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The time is always right to do what is right
· Martin Luther King, Jr

Macbuntu – Installing

Sometimes form adds significantly to function… and I’d say that Macbuntu is a good example of that.

Macbuntu strives to make (Ubuntu) Linux look and feel much more like a Mac; and while it doesn’t let you run Mac software (you’d probably want to look into Darwin — based Apple Open Source releases that formed the base of OS-X) it does make the user interface much more “human” friendly.

Install Macbuntu makes some substantial changes to your Ubuntu installation, and you probably want to try it out in a virtual machine or on a machine that isn’t critical first — you might not like it, and there’s a slight chance things might go horribly wrong.

Here’s a cook-book approach.

Install Ubuntu Desktop 10.10 (if you install a different version you’ll need to adjust the version of Macbuntu you install)… and if this is just a test, the 32-bit version is fine.

Use the package manager to add Firefox, Thunderbird, and Chromium to your installation.

Go ahead an update everything

Launch each of the above once (you don’t have to configure an account in Thunderbird — but it’s not a bad idea to go ahead and enter one).

Then download, unpack, and install Macbuntu.  You can use the below commands in a terminal window (without elevated privilege — the install script will ask when needed) to do that (or you can download and install in any way you’re most comfortable).

wget https://downloads.sourceforge.net/project/macbuntu/macbuntu-10.10/v2.3/Macbuntu-10.10.tar.gz -O ~/Downloads/Macbuntu-10.10.tar.gz
tar xzvf
~/Downloads/Macbuntu-10.10.tar.gz -C /tmp
cd /tmp/Macbuntu-10.10/

You can select all the defaults as you go through the installation; and you certainly can enable more of the “eye candy” (I wouldn’t do that if you’re running on a really low end machine).

When Docky is installed it will auto-configure “known” applications that are installed on your machine (that’s why you wanted to install Firefox, Thunderbird, and Chromium before starting this).

Also, at the end of the installation you’ll be given the opportunity to download and install plug-ins for Firefox and Thunderbird that will make them more Mac-like; and you’ll be given the opportunity to download and install a theme for Chromium that does the same (in Chromium, you’ll need to enable GTK+ theme and system title bar and borders as well if you want the “full” effect).

You’ll probably want to decide what you want on your doc — you may want to eliminate one of the web browsers and one of the email clients — but it’s up to you.  Personalize and play… I’ve been running Macbuntu on my netbook for awhile now and I’m quite happy with it.

There are other packages that allow you to give a Mac-like look to Linux, Macbuntu is specfically intended for Ubuntu, if you don’t run Ubuntu you should consider Mac4Lin instead.

This post repeats a great deal of material found in yesterday’s post on Macbuntu — it’s targeted mainly at installation.  And yes, the fact that I’ve done two posts in two days indicates that I really think this is something that has potential.


I’ve been trying to scan some of my old pictures, slides, and negatives.

It’s time consuming to say the least.

Once I get the images scanned I’ll go through them and resize/crop some of them to post to my gallery to try and fill out many of the sections that have little or nothing there.

I do have a huge amount of digital images as well; but I figure since I’ve been wanting to deal with the years and years of film photography that that would be a good place to start.


When I moved my household goods I decided to rent a cargo van / truck rather than pay a commercial moving company.

I think all-in-all that decision worked out better (and significantly cheaper) for me.

Like in most everything I do, I spent a fair amount of time comparing prices and reviews of various companies.

I found U-Haul to be the most expensive, and from the reviews have the poorest maintained equipment, and the worst record of actually having what you reserved available when you got there.

I found that Budget looked like a contender, but really none of the reviews were bad or good.

I found that Penske had by far the best reviews; the newest equipment; and their price was almost the same as Budget.

So I selected Penske, reserved the truck and auto-carrier with a 20% discount — but had to test my truck on the auto-carrier before they would confirm (not a problem, it did involve a trip over to Oakland to the district office — but they confirmed that my truck could be safely carried).

The day I picked up the truck, all seemed to go well — it was available as promised, and I got it to the house and ended up waiting a little for the moving labor to arrive (but I expected that).

When I went back to the Penske dealer to pickup the auto-carrier and load my truck (which I’d left there) we found that it wouldn’t fit.  But my rental record showed that the truck had been tested, and I knew that it worked in Oakland.  After quite some time I noticed that the tie down straps were a different color; the shop person who was helping me realized that the newer straps were yellow (not blue) and that they might be longer.

So other than slightly over an hour delay, I didn’t have any issues at pickup.

On the road, the truck handled like a truck — and loaded down that heavy had a tough time making it up the grades (I choose to bypass the Los Angelos basin and took I-10 cross country to minimize grade changes).

I made it all the way to Baton Rouge Louisiana without incident, and just about right on schedule (I actually even made up for the one hour delay and horrible rush hour traffic leaving San Francisco).  Just after crossing the Mississippi River I was going up a grade at an overpass and the  and the high pressure oil line blew out — coving the truck and my truck with oil and forcing the truck to a dead stop.

It well over a half an hour to just get through to the emergency call number and get a tow truck dispatched (something U-Haul doesn’t have period).  Fortunately a police office was on the scene in a minute or so to help direct traffic around.

In all it was just over three hours of delay to have the truck repaired and be back on my way; but my truck was covered with oil and soiled everything that came near it.

My schedule was a little upset, but nothing so major since I was near my destination.

I returned the auto-carrier the next day (that was supposed to save me some of the daily charges); however when I returned the truck the invoice did not properly generate the credits.  The Penske customer service center indicated it was because the facility that I returned the truck and auto-carrier to did not know how to properly process the invoice (I would have thought it would have been automatic).  They indicated I’d have to deal with them — but when I said I already tired they said I’d have to take it up with the district office in Mobile (AL).

I’ve written a letter to the Penske district office in Mobile; and I’ll let you know how all of this plays out.

The short of it I’m not sure whether or not I’d rent from Penske again — certainly what had potential to be a good experience has been marred with incompetent customer service… and surprisingly the break down itself is not what diminishes my view of Penske, it’s the people who’ve made the rental significantly harder and more time consuming than it needs to have been.

Follow Up


Talent hits a target that no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see.
·Arthur Schopenhauer

#$%^ Documents and Settings

I wrote this little batch file to make Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 have a user directory structure more similar to Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, and Windows 7.

You simply need to run it as a user with administrative privileges and it will create the “User” directory in the root of your drive along with all the other more “sane” directory structures that the newer Windows use — don’t worry, it uses links so that you won’t have two copies of the information, and applications that expect the old structure will continue to work.

There is an older BLOG post that describes how it works:  Revise Windows XP “Home” Directory Structure if you’re interested in the details.



For the last several years I’ve made sure a quote a day (often relevant to the day in history) was published on my BLOG… and hope some of you have appreciated the effort it takes to do that.

This year (other than the one earlier today) I’m not going to have a quote of the day that I enter specifically for the day. What I will try to do is make sure that a quote is presented on the sidebar.

I’m thinking about adding a new word as well — not so much because I want to expand anyone’s vocabulary, but because it’s always interesting to see what definition (or quote) randomly appears.

Let me also take a moment to wish everyone the very best… a new year, and new opportunity for each of use to try and make the world we live in a better place for ourselves, our families, our friends, our neighbors, and the billions of people we share this fragile, tiny planet with we don’t know and will likely never meet.

New Years Day

New Year’s Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.
· Mark Twain