Sachin Sharma
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Only a Sith deals in absolutes. I will do what I must.
- Obi Wan Kanobi
- StarWars III - Revenge of the Sith


Ubuntu: Part 2 – Internet, E-mail and Internet Messenger

Part I – First Impression

After playing around with the new installation of Ubuntu for a few days, I wanted to start using Ubuntu for internet. I am already fond of Firefox on Windows and guess what I get for a browser in Ubuntu? Yes, it is indeed Firefox. Excitement contained, I wanted to configure my BSNL "up to" 2Mbps ADSL connection on Ubuntu. I fired up Help and Support in Ubuntu and guess how lucky I was to find instructions on how to setup internet. It was the first link under “Common Questions” right there on the center of the page. How convenient? So I go ahead and find out a method to configure internet. As it turned out, I use a PPPoE (Point to Point Protocol over Ethernet) to connect to the internet and I was glad to get clear instructions on how to go ahead with the configuration. I was a little disappointed to find out that the the setup process required a command in the Terminal. I was expecting a simple wizard-type configuration wizard but that didn't happen.

On Windows, I connected the modem via USB to the PC. Ubuntu did not support USB connection since USB drivers on Windows follow proprietary protocols. Ubuntu required the modem connected to the PC via an Ethernet card. So I got a Rs. 450 Dlink Ethernet card, pushed it into a slot on my PC and connected the modem to the Ethernet card. Now to the Terminal window to configure internet. The setup command brought up something close to a wizard in the Terminal itself. A few Yes and No questions with extremely helpful instructions configured the internet on Ubuntu for me. One more command to start the internet connection and I was through. To confirm, I opened Firefox (Oh yes! Firefox is default in Ubuntu) and typed and there it was, the home page of Google on Ubuntu.

Now that I had internet up and working on Ubuntu, I wanted to do more. I thought, how about setting up an e-mail client and Internet Messenger on Linux. How thoughtful of Ubuntu to have provided Evolution Mail and Pidgin Internet Messenger right off the box. First Evolution Mail for my Gmail account: I fired up Firefox again and tried finding instructions on how to configure Gmail account on e-mail clients. Google had instructions on how to configure Gmail (IMAP) on Thunderbird but not on Evolution Mail but they did have a link on how to configure other e-mail clients. After experimenting a little with the settings, I got 2 Gmail accounts up on Ubuntu. The tricky part was to set “Use Secure Connection” to “SSL encryption” for both SMTP (Sending E-mails) and IMAP (Receiving E-mails).

Next came Pidgin Internet Messenger, which was easier than expected. Starting up Pidgin Internet Messenger brings up a simple wizard to add an account. You can add almost all known type of accounts in here. I added 1 Gmail, 2 Yahoo and 1 MSN account to Pidgin. This was like a bonus for me. I always hated keeping 3 Messengers open on my Windows Desktop. And I particularly dislike Ad wares Yahoo and Windows Live Messenger. So, Pidgin makes it one messenger for all my accounts.

With Internet, Firefox, Evolution Mail and Pidgin Internet Messenger all configured properly on Ubuntu gave me enough reason to stay on Ubuntu for more time than Windows. Sometimes while using these applications, I almost forget that I am on Linux. Inspired by the success I got in configuring applications on Ubuntu and using it more and more, I wanted to use Ubuntu for watching movies, listening to music and even dare to use it for my office work. More on this in the coming parts.
Saturday, June 28, 2008 at 12:41 PM. Comments: 0.
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Ubuntu: Part I – First Impression

The last time I used Linux was about 8 years back. It was for a college project. I did not like it then. Our team (or at least me) just managed to complete a Windows Explorer type application on Redhat Linux 4 (if I remember the version correctly). At that time, I just couldn't stand the idea of using Linux as the primary desktop on my PC.

Fast forward 8 years. I gave some thought on which Linux distro to install. For a while, I considered Fedora because of its association to RedHat and because I liked the name “Fedora” better. But my friend and colleague Rajesh talked me out of Fedora and in to Ubuntu. I felt that I should start with something simple. Being a long-term Windows user, I thought Ubuntu will suit my taste a little better and I will always have an option to move over to Fedora when required.

So, I went ahead and tried Ubuntu 7.04 live CD. It felt good and soon I installed it on a dedicated 20GB hard-drive on my computer (dual boot). When I saw the desktop, I was amazed at what Ubuntu had to offer. The user experience was remarkably more polished than I remember. I played around with different options in Ubuntu and found the experience very refreshing.

Next I wanted Ubuntu to do something “real” for me. To start with at least 1 thing that I do most frequently on Windows on my home PC. I said “home PC” since on my work PC, I mostly do programming and read forwarded e-mails on Windows. I don't want to do the same thing at home – well, at least not programming. I can bear with reading forwarded e-mails. :) Anyway, from here I started moving almost everything I do on Windows to Ubuntu. I will post this up in future posts of “Ubuntu”. Till then, here is a screen-shot of my Ubuntu desktop as it looks today.
Saturday, June 21, 2008 at 10:29 PM. Comments: 0.
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YouTube Video: Blogstar from Singapore struggles with the iPhone

There are many different types of touch-screens out of which 2 are widely used in touch-screen mobile phones. The mighty iPhone uses a capacitive touch-screen, while others like HTC Touch uses a resistive touch-screen.

Although a capacitive touch-screen is superior, it works only when you use your bare fingers for touch operations on the phone. Try using a normal stylus or a pencil on your iPhone and it will not work.

Don't believe me – see this video of a Singaporian (Singapore is a beautiful country by the way) Blogstar trying to struggle with her iPhone. She ends up calling the iPhone “mediocre”. LOL.

Watch the video...
Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 12:05 AM. Comments: 0.
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