Podcast Season 4 Episode 18

Podcast

Title: Happy Birthday GNU

In this episode: Ubuntu embeds Amazon search results into its local search. There's a massive Android vulnerability. Cinnamon 1.6 is out and Nvidia is going to open up its Tegra GPU documentation. Hear our discoveries and listen to the internet famous, Open Ballot.

What's in the show:

  • Lightning News:
      Ubuntu 12.10 will embed Amazon search results into its local Dash searches; Mark Shuttleworth says this is good. There's a new, potentially catastrophic, vulnerability in many Android-based devices - almost anything can trigger a complete reset. Cinnamon 1.6 is out, and Andrew says it is good. Nvidia intends to release the docs to its Tegra graphics chipset. And it has been 75 years since the Hobbit was first published.
  • Discovery of the week:
  • Speak Your Brains:
      Thanks to Sean Campbell and Joseph VanPelt for sending us their thoughts (here's the link to Joseph's YouTube link) - let us know if you've got a solution to Sean's ASCII shortcuts problem. For our next episode, email your brains to graham.morrison@futurenet.com.
  • Open Ballot: Should searches within Ubuntu return results from Amazon?

  • We're updating Facebook again.
  • Special offer: subscribe to Linux Format magazine and save lots

Presenters:Andrew Gregory, Efrain Hernandez-Mendoza and Graham Morrison

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Your comments

International Characters

ctrl-shift-u keycode
ctrl-shif-u 00F1 = ñ
ctrl-shift-u 00e9 = é

Having to deal with Spanish and French on a regular basis this has been a great help.

Open Character Map, click on the letter required and note the "u+hexcode" in the bottom left corner.

I hope this helps.

Uninstall the Lense

I couldn't tell if you guys were confused about my comment on removing the lens, but you can.

sudo apt-get remove unity-lens-shopping

This should remove the search results from Amazon (and others, if they include more). I think there was confusion because I called it the Amazon lens, and that implies that it is it's own lens, and you're right, it *does* show up in the regular home lens, but you can remove it as if it *were* a lens.

Anonymous Shopping

just laughs at all the data leaking from ubuntu.

Advanced Printing

I looked at the video of Kate Stone's TED talk on new printing technology. It's fascinating stuff.

While there is clearly enormous potential here for the packaging, labelling and advertising industries I can see a downside.

If it is possible to print electronic circuitry on paper at such microscopic scales, there is scope for the technology to be used for crime. You could have all sorts of monitoring devices planted invisibly - maybe sent through the post. I can envisage a time when every home and office has a scanner to detect hidden circuitry on any object being brought in, much like most people have a firewall on their internet connection.

for international characters: COMPOSE KEY

to make international characters I assign the "compose key" to some rarely used key (right menu key for me) and then use the sequence of for example

menu ' o

to make a "ó"

Keyboard - French characters

I regularly use French characters - I work in a bilingual French/ English environment - and the easiest way I found is to install the US International keyboard with deadkeys.

' + e = é
` + e = è
` + a = à
^ + u = û
^ + e = ê

the only weird one is that you need to do rightAlt + , = ç

Keyboard

One can change the keyboard layout:
setxkbmap us
setxkbmap de
its all what is needed to change the layouts.

Almost all good window manager have a way to create something which allows to do that on a single click
However, it can be cumbersome to switch between different layouts. One ends up switching to a foreigner layout and try different keys until he hits the right one

There are more ways...
Using Urxvt enables you to press shift+ctrl and enter the UTF-8 number. This is supported by a nice popup window.

But there is more and this is really awesome (and worse to be mentioned in the podcast ;) )

Use Emacs !!!

Start emacs
Open a document in emacs
C-x C-f <name-of-file>

Type:
M-x set-input-method
press tab to get a list of possible input methods
type your preferred method (tab-completion)

e.g.
M-x set input-method
spanish-postfix

You might notice that in the lower left corner of info-bar (the line below, which keeps the file-name and other infos)
changed there is now an e.g. an ES for Spanish. Right click with the mouse on that ES (or whatever it is you choose).
A second buffer opens which explains you how to use the input method

As for Spanish-postfix its straight forward

Spanish (Español) input method with postfix modifiers

A' -> Á
E' -> É
I' -> Í
O' -> Ó
U' -> Ú
N~ -> Ñ
!/ -> ¡
?/ -> ¿

Doubling the postfix separates the letter and postfix:
a'' -> a' n~~ -> n~, etc.

etc.

Now typing in the text-buffer you notice that the text gets underline. That is Emacs checks if it should convert something into Spanish. Typing any of the above changes the characters directly into the corresponding Spanish character.

This method is by far the fastest way. One can stick to a single keyboard layout (e.g. US/UK since this is nice for programming) and type in any language with full touch typing speed!!!

This method is very well known in Asian countries as IME-system, to type e.g. Chinese or Japanese characters (both are supported by Emacs too) and one of the main reasons currently Linux does not get ground in Asian countries since there is no really perfect system-wide IME (as compared to MS Windows).
I wonder that so far only Emacs offers something like this for western languages. Some people might find this method similar to certain soft-keyboards on phones and tablets.

Needless to say that Emacs has this feature already long before Apple & Co. was thinking of getting a patent for it.

Hope that helps

Unity hucksterism

I gave Unity a couple of months when it was first released, but one of the biggest reasons I dumped Ubuntu in favor of Linux Mint Debian Edition was the assanine 'Suggested Programs' results that came up incessantly whenever I searched for programs. I found it annoying, and even offensive, that they would essentially be trying to 'sell' me on stuff from their Software Center, and that when I was trying to find programs that were installed on my computer with their muddled UI the absolute last thing I wanted was to see programs that I did not have installed. That they would shoehorn in overt salesmanship into the desktop experience is not at all surprising. That you can't shut it off is even more galling, and is alas a harbinger of things to come in desktop computing.

General answer to entering foreign characters

The most general approach is to look in the /usr/share/X11/locale/ directory at the relevant sub-directory 'Compose' file. In my case I would look in the en_US.UTF-8 sub-directory and then go through the Compose file. This lists key combinations needed to produce various characters. Only some key combinations will work, depending on your keyboard.

BTW, one MUST have set up a compose-key for these to work.

** With KDE, look at 'Configure Your Desktop', 'Regional & Language', 'Keyboard Layout'. Then under 'Advanced' tab, set 'Compose key Position' value.

** With Gnome, look at 'Menu', 'System', 'Preferences', 'Keyboard','Layouts' tab. Then under 'Other Options', set 'Compose Key Position' value.

IMO, the best Compose Keys are probably either 'Right Win', or 'Menu' key. (YMMV)

E.g.
Compose-Key + , key (at same time) and then press (lowercase) c key --> ç
Compose-Key + ' key (at same time) and then press (lowercase) a key --> á
Compose-Key + " key (at same time) and then press (lowercase) o key --> ö

It's pretty straight forward from then onwards...

It's important that you have a consistent interface

The point made during the podcast about being unable to use international keycodes shows something that remains at the heart of usability, of the uptake of linux in general.
It doesn't matter that these keycodes are merely a keystroke away; what matters is that the interface suddenly and unexplicably prevents a potential adopter from using the system as easily as he/she has been used to in the other world from which he/she desires to now be free from.

Simply put: if the keystrokes that this user are not available then this user may throw away all of the other benefits of switching to the linux desktop experience.

Nevertheless, there is a contrast and conflict here, which is that actually "our way" of doing things is a "better way" of doing things.

So suggesting we change the way the desktop works in order to provide the "wrong way" of doing things merely to assist uptake of a better desktop defies the principle.

It's pretty much a fait accomplis for the existing desktop designers who (it must be said) already regret the decisions that were made way back and want to change the way we interact with the "desktop".

Either we switch back in the name of ease of use or we establish a better interaction by virtue of it actually being one. We do not lack designers. We seem to lack imagination. Sorry to suggest that, but without a true innovative design we will never encourage users to take up our favourite operating system.

I guess Linus is right, basically.

There is no such thing as a problem
without a gift for you in its hands

Re: It's important that you have a consistent interface

@Mihaly

I really think that it is irrelevant what operating system one uses re foreign keystrokes. Windows & Linux provide out-of-the-box a character selector app - on KDE it is KCharSelect (Gnome has equivalent) & I presume MacOS something similar. A new user *could* use such an app. but would need to know it exists. This is an issue regardless of operating system. I'm guessing most Windows users wouldn't know where the app could be started from. ON Linux it is the sam issue, but less people know about Linux therefore less people to ask...

Using such an app. is however tiresome if you have to frequently type in 'foreign' characters - therfore my previous post. I do not know how a new user under operating system can locate such features simply - it's a documentation issue, not a software one!

Another character curiosity

I was playing around with the contents of Compose file I mentioned above and found the following sequence which I couldn't resist showing here:

compose-key + C + C + C + P ===> : ☭ (hammer & sickle)

BTW, I must apologise - I forgot that the Compose file refers to the 'Compose-key' as 'Multi-key'.

Happy Playing!!!

north face jackets

I'm really enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It's a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme? Superb work!

mmm... tres interesant...

hmm... tres interesant!

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