April 13th, 2007

Feisty feature of the day #34 - Reliable NTFS support? Surely not...

NTFS support has traditionally been weak under Linux; reading NTFS partitions is usually quite stable, but if you're trying to write to a disk formatted as NTFS... well, you'd better keep one finger on your latest backup.

Not so long ago, the NTFS-3G project released a stable version of their NTFS driver, which promises to be fast, full of features, but above all: reliable.

The stable version of this driver is in the Feisty universe repository, along with ntfs-config, a tool which you can use to easily mount NTFS partitions using NTFS-3G.

Configuring an NTFS partition

If you have a dual-boot setup (both Windows and Linux installed on the same computer), this package will hopefully be able to save you a lot of headaches, not to mention data loss.

Feisty feature of the day #35 - Encrypted clipboard support

Encryption is a mystery to me. I've had to implement some sort of basic encryption a few times in my life, but it's never been anything more complicated than a ROT13 algorithm and some sort of checksum. In short, I'm an encryption idiot, and everything I touch turns to insecurity.

That's where the nice chaps over at the Seahorse project come in - they've developed a handy utility to stop me from giving away national secrets. It even lets you encrypt the contents of your clipboard!

The clipboard encryption applet

This feature is probably the most useful if you have to send some confidential text over IM or similar. To use clipboard encryption, right-click an empty space on one of your panels, select Add to Panel... and then drag the Clipboard Text Encryption item to somewhere on a panel.

I'm probably ripping you off here - I can't remember this feature being in Edgy, but the package release logs seem to suggest otherwise, so it might not actually be new for Feisty. Can you ever forgive me?

Feisty feature of the day #36 - Snazzy Sudoku

When I'm not learning Physics or writing documentation, I sometimes get bored enough to play Sudoku. If you've never done a Sudoku puzzle before, it's like a crossword for people who can only do the numbers round on Countdown (i.e. yours truly).

GNOME Sudoku is a particularly good Sudoku game, which is now included as part of the gnome-games package. Since Edgy, it's certainly seen a lot of polish. There are far fewer bugs, some nice new features and even a touch of eye-candy here and there.

Using the Highlighter feature in GNOME Sudoku

The screenshot doesn't do all of the improvements justice. For example, if you click twice on a square, a keypad pops up so that you can select a number without touching your keyboard. There's a highlighter (in the screenshot), and even a couple of text entries at the top and bottom of each square for you to note-down possible numbers in.

If you're a hard-core Sudoku nut, upgrade to Ubuntu Feisty.