The latest version of Ubuntu – Hardy Heron, comes with a lot of improvement and functionality over its predecessors. However, unknown to many, some of the best features are hidden and are not enabled by default. To really get the most out of Hardy Heron, you really need to uncover these features, activate and configure them to perform at its best.
UFW (Uncomplicated Firewall) is a tool for host-based iptable configuration. It allows you to set permission for incoming/outgoing connections easily. For anyone who want to add an extra layer of protection to their system (who wouldn’t?), UFW would be the right tool for it.
To enable UFW,
To check UFW status
To enable logging
To block a connection from a IP address (say “126.96.36.199”)
Install Restricted Codecs (multimedia, flash, Java)
Once again, due to licensing restriction, Ubuntu could not include the multimedia codecs, flash plugin and java runtime by default. To grab all these packages in one go, you have to enable the “backports” repository in your “sources.list” and install the “ubuntu-restricted-extras” package
Uncomment the following two lines by removing the # in front
Save and exit
Get Weather Information on the top panel
Hardy includes a nice feature where you can view the weather condition in your location. To activate it, click the time/date icon on the top panel to display the calendar setting. Below it, click on the “Location”, follow by “Edit”. Enter your location. If you are connected to the Internet, you should see your weather information beside the time/date.
More Eye Candy For Your Desktop
While Compiz is pre-installed in Hardy Heron, there is only limited options and there is no way you can configure it. For some of the best eye-candy effects, you really need to install the “Compiz configuration setting manager”.
Find your files easily
Tracker, a lightweight and fast indexing agent, is a great tool to help you locate your files and emails easily. While it comes pre-installed with Hardy, I am curious why it is not enabled by default.
Go to “System -> Preferences -> Search and Indexing”. On the “General” tab, check on the box “”Enable indexing”” and “”Enable watching””. Click “OK”. A dialog box will appear to prompt you to restart the tracker daemon. Click “Restart” and you should see the tracker icon on the top right panel.
Preload is a module that monitors applications that users run, and by analyzing this data, predicts what applications users might run, and fetches those binaries and their dependencies into memory for faster startup times. It is similar to Windows SuperFetch. The only difference is that preload exists long before Windows SuperFetch.
No configuration is required.
What seems to be a simple task in Mac and Windows is almost impossible in Hardy without any configuration. Same as Gutsy and all previous version of Ubuntu, you still can’t watch DVD from your fresh install of the OS. For those who really can’t live without DVD, check out the installation guide here.
Until GNOME releases a new music player that is better than Rhythmbox, or one that allows me to transfer music to my iPod Touch, I will stick with Amarok. It is still one of the best music player around.
Note: Be prepared to download a bunch of KDE files since it is not GNOME based
VLC: The most versatile media player
VLC still remains the most versatile media player around. It is the only player that can play whatever file formats I throw to it.
Needless to say, WINE is the only solution to install windows applications on Ubuntu. It is also the software that makes many new Windows users feel at home.
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