About Tavis J. Hampton

Tavis J. Hampton is a freelance writer from Indianapolis. He is an avid user of free and open source software and strongly believes that software and knowledge should be free and accessible to all people. He enjoys reading, writing, teaching, spending time with his family, and playing with gadgets.

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Articles by Tavis J. Hampton

How to Check Your Gmail Account with Kmail

How to Check Your Gmail Account with Kmail

Email has changed dramatically over the years. What was once a single program on your computer that occasionally shouted “You’ve got mail” is now on the web, on your smartphone, and probably with you wherever you go. As easy as it is to dismiss the past necessity for having a standalone email client, there are […]

2012 Linux Computer Buyer’s Guide

2012 Linux Computer Buyer’s Guide

With the coming of a new year, it is time to take a look at the Linux computer offerings and see which distributions you can get shipped to your doorstep. I just recently ordered a new desktop from one of these vendors, and I will publish a review as soon as I have thoroughly tested […]

How to Install a Preview of Ubuntu TV

How to Install a Preview of Ubuntu TV

At CES, Canonical announced its latest major project that it is calling Ubuntu TV “TV for human beings”. Much of the Ubuntu TV interface will be based on the groundwork that has already been established with the development of Unity, Canonical’s revolutionary, and sometimes polarizing, desktop environment. In keeping with tradition, Ubuntu TV is free […]

How to Install and Configure ownCloud

How to Install and Configure ownCloud

It is difficult to read any tech news and not see something about “the cloud”, cloud computing, cloud hosting, or at least something that mentions the word “cloud”. Many businesses have moved their entire software operations into the cloud, and many individual users rely on cloud service providers for email, documents, and file storage. There […]

How to Make GTK3 Apps Look Presentable in KDE4

How to Make GTK3 Apps Look Presentable in KDE4

With the release of Gnome 3, many developers of GTK apps have begun to port their programs from GTK2 to GTK3. If you have used Ubuntu 11.04, you will notice that many of the popular GTK2 themes did not yet have GTK3 equivalents, which left the few GTK3 applications looking awful.

How to Get a Dock-Like Taskbar in KDE with Icon Tasks

How to Get a Dock-Like Taskbar in KDE with Icon Tasks

KDE has always given users the ability to add launchers to its panel, and it has always had a very usable task manager. Until recently, however, there has not been a comprehensive and well-designed merging of the two. The Icon Tasks widget has changed all of that. It is a robust plasma widget that includes […]

How to Run Startup Scripts in KDM before KDE Starts

How to Run Startup Scripts in KDM before KDE Starts

KDE has an easy-to-use system for configuring programs or scripts to run at startup. Linux distributions also have methods of starting programs at boot, but there are some unique instances when it would be ideal to start a script at the moment KDM starts, in between the start of X and the start of your […]

How to Make KDE 4 Look Like KDE 3

How to Make KDE 4 Look Like KDE 3

When KDE 4 was first released, it was met with both hope and dismay, depending on the person you asked. Some loved everything from the new interface to the improved functionality. Others called it a significant step, but one in the wrong direction. Those purists still love KDE 3.5, and many of them continue to […]

How to Use Custom Tray Icons in KDE

How to Use Custom Tray Icons in KDE

KDE icons are generally very easy to customize, and there is a complete graphical interface in System Settings for choosing an icon theme or installing a new one. One thing you might notice, however, is that the standard KDE tray icons are all monochrome. When you start using non-KDE apps or lesser-known KDE apps that […]

How to Give Any KDE Desktop An Ubuntu Makeover

How to Give Any KDE Desktop An Ubuntu Makeover

Although some might consider it blasphemous, the default KDE desktop is not a style everyone automatically likes. If it were, KDE-Look.org would not be filled with desktop themes, window manager themes, and more. KDE is all about customization, and the ability to make it look however you want is part of that. I have spoken […]

How to Use KVM with Virtual Machine Manager

How to Use KVM with Virtual Machine Manager

Virtualization has many uses. You can use it to test another operating system, run applications that your OS does not support, or even maintain virtual servers within one or more virtual machines. KVM (kernel-based virtual machine) is a Linux virtualization tool that makes use of hardware-assisted virtualization (also called native virtualization) using processor technology such […]

A Guide to the KDE Notification System

A Guide to the KDE Notification System

KDE offers one of the most comprehensive and flexible notification systems (KNotify). In addition to system notifications, nearly every program has notification settings that are integrated into the larger desktop environment. Moreover, KDE’s notification system is configurable for just about any type of user, including those who need specific accessibility features.

How to Secure Your Torrent Downloads

How to Secure Your Torrent Downloads

Internet security and privacy are two topics that are frequently in the news. Those Internet users who use the BitTorrent protocol to share files are perhaps more aware of these security and privacy issues than others. Many government agencies, special interest groups, corporations, and hackers with malicious intentions monitor torrent downloads and look for people […]

How to Get Great Looking Fonts in KDE

How to Get Great Looking Fonts in KDE

Text appearance is probably one of the most underrated features of any computing experience. It is easy to overlook fonts because words are all around us, and we expect them to be pleasing to the eyes and easy to read, but probably only notice when they are not. In reality, a font can make or […]

How to Optimize KDE Desktop Effects

How to Optimize KDE Desktop Effects

Since its official inclusion in KDE, the Desktop Effects component of KWin has received mixed reviews. Many of the negative reviews point to performance problems, some of which are the result of the dramatically diverse offering of Linux drivers available for graphics cards. Not all graphics cards are equal, but one would expect them to […]

How to Stream Media to Your Xbox 360 or PS3

How to Stream Media to Your Xbox 360 or PS3

Video game consoles, particularly the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, are increasingly becoming more than just gaming devices. They have become complete entertainment systems. You can now watch Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and other streaming video content. You can purchase and listen to music, and with the new Xbox 360 dashboard update coming this fall, you […]

Steel Storm: Burning Retribution Review

Steel Storm: Burning Retribution Review

Once in a while, an indie game comes out that reminds us that great games need not come from huge companies with large development budgets. Steel Storm was one such game, as my previous review of Steel Storm: Episode I highlighted. The developers of Steel Storm, Kot-in-Action Creative Artel are back again with the next installment, […]

How to Batch Convert and Resize Images with Converseen

How to Batch Convert and Resize Images with Converseen

Converseen is a free and open source batch image converter and resizer. With it, you can quickly and easily convert your images to and from over 100 formats. It is based on Qt4, making it cross-platform, and it uses ImageMagick to handle the heavy lifting. Supported image formats include JPEG, PNG, EXR, SVG, Postscript, TIFF, […]

A Review of Red Eclipse, Free and Open Source FPS

A Review of Red Eclipse, Free and Open Source FPS

The number of truly free and open source games available for download is small in general, but in terms of genre, first-person shooters (FPS) have plenty of representation. This is largely due to the 3D engines that have been released into the free software community, which lend themselves well to FPS games. The Cube Engine 2 is […]

Open Source File Syncing And Collaboration With Sparkleshare

Open Source File Syncing And Collaboration With Sparkleshare

Whenever software development or any other type of project requires collaboration, the process of exchanging files, saving them, revising, and re-uploading can be tedious. Because of this, developers have created revisioning control systems. These systems have even been used for documentation in collaborative tools like wikis. Sparkleshare is an extension of these collaboration tools that provides a […]