Saturday, April 19, 2014

Upgrading to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

It's that time again.

Ah~ freshly minted Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.
With the release of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS it's time to upgrade my Ubuntu 13.10 setup to the fresh release. This time I've opted for the in-place upgrade using the LiveCD. It's much faster than upgrading using Software Updater, of course, since all the core files are already on the DVD.

The upgrade

Things went nice and smooth with the upgrade. My files didn't get chewed and spit on, my wallpaper's still intact, and the system seems to run much more smoothly than 13.10. This is a pretty awesome release so far.

First impressions

Performance-wise, 14.04 is way better than 13.10. I've been using the open source drivers since my last clean install of 13.10 and I can tell you there's moments when I know I'm not getting everything out of that HD7750. The Ubuntu Dash isn't completely smooth, and the most obvious is when you launch LibreOffice Calc and have to wait a minute or two while the UI is not responding. Now, even Calc is ready to go the moment the UI is visible.

Personal files and settings remained intact, as I mentioned earlier. Your music library is still the same, Thunderbird feeds and Firefox bookmarks are still where they're supposed to be. Basically, backup before starting the upgrade (just in case) but no need to panic if you realised you've forgotten to back something up.

Some obvious changes

New Rhythmbox UI. Looks a bit less cluttered.
Rhythmbox looks a bit different from before. There's less color now and icons are more... Ubuntu-ish?

There's a new lock screen that fades smoothly into your desktop. I like that a lot.

Turn on integrated menus in the Appearance Behaviour tab.
The new integrated menus won't be there (the upgrade didn't wipe personal settings remember?) so to turn that on head over to Settings->Appearance and check out the Behaviour tab. You can set it to show menus in the title bar easily if that's your preference. That's what I'll be using for the time being. Let's see if it sticks.

Software installed from 3rd party repositories are obviously gone (Handbrake, for example). It'll take a while for them to catch up.


Everything looks like it's running as they're supposed to. I wasn't paying attention but I think it took less than half an hour to upgrade the system? That's just awesome! This may be the smoothest and fastest upgrade I've experienced (Windows included). While Ubuntu's had smooth upgrades before, it's never been this quick mainly since I've been using Update Manager/Software Updater which required downloading gigabytes worth of packages as part of the process.

Upgrade to Ubuntu 14.04 now I you haven't already.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

How to fix script error with HP Printer Assistant

You may get the following error when you run HP Printer Assistant.

Followed by something like this.

If there's a corruption to the Windows Script engine then you can get this problem. You'll need to re-install Windows Script.

That should fix it.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Firefox UI redesign coming in Firefox 29

The recent release of Firefox 28 brought VP9 decoding and Opus support to WebM among others but it looks like Firefox 29 will be a much bigger change than we've seen in recent years.

New customisation UI in Firefox 29

Firefox 29 (now in Beta) will bring a new menu button and a new customisation UI to allow the user make the browser UI truly personal. Hopefully the Linux version will feature this as well. It's often that these new toys are only for Windows/Mac users and Linux fans get left out.

There will also be improvements to Firefox Sync and the GamePad API is now finalised and enabled.

The release notes has more information.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Locally integrated menus coming in Ubuntu 14.04

After replacing the traditional menu bar with the global menu, Ubuntu will now have local menus in the application title bar.

Locally integrated menu in Ubuntu. Source:
It took a bit of getting used to when they switched over to global menus. Now it's time to get used to the new order. I much prefer this "closer to home" solution though. You don't always want to run applications maximised which means global menus can be quite a distance away from the relevant application.

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS should enter Final Beta this month. Might be a good time to check it out.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

HTC One & Android 4.4.2

I'm, of course, happy to get the latest Android release for my device. I just don't necessarily like everything I see...

Android 4.4.2 update with Sense 5.5
Let's see. HTC Sense is still at version 5.5 so no changes there.

After the update

The battery icon is all white now. When I'm charging it's grey with a lightning bolt. I'd have preferred the previous colorful look. Especially in the case of the battery level indicator, it's nice to have an idea if you're dangerously low on energy at a glance with or without the percentage beside it.

Oh well, it's just cosmetic. I'll live.

The update changelog says there's been memory management improvements and I think I'm seeing a little of it. The Gallery app seems to be better at remembering it's past state between sessions now. The SMS app also doesn't look like it's lagging during it's crossfade animation. But a device with 2GB RAM is hardly the best place to look for these signs. A device closer to the minimum limits would be a better place to find improvements in this department.

Generally, things are more or less the same after the Android 4.4 update. If you liked the way things were before, you'll still like them now. Maybe just a tad more as you notice visible small improvements here and there.

Performance improvements are always welcome, but it's not something you can feel subjectively given how well Android 4.3/4.2 performs already.