Tuesday, December 29, 2009

MSN video chat in Ubuntu 2

I wrote previously about video chat using the MSN network coming to Ubuntu.
Yesterday I finally got the chance to test it- with disappointing results. The video option in Empathy was greyed out, even with my web cam plugged in. I switched to Emesene and clicked the web cam icon. I got an error message that Libmimic was not installed.
I checked in Synaptic, and found that Libmimic0 was installed. However, I noticed that Python-Libmimic was not. Thinking that Emesene might be written in the Python programming language and require it, I installed it. After restarting Emesene, I didn't get the error message any more, and could see my web cam, but the person I was trying to chat to couldn't.
Frustrated, I rebooted into Windows.
What went wrong?
Doing some Googling later on (back in Ubuntu) I came up with a possible explanation for why the video option in Empathy is greyed out- some required packages for the MSN network are not installed by default. The official Ubuntu documentation says that python-tpfarsight is required; a post on the Ubuntu forum suggests python-msn is required. I haven't had a chance to test Empathy with video chat yet, but hopefully it'll work now.
I don't seem to be alone with the Emesene problem. Somebody had exactly the same issue on the Ubuntu forum. I have no idea why the other party could not see my web cam- maybe a reboot will have fixed it. Again, I haven't tested yet.
UPDATE: seems MS broke video chat in Linux by changing the way their Windows Live Messenger does video chat.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ad blocking in Opera

Yes, I know they pay for sites, but ads are just too in-your-face, irritating and dumb. Not on all sites, but blame the sites that have flashing ads, video ads, ads for junk, even ads with sound. Here's how to block ads in Opera.
Go to Tools>Advanced>Blocked Content. Now all you have to do is enter some of the most common ad server web addresses. Addresses have to be entered one by one. Blogote has a short list that doesn't take too long to enter and seems to be effective.
Opera stores the web addresses in a file called urlfilter.ini. A longer list of ad server addresses can be entered into this file. Tamil has A full description and a list of ad server addresses.
urlfilter.ini does not exist by default. Use the first method to add a few addresses and Opera will create the file. The longer list can then be cut and paste in, making sure addresses follow the same format.

Update: Opera 11 now has extensions- and there are a couple of ad blockers available, so this post is now redundant.