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March 25, 2010

Make a Screen Protector for your Cell Phone

screen protectorThough Apple has officially stopped selling screen protector films for the iPhone and the iPod Touch, you may still want to have them in order to protect the screen of your expensive mobile device from scratches, dirt or even your own fingerprints.

Screen protectors are easily available for all popular mobile devices and they are pretty cheap, so much so that you may end up paying more for shipping than for the product itself.

That said, if you can’t find a good cover film that will exactly fit the screen of your current cell phone, you can easily build one on your own for free using material that is already available in your home.

Scratch Proof your Cell Phone Screen

All you need is a ruler (to measure the screen size of your gadget), some clear packing tape (that will act as the cover), a bowl of water with some soap and an old credit card to firm apply that homemade screen protector to your cell phone screen.

The video is produced by Howcast.com and it shares another very useful tip -- avoid putting your cell phone in the same pocket that has your keys and /or loose coins.

Make a Screen Protector for your Cell Phone

March 24, 2010

Easily Reduce Cable Clutter on your Desk

reduce cable clutter

If you have USB cables, cell phone chargers and other connecters lying all around your desk, just get a couple of binder clips from your nearest stationery store and fix them to one edge of your table as shown in the picture.

De-clutter your Desk

The wire arms (or the handles) of the binder clip can act as “holders” to not only give you quick access to your most frequently used cables but they’ll also prevent the wires from falling off your computer table.

Binder Clips are available in many different sizes so if you are working on a thick desk, you may want to buy a larger version of the clip.

March 23, 2010

First Look at Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Beta

First Look at Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx BetaAll platforms: You want change? Ubuntu 10.04, the next long-term release of the free operating system, is full of change. Window buttons are on the left, default apps are replaced, the theme is new, and many more upgrades are worth exploring.

Click any of the images in this post for a larger view.

One of the first things any user will notice in the pic above, whether new to Ubuntu or a veteran Linux user, is the button layout. Ubuntu 10.04, also known as "Lucid Lynx," has opted for a left-side, Mac-style lineup of maximize/restore, minimize, and close buttons, but switched around the order, so that the close/kill button is the right-most button on a left-hand button panel. That is certainly new, and will take some getting used to. An alpha-testing friend of mine said it took "a few hours" over one or two days to start using the buttons without thinking too much about it, but he still occasionally catches himself mousing toward the wrong side of a window. Time will tell whether this was a smart long-term move for Ubuntu.

There's also a new purple/dark gray theme that's seen the usual "It's elegant"/"It's awful" debate around the net. I haven't used the beta enough to render a real verdict, but it was definitely time to try something new.

First Look at Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx BetaAs predicted, Ubuntu 10.04 will have a built-in music store that ties together with the free 2 GB of Ubuntu One cloud storage given to each user. Ubuntu One's music store is built into the Rhythmbox music player, and once you try to access it, Ubuntu will install the proper MP3 codecs so you can, you know, play MP3s. Alas, I didn't get very far with my own installation, but it does look like a nice alternative to buying songs manually through Amazon and processing them through Rhythmbox.

First Look at Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx BetaUbuntu One itself is integrated into the operating system, and logs in automatically when you sign into your account, after first setting up your credentials. The Ubuntu One folder that automatically syncs whatever you drop in it, just like Dropbox, is stashed in your home folder; why the left-hand location links don't include Ubuntu One by default, I don't know. From your user panel (detailed further down), you can set preferences for how much bandwidth Ubuntu One can use, and control which computers your Ubuntu One account syncs to.

First Look at Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx BetaUbuntu is moving, with each release, toward a more social, net-connected experience built more tightly into the operating system. Clicking on your user name icon in the upper-right corner brings down a user panel that can set your chat status through the Empathy chat client, which connects to Google Talk, AIM, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, and many other protocols. You can also set up "Broadcast" preferences to send out messages through Twitter, Facebook, and other short messaging/social network services. And Ubuntu One preferences are controlled through this panel as well.

First Look at Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx BetaI've called Simple Scan a big step forward for Ubuntu, as it takes something that previously involved four windows and hundreds of micro-controls and pared it down to what most people need: a "Scan" button, a rotate-and-crop tool, and a choice of just a few DPI resolution levels. Simple Scan is a default application in Ubuntu 10.04, along with the PiTiVi video editor, which I haven't had a chance to try out in much depth (I've found OpenShot to be remarkably usable of late).

There's a quick tour through what's new and changed in Ubuntu 10.04, but it's certainly not everything. Ubuntu 10.04 Beta 1 is a free download that can be used as a live CD or installation disc on most hardware.

If you give Ubuntu 10.04 a go as a live CD, virtual machine, or on your hard drive, tell us what's new and exciting, and what's just goofy, in the comments. If you're an Ubuntu user who doesn't want the fuss of setting up a test run, consider using TestDrive for a super-simple VirtualBox try-out.

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS [Ubuntu]