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Linux is great in many ways. A complete operating system for free, why is not everybody using it? The truth is that it hasn’t been very user-friendly. That is about to change. With the latest version of Ubuntu (version 10.04) I have started to use it on several machines, both desktops and servers. Some say it’s the new Windows or Mac OS X. I can’t agree there, it’s evolving but it’s still a half-baked product. Just because it’s a free product it’s shipped without some important components.

What I’m talking about and what probably is a show stopper for many users is the lack for media support. I can’t play DVD-movies on my laptop! Luckily this is easy to fix. If you know how to do, that is. What still makes Linux a hobby and enthusiast project is that many users are technically skilled but can’t teach their skills to other people. Until that is changed Linux is not for “everyone”. To make Ubuntu multimedia ready, follow the instructions below or check out the source that explains exactly how to do: Linux and Microcontroller Tips!

The changes needed are made in the terminal, you can just copy and paste the below commands:

Add the medibuntu repository:

sudo wget --output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/$(lsb_release -cs).list

sudo apt-get --quiet update

sudo apt-get --yes --quiet --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring

sudo apt-get --quiet update

Install non-free-codecs:

sudo apt-get install non-free-codecs

Install DVD Support:

sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2

Install MS Windows codecs:

sudo apt-get install w32codecs

Install VLC player and Mplayer:

sudo apt-get install vlc mplayer

This might still look like greek to you but it’s still the most straight forward instructions I have found. If you copy and paste the commands in the above order into your terminal window you will enable multimedia support. Hope this will improve your Linux experience.

After years of rumors it looks like Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy will hit the silver screen. Roland Emmerich aims for a 3-D adventure similar to the Avatar.  All from MTV.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Foundation MTV explains it pretty good saying the Foundation trilogy is a pillar of the sci-fi community. This “trilogy” is now seven books with the three first written in the 50´s. More at Wikipedia!

The free software Virtual Moon Atlas I mentioned before is now available for PC, Mac and Linux! It’s the best software to help you explore the moon and it won’t cost you anything! To just explore the map of the moon it’s simple to use. But it has more to offer, like a lot of pictures and high resolution textures. Please use the Quick user’s guide and the Complete user’s manual to get the most out of the Virtual Moon Atlas.

Hubble goes 3D:

This 3D animation was made of pictures taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Find out more here.

Or was it a just a small step? Anyway, it was 40 years ago. What? The Moon landing, of course! Born in 1971 I just missed it. Thanks to the JFK Library I can experience it just as it happened in 1969 at the site We choose the Moon! Nasa is celebrating too, check out this site: Apollo 11. Two cool sites you must not miss!

I was actually looking for something else but found a fun addition to my phone. It’s a Nokia N95 with built-in GPS and free maps. I haven’t really thought about connecting the GPS in the phone to my Macbook but now it’s set up. The only down side to it is that I have only Google Earth installed on the Mac so to use it I need 3G running as well to load all map data. Never mind, here is the tool to make it happen: ExtGPS from Symarctic. It’s free for personal use. You install it on your Nokia smart phone and then you set up an extra COM port on the Bluetooth connection on you Mac. It’s all described here.

This beautiful video clip comes from the Texas Star party: Galactic center of the Milky Way.

Texas Star Party

I don’t know how I have missed this one. The Lunar and Planetary Institute provides hight resolution lunar maps over the moon. Check out the Lunar Map Catalog! It’s a great site where you find a lot of material about the moon. Most of the stuff in the online store is for free. I’ve been paying most attention to the maps but the whole site is great resource for teachers.

NASA is working together with Microsoft to make high-resolution images and astronomical data more accessible to the public, according to Space Daily. This will be done with Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope. WorldWide Telescope only works with Microsoft’s own Windows but there is a web version using Silverlight. Silverlight is working on Mac and Firefox if you can stand slow and bloated software from Microsoft.

logo-yuris-emblem-glowYou’re invited! Mark your calendar sometime between April 4 and 12 for Yuri’s Night. This is a event that has been going on for some years and it’s to celebrate humanity’s achievements in space at the anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s first flight into space (in 1961). Other than that it’s not related to science at all. This is purely a party. It’s not isolated to the east, this is world wide! As earlier, Sweden is not represented :-(

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