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Monday, May 18, 2009

Relive old NES days with Secret Maryo Chronicles

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Mario Bros and Super Mario has been one of the most popular games in computer games/console games history. The story of character Mario , who tries to save princess in Mushroom land has been like a legend in the video game world. I still fondly remember spending my childhood playing these awesomely made games day and night out (along with another awesome computer game Price of Persia :P) on my black and white television.

Since then i.e 1980's and early 1990's computer gaming has changed a lot. We have powerful consoles which boast of Cell architecture processors and almost life like , photo - realistic graphics in games. I do play the likes of World of Warcraft , Counter Strike or even Spore :P but I still miss doze good old NES games, games which were not complicated , were innocently simple.

Now , there are couple of ways to actually run those old games , you can use an SNES/NES emulator to run those old ROM's if you manage to get them i.e or you could play one of the ports of these games. Many people have created ports of these games for different platforms , and infact you can play a lot of these games online as Flash Games or Java applet.

Secret Maryo Chronicles is loosely based on Mario Bros but has more friendly graphics , catchy sound/music and is extremely friendly. It is based on cross platform SDL library and hence could be played on number of different platforms. Secret Maryo Chronicles has been in development for number of years now , in fact it was listed on Sourceforge for the first time in 2003.

The character in Secret Maryo Chronicles is aptly called Maryo and similar to classic Mario you have to naivgate through Mushroom land by going through pipes and collecting different powerups and fighting monsters.

It is extremely easy to install Secret Maryo Chronicles in Ubuntu , as it is available in the official repositories and could be easily installed by issuing the following command in the terminal window:

sudo apt-get install smc
After issuing the above command you can launch Secret Maryo Chronicles from (Applications -> Games -> Secret Maryo Chronicles).


There is tons of information about Secret Maryo Chronicles available on their website which can be accessed at : http://www.secretmaryo.org/

Article Written by : Ambuj Varshney (blogambuj@gmail.com)
For Linux on Desktop Blog , http://linuxondesktop.blogspot.com
(C) 2009 , Ambuj Varshney

**(one of the screenshots has been taken from SMC website)

Monday, May 04, 2009

A Look at Ubuntu 9.04 "Jaunty Jackalope"

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First of all , I am sorry for taking hiatus from blogging, I was having my End Semester examination and hence wasn't able to devote much time to Blogging. Anyway , couple of days back Cannonical came out with new release of Ubuntu, Ubuntu 9.04 "Jaunty Jackalope" and being ardent follower of Ubuntu, I decided to take a look at some of the exciting new features in Ubuntu 9.04.

Ubuntu 9.04 does not boast of ground breaking or earth shattering new features but instead tries to be as simple as possible. Infact , compared to previous releases of Ubuntu it might be one of the least radical release.Ubuntu 9.04 is more of an update to the earlier release of Ubuntu. Though , there have been some significant changes in Ubuntu 9.04 which I try highlighting here.

I tried installing Ubuntu 9.04 on my Intel 965GM graphic chipset based laptop , only to discover that I was getting awful frame rate while playing HD or even Sub-HD videos. After spending some time on Google and Ubuntu forums , I found few Intel chipsets were blacklisted in this release of Ubuntu and would only be fully supported in Update to Ubuntu 9.04, which was kind of sad :( . However, I found one solution (is bit nerdy and could make your system unstable) which seemed to have got Graphic performance of my system back to awesome again. If you own one of these chipset based graphic card , you might like to see this post.

Ubuntu 9.04 is extremely fast and entire desktop loads up in a jiffy , Infact entire boot process and loading up of desktop took less then 45 seconds on my cranky old laptop. Another , awesome change in Ubuntu 9.04 is the new sleek interface and brand new visual notification system.

The new visual notification system does away with any sort of interaction element like buttons, this way Cannonical has tried reducing the distraction caused by notification popups. The notification bubbles are more aesthetic looking and are translucent. Multiple notifications pile up below one another , and hovering mouse over notification makes it translucent.Notification disappears automatically after few seconds.

Ubuntu 9.04 also includes a number of community themes which were optional in Ubuntu 8.10.Ubuntu 9.04 also has improved support for multiple monitors.


New Wave - One of the new themes included in Ubuntu 9.04

Ubuntu , has a entireley new log in screen and is extremely simple yet sexy.

Ubuntu 9.04 has removed Shutdown option from the System menu and instead the only way you can switch off , hibernate , logout , lock your system is by clicking on small power button at the top right corner of the screen. I found this bit annoying, I have been used to Shut down option in System menu for some time now.

One thing which pissed me off was the new update notification dialog box , unlike earlier releases where you had update icon in the bar, If updates were available. In Ubuntu 9.04 , update dialog box pops up every now and then and forces you to update your system(which is good , but this frequent popping up of update dialog box is annoying! ).

On technical side, Ubuntu 9.04 includes ext4 file-system which has support for extremely large files and is extremely fast, ext4 also allows you to defrag your drive which many Windows users might relate to. Though , ext4 is not enabled by default and you have to chose ext4 manually during partitioning.

Installation , has also been simplified with extremely user friendly time zone selector, which basically splits entire world map into different time zones and lets you chose your time zone graphically.
New Time Zone Selector :)

Ubuntu 9.04 includes OpenOffice 3.0.1 as Office Suite unlike Ubuntu 8.10 which carried older 2.x version of OpenOffice, Gnome 2.26 as desktop environment , Mozilla Firefox 3.0.9 and Kernel 2.6.28. Ubuntu 9.04 also to be future safe includes support for Cloud Computing.
Brasero - CD/DVD Burning tool

Ubuntu 9.04 has Brasero as it's default CD burning application , it also provides backend functionality to nautilus for burning CD's.

Conclusion : In conclusion I am not going to claim that Ubuntu is going to beat Windows on desktop or we will see hordes of people jumping onto Linux bandwagon, but instead with Ubuntu 9.04 Cannonical has made Ubuntu 9.04 simple yet functional and I sincerely beleive simplicity is what is going to make people adopt Linux! Ubuntu is definately on right course and given proper oppurtunity(in forms of OEM adopting it) we will definitely see more and more people chosing Ubuntu as their primary desktop operating system.

Article Written by : Ambuj Varshney (blogambuj@gmail.com)
For Linux on Desktop Blog , http://linuxondesktop.blogspot.com
(C) 2009 , Ambuj Varshney