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Sean Davis: Parole Media Player 0.5.91 Released

Planet Ubuntu - Mon, 2013-12-30 04:12

Today I wrap up my week-long “staycation” with the release of Parole Media Player 0.5.91.  The media player with the curious name (“parole” means “lyrics” in Italian) continues it’s steady march towards 0.6 with a new plugin and several fixes.

Release Notes
  • Added a new MPRIS2 plugin, thanks to Matias and Hakan (of Pragha fame)
  • Added realmedia video to supported video mimetypes (bug #10434)
  • Fixed untranslatable strings (bug #10418)
  • Fixed loading of playlists with relative paths (bug #10436)
  • Fixed plugin installation on some platforms (bugs #10142, #10441)
  • Fixed failing debug builds on some platforms (bug #10525)
  • Fixed broken “Remove Duplicates” functionality
  • Fixed playlist searching
  • Started Plugin API documentation updates (more on this ahead)
New MPRIS2 Plugin

This latest addition is thanks to the hard work of Matias and Hakan, who provided the majority of the effort to create the MPRIS2 plugin.  The Media Player Remote Interface Specification (MPRIS) is a standard DBUS interface for controlling media player.

Implementations can be found in most desktop environments, such as the Ubuntu Sound Indicator, the GNOME Shell Media Player extension, and the upcoming Xfce Sound Panel Applet.

Download and Installation

Source packages of Parole Media Player can be downloaded from the Xfce archives.  Parole Media Player 0.5.91 can be downloaded directly from here.

Additionally, updated packages should arrive soon in the Xfce 4.12 PPA for Ubuntu users.  Exercise caution in enabling this PPA as it contains development packages not meant for the everyday user.

If you encounter any bugs, please report them following our bug reporting guidelines.

Looking for Help

Are you familiar with Gtk documentation tools (gtk-doc)?  We’re trying to complete our Plugin API documentation, and can use some more experienced individuals helping us out.  If you’re interested, let us know in the comments or even send us a merge request.  Any help is appreciated!

Charles Profitt: Computer Science Literacy for K-12 Students

Planet Ubuntu - Sun, 2013-12-29 20:58

The Problem:
Over the past several years I have watched educational leaders talk about technology literacy, 21st century skills, ISTE standards (formerly the NETS) and STEM. As a parent and community member I remain unimpressed with what my local school districts are offering in the way of computer science education. As an employee of a school district I see little that makes me think meaningful change is coming any time soon. The following are examples:

Example High School Courses Offered 2013-14:

  • Business Department:
    • Advanced Microsoft Applications: The key to productivity is the ability to integrate the capabilities of software. This computer course utilizes realistic activities and projects designed for learning and integrating Microsoft Office 2007 suite of application software.
    • Personal Computer Keyboarding: Keyboarding is a necessary skill in this computer age!
    • Web Page Design: This Web design course teaches you how to plan, organize, and create a Web site from start to finish. Using HTML code and Notepad, then progressing into using Microsoft Expressions Web, (a Web authoring and site management program), you will learn to create and manage professional quality sites.
  • Technology Department:
    • Digital Electronics: Digital Electronics is a course of study in applied digital logic.
    • Computer Integrated Manufacturing: CIM is a course that applies principles of rapid prototyping, robotics and automation.

All the offerings from the business department should have been taught prior to high school. Keyboarding is a skill that should be started no later than 1st grade. In fact, keyboarding as currently defined by most schools is more a 20th century skill than 21st century skill. Touch interfaces and keyboard variants make qwerty keyboarding less important. The technology department has some good courses, but there is a lack of systems administration, network administration and programming courses. Programming should be introduced at the middle school level and integrated in to other curricular areas in high school. Imagine using R to process statistical data for social studies, biology, physics, chemistry or other courses. Imagine engaging in real world data analysis that educates students while having a real world impact students can see.

A Possible Solution:
A community based group that focuses on providing students with opportunities to learn real-world computer science skills. This fall I started reaching out to people in my local community who run computer related user groups to discuss building such a group. Two efforts could provide a framework for building a local group in Rochester: Codeacademy and CoderDojo. My goal for 2014 is to get such a community group organized and functional by July of 2014. The next steps will be to:

  • Identify interested community groups
  • Identify local parent association groups (stake holders)
  • Identify local students interested in assisting in defining the group (stake holders)
  • Identify a location for organizational meetings
  • Determine if a legal entity needs to be created for this effort
  • Identify a location for classes
  • Contact possible sponsors

The only item on the list that gives me a reason to pause is the potential requirement for a legal entity to be created. I have no legal experience in this arena so I have no idea what to expect.


Lubuntu Blog: Happy New Year wallpaper

Planet Ubuntu - Sun, 2013-12-29 14:24
Another traditional party, the New Year celebration. So here it is a new wallpaper for the StartUbuntu project, a great initiative commanded by Amjjawad that supports people that leave Windows XP in favour of a new Lubuntu install on their systems. Download it at the artwork section, as well as lots of *buntu flavoured wallpapers (Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, etc).

Sean Davis: LightDM GTK+ Greeter 1.7.0 Released

Planet Ubuntu - Sun, 2013-12-29 02:44

After several weeks of development, the first development release leading to LightDM GTK+ Greeter version 1.8 has been made available.  Thanks to some new contributors, there’s quite a bit to see this time around.

Release Notes New Features
  • Window positioning (relative or absolute) of the login window and power dialogs is now configurable.
  • The default user-image displayed for user’s without a profile image is now configurable.
Accessibility Improvements
  • The onboard on-screen keyboard application is now run in xembed mode.
  • The accessibility menu items can now be activated with the F1, F2, and F3 hotkeys.
  • The selected user can now be changed from the username and password entries with the up and down keys.
  • The power dialogs can now be cancelled with the Escape key.
Lock Screen Improvements
  • When the LightDM GTK+ Greeter is used as a locked, it now blanks the screen when activated.
Bugs Fixed
    • Debian #718497: Last PAM error message not showing
    • Debian #721510: Greeter panel clock fails with long date formats
    • LP #1031421: Greeter doesn’t select user’s last session when using “Other”
    • LP #1147914: Can’t change the login window’s position
    • LP #1191509: Disabling language selector leaves strange artifact on the screen
    • LP #1194694: move to password input if <enter> pressed after username input
    • LP #1231134: support enter key to validate login entry
    • LP #1232804: Improve “login greeter -> desktop” transition in Xubuntu
    • LP #1251431: user background gets painted over background specified in config file
    • Fixed typo in language selection code
    • Fixed keyboard focus when used with the on-screen keyboard
New Features Window Positioning

10 pixels from the left and 30% down (position=10 30%)

With the added window positioning, the login window and power dialogs can now be placed based on relative or absolute values.

Configuration is simple. Values can be represented as percentages, positive (from the top/left), and negative (from the bottom/right). Some layout examples are below.

# position = main window position: x y

# 20% horizontally, 40% vertically
position = 20% 40%

# 10 pixels from the left, 50% vertically
position = 10 50%

# 100 pixels from the right, 50% vertically
position = -100 50%

Default User Image

The default user image configured as “#distributor-logo”, useful for distributions.

The profile image that is displayed for user’s that have not already chosen an image can now be configured.  Previously the image was always set to “avatar-default”.  The value can either be the path to an image file, or an icon name.  Sample configuration is below.

# default-user-image = Image used as default user icon, path or #icon-name

# Using a file path
default-user-image = /usr/share/pixmaps/firefox.png

# Using an icon name, distro logo
default-user-image = #distributor-logo

Screenshots Download and Installation

The source code for LightDM GTK+ Greeter can be obtained from the downloads page.  Ubuntu users (Quantal through Trusty) can also install it from the Stable PPA using the following commands.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lightdm-gtk-greeter-team/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install lightdm-gtk-greeter

If you find any bugs, please report them on the bugs page.

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