When fast isn't fast enough...

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For all the computer hardware geeks out there:

Chocolate Pallete

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I'm a big fan of dark chocolate so I was extremely pleased when my wife bought me Trader Joe's Chocolate Pallete - a collection of single-source dark chocolate samples from around the world. Although some chocolate artisans have turned down their noses and some regular shoppers have balked at the $10 dollar price tag (nothing compared to the $45 Pralus Pyramid), I for one want to come to come to its defence and say I enjoyed the experience. The flavors were distinct and comparing them to the #1 rated limited-edition Amedei Chuao (which is fantastic and also received for Christmas), I thought the Papua New Guinea bar compared favourably.

Bottom line: if you're a devoted fan of dark chocolate (70% content or higher) and you don't drive a Lamborghini, this product is worth the experience.

Update: After trying the last four bars, I've decided that the overall quality is actually sub-par and I wouldn't recommend the set for general dark chocolate fans.

Well, it's finished

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I deleted my Windows partition yesterday afternoon. For better or worse, I've officially joined the ranks of Linux aficionados.

The new 'Titan' by Valley Games is awesome!

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Titan, a classic out-of-print board game by Avalon Hill, was re-released by Valley Games awhile ago. Having a copy of both versions, I was very impressed (surprised, actually) with the quality and improvements of the new release. The main board is larger, the playing pieces are thicker, the battle lands are boards instead of paper, the rules are full-color, the box contains a built-in storage area for the creatures (alphabetically sorted with a plastic cover to avoid displacement when packed), the creatures are detailed and multi-colored, the list could go on...



Buy it now!

Linux and printing

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A lot of printer manufacturers totally ignore the Linux market and therefore fail to create quality printer drivers for Linux (not to mention an easy installation process). Fortunately, the open source community has come to the rescue once again:

1. Go to OpenPrinting and search for your printer (click the "Show" button next to your printer manufacturer)

2. My Canon i550 came up as: http://www.openprinting.org/show_printer.cgi?recnum=Canon-i550

3. Make a note of the recommended printer driver (for my Canon i550 it was CUPS BJC8200)

4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select the appropriate package for Gutenprint (a set of high-quality printer drivers for Linux). Note: Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu which is based on Debian so Linux Mint users should select a DEB package (for example, I selected x86 32 bit (DEB for LSB 3.2))

5. Open the package with a package installer and install (for some reason, the package has a Postfix dependency which I simply disabled by setting to "Not Configured" when prompted)

6. Once Gutenprint is installed, open your printer manager (Administration > Printing) and create a new printer. It should automatically detect a printer if it's powered and connected to your machine. Select it and click Forward.

7. Select your printer manufacturer and click Forward.

8. Use the driver for the recommended printer found in step 3 above (in my case, BJC-8200).

9. Select the Gutenprint printer driver (in my case, Canon BJC-8200 - CUPS+Gutenprint (OpenPrinting LSB 3.2) v5.2.4 [en])

10. Click Forward, give the printer a meaningful name, and you're finished! Print a test page to verify the new printer driver works.

Restore Google Search in Linux Mint 8 Firefox

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I agree with others that the Linux Mint branding of the Google Search feature in Firefox (top-right corner search) is a bit annoying. To disable this branding:

1. Create a text file called google.xml and paste the following:



2. Then use root privileges to replace the existing google.xml files in the following locations with the one you just created:

  • /usr/lib/firefox-addons/searchplugins/google.xml
  • /usr/lib/firefox-addons/searchplugins/en-US/google.xml
  • /usr/share/linuxmint/common/artwork/firefox/google.xml