Installing Imagemagick or GD (Ubuntu 12.04)

If you’re working with PHP software, you’ll often need image processing software to support complex processing of images in PHP. Most commonly, you will be using the GD or Imagemagick libraries.

To install Imagemagick on Ubuntu for PHP:

To install GD on Ubuntu for PHP:

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Installing “pecl intl” (Ubuntu 12.04)

Some PHP software, such as MediaWiki, prefer for servers to have the “intl” PECL package to be installed. On Ubuntu you can insall it as a precompiled package from the official repositories:

If you start from a clean Ubuntu install and you want to build the package yourself, you might not have all of the dependencies installed. Run this command to make sure you have all of the prerequisites installed:

To build the package itself:

You might also have to restart your webserver if you manually build the package. For Apache, run:

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Tablets everywhere!!

As of late, there’s been an undeniable increase in the use of tablet PCs. I’ve heard people say that tablets will be the end of the desktop PC, they will take over the entire market and everything else will slowly fade away into history. Laptops were going to do the same thing a few years ago, but I’m typing this article on my desktop PC.

If you’d ask me to define today’s average tablet PC, I would respond with:

Tablets are bulky smartphones with large screens to play low-end games on.

This may be a slight exaggeration, but in a way it’s hard to deny.

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Windows 8: File Explorer

It’s been a while since my last post, I’ve been quite busy. However, in this post I’d like to take a look at the new file explorer in Windows 8.

Windows 8 File Explorer
Windows 8 File Explorer

Many people have been giving a lot of negative feedback about the fact that Microsoft decided to integrate the ribbon interface as seen in Microsoft Office 2007/2010 and other applications like Paint on never versions of Windows. Personally I think this is a great idea and they should have done this sooner.

In my opinion, this new interface opens up the capabilities of the file explorer to the every day user who often has trouble finding certain commands. The great thing about it is that the poweruser who may think of the bar as a waste of space, can jut hide it with a click of a button.

As you can see in the image, Microsoft also took some time to increase the space available. The bottom bar which showed some file properties and such has been replaced with a simple status bar to free up a lot of additional vertical space, something that will certainly be useful for users with lower screen resolutions, such as many notebook users.

Aside from the new interface I’d also like to discuss some other cool features. The first of which is that it is now possible to open a command window directly from the file menu in the file explorer, including starting it with administrative privileges. It’s of course not a big adaptation, but it’ll take a tine amount of clicks and keys off of the current methods to open this.

Another cool feature is that it is now possible to mount iso and vhd files. For those who are not familiar with either one of these files, an iso file is a sort of disk image archive file, it contains a disk image for an optical disc such as a DVD. Normally one would burn these disk images to an optical disc and insert it into a optical drive to read it, but for quite a while now, applications like Deamon Tools and VirtualCloneDrive have been able to mount these images directly as virtual drives. Windows 8 now natively supports this, removing the need for 3rd party applications. Also new is the ability to mount vhd files which are similar to iso files, but these represent virtual hard drives. The iso files mounts as a virtual optical drive and the vhd files as a virtual hard drive, which both can easily be ejected by right clicking the drive and pressing Eject.

All of these features of course are fairly trivial, but I do feel they add a lot of value to windows as a product as they increase the user experience quite a lot.

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Elementary OS 0.2 Jupiter

Elementary OS 0.2 Jupiter is the first stable release of Elementary OS and was release just over 10 days ago. I’ve been using the OS on one of my production machines for a week now and I’d like to share some of my thought about the OS.

Elementary OS is an Ubuntu remix, though things aren’t all that different. The only real difference between Ubuntu and Elementary OS is the interface. Elementary OS uses a custom built shell that runs on top of Gnome. The shell is clearly designed to resemble Mac OSX. The interface looks very sleek and tidy, is very responsive and overall I must say that it works really well.

As for functionality, the interface unfortunately doesn’t really add any, at the bottom of your desktop you will see a dock such as in Max OSX, opened programs will show up on the dock and you can easily stick them to do the dock to quick launch them. Aside from the dock, the interface seems to actually reduce the functionality of the Ubuntu desktop environment. The Desktop itself is completely gone, you can no longer put any files or folders onto the desktop and aside from this you no longer have multiple desktop support.

The OS still has a couple of bugs to iron out, often folders like Documents won’t launch and there’s a few other minor bugs.

Overall even though there’s some reduced functionality and small bugs, I must say I’m very satisfied with this new distro, the new interface looks very clean and is fun to use, it reduces that basic feel to Gnome while retaining the performance.

Note that you can use Ubuntu Tweak to bring back a lot of the functionality that was removed.

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