The best software recommendations, linux tweaks, and custom code before it's cool.
The Best Linux Lockscreen

To be honest, the default lock screens, also known as greeters or display managers (when the lockscreen also manages the boot login), can leave looks to be desired on pretty much every Linux distribution. To fix that, we have several options - theme the lock screen you already have, change the lock screen, or login automatically and use another option such as i3lock. This guide shows you how to change the login screen background, edit the login screen font, use a login screen gtk theme, and change your user manager. This guide has sections for most major display managers, but [...]

Robert Washbourne - 19 days ago - themes -
Snapcraft, AppImage, and Flatpak ... which one is the best?

Distro agnostic installation of packages is a long time coming. There are literally thousands of different distros, and a fair amount of them implement their own package managers - that means there are dozens of different package systems to develop for. This is where cross-distro packages come in. There are 3 major systems: Flatpak, AppImage, and Snapcraft. Snapcraft is by Ubuntu, and the other two started as individual projects. Snapcraft Why Snapcraft? Snapcraft is a project developed by Canonical (parent company of Ubuntu). Their website says that snaps are packages that are "for every Linux desktop, server, cloud or device, [...]

Robert Washbourne - 4 months ago - open source news -
Budgie Desktop / Solus: Minimal & Clean Desktop Environment

You may have heard of (or currently use!) Budgie Desktop. It's a minimal, but full featured, workspace currently based upon the GNOME/GTK stack. (The developer has announced they will be moving to QT in the future). Recently, the creator of Solus & Budgie, Ikey Doherty, left his job at Intel to work on the Solus Project full time. This, coupled with another developer, Stefan Ric, joining the team means that Solus users should prepare for an influx of new development. Solus One choice the Solus Project made when starting was not to base Solus on an existing distro, such [...]

Robert Washbourne - 7 months ago - desktop environments -
10 Of The Best Linux Icon Themes Compared

Linux generally has good, clean looks but the icons are sometimes... a bit lacking. However, with a few small changes, your desktop can look amazing with these icon packs. Icon packs are generally a large amount of images which control how your application, file, and system tray icons look. Most of the themes below will have installations based in the terminal (Ubuntu / Fedora / Arch), but for some of them, you need to download the actual files. In those cases, you can simply download the theme archive (.zip, .tar.gz), and extract to the folder .icons for the icon theme to [...]

Robert Washbourne - 9 months ago - themes -
Building a Music Controlling Python Start Page for Linux

By using the Gnome GLib apis, we can use the Playerctl Linux package with Python. Bundling this with bottle, a simple Python server, and websockets to listen for updates, we have a music controlling homepage. Dependencies You will of course need Python. Here, I use python2 because gevent (the websocket) does not support Python3. Linux packages you need: Playerctl Python dependencies (install with pip): bottle bottle-websocket Github You can download all the code for this project on DevPy's github here. You can clone this to your computer with git clone Adding a websocket First [...]

Robert Washbourne - a year ago - programming -
How to Add a Music Visualizer to Your Linux Desktop

A great way to add some flair to your desktop is to use a music visualizer, such as cava. However, these visualizers usually run in a terminal, and putting them on the desktop is a bit tricky. I do it here by creating a transparent terminal on the desktop, using it as a transparent terminal wallpaper, and playing cava there. Installation Cava (Console-based Audio Visualizer for ALSA) can be installed from the AUR on Arch Linux with the following: yaourt -S cava On Ubuntu, you can use sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tehtotalpwnage/ppa sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install cava On [...]

Robert Washbourne - a year ago - themes -
Your Guide to a Comfortable Linux Desktop With Openbox

Openbox is a lightweight linux stacking desktop environment that is configured with files. Openbox is a cross between a completly minimal desktop such as i3wm, and a full blown desktop like GNOME or KDE. This allows for a large variety of configurations, and more control for the user. Openbox is configured using 3 files: Openbox autostart, Openbox RC, and Openbox menu. (These can be found in ~/.config/openbox/.) The autostart file controls what application are started with Openbox, the RC controls the bulk of the settings, such as the window layout, the theme, and all keyboard shortcuts, and the menu [...]

Robert Washbourne - a year ago - desktop environments -
Robert's Rices 2016

Last year, I got into Linux "ricing", which means customization of your desktop. Over the course of 2016, I made several configs, and I would like to share a few of my favorites with you. [GNOME] Minimal Panel GNOME 3.2 with all my icons in the panel. Icons: Papirus Icons Gtk: Arc-Darker Firefox: Arc-Darker Firefox theme Wallpaper: Unsplash I am using a fork of the MMOD panel gnome extension. Download the extension, then add it to ~/.local/share/gnome-shell/extensions/. If you use GNOME 2.20 or later, run gnome-shell --version and add your version to the extension's metadata. [...]

Robert Washbourne - a year ago - themes -
Your Guide to a Practical Linux Desktop With i3WM

Technically, what you see in my screenshot above is not really i3. The distance between the windows and the screen edges is from a fork of i3, dubbed i3-gaps, created by Ingo Bürk. Also, the bar is an alternative to i3bar, which I will go over later in the list of bars for i3. i3WM is not a traditional desktop environment, such as Unity or Gnome. Instead, it is only a window manager, and it's only purpose is to control the layout of your screen. i3 is not recommended for beginners to Linux, as all the configuration you do is [...]

Robert Washbourne - a year ago - desktop environments -
The ThinkPad E570: Fast Linux Laptop at a Low Price

Update 03/03/17: These are back up as the E575 with AMD instead of Intel cores. Update 12/09/16: These were so popular they sold out and the shipping was delayed for months. Lol. I have been using mine for 6 months now it's still great; running Arch linux with tlp gets me 7 hours of battery (on medium brightness). I replaced my hard drive with the Samsung 960 Evo SSD, which I would recommend buying instead of their SSD (the EVO I bought is 250 gigs for 130$ and the thinkpad version is 256 gigs for 230$ [...]

Robert Washbourne - a year ago - open source news -
2016's Best Gifts for Geeks: Ten of the Best

Innovation is increasing at amazing rates, and new products and software are popping up at every corner. In the last ten years, geek things like Linux and Android have become mainstream, the superior quality of open source software changing the tech market. This year we've seen boards like C.H.I.P and Pi Zero offer computing at ridiculously low prices, and Ubuntu 16.10 brought Unity 8 with promising convergence. Here are some of my favorite gifts this year, with boards, drones, and more. Note: These are in rough order of price, from low to high. Note 2: Black [...]

Robert Washbourne - a year ago - -
How to Install a Linux Theme in 5 Simple Steps

For a new linux user, installing themes can be confusing. You might find a great theme, but be unable to add it to your system because the install directions are confusing, or the theme might offer only files, but no installation directions. This comprehensive guide will help you take those themes and make them yours. This guide aims to be universal for all desktop environments. If you find an error for your DE, please tell me in the comments, or suggest an alternative solution. 1. Identify your desktop environment You need this later to find if your theme supports your [...]

Robert Washbourne - a year ago - themes -
5 Strange Linux Distributions That Are Useful In Their Own Way

Some of the weirder things you can find on the internet can be Linux distributions. Linux varies from tiny, 11mb terminals to eye candy leaking, feature packed desktop environments. It ranges from heavy metal 'buntu to super secure, containerized linux. Because Linux is open source and free, anyone can edit it to their hearts content. Below are some of the more interesting edits, in descending order of usefulness to strangeness. Qubes OS Qubes is a linux distro designed to be secure. By compartmentalizing the file system using "qubes", they isolate applications and data. Qubes also includes browsing with multiple identities, [...]

Robert Washbourne - a year ago - distributions -
How To Dual Boot Windows 10 With Ubuntu

If you have Windows 10 installed on your computer and you want to try Ubuntu, or want to use Ubuntu alongside Windows, you're in luck because it's much easier than you might think. Requirements: Ubuntu ISO image Installed Windows 10 USB flash drive If your system uses UEFI instead of BIOS, make sure to disable secure boot in EFI. To check if your system uses UEFI, open C:\Windows\Panther\setupact.log in a text editor and use Ctrl + F to find Detected Boot Environment. 1. Shrink Windows to make space for Ubuntu To prepare for installation of Ubuntu, you [...]

Robert Washbourne - 2 years ago - ubuntu -
10 Of The Best Linux Themes Compared

GTK has some great looks by default. However, it can look better. In the list below are ten of my favorite themes, which can be used with Ubuntu GNOME and other distributions that use the GNOME desktop ("How can I install this?" - here's how). Themes are packages with CSS code to style the dash, launcher, and panel. They are widely used with GNOME and other desktop environments. The following themes are ranked in order of how many times they were mentioned to me on Google+, with the most mentioned theme at the top. This is an updated version of [...]

Robert Washbourne - 2 years ago - themes -
5 Of The Best Linux Desktop Themes Compared

GTK has some good looks by default. However, it can look better. In the list below are five of my favorite themes. Themes are packages with CSS code to style the dash, launcher, and panel. If you use the GTK+ theme on Chrome, themes can even style your browser. Note: This article has been updated with eight new themes! Click the link to read the new article. The new themes are suggested by the Google+ Ubuntu and GNOME communities. Arc Pictured: My current desktop with Arc Dark GTK and Shell theme. I have modified Arc with a transparent header. The [...]

Robert Washbourne - 2 years ago - themes -
The LEGO Story

Legos are perhaps the most influential toy in the history of the world. They’ve been the attraction of every kid since the 1900s, and they’re more or less everyone’s favorite toy. However, what's most amazing is the history of how these plastic bricks evolved through time. The Lego group began in the musty workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter from Denmark who began making wooden toys in 1932. Christiansen was a kind, persistent carpenter with an ever-smiling face and and an identifiable crooked nose. He had extremely high standards for people of that age, as money [...]

Erick Brott - 2 years ago - guest post -
5 Of The Best Ubuntu Desktop Environments Compared

Linux can be customized to an insane degree. You can change every font style, window color, icon image and menu style quickly and easily, opposed to the relatively locked down styles of Windows and Mac. But the best way to customize Ubuntu is with desktop environments. GNOME Shell GNOME Shell is a popular Ubuntu theme. The reason for this is clear: GNOME has a clean, flat appearance that people love. If you want to learn more about GNOME, check my collection for information about installing themes, installing extensions, customizing the look, and much more. GNOME Shell Features Uses Mutter window [...]

Robert Washbourne - 2 years ago - desktop environments -
How Louis Pasteur Saved Us From Food, Rabies And Wine

Back in 1860, food could only be kept for a few day before going bad. Yogurt curled in a few days, and meat rotted in less time than that. Consumers needed to live close to the producer, or else make their own ingredients. Scientists believed that the cause of decay was spontaneously generating organisms that spoiled milk and rotted meat. Louis Pasteur thought this theory was rubbish. His studies showed that bacteria were always present, and seemed to cause the fermentation of beer and wine. He experimented with many temperatures, trying to find a way to kill the harmful bacteria, [...]

Robert Washbourne - 2 years ago - -
Laika And Comrades: The Amazing Story Of The Soviet Space Missions

The Soviet space dogs were animals that the Soviets sent to space to test their ships. Fifteen dogs were sent on missions, but only half returned. The first dog flight marked a new era, a space era, with Russia using dogs to test ships, and the USA using monkeys. Russia started out on suborbital missions. Dezik and Tsygan, the first dogs that Russia sent on a mission, blasted off on 22 July 1951, and they returned safely. Elated by its success, Russia sent dogs Damka and Krasavka on the 22 December 1960, but the mission had many technical errors. On [...]

Robert Washbourne - 2 years ago - -
Analytical Engine, [Almost] Computer

Imagine flying over London in the early nineteenth century, the cold bustling city going to sleep. Most lights are off, but gliding over to a small alley, you see a small apartment still awake in the night. You can just hear the clanking of machinery from outside. Inside the apartment, a genius inventor, Charles Babbage, and his “magical math fairy”, Ada Lovelace, work day and night on a computer 100 years ahead of their time, without electricity, without transistors, without funding. Charles Babbage was the inventor of this early computer. With his friend, Ada Lovelace, he built and programmed this [...]

Robert Washbourne - 2 years ago - -
Hoverboards Do Exist, But Not In The Way You Imagine

The dream of flight has plagued humankind since we can remember. Leonardo Da Vinci, famous inventor, says: For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return. Now a real hoverboard has arrived: the Lexus Hoverboard. Yes, hoverboards really do exist! The Lexus Hoverboard has limitations, as it cannot fly anywhere other than places with special metal plating, and the Hoverboard has other issues, but hey, at least it hovers! Sadly, the board was never meant to be for consumers. The hoverboard [...]

Robert Washbourne - 2 years ago - -
How To Map Infinity To It's Reciprocal Using Trigonometry

A reciprocal of a number is the number over itself; for example, the reciprocal of 2 is 1/2, which equals 0.5. However, it is not always that simple. The reciprocal of infinity should be 0, because 1 is a finite number, and infinity is infinite. But if you put 1/infinity in your calculator and hit enter, it gives you a domain error. But now, let’s do it using triangles. Let K = opposite / adjacent in a triangle. Opposite is Y (Y=X), adjacent is 1, and X is tangent of the angle. If we do arctan(x) [...]

Robert Washbourne - 2 years ago - -
The Octopus: What Do We Really Know?

The octopus is a smart, curious creature. Even the largest octopus can squeeze through small openings in aquarium tops, and the octopus can survive outside the water for almost an hour. Jacques Cousteau once reported that a friend’s escapee octopus was found in his library, paging through books, looking perfectly at home. Octopi are quite smart, as when Jacques Cousteau was filming a nature documentary the octopus he was filming on his ship formulated an escape strategy; climbing out of the tank, it felt for a table leg that it could not see, then slid down the table, dragged [...]

Robert Washbourne - 2 years ago - -
Changing Points Of View In Chemistry

Back in 300 BC, everything was [thought to be] made of four elements:  Fire, Earth, Water, and Air. According to Aristotle, the basis of the material world was very simple: it was made from four elements. Each element was distinguishable by its elements. Fire was hot and dry, Water cold and wet, and Earth dry and cold. This view stuck for thousands of years; Many people used this view to try to make discoveries, like Alchemists, who are famous for their attempts to turn lead into gold. This four element based system stuck for over 2000 years, until Antoine Lavoisier [...]

Robert Washbourne - 2 years ago - -
What Is Stereo Matching?

Stereo matching, also known as Disparity mapping, is an important subclass of computer vision. Curiosity, the mars rover, uses Stereo matching. So do Google’s new self driving cars, as well as quadcopters, helicopters, and other flying vehicles. Stereo matching is robust and fast because it only uses cameras. It is easy to set up yourself, and not too hard to get running. How does it work? Stereo matching works by finding corresponding points in rectified images. Rectified images means moved so all points line up horizontally in the image, like this: After the images are rectified, we run the [...]

Robert Washbourne - 2 years ago - programming -
5 Reasons To Code Python

Python is a great coding language, easy to learn, and not too hard to master. Python is completely free in all aspects, even for commercial use. It runs natively on Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and others. There are many projects made in python, some that may surprise you. Eve Online was coded with Stackless Python, a multithreaded, faster version of python. Also, Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean was coded in Panda3D, using python scripting. Frets on Fire was also coded in Python. Scipy Stack is a Python library of computing modules. This is one of the most popular python modules, [...]

Robert Washbourne - 2 years ago - programming -
How To Run As Administrator Without A Password

I’m going to show you how to run files as admin without UAC popping up. This is also a viable method if you want to run a game on your kids account without without putting in their password. Or you might want to use this to turn admin on/off with a click, as shown at the end of the article. RunAsRob is an application to run files as admin. Download it Here. Download the zip file and extract. Find out if you have a 64 bit computer or a 32 bit computer and open the relevant folder. Now [...]

Robert Washbourne - 2 years ago - windows -
10 Python Tricks To Make Your Code Shorter

These are mainly unique to python, so if you program in another language, these may be surprising. They certainly were for me when I got started with python. 1. Negative indexing >>> a = [1,2,3] >>> a[-2] 2 >>> a[-1] 3 2. List slices >>> a = [1,2,3,4] >>> a[2:4] [3, 4] 3. Grouped naming >>> a,b,c = [1,2,3] >>> a 1 >>> b 2 >>> c 3 4. Set operations > [...]

Robert Washbourne - 2 years ago - programming -
Sethc Windows Exploit

Here is how to become administrator without a password. This is proven on windows 7&8, but this should also work on windows 10. First download the ophcrack vista/7 iso from Ophcrack. (if you do not want to crack passwords, this tutorial will work on any linux disto Get a writable disk and put it into your computer. Download free iso burner. Open the Free iso burner program and select the ophcrack iso file. Now you select burn and burn the disk. Once it is finished, save your files and restart your computer. You might want to write [...]

Robert Washbourne - 2 years ago - programming -
Template Matching

I will be using correlation code from Correlation, so check that out. For the imaging, we will use Scipy to load images, Numpy to edit the arrays, and Pyplot to show the images. This first part is image correlation code, the second part is matching templates. from scipy.misc import imread import numpy as np from matplotlib import pyplot as plt If you import just scipy, then misc will not work. >> import scipy >>> scipy.misc.imread Traceback (most recent call last): File "<pyshell#1>", line 1, in <module> scipy.misc.imread [...]

Robert Washbourne - 2 years ago - programming -

Correlation is the measure of similarity between arrays. The formula is this, where n is the length of the lists: Sum_k(0,n)(a_k*b_k)/sqrt(Sum_k(0,n)(a_k*a_k)*Sum_k(0,n)(b_k*b_k)) Thus, for the list [1,2,3] and [2,5,1], we have (1*2+2*5+3*1)/sqrt((1*1+2*2+3*3)*(2*2+5*5+1*1)) = 0.731 The closer the value is to 1, the more similar the lists are. If the correlation is exactly 1, we know [...]

Robert Washbourne - 2 years ago - programming -