Latest Posts

Public engagement with water conservation in London

In 2009, Ud Doron, who studied on our MSc in Environmental Systems Engineering developed a research project together with Tse-Hui Teh, who is doing her PhD on urban water issues. The project was co-supervised by Sarah Bell. The focus of the project was on a series of participatory workshops to understand the relationships between urban […]

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Post Ubuntu Install – Useful Software and Setup

For the past couple of months I have been running Ubuntu 10.10 (“Maverick Meerkat”) on my Lenovo X300 laptop. The installation gets pretty much all the hardware up and running with the exception of the fingerprint reader and internal microphone. I am not entirely new to Linux, but the last time I was using it was about 1998 and it was a VERY different experience. These days Ubuntu is more than comparable to Windows or OSX – and in some respects actually much easier to use. For example, one thing I have been very impressed with is how simple it is to hook up to my Android phone making it very easy to share the mobile connection and browse the web.

Having said that – out of the box, a number of things have taken some setting up, however, with the power of Google I have muddled my way through. Although many of these installs can be completed in the Ubuntu GUI, I chose to seek out terminal commands so they can be replicated with ease when I no doubt break something serious. As such, this post provides some optional components for Ubuntu along with some software extras I have found useful. Please note, they worked for me, but I don’t want to hear about it if they break or don’t work for you!


GIMP – Image editing software akin to Photoshop (

sudo apt-get install gimp

Skype – VOIP Software

echo “deb stable non-free #Skype” | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list > /dev/null
sudo apt-key adv –keyserver –recv-keys 0xd66b746e
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install skype

VLC – Play everything media player (

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install vlc vlc-plugin-pulse mozilla-plugin-vlc

Liferea – RSS Reader (

sudo apt-get install liferea

Configuration / Basic System

Remove Default Email Evolution

sudo apt-get remove evolution --purge
rm /home/<user> /.evolution


 sudo apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree

Ejection Indicator – simple way to eject usb sticks or DVD

 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fredp/ppa
 sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install ejecter

Compiz – Adds fancy effects to the GUI – in particular is an Expose type effect. I only use this, so I have a one key press to see all my open windows, just like I do in OSX (

 sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

Dropbox – share files using the cloud ( – any alternative that is integrated into Ubuntu on install is Ubuntu One

 echo “deb $(lsb_release -cs) main” | sudo tee “/etc/apt/sources.list.d/dropbox.list” > /dev/null
 sudo apt-key adv –keyserver –recv-keys 5044912E
 sudo apt-get update
 sudo apt-get -y –force-yes install nautilus-dropbox

DVD Playback – this doesn’t work on a fresh install – run this and the problem is solved!

 sudo apt-get install xine-ui libxine1-ffmpeg


 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:sun-java-community-team/sun-java6
 sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jre sun-java6-plugin

Gmail Watcher – this checks your gmail with indicators of new mail

 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:loneowais/ppa
 sudo apt-get update
 sudo apt-get install gmailwatcher

Weather indicator

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lorenzo-carbonell/atareao
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install my-weather-indicator

Hotot – A nice Twitter client for Linux (

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:hotot-team
sudo apt-get install hotot

Nautilus elementary – a slightly nice file explorer interface

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:am-monkeyd/nautilus-elementary-ppa

Caffeine – Keeps you PC awake either manually or by linking it to start with specific software (

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:caffeine-developers/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install caffeine

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2011 RGS-IBG Conference Sessions Sponsored by PGRG

The PopGRG is sponsoring the following sessions at the forthcoming RGS-IBG Conference 31st August – 1st September. Please follow the links below for individual CFPs and instructions for expressions of interest. (Re-)Imagining ‘Return Migration’: Language, concepts and contexts (deadline 4/2/2011) Session convenor(s): Anastasia Christou (University of Sussex), Madeleine Hatfield (Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)) This session responds to […]

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Mapping Spatial Entropy in Southwark

I’ve been doing a bit of work recently on segregation with Pablo Mateos, and having gone through the motions with aspatial indices of segregation (the classics): dissimilarity, exposure and so on, I decided to investigate the more explicitly spatial ones. Taking a lead from Reardon and O’Sullivan’s (2004) paper “Measures of Spatial Segregation” in sociological methodology, I […]

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Brilliant Boris Bikes Animation

Some of us at CASA can’t get enough of the Barclay’s Cycle Hire data. We have had Ollie‘s hugely successful flow maps, journey time heat maps, and now the the Sociable Physicist himself, Martin Austwick has created this stunning animation of the bikes. The TFL data release contained the start point, end point, and duration for around …

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Knowledge Transfer Champion for Social Enterprise

At the end of 2010, UCL’s Office of the Vice-Provost (Enterprise) ran an internal competition to identify several Knowledge Transfer (KT) Champions across the institute. ‘KT Champions will distinguish themselves as leaders of knowledge transfer and research impact within their field, and contribute to UCL’s enterprise strategy as a whole… The activities of a KT […]

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The National Geographic Surname Map has generated a lot of discussion both online and via email. The response has been overwhelmingly positive but some people, unsurprisingly, have suggested improvements. A recent post on the great Junk Charts blog acts as a good summary of the comments I have received. For the purpose of this post I have …

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ONS’s new Wealth and Assets Survey – now analysed using OAC

Many OAC User Group members will be delighted to learn that not only has ONS coded its Wealth and Assets Survey with OAC, but there’s a paper “Exploring the geographical distribution of wealth using the output area classification” in the latest Economic & Labour Market Review (Jan 2011). – pages 59-78. You’ll see some […]

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Call for papers for themed sessions at the 6th International Conference on Population Geographies

The IGU Commission on Population Geography plans once again to sponsor and actively promote some themed sessions at the bi-annual international population conference to be held in Umeå, Sweden in 2011. The Commission proposes three themed sessions linked to the commission’s core interests in ‘Population and Difference’ and ‘Population and Vulnerability’. A. Population and Difference […]

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Spatial Design for GP Consortia?

The government is set to release a bill detailing how it is they expect the proposed GP Consortia to work. GP Consortia, groups of GPs working together, are set to replace the current structure of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) as the mechanism through which primary healthcare is provided to the […]

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