the iso image your self and you can then navigate to it and select to install from that. You can also choose a install you want from the drop down menu (which is the more common option to use).

The drop down menu with all of the
different options for different installs

I am going to choose the Fedora 9 KDE (i686) because i really like the look of KDE and I'm not going to be running my USB on a 64-bit OS. You can choose whichever you prefer.

Target Device section

Now moving on to the portion that says Target Device this is going to be the device that the program will install your Operating System to. So you will want to make sure you have the right device chosen that you will want to be doing the install onto.

Persistent Storage section

Now to the Persistent Storage section. You would use this if you would like to save things to your USB drive. If so then you will need to allocate how much space you will want to use for storage. I will be leaving mine at 0 for this install but you may want to save files and settings so I would recoment using at least some space for storage.

Now if you have all of your settings correct you can now hit the Create Live USB button at the bottom. Now you can just sit back and watch your USB Device be turned into a portable operating system (this process may take a while if you have to download the image time will vary depending on your connection speed).

The installation process

This will take some time so you may want to go do something while you are waiting. The time it takes to finish will depend on if you have downloaded your image already and what your connection speed is.

Finished Successfully

Now to boot into you new Fedora install you will need to change your BIOS settings to boot from a USB device before the hard drive (you may want to check and see if your BIOS supports booting for USB devices first before you go through with the install). Now you are done so go have some fun with you new portable operating system on a USB device.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Making Bloody Letters In GIMP

Since it is getting to be around the time of Halloween you may want add some creepy text to some of you pictures or maybe just want to make something cool for Halloween. So lets get started on this project.

Just as before you will need to have GIMP installed to understand this tutorial you can get a free copy of it here:

OK now you will need to start up GIMP. You will then need to navigate to File > New. A window will pop up to create the size of your new image I chose 800X400 pixels but you can choose according to what you want to make.

Create New Image Window

Now you should have you new image open. Now to start off we are going to simply select the Text Tool from the GIMP menu it's the one with a big A. Then you just click on any part of the image and just type what you want. I just typed GIMP for this tutorial but you can type something else and it will work just as good and if you use all capitals it seems to look and work better.

These are the letter settings that I used

This is how mine looks like so far

Now that we have the letters done we are going round the corners of the image. To do this we are going to add a Gaussian Blur. You will need to navigate to Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur. A little window will come up with the settings for the Gaussian Blur tool. Just copy the settings from the image below. Then hit OK.

You should set your Gaussian Blur to 20 pixels

Image after the Gaussian Blur

Now to you need to goto the layers tab on the GIMP window and right click on the layer with your letters and select Merge Down. Now to get the rounding effect on the letters you need to navigate to Colors > Threshold. You will then want to move the slider until your letters look rounded and bigger.

The Threshold tool is used to round the sharp corners of the image

The image after the Threshold tool is applied

It is now time to get started on making these letter look more bloody. You will now need to click on the Brush Tool it is the one that looks like a little paint brush from the GIMP window. Now you will need to draw lines coming down from the letters to give the effect of the blood dripping down. You will then need to change the size of your brush to fit you image it will depend on how large your letters are. To make strait lines you will need to make a dot where you want the line to start then hold in the Shift Key and then draw the line to the point where you want it to stop. Your image should look somewhat like the one below.

Image shows how the lines create the blood dripping effect

To make it look more like blood dripping we are just going to make our brush a little larger. Then just add dots to the ends of the lines and in the corners where the lines start.

Shows the dots on the ends of the lines and in the corners of the letters

Now that the dots are done you will have to go back to the Gaussian Blur Tool (Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur). Just use the same settings as before it should come up with the last settings used or if it doesn't put in 20 pixels.

Gaussian Blur Tool set to 20 pixels

Image after Gaussian Blur applied

You will now need to go back to the Threshold Tool again by going to Colors > Threshold. Instead of like before when you made the letters larger and rounded the edges. You will now want to make them really skinny to give them a really nice blood effect.

Moving the slider on the Threshold Tool to the left will give you the desired effect

This is the effect you will want to get

After you have that done you will want to duplicate the background layer. To do this all you have to do is right click on the background layer then select Duplicate Layer it is toward the top. You should now have 2 identical layers. You will want to take out the white of your top layer now and the tool that you need to use is the Color Tool. Then you just click in the white space to select the white and hit the delete key to get rid of the white space. Now create a duplicate layer of the top layer by just right clicking on the layer and selecting Duplicate Layer. Now with the new top layer you are going to use the Color Tool again but select the black letters. Then you will need to click on the foreground color and choose a red that looks the most like blood (usually a darker one works best). Then you just need to drag and drop the color onto your image.

The image after you add in the red

You will now want to select your bottom background layer again. Now you have to navigate to Colors > Invert. Now you are going to go back to the Gaussian Blur Tool again Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur. This time you will want to set it higher like around 36 or so.

Your image should look close to this depending on
how much Gaussian Blur you used

You will now be making a Bump Map this will give you a the finished blood look that you have been waiting for. You will need to select the top layer again. Then you will need to navigate to Filters > Light and Shadow > Lighting Effects. This will open a window and you will need to goto the Bump Map tab. Then put a tick in the Enable Bump Mapping and the Bump Map Image should be the bottom on the list from the drop down menu. Now you need to goto the Light tab. You will need to change the Light Type to Directional for both light 1 and light 2. Then click OK and it will just take a little while to load the Filter onto the image.

The finished image

Then you are done making your bloody letters. If you want to play around with some of the settings you can get a ton of different looks or you could try to do different colors for the blood. Just remember to have fun with it and try to do different things with it to get the effect that you desire.

Customizing Your Ipod With Rockbox

Have you ever wanted more from your Ipod like games or maybe just more options. Well there is something called Rockbox that you will probably like. Rockbox is another operating system that you can install onto you Ipod without having to erase or delete anything from your Ipod. It is a great utility to add to your Ipod and best of all it is free to use. Lets get started then shall we.

First off you will need to goto and choose the right kind of Ipod that you have and download the .zip file (you will only have to do this if you are doing the manual install). You will also want to download the manual for your specific Ipod that you have because I only have an Ipod video 30gb so your process may differ from mine just a bit. You will also need to download the Rockbox Utility if you would prefer a graphical install. I am going to cover going both routes in this tutorial (graphical install and manual install).

Now lets get started with the installation process.

Graphical Install:
First you will need to unzip the Rockbox Utility and then double click on the rbutilqt.exe to start it up. You should then see a window come up that looks like the one below.

Rockbox Utility Screen

Now we have to let the program know what kind of device that we want to install Rockbox on. So you will have to navigate to File > Configure. A window should come up then you just have to hit the Autodetect button in the bottom right hand corner. It will then show your device and also the dropdown menu with all of the other Ipod versions in it.

Configuration screen

Now from here you just have to hit OK and it should bring you back to the first screen. Now you have to decide if you will want to do the Complete Installation or the Small Installation. I will be doing the Complete Installation. When you click Complete Installation a dialog box comes up asking if you would like to go through with the install and since you do you will want to click Yes.

Confirm Installation screen

After you click yes it will proceed to install the Bootloader and also download it. After the bootloader is downloaded and installed it will then download the file and install it. Then the program will download some fonts and install them too.

The Installation screen

Now you are done just click OK and then close out of the Rockbox Utility. Now just unplug your Ipod and it should boot right into Rockbox. So now you are done and you have successfully installed Rockbox onto your Ipod. If you would like to go the other route and do this manually then just keep reading.

Rockbox interface on the Ipod

Manual Install:

To start you will have to unzip your file (mine was called yours should be something similar) you will then need to take the unzipped folder (should be .rockbox) and put it in the root directory of your Ipod.

Extracted Rockbox folder

Now you will have to install the bootloader so that you will be able to boot into Rockbox on your Ipod. You will need to download this to install the bootloader: You will then have to run the ipodpatcher.exe. It will open in a command window and will do a scan to find your Ipod.

Command window after scan for Ipod

After the scan you will need to type i then hit enter to install the bootloader. You will then see it start to install and after only a little bit it should be done. You just need to hit enter again to exit the window.

Successfully installed bootloader

Now you are done just eject your Ipod from you computer and it should load right into Rockbox (if it doesn't you may need to hold the middle and menu button in for a couple seconds).

Successfull Rockbox install

Now that you have Rockbox installed on your Ipod you may be wondering if you will still be able to get back into you normal Ipod install. Yes you can and very easily too all you have to do is reset your Ipod by holding in the middle button and menu button and then when you see the Apple logo you need to push the hold switch into the hold position then wait for it to boot into the normal Ipod firmware. Now you have a very customizable Ipod and if you look around on the Rockbox site you will be able to find a ton more goodies to install on it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dual Booting Ubuntu The Easy Way Using Wubi

Have you ever wanted to give Ubuntu Linux a try but didn't want to go through the process of repartitioning your hard drive to do it? Well now it is easier than ever and only takes about and hour and you will have it up and running perfectly in no time at all. You can do this by using a program called Wubi (Windows Ubuntu Installer) the little Ubuntu helper that we will be using to accomplish this task. So lets get this thing rolling.

First you will need to download the wubi.exe file from here:

You will then need to navigate to where you downloaded it and open it up. You should then see a window that looks like the one below.

Now you just have to enter in all or you data like the username and password that you will want to use. Also you can change how large you would like your install to be. You shouldn't need much but this will depend on how you will be using it. I choose to use 15GB's for my install but you can choose however much you would like to allocate. After you have everything set the way you want just click next and it should start to download the Ubuntu image.

Now you just wait for it to finish downloading

After it's done downloading you will get a screen that says you will need to preform a reboot. You then just need to click finish and make sure that you have the reboot now selected.

Make sure you have reboot now selected

On the reboot there will be a black screen that will show Xp or Vista (depending which you have installed) and Ubuntu. You will need to push the down arrow key on your keyboard and hit enter to select and boot into Ubuntu. If you miss this screen (because it will only stay for a couple of seconds) then just reboot like you normally would and try to select it again. Once it boots into Ubuntu you should see it start the installation process.

Now you just have to wait for Ubuntu to finish installing

Now we wait for it to finish installing (took about 15 minutes on my machine). Once it is done it will reboot and now you will have to select Ubuntu at start-up again. This time when you boot into Ubuntu you will be prompted to put in your username and password that you chose at the first wubi screen. Then once you are in if you have an internet connection connected to the machine you should be asked to install some updates. If you don't have an internet connection connected you are done with the installation process.

There are some update that will need to be installed

After all of these updates are done downloading and installing you will most likely be prompted to reboot. You now need to select Ubuntu on start-up again and as before you will be prompted for you username and password. Now when you are at the desktop you are free to do what you please because you have successfully installed Ubuntu on top of you Windows installation.

The clean Ubuntu desktop look

Now we are done so you can start to play around in Ubuntu and have some fun. Also be sure to come back again because I will be showing how to customize your Ubuntu desktop and setup the infamous Desktop Cube as with many other Ubuntu and Linux goodies.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Intro To The GIMP Image Editor

Have you ever wanted to make those really cool looking photos that others make in Photoshop but don't want to throw down that much cash to do it. Well as with most things there are free alternatives that you can turn to. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a image editor and a very powerful one at that it can do most everything that the highest version of Photoshop can do at the nice price of Free. If you already know how to use Photoshop or have used it many things are very similar which make it very easy to learn and if you have never used it before then this is a good place to start too. So lets get started.

1. If you are using Linux you will probably already have GIMP installed or you can install it from your package manager. If you are on Windows or Mac you will need to download and install it from here:

2. Now to get started open up your GIMP. It should load up with a Tip Of The Day window and also a tool bar window. Now to open up a image that we would like to edit we just goto the tool bar window and navigate to file > open. From here you just browse to the image you would like to open and simply click open and it should open you picture in a new separate window.

It should look something like this

3. Now to start editing the image. Lets start with something that everyone will use.

Cropping Tool: To open up your cropping tool right click on your image > Tools > Transform Tools > Crop (shift + C if you like using hot keys). Now you just click and drag the area that you would like to crop. The light area will be what your image will look like after you crop it and the darker area will be the part that will get cut off. If you need to adjust the area just click and drag the edges to where you would like them to be. When you are done and you want to accept the changes you just hit enter.

Before the crop and after the crop

Brightness and Contrast: This is a very simple tool to use and also a very common tool. You can navigate to this tool by right clicking on the image again > Colors > Brightness and Contrast. Then a small window will pop up with some sliders for you brightness and your contrast. To make the image brighter just drag the brightness slider to the right and drag to the left to make it darker. You should see your image changing when you are moving the sliders around if it is not you make need to put a tick in the preview box. Then when you have your values that you want you just click OK to apply the changes.

Brightness and contrast pop up box

Those are just a small portion of the tools that come with GIMP but if you play around with it a bit you will be able to learn to do a ton of different things. The tools listed above should just get you started with cleaning up some of your photos that you have taken. If you would like to learn more about GIMP you should take a look at these tutorials here: I have learned a wealth of information from those tutorials. Just remember to have fun and be creative.

Using Pidgin For All Of Your Messaging Needs

If you are like me and have many different instant messaging clients and seem to have them all open at once so you can chat with all of your friends at the same time across multiple clients. Well there is a program that has integrated most of the top messengers into one place. Pidgin is a messaging client that integrates many different messaging services into one place. It has a very clean and easy to use interface that manages all of your accounts at one time. There are many different protocols built into the interface such as:  AIM, MSN, Yahoo!, XMPP, ICQ, IRC, SILC, SIP/SIMPLE, Novell GroupWise, Lotus Sametime, Bonjour, Zephyr, MySpaceIM, Gadu-Gadu, and QQ. With all of these different messaging services built into the program you should be able to have all of your accounts in one easy to use interface. So lets get started now shall we.

1. You just have to download and install the latest version from one of the various sources: or from
(Most Linux
distributions have this already preinstalled or you can install from your package manager.)

2. Lets setup your accounts. When you first start the program for the first time you should be greeted with a message like the one below.

3. Then you simply click on add and choose the protocol from the drop down menu that you want to add. Then just fill out your account information that pertains to that protocol and then click on save.

4. Then to add more accounts you can click on add from the start-up window if you still have it open or you can goto > Accounts > Manage Accounts then select add from the window that opens. Then just keep doing this until you have all of your accounts setup.

Have fun with pidgin it is truly a great messaging client I myself use it all the time. Pidgin makes it vary easy to manage many accounts in one simple environment.