Because Ubuntu is a free operating system, they don’t feel the need to shove the version in your face in quite the same way their commercial counterparts do. So, when you’re on the threshold of doing an upgrade, it’s nice to know what version you’re upgrading from.

There’s a quick, command based way to discover what version of Ubuntu you’re using:

cat /etc/issue

Alternatively, for a more detailed output, try this command:

cat /etc/lsb-release

This will return the version of Ubuntu that you’re currently using. I used it prior to upgrading, and also after the upgrade to verify that everything had been successful.

It was this post about GDM themes in the new version of Ubuntu that prompted me to install the latest version of Ubuntu tonight.

GDM (short for Gnome Display Manager) themes are a fast and convenient way of changing the default login theme for Ubuntu with very little effort. Check out the Tech Source post I linked to above to see examples of sexy login screens you can simply download, install and use.

As usual, I’m going to walk you through installing a custom GDM theme in a few simple steps:

  1. Download a few of these GDM themes to your Ubuntu desktop. Don’t bother to extract them – the utility will do this for you.
  2. Now, fire up the Login Window utility from System -> Administration. You’ll need to input your admin password to continue.
  3. When the preferences window loads, click on the Local tab and you’ll see a list of available themes. Click on the Add button and browse for one of the packages you downloaded.
  4. The newly installed theme should now be in the list – browse for it and select it as the default.
  5. Ensure that the Theme setting is set to Selected only – otherwise, the login screen will cycle randomly between all the installed themes instead of the one you want.
  6. Close the Login Window utility and log out of Ubuntu to test if the new theme is active.

There are some other cool options on the other tabs that might be worth investigating (as usual), but for the purposes of this tutorial, we just want to install the basic theme.

And for the record, I’m using the Underground Ubuntu theme from the list above. If you come across any other cool Ubuntu login themes, let me know about them, will you?

Ubuntu logoSweet! A new version of Ubuntu is always an exciting occassion: the release schedule is always way more frequent than Windows, and there’s always some fascinating development that makes the upgrade worth your while.

So, tonight I’m upgrading my older version of Ubuntu from 8.10 to the latest release, which is 9.04. Otherwise known as Jaunty Jackalope, although the emphasis on animal names seems to be significantly played down on this version.

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Last Wednesday I got dragged to France. I’ve never been to France, although I have tried their method of kissing before and even their ticklers once or twice.

Lisa and I had taken the kids to London for Easter weekend, their first visit to the city. That visit is another story entirely – hint: try dragging a 3 year old around London for a weekend with the Circle and District lines under repair. We returned home on Monday evening, went straight to bed. Upon waking the next day, the first thing to happen was a phone call to say that my father was in hospital…in LOURDES!

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WordPress logoThere used to be a plugin that would scan your WordPress blog for posts that were past a certain age and close the comments functionality on them.

Why? Because when the conversation dies down, sometimes you want to move on. Plus, old blog posts are generally a target for spammers.

I’m not sure when this happened, but the ability to auto-close comments has been built into the core of WordPress now, and I’m going to show you how easy it is to configure this feature.Continue reading

The Royal Chapel of St. Peter Ad Vincula in the Tower Of London

The Royal Chapel of St. Peter Ad Vincula in the Tower Of London

This is a picture of the Royal Chapel of St Peter Ad Vincula, which is located in a picturesque corner of the Tower of London.

An innocuous-looking building, it’s a real joy to behold from the inside. On the day we visited, there was a soft light coming through the windows and illuminating the altar. It’s an almost romantic setting…if you ignore the fact that underneath the floors are the bodies of three Queens of England and a number of Dukes and Lords of the kingdom too. Most of them beheaded, naturally.

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Ariel view of Waterfoot, Co. Antrim

An ariel view of the Country Antrim village of Waterfoot – I took this on a hot summer’s day back in 2006 by trudging up Lurigedan, the mountain that overlooks Waterfoot and Cushendall.

Needless to say, I was a hyperventilating, sweaty mess by the time I got to the top. And to add to my embarrassment, I was beaten to the summit by a group of giddy teenage girls who I’m sure were laughing at the half-dead guy crawling along at a snail’s pace behind them.

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Lanyon Building, Queen's University Belfast

Named after its architect, Charles Lanyon, the Lanyon Building is the focal center of Queen’s University.

Lanyon’s work is scattered all over Northern Ireland. You travel to the North Coast, and the magnificent Glendun Viaduct is his work. As was the coast road round to Larne. Before that route opened up, that part of County Antrim was pretty remote and wild. Some say it still is.

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Statue of William Whitla at Queens

This is the statue of Sir William Whitla that graces the side of the Whitla Hall at Queen’s University of Belfast.

For me, Whitla’s name is inextricably linked to Queen’s – Whitla Hall was the first place I went to when I was matriculating (I think), I’ve taken exams there, and it was where I eventually received my degree in 1999.

I bet if you’ve been to Queen’s, you’ve probably never paid much attention to Whitla. So, in the interests of research, here’s very thorough biography of the man.